Tag: Legalization

Is GOP Leadership Out of Touch With Voters on Cannabis?

A new poll released Thursday by Quinnipiac University has revealed some remarkable trends in support for cannabis legalization. One of the most pertinent takeaways, coming the same day that the White House vowed “greater enforcement” against legal states: A majority of voters, both Republican and Democrat, oppose the government interfering with state-legal cannabis operations.

A full 71 percent of those surveyed said they are against the federal government taking action against states that have legalized cannabis for medical or adult use. Majorities in both parties—80 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of Republicans—said they are against a federal crackdown on cannabis in legal states.

Or, as Quinnipiac put it: “REPUBLICANS OUT OF STEP WITH U.S. VOTERS ON KEY ISSUES … MOST VOTERS SUPPORT LEGALIZED MARIJUANA”

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The overwhelming support for respecting state laws, however, didn’t quite translate to full-throated support of  legalization outright. The poll found that 72 percent of Democrats were favored federal, adult-use legalization, while nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Republicans were opposed.

On the issue of medical marijuana, voters in both parties came out out firmly in favor. A whopping 96 percent of Democratic respondents and 85 percent of Republicans said they support allowing adults using cannabis to treat medical conditions with a doctor’s recommendation.

The responses reflect similar trends toward bipartisan support of legalization that emerged during the November’s presidential election. While cannabis reform has largely been seen as a liberal issue, denigrated as a movement of hippies and freeloaders, it’s no longer a liberal issue. Voters in eight states, including Florida, Arkansas, and North Dakota, approved legalizing cannabis in some capacity last election.

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A recent poll out of Texas also showed a spike in cannabis support over the past two years. According to a poll by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune, 83 percent of Texans support legalizing cannabis in some form, and 53 percent believe cannabis should be available for adult use, not just medicinal purposes.

The polls showing bipartisan support of state-by-state legalization, however, come as GOP leadership—and the White House—in particular, move to ramp up scrutiny of state cannabis programs.

After months of speculation about the implications of a Trump presidency and the appointment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer lent fuel to the industry’s worst fears during a press conference on Thursday, Feb. 23.

Answering a question regarding adult-use cannabis specifically, Spicer replied, “I think you’ll see greater enforcement on that.”

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Breaking: White House Plans ‘Greater Enforcement’ Against Legal Cannabis

Spicer indicated that the Trump administration does recognize the distinction between medical and adult-use marijuana, suggesting the enforcement actions would focus on nonmedical programs.

While Republicans are more likely to support medical cannabis than adult-use measures, Thursday’s poll suggests GOP elders might do well to take a long, hard look at the growing support among Americans of all backgrounds for legal, regulated cannabis before taking action against states.


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

Breaking: White House Plans ‘Greater Enforcement’ Against Legal Cannabis

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer sent a jolt through the cannabis world on Thursday, suggesting at a media briefing that the Trump administration could take actions to crack down on state-legal cannabis programs.

“I think you’ll see greater enforcement,” Spicer said, according to The Hill. He added that precisely what that means will be “a question for the Department of Justice.”

Spicer, answering questions from reporters, drew a distinction between medical and nonmedical cannabis programs, expressing some support for the very sick who find relief through cannabis.

Trump “understands the pain and suffering that many people go through who are facing especially terminal diseases, and the comfort that some of these drugs, including medical marijuana, can bring to them,” he said, according to Politico, also noting previous action by Congress not to fund the Justice Department “go[ing] after those folks.”

“The last thing we should be doing is encouraging people.”

Sean Spicer, White House press secretary

As for “recreational marijuana, that’s a very, very different subject,” Spicer said.

“When you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people,” he said.

Patients, consumers, business owners, and government officials in legal states have been parsing cannabis-related language out of the Trump camp since the presidential campaign. Today’s message from Spicer is the latest sign that the White House could take actions to stymie adult-use programs already up and running in a handful of states across the country.

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The Senate Just Confirmed Jeff Sessions as Attorney General

Trump’s nomination of Jeff Sessions to head the Department of Justice has also cast a cloud of uncertainty over state cannabis programs. In April of last year, Sessions famously said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” He was cagey in Senate confirmation hearings when asked about his how he’d handle cannabis as US attorney general, pledging to “review and evaluate” existing policies under which the DOJ has allowed state programs to operate.

“Congress made the possession of marijuana in every state, and the distribution of it, an illegal act,” he told senators. “If that’s something that’s not desired any longer, Congress should pass a law to change the rule.”

Trump himself has stressed his frustration with the nation’s ongoing opioid crisis and has vowed to go after international drug cartels. Until now, however, he’s been mostly quiet on state-legal cannabis. He has expressed support for medical marijuana and states’ rights, but has also surrounded himself with numerous legalization opponents, from billionaire political donors to Cabinet-level officials. In addition to Sessions, Georgia Republican Tom Price, Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary, has come out strongly against legalization.

This story is developing and will be updated as information is available.


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: South Africa Approves MMJ Production

US News Updates

National

US Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), a longtime champion of cannabis reform, introduced a House resolution that would amend the Controlled Substances Act to protect state cannabis programs and businesses that comply with state and local laws. House Resolution 975 has already gained 14 co-sponsors so far and has been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Rohrabacher’s name is already attached to the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, a Congressional spending measure that prohibits the Justice Department from using federal funds to prosecute state-legal medical marijuana. That measure is set to expire in April, although US Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) recently stepped forward as lead co-sponsor to renew the amendment. Both represantatives are founding members of the newly established Congressional Cannabis Caucus, a group of federal lawmakers dedicated to promoting sensible cannabis policy at the federal level.

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Colorado

Access to Colorado cannabis is poised to expand further thanks to a handful of developments:

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Georgia

The House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee will be meeting this week to discuss House Bill 65, which would expand the number of qualifying conditions for the state’s medical cannabis program. The bill has already been discussed by the Medical Marijuana Working Group, where representatives heard testimony from advocates as well pediatricians both in favor and against the bill. Another medical marijuana measure, however, Senate Bill 16, would reduce the amount of THC allowed from five percent to three percent. SB 16 has already passed through the Senate and now heads to the House floor.

Iowa

An Iowa House subcommittee has approved a bill to legalize the use of cannabis-derived oil for medicinal purposes and create a state-run program for the cultivation and distribution of the oil to patients who would qualify. Those who suffer from epileptic seizures, multiple sclerosis, and cancer would likely benefit from the program, expanding the conditions from the previously medical marijuana oil program, which was aimed solely at those who suffer from epilepsy. The Iowa Department of Public Health would be tasked with running and overseeing the program, as well as issuing registration cards for qualifying patients.

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Kentucky

A new bill from the Kentucky House of Representatives would allow medical cannabis use with a doctor’s recommendation. House Bill 411, introduced by Rep. John Sims Jr. (D-Frankfort), would allow physicians to recommend medical cannabis without facing prosecution. Sims indicated that he introduced the bill after seeing studies that show cannabis can help patients in certain situations.

Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Legislature created the Committee on Marijuana Policy to help oversee and implement the state’s adult-use legalization law passed by voters last November. Two lawmakers have been tasked with rewriting the law to make “significant changes” before retail shops are scheduled to open in 2018. Rep. Mark Cusack (D-Braintree) and Sen. Pat Jehlen (D-Somerville) were appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker to complete a revised version of the law by June 2017, although the lawmakers have so far been mum on what changes might be in the works.

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Minnesota

A new bill in the Minnesota Legislature would legalize cannabis for personal use by adults 21 and older. Sen. Jeff Hayden (DFL-St. Paul) introduced S.F. 1392 a companion to H.F. 927, already introduced in the House. Both bills are aimed at legalizing and regulating the sales, possession, and use of cannabis for adults over the age of 21, but passage could be a long shot. Minnesota has one of the most restrictive medical marijuana programs in the country, and so far not a single state Legislature across the country has legalized cannabis for adult use.

New Hampshire

A bill to legalize cannabis for adult use has been introduced for the first time in the New Hampshire Senate. Senate Bill 233, introduced by Sen. Jeff Woodburn (D-Dalton), would legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis sales, as well as establish a committee to study cannabis legalization. Woodburn, also the state Senate minority leader, said New Hampshire needs to be more progressive and open as the rest of New England moves toward legalization. “We do not want to become the Mississippi of the Northeast, where people have to worry about driving through the state.” Woodburn testified before the Judiciary Committee.

North Dakota

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to approve just over $1 million in funding to oversee the state’s new medical marijuana program over the next two years. Deputy State Officer Arvy Smith said North Dakota is not anticipating earning any revenue from the program during its first year, as the system gets off the ground. After that, user fees are expected to help fund the program. During the course of the coming two-year budget cycle between 2017 and 2019, the program is expected to cost a total of $2.9 million and raise about $1.3 million. The 81-page emergency measure to amend the bill will be considered this week by the Senate.

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Wyoming

An initiative to legalize medical marijuana won’t be on the 2018 ballot after failing to meet a key deadline. The petition was organized by NORML’s Wyoming chapter and had originally aimed to put a question on the 2016 ballot, but organizers failed to gather the 25,600 required signatures in time. Setting its sights on 2018, the group continued gathering signatures. Once again, however, it has failed to submit enough signatures to the Secretary of State’s office before a last week’s Feb. 14 deadline. A poll conducted in October 2016 found that support for the legalizing medical cannabis is at an all-time high, with 81 percent of Wyoming respondents in favor.

Texas

Houston is getting a newly revamped cannabis decriminalization policy. The city has suffered from a high crime rate for years, and state Attorney General Kim Ogg campaigned on a platform that promised to deprioritize low-level cannabis offenses in order to divert funds to fight violent crime in Harris County. The Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program, designed to spare offenders from criminal penalties, would allow those who are caught with two ounces of cannabis or less to take a four-hour educational class rather than face a misdemeanor charge. Ogg’s office believes such diversion programs could spare up to 12,000 people from jail time and save Harris County around $26 million per year in enforcement costs.

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Virginia

During the first gubernatorial primary debate, two of the four Republican candidates indicated support for relaxing criminal penalties around cannabis. Denver Riggleman, a populist candidate, described his brother’s struggle to reintegrate into normal life after spending nine months in jail on cannabis-related charges. Another candidate, Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey A. Stewart joined Riggleman in calling for decriminalization, saying “It’s absolutely atrocious that we are jailing people simply because they are in possession of marijuana.” Front-runner Ed Gillespie has said he does not support decriminalization but instead wants a state commission to review whether the penalties for marijuana offenses are in line with the severity of the crime. Rounding out the GOP field, state Sen. Frank Wagner supports diverting drug offenders to therapy programs rather than jailing them. The two Democratic Party candidates, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and former US Rep. Tom Perriello, have both come forward in favor of decriminalization.

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International News Updates

Australia

Health Minister Greg Hunt has officially given the go-ahead for the legal sales of medical cannabis products to begin. Companies will now be permitted to distribute cannabis oils and medications locally, establishing a legal cannabis trade within the country. Parliament passed laws last year allowing patients with chronic illnesses to qualify medicinal cannabis, but without a legal market, products were only available only via import or through the black market. The move is meant to ensure Australia is able to maintain a safe, secure, and reputable source of cannabis-based medicines. Domestic production will continue until the supply is enough to meet patient demand.

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South Africa

The Medical Control Council, in a long-awaited decision, announced it will for the first time publish guidelines on medical cannabis production. Member of Parliament Narend Singh, of the South African Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), hailed the announcement as the result of tireless work from former IFP MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini, who fought for cannabis legalization and made a direct plea to South African President Jacob Zuma to decriminalize cannabis. Oriani-Ambrosini died of lung cancer in 2014, before the government made any policy changes, but the IFP has since called its approval of medicinal cannabis production a tribute to the late MP.


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.

Canadian Dispensaries: Why Vancouver Allows Them but Toronto Doesn’t

Rick Vrecic was working behind the counter at his medical marijuana dispensary in Toronto one day last week when he looked up and saw three men breaking into the building. He thought he was being robbed. But when a group of uniformed police officers burst into the dispensary seconds later, he realized it was a raid.

Rick Vrecic thought his dispensary was getting robbed. It turned out to be a police raid. Just another day in Toronto.

Officers threw him to ground and put handcuffs on him. “Where’s the Rotty?” they demanded, referring to the service dog owned by one of the dispensary’s volunteers. “Where is it?” The dog wasn’t there. Rick was taken to the police station and the dispensary was shuttered.

The experience was unsettling but not unusual. It was just the latest incident in an ongoing conflict between Toronto authorities and the dispensaries seeking business licenses similar to those granted to their counterparts in a handful of other Canadian cities.

Vrecic gave up opiates and turned to marijuana to treat chronic back pain years ago. He credits cannabis with saving his life and he felt good about providing it to other people with medical conditions.. The police raid and subsequent closure of the store was a major setback. “I’m now prevented from helping people,” he told Leafly. “I’m heartbroken.”

Source of the conflict: limited licenses

The conflict dates back to 2000, when an Ontario court invalidated the prohibition of cannabis for medical purposes. The federal government soon set guidelines for individuals to grow cannabis or purchase it through Health Canada. In 2013, the federal government decided to allow some big producers to grow medical marijuana and it banned individuals from growing their own. Ottawa lifted that ban last August, in response to another court decision.

So far, the government has granted licenses to almost 40 large-scale producers. These companies, known as licensed producers (LPs), send their products to patients exclusively through the mail. The federal government has not offered licenses to storefront dispensaries.

Mail-order companies got Health Canada licenses. Storefront dispensaries did not.

Recreational marijuana is not legal but that is expected to change. The federal government has undertaken steps to legalize it and new legislation is expected to be introduced this spring.

In recent years, Canadians have been purchasing marijuana at dispensaries popping up across the country. Some of those stores sell marijuana only to people who use it for medical purposes, and have prescriptions or other medical documentation to prove it, while others also sell it to those who use it for recreational purposes.

In June 2015, Vancouver responded to the trend by becoming the first Canadian city to regulate medical marijuana. Since then the city has granted licenses to storefront dispensaries that abide by strict regulations regarding location and other issues.

Vancouver Councillor Kerry Jang, who led the push for regulation, explained the decision by saying dispensaries met the needs of people who hold prescriptions for medical marijuana but aren’t being well served by Health Canada’s licensed producer (LP) system.

“We took a public health approach, with help from experts around B.C., and put our policy goals up front — have a place for those who need [medical marijuana] but keep it away from kids and organized crime, and ramp up fines to get the guys [who fail to meet regulations] out,” Jang told The Toronto Star. Victoria, which is 62 miles south of Vancouver, followed suit as have about 10 other municipalities in B.C. He said the policy goal isn’t clear in Toronto, “except that it’s illegal.”

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Dispensary owners want to talk, city won’t

Owners of dispensaries in Canada’s biggest city hope to change that. For years, they have been trying to convince Toronto City Hall to grant them licenses. They seemed to being making inroads last spring, when Mayor John Tory visited a marijuana dispensary and then sent a letter to the Licensing Standards department asking it to study and make recommendations on regulating medicinal marijuana dispensaries in Toronto.

But soon after, police raided dozens of dispensaries across the city. “Operation Claudia,” carried out in May 2016, resulted in the arrest of 90 business owners and employees; in total, 186 charges were laid. By the end of January, police had conducted another 33 raids, averaging about one a week.

Toronto police have made 33 dispensary raids since the 2016 Operation Claudia crackdown.

Toronto Police spokesperson Mark Pugash has stated that police choose which dispensaries to investigate and raid “on the basis of complaints, concerns and public safety issues.”

A few weeks ago, Toronto police held a conference to announce a spike in dispensary robberies. An officer told the assembled media that there had been 17 robberies at dispensaries since the previous June — and that only nine of them had been reported to authorities. He said some of the robberies had been violent, with employees and customers being stabbed, pistol-whipped and even shot at. Police urged dispensary owners to report these incidents.

Advocates don’t deny the robberies are happening but many balk at the prospect of reporting a crime to police only to be charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking, among other infractions. “Without licensing for businesses, it’s difficult for [dispensaries] to trust being able to call the police,” said Lisa Campbell, spokesman for the Cannabis Friendly Business Association.

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If Vancouver can, why can’t Toronto?

Why has the city refused to grant licenses to dispensaries? The answer depends on whom you ask.

Toronto city officials say it’s simple: Dispensaries are illegal under federal law. “Under current [federal] regulations there is no legal framework that would permit storefront retail dispensing of cannabis and cannabis products,” Tracey Cook, Executive Director of Municipal Licensing and Standards, told Leafly. In other words, the city’s hands are tied.

But medical marijuana advocates aren’t buying it. More than anything else, they attribute the impasse to big business. They feel the city is catering to the interests of the large-scale licensed producers.

A week before the Operation Claudia raids last May, the Financial Post reported that Cannabis Canada, an industry association for licensed medical marijuana companies, had approached Toronto city officials a year before because, according to an association executive, the proliferation of dispensaries was “getting out of hand.”

The Post reported that Toronto’s dispensaries had become “a headache” for licensed producers because the dispensaries were selling more product than the legal market, and were doing so with no regulation or oversight. That raised safety concerns and “threaten[ed] to undermine the legal, regulated industry.”

“Here in Toronto, there are millions of dollars invested in licensed producers,” medical marijuana patient advocate Tracy Curley told Leafly. Curley has met with Toronto police to discuss the legal status of dispensaries. “There are more licensed producers in Ontario than in any other province. The lobbying efforts by those businesses to close down dispensaries is a factor [in the city’s refusal to license dispensaries].”

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The LPs say there’s no threat

“I can’t speak for every corporate entity but I can speak for us — and we haven’t lobbied to have dispensaries shut down,” said Jordan Sinclair, spokesperson for Canopy Growth Corporation, a medical marijuana company based in Smith Falls, Ontario, 200 miles northeast of Toronto.

“We don’t see dispensaries as a threat. We’re growing at an incredible rate. We’ve been experiencing double-digit growth, and we’re expanding as quickly as we can to keep up with demand.

“We’ve made a decision to abide by all of the regulations you have to follow to be a cannabis business. We’re choosing to follow the rules and there are some people out there who are choosing not to. They’re looking for somewhere to place the blame, or frustration, when they can’t operate the way they want.”

‘Toronto has always been considered a world-class city, but Port Alberni, B.C., seems more progressive and world-class right now.’

Tracy Curley, Toronto patient advocate

“I don’t see dispensaries as bad for our business,” added Michael Gorenstein, CEO of Toronto-based Cronos Group, which owns two licensed producers, one in Ontario and one in British Columbia. “Short term, dispensaries don’t affect us because demand is greater than supply. Long term, I think it would be good for business if we were able to distribute through licensed dispensaries,” he said. “We would provide consumers with the same access as more consolidated retail channels, allow new small businesses to participate in the booming cannabis industry and preserve the craft appeal that cannabis consumers frequently desire.”

(Editor’s note: Leafly is owned by Privateer Holdings, which is also the parent company of Tilray, a Canadian licensed producer.)

The licensed producers are not the only corporate entities that have a vested interest in banning dispensaries, say advocates. They note that Galen Weston Jr., whose father is the second-richest person in Canada, has publicly expressed his hope that the behemoth chain of supermarkets and drug stores he heads up (which include Loblaws and Shopper’s Drug Mart) may one day be given the green light to sell medical marijuana.

Cook declined to comment on the advocates’ claim that corporate lobbying was behind the city’s refusal to grant licenses to dispensaries. Instead, she circled back to the federal law governing the distribution of medical marijuana.

When asked why Toronto has so far chosen not to license dispensaries like Vancouver, Cook said that “regulations passed in jurisdictions in British Columbia are for ‘marijuana-related businesses’ not for the sale of marijuana/cannabis itself, as this is not permitted.”

Nevertheless, marijuana is being obtained legally at some locally-licensed dispensaries in British Columbia.

Campbell told Leafly that the long battle is frustrating. “It’s really hard to keep up the fight for licensing in Toronto when the city refuses to have a dialogue,” she said.

Curley added: “Toronto has always been considered a world-class city, but tiny Port Alberni, B.C. [which grants licenses to dispensaries] seems more progressive and world-class right now.”

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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.

Calif. Bill Would Make Underage Sale Violations Sting

As California gears up to open retail cannabis stores next year, one state lawmaker is proposing a stiff penalty for a business caught selling cannabis to underage buyers: the loss of its state license.

Assembly Bill 729, introduced this week by Assembly Member Adam Gray (D-Merced), would establish penalties and practices designed to limit access to nonmedical cannabis for people under 21. While sales to minors are already prohibited under Proposition 64, which legalized cannabis for adult use last year, AB 729 would require authorities to suspend an operator’s license after three such offenses within a three-year window.

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The bill would also require licensees to post signage that reads “No Person Under 21 Allowed” and allow for authorized undercover investigations using underage buyers (read: sting operations). It would bar the use of vending machines or other automated devices to sell cannabis; prohibit cannabis businesses near playgrounds, hospitals, and churches; and allow staff to seize fake IDs.

“With the legalization of recreational use marijuana under Proposition 64, it is more important than ever that safeguards are put in place to ensure marijuana stays out of the hands of children,” Gray said in a statement.

The changes would align California with other established adult-use states, such as Washington and Oregon, which have similar rules on the books. In Washington, licensees face an all-out cancellation of their license after three violations within a three-year window. In Oregon, a license suspension can occur after either two or three violations within a two-year window, depending on whether the sales are deemed intentional.

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Preventing underage access to cannabis is a key priority for state regulators in large part due to the Department of Justice’s Cole memo, a nonbinding document that provides a list of enforcement priorities states are expected to follow to avoid federal intervention in medical marijuana programs. On the very top of that list: preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors.

Despite early studies showing that cannabis use among minors has remained steady or even fallen in legal states, one of the biggest concerns about legalization is whether it gives children easier access to cannabis. It came up frequently last election season, as eight states weighed measures to legalize for medical or adult use.

So far, though, despite regulators in legal states making ID checks a top priority, repeat violations appear to be few and far between. “So far this fiscal year we have conducted 569 compliance checks (underage purchase operations) and have had 49 sales,” a Washington State Liquor Control Board spokesman, Mikhail Carpenter, said in an email. “No one has received a third violation.”

In Oregon, regulators are “shifting resources now to compliance and enforcement,” said Mark Pettinger, a spokesman for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. The office plans to conduct more “minor decoy operations” to test whether shops sell to people under 21 or those without proper ID. As for whether any licensees have had repeat violations, Pettinger said, “I would say there’s no data at this point.”

A California Assembly subcommittee is scheduled to consider AB 729 on March 18.


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.

Facing Pressure From Patients, New Zealand Moves Ahead on Medical Cannabis

Australia’s moves to legalize medical cannabis last year were unexpected, but despite a difficult regulatory framework early on, investors are eagerly moving into the space. But Australia now faces competition close to home as New Zealand races to catch up with—and possibly outpace—its larger neighbor.

Late last year, New Zealand Health Minister Peter Dunne removed the requirement for Ministry of Health approval to prescribe the popular medical cannabis product Sativex for multiple sclerosis. Last week, Dunne announced on the New Zealand government’s official website (called Beehive) that he has delegated all decision making around cannabis prescriptions to his ministry.

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New Zealand divides medical cannabis products into three categories: pharmaceutical-grade products with consent for distribution in New Zealand (like Sativex, but only for multiple sclerosis), pharmaceutical-grade products that do not have consent for distribution in New Zealand (medicines not yet approved), and non-pharmaceutical-grade cannabis-based products (such as raw cannabis flower).

Until recently, the health minister’s personal approval was required for every cannabis-related prescription. The revision last year means that doctors are now able to prescribe Sativex without any approval from the ministry. Last week’s announcement streamlines the process for access to the other categories by delegating to employees of the ministry the power to approve applications if they meet certain guidelines. Guidelines are still very strict for non-pharmaceuticals, which are only considered for life-threatening conditions.

Like the Australian government, the New Zealand government is experiencing significant pressure from patients. Last year a high-profile former union leader Helen Kelly, who used cannabis to manage pain associated with her terminal cancer, died of the disease. Kelly had called for decriminalizing medical cannabis. Although she didn’t achieve full decriminalization, she helped sway public opinion on this issue. Recent polls show that 76 percent of New Zealanders now support safe, legal access to medical cannabis.

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To that end, Dunne’s decision to remove some of the red tape from the path to patient access is a step in the right direction.

Dunne plans to follow up directly with the New Zealand Medical Association. “It is my intention to write … to the New Zealand Medical Association and the Pharmacy Society of New Zealand outlining my decision and my ongoing expectation that medical professionals consider the prescribing of cannabis-based products with an open mind,” he said, adding  that he also intends to create a list of internationally available, pharmaceutical-grade cannabis products.

But the recent reforms, while helpful, aren’t exactly a giant leap into the future. Dunne’s political party, the National Party, has previously voted against cannabis law reforms. The ascendant Green Party, on the other hand, has said it will legalize cannabis for adult use.

While New Zealand doesn’t grow cannabis yet, Australia’s licensing scheme has caught the attention of scientists such as Dr. Mike Nichols, who has called on the New Zealand government to institute a similar scheme. New Zealand’s agricultural know-how, and fertile, isolated islands could give it an incredible advantage as a cannabis producer. With public opinion swinging hard towards legalization, and clinical trial results from around the world flooding in, this little corner of Asia-Pacific could soon become a hotbed of competition.


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

Colorado Warms to Cannabis Clubs

DENVER (AP) — Colorado is on the brink of becoming the first state with licensed cannabis clubs. But the details of how these clubs will operate are as hazy as the underground clubs operating already.

Denver officials are working on regulations to open a one-year pilot of bring-your-own marijuana clubs, while state lawmakers are expected to consider measures to allow either marijuana “tasting rooms” run by marijuana dispensaries, or smoke-friendly clubs akin to cigar bars.

Alaska regulators, spooked by how the Trump administration might view marijuana, recently decided not to move forward with rules for use of marijuana at authorized stores, though the issue there isn’t dead.

Both parties seem to agree that Colorado needs to allow for places that let patrons consume. But that’s where agreement breaks down.

California and Maine voters expressly signed off on public marijuana consumption but haven’t settled on rules. Oregon lawmakers are considering legislation to allow marijuana use at special events like concerts, and in cannabis lounges. But Colorado may be first out of the gate with statewide cannabis-club regulations, possibly by this summer.

Colorado officials from both parties have come around to the idea of Amsterdam-style clubs for a simple reason: Everyone is tired of seeing pot smokers on public sidewalks.

“It’s a problem we’ve got to address,” said state Sen. Chris Holbert, a suburban Denver Republican who opposed marijuana legalization but doesn’t like seeing its use on the sidewalk, either.

Pointing jokingly to his suit and tie, the gray-haired Holbert said he’s even had panhandlers ask him for marijuana near the state Capitol.

“I mean, look at me. If I’m getting hassled, everyone’s getting hassled,” Holbert told reporters.

Democrats here agree tourists need an out-of-sight place to use marijuana.

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“No voter in Colorado voted to allow the use of marijuana on their sidewalk, in their parks, in their public view,” said Democratic state Rep. Dan Pabon of Denver. “But that’s essentially what we’ve done by not allowing private club space for marijuana uses.”

So both parties seem to agree that Colorado needs to allow for places that let patrons consume. But that’s where agreement breaks down.

“Jeff Sessions is the big question mark right now.”

State Rep. Jonathan Singer

A Republican-sponsored measure to allow marijuana clubs to be regulated like cigar bars was put on hold for a re-write. That’s because sponsors are trying to address concerns that cannabis clubs shouldn’t allow medical marijuana use, along with other legal wrinkles.

“Telling people to socially use their medicine? That’s like we’re legalizing pill parties,” said Rachel O’Bryan, who opposes marijuana clubs and ran an unsuccessful campaign to defeat a Denver social-use measure last fall.

There’s also intense disagreement over whether establishing social clubs would invite a federal crackdown.

Some say the clubs would be too much for federal authorities to ignore; others insist the Justice Department would view clubs as a way to keep cannabis away from children, a priority according to previous Justice Department directions.

“Jeff Sessions is the big question mark right now,” said Democratic state Rep. Jonathan Singer, referring to the newly minted, anti-marijuana U.S. attorney general. “I think we need to send a message to him that Colorado’s doing it right.”

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Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, opposed legalization but is undecided on signing a bill to allow clubs. He said he’s not sure how the administration would respond to such establishments.

“I don’t know whether we’d be inviting federal intervention, but certainly that’s one argument I’ve heard used persuasively,” Hickenlooper said Thursday.

The governor did indicate he’d veto a bill that allowed indoor smoking, not just smoking on enclosed private patios. The Denver clubs would have to abide by clean-air laws banning burned marijuana inside; the statewide proposal would allow indoor smoking with “proper ventilation.”

“We spent a long time letting everyone know that smoking is bad for you,” Hickenlooper said. “Just cause that smoke makes you happy, and dumb, doesn’t mean it’s good for you.”

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The marijuana industry seems frustrated by Colorado’s halting attempts to figure out how to allow cannabis clubs. Because current marijuana law is vague, Colorado currently has a patchwork of underground clubs, many of them raided when they try to file permits or pay taxes.

“The situation right now is a disaster,” said Chris Jetter, a licensed marijuana grower who owned a west Denver marijuana club that was raided twice. Jetter said authorities took more than six pounds of marijuana, along with tens of thousands in cash, then charged him with illegally distributing cannabis.

(Jetter eventually pleaded guilty to public consumption of marijuana, and was fined $100. He disputes he was doing anything illegal and says he pleaded guilty to end the matter. He has since closed his club.)

“Two or more people can get together and consume alcohol almost anywhere, and there’s no problem with that,” Jetter said. “But we’re not treating marijuana like alcohol. What’s going to happen with the feds? If they start kicking in doors, I don’t know. But we need to figure something out.”


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.

Leafly Investigation: California Has a Dirty Cannabis Problem

There’s no hard data available, but a survey of industry insiders contacted for this article suggests that fewer than half of California dispensaries and delivery services lab test the marijuana they sell. The actual figure could be even lower. After all, testing isn’t currently required under state law. In 2015, lawmakers passed a measure to require testing of medical cannabis, but that won’t be enforced until January 2018.

“Everything makes its way into the supply chain somehow.”

San Francisco dispensary operator

More troubling is what happens to cannabis that turns out to be contaminated. According to dispensary operators and other industry insiders interviewed for this article, cannabis rejected for mold, fungi, pesticide residue, or other contaminants often stays in the supply chain. It may end up on the black market, shipped out of state. It could be processed into concentrates or edibles. Or marijuana rejected by one dispensary may simply end up being sold across town by someone else. If your dispensary isn’t testing its products, you could be smoking some right now. It’s virtually impossible to know.

In a study published in October, Berkeley-based Steep Hill Labs claimed it found residual pesticides in 84 percent of cannabis tested over a 30-day period beginning in mid-September, the peak time in the state’s marijuana harvest.

All that cannabis would have failed safety standards in Oregon. In California, all of it can be sold.

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Why does testing matter?

The potential consequences of contaminated cannabis recently hit home with the release of an article in the journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection.

One of the article’s authors, Dr. Joseph Tuscano, an oncologist and researcher at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, Calif., had been treating a young man in his 20s with leukemia. After a stem-cell transplant, the prognosis was very good. The leukemia was gone, and the man seemed likely to recover. Then, very suddenly, he developed a severe lung infection.

An oncologist's article in this medical journal has opened questions about the safety of at-risk patients using untested cannabis. A UC Davis oncologist’s article in this medical journal has opened questions about the safety of at-risk patients using untested cannabis.

One consequence of cancer treatment is that patients’ immune systems become so compromised that even flowers and houseplants can pose a mortal risk. It’s common for bacteria and fungi that healthy people would never notice to cause sudden, severe, and sometimes fatal pneumonia in cancer patients. That’s what happened to Tuscano’s patient, who survived leukemia only to die of what turned out to be a rare fungal infection.

Then it happened again. Another young leukemia patient, another good prognosis, another sudden and severe lung infection caused by the same rare strain of fungus. This patient, however, recovered. When Tuscano asked him about his lifestyle, trying to identify a cause or any links between the two cases, he discovered the two men both used marijuana. The dead patient had vaporized a cannabis “mist” medicinally as part of his treatment; the survivor smoked recreationally prior to his leukemia diagnosis—which was when he developed the infection “instantly,” Tuscano told me.

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“When you have these rare infections, you wonder, ‘OK, how did this patient get exposed to this?’” he said. “We never suspected cannabis use … but after I interviewed the patient, one of the common links was the use of medicinal marijuana.”

It’s impossible to know for certain if the deadly fungus came from cannabis. Tuscano couldn’t test the cannabis the two men had used. It was gone. The next-best thing was to find out if the fungus was in marijuana generally.

Voluntary testing, poor results.

Unlike Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, there is currently no requirement in California for cannabis to be lab-tested before it is sold. Testing isn’t slated to begin until Jan. 1, 2018—and that’s assuming everything goes according to schedule. Some already worry the state’s adult-use rollout is destined for delay.

In the meantime, dispensaries, delivery services, and growers can voluntarily submit crops to testing labs to find contaminants and to determine their products’ THC content—a sought-after marketing metric, since the higher the number, the easier the cannabis is to sell.

This photo taken on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, shows a lab technician loading a tray of marijuana samples into a Chromograph at CannLabs in Denver. The Chromograph analyzes the samples and reports their chemical content and strength. From potency standards to labeling requirements and even regulations about pesticides and fungicides, marijuana production is largely unregulated, for now. That's why there are places like CannLabs in south Denver, where medical marijuana dispensaries and consumers can voluntarily have their marijuana and pot-infused edibles tested. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)A lab technician in Denver loads a tray of cannabis samples into a testing machine that analyzes the samples and reports their chemical content and strength. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

One of Tuscano’s colleagues at UC Davis, Dr. George Thompson, had a connection to Steep Hill Labs. The lab selected, at random, marijuana samples they’d received from 20 different Northern California dispensaries. Each was tested for rare and common fungi and bacteria. The result? Every single one of the 20 samples was contaminated with a variety of both. They contained E. coli, Aspergillus, various strains associated with pneumonia, pathogens known to cause common infections—as well as the rare fungus that killed Tuscano’s patient.

“All these organisms were in there, and so many other ones as well,” said Tuscano. “Before this, I never really suspected there was a link.”

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A false perception of safety

Since the marijuana his patients consumed wasn’t tested, Tuscano can’t know for certain that his patients’ fungal infections came from cannabis. Instead, he can draw only a very strong and suggestive connection.

We don’t know for sure if dirty cannabis led to infection. But researchers suspect a strong connection.

There’s also a few clear warnings. For starters, immunocompromised people should not smoke or vaporize marijuana, Tuscano and his co-authors of the letter say. Neither smoking nor vaping nor filtration through a water pipe destroys fungus. Cannabis ingested orally, for example through edibles or tinctures, is a safer option.

There’s a cultural phenomenon at work, too. Legalization and the widespread acceptance of physician-recommended medical marijuana—a proven political winner, even in red states—have created a “perception of safety,” the researchers wrote. Consumers and even regulators have “unknowingly ignored a product that can be contaminated with infectious agents and thus harbor potentially lethal risks

“People need to quit assuming what they get from the dispensary is safe,” Tuscano told me. “It needs to be tested.”

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Caveat emptor at the dispensary counter

The problem is, under state law, it isn’t. Outside some local jurisdictions with their own testing requirements, California cannabis consumers take a leap of faith with every hit.

This leaves it up to patients and consumers to determine when a product is safe. Often, that relies on assumptions: assuming a dispensary is sincere when it says it tests its medicine, and assuming that test results in fact determine whether a product is or isn’t sold.

“I think you can tell when the culture of the shop embraces testing,” says Nicholas Smilgys, a co-founder and former chief buyer at Flow Kana, a San Francisco-based outdoor farm-to-consumer delivery service. A customer can demand to see a product’s lab results before purchase, but in high-volume dispensaries where a customer’s time at the counter is measured in minutes, such discretion isn’t always encouraged.

Lab rejects can reach the market

Kevin Reed is founder and CEO of The Green Cross in San Francisco. The dispensary has operated for more than a decade in various iterations, first as a storefront, then a delivery service, and now a combination storefront and delivery service. The store, one of the first to apply for a city license, has a history of activism and engagement that has earned it a good reputation among consumers. Before anything is sold, Reed has it sent for testing to CW Analytical, an Oakland, Calif.-based competitor to Steep Hill.

“A whole lot of shenanigans happen at the buying point.”

To this day, a “multitude of small and large scale commercial growers … attempt to sell” products that Reed’s testing discovers to be contaminated by pathogens or pesticides, he told me. The Green Cross rejects that medicine and sends the supplier on his or her way, Reed said, but “unfortunately, with the current [California] model, we cannot ensure that once a product is removed from our supply chain that it does not get sold to other dispensaries,” he said.

A lot comes down to a dispensary’s buyer, explained one San Francisco-based dispensary operator who spoke on condition of anonymity. “A whole lot of shenanigans happen at the buying point.”

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How dirty product gets sold

The operator offered a hypothetical situation as an example: A new dispensary opens up. The owner is a marijuana neophyte, maybe a newcomer from law or tech or real estate. Unfamiliar with the goods on the market, the owner hands over purchasing power to someone with cannabis-industry experience. Now, suppose that buyer has a budget of $1,400 a pound and is approached by a grower with lower-end cannabis for sale. Neither party is interested in the time and expense of a lab test.

“The seller says, ‘It’s got some issues, but I’ll give it to you for $800.’ So he gives it to him for $800, and the buyer keeps the extra $600,” the operator said. “That happens a ton in the industry.”

A grower with lab-rejected cannabis is faced with a choice: Discard the harvest and eat the loss or shop it at a discount until it sells.

“Or let’s say I’m a grower and I have a hundred pounds of OG Kush,” the dispensary operator added. Only a few grams are required “for testing, [so] I’m only going to send in my best stuff. Does that represent my entire crop?”

If a lab finds pesticides in a batch of cannabis and a dispensary rejects it, the grower is faced with a choice: Discard the harvest—and with it months of work and investment—or shop the bud around until it sells. Unless there is something catastrophically wrong, such as rampant pest damage or mold so out of control it’s visible to the naked eye, “it makes its way to a buyer somewhere,” the operator said. “And if it doesn’t make its way as a flower product, it’ll make its way to someone who will extract it” into vape-pen cartridges, extracts for dabbing, or oil to be used in edibles.

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One might think that’s a safe and acceptable fate, assuming the extraction process somehow kills off pests and eliminates contaminants. It does not, say lab scientists, who explained that when cannabinoids and terpenes are concentrated in extracts, certain fungi and pesticides are concentrated as well—sometimes disproportionately compared to the sought-after cannabinoids and terpenes.

But the point, the operator told me, is this: Very little marijuana is voluntarily discarded. “Everything,” he said, “makes its way into the supply chain somehow.”


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.

Colorado Governor Talks Cannabis Challenges in California Capitol

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper told California state senators Tuesday to set standards for edible marijuana goods and driving under the influence of cannabis as soon as possible to avoid repeating mistakes his state made when it legalized recreational cannabis.

The senators heard from Hickenlooper as the Legislature prepares to regulate sales of the drug. California voters legalized recreational cannabis in November through Proposition 64.

Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012 and faced a host of challenges implementing the new policy, from taxing dispensaries to keeping edible products away from children.

“We made an awful lot of mistakes as we were trying to wrestle with some of these issues,” Hickenlooper said.

California faces a similar challenges implementing Proposition 64. Cannabis sales under the law are scheduled begin in 2018.

“We are in a sprint between now and Jan. 1 to be able to implement the mountain of rules and regulations associated with Prop 64,” state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, said during the committee hearing where Hickenlooper spoke.

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Colorado saw a rise in child hospitalization because of kids ingesting edible cannabis products in non-child-proof containers, Hickenlooper told the committee. The state now requires edibles to be sold in child-proof containers and has stricter regulations on labeling such products.

California faces challenges determining how to enforce laws prohibiting driving under the influence of cannabis, Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, said.

“There is no real quantifiable, definitive impairment level as there is with our alcohol,” Hill said. “That’s been the criticism or the challenge that we’ve been faced with here in terms of defining what impairment would be.”

Colorado struggled to quickly pass laws to regulate impaired driving for that reason, Hickenlooper said. He recommended California lawmakers start to address that issue quickly because it will likely take time to resolve.

Marijuana dispensaries generally are forced to pay taxes in cash because federal law prohibits banks from taking their money, which can present a challenge for the state and local governments collecting taxes from the businesses, Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, said. State analysts estimate the California legal cannabis industry could generate more than $1 billion in tax revenue each year.

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Other speakers at the hearing, including local and state officials charged with overseeing the marijuana industry, also spoke about challenges implementing regulations so sales can begin next year.

“We are flying the plane while we are building it,” said Amy Tong, director of the California Department of Technology.

Mark Malone, executive director of the Denver-based Cannabis Business Alliance, cheered the interstate cooperation but also questioned the evidence of some of Hickenlooper’s claims.

“We encourage newly legalized states to visit Colorado and speak to representatives and those with established cannabis businesses so that they can form better and more efficient rules and regulations around a very successful industry; there is no reason to recreate the wheel,” Malone said in a statement Wednesday. 

He added: “The CBA does take exception to the statement that ‘Colorado saw a rise in child hospitalization because of kids ingesting edible marijuana products in non-child proof containers.’ This is false. The industry did not receive any data that there were any issues with accidental ingestion prior to Colorado changing its edible rules and regulations. It is something the industry requested multiple times but to no avail.”

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Cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. Recently confirmed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said he opposes marijuana legalization but has not announced specific plans to target marijuana industries in states that have legalized the drug.

Colorado has worked with federal authorities to crack down on black market cannabis sales, which Hickenlooper highlighted as critical to the success of the legal marijuana industry in the state. Hickenlooper said he is optimistic President Donald Trump will not crack down on Colorado’s legal marijuana industry, pointing to comments the Republican made during his campaign indicating he was open to letting states that have legalized marijuana continue to do so.

“We’re optimistic that he’s going to let the experiment continue,” Hickenlooper said. “But they’re going to closely watch it, I’m sure.”

Editors’ Note: This article was originally published by the Associated Press. Leafly staff added additional comment from the Cannabis Business Alliance.


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.