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.

Arizona high court weighs medical marijuana access to some

PHOENIX — The Arizona State Supreme Court is deciding a case that could affect the state’s medical marijuana laws.

The case, Keenan Reed-Kaliher v. State of Arizona, was brought before the panel of five judges on Tuesday and hinges on whether those on parole or probation should be allowed access to medical marijuana under Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act.

At the forefront of the case lie arguments over the power of the courts and parole officers to set the conditions of probation or parole, the validity of Arizona’s medical marijuana policy and whether the state’s medical marijuana law should except some, particularly convicted criminals, from access to medicinal marijuana use.

The case stems from 2011, when Cochise County resident Keenan Reed-Kaliher was released from prison as part of a plea deal he accepted in relation to drug charges, for which he spent a year and a half incarcerated.

After being released, Reed-Kaliher obtained a medical marijuana registry identification card from the Arizona Department of Health Services in response to a previous injury, according to his attorney, Tom Holz.

“(Reed-Kaliher) had chronic pain from a fractured hip, he still has pins in his hip and so he got a medical marijuana card while he was on probation,” Holz said.

After becoming a medical marijuana cardholder, Reed-Kaliher was notified by his probation officer in 2013 that he was not allowed to possess or use marijuana for any reason as part of his probation condition. Later that year, Reed-Kaliher filed a motion in court to modify the conditions of his probation to allow his medical marijuana use, Holz said.

Lower courts rejected Reed-Kaliher’s motion while the state’s appeals court ruled in his favor. The case is now before the state’s Supreme Court for review.

In Tuesday’s statements before the Supreme Court, the state argued Reed-Kaliher had accepted a plea agreement and, in that, agreed not to violate any laws — a condition that can become murky when considering the differences between federal and state laws on medical marijuana.

“Probationers are required to obey the law including all federal laws and so there is this tension because clearly under federal law, medical marijuana is not recognized; this is something that’s recognized under state law,” said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, whose office is arguing the case. “It’s creating a lot of conflict.”

The state argued parolees and probationers are breaking federal law when possessing or consuming medicinal marijuana, and the courts and parole officers who would allow a parolee or probationer to do so would not be fulfilling their oaths in upholding the law.

One portion of the state’s defense was challenged by Chief Justice Scott Bales, who questioned whether Reed-Kaliher’s plea agreement and, therefore, the accepted condition that he not use marijuana, could be accepted, considering Arizona’s medical marijuana law had not yet been adopted by voters until after he made the deal.

Brnovich said cases such as Keenan Reed-Kaliher v. State of Arizona expose the problems associated with medical marijuana laws.

“When you treat something like marijuana as a medicine, not only does it send a mixed message to our children but it makes it hard for the courts to impose terms and conditions of probation,” he said.

Holz, however, said Arizona’s medical marijuana law creates no conflict for state courts or probation officers in enforcing Arizona laws, and the federal government could still arrest his client or any other medical marijuana user in Arizona.

“There’s absolutely no authority for the idea that federal law preempts this,” he said. “We’re not stopping the federal government from enforcing their laws, but they can’t force us to enforce their laws.”

Holz said state courts and probation officers should first follow Arizona’s law, of which the medical marijuana law makes no separation or exception for people on parole or probation.

“(The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act) says a cardholder is not subject to penalty in any manner, so you can’t have your probation revoked (and) you can’t have your parole revoked,” he said.

The court did have some concerns over the arguments raised by Holz during his 20-minute address.

Justice John Pelander raised questions over the juxtaposition of courts and parole officers in Arizona being able to curtail the constitutional rights of convicted criminals — particularly some Fourth Amendment privacy and First Amendment speech rights — but would somehow still not have the authority to curtail rights granted by states, such as access to medical marijuana.

Pelander also questioned whether the voter-approved Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, which does not include exceptions for parolees and probationers, would supersede an earlier state law that bars marijuana use by these groups.

Holz said the court’s decision on the matter could have a broader effect on the state’s medical marijuana law.

“This is a policy experiment you could think of it as, if it turns out that the bad results outweigh the good results then the county attorneys, the anti-marijuana state officials, they’re going to have to take this back to the people and say, ‘This isn’t working, let’s change this, let’s exclude … people on parole and people on probation,'” he said.

“But I think it’s going to work. I think the benefits will outweigh any possible harm that might come from this.”

When asked about his optimism on whether the court would rule in the state’s favor, Brnovich said he no longer makes guesses.

“I think there is some tension, I recognize that, but I also learned a long time ago not to predict what courts are going to do,” he said. “I do think that it’s very fair and reasonable that if someone accepts terms and conditions of probation (that) they abide by the terms and conditions, and furthermore if someone agrees to obey all federal laws (that) they obey federal laws even if it meant that some way they may conflict with some state laws.”

BY MARK REMILLARD, | January 14, 2015 @ 6:34 am

Arizona – Bill to legalize, tax and regulate cannabis like alcohol

Found this great article about the bill filed last week in Arizona to authorize marijuana be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol. Basically, legalizing cannabis and ending prohibition within the state.
-Christina

Link to blog where this was found is:
http://blog.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2015/01/arizona-bill-would-legalize-marijuana-nullify-federal-prohibition/

A bill filed last week in Arizona would authorize marijuana to be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol, legalizing the plant, and effectively nullifying the unconstitutional federal prohibition on the same.

House Bill 2007 (HB2007) was prefiled by State Rep. Mark Cardenas (D-Phoenix). If passed, people aged 21 and older may “possess, consume, use, display, purchase or transport marijuana accessories or one ounce or less of marijuana.” They would also be allowed to “possess, grow, process or transport not more than five marijuana plants and the marijuana produced by the plants on the premises where the plants were grown, transfer one ounce or less of marijuana and not more than five immature marijuana plants to a person who is at least twenty-one years of age without remuneration,” and “assist another person who is at least twenty-one years of age in any of the acts described” previously in this portion of the bill.

While other states have decriminalized marijuana or legalized medical marijuana through their legislatures, no state legislature has had the courage to pass a full legalization bill yet. Arizona has the opportunity to lead the way on this important issue, similar to the way they have led on the issue of states’ rights by passing Prop. 122 in November.

The great thing about these types of reforms is that they are completely Constitutional, and there is little the feds can do about it when enough states and people resist them.

CONSTITUTIONALITY

Congress and the president claim the constitutional authority to ban marijuana. The Supreme Court concurs. But the opinions of black-robed judicial oracles don’t magically transform the meaning of the Constitution. It delegates no power to regulate plants grown and used within the borders of a state. And the so-called war on drugs rests on the same legal authority as all of the other modern-day undeclared wars.

None.

Never-the-less, 23 states had already put the well-being of their citizens above faux federal supremacy, nullified the unconstitutional prohibition and legalized marijuana to varying degrees anyway.

The message? When enough people say NO to unconstitutional federal “laws” – and enough states back them up, there’s not much the feds can do about it.

“The rapidly growing and wildly successful state-level movement to legalize marijuana, either completely, or for medical use, proves that states can successfully nullify unconstitutional federal acts. The feds can claim the authority to prohibit pot all they want, but it clearly has done nothing to deter states from moving forward with plans to allow it, pushed by the will of the people,” Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said.

Michael Maharrey of the Tenth Amendment Center weighed in on the issue as well, saying, “The Constitution delegates no power to the federal government to prohibit marijuana in the states. This power remains with the state governments and the people. Doubt me? Then ask yourself why it required a constitutional amendment to prohibit alcohol. There is no fundamental difference. Hawaii has it right. Let the people decide if they want legalized marijuana. And if they do, the heck with the feds.”

The momentum is on our side, but Arizona cannot nullify the unconstitutional federal prohibition on the cannabis plant without your help. This effort needs your support to achieve victory.

ACTION ITEMS

If you live in Arizona, call your state representative and politely urge them to co-sponsor HB2007. Afterward, call your state senator and politely urge them to introduce similar legislation in their chamber. You can find their contact information HERE.

Arizona lawmaker proposes legalizing marijuana

PHOENIX — Recreational marijuana use could be legal in Arizona by this summer if the Legislature and new Gov. Doug Ducey approve a plan introduced by a Phoenix lawmaker.

The legislation will be a long shot under the conservative-led Legislature. But state Rep. Mark Cardenas, D-Phoenix, said he has some strong arguments. Among them is the possibility of nearly $50 million in potential tax revenue that could offset a looming $1 billion budget shortfall.

Proponents of legalizing marijuana are expected to try to get a measure on the 2016 Arizona ballot, following similar successful efforts in Colorado, Washington and Oregon. Cardenas said polling in Arizona shows such a ballot measure would probably pass, as medical-marijuana legalization did in 2010.

For a variety of reasons, Cardenas said, it would be better if the Legislature passed its own version of the law first.

“We’ve seen issues with our medical-marijuana system … but it’s nearly impossible to come back at the Legislature and adjust it because we need 75% of the Legislature (to approve any changes to a voter-approved measure),” he said. “This would give us more leeway. If there were unforeseen consequences, we could easily come back and adjust it the next year.”

House Bill 2007 would legalize the purchase, possession and consumption of up to 1 ounce of marijuana for adults age 21 and older. It would expand the current medical-marijuana system under the Arizona Department of Health Services, and create a process for dispensaries to serve the general public. It also would allow adults age 21 and older to grow up to five plants for personal consumption.

“We have a rough framework to work off of, which would be Colorado,” Cardenas said. “We would like to start with a discussion and work towards creating the same system here. They’ve gained a lot of revenue from that.”

HB 2007 would levy a new tax against marijuana, at $50 an ounce. Thirty percent of the revenue would go to education; 10% to treatment programs for alcohol, tobacco and marijuana abuse; 10% for public-education campaigns educating youth and adults about the risks of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana; and the rest would go into the general fund.

The proposed tax rate is lower than that in Colorado, but higher than in Oregon. Oregon taxes marijuana at $35 an ounce. Colorado has a 15% excise tax, plus a 10% sales tax on marijuana, plus regular state and local sales taxes.

HB 2007 will need several legislative committee hearings and votes before it could become law. Even getting a first committee hearing could prove challenging.

A similar bill introduced last session by former Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, now a U.S. congressman, was never assigned to a committee. Without that assignment, it got no hearings or votes.

Cardenas introduced a bill last year that would have lowered the penalties for marijuana possession. It was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, but it was never scheduled for a hearing.

“The possibility of it passing is not good, but we need to start looking at new and exciting ways to fill our budget gap if the governor is taking a ‘no new taxes’ stance.”

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

TUCSON, ARIZONA-City Planning Commission recommends lifting medical marijuana grow house restrictions

By Christina Pae
The debate over how extensively medical marijuana can be grown and delivered to patients within Tucson city limits was discussed at a public meeting in City Hall Wednesday. The city’s Planning Commission approved to recommend several amendments to the city’s current medical marijuana regulations, including a proposal to lift floor-space restrictions for off-site cultivation houses in industrial zones. The current ordinance states these grow houses are limited to a maximum of 3,000 square feet of floor space. Those advocating medical marijuana growers in Tucson have said this is not enough space and not business-friendly. “We needed to get an expansion of the grow size, the expansion of grow opportunities, in order to keep that business back here. It means investment capital stays here, it means jobs stay here,” said Demitri Downing. Supporters who attended Wednesday’s meeting saw the commission’s approvals as a positive sign, arguing that the proposals will keep the growing medical marijuana industry in Tucson and not be lost to surrounding municipalities like Phoenix, which has no grow house space limit. The Planning Commission approved other proposed revisions, including a proposal to expand medical dispensary operation hours to 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. There was also discussion and subsequent approval of an amendment that would let dispensaries deliver medical marijuana to patients at hospices, state-licensed institutions and patients in their private homes. Other approved recommendations include allowing a minimum setback of 500 feet for off-site cultivation houses from schools, and allowing infusion kitchens within dispensaries and off-site cultivation houses. Proposals to allow expansion of medical marijuana dispensaries themselves, was not recommended by the Planning Commission. Another amendment that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries and off-site cultivation houses in C-1, or more condensed commercial zones, was also not approved by the commission. The Planning Commission will forward their recommendations to the mayor and council, which will make a final decision expected in September, according to Planning and Development’s deputy director.