Tag: Florida

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 Moves to Unite Conflicting Cannabis Laws

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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Four Advocates Arrested at US Capitol ‘Smoke-in’

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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Montana Medical Marijuana Regulations a Vote Away From Governor’s Desk

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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Is Smoking Cannabis Before or After Surgery Safe?

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.

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 Backs Off Plans for Cannabis Clubs

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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Florida Officials Clash With Voters Over Medical Cannabis Rules

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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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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Texas Has a Medical Cannabis ‘Prescription’ Problem

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

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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Canadian Critics Say Legalization Act Is Good, But Not Perfect

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.

State of the Leaf: Colorado Bans Co-ops, May Shelter Cannabis From Feds

US News

Colorado

Given the state’s early embrace of legalization, it makes sense that Colorado would eventually export its industry know-how to the rest of the nation. By offering financing and “mini-MBA” mentoring to cannabis startups, a Boulder firm called Canopy advertises the chance for ganjapreneurs learn from Colorado’s triumphs and miscues.

Meanwhile, a bill to prohibit cannabis co-ops in the state is on Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk, awaiting his likely signature. This sucks. Co-ops are designed so small-scale cannabis growers can share operating costs for things like utilities and fertilizer. Regulators, however, worry co-ops make it too easy to divert legally grown cannabis to illegal or out-of-state markets.

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Colorado’s Republican-controlled House also passed a bill to allow cannabis growers and retailers to reclassify adult-use products as medical marijuana in the event of a federal crackdown. The bill is seen as the boldest bid yet by a legal-cannabis state to avoid federal intervention. It now heads to the Democrat-led House.

Florida

US Reps. Darren Soto (D-FL) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) have introduced a congressional bill, House Resolution 2020, which would reschedule cannabis under the federal Controlled Substances Act, moving the plant from Schedule I to Schedule III.

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While Soto and Gaetz occupy opposite wings of the political spectrum, they share one telling trait: youth. Gaetz is 34 and Soto just turned 40, suggesting the shift toward reform is more generational than political.

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers in Tallahassee are “bungling” the state’s medical cannabis program, critics say. Newspaper editorial boards have decried the Legislature’s inability to enact the will of 71% of Florida voters who legalized medical cannabis last November.

How bad is it?

“It’s been a train wreck so far,” writes the Miami News Times.

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Cannabis Legalization Bills Make Splash in Congress

Illinois 

The pro-legalization advocacy group Coalition for a Safer Illinios organization made its debut amid a flurry of editorial board praise for legalization.

The new coalition brings together clergy, unions, civil rights organizations, and law enforcement in support of cannabis legalization bills sponsored by state Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago).

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, both the Senate bill, SB 316, and House bill, HB 2353, will get their first hearing in Chicago next week.

Indiana

Lawmakers advanced a pair of bills to legalize cannabidiol (CBD) oil as a medicine of last resort for individuals with seizure disorders.

The Senate advanced its bill on a 35–13, while the House vote was unanimous in support of the reform. But don’t let the blowout score fool you; the bill is narrow, covering only patients with intractable seizure disorders.

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“I don’t like it and I think it’s a mess,” state Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) said during the Senate debate, adding, “I am going to vote yes anyway because it’s the only mess around.”

Polls suggest 3 in 4 Hoosiers support medical marijuana legalization.

If the bill succeeds, all but two US states will have legalized some form of medical cannabis.

“Only Idaho and Kansas will lack either a CBD- or a medical cannabis law,” MPP’s Maggie Ellinger-Locke told Leafly, “but these [Indiana] bills are incredibly limited. And it will be interesting to see how they are reconciled in conference committee.”

Maine

Selling cannabis remains a crime in Maine despite a successful legalization referendum last November. But as Maine regulators work to get the state’s adult cannabis program up and running, a legal and economic gray area is emerging. Gifting cannabis is permitted in the state, creating a kind of commercial loophole that incentivizes entrepreneurs to creatively push the current legal boundaries to meet demand.

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House OKs Maryland Bill to Boost Minority Cannabis Businesses

Maryland

As the clock wound down on this year’s legislative session, Maryland lawmakers failed to add additional grow licenses to the state’s medical cannabis program.

“The House had sought to increase the licenses by five, to boost minority-owned businesses after a disparity study,” the Associated Press reported. “The Senate had pushed for seven more licenses, to help settle lawsuits filed by two companies that were bumped out of the top 15 chosen by a state commission to be finalists.”

Members of the Black Legislative Caucus of Maryland are calling for a special session after the bill, designed to create diversity ownership in the state’s developing medical marijuana industry, failed to pass in the session’s closing minutes.

Despite the missed deadline, Maryland is making progress on other fronts. Now four years after the law passed, Maryland patients and caregivers can finally register for medical marijuana ID cards.

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“We have taken the next step in making Maryland’s long-awaited medical cannabis program a reality” Candace Junkin, longtime advocate from southern Maryland, told Leafly. “Dispensaries are expected to open this summer, so it’s important to get a doctor’s recommendation and register with the state now.”

Missouri

In a thrilling result out of the nation’s heartland, Kansas City voters overwhelmingly chose to relax cannabis penalties in Missouri’s largest city. Small amounts of cannabis will now fetch a $25 fine. No jail time. Roughly 75% of voters chose reform, an absolute blowout.

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NORML Executive Director Erik X. Altieri told Leafly that Tuesday’s astonishing win came “thanks to the efforts of concerned citizens actively engaging in the democratic process and pushing to change an unjust law.”

“Kansas City will no longer arrest otherwise law abiding citizens for the simple possession of marijuana,” he added, “and in the process the city will free up law enforcement resources to better focus on combatting violent crime.”

Nevada

Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, is home to nearly 80% of Nevada’s 2.7 million residents. With the county now back on track to allow dispensaries to open by July 1, pretty soon you can add adult-use cannabis to your Las Vegas adventure—sort of. Smoking at casinos (or anywhere with gambling) will initially be prohibited.

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Vermont

Top Senate lawmakers in Vermont say passing a marijuana legalization bill is becoming exceedingly unlikely, the Associated Press reports. The Vermont House is still debating its version of a legalization bill, which would legalize personal cannabis use, possession, and cultivation. Just over three weeks remain in the legislative session, and Senate lawmakers expected the bill to get to them weeks ago.

Senate leaders also say the House bill would continue to allow for a black market, and they favor a law that would tax and regulate sales of the plant. A 2016 Senate measure that proposed a legal marijuana market died in the House last year.

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Cannabis Legalization in Vermont is Dead

Vermont’s constitution disallows referendums, thwarting another avenue to legalize marijuana as other states have done.

Virginia

Virginia will soon begin studying the merits of cannabis decriminalization. Ten years ago, this would have been a big deal, especially down south. But in 2017, merely setting up a study feels a bit limp.

“One step at a time. We’ll chalk this one up for a win,” Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted after the news broke.

Maybe he’s right. A baby step forward is still progress. And this latest push in Richmond is a bipartisan one.

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According to many on the front lines of reform efforts, the small step was essential for the process to advance.

“The Virginia State Crime Commission Decriminalization Study is an important procedural step in Virginia politics,” VA NORML’s Daniel Rouleau told Leafly.  “The study can be used to provide political cover for lawmakers unwilling to personally endorse marijuana reform, and provide pro-reform politicians the facts needed to persuade unconvinced colleagues of the need for decriminalization.

“Support for marijuana-related criminal justice reform is building in the General Assembly,” Rouleau continued, “but official findings from this study will likely push the legislature to adopt decriminalization. This policy change would not only help adult who personally use marijuana, but Virginia patients seeking effective medical marijuana treatments.”

West Virginia

A bill to legalize medical cannabis is sitting on Democratic Gov. Jim Justice’s desk, and he’s widely expected to sign it.

While the bill boasts a generous list of qualifying conditions, it does not include a home-grow provision. Nor are smokable flowers permitted. Likewise, West Virginia will have no reciprocal arrangement with other medical marijuana states.

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International News

Canada

Legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis in Canada is set to land this week, giving shape to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pledge to legalize the plant nationally. In an expedited schedule, Canada’s Liberal government has vowed to legalize cannabis “on or before July 1, 2018.”

Ireland  

Ireland wants to generate revenue without raising taxes, and some think legal cannabis could help. It’s promising news in a nation still clawing its way back from a devastating economic recession.

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Some, of course are still resistant to change—including one especially outspoken politician, Kate O’Connell from the ruling Fine Gael party. O’Connell, a pharmacist by trade, calls efforts to reform Ireland’s marijuana laws a “madness … verging on the immoral.”

Uruguay

The South American country of Uruguay made news when it legalized cannabis in December 2013—the first country ever to fully legalize the plant. After a drawn-out regulatory process, sales are finally set to begin in July. But not for tourists. This program is for Uruguayan citizens only—for now, at least.


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: Texas Decriminalization Measure Moves Ahead, MMJ Stalls in SC

Florida

There’s a lot going on in Tallahassee as Sunshine State legislators forge the regulatory framework for Florida’s medical marijuana program.

Senators appear poised to advance legislation (SB 406) to welcome five new cannabis dispensaries to Florida by October. At least one would be minority-owned. Friday’s measure also requires four additional dispensaries within “six months after each instance of the registration of 75,000 qualifying patients with the compassionate use registry.”

That 75,000 figure is dramatically less than the previous threshold of 250,000.

The House is currently considering a slightly stricter measure.

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House OKs Maryland Bill to Boost Minority Cannabis Businesses

Maryland

Add Maryland to the growing list of states considering using cannabis as a tool to combat opioid addition. An amendment to add “opiate use disorder” to the list of qualifying conditions was introduced last week in Annapolis. It didn’t last long, though. By Monday, that measure had been stripped from the bill.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Del. Cheryl Glenn (D-Baltimore), said that insisting on the opioid bit would have risked the whole package.

“Like they say, the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze,” she told local media.

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“Reefer madness propaganda unfortunately lingers on,” MPP’s Kate Bell told Leafly. “It’s important to keep in mind that, unlike potentially deadly opiates, there are no recorded deaths due to overdose on cannabis.”

Massachusetts

Bay State lawmakers are poised to rework the state’s adult-use cannabis regulations. For starters, lawmakers would strip the state treasurer of regulatory authority in favor of an “independent oversight commission” in an effort to protect adult-use cannabis from the whims of a solitary elected official.

Reaction from advocates was mixed. Proponents argue the change is necessary to curb any undue influence the industry might have over regulators. Others fretted that switching gears now would cause delays.

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Meanwhile, medical cannabis delivery options became available to patients in Massachusetts this week. But the news comes with a caveat: Delivery costs extra, putting this new service out of reach for many who need it most, such as low-income, homebound patients.

“Massachusetts finally having a dispensary offering a delivery service to the entire state is absolutely a step in the right direction,” Bay State advocate Ellen Brown told Leafly. “But Massachusetts still has a very long way to go to provide all of our patients with safe and affordable access. Only one dispensary is offering a delivery service to the entire state, and it is nowhere near enough to fully take care of all the 34,392 active patients that we have.”

Minnesota

Could the sponsor of Minnesota’s adult-use cannabis referendum become the state’s next governor? Democratic Rep. Tina Liebling, a 12-year House veteran, is one of five Democrats seeking to replace Minnesota’s term-limited Gov. Mark Dayton, whose term ends in January 2019.

“The war on drugs has failed—costing Minnesota taxpayers too much and destroying too many lives,” Liebling’s campaign website says. “It’s time to remove the prohibition on personal use of cannabis. Minnesotans should have the opportunity to decide whether to legalize personal use of cannabis under a careful system of regulation and taxation. Law enforcement should have a voice on drug policy, but never a veto.”

Whether she wins or not, Liebling’s presence in this race ensures that cannabis reform will figure prominently in the campaign debate.

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North Dakota

In November, North Dakota voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure legalizing medical cannabis. Lawmakers have modified their original (awful) regulations but cannabis reformers are (still) unimpressed. According to local media “A big sticking point is restrictions on smoking marijuana as medicine.”

Advocates are threatening another citizen referendum if lawmakers don’t get their act together.

Ohio

Meanwhile, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is unconvinced that Ohio’s newly passed medical marijuana law would put a dent in his state’s appetite for opioids like heroin or Oxycontin.

“I know it’s not recreational marijuana, not recreational use, but I don’t see a role for it in this at all,” Kasich said.” That’s despite evidence showing opioid use drops 25% on average in states with medical cannabis programs.

Kasich signed medical marijuana legislation last June, making Ohio the 25th state to permit medical cannabis.

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South Carolina

The chances you’ll see medical cannabis made legal in South Carolina this legislative session? Slim to none. While both parties deserve blame for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the chief antagonist was Republican House Speaker Jay Lucas, whose personal lobbying efforts reportedly kept the bill bottled up in committee.

Thing were only slightly better in the upper house.

“The Senate hearing was a bit frustrating,” MPP’s Becky Dansky told Leafly. “The other side was allowed several more witnesses whose testimony was based on misinformation and at time flat out lies. They used dated quotes from medical organizations that have since changed their positions and other unscrupulous tactics.”

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Texas

A bill to decriminalize cannabis in the Lone Star State cleared an early hurdle in the Texas legislature on Monday. Still a long way to go, but early GOP support is a good sign.

Meanwhile in El Paso, democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke has made ending the war on drugs a central theme in his longshot bid to defeat US Sen. Ted Cruz, the Republican incumbent.

Coincidently, both the state of Texas and the National Football League have notoriously strict marijuana policies which disproportionately affect black people.

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Enter Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, a bona fide Texas icon. With three Super Bowl titles to his credit, Jones usually gets what he wants. That’s why mere reports he suggested that the NFL revisit its marijuana policy are such a big deal. Jones’ influence extends well beyond the NFL. His ability to bend Texas policymakers to his will is the stuff of legend.

“Just as changes in public policy lend to cultural changes, shifts in our culture can trigger shifts in public policy,” Marijuana Policy Project’s Mason Tvert told Leafly. “Hopefully this report about Jerry Johnson’s position on the NFL’s needlessly punitive marijuana policy will lead to some Cowboy fans in the Legislature rethinking their positions on Texas’s needlessly punitive marijuana laws.”

West Virginia

With editorial boards urging “a compassionate vote,” the West Virginia House of Delegates finally passed a long-languishing medical cannabis bill. A similar bill previously sailed through the Senate.

Medical cannabis legislation had flat-lined several times in Charleston this year, mostly on account of resistance from House Speaker Tim Armstead. In the end, legislators were unable to withstand the grassroots backlash to all that legislative foot-dragging.

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“My phone has been blowing up and I know that everybody else’s phones have been blowing up,” Del. Mike Caputo (D-Marion) told local media.

The legislation includes a fairly robust list of qualifying health conditions. Unsurprisingly, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and Lou Gehrig’s disease were included alongside Parkinson’s disease and seizure disorders. Anemia and PTSD were also included, among others.

The current bill does not contain a home-grow provision. Medical cannabis would be permitted by pill, oil, tincture, liquid, or dermal patch—but no smokable flower.

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International News

Canada

Ending prohibition would diminish alcohol sales in Canada, according to a recent study by the accounting firm Deloitte.

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No, Legalizing Cannabis Doesn’t Hurt Beer Sales

Israel

Israel pioneered medical cannabis research and that’s led to a “green rush.” How green? Try $100 million green—with boundless research opportunities to boot. And that’s just for starters.

Read all about it booming here.


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: Peruvian President Wants to Legalize MMJ

U.S. News Updates

National

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) has introduced a resolution that would acknowledge the devastating effects the war on drugs has had on the black community and determine which private corporations benefited from the nation’s mass incarceration crisis. House Resolution 1055 is aimed at remedying some of the those historical harms. Black Americans are four times as likely to be arrested for cannabis-related crimes, despite offense rates equal to those among whites. If passed, the law would create a the Commission to Study Family Reconstruction Proposals for African-Americans Unjustly Impacted by the War on Drugs, members of which would be appointed by the president and appropriated $10 million to conduct the study over the course of a year. Rush introduced a similar proposal during the last legislative session, but the measure fell short.

Arkansas

Two bills passed the House with little opposition, while a third measure was soundly rejected by the Senate. House Bill 1392, which would ban edibles, and House Bill 1400, which would prohibit the smoking of marijuana, both passed through committee. The Senate rejected SB 254, which would have amended the number of plants a dispensary is allowed to grow.

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California

San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy asked the city attorney to draft legislation that would create an independent department of marijuana to regulate the cultivation, distribution, and sale of cannabis in the city. The city is anticipating challenges in overseeing sales and distribution when legalization comes into effect in January 2018. The tentatively named Department of Cannabis would issue permits to grow, distribute, and sell marijuana in the city, and would play a role in enforcing compliance with state law.

Colorado

The Colorado Senate approved a bill that directs the Colorado Department of Agriculture to study the feasibility of using hemp as livestock feed. Senate Bill 17-109 would create a group to study the possibility of using hemp products in animal feed, with a report due by December 31, 2017. This measure is similar to a bill passed in Washington in 2015 to study whether hemp products should be allowed in commercial animal feed.

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Florida

A Broward County ordinance dealing with zoning, security, and other measures in light of the passage of Amendment 2 will get a public hearing on March 14. However, the proposed ordinance may become moot due to legislation being considered in the state Senate that would keep the number of cannabis cultivators limited to the seven producers already licensed to grow low-THC cannabis. Activists and potential patients have resisted these changes, with nearly 1,300 residents showing up to voice their opinions are public hearings held recently across the state.

Indiana

The Indiana Senate voted to approve a measure that would legalize the use of CBD oil for the treatment of children with epilepsy. Senate Bill 15 creates a state registry for physicians, nurses, caregivers, and patients to treat intractable epilepsy and would allow pharmacies to dispense it. The measure cleared the state Senate and has been sent to the House for consideration. Gov. Eric Holcomb has been reluctant to consider outright legalization, but has said he is open to the idea of medical cannabis.

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New Mexico

A bill to expand the state’s medical marijuana program was cleared by the state Senate in a 29–11 vote. Introduced by Sen. Cisco McSorley, who also helped pass the state’s initial medical marijuana bill in 2007, Senate Bill 177 would allow producers to increase the number of plants they can grow when the number of patients in the program increases. It would also add 14 new qualifying medical marijuana conditions to the program, including substance abuse disorder.

New York

The New York State Assembly voted in support of A. 2142, a bill that would seal the criminal records of those who have been arrested and convicted for simple possession of cannabis in public. This is in line with the changes made by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio last year to no longer arrest those who possess cannabis in public. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has also hinted that he may clarify the state’s marijuana decriminalization law to help lower arrest rates, which initially decreased with de Blasio’s policy change, but lately have been on the rise.

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International News Updates

Guam

A poll conducted by the advanced placement students at Simon Sanchez High School found that 60 percent of Guam’s adults oppose legalizing marijuana for adult use. The student polled 1,048 adults over the age of 21, of whom 632 had serious objections to legalizing cannabis. The Guam Gov. Eddie Balza Calvo recently introduced Bill 8-34 to legalize and tax cannabis, with revenue going towards supporting the medical marijuana program and other important government services, such as public hospitals.

Peru

Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is planning to introduce legislation to legalize the medical use of cannabis for the treatment of serious and terminal illnesses. The president was inspired to introduce the legislation after police raided the home of a family in Lima where parents were cultivating cannabis in order to treat children suffering from epilepsy and other illnesses. The cultivation site comprised more than 80 members whose sick children have been quietly benefiting from the illicit use of cannabis.


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 Officials Clash With Voters Over Medical Cannabis Rules

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Three months after Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment on medical marijuana, state health officials and prospective patients are at odds over proposed rules that would spell out who could get cannabis.

State officials have recommended restrictions on what type of patients can qualify for medical marijuana, and where they can obtain it. Their suggestions, however, have prompted a wave of opposition across the state, with nearly 1,300 residents attending what are normally low-key bureaucratic hearings to press for less restricted access to marijuana.

“Patients, doctors, caregivers and activists all had a unified message which is rare,” said Ben Pollara, who is the campaign manager for United for Care. “They want impediments removed and a free market place.”

Amendment 2, which was approved by 71 percent of voters last November, was enacted on Jan. 3. It allows higher-strength marijuana to be used for a wider list of medical ailments than what was currently allowed in state law. The rules have become a flashpoint because the amendment requires the state to adopt them by July 3 and have them in place by September.

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The state held hearings in several locations and Thursday’s two hours of public testimony in Tallahassee mirrored what happened earlier this week in Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Orlando. Most who spoke statewide are also concerned about high prices and limited availability so far of cannabis products. Only five of the seven organizations approved to dispense cannabis are up and running.

Activists want a requirement eliminated that a patient must be under a prescribing physician’s care for at least 90 days. They also believe it should be up to doctors to deem when medical cannabis is necessary and not be confined by the conditions enumerated in the amendment or by the Board of Medicine.

Doug Bench, a former judge who testified in Tallahassee, said that people often delay seeing a doctor until they urgently need treatment.

“When you are ill you, you put it off. You don’t want to hear what the doctor says and by the time you finally go you need it now,” Bench said.

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The current law — which was approved by the state legislature in 2014 — allows for non-smoked, low-THC cannabis for patients with cancer or ailments that cause chronic seizures or severe spasms. It was expanded last March to allow patients with terminal conditions to gain access to higher strength cannabis.

The department will review all comments it has received and agency officials will then publish another proposed rule. How quickly that rule gets published depends on subsequent public comments or any legal challenges.

The Florida Legislature will also get a chance to weigh in. There are two bills in the Senate with the House of Representatives expected to release its version before session opens on March 7.


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.

Where Are the Medical Marijuana Doctors in Florida? We Mapped Them.

Medical marijuana in Florida is in a state of flux. The state’s voters overwhelmingly approved–by more than 70 percent–Amendment 2, the medical marijuana measure, in November 2016. But it will be many months before the full system of patient registration, growing licenses, and dispensaries is in place.

Here’s what’s legal as of early 2017.

The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 is still the law of the land. That measure allowed a severely limited number of patients to obtain and use high-CBD, low-THC cannabis. In 2015, Florida added a few conditions (very few–you basically have to be dying in the next 12 months) under which patients can receive higher-THC cannabis. Originally the Department of Health set up a system in which five growers would be licensed to grow, process, and sell to registered Florida patients. But the Department screwed up its judging of the grow-and-dispense license applications, and to fix the error the agency decided to issue two more licenses. So there are now seven licensed medical cannabis companies in Florida.

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Amendment 2 became effective on Jan. 3, 2017, but it currently offers vague and limited protections under the law. Right now, there’s no way to legally purchase higher-THC medical cannabis in Florida. Patients aren’t legally “qualified” until they receive a written recommendation from a physician, and possesses a valid patient ID card issued by the state. The state hasn’t started issuing those cards yet, so even if you have a physician’s recommendation, you are still operating in a legal gray area.

What is available right now? MMJ-qualified physicians and seven low-THC dispensary companies.

The Florida Department of Health requires physicians who recommend medical marijuana to complete an eight-hour training course before writing those recommendations. The DoH keeps a weekly-updated list of those physicians here, and we’ve turned that data into a handy map, below. The qualified physicians are the orange, smaller dots, the low-THC dispensaries are noted in teal, at a bigger size.

Click on the links below for more information about the 7 dispensaries listed:
Surterra Wellness
Trulieve – Clearwater
Modern Health Concepts
Knox Medical
CHT Medical
Trulieve – Tallahassee
Trulieve – Tampa 


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 Already Undermining Amendment 2, Patient Advocates Say

More than 70 percent of Florida voters passed Amendment 2, the state’s medical marijuana constitutional amendment, last November. But now lawmakers and Florida Department of Health officials are trying to warp the law even before they implement it.

The language in Amendment 2 was clear. It empowered the Department of Health to register and regulate dispensaries, and left it up to the state’s physicians to determine when a patient’s condition qualified for medical cannabis.

Rather than creating the infrastructure for a new medical marijuana program, though, the Department of Health wants to fold an expanded MMJ program into the structure currently in place for the state’s limited, low-THC, high-CBD program created in 2014. The department is also seeking to give the Florida Board of Medicine—not individual doctors—the authority to approve or deny qualifying medical conditions.

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The changes are expected to be the subject of heavy debate at five public hearings on the new law, set to be hosted next week by the Department of Health (details below).

Ben Pollara, the Amendment 2 campaign director who also helped write the amendment, said the changes violate both the spirit and letter of the law. “It is clearly defined and requires no further definition,” he said earlier this week. “It is patently up to the physicians, and that’s what we intended when we wrote it.”

There are only seven cultivators currently licensed to produce low-CBD, high-THC cannabis in the state. Under the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, passed in 2014, very few patients could qualify for the program and cultivators were required to pay $5 million to be considered as growers.

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The Health Department’s move is receiving some pushback in Tallahassee from state legislators, some of whom want to see Amendment 2 implemented as written.

Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg), a backer of Amendment 2, recently introduced Senate Bill 614, which would force state regulators to implement Amendment 2 as written. In an official statement, Brandes emphasized the need to recognize the will of the voters. “The overwhelming support of Amendment 2 was a strong mandate,” he said. “Floridians demand fundamental change to the way we regulate medical marijuana.”

“The state today artificially limits the number of marijuana providers, promoting regional monopolies and standing in the way of the physician-patient relationship,” Brandes added. “This legislation removes those barriers and will provide expanded access to Floridians who could benefit from the use of these products.”

SB 614 also eliminates the existing cap on medical marijuana treatment centers and establishes four new licenses for the program: cultivation, processing, transportation, and retail. The system does not require vertical integration, and applicants are allowed to possess multiple license types.

Ben Pollara applauded the bill.

“Sen. Brandes’s bill does an excellent job of establishing a comprehensive, tightly regulated medical marijuana system in Florida,” he said. “The two most essential pieces of implementation are maintaining the primacy of the doctor–patient relationship, and expanding the marketplace to serve patient access.”

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The Florida Department of Health will host five hearings around the state next week to hear concerns from the public on the medical marijuana issue. If you want to make your voice heard, please fill out a public comment form or attend one of the following hearings:

  • Monday, February 6, 2017 – 2-4 p.m. in Jacksonville
  • Duval County Health Department
  • 900 University Blvd. N.
  • Jacksonville, FL 32211
  • Tuesday, February 7, 2017 – 10 a.m.-12 p.m. in Fort Lauderdale
  • Broward County Health Department
  • 780 SW 24th St.
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315
  • Wednesday, February 8, 2017 – 9-11 a.m. in Tampa
  • Florida Department of Health, Tampa Branch Laboratory
  • 3602 Spectrum Blvd.
  • Tampa, FL 33612
  • Wednesday, February 8, 2017 – 6-8 p.m. in Orlando
  • Orange County Health Department
  • 6102 Lake Ellenor Drive
  • Orlando, FL 32809
  • Thursday, February 9, 2017 – 4-6 p.m. in Tallahassee
  • Betty Easley Conference Center
  • 4075 Esplanade Way, Room 148
  • Tallahassee, FL 32399-0850

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 Health Regulators’ Proposed Medical Marijuana Rules Undercut Voter-Approved Amendment

Florida Health Regulators’ Proposed Medical Marijuana Rules Undercut Voter-Approved Amendment | NORML

TALLAHASSEE, FL — Proposed rules by the Florida Department of Health to regulate the dispensing of medical cannabis are contrary to the intent of Amendment 2, the ballot initiative approved by 71 percent of voters on Election Day. Specifically, the draft rules would not permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to patients with chronic pain – […]

Florida Health Regulators’ Proposed Medical Marijuana Rules Undercut Voter-Approved Amendment | The Daily Chronic


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.

What’s Behind All the Delays in Newly Legal States?

Five of the eight states that voted to legalize cannabis for medical or adult use in the 2016 election are now facing months of new delays. Most of the slowdowns have been initiated by legislators and state officials, who claim it will take them more time to set up a regulatory system. But a number of legalization advocates have pushed back, claiming in a few cases that the delays are a thinly veiled attempt to sabotage, or at least slow-walk, the programs.

Jim Borghesani, Communications Director for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, expressed his dismay at the quick decision to delay Massachusetts’ legalization law without input from the public. “We are very disappointed that the Legislature has decided to alter Question 4 in an informal session with very little notice regarding proposed changes.”

Ben Pollara, who led Florida’s campaign United for Care in both the 2014 and 2016 elections, railed against the rules proposed by Florida’s Department of Health, which would not allow more distributing organizations. “If DOH’s rule is implemented as written, it will be in clear violation of Florida law,” Pollara explained. “Why DOH would choose to engage in a policymaking exercise which ignores both the law and the role of the legislature in implementing the law is a mystery.”

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At issue, in part, is a question with no definitive answer: How long should it reasonably take for a state to get its regulatory system up and running?

Colorado and Washington state both passed legalization laws in November 2012. Colorado was the first to open the door to retail cannabis sales on January 1, 2014, about 14 months after passing Amendment 64. But Colorado already had a well-regulated medical cannabis system in place. Washington state, which did not, took 20 months between ballot passage and retail opening.

Those first adult-use legalization measures didn’t explicitly outline a time frame during which legalization would be implemented. Those states also had relatively friendly governors, who were willing to engage in a good-faith effort to implement the will of the voters. Other states, like Massachusetts and Arkansas, expected some sort of pushback from governors strongly against legalization. So many state included specific timelines in their ballot measures last fall.

The general election of 2016 was largely a victory for cannabis advocates, with eight states passing medical or retail cannabis laws, but, if officials don’t stick to the timeline, these states may fall the way of Alaska – a state that passed a legalization law in 2014 but took two years to open the doors of the first legal cannabis shop, and face delays due to lack of product (and ultimately, lack of preparation).

Here’s how the delays are shaking out in each of the eight new states.

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Arkansas

The Arkansas House voted to delay the launch of the state’s newly approved medical marijuana program from March 2017 until May, in order to finalize the rules. The House also voted to push the state’s deadline to begin accepting dispensary applications from June 1, 2017, to July 1. David Couch, who wrote Issue 6, the measure for medical marijuana, agreed that the delay was acceptable, and didn’t see the delay as an effort to sabotage the program.

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California

California seems to be on track, no delays so far.

Florida

Amendment 2 took effect this month, but the program is already in hot water. Under proposed rules issued by the Department of Health, the currently established (and stringently maintained) monopoly on cannabis cultivation would be restricted to those already operating in the CBD-only market. On top of this, the proposed rules would only allow the Florida Board of Medicine to determine which patients qualify for medical marijuana, rather than leaving it up to the patient’s individual physician. Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United For Care, criticized the rules, stating that they are “in clear violation of Florida law.” The Florida Department of Health will be holding public hearings on the new rules in five cities between Feb. 6 and Feb. 9.

Maine

It’s been tough sledding in Maine ever since election day. A recount found that Question 1 was approved by a hair, but state lawmakers are already fighting to delay the implementation of a legal market. Senate President Mike Thibodeu (R-Winterport) and Rep. Louis Luchini (D-Ellsworth) introduced Legislative Document 88, which would add an additional three months to the already-established nine-month timeline for implementation. The one upside so far is that Governor Paul LePage, who has been vehemently opposed to cannabis legalization, did sign off on the bill, confirming that legalization is coming to Maine – it’s just a matter of when.

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Massachusetts

Massachusetts advocates are in an uproar after a clandestine bill was passed through the House and Senate to delay the opening of retail cannabis stores by six months. Many state officials, including the governor, were actively opposed to Question 4. Many lawmakers pushed back against legalization even after the measure passed. The bill to delay implementation was approved by a nearly empty legislative session, and it took the only two senators on hand less than a minute to pass the substitute amendment. The timeline for Massachusetts was already well-padded, and with the newly passed delay, retail marijuana shops will not be able to legally open until July 2018 at the earliest, pushed back from January 2018.

Montana

Montana officially passed Initiative 182 to repeal restrictions on the state’s medical marijuana, but it’s taking longer than expected before the changes will be implemented. Due to a clerical error in the initiative text, the measure will not be going into effect until June 30, 2017, and legislators are taking advantage of the extra time to make revisions to the Montana Medical Marijuana Act. Some of the changes that regulators are looking at are product testing procedures, inspections, and revised licensing. In the meantime, medical marijuana patients and providers are anxious to see the program come back into action as soon as possible. Dispensary doors have been closed and thousands of patients have been without access to medicine since last August when the law upheld by Montana’s Supreme Court became effective.

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North Dakota

A new bill from North Dakota lawmakers would suspend the implementation of the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act. Senate Bill 2154 would halt the issuing of applications for medical marijuana dispensaries, as well as the eventual issues of licenses. The suspension would last through July 31, 2017, or until the state Legislature passes a more thorough medical marijuana regulations bill this session, whichever happens first. Sen. Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) is the primary sponsor of the bill and insists that the delay is necessary to ensure a solid foundation for the program, but many would-be patients are frustrated and petitioning the Human Services Committee to implement the program sooner rather than later.

Nevada

No delays so far in Nevada.


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.