Tag: Legalization

State of the Leaf: Sacramento Sees 500% Drop in Cannabis Arrests

US News

Arkansas

It’s regulation by legislation in Arkansas as lawmakers cobble together the rules that will govern the state’s nascent medical cannabis program. There is a ton of new laws. Literally dozens of them.

“They did some crazy things, but it wasn’t anything that would affect the overall stability or the overall ability to get medicine, marijuana to the patients,” said David Couch, who led the campaign for the November ballot measure that legalized medical cannabis in the state.

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California

Cannabis arrests in the state capital of Sacramento are down a whopping 500% since state voters passed Proposition 64, to legalize adult-use cannabis in the state.

And just in time for Earth Day weekend, US Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA) made an environmentally minded pitch for ending prohibition.

District of Columbia

On 4/20, several high-profile DC cannabis advocates were arrested while carrying out an act of civil disobedience on Capitol Hill. Their motive was to highlight a soon-to-expire recurring budget amendment that protects legal medical cannabis operations from unwanted federal intrusion. It was a gutsy gesture that attracted heaps of media attention but not universal praise.

“I don’t think it is the best way forward,” cannabis stalwart US Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) told US News. “We’re going to have many advocates and business people on Capitol Hill making the case in a calm, thoughtful, rational basis.”

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Four Advocates Arrested at US Capitol ‘Smoke-in’

Florida

In November, Sunshine State voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 2 to legalize medical cannabis. Since then, Florida’s largest newspaper Tampa Bay Times has dropped a series of editorials skewering Tallahassee lawmakers for getting it all wrong—on, well, basically everything. The Times’ latest, a blistering admonition from Pulitzer Prize winner Daniel Ruth, is the most derisive yet.

“Last year, Floridians approved by 71.3 percent an amendment that broadly legalizes the use of medical marijuana. That was huge. You’d have a hard time getting 71.3 percent of the state to agree on the color of an orange. Then it was left to the Legislature to craft the rules for implementing the amendment. That’s the way the system is supposed to work. It’s called democracy and it’s all the rage, except in Florida.”

You can almost hear the mic drop.

Massachusetts

Voters in Massachusetts ended prohibition last November after passing Question 4 at the polls. Since mid-December, it has been legal to grow and possess cannabis. Since then, we’ve watched a turf war play out over who has final regulatory authority over Massachusetts’s adult recreational market.

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New Hampshire

Mixed results on a mostly GOP-led effort to expand New Hampshire’s list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis: Chronic pain legislation, HB 157, passed the Senate and is expected to become law. But a similar, separate measure that would have included PTSD as a qualifying condition, HB 160, failed to clear the Senate hurdle and was sent back to the drawing board on committee.

New Jersey

Gov. Chris Christie is literally the most unpopular governor in America, and his notoriously anti-cannabis policies are partly to blame. But for cannabis advocates, there is light at the end of the tunnel: He’ll be gone in less than nine months, at which point NJ’s cannabis landscape should transform swiftly and dramatically.

Phil Murphy, a Democrat and former ambassador to Germany, is the odds-on favorite to replace Christie. His approach would be a dramatic departure from his predecessor’s.

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“By carefully watching what other states have already done, we can ensure a legalization and taxation program that learns from their experiences and which will work from the outset,” Murphy told Leafly. “This also is about social justice, and ending a failed prohibition that has served mainly to put countless people—predominantly young men of color—behind bars and behind a huge roadblock to their futures. New Jersey should choose to be a leader.”

Pennsylvania

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, the state’s chief fiscal officer, joined hundreds of cannabis advocates in Harrisburg to make the fiscal case for ending prohibition.

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“The state’s now looking for revenues and also looking to where they can save money,” DePasquale said, adding that “the most failed war in the history of the United States is the war of drugs, specifically when it comes to marijuana.”

Activists were thrilled to have backup.

“It was an unexpected surprise when Auditor General DePasquale added his voice to the call for legalization via a ‘tax and regulate’ model,” Pittsburg NORML’s Patrick Nightingale told Leafly. “PA is facing a huge budget deficit, projected by some to be as high as $3 billion. Mr. DePasquale knows we must find additional sources of funding, and he pointed out the most obvious source of potential revenue: cannabis. My only criticism is that I think he projected revenue is far too low, especially when the $200 million to $300 million PA spends annually on marijuana-related law enforcement, courts, and corrections is factored in.”

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Vermont Senate Approves Legal Cannabis Measure, House Unlikely

South Dakota

Legalization advocates in South Dakota hope the third time’s a charm as they again circulate petitions to put cannabis reform on next year’s ballot. One ballot measure would legalize medical cannabis, while another would OK adult use. Advocates have until November to gather the requisite signatures—17,000 each—to qualify for the November 2018 election.

” We’re embracing this showdown,” advocate Melissa Mentele told Leafly. “When we get these measures on the ballot, that sets up an intriguing showdown with our notoriously anti-cannabis Attorney General Marty Jackley, who already announced his campaign for governor in 2018.

“The prospect of a showdown with South Dakota’s most notorious anti-cannabis villain,” she added, “makes my heart go pitter pat.”

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Utah

A surgeon in Utah refused to perform a life-saving double-lung transplant on 20-year-old Ryan Hancey because he had THC metabolites in his blood.

“We do not transplant organs in patients with active alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drug use or dependencies until these issues are addressed,” Utah Health System explained in a written statement. Despite a frantic last-minute crowd-sourced effort to fly him to Philadelphia’s Penn Hospital for his transplant, Hancey died over the weekend.

West Virginia

Just in time for 4/20, West Virginia became the 29th state to adopt medical cannabis legislation. “This legislation is going to benefit countless West Virginia patients and families for years to come,” said MPP’s Matt Simon.

That’s common refrain in WV, where advocates are upbeat after such a heady win. And it’s definitely a huge step forward. But this glass is also half-empty. No homegrown, no smokable flowers, no out-of-state reciprocity. Nothing before mid-2019 at the earliest. And with this flawed legislation now officially on the books, many activists fear politicians will think their work on the issue is done.

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

“This was done without much outside help,” Reverend John Wires told Leafly. He’s one of several unpaid lobbyists who, with nothing more than “gas money and shoe leather” helped make medical marijuana a reality in West Virginia.

“Imagine what we could have accomplished if we had the financial backing that has been thrown into other states,” he said. “It was the calls from the public that brought us over the top. All those in office know West Virginia citizens vote with their temper.”

International

Canada

Medical cannabis and job-related drug testing—it’s a common dilemma anywhere that medicinal cannabis is legal. Including Canada.

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“There’s nothing wrong in saying you can’t be stoned at work,” said Canadian employment lawyer Peter Straszynski.

But is there something wrong with discriminating against legal medical patients who medicate responsibly?

France

Four of the top-five finishers in the first round of France’s presidential election support decriminalizing cannabis, including Emmanuel Macron who finished first. The only opponent is Marine Le Pen, who finished second. Macron and Le Pen will face off May 8 to determine France’s next head of state.


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

Pennsylvania MMJ Licensing Draws Hundreds of Applicants

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program remains on schedule after hundreds of applications poured in from those who want to grow, process and dispense the drug.

Health Secretary Karen Murphy said Wednesday her agency has received more than 500 packages, some containing multiple applications.

“I think that we are pleased with the response, and it is what we anticipated,” Murphy said during a news conference in the Capitol to update the program’s status.

Teams are sorting, evaluating and scoring the applications with a goal of issuing permits by the end of June. Licensees will then have six months to get up and running.

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Some regulations have been released, but the rest are expected to come out in the next months, Murphy said.

She said her agency has opened about half of the packets, and they were split fairly evenly between those who want to be growers and processors and those who want to operate dispensaries.

She released the names of those entities, but not information about who owns them and where they plan to operate. Murphy said the rest of the applicants would be disclosed publicly in about a month.

The department plans to license up to 12 growers and as many as 27 dispensaries. Each dispensary can operate up to three locations.

Officials expect the drug to be available to patients by May 2018.

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A recent anonymous survey of physicians who want to be approved to prescribe medical marijuana found that many wanted to know about the type of continuing medical education they will need to be certified, Murphy said.

Murphy said the agency will soon post information on that topic for doctors.

The Health Department announced last week it picked MJ Freeway to handle a “seed-to-sale” tracking system, which will follow the marijuana from the time a seed is planted until the final product is dispensed to patients and their caregivers. The company will collect data on inventory, amounts dispensed and prices.

The law enacted last year permits patients to take the medicine by pill, oil, vapor, ointment or liquid. It does not allow it in a form that can be smoked.

To be eligible, patients must suffer from one of 17 conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma, autism and chronic or intractable pain.


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.

5 Things Trudeau’s Cannabis Interview Made Clear

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sat down Monday with reporters and staffers from Vice for a live interview about the recently introduced legislation to legalize cannabis. Over the course of an hour, he fielded questions—including from celebrities like Seth Rogan and cannabis activists like Jodie Emery—about what the changes will mean for the country.

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Here are five key takeaways from the discussion: 

Medical Isn’t Going Anywhere—For Now

Trudeau told the audience that Canada learned a lot from legal-cannabis states in the US, which may be part of the reason he’s pledged to leave the country’s medical cannabis program untouched, at least for the time being. Patients in some US states have seen medical markets dry up as adult-use legalization took over, forcing them to pay more for different products.

Trudeau says that won’t happen—at least not anytime soon. “The medical marijuana system that exists in Canada will stay as-is for the coming years,” he told the Vice audience.

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Trudeau said he even believes nonmedical legalization could help federal lawmakers to “make better determinations” about how to regulate the medical market. Currently “a lot of people” use the medical system to purchase cannabis for recreational purposes, he said. As those people transition to the adult-use market, it will “radically transform the environment in which the medical marijuana system currently works,” allowing regulators to respond accordingly.

Don’t Expect the Raids to Stop Soon

While nationwide cannabis legalization is only about a year away in Canada, Trudeau insisted on the importance of enforcing current cannabis laws. He shot down ideas like a moratorium on new criminal charges or the possibility of nationwide decriminalization in the interim.

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“Until we have a system in place that is a better system than our current system, our system has to stand,” he said. “If you decriminalize, the only people who will be growing and selling are going to be criminals themselves.”

Trudeau faced some pushback for staying the course, at least from the Vice audience. A big point of contention was the degree to which a criminal conviction can affect a person’s life for years down the road. A recent Vice poll found that 56% of Canadians support a blanket pardon for past cannabis offenses, and 35% support pardons for possession. Only 9% percent opposed pardons of any kind.

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Edibles: A Lot to Chew On

Sales of cannabis-infused edibles won’t be permitted in Canada, meaning consumers who want to skip smoking and eat a brownie instead will have to buy cannabis flower or concentrate and make edibles at home. That’s irked some consumers—especially following a Canadian Supreme Court decision saying medical edibles are OK—but Trudeau on Monday stood by the policy.

“We don’t yet have full confidence that we know what a regulated framework around edibles will look like,” he acknowledged, pointing to anecdotes of overconsumption-by-edibles in states like Colorado. “We have to get it right.”

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Asked how he expected to make a dent in the illegal market without allowing edibles, Trudeau acknowledged that was a problem for another day. “That next step, we’re going to be working on it,” he said. “It’s in the future.”

Under the Banner of Safety

Nearly all of Trudeau’s talking points on legalization stressed public safety as the legislation’s driving principle. It’s the reason he stood by the edibles ban, the explanation behind continuing to enforce the country’s cannabis laws, and the motivation behind trying to keep the industry in check.

“I’m more of a beer and bourbon guy.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

US states, Trudeau said, have approached cannabis legalization “very much with a commercial mindset and already thinking about profits and revenue,” he said. “We’re approaching it purely from a health and safety standpoint.”

Public safety was Trudeau’s justification for a number of policies, such as the need for strict federal oversight of cannabis production and why it’s important to keep shutting down storefront dispensaries that are operating illegally. It’s also been the official justification for setting the legal age for cannabis at 18 under the new law and for imposing strict limits on advertising.

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Trudeau: Not Exactly a Cannabis Guy

The first question to the prime minister was about the last time he tried cannabis. His response? “My high-school friends, everyone who’s known me a long time, thinks it’s just really, really funny that I’m the one in charge of legalizing marijuana” he said, describing himself as “the boringest.”

“Convincing me to move toward legalization was very much done on a policy basis,” he explained.

In other words, he’s no Barry Obama, whose affinity for cannabis during his college years is widely known. He’s pragmatic, policy-minded, and, well…  not all that interested in consuming cannabis.

“I’m more of a beer and bourbon guy,” he said in response to a question about how he planned to celebrate legalization’s success.

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Canadian Craft Cannabis?

Federal officials will oversee cannabis cultivation under the new law. That’s worried some consumers, who fear a small number of large companies could control the entire supply—as so-called “licensed producers” do in the country’s medical market. But Trudeau assured the Vice audience that the adult-use market will offer more choices.

“We are very, very much focused on making sure there’s a market that’s going to meet the needs and interests of consumers,” he said, noting that consumers have already expressed interest in organic or pesticide-free growing methods.


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.

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

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana lawmakers were a vote away Monday from sending the governor a bill that creates licenses, fees and regulations for medical marijuana distributors.

The bill endorsed by the Montana House attempts to regulate the medical marijuana industry after voters last November approved lifting restrictions that severely limited distribution of the drug.

The bill must pass a final House vote. The Senate previously approved it.

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The measure requires state officials to track marijuana in the state from seed to sale, to protect against the drug being sold on the black market. It also requires nurseries and distributors to be licensed, for the marijuana to be tested and for registered users to have photo identification cards.

One opponent, Republican Rep. Derek Skees of Kalispell, pointed out that marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Until that changes, any state-level regulation would still put Montanans who sell or use the drug at risk, he said.

“Can the feds not come in tomorrow and go after these distributors if they decide so?” Seeks said.

Republican Rep. Jeff Essmann of Billings says the measure is important to avoid having an unregulated industry such as the one that led to widespread abuses in 2010 and federal raids of dispensaries across the state the following year.

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“We cannot afford to go back to the wild, wild West of 2010,” Essmann said.

Essmann sponsored a bill in 2011 that severely restricted medical marijuana. Among other provisions, it prohibited medical marijuana distributors from making a profit and limited them to providing the drug to three patients.

That bill became law and was put on hold for five years while a court battle played out. Last year, the Montana Supreme Court ruled that the three-patient distributor limit was constitutional, effectively shutting down dispensaries across the state.

Voters in November approved an initiative that rolled back many of the restrictions in the 2011 law. The bill being considered now would set rules for that initiative, instead of letting the state Department of Public Health and Human Services do it.


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

Cannabis Legalization Looms Large in NJ Governor Race

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The Trump administration recently warned about the potential for marijuana to lead to other drug use, but candidates for New Jersey governor are considering embracing efforts to authorize recreational use in the state.

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Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly’s recent comment that cannabis is a possibly dangerous gateway drug comes after Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he is “definitely not a fan” of expanded use.

The issue is currently stalled mostly because Christie has vowed to veto any effort to legalize recreational use of the drug.

Nonetheless, New Jersey’s Democratic-controlled Legislature plans to move forward with legislation and lawmakers hope Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s successor will sign it.

Christie, who is term-limited, has opposed any expansion of cannabis legalization. His term ends in January.

Industry watchers say they’re optimistic legalization will move forward, even if they are unsure about the pace.

The Issue

Legalization of recreational cannabis has had a double-life in New Jersey. The issue is currently stalled mostly because Christie has vowed to veto any effort to legalize recreational use of the drug. But lawmakers in the Democrat-led Legislature have continued to explore the issue, taking trips to Colorado to examine successes and failures and promising to introduce legislation they hope Christie’s successor will sign. Supporters see legalization as a potential new revenue stream for the state and a way to keep petty drug offenders out of the justice system. Opponents, like Christie and Kelly, see the drug as a gateway to graver addictions and more serious crimes. Still others are skeptical about full-scale recreational legalization but favors decriminalizing cannabis to keep offenders out of jail.

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New Jersey currently has a medical marijuana program, enacted shortly before Christie took office in 2010. Proponents of the program say Christie could be doing more to expand the program under the law, like opening more dispensaries.

Candidate Positions and Promises

Democratic front-runner Phil Murphy has said he supports legalization. Former Clinton administration official and attorney Jim Johnson backs legalization in a “safe and regulated manner.” Democratic candidate John Wisniewski, an assemblyman, supports decriminalizing cannabis and creating a legal framework for a market. State Sen. Ray Lesniak says he backs decriminalizing marijuana but isn’t entirely convinced of full legalization.

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Republican front-runner Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno’s spokesman did not respond to a request on her position. Republican candidate Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli favors decriminalizing cannabis possession for those who have small amounts, but doesn’t back full-scale legalization. He voted against bills expanding the medical marijuana program. Steven Rogers, a Republican commissioner in Nutley, opposes legalization for recreational marijuana but says he supports medical marijuana programs.

What the Experts Say

Despite the Trump administration’s position, cannabis legalization groups and lawmakers say they’re optimistic about the chances for legalization under the next governor. “We have a very solid shot,” said Scott Rudder, president of the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association. Rudder sounded more optimistic about the chances for legalization under a Democratic governor but said he is hopeful that Republicans can be persuaded through sharing success stories. He cited Colorado, which has produced about $200 million in revenue for that state.

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Democratic state Sen. Nicholas Scutari, who is a leading proponent in the Legislature, says he is working on legislation that he hopes to introduce soon.

Rudder said he doubts the Trump administration has the resources or the desire to interfere with states — or potentially New Jersey — that market the drug. “We are so far down the path of millions into state coffers and thousands of jobs,” he said.


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

Four Advocates Arrested at US Capitol ‘Smoke-in’

Days after eight legalization advocates were arrested during a 4/20 cannabis giveaway in Washington, DC, activists returned to the Capitol today for round two of protests—and were met with even more arrests.

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At least four individuals were arrested Monday at a “smoke-in” outside the Capitol, US News reporter Steven Nelson posted to Twitter.

The action was intended as an act of civil disobedience, both in response to the 4/20 arrests and in support of nationwide legalization.

Nikolas Schiller, a co-founder of the group D.C. Marijuana Justice, says two men and two women were arrested by US Capitol Police shortly after they started smoking on Monday afternoon.

Originally, activists planned to gather outside the Capitol at noon local time, then light up at 4:20 p.m. Below is the scene just before the four arrests were made.

Capitol police spokeswoman Eva Malecki says the four were charged with possession, a violation of federal law.

DCMJ, the organization behind both the 4/20 joint giveaway and Monday’s “smoke-in,” has been a persistent pebble in federal officials’ proverbial boot. Members have lit up joints on the National Mall during President Trump’s inauguration, interrupted Jeff Sessions’ Senate confirmation hearing, and paraded a 51-foot joint outside the Democratic National Convention.

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The tactics have earned the group a reputation for disruption. When 17 DCMJ volunteers arrived at Sessions’ Capitol Hill office in November, after Trump nominated him for attorney general, staffers expected the group to light up joints in the building.

“They were aware that we were coming,” lead organizer Adam Eidinger told Leafly at the time, “but they thought we were coming to smoke marijuana in their office.

Eidinger is one of two activists facing criminal charges after his arrest during the 4/20 cannabis giveaway.

Activists said they expected to be arrested during Monday’s smoke-in outside of the Capitol, but the arrests during the 420 event were unexpected. Under local law in DC, it’s legal to possess small amounts of cannabis and gift it to other adults. US Attorneys in the District of Columbia on Friday alleged the two activists facing charges possessed more than two ounces allowed under DC law

Eidinger, the event’s chief organizer, allegedly possessed 2.06 oz. of cannabis, according to charging documents. Another defendant, William Angolia, allegedly had 2.405 oz. The misdemeanor charges carry a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Public consumption of cannabis remains illegal in the District.

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.

Cannabis Supporters Plan ‘Smoke-in’ After 4/20 Arrests Near Capitol

WASHINGTON (AP) — After a cannabis giveaway that led to eight arrests, marijuana legalization supporters are returning to the U.S. Capitol — and this time they plan to light up.

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Activists say they expect to be arrested during Monday’s “smoke-in” outside the Capitol.

The arrests during Thursday’s free-joint giveaway were unexpected because it’s legal to possess small amounts of cannabis and give it away for free in the District of Columbia. The demonstration was held on city land in an attempt to comply with the law. Prosecutors later filed charges against only two of those who were arrested.

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Consuming cannabis in public remains illegal everywhere in Washington. Activists plan to gather outside the Capitol at noon and light up at 4:20 p.m., a time that holds significance for cannabis enthusiasts.


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.

Vermont Senate Approves Legal Cannabis Measure, House Unlikely

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A legal-marijuana plan has resurfaced and passed the state Senate on a 21-9 vote on Friday, though it’s highly unlikely the House will follow suit this year.

On Wednesday, Senate Democrats revealed they will insert the entirety of a legal-cannabis bill with robust seed-to-sale regulations that failed last year into an unrelated House bill through an amendment.

The House was expected to pass a measure that would have simply legalized small amounts of marijuana and personal growing operations weeks ago, but the bill was sent back to the committee level and has not gained traction since.

“We know people are using marijuana, and we know kids have easy access,” said Democratic Sen. Jeanette White, who read the amendment on the Senate floor. “Let’s make it safer, less accessible to kids, educate them about why they shouldn’t use it along with a lot of other products and impose regulations on what is now an illegal, wide-open market.”

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Before the debate, Republican Sen. Peggy Flory tried to kill the amendment. She made an objection to adding the amendment because it was unrelated to the bill it was changing.

Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, who was presiding, agreed after calling a recess to have an informal discussion. For the moment, the amendment was dead.

But then Democratic Sen. Dick Sears called a vote to suspend the rules and in effect overrule Zuckerman, and the Democratic majority forced the Senate to consider the amendment. Sears said there are no hard feelings.

“The appeal of the chair is a rare thing,” Sears said after the debate. “I’ve seen it happen once or twice before, but it is a rare thing. It sets a bad precedent.”

The marijuana legalization measure that passed the Senate on Friday is an updated version of a failed Senate bill from the 2016 session. It’s modeled after Colorado’s legalization system, and it would regulate, tax and legalize small amounts of marijuana.

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Businesses would be able to apply for licenses, and people would be able to apply for permits to grow cannabis on their land.

Flory and other Republicans remain unconvinced. They worry that police won’t have a good method of measuring driver impairment.

“We are going down again a dangerous path,” Flory said.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott shares that worry about driver impairment but has said he is not opposed to the idea of legalization.

Senators say they have no hopes that the House will take up the measure this year. They are looking to January, when the bill will be waiting for House members to consider in the second year of Vermont’s lawmaking session.


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.

South Dakota Could See Cannabis Legalization on 2018 Ballot

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Supporters of a pair of ballot measures that would legalize medical and recreational cannabis in South Dakota plan to launch their push Saturday to get on the ballot in 2018.

Backers of the South Dakota effort would have to submit nearly 14,000 valid signatures for each initiative to the secretary of state by November 2017 to put them before voters in 2018. The kickoff event is in Sioux Falls.Melissa Mentele, founder and director of a group advancing the measures, said voters “should definitely expect to see us on the ballot.”

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New Approach South Dakota’s medical cannabis proposal would allow patients with serious medical conditions and a health practitioner’s recommendation to use marijuana. Qualifying patients — such as people with cancer, AIDS and hepatitis C — would be able to get a registration card to possess up to 3 ounces of the plant.

People 21 and older would be able to possess and use marijuana under the recreational marijuana proposal. Possession for South Dakota residents would be limited to 1 ounce of marijuana, five plants and any excess cannabis produced by the plants if they are stored in the same facility where they were cultivated.

Marijuana retailers could be established under the plan, which would also impose an excise tax on cannabis.

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People who are serving time or have been convicted of a non-violent marijuana offense would have their cases reviewed or sentences commuted under the proposal.

Medical marijuana initiatives in South Dakota have failed at the ballot box at least twice since 2006. Last year, the secretary of state’s office said backers didn’t turn in enough valid signatures to get on the ballot.


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.

Vermont Moves Closer to Legalizing Recreational Marijuana for Adults

MONTPELIER, VT — The Vermont Senate approved a bill on Friday that would regulate the production and sale of marijuana and eliminate penalties for personal possession and cultivation by adults 21 and older.

The Senate amended H. 167, an unrelated House-approved bill, to replace it with a revised version of a marijuana regulation bill that passed last year in the Senate and failed in the House.

The Senate also amended H. 167 to include the same home cultivation provision that is included in H. 170, a bill that has been making its way through the House.  H. 170 would eliminate Vermont’s civil penalty for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana and remove penalties for possession of up to two mature marijuana plants and up to four immature plants.

The Senate proposal would allow unlimited small-scale cultivation licenses for producers no larger than 500 sq feet.  The marijuana regulation bill that failed in the House last year, S. 241, did not include a home cultivation provision.

The Senate-amended version of H. 167 will receive one final vote before being sent back to the House for consideration.

“Most Vermonters think marijuana should be made legal for adults, and they’re looking to lawmakers to come up with a plan, said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project.  “We applaud the Senate for approving a thoughtful alternative to marijuana prohibition that would account for public health and improve public safety. We would love to see the House step up and join the Senate in supporting this sensible reform. If the House isn’t willing to support the Senate’s proposal, it at least needs to support its own Judiciary Committee’s plan and pass H. 170.”

Most Vermont voters are in favor of the policy changes proposed in H. 167 and H. 170, according to a survey conducted March 20-21 by Public Policy Polling. Fifty-seven percent support allowing adults 21 and older to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana, and 54% support regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol. The results are available here.

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