Tag: marijuana legalization

Vermont House Blocks Marijuana Legalization Compromise Bill

MONTPELIER, VT: Members of the House voted Wednesday to block a marijuana legalization compromise bill, H. 511, from further consideration this legislative session.

The vote came after Senate members approved the bill, which eliminated civil and criminal penalties for the private possession and cultivation of small quantities of marijuana.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott — who had vetoed an earlier version of the bill in May — had also recently expressed his support for the revised legislation.

Further action on the bill during this week’s special veto session required the votes of three-quarters of the House. But only a majority voted to take action on the bill, with almost all Republican House members voting ‘no.’

If enacted, the bill would have permitted adults to legally possess up to one ounce of cannabis and to grow up two mature plants at home.

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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.

Vermont Senate Passes Marijuana Legalization Compromise Bill

MONTPELIER, VT — Another bill that would make marijuana legal for adults in Vermont was approved by the Senate on Wednesday, the first day of a two-day veto session.

House Bill 511 reflects a compromise between legislative leaders and Gov. Phil Scott, who vetoed a similar bill, S. 22, in late May. It will now go the House, where it is unclear if a substantial number of House Republicans will agree to waive rules and allow its consideration during the veto session.

A three-quarters vote of the House will be required for the bill to be taken up on Thursday. If the House does not pass the bill during the veto session, H. 511 could receive a vote when the House next convenes.

The legalization language was added as an amendment to H. 511, a bill dealing with highway safety that had already passed the House. It would eliminate Vermont’s civil penalty for adults possessing one ounce or less of marijuana beginning in July 2018 and remove penalties for possession of up to two mature marijuana plants and up to four immature plants. It would also create a study commission to develop legislation to regulate and tax marijuana for adult use. The amended bill would extend the time allotted by S. 22 for the commission to submit its report, add additional agency directors and the defender general to the commission, and increase penalties for dispensing marijuana to minors or exposing them to marijuana smoke in cars.

“Vermont is poised to make history by becoming the first state in which the legislature and governor end the disastrous policy of marijuana prohibition. Just over a year from now, adults will have the same freedoms to grow and possess cannabis that our neighbors in Maine and Massachusetts enjoy,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “The question is no longer ‘if’ Vermont will stop penalizing adult cannabis consumers, but ‘when’.”

“There is no good reason for the House to delay passage of this modest and sensible legislation,” Simon said. “Now that Gov. Scott has agreed with the House and Senate that marijuana should be legal for adult use, House Republicans should follow the governor’s lead and vote to advance this compromise. Failing to waive the rules will only mean the marijuana regulatory commission has less time to do its important work.”

Fifty-seven percent of Vermont voters support allowing adults 21 and older to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana, according to a statewide survey of 755 registered voters conducted in March by Public Policy Polling. Only 39% are opposed.

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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.

US Marijuana Sales Are Higher Than These 10 Products and Services

Marijuana is legal in eight states and the District of Columbia, and medical marijuana is legal in nearly 30 (although often under quite restrictive regulatory schemes). Between the two, legal weed is generating total annual sales of between $4 billion and $4.5 billion.

But legal marijuana sales are dwarfed by sales in the black market, which according to a recent report in Marijuana Business Daily, accounts for about ten times the size of the legal market, or about $45 billion to $50 billion.

That’s still only about half the size of the legal beer and tobacco market, and it’s more than it might be when legalization ultimately drops prices, which most observers expect. Nevertheless, it is nothing to sneeze at, and it puts marijuana well ahead of some major American economic sectors.

Here are ten products or services already being surpassed by pot, with the first five being smaller than the legal market and the second five being smaller than the estimated overall market, including both licit and illicit markets. Some of these industries could hope for synergistic effects, though.

1. Girl Scout cookies

Thin Mints are the hands-down winner when it comes to Girl Scout cookies, accounting for 25% of all sales, but that’s only around $200 million. All told, Americans shelled out $776 million for the treats last year. That’s a lot of cookies, but that’s less than one-quarter of the size of the legal pot market.


2. Tequila

Shots with lime and salt, margaritas, Tequila sunrises… Americans gulp down a huge volume of the Mexican agave concoction every year, but the $2.3 billion in annual tequila sales is only half the size of the legal marijuana market. Of course, tequila is only a fraction of the alcohol industry, which still rocks compared to weed. Beer sales alone are more than $100 billion a year.


3. Music streaming services

Who doesn’t love music and want it handy on all their devices? Music streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, and Amazon Music Unlimited are big, big, big, but at about $2.5 billion in annual sales, only half as big as legal weed.


4. Erectile dysfunction medication

Viagra and Cialis can’t stand up against legal marijuana, either. There’s a huge potential market out there, with an estimated 52% of men experiencing erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives, but annual sales for the two drugs combined is still only $2.7 billion.


5. Frozen pizza

From Tombstone to California Pizza Kitchen, take-home store-bought frozen pizzas are a traditional favorite of millions of Americans. And now, we’re finally reaching sales parity with legal pot. Frozen pizzas account for $4.4 billion in sales each year, very near the amount spend on legally purchased marijuana.


6. Ice cream

Retail ice cream sales come to $5.1 billion a year, just barely exceeding the high-end estimate for legal pot sales, but barely one-tenth the size of the estimated black and legal marijuana markets. That’s still a lot of scoops, though.


7. Movie tickets

Let’s go to the movies! Even though movie tickets aren’t exactly cheap, people still pay for that theatrical cinematic experience to the tune of $11.1 billion in ticket sales per year (not counting snacks). That’s only about a quarter of the size of the overall pot market. Being stoned on weed could make some of those lame loser movies more palatable.


8. The NFL

Pro football is a monster, dominating sports TV, radio, and internet for half the year and generating $13.3 billion in annual revenues. At the rate legal marijuana markets are expanding (just wait for California!), legal pot sales alone could surpass NFL revenues within just a few years, and the total estimated market is more than three times what the league is bringing in.


9. Gambling

Pot is bigger than Vegas? Yep. And Reno and Atlantic City and all those casinos everywhere combined. Make no mistake — gambling is big business, with Americans burning through $34.6 billion a year, according to the American Gambling Association, but Americans are burning through even more weed, and we’d wager that’s going to go up, too.


10. Daycare for kids

Daycare for kids isn’t exactly inexpensive and it’s an issue for millions of American working families. According to IBISWorld’s market research, that’s a $48 billion hit on the family budget. It’s an awful lot of money. It’s also more or less the amount Americans are spending on pot right now.


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license from StopTheDrugWar.org and was first published here.

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

Which States Allow You to Grow Your Own Marijuana for Recreational Use?

Two cannabis plants being grown for personal use. (Wikimedia Commons)

After the 2016 elections saw four more states legalizing recreational marijuana for adults, a total of eight states, and the District of Columbia, now have removed criminal penalties for the possession of marijuana by those 21 or older.  But with legal, regulated marijuana sales still a year or more away, access to “legal” marijuana can still be difficult, forcing many adults to buy weed on the black market.

Luckily, several states allow adults 21 or older to grow their own limited amounts of marijuana for personal use.  Home growers will still need to procure either clones or seeds to get started, but many organizations and dispensaries in newly legal states have been sponsoring seed giveaways to celebrate, and feminized marijuana seeds are readily available on the internet.

With every state having slightly different laws relating to recreational marijuana use by adults, here’s a state-by-state breakdown of which states allow limited home cultivation by adults.

  • Alaska voters legalized marijuana in 2014.  Under Alaska’s legalization law, adults can grow up to one six cannabis plants for personal use, tax free.
  • California‘s Proposition 64, which passed last year, allows adults who are not participating in the state’s medical marijuana program to grow up to six cannabis plants.
  • Colorado was among the first two states to legalize marijuana, doing so in 2012.  Adults in Colorado are allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants, but only three may be mature.
  • District of Columbia, capital of the United States, allows adults 21 or older to grow up to six cannabis plants.  Unlike the eight states that have legalized marijuana, Washington DC has no plans to tax and regulate marijuana sales, making home cultivation one of the only methods to lawfully obtain cannabis in the District.
  • Maine‘s Question 1 was narrowly passed by voters in November, legalizing marijuana for adults.  Adults are allowed to grow up to six mature cannabis plants and twelve immature plants.
  • Massachusetts residents 21 or older, for now anyway, are allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants.  However, some lawmakers want to reduce that limit, but have been so far unsuccessful in doing so.
  • Nevada also currently allows adults to grow up to six cannabis plants.  However, under Nevada law, home cultivation is only allowed by those living more than 25 miles from a licensed marijuana retailer once regulated recreational marijuana sales begin.
  • Oregon, where retail sales of marijuana have been allowed since late 2015, allows adults to grow up to four marijuana plants for recreational use.
  • Washington state, one of the first two states to legalize marijuana, is the only state that currently regulates and taxes marijuana sales but does not allow home cultivation by adults.

Hopefully, more states will allow responsible adults to grow cannabis in the near future, but until then, these states allow those with a green thumb to grow their own ganja.

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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.

Nevada Judge Halts Early Start to Recreational Marijuana Sales

CARSON CITY, NV — Nevada’s anticipated July 1 start to recreational marijuana sales could be delayed following a judge’s ruling earlier this week on a complaint from the alcohol industry.

A district judge issued an order Tuesday banning the state’s Department of Taxation from enforcing a May 31 application deadline for medical marijuana dispensaries applying to take part in the early recreational cannabis sales slated to start July 1, indicating possible delays.

Voters approved Question 2 in November, legalizing marijuana possession in Nevada starting January 1 of this year.  Under the measure passed by voters, state regulators were given until the end of this year to establish rules and regulations to govern the cultivation, production, testing, and sale of marijuana, with retail sales expected to begin January 1, 2018.

After state lawmakers expressed interest in allowing early retail marijuana sales at medical marijuana dispensaries, which had been successful in Oregon after voters approved a similar measure in 2014, state regulators pushed for an early start to retail sales in Nevada.

Last month, the Nevada Tax Commission voted 6 to 1 to allow medical marijuana businesses in good standing to apply for “early start” licenses.

But that decision has been met with resistance from The Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada, who filed a legal complaint arguing that Question 2 gives liquor wholesalers exclusive rights to marijuana distribution licenses for the first 18 months of cannabis sales in the state.

On Tuesday, a district judge in Carson City agreed, issuing a temporary restraining order, putting the application process on hold.

“The statute clearly gives a priority and exclusive license to alcohol distributors, in order to promote the goal of regulating marijuana similar to alcohol,” the judge ruled.

Tuesdays’ court order means the state cannot issue cannabis distribution licenses to anyone except licensed liquor wholesalers.  A hearing on the temporary restraining order is expected within the next couple of weeks.

Until then, the extent of the impacts and potential delays to the early start program remains unclear.

An attorney representing the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada, Sam McMullen, told the Las Vegas Review Journal that the group’s intent was not to delay retail marijuana sales.

“We just want our rightful place. We don’t want to slow this down inordinately,” McMullen said.

According to a spokesperson for the Department of Taxation, however, only one licensed alcohol wholesaler has applied for a marijuana distribution license.

Distribution licenses cost $15,000 under the temporary regulations that go into effect with the state’s early start program.  Distributors are responsible for transporting marijuana and marijuana products from cultivation and production facilities to dispensaries.

State regulators from the Department of Taxation say they had reached out to alcohol distributors in November, but received “insufficient interest” in the recreational cannabis industry.

The department said it only a handful of liquor dealers showed minor interest, but no concrete business plans were submitted for how those companies would distribute marijuana.

“While some were ‘interested,’ none followed up to indicate that they had a plan going forward to be ready to serve the market or that they had sorted out issues with respect to their federal liquor license,” the department said in March.

Because liquor distributors are licensed on the federal level, where cannabis remains illegal, acting as a distributor of marijuana in Nevada could put those licenses at risk.

In March, the department decided that it would open the applications for distribution licenses beyond alcohol distributors, because the cannabis industry would not be able to operate.

Some existing medical marijuana providers in Nevada, however, question why distributors are even needed, with many dispensaries operating cultivation facilities within or near their retail operations.

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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.

SD Attorney General Foiled in Bid to Prosecute Tribal Marijuana Consultant

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley (R) thought he had the perfect case to help burnish his tough-on-pot prosecutorial credentials as he eyes the governorship in the socially conservative state. It didn’t work out that way, though.

Eric Hagen, who was set to be sacrificed on the altar of Jackley’s ambitions, walked free last week after a jury in Flandreau refused to convict him of a marijuana trafficking conspiracy for his company’s efforts to advise the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe on a marijuana cultivation operation and resort.

The tribe last year had announced plans for the operation after tribes across the country received an unsolicited okay from the federal government to pursue marijuana operations and hired Hagen’s Colorado-based Monarch America to help get the operation up and running. But facing mixed signals — including threats of possible raids — from federal officials and staunch opposition from state and local officials, the tribe tore up its plants last fall.

State officials got what they wanted, the tribe gave up its plans, Monarch America closed up shop on the reservation, and the matter appeared to be settled. But nine months later, as Jackley geared up for his 2018 gubernatorial run, he brought marijuana trafficking charges against Hagen and Monarch Vice President Jonathan Hunt.

The move came even though state attorneys general can’t prosecute non-Indians for crimes on reservations. In a novel move, Jackley argued that his office did have jurisdiction to prosecute victimless crimes committed by non-Indians.

Facing up to ten years in state prison, Hunt copped to one count of conspiracy in August and agreed to testify against his business partner, but Hagen decided to fight and went to trial beginning last Friday. As a witness, Hunt testified that he did not think he was really guilty of crime, but accepted a plea bargain because he didn’t want to risk a prison sentence.

At the trial, jurors had to decide whether Hagen possessed or intended to possess marijuana and whether he engaged in a conspiracy. The state’s case took a blow when Santee Sioux tribal officials, including Chairman Tony Reider, testified that it was the tribe’s marijuana, not Hagen’s, and that Hagen and Hunt were merely consultants.

Defense attorney Mike Butler also successfully challenged the conspiracy claim, noting in arguments and questions to witnesses that there was nothing secret about the tribe’s plans. As Butler noted, the tribe and Monarch America had been very open about their plans and had invited media, lawmakers, and even the FBI to tour the grow operation.

Butler also alluded to the political subtext behind Jackley’s prosecution of the consultants. “My client and Mr. Hunt are collateral damage,” he said.

The jury agreed, finding Hagen not guilty after only two hours of deliberation Wednesday.

Hagen is a free man, but his company must now be rebuilt, and the Sioux Falls native is calling out Jackley for attempting to ride to higher political office on his back.

“He tanked our company by spreading lies and rumors,” Hagen said. “It was 100% politically motivated. This was simply a media ploy for Jackley because he’s running for governor in 2018.”


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license from StopTheDrugWar.org and was first published here.

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

How Many States Will Legalize Marijuana This Year?

In the euphoric aftermath of marijuana legalization victories in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada last November, the marijuana blogosphere was alive with predictions about which states would be next to free the weed.

But unlike the first eight states, which all legalized it via the initiative and referendum process, for legalization to win this year, it would have to be via a state legislature. Yet here we are, nearing the halfway point of 2017, and we’re not seeing it. And we’re unlikely to see it for the rest of this year. The states that had the best shots are seeing their legislative sessions end without bills being passed, and while bills are alive in a couple of states — Delaware and New Jersey — they’re not likely to pass this year either.

To be fair, we have seen significant progress in state legislatures. More legalization bills have been filed than ever before, and in some states, they are advancing like never before. In Vermont, a bill actually got through the legislature, only to fall victim to the veto pen. But actually getting a legalization bill past both houses of a legislature and a governor has yet to happen.

And while there is rising popular clamor — buoyed by favorable opinion polls — for state legislatures to end pot prohibition, the advocacy group most deeply involved in state-level legalization efforts, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), understands the difficulties and intricacies of working at the state house. While it has worked hard, it made no promises for victory this year, instead saying it is committed to “ending prohibition in eight more states by 2019.”

That MPP list doesn’t include initiative states, of which we could see a handful next year. MPP is already involved in Michigan, where legalization is polling above 50%, and first-stage initiative campaigns are already underway in Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, and the Dakotas. It would be disappointing for reform advocates if they have to wait until November 2018 and the popular vote to win another legalization victory, and given the progress made in state houses this year, they hope they won’t have to. Still, legalization at the state house is proving a tough row to hoe.

Drug War Chronicle thought the best prospects were in Connecticut, Maryland, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Here’s what’s happened so far:

Connecticut. Legalization isn’t quite dead yet this year, but it is on life support. A legalization bill died in the General Assembly after getting several hearings this year, but failing to even get a vote in the judiciary and public safety committees. In a last-ditch move, Assembly Democrats this month included marijuana legalization in their budget recommendations as a means of addressing budget problems, but they conceded they don’t have enough votes in their caucus to pass it and said they added legalization merely “to spur conversation.” The dour figure of Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) and his hints of a veto didn’t help.

Maryland. A Senate legalization measure, Senate Bill 927, and its House companion, House Bill 1186, both got committee hearings, but neither could get a vote out of disinterested committee chairs. A bill that would have amended the state constitution to legalize personal possession and cultivation, Senate Bill 891, suffered the same fate. The General Assembly is now adjourned until January 2018.

New Mexico. Hopes for legalization this year in the Land of Enchantment crashed and burned back in February, when a measure to do just that, House Bill 89, died an ignominious death in the House Business and Industry Committee. Four out of five committee Democrats joined all five committee Republicans to bury it on a 9-1 vote. And the legislature killed a decriminalization bill, too, before the session ended. Again, a veto threat-wielding governor in the background, Susana Martinez (R), didn’t help.

Rhode Island. Although a full third of House members cosponsored the legalization measure, House Bill 5555, the House Judiciary Committee this month failed to vote on it, instead passing House Bill 5551, which punts on the issue by instead creating a commission to study marijuana legalization and report back in March 2018. That bill now awaits a House floor vote.

Vermont. The Green Mountain State became the first to see a marijuana legalization bill, Senate Bill 22, approved by the legislature, only to see it vetoed last week by Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who cited concerns about drugged driving and youth access. Scott did leave the door open for a modified bill to win his approval this year, but that would require legislators to agree on new language and get it passed during a two-day “veto session” next month, which in turn would require Republican House members to suspend some rules. That’s looks unlikely, as does the prospect of a successful veto override. But it’s not dead yet.

For reform advocates, it’s a case of the glass half full.

“This is still a historic time,” said Justin Strekal, political director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). “For the first time, we saw a state legislature pass a bill removing all penalties for the possession and consumption of marijuana by its citizens. We’ve had great victories in the past 10 years, but they’ve all been through the initiative process. Now, with the polls continuing to show majorities favoring outright legalization, legislators are feeling more emboldened to represent their constituents, but it won’t happen overnight.”

“We’ve seen bigger gains than any other year in history,” said MPP Communication Director Mason Tvert. “There’s never been a legislature in all our history that passed a law making marijuana legal for adults, and now one did. That’s pretty substantial.”

But Tvert conceded that legalization via the state house is a course filled with obstacles.

“In Rhode Island, the leadership is still holding it up, although it looks like it will pass a legalization study commission,” he said. “In Delaware, a bill passed easily in committee, but it needs two-thirds to pass the House, and that’s tough to do in the first year. In Vermont, last year, we had the governor, but not both houses of the legislature; this year we had the legislature, but not the governor,” he elaborated.

“That’s the nature of representative democracy and the structure of government in the US,” Tvert said. “It requires a lot of pieces to fall into place.”

“One of the biggest obstacles we face is the demographics of those chair those legislative committees,” said NORML’s Strekal. “They tend to skew toward older, more prohibitionist age brackets, but as these turn over to a new generation of legislators and elected officials, we should be able to get more of those bills out of committee, like we just saw in Delaware.”

Tvert pointed to an example of the committee chair bottleneck in the Lone Star State.

“It’s one thing to lose on a floor vote in the House,” he said. “It’s another thing to have a whip count showing you could win a floor vote, and you can’t get a vote. That was the case in Texas with both medical marijuana and decriminalization. They had immense support and couldn’t get votes.”

Despite the vicissitudes of politics at state capitals, marijuana reformers remain confident that history is on their side.

“This is a situation where times are changing and people are becoming increasingly impatient,” said Tvert. “When you have people’s lives negatively affected by prohibition and obvious solutions staring you in the face, it’s understandable that some people get antsy, but we’ve seen some pretty significant developments this year, and there will be more to come.”

Tvert compared the legalization situation now with medical marijuana a few years back.

“With medical marijuana, we won in five initiative states between 1996 and 2000 before Hawaii became the first legislative medical marijuana state,” he noted. “Since then, there’ve been nine more initiative states and 14 more legislative states. Now, we’ve seen eight states legalize in through initiatives in 2012 and 2016, Once this gets through one state legislature, the floodgates will open.”

NORML’s Strekal was taking the long view.

“In the grand scheme of things, this movement is chugging along much faster than other issues have advanced historically,” he said. “It’s important to keep in mind how far we’ve come.”

But marijuana legalization is still a work in progress, and we’ve still yet to see that first legislative state fall. Maybe next year.


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license from StopTheDrugWar.org and was first published here.


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

South Dakota: Jury Acquits Tribal Marijuana Consultant on All Charges

FLANDREAU, SD — A marijuana consultant from a Colorado-based firm has been found not guilty of drug-related charges related to his work with a South Dakota tribe’s failed attempt to open a marijuana cultivation facility and smoking lounge in 2015.

Eric Hagen, president of the Colorado-based cannabis consulting firm Monarch America was charged with possession of more than 10 pounds of marijuana, conspiracy to possess more than 10 pounds of marijuana, and attempt to possess more than 10 pounds of marijuana, resulting from his work helping the Santee Sioux Tribe grow marijuana, a crop which was later burned by tribal officials.

Jonathan Hunt, Vice president of Monarch America, pleaded guilty to similar charges in August 2016.

Prosecutors, often making air quotes around the word “consulting” during arguments to the jury, argued that the duo were actively involved in the cannabis cultivation process beyond consultation, according to Courthouse News:

“We wouldn’t be here if all they did was consult,” Assistant Attorney General Bridget Mayer said, referring to Hagen and Hunt. “That’s not what happened. Hunt did seed ordering, planting, moving, lighting, and watering.

“Constructive possession is having access and control,” she continued. “There can be no doubt that Jon Hunt possessed that marijuana. Possession need not be exclusive; [the tribe] was not in exclusive possession of this marijuana, they shared it with the co-conspirators.”

Mayer argued that Hagen was aiding and abetting in Hunt’s admitted possession of the marijuana. “He’s talking constantly to Jon Hunt, giving input on which seeds to pick, and is a problem-solver . . . It might have started out that they were just going to be consultants, but it didn’t turn out that way.”

Prosecutors said the consultants ordered cannabis seeds, planted, cultivated and tended nearly 600 cannabis plants without tribal members present, and ultimately burned the tribe’s marijuana crop under the threat of a federal raid.

But defense attorneys say the charges against the consultants were politically motivated, calling the charges a “case of building a crime where there was none.”

Defense attorneys criticized law enforcement for not taking action against the consultants until nine months after the tribe’s crop had already been destroyed.

“If Hunt and Hagen were effectively confessing to possession of marijuana, they should have been arrested,” argued Mike Butler, who represents Hagen. “That’s not what they did . . . Why? The answer has been upfront from the beginning. Not one of the law enforcement officers involved in this for a moment believed that Mr. Hagen and Mr. Hunt were in the process of committing a crime against the state of South Dakota.”

“This was a political dispute, not a drug case,” he added. “This is a power dispute, not a drug case. And my client and Mr. Hunt are collateral damage. That’s what they are, in a fight between other people about jurisdiction and who’s got the real power.”

Jurors deliberated for only two hours before delivering a not-guilty verdict.

In 2014, the United States Department of Justice released a memo implying the federal government would not prosecute the cultivation of marijuana on tribal land.

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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.

Vermont Governor Rejects Marijuana Legalization Bill

MONTPELIER, VT — Vermont’s Republican governor  on Wednesday rejected legislation, Senate Bill 22, that sought to eliminate criminal and civil penalties for the adult use and possession of marijuana.

Governor Phil Scott said that he did not support the legislation as written, but remains open to working with lawmakers over the summer on ways to amend the state’s cannabis policies.

Representatives from the Vermont Association of Police Chiefs, the Vermont Medical Society, and the Vermont American Academy of Pediatrics were among those groups opposing S. 22.

“It is disappointing that Gov. Scott would not only defy the will of state legislators, but also the will of the majority of Vermont voters who support ending criminal penalties for those adults who consume cannabis responsibly,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said.

“Minor marijuana possession offenders should not be saddled with a criminal record and the lifelong penalties and stigma associated with it. Rather than looking to the future, Gov. Scott seems intent on repeating the failures of the past.”

Senate Bill 22 would have amended state law so that the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis and/or the cultivation of up to two mature plants (and up to four immature plants) would have no longer been subject to penalty, beginning July 1, 2018.

It also established a nine member commission to make recommendations to the legislature regarding how best to regulate the adult use marijuana market.

State lawmakers approved the measure earlier this month. It was the first time that a legislative body ever approved legislation eliminating criminal and civil penalties for adults who possess or grow marijuana for non-medical purposes.

House lawmakers in 2016 rejected similar legislation. That measure had been supported by former Gov. Peter Shumlin.

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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.

Vermont Governor Vetoes Marijuana Legalization, Offers ‘Path Forward’

MONTPELIER, VT — Gov. Phil Scott announced Wednesday he is vetoing a bill that would have made marijuana legal for adults in Vermont, but offered a “path forward” for passing it later this year.

He specified a handful of changes that would need to be made for him to support the measure and said he believes the legislature has time to incorporate them and enact a revised version during the summer veto session.

Senate Bill 22 would have eliminated the penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and home cultivation of up to two mature marijuana plants and four immature plants by adults 21 and older beginning in July 2018. It also would have created a study commission to develop legislation to regulate and tax marijuana for adult use.

S. 22 was approved by the Senate (20-9) and House of Representatives (79-66) earlier this month, marking the first time a state legislature has ever passed a bill to make marijuana legal for adults.

Fifty-seven percent of Vermont voters support allowing adults 21 and older to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana, according to a statewide survey of 755 registered voters conducted in March by Public Policy Polling. Only 39% are opposed.

Eight states have enacted laws legalizing and regulating marijuana for adult use, all through ballot initiatives. In Washington, D.C., voters approved a ballot initiative making personal possession and home cultivation legal for adults 21 and older. Vermont would be the first state to make marijuana legal for adults via its legislative body rather than a ballot initiative.

“We are disappointed by the governor’s decision to veto this widely supported legislation, but we are very encouraged by the governor’s offer to work with legislators to pass a legalization bill during the summer veto session,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Most Vermonters want to end marijuana prohibition, and it is critical that the legislature respond by passing a revised legalization bill this summer. Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, and there is no good reason to continue treating responsible adult consumers like criminals.

“Despite the veto, this is a huge leap forward. The passage of S. 22 demonstrates most members of both legislative chambers are ready to move forward with making marijuana legal for adults. Lawmakers have an opportunity to address the governor’s concerns and pass a revised bill this summer, and we are excited about its prospects,” Simon added.

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