Tag: adult use

State of the Leaf: Sacramento Sees 500% Drop in Cannabis Arrests

US News

Arkansas

It’s regulation by legislation in Arkansas as lawmakers cobble together the rules that will govern the state’s nascent medical cannabis program. There is a ton of new laws. Literally dozens of them.

“They did some crazy things, but it wasn’t anything that would affect the overall stability or the overall ability to get medicine, marijuana to the patients,” said David Couch, who led the campaign for the November ballot measure that legalized medical cannabis in the state.

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California

Cannabis arrests in the state capital of Sacramento are down a whopping 500% since state voters passed Proposition 64, to legalize adult-use cannabis in the state.

And just in time for Earth Day weekend, US Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA) made an environmentally minded pitch for ending prohibition.

District of Columbia

On 4/20, several high-profile DC cannabis advocates were arrested while carrying out an act of civil disobedience on Capitol Hill. Their motive was to highlight a soon-to-expire recurring budget amendment that protects legal medical cannabis operations from unwanted federal intrusion. It was a gutsy gesture that attracted heaps of media attention but not universal praise.

“I don’t think it is the best way forward,” cannabis stalwart US Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) told US News. “We’re going to have many advocates and business people on Capitol Hill making the case in a calm, thoughtful, rational basis.”

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Florida

In November, Sunshine State voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 2 to legalize medical cannabis. Since then, Florida’s largest newspaper Tampa Bay Times has dropped a series of editorials skewering Tallahassee lawmakers for getting it all wrong—on, well, basically everything. The Times’ latest, a blistering admonition from Pulitzer Prize winner Daniel Ruth, is the most derisive yet.

“Last year, Floridians approved by 71.3 percent an amendment that broadly legalizes the use of medical marijuana. That was huge. You’d have a hard time getting 71.3 percent of the state to agree on the color of an orange. Then it was left to the Legislature to craft the rules for implementing the amendment. That’s the way the system is supposed to work. It’s called democracy and it’s all the rage, except in Florida.”

You can almost hear the mic drop.

Massachusetts

Voters in Massachusetts ended prohibition last November after passing Question 4 at the polls. Since mid-December, it has been legal to grow and possess cannabis. Since then, we’ve watched a turf war play out over who has final regulatory authority over Massachusetts’s adult recreational market.

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New Hampshire

Mixed results on a mostly GOP-led effort to expand New Hampshire’s list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis: Chronic pain legislation, HB 157, passed the Senate and is expected to become law. But a similar, separate measure that would have included PTSD as a qualifying condition, HB 160, failed to clear the Senate hurdle and was sent back to the drawing board on committee.

New Jersey

Gov. Chris Christie is literally the most unpopular governor in America, and his notoriously anti-cannabis policies are partly to blame. But for cannabis advocates, there is light at the end of the tunnel: He’ll be gone in less than nine months, at which point NJ’s cannabis landscape should transform swiftly and dramatically.

Phil Murphy, a Democrat and former ambassador to Germany, is the odds-on favorite to replace Christie. His approach would be a dramatic departure from his predecessor’s.

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“By carefully watching what other states have already done, we can ensure a legalization and taxation program that learns from their experiences and which will work from the outset,” Murphy told Leafly. “This also is about social justice, and ending a failed prohibition that has served mainly to put countless people—predominantly young men of color—behind bars and behind a huge roadblock to their futures. New Jersey should choose to be a leader.”

Pennsylvania

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, the state’s chief fiscal officer, joined hundreds of cannabis advocates in Harrisburg to make the fiscal case for ending prohibition.

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“The state’s now looking for revenues and also looking to where they can save money,” DePasquale said, adding that “the most failed war in the history of the United States is the war of drugs, specifically when it comes to marijuana.”

Activists were thrilled to have backup.

“It was an unexpected surprise when Auditor General DePasquale added his voice to the call for legalization via a ‘tax and regulate’ model,” Pittsburg NORML’s Patrick Nightingale told Leafly. “PA is facing a huge budget deficit, projected by some to be as high as $3 billion. Mr. DePasquale knows we must find additional sources of funding, and he pointed out the most obvious source of potential revenue: cannabis. My only criticism is that I think he projected revenue is far too low, especially when the $200 million to $300 million PA spends annually on marijuana-related law enforcement, courts, and corrections is factored in.”

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Vermont Senate Approves Legal Cannabis Measure, House Unlikely

South Dakota

Legalization advocates in South Dakota hope the third time’s a charm as they again circulate petitions to put cannabis reform on next year’s ballot. One ballot measure would legalize medical cannabis, while another would OK adult use. Advocates have until November to gather the requisite signatures—17,000 each—to qualify for the November 2018 election.

” We’re embracing this showdown,” advocate Melissa Mentele told Leafly. “When we get these measures on the ballot, that sets up an intriguing showdown with our notoriously anti-cannabis Attorney General Marty Jackley, who already announced his campaign for governor in 2018.

“The prospect of a showdown with South Dakota’s most notorious anti-cannabis villain,” she added, “makes my heart go pitter pat.”

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Utah

A surgeon in Utah refused to perform a life-saving double-lung transplant on 20-year-old Ryan Hancey because he had THC metabolites in his blood.

“We do not transplant organs in patients with active alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drug use or dependencies until these issues are addressed,” Utah Health System explained in a written statement. Despite a frantic last-minute crowd-sourced effort to fly him to Philadelphia’s Penn Hospital for his transplant, Hancey died over the weekend.

West Virginia

Just in time for 4/20, West Virginia became the 29th state to adopt medical cannabis legislation. “This legislation is going to benefit countless West Virginia patients and families for years to come,” said MPP’s Matt Simon.

That’s common refrain in WV, where advocates are upbeat after such a heady win. And it’s definitely a huge step forward. But this glass is also half-empty. No homegrown, no smokable flowers, no out-of-state reciprocity. Nothing before mid-2019 at the earliest. And with this flawed legislation now officially on the books, many activists fear politicians will think their work on the issue is done.

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West Virginia Gov’s Defense of Medical Marijuana Has Us All Verklempt

“This was done without much outside help,” Reverend John Wires told Leafly. He’s one of several unpaid lobbyists who, with nothing more than “gas money and shoe leather” helped make medical marijuana a reality in West Virginia.

“Imagine what we could have accomplished if we had the financial backing that has been thrown into other states,” he said. “It was the calls from the public that brought us over the top. All those in office know West Virginia citizens vote with their temper.”

International

Canada

Medical cannabis and job-related drug testing—it’s a common dilemma anywhere that medicinal cannabis is legal. Including Canada.

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“There’s nothing wrong in saying you can’t be stoned at work,” said Canadian employment lawyer Peter Straszynski.

But is there something wrong with discriminating against legal medical patients who medicate responsibly?

France

Four of the top-five finishers in the first round of France’s presidential election support decriminalizing cannabis, including Emmanuel Macron who finished first. The only opponent is Marine Le Pen, who finished second. Macron and Le Pen will face off May 8 to determine France’s next head of state.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

5 Things Trudeau’s Cannabis Interview Made Clear

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sat down Monday with reporters and staffers from Vice for a live interview about the recently introduced legislation to legalize cannabis. Over the course of an hour, he fielded questions—including from celebrities like Seth Rogan and cannabis activists like Jodie Emery—about what the changes will mean for the country.

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Here are five key takeaways from the discussion: 

Medical Isn’t Going Anywhere—For Now

Trudeau told the audience that Canada learned a lot from legal-cannabis states in the US, which may be part of the reason he’s pledged to leave the country’s medical cannabis program untouched, at least for the time being. Patients in some US states have seen medical markets dry up as adult-use legalization took over, forcing them to pay more for different products.

Trudeau says that won’t happen—at least not anytime soon. “The medical marijuana system that exists in Canada will stay as-is for the coming years,” he told the Vice audience.

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Trudeau said he even believes nonmedical legalization could help federal lawmakers to “make better determinations” about how to regulate the medical market. Currently “a lot of people” use the medical system to purchase cannabis for recreational purposes, he said. As those people transition to the adult-use market, it will “radically transform the environment in which the medical marijuana system currently works,” allowing regulators to respond accordingly.

Don’t Expect the Raids to Stop Soon

While nationwide cannabis legalization is only about a year away in Canada, Trudeau insisted on the importance of enforcing current cannabis laws. He shot down ideas like a moratorium on new criminal charges or the possibility of nationwide decriminalization in the interim.

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“Until we have a system in place that is a better system than our current system, our system has to stand,” he said. “If you decriminalize, the only people who will be growing and selling are going to be criminals themselves.”

Trudeau faced some pushback for staying the course, at least from the Vice audience. A big point of contention was the degree to which a criminal conviction can affect a person’s life for years down the road. A recent Vice poll found that 56% of Canadians support a blanket pardon for past cannabis offenses, and 35% support pardons for possession. Only 9% percent opposed pardons of any kind.

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Edibles: A Lot to Chew On

Sales of cannabis-infused edibles won’t be permitted in Canada, meaning consumers who want to skip smoking and eat a brownie instead will have to buy cannabis flower or concentrate and make edibles at home. That’s irked some consumers—especially following a Canadian Supreme Court decision saying medical edibles are OK—but Trudeau on Monday stood by the policy.

“We don’t yet have full confidence that we know what a regulated framework around edibles will look like,” he acknowledged, pointing to anecdotes of overconsumption-by-edibles in states like Colorado. “We have to get it right.”

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Asked how he expected to make a dent in the illegal market without allowing edibles, Trudeau acknowledged that was a problem for another day. “That next step, we’re going to be working on it,” he said. “It’s in the future.”

Under the Banner of Safety

Nearly all of Trudeau’s talking points on legalization stressed public safety as the legislation’s driving principle. It’s the reason he stood by the edibles ban, the explanation behind continuing to enforce the country’s cannabis laws, and the motivation behind trying to keep the industry in check.

“I’m more of a beer and bourbon guy.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

US states, Trudeau said, have approached cannabis legalization “very much with a commercial mindset and already thinking about profits and revenue,” he said. “We’re approaching it purely from a health and safety standpoint.”

Public safety was Trudeau’s justification for a number of policies, such as the need for strict federal oversight of cannabis production and why it’s important to keep shutting down storefront dispensaries that are operating illegally. It’s also been the official justification for setting the legal age for cannabis at 18 under the new law and for imposing strict limits on advertising.

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Trudeau: Not Exactly a Cannabis Guy

The first question to the prime minister was about the last time he tried cannabis. His response? “My high-school friends, everyone who’s known me a long time, thinks it’s just really, really funny that I’m the one in charge of legalizing marijuana” he said, describing himself as “the boringest.”

“Convincing me to move toward legalization was very much done on a policy basis,” he explained.

In other words, he’s no Barry Obama, whose affinity for cannabis during his college years is widely known. He’s pragmatic, policy-minded, and, well…  not all that interested in consuming cannabis.

“I’m more of a beer and bourbon guy,” he said in response to a question about how he planned to celebrate legalization’s success.

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Canadian Craft Cannabis?

Federal officials will oversee cannabis cultivation under the new law. That’s worried some consumers, who fear a small number of large companies could control the entire supply—as so-called “licensed producers” do in the country’s medical market. But Trudeau assured the Vice audience that the adult-use market will offer more choices.

“We are very, very much focused on making sure there’s a market that’s going to meet the needs and interests of consumers,” he said, noting that consumers have already expressed interest in organic or pesticide-free growing methods.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Colorado Cannabis Industry Sets Sales Records in Early ’17

DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s marijuana industry — one of the most mature in the nation — continues to thrive, posting record-setting sales figures through the first two months of 2017.

Combined sales of medical and recreational marijuana in January and February 2017 totaled over $235 million, up 30 percent from the same period in 2016, Marijuana Business Daily reported Monday.

It’s too soon to know if sales will continue at such a strong clip throughout the rest of 2017.

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While medical marijuana sales are up slightly in 2017, sales of recreational marijuana have increased substantially. January 2017 recreational sales were 38 percent higher compared to January 2016, while February 2017 recreational sales were a whopping 48 percent above those in February 2016.

Wholesale prices in mid-January 2017 were down 33% in Colorado versus mid-January 2016.

In fact, February 2017 ranks as the second-highest monthly total for recreational marijuana sales in the Colorado program’s history, falling just short of the $88.2 million sold in September 2016.

The sales figures are especially striking because they come amid a time of historically low wholesale marijuana prices, meaning that a 48 percent increase in sales represents an even larger increase in consumption.

According to Cannabis Benchmarks — which tracks marijuana prices — wholesale marijuana prices in mid-January 2017 were down 33 percent in Colorado versus mid-January 2016.

Generally speaking, two market forces fuel rising sales: Increased spending by existing users and new consumers entering the market.

In Colorado, it’s likely a mixture of both.

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Considering the Trump administration’s relatively unfriendly stance toward recreational marijuana, it’s conceivable that more out-of-state visitors are visiting Colorado to stock up on product that may no longer be available in the coming months.

This phenomenon has been on full display in the firearms industry. Gun sales spiked during the Obama administration when many believed their Second Amendment rights were being threatened. But since president Trump took office and the perceived threat has subsided, firearm sales have sharply declined.

And while marijuana retailers aren’t passing 100 percent of the savings realized by the lower cost of wholesale marijuana on to their customers, retail prices are facing downward pressure — as dispensary and recreational store owners in especially competitive markets such as Denver have more room to compete on price.

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For consumers who have stuck to their black-market dealers, lower prices may have persuaded some to finally make the transition to the legal side of the industry.

For consumers already purchasing marijuana legally from a recreational store or dispensary, lower prices may be encouraging increased consumption.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Cannabis Legalization Looms Large in NJ Governor Race

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The Trump administration recently warned about the potential for marijuana to lead to other drug use, but candidates for New Jersey governor are considering embracing efforts to authorize recreational use in the state.

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Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly’s recent comment that cannabis is a possibly dangerous gateway drug comes after Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he is “definitely not a fan” of expanded use.

The issue is currently stalled mostly because Christie has vowed to veto any effort to legalize recreational use of the drug.

Nonetheless, New Jersey’s Democratic-controlled Legislature plans to move forward with legislation and lawmakers hope Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s successor will sign it.

Christie, who is term-limited, has opposed any expansion of cannabis legalization. His term ends in January.

Industry watchers say they’re optimistic legalization will move forward, even if they are unsure about the pace.

The Issue

Legalization of recreational cannabis has had a double-life in New Jersey. The issue is currently stalled mostly because Christie has vowed to veto any effort to legalize recreational use of the drug. But lawmakers in the Democrat-led Legislature have continued to explore the issue, taking trips to Colorado to examine successes and failures and promising to introduce legislation they hope Christie’s successor will sign. Supporters see legalization as a potential new revenue stream for the state and a way to keep petty drug offenders out of the justice system. Opponents, like Christie and Kelly, see the drug as a gateway to graver addictions and more serious crimes. Still others are skeptical about full-scale recreational legalization but favors decriminalizing cannabis to keep offenders out of jail.

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New Jersey currently has a medical marijuana program, enacted shortly before Christie took office in 2010. Proponents of the program say Christie could be doing more to expand the program under the law, like opening more dispensaries.

Candidate Positions and Promises

Democratic front-runner Phil Murphy has said he supports legalization. Former Clinton administration official and attorney Jim Johnson backs legalization in a “safe and regulated manner.” Democratic candidate John Wisniewski, an assemblyman, supports decriminalizing cannabis and creating a legal framework for a market. State Sen. Ray Lesniak says he backs decriminalizing marijuana but isn’t entirely convinced of full legalization.

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Republican front-runner Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno’s spokesman did not respond to a request on her position. Republican candidate Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli favors decriminalizing cannabis possession for those who have small amounts, but doesn’t back full-scale legalization. He voted against bills expanding the medical marijuana program. Steven Rogers, a Republican commissioner in Nutley, opposes legalization for recreational marijuana but says he supports medical marijuana programs.

What the Experts Say

Despite the Trump administration’s position, cannabis legalization groups and lawmakers say they’re optimistic about the chances for legalization under the next governor. “We have a very solid shot,” said Scott Rudder, president of the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association. Rudder sounded more optimistic about the chances for legalization under a Democratic governor but said he is hopeful that Republicans can be persuaded through sharing success stories. He cited Colorado, which has produced about $200 million in revenue for that state.

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Democratic state Sen. Nicholas Scutari, who is a leading proponent in the Legislature, says he is working on legislation that he hopes to introduce soon.

Rudder said he doubts the Trump administration has the resources or the desire to interfere with states — or potentially New Jersey — that market the drug. “We are so far down the path of millions into state coffers and thousands of jobs,” he said.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Vermont Senate Approves Legal Cannabis Measure, House Unlikely

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A legal-marijuana plan has resurfaced and passed the state Senate on a 21-9 vote on Friday, though it’s highly unlikely the House will follow suit this year.

On Wednesday, Senate Democrats revealed they will insert the entirety of a legal-cannabis bill with robust seed-to-sale regulations that failed last year into an unrelated House bill through an amendment.

The House was expected to pass a measure that would have simply legalized small amounts of marijuana and personal growing operations weeks ago, but the bill was sent back to the committee level and has not gained traction since.

“We know people are using marijuana, and we know kids have easy access,” said Democratic Sen. Jeanette White, who read the amendment on the Senate floor. “Let’s make it safer, less accessible to kids, educate them about why they shouldn’t use it along with a lot of other products and impose regulations on what is now an illegal, wide-open market.”

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Before the debate, Republican Sen. Peggy Flory tried to kill the amendment. She made an objection to adding the amendment because it was unrelated to the bill it was changing.

Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, who was presiding, agreed after calling a recess to have an informal discussion. For the moment, the amendment was dead.

But then Democratic Sen. Dick Sears called a vote to suspend the rules and in effect overrule Zuckerman, and the Democratic majority forced the Senate to consider the amendment. Sears said there are no hard feelings.

“The appeal of the chair is a rare thing,” Sears said after the debate. “I’ve seen it happen once or twice before, but it is a rare thing. It sets a bad precedent.”

The marijuana legalization measure that passed the Senate on Friday is an updated version of a failed Senate bill from the 2016 session. It’s modeled after Colorado’s legalization system, and it would regulate, tax and legalize small amounts of marijuana.

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Businesses would be able to apply for licenses, and people would be able to apply for permits to grow cannabis on their land.

Flory and other Republicans remain unconvinced. They worry that police won’t have a good method of measuring driver impairment.

“We are going down again a dangerous path,” Flory said.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott shares that worry about driver impairment but has said he is not opposed to the idea of legalization.

Senators say they have no hopes that the House will take up the measure this year. They are looking to January, when the bill will be waiting for House members to consider in the second year of Vermont’s lawmaking session.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

South Dakota Could See Cannabis Legalization on 2018 Ballot

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Supporters of a pair of ballot measures that would legalize medical and recreational cannabis in South Dakota plan to launch their push Saturday to get on the ballot in 2018.

Backers of the South Dakota effort would have to submit nearly 14,000 valid signatures for each initiative to the secretary of state by November 2017 to put them before voters in 2018. The kickoff event is in Sioux Falls.Melissa Mentele, founder and director of a group advancing the measures, said voters “should definitely expect to see us on the ballot.”

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New Approach South Dakota’s medical cannabis proposal would allow patients with serious medical conditions and a health practitioner’s recommendation to use marijuana. Qualifying patients — such as people with cancer, AIDS and hepatitis C — would be able to get a registration card to possess up to 3 ounces of the plant.

People 21 and older would be able to possess and use marijuana under the recreational marijuana proposal. Possession for South Dakota residents would be limited to 1 ounce of marijuana, five plants and any excess cannabis produced by the plants if they are stored in the same facility where they were cultivated.

Marijuana retailers could be established under the plan, which would also impose an excise tax on cannabis.

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People who are serving time or have been convicted of a non-violent marijuana offense would have their cases reviewed or sentences commuted under the proposal.

Medical marijuana initiatives in South Dakota have failed at the ballot box at least twice since 2006. Last year, the secretary of state’s office said backers didn’t turn in enough valid signatures to get on the ballot.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

State of the Leaf: Congressman Urges Trump to Respect State Cannabis

US News

California

Assembly Bill 1578 successfully cleared a committee vote, 5-2, and will now move to the full Assembly floor. The bill, authored by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), is designed to protect Californians who are operating lawfully under California cannabis laws. Absent a court order, it says, local and state agencies, including regulators and law enforcement, shall not assist in any federal enforcement actions against state-authorized cannabis activity.

“AB 1578 is intended to prevent federal government overreach in the era of Trump,” said Lynne Lyman, Drug Policy Alliance’s California director, testified at Tuesday’s committee hearing. “We do not want the federal government harassing, intimidating, or prosecuting people who are operating lawfully under state law.”

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Also having its first hearing Tuesday was Senate Bill 180, by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), which cleared the Senate Public Safety Committee on a 5-2 vote. Dubbed the RISE (Repeal of Ineffective Sentencing Enhancements) Act, Mitchell’s bill would repeal the three-year sentencing enhancements that are tacked onto new drug-possession convictions for past drug convictions. These enhancements are the leading cause of long sentences that create crisis-level overcrowding in county jails.

Meanwhile, as the state gears up to open adult-use markets next year, a California Supreme Court committee is advising judges in the Golden State to stay away from investments in cannabis businesses. The court’s Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions said Wednesday that maintaining any interest in a business that involves medical or adult-use cannabis is incompatible with a judge’s obligation to follow the law. That’s because marijuana remains illegal under federal law despite its growing acceptance among states. According to its opinion, Maryland, Washington and Colorado also prohibit judicial involvement with marijuana.

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Colorado

Three months in and the Trump administration has yet to articulate even a cursory cannabis policy. That’s frustrating to many in legal states, and one lawmaker is now addressing the president personally. “It’s about time our president tells us where exactly he stands on marijuana,” Congressman Jared Polis (D-Boulder) writes in a Denver Post op-ed. In it, Polis urges the White House to, for starters, “leave cannabis regulation to the states.” He makes a mostly dollars-and-cents argument in an apparent effort to appeal to Trump’s business background.

“Colorado has proven that allowing responsible adults to legally purchase marijuana gives money to classrooms rather than cartels; creates jobs rather than addicts; and boosts the economy rather than the prison population,” writes Polis, a member of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

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Also in Colorado: DUI arrests fell by a third during the first quarter of the year! But the Colorado Department of Transportation is still singing a Reefer Madness tune.

Delaware

Delaware’s new Gov. John Carney can’t make it through a town hall meeting without someone raising the legalization question. He’s been peppered with questions about ending cannabis prohibition during a tour the state to discuss this year’s budget priorities. The questions ultimately prompted him to host a legalization roundtable with advocates and reform-minded legislators on April 19.

“We need our governor to do the right thing and legalize.”

Kim Petters, advocate

“I’m glad it’s not on 4/20, because we have an event planned that day,” Delaware NORML executive director Cynthia Ferguson quipped.

Jokes aside, advocates are pressing hard. “I’m grateful the governor is willing to come on out and listen to what 61% of his constituents want to see happen,” one advocate, Kim Petters, told Leafly. “I just hope this isn’t a way to appease activists to keep us at bay another year. Legalization must happen in 2017. The cost and human toll of prohibition is just too high to wait any longer. We need our governor to do the right thing and legalize.”

District of Columbia

Advocates in the nation’s capital are gearing up for 4/20 in the most hospitable way possible: by rolling thousands of free—free!—joints to be passed out on Capitol Hill on the high holiday. It’s a repeat of the group’s widely publicized joint giveaway on the National Mall during Donald Trump’s inauguration. That stunt, meant as a gesture of resistance, was a global media sensation.

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Advocates hope to generate a similar buzz on 4/20, but there’s a serious side of the demonstration, too. A recurring federal budget amendment that protects legitimate medical cannabis businesses from DOJ enforcement actions is set to expire at the end of the month. And nothing draws attention to that deadline quite like free joints on Capitol Hill.

Florida

Cannabis decriminalization in Florida? There’s a bill for that. Given the legislation’s dim prospects, however, it’s largely symbolic, timed to drive the debate as Florida lawmakers scramble to implement the state’s young medical cannabis program.

“There have been many, many bills proposed, but it’s never had a hearing. So this is a major step forward to end prohibition,” NORML Tallahassee’s Melissa Villar told reporters. “There have been many, many bills proposed, but it’s never had a hearing. So this is a major step forward to end prohibition.”

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Iowa

A wide-ranging medical cannabis bill breezed through the Iowa Senate on Monday on a vote of 45-5. That got folks wondering if Iowa’s might become the 30th next state to legalize medical marijuana. But despite the near-unanimous vote, that doesn’t look likely. The Republican-dominated House of Representatives simply isn’t there yet. Many lawmakers view the Senate legislation as too flexible and overbroad in terms of qualifying conditions.

Maryland

“The rollout so far is going well.”

Patrick Jameson, executive director, Medical Cannabis Commission

Patient registration for Maryland’s medical marijuana program has begun. Roughly 1,200 patients signed up the first week, during which anyone whose last name begins with letters A-L was permitted to apply. The number of registered physicians spiked as well, and currently sits at 250. Those numbers should double quickly as registration opens the entire state on April 24.

“We are having some good numbers that are coming in,” said Patrick Jameson, executive director of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. “The rollout so far is going well.”

But as the program ramps up, Maryland’s Legislative Black Caucus has issued an ultimatum to Maryland’s General Assembly: Either address the lack of diversity in Maryland’s cannabis industry or say goodbye to the support of the caucus’s 51 members.

“How can the Democratic Party pass anything in the legislature without us? How can they be successful in the next election without us?” asked Del. Cheryl Glenn, who chairs the caucus. “They won’t, unless they resolve this.”

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Bills Aim to Increase Diversity in Maryland Medical Marijuana Industry

New Hampshire

Bipartisan legislation to grant access to medical marijuana to patients with PTSD (House Bill 160) and chronic pain (HB 157) cleared important hurdles in Concord. Both bills sailed through the state’s powerful Senate Heath Committee. The PTSD bill advanced unanimously, 5-0, while the chronic pain bill legislation passed by a vote of 4-1. Both bills are sponsored primarily by Republican legislators.

Meanwhile, a measure to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis is gaining support in Concord. Even GOP Gov. Chris Sununu is on board.

Nebraska

Nebraska lawmakers should approve a measure allowing and regulating medical marijuana before voters bypass them, senators who support the bill said Wednesday. Legislators debated the bill for two hours without voting, the AP reports, and are unlikely to return to the issue this year unless supporters prove they have the 33 votes necessary to end a filibuster. Senators who oppose the measure should work on making it better because they may be running out of time to regulate medical cannabis, said Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln. Voters are now circulating two petitions for cannabis-related initiatives that could appear on the 2018 ballot. One would amend the state’s constitution to give residents the right to use, buy and sell cannabis and prohibit any laws restricting it, while the other would decriminalize possession of one ounce or less of the drug.

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North Dakota

A bill legalizing medical marijuana in North Dakota is on Gov. Doug Burgum’s desk. North Dakota voters overwhelmingly passed a medical cannabis referendum last November, but according to the governor, additional legislation was required.

“Without additional legislation, this would have been extremely problematic,” said Burgum, a Republican. “We’re committed to moving as quickly as we can.”

For now, North Dakota’s medical cannabis legislation does not include a home-grow component, and patients are required to take extra steps to obtain smokable cannabis.

Some advocates are giving legislators a regulators a year to get the show on the road. “If that doesn’t happen, there is going to be hell to be paid,” said Rilie Ray Morgan, who led the state’s recent referendum battle. “If it’s not available in a year, we will take people to court then. No ifs ands or buts about that.”

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“If this program isn’t running smoothy and properly by then, we’ll start another petition process to address the (onerous) licensing fees the legislature added,” Ray told Leafly. He estimates it could take a prospective business as much as $2 million in initial investment just to get its doors open. “The costs of production and selling to patients will be so far out of line, that’s my fear, that patients will be priced out of the program.”

Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo isn’t ready to legalize cannabis. Not quite yet anyway. She’d rather study it first.

Tennessee

Last fall, Democratic leaders in Nashville and Memphis voted to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis. It was a widely regarded huge step forward for Tennessee’s two largest cities. That progress, however, was summarily undone by Republican lawmakers at the state level. Tennessee’s Republican Gov. Bill Haslam last week signed a bill to strike down the reforms, putting an end to Nashville’s and Memphis’s seven-month experiment.

Texas

A very limited cannabis decriminalization measure passed through the Dallas City Council last week. The law, which makes cannabis possession in Texas’s third-largest city a civil offense punishable by a citation, goes into effect Oct. 1—unless, of course, lawmakers follow Tennessee’s lead and undo the local policy.

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Vermont

Ending prohibition in Vermont has been on and off the table numerous times this year. This time last week, things looked very bleak indeed. Then suddenly Twitter’s abuzz with chatter there may be a Senate legalization vote this Friday in Montpelier. Good news. The bill would then advance to the House where it would (almost certainly) languish to death. Again.

Meanwhile, one by one, Vermont’s neighbors are ending prohibition. First Massachusetts, then Maine. What’s next? Quebec? Oh wait…

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West Virginia

West Virginia on Wednesday became the 29th US state to legalize medical cannabis. Give a listen to Gov. Jim Justice’s speech on the matter.

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International News

Canada

The long-awaited legislation to legalize cannabis for adult use throughout Canada landed in Parliament last week, sparking mixed reactions among legalization advocates. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has directed Liberal MP Bill Blair, who’s also Toronto’s former police chief, to shepherd the reform to fruition.

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Best ETA for legal cannabis in Canada? Mid-2018. Hopefully in time for Canada Day.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Colorado Backs Off Plans for Cannabis Clubs

DENVER (AP) — Colorado lawmakers have backed off plans to regulate marijuana clubs, saying the state would invite a federal crackdown by approving Amsterdam-style cannabis clubs.

The state House voted Thursday to amend a bill that would have set rules for how the private clubs could work.

It was a dramatic reversal. Bring-your-own-cannabis clubs had bipartisan support in the Legislature, and the measure had already cleared the GOP Senate.

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But lawmakers bowed to Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who repeatedly warned lawmakers that he would veto a club measure if it allowed indoor smoking. The governor also warned that clubs, and a separate proposal to allow cannabis delivery, might invite intervention from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The House amendment effectively removes club regulations, and the remaining bits of the bill are relatively minor.

“Given the uncertainty in Washington, this is not the time to be trying to carve off new turf and expand markets and make dramatic statements about marijuana,” Hickenlooper told The Denver Post last month.

Sponsors of the club bill said that they had little choice but to back off, leaving Colorado with its current spotty club landscape.

Colorado already has about 30 private cannabis clubs, according to legislative analysts, but they operate under a patchwork of local regulations and are sometimes raided by law enforcement.

Clubs in Colorado frequently operate in a similar manner to clubs in states where cannabis isn’t legal, with small groups meeting up to smoke in a secret location members sometimes call “Dave’s House,” a reference to an old Cheech and Chong skit.

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The House amendment passed Thursday effectively removes club regulations, and the remaining bits of the bill are relatively minor. The bill could face yet more changes before a final vote. Lawmakers who bemoaned the club bill’s demise cited U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has hinted that states violating federal drug law won’t be tolerated.

“We have legalized marijuana. Where do we want people to use it if not at home? On the street?”

State Sen. Tim Neville, (R-Littleton)

“I’d like to see (a club bill) that goes much further, and that does a lot more, but in a year with Jeff Sessions, a small first step is better than no step at all,” Democratic Rep. Jonathan Singer said.

Not everyone agreed with the change, saying Colorado is wimping out by backing off.

“It only makes sense to allow people to have a place to where they can (smoke marijuana) where it’s controlled and confined,” said Republican Sen. Tim Neville, who sponsored a separate club bill that failed because it would have allowed clubs to sell the marijuana people would smoke, similar to a bar selling alcohol.

“We have legalized marijuana. Where do we want people to use it if not at home? On the street?”

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The Colorado bill would have made it the first state to regulate clubs statewide

Alaska regulators decided earlier this month to delay action on a measure to allow on-site consumption at marijuana dispensaries, or “tasting rooms.”

Ballot measures approved by voters last year in California, Maine and the city of Denver would allow either on-site cannabis consumption or so-called “social use” clubs, but regulations for how those clubs would work haven’t been settled.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Here is Canada’s Full Legalization Bill

The Canadian government just made history by formally proposing the end of cannabis prohibition nationwide. As government ministers provided vague outlines of the legislation at a news conference this afternoon, though, political watchers and cannabis advocates around the world wanted to know one thing: Where is the actual bill?! 

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Here it is:


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Breaking: Canada to Legalize Marijuana. Here’s What You Need to Know

In an announcement that will have profound implications for cannabis legalization worldwide, Canada became the first G-7 nation to formally propose the full legalization and regulation of cannabis today. In a news conference in Ottawa, leaders of Canada’s health, justice, and public safety ministries revealed the Liberal government’s plan to end decades of cannabis prohibition. If adopted as planned, the new federal rules would allow the production, sale, and possession of cannabis by all adults 18 years and older. The federal government would license cannabis producers (growers), but will leave most regulations regarding distribution and sale up to the provinces.

Here’s what you need to know.

Q: When will legalization happen?
A: July 1, 2018. That’s the short answer. Media outlets have reported that the Liberal government’s proposal, if adopted, would legalize cannabis for adults nationwide by Canada Day, 2018. That date may shift as the legislation moves toward approval. It may also be reset away from Canada Day in order to not turn Canada Day into 4/20 North.

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Who will be able to purchase, possess, and consume cannabis?
All adults. Canadians and visitors. Don Cherry and Justin Trudeau. Drake, Feist, Deadmau5, and Geddy Lee.

Hmm. That word “adult”: What’s the age requirement?
It’s a bit tricky. Federal law will set a minimum age of 18, but each province will be free to set its own age limit above that level. So in some provinces it may be legal only for adults age 19 or 21, or even 25, depending on what each province decides to adopt. That age limit restricts sales and outlaws providing cannabis to minors, and it bars advertising to minors or marketing promotional activities to young people.

Regardless, while young people under 18 could be hit with civil sanctions for cannabis, they wouldn’t face criminal prosecution for simple possession of small amounts.

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Who’s going to grow it? Who’s allowed to sell it?
The federal government will issue licenses to cannabis producers (growers), much as it currently does with medical marijuana licensed producers. Officials say this will ensure product quality and safety. Retail, on the other hand, would be left primarily to provinces.

The federal legislation allows for many scenarios. If a province doesn’t put in place a retail distribution or sales framework, the national government has authority to allow adult consumers to purchase directly from a federally licensed producer. Vending machines would be prohibited.

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Will I be able to buy at a cannabis store?
Whether to permit storefront dispensaries will be a decision left to provincial governments. If legal states in the US are any indication, some communities will welcome retail stores; others will likely ban them. If a province doesn’t put in place a retail distribution or sales framework, adult consumers may be able to purchase directly from a licensed producer.

How much can I have?
Adults can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, or a little over an ounce.

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Can I grow my own?
Yes, but there are limits. Personal cultivation will be allowed up to four plants per residence, each with a height limit of 100 cm (3 feet, 3 inches). Note that the limit is per residence, not per person. So if you’re sharing a house with roommates, you don’t each get to grow four plants. One residence, no matter how large or small, may contain four growing plants. That’s it.

What will happen to current medical marijuana LPs?
Current medical cannabis regulations will remain in effect for the time being. The government plans to review them as adult-use regulations evolve in order to make any changes deemed necessary.

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What will happen to existing storefront dispensaries?
The federal legislation doesn’t address the current situation with unlicensed storefront dispensaries. The tone of the officials at today’s briefing indicated that they expected cannabis to be sold through retail storefronts, to be licensed by provinces and/or local municipalities. The key word there is “licensed.” That doesn’t mean existing dispensaries will turn legal or illegal overnight.

Will I be able to order cannabis through the mail, or ground delivery?
That will be determined by each province.

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What about infused edibles?
Edibles will be allowed and regulated for health and public safety. Cannabis products can’t contain nicotine, caffeine, or alcohol.

Is advertising allowed?
The government says its goal is to provide adults with factually accurate information in order to make informed choices about cannabis. To that end, advertisements aren’t allowed to make false or misleading claims, nor may they appeal to young people. They can, however, include levels of cannabinoids like THC and CBD, a product’s ingredients, strain names, and a company brand.

What about product packaging?
There were some last-minute rumors that the government could prohibit branding, the use of colors in packaging, and other visual design elements. But that’s not the case—not yet, at least. The legislation gives The legislation gives the federal government the authority to bring forward regulations. Those regulations will be set at a later date.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.