Utah – Signatures being gathered!



SALT LAKE CITY — Signature gathering is under way to put medical marijuana on the 2018 ballot in Utah. As people waited in line for lunch at the popular “Food Truck Thursday” event at the Gallivan Center, volunteers with the Utah Patients Coalition hit them up to sign in support of putting the issue before voters in the 2018 election.
Some of those soliciting signatures are those who would benefit if medical cannabis were legalized in Utah. “I did the illegal thing. I went to Colorado and got what I needed,” said Scott Kingsbury, who has arthritis. “I’m off of five of six prescription medicines and, personally, I think it’s a matter of freedom. It’s a matter of choosing what I want to put in my body.” DJ Schanz, the director of the Utah Patients Coalition, said they have not lacked for volunteers with this issue. Medical marijuana supporters have been increasingly vocal on Utah’s Capitol Hill and launched the ballot initiative frustrated by inaction from the legislature.

However, as the signature gathering effort spreads out across Utah, Schanz said they would hire people to go door-to-door. They must gather 113,000 signatures in 26 of Utah’s 29 senate districts. That’s roughly 10 percent of every county’s population. “We’re trying to get this done before January 10 or so, before the legislative session meets,” Schanz said. “We will be having numerous public events to get this done.” At last week’s Willie Nelson concert, the Utah Patients Coalition landed more than 1,000 signatures with little effort. They plan to be at other concerts and farmer’s markets to get people to sign. The Utah Patients Coalition said it planned to publicize signature-gathering events on its website.
“We’re excited to take this to all of Utah — rural, Salt Lake City, wherever — we’ve seen strong support,” Schanz said. State lawmakers have said they are planning more legislation ahead of the 2018 elections to deal with medical marijuana. However, it may not appease medical cannabis backers who don’t believe it will be as robust as a voter-approved initiative.

How Pa. doctors will handle medical marijuana

Physicians can now sign up to join Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana enterprise.

“Any M.D. or D.O. who treats patients with any of 17 qualifying conditions should register with the state,” Rachel Levine, the state’s acting secretary of health, said Wednesday as she announced the official start of doctor participation in the program.

The success of the marijuana program, which is set to begin in early 2018, will depend on getting physicians involved quickly. In New York and New Jersey, patient access to medical marijuana and cannabis-derived medicines has been tightly restricted because relatively few doctors are participating. About 900 of New York’s 96,000 physicians have signed up.

In Pennsylvania, only doctors will be permitted to write recommendations for medical marijuana. They cannot write prescriptions because the federal government maintains marijuana has no legitimate medical use.


Physicians will be required to take a four-hour course either online or in person to do that. The course, which will cost about $500, will qualify for continuing education credits. Levine said the state had approved two providers to teach the class, the Answer Age and Extra Step Assurance, but added that other educational services could be announced shortly.

State regulations prohibit doctors from advertising their services to write cannabis recommendations. Physicians also may not hold a direct economic interest in a growing operation or a dispensary. They may not write recommendations for themselves or family members.

Qualifying conditions include ALS, autism, cancer, Crohn’s disease, chronic neuropathic pain, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/ AIDS, Huntington’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, intractable seizures, MS, neuropathies, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, sickle cell anemia, and spinal cord damage resulting in intractable spasticity.



Maine marijuana law changes burden for employer drug testing

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine Department of Labor says the majority of businesses won’t be able to fire an employee for a marijuana-positive drug tests unless they can prove impairment on the job.
Backers of the marijuana referendum said the law that goes into effect in February would leave employer protections in place and allow them to maintain drug-free workplace policies. Julie Rabinowitz from the Maine Department of Labor painted a different picture on Monday, when she urged state lawmakers to change the law to give employers more rights.
The Legislature’s labor committee is expected to take up the matter.
Voters in November legalized the recreational use and sale of marijuana products but commercial sales are on hold as regulations are considered.

Plan to legalize marijuana in Michigan pushes ahead

Lansing — A ballot proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Michigan is gaining steam as the group raises more money and boasts it has gathered half of the signatures needed to put the issue before voters in 2018.

A national marijuana advocacy group that helped legalize marijuana in other states is leading the charge for a Michigan plan to let people smoke without fear of legal repercussion. So far, the “coalition to regulate marijuana like alcohol” has raised more than $818,000 in combined direct and indirect contributions, according to the latest campaign filing with the Secretary of State.

The ballot committee, led by the Marijuana Policy Project, reported $518,288 in direct contributions and more than $300,000 in-kind contributions — goods and services bought for the initiative rather than directly donated.

“We continue to be ahead of schedule on our signature efforts; our fundraising is going strong and keeping up with the pace needed to maintain our paid signature collection,” said Josh Hovey, a spokesman for the committee and a senior vice president of public relations firm Truscott Rossman.

“We’re roughly halfway there,” Hovey said.

The petition drive is opposed by a group called Keep Pot out of Neighborhoods and Schools. Attorney Gary Gordon, representing the opposition group, has argued the proposal would not actually regulate marijuana like alcohol.

Dr. Michael Mullins, a panelist on an opioid epidemic forum in Lansing last month, said marijuana can be a gateway drug to heroin.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Hines has criticized the use of marijuana.

“I find the easy access to marijuana in our society alarming,” Hines said in a statement this week. “As a medical doctor specializing in obstetrics, I’ve treated women who have decided to use marijuana to treat the nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy. This concerns me greatly because little is known about the effects of marijuana on the development of the baby.”

The group is paying for a massive network of signature gathers across the state and others to check the signatures and verify their legitimacy.

“We’re really encouraged by the outpouring of support that we’ve received,” Hovey said. “The campaign continues to get emails and phone calls every day from people around the state who realize that marijuana prohibition has failed.”

Jeff Irwin, the committee’s political director and a former Ann Arbor state representative, said the goal is to redirect money that Michigan spends on the criminal justice system related to marijuana and use extra tax revenues the state would earn to boost funding for schools and fixing state roads.

He said he also sees it as a way to fight back against a disproportionate number of young black men going to prison.

“Prohibition has been a massive, costly failure,” Irwin said.

Irwin said a preliminary economic analysis for the campaign committee by the Marijuana Policy Group argues that the state’s marijuana market could be a booming $2 billion a year based on data from Washington and Colorado, which both legalized marijuana for recreational use.

That could mean more than $200 million in extra state revenue for Michigan lawmakers to use mostly for schools and roads, Irwin said. The group is planning a more detailed economic analysis later.

The plan would offer an avenue for marijuana growers, processors, testing facilities, transporters and retail stores to be licensed to sell marijuana for recreational use. It would also allow small boutique businesses similar to microbreweries that could grow up to 150 plants and process, package and sell in-house.

Irwin said the plan offers “complete control” to local governments to allow or stop marijuana shops from doing business.

New last minute regulations for Nevada !!


By Jenny Kane

Nevada marijuana dispensaries will have to get rid of certain edible products before this weekend due to new, last-minute regulations. On Monday, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval endorsed a Department of Taxation statement of emergency that will allow the department to more strictly regulate marijuana edible products starting the same day as the state’s first recreational marijuana sales. “The Governor wants to see the state realize the revenues from its sales, and most importantly, wants a regulatory structure that is restricted, responsible and respected,” said Mari St. Martin, spokeswoman for the governor’s office.

The new regulations, approved by the Nevada Tax Commission on Monday, prohibit marijuana dispensaries from selling the following for recreational use in Nevada:
* Any products that contain any more than 10 milligrams of THC per dose or more than 100 milligrams of THC per package.
* Any products that appear to be lollipops, ice cream or are modeled after a brand of products marketed to children.
* Any products that look like real or fictional characters or cartoons.
* Any products that apply THC to candy or snack foods other dried fruit, nuts or granola.
* Any cookie or brownie products that are not in a sealed, opaque bag.
* Any products that have images of cartoon characters, action figures, toys, balloons or mascots on the labeling.
Existing packaging that has such images must be covered by a sticker, label, or permanent marker so the image is completely obscured, according to a Department of Taxation email sent out to dispensaries on Wednesday.

Products being stored outside of consumer view do not need to have the images covered until they are placed on display or immediately prior to sale.
“From day one, we want to make sure that potency, packaging and labeling are strict from the start,” said Stephanie Klapstein, spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Taxation. The last-minute regulations also require packaging to have “THIS IS A MARIJUANA PRODUCT” in bold type, as well as the words “Keep out of reach of children” and a list of all ingredients.  The restrictions overlap with many of those detailed in legislation sponsored by Sen. Patricia Farley, Nonpartisan-Las Vegas, and passed by lawmakers earlier this month, but only some sections of the law go into effect July 1. Other portions go into effect on Oct. 1 and others go into effect in 2020.

Edibles, which come in the form of everything from gummy snacks to chocolate bars, often have potent doses of THC, Tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Consumers usually have significantly delayed reactions. While the emergency regulations are a costly inconvenience for many dispensaries, they are aimed at keeping pot out of the hands of Nevada’s youth. Though the law is written so that only adults 21 and over are allowed to purchase recreational marijuana, states such as Colorado have reported a post-legalization increase in minors’ visits to the emergency room as a result of edibles intake.  The Department of Taxation is hiring four compliance and audit officers, as well as four inspectors, to uphold regulations. The department has not yet disclosed which dispensaries will receive recreational marijuana dispensary licenses, which allow them to begin sales as early as July 1. Sales through December will qualify as part of the state’s six-month early start program, which ends in December. Permanent regulations will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

Florida expands medical marijuana program

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month. Lawmakers passed the measure (Sb8A) in a special session after failing in their regular session that ended in May to implement a constitutional amendment legalizing the drug, which was supported by 71 percent of voters last year. Under the constitutional amendment, patients with a host of conditions can buy and use medical marijuana. Among the conditions that qualify for the drug: cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma and epilepsy. The new law also sets in motion a plan to license 10 new companies as growers by October, bringing the statewide total to 17.
It allows patients to use cannabis pills, oils, edibles and “vape” pens with a doctor’s approval, but bans smoking.

“The constitutional amendment was passed overwhelmingly, and I’m glad the House and Senate were able to come together for a bill that makes sense for our state,” Scott said earlier this month. Lawsuits are likely to follow. John Morgan, the Orlando trial lawyer who bankrolled the constitutional amendment’s campaign, has promised to sue over the smoking ban, and Tampa strip club magnate Joe Redner said he will file a suit because people cannot grow their own plants. “Great Scott,” Morgan said Friday after hearing that Scott signed the bill. “It’s a no-brainer. Gov. Scott wants to run for U.S. Senate. If he didn’t sign this bill, he couldn’t run for dog catcher.

“It’s not perfect. I’m going to sue for the smoking but I know there are sick people who will see relief starting in July.’’ The marijuana law was among 38 bills Scott signed Friday afternoon.

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.