• Ohio Pharmacy Board delays licensing to Marijuana Dispensaries

    May 24, 2018

    The Ohio Board of Pharmacy delayed the expected announcement of medical marijuana dispensary licenses Wednesday.

    The Pharmacy Board said it canceled the special meeting two days after it was announced because information gathering was incomplete.

    According to Cleveland.com, the Ohio Department of Commerce is awaiting background check information and to verify whether the proposed locations are at least 500 feet from schools and churches, the minimum requirements to get the licenses. Meanwhile, at least four sites failed to meet the 500-foot buffer rule.

    Cameron McNamee, a board spokesman, said “Postponing the announcement of the awards is due to some unexpected delays in information required to validate an applicant meets the minimum license qualifications.”

    “It does not have to do with the applicant's scores, as those have been finalized since March. The Board fully expects that all outstanding information will be obtained or confirmed in order to move ahead with the issuance of provisional licenses in June,” he added.

    While there are 376 applications, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy can award dispensary licenses for as many as 57 sites statewide and the winners will be announced at the board's three-day monthly meeting beginning June 4.

    The medical marijuana was legalized for the cultivation, processing, testing, dispensing, and medical use after the House Bill 523 took effect September 8, 2016.

    After two years of preparations, Ohio’s medical marijuana program is supposed to launch on September 8 statutory deadlines to be fully operational.

    The state has been divided into four regions for the purposes of dispensary licenses while only 10 dispensaries will be initially licensed in northwest Ohio. Those regions were further divided into districts, so Lucas County will only be allowed two licenses when the program opens.

    The commerce department - one of three state agencies overseeing Ohio's medical marijuana program - awarded 24 provisional cultivator licenses last year. Twelve went to large growers with up to 25,000 square feet of grow space, and 12 were for small growers with up to 3,000 square feet.

    On the other hand, dozens of doctors have received certificates to recommend medical marijuana to their patients to treat nearly two dozen conditions allowed under the law in Ohio. However, the Pharmacy Board has not set up a registry for patients, who must register to receive a patient card necessary to buy medical marijuana.
  • No immediate arrest for Marijuana Smoking: NYC Mayor

    May 24, 2018

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio this weekend told the police officials not to arrest people who are found smoking marijuana in public place.

    According to a City hall aide, the Mayor made it clear that ending the arrests of public marijuana smoking is one of the changes he wants to bring.

    Currently, a person, if found smoking in public places is being arrested and get summon if spotted possessing even small amounts of marijuana.

    After his meeting with Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance on May 15, the Mayor had announced about marijuana enforcement.

    While De Blasio publicly called on NYPD to come up with a plan to make changes to its marijuana enforcement policies in the next month, Vance said he would end prosecution of marijuana possession and smoking cases from August 1.

    The move seems like another step towards New York legalizing marijuana for recreational

    NYDP Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Phil Walzak said that the NYDP, following the Mayor’s request, has already begun a working group to evaluate its marijuana enforcement procedures. Besides, the NYDP will present its recommendations within 30 days, he added.

    “The working group is reviewing possession and public smoking of marijuana to ensure enforcement is consistent with the values of fairness and trust, while also promoting public safety and addressing community concerns,” Walzak said.

    Police had arrested people for smoking or possessing small amounts of marijuana a little more than 5,500 times in Manhattan last year.

    Marijuana is a Schedule I drug under federal law and is illegal. Some states, like New York, have decriminalized marijuana, making it a violation and not a crime to possess small amounts of cannabis.

    The New York law allows people for medical marijuana; however, it has put a restriction on smoking the cannabis.
  • Illinois House votes for Medical Marijuana in School

    May 20, 2018

    The Illinois Senators this week overwhelmingly voted to allow sick children to bring medical marijuana with them to school

    According to Chicago Tribune, the bill was passed in the House 50-2 and has been sent to Governor Bruce Rauner for a decision on its fate. He has now has 60 days to act on the bill.

    As per the new bill, the students who qualify for medical marijuana can consume it on school premises, as long as they don’t smoke it.  The school officials would have to ensure marijuana's usage wouldn’t disrupt other students.

    If the bill gets Rauner’s nod, will turn the schools into “drug-free zones” and allow parents, guardians or caregivers to administer drops or oils to the sick children at school.

    The measure, called Ashley’s Law, has been named after 12-year-old Ashley Surin of Schaumburg.  The bill has been named after her as she takes medical marijuana to treat the epilepsy she developed during chemotherapy treatments for leukemia.

    Ashley’s parents, who were in the Senate chambers for the vote Thursday, say the measure will benefit many more children who use medical marijuana to treat serious illnesses like Ashley.

    “We feel like we’re watching a miracle happen,” Ashley’s mother, Maureen Surin, said. “She thinks better, she talks better. She used to do one- and two-word sentences. Now she speaks in run-on sentences. Her life has been given back to her.”

    After Ashley’s parents sued in federal court for the right to give her medical marijuana at her school, Hanover Highlands Elementary School in Hanover Park, officials from Schaumburg School District 54 and the Illinois Attorney General’s office, had in January, agreed to let Ashley store the drug in the school nurse’s office. Besides she was permitted to put on the lotion at school. However, a change in state law would be needed to let other children do so.

    Current Illinois law, effected in 2014, allows children under 18 to take medical marijuana if two doctors certify that they have a medical condition that qualifies. But the new proposal would change current law, which prohibits possessing marijuana on school grounds.
  • Legal Medical Marijuana Dispensary opens in Grover Beach

    May 20, 2018

    In the first of its kind, San Luis Obispo County opened its first marijuana dispensary in Grover Beach Saturday since it was legalized effective January 1, 2018.

    Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals attended the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new facility at 1053 Highland Way called 805 Beach Breaks along with members of the city council and chamber of commerce.

    The 805 Beach Breaks, where lines began forming at 9 AM, features a 1,800-square-foot dispensary with an additional 900-square-foot manufacturing space.

    The 805 Beach Breaks, a brightly colored, yet modern feeling store, opened its doors as the first marijuana dispensary in SLO County a year after submitting it's application.

    One of the co-owners of the 805 Beach Breaks, who requested to not have his name published, said he got positive feedback from the 20 customers to whom he spoke.

    He said the shop currently sells medical marijuana, because adult recreational use has not yet been passed by the city. The owner said he hopes that could come as early as July.

    About 15 workers have been employed in the dispensary where live music, food trucks and vendors helped to create a positive vibe around the 805 Beach Breaks.

    The owner said, inside the facility, touch screen computers guide patients through information on each product, health facts, and price.

    He said the patients cannot enter the store without their medical marijuana card or recommendation from a doctor and a state ID. They are then verified a second time once inside.

    Security has been beefed-up in the store. The facility is highly guarded with cameras, restricted access doors, and security guards.  

    Also as a part of the security measures, the visuals are being sent to the Grover Beach Police Department.

    Also, the owner said, the 805 Beach Breaks will apply for its recreational marijuana license in the coming months as well.  

    Speaking on the accession, Shoals said, "It's taken a while to basically get to the point to realize we're talking about legal businesses operating in a legal way."

    The Mayor further said that before Saturday's celebration, the Grover Beach City Council established laws on regulation, taxation, and operation with the hope that revenue generation through such medical marijuana dispensaries will help them to pay for core services like police, fire, and streets as well.

  • Marijuana saving My Daughter's Life: Greater Cincinnati Woman

    May 20, 2018

    Scarlett Leisure of Greater Cincinnati has claimed that marijuana is saving her daughter's life.

    According to Leisure, her 3-year-old daughter, Savannah, was born with a rare disorder that causes what she calls a "catastrophic form of intractable epilepsy."

    She claimed that there are only roughly less than 100 girls around the globe with the disorder Savannah has.

    “Seizures were the norm during the first eight months of Savannah's life. She was always on Topamax, Keppra and Phenobarbital which had made her lifeless."

    However, after knowing about medical marijuana to treat seizures in kids, Leisure started giving Savannah a legal oil derived from marijuana called cannibidiol, or CBD. Leisure also gives her minor daughter small amounts of THC, the ingredient in pot that's been illegal at the federal level for decades.

    Speaking about the outcome of medical marijuana Leisure said, "We were told Savannah would never walk in her life. However, after we gave her legal oil derived from marijuana she started walking . It's life-saving medicine. It's why Savannah is here today, why Savannah is functioning, why she's playing, why she laughs. It's, yeah, it's everything, the reason she's living."

    Leisure calls her family medical refugees and makes sure Savannah has a steady supply of medical marijuana for her use. But, she's also worried about staying in her Highland County home as members of the medical community in Greater Cincinnati have threatened to remove Savannah from the area since she doesn’t take anti-seizure drugs anymore.

    "The fact that they would even threaten that is crazy because I would do anything to make sure Savannah has the best life she can possibly have," Leisure said.

    Savannah and her parents, after getting helpful information from an organization called the Flowering Hope Foundation, have now left for Colorado Springs, where people dealing with similar medical issues have formed a community to support one another.

    Leisure is hopeful that her daughter would get better in Colorado Springs, even mentally, as she will come across with many people in the community with similar medical issues.
  • Canadian Marijuana Industry eying Foreign Countries for Growth

    May 20, 2018

    Canadian cannabis companies are now eying on countries like Spain, Italy and Colombia as the next growth opportunities after a flurry of consolidation at home.

    The Aurora Cannabis Inc. has recently agreed to acquire MedReleaf Corp. for $2.9 billion ($2.27 billion U.S.), the largest deal to date in the marijuana industry. This followed Edmonton, Alberta-based Aurora’s agreement to buy CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. in January for roughly $1 billion and several smaller deals.

    With 90 publicly listed companies, which have a market value of about $31 billion, Canada has emerged as a global leader in the pot industry as it becomes the first Group of Seven country to legalize the drug for recreational use later this year. On the other hand, a ban at the federal level keeps pure-play U.S. pot companies from major exchanges south of the border.

    Dan Daviau, chief executive officer of Canaccord Genuity Group Inc., the leading Canadian investment bank in the sector said, “Recent mergers and acquisitions have given the companies the scale to start looking internationally for growth,” adding “Countries like Germany, for example, allow patients to be reimbursed for medical marijuana to treat a variety of symptoms.”

    “The Canadian firms have the right cost of capital and industry knowledge to add value because the governments’ realization that the product is good for lots of different indications” he said.

    However, the smaller Canadian firms also have plenty of options, he said.

    “As the biggest isn’t always the best, the smaller guys and the guys in the middle need to decide what their strategy is,” Daviau said. “There are going to be some more big guys and some smaller niche guys.”

    Graham Saunders, Canaccord’s vice chairperson and head of capital markets origination said, “All companies are in a race,” he said. “The faster you can use capital and deploy it properly and accretively, the better off you’re going be.”

    Canaccord is hosting a cannabis conference in New York this week and has about 700 attendees enrolled.
  • Oregon Marijuana Growers turn to Hemp as Prices drop

    May 19, 2018

    The abundant supply of legal marijuana is driving Oregon pot prices to rock-bottom levels, prompting some nervous growers to start pivoting to another type of cannabis to make ends meet — one that doesn't come with a high.

    According to the Associated Press, Oregon cannabis growers are changing with the times, replacing rows of full-THC cannabis with CBD-rich industrial hemp plants.

    Oregon is now home to 353 industrial hemp growth licenses, up from only 12 in 2015, making it No. 2 after Colorado among the 19 states with active hemp cultivation.

    Cannabis cultivators in Oregon are giving priority to cannabidiol or CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabis compound with near-miraculous medical application, while industrial hemp can be turned into any number of useful products like clothing, rope, ethanol and construction materials.

    CBD oils and infused products, which are immensely popular in U.S. states both with or without legal marijuana, have been known to significantly decrease the effects of epilepsy. Besides, they are used for pain and stress relief, anti-inflammation, and general wellness.

    Because Oregon’s adult-use legalization program offered licenses to most who applied without a cap on the number of permits, the Beaver State quickly became one of the nation’s most prolific weed producers, with Ganjapreneurs cultivating more than three times the amount of weed that Oregonians actually consume annually. Instead of dropping the price of pot to $20 an ounce, or testing federal authorities by shipping pounds out of state illegally, local growers are simply replacing their full-strength strains with CBD-laden varieties of hemp.

    Eric Steenstra, president of advocacy group Vote Hemp said, "Oregon is definitely a hotbed of activity around this."

    "There are a lot of growers who already have experience growing cannabis, and when you're growing for CBD, there are a lot of the same techniques that you use for growing marijuana," he added.

    The legal cannabis growers of Oregon claim that they can sell off their cannabis overstock to less-green markets across the country if there was an end to federal prohibition. However, marijuana’s Schedule I status makes their claim legally impossible. On the other hand, industrial hemp has a more tenuous federal status, with products like hemp seeds, paper, and clothing sold legally around the country.

    As per the DEA, CBD products derived from industrial hemp are still considered Schedule I drugs, but because industrial hemp is legal, hemp-derived CBD oils, edibles and topical are often shipped out of their home state, sold freely in health and wellness stores across the world and over the internet.

    Beaver State growers, though there is possibility that their CBD products will be confiscated from the shelves of a Tennessee or Indiana health store, are confident that the hemp-derived wonder drug can change the tune of Oregon’s overstocked cannabis industry.

    Trey Willson, a grower who transitioned from legal weed to industrial hemp this year, said, "We're starting to look at drastic means, like destroying product. At some point, there's no more storage for it. Whoever would have thought we'd get to the point of destroying pounds of marijuana?”

    Willison further said “The (marijuana) market is stuck within the borders of Oregon — it's locked within the state," adding “But hemp is an international commodity now."