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.

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.

New Jersey lawmaker plans to introduce bill to legalize marijuana

(Reuters) – A top New Jersey legislator on Monday said he planned to introduce a bill to legalize recreational marijuana use in the state, setting the stage for conflict with Governor Chris Christie, who is a staunch opponent.

State Senator Nicholas Scutari said he plans to introduce a bill to legalize the sale of pot to adults over 21, following the lead of Washington state and Colorado, which last year legalized marijuana use by adults.

“The drug laws in this country prohibiting the use and possession of marijuana have failed miserably,” said Scutari, a Democrat.

His move flies in the face of the position of Christie, a Republican, who just last week voiced opposition to the idea at a meeting with voters.

“What I’m not willing to consider is decriminalization, legalization or recreational use,” said Christie, a likely 2016 White House contender who is in the first year of his second term as governor.

Democrats control both chambers of the New Jersey statehouse.

Christie last year signed a bill making medical marijuana available in some circumstances. About 20 U.S. states allow marijuana to be prescribed for medical purposes, typically pain relief.

Two Rhode Island lawmakers last month introduced a bill to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Scutari’s bill would provide for possession of up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana and permit growing up to six marijuana plants.

“It will bring marijuana out of the underground market where it can be controlled, regulated and taxed, just as alcohol has been for decades,” Scutari said.

He said his system could raise considerable revenue for the state, noting that Colorado could get $107 million in taxes from pot sales this year, and would save millions in enforcement costs.

“We spend over $100 million a year enforcing these failed laws,” he said.

(Reporting by Dave Warner in Philadelphia; Editing by Scott Malone and Leslie Adler)