Tag: laws

Australian States Split on Medical Cannabis

Access to cannabis for people with terminal illnesses and chronic pain was delayed last week when the New South Wales (NSW) state government blocked a law that would have decriminalized possession of marijuana for those suffering from serious medical conditions.

The legislation, which would have decriminalized possession of up to 15 grams of cannabis in cases where it was being used to treat chronic pain, was introduced by the opposition Labor party and blocked by the majority Liberal Legislative Assembly. Despite the fact that the proposed law grew out of the recommendations of a bipartisan parliamentary inquiry into the use of cannabis for medical purposes, no bipartisanship was present when it was voted down.

“By refusing to pass this legislation, the NSW Government has put up an unnecessary hurdle for sufferers of terminal and chronic illnesses.” NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley said in a statement.

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“It is deeply disappointing that the Government has denied legislation that will restore dignity to those people seeking temporary relief from the pain and suffering of their affliction. Those who are suffering from terminal and serious medical conditions deserve sympathy and support—and they should not be treated like a criminal for seeking respite from relentless and unwavering illness,” Foley continued.

“We are particularly concerned that the government has done little to ensure a consistent supply of regulated and affordable product.”

Sen. Lisa Singh, Tasmania

Further south, in the island state of Tasmania, another Labor politician has taken up the cause of medical cannabis in a different way. Sen. Lisa Singh has been campaigning in the senate for a quicker and more consistent cannabis licensing program.

In a speech to the Australian senate last week, Singh urged the government to enable the establishment of the medical cannabis industry in Tasmania. Specifically, she wants to ensure that the global opioid supplier Tasmania Alkaloids (which has partnered with medical cannabis company AusCann) can secure a closed-loop cannabis production chain.

“Closed-loop production is key to a successful Tasmanian medical cannabis industry,” Singh said, “The opportunity to grow, manufacture, and distribute directly from one location alleviates legitimate security concerns.”

Rather than focus solely on patient access issues, Singh is also eager to realise the economic benefits of a thriving medical cannabis industry in her state. “Tasmania is ideally positioned to become a manufacturing base both for the domestic and international markets in medicinal cannabis,” she said, “The Australian domestic market for medicinal cannabis has alone been estimated to be worth AU$100 million a year.”

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“If Tasmania is able to seize the opportunity of becoming a global leader in the cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis, then there will be similar substantial economic benefits to reap for my home state like we have from cultivating the world’s legal opium crops,” she said.

But before that economic dream can be achieved, Singh says the federal government needs to develop a more consistent application of its medical cannabis laws across states.

“We are particularly concerned that the government has done little to ensure a consistent supply of regulated and affordable product, or to drive consistency across states on the legal treatment of people currently accessing medicinal cannabis.” Singh told Leafly.

The Tasmanian senator isn’t the only politician taking up the torch for the medical cannabis industry. Victorian Minister of Agriculture and Regional Development Jalaa Pulford recently visited medical cannabis facilities in Canada with CannGroup CEO Peter Crock.

This state-level support for medical cannabis is good news for growers and patients in some parts of Australia, but frustration will continue to rise in states like New South Wales if their governments continue to block efforts to extend compassionate treatment to medical cannabis patients.


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.

7 Tips for Making the Most of Seattle Hempfest

Being a free-of-charge cannabis festival held in a glorious outdoor locale, Seattle Hempfest is easy to enjoy. But here are a few strategic tips for making the most of it.

The post 7 Tips for Making the Most of Seattle Hempfest appeared first on Leafly.


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.

Utah Launches Medical Cannabis Signature Drive

Medical marijuana advocates in Utah plan to launch a signature drive to put MMJ legalization on the ballot in November 2018. The Utah Patients Coalition will hold a press conference on Thursday morning at the Gallivan Center in Salt Lake City, starting at 10:30 a.m. Mountain Time. The event will feature campaign leaders, patients, and supporters while volunteers will begin collecting signatures in downtown Salt Lake City immediately following the event.

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The proposed initiative, the Utah Medical Cannabis Act, would allow patients with certain qualifying conditions to legally and safely access medicinal cannabis with the recommendation of a doctor. Home cultivation and and the consumption of smoked cannabis by smoking it would not be permitted under the initiative. Public consumption would also be prohibited.

The group will need to provide more than 113,000 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

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Initiative supporters held 10 public hearings across Utah and met with various departments and stakeholders prior to submitting the proposed Medical Cannabis Act to state Lt. Governor Spencer Cox’s office for initial approval. Cox gave his approval (which means the petition can move forward; it doesn’t mean Cox himself approves of the initiative) on August 10.

If the proposed Act passes, Utah would become the 30th state to legalize medical marijuana.

The full text of the initiative is available HERE, and a summary is available HERE.

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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.

Governors of 2 Cannabis States Push Back on Trump Administration

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Governors in at least two states that have legalized recreational marijuana are pushing back against the Trump administration and defending their efforts to regulate the industry.

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, a one-time Republican no longer affiliated with a party, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week asking the Department of Justice to maintain the Obama administration’s more hands-off enforcement approach to states that have legalized the drug still banned at the federal level.

“Given the diversity of public sentiment regarding marijuana throughout the country, marijuana regulation is an area where states should take the lead.”

Jahna Lindemuth, Attorney General of Alaska

It comes after Sessions sent responses recently to the governors of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, who asked him to allow the legalization experiments to continue in the first four states to legalize recreational marijuana. Sessions detailed concerns he had with how effective state regulatory efforts have been or will be.

Washington state also responded to Sessions this week. Gov. Jay Inslee said the attorney general made claims about the situation in Washington that are “outdated, incorrect, or based on incomplete information.”

“If we can engage in a more direct dialogue, we might avoid this sort of miscommunication and make progress on the issues that are important to both of us,” Inslee and that state’s attorney general wrote to Sessions.

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Since taking office, Sessions has promised to reconsider cannabis policy, providing a level of uncertainty for states that have legalized the drug. A task force assembled by Sessions encouraged continued study of whether to change or rescind the approach taken under former President Barack Obama.

In Alaska, Walker said he shared Sessions’ concerns about the dangers of drug abuse but said state rules for marijuana businesses address federal interests, including public health and safety concerns. The governor said Sessions cited a 2015 state drug report in raising questions about Alaska’s regulations but noted that the first retail shops didn’t open until late last year.

The state is taking “meaningful” steps to curb illegal cannabis use, especially by those who are underage, Walker and state Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth wrote in the letter obtained through a public records request.

In a separate letter, Lindemuth was more pointed.

“Given the diversity of public sentiment regarding marijuana throughout the country, marijuana regulation is an area where states should take the lead,” she wrote.

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Alaska political leaders have long pushed back on issues where they think the federal government is overstepping its bounds. The state’s lone U.S. House member, Republican Rep. Don Young, said he’s never smoked pot but supports states’ rights.

The state voted on it, “and the federal government should stay out of it,” he told the AP last year.

The largest voting bloc in the state is not affiliated with a political party, though President Donald Trump won with just over 50 percent of the vote last fall. Voters in 2014 approved recreational marijuana, with about 53 percent support.


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.

Ontario Report Urges Immediate Decriminalization and Many Other Things

One of the many distinctive (and divisive) features of the Cannabis Act—which proposes to legalize adult-use recreational cannabis across Canada in July 2018—is how it leaves the specifics of cannabis distribution, possession, and purchase up to the individual provinces.

This week, Ontario took a step toward creating its own regs with the release of “Cannabis Legalization and Regulation,” a report by the Ontario division of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). The report provides provincial officials with “wide-ranging recommendations to reduce the health risks and harms associated with the legalization and regulation of cannabis.”

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The most notable of those recommendations: immediate decriminalization. “Given the plans for legalization of cannabis in 2018,” the report states, “decriminalization of cannabis for simple possession for the general population should be considered immediately in the coming months prior to legalization.”

That policy advice came in the report’s “Focus on Health Equity” section, which also includes this observation: “Currently, there are systemic inequalities leading to the criminalization of marginalized groups for cannabis possession, which account for thousands of arrests and convictions every year. Arrests for cannabis possession continue to take place, often disproportionately impacting marginalized communities across the country.”

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Other recommendations range from revenue mandates (the CMHA urges allocating 100 percent of cannabis-related revenue to mental health and addictions services) to the minimum age for cannabis purchase, which the CMHA would like to align with the Ontario’s legal age for purchasing alcohol (19). A few notable passages from the 5,000-word document:

* The “Regulating Sales” section puts forth an impressively intricate recipe for doing so, from restricting advertising to the same cartoon- and endorsement-free zone occupied by tobacco marketers, to ensuring “appropriate and reasonable pricing to deter consumers from purchasing cannabis through illegal means.” The CMHA would also have cannabis distributors earn the title: “Distribution of cannabis should include the provision of cannabis education to patrons through the implementation of a Cannabis Card program, similar to Ontario’s Smart Serve program.”

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* In the “Road Safety” section, things get strict, with the CMHA urging a zero-tolerance policy for cannabis consumption in any motorized vehicle. “A zero-tolerance policy would include both the driver of the motorized vehicle, as well as any passengers in the car,” reads the report. “It is important that a clear message be sent to the public as soon as possible regarding zero tolerance for impaired driving due to cannabis use.”

* Tagged onto the section addressing the Minimum Age for Purchase is this bracing proposition: “The Government of Ontario should advocate with the Federal Government to remove criminalization for simple possession of cannabis, especially for youth. CMHA recommends further research into a model similar to the Portugal’s decriminalization policy for young people that would allow for social services, counseling and education instead of criminal sanctions for underage cannabis possession.”

Read the full CMHA Ontario report 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.

How to Change a Local Cannabis Law

As American citizens, we are bestowed with the opportunity to participate in the law-making process. It may seem daunting, but getting involved in helping create, pass, and support legislation at a local level is not as difficult as it might seem.

Watching politics stall at a federal level can be incredibly frustrating and could make even the most patriotic citizen feel disheartened in the convoluted and often sluggish political process. But if you get involved at a local level, you are far more likely to enact change that will impact you and your community on a much intimate scale.

Here are ways you can make a difference and work to either introduce a local cannabis law or get an existing law changed.

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1. Identify Your Issue

In this case, the issue that concerns you is probably cannabis-related, but there are plenty of other reasons to get involved in local politics. Concerned about transportation? City council members? Police accountability? These are all great motivations to get involved in your local political scene. Whatever your cause, take that passion with you all the way through this journey.

One local issue that’s often overlooked is that of cannabis decriminalization. This can be accomplished at a state, city, or county level, but be careful not to allow your law to supercede the state law, as was the case when Nashville, Tennessee tried to decriminalize in 2016, leading to the law being overturned. Decriminalization is a huge and important step, and many states are behind the times with this one. Even in many states where medical marijuana is legal, you can still face arrest and jail time for the possession of even small amounts of cannabis.

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2. Do Your Research

It’s all too easy to complain about an issue, especially when it directly affects you, but sometimes it’s worth doing a little digging on the legislative history of this particular topic. What other relevant changes have been enacted in the past? Is this the first or 50th rendition of the policy? Has it changed many times? Did it used to be better? Worse? How was it drafted and decided? If it was decided with a city council vote, for instance, it will probably be decided by a city council vote again.

You may find that the root of the issue stems from a completely different cause and requires a completely different approach to the problem than originally anticipated. Once you’ve pinpointed the heart of the issue, you can begin to address it.

A relevant example is Georgia’s cannabis oil registry. Georgia passed a law in 2014 allowing the use and possession of cannabis oil for medical reasons, but the law was vague. In 2016, Georgia Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) introduced a new bill to expand the program and outline clear rules, which passed and was signed into law.

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3. Find Allies

This is where you’ve got to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get out there. This may an especially daunting task for introverts, so consider encouraging your friends to get active on the political scene, too. Go to local city council meetings, attend meetings for public input on your preferred issue, take notes, and write letters to your representative or preferred candidate and ask for their support on this issue.

You may discover an entire group of concerned citizens like yourself who has worked to change the law in the past and may support your efforts to improve the law. These groups may also be likely to know which local politicians are more sensitive than others to your cause.

If you’re not sure where to start, try reaching out to local chapters associated with national groups, like NORML (the National Organization of Reform for Marijuana Laws) and Americans for Safe Access (ASA). There are also local groups in less cannabis-friendly states, such as New Approach Missouri, New Approach South Dakota, New Approach Idaho, etc. Reach out to the coordinators and find out the best way to get involved and make an impact.

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4. If Possible, File an Initiative or Referendum

This is not always a possibility and you’ll have to do some research on the inner workings of your own local government, but if you have the opportunity, make a draft of the most important subtopics related to your issue. Drafting legislation is not easy, so consider enlisting an attorney or city council member to help draft it and support it. You may also want to work with a local community group that supports the issue to help draft an initiative to enact the change you wish to see.

If you’re already involved in local politics, you may already know which lawmakers are more cannabis-friendly and, therefore, more likely to help you in your quest. If you don’t, however, pick up a voter’s pamphlet, visit a few city council member websites, and do some light reading on who might be the best person to approach to support your cause. Additionally, if you get involved with local advocacy groups, they may already know which officials are most likely to lend an ear.

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5. Rally Your Community

This may mean testifying at council meetings, contacting local groups, and even gathering signatures on the street. However you get the word out, it’s crucial that you garner enough support within the community and local government leaders to help pass your initiative.

When it comes to cannabis, a broad range of citizens from varying demographics often support measures related to decriminalization and legalization, and showing that your ordinance has a diverse group of people supporting it will signal to elected officials that this issue is important to a significant portion of the community (and they’ll be more likely to throw their weight behind your efforts, too).

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6. Know Your Counterarguments

When it comes to any major issue, no matter where you stand, there will always be opposition and a point to your counterpoint. Prepare yourself to answer any questions that may arise, and keep research and statistics handy so you have knowledge to back up your proposal.

What are the possible counterarguments that people may try to use against you? Practice speaking in favor of your proposal and anticipate detractors—not only will this help you firm up your own personal reasons for supporting this ordinance, it’s great for your public speaking skills (and it might give you a little boost of confidence, too).

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7. Get Loud

Get the word out about your proposed policy change in any way you can. Speak out at community meetings, and schedule a meeting with the editorial board of a local newspaper to ask if they would be willing to publish an op-ed. Contact other media outlets, including local radio and television stations, and let them know about your efforts. Tell every registered voter you’ve ever met in your life just how important this issue is to you and why.

One of the most commonly discussed topics when it comes to cannabis legalization is the story of Charlotte Figi, the little girl who was able to treat her seizures with a specialized high-CBD strain named for her. This story, which aired on CNN in 2013, has inspired laws across the United States, even in Southern and Midwestern states that would never normally give cannabis legislation a chance at a hearing, let alone sign it into law.

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8. Be Patient

The good news is that policy changes at a local level move much faster than at a federal level. The bad news is that it’s still not very fast. It can take months for your initiative to get approved, and getting it in front of voters or considered by local politicians may also take some hard-earned connections within the community.

Be patient, be persistent, and be indefatigable. Do not lose hope if you don’t succeed on your first go-around. Take it as a learning experience, and keep moving forward. Personal experiences and anecdotes are often the reason a voter or politician is moved to vote in favor of an issue, so keep sharing your story and why this issue is important to you.

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Arkansas is a great example of when perseverance and determination came out on top. The state has had several different cannabis advocates introducing both medical and adult-use measures over the past five years, but the Arkansas Attorney General rejected each measure, again and again, on the basis that the proposal’s language was unclear.

Advocates were tireless, however—after seven rejections, Little Rock attorney David Couch was able to secure a spot on the ballot with Issue 6 to legalize medical marijuana, which was passed by the voters and enacted into law in 2017. Never underestimate the power of perseverance!

9. Don’t Give Up

Fall down once, get up twice. No matter how many times you may feel like giving up, don’t! If this issue is truly important to you and is something you truly and passionately believe in, it’s worth the time and effort to make this policy change stick. Be willing to compromise, especially if you hear a particularly compelling argument from the opposition. If at first you don’t succeed, re-group, re-organize, and get ready to fight for what you believe in.


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.

Judge Halts Feds’ Cannabis Case, Citing Rohrabacher-Blumenauer

Still need a reason to care about that obscure federal spending provision known as the Rohrabacher–Blumenauer amendment? Here’s one: The congressional measure, currently set to expire next month, may be the only thing keeping a pair of California cannabis growers out of prison.

Federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against the growers, Anthony Pisarski and Sonny Moore, after raiding their Humboldt County property in 2012. But during the evidentiary process, the two argued that their operation followed California law and thus should be protected from federal prosecution under Rohrabacher–Blumenauer.

A quick refresher: Formerly known as Rohrabacher–Farr, Rohrabacher–Blumenauer is an amendment to a federal appropriations bill that bars the Justice Department from using resources to prosecute state-legal cannabis. In August 2016, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals—which includes cannabis-legal states of California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Arizona, Montana, and Hawaii—ruled that the provision also protects individual businesses that comply with state law.

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“If DOJ wishes to continue these prosecutions,” the court wrote in the 9th Circuit case, US v. McIntosh, “Appellants are entitled to evidentiary hearings to determine whether their conduct was completely authorized by state law.”

Which brings us back to the Humboldt growers. Following an evidentiary hearing, US District Judge Richard Seeborg determined that Pisarski and Moore were indeed compliant with state law. “Their conduct strictly complied with all conditions imposed by California law on the use, distribution, possession and cultivation of marijuana,” Seeborg wrote. Earlier this week, he halted the federal government’s case against the growers, citing McIntosh.

The defense attorney for the pair, Beverly Hills-based Ronald Richards, told the LA Weekly that the decision was unusual—and may help other cannabis entities going forward. “This is the first time in my 23-year career I’ve had a case stopped because of an appropriations rider,” he said. “It opens the door for people not to get scared.

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Tamar Todd, director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s office of legal affairs, told the Weekly that the court’s stay of the case “shows that you can prevail—defendants in federal court could have their prosecutions halted.”

“It’s very encouraging,” she added. “It gives a lot of teeth to Rohrabacher–Farr.”

But while the case is closed for now, the government could seek to reopen it. Judge Seeborg’s stay of the case could be undone if Congress fails to renew Rohrabacher–Blumenauer next month.

US Attorney Jeff Sessions, a strict anti-drug advocate, asked lawmakers in May to end the protection, calling it “unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the [Justice] Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime.” But in late July a Senate Committee OK’d the amendment, adopting it as part of an appropriations bill set for discussion next month.

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Crucially, Rohrabacher–Blumenauer in its current form protects only medical cannabis programs—it offers no protection for adult-use cannabis. A nonbinding Justice Department memo issued under the Obama administration says prosecutors won’t interfere with state cannabis systems, but Sessions has said his office is reviewing that guidance.

Sessions also recently sent letters to state officials in Washington, Colorado, and Oregon in what appears to be an effort to show those states’ systems are failing to adequately regulate cannabis markets. Some state officials have since pushed back, accusing the statistics of having been cherry-picked in a deliberate attempt to mislead.

“Honestly it’s hard to take him seriously if he relies on such outdated information,” Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson told the Seattle Times.

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One Colorado state senator went further.

“Jeff Sessions needs to keep his reefer madness paranoia in Washington DC and let us handle a decision we’ve made,” Sen. Michael Merrifield told a local ABC affiliate. “I think these numbers are exaggerated or pulled out of somebody’s hat.”


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.

Utah Initiative for Medical Cannabis Moves to Signature Drive

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Medical marijuana backers are moving forward with a ballot initiative to ask Utah voters directly to pass a broad medical marijuana law next year.

The Utah Patients Coalition got state approval Thursday to start collecting the 113,143 voter signatures for the ballot initiative in November 2018. The group has until April 15 to collect the signatures.

Coalition members say they’re done waiting for lawmakers who rejected proposals to pass a broad medical cannabis law three years in a row.

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The coalition wants Utah to join 29 other states that allow marijuana to be dispensed and used as a treatment.

The proposed initiative would set up state-regulated growing and dispensing of marijuana for use by residents with about a dozen types of conditions, including cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder.


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.

A Brief Guide to Massachusetts’ New Cannabis Law

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed a sweeping cannabis bill into law on Friday, marking a milestone in a regulatory battle that began when state voters approved an adult-use legalization measure in November.

“I worry terribly about what the consequences over time will be.”

Gov. Charlie Baker

The new law, the result of a legislative compromise struck last week between the House and Senate, rewrites much of the voter-approved initiative—raising allowable tax rates, amending rules around local cannabis bans, and adjusting details of the agency that will oversee the state’s cannabis program.

Even as he signed the bill, Baker, a Republican, expressed doubts about legalization. He said he remains hopeful that the lawmakers’ changes would address some of his biggest concerns.

“I worry terribly about what the consequences over time will be, and having spent a lot of time talking to folks in Colorado and in Washington … there are a lot of pitfalls we have to avoid,” he said.

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“But, look,” he continued, “the people voted this and I think it’s important that we put the program in place and deliver a workable, safe, productive recreational marijuana market for them in Massachusetts.”

Among the biggest changes under the law is the boost in allowable taxes. The voter-approved initiative set maximum rates at 12% in combined state and local taxes. The new law raises that to 20%. Medical cannabis will remain untaxed.

As in many other legal states, local jurisdictions will have the opportunity to ban the cannabis industry. But the process under the new law is unusual: In communities where a majority of residents voted against November’s legalization measure, elected officials can enact a ban themselves. In areas where residents approved the ballot question, a voter referendum would be required to ban or restrict cannabis businesses.

Some legal experts have said that the compromise, which removes the ability of some voters to oppose a ban, could leave the law open to a constitutional challenge.

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Packaging and labeling rules under the new law will require cannabis products to be sold in child-resistant packaging, and THC levels are required to be included on product labels. “We want it to be a responsible industry that sells safe products to consenting adults and doesn’t market products to children and teenagers,” said Democratic Sen. Jason Lewis, who led a delegation of legislators on a fact-finding trip to Colorado last year and later opposed the ballot question.

“We take elected officials at their word that there will be no more delays in implementation of the legal sales system.”

Jim Borghesani, spokesperson for 2016 legalization campaign

Shortly after Baker signed the bill, state Treasurer Deb Goldberg, a Democrat, announced her five appointees to the Cannabis Advisory Board. The board will offer advice and recommendations to the yet-to-be-formed Cannabis Control Commission, which will oversee both adult-use and medical programs.

Some of Goldberg’s appointees have experience in the medical cannabis industry. They include:

  • Norton Arbeláez, who founded a medical cannabis center in Denver and advised Colorado state regulators.
  • Alan Balsam, the former director of public health in Brookline, MA, and an adjuct associate professor at Tufts Medical School and Boston University School of Public Health.
  • Michael Dundas, the president and CEO of Massachusetts dispensary Sage Naturals, who helped form the Commonwealth Dispensary Association.
  • Jaime Lewis, the founder of cannabis product manufacturer Mountain Medicine and a founding member of the Cannabis Business Alliance. Formerly the chief operations officer for a Colorado dispensary, she now works at Mayflower Medicinals.
  • Shanel Lindsay, an attorney and legalization advocate. A former law clerk for the Massachusetts superior court, she since founded biotech and medical cannabis company Ardent, where she serves as president.

Baker and Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey must also by next week appoint five members each to the board.

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As for the Cannabis Control Commission, a five-member board that must be formed by Sept. 1, the state budget for the fiscal year that started July 1 includes only $2 million to fund the group. Goldberg, responsible for naming the board’s chairman, has said the commission would need up to $10 million in the first year.

“If they need additional resources, they will get additional resources,” Baker said Friday.

Jim Borghesani, spokesman for the ballot question group, found the governor’s pledge reassuring.

“Right now a $2 million appropriation doesn’t even cover the software that’s necessary to get this system up and running,” he said.

In a statement, Borghesani added: “We take elected officials at their word that there will be no more delays in implementation of the legal sales system.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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.

“Dear Justin”: A Loving Correspondence with the Prime Minister of Canada

To the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada:

It feels like just yesterday you were campaigning with the promise to, “legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana,” if elected Prime Minister. And now, here we are! Elected you were, and that promise you are keeping. But before your proposed cannabis laws are dragged back and forth across the Commons floor, Justin, I want you to know I’ve been thinking about what you said during the campaign.

You were right. Our current system of prohibition isn’t working and it is time for a change. Forgive me for being so forward, but have you considered loosening up on the heavy-handed, “legalize, regulate, and restrict,” language? This just doesn’t sound like you. I believe you can (and want) do better than just effectively controlling and restricting cannabis. And I believe you can do that by legalizing in the spirit of the modern values now synonymous with your office.

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Yes, legalizing a controlled substance is a big responsibility. But it’s small PEI potatoes compared to the tremendous opportunity before you. You now have the power to use the cannabis industry to make a better Canada, one that truly elevates the earning potential of poorer Canadians, boosts our economy, and strives toward meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. All this begins with creating a climate of informed and responsible acceptance of cannabis and those who use it, and backing off of disproportionately high prison terms.

It’s true that some Canadians fear legalization will onset a kind of Reefer Madness effect, wherein young people are perpetually high and good citizens pass en masse through the gateway from cannabis to hard drugs. But real-talk: that’s fake news. The data is in and most Canadians are either neutral or just plain happy about legalization. And the implementation of new laws must reflect these attitudes. As for the hard-drug-hysteria crowd, even they must admit that while they’re fussing over marijuana hypotheticals, the opioid crisis is here, creating all sorts of deadly problems without any help from marijuana, illegal or otherwise. What a revelation it would be to hear you say that out loud.

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You’ve taken a big focus on protecting youth in the proposed bill. This is smart, because marijuana, like alcohol, may have a negative impact on the developing brain. Now, my cheekier side wants to remind you that we adults know it’s against the law (and a bad idea) to give alcohol to minors. That’s why most of us don’t do it. I expect we will apply the same restraint when it comes to marijuana and would do so even without the threat of the proposed maximum 14-year prison term for such an offence.

14 years? Really?

There’s no other way to say it, Mr. Prime Minister: this is a different kind of reefer madness. Simply put, these penalties are disproportionate to similar offences making them seem not only hysterical but also uninformed. We both know you’re going to be hearing this a lot over the next year, but for the similar crime of giving alcohol to minors, penalties include a fine and a possible jail term of up to one year. Moreover, and I mean no disrespect, are you also aware that the maximum sentence for receiving a financial or material benefit for the purpose of committing or facilitating trafficking in child victims is also 14 years? Even if your government’s proposed maximum sentences are a PR move to show disbelieving Canadians you take legalization seriously, they fall far out of step with balanced crime and punishment.

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We are a vast land with a relatively small population. An yet, the world is looking at us, shoulders shrugged, palms turned up, and eyes wide asking, “How can we be more like Canada?” As Rolling Stone (congrats on the cover, by the way) elegantly pointed out, you are governing with a forward-thinking mind and drawing from contemporary values that position you and Canada as global leaders. So please Justin, hold the world’s worried gaze and consider taking the sunnier path to legalisation.

I know it’s early in our correspondence and there is much to discuss, but the conversation must begin with a clear vision of who we want to be as country come July 1, 2018.

Until next time, may the force by with you.


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