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.

Nebraska Senators debate legalizing for medical use

LINCOLN, Neb. – 

Nebraska senators will debate whether to legalize medical marijuana under a bill proponents say is aimed at residents struggling with debilitating seizures. A legislative committee voted 7-1 Monday to advance a measure to create cannabis centers where marijuana would be produced and dispensed. Patients and caregivers could register with the state to obtain the drug for treatment.

“If it gets legalized, I will be a very happy person,” said Maria Vavra, who uses marijuana as treatment for MS. “I have MS and if I did not smoke marijuana daily, I would be using my walker again and I would probably be in a wheelchair today.”

“I use it for the spasms in my leg,” said Dennis Pyle. “It seems to work better than the pills that I take.”

The committee advanced a version allowing a limited number of manufacturing centers and specifying that patients could not ingest the drug by smoking it.

The bill by Sen. Tommy Garrett of Bellevue is the second of two medical marijuana bills up for debate this year. Last month the committee advanced a measure creating a pilot study of cannabidiol, a marijuana derivative, to gauge its effectiveness in treating seizures.

“If the legislative body feels they are not ready for that, then will go with what we can get,” Garrett said.

“I am still concerned where this takes us long-term,” Sen. Matt Williams said.

Williams, the only judiciary committee member to vote against Garrett’s bill, said he wants proof of marijuana’s medical benefits.

“I support Sen. Crawford’s bill that does the research on this at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, to find and determine if this does help and benefit people,” Williams said.

Some patients said that wait is too long.

“If I get caught, it will be worth every day that I spend in jail,” Vavra said.

With 24 days left in this legislative session, some worry there won’t be time to debate the bill. But Sen. Sue Crawford, whose medical marijuana research bill made it out of committee, asked to be scheduled second for debate on the floor, giving Garrett’s bill a fighting chance.

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. 

    Oklahoma City Update 

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A bill to legalize the use of cannabidiol, a derivative linked to marijuana, is heading to a vote of the full Senate after being unanimously approved in the Senate Health and Human Services committee yesterday by a vote of 9-0.

    House Bill 2154, also known as Katie and Cayman’s Law, would legalize clinical trials using CBD to treat children and adults who suffer from epileptic seizures and help reduce the number and intensity of their seizures.

    “Oklahoma has children who are suffering from different types of epileptic seizures and this bill allows the opportunity to be supportive of innovative treatments that could help them,” Senator Brian Crain (R-Tulsa) said.

    State Rep. Jon Echols (R-Oklahoma City) emphasizes the bill is not an attempt to legalize marijuana, but an effort to help his niece and other children in the state who suffer from a variety of debilitating types of epilepsy.

    “Katie and Cayden’s[sic] Law would allow children with severe epilepsy to participate in a clinical trial using cannabidiol, a marijuana derivative with less than a .3 level of THC to help with seizures, headaches and other effects of various epilepsy-associated ailments,” Echols said. “Cannabidiol is very high in the CBD content, but very low in the THC content, which is the component that gives users the feeling of being ‘high’.”

    The bill passed in the House by a vote of 99-2 earlier this year and is now headed to a vote of the full Senate.

    Nevada regulators okay first marijuana cultivation site 

    CARSON CITY — Nevada regulators Monday gave final licensing approval for the state’s first medical marijuana cultivation facility north of Reno.

    Sierra Wellness Connection will grow medicinal pot at a facility in the north valleys area, and plans to open a dispensary this summer near downtown.

    “We’re certainly pleased that the state has acted judiciously to allow us to move forward and open our cultivation facility,” Joe Crowley, Sierra Wellness president and former University of Nevada, Reno president, said in a statement.

    “I’m at a point in my life where I often see friends and relatives in need of safe medications,” Crowley said.

    Morgan Carr, Sierra Wellness vice president of research and development, said the cannabis will be independently lab tested and cultivated in accordance with strict laws and regulations.

    The company said final licensing by the state of its dispensary facility is pending and subject to approval by Reno and Washoe County.

    The dispensary will be located at 1605 E. 2nd Street in an area zoned for medical and wellness businesses adjacent to Renown Regional Medical Center.

    The Reno City Council will consider the company’s special medical marijuana business license application at its March 25 meeting, the company said.

    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.