Florida expands medical marijuana program

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month. Lawmakers passed the measure (Sb8A) in a special session after failing in their regular session that ended in May to implement a constitutional amendment legalizing the drug, which was supported by 71 percent of voters last year. Under the constitutional amendment, patients with a host of conditions can buy and use medical marijuana. Among the conditions that qualify for the drug: cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma and epilepsy. The new law also sets in motion a plan to license 10 new companies as growers by October, bringing the statewide total to 17.
It allows patients to use cannabis pills, oils, edibles and “vape” pens with a doctor’s approval, but bans smoking.

“The constitutional amendment was passed overwhelmingly, and I’m glad the House and Senate were able to come together for a bill that makes sense for our state,” Scott said earlier this month. Lawsuits are likely to follow. John Morgan, the Orlando trial lawyer who bankrolled the constitutional amendment’s campaign, has promised to sue over the smoking ban, and Tampa strip club magnate Joe Redner said he will file a suit because people cannot grow their own plants. “Great Scott,” Morgan said Friday after hearing that Scott signed the bill. “It’s a no-brainer. Gov. Scott wants to run for U.S. Senate. If he didn’t sign this bill, he couldn’t run for dog catcher.

“It’s not perfect. I’m going to sue for the smoking but I know there are sick people who will see relief starting in July.’’ The marijuana law was among 38 bills Scott signed Friday afternoon.

Arkansas Update! Get ready residents !

 

By TAFI MUKUNYADZI, Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ medical marijuana industry will ramp up in the next week, with the state poised to accept applications from potential patients, growers and distributors.

Beginning Friday, the state Medical Marijuana Commission will accept applications from those hoping to grow or supply marijuana, while the Health Department will take applications from those hoping to benefit from the first marijuana-as-medicine program in the Bible Belt. The application periods will run until Sept. 18.

State officials expect anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 people to seek permission to use the drug for a number of health problems. It will cost $50 to apply and permits must be renewed yearly.

Potential patients must submit written certification from a physician to obtain a registration card, demonstrating that the doctor has fully assessed the patient’s medical history. The application must show that there’s an established physician-patient relationship and that the patient has a certain qualifying medical condition.

All applicants must have a driver’s license or state-issued ID card, and those under age 18 need the consent of a parent or guardian to apply.

Family Council president Jerry Cox, who opposed the medical marijuana plan, fears that some may try to “game” the system and obtain marijuana even if they don’t have one of the 18 medical conditions listed in the law. The health issues include intractable pain, cancer, glaucoma, a positive HIV/AIDS status, hepatitis C, Tourette’s syndrome, Crohn’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and severe nausea.

Cox said intractable pain and severe nausea are conditions that are difficult to medically prove and that doctors have to take patients at their word when recommending them for medical marijuana. He said that state lawmakers could’ve placed more restrictions on medical marijuana, like blanket bans on edibles and smoking.

Volunteers needed to smoke pot for science

By Taylor Nadauld
Moscow-Pullman Daily News
Researchers at Washington State University need volunteers for a study to develop a breathalyzer for pot.

The breathalyzer would need to accurately detect “acute exposure” to tetrahydrocannabinol, WSU Professor Emeritus Nicholas Lovrich, doctoral candidate Peyton Nosbusch and City Councilor and research assistant Nathan Weller told the Pullman League of Women Voters on Thursday afternoon.

As part of the study, volunteers will be asked to answer questions regarding food, drink and other edibles they have recently consumed before being asked to give preliminary blood, breath and oral fluid samples at Pullman Regional Hospital, Lovrich told the League during a Brown Bag meeting at the Community Congregational United Church of Christ.

Participants will then be asked to purchase marijuana from a state-licensed retail store and smoke it in a private residence until a personal self-assessed high is reached. They will then return to the hospital by taxi to give additional bodily samples.

As an optional step, participants will also be asked to interact with law enforcement volunteers and allow them to conduct the standard field sobriety test.

If successful, the study could aid in the development of a field procedure for the detection of the presence of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, and eventually help prevent vehicle accidents or deaths due to drug-impaired driving.

Lovrich discussed a THC detection device with the League back in December 2015 with then-doctoral candidate Jessica Tufariello.

He and Herbert H. Hill, a WSU professor and longtime ion researcher, have been researching development of a detector since 2010, Lovrich said.

At the time, he said, the number of arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol in Washington had been decreasing steadily, though cases of driving under the influence of illicit drugs had increased.

If the breathalyzer – ion mobility spectrometer – used to collect breath samples is proven to be reliable in detecting THC during the experiment, Lovrich said that information could then be passed on either to the company that makes the breathalyzer or to another company to re-engineer the device to become smaller and more durable. Lovrich said WSU would benefit financially by patent rights and associated royalties and use fees.

If the research is positive, and police worldwide start using the WSU patented device, Lovrich said, then the WSU administration will say, “Wow, that’s a pretty good investment. Maybe we should keep investing in medicines and then tools that people need for workplace and school and roadside safety.”

The study is sponsored by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services and will be conducted in conjunction with the Pullman Police Department.

Delaware House panel approves marijuana legalization bill

DOVER, Del. – (AP) – A bill legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Delaware has cleared its first legislative hurdle.

The legislation, which was released Wednesday by a House committee and now goes to the full House for a vote, regulates and taxes marijuana in the same manner as alcohol.

The bill doesn’t allow people to grow their own marijuana but allows adults over age 21 to legally possess less than an ounce of marijuana for personal use.

The legislation would create a commission to regulate, license and tax the marijuana industry, allowing licenses for up to 40 retail stores.

Consumers would pay an excise tax of $50 an ounce, while businesses would pay an application fee of $5,000 and a $10,000 licensing fee every two years.

Vermont legislature approves recreational marijuana use

A measure legalizing marijuana use in Vermont cleared the state’s legislature on Wednesday.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) has said the legislation is not “a priority for Vermont” and has not made a final decision as to whether he will sign it. The measure makes Vermont the ninth state to legalize recreational marijuana use among adults and the first to legalize through a legislative process. Other states have approved recreational marijuana use through ballot initiatives.

“Vermont lawmakers made history today,” said Matt Simon, the New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, a marijuana policy group. “The legislature has taken a crucial step toward ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition.” Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized the possession and use of marijuana, though each state has its own rules and regulations. For example, in Washington — one of the first states to legalize pot — only individuals using the drug for medical purposes can grow it, though any adult is allowed to possess and use it.

In Washington, D.C., marijuana can be used and “gifted,” but not bought, sold or exchanged for other goods or services.

Marijuana use is illegal according to federal policy, and President Trump’s opposition to legalization has created uncertainty for some states seeking to regulate the industry.

If signed by the governor, the Vermont measure would remove civil penalties for possessing one ounce of marijuana or less and would allow adults to keep up to two mature pot plants. It would also create a commission to develop a plan for taxing and regulating the drug.

Update – California – Part 2

On Friday, the California Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation released the first draft of its proposed rules for the state’s medical marijuana industry.

The over 54 pages of guidelines, sets standards for how the commercial-grade side of medical marijuana will be regulated. It goes as far as detailing how it must be stored, transported, tested, tracked and sold.

Don’t get too heated- the next 45 days is known as “the comment period” of these proposed rules where concerned parties; like industry leaders, law enforcement, marijuana entrepreneurs, politicians and most importantly, YOU- patients and the general public. Keep in mind these rules only apply to medical cannabis… they could however be replaced or applied to rules for the adult-use marijuana rules released last month by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Although only looked at as a draft… It is likely that this will be what we will get on Jan. 1, 2018, when the rules go into effect.

 

Highlights:

“*Marijuana businesses in operation on Jan. 2, 2018 have until July 2018 to apply for a permit and can stay open until their permit is processed.

*Permits can’t be bought or sold. If a marijuana business is sold, the new owner needs to apply for a new permit.

*Marijuana sold in the state—won’t be subject to mandatory lab testing until six months after a seller receives a permit, or by the end of the year, whichever is sooner.

*No cannabis can be sold on consignment—good news for marijuana producers, in theory.

*Marijuana businesses must have a “labor-peace agreement,” allowing union organizers to try to sign up marijuana workers.

*You’ll be able to patronize your local cop-owned cannabis dispensary. Cops can operate a marijuana business, as long as it’s located in a different county from where they patrol the streets.

*No free samples. There’s a strict prohibition on handing out weed for free, meaning the free pre-roll for first-time customers may be a thing of the past. This would apply to free dabs as well. There’s a similar ban on other license-holders giving away product, spelling bad news for the demo days (and free dabs!) that many marijuana brands use to build their customer base.

*The rules also seem to spell bad news for businesses like the self-styled “Uber of marijuana,” delivery startup Eaze. No deliveries can come via a third-party, all deliveries must be performed by an employee of the dispensary.” – Cannahoo.Com

All drafted regulations can be read in full here

California update

 

 

The Brown administration on Friday released draft regulations for the sale and use of medical marijuana in California, beginning a process that is likely to see changes sought by some in the industry, law enforcement and state legislators.

For instance, the Legislature has to determine how to merge the rules for medical pot with regulations approved by the voters in November legalizing the sale of recreational cannabis.

“The broad objectives of these proposed regulations are to create a state licensed and regulated commercial cannabis market,” the rules said. “The specific benefits anticipated are increased protection of the public and the environment from the harms associated with an unregulated commercial cannabis market.”

The rules require applicants for licenses to grow, transport and sell marijuana for medical use to get a license from the state Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation and undergo a background check.

People who transport marijuana between farms and dispensaries would be prohibited from owning that pot, according to the rules, and they must be 21 or older.

Dispensaries would have to use a track-and-trace system to monitor activity involving the cannabis they sell.

The new rules say cannabis edibles must be sold in child-resistant, opaque packaging and have no more than 10 milligrams of THC per serving. Dispensaries will be restricted to operating from 6 am to 9 pm

Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) objected Friday that proposed changes to the law approved in 2015 by the Legislature “are not just a problem for lawmakers, but actually are in violation of how Proposition 64 described how the two systems of law would operate side-by-side.”

The state has scheduled four hearings on the proposed rules, including one for 10 a.m. June 8 at the Junipero Serra Building in Los Angeles.