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.

Washington state Medical marijuana headed for tighter restrictions 

The state Senate on Tuesday gave final legislative approval to a bill that sweeps medical marijuana into the state’s strictly regulated recreational system. Now, the bill heads to Gov. Jay Inslee. 

Sponsored by Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, the measure would phase out collective marijuana gardens by July 2016, create a voluntary database of medical-marijuana patients and set standards for medical pot and how its use is authorized. 

It would also establish a merit system for dispensaries seeking to join the regulated industry.

Under the bill, patients in the state registry would be allowed to possess three times as much marijuana as users in the recreational system, and they could grow as many as six plants at home unless a doctor authorizes more. Patients could band together in cooperatives of up to four people to share expenses growing up to 60 plants. 

Inslee spokesman David Postman said reforming how medical marijuana is regulated is important to the governor. 

“We look favorably on what they’ve done,” said Postman, of the Legislature’s work. 

As the gears turn in Olympia on marijuana reform, Seattle’s leaders are preparing to expand upon the Legislature’s work and customize pot laws for the city. 

Unregulated medical-marijuana businesses have proliferated in Seattle since recreational pot was legalized in 2012. Some have paid no taxes, and some haven’t complied with city building codes. 

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray described the Legislature’s action as a “step forward.” 

In November, he announced plans to create the city’s own regulatory system for pot, but he chose to put those ideas on hold to see whether the Legislature would act. Viet Shelton, a spokesman for the Mayor’s Office, said Murray will move quickly to propose additional local regulations once Inslee signs the medical-marijuana bill.

“As soon as the bill is signed by the governor, the clock’s on us as far as how we want to implement (a Seattle-specific policy),” he said.

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said that under the bill, some medical-marijuana businesses won’t survive.

“It gives us the clarity we need to usher the 103 or so dispensaries we know of into legitimacy or into a new line of work,” Holmes said. 

He indicated that could mean more city enforcement against bad actors.

Liquor Control Board would be renamed the Liquor and Cannabis Board, and it would determine which medical-marijuana dispensaries qualify to join the state system. 

Some medical-marijuana business owners are worried the new state law will shut them down. 

Killy Nichelin said he dropped his medical-marijuana business in 2013 to focus on applying for a license to sell pot in the recreational market. But his company, Iconic Cannabis, wasn’t selected in the Liquor Control Board’s pot-shop lottery. 

    Idaho Senate Revises Cannabis Oil Bill 

      A bill fronted by Boise Republican Sen. Chuck Winder, which would legalize the use of medication derived from cannabis in the treatment of some forms of epilepsy, is advancing to the full Senate. 

      Other versions of the measure had stalled at the Idaho Statehouse, but the latest rewrite passed through the Senate State Affairs Committee on Friday by a unanimous vote. 

      Winder’s bill would require the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to issue registration cards for users, and joins another bill from Boise Republican Sen. Curt McKenzie that would also open the way for use of cannabis-derived medicine to treat seizure disorders.

      McKenzie’s bill, which would provide patients and caregivers with a legal defense if prosecuted for using or possessing cannabidiol, narrowly passed the State Affairs Committee on March 13. 

      Tennessee 

      A medical marijuana bill likely to have a Republican sponsor on Tennessee’s Capitol Hill could be announced on Friday.

      We were informed that a well-known lobbyist hired by supporters of the medical marijuana movement has been working with a Republican member of the GOP to sponsor the legislation. 

      Both the lobbyist and the lawmaker have declined to comment, except to update the press that they would be ready to talk about the bill in a few days, and no later than next week.

      Washington- Senate Bill 5379 passes and now heads to the House 

      OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Senate has unanimously passed a measure that adds post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of medical conditions that qualify for medical marijuana.

      Senate Bill 5379 passed the chamber Tuesday night and now heads to the House for consideration.

      Washington voters approved a medical marijuana law in 1998 that gives doctors the right to recommend — but not prescribe — marijuana for people suffering from cancer and other conditions that cause “intractable pain.”

      In 2012, voters passed a measure allowing the sale of marijuana to adults for recreational use at licensed stores, which started opening last summer.

      Several measures have been brought forth by lawmakers this year after to address the dual markets.

      One measure that has previously passed the Senate would exempt qualified patients from paying sales tax on medical products.

      State Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, the sponsor of the bill, said the Veteran’s Administration is on board with this legislation and retired veterans who treat PTSD symptoms with marijuana are not at risk of losing their benefits.

      The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.

      Michigan Update

      LANSING, Mich. (AP) – The state Senate has approved a bill that would prohibit the smoking of medical marijuana on rental properties where a landlord has prohibited it. 

      The bill, approved 34-3 on Tuesday, would amend Michigan’s medical marijuana act, approved by voters in 2008. The bill passed with more than the three-fourths vote needed to amend a voter-approved initiative.

      Under the bill, landlords also would not be required to lease property to someone who smoked or grew marijuana on a property where those actions were prohibited according to a lease agreement.

      The bill will now to go the House for consideration.

      Nebraska – Hearings on medical marijuana bill is today! 

       — Supporters of medical marijuana will urge Nebraska lawmakers Friday to pass a bill they say would help ease suffering, but the state’s top law enforcement official plans to fight it.

      Both sides will square off in a legislative hearing on the proposal, introduced for the first time in this year’s session. The bill by Sen. Tommy Garrett of Bellevue would allow marijuana to treat epileptic seizures and symptoms of other diseases.

      Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson opposes the bill, saying such policies should be decided on concrete medical evidence rather than anecdotes. Peterson said he’s concerned that people aren’t carefully considering the potential long-term health effects on youths, pointing to medical studies that suggest it leads to memory loss and other brain problems.

      Garrett said the bill would help alleviate suffering for a narrowly tailored range of medical problems, and would allow the state to regulate its quality and potency. Doctors could prescribe the drug for epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, Huntington’s disease, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and chemotherapy-induced nausea. Garrett said he plans to expand the list to include post-traumatic stress disorder.

      Garrett, a military contractor who said he has never smoked pot, opposes recreational marijuana but said conversations with constituents persuaded him to introduce the bill.

      “At the end of the day, this is about being compassionate and helping people. We don’t outlaw prescription medications just because somebody might abuse them,” he said.

      Garrett said he believes the bill will get voted out of committee, but its prospects in the full Legislature are unclear. If it passes, Nebraska would join 23 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing pot for medical use.

      Maggie Graham, a 62-year-old retired teacher from Omaha, said marijuana would help her cope with diabetes, fibromyalgia, arthritis and high blood pressure. Graham traveled to Colorado after it was legalized and saw that marijuana helped ease her pain and regulate her blood-sugar levels.

      “It gave me the energy I needed to get through the day,” she said.

      Graham said the drug helped relieve her sister’s suffering after she was diagnosed with a rare cancer, and would have helped a brother who died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

      The debate comes as local and state officials in Nebraska try to overturn neighboring Colorado’s decision to legalize recreational marijuana. On Thursday, sheriffs from Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska sued the state of Colorado for decriminalizing pot. The attorneys general of Nebraska and Oklahoma have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to declare the voter-approved Colorado policy unconstitutional.

      “As public officials, we have a responsibility to create a brighter future for young Nebraskans,” Peterson said. “The frustration I have is that a lot of Nebraskans may be taking this lightly.”

      Peterson said he’s concerned that legalization bills send a message to teenagers that marijuana isn’t a big deal, and that medical marijuana could open the door to recreational pot.

      “I understand that there are some very compelling, emotional stories,” he said. “But once medical marijuana gets in, it’s just the first step.” 

      The bill can be found here. LB643