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.

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.


North Carolina; another step for Haley’s Bill *update*

RALEIGH N.C (Reuters) – North Carolina is on the verge of joining the wave of states to approve a form of medical marijuana as lawmakers voted to allow its limited use for treating seizures.

The Hope 4 Haley and Friends bill is named for 6-year-old Haley Ward of Newport, who suffers from multiple daily seizures. The measure passed unanimously in the state Senate on Thursday, having cleared the house last week, and now awaits the signature of Governor Pat McCrory, who has not taken sides on the issue.

In passing the law, North Carolina would join a handful of other states nationwide, including conservative southern states such as Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, to allow the use of a cannabis extract, cannabidiol (CBD), in certain circumstances.

A chemical found in marijuana plants, CBD has been shown in early studies to reduce seizures, particularly in children who suffer from epilepsy.

The medicine is gathered from cannabis plants genetically engineered to contain only tiny amounts of the compound THC, the component that causes marijuana to produce a high.

The narrowly tailored measure that passed on Thursday overcame early concerns it would open the door to legalizing other forms of the drug.

The bill authorizes the sale of CBD only to patients who suffer persistent seizures and must register with the state. It also calls for research into the drug’s effectiveness. Selected universities in the state would be allowed to grow cannabis for study.

“This is going to give hope to a lot of precious children who have been waiting a long time,” said bill sponsor state Representative Pat McElraft, a Republican. “This is not the camel’s nose under the tent.”

Parents offered emotional testimony as the bill went through legislative committees, citing CBD as a last hope for children who suffer sometimes dozens of seizures in a single day. Other medications, they said, have been ineffective with debilitating side effects.

“The medicines we’re giving her today are ripping her apart,” said Steve Carlin, whose daughter Zora, 5, has a rare form of epilepsy.

(Editing by David Adams and Gunna Dickson)

North Carolina ! MMJnews

RALEIGH, N.C. –The House has approved use of a medicinal oil made from a marijuana plant to treat people with epilepsy.

The bill passed Thursday after clearing two committees in less than 24 hours. It would allow hemp oil extract taken from marijuana plants to treat intractable epilepsy, a seizure disorder unresponsive to three or more treatment options. It would also prohibit doctors from being prosecuted for dispensing the medicine and would direct universities to research it. The bill was amended to encourage instead of require some universities to research it.

Through tears, Rep. Pat McElraft, a Carteret County Republican, emphasized that the oil was not the same thing as medical marijuana and said the bill will give hope to thousands of North Carolina children.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

North Carolina – Lawmaker files bill legalizing cannabis oil

There’s a movement led by mothers and fathers in North Carolina to get legislation passed that would legalize CBD oil — a strain of the marijuana plant believed to reduce seizures in epileptic children.

State Rep. Pat McElraft (R-Carteret County) introduced legislation Tuesday afternoon hoping to do just that. The bill allows the use of hemp oil for patients who suffer from “intractable seizures.”

McElraft insists the “Hope 4 Haley and Friends” bill does not legalize medical marijuana, rather “this is only a medicine for these children so that they can develop motor skills.”

“I am adamantly opposed to marijuana, to the legalization of marijuana,” McElraft said. “This is a hemp oil bill that’s high in CBD, which is the healing part of the brain. But it’s very low on THC — less than 0.3 percent. You can drink a whole bottle of it and never get high.”

The bill will have to go through two committees before it goes up for a vote in the House. If it passes the Hours, it will go to the Senate and then Gov. Pat McCrory.

“I am so excited that hopefully we’re going to find something that will make their lives happy again and where these babies these children are able to get through a day without a seizure,” McElraft said.

Some families say they have been waiting years for this moment, and they are anxious, nervous and excited all at the same time. Moreover, because lawmakers weren’t moving fast enough, several of them have already moved out to Colorado where it’s legal.

The Carlins’ daughter has a severe form of epilepsy and none of her medications have been working, so they have been waiting and hoping for a lawmaker to take up their cause.

“The seizures are ripping apart her liver, her internals, and it’s just doing so much damage to her,” Steve Carlin said, adding that he is at his wits end.

Liz Gorman moved with her daughter to Colorado away from her husband in Raleigh after hearing about CBD oil through other families with epileptic children.

“It’s not fair to make her have to be separated from her father any more than we already do as part of his military career,” Gorman said.

Dylan Morley also moved out to Colorado Springs, but from Wilmington. He said, “I’d like to see the legislators really educated on the subject.”

The Gormans and the Morleys will also be paying close attention this week to McElraft’s bill. If passed, they said they might come back home.

For the Carlins, if the bill doesn’t pass, they plan on moving to Colorado.

“I can’t wait around any longer. Tomorrow can be her last, every day can be her last day. Every two weeks I’m reading about a kid with Dravet Syndrome, or LGS, dying,” Carlin said.

A family from Raleigh, is also in the process of moving to Colorado. George Dabaghi and his family are planning to leave July 1st, and said they can’t wait for lawmakers to decide. “Nothing’s worked on Michael. We’ve tried for six years. Today has been rough. He’s pretty much had five hundred seizures today alone.”

George Dabaghi said if the bill passes, his family will move back to North Carolina, because all of their friends, family, and support system is already here.

When we spoke to a few lawmakers about the bill, representatives like Jimmy Dixon from Duplin County said he would support it despite being against anything related to Marijuana, because he trusts Representative McElraft’s judgement. “I would give serious pause and consideration to those things she introduces” said Dixon.

Rep. Kelly Alexander (D-Mecklenburg County) also introduced a broader medical marijuana bill last week that covers CBD oil as well.

Lawmakers in NORTH CAROLINA fight the good fight!!!!

By Natalie Pasquarella
A local lawmaker filed a bill to allow the use of medical marijuana.

Rep. Kelly Alexander (D-Mecklenburg) is behind the legislation.

“Cannabis is a substance that does have medical applications that are provable,” Alexander said.

Alexander said hearing about people who struggle with chronic pain, specifically veterans, is a big reason for his push.

He also said the state could make big money — anywhere from $100 to $200 million in tax revenue.

“Salary increases for teachers,” Alexander said. “You’re talking about salary increases for state employees. There’s a whole litany of things that we have been discussing.”

A Pew Research Center poll from February showed 70 percent of people between 18 and 29 years old believe marijuana should be legalized.

That is compared to 32 percent of people 65 and older who support it.

If the bill passes the House and Senate, it could be on the November ballot.

Ron Boatright, a resident, said, “I’ve lived a long time and I’ve seen a lot of families wrecked with alcohol and drugs and I’ve just never seen anything good come from them.”

Another resident, Jordan Minor, said, “I think it’s something that’s going to kickstart the economy — a lot of job opportunities. That’s tax money that our state could be using.”

In January we spoke with a family who wants the legislation to pass so it can help its son.

Ellen Wingate said her son Logan has a brain malformation and severe epilepsy.

She wants to consider medical marijuana as an option to treat his uncontrollable, life-threatening seizures but can’t until medical marijuana is legal in North Carolina.