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Medical Marijuana

These 4 States Will Be Voting on Medical Marijuana in November [FEATURE]

Medical Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 22:16

This article was produced in collaboration with AlterNet and first appeared here.

It's been 20 years since California punched through pot prohibition and became the first state to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. Now, 23 states have medical marijuana laws, and more than a dozen more have taken the half-step of legalizing the medicinal use of cannabidiol (CBD) only—not raw marijuana.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]While some of the early medical marijuana states have now moved on to full legalization—and more are set to this year—states in the South and the Plains are just beginning to embrace the therapeutic use of the herb. This year could see medical marijuana finally assert itself in Dixie and on the Northern Plains.

Medical marijuana is amazingly popular nationwide. A June Quinnipiac poll had support at a whopping 89%. That same month, a Prevention Magazine poll had support at 75%, not nearly as stratospheric, but still very impressive. Support won't be as strong in states where it is on the ballot this year, but should still be strong enough to get voter initiatives over the top.

There are four states where medical marijuana initiatives are approved for the ballot this year, but before we get to those, there are still a handful of loose ends to mention. In Missouri, an initiative campaign is challenging a signature count that had it fail to qualify for the ballot; in Arkansas, a second medical marijuana initiative, this one a constitutional amendment, is still trying to gather signatures (Update: that measure has now qualified for the ballot); in Oklahoma, an initiative has just passed a signature-gathering hurdle but has yet to qualify, and in Montana, an anti-medical marijuana initiative is challenging a signature count that found it coming up short. These are all long-shots at this point, but the efforts aren't definitively dead.

In the meantime, the four states definitely voting on medical marijuana in November are:

Arkansas—The 2016 Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act. A similar initiative was narrowly defeated in 2012, and Arkansans for Compassionate Care hopes to get over the hump this year. The initiative would allow patients suffering from a long list of qualifying diseases or conditions to use medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. Patients could possess up to 2 ½ ounces and could grow five plants and 12 seedlings if they live more than 20 miles from a "care center." They could also have a designated caregiver grow for them, with a limit of five patients per caregiver. There would be at least 39 non-profit care centers across the state.

[image:2 align:left]It's going to be a low-budget campaign. ACC says it has raised $15,000 and has a goal of $80,000. There is no significant organized opposition.

The polling is looking favorable. An Arkansas Poll from last November had support for medical marijuana at 68%, with only 26% opposed, while a June Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College Poll had support at 58%, with 34% opposed.

Florida—Amendment 2. Medical marijuana backers organized as United for Care were narrowly defeated in 2014 although they won 58% of the vote. That's because their initiative was a constitutional amendment requiring a 60% majority, and so is this one. It would allow patients suffering from a specified list of qualifying diseases or conditions to use medical marijuana upon a doctor's recommendation.  They amount they could possess will be determined by the Department of Health. Patients could not grow their own, but would be able to purchase it at state-regulated "Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers."

This is going to be a big bucks campaign in a high-population state, just as it was last time. In 2014, Las Vegas casino billionaire and hard right Daddy Warbucks Sheldon Adelson kicked in more than $5 million to the "no" campaign. This year, he's been quiet so far, but Florida arch-drug warrior Mel Sembler has kicked in $500,000 for the opposition Drug Free Florida, and Publix supermarket heiress Carol Jenkins Barnett gave $800,000 more. United for Care has largely been bankrolled by Florida attorney and Democratic strategist Roger Morgan. It took in more than $3 million last year, spending most of it on signature gathering, and has only raised $555,000 so far this year, although Morgan's deep pockets could come through again in the home stretch.

Even with the needed 60% majority, the polling looks good. In eight polls since January 2015, the lowest support level recorded was 61% and the highest was 80%. But the opposition is going to use that fat campaign war chest to chip away at public support.

Montana—Initiative 182. Voters in Big Sky County approved medical marijuana in 2004, but when the scene grew too bustling, the state's conservative legislature struck back with a vengeance. In 2011, Republicans in Helena essentially gutted the medical marijuana system, shutting down dispensaries and limiting caregivers and doctors. The Montana Medical Marijuana Act repeals the limit of three patients for each licensed provider, and allows providers to hire employees to cultivate, dispense, and transport medical marijuana. It also repeals the requirement that physicians who provide certifications for 25 or more patients annually be referred to the board of medical examiners, and it removes the authority of law enforcement to conduct unannounced inspections of medical marijuana facilities, instead requiring annual inspections by the state. Patients could continue to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and four plants and 12 seedlings. The initiative also adds PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions.

[image:3 align:right]There doesn't appear to be any recent polling on the initiative's prospects. Montana voters have approved medical marijuana in the past, but the earlier phase of medical marijuana expansion sparked a harsh reaction, and the state remains divided over the issue. After a lengthy court fight, some of the restrictions approved in 2011 will go into effect at the end of this month, and cries of lost patient access may bend public opinion.

There doesn't appear to be any significant fundraising or spending by either side in this campaign.  

North Dakota—Question 5. Also known as the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act and sponsored by North Dakotans for Compassionate Care, the initiative would allow people suffering from a list of specified medical conditions to use medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.  The initiative envisions a system of non-profit "compassion centers," which could grow and sell medical marijuana. Patients living more than 40 miles from a compassion center could grow up to 8 plants, but they must notify local law enforcement in writing.  The initiative also includes a creepy provision allowing the Health Department to "perform on-site interviews of a qualified patient or primary caregiver to determine eligibility for the program" and to "enter the premises of a qualified patient or primary caregiver during business hours for purposes of interviewing a program applicant," with 24 hours notice. Patients could purchase up to three ounces of marijuana every two weeks.

The polling data is as scarce as the trees on the North Dakota prairie, but a 2014 poll had support for medical marijuana at 47%, with 41% opposed.

There doesn't appear to be any significant fundraising or spending by either side in this campaign, either.

Will medical marijuana go four for four this year? It seems likely, but we're going to have to wait for November 8 to know for sure. 

Categories: Medical Marijuana

US MA: In Allston, a Battle Is Brewing Over a Marijuana

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 23 Aug 2016 - Boston City Councilor Mark Ciommo is again facing criticism this week for not backing a locally run company that wants to open a medical marijuana dispensary in his Allston neighborhood. Instead of supporting Compassionate Organics, Ciommo is steadfast in his backing of rival Mayflower Medicinals, a company that has hired the councilor's political consultant and close friend Frank Perullo.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US MD: Agency Faulted For Pot Process

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 07:00
Baltimore Sun, 23 Aug 2016 - Black Lawmakers Say Cannabis Licensees Lack Racial Diversity The head of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland is asking the governor to intervene in the awarding of medical cannabis licenses because the selected companies lack diversity, denying minorities the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of an emerging industry.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

New Zealand: Column: Legalising Cannabis Is Not in the

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 07:00
The Press, 23 Aug 2016 - If a referendum was held on legalising cannabis for personal use, would you support it? You'd have to be off your scone. The New Zealand Drug Foundation (NZDF) has been crowing about the results of its self-selecting poll, indicating broad public support for decriminalising cannabis for personal use. Rebecca Reider made history over the weekend by bringing the first legal raw cannabis flower into New Zealand, campaigners say. The NZDF has steadily become a strident proponent for law reform, to the point that they now sound more like glorified pushers, campaigning for "the removal of criminal penalties for drug use, possession and social supply."
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US PA: Pennsylvania Not Alone In Medical Marijuana Stance

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Mon, 08/22/2016 - 07:00
The Citizens' Voice, 22 Aug 2016 - State among several to allow treatment not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Pennsylvania and the federal government disagree about the usefulness of marijuana as medicine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn't approved marijuana as safe and effective for treating any illness, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as recently as Aug. 11 kept marijuana in the same drug category as heroin, LSD and ecstasy.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US OH: OPED: Federal Marijuana Policy In A Haze

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Mon, 08/22/2016 - 07:00
Morning Journal, 22 Aug 2016 - President Barack Obama has said he considers marijuana no more dangerous than alcohol. More than three years ago, he said he had "bigger fish to fry" than targeting pot smokers in states that permit recreational use. Federal officials remain in a haze when it comes to articulating a comprehensible policy on marijuana.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US NJ: OPED: Federal Marijuana Policy In A Haze

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Sun, 08/21/2016 - 07:00
The Trentonian, 21 Aug 2016 - Federal officials remain in a haze when it comes to articulating a comprehensible policy on marijuana. Perhaps last week's ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals curtailing the feds from prosecuting legitimate growers and distributors will help clear the air.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US CO: Dizzying Highs and Lows of Life in the Metropolis of

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Sun, 08/21/2016 - 07:00
Sunday Star-Times, 21 Aug 2016 - The 'Green Rush' Has Proven to Be a Mixed Blessing for Colorado and Its State Capital. At Bruce Randolph School in a tough inner-city part of Denver, the staff and pupils used to breathe fumes from a nearby dog food factory. Now they get a regular whiff of something much more controversial.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US OR: Pot At State Fair, 1st For US

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Sun, 08/21/2016 - 07:00
Garden Island, 21 Aug 2016 - SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Nine living marijuana plants will be displayed at the Oregon State Fair in a first of its kind event for the United States starting next Friday. The exhibit of the nonflowering, immature plants brings pot cultivation more into the agricultural mainstream less than two years after Oregon voters legalized recreational marijuana. The Oregon Cannabis Business Council, which organized the exhibit, says it's the first time live cannabis will be shown at a state fair anywhere in the U.S.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US CA: OPED: Why This Time Around Is Different for Licit Pot

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Sun, 08/21/2016 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 21 Aug 2016 - Californians first threatened to legalize recreational marijuana by ballot initiative in 1972. It failed 66% to 33%. We tried again in 2010. It was voted down 53% to 46%. Now we're back at it. This time, though Proposition 64 looks like a sure thing. Polls show support for legalization in general at 55%, and 60% among likely voters. What's so different this time around?
Categories: Medical Marijuana

CN ON: Police Raid Two Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Sat, 08/20/2016 - 07:00
Hamilton Spectator, 20 Aug 2016 - Draft regulations consider freelance dispensaries illegal It turns out police have already raided at least two Hamilton storefront medical marijuana sellers this year. The raids raise questions about the fate of all self-styled dispensaries in the city - particularly since newly released draft regulations for medical marijuana now specifically label freelance storefront sellers as illegal.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US CA: Editorial: Federal Marijuana Policy Still In A Haze

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Sat, 08/20/2016 - 07:00
The East Bay Times, 20 Aug 2016 - Federal officials remain in a haze when it comes to articulating a comprehensible national policy on marijuana. Perhaps last week's ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals curtailing the feds from prosecuting legitimate growers and distributors will help clear the air.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

Chronicle AM: NV Initiative Has Slight Poll Lead, PA MedMJ Draft Regs Released, More... (8/19/16)

Medical Marijuana (STDW) - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 20:08

An effort to knock the Arizona legalization initiative off the ballot gets slapped down, a new Nevada poll shows a very tight contest for the legalization initiative there, a new study finds that marijuana use is not implicated in organ transplant problems, and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Arizona Judge Rejects Lawsuit Trying to Knock Legalization Initiative Off the Ballot. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Jo Lynn Gentry has dismissed a lawsuit brought by opponents of the Prop 205 legalization initiative. The lawsuit had challenged the 100-word initiative summary that will appear on ballots, but Gentry ruled that the summary "substantially complies with the law." The foes, led by Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, said they will appeal.

Nevada Poll Has Legalization Initiative Under 50%, But Still Leading. A new Nevada poll from Suffolk University shows a tight race ahead. The poll had support for the Question 2 legalization initiative at 48%, with 43% opposed, and 9% undecided.

Medical Marijuana

Study Finds Marijuana Use Not Associated With Bad Organ Transplant Outcomes. A peer-reviewed study from the journal Clinical Transplantation finds that marijuana use is not contraindicated in kidney transplants. "[R]ecreational marijuana use should not be considered a contraindication to kidney transplantation," the authors concluded. "[R]ecreational marijuana use should be systematically evaluated in a larger setting before a decision is made on what, if any, degree of use or abuse should be considered a relative or absolute contraindication, or whether use or abuse should be considered a contraindication." Even in jurisdictions that allow for medical marijuana use, hospitals routinely disqualify patients with a marijuana history from eligibility for organ transplants.

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana System Moving Forward. The state Health Department has released a draft of the rules for the state's nascent medical marijuana industry. The more than 90 pages of draft regulations create a roadmap for aspiring medical marijuana growers and processors who are competing for 25 lucrative permits.

Categories: Medical Marijuana

CN BC: New Medical Pot Grow Rules Draw Praise, Concern

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 07:00
Nelson Star, 19 Aug 2016 - The lawyer who successfully overturned the former Conservative government's ban on the home growing of medical marijuana is praising a move by the federal Liberals to create a new licensing system for doctor-approved patients. Kirk Tousaw said the new Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, which take effect Aug. 24, appear to be much the same as the old home growing licenses that prevailed until 2014 when the Conservative government tried to outlaw them and force approved patients to buy only from licensed commercial producers.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

CN BC: Vernon Keeps Nose Out Of Pot Operations

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 07:00
The Morning Star, 19 Aug 2016 - The City of Vernon Is Not Cracking Down on Marijuana Dispensaries. Council decided Monday not to investigate a zoning bylaw that would prohibit marijuana operations. "I haven't heard any complaints from the public," said Coun. Juliette Cunningham.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US MD: No Blacks Head Firms Getting Pot Licenses

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 07:00
Washington Post, 19 Aug 2016 - Critics Say MD. Diversity Isn't Reflected; Decisions May Be Challenged Maryland set up its legal medical marijuana industry with hopes of racial diversity and equity in the division of profits, but not one of the 15 companies that were cleared this week for potentially lucrative growing licenses is led by African Americans.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US CA: Column: What Legalizing Pot Could Mean

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 19 Aug 2016 - A Statewide Ballot Measure on Adult Recreational Use Is Complicated - and Highly Likely to Pass. SACRAMENTO - I know you've been distracted/disgusted/gobsmacked by the presidential campaign all summer.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

Chronicle AM: Duterte Lashes Out at UN, CA MJ Arrests Haven't Gone Away, More... (8/18/16)

Medical Marijuana (STDW) - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 20:42

Despite what's been called "de facto legalization," California has arrested a half million for pot in the last decade; Tennessee's Music City moves toward decriminalization, a Montana anti-medical marijuana initiatiive has come up short, and more.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

California Saw Half a Million Marijuana Arrests in the Last Decade. And you thought pot was virtually legal there already. A new report from the Drug Policy Alliance shows that far from "de facto legalization," tens of thousands of Californians are still getting arrested for marijuana offenses each year. Even though the state decriminalized pot possession in 2011, thousands are still arrested for marijuana misdemeanors each year, and the burden of arrests falls disproportionately on blacks, Latinos, and youth.

Report Finds West Virginia Could Make Millions By Legalizing Marijuana. The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy released a report Thursday saying that if the state legalized marijuana and taxed it at 25% of its wholesale price, the state could collect an estimated $45 million a year. And if just 10% of marijuana users living within 200 miles of the state came to buy legal weed there, the state could make $194 million a year. It would also save most of the $17 million a year it currently spends enforcing pot prohibition.

Nashville Moves Toward Marijuana Decriminalization. Tennessee's second largest city (less than a thousand people fewer than Memphis) is headed for decrim. The city council Tuesday gave its initial approval to a measure that would make possession of up to an ounce a civil infraction punishable by a $50 fine. It's not a done deal yet, though, and the police are grumbling. Stay tuned.

Medical Marijuana

Possible Arizona Pot Legalization Spurs Rush for Medical Marijuana Licenses. More than 750 people or groups have submitted applications for 31 medical marijuana dispensary licenses to be awarded in October. Medical marijuana license holders will get first crack at new adult use licenses if the Prop 205 legalization initiative passes.

Montana Anti-Medical Marijuana Initiative Fails To Qualify for Ballot, But Challenges Signature Shortfall. An initiative seeking to repeal the state's medical marijuana law has failed to qualify for the November ballot after coming up short on valid signatures. The Safe Montana campaign claims the state improperly rejected or lost signatures and has filed suit to challenge the state's decision. Meanwhile, the I-182 initiative, which would rebuild the state's largely gutted medical marijuana program, has already qualified for the ballot.

International

Philippines President Duterte Slams "Stupid" UN Criticism of Drug War Killings.President Duterte, who has presided over hundreds of drug war killings since assuming office just weeks ago, has pushed back against criticism of his policies by the United Nations. ""Here comes the UN, easily swayed, and coming with a very stupid proposition,"Duterte said in a speech on Wednesday at an event for police officers also attended by foreign diplomats. "Why would the United Nations be so easily swayed into interfering in the affairs of this republic?" Duterte has ordered police not to hesitate to kill and even urged ordinary citizens and communist rebels to join in the war against drugs. Drug users are "not viable human beings," he said.

Categories: Medical Marijuana

CN ON: Marijuana Helping Boy, 6

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 07:00
The Peterborough Examiner, 18 Aug 2016 - Gage has a rare and incurable neurological disorder, and the drug has proven to help NAPANEE - A Napanee-area marijuana facility is now able to sell its medical product to patients in need, and a mother says her son is benefitting from the development.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

CN AB: Editorial: Red Tape

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 07:00
Airdrie City View, 18 Aug 2016 - If you mention laws surrounding the use of marijuana, you are likely to get an earful of differing opinions. But when it comes to medical marijuana, there seems to be at least some lenience on negative views. According to Health Canada, under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, Canadians who have been authorized by their health care practitioner to access cannabis for medical purposes will continue to have the option of purchasing safe, quality-controlled cannabis from one of the 34 producers licensed by Health Canada. Canadians will also be able to produce a limited amount of cannabis for their own medical purposes, or designate someone to produce it for them.
Categories: Medical Marijuana
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