Tag: Medical

Colorado Crackdown on Homegrown Cannabis Advances

DENVER (AP) — A Colorado plan to crack down on homegrown cannabis is rapidly heading to the governor’s desk after lawmakers changed the bill to give medical marijuana patients more leeway.

‘We’re not respecting patients’ rights as well as pushing the industry forward.’

Jason Warf , Southern Colorado Cannabis Council

A Senate committee vote 5-0 to set a statewide limit of 12 plants per residential property. That’s down from 99 plants under current law.

The bill was changed to give medical marijuana patients and their caregivers up to 24 plants, if they register with the state and with local authorities. Currently, registration is required only if patients have more than 99 plants.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and lawmakers from both parties have called the cannabis crackdown a top priority as the state awaits word of how the new federal administration plans to treat state-legal marijuana states.

RELATED STORY

Growing Organic Cannabis at Home

Of the 28 states that allow medical cannabis, none but Colorado allows patients to have more than 16 plants growing in their homes.

“It is time that we fix this before someone comes in and fixes it for us,” said Greenwood Village Police Chief John Jackson, speaking on behalf of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police.

Few testified against the bill, though it would effectively force some patients to shop from commercial cannabis retailers. One of the few who did complained that the measure is driven by the profit implications of forcing people to buy cannabis in stores instead of growing it outside the regulated market.

RELATED STORY

Avoid These 5 Common Cannabis Growing Mistakes

“We’re not respecting patients’ rights as well as pushing the industry forward,” said Jason Warf of the Southern Colorado Cannabis Council.

Colorado has some 19,000 medical marijuana patients whose doctors have recommended a high number of plants in order to produce cannabis oils and other medical treatments. Some treatments require a pound of marijuana to produce an ounce of cannabis oil.

Lawmakers amended the bill to make it a misdemeanor, not a felony, to be caught with too many plants until the third offense.

The bill now awaits a vote by the full House. It has already passed the House, though Senate changes will require the bill to return there before heading to the governor’s desk.


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

Utah Group Begins Push to Legalize Medical Cannabis

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Medical marijuana advocates in Utah are planning to try to get an initiative on the November 2018 ballot that would allow the drug to be used for treatment.

Advocates say they’re done waiting for state lawmakers, who have rejected passing a broad medical cannabis law during the last three consecutive sessions. Medical marijuana advocate Christine Stenquist says the legislature’s decisions over the last few years have made it clear that lawmakers have no desire to move forward with legalizing the drug, so they’re going to do it themselves.

Here are things to know about the ballot initiative and the work over the last few years in Utah to get medical cannabis legalized:

RELATED STORY

For Candidates in Utah, Medical Marijuana Issue Looms Large

What Is the Ballot Initiative Process?

Medical marijuana advocates have already taken preliminary steps to get an initiative on next year’s ballot. Stenquist, who also leads a cannabis legalization group called Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education, says she and other Utah residents have started meeting with donors and talking with signature gatherers. A ballot initiative requires thousands of signatures, a legal review and seven town hall meetings around the state. Stenquist says the entire process could cost as much as $800,000. The advocates want to legalize whole plant medical cannabis, but are still sorting out what the specific language of the initiative should look like.

What Did Lawmakers Pass in 2017?

Utah lawmakers have scaled back their push to expand the state’s very limited medical cannabis law during the recently completed legislative session. Republican Rep. Brad Daw introduced a bill that calls for additional research on the drug’s effects. It easily passed through the legislature and is now awaiting Gov. Gary Herbert’s signature. The other marijuana-related proposal would have outlined what rules the state would put in place to regulate the legalization of the drug if that ever happens in the future, but it never made it past the Senate.

RELATED STORY

Utah Lawmakers Turn Timid on Medical Marijuana Plans

What Has the State Tried in the Past?

Utah already allows a marijuana extract, called cannabidiol, to be used by those with severe epilepsy, as long as they obtain it from other states. It has low levels of THC, the hallucinogenic chemical in marijuana. In 2015, lawmakers failed to pass legislation that would have allowed those with chronic and debilitating diseases to consume marijuana-infused products such as brownies, candy and lozenges. Last year, lawmakers tried again, attempting to pass two competing proposals, but both died amid regulatory and budgetary concerns. One would have allowed those with certain debilitating conditions to use a cannabis extract with very low levels of the plant’s psychoactive components, while the more comprehensive bill would have made edibles and other marijuana products legal in Utah for those with chronic pain.

What Have Other States Done?

Marijuana is illegal under federal law, but some states have started to allow its use, starting with California 20 years ago. Eight states and Washington, DC, have legalized recreational cannabis and 28 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Last year, Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota were among some of the states that approved legislation legalizing medical marijuana.


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.

Australian Lawmaker Rips Medical Cannabis Law: ‘Reality Doesn’t Match the Rhetoric’

More than a year after the Australian government legalized medical cannabis, patients in South Australia are still waiting for a scheme to effectively access medicine.

One lawmaker, Greens MP Tammy Franks, has criticized the government’s handling of the access issue as “offensive” and “a joke”—and she’s now leading the charge for reform.

Franks, one of two Greens members in South Australia’s Legislative Council, has been involved in the campaign for access to medical cannabis for the past three years. For the past two, she’s been conducting forums for other members of Parliament and their staff in order to educate them about medical cannabis. Earlier this month, she held a special forum on the extreme difficulties South Australian patients face trying to access medical cannabis.

“One patient gaining access isn’t a success story.”

Greens MP Tammy Franks

“The problem is that the reality doesn’t match the rhetoric, and the federal piece of legislation is not progressing the way it should,” Franks said. “Well over a year since that bill passed, we still don’t actually have people able to go to their doctor and get a prescription for medical cannabis in South Australia.”

To some, it almost feels like they’re losing ground. Earlier this year, a police raid and the arrest of a medical cannabis oil producer in South Australia were met with a public outcry.

RELATED STORY

Australian Regulator Grants First Commercial Cannabis License

There are complex reasons why the obstacles to access remain, Franks said. “The areas we’ve identified as barriers are things like lack of training for the medical profession, lack of knowledge, lack of a streamlined system that a medical professional can take to get approvals, [and] the fact that we don’t have a single authorized prescriber in South Australia under that federal system,” she explained.

Of the 24 authorized prescribers in the country, Franks pointed out, 22 are in the state of New South Wales.

“My focus at the moment is getting some pressure on the state Department of Health to act,” she said, “and to create a simple scheme that is accessible to those who need it.” She’s also calling on the government to follow Queensland’s example by giving doctors a simple, streamlined, legally protected way to ensure patient access—while at the same time offering educational material medical professionals. “We need to be joining those dots, because people in this situation needing medical cannabis are sick, suffering, stressed, and need all the support they can get,” she said.

RELATED STORY

Australia Loosens Cannabis Import Rules to Speed Patient Access

The South Australian government, whose leader, Jay Weatherill, has recently made headlines for ripping into the federal energy minister, put up a limp defense of the existing scheme. The Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation noted that a only single patient has been able to access medical cannabis.

“The idea that one person has been able to access it,” Franks said, “that is a joke if the government thinks that that is somehow something to crow about it.”

“One patient gaining access isn’t a success story,” she added. “I think it actually highlighted that we were right to draw attention to the issue.”

Franks warned that when patients can’t secure access to medicine through a government-sacntioned scheme, the alternative involves turning to the black market. “What worries me is that there are people of different motivations involved in that part of the industry. Some are incredibly well meaning and thorough and careful, but some are in it for a quick buck, and there is a quick buck to be made from sick and suffering people in Australia right now because the laws are failing us.”


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.

SC Prosecutor Contender at Odds With Feds on Medical Cannabis

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The man widely regarded as the front-runner for South Carolina’s top federal prosecutor job is a Republican state representative who gave early support to Donald Trump’s campaign in this early voting state.

But Rep. Peter McCoy — whose name frequently circulates in legal circles as a likely top contender for the job, in part because of his Trump support — has introduced comprehensive medicinal cannabis legislation here, which appears to contradict his would-be boss’ statements on drug policy. U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions has made no secret of his plans to take a hard line on drugs, reminding reporters just weeks after being sworn in that marijuana distribution remains a federal crime, regardless of what states may do to legalize it.

In the weeks since, Sessions has said he’s reviewing Obama-era policies giving states flexibility in passing marijuana laws.

That stance, in contrast with Trump’s campaign trail comments that were softer on marijuana in particular, is going to be tested as the new administration begins to place federal prosecutors throughout the country, including some in states that have taken various steps toward legalizing the drug, either for medicinal purposes or recreational use.

RELATED STORY

Trump FDA, US Attorney Moves Could Shift Cannabis Landscape

It’s ultimately up to Trump to nominate U.S. attorneys, with input from the state’s U.S. senators. South Carolina’s top job has been filled by Beth Drake, a career federal prosecutor, since Obama appointee Bill Nettles left the post last summer to return to private practice.

Here’s a look at McCoy, as well as some of the others whose names have been mentioned as possible contenders for the top job in South Carolina:

Peter McCoy

(Twitter: @petermccoyforsc)(Twitter: @petermccoyforsc)

McCoy, 38, has both prosecutorial and political credentials for the appointed position. As a Charleston-area prosecutor, McCoy says he took on hundreds of drug cases, ultimately leaving that post to pursue private practice – and elected office. He also backed Trump in his bid for South Carolina’s primary election, appearing at campaign events in the state’s coastal Lowcountry.

But McCoy, in his fourth term representing Charleston, is also a sponsor of a bill to legalize marijuana in South Carolina for medical use. When his infant daughter began suffering seizures known as infantile spasms, McCoy researched possible ways to relieve her discomfort and was led to research on medical cannabis.

That pursuit led to McCoy’s support of a 2014 bill to legalize cannabis oil, which can be used to treat severe epilepsy and other ailments.

RELATED STORY

Sessions Calls Cole Memo ‘Valid,’ Says Fed Resources Are Limited

None of that personal or policy relationship, McCoy says, would tint his service if tapped as South Carolina’s top federal prosecutor, particularly working under a boss who has been vocal in his doubts about any marijuana legalization.

“I have been consistent as a lawmaker and prosecutor being against the recreational use and/or abuse of any illegal substance,” McCoy told the AP, when asked both about the possibility of his nomination and his stance toward marijuana.

“I believe my position has been consistent with the president and his administration in regards to allowing states to decide treatment for medicinal purposes. If I am fortunate enough to be nominated and appointed United States Attorney, I will continue to uphold, follow, and enforce all state and federal laws.”

Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use.

RELATED STORY

Data Dive: Legalization No Longer a Partisan Issue, 2016 Election Data Show

Bryan Stirling

Stirling, 47, is a longtime public servant, an attorney who now serves as director of South Carolina’s Department of Corrections. He previously worked in former Gov. Nikki Haley’s office and was a top deputy when Gov. Henry McMaster was the state’s attorney general.

Asked about the prosecutor position, Stirling told the AP he was focused on running the prisons agency.

RELATED STORY

White House Plans ‘Greater Enforcement’ Against Legal Cannabis

Robert Bolchoz

Bolchoz, 53, is currently chief deputy under state Attorney General Alan Wilson and previously worked as a prosecutor in Charleston County. He vied with Wilson for the 2010 GOP nomination for the top prosecutor job and also previously sought a position on Columbia’s City Council.

“I really enjoy public service and am flattered to be under consideration for such an opportunity,” Bolchoz told the AP.

RELATED STORY

Yes, Jeff Sessions Could Use RICO. No, It Wouldn’t End Legal Cannabis

Sherri Lydon

Lydon, 55, is a former prosecutor at the state and federal levels now private practice. As an assistant U.S. attorney, Lydon was among the lead prosecutors in Operation Lost Trust, a corruption probe that resulted in numerous convictions against South Carolina lawmakers and lobbyists. As an assistant attorney general, Lydon was chief of the State Grand Jury and also led the prosecution of executives from Carolina Investors and Home Gold, South Carolina’s largest securities fraud case.

If appointed, Lydon would be South Carolina’s first woman to serve as permanent U.S. attorney. She told the AP she was honored to be considered.


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.

Australian Regulator Grants First Commercial Cannabis License

Cannoperations, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cann Group Ltd., has become the first company to be granted a license to produce and cultivate medical cannabis for manufacture in Australia.

The Office of Drug Control, the country’s medical cannabis regulator, made the announcement on March 8, just weeks after the office granted Cann Group a license to grow cannabis for medical research purposes.

While licenses have been issued to state governments, these are the first granted to a commercial entity. Cann Group has not announced whether it has also applied for a manufacturing license or whether the company will provide cannabis to other manufacturers.

RELATED STORY

What Will Australian Import Changes Mean for Local Cannabis Growers?

Last month, the Victorian state government announced that it had harvested the first crop of medical cannabis grown under the new Australian scheme. That crop was reserved to treat cases of severe childhood epilepsy. Cann Group is expected to roll out privately produced crops later this year.

Cann Group

Victoria-based Cann Group opened its doors in 2014. It’s currently headed by CEO Peter Crock, who joined the company from Nufarm, an agricultural chemical company. Executive Chairman Allan McCallum also hails from agriculture, having chaired several biotechnology companies.

RELATED STORY

Australian Cannabis Stocks Jostle for Top Spot

The company has moved into the Australian marketplace rapidly. Being the first company to receive both research and commercial licenses is widely seen a coup, and according to its financial reports, the business has already acquired half a million dollars’ worth of plants and equipment.

In addition to growing cannabis for research purposes, Cann Group has also indicated it will supply other researchers with its cannabis crop. It has already executed agreements in plant genetics, breeding, cultivation, extraction, analysis, and production techniques.

No Export

The Office of Drug Control has made clear that licensed medical cannabis production is intended solely to supply Australia’s domestic market. “To ensure that sufficient product is available to address the needs of Australian patients, export of domestically grown cannabis or medicinal cannabis products will not be permitted at this time,” the agency said in a recent update.

RELATED STORY

Australia Loosens Cannabis Import Rules to Speed Patient Access

For now, growers and producers will have to find markets at home for their legal medical cannabis. They’ll also need to prove to the Office of Drug Control that they have a contract with a manufacturer to buy the cannabis they plan to grow, and only grow as much as the terms of their permit allows.

The country previously eased restrictions on cannabis imports in order to increase supply, which had been far outpaced by patient demand.

The ODC claims its scheme is already giving doctors “greater treatment choices.” But for patients waiting for access to safe, affordable products, incremental advancements like these can seem frustratingly slow.


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.

Georgia Set to Expand Access to Cannabis Oil

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia lawmakers have reached an agreement to expand a program that lets some patients use an oil derived from marijuana.

Sen. Ben Watson, R-Savannah, will present the compromise to the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee Friday morning, and it is expected to get a positive recommendation.

Under the new proposal, six new diagnoses will be added to the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis oil including autism, AIDS, Tourette’s syndrome, and Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, anyone in a hospice program, regardless of diagnosis, will be allowed access to marijuana oil that’s low on THC, the chemical responsible for the marijuana high.

RELATED STORY

Atlanta Buyers Club: Inside the CBD Underground in the American South

The proposal will set up reciprocity with other states so that visitors will be able to access medical cannabis oil for 45 days as long as they are permitted to do so in their home state. It also removes a requirement that patients live in the state for at least a year before qualifying for the program.

“It’s not all that I wanted, but you never get everything you want at the Capitol.”

Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon

Both the reciprocity and the removal of the residency restrictions were included to try and cater to military families who may end up stationed in Georgia.

Under the proposal, prescribing physicians will only have to report to the state twice a year instead of the current quarterly requirement.

In a previous version of the bill, Watson proposed reducing the allowable percentage of THC from 5 percent to 3 percent, which drew sharp criticism from patient advocacy groups.

RELATED STORY

CBD vs. THC: Why Is CBD Not Psychoactive?

“It’s not all that I wanted, but you never get everything you want at the Capitol,” said Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon. He sponsored a separate bill that would have expanded the program further with additional diagnoses and fewer restrictions.

He said he was happy with the final product. “We needed to pass something that will benefit more Georgians, and that is exactly what we are doing,” said Peake.

But advocacy groups say the compromise doesn’t go far enough.

Shannon Cloud is with Georgia’s Hope, a group of patients and parents advocating for more access to medical cannabis. She would have preferred to see the Senate adopt Peake’s initial proposal.

She disagrees with the qualifier that for some diagnoses, a patient must be in a severe or end-stage condition.

“You shouldn’t have to be dying in order to access the medicine,” said Cloud.


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 Lawmakers Weigh Sales Tax on Medical Cannabis

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Medicinal marijuana patient in Montana face a 6 percent tax on their purchases if lawmakers approve a proposal that would help bolster the state budget.

The tax, which was under discussion in the House Taxation Committee on Wednesday, could raise about $1.1 million a year. The bulk of the money would end up in the state’s unrestricted general fund. About $100,000 would be used for an armored car and security guard who would go from dispensary to dispensary to collect taxes because cannabis dispensaries are generally an all-cash business.

Opponents urged lawmakers to reject the proposed tax, saying it would be a hardship on many of the nearly 12,000 registered medical cannabis patients in Montana.

RELATED STORY

Montana Voted to Revive Dispensaries. Here’s How It’ll Happen.

Last fall, voters again approved a measure legalizing medicinal marijuana — after an earlier voter-approved law was gutted by lawmakers and was mired in legal limbo.

The proposed sales tax is one of two cannabis-related revenue measures still wending their way through the Montana Legislature. The other proposal would place a 2 percent levy on marijuana producers.

The sales tax proposal is one of several “revenue enhancers” being carried in the Legislature on behalf of Gov. Steve Bullock to help infuse money Democrats hope will offset declines in revenues from fuel taxes.

Bullock has proposed taxes on wine and establishing a new higher tax bracket for the state’s wealthiest.

“Gov. Bullock’s fair and modest revenue enhancers deserve thoughtful consideration in order to fund essential services for Montana seniors, children, and college students,” said his spokesman Ronja Abel.

RELATED STORY

In Pueblo: Scholarships for All, Thanks to Cannabis Taxes

Medicinal cannabis is legal in about half the states and is booming business in many of those states, providing revenue windfalls for states and local governments that have chosen to collect taxes and fees on the drug.

In Colorado, medicinal marijuana sales generate about $10.5 million, while $50 million is generated in California, according to a fiscal note accompanying Montana’s proposal.

The sales tax sponsor, Democratic Rep. Tom Jacobson of Great Falls, argued that the tax was justified as a regulation on the industry to ensure product safety.

Because cannabis remains illegal under federal law, he said, it is left to the state to take on that role.

“The voters put the onus on the state of Montana to ensure the safety and viability of this product,” Jacobson said. “The consumers of this product are relying on us; therefore, comes a cost.”

RELATED STORY

Leafly Investigation: California Has a Dirty Cannabis Problem

The state now charges fees on medical cannabis patients, as well as on providers.

Kari Boiter, a co-founder of the Patients Right Network, told lawmakers that the sales tax would be an undue financial burden on her and other users of medicinal marijuana. She said many who rely on cannabis to treat pain and other ailments have limited incomes.

“We’re already dealing with exorbitant medical costs and debt that we’re trying to pay. This is just one more thing that adds to the expenses we’re taking on as sick individuals that healthy individuals,” said Boiter, who spends nearly $700 a month on cannabis-related treatments.


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.

California’s Great Cannabis Unbanning

By every estimate, California produces and consumes significantly more marijuana than any other state in America. But in much of the state, the multibillion-dollar industry still behaves as an underground enterprise, operating as if it were still illegal—because, for now at least, it still is.

While the right of medical cannabis patients and adults 21 and over to possess and grow cannabis is now enshrined in state law, cities and counties wield retain significant close power control to regulate over how marijuana businesses are regulated locally. It’s authority they haven’t been shy to use: So far, 17 counties—about a third of the state—have banned or severely restricted either commercial cannabis cultivation, retail sales, or both, according to data recently compiled by the California Cannabis Industry Association.

Bans are also in effect in 204 cities, or 42 percent of California’s incorporated communities. In a very few extreme cases, some cities have gone as far as to outlaw or otherwise curtail all marijuana growing, including the six plants all adults are supposed to be allowed to grow at home for personal use under Proposition 64, the state’s successful legalization initiative.

But with commercial adult-use sales set to begin as early as Jan. 1, this trend toward outlawing cannabis is now reversing itself—quickly.

RELATED STORY

Investor Rush Follows California Town’s Cannabis Vote

Bans are steadily giving way to regulations. In areas where marijuana businesses are already permitted and licensed, local governments are beginning to relax strict rules, trim permit fees, and lower taxes in an effort to be more competitive than their neighbors.

“In the last six weeks, we’ve seen movement in areas we wouldn’t have expected.”

Hezekiah Allen, executive director, California Growers Association

As for home cultivation, cities are reconsidering all-out bans. The threat of a lawsuit compelled one Northern California town to relent on a proposed ban and allow residents to grow for personal use—just as Prop 64 has always said they could. (Other cities are mulling “inspection” and “permit fees” for home grows, though have yet to collect a dime.)

A look at local cannabis policies reveals the state’s “well-known cultural divide” between progressive coastal cities, conservative inland valleys, and libertarian-leaning foothills, said Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, a state-level cultivators’ lobby.

Coastal regions tend to be most permissive, with the flatlands and foothills most restrictive. “But in the last six weeks,” Allen told Leafly News, “we’ve seen movement in areas we wouldn’t have expected.”

RELATED STORY

California Just Legalized Cannabis! Now Comes the Hard Part

Rural, agricultural counties—where (unfounded) fears of organized crime and (more reasonable) worries of environmental degradation once fueled blanket bans—are now moving quickly to assist commercial cannabis businesses, outpacing even some traditionally marijuana-producing counties. In other conservative areas, of the type that used to default to bans, lawmakers are holding off on such severe restrictions and exploring ways to make marijuana work.

In perhaps the biggest victory for regulated marijuana to date, voters in Los Angeles, where, four years ago, medical marijuana dispensaries were essentially outlawed by popular vote, the electorate this month voted nearly 3-to-1 to license and regulate marijuana businesses of all kinds.

RELATED STORY

LA Approves Prop M; Here’s What Will Change

Why the mass shift? For one thing, most small communities in California don’t write their own laws. That job is passed on to private law firms contracted by cities and counties to act as outside government counsel. Until recently, when the question of marijuana arose, the law firms would reply by sending back a “boilerplate ban” for part-time city councilmembers and rural county supervisors to vote into law. Early last year, the League of California Cities, a local government association, encouraged its members to ban cultivation outright. Many small communities, unsure of what to do, took what seemed like sage advice and banned.

The league has since updated its views, acknowledging a range of workable approaches.

“It’s not bans anymore,” said Nate Bradley, policy director for the California Cannabis Industry Association.  “Now they’re saying, ‘How can we make this work? Write us an ordinance that works.’”

The best explanation for this phenomenon is the simplest and most predictable: money.

RELATED STORY

In Pueblo: Scholarships for All, Thanks to Cannabis Taxes

California may have an economy larger than France, India, and Brazil (and nearly twice that of Russia), but most of the wealth is concentrated in a few select areas, like Silicon Valley and Hollywood. The state, by some estimates, also boasts the nation’s highest poverty rate. In those flatlands and foothills, jobs can be hard to come by.

“We always knew that revenue and job creation would be the carrot on the stick that brought hesitant municipalities to the table.”

Mickey Martin, legalization advocate

After watching cities and counties in Washington and Colorado balance their budgets, repave their streets, and construct enviable civic works projects with marijuana tax revenue, knee-jerk bans are giving way to new efforts to welcome weed. Dreams of cannabis riches are compelling cities to turn abandoned prisons and tire plants into marijuana factories. In one case, a since-abandoned plan to convert a shuttered factory into a cannabis operation would have created a rural California county’s biggest employer.

“We always knew that revenue and job creation would be the carrot on the stick that brought hesitant municipalities to the table,” said marijuana business consultant and longtime legalization activist Mickey Martin, who’s seen clients win licenses in heretofore hostile areas. “While the entire process can often make hardworking and righteous cannabis businesses feel like a cheap whore, at the end of the day, if it results in cannabis becoming more widely accepted, and less people going to jail for producing and selling weed, I will consider it a win.”

RELATED STORY

Think Cannabis is ‘Essentially Legal’ in California? Think Again

The trend began in earnest last year, when desolate desert towns such as Desert Hot Springs turned to marijuana as a source of income.

“I can only imagine what we can do with the tax revenue,” Desert Hot Springs Mayor Scott Matas told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re in need of parks, our roads are dilapidated. All around — our sidewalks, curbs, gutters.”

Even with sky-high taxes and fees—$25 a square foot for grow houses, for example—cannabis companies jumped on board.

Desert Hot Springs was able to propose such high tax rates because few other cities were so welcoming. Now, unless it adjusts, it may find itself moribund again, as marijuana companies flee to friendlier climes.

RELATED STORY

Mass. Panel Aims to Strike Balance on Cannabis Taxes

Just like with any other business, “cities will have to compete,” said Adam Spiker, executive director of the Southern California Coalition, an industry advocacy group.

How far things have come and—how much is still at stake—is evident in Calaveras County, a rural, sparsely populated stretch of foothills and giant Sequoias in Gold Country best known (if at all) for being the setting of a famous Mark Twain short story.

The foothills are Donald Trump territory; Calaveras, where Trump beat Hillary Clinton by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, is one link in a north-south chain of seven counties where conservative views rule. Voters here rejected Proposition 64, which legalized adult-use cannabis, while also rejecting a gun control measure and a proposed ban on the death penalty.

At the same time, Calaveras voters approved slapping a tax on marijuana cultivation. That tax could raise $10 million a year, a princely sum in a county where the median income is one-third below the state average. Given the chance to ban commercial marijuana cultivation marijuana in January, county supervisors balked at the very last second. The question will now be decided by voters in a special election in May.

“All we are asking for is good government,” said former Calaveras County Supervisor Thomas Tryon.

Tryon is a Libertarian who believes former President Barack Obama is a Marxist. Tryon also has designs on becoming a commercial cannabis farmer.

“Frankly,” he said, “a ban is not good governance at all.”


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.

Photos Prove Government-Grown Cannabis Is Basically Ditch Weed

Take a second to appreciate this picture.

If you’ve seen cannabis before, we’ll forgive you for not recognizing it here.

That bowl of what looks like stuff you might dig out of an old lawnmower is actually government-approved medical marijuana. Since the 1960s, the United States has required that  all cannabis used for research be sourced through the government.

And there it is, in all its glory.

RELATED STORY

Leafly’s Visual Quality Guide to Selecting Cannabis

No joke. The cannabis in that picture, the Washington Post reports, is the federally approved cannabis distributed to Sue Sisley, a researcher conducting a first-ever clinical trial of cannabis as a potential treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To underscore the difference between government marijuana and the medical cannabis familiar to patients in most legal states, the Post published this side-by-side comparison:

(Washington Post)(Washington Post)

“Inhaling that would be like eating an apple, including the seeds inside it and the branch it grew on,” professional cannabis critic Jake Browne told the Post. “People typically smoke the flower of the plant, but here you can clearly see stems and leaves in there as well.”

Or as Twitter user @lightningjeff put it, “That’s drug abuse right there on the right.”

“It’s akin to investigating the effects of bourbon by giving people Bud Light.”

Washington Post

The PTSD researcher, Sisley, said she was disappointed when she first unwrapped the package. “It didn’t look like cannabis. It didn’t smell like cannabis,” she told PBS NewsHour, which described the substance’s as looking “like green talcum powder.”

Some of the samples Sisley received failed to conform to the chemical potency she’d requested for the study, she said. One strain, for example, was supposed to contain 13% THC. Sisley’s testing showed it was closer to 8%.

Other samples were contaminated with mold and yeast at levels that exceeded standards in adult-use states like Washington or Colorado.

RELATED STORY

Leafly Investigation: How Much Butane in BHO is Too Much?

The cannabis was, like all government-approved cannabis, grown on a 12-acre farm at the University of Mississippi, overseen by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And while it may be a laughable product, it’s hardly a laughing matter.

“For a researcher, it’s difficult to assess the real-world impact of high-end pot if you only have access to the low-quality stuff,” write the Post’s Chris Ingraham and Tauhid Chappell. “It’s akin to investigating the effects of bourbon by giving people Bud Light.”

NIDA has said it plans to produce “some additional marijuana this year and harvest some high THC material that will likely be above 13 percent THC.”


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 House Approves 16-Plant Homegrow Limit, End to Co-Ops

DENVER (AP) — The nation’s most generous grow-your-own laws are closer to being curbed in Colorado, where the state House advanced a pair of bills Monday aimed at cracking down on people who grow cannabis outside the commercial, taxed system.

One bill would set a statewide limit of 16 marijuana plants per house, down from a current limit of 99 plants before registering.

The bill passed 65-10 after sponsors argued that Colorado’s generous home-grown cannabis laws make it impossible to tell whether someone is growing plants legally, or whether the plants are destined for the black market.

The other bill makes is a crime to grow recreational cannabis for someone else, an end to Colorado’s marijuana co-ops.

That bill cleared the House on an unrecorded voice vote, with one more vote required.

RELATED STORY

Trump FDA, US Attorney Moves Could Shift Cannabis Landscape

Colorado regulators have tried for years to stop people from growing large amounts of cannabis without state taxation or oversight. But because Colorado’s constitution gives people the right to grow as much as their doctors recommend, the state has had a hard time making that happen.

“We need to close this loophole,” said Rep. KC Becker, a Boulder Democrat and sponsor of the bill.

This year’s effort would say that marijuana patients can’t have more than 16 plants in a residential property. The change would force those patients to either move to an industrial or agricultural area, or shop at a dispensary.

Of the 28 states with legal medical marijuana, none but Colorado currently allows more than 16 plants per home.

Many Colorado jurisdictions including Denver already have per-home plant limits, usually at 12. But the lack of a statewide limit makes it difficult for police to distinguish between legitimate patients and fronts for black-market marijuana, bill supporters argued Friday.

RELATED STORY

Growing Organic Cannabis at Home

“The time has come for us … to give law enforcement the guidance they need,” said Rep. Cole Wist, a Centennial Republican and another bill sponsor.

Marijuana patients have been flooding lawmakers with complaints about the bill, which was introduced just last week. The first hearing on the measure lasted until near midnight.

Lawmakers softened the bill by raising its original limit from 12 plants to 16 plants, and by saying that patients caught with too much cannabis in the house would face a petty offense, and felony charges only later.

But those changes weren’t enough for some Democrats, who argued in vain that it shouldn’t be a felony until the third offense to have too much cannabis in the home. They argued that the limits won’t hurt criminal drug operations, which could simply grow their plants in areas that aren’t zoned residential.

“A lot of patients are on fixed incomes. They’re ill,” said Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, D-Commerce City. “Cartels have the money to go rent warehouses.”

RELATED STORY

Leafly Investigation: California Has a Dirty Cannabis Problem

The resistance effort even brought one lawmaker to tears. Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, held a stack of patient letters and said the change would hurt people who can’t afford to shop in dispensaries.

“We’re throwing patients in jail!” Lebsock cried.

But Republicans sided with other Democrats to prevail on an unrecorded voice vote. The bill faces one more formal vote next week before heading to the Senate, where its prospects are strong.

A companion bill — to give law enforcement more money to sniff out illegal growers — is awaiting a House vote Monday.

Gov. John Hickenlooper backs the plant crackdown and has called on lawmakers to send him a statewide limit.


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.