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Medical Marijuana Update

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 04/05/2017 - 22:14

Arkansas' governor signs a package of medical marijuana regulation bills, a West Virginia medical marijuana bill is just a vote away from final passage, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Arkansas

On Monday, the governor signed into law a dozen medical marijuana-related bills. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law a dozen bills aimed at regulating the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law. Bills that actually modified the law required a two-thirds majority in both houses of the legislature. For a complete list of the bills and what they do, click on the link.

Maryland

Last Wednesday, legislators proposed using marijuana to treat opioid addition. A House of Delegates committee has added "opioid use disorder" to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana use. The bill was set to be heard by the House Friday.

On Tuesday, a bill to allow more license and increase diversity passed the House. The House of Delegates voted to approve House Bill 1443, which would allow five more licenses to grow and process medical marijuana. The bill is aimed at increasing minority participation in the developing industry, which the state's medical marijuana law explicitly calls for. "Passing this bill will show the country that this is not an issue that we're going lock African Americans and other minorities from participating in this business venture," bill cosponsor Del. Cheryl Glenn said before the House vote. "Less than 1% of the licenses held in the entire country are held by African Americans and other minorities. I'm very proud at the state of Maryland that we are passing this legislation. Nothing is perfect, but this is really moving us along the path of having a fair system in the state of Maryland."

West Virginia

Last Thursday, the House fast-tracked a medical marijuana bill. Less than a day after the Senate approved a full-fledged medical marijuana bill, Senate Bill 386, the House has put it on path to quick consideration. The bill passed the Senate Wednesday, and on Thursday, the House voted to allow the bill to skip consideration by committees there and proceed directly to House floor debate. The move came in response to constituent pressure. "Like every member of this body, I can't count the number of emails and phone calls I received on this subject today," said Del. Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha.

On Monday, the House amended the medical marijuana bill. The state House on Monday amended the medical marijuana bill, Senate Bill 386, to bar its use in leaf form. Medicines from marijuana would have to be in patch, pill, or potion form. Opponents of the amendment said it drastically changed the nature of the bill already approved in the Senate and worried that the Senate would not accept the changes, leaving patients in the lurch for another year. The bill must now have a final House floor vote, and then any differences will have to either be approved by the Senate or settled in a joint conference committee.

On Tuesday, the House approved the amended medical marijuana bill. The House voted to approve Senate Bill 386, which would establish a medical marijuana system in the state. The Senate passed the measure last week, but since it was amended in the House, reconciliation or a conference committee agreement must occur before it can head to the governor's desk.

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

Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: Kansas City Decriminalizes, WV MedMJ Bill Nears Final Stage, More... (4/5/17)

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 04/05/2017 - 20:58

Kansas City votes to decriminalizes, a Maryland bill to expand medical marijuana business opportunities advances, so does a package of Maryland bills aimed at the state's opioid crisis, and more.

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

Alaska Regulators Again Taking Up Onsite Marijuana Consumption. The state Marijuana Control Board will today resume its debate over whether to permit businesses to allow onsite consumption of marijuana. The board had decided in February to kill the idea, citing uncertainty over the Trump administration, but now it has reopened the process, inviting members to submit proposed new regulations. One proposal would impose a two-year moratorium on onsite consumption, while two others would allow for it, but one of those would not allow smoking or vaping.

Kansas City Votes to Decriminalize. Kansas City, Missouri, residents voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Unofficial vote counts had the measure winning with 71% of the vote. The measure will amend local laws regarding the possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana for adults age 21 and older from a criminal misdemeanor, previously punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, to a civil offense punishable by a $25 fine -- with no arrest made or criminal record imposed.

Medical Marijuana

Maryland Bill to Allow More Licenses, Increase Diversity Passes House. The House of Delegates voted Tuesday to approve House Bill 1443, which would allow five more licenses to grow and process medical marijuana. The bill is aimed at increasing minority participation in the developing industry, which the state's medical marijuana law explicitly calls for. "Passing this bill will show the country that this is not an issue that we're going lock African Americans and other minorities from participating in this business venture," bill cosponsor Del. Cheryl Glenn said before the House vote. "Less than 1% of the licenses held in the entire country are held by African Americans and other minorities. I'm very proud at the state of Maryland that we are passing this legislation. Nothing is perfect, but this is really moving us along the path of having a fair system in the state of Maryland."

West Virginia House Votes for Medical Marijuana. The House voted Tuesday to approve Senate Bill 386, which would establish a medical marijuana system in the state. The Senate passed the measure last week, but since it was amended in the House, reconciliation or a conference committee agreement must occur before it can head to the governor's desk.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Maryland General Assembly Adopts Bills to Combat Opioid Epidemic. The House of Delegates voted Tuesday to approve a package of bills aimed at increasing access to drug treatment and crisis services, education, and public awareness around opioids. The bills are House Bill 869, which will require the state to compile a list of accredited recovery residences, House Bill 1082, which will require public schools to provide drug education and train personnel to respond to an opioid overdose; and House Bill 1329, which establishes a Health Crisis Hotline and network of crisis treatment centers. Because the bills were adopted with minor differences in the House and Senate, the House must vote one more time to approve the measures before they head to the governor's desk.

Drug Testing

Florida Welfare Drug Test Bill Moving. A bill to require welfare applicants with drug convictions to submit to mandatory drug testing has been approved by two subcommittees and now sits before the House Health and Human Services Committee. The measure, House Bill 1147, passed out of the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee Tuesday. Under the bill, applicants who test positive for drugs would lose benefits for a year, but could reapply after six months if they've completed a drug treatment program at their own expense.

Indiana Bill Criminalizing Use of Synthetic Urine Passes Legislature. The state Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved House Bill 1104, which would make it a misdemeanor to use synthetic or another person's urine for a drug test. The bill now heads to the governor's desk.

Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM:MJ State Govs Ask Feds to Stay Out, AZ Forfeiture Reform, More... (4/4/17):

Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 20:53

The governors of the first four states to legalize marijuana have written to Washington asking to be left alone, decrim advances in Texas, asset forfeiture reform advances in Arizona, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

Governors from Four Legal Marijuana States Ask to Be Left Alone. The governors of the first four states to legalize marijuana -- Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington -- sent a letter Monday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin asking them not to interfere in state-level legalization. The governors said legal weed could be safely regulated and that a federal crackdown "would divert existing marijuana product to the black market." They also asked the Treasury Department not to make it even more difficult to marijuana businesses to deal with banks than it already is.

Texas Decriminalization Bill Advances. The House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee voted 4-2 on Monday to advance House Bill 81, which would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. The bill now heads to the House floor.

Medical Marijuana

West Virginia House Amends Medical Marijuana Bill. The state House on Monday amended the medical marijuana bill, Senate Bill 386, to bar its use in leaf form. Medicines from marijuana would have to be in patch, pill, or potion form. Opponents of the amendment said it drastically changed the nature of the bill already approved in the Senate and worried that the Senate would not accept the changes, leaving patients in the lurch for another year. The bill must now have a final House floor vote, and then any differences will have to either be approved by the Senate or settled in a joint conference committee.

Asset Forfeiture

Arizona Senate Passes Bill Taking on State, Federal Asset Forfeiture. The state Senate on Monday unanimously approved a bill to reform the state's civil asset forfeiture law, House Bill 2477. The bill raises the evidentiary standard for forfeiture from "a preponderance of the evidence" to "clear and convincing evidence," establishes stringent forfeiture reporting requirements, and bars prosecutors from handing cases off to the feds to get around state law. The bill now goes back to the House for a concurrence vote on Senate amendments and, if passed, then heads for the governor's desk.

Drug Testing

Maine Tests Few Welfare Recipients Under New Law. Since 2015, only 23 people have set off enough drug screening alarms to be tested under the state's welfare drug testing law. That's about 0.01% of welfare recipients in the state. Of those, 11 lost temporary cash assistance benefits after testing positive, while four more lost benefits for refusing to undergo the test. The Le Page administration blames Democrats, saying they limited drug screenings to people drug felonies, and is behind bills this year to expand drug screenings of cash assistance applicants, prohibiting food stamps for repeat drug offenders, and requiring treatment for first-time drug offenders.

Categories: Marijuana

Why Flip Burgers When You Can Sling Weed? Denver's Pot Boom Puts the Hurt on Restaurant Hiring

Marijuana (STDW) - Mon, 04/03/2017 - 20:35

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

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana has helped put Denver on the national map and has helped drive a tourism boom that keeps restaurants full—and new ones opening—but the restauranteurs are starting to grumble about its impact on their ability to find and keep workers, as Bloomberg News reported.

Jennifer Jasinski, a Wolfgang Puck alum whose Denver restaurant empire includes seafood-oriented Stoic and Genuine, beer joint Euclid Hall, and her flagship Rioja, is having a hard time.

“Cooks take trimming jobs and make $20 an hour, but it’s not just that," she said. "Pastry chefs are in high demand in the pot world. Laced candies and gummy bears are sought-after treats when they are made well, so pastry chefs and cooks can make them for three to four times the money a restaurant can pay. All this just exacerbates an already tight work force in Denver.”

She's not alone. Bryan Dayton, who co-owns three popular dining destinations in the Denver/Boulder area—Oak at Fourteenth, Acorn, and Brider—feels the pain, too.

“Our work force is being drained by the pot industry,” he said bluntly. “There’s a very small work pool as it is. Enter the weed business, which pays $22 an hour with full benefits. You can come work in a kitchen for us for eight hours a day, in a hot kitchen. It’s a stressful life. Or you can go sort weed in a climate-controlled greenhouse. It’s a pretty obvious choice.”

Bobby Stuckey, the James Beard award winning co-owner of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder and the soon-to-open Tavernetta in Denver, is another big name restauranteur singing the weed competition blues. He said he's losing someone to the pot industry every few weeks.

“A line cook, it’s not a highly paid position: a lot of work, lot of hours, very intense," Stuckey said. "And you’re having a bad week. It’s hard not to quit for a grow facility where you’re making several dollars more an hour.”

And it's not just restaurants being affected, Stuckey added.

“The economy here is booming, but there’s not enough construction workers to get the buildings constructed; they all want to work in grow facilities,” said Stuckey. “Everybody wants to hear funny stories about the pot industry, but it’s a serious part of the business.”

Several of the restauranteurs pointed to another deleterious impact of legal weed on their businesses: they're selling less booze.

Dayton said his alcohol sales are down about 2%, or $100,000, at both Acorn and Oak, and reported that his distillers and distributors are reporting similar sales declines. He blamed people eating pot edibles and then foregoing a shot of whiskey or glass or wine.

Jasinski reported a 4% decline in alcohol sales at Euclid Hall, her most youth-oriented restaurant. "We have very low profit margins as it is," she complained.

Still, there is an upside to the legal pot economy.

"More hungry customers," said Dayton.

“The owners of these grow facilities are pretty sophisticated, and they’re curious about what they’re drinking,” said Stuckey, whose wine program won him a James Beard award. “If you’re into the differences between different strains of weed, like Kush or Pineapple Express, or Incredible Hulk, then I have some old bottles of nebiollo that I want to taste you on.”

Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: Trump Signs Unemployment Drug Test Bill, WVA MedMJ Bill House Vote, More... (4/3/17)

Marijuana (STDW) - Mon, 04/03/2017 - 20:13

President Trump signs a bill that will expand the drug testing of people seeking unemployment benefits, the West Virginia House is taking up medical marijuana, Colorado legislators have crafted a plan to deal with any federal attack on recreational marijuana, and more.

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

Colorado Bill Seeks to Avoid Thwart Possible Fed Crackdown by Classifying Legal Marijuana as Medical. In what the Associated Press called "the boldest attempt yet by a US marijuana state to avoid federal intervention in its weed market," the legislature is considering Senate Bill 17-192. The bill would allow retail marijuana licenses to be transferred into medical marijuana licenses. The measure has already passed out of the Senate Business, Labor, and Technology Committee and the Senate Finance committee and has a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

Michigan Hash Bash Draws 10,000+. Ann Arbor's annual celebration of marijuana drew the largest crowd in years this past weekend, with more than 10,000 people showing up to light up and voice support for marijuana legalization. Michigan nearly became the first Midwest state to put legalization to a vote last year -- coming up just short on signature gathering -- and activists there are vowing to try again in 2018.

Kansas City Voters to Decide on Decriminalization Tomorrow. Residents of Kansas City, Missouri, will vote Tuesday on whether to approve the Question 5 decriminalization ordinance. Under the proposal, people 21 and over caught with less than an ounce would face no more than a $25 ticket.

Wichita Pot Defelonilization Initiative Campaign Getting Underway. Wichita activists hope the second time is the charm. A successful 2015 defelonization initiative was stuck down by the state Supreme Court on a technical issue. Now, the activists say they are preparing a new campaign to put the issue on the August municipal ballot. Under their proposal, small-time pot possessors would face a misdemeanor charge and a maximum $50 fine.

Medical Marijuana

Arkansas Governor Signs a Dozen Medical Marijuana Bills. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law a dozen bills aimed at regulating the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law. Bills that actually modified the law required a two-thirds majority in both houses of the legislature. For a complete list of the bills and what they do, click on the link.

West Virginia Medical Marijuana Bill Gets House Hearing Today. After a delay over the weekend at the request of House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Shott, the House is taking up the medical marijuana bill, Senate Bill 386, today. Shott was expected to introduce an amendment during today's hearing before a vote is taken.

Drug Testing

Trump Signs Unemployment Drug Testing Bill Into Law. President Trump last Friday signed into law a bill sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) that will allow states to expand the pool of unemployment benefits applicants who can be drug tested. The bill undid an Obama administration rule that limited unemployment drug testing to professions where drug screenings are the norm. The bill passed Congress with no Democratic support in the Senate and only four Democrats in the House.

Harm Reduction

JAPA Issue Focuses on Naloxone. The March-April issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association is devoted to the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone. It contains nearly 30 letters, research reports and research notes on issues related to pharmacists and naloxone. The articles appear to be all open access, too. Click on the link to check 'em out.

Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Pot Legalization May Provide Spinoffs

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 04/01/2017 - 07:00
The Daily Press, 01 Apr 2017 - TIMMINS - A boom in the marijuana industry could lead to economic benefits for Northern Ontario communities. That's according to players in the medical marijuana industry and Alan Spacek, the mayor of Kapuskasing. His community is waiting for word from Health Canada on whether or not Canassist will be able to set up shop there.
Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: DE Legalization Bill Filed, WV MedMJ Bill Fast Tracked, More... (3/31/17)

Marijuana (STDW) - Fri, 03/31/2017 - 20:28

A marijuana legalization bill gets filed in Delaware, a medical marijuana bill gets fast tracked in West Virginia, a South African court rules to free the weed, the Argentine Senate okays CBD cannabis oil, and more.

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

Delaware Lawmakers Filed Legalization Bill. State Rep. Helene Keeley (D-Dover) and cosponsors filed House Bill 110 on Thursday. The bill would legalize the possession of up to an ounce by adults 21 and over and to purchase it from state-regulated stores. The bill does not allow people to grow their own. It imposes a $50 an ounce tax on buds and a $15 an ounce tax on other parts of the plant. It now heads to the House Finance and Revenue Committee, which must hold a hearing within 12 days.

Medical Marijuana

Maryland Legislators Propose Using Marijuana to Treat Opioid Addiction. A House of Delegates committee has added "opioid use disorder" to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana use. The bill was set to be heard by the House Friday.

West Virginia House Fast Tracks Medical Marijuana Bill. Less than a day after the Senate approved a full-fledged medical marijuana bill, Senate Bill 386, the House has put it on path to quick consideration. The bill passed the Senate Wednesday, and on Thursday, the House voted to allow the bill to skip consideration by committees there and proceed directly to House floor debate. The move came in response to constituent pressure. "Like every member of this body, I can't count the number of emails and phone calls I received on this subject today," said Del. Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha.

New Psychoactive Substances

Federal Bill Would Add New "Designer Drugs" to CSA's Schedule I. US Rep. Charles Dent (R-PA) has filed House Resolution 1732, the Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2017. It adds dozens of substances to Schedule I of the Controlled Substance Act, including phenylalkylamines, cannabimimetic agents, arylcyclohexamines, tryptamines, benzodiazepines, benzylpiperidines, piperazines, and opioids and opioid-like substances. The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary and House Energy and Commerce committees.

Law Enforcement

Federal Bill Would Create Program to Divert Low-Level Drug Offenders. US Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY has filed House Resolution 1763, the Keeping Communities Safe Through Treatment Act of 2017. The bill directs the Justice Department to create a pilot program to provide grants to localities to divert people with low-level drug offenses into treatment programs before they are booked. It has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

International

Argentine Senate Approves CBD Cannabis Oil Bill. The Senate on Wednesday gave final legislative approval to a bill allowing the use of CBD cannabis oil for medical reasons and setting up a regulatory framework for state-run cultivation, processing, and distribution. Until the state-run system is up and running, CBD imports will be allowed.

South Africa High Court Rules Adults Can Possess Marijuana at Home. The Western Cape High Court ruled on Friday that it's legal for adults to use, possess, and grow marijuana at home. The court also ruled that sections of the Drug Trafficking act and the Medicines Control Act must be amended to comply with the decision. The decision isn't final yet, though -- it must be confirmed by the Constitutional Court.

Categories: Marijuana

CN QU: Group Has High Expectations For Budding Biz

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 03/31/2017 - 07:00
The Eastern Door, 31 Mar 2017 - With the federal government expected to legalize recreational marijuana use by 2018, Indigenous people across Turtle Island are trying to stay one jump ahead of the competition. The National Indigenous Medical Cannabis Association (NIMCA) was officially launched on Saturday in Tyendinaga, with the goal to promote and defend Indigenous peoples relationship with cannabis.
Categories: Marijuana

CN NS: Editorial: Easing Their Pain

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 03/31/2017 - 07:00
Amherst News, 31 Mar 2017 - It was a bold statement. "We will legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana." The 2015 federal Liberal election promise caught the attention of Canadians and attracted votes of many who supported the long-overdue legalization of marijuana. Many citizens believe that smoking a joint is no worse than having a beer. Many Canadians - even prime ministers - have tried it. Polls indicate a majority favours legalization. Medical marijuana use has smoothed the drug's acceptance and eased concerns.
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CN BC: Column: Legalized Weed Could Still Cost Your Job

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 03/31/2017 - 07:00
Prince George Citizen, 31 Mar 2017 - Urinalysis, the most common method of testing, can determine whether metabolites of a drug are present in your system, but cannot determine if you are stoned. Here's something to think of as Canada strolls toward marijuana-law reform: even after smoking dope becomes legal, it could still cost you your job. It won't even matter if you're not stoned at work. If you're among those who submit to drug tests as a condition of employment, you could be out the door.
Categories: Marijuana
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