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Medical Marijuana Update

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 20:33

The feds poking about in California and Colorado is raising hackles, Maryland's first commercial medical marijuana grows get underway, Montana's largest city bans dispensaries, and more.

[image:1 align:right]California

On Wednesday, a federal request for patient data was raising hackles, but getting nowhere. An official with the National Marijuana Initiative, a project of the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program, last month asked state officials for data on the age, gender, and stated affliction -- but not the name -- of every state resident who received a medical marijuana card between 2012 and 2016. The Initiative official said they wanted the data only to study "usage rates" among different age groups, but was nonetheless rebuffed by an employee of the state Medical Marijuana Program, who said the program only administers the ID card program and "does not have information regarding dispensaries." The program also clarified that it does not keep records of ID card application after they are issued.

Colorado

Last Thursday, a lawsuit claimed the Justice Department was using the IRS to do criminal investigations of pot businesses. The owners of a medical marijuana business in the town of Silt have filed a lawsuit challenging IRS subpoenas to the state's Marijuana Enforcement Division that seek information about how much marijuana the businesses have grown, who they sold it to, and when. The lawsuit alleges that the information is being sought for possible use in criminal investigations by the Justice Department. The IRS says it is simply trying to verify financial records.

Iowa

Last Wednesday, Ithe governor named members of a medical marijuana board. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) named eight members to serve on the Medical Cannabidiol Board. The board is charged with overseeing the state's newly expanded, but still extremely restrictive, CBD medical marijuana law. Click on the link for the appointees' names.

Maryland

As of Monday, licensed medical marijuana grows were underway.The first two licensed medical marijuana cultivators in the state have begun growing their first crop. Both ForwardGro and Curio Wellness report they now have plants growing. But at this point, there's only one dispensary licensed to sell it to. The state could see up to a hundred dispensaries, which have until December to show final documentation and prove they are ready to do business.

Montana

On Tuesday, the state's largest city banned dispensaries. The Billings city council voted on Tuesday to ban dispensaries. Although the city enacted an ordinance in 2011 prohibiting dispensaries, a couple are operating in the city anyway. At least one of them, Montana Advanced Caregivers, has said it isn't going anywhere and will continue serving patients.

Pennsylvania

Last Thursday, Pstate officials agreed it must reveal the names of members on a secret application-vetting panel. The state Office of Open Records concluded that the state must name the members of a panel that scored applications for medical marijuana permits. The Health Department had argued that keeping the names secret protected panel members from undue pressure or threats to their safety. But the secrecy also blocked panel members from being scrutinized for conflicts of interest.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: Angela Merkel in No Rush to Free the Weed, MD MedMJ Grows Underway, More... (9/6/17)

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 20:19

The feds continue to seek marijuana data from states, a Philippines senator stands up to Duterte, Angela Merkel isn't worrying too much about weed, and more.

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

Federal Request for Patient Data Raises Hackles in California. An official with the National Marijuana Initiative, a project of the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program, last month asked state officials for data on the age, gender, and stated affliction -- but not the name -- of every state resident who received a medical marijuana card between 2012 and 2016. The Initiative official said they wanted the data only to study "usage rates" among different age groups, but was nonetheless rebuffed by an employee of the state Medical Marijuana Program, who said the program only administers the ID card program and "does not have information regarding dispensaries." The program also clarified that it does not keep records of ID card application after they are issued.

Maryland Medical Marijuana Grows Are Underway.The first two licensed medical marijuana cultivators in the state have begun growing their first crop. Both ForwardGro and Curio Wellness report they now have plants growing. But at this point, there's only one dispensary licensed to sell it to. The state could see up to a hundred dispensaries, which have until December to show final documentation and prove they are ready to do business.

International

Philippines Senator Rejects Duterte Claim There is No Policy to Kill Drug Offenders. A day after President Rodrigo Duterte called her "stupid" for questioning his claim that there was no state policy of killing drug suspects, Sen. Risa Hontiveros reiterated her disbelief: "I am not a genius but I know that while two deaths do not make a policy, thousands of dead, without remorse, regret, or action from the government do," she said in a statement. "Eight thousand to 13,000 people have already died in this bloody war on drugs, mostly from the ranks of the poor."

Angela Merkel Not in Any Rush to Legalize Weed. Don't hold your breath waiting for German Chancellor Angela Merkel to lead the way on marijuana law reform. "I do not think of it," she told Neue Osnabrucker Zeitung. "We allow a very limited medical application, and I do not intend to make any changes."

Categories: Marijuana

CN NS: Medical Marijuana Operation Re-Opened

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 07:00
Truro Daily News, 06 Sep 2017 - After the RCMP raided three local medicinal marijuana dispensaries last week, one store has already re-opened. Maritime Medicinal, one of the three Bible Hill dispensaries, reopened its Main Street location immediately after officers cleared out Friday afternoon.
Categories: Marijuana

Canada: Eat Your Green

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 06 Sep 2017 - Fledgling entrepreneurs are trying to get started in the edible marijuana business in advance of next summer's promised legalization. As Corey Mintz reports, they have all the stresses of any other food business, as well as other, more unique concerns Buying and selling marijuana in Canada is currently a very grey market - - almost legal but with a shrug emoji attached. Along this legally nebulous frontier, no one has more of an uphill battle than the makers and distributors of edible products.
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Chronicle AM: Fed MJ Amendments Coming, Trump to Name Marino as Drug Czar, More... (9/5/17)

Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 09/05/2017 - 20:23

Trump nominates a drug czar, federal drug prosecutions are down, Obama's clemency program barely scratched the surface, British nitrous oxide prosecutions get laughed out of court, and more.

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

Federal Representatives File Marijuana Banking Amendments. Congressional supporters of legal marijuana have filed two amendments to the House Treasury appropriations bill. One would prohibit Treasury from spending money to punish banks that service the legal marijuana sector; the other bars Treasury from altering FinCEN's guidance to banking institutions. If passed, the bills would allow marijuana businesses in compliance with state laws to have access to the banking system.

Rep. Ted Lieu Files Amendment to Cut DEA Eradication Funding. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) has reintroduced an amendment to slash funding for the DEA's marijuana eradication program by half. Last year, the budget for eradication was $18 million, spent mainly on uprooting low-THC feral hemp in the Midwest. The program "is a ridiculous waste of precious federal resources, especially when multiple states and jurisdictions have already legalized marijuana… it is time for the federal government to stop making marijuana use or possession a federal crime," Lieu said.

California Regulation Bills Die As Legislature Gets Out of the Way. The Senate Appropriations Committee last Friday bottled up ten bills aimed at regulating legal marijuana commerce, leaving the way clear for the state's new Bureau of Cannabis Control to finish its own rulemaking process before lawmakers come back with additional restrictions. "Legislative leaders are working with the administration on a budget trailer bill to resolve cannabis-related issues. It makes sense to take a comprehensive approach," Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) chairman of the committee, told the Marin Journal.

Colorado Lawsuit Claims DOJ Using IRS to Do Criminal Investigations of Pot Businesses. The owners of a medical marijuana business in the town of Silt have filed a lawsuit challenging IRS subpoenas to the state's Marijuana Enforcement Division that seek information about how much marijuana the businesses have grown, who they sold it to, and when. The lawsuit alleges that the information is being sought for possible use in criminal investigations by the Justice Department. The IRS says it is simply trying to verify financial records.

Delaware Task Force on Marijuana Legalization Will Meet Wednesday. A state legislative task force charged with studying how marijuana might be legalized and making recommendations on doing so will meet for the first time on Wednesday. The task force was created by legislative resolution after a bill to legalize marijuana failed earlier this year.

Drug Policy

Trump to Name Pennsylvania Republican Congressman as Drug Czar. The White House announced Friday that President Trump will nominate Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office). Marino had been mentioned as a possible drug czar earlier, but withdrew from consideration in May, citing family illness.

Law Enforcement

Federal Drug Prosecutions Fall Under Trump. Despite all the tough talk about cracking down on crime coming from the White House and the Justice Department, the latest data from the department show that overall criminal conviction and drug conviction are both down during the first 10 months of Fiscal Year 2017. Overall criminal convictions were down 12.3% over last year and are now lower than at any time since 2008. Federal drug convictions were also down by 4.0%, reaching their lowest level since 1997. Of all DOJ prosecutions, immigration offenses accounted for 53.1%, followed by drug conviction at 18.6%.

Sentencing

Report on Obama's Clemency Initiative Finds Only a Small Percentage of Those Eligible Actually Got Clemency. The US Sentencing Commission has released an analysis of the implementation of the Obama administration's 2014 clemency initiative, which encouraged long-serving, nonviolent drug offenders to apply for sentence cuts. The report found that while President Obama granted more commutations than any other president (1,928) and that most of them (1,696) were sentence commutations under the 2014 Clemency Initiative, the initiative only saw sentence cuts for only 3.4% of all federally imprisoned drug trafficking offenders who appeared to meet all the clemency criteria. On the other hand, those who did get sentence cuts saw an average reduction of nearly 12 years.

International

Philippines Drug War Has Nation's Jails Creaking Under the Pressure. While the horrid killings of thousands of suspected drug users and dealers had grabbed the world's attention, President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war has also seen nearly 100,000 people arrested on drug charges, with almost all (94%) of them still in jail awaiting trial. As a result, the country's jails are now tremendously overcrowded, with one prison with an official capacity of 262 inmates now holding 2,975 -- three-fourths of them for drug offenses. It's not just the jails that are feeling the pinch; the Public Attorney's Office, which defends the cases, reports a backlog of 303,000 drug cases, nearly 2 ½ times the backlog when Duterte took office.

British Courts Throw Out Laughing Gas Prosecutions. In the past few days, two cases in which the government attempted to prosecute people for supplying nitrous oxide (laughing gas) have collapsed, with courts ruling that that the stuff is a medicine and thus exempt from last year's Psychoactive Substances Act. This is no surprise to drug experts, including the government's own drug advisors, who warned the law was overly broad and unworkable.

Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Council Considers New Ways To Stop Pot Shops

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 09/05/2017 - 07:00
The Daily Courier, 05 Sep 2017 - The owners of unlicensed pot shops in West Kelowna could be fined up to $500 every day they stay open. New municipal regulations intended principally to drive the pot shops out of business will be considered today by city council.
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CN ON: Pot Protester Strips Down To His Legal Briefs

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 09/02/2017 - 07:00
London Free Press, 02 Sep 2017 - A Cambridge man is resorting to partial nudity to get his bong and medical marijuana back from local police. Wearing nothing but socks, running shoes and a pair of brightly coloured briefs, 31-year-old Jeffrey Shaver has been protesting sporadically outside the Kitchener courthouse and various police stations in the region for two weeks while smoking a bong.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Pot Chain Chief Faces N.s. Drug, Weapon Counts

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 09/02/2017 - 07:00
London Free Press, 02 Sep 2017 - An East Coast entrepreneur who is wanted by London police faces 10 drug and weapons charges in his home province after police raided five marijuana dispensaries there. London police issued an arrest warrant for Malachy McMeekin, of Cole Harbour, N.S., after raiding five pot shops in March.
Categories: Marijuana

CN NS: Search Warrants Executed At Three Medical Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 09/02/2017 - 07:00
Truro Daily News, 02 Sep 2017 - RCMP officers raided three medical marijuana dispensaries in Bible Hill Friday afternoon. Sgt. Duane Cooper told the Truro Daily News that search warrants were executed at about 3 p.m. at Re-Leaf Medical Dispensary, 197 Pictou Rd., Community Compassion Centre, 274 Pictou Rd., and at the Maritime Medicinal Centre, 27 Main Street.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Column: High Time For New Fix To Opioid Crisis

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 09/02/2017 - 07:00
North Bay Nugget, 02 Sep 2017 - There are a lot of very smart people in North Bay. It would be interesting to see if the bright lights here can find an opportunity hiding in the weeds to solve the opioid crisis. And I'm not referring to emergency funding injections or quick-fix policy.
Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: House GOP Reps Will Try to Block Sessions Forfeiture Expansion, More... (9/1/17)

Marijuana (STDW) - Fri, 09/01/2017 - 20:09

The Massachusetts marijuana commission is being top-loaded with legalization foes, Obama's former drug czar comes out for a ban on high-potency prescription opioids, House GOP members prepare amendments to a budget bill to block expanded asset forfeiture, and more.

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

Massachusetts Names Legalization Foe to Head Marijuana Commission. State Treasurer Deb Goldberg has named former Bain and Company executive Steven Hoffman to chair the state's Cannabis Control Commission, which is charged with regulating legal marijuana. Hoffman voted against the legalization initiative last November. The only other member of the five-member commission who has been named so far is Gov. Charlie Baker's (R) nominee, former state Sen. Jen Flanagan (D-Leominster), another legalization foe. Attorney General Maura Healey (D) also gets to pick a member, while the other two members will be named on agreement by the governor, the attorney general, and the treasurer. (Update: Longtime reform activist Shaleen Title was named to the commission late Friday.)

Medical Marijuana

Iowa Governor Names Medical Marijuana Board Members. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) named eight members to serve on the Medical Cannabidiol Board on Wednesday. The board is charged with overseeing the state's newly expanded, but still extremely restrictive, CBD medical marijuana law. Click on the link for the appointees' names.

Montana's Largest City Bans Dispensaries. The Billings city council voted on Tuesday to ban dispensaries. Although the city enacted an ordinance in 2011 prohibiting dispensaries, a couple are operating in the city anyway. At least one of them, Montana Advanced Caregivers, has said it isn't going anywhere and will continue serving patients.

Pennsylvania Must Reveal Names on Secret Marijuana Application-Vetting Panel. The state Office of Open Records concluded Thursday that the state must name the members of a panel that scored applications for medical marijuana permits. The Health Department had argued that keeping the names secret protected panel members from undue pressure or threats to their safety. But the secrecy also blocked panel members from being scrutinized for conflicts of interest.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Obama's Former Drug Czar Calls for Ban on High-Grade Opioids. Former Office of National Drug Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office) head Michael Botticelli has come out in support of a citizen petition calling on the Food & Drug Administration to ban high-potency opioid pain medications.

Asset Forfeiture

House Republicans Prepare Amendments to Block Sessions Asset Forfeiture Expansion. A number of congressional Republicans will propose amendments to an omnibus funding bill aimed at blocking Attorney General Sessions' recent move to expand the federal civil asset forfeiture plan. At least four separate amendments are being proposed, each trying in a slightly different way to do the same job of killing the move.

Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Cannabis Co-Op Coming To Kootenays

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 09/01/2017 - 07:00
Nelson Star, 01 Sep 2017 - Initiative aims to keep industry jobs local Todd Veri dreams of fields of marijuana. The Kaslo farmer was reading a government report on cannabis legalization last year when he noted that there were plans to allow outdoor operations - which he's already perfectly set up for.
Categories: Marijuana

US AZ: Huffed And Puffed AG Sessions' Marijuana Crackdown Fizzles

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 08/31/2017 - 07:00
Tucson Weekly, 31 Aug 2017 - It looks like Attorney General Jeff Sessions has run into some problems in his crusade against the marijuana. While the new Department of Justice administration has long been mounting pressure against the marijuana industry, the latest suggestion from the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety is to, well, do nothing. The subcommittee was announced months ago and tasked with developing a legal avenue for Session's marijuana crackdown. However, the Associated Press reported the group "has come up with no new policy recommendations to advance the attorney general's aggressively anti-marijuana views."
Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: 5 Things B.C. Could Do Right Now To Curb Overdoses

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 08/31/2017 - 07:00
Metro, 31 Aug 2017 - Thursday is International Overdose Awareness Day, and Metro looks at just a few of the ideas to end an ongoing epidemic that's on track to kill 1,560 British Columbians in 2017. 1. Artisanal opiates?
Categories: Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Update

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 08/30/2017 - 21:21

A group of federal representatives tell Attorney General Sessions to quit blocking marijuana research, the White House wants data on Massachusetts medical marijuana patients, and more.

[image:1 align:right]National

Last Thursday, a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers told Sessions to stop blocking marijuana research. Two Republican and two Democratic congressmen have sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions telling him to quit using the Justice Department to block medical marijuana research. In the letter signed by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), the congressmen referenced a recent report that Justice was blocking the DEA from moving forward on applications from scientists to cultivate marijuana for research purposes. Instead of delaying the application process, the congressmen wrote, "we encourage you to proceed with rapidity on the DEA's permitting process, as we believe it is in keeping with President Trump's campaign promises, and the best interests of the American people."

Maryland

On Monday, the state issued three more medical marijuana grower licenses. The state Medical Cannabis Commission issued final licenses to three more medical marijuana growers. The move came despite the growers missing a deadline earlier this month. Two other grower applicants were granted formal extensions. The state had given 15 companies a shot at the licenses; nine had already been approved. Now, with Monday's action, all but one of them are on track to supply the market.

Massachusetts

Last Friday, the White House was seeking data on state medical marijuana users. The National Marijuana Initiative, part of the Trump administration's anti-drug task force, has asked the state Department of Public Health to provide data on the health conditions cited by medical marijuana users. The department has already provided data on patient by age and gender, but said it was considering whether to hand over additional data.

Michigan

Last Thursday, regulators were seeking participants for stakeholder working groups. The state Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation is forming stakeholder working groups to help guide and set policy on regulations for a new law that will allow dispensaries in the state. The bureau is working with the Medical Marijuana Licensing Board to come up with regulations for areas including growing, processing, transport, and related issues. Click on the link for information about how to apply to participate.

Tennessee

Last Friday, legislative leaders announced they would study whether to legalize medical marijuana. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R) and House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) announced in a that they are forming an ad hoc committee to study whether the state should legalize medical marijuana. The lawmakers said they would undertake a comprehensive review of the matter. The committee will consist of 10 legislators.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: Anti-Marijuana Group Urges DOJ to Shut Down Legalization, More... (8/30/17)

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 08/30/2017 - 20:53

As the summer doldrums draw to an end, it's pretty quiet on the drug reform front, but the political battle continues to rage over marijuana legalization, and more.

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana Policy

LEAP Petition Supporting Booker Legalization Bill Needs More Signatures. A Change.org petition sponsored by LEAP (Law Enforcement Action Partnership, formerly Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) is now fewer than 4,000 signatures away from its goal of 50,000 signatures. The petition, which is aimed at the House and Senate, calls on representatives to support Sen. Corey Booker's (D-NJ) pot legalization bill, the Marijuana Justice Act (Senate Bill 1689). Click on the petition link to add your signature.

Anti-Pot Group Calls on Feds to "Systematically Shut Down" the Legal Marijuana Industry. Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) has sent a report, "The Cole Memo: 4 Years Later," to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions urging him to "systematically shut down" the marijuana business in states where it is legal. SAM urged targeting big players in the industry and recommended that Sessions "take measured action to successfully protect public health and safety." In a Wednesday conference call reported by The Cannabist, SAM leader Kevin Sabet went even further: "We do not want individuals prosecuted -- we want the industry to be accountable. This industry -- starting from the top -- should be systematically shut down," he said.

Nevada Liquor Distributors Lose Appeal on Marijuana Transport Rules. The state Tax Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to uphold a Tax Department decision allowing companies other than alcohol distributors to seek marijuana distribution licenses. Liquor distributors had argued they had exclusive rights to transport marijuana from grows to retail shops, but state regulators said the liquor distributors were unable to keep up with demand. The Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada have not yet said whether they would appeal the decision.

Categories: Marijuana

CN NS: Tasty Budds Store Searched By Police

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 08/30/2017 - 07:00
Metro, 30 Aug 2017 - Four arrested by officers in Cole Harbour dispensary One day after Tasty Budds reopened its five Nova Scotia locations following police raids last week, one of them has again been searched by police.
Categories: Marijuana

CN MB: Weed Worries

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 08/30/2017 - 07:00
Winnipeg Sun, 30 Aug 2017 - Residents have serious concerns about people driving after using pot Half of Manitoba adults believe driving while high is the same as or worse than driving drunk, according to a new Probe Research poll.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Vape Lounge Closed, But Pot Dispensary Remains

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 08/30/2017 - 07:00
Hamilton Spectator, 30 Aug 2017 - A court injunction has shut down a vapour lounge not because it violated pot laws, but because it contravened a zoning bylaw. The City of Hamilton was successful in winning an interim injunction against Cloud Nine vape lounge because the space it occupies on the second floor of 275 King St. E. is zoned residential, not commercial.
Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Cities Decry Lack Of Pot Talk

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 08/30/2017 - 07:00
Metro, 30 Aug 2017 - Marijuana legalization is on the way, but cities say no one has bothered to consult them about it. Cannabis will feature prominently at this year's Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention - scheduled for the week of Sept. 25 in Vancouver - according to the UBCM's preliminary schedule released Tuesday.
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