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Medical Marijuana Update

Marijuana (STDW) - Thu, 01/19/2017 - 22:54

The Hemp Industries Association takes on the DEA over its new coding rule for CBDs, state legislators are busily messing with successful medical marijuana initiatives, and more.

[image:1 align:left]National

Last Friday, the HIA sued the DEA over CBD. The Hemp Industries Association filed a judicial review action against the DEA last Friday over the agency's new rule establishing coding for marijuana derivatives such as CBD cannabis oil. The DEA overstepped its bounds and put at risk a booming cannabis and hemp industry, the suit alleges.

Arkansas

Arkansas House Approves Medical Marijuana Delay. The House voted Tuesday to approve a proposal that would delay implementation of the state's new medical marijuana law. The measure is House Bill 1026. The bill bumps back a 120-deadline from Election Day for the state to issue dispensary and cultivation licenses to 180 days.

Florida

Florida Regulators Issue Draft Medical Marijuana Rules; Initiative Backers Cry Foul. On Tuesday, regulators issued draft medical marijuana rules that had initiative sponsors crying foul. State health officials released draft rules for the state's voter-approved medical marijuana program, but that draft largely leaves current vendors with a stranglehold on the state's industry by applying current laws to the constitutional amendment approved in November, and that isn't sitting well with the people who sponsored the Amendment 2 initiative. "The rule is basically ignoring the text of the constitutional amendment at almost every point of the way," said Ben Pollara, campaign manager of the political committee backing the amendment. The health department will hold public hearings to take input on the rule during the second week of February, with meetings in Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando and Tallahassee.

Georgia

Georgia House Forms Medical Marijuana Study Committee. House Speaker David Ralson (R-Blue Ridge) announced Wednesday that a medical marijuana study committee had been formed with Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) as its chair. Peake is the author of the state's current limited medical marijuana law and has already announced plans for legislation this year.

North Dakota

North Dakota Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Delay Bill. The state Senate voted 45-0 Tuesday to approve Senate Bill 2154, which would delay some provisions of the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law. Senate leaders said the delay is necessary to develop rules and regulations for the program. The bill now goes to the House.

Wisconsin

As of Monday, Democrats were working on a medical marijuana bill. State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D) and Rep. Chris Taylor (D) are circulating a medical marijuana after Republican Assembly Speak Robin Vos said he would be open to the idea. Republicans control both houses of the state legislature, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is not in favor. The Democratic pair have until January 26 to come up with cosponsors and file the bill.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

Categories: Marijuana

US SC: Obama Commutes Prison Sentence Of California Healthcare

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 01/19/2017 - 08:00
The State, 19 Jan 2017 - President Barack Obama on Thursday commuted the 20-year prison sentenced imposed on Richard Ruiz Montes, convicted in 2008 for his role in the Modesto's pot-dealing California Healthcare Collective. In one of his final presidential acts, Obama used his executive authority to cut Montes' sentence by more than half. Now held at a federal facility in Atwater, according to the Bureau of Prisons' inmate locator, the 36-year-old Montes will be released May 19.
Categories: Marijuana

US CO: Are People Switching From Booze To Pot?

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 01/19/2017 - 08:00
Boulder Weekly, 19 Jan 2017 - It's a question people have been wondering about for years: Would marijuana be a competitor to alcohol if it were legal? Now a new study is out suggesting it might. The Marijuana Times recently reported that according to a study conducted by the research firm Cowen and Company, beer markets in Colorado, Oregon and Washington have "collectively underperformed" over the past three years.
Categories: Marijuana

US IL: Could Medical Marijuana Users Become Addicted To Pot?

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 01/19/2017 - 08:00
Chicago Tribune, 19 Jan 2017 - Depressed, withdrawn and coping with a death in the family, Joseph thought getting high would help him feel better. Instead, he said, his marijuana smoking grew into a daily habit that made him paranoid and constantly question how others saw him. He went days without going home, showering or eating much besides potato chips.
Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: N. Am. Illegal MJ Market $50+ Billion, AR/ND/ MedMJ Delay Bills, More... (1/18/17)

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 01/18/2017 - 22:04

A new report finds illegal weed is a $50 billion business in North America, Denver begins working on its "social use" ordinance, state legislators move to slow the implementation of medical marijuana, and more.

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana Policy

Estimate Puts Size of North American Pot Market at More Than $50 Billion. A new report from the Arcview Market Research group puts the size of the North American legal marijuana market at $6.9 billion, which is overwhelmed by the $46.4 billion dollar illicit market. Black market marijuana is bigger than wine, which comes in at $38 billion.

States' Effort to Undo Colorado Pot Law Revived. A panel of judges from the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver heard arguments Tuesday in a case brought by the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma against Colorado's marijuana law. The hearing suggested judges were open to considering RICO charges against dispensary operators and marijuana cultivation operations. Any decision on the case could take months.

Nevada Governor Announces 10% Excise Tax on Recreational Marijuana. In his final budget speech, Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) announced a 10% excise tax on pot to help support his new budget, which is up 10% from last year's. There's already a 15% is already in place for wholesale purchases, and dispensary operators worry that additional taxes could make the black market stronger.

Denver Begins Work on Allowing Pot Use in Clubs, Other Businesses. A working group of Denver business owners, city regulators, and marijuana foes met together Wednesday to begin crafting regulations to implement the city's voter-approved "social use" ordinance, which will allow clubs, coffee shops, yoga studios, and other businesses to allow marijuana consumption on premises. There is no deadline for finalizing the rules, but advocates hope the city will start accepting applications by the summer.

Medical Marijuana

Arkansas House Approves Medical Marijuana Delay. The House voted Tuesday to approve a proposal that would delay implementation of the state's new medical marijuana law. The measure is House Bill 1026. The bill bumps back a 120-deadline from Election Day for the state to issue dispensary and cultivation licenses to 180 days.

Florida Regulators Issue Draft Medical Marijuana Rules; Initiative Backers Cry Foul. State health officials released draft rules Tuesday for the state's voter-approved medical marijuana program, but that draft largely leaves current vendors with a stranglehold on the state's industry by applying current laws to the constitutional amendment approved in November, and that isn't sitting well with the people who sponsored the Amendment 2 initiative. "The rule is basically ignoring the text of the constitutional amendment at almost every point of the way," said Ben Pollara, campaign manager of the political committee backing the amendment. The health department will hold public hearings to take input on the rule during the second week of February, with meetings in Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando and Tallahassee.

North Dakota Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Delay Bill. The state Senate voted 45-0 Tuesday to approve Senate Bill 2154, which would delay some provisions of the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law. Senate leaders said the delay is necessary to develop rules and regulations for the program. The bill now goes to the House.

Law Enforcement

LEAP Changes Its Name, But Not Its Acronym. The drug reform police group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) has now changed its name to the Law Enforcement Action Partnership. "For more than a year, our board and staff have been hard at work to expand into the broader field of criminal justice reform while maintaining a keen focus on our drug policy work. Not only will this expanded scope be a natural fit for our speakers' criminal justice expertise, but it will also help us to become even more effective at moving the drug policy reform conversation forward. And, when you care about something, you want it to be the best it can be. With the right criminal justice reforms, we can do better, for ourselves and for our communities. Our new name reflects the core of our organization," the group said.

New Mexico Bill Would Expand DUI to Include Drugs. Rep. William Rehm (R-Albuquerque) has filed a bill that would target "drugged driving" by setting blood concentration levels similar to those for alcohol for five drugs: marijuana, cocaine, heroin, amphetamine, and methamphetamine. The measure is House Bill 22. But the Drug Policy Alliance, which has opposed similar bills in the past, is raising concerns about this one as well, saying it puts tens of thousands of medical marijuana patients at risk of arrest by setting THC limits unsupported by scientific research.

Categories: Marijuana

Book Review: "Marijuana: A Short History" by John Hudak

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 01/18/2017 - 20:16

Marijuana: A Short History by John Hudak (2016, Brookings Institution Press, 217 pp., $14.95 PB)

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana is going mainstream, as evidenced by the spread of medical marijuana and now outright legalization, not to mention its pervasive and increasingly favorable position in popular culture. In the past 20 years, support for legalization has grown from a distinct minority position to a majority one, and now, after November's elections, more than half the states have approved medical marijuana and nearly one out of six Americans lives in a state where it is legal.

Marijuana is now also big business, with industry watchers estimating the size of the legal market at around $20 billion by 2020. There's one problem with such rosy scenarios, though: Pot remains illegal under federal law.

That's a big problem for John Hudak, a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution with a keen professional interest in public policy implementation, legislative-executive relations, and marijuana policy. In Marijuana: A Short History, Hudak takes marijuana legalization as pretty much a given -- provided it isn't screwed up too badly in implementation -- and sees federal marijuana prohibition largely as an obstacle to getting pot policy right.

He sketches out the strange place we now find ourselves, with a booming industry enriching state tax coffers at the same time it remains federally illegal, and a federal government largely turning a blind eye to the violations of federal law -- at least for now -- while at the same time refusing to allow that industry the banking privileges and tax breaks provided to legal businesses. Meanwhile, marijuana sellers become Chamber of Commerce members in some states and prison inmates in others.

Hudak describes the growing tension between legalization in the states and federal prohibition as challenging federal authority while also hampering the efficient functioning of the marijuana industry. In his view, we're now in a sort of "worst of both worlds" status quo:

"The resulting situation in the United States may be worse than either national legalization or national prohibition. Legal realities are loosely defined by executive branch guidance and suggestions from the administration. This guidance fails to answer important questions and oftentimes creates new ones. States are constantly asking the federal government how to deal with many of the problems they face; the answers are almost always insufficient. Members of Congress have proposed solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing states, industry actors, and consumers, but that legislation is not acted on."

"The reality is that the state of American law at the start of 2016 is absolutely untenable and is inconsistent with American principles of fairness and equal treatment. Federal officials must commit themselves to coherent, comprehensive, and sensible marijuana policy. Until they do, the system will be arbitrary and unjust, and policy will be ineffective."

Now, at the start of 2017, the tensions Hudak highlights are even more acute, and the November elections brought them to the fore. At the same time the legal recreational market quintupled in size with victories in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada, the nation elected Donald Trump, whose attorney general pick, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, is an avowed foe of legalization and drug law reform in general.

Trump himself has said he favors letting the states experiment, but the billion-dollar question is whether Trump is going to set pot policy or leave it to his minions. If it's the latter, legal marijuana may be in for a bumpy ride, but even if it's the latter, that's just the political status quo.

That isn't enough for Hudak. He wants things settled at the federal level through congressional action, not left to the administrative whim of some officeholder. Whether the next few years is going to bring us any closer to Hudak's prescription for pot policy perfection is an open question, and it's sure to be contested political terrain.

Hudak raises the right questions about marijuana's future, but make no mistake, Marijuana: A Short History is by no mean all wonkery. After all, Hudak is writing a history, and he does just that in a concise and lively manner, concentrating on the 20th Century in the US, a period that saw the long arc of marijuana prohibition peak before the decline it now faces in the early years of the 21st Century. Of special interest is his section on the rise of a successfully reform movement, as he zeroes in on the people and strategies that made it happen.

Okay, Marijuana: A Short History is pretty wonky. It's serious stuff with a serious purpose: getting us down the path to a sane and effective marijuana policy nationwide. People with an interest in marijuana and marijuana legalization need to be thinking about these things, and Hudak is going to reward a serious reader. And he isn't going to make you slog through 400 pages of academic prose along the way. Read it; it'll make you think.

Categories: Marijuana

US PA: Could Jeff Sessions As Attorney General Hurt Medical

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 01/18/2017 - 08:00
Morning Call, 18 Jan 2017 - [photo] It's been reported that President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) as his attorney general pick. Sessions has been a vocal opponent of the marijuana industry. (Scott Olson/ AP) President-elect Donald Trump's announcement that he plans to nominate Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions -- a vocal opponent of marijuana legalization - -- to be the country's next attorney general has many in the young but growing legalized marijuana industry deeply concerned.
Categories: Marijuana

US MA: Mass. Legal Marijuana Law As We Know It May Change

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 01/18/2017 - 08:00
Boston Globe, 18 Jan 2017 - Will lawmakers gut key parts of marijuana law? A marijuana joint was rolled. Marijuana legalization advocates fear the Massachusetts Legislature, which has already delayed the opening of pot shops, will now gut several key parts of the law approved by 1.8 million voters in November.
Categories: Marijuana

US NJ: Wayne Police: Woman's Heroin Stamped 'Suicide Squad'

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 01/18/2017 - 08:00
Herald News, 18 Jan 2017 - [Name redacted] of Denville, was charged by Wayne police with possession of heroin.(Photo: Courtesy of Wayne Police) [Name redacted], 26, of Denville was arrested and charged with possession of 39 bags of heroin, among other charges, on Jan. 4.
Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: Obama Commutes More Drug Sentences, Iran Hangs More Drug Prisoners, More... (1/17/17)

Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 21:49

As his term winds down, President Obama continues to free more drug prisoners; New Jersey Dems plan a legalization bill, Wisconsin Dems plan a medical marijuana bill, and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

New York Times Editorial Board Calls on Feds to Remove Barriers to Marijuana Research. In a Tuesday editorial, the Times cited last week's report from the National Academy of Sciences as it called on the federal government to reschedule marijuana out of Schedule I or, at least, remove regulatory barriers to further research on it. Marijuana "does not belong with LSD and heroin on Schedule I," the Times declared, but "even if Mr. Trump and Congress are unwilling to reclassify marijuana, they could remove the regulatory barriers to research and let scientists get to work."

New Jersey Democrats Prepare Legalization Bill, Despite Christie's Opposition. State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D) said Monday that he and other Democrats will introduced a legalization bill in February, despite the opposition of Gov. Chris Christie (R). But Christie will be gone after the next election, and the legalization bill will still be there.

Medical Marijuana

Wisconsin Democrats to File Medical Marijuana Bill. State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D) and Rep. Chris Taylor (D) are circulating a medical marijuana after Republican Assembly Speak Robin Vos said he would be open to the idea. Republicans control both houses of the state legislature, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is not in favor. The Democratic pair have until January 26 to come up with cosponsors and file the bill.

Sentencing

Obama Commutes Sentences for Another 200+ Drug Offenders, and Chelsea Manning, Too. President Obama Tuesday announced he has commuted the sentences of 209 federal prisoners, nearly all drug offenders, as well as imprisoned leaker Chelsea Manning. Tuesday's actions bring to 1,385 the number of sentences commuted under Obama, far exceeding the number of commutations granted by any modern president.

International

Iran Hangs 14 More Drug Prisoners. At least 14 people were hanged at Karaj Central Prison on drug-related charges in the past week, Iran Human Rights reported Tuesday. The group named 10 of the executed: Mohammad Soleimani, Ali Ebadi, Ali Reza Moradi, Majid Badarloo, Omid Garshasebi, Ali Yousefi, Seyed Ali Sorouri, Ebrahim Jafari, Ali Mohammad Lorestani, and Mohsen Jelokhani. The continuing executions come even as the Iranian parliament considers ending the death penalty for drug offenses.

Brazil Approves First Marijuana-Based Medicine. Brazil's National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa)has issued a license for Metavyl, a drug containing 27 milligrams of THC and 25 milligrams of CBD per milliliter. The drug will be available as an oral spray. But Anvisa has designated Metavyl a "black label" drug, meaning it can only be used by patients who have not responded to conventional medicines.

Categories: Marijuana

US KY: I've Seen Opioid Crisis As A Cop. Living It As A Patient Is

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 08:00
Lexington Herald-Leader, 17 Jan 2017 - A year ago, I woke in the night with pain so severe I was crying before I was fully aware what was going on. A 50-year-old cop sobbed like a child in the dark. It was a ruptured disc and related nerve damage. Within a couple of months, it became so severe that I could no longer walk or stand. An MRI later, my surgeon soothingly told me it would all be OK. A nurse practitioner handed me a prescription for painkillers -- 180 tablets, 90 each of oxycodone and hydrocodone. I already knew how easily opioid addiction could destroy a life. I'd arrested addicts and helped people suffering from substance abuse. So as soon as I could, I weaned myself off the medication. Still, I fell into the trap when my pain returned months later, and I started taking the pills again.
Categories: Marijuana

US PA: Valley Group To Compete For State Pot License

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 08:00
Daily Item, 17 Jan 2017 - A group of Northumberland County-based entrepreneurs hope to weed out the competition and get one of the two available licenses for operating a medical marijuana dispensary in the Valley. The main principals of Medical Marijuana Corp. are William E. Rosini, president of Rosini Enterprises, and Shannon D. Rosini, both of Paxinos; Annette Rosini MacLachlan, a former county resident now living in West Chester; Stephen Jacobs, of Shamokin and Christopher Walters, of Mount Carmel.
Categories: Marijuana

US FL: Florida Health Officials Begin Medical Marijuana Rules

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 08:00
Sun-Sentinel, 17 Jan 2017 - Caption Davie imposes temporary moratorium on medical marijuana centers Florida health officials have started the rules-making process that will expand those eligible to receive medical marijuana. The Department of Health on Tuesday published the proposed rules and announced that public hearings will be held in five cities Feb. 6-9.
Categories: Marijuana

US PA: Legal Pot Grower Looks To The Poconos For Growing Facility

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 08:00
Philadelphia Daily News, 17 Jan 2017 - A California company hopes to grow medical marijuana in Pocono Township. The company, CannaMed of Thousand Oaks, has asked the Monroe County township's Board of Supervisors to clarify its zoning definitions to allow it to start up a processing operation, PennLive.com reported.
Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: More Obama Commutations Coming, HIA Sues DEA Over CBD, More... (1/16/17)

Marijuana (STDW) - Mon, 01/16/2017 - 22:02

President Obama will commute more drug sentences before he leaves office this week, the hemp industry sues the DEA over its new CBD rule, New York's governor wants to fix his state's decriminalization law, and more.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

New York Governor to Propose Clarifications to State's Decriminalization Law. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has announced plans to remove a loophole in the state's decades-old decriminalization law that lets police charge people with a criminal offense for possession in "public view." That loophole has been applied mainly against racial minorities. Governor Cuomo pushed heavily for closing that loophole in 2014 but was blocked by Senate Republicans who opposed a measure that would have standardized the penalty for all low-level possession as a violation, which would have resulted in a fine instead of arrest.

Medical Marijuana

HIA Sues DEA Over CBD. The Hemp Industries Association filed a judicial review action against the DEA last Friday over the agency's new rule establishing coding for marijuana derivatives such as CBD cannabis oil. The DEA overstepped its bounds and put at risk a booming cannabis and hemp industry, the suit alleges.

North Dakota Bill Would Delay Medical Marijuana Implementation. State Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) has introduced a bill, Senate Bill 2154, that would suspend implementation of parts of the state's new voter-approved medical marijuana law until the legislature could write a comprehensive law to govern medical marijuana in the state.

Sentencing

Obama Set to Commute Sentences for Hundreds More This Week. As the clock ticks down on his term, President Obama is set to keep on granting clemency to drug offenders up until the last minute. Justice Department officials say he will grant hundreds more commutations this week. He has already cut the sentences of more than 1,100 nonviolent drug offenders, more than any president in modern history.

Categories: Marijuana

Canada: Column: I Was Fired For Using Medical Marijuana. What Are My

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 01/16/2017 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 16 Jan 2017 - THE QUESTION I did not inform my employer during a job interview that I used prescribed medical marijuana, but did ask our crew leader during my second shift if I could use it to combat pain I was feeling from walking all day (because of torn labrum in both hips). I explained that there is no THC in this marijuana - CBD only - so essentially it's impossible to be "high" or intoxicated. She was more than okay with me using the medicine, but after my second day on the job, her boss sent me a text message terminating my employment. What are, or were, my rights in this situation?
Categories: Marijuana

CN NF: Letter: Weed - After It's Legal

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 01/16/2017 - 08:00
The Labradorian, 16 Jan 2017 - What can we expect with the legalization of marijuana? Proponents argue that legalization will reduce crime, lower criminal justice costs, improve public health, improve traffic safety and stimulate the economy. Opponents argue that legalization will spur marijuana and other drug and alcohol use, increase crime, diminish public safety and lower educational achievement.
Categories: Marijuana

CN MB: Cannabis Users Voice Highs, Lows Of Report

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 01/16/2017 - 08:00
Metro, 16 Jan 2017 - A local marijuana advocate is compiling criticism against Ottawa's task force report on legalization in order to make sure Manitoba's cannabis community "has a voice." Steven Stairs, a medical marijuana user and grower who helps organize Winnipeg's 420 rallies, said he reached out to Kildonan MLA Nicholas Curry to talk about the highs and lows of the report.
Categories: Marijuana

CN AB: Pot Policy In The Works

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 01/16/2017 - 08:00
Metro, 16 Jan 2017 - Local businesses concerned over medical marijuana in the workplace Edmonton's Chamber of Commerce is developing a policy to deal with medical marijuana in the workplace as concerns mount among employers and workers.
Categories: Marijuana

US FL: Marijuana Laws Flummox Doctors

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 01/15/2017 - 08:00
Orlando Sentinel, 15 Jan 2017 - TALLAHASSEE -- Even as the state prepares to carry out a constitutional amendment authorizing medical marijuana, a lack of guidance from health officials could create a "very murky and dangerous legal area" for patients and doctors. Authors of the amendment, industry insiders and legislative leaders have called on the Department of Health to clarify what doctors and dispensing organizations can legally do under existing state laws and the voter-approved amendment that went into effect Tuesday.
Categories: Marijuana
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