• Utah House passes Medical Marijuana Research Bill

    February 13, 2017

    Utah’s House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a bill that would allow universities in the state to study medical marijuana without federal approval.

    The House voted 70-2 to pass House Bill 130 (HB130) on Tuesday, and sent it to the Senate for consideration. The only two lawmakers who voted against the bill were Reps. Curt Webb, R-Logan, and John Westwood, R-Cedar City.

    Lawmakers stated that research showing benefits of marijuana extracts on people may lead the state in the future to allow careful, controlled use of the medical marijuana by qualified patients.

    Sponsor of HB130, Republican Rep. Brad Daw of Orem, argued that states that have allowed medical marijuana usually have done it backwards, deciding it is medicine before proving that with appropriate research. He said his bill gets the order right.

    "We'll play legislator. We'll let them [physician researchers] play doctor," he said. "Good data makes good decisions. Let's get some good data so we can make good decisions."

    Previously, the lawmakers had announced that they would not try to legalize medical marijuana this year on account of the uncertainty of whether President Donald Trump's administration would enforce federal marijuana laws.

    HB130 would allow researchers who conduct institutional review board-approved studies to possess and administer cannabinoid products to an individual involved in the study, as well as import the products and marijuana for the study from another state as long as they comply with federal law and are obtained from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

    In the U.S., twenty-eight states and Washington, D.C. have allowed medical marijuana for certain health conditions though this drug is still illegal under the federal law.

  • Minnesota Lawmakers seek Ballot Initiative for Recreational Marijuana

    February 13, 2017

    Several Minnesota lawmakers are stepping forward on Thursday with bills to let voters, not the legislators, decide whether recreational use of marijuana should be legalized in the state.

    DFL Representative Jon Applebaum of Minnetonka introduced a bill that would allow residents of the state who are 21 and older to possess and buy one ounce of marijuana at a time for personal use. The people could also choose to cultivate up to six plants at a time.

    “The world is changing and Minnesotans like many other states are rightfully developing different attitudes on marijuana,” Applebaum said. “I believe this bill will start a much-needed conversation to ultimately pass this measure.”

    The second bill, sponsored by DFL Representative Jason Metsa of Virginia, would throw the question to voters in a constitutional amendment.

    “It would just be a choice I believe voters need to look at themselves”, Metsa said. “Minnesota should be a state that participates like many others have done recently across the country and send a message to the federal government.”

    Governor Mark Dayton maintains that he does not support the bill that would legalize marijuana for recreational use, and doubts the bill will pass in the legislature.

    "I don't support it because law enforcement is very, very concerned," Dayton said. "They're the ones on the streets in their cars every day and night enforcing aberrant behavior, which is caused by use of legal and illegal chemicals."

    Minnesota passed a tightly controlled medical marijuana law in 2014. It bans using the plant form of marijuana, and is only available to residents with a certain health conditions.

    In the US, eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, though it remains illegal under the federal law of the country.

  • Marijuana Home Delivery begins in Oregon

    February 13, 2017

    In a first in the US, home delivery service of recreational marijuana is now legally come into effect in Oregon.  Residents in the state who are 21 years of age or older can now order marijuana products from licensed retailers and get it delivered to their door steps.

    As of now, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) has granted delivery permits to 117 retailers across Oregon, including 13 in Portland.

    “We needed to make an adaptation to the cannabis tracking system to provide a document that would actually allow for the delivery of recreational marijuana to homes,” said OLCC spokesman Mark Pettinger.

    However, the retailers have to follow specific guidelines, set by the OLCC regulations, which include --- Marijuana home delivery must be made between 8am to 9pm; All marijuana products must be kept in a locked box securely affixed inside the delivery motor vehicle, which can carry not more than $3,000 worth of product at a time; Deliveries can only be made within the marijuana outlet is licensed in.

     The retailers may only deliver to the individual who placed the bona fide order and only to individuals who are 21 years of age or older. They can't deliver product to places like motels, campgrounds or dorms, just residential homes.

    “It's super exciting,” said Spencer Krutzler, a marijuana retailer in Portland. “I definitely expect to a smile on everyone's face when we show up to that front door.”

    A large numbers of dispensaries are now choosing to sell to their recreational marijuana customers while eliminating their medical sales. Dispensary owners say recreational marijuana makes up a much larger portion of their business sales and customer base than medical marijuana, making the choice easy for many vendors in the wake of the new law.

  • Israeli Ministerial Committee endorses Bill to export Medicinal Marijuana

    February 13, 2017

    An Israeli Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday endorsed a draft bill to legalize the export of marijuana for approved medical use, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked's office said in a statement.

    The bill aims to regulate and enable the exportation of marijuana in response to global demands for the plant from medical marijuana researchers and business owners.

    The initiator of the bill, MK Yoav Kisch, considered that the approval of his legislation could boost the Israeli agriculture industry. “Exporting medical cannabis is pushing forward the economy and developing the agricultural sector,” he said.

    The measure, which may take months for the legislation to make its way through parliament, could generate an estimated 1 billion shekels ($267 million) per year for Israel, according to some projections.

    Currently, marijuana is only allowed for medical use in Israel by special permission. Around 23,000 people have permits from Health Ministry to purchase medical marijuana from nine licensed suppliers, creating a market of $15 million to $20 million at most.

    “Today there are eight companies growing [marijuana] in Israel and there are dozens more requests from business owners wanting to practice, pending the relevant bodies,” said a government statement announcing the vote.

    Israel is widely regarded as one of the world leaders in medical marijuana research, even though the local market is small. Marijuana growers in the country work together with scientific institutions in clinical trials and development of strains that treat a variety of illnesses and disorders.

    In January, Israel moved toward decriminalizing small-scale personal use of marijuana and authorities are supportive of research. Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman also supports medical marijuana usage and has introduced steps to ease its prescription and sale.

    In the United States, as many as 28 states and District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use, and since 2012, Colorado, Alaska, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, D.C. have also legalized marijuana for recreational purpose in their respective state.

  • Health Canada to randomly tests Medical Marijuana

    February 13, 2017

    Health Canada is randomly testing medical marijuana products from licensed medical marijuana producers to check for the presence of banned pesticides after two growers were found to be using low levels of prohibited pest control substances.

    The move has been prompted by product recalls that affected almost 25,000 users, claims of product-related sickness and symptoms that included weight loss, nausea, vomiting, throat irritation, and respiratory tract infection, and threats of a class-action lawsuit.

    The department said on Tuesday in a release, “it will begin random testing of medical marijuana products produced by licensed producers, to provide added assurance to Canadians that they are receiving safe, quality-controlled product."

    "The expanded product testing program will further enhance the department's existing regime of regular unannounced inspections of licensed producer facilities, as well as the controls in place by licensed producers," reads the statement.

    The department further said that corrective actions have been implemented by both companies, including an expanded testing regime that covers pest control products. In addition, it will give additional compliance education and information to licensed producers to support their efforts to strengthen controls and safeguards of marijuana products.

    Under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, licensed producers are permitted to use only the 13 pesticides in medical marijuana, while myclobutanil, pyrethrins and bifenazate are not approved.

    Last year, drug inspectors found low levels of banned chemicals myclobutanil, bifenazate and pyrethrins in products from licensed medical marijuana producers Organigram and Mettrum, who voluntarily recalled their products.

    However, the new measures do not make regular testing mandatory for the marijuana companies. Though licensed producers are required to test for mould, bacteria and heavy metals, the department  said testing for harmful pesticides is still something that companies “have the option” of doing.

  • Colorado sells more than $1 billion of Marijuana in 2016

    February 13, 2017

    The Colorado Department of Revenue on Thursday released tax data showing that the dispensaries of the state bagged around $1.3 billion in medical and recreational marijuana sales in 2016. It displays the third straight year for growth since the state legalized recreational marijuana sales in 2014.

    In the first year the marijuana sales totaled $699.2 million in the State, while it jumped up to $996.2 million in 2015, the data says.

     In 2016, recreational marijuana accounted for $875 million of the sales total, while $438 million of medical marijuana was sold in the state. The combined sales for July, August and September were $376.6 million while over $106 million marijuana sales occurred in last November.

    Colorado made close to $200 million in tax and fees revenue last year.

    Marijuana tax revenue helps fund school construction projects and goes toward other areas such as public health and law enforcement in the state.

    However, the new U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions has shown concern about Colorado’s marijuana industry growing.

     “Colorado was one of the leading states that started the movement. That suggests that marijuana is not dangerous,” said Sessions in a 2016 hearing. “Good people don’t use marijuana,” he added.

    Since Sessions now in charge, there is fear among those in the marijuana business that sales could be stopped all together.

    The Colorado Department of Revenue’s tax data does not reveal information about transactions, so it’s difficult to know the impact of price declines on the overall sales totals.

    Marijuana sales are illegal under federal laws, though twenty-eight states and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana for medical use and eight of them legalized it for recreational purpose.

  • California invites Citizens for Marijuana Advisory Committee

    February 13, 2017

    With a view to seek help from citizens in shaping regulations for medical as well as recreational use of marijuana in California, The Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation is now accepting applications for a Marijuana Advisory Committee in the state.

    The Marijuana Advisory Committee will work on developing regulations that protect public health and safety, along with a fair market for marijuana products. It will then report to the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation.

    Meanwhile, lawmakers of the state are crafting legislation in connection to cultivation, manufacturing, transportation, distribution, licensing, sales and other aspects of the marijuana market.

    Crafting regulations for marijuana industry takes more manpower than the state's existing bureau staff members, said bureau communications director Alex Traverso.  “We're hopeful that we can cast a wide net and get representation from all backgrounds such as growers, law enforcement, labor representatives, health experts, you name it.”

    Marijuana for medical use has been legal in California since 1996. In 2015, the State Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law three bills, such as Assembly Bill 243, Assembly Bill 266, and Senate Bill 643 that create a licensing and regulatory framework for medical marijuana.

    Last November, Californians voted in favor of Proposition 64, legalizing recreational marijuana in the state. The law eliminates criminal penalties for adult personal use of the marijuana products and creates the opportunity for a market potentially worth billions of dollars.

    California’s medical marijuana business generated nearly $2.7 billion in sales in 2015 and that’s expected to balloon to $6.45 billion annually by 2020, including sales from recreational-use marijuana, according to the marijuana industry investment network Arcview.

    The Director of the Department of Consumer Affairs will appoint the advisory committee members and the number of qualified applicants will determine the committee's size.