Misinformation May Have Killed Medical Marijuana

PENNSYLVANIA:  After all that, it seems as though medical cannabis will not be legalized in Pennsylvania this year.

What began as a bill to help in the fight against ailments like childhood epilepsy, AIDS and glaucoma will likely end today the way legislation in the Pennsylvania House often does: By being ignored after a so-called “misinformation” campaign.

It goes like this: Last year, State Sens. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) and Mike Folmer (R-Lancaster) introduced a bill that’d been a long time coming; it would have, if passed by both houses of the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Corbett, legalized medical cannabis in the state.

Leach had been a long-time proponent of both medicinal and recreational marijuana use. Folmer came on board after doing research on the issue. It was the first bipartisan effort in Pennsylvania.


Anaheim Pulls Plug In Effort To Eliminate Medical Marijuana Shops That Open Illegally In City

CALIFORNIA:  Anaheim is literally pulling the plug on pot shops that keep popping up despite a law forbidding the businesses.

Officials have used its operation of utilities to cut off water and power to dispensaries in the city that’s home to Disneyland, the Orange County Register reported Tuesday.

Nine shops closed last month and eight others will likely shut down by the end of the week, Anaheim spokeswoman Ruth Ruiz said. Another 11 will soon be ordered to close or lose their water and power.

“It’s worked so far, but if we find that they are still operating, then we will find a way to shut down these businesses,” Ruiz said.



Colorado Marijuana Revenues Hit A New High

COLORADO:  New figures from the Colorado Department of Revenue show that recreational marijuana sales continued to climb in August, the most recent month for which data are available. Recreational sales totaled approximately $34.1 million in August, up from $29.3 million the previous month.

Medical marijuana also jumped sharply in August, after several months of flat or declining sales. Medical sales figures were just under the recreational total, at $33.4 million. One goal of creating Colorado’s recreational marijuana market is to shift customers away from the medical market.

The numbers suggest that work remains to be done on that front. Part of the challenge is that medical marijuana is taxed at lower rates than recreational marijuana, leading to significant price differences.

Marijuana Bunkers Called Waste Of Canada’s Best Farmland

CANADA:  The province’s decision to allow heavily fortified medical marijuana production factories to be built on top of good agricultural farmland isn’t sitting well with municipal politicians.

Several Lower Mainland cities wanted the new commercial pot producers that are being licensed by the federal government to be relegated to industrial land, arguing the high-security buildings would be a better fit there.

Instead, the provincial government decided over the summer they will be allowed to be built on farmland, including in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The main concession from the province is that they’ll be taxed at the industrial property tax rate not at the lower agricultural rate.


Denver Police Warn Trick-Or-Treaters Of Marijuana-Infused Candy

COLORADO:  Denver police have warned parents to beware tricks rolled inside Halloween treats this year: marijuana-infused candy.

The Denver police department posted a YouTube video on Monday that shows how difficult it is to tell ordinary candy apart from knock-off candy that edible marijuana manufacturers buy in bulk and spray with a hibiscus hash oil.

“Once that candy dries, there’s really no way to tell the difference between candy that’s infused and candy that’s not infused,” said Patrick Johnson, proprietor of Urban Dispensary, one of several marijuana retailers that have cropped up across the state since the substance was legalized for recreational use last year. “There’s really no way for a child or a parent or anybody, even an expert in the field, to tell you whether or not a product is infused or not.”

His recommendation? Trash any candy that isn’t sealed in a recognizable, brand-name wrapper.


Where Marijuana Is Legalized, Decriminalized Or On The November Ballot

DISTRICT IF COLUMBIA:  Marijuana policy is nothing if not complicated.

A patchwork of laws governs its use, possession and sale. Federally, it’s illegal. But some states have decriminalized the drug, removing criminal penalties for possession of small amounts. Some have allowed its distribution and sale for medical use. And, in Washington or Colorado, you can walk into any appropriately credentialed dispensary and buy it legally.

Oregon, Alaska and D.C. could soon join that pair of states in allowing recreational sales, if voters approve ballot proposals this fall. And a number of cities—two in Maine and about a dozen in Michigan—will consider proposals to liberalize pot laws locally, too. As our colleague Marc Fisher wrote in a piece this weekend: “[I]n the hazy world of marijuana law — an alternate reality in which two U.S. states have declared the substance legal even as it remains banned under federal law — nothing is simple.”

In an effort to add some clarity, our colleagues Denise Lu and Ted Mellnik put together the following guide to the state of marijuana policy in the states.


DC Adds A New Factor To Nation’s Debate On Legalizing Pot

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  A debate over legalizing marijuana in the nation’s capital is focusing on the outsized number of arrests of African Americans on minor drug charges.

The racial justice aspect of the campaign is one of many factors making the District of Columbia’s pot legalization push different from what’s happened in Colorado, Washington state and other places around the country.

The District is not a state. Pot would still be illegal on federal land, so there would be no lighting up at the Jefferson Memorial or on the National Mall. And Washington remains under the thumb of Congress, which could thwart the will of the voters as it has on other matters where liberal District tendencies clash with conservative priorities on Capitol Hill.

Explainer: How New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Law Works


The state’s medical marijuana program allows New Jerseyans with one of 11 conditions to receive marijuana with the approval of a doctor registered with the program. The doctor can approve up to two ounces of pot per month.

Conditions covered: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; multiple sclerosis; terminal cancer; muscular dystrophy; inflammatory bowel syndrome; and all patients whose doctors have said they have less than 12 months to live. Patients with the following conditions who are resistant or intolerant to conventional therapy can also participate: seizure disorder, including epilepsy; intractable skeletal muscular spasticity; and glaucoma. Patients with HIV/AIDS or cancer can participate if chronic pain or severe nausea or wasting result from their conditions or their treatment.

How the law was enacted: The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was first introduced by Sen. Nicholas P. Scutari (D-Middlesex, Somerset, and Union) in January 2005 and was debated for five years before being enacted and signed into law by Gov. Jon S. Corzine in the closing days of his term in January 2010.

The final law was different than the original bill, which would have allowed a patient or the patient’s caregiver to possess up to six marijuana plants.




No Pot Dealers On Street Corners If Florida’s Medical Marijuana Law Passes

FLORIDA:  If you have heard any of the ubiquitous anti-marijuana rhetoric which predicts almost apocalyptic effects should Florida’s medical marijuana bill pass by popular vote on November 4, 2014, and constitutionally amend Florida’s State Constitution, pushers will be given official titles called “care givers,” and they will be convicted felons, will not require background checks, and will be lurking on street corners and in schoolyards. But as the Miami Herald points out in a well-balanced piece that should go a long way in defusing some of the hysteria being spread by the Sheldon Adelson funded opposition, the amendment is written in such a way which asks voters the question, “Yes” or “No” and then provides a structured time frame of regulation so as to avoid any stalling tactics to hold up implementation. Beyond that, Amendment 2 is then clearly in the hands of Florida’s Department of Health, the Florida Legislature and ultimately the Governor.

There will be no pushers on any street corners, in fact one should expect strict restrictions on public dispensing locations and a lengthy and expensive application process complete with background checks for anybody wishing to engage in any of the regulated businesses connected with the new medical marijuana industry. The regulations and rules will go through a lengthy planning process in the DOH and the Florida Legislature before they reach the Governor’s desk for signature.

If the people make their voice heard and approve medical marijuana access for qualified Florida patients, which candidate has been elected Governor in November could affect how the law is implemented the following year. Incumbent Republican Governor Rick Scott is opposed to the law although he does admit that marijuana has medical benefits as the conservative Florida legislature passed the “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014,” and Rick Scott signed it into law. It provides for a single strain of cannabis to be allowed, low in THC and high in (CBD), Cannabidiol, and only for cancer patients, epileptics suffering from sever seizures, and patients suffering from severe muscle spasms, ignoring benefits that could be enjoyed by hundreds of thousands more patients using a variety strains which have different effects. An officially restrained form of compassion.

Former Republican Governor-turned Democratic challenger Charlie Crist supports Amendment 2, but has stated he is opposed to any suggestion of a recreational initiative for Florida. While some seem to think Governor Crist would be less likely to “over-regulate” the production and sale of medical marijuana to qualified patients, than his Republican opponent Rick Scott, Crist’s drug policies while governor, were anything but liberal. How he reacts to promulgations by the DOH remains a question, but any regulatory system Crist would be likely to sign-onto would be far from lax or low on safeguards.


Massachusetts Has Banked Over $3M In Dispensary Fees & Not A Single Marijuana Seed Has Been Planted

MASSACHUSETTS:  It was almost an entire month ago that medical marijuana advocates crammed underneath the golden dome of the Massachusetts State House to outline a number of problems the state is perpetuating with the licensing process. Years after the herbal treatment was approved by Bay State voters, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has yet to allow dispensaries to put seeds in the ground, but they’ve been happy to collect the application fees in the process.

To date, MassDPH has banked $3,271,500 in application fees from prospective dispensaries. Consider that 181 applicants paid out $1,500 apiece. When that number was trimmed down to 100, they subsequently paid out $30,000 each in order to move on. Just 11 dispensaries stand to open their doors at this point.

The fees are nonrefundable for the hopefuls that didn’t make the cut.

But that’s not all. Dispensaries that are approved for licensure will have to pony up annual fees of $50,000 for registration, $500 for dispensary agent registration and another $50 for patient registration. And then there’s an architectural review of the premises that will cost at least $1,500.