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.

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. 

    Texas Update 

    AUSTIN — Patients with cancer, seizures and PTSD are fighting to legalize medical marijuana in Texas — despite Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s stance against it.  a news conference at the State Capitol Tuesday, Barbara Humphries was among those pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana. The 31-year-old has endured months of intense chemotherapy for stage three breast cancer. She says marijuana has helped her, and she buys it illegally. 

    “Before I started using it, I was extremely nauseated. I couldn’t eat,” said Humphries. “We should not be denied legal access when our doctors recommend it.” State Rep. Marisa Marquez (D-El Paso) filed legislation that gives patients access to the whole marijuana plant, to treat everything from seizures, cancer and PTSD. 

    “This piece of legislation is a comprehensive medical marijuana bill. Texans deserve a choice when it comes to their health care,” said Marquez. 

    If the legislation passes, Texas would join 23 states and the District of Columbia who already have legal plants. Marquez’s bill stipulates the Department of State Health Services would establish a regulated system of licensed marijuana growers, processors and dispensaries. The head of the House Public Health Committee, Rep. Myra Crownover, says the bill is likely dead in the House. The Texas Association of Sheriff’s says they oppose any substance with THC, citing concerns about its effect on children.


    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.

    Salt Lake City, Utah- Senate Kills Bill 

    SALT LAKE CITY – Legislation that would have legalized medicinal marijuana in the state was killed in the state Senate by a single vote Monday night. Senate Bill 259, which passed a second substitute version of the bill in the Senate last week in a 16-13 vote, was defeated in its fourth substituted version’s third reading Monday night in a 15-14 vote. “Obviously I’m disappointed,” said Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Saratoga Springs, following the Monday nights vote. 


    Madsen said he was disappointed in the Senate and some fellow senators who he thought supported the bill. As well, he said he felt disappointed in himself for letting down the people the bill is meant to aid. SB 259 would have allowed individuals with qualifying illnesses to be able to register with a state database in order to possess medical cannabis and related devices for ingestion. State-licensed individuals could also grow and sell medical cannabis.


    Among the qualifying illnesses the bill list includes: AIDS, Alzheimer’s Disease, Chron’s Disease, glaucoma, post traumatic stress disorder, cancer, multiple sclerosis and other ailments.


    Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, a pharmacist by profession, said in an email Friday that he felt the bill didn’t give the state enough oversight in the matter.


    “It does not allow for the state to have any oversight for important things like money transactions, inspections of its manufacturing facilities, the testing and labeling of the product, patient counseling, verification that the prescription from the physician is valid, etc.,” Vickers wrote.


    Vickers voted against the second version of SB 259 last week, and did so again Monday night when a fourth version was put forward. However, he said he wasn’t completely against the idea of medicinal cannabis.


    A no vote doesn’t mean you aren’t intrigued with the idea, because many of us are, me included,” Vickers said.


    Some lawmakers, such as Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, said they worried the bill could open the door to policy abuse. Gov. Gary Herbert has also said he worried that approving medicinal marijuana would open the door to recreational use.


    “If the Legislature won’t do it, let’s have the people do it themselves,” Madsen said, suggesting the possibility of the public seeking medical marijuana legalization through a public initiative if their elected officials keep refusing to advance it on their end.


    Iowa – update (KCCDI.Com)

    Iowa’s medical marijuana law is barely a year old and some legislators are already looking to change it.

    Under a proposed piece of legislation, certain Iowa businesses would be allowed to produce and distribute medical marijuana.

    Senate Democrats said they are doing this to expand the availability of the drug for Iowans who need it. They announced Monday that they will introduce the legislation this session.

    This comes after a day when two Senate committees heard from a number of residents at the Statehouse who described their difficulties in trying to obtain medical marijuana in order to treat personal or family illnesses.

    Last year, Gov. Terry Branstad signed a bill into law that allows for the possession and use of cannabis oil to treat chronic epilepsy.

    But the law does not provide any way for residents to make or distribute the oil in Iowa. It also prohibits other forms of medical marijuana, which is a huge problem for Iowans who suffer from other illnesses.

    The proposed legislation would create a program that monitors the production and distribution or medical marijuana in Iowa.

    FULL ARTICLE HERE

    Nebraska update!

    LINCOLN, Neb. –
    A bill introduced in Lincoln on Wednesday would pave the way for legal medical marijuana in the state.

    The Cannabis Compassion and Care Act proposed by Bellevue Sen. Tommy Garrett outlines how the substance could be used to treat patients with debilitating medical conditions.

    “There are children and adults in our communities with diagnosed debilitating medical conditions who will benefit from the inclusion of medical cannabis as a treatment option,” Garrett said. “Such treatment would be tightly controlled and could only be prescribed by a licensed physician.”

    The measure would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to issue registry identification cards to qualifying patients and registered designated caregivers.

    “A qualifying patient who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner,” the bill reads.

    The bill would allow qualifying patients to possess up to 12 plants and 6 ounces of usable cannabis.

    The measure acknowledges that federal law prohibits any use of cannabis except under very limited circumstances; however, it lists more than 20 states which have removed state-level criminal penalties from the medical use of cannabis.

    Conditions and Caregiver Information:

    (a) Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, nail patella, or the treatment of these conditions;

    (b) A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: Cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe pain; severe nausea; or seizures, including, but not limited to, those characteristic of epilepsy or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including, but not limited to, those characteristic of multiple sclerosis; or

    (c) Any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the department as provided for in subsection

    Designated caregiver means a person who is at least twenty-one years of age, who has agreed to assist with a patient’s medical use of cannabis, and who has never been convicted of an excluded felony offense. A designated caregiver may assist no more than five qualifying patients with their medical use of cannabis

    .

    See photo below or click here for full PDF of the initiative.

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