April 01, 2018
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has announced he will actively oppose the ballot initiative seeking to broadly legalize the medical use of marijuana in the state expected to be before voters in November.
In a statement released Thursday, the Republican governor praised the legislature for passing House Bill 197, orders the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to grow marijuana for terminally ill patients. A companion bill granted people with less than six months to live a "right to try" cannabis.
Herbert says that the law he recently signed allowing farmers to grow marijuana for use by researchers and patients with less than six months to live is a careful step to allow more research on marijuana’s medical effects.
Turning to the initiative, however, the governor pointed out it has significant flaws and “will do more harm than good.”
"It lacks important safeguards regarding its production and utilization and would potentially open the door to recreational use," Herbert said. "We need to be cautious as we test and introduce cannabis into our formulary. I believe the consequences of this initiative, even if they are unintended, will do more harm than good.”
The governor ended his statement saying he will actively oppose the medical marijuana ballot initiative.
However, the marijuana advocates say those living with chronic conditions need access to the drug and are preparing to ask Utah voters this November to allow broader use of marijuana, along with state-regulated growing and dispensing.
The Utah Patients Coalition said it has approximately 160,000 signatures collected statewide, more than enough to qualify for the November ballot. Those signatures are being validated by county clerks and the Lt. Governor's Office.
April 01, 2018
Persons with certain types of autism will soon to get medical marijuana under a measure that passed its first legislative test Wednesday.
A committee composed of members of the Louisiana House of Representatives approved an expansion to Senate Bill 271 that will make autistic children and adults eligible for medical marijuana treatment.
The House committee voted 9 to 4 in favor of the bill. Next, the entire Louisiana House of Representatives will vote on whether to make it law for expanding the original medical marijuana legislation.
Medical marijuana is legal in Louisiana, but only for certain illnesses with serious conditions such as epilepsy, cancer, Crohn’s disease and other illnesses. This list did not originally include autism treatment for children or adults.
If passed into law, this bill would add autism, with aggressive, destructive or self-injuring behavior, to that list of medical marijuana.
However, not everyone with autism will automatically qualify for medical marijuana. A physician will need to approve and observe any child with autism on medical marijuana.
Autism spectrum disorder is a spectrum, and for kids in the more severe category they need help," said John Vanchierre, M.D., who heads up the Louisiana chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Many people with debilitating illness turn to cannabis for more side-effect free treatment. The parents who have used marijuana to treat their children with autism often report its immediate beneficial effects.
March 31, 2018
A new study suggests that smoking marijuana may increase chances of smoking cigarettes too. The researchers say pot use is associated with an increased initiation of cigarette smoking among non-cigarette smokers.
While there is a heavy decline in the number of cigarette smokers, marijuana users are rising every passing day. Similarly, marijuana users also smoke cigarettes, the researcher said.
"Understanding the potential links between cannabis use and cigarette initiation in youth is needed given that recent data suggest that cannabis use is more common among adolescents than cigarette use," said co-author Renee Goodwin from the Mailman School of Public Health.
The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. They were based on data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions in 2001-2002 and 2004-2005, and responses from 34,639 individuals.
March 31, 2018
California, Oregon and other marijuana-friendly states in the United States have written a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeking a meeting that could resolve the conflict between federal and state laws relating to marijuana.
While marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, 29 states have legalized it in the same form. Representatives from California, Oregon, Illinois and Pennsylvania have urged Sessions to ensure clarity for businesses and banks on how federal law enforcement would respond to the legalization of marijuana in states.
The Trump administration recently lifted an Obama-era policy that kept federal authorities from cracking down on the marijuana trade in states where the drug is legal.
In California, banks fear to deal with marijuana money, as they are not clear how federal government would respond to it. The clarity is missing. Even though legal pot sales for adults kicked off in the state on January 1, the industry has been badly hit as the confusion prevails.
The letter made it clear that financial institutions need “some comfort that they will not be prosecuted, or lose access to customer assets, simply for banking this industry.”
March 25, 2018
Former NBA player Glen "Big Baby" Davis, who won a title with the Boston Celtics in 2008, was arrested in a Maryland hotel last month on drug possession and distribution charges.
WMAR-TV in Baltimore reports that Davis was arrested at a Hampton Inn in Aberdeen on February 7.
According to court records, the hotel owner smelled marijuana coming from Davis' room.
Aberdeen police Lt. William Reiber told WMAR that police found 126 grams of marijuana and a briefcase containing $92,000 in cash inside Davis' room.
The police also found a ledger from his possession that contained language which is consistent with someone involved in the sale and distribution of narcotics.
The ledger consisted of names of people who owed money along with small plastic bags for packaging a quarter pound of marijuana.
Davis was arrested and later indicted on seven counts of drug possession and distribution. His attorney told WMAR that Davis looks forward to his day in court to clear his name.
The former NBA star told police he was in Harford County, Maryland visiting family.
"There was a statement that was made about the purpose of the trip but at the end of the day we don't know exactly,” said Aberdeen Police Lieutenant Lt. Reiber. “There was an investigation, it is still on-going. It is still making its way through the justice system.”
Davis, a star player at LSU, went on to play for the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic and LA Clippers.
The 32-year-old Davis most recently played for the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2014-15 season. He put his basketball career “on hold” in 2016 to venture into film production.
Davis is due back in court on April 2, according to WMAR.
March 25, 2018
As California cannabis businesses rush to get in line with new rules, state lawmakers have proposed a measure that would cut the tax rate on marijuana purchases in the state.
The new proposal would drop the state excise tax on cannabis to 11% from the current 15% and suspend all cultivation taxes on marijuana, until June 2021.
The bill was introduced on Thursday by Assembly members Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, and Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, along with three Democratic co-authors, with a view to reduce the price gap between licensed cannabis businesses and black market sources.
The Democratic Assembly members who supported the y Bill 3157 include Ken Cooley, D-Sacramento; Reggie Jones-Sawyer Sr., D-Los Angeles; and Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg.
In a statement, Lackey highlighted the pressure that legal businesses faced compared to their off-the-books competition.
“Criminals do not pay taxes, ensure customers are 21 and over, obtain licenses or follow product safety regulations," he said. "We need to give legal businesses some temporary tax relief so they do not continue to be undercut by the black market.”
Assemblyman Bonta said that the new bill would reduce “the tax burden on the licensed cannabis market during this transition period, keeping customers at licensed stores and helping ensure the regulated market survives and thrives.”
Currently, California imposes a 15 % tax on marijuana sales, and local governments are allowed to add on their own rates as well. The state also imposes a separate tax on cannabis cultivators based on the amount they produce. All of these taxes add up to greatly increase the price of marijuana, which is turning customers away.
California legalizes the possession and purchase of up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational purpose and allows individuals to grow up to six plants for personal use.
March 16, 2018
Physicians in Virginia will now be able to recommend CBD and THC oils for any medical ailment, if they decide it’s the best course of treatment for patients.
Previously, medical cannabis was only available to Virginia residents suffering from epilepsy.
Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday signed the measures expanding the state’s cannabis oil program.
The Virginia Senate and House both passed House Bill 1251, also known as #LetDoctorsDecide, in late February aiming to take effect immediately upon a signature by the governor, whereas most bills do not take effect until July.
“The passage of HB 1251 is an important next step to improving the lives of so many Virginians and sets an important precedent for laws like this across the country,” the legislation’s chief co-patron Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn told Virginia’s News Leader last month, before Governor Northam signed HB 1251 into law.
"Those who suffer from intractable epilepsy have already seen the benefits of cannabidiol oil and how it can improve their quality of life. These bills will allow more Virginians to benefit from cannabidiol oil as well,” she claimed.
According to the new measures, the oils must contain at least 15 percent CBD or THC-A, but can't contain more than five percent THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
The supply of CBD oil or THC-A oil can now be dispensed by a pharmaceutical processor from a 30-day supply to a 90-day supply in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The new law would also provide patients with a signed certificate if they were stopped by law enforcement – to defend their possession of the oil.
March 16, 2018
In a major development, Saskatchewan province set the minimum legal age to consume cannabis at 19, the same as alcohol.
The government tabled legislation on Wednesday outlining its plans once the federal government legalizes marijuana later this year.
Justice Minister Don Morgan stated that age 19 kept cannabis in line with current restrictions around alcohol.
"We decided this kept us in line with what the age for consumption and possession of alcohol was, and that seemed to be the direction that most of the provinces were going," Morgan said."It would have been a challenge to use 23, or 25, or a later age," Morgan said. "We were afraid that it would make it easier for the black market."
However, minors caught with a small amount won't end up with a criminal record; instead they will likely be ticketed under the rules.
Apart from the legal age of consuming cannabis, the legalization plan will allowto grow four cannabis plants per household and possess 30 grams of cannabis per consumer.
Saskatchewan is the last of Canada’s 10 provinces to announce its minimum age for legal use. Seven provinces have already stated 19 will be their legal ages, while Alberta and Quebec have announced 18 will be their minimum ages.
Recreational marijuana use is expected to be legalized in Canada this year — a final Senate vote on Bill C-45 is set for June 7 — but not all rules surrounding the drug will be federally legislated.
In Saskatchewan, cannabis will be sold by private retailers and the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) will issue roughly 60 permits in municipalities and three First Nations around the province.
March 16, 2018
In a major development, Canadian province Ontario unveiled the name and logo of its LCBO-run store for legal cannabis.
The Ontario government announced that its stores will use the imaginative “Ontario Cannabis Store” name, and the logo for the retailer will be the “OCS” in a circle.
“The name is designed to convey a safe, simple and approachable environment for consumers, and agency employees, in a clear and easily understood manner,” the Liquor Control Board of Ontario said in a statement.
“The development of the brand name and logo was guided by the government priorities of restricting access to youth, protecting public health and addressing the illegal market,” it stated.
The LCBO has expected the total cost of all brand and marketing from Leo Burnett to be approximately $650,000.
The first 40 OCS outlets will begin operating later this summer in 14 communities across Ontario, including Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan and Hamilton.
Ottawa-based commerce platform- Shopify’s software has been designed to support cannabis businesses who sell across multiple channels, including mobile, social media, brick-and-mortar shops and more.
“Shopify will provide a cloud-based retail solution for both on and offline sales, so consumers can have a reliable and integrated shopping experience across desktop, mobile and in-store points-of-sale,” the LCBO said.
Shopify will also supply the technology to power screens throughout the physical stores that give consumers product and health information which will follow federal guidelines and marketing provisions.
The Senate is expected to vote on the bill to legalize recreation marijuana on June 7th.
February 11, 2018
Virginia would soon expand the use of marijuana for qualified patients in the state after the Senate passed the legislation with unanimous support on Monday, three days after its companion bill was approved by the House of Delegates.
SB 726, which was passed 38-0 on Monday, would allow doctors to recommend cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A) oils to treat the symptoms of diagnosed conditions or diseases determined by the physicians. HB 1251 was approved 98-0 on last Friday.
The chief sponsors of SB 726 were Republican Sens. Siobhan Dunnavant of Henrico and Jill Holtzman Vogel of Fauquier and Democratic Sen. David Marsden of Fairfax.
“This culminates four years of effort that has evolved from an effort to make it lawful for kids who have intractable epilepsy to possess non-psychoactive cannabis oils to the creation of a new industry in the Commonwealth that doctors can recommend these oils for treating any condition where they might be helpful,” said Senator Dave Marsden, chief co-sponsor for the Senate bill.
“This is a big deal for people who suffer from a number of disorders and I am proud to have gotten this ball rolling years ago,” he added.
The bill now heads to Governor Ralph Northam's desk, a Democrat and physician, who earlier said he would sign such a measure into law.
If the bill approved, Virginia would become the 29th state to allow medical marijuana. Three U.S. territories also have a similar policy.
In 2017, former Governor Terry McAuliffe signed legislation for patients with severe forms of epilepsy to use cannabis oil to alleviate symptoms.
February 10, 2018
A 6-year-old girl in Central Texas became the first patient in the state to receive marijuana-derived medicine legally to treat her epileptic seizures.
The child, whose name is being withheld to protect her privacy, received a shipment of low-THC, high-CBD oil from a dispensary called Knox Medical, one of three companies licensed by the state to dispense cannabidiol to patients suffering from intractable epilepsy in Texas.
“For Texans suffering from intractable epilepsy, the wait for medical cannabis is finally over,” said José Hidalgo, founder and CEO of Knox Medical, in a press release. “This is a historic day for Texas and we will work tirelessly to uphold the trust and responsibility the state has placed in Knox Medical.”
“Patients deserve medical relief and Knox Medical is proud to work with physicians and caregivers, and in close coordination with the Texas Department of Public Safety, to provide this medicine that exceeds the most rigorous standards for quality and consistency,” he stated.
Knox Medical, which was granted by the state on September 1, 2017, operates under the license Cansortium Texas.The Florida-based company is already operating in Florida, Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico.
Two other companies- Compassionate Cultivation and Surterra Texas-have also been licensed under the 2015 Texas Compassionate Use Act to produce and sell cannabidiol, known as CBD.
In 2015, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law the Texas Compassionate Use Act. The law required the Texas Department of Public Safety to create a secure registry of physicians who treat epilepsy for the purpose of prescribing medical marijuana to people who are diagnosed with intractable epilepsy.
Patients eligible for the marijuana program must have a prescription approved by two neurologists on the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT).
February 01, 2018
The first ever medical marijuana dispensary of the State is set to open in Manchaca, a suburb of Austin, in next month, which will allow Texan patients to purchase their low-THC cannabis products.
Beginning February 8, Compassionate Cultivation will allow qualified patients of the State and their caregivers access to low-THC medical marijuana products and state-regulated CBD oil from a shop at 12701 Lowden Lane in Manchaca.
“We are thrilled to offer the highest quality medical cannabis products, with plants grown and refined by our cultivation and engineering experts at our state-of-the-art facility," said Compassionate Cultivation CEO Morris Denton in a release.
The Texas Department of Public Safety granted the first three medical marijuana licenses to Compassionate Cultivation, Cansortium Texasand Surterra Texasunder the state’s Compassionate Use Act, signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott.
However, Cansortium Texas and Surterra Texas have not announced when they will begin operating their dispensaries.
The three companies will be responsible for cultivation, processing and dispensing to patients who qualify for the medical marijuana program under Texas law.
In 2015, the Texas Compassionate Use Act was passed. It legalized oils containing CBD, a non-euphoric component of marijuana known to treat epilepsy and other chronic medical conditions.
Texas is among 29 states in the US that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, as well as 15 that have legalized medical CBD.However marijuana use is still illegal under federal law in the US.
February 01, 2018
In an unprecedented move, San Francisco will retroactively apply California's new marijuana legalization laws to marijuana convictions -- expunging or reducing misdemeanors and felonies since 1975, the District Attorney's office announced Wednesday.
Around 5,000 felony marijuana convictions will be reviewed, recalled and re-sentenced, and more than 3,000 misdemeanors that were sentenced prior to Proposition 64's passage will be dismissed and sealed,District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement.
The move will affect thousands of people whose marijuana convictions brand them with criminal histories that can be barriers for finding employment and obtaining various government benefits.
While drug policy on the federal level is going backwards, San Francisco is once again taking the lead to undo the damage that this country's disastrous, failed drug war has had on our nation and on communities of color in particular,Gascón added.
Proposition 64, which became law in 2016 and allowed for legal pot sales from January 1 this year, legalizes the possession and purchase of up to an ounce of marijuana and allows individuals to grow up to six plants for personal use. The measure also allowed those convicted of marijuana offenses to petition their cases for dismissal or reduction to a lesser offense.
In a statement, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom said San Francisco's move provides new hope and opportunities to Californians, primarily people of color, whose lives were long ago derailed by a costly, broken and racially discriminatory system of marijuana criminalization.
February 01, 2018
Two measures that would allow terminally ill people to access medicinal marijuana and farmers to grow it for research purposes were passed by the House Health and Human Services Committee in Utah on Wednesday.
The House Bill 195 and House Bill 197, both sponsored by Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, were favorably recommended to the House floor despite criticism from medical marijuana advocates and law enforcement for different reasons.
HB195 allows terminally ill patients the ability to get a physician's recommendation for medical cannabis, while HB197 authorizes the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to allow marijuana grow for research and distribution to those patients.
Rep. Daw acknowledged the proposals would help dying people to try a potentially helpful alternative and provide a way for researchers to get marijuana locally.
"Chemo just isn’t a lot of fun," Daw told the committee. "You know, some patient may just say, 'I don’t want to do chemo.' They may do something else."
Organizers have collected 105,000 signatures as of Wednesday, sources said.They need 113,000 by April to qualify for the November ballot.
However, advocate Christine Stenquist stated that the state needs comprehensive medical marijuana legalization so everyone with chronic pain can get relief, not just people whose doctors say they are dying.
The Utah Medical Association said it support the concept of the legislation, but cautioned that the so-called "right-to-try" bill isn't "quite ready."
The Utah Chiefs of Police Association and Sheriffs Association opposes both legislative measures saying "We are opposed to this principle, this fundamental principle of violating federal law".
February 01, 2018
The majority of North Andover residents decided against recreational marijuana businesses in town, including a proposal for a massive growing and research facility.
Opponents voted 1,155 to 1,430 for the proposed $100 million “Massachusetts Innovation Works” project in the town. They not only denied the cannabis research and cultivation facility but also prevented other potential commercial marijuana businesses looking to set up shop in North Andover.
A local doctor wanted to build the facility at the site of the former Lucent Technologies plant on Osgood Street. He also offered the town $5 million a year for the facility.
The voting was held at the high school’s Fieldhouse. It lasted close to three hours and included passionate statements from voters on both sides.
“I’m going to wake up tomorrow with a smile,” said former town moderator Charles Salisbury, who spearheaded opposition to the proposal.
“The real question was, would the proponents be able to field an audience large enough to overwhelm the silent majority in town? But the town turned out in huge numbers, ’’ Charles added.
However, some residents are fully backing up the decision to allow the marijuana business to establish itself in the town.
Resident Chet Woods says the idea of the facility sounds good to him. "The medical research benefits from it," said Woods. "I'm an ER tech, I see so many patients every day that easily could be treated with marijuana that just isn't available."
Residents in favor of the ban also brought up the uncertainty around potential federal prosecution, in light of recent statements made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that indicate the potential for crackdowns under federal law, where marijuana remains illegal.
Meanwhile, North Andover joins surrounding cities Lawrence and Methuen to ban in establishing commercial cannabis.