Tag: Politics

California Bill Would Ban Cannabis-Branded Hats, T-Shirts, Other Merchandise

Go to a California cannabis event and you’re likely to walk away with a free hat—or a bumper sticker, or a t-shirt, or tote bag emblazoned with a cannabis company’s logo. But under a bill being considered in the state Legislature, all that branded merchandise would go up in smoke.

Senate Bill 162, by state Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), would prohibit state-licensed cannabis businesses from advertising “through the use of branded merchandise, including, but not limited to, clothing, hats, or other merchandise with the name or logo of the product.” It’s a measure aimed at reducing children’s exposure to cannabis ads, but some in the industry say it amounts to legislative overreach and could end up doing more harm than good.

Last month the Senate passed the measure unanimously, 40–0, and it’s now parked in an Assembly committee.

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Advertising has been a thorny issue as the Golden State works to bring its multibillion-dollar cannabis industry out of the shadows and into a legal, regulated marketplace. Concerns over advertisements that might appeal to minors have already led to restrictions on the use of certain music, language, shapes, cartoon characters, and other content known to capture kids’ attention. In addition to staying away from schools, daycares, and youth centers, advertisements can be served only to audiences that are at least 71.6% composed of adults 21 and over.

“SB 162’s restriction on ‘advertising’ generally would give enforcement authorities the ability to shut down all cannabis merchandising.”

Rebecca Stamey-White, attorney

Branded merchandise is also currently restricted, with distribution allowed only at “an industry trade show or other similar venue where the attendees are required to be 21 years of age or older.” SB 162 would remove that allowance, barring branded merchandise completely.

As written, the law would apply only to commercial speech by state-licensed cannabis companies. Nonprofits and noncommercial speech would be exempt.

The proposal, as LA Weekly’s Dennis Romero reports, has some cannabis businesses up in arms:

The Southern California Coalition, the largest trade group of marijuana businesses in Los Angeles, is … opposed to the proposal. “To ban small businesses from advertising, marketing and branding is ridiculous,” the organization’s executive director, Adam Spiker, said via email.

“The bill would materially hamstring small business owners’ ability to grow in the land of opportunity,” Spiker said. “We are firmly against it, and will work to ensure lawmakers are aware of the harmful ramifications it would have.”

A letter sent to Sen. Allen by the California arm of the American Academy of Pediatrics says the bill “would ensure that children and youth are exposed to a minimal amount of marijuana advertising,” according to the LA Weekly report. “This would help protect children from the dangerous health effects of marijuana use in a manner consistent with tobacco regulations.”

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The limits of the bill’s restrictions on merchandise aren’t immediately clear. In other legal states, employees of cannabis businesses regularly wear branded apparel and other merchandise. But because the law is phrased so broadly—”advertise through the use of”—it’s conceivable that even branded bags or employee t-shirts could run afoul of the proposed law.

“SB 162 is broad enough in its language that it could cover branded merchandise worn by employees or even merchandise produced by an unlicensed third party if it was done so for the licensee,” Rebecca Stamey-White, a San Francisco-based lawyer who works with the cannabis and alcohol industries.

Other states, such as Washington, have similar restrictions on branded merchandise, although the details are more clearly defined. According to a Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board FAQ page, licensees may create branded merchandise such as apparel for internal or employee use. Those items can’t be sold or given away directly to consumers, but they can be sold by the licensee’s parent company or a separate-but-related business. Strangely enough, branded paraphernalia—such as pipes, bongs, and storage containers—is not considered “branded merchandise” in Washington and may be sold by licensees.

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“The [California] bill does not have the appropriate limitations that Washington has on their restrictions, which only prevent licensees from selling or giving away branded products from their licensed premises or on their website, but makes no attempt to regulate non-licensees producing or selling these products,” Stamey-White said. “SB 162’s restriction on ‘advertising’ generally would give enforcement authorities the ability to shut down all cannabis merchandising, including all kinds of branded products that do not contain cannabis, so this is a bill the industry should be actively opposing or working toward more precise language here.

In Colorado, cannabis laws don’t discuss branded products specifically. Instead, restrictions on advertising focus on “mass market campaigns that have a high likelihood of reaching” minors, including internet and in-app advertising.

Restrictions on alcohol, which is directly or indirectly responsible for thousands of youth deaths every year, are allowed considerably more leeway. “Restrictions on consumer alcohol merchandising are limited to what products may be given away to consumers, but there are not blanket prohibitions on the sale of branded products or restrictions on where these products can be sold as advertising,” Stamey-White said.

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“This bill is an attempt to restrict commercial free speech without a substantial state interest in doing so,” she added. “I believe in restrictions on overly aggressive marketing (which is the constraint on giveaways) and marketing that is appealing to minors, but I think this goes too far.”

The full text of SB 162 is available on the California Legislature’s website.


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.

Marijuana Goggles and ‘Stoned Babies’: Why AAA is Propping Up Prohibition

AAA, which is the official new name of the American Automobile Association, has recently thrust itself into the cannabis legalization fight as an outspoken critic of cannabis legalization, which has raised eyebrows among some in the legalization movement. The travel map and roadside-help company? Why are they even getting involved?

One AAA official voiced fears that legalization would mean ‘more babies will be born high.’

Most of the pro-prohibition advocacy is coming from the AAA’s Mid-Atlantic office in Wilmington, Delaware. Earlier this  year Ragina Cooper Averella, that office’s spokesperson, argued against legalization in Maryland based on what she characterized as “the increasing plague of drugged driving.” Another Mid-Atlantic AAA official raised the bizarre fear that “more babies will be born high” during a forum to discuss legalization in Delaware.

Legalization advocates contacted by Leafly said they agree with the need for vehicle safety and unimpaired driving, but they think AAA is misusing its public credibility. In fact, the data on cannabis legalization and impaired driving has not yet yielded any definitive conclusions.

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Two studies published in the just the past week came to conflicting conclusions about the effect of legalization on driving habits. One study, conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, found that collision claim frequencies in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon were about 3 percent higher than in neighboring non-legal states. A second study, published in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), researchers at the University of Texas concluded that changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates for Washington and Colorado between 2009 and 2015 were no different than rates in similar states that did not legalize adult-use cannabis.

Meanwhile, traffic fatalities fell 11% in states that legalized medical marijuana.

Meanwhile, in states where medical marijuana has been legalized, traffic fatalities have actually decreased. A 2013 study found that traffic fatalities dropped 8% to 11%, on average, in the year after states legalized medical marijuana. A similar study released in 2016 found that traffic deaths fell 11%, on average, in states that legalized medical marijuana. And yet there has been no call from any AAA officials to expand the legalization of medical marijuana, based on that correlation (which, remember, is not the same as causation) between medical marijuana legalization and a drop in fatalities.

“AAA could be the group to come in and separate the facts from the myths so that politicians and others actually do pursue some evidence-based policies,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML. “Instead they’re largely fearmongering and further politicizing the issue.”

Apart from its iconic roadside assistance, AAA offers insurance, travel planning, and various automotive services to 56 million members in the U.S and Canada. Officials with the nonprofit organization declined to comment for this story.

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Pivoting Away From Neutrality

The organization’s newly embraced anti-legalization stance is a hard turn from AAA’s previous position—which is to say, no position at all.

When advocates in Western states like Washington and Colorado began campaigning for adult-use legalization, AAA said little. Now that the legalization movement has reached the East Coast, it’s a different story. Responding to concerns shown in a Pennsylvania poll on drugged driving, AAA officials have advised lawmakers in Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, to resist legal adult use cannabis.

‘If you’re impaired by marijuana, you’re less likely to be able to evade a crash.’

Jake Nelson, AAA director of traffic safety advocacy

AAA’s Ragina Cooper Averella aired the organization’s pro-prohibition policy in a Baltimore Sun editorial on February 1. “AAA opposes the legalization of marijuana for recreational use because of its negative traffic safety implications and the current challenges in discerning and addressing marijuana-impaired driving,” she wrote.

In a June 20 article, BuzzFeed reporter Alyson Martin quoted Jake Nelson, director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research at AAA.

“If you’re impaired by marijuana, you’re less likely to be able to evade a crash,” he said. “You are slower to respond to get out of the way of a driver coming down the way towards you. It will contribute to a crash, whether you are responsible for a crash.”

AAA’s concerns grew out of statistics from a May 2016 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analysis of Washington State Patrol data that concluded: “Fatal crashes involving drivers who recently used marijuana more than doubled — from 8 percent to 17 percent. One in six drivers involved in fatal crashes tested positive for active-THC.”

Last week’s American Journal of Public Health article seemed to contradict that conclusion—kind of. The two studies didn’t look at the same exact data. The AJPH study compared overall vehicle crash rates in legal states to non-legal states. The AAA/Washington State Patrol study looked at the blood THC levels of drivers involved in fatal crashes. The data in the latter study can be affected by a number of significant factors, including the State Patrol’s greater propensity to test for THC, and the agency’s greater ability to conduct those tests, in the legalization era.

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Which Study is Valid?

Further, the authors of the AJPH argued that measuring cannabis levels in crashes—as in the AAA/Washington State Patrol study, is an inaccurate method. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, or FARS, doesn’t check for cannabis in drivers in every state, and lab testing for cannabis levels is still an imperfect science.

Most cannabis-related traffic studies contain a common theme: Law enforcement agencies may be testing more for THC in states where it is legal than they did prior to legalization, or consumers may be consuming more cannabis, but there is no definitive causal link between an increase in crash fatalities and  any given state’s rate of cannabis consumption.

“This study of crash risk found a statistically significant increase in unadjusted crash risk for drivers who tested positive for use of illegal drugs (1.21 times), and THC specifically (1.25 times),” reads a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report. “However, analyses incorporating adjustments for age, gender, ethnicity, and alcohol concentration level did not show a significant increase in levels of crash risk associated with the presence of drugs. This finding indicates that these other variables (age, gender ethnicity and alcohol use) were highly correlated with drug use and account for much of the increased risk associated with the use of illegal drugs and with THC.”

AAA Really Dislikes Cannabis

Besides safety concerns, AAA has some reasons to dislike legalization, some of which relate to its lobbying activities and some of which seem to come from an entrenched Drug War attitude.

There are obvious financial reasons. If cannabis indeed has a safety impact, DUI-stricken drivers are more expensive to insure – which is one of the reasons AAA has always lobbied in favor of more and stricter DUI laws.

But AAA seems to step beyond its realm of expertise in several cases, making broad statements about cannabis and society that sound more like rhetoric than data-based policy suggestions.

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During an April meeting in Delaware, Cathy Rossi, vice president of public and governmental affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said legalization would be a bad idea for reasons that had nothing to do with vehicle safety.

“It also creates an entirely new, costly public infrastructure,” she said. “It means a lot of young people will begin to munch on the edibles that has a much higher potency and more babies will be born high.”

AAA’s Mid-Atlantic office lobbied hard against a pro-cannabis bill in Delaware, even going as far as to offer the state’s lawmakers the chance to wear “marijuana goggles” so they could imagine the changes in perception THC creates.

Official statements from other spokespeople ask Political Science 101-type questions that veer far off the interstate highway system.

In a March 7 testimony submitted to the CT Public Health Committee, Amy Parmenter, public and governmental affairs manager for AAA Allied Group, listed three key reasons the organization opposes legalization, among them the “complexities and challenges legalization would present to law enforcement, our courts, state agencies, and public health.”

Meanwhile, in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Alaska, officials tasked with integrating legalization laws into courts, state agencies, and police departments typically only seem to have problems implementing cannabis legalization changes when they run into federal laws–which still declare cannabis illegal.

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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.

Nearly 3 in 4 Utah Voters Support Medical Marijuana, Survey Finds

Utah’s neighbors to the west, south, and east all have legal, regulated cannabis markets for both medical and adult use. Now a new poll suggests that Utah voters want to legal medical marijuana in their state, too.

The Utah Patients Coalition survey, published Monday, found that of 402 Utah voters polled, 73% support a medical cannabis ballot initiative. Only about 20% were opposed, and 7% remain undecided.

Voters from nearly all demographic groups expressed support for medical marijuana, the survey found, included 64% of Republican voters and 63% of active voters who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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Older voters in Utah supported medical cannabis legalization at an even higher rate, with 75% of voters 50 and older in favor. And when asked about chronic pain, 72% of all respondents said they felt cannabis should be available as treatment.

“The poll results show overwhelming and broad support for medical cannabis in Utah,” said DJ Schanz, director of Utah Patients Coalition. “Voters believe that patients should be able to safely and legally access the medicine they need.”

The Utah Patients Coalition is also behind a prospective ballot initiative announced in Salt Lake City this week that would legalize medical cannabis in the state. Supporters say they’re frustrated by the Legislature’s inaction despite broad support for legalization from constituents.

Christine Stenquist, a campaign spokesperson for Utah Patients Coalition, said in a statement that Utah needs to adopt medicinal marijuana rules as soon as possible, especially in the face of the deadly opioid epidemic that has taken a heavy toll in Utah.

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“The opioid epidemic has already taken too many lives in our state,” Stenquist said. “We should allow medical cannabis as a treatment for chronic pain for two urgent reasons. First, medical cannabis is a more effective treatment for many patients. And second, it can potentially play a significant role in reducing the rate of opioid overdose deaths in Utah.”

The poll, conducted in February, was commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project, a national cannabis reform organization. Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, an opinion research firm, conducted the survey.


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.

Poll: 73% of Voters Support 2018 Utah Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A February poll of 402 Utahns found that 73% of voters support a medical cannabis ballot initiative, with only 20% opposed and 7% undecided.

“The poll results show overwhelming and broad support for medical cannabis in Utah,” said DJ Schanz, director of Utah Patients Coalition. “Voters believe that patients should be able to safely and legally access the medicine they need.”

Voters from virtually all demographic groups expressed support, including 64% of Republican voters, 63% of active LDS voters, and 75% of voters age 50 and above. Nearly 80% of all voters support medical cannabis in principle.

The poll found 72% support for allowing doctors to recommend medical cannabis as a treatment for chronic pain.

A 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that, between 1999 and 2010, states with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower rate of opioid overdose deaths than states without medical cannabis laws.

“The opioid epidemic has already taken too many lives in our state,” said campaign spokesperson Christine Stenquist. “We should allow medical cannabis as a treatment for chronic pain for two urgent reasons. First, medical cannabis is a more effective treatment for many patients. And second, it can potentially play a significant role in reducing the rate of opioid overdose deaths in Utah.”

The poll was conducted with live callers on both landline and wireless phones. It was commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project, a national marijuana reform organization that is supporting the 2018 Utah campaign.

Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, an opinion research firm, conducted the poll.

Detailed results of the poll are available here.

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

Utah Group Files 2018 Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Activists who say they are tired of waiting for Utah’s conservative Legislature to pass a broad medical marijuana law launched an effort Monday to ask voters next year to pass the law, a move that would bypass state lawmakers.

People with chronic, painful conditions who want to use cannabis legally in the state plus other members of a group called the Utah Patients Coalition said lawmakers’ rejection of broad medical marijuana laws for three years in a row prompted their ballot initiative drive.

“The time has come to help alleviate the pain and suffering of the most vulnerable in our society, with the help of a medicine that works for them,” said Utah Patients Coalition director DJ Schanz.

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Utah passed an extremely limited medical marijuana law several years ago that allows those with severe epilepsy to use a cannabis extract called cannabidiol if they obtain it from other states. Lawmakers and Utah’s Republican Gov. Gary Herbert have said they worry a broader medical marijuana law could lead to prescriptions filled for people who feign illness so they can get the drug and use it recreationally.

“We took him to every doctor. We were given every pharmaceutical and nothing helped.”

Desiree Hennessy, parent

The Utah Patients Coalition wants Utah to join 29 other states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico in allowing broader medical use of marijuana with dispensaries, different plant strains and methods of consuming it.

Schanz spoke with reporters at the state Capitol as about 40 people held signs that read “Cancer” and “Epilepsy.” Among the group were parents with children in wheelchairs and therapy dogs. Another attendee was former state Sen. Mark Madsen, a Republican who unsuccessfully tried to get a medical cannabis bill passed before he retired from the Legislature last year.

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Madsen, who has spoken in the past of his back pain, opiate overdose and use of marijuana, stood nearby holding a sign that read “chronic pain.”

Desiree Hennessy, a backer of the initiative from the small northern Utah town of Avon, wants to try to use cannabis to alleviate the suffering of her 23-year-old son Hestevan Hennessy, who has cerebral palsy, nerve pain and other conditions that leave him screaming in agonizing pain.

Desiree Hennessy cries during the Utah Patients Coalition news conference at the Utah State Capitol Monday, June 26, 2017, in Salt Lake City. A group of activists and Utah residents with chronic conditions has launched a ballot initiative to ask voters next year to pass a broad medical marijuana law. Her adopted son Hestevan has cerebral palsy and suffers from chronic nerve pain, seizure disorder, and life-threatening complications from his medication. (Rick Bowmer/AP)Desiree Hennessy cries during the Utah Patients Coalition news conference at the Utah State Capitol Monday, June 26, 2017, in Salt Lake City. A group of activists and Utah residents with chronic conditions has launched a ballot initiative to ask voters next year to pass a broad medical marijuana law. Her adopted son Hestevan has cerebral palsy and suffers from chronic nerve pain, seizure disorder, and life-threatening complications from his medication. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

“We took him to every doctor. We were given every pharmaceutical and nothing helped,” said Hennessy, who stopped to cry as she spoke about her son, who sat nearby in a wheelchair softly moaning.

Candi Huff of the Salt Lake City suburb of Draper spoke about her 18-year-old daughter Madison Huff, whose epilepsy has not responded to medications. Huff said her daughter began using cannabidiol several years ago under Utah’s limited law and her seizures eased, but she wants her daughter to be able to try other versions of cannabis to determine whether it will help reduce the seizures more.

Huff, who is also the president of the Epilepsy Association of Utah, said other Utah residents with epilepsy who have not found cannabidiol effective and go to other states to get marijuana where it is legal for medicinal purposes.

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Utah only allows patients to use cannabidiol if they receive approval from the state health department after demonstrating that at least three other methods of treatment have not helped.

The medical marijuana law proposed by the ballot initiative would set up state-regulated cannabis growing and dispensing operations. It would allow the drug to be consumed in edible forms like candy, in topical forms like lotions or balms, as an oil or in electronic cigarettes.

Smoking cannabis would not be allowed in a tactical political move that the organizers said represented a compromise to try to make the initiative more palatable for voters.

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Utah Medical Association CEO Michelle McOmber said her organization has concerns about the initiative and plants to speak out against it as the effort moves forward.

“That’s not that way that you determine what is medicine,” McOmber said.

Utah Patients Coalition filed the ballot initiative with the state elections office and hopes to start gathering 115,000 voter signatures this summer needed to qualify the issue to be put before voters on ballots.


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.

Massachusetts Update: Sorting out the Cannabis Conundrum

BOSTON (AP) — After a week of sharp divisions and heated rhetoric over the future of the state’s recreational marijuana law, it’s now up to a conference committee of six legislators to try and sort everything out.

On one hand, there’s a House bill that infuriated pro-legalization activists by proposing a major overhaul of the voter-approved law. On the other, a more restrained Senate bill won praise from the groups behind the November ballot question.

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Democratic Rep. Mark Cusack, the House bill’s lead author, suggested before the votes that the two chambers were in about 80 percent agreement on their respective approaches.

There is, in fact, more common ground than readily apparent given the dialogue of the past week.

The House repealed the ballot question and wrote an entirely new law; the Senate keeps the existing law while offering changes.

Neither the House nor Senate changed the current legal possession limit of up to 1 ounce of cannabis or home growing provisions that permit up to a dozen plants per household.

Each place state oversight of recreational and medical marijuana under the Cannabis Control Commission, which would become larger and ostensibly more independent than under the ballot initiative that puts it under control of the state treasurer.

Both bills allow medical marijuana dispensaries to transition into for-profit companies, but eliminate the head start those companies had been given over other applicants for recreational licenses. Both set guidelines for the testing of all marijuana products by independent labs, and standards for packaging, labeling and marketing.

Both adopt diversity measures designed to level the playing field for minority and women cannabis entrepreneurs, and address the historically disproportionate impact the “war on drugs” had on minority neighborhoods. And with no currently reliable test for marijuana impairment, both ask a task force to study issues around driving under the influence.

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Similarities aside, barriers to reaching a deal by the Legislature’s self-imposed July 1 deadline are many.

A few:

“Repeal and Replace” or “Amend and Improve”

Perhaps the most fundamental difference between the competing bills: The House repealed the ballot question and wrote an entirely new law; the Senate keeps the existing law while offering changes.

More than just legislative sausage-making, it’s a central question conference committee members must resolve before doing much else. Do they start from scratch as the House did or keep on the books — with modest revisions — the law 1.8 million Massachusetts voters approved? The answer may well dictate the parameters of the final bill.

High on Taxes?

The sizeable gulf between marijuana tax rates — 28 percent in the House, 12 percent in the Senate — garnered the most public attention during the past week’s debates.

It may also be the easiest issue to resolve should lawmakers simply agree to split the difference. But the underlying issues are more complicated.

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Senators insisted on a tax low enough to encourage consumers to buy from licensed marijuana stores, thereby crushing the underground market for the drug. House lawmakers sought a tax high enough to pay for what the bill described as a “rigorous regulatory scheme” for the cannabis industry. The House also set an ambitious goal of directing $50 million in marijuana revenues to substance abuse treatment programs.

It’s unclear if a compromise tax of about 20 percent satisfies either or both sets of objectives.

Power to the People?

The House grants local governing bodies — city councils and town meetings for example — power to ban or limit retail shops from opening in their communities. The Senate bill leaves unchanged the current law that requires a voter referendum to shut the door on marijuana establishments.

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There is no readily apparent compromise, so barring a creative solution one side must give on this issue.

If No Agreement, What Then?

Failure by legislators to reach a deal by next Saturday would simply leave the voter-approved law intact, and allow Treasurer Deb Goldberg to begin appointing the Cannabis Control Commission. But a possible scenario in the event of deadlock would be to have conferees separate out and approve items they have consensus on, while resolving to address thornier issues further down the road.


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.

Koch Network Warns Trump Against ‘Failed’ Cannabis Fight

The conservative Koch political network is coming out hard against the Trump administration’s plan to step up enforcement of the nation’s cannabis laws, joining a growing group on the political right who are urging the president to push back against drug war hardliners like Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

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“You are never going to win the war on drugs. Drugs won,” Mark Holden, one of the influential network’s top leaders, told reporters in Colorado Springs, according to the Denver Post. His statements  came as the network opened a three-day retreat at The Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs.

Holden, the general counsel for Koch Industries—the second-largest privately owned company in the  US—said the network has disagreed with Sessions’s decision to re-evaluate a federal policy not to interfere in state medical marijuana systems and taken issue with the attorney general’s request that Congress lift restrictions to allow the justice department to crack down on state-legal medical programs.

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“I’m not here to say our position is legalize drugs or anything else,” Holden said. “But I don’t think that we should criminalize those types of things, and we should let the states decide.”

In a letter sent in May and made public earlier this month, Sessions urged Congress to roll back a protection known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, which prohibits the Justice Department from using federal funds to prevent certain states “from implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.” The rule has stymied at least one high-profile case against a California cannabis business.

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While he cautioned against reading too much into the network’s stance, Holden, according to the Post, told reporters that medical marijuana should be “off-limits” to federal law enforcement.

Charles and David Koch have spent millions to further their conservative political goals. Holden, who is currently in charge of a network-backed effort to address overcriminalization and criminal justice reform, said federal cannabis enforcement is another example of a “failed big government top-down approach.”


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.

Activists Launch Utah 2018 Medical Marijuana Campaign

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Utah Patients Coalition has launched its 2018 ballot initiative campaign to establish a medical cannabis program for patients in Utah.

The proposed ballot initiative would allow patients to legally and safely access medical cannabis with the recommendation of their doctor.

It represents a conservative approach to medical cannabis policy by prohibiting home cultivation and prohibiting smoking medical cannabis.

“For the past several years we have advocated for a medical cannabis policy that allows patients to seek medical treatment without breaking the law, but the state legislature has refused,” said campaign spokesperson Christine Stenquist, who also leads the patient advocacy group TRUCE. “Now it is time for Utah voters to decide.”

The initiative limits the number of dispensaries and cultivators, allows local zoning for medical cannabis facilities, prohibits using medical cannabis in public view, maintains the illegality of driving while intoxicated, and closely mirrors the legislation passed by the Utah Senate in 2016.

The full text of the initiative has been posted online, along with a summary of the proposal‘s key points.

Utah voters support a medical cannabis ballot initiative by a strong margin. Utah Patients Coalition released polling results that found the following:

  • When asked how they would vote on a ballot initiative to allow doctors to recommend medical cannabis as a treatment for cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and other serious illnesses, 73% of respondents said they would vote yes (with 49% saying they would definitely vote yes). Only 20% said they would vote no, and 7% were undecided. A majority of Utahns in every age category said they would vote yes on the initiative;
  • 79% of Utahns said they support medical cannabis in principle; and
  • 72% of Utahns said that they would be more likely to support an initiative that allows doctors to recommend medical marijuana for chronic pain.

“Utahns are compassionate, and medical cannabis is ultimately a question of compassion. Voters in our state support allowing sick Utahns to legally and safely access medical treatments that alleviate suffering,” said campaign director DJ Schanz. “The patients cannot wait any longer, so we are proposing a conservative medical cannabis initiative that Utahns across the political spectrum will approve at the ballot box next year.”

Utah Patients Coalition is supported by a number of groups including: TRUCE, a Utah patient advocacy group; Libertas Institute, a Utah free market think tank; and the Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s leading marijuana policy reform organization.

Under Utah law, a ballot initiative requires signatures from five sponsors before it can be filed with the lieutenant governor.

The sponsors of the 2018 medical cannabis initiative are:

  • Christine Stenquist, medical cannabis patient and leader of patient advocacy organization TRUCE
  • Carl Wimmer, former state legislator and law enforcement official
  • Candi Huff, patient caretaker
  • Desiree Hennessy, patient caretaker
  • Melissa Butler, hospice nurse

“As a Christian, I’m opposed to things that would alter our minds and bodies. I would be against recreational drugs of any kind,” Wimmer said. “But I am strongly supportive of the legalization of medical cannabis for those who are suffering and have no other means to get relief. I believe it is the compassionate route to take.”

Having filed the ballot initiative with the lieutenant governor, Utah Patients Coalition will now await initial approval and a fiscal note from the state.

The next step will be a series of seven regional meetings with voters.

After that, Utah Patients Coalition can begin collecting the 113,143 signatures required for qualification for the 2018 ballot.

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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.

Campaign Launched to Place Medical Marijuana on Utah Ballot in 2018

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Utah Patients Coalition has launched its 2018 ballot initiative campaign to establish a medical cannabis program for patients in Utah.

The proposed ballot initiative would allow patients to legally and safely access medical cannabis with the recommendation of their doctor.

It represents a conservative approach to medical cannabis policy by prohibiting home cultivation and prohibiting smoking medical cannabis.

“For the past several years we have advocated for a medical cannabis policy that allows patients to seek medical treatment without breaking the law, but the state legislature has refused,” said campaign spokesperson Christine Stenquist, who also leads the patient advocacy group TRUCE. “Now it is time for Utah voters to decide.”

The initiative limits the number of dispensaries and cultivators, allows local zoning for medical cannabis facilities, prohibits using medical cannabis in public view, maintains the illegality of driving while intoxicated, and closely mirrors the legislation passed by the Utah Senate in 2016.

The full text of the initiative has been posted online, along with a summary of the proposal‘s key points.

Utah voters support a medical cannabis ballot initiative by a strong margin. Utah Patients Coalition released polling results that found the following:

  • When asked how they would vote on a ballot initiative to allow doctors to recommend medical cannabis as a treatment for cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and other serious illnesses, 73% of respondents said they would vote yes (with 49% saying they would definitely vote yes). Only 20% said they would vote no, and 7% were undecided. A majority of Utahns in every age category said they would vote yes on the initiative;
  • 79% of Utahns said they support medical cannabis in principle; and
  • 72% of Utahns said that they would be more likely to support an initiative that allows doctors to recommend medical marijuana for chronic pain.

“Utahns are compassionate, and medical cannabis is ultimately a question of compassion. Voters in our state support allowing sick Utahns to legally and safely access medical treatments that alleviate suffering,” said campaign director DJ Schanz. “The patients cannot wait any longer, so we are proposing a conservative medical cannabis initiative that Utahns across the political spectrum will approve at the ballot box next year.”

Utah Patients Coalition is supported by a number of groups including: TRUCE, a Utah patient advocacy group; Libertas Institute, a Utah free market think tank; and the Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s leading marijuana policy reform organization.

Under Utah law, a ballot initiative requires signatures from five sponsors before it can be filed with the lieutenant governor.

The sponsors of the 2018 medical cannabis initiative are:

  • Christine Stenquist, medical cannabis patient and leader of patient advocacy organization TRUCE
  • Carl Wimmer, former state legislator and law enforcement official
  • Candi Huff, patient caretaker
  • Desiree Hennessy, patient caretaker
  • Melissa Butler, hospice nurse

“As a Christian, I’m opposed to things that would alter our minds and bodies. I would be against recreational drugs of any kind,” Wimmer said. “But I am strongly supportive of the legalization of medical cannabis for those who are suffering and have no other means to get relief. I believe it is the compassionate route to take.”

Having filed the ballot initiative with the lieutenant governor, Utah Patients Coalition will now await initial approval and a fiscal note from the state.

The next step will be a series of seven regional meetings with voters.

After that, Utah Patients Coalition can begin collecting the 113,143 signatures required for qualification for the 2018 ballot.

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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.

Florida Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Legislation

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Rick Scott has signed into law a bill that outlines how patients can qualify and receive medical marijuana under the state’s constitutional amendment.

The bill still bans smoking, despite amendment supporters threatening to sue after saying it is written into the language.

The bill was one of 38 that Scott signed on Friday. Amendment 2, which was passed by 71 percent of voters in November, states that medical marijuana laws must be in place by July 3 and enacted by October.

The signing allows patients who suffer chronic pain related to one of 10 qualifying conditions to receive either low-THC cannabis or full strength medical marijuana. The legislation also paves the way for 10 new medical marijuana treatment centers by Oct. 3, on top of the seven already operating.

RELATED STORY

Florida Attorney Plans Lawsuit to Allow for Smoking of Medical Cannabis

The bill still bans smoking, despite amendment supporters threatening to sue after saying it is written into the language.

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


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