Tag: Hawaii

Hawaii Says It’s 1st State to Go Cashless for Cannabis Sales

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii said Tuesday that it will be the first state to require marijuana sales to be handled without cash, saying it wanted to avoid robberies and other crimes targeting dispensaries.

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii won’t be allowed to accept cash beginning Oct. 1 and will require people to use a debit payment app instead. The app is already an option for marijuana transactions in six states, including California and Colorado.

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Many marijuana businesses use cash because banks fear cannabis money could expose them to legal trouble from the U.S. government, which regulates banking and still bans marijuana.

The debit app called CanPay uses a Colorado-based credit union to facilitate transactions. Some mainland credit unions have opened accounts for cannabis businesses.

Hawaii was among the first states to legalize medical marijuana in 2000 but the state didn’t grant licenses to any dispensaries until last year. Maui Grown Therapies became the first to open last month after the state Department of Health gave it approval to begin sales.

During the Obama administration, the Justice Department issued guidelines to help banks avoid federal prosecution when dealing with cannabis businesses in states where the drug is legal.

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But most banks don’t see those rules as a shield against charges that could include aiding drug trafficking. And they say the rules are difficult to follow, placing the burden on banks to determine if a cannabis business is operating within the law.

There is also uncertainty over how the Trump administration will react. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said he wants to crack down on the legal marijuana industry.

Credit card companies like Visa and Mastercard say they won’t allow their cards to be used to buy cannabis or marijuana-related products.

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Patients who don’t own smartphones will have to create CanPay accounts with an email address and personal identification number. Patients will be able buy cannabis by logging on to their accounts with computer tablets at the 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.

Hawaii Braces for Surge in Medical Cannabis Patients

HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii Department of Health is preparing for an upswing of patients signing up for the state’s medical cannabis registry, as two medical marijuana dispensaries in the state are officially open for business.

More than 18,000 patients have joined the state’s medical cannabis registry.

About 38 percent of the patients reside on the Big Island, while 29 percent live on Oahu, Hawaii News Now reported.

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“We do see the beginning of a possible trend that shows more growth happening on Oahu,” said Scottina Ruis, coordinator for the state’s medical cannabis registry program.

The state has managed to bring the turnaround time for applicants down to three to five business days.

“At the high end, when we got the program initially, the process was an entirely paper application process, so a lot different functions for staff,” Ruis said. “I think high end of turnaround time was six to eight weeks.”

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There are four full-time employees and three more will be added by the end of the year.

“We’ve only got so many live bodies and we’re doing our best to keep up with the demand and hopefully, we can stay ahead of that,” Ruis 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.

Maui’s Newly Opened Medical Marijuana Dispensary to Close Temporarily

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — Less than a week after it opened, Maui’s first state-licensed medical marijuana dispensary is reworking its opening hours as demand for its product outstrips supply because of a backlog.

Maui Grown Therapies says it had expected its most recent batch of flowers to clear state lab certification by Saturday, but that didn’t happen, The Maui News reported. Company officials said it sold out its first batch of certified flowers Saturday.

Maui Grown Therapies opened for business Tuesday. Company officials say the dispensary could only sell flowers — resulting in depleted flower stocks on Maui and “disappointed patients.”

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The company said it needs the Department of Health’s State Labs Division “to help unclog a backlog of products so Maui patients can have access to quality-assured medicinal cannabis products.”

It will be closed Monday and Tuesday and reopen at noon Wednesday, when it will sell to patients who make appointments through its website.

“It’s unfortunate that an administrative hindrance of this magnitude prevents patients from getting the help they need,” said Christopher Cole, director of product management for Maui Grown Therapies. “We had planned to open with a full range of derivative products such as concentrates, oils, capsules and topical products, but at the eleventh hour we discovered that the State Labs Division had failed to certify a lab to conduct testing of manufactured products.”

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State offices were closed Saturday, and state Health Department officials could not be reached for comment.

“We could serve thousands of patients with the amount of manufactured product we currently have available for final compliance testing,” Cole said. “Even though we were approved by the Department of Health on May 24 to manufacture cannabis products, the restrictions placed on the state’s only licensed lab have prevented us from offering these products to our patients — and it is entirely unclear to us when this will change.”

The dispensary’s initial posted hours were 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Dispensary hours have been changed to noon to 6 p.m. until further notice.


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.

After 17 Years, Hawaii’s First Medical Marijuana Dispensary Finally Opens

It’s been 17 years since Hawaii first legalized medical marijuana, and now the Aloha State’s first dispensary is open for business.

Maui Grown Therapies, located in Kahului, began dispensing medical cannabis to patients on Tuesday, one day after receiving approval to open following their final onsite retail inspection by the Department of Health.

“Clearly this is a historic day not just for Maui but for the state of Hawaii,” said Teri Freitas Gorman, director of community relations and patient affairs for the dispensary. “This is the first time in Hawaii that patients will be able to buy lab-tested, quality-assured medical cannabis from a state-licensed dispensary. We’re so excited.”

The dispensary is easing into business, and is open only by appointment this week to pre-registered patients.  Regular operating hours begin August 14.

Maui Grown Therapies currently only offers a selection of dried cannabis flower. The company says they plan to offer a selection of products such as oils, lotions, concentrates and tinctures, but the Department of Health has not yet certified a lab to test manufactured cannabis products.

Hawaii first authorized the medical use of marijuana in 2000, but it wasn’t until 2015 that the state legislature passed a law allowing state-regulated marijuana sales through dispensaries.

“It’s been a long, winding road to get here and we’re extremely excited,” said Maui Grown Therapies co-founder Gregory Park, MD. “Getting to this day required hard work, cooperation and patience, but it’s worth it to be able to bring this alternative therapy to our Maui community.”

“This is an important day for qualified patients and caregivers on Maui who now have assurance the medical cannabis they purchase at Maui Grown Therapies has been thoroughly tested and is safe for them to use,” Department of Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler said in a statement. “Implementing a new health program is always challenging, and the dispensary program was no exception. With legal guidance from Department of the Attorney General, the DOH team paved the way for this new industry in Hawai‘i and has set a new standard for dispensary programs other states can emulate.”

In Hawaii, registered patients and their caregivers may purchase up to four ounces of medical marijuana during a 15 consecutive day period, up to a maximum of eight ounces over a 30 consecutive day period.

All use of medical cannabis must be on private property and may not be used in a car while on the road, at work, at the beach, on hiking trails, or in any other public space. It remains illegal to use or possess medical cannabis on any federally owned property such as military installations and national parks.

When transporting medical marijuana home after purchasing it from a dispensary, it must be in a sealed container and not visible to the public.

Eight dispensaries licences have been authorized in Hawaii, and are at different stages of the approval process.  Each dispensary may open up to two retail locations and one cultivation site.

Assuming the state’s dispensaries become fully operational in time, the current system of home cultivation by caregivers is expected to be phased out by the end of 2018.

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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.

First Medical Cannabis Dispensary Opening in Hawaii

HONOLULU (AP) — Dispensary sales of medical marijuana in Hawaii are beginning after patients waited 17 years for a legal way to purchase the drug.

Maui Grown Therapies received approval from the Department of Health to begin selling medical cannabis Tuesday.

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The dispensary plans to start selling medical marijuana to patients Tuesday, said Teri Freitas Gorman, director of community relations and patient affairs.

“Clearly this is a historic day not just for Maui but for the state of Hawaii,” Freitas Gorman said. “This is the first time in Hawaii that patients will be able to buy lab-tested, quality-assured medical cannabis from a state-licensed dispensary. We’re so excited.”

The Maui dispensary has been pre-registering patients and will begin selling medical cannabis to patients by appointment only, Freitas Gorman said. Walk-in sales will start in about a week.

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“This is an important day for qualified patients and caregivers on Maui who now have assurance the medical cannabis they purchase at Maui Grown Therapies has been thoroughly tested and is safe for them to use,” said Virginia Pressler, director of the state Department of Health, in a statement. “Implementing a new health program is always challenging, and the dispensary program was no exception.”

Hawaii was among the first states to legalize medical marijuana in 2000. But the state didn’t legalize dispensaries until 2015, so the state’s 18,000 patients had to grow or obtain the drug on their own.

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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.

Hawaii Allows First Lab to Begin Testing Medical Marijuana

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii approved its first laboratory to begin testing samples of medical marijuana 17 years after use of the drug was legalized in the state.

On Monday, the state Department of Health certified Honolulu-based lab Steep Hill Hawaii. That brings Hawaii closer to the long-awaited date when dispensaries can sell their products.

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Hawaii was among the first states to legalize medical marijuana in 2000. But the state didn’t legalize dispensaries until 2015, leaving about 17,000 patients to grow or obtain the drug on their own.

Then medical marijuana dispensaries began opening in Hawaii this summer, but they could not sell their products because the state had not certified any labs to conduct the required testing. So they conducted outreach instead.

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“This is a big milestone, and it couldn’t have come any sooner, because many people within the industry were getting frustrated and a little angry at the time it has taken to get to this point,” said state Sen. Will Espero, a Democrat. “But now that we are here, hopefully the next phase in terms of sales will happen quickly and everything will go smoothly.”

Once the lab receives samples, it will take about four days to test and return products to dispensaries for sale, said Dana Ciccone, owner of Steep Hill Hawaii.

Then the dispensary will undergo one final inspection by the Department of Health with the product present, department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said. That on-site inspection and accompanying paperwork could take 24 to 48 hours, she said.

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Steep Hill worked tirelessly over the past year to receive certification so patients could finally access safe, legal cannabis, Ciccone said in an email. “Today is a big step in the right direction for Hawaii’s Medical Cannabis industry,” he said.

The product at Honolulu-based dispensary Aloha Green has been ready for months, and dispensary CEO James H.Q. Lee said he hopes to begin the lab testing process Tuesday.

“We’ve been waiting, so that’s very good news. I think the patients will be happy,” Lee said.

But Lee still has questions about what size sample to prepare, and he hasn’t gotten a definitive answer from the Department of Health, he said.

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Maui Grown Therapies also is ready to begin testing its product, said Teri Freitas Gorman, director of community relations and patient affairs at the dispensary.

“We’ve been waiting for this day for quite some time, and now that it’s here it’s very exciting news for us,” she said. “Being on a neighbor island, there’s a little bit of a logistical hurdle that we have to overcome, but we’ll overcome it.”


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.

Hawaii Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill

Hawaii Governor David Ige

HONOLULU, HI — Hawaii’s Democrat Governor David Ige has signed legislation into law expanding the state’s medical cannabis program.

House Bill 1488 expands the pool of patients eligible for cannabis therapy to include those with epilepsy, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

The measure also explicitly permits patients to legally transport cannabis to a certified lab for testing.

The new law takes effect on June 29, 2017.

Governor Ige previously signed legislation in 2016 and in 2015 expanding the state’s medical cannabis program, which was initially enacted in 2000.

The state’s first licensed dispensaries are anticipated to be operational later this summer.

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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.

Hawaii Cannabis Patients Wait Through Medical Marijuana Delays

HONOLULU (AP) — Medical marijuana dispensaries are beginning to open in Hawaii, but they’re not allowed to sell their products.

Instead, the leafy medicinal greens they’ve harvested are sitting on a shelf unsold because nearly a year after dispensaries were legally allowed to open, the state has not yet certified any labs to run required safety tests.

That means dispensaries such as Aloha Green on Oahu have no income despite payroll, rent and operations expenses that top $100,000 a month.

“For us it’s a little frustrating, having so many people on board, but it has to be done,” said James H.Q. Lee, CEO of Aloha Green. “I’m more concerned for the patients, because people have been calling: ‘We see it online, when are you going to open? We need our medical cannabis.‘”

Hawaii was among the first states to legalize medical marijuana 17 years ago, but dispensaries were only legalized in 2015. The state’s 17,000 registered patients have been left to grow marijuana plants on their own or buy it on the black market.

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The delays have been frustrating to potential customers, executives and employees in the nascent industry.

Since they’re paying for the space, Aloha Green decided to open their doors to the public Thursday for education and outreach.

“That’s indicative of how creative the licensees are having to be, because they’re bleeding money,” said Carl Bergquist, executive director of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii.

By law, dispensaries were allowed to open in July 2016, but none could open their doors or even begin growing cannabis because the state had not approved software to track the product from seed-to-sale.

“People are hoping for dispensaries to open, but they’re just waiting and waiting,” said Jari Sugano, whose 8-year-old daughter suffers from a form of severe epilepsy that can be treated with medical cannabis. “In the end, the delays are going to come back on the patient to pay back.”

But state officials and lawmakers say they’re working as fast as they can to set up an industry from scratch while ensuring patient safety.

“The dates that were in the legislation were unrealistic,” said Keith Ridley of the Department of Health. “I think we need to reset our timeframes.”

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Nationwide, it often takes states a year-and-a-half to two years to open medical marijuana dispensaries after passing a law, said Becky Dansky, legislative analyst for the national Marijuana Policy Project. The fastest state to set up dispensaries was Minnesota, which took about 13 months to open a narrow program; on the other hand, Maryland has no dispensaries open nearly five years after passing a law, she added.

“The idea of having dispensaries open in a year was extremely ambitious,” Dansky said of Hawaii.

Hawaii also faces unique challenges as an isolated island state with a small population, which makes opening a testing lab difficult.

“Everything’s inflated. Lease areas, getting expensive equipment shipped on-island, finding the space,” said Michael Rollins, chief administrative officer of PharmLabs, a lab based on Maui that is awaiting certification from the Department of Health.

Given Hawaii’s small population, it’s not a certainty that labs will earn enough revenue to cover costs, unlike Seattle, with its large population and laws permitting recreational marijuana, Dansky said. Some states with small populations, such as Rhode Island, do not require lab testing, she said.

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Changes in Hawaii’s regulations are also complicating the process for labs that are trying to open, Rollins said. For example, labs were originally required to test for 700 different pesticides, but the rule was changed to require testing for about 150 pesticides, he said. “That changes what type of equipment you need,” he said.

State officials say they are waiting on documents from the three laboratories that have applied, and are likely to approve at least one lab sometime this summer. But they don’t want to rush and risk approving an unsafe product.

Aloha Green had expected labs to open in May, Lee said. The crop can keep for up to one year in a cool, dark environment, but over time it loses potency, said Tai Cheng, chief operating officer of Aloha Green.

“I understand people’s frustration, but building an industry up from the bottom up, requiring as much regulation as we have, is going to take time,” said Hawaii Rep. Della Au Bellati, who pushed for the dispensary law.

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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.

Cannabis Legislation 2017: We’re Tracking All Legalization Bills

Most state legislatures reconvene in early January, and by February they’re in full swing, moving some bills forward and killing others in committee. This year 27 state legislatures are considering bills pertaining to cannabis in some form. (Well, okay: 26. Mississippi had two medical marijuana bills, but they’re already dead.) Some states are pushing full adult-use legalization. Others are pulling back on medical legalization measures adopted by voters last November. We’ll keep tracking them as they live and die. Most state legislatures adjourn by early June. Stay tuned.

Arizona

House Bill 2003 – Would legalize the use, possession, and sales of up to one ounce of cannabis for adults over the age of 21.

  • Likelihood of passing: Arizona came within a hair’s breadth of passing Proposition 205 last year and this bill is sure to see some traction. But do lawmakers prefer to leave it up to the voters?

Arkansas

House Bill 1400 – Would ban the smoking of medical cannabis and remove a portion of the law that allows landlords to permit patients to smoke on a leased property.

House Bill 1391 – Would allow cities and towns to ban medical dispensaries and cultivation sites.

House Bill 1392 – Would ban the production and sale of edibles for medical use.

  • Likelihood of passing: All three bills are fairly likely to pass, as the Arkansas Legislature is Republican-controlled, with a majority holding an anti-cannabis stance, including the governor and the surgeon general.

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California

Senate Bill 175 – Would prohibit cannabis businesses from using the name of a county unless the cannabis was produced in that county.

  • Likelihood of passing: Almost certain to pass. California has a reputation for embracing all things cannabis and this bill in particular would help protect the livelihood of certain cannabis businesses.

Colorado

Senate Bill 17-017 – Would allow medical marijuana for patients suffering from stress disorders, including PTSD and acute stress disorder.

  • Likelihood of passing: This is the fifth petition to add PTSD to Colorado’s medical marijuana program, and while this has advanced further than the previous attempts, it’s still a toss-up.

Georgia

House Bill 65 – Would remove requirements that patients be in the end stages of a disease to qualify for medical cannabis and would also add several new qualifying medical conditions, including PTSD and autism.

  • Likelihood of passing: Fairly slim, unfortunately. Lawmakers have been trying to pass a similar bill for the last two years and the Legislature fears that medical legalization is a slippery slope to adult use. HB65 will likely die on the House floor.

Senate Bill 16 – To lower the percent of THC allowed in MMJ from 5% to 3%.

  • Likelihood of passing: This has already passed through the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and will likely pass through the House and Senate, despite the fact that there is no scientific reasoning to lower the amount of THC permitted.

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Hawaii

Senate Bill 548 – Would legalize the personal use, possession, and sale of cannabis for adult use, and license and regulate retail marijuana establishments.

  • Likelihood of passing: This bill has a better than chance than many legalization measures this year, but since they are still dealing with the dispensary licensing process, they may want to wait until dispensaries are open and firmly established before moving on to legalization.

Senate Bill 16 – Would decriminalize the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis unless on school property or in a school zone.

  • Likelihood of passing: This has a pretty high likelihood of passing and would, in essence, create a barebones legalization. Possession would be unpunishable, but sales would still be prohibited. The bill makes a legal exemption for MMJ patients, but curiously, makes no mention of age limits, effectively allowing anyone to possess cannabis, including children. This will likely be amended before passing, but the Legislature will surely want to address that.

Indiana

Senate Bill 255 – Would legalize the use and possession of up to eight ounces of cannabis for medicinal use with a physician’s recommendation.

  • Likelihood of passing: This is the seventh time this medical marijuana bill has been introduced in Indiana, and it is fairly unlikely to succeed.

Senate Bill 15 – Would legalize hemp oil for the treatment of children with epilepsy.

  • Likelihood of passing: This is more likely to pass than Senate Bill 255; however, if it does pass, it is unlikely to provide safe access to state-produced legal hemp oil, even for patients who qualify.

Maryland

Senate Bill 928 – To repeal civil and criminal prohibitions of the use and possession of cannabis for adults 21 years of age and older.

  • Likelihood of passing: This bill is not particularly likely to pass, as the state is still struggling to get their medical marijuana program up and running.

Senate Bill 798 – Would reduce the penalties for the use and possession of less than 10 grams of cannabis for the first and second offense to a civil fine of no more than $100.

  • Likelihood of passing: This is far more likely to pass and would be an improvement overall for the state. With a significant minority population, reducing the number of cannabis-related arrests would definitely assist with race relations and the law enforcement community.

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Minnesota

H.F. 927 – Would legalize the use, possession, cultivation, distribution, and sales of cannabis for adults over the age of 21.

  • Likelihood of passing: Very unlikely. Minnesota has one of the strictest medical cannabis programs in the country and the likelihood of the Legislature passing a full legalization measure is almost nil.

Mississippi

Senate Bill 2378 – Would allow physicians to recommend medical cannabis as a treatment option for patients who qualify, and patients could possess up to three mature plants, four immature plants, and up to 30 grams of cannabis from each plant.

  • Likelihood of passing: Pretty slim. Mississippi is notoriously conservative and do not have anything even remotely resembling an MMJ program.
  • Update: Died in committee on January 31, 2017.

Senate Bill 2379 – Would remove marijuana and hashish from the state list of Schedule 1 controlled substances, as well as all criminal penalties.

  • Likelihood of passing: Fairly unlikely. This has a better chance of passing through the Legislature, but a decriminalization measure to reduce penalties to a civil fine (rather than removing penalties completely) would stand a much stronger chance.
  • Update: Died in committee on January 31, 2017.

Nebraska

Legislative Bill 622 – Would allow qualifying medical patients to access cannabis for medicinal purposes with the recommendation of a physician.

  • Likelihood of passing: This one’s a toss-up. On the one hand, Nebraskans are known for their “nice” nature, including compassion, hence the “compassion centers” outlined in the law. The bill has a better chance of being approved than a voter initiative, but with the Midwest, it’s anyone’s guess.

New Hampshire

House Bill 640 – Would reduce the penalty for the possession of to to one ounce of cannabis for adults to a $100 fine for the first offense, $200 for the second offense, and $350 for any subsequent offenses.

  • Likelihood of passing: This bill has already advanced through the committee, which means it has a fighting chance. Another bill to legalize cannabis for adult use did not advance.

New Mexico

Senate Bill 8 – Would presume eligibility for those applying to be in the medical marijuana program. This has widely been reported as allowing veterans to automatically qualify for the MMJ program, but it appears more aimed at cutting down the application process time, which has plagued New Mexico in recent months.

  • Likelihood of passing:  If the New Mexico Department of Health can skip even one step towards processing MMJ applications, it could cut wait times down significantly, as well as allowing better access, which means it would be in the best interest of the state government for this bill to pass. That being said, there will likely be some pushback from those concerned about ineligible residents taking advantage of the system.

House Bill 102 – The Marijuana Tax Act would legalize the use, possession, and sales of cannabis for those over the age of 21.

  • Likelihood of passing: This may have a better chance of passing than SB8, as New Mexico has a strong MMJ program and has considered adult use legalization for several years now.

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New York

Bill No. S03040 – Would enact the “Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act” to legalize the growing, possession, and use of cannabis for adults 18 years of age and older.

  • Likelihood of passing: Slim to none. This bill has been introduced four years running and has been shot down every time. Aside from that, it seems more pertinent to improve the barely-functioning medical marijuana program before dipping into the waters of adult use legalization.

North Dakota

Senate Bill 2344 – Would significantly alter the recently passed Compassionate Care Act to reduce the amount of cannabis patients may possess, eliminate any option of home cultivation, and to cap the number of dispensaries and cultivators.

  • Likelihood of passing: There’s been enough pushback from advocates and even within the Legislature that it is unlikely that this bill will pass in its current form. The Legislature may, however, pass a similarly-worded bill in the future.

Oklahoma

House Bill 1877 – Would protect any qualifying medical marijuana patient from arrest or prosecution, so long as they qualify with the recommendation of a physician. A Medical Marijuana Commission would be charged with creating and overseeing dispensary and cultivation facilities.

  • Likelihood of passing: Pretty slim chances here. Oklahoma’s a strong Bible Belt state, and conservative legislators are unlikely to consider an MMJ push too seriously, even with 71 percent of Oklahomans in support.

Oregon

Senate Bill 301 – Would prohibit employers from requiring employees to refrain from using state-legal substances on their days off work.

  • Likelihood of passing: This is a fascinating bill, but it’s a long shot. State legalization laws generally allow employers to call the shots on employment practices, particularly related to cannabis usage. If this passes, it could set a new precedent and inspire similar laws in other adult-use states.

Rhode Island

H. 5274 – Would legalize the use, possession, and regulated sales of cannabis for adults 21 years of age and older.

  • Likelihood of passing: This has a very good chance to pass. Because Rhode Island does not allow voter initiatives, and their best chance for legalization is through the Legislature. Rhode Island has come close to legalization in the past few years – could 2017 be their year?

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South Carolina

S. 212 – The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act would legalize cannabis for use by qualified patients with the recommendation of a physician.

  • Likelihood of passing: This bill has a better chance than it would have even just a few years ago. There is a great deal of support for medical marijuana in South Carolina, but it may need to be enacted through the voters, rather than the Legislature.

South Dakota

Senate Bill 129 – Would remove a longstanding state law that places a cannabis user at risk of legal prosecution if they have ingested cannabis, whether or not they have cannabis on their person.

  • Likelihood of passing: This outdated law should have been removed from the books years ago. SB 129, which would do that, will hopefully pass with flying colors. This is a terrible law that should be removed.

Texas

Senate Bill 269 – Would allow patients with certain debilitating conditions to receive medical cannabis with a doctor’s recommendation.

  • Likelihood of passing: It is fairly unlikely that this medical marijuana bill will have a fighting chance in the Legislature. The state legalized low-THC cannabis oil in 2015, but they have yet to create the infrastructure for the program. It may be some time before MMJ makes its way to Texas.

House Bill 81 – Would reduce criminal penalties for individuals who possess an ounce or less of cannabis to a civil fine.

Senate Bill 170 – Would reduce the penalties for the possession of a small amount of cannabis to a civil fine.

  • Likelihood of passing: These decriminalization measures have a higher likelihood of passing. Texas is a cannabis curious state, but the state’s officials are cautious when it comes to making any sudden moves on cannabis in the Legislature.

Utah

House Bill 130 – Would allow universities to study the medicinal benefits of cannabis and cannabinoid products.

  • Likelihood of passing: This actually has a decent chance of passing, mostly because it will do very little to change the actual availability of medical cannabis in Utah. However, with the advancement of positive research, it will give pro-cannabis lawmakers ammunition for future MMJ endeavors.

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Virginia

House Bill 2135 – Would allow physicians to recommend medical cannabis for the treatment of any medical condition.

  • Likelihood of passing: Very unlikely. Although it has a progressive law on the books allowing an affirmative defense in court if caught with CBD oil, Virginia has proven reluctant to pass any fuller medical marijuana legislation.

House Bill 1635 – Would allow Virginians suffering from Crohn’s disease to use non-psychoactive oil derived from CBD and THC-A cannabinoids.

House Bill 1452 – Would legalize physician-prescribed CBD and THC-A oil for patients who suffer from cancer or epilepsy.

  • Likelihood of passing: These bills go hand-in-hand, and are about equally likely to pass. Neither outlines how a patient would procure said CBD and THC-A oil, so a passage would change very little to the state’s law.

Vermont

H. 170 – Would remove all criminal and civil penalties for the possession of two ounces or less of cannabis and the cultivation of two mature and seven immature cannabis plants for adults over the age of 21. It would not create a regulatory structure for retail sales.

  • Likelihood of passing: Vermont officials have been studying Colorado’s legalization for years. They came so close to legalizing in 2016, but were foiled at the last minute by fears about the opioid crisis. One year later, politicians and the public are more aware of studies showing that cannabis actually helps alleviate that crisis. This could be the year in Vermont.

Washington

House Bill 1092 – Would legalize the home cultivation of cannabis for personal use by adults over the age of 21.

  • Likelihood of passing: This bill is a toss-up. There’s no doubt that cannabis consumers in Washington want home cultivation, but the Washington Legislature has been skittish about making too many changes to adult-use measures as they stand.

Wisconsin

Senate Bill 10 – Would allow for the use and possession of cannabidiol oil for medicinal purposes with the recommendation of a physician (only if and when cannabidiol is rescheduled at a federal level).

  • Likelihood of passing: This is not particularly likely to pass, and even if it did, it is unlikely that the state would make any moves to enact it. Part of the bill specifies a requirement that CBD would have to be rescheduled at a federal level for the law to be workable, so it’s really just a good faith measure.

Assembly Bill 49 – Similarly, this bill also requires federal rescheduling to be workable, but would allow for the use of cannabidiol oil for medicinal purposes.

  • Likelihood of passing: Both laws require some kind of federal policy reform in order to be workable, and the Republican-controlled Legislature has proved time and again that they are unwilling to consider cannabis in any form medicine.

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Wyoming

House Joint Resolution 11 – Would amend the Wyoming Constitution to allow the cultivation, use, possession, and regulated sales of cannabis for adults 21 years of age and older.

  • Likelihood of passing: It’s a great first step, but super unlikely to make it very far. The resolution is barebones, with almost no detail. It will likely take a back burner and die before reaching the House floor.

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.

Hawaii Gives Medical Dispensaries the Green Light to Grow

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii has announced it will allow medical marijuana dispensaries to begin growing cannabis as early as Feb. 1, which comes after several months of delays.

One of the holdups has been the state not having a federally required software system to track the product from seed to sale. But the Hawaii Department of Health said Wednesday it’s finally ready to go online with its tracking system.

The state Legislature legalized medical marijuana dispensaries in 2015 and awarded eight licenses for the businesses statewide last year. The dispensaries were initially expected to begin sales in July.

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Health officials said four licensees — Manoa Botanicals and Aloha Green on Oahu and Maui’s Pono Life Sciences and Maui Grown Therapies — have indicated they are ready to begin growing. It can take between three and five months for plants to mature.

Brian Goldstein, founder and CEO of Manoa Botanicals, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser his company expects to begin cultivation next week but is still unsure when it will open for business.

“It is exciting, but there’s some critical milestones ahead of us,” he said. “We’re not going to be able to sell until a lab is certified, and there is uncertainty as to when that’s going to happen.”

Teri Gorman of Maui Grown Therapies said her dispensary’s production facility needs one more inspection from the state before it receives approval to grow cannabis.

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“We are certainly happy and relieved that we’ve gotten to this point,” Gorman said. “Certainly, cultivation’s a major step and we’re very thankful for that, but that doesn’t mean that it’s over.”

The DOH said it is reviewing two applications from testing laboratories seeking to open on Maui and Oahu. The department also anticipates the integration of the seed-to-sale tracking system with the patient registry will take two to three months.

There were 15,334 medical marijuana patients registered with the state at the end of 2016, with more than 40 percent of them on the Big Island.


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.