Tag: Florida

All the Cannabis Legalization Measures in Play Right Now

Compared to 2016, when Donald Trump won an upset presidential victory, four states voted to legalize the adult use of cannabis, and four more legalized medical use, 2017’s election season promises to be a much quieter affair.

In fact, this year’s most cannabis-relevant race may be the New Jersey governor’s race, which is notable for who isn’t running. That would be Gov. Chris Christie, the outspoken cannabis prohibitionist. The end of the Christie era could open the door for adult-use legalization via the state Legislature, which has been readying a measure for much of the past year.

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Otherwise, most of this year’s cannabis-related politicking involves laying the groundwork for 2018, when at least a half-dozen medical and adult-use measures may go up for a vote.

As the season opens, here are the most interesting races so far:

Ballot Initiatives

Florida

Regulate Florida is circulating petitions to put an adult-use measure on the 2018 ballot. If successful, this measure would amend Florida’s constitution to end cannabis prohibition.

“Florida citizens have no other method for changing the laws besides a constitutional amendment,” Karen Seeb Goldstein, director of NORML Florida, told Leafly.

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“This petition is partially a reaction to the poor implementation of Amendment 2 [a 2016 measure to legalize medical cannabis], but there’s more to it than that. The war on drugs is a failure. Prohibition just doesn’t work.”

A Quinnipiac poll taken last spring found that 56% of voters support legalizing recreational cannabis.

Michigan

The Michigan Regulation & Taxation of Marijuana Law is spearheaded by the Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol (CRMLA).

“We surpassed the 200,000-signature mark last week, and, assuming all goes well [over Labor Day] weekend, we expect to be well on our way to 250,000 by next week,” Josh Hovey, CRMLA spokesperson, told Leafly.

That 250,000-signature estimate comes tantalizingly close to the total of 252,523 verified signatures organizers must submit by Nov 22, 2017. To be safe, the campaign hopes to collect at least 360,000 signatures before the November deadline.

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“We have been thrilled to have nearly 60% of the public in support of legalizing cannabis in Michigan,” Hovey said. “But at the same time, this is far from a sure thing. There are big-money business interests that would love for us to fail, because they would rather see the law written in a way that allows them to monopolize the market.” His group’s initiative, he explained, is intentionally set up to benefit small businesses.

“There are also plenty of prohibitionists out there who will use Reefer Madness fear tactics to mislead the public,” Hovey said. “That’s why our coalition is working hard to raise the funds necessary to keep up our paid signature-collection effort to make the ballot and then run a professional, disciplined campaign that can win in November 2018.”

Missouri

New Approach Missouri is actively gathering signatures to place a constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot to permit medical cannabis in Missouri. Advocates have until May 6, 2018 to gather 160,199 verifiable signatures to qualify.

“We are circulating a petition for November of 2018 and currently have about 60,000 signatures, gathered by volunteers,” New Approach Missouri Campaign Manager John Payne told Leafly. “Our campaign got off to a great start with immense support from our volunteer base, and now we are about to shift signature collection into high gear by bringing in a professional signature-gathering company. Our current timeline calls for us to complete signature collection in January, well ahead of the May 6 deadline for signature submission.”

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The most recent statewide medical cannabis poll, conducted in June 2016, showed support for medical cannabis in Missouri at 62%. Only 27% of respondents singled a no vote.

South Dakota

New Approach South Dakota is circulating petitions to place two marijuana-themed measures on next year’s ballot. One would legalize medical cannabis, while the other would permit recreational cannabis for adult use.

“Both measures require 13,871 (verified) signatures,” Melissa Mentele, who directs New Approach South Dakota, told Leafly. “I don’t have exact numbers, but we’re about two-thirds of the way there, roughly 6,000 signatures short for both of them, so South Dakota voters need to come out of the woodwork and sign my petition!”

“We’re exhausted and we’re sunburned, but we’re all working really hard to reach our goal of 25,000 total signatures for both petitions.”

Melissa Mentele, New Approach South Dakota

With a Nov. 8 deadline looming, advocates aren’t taking any chances. New Approach SD volunteers spent the past week “camping out” near the South Dakota State Fair in Huron, the group said. The fair was an organizing bonanza for both ballot measures.

“Our booth at the state fair is on point,” Mentele told Leafly. “We’re exhausted and we’re sunburned, but we’re all working really hard to reach our goal of 25,000 total signatures for both petitions.”

“I think that recreational, after what happened last time, honestly, this is going to be a hate vote,” Mentele said. Last year’s legalization measure was tossed from the ballot due to a clerical error. “So yeah, it’s gonna be a spite vote, and so far I’ve gotten a lot of spite signatures. Voters are mad, you have no idea!”

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Utah

The Utah Patients Coalition is currently gathering signatures to place State Question 788 onto the 2018 ballot. Advocates need at least 113,143 verified signatures by April 15, 2018 to qualify.

Momentum for medical cannabis in Utah is strong, with 75% of Utah residents in favor of legalizing medical cannabis, according to a poll taken earlier this summer.

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Legislative Action

In addition to the ballot measures described above, there’s momentum in several state capitals to end prohibition through legislation. Thus far in America, the path to legalization has been at the ballot box—at least in terms of adult use. Bragging rights are due to whichever state legislature that ushers in legal markets first.

Vermont

It may seem like the movie Groundhog Day in Vermont, where legalization has been on—and off—the table multiple times. “But it’s not Groundhog Day,” MPP’s Matt Simon told Leafly.

“I’m extremely optimistic progress will happen in January.”

Matt Simon, Marijuana Policy Project

Simon, a keen observer of Vermont’s many, many ups and downs, said he’s “extremely confident” that Vermont will pass a limited legalization bill that permits home cultivation and possession.

“The votes are there,” he said. “In fact, the House has passed [a similar bill] before and the governor has agreed. If he backtracks now, that’s really a major flip-flop. That’s why I’m extremely optimistic progress will happen in January.”

What about the multiple misses in Vermont already? “Sometimes you gotta lose before it’s your time,” Simon said.

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New Jersey

In a few months, Gov. Chris Christie will be gone. The most likely candidate to replace him is Democrat Phil Murphy, who’s been very vocal about drug reform while on the campaign trail. He says he’s motivated by both economics and social justice.

“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. “But we must keep in mind 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.”

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Legislative leaders in Trenton are on board. State Sen. Nick Scutari chairs the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee. He’ll gavel in the first hearings on the topic. He’s also the prime sponsor of NJ’s cannabis legalization bill.

“In New Jersey, we now have a Democratic nominee, who I believe will be our next governor, who supports legalization,” Scutari told Leafly. “That’s why it is so important that we begin shaping our recreational marijuana program now, so that we are prepared to move forward with a program that ends the prohibition on marijuana and that treats our residents fairly and humanely. We’ve already done extensive research on how legal cannabis programs are faring in other states and are continuing the process of working on legislation to create the best recreational marijuana program for New Jersey.”

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Delaware

Delaware has flirted with legalization for a while now. Could 2018 be the year?

“Delaware took one step closer to legalization last week with the first meeting of the Adult Use Cannabis Task Force,” said Zoë Patchell of the Cannabis Bureau of Delaware.

The group’s job?

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“To recommend a model of legalization that would best fit Delaware,” Patchell told Leafly. “The conversation for cannabis legalization has officially moved from an ‘if’ to a ‘how’, and we are confident that, with continued pressure, Delaware will legalize in 2018.”

What does Delaware’s new task force look like?

“Cyn Ferguson, John Sybert, and Tom Donovan [all of whom support cannabis reform] were appointed by the governor,” Patchell explained. “They represent cannabis advocates on this 25-member panel comprised mostly of various state agencies and stakeholders. The report is due Jan. 31, at the end of the first month Delaware’s legislative session reconvenes.”

Rhode Island

Judging from the locals, it ain’t happening in Rhode Island—this year or next.

“Our laws will remain rooted in injustice and oppression in 2018,” Rhode Island legalization advocate Melissa Bouchard told Leafly. “Rhode Island won’t legalize cannabis until the small sector of hand-selected triple their money on their ‘medical’ dispensaries. Economies in neighboring states, like Massachusetts and Maine, will be supported by Rhode Island residents traveling across the border. Meanwhile, Rhode Island misses out on a huge opportunity by continuing to study this program. They are studying for a test they already failed.”

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Mike Falade, another long-time New England cannabis reformer, offered a similarly dim forecast. “Rhode Island will legalize as soon as they figure out how to get ALL of the growers money and not just MOST of the growers money,” 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.

‘First Green Bank’ Is Florida’s First to Serve Cannabis Industry

Orlando-based First Green Bank is giving new meaning to its name by offering financial services to cannabis businesses. It appears to be the first financial institution in Florida to serve the state’s medical cannabis industry.

While most major US banks have steered clear of cannabis companies due to convoluted rules around working with the still-federally-illegal industry, First Green Bank has more than just a commercial connection to cannabis. Founder Ken La Roe credits medical marijuana with helping his wife after suffered a serious bicycle crash that left her with traumatic brain injuries and a seizure disorder, according to the Orlando Business Journal.

A friend suggested medical marijuana. The results were stunning. “In six months [she] was able to completely get off the seizure medication, and six months later it completely cured her seizures,” Ken La Roe told Fox 35 Orlando.

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La Roe told reporters he believes his bank is the first in Florida to offer banking services to cannabis businesses. While some states, such as Washington, have issued guidance on how local financial organizations can work with the cannabis industry, Florida currently lacks guidelines around how banks should go about doing business with dispensaries.

“There is no rule or law because it’s federally illegal,” La Roe said.

As La Roe explained to the Orlando Business Journal, First Green Bank won’t actually touch any of the cash from dispensaries.

“We don’t ever touch the cash or allow dispensaries to deposit it,” said. “We require them to use the armored car service we have vetted to go to the dispensaries.”

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The armored trucks pick up the cash directly from dispensaries, then transport it to the nearest Federal Reserve location, La Roe explained. First Green Bank also tracks inventory from seed to sale, as it’s the bank’s responsibility to make sure all the transactions are above board.

The process hasn’t been easy. According to news reports, it’s taken La Roe and First Green Bank around two years to implement this system. Today, First Green Bank serves six of the seven licensees in Florida.

So far, First Green Bank has processed nearly $30 million dollars in deposits from cannabis companies. That’s about 6% of the bank’s $479.38 million in total deposits from all customers during 2016.

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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.

Florida Awards 2 More Medical Marijuana Licenses

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s Department of Health has licensed two additional medical marijuana treatment centers.

Spokeswoman Mara Gambineri said Wednesday that Treadwell Nursey in Eustis and the Arcadia-based Sun Bulb Nurseries have received letters of approval. Plants of Ruskin and 3 Boys Farm, both in Ruskin, received their approvals last week.

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The five new licenses in the first round are going to applicants from 2015 who scored within a point of the top applicant or those who have been in legal or administrative challenges.

The Florida Legislature granted the approval of 10 new licenses by the end of the year as part of a bill implementing rules for the state’s medical marijuana constitutional amendment. One more is awaiting approval, and the remaining five by Oct. 3, giving the state 17 medical marijuana dispensaries.


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.

Florida Medical Board to Vote on Cannabis Rules for Doctors

Florida health regulators will weigh in on several key cannabis issues this week, with the state Board of Medicine scheduled to vote on rules for doctors who recommend medical marijuana.

A chief issue is how how to handle disciplinary actions around medical cannabis recommendations, local WUSF News reports. Under proposed rules, physicians who improperly recommend cannabis could be placed on probation or have their license revoked, and they could face fines of $1,000 to $5,000. Under the proposal, sanctions could take effect on a doctor’s first offense.

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The board has also been working on a consent form that doctors would present to patients throughout the state. It would warn cannabis patients against getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming cannabis—medical or not.

Florida Issues Two More Medical Marijuana Licenses

The state also announced on Wednesday that two more medical marijuana businesses received licenses from the state. The state Health Department issued licenses to Tornello Landscape—also known as “3 Boys Farm”—and Plants of Ruskin, both of which are located in Ruskin, FL.

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Another three licenses are set to be awarded, the department says. According to the Sun Sentinel, those licenses will go to Loop’s Nursery and Greenhouses in Jacksonville, Treadwell Nursery in Eustis, and Arcadia-based Sun Bulb Nurseries.

When Florida residents voted overwhelmingly in November to expand the state’s limited medical marijuana program, seven licenses were originally granted to cannabis operators. The state is handing out more because of a law approved by the state Legislature during special session last month. The law added several qualifying conditions for medical marijuana and expanded the number of  licenses in order to accommodate increased demand from the influx of an estimated 500,000 new patients.

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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.

John Morgan Sues to Overturn Florida’s Smokeable-Cannabis Ban

Florida attorney John Morgan is taking aim at the state Legislature’s recently imposed ban on smokeable forms of medical cannabis. On Thursday morning, Morgan flew to the state capital to file a lawsuit seeking to overturn the ban. The well-known personal injury lawyer was a chief backer of Amendment 2, which voters passed overwhelmingly in November to legalize medical cannabis.

“Just landed in Tally,” he tweeted at 9:08 a.m. local time. “The cavalry has arrived.”

The crux of the suit’s argument is this: Amendment 2 intended to prohibit smoking medical cannabis in public but allow smoking in private. When the Legislature recently overhauled the law, Morgan argues, it ignored that distinction and said “marijuana in a form for smoking” doesn’t qualify for medical use at all. Rules under the new state law allow only edibles, oils, and vapor products.

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Morgan contends that the change interfered with patients’ constitutional right to treatment.

“By redefining the constitutionally defined term ‘medical use’ to exclude smoking, the Legislature substitutes its medical judgment for that of ‘a licensed Florida physician’ and is in direct conflict with the specifically articulated Constitutional process,” the suit says. It asks the court to scrap the smokeables ban and prevent state officials from enforcing it.

“The people of Florida knew exactly what they were voting on,” Morgan told reporters at a Thursday press conference. “The fact that we’re here today is really unnecessary.”

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A number of states with medical marijuana laws, such as Minnesota and Pennsylvania, have included bans on cannabis flowers. Internationally, some countries, including Australia and most recently Greece, also prohibit smokeables.

The lawsuit questions the merit of those bans, noting that “inhalation is a medically effective and efficient way to deliver Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and other cannabinoids, to the bloodstream.” The suit also observes that a 2012 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that smoking cannabis did “not impair lung function, based on doses inhaled by the majority of users, as compared to non-smokers and tobacco smokers. In fact, marijuana smoking was shown to increase lung capacity.”

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Moreover, the suit says, “despite decades of marijuana being used for smoking in the United States, there have been no reported medical cases of lung cancer or emphysema attributed to marijuana.”

“Do we give a rat’s ass if a person (dying) from ALS smokes instead of vapes? I don’t.”

John Morgan

Critics of combustion, however, say that smoking is never the healthiest option. Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), a nonprofit advocacy group that opposes legalization, called the lawsuit “nothing more than a smokescreen designed to bypass the FDA and open the doors to a new for-profit, retail commercial marijuana industry in Florida.”

“There’s a reason why every single major medical association opposes the use of the raw, smoked form of marijuana as medicine: smoke is not a reliable delivery system, it’s impossible to measure dosage, and it contains hundreds of other chemical compounds that may do more harm than good,” SAM President Kevin Sabet said in a statement, according to the Miami Herald.

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Morgan pushed back on those arguments in comments to reporters Thursday. For patients with severe or terminal medical conditions, he said, any irritation caused by inhaling cannabis smoke would be minor relative to the relief it provides.

“Do we give a rat’s ass if a person [dying] from ALS smokes instead of vapes? I don’t,” Morgan said, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The lawsuit was filed in Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit Court, in Leon County, by Morgan as well as two litigators from the high-profile law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, Jon L. Mills and Karen C. Dyer. Currently no patients are named as plaintiffs in the suit, and the complaint as filed doesn’t explicitly say why the nonprofit organization People United for Medical Marijuana (PUMM), which Morgan chairs, has standing to bring the challenge.

Reached Thursday afternoon, attorney Mills said that “interest-type organizations” such as PUMM generally have a low standard to meet in establishing standing in requests for declaratory relief. But he added that the team may eventually involve individuals affected by the ban.

“We’ll likely add some patients and others who would be considered to have standing in this situation,” he told Leafly.

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Morgan, who has acknowledged that he’s considering a run for Florida governor in 2018, could eventually see a monetary benefit from nixing the smokeables ban. The lawyer told the Miami Herald in May that he’s considering investing as much as $100 million in the fledgling industry. He spent nearly $7 million to help pass Amendment 2.

“I have learned a great deal about the miracles of marijuana over the last five years,” he wrote in an email to the Herald. “What better person than me to be involved?”

A copy of the full complaint is included below:

Lawsuit: People United for Medical Marijuana v. Florida — Smokeable Cannabis by Ben Adlin on Scribd


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.

Lawsuit Challenges Florida’s Medical Marijuana Smoking Ban

Representatives of Florida for Care filed litigation Thursday challenging a statewide ban on medical cannabis smoking.

The suit was expected after lawmakers approved legislation (SB 8A) in June amending Amendment 2 — a voter initiated constitutional amendment permitting the use and distribution of medical cannabis. Seventy-one percent of voters approved the amendment in November.

Senate Bill 8A amends the definition of medical cannabis in a manner that prohibits “marijuana in a form for smoking” and that bars the personal possession of herbal cannabis flowers, except in instances where they are contained “in a sealed, tamper-proof receptacle for vaping.”

The Florida for Care suit argues that these changes inconsistent with the constitutional definition of marijuana, as passed by voters, and therefore should not be implemented.

The lawsuit argues, “Inhalation is a medically effective and efficient way to deliver tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and other cannabinoids, to the bloodstream. … By redefining the constitutionally defined term ‘medical use’ to exclude smoking, the Legislature substitutes its medical judgment for that of ‘a licensed Florida physician’ and is in direct conflict with the specifically articulated Constitutional process.”

Under the revised law, patients diagnosed with cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or multiple sclerosis — or who suffer from chronic pain related to any of these diseases — are eligible to receive a 70-day supply of cannabis-infused oils or edible products from a limited number of state-licensed dispensing facilities.

NORML has long argued against regulations that limit or prohibit patients’ access to whole-plant cannabis in lieu of cannabis-derived extracts or pills.

Cannabis inhalation is not associated with increased instances of lung cancer, COPD, or other tobacco-related adverse effects on pulmonary function.

Inhaled cannabis is fast acting and permits patients to accurately self-regulate their dose.

By contrast, non-herbal forms of cannabis possess delayed onset and their effects can often be far less predictable than those of herbal cannabis.

Many patients seeking rapid relief of symptoms do not benefit from pills, tinctures, or edibles, and such restrictions unnecessarily limit patients’ choices.

If the court invalidates SB 8A, the task of writing the rules for implementing the initiative — which must be operational by October — will fall to the Florida Department of Health.

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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.

Lawsuit Filed in Florida Challenging Medical Marijuana Smoking Ban

The Orlando attorney behind Florida’s 2016 successful Amendment 2, which passed with over 70 percent of the vote, has filed a lawsuit that would give patients the right to smoke marijuana in their homes.

John Morgan, who largely financed the medical marijuana campaign, filed the lawsuit in Leon County Circuit Court on Thursday, challenging a smoking ban included in the medical marijuana implementation measure passed by the state legislature earlier this year.

Amendment 2 prohibits patients from smoking medical marijuana in public, but the state legislature took that one step further and banned smoking marijuana altogether, including in the privacy of one’s own home.  At least five other states with comprehensive medical marijuana programs prohibit smoking cannabis.

Morgan says the amendment approved by voters implied that smoking marijuana by patients would be allowed.

“The amendment said smoking was not allowed in public places. I don’t think you have to be too much of a scholar to understand that that means it is allowed in private,” says Morgan. “I don’t know how much simpler it can be than that.”

According to the lawsuit, by passing a law banning smoking of marijuana by patients, the state legislature violated the amendment’s definition of “medical use” because lawmakers were making medical decisions on behalf of patients instead of their doctor doing so.

The lawsuit cites a 2012 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found marijuana smoking increased lung capacity and did not impair lung function.

Morgan says he is confident his lawsuit will be successful, but if the smoking ban is allowed to stand, he’ll up the ante.

“If they piss me off too much, I’ll address the smoking issue by having a constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana,” he said. “If I lose in court, I’ll go through all the marijuana people I know, it won’t take a lot of money, and we will move to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Then they’ll really be sorry they pushed me.”

Florida’s medical marijuana program is required to be operational by October.

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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.

Florida Lawmakers Pass Medical Marijuana Implementation Measure

TALLAHASSEE, FL — Members of the House and Senate have approved legislation to implement November’s successful Amendment 2 – a voter-initiated constitutional amendment regulating the use of medical cannabis.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott has pledged to sign the bill into law.

Lawmakers passed the measure on the final day of Florida’s special legislative session.

The measure prohibits patients from inhaling herbal preparations of cannabis, among other restrictions that proponents say violate the initiative’s original intent.

One the measure’s key backers, Orlando attorney John Morgan has said that he intends to sue the state over the proposed changes.

Under the law, patients diagnosed with cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or multiple sclerosis – or who suffer from chronic pain related to any of these diseases – are eligible to receive a 70-day supply of cannabis-infused oils or edible products from a limited number of state-licensed dispensing facilities.

Florida’s medical access law must be operational by October.

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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.

Florida Attorney Plans Lawsuit to Allow for Smoking of Medical Cannabis

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Legislature’s passage of a bill to enact the state’s constitutional amendment expanding the use of medical marijuana has ended one chapter in the battle over setting up regulations for the nascent industry. But pro-cannabis supporters say it doesn’t go far enough.

Once Gov. Rick Scott signs the bill, the principal backer of getting the amendment on last year’s ballot said he intends to sue over the law’s ban on smoking. Morgan has been steadfast in saying that the 71 percent who voted for the amendment expected smoking as one of the ways to consume cannabis.

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“I don’t know why they would object to anyone on their death bed wanting to use what they wanted to relieve pain and suffering,” John Morgan said in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Friday night. “If they were really concerned about smoking, why don’t they heavily tax cigarettes?”

Morgan said he plans to file the suit in Leon County and has enlisted constitutional law expert John Mills, the dean emeritus of the University of Florida’s Levin School of Law, to help in the coming legal battle.

Senate Democrats made a last-ditch attempt to get smoking added, citing that nearly 90 percent of people who use it smoke it, but it was voted down.

The legislation passed Friday allows patients who suffer chronic pain related to 10 qualifying conditions to receive either low-THC cannabis or full-strength medical marijuana.

The bill sponsors in both chambers have said there aren’t any scientific studies to show that smoking marijuana is more effective than other ways of ingesting the drug.

State Sen. Rob Bradley said during special session that if he spent his time responding to Morgan’s statements and tweets “then I’d be a congressman dealing with Trump.”

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Rep. Ray Rodrigues said that “If he wants to sue us, that it is his prerogative. I am confident it can be defended in front of a judge.”

Vaping is allowed in the bill, but Rodrigues and Bradley could repeatedly not answer what the difference is between smoking and vaping.

Morgan, nonetheless, said he was pleased to see the Legislature pass a bill, instead of the rules-making process being left solely up to the Department of Health. But he said that in the end, the bill came down to special interests and not patients.

“At the very end we saw what most of the Legislature was about which was profits and not patient care or access,” he said.

Morgan though did laud House Speaker Richard Corcoran for advocating for a special session and for negotiating to craft a deal. Morgan called Corcoran the real winner of the session and said he will hold a fund-raiser for Corcoran next week in Orlando.

Besides smoking, one or more of the seven currently licensed distributing organizations could challenge the caps of 25 retail dispensary locations per licensee. The caps are due to sunset in 2020 and more can be added per 100,000 patients added to the medical marijuana registry.

According to the Department of Health, the state registry now has 16,614 patients. A recent state revenue impact study projects that by 2022 there will be 472,000 medical cannabis patients and $542 million in sales.

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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.

Florida Governor: ‘I Absolutely Will Sign’ Medical Marijuana Bill

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he “absolutely” intends to sign the medical marijuana bill passed Friday by the state Legislature.

After the original legislation fell apart on the final day of the regular session last month, the chambers approved the bill during the final day of the special session. The House passed it 103-9 before the Senate voted 29-6.

The amendment, which was passed by 71 percent of voters in November, states that laws must be in place by July 3 and enacted by October. Scott should be able to sign the bill ahead of the first deadline.

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“They worked hard to get a bill that made sense. I think, in anything like this, there’s a process on how to make things better,” Scott said.

The legislation allows patients who suffer chronic pain related to 10 qualifying conditions to receive either low-THC cannabis or full-strength medical marijuana. THC is the compound that gives marijuana users a high.

“Both sides did compromise, and we both got a deal we could live with that is very good policy,” said Rep. Ray Rodrigues, who was the House’s point person on the bill.

However, supporters were not happy that the bill still bans smoking despite amendment supporters saying it is already written into the language. Sen. Jeff Clemens said that when 90 percent of patients access a product one way and the state does not allow that, then they are not instituting the will of the voters.

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Orlando attorney John Morgan, who played a key role in getting the amendment on the ballot and passed, said he intends to sue the state for not allowing smoking.

Ben Pollara, the executive director of Florida for Care, said he was pleased that the Legislature was able to come to an agreement and not leave rulemaking up to the Department of Health.

“The Legislature did their jobs today, providing good patient access to hundreds of thousands of sick and suffering Floridians,” he said. “This bill isn’t perfect, but it’s a major step forward for patient access.”

Both chambers reached agreement Wednesday that there would be a cap of 25 dispensaries per medical marijuana treatment center and that there wouldn’t be a sales tax. There will also be 10 new growers approved by October, adding to the seven already in existence.

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Two of the current growers had differing views about the caps. Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers said they are reviewing the bill before determining their next steps. Jake Bergmann, the founder and CEO of Surterra, said his company was fine with the structure.

“There is a way to grow as the patients grow (four new dispensaries per 100,000 patients). If you have something that grows as patient access grows, it is pretty smart,” he said.

According to the Department of Health, the state registry now has 16,614 patients. A recent state revenue impact study projects that by 2022 there will be 472,000 medical cannabis patients and $542 million in sales.

Sen. Rob Bradley, who has been the Senate’s main negotiator on all three bills since 2014, said he foresees medical marijuana being dealt with yearly in the Legislature the same way as alcohol.

The fact that the primary disagreements were over money and placing limits on competition was troubling to Sen. Jeff Brandes, who advocated for more competition.

“People are just deeply frustrated. I think that is why you are seeing the Senate capitulate,” Brandes said. “I think we could have done a lot better than what is here. We’re setting ourselves up for the next 30 years to be fighting little battles.”

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