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.

Hawaii Marijuana Task Force recommendations update

Medical marijuana production centers and dispensaries could become part of the Hawaii landscape as soon as 2017, under recommendations a task force is sending to the state Legislature.

The Medical Marijuana Dispensary Task Force wrapped up its work Tuesday with a list of recommendations, said Rep. Della Au Belatti, an Oahu Democrat and chairwoman of the House Health Committee, who has been overseeing the task force.

Au Belatti said she’s working on a bill for the House to consider when the Legislature convenes Jan. 21 for its regular session.

“The recommendations are really just a starting point,” she said. “Some of the recommendations will be taken up and some of them won’t.”

The recommendations have not yet been finalized into a formal report, so they are not yet available on the task force’s website. Among the recommendations, based on Au Belatti’s notes:

• The Department of Health shall determine the number of dispensary licenses based on a guideline of 1 for every 500 patients, adjusted annually, based on the patients’ residency. There shall be at least one dispensary in each county.

The fee for an application for a license to operate a dispensary shall be $20,000, with $18,000 refunded to unsuccessful applicants. Annual renewal licensing fees for dispensaries shall be $30,000.

• The Department of Health may begin offering licenses for dispensaries and producers on Jan. 1, 2017, and dispensaries may begin operations on July 1, 2017. The department shall offer no fewer than 26 licenses by Jan. 1, 2019.

• In the event that an island or a county in the state lacks a single licensed dispensary by July 1, 2017, a dispensary that is licensed and established on another island or in another county may petition the Department of Health to allow an owner or employee to deliver medical marijuana products to a qualified patient or caregiver of the island or county that lacks a dispensary.

• The Department of Health shall determine the number of medical marijuana production center licenses to issue based on a ratio that producers will have up to 1,000 plants at any one time.

The fee for an application for a license to produce medical marijuana up to 500 plants shall be $2,000, with $1,000 refunded to unsuccessful applicants. The fee for an application for a license to produce medical marijuana between 501 plants and up to 1,000 plants shall be $4,000, with $2,000 refunded to unsuccessful applicants.

• Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, the Department of Health may offer a minimum of 30 producer licenses.

• Medical marijuana production centers may distribute only to licensed dispensaries or other production centers. The Legislature shall preserve the right of qualifying patients to continue to cultivate their own medication if they wish to do so.

• Producers and dispensaries shall be permitted to transport medical marijuana within Hawaii and between the Hawaiian islands in accordance with security requirements to be established by the Department of Health.

• Dispensaries, producers and manufacturers shall comply with County zoning ordinances, provided that counties cannot enact zoning laws that target or discriminate against dispensaries or producers.

• No dispensary or producer shall be located within 500 feet of public and private schools.

• Sales of medical marijuana shall be subject to the Hawaii General Excise Tax.

The Legislature will be asked to appropriate $510,000 from the general fund for each of the next two years to set up the program, to be reimbursed from application and license fees. The Department of Health would create five positions to help implement the program.

Hawaii’s law allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana for certain conditions was signed by former Gov. Ben Cayetano in 2000. Marijuana can be prescribed for these conditions: cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy, severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis or Crohn’s disease and any other medical condition approved by the state Department of Health.

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Congress Hands A Mixed Bag to Marijuana Movement

The year-end spending bill gives momentum to the marijuana movement, plus a painful setback

For the marijuana legalization movement, 2014 ends the way it began: with legal changes that showcase the movement’s momentum alongside its problems.

Tucked into the 1,603-page year-end spending bill Congress released Tuesday night were a pair of provisions that affect proponents of cannabis reform. Together they form a metaphor for the politics of legal cannabis—an issue that made major bipartisan strides this year, but whose progress is hampered by a tangle of local, state and federal statutes that have sown confusion and produced contradictory justice.

First the good news for reformers: the proposed budget would prohibit law enforcement officials from using federal funds to prosecute patients or legal dispensaries in the 32 states, plus the District of Columbia, that passed some form of medical-marijuana legalization. The provision was crafted by a bipartisan group of representatives and passed the Republican-controlled House in May for the first time in seven tries. If passed into law, it would mark a milestone for the movement, restricting raids against dispensaries and inoculating patients from being punished for an activity that is legal where they live but in violation of federal law.

“The enactment of this legislation will mark the first time in decades that the federal government has curtailed its oppressive prohibition of marijuana, and has instead taken an approach to respect the many states that have permitted the use of medical marijuana to some degree,” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said in a statement to TIME. The California Republican’s work on the issue reflects the strange coalition that has sprung up to support cannabis reform as the GOP’s libertarian wing gains steam and voters’ views evolve.

At the same time, the House chose to overrule Washington, D.C., on the issue. Last month voters in the District chose to liberalize its marijuana laws, passing an initiative that legalized the possession, consumption and cultivation of recreational marijuana. The move, which was supported by about 70% of the capital’s voters, paved the way for D.C. to follow in the footsteps of Colorado and Washington State by establishing a tax-and-regulatory structure for cannabis sales in 2015.

Source

KHON3.COM- MMJ news for HAWAII!!!!

Lawmakers are exploring how medical marijuana dispensaries could be set up in Hawaii. Twenty-one members of a legislative task force met Tuesday to hear more about the issue from experts. While it’s not a done deal, a task force was created to come up with recommendations on how to make medical marijuana more accessible to patients.

A state report looked at how other states manage use and distribution, and found no perfect plan for Hawaii to model itself after. It also found that taking medical marijuana between our islands is a federal crime, even though it’s within the same state.

“There are lots of gaps in the law. Hawaii has that special challenge of interstate travel,” said Rep. Della Au Belatti, head of the medical marijuana task force.

Two public hearings are scheduled to obtain public testimony on issues and concerns regarding dispensaries in Hawaii and any input on the updated Legislative Reference Bureau report.

Hilo: Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 5 p.m. at Aupuni Center
Honolulu: Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 5 p.m. at the State Capitol auditorium.

For more information and to read the report in its entirety, click here.
In 2000, the Hawaii State Legislature passed a law enabling the use of medical marijuana by qualified individuals. However, the law did not provide these individuals with a legal method of obtaining marijuana—making it illegal for patients and caregivers to get medical marijuana for legitimate use.

This year the Legislature passed HCR48, establishing under the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Public Policy Center, the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Task Force to develop recommendations to establish a regulated statewide dispensary system for medical marijuana.

The updated LRB report highlights glaring uncertainties within Hawaii’s medical marijuana program in regards to the access and transportation of medical marijuana. The program currently only allows qualifying patients to use medical marijuana, but does not provide them with any method to obtain it other than for them to grow a limited amount on their own. However, the sale of marijuana—including seeds for cultivation—remains illegal under state law. As a result qualifying patients who suffer from cancer or other debilitating diseases are unable to legally acquire medical marijuana to find relief and improve the quality of their lives.

Additionally, it is uncertain whether or to what extent a qualifying patient or caregiver may transport medical marijuana anywhere outside the home on the same island, or island to island, without violating state drug enforcement laws.

The Dispensary System Task Force will submit a report of its findings and recommendations, including proposed legislation to the 2015 Legislature.

Hawaii law authorizes industrial hemp research for biofuels

On April 30, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed legislation into law that allows the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources to establish a two-year industrial hemp remediation and biofuel crop research program.

According to information released by the governor’s office, the bill, S.B. 2175, authorizes the growth and cultivation of industrial hemp in accordance with requirements established by the 2014 Farm Bill.

The 2014 Farm Bill was signed into law by President Obama on Feb. 7. Section 7606 of that legislation allows higher institutions and state departments of agriculture to conduct industrial hemp research. The provision applies only states that have legalized industrial hemp cultivation. Under federal law, sites used for growing or cultivating industrial hemp in a particular state must be certified by and registered with that state’s department of agriculture. Federal law also authorizes state departments of agriculture to promulgate regulations to carry out pilot programs with industrial hemp. Pilot programs include those used to study the growth, cultivation or marketing of industrial hemp.

The final version S.B. 2175 signed into law in Hawaii addresses the potential to use hemp as a biofuel feedstock an in phytoremediation applications. Phytoremediation is the science of using plants and trees to remove toxins from the soil. The plans draw in toxins, along with beneficial nutrients, through their roots. The toxins, such as metal, pesticides, solvents, explosives and crude oil, are concentrated in the stems, shoots and leaves of the plant. The plant can then we harvested and safety disposed of.

The Hawaii legislation specifies that hemp is a superior phytoremediator because it grows quickly and can extract toxins without the need to remove any contaminated topsoil. It is also unaffected by the toxins it accumulates, has a fast rate of absorption and can bind compound contaminants from the air and soil.

The legislation also stresses that help is an environmentally friendly and efficient feedstock for biofuel. Through the two-year research program authorized by the bill, researchers at the University of Hawaii will study the phytoremediation potential of hemp, as well as its viability as a biofuel feedstock.

“Hawaii’s environment and economy will benefit from this research,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “Industrial hemp can be used to decontaminate soil and increase the state’s production of biodiesel, therefore reducing our dependency on imported fuel.”

With recent Farm Bill authorization of certain industrial hemp research projects, it is possible more states will follow in Hawaii’s footsteps. The nonprofit advocacy group Vote Hemp notes that 33 states and Puerto Rico have introduced pro-hemp legislation and 22 states have already passed pro-hemp legislation. At least one U.S. biofuel company has already indicated it sees value in industrial hemp for use in biomass power applications and cellulosic fuels.

For more click here