LA Times Editorial Gov. Brown, sign the medical marijuana bills

CALIFORNIA: Nearly 20 years after voters legalized medical marijuana, California lawmakers have finally passed legislation to regulate the growth and distribution of cannabis for patients’ use. In the final hours of their session last week, legislators passed three bills that together establish a system to license, test and track medical marijuana from “seed to sale.” Gov. Jerry Brown, who helped craft the deal, should not only sign the bills into law, but he should stay focused on ensuring their smooth, effective implementation.

California was the first state to allow medical marijuana, but the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 provided little guidance on how the state could help ailing patients get the drug — or how to keep it out of the hands of those who weren’t entitled to it. Legislators repeatedly failed to develop rules, so cities and counties adopted a patchwork of policies, which triggered a series of lawsuits and judgments that created a confusing mess for patients, law enforcement, cannabis growers and dispensary operators.

These bills are an attempt to turn that chaotic quasi-legal, supposedly nonprofit system into a transparent, legitimate commercial industry. Anyone working in the cannabis business would need to be licensed, and the state would regulate each step in the growth and distribution chain. The Department of Food and Agriculture would oversee indoor and outdoor marijuana cultivation. The Department of Public Health would set rules for marijuana processing and testing by third-party laboratories to ensure products are checked for quality and safety, as well as packaged and clearly labeled as cannabis. A newly created Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation would regulate the transportation, distribution and sale of pot.

Cheeba Chews Production Halted By CO Marijuana License Denial

COLORADO:  Cheeba Chews began as an experiment in a home kitchen and grew into one of the biggest successes of Colorado’s medical marijuana industry, winning awards and attracting fans with the promise of being “potent, consistent and discreet.”

Then, last spring, the medicated chocolate taffy began disappearing from shelves. There was no public explanation other than a letter from CEO James Howler citing “internal changes.” He promised things would get back on track soon.

The reasons behind the upheaval — spelled out more precisely in records and correspondence reviewed by The Denver Post — provide an inside look at how questionable marijuana business structures and state regulatory delays in scrutinizing them can lead to problems.

Cheeba Chews’ case also exposes a blind spot in the state’s regulation of edibles companies: By licensing out production, owners effectively can skirt the scrutiny that others in the business face, including criminal background checks and Colorado residency requirements.

Cheeba Chews stopped production after the state in March denied the business license application of Green Sky Confections, which had a licensing agreement to produce and distribute the brand.

 

 

Bill In Delaware Legislature Would Legalize Marijuana

DELAWARE: Delawareans could legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana for “personal use” under new legislation backed by Democratic lawmakers in both chambers of the General Assembly.

The legislation would set the minimum age for marijuana possession at 21 and would only impose a $100 civil fine on anyone found consuming marijuana in a public place, including streets, parks and sidewalks.

Under current Delaware law, possession of small amounts of marijuana is currently prosecuted as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,150.

Colorado House Backs Down, OKs Hemp-Farmers’ Access To Financial Co-Op System

COLORADO: Backing down from a five-hour fight over whether industrial hemp farmers should be able to access a new credit union-like arrangement for marijuana businesses, the state House narrowly passed a bill that would create the first cooperative of its kind.

Acquiescing to Senate insistence that hemp farmers be allowed to join the cooperatives, representatives voted 33-31 for House Bill 1398, sending it to Gov. John Hickenlooper‘s desk for approval and, ultimately, a showdown with federal banking regulators.

The cooperative setup requires approval by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which regulates the nation’s banking system.

The vote was the ultimate compromise for legislators who wanted to keep the cooperatives limited to marijuana businesses.