Lansing, Michigan

LANSING – The battle to free the weed officially started Thursday when the State Board of Canvassers ruled that a group pushing a proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use got enough signatures to qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot.

The 4-0 decision by the board was met with cheers by advocates for the proposal.

“The people of Michigan deserve this. They earned it,” said Rick Thompson, a board member of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws or NORML. “We’ve faced many trials and tribulations. We’ve had so many stop and go signs from the federal government. That’s why states have to take the reins on the issue and really be the crucibles of democracy that they’ve always been intended to be.”

It was the second time that the coalition had turned in enough signatures to get on the ballot. The last time, however, it didn’t get the signatures in a state-mandated 180-day window and the petition was thrown out. But the coalition didn’t have the same problem this time around. “We expected this,” said John Truscott, spokesman for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “Now, we’ll be out and about talking to people and educating them about the issues.”

Scott Greenlee, executive director of the Healthy and Productive Michigan political action committee, which opposes the ballot proposal, urged the Board of Canvassers to keep the issue off the ballot because marijuana is still considered an illegal drug by the federal government.

“By putting this on the ballot, you’re disregarding federal law,” he said. “I recognize that other states have done it, but like my mom always told me, ‘Just because your friends jump off a bridge, doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing.’

“We’re picking and choosing which laws to follow and that’s no way to live,” he said, adding he’s not sure whether his group will continue to fight the Board of Canvassers’ decision in court.

The Michigan marijuana ballot proposal would:

Legalize the possession and sale of up to 2½ ounces of marijuana for personal, recreational use.
Impose a 10% excise tax on marijuana sales at the retail level as well as a 6% sales tax. The estimated revenues from the taxes are at least $100 million.
Split those revenues with 35% going to K-12 education, 35% to roads, 15% to the communities that allow marijuana businesses in their borders and 15% to counties where marijuana business are located.
Allow communities to decide whether they’ll permit marijuana businesses.
Restrict purchases of marijuana for recreational purposes to 2½ ounces but an individual could keep up to 10 ounces of marijuana at home.
Allow the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), and not the politically appointed licensing board that will regulate the medical marijuana side of the market, to regulate and license marijuana businesses, ranging from growers, transporters, testers and dispensaries.
Set up three classes of marijuana growers: up to 100, 500 and 2,000 plants.
Michigan voters have already weighed in on marijuana once, approving cannabis for medical use in 2008 by a 63%-37% margin. As of March, 1, 277,752 people are medical marijuana cardholders and 43,131 people are caregivers who can grow up to 72 plants for up to five cardholders. The state is in the process of vetting applications of people who want to get into the medial marijuana business, which is expected to generate at least $700 million in sales.

That financial prediction is estimated to grow to more than $1 billion a year if voters pass the ballot proposal and Michigan becomes the ninth state to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use.

In Colorado, the oldest recreational marijuana market in the nation, sales in 2017 were $1.5 billion.

But getting the ballot proposal passed is not a foregone conclusion, despite recent polls showing more than 60% support for legalizing marijuana.

Healthy and Productive Michigan has $215,286 for the battle ahead, primarily from Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a Virginia-based organization that supports cannabis for medical, but not recreational, uses.

“We’ll continue to press forward with education and explain to the public the problems that recreational marijuana will cause in our state,” Greenlee said. “And once it’s certified for the ballot, we’ll have a number of people from Michigan who will come in and support us.”

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol has raised more than $1 million, but spent the vast majority on paying the firm that collected petition signatures. According to campaign finance reports filed this week with the Secretary of State, the coalition has only $17,326 in available cash for the upcoming campaign.

The action taken by the Board on Thursday will trigger a large fund-raising effort, Truscott said.

“We expect to have quite a bit coming in now that it’s all approved,” he said. “There have been a number of meetings in the last few weeks about that.”

With the Board of Canvassers’ approval, the state Legislature has several options: it could consider the measure and pass it, in which case it would automatically become law; it could offer a competing proposal for the ballot or it could do nothing and let the issue go to the Nov. 6 ballot.

While Republicans might want to keep the issue off the ballot in November — because it’s expected to increase voter turnout that could be more beneficial for Democrats — it would also be a very difficult vote for Republican lawmakers to take as many of them face elections in the fall.

Speaker of the House Tom Leonard, R-Dewitt, seemed to take the legislative vote option off the table on Thursday.

“I don’t anticipate it happening. There’s not much support in the caucus for it and I personally do not support it,” he said. “I think it’s something that the voters are going to have to ultimately decide.”

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 * Bills aimed at regulating California’s marijuana industry 

Two bills aimed at regulating California’s marijuana industry cleared key hurdles in the state Legislature on Wednesday after one North Coast lawmaker hauled a live plant into the Capitol to illustrate the value of the lucrative crop. State Sen. Mike McGuire’s Medical Marijuana Public Safety and Environmental Protection Act, SB 643, advanced from the Assembly Business and Professions Committee on Tuesday and heads to the Health Committee next week. The bill would establish a broad regulatory structure for California’s medical marijuana industry, which has been plagued by ineffective and confusing rules despite being legal at the state level since 1996. With this bill, the Healdsburg Democrat set out to create a framework for governing the medical cannabis industry, from establishing tax structures and quality controls to licensing dispensaries and cultivation sites. A Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation established within the existing Department of Consumer Affairs would oversee the industry.

The bill passed on the Senate floor in June.

The Assembly Health Committee is chaired by Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, who co-authored a competing bill taking a different approach to regulating medical marijuana in the state.

AB 266 would spread the responsibility for licensing different aspects of medical marijuana across several state agencies, including the Board of Equalization and the departments of Public Health and Food and Agriculture. Local governments would oversee growing and selling marijuana. The Senate Health Committee is considering the bill.

McGuire’s bill complements proposed legislation from another North Coast lawmaker, Assemblyman Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, that is focused on regulating the impact of marijuana cultivation on water resources. His measure, AB 243, the Marijuana Watershed Protection Act, would bring pot under the regulatory control of water agencies. Wood noted that a single marijuana plant is worth between $2,500 and $4,000.

He brought a live marijuana plant with him to the hearing in Sacramento, saying it would help other lawmakers “understand the size and value of medical marijuana farms.” The bill passed the Senate Governance and Finance committee 5-0. It heads to the Senate Environmental Quality Committee next week.  If passed, the bill would place a $50 fee on each legal plant. Proceeds from the fee would go to environmental mitigation and restoration efforts, as well as enhanced law enforcement efforts to ensure legitimate cultivation. 

California presents pesticide guidelines for cultivating cannabis

The State of California is taking historic steps to protect watersheds amid the devastating ongoing drought, combined with an uptick in cannabis cultivation along remote, sensitive watersheds. The State Water Board has new outreach brochures encouraging folks to “Know Before They Grow” and warning contractors of the fines associated with unpermited roadbuilding and bulldozing of streams.

The state is also making historic efforts to educate cultivators on allowable pesticides, releasing a “Pesticide Use on Marijuana” paper. The guidelines are “being provided for informational purposes only” and the state does “authorize, permit, endorse, or in any way approve the use, sale, cultivation, or any other activity associated with marijuana. Any such activity is subject to prosecution under federal law.”

All judgement aside, the State Water Board wants people using pesticides correctly. 


1) NO ILLEGAL MEXICAN PESTICIDES
“Pesticides must be registered by both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) before they can be sold and used in California.”

2) BUYER BEWARE
“There are no pesticides registered specifically for use directly on marijuana and the use of pesticides on marijuana plants has not been reviewed for safety or human health effects.”

3) THE KEY IS RESIDUE
“Under California law, the only pesticide products not illegal to use on marijuana are those that contain an active ingredient that is exempt from residue-tolerance requirements; and are registered and labeled for a use that is broad enough to include use on marijuana (e.g. unspecified green plants); or are exempt from registration requirements as a minimum risk pesticide under FIFRA.”

4) READ THE LABEL
“Before using any pesticide, ALWAYS read and follow the pesticide label. The label is the law.”

5) GET A PERMIT
“If you apply pesticides to a field, you must obtain an operator identification number from the County Agricultural Commissioner and submit monthly pesticide use reports to that office. Note: No operator identification number will be issued in any local jurisdiction that prohibits marijuana cultivation.”

6) AVOID ‘RESTRICTED USE’
“U.S. EPA designates certain pesticide products as federally “Restricted Use” products when they determine those products may cause unreasonable adverse effects even when used as directed on the product labeling. Restricted Use pesticides are limited to use by certified applicators, or to those under the supervision of a certified applicator.”

7) NO ‘RESTRICTED MATERIALS’
“U.S. EPA designates certain pesticide products as federally “Restricted Use” products when they determine those products may cause unreasonable adverse effects even when used as directed on the product labeling. Restricted Use pesticides are limited to use by certified applicators, or to those under the supervision of a certified applicator. Permits will not be issued for marijuana cultivation sites.

8) PROTECT YOUR WORKERS
“Employers must protect their workers from exposure to pesticides. State law requires that employers follow the pesticide label and Provide required personal protective equipment; provide required training and access to pesticide labels and safety information; and properly store, handle, and dispose of pesticides.

9) CAREFUL WITH RODENTICIDES
“Rodenticides that are designated as California Restricted Materials cannot be used; and those that are only designated as federally Restricted Use products can only be used by a certified commercial applicator. There are some rodenticides labeled for below ground applications that are not designated as California Restricted Materials or federally Restricted Use pesticides that can be used if consistent with the label. 

10) USE NATURAL RODENTICIDES
“The following rodent repellants may be used in and around marijuana cultivation sites consistent with the label: Capiscum Oleoresin, Putrescent Whole Egg Solids, Garlic.

Redding , California – Proposed ban on outdoor grow ops!

REDDING, Calif. –

Measure A is a proposed ordinance that will be on Shasta County ballots this upcoming election.

If passed the ordinance would stop all outdoor growing of marijuana in unincorporated areas of Shasta County.

Currently, any medical marijuana patient can grow on their own property with a few land restrictions.

Measure A will only allow marijuana to be grown inside in a separate building detached from the residence.

The measure also limits marijuana cultivation to a total of 12 plants for each grow site.

It would still prohibit growing marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school or other similar sensitive places.

According to those who support the measure, a yes-vote would prevent clear-cutting land, water theft, stream diversion and chemicals entering the water supply.

Kathy Grindstaff, a concerned citizen who supports Measure A, says this measure would reduce crime and would help the environment.

“This is about land use. We are trying to bring the cultivation of marijuana use back under control,” Grindstaff said. “It has just gotten so crazy here in Shasta County. It is being over-run with marijuana cultivation and we just want to see a stop to it.”

Grindstaff says by voting yes on Measure A, the quality of life in Shasta County will improve.

People who are against Measure A say the ordinance is a violation of property rights for patients who rely on medical marijuana for medicine.

Rick Arons, who owns a grow shop in Redding, is against the measure as he thinks the ordinance completely overlooks the people who need marijuana for medical purposes.

“This ban on outdoor cultivation is just hurting patients who are doing things the right way,” Arons said.

He said the priority should be with the people who need it to survive.

“It’s hugely important for a cannabis patient that needs this medicine to be able to cultivate their own. It’s the only true and safe way to be able to know what you have done to your own medicine,” Arons said.

Arons said by forcing people to grow inside, it also forces patients to purchase extremely expensive equipment to grow the marijuana correctly.

He says growing organically is the best way for people to keep costs low.

For more information on Measure A and how it may affect you can read more here.

Concentrated cannabis qualifies as medical marijuana, California court rules

A state appellate court in Sacramento has ruled that “concentrated cannabis” qualifies as marijuana for purposes of medical use.

A unanimous three-justice panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal disagreed this week with an earlier ruling by El Dorado Superior Court Judge James R. Wagoner and reversed the judge’s decision that a medical marijuana patient violated probation by possessing concentrated cannabis.

Sean Patrick Mulcrevy, of Cameron Park, was charged in 2013 with unlawful possession of concentrated cannabis, a misdemeanor, and was alleged to have violated his probation because of his failure “to obey all laws.”

Wagoner reviewed the existing legal authority indicating that concentrated cannabis is covered by California’s Compassionate Use Act, or CUA, the 1996 voter initiative approving medical use of marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. But Wagoner rejected the authority as “unsound” and ruled that “the (CUA) does not apply to concentrated cannabis” because the act does not define marijuana, refer to concentrated cannabis or incorporate statutory definitions of either term.

According to the state’s Health & Safety Code, concentrated cannabis is “the separated resin, whether crude or purified, obtained from marijuana.”

A probation search of Mulcrevy by a sheriff’s deputy turned up 0.16 grams of “honey oil” – a form of concentrated cannabis, 0.05 grams of “dabs” – another form of concentrated cannabis, and 3.33 grams of marijuana.

Mulcrevy, 22, had a physician’s recommendation for use of marijuana and its active ingredient, THC, to treat migraine headaches and acid reflux. He had purchased the marijuana, dabs and honey oil in a medical marijuana store.

Wagoner extended Mulcrevy’s probation by two years, but stayed execution of the sentence pending appeal.

In an opinion issued Wednesday, the justices concluded that Wagoner violated Mulcrevy’s right to defend himself when the judge prevented Mulcrevy from presenting a defense based on the CUA.

Concentrated cannabis “is covered by the CUA, and there is insufficient evidence (Mulcrevy) violated his probation in light of that conclusion,” the justices stated in their unpublished opinion. “Therefore, we also conclude the court’s error was not harmless and we reverse the trial court’s judgment.”

The opinion was authored by Associate Justice M. Kathleen Butz, with the concurrences of Presiding Justice Vance W. Raye and Associate Justice Cole Blease.

The CUA does not define marijuana or concentrated cannabis, the justices noted. But, they added, the terms had already been defined in other sections of the law when the CUA was approved by voters 18 years ago. Marijuana was defined as “all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L.,whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin.” Hemp was excluded from the definition.

Cannabis sativa L. is the name conferred on the plant in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish scientist who laid the foundation for how groups of biological organisms are classified.

Read more here

Santa Ana – Dispensary Applications are now being accepted!

Today, officials for the City of Santa Ana began accepting applications from people interested in opening up medical marijuana shops.

Measure BB, which voters approved, allows for the legal sale of medical cannabis in Orange County.

Santa Ana was the first city to accept these applications in Orange County and they will be available for the next 30 days.

The applications will be screened for a period of time, before about 12 or so will be selected to open for business. It has been reported that more than 75 people lined up at City Hall to apply for licenses today, and in the coming days dozens more are expected.

“The voters passed this overwhelmingly with 75 percent approval,” said Vincent Sarmiento, Santa Ana Mayor pro tem. “Many of those voters have family members, or themselves, who are suffering with illnesses and hope that medicinal marijuana will be able to give some relief to them.”

The rules about where the collectives can operate are strict.

They will be zoned and regulated to operate in the southern and eastern parts of the city. The collectives must also be at least 1,000 feet from parks, schools and residential areas, similar to rules in Riverside County.

FOR MEASURE BB TEXT CLICK HERE