LA Times Editorial: Los Angeles Needs A New Medical Marijuana Policy

CALIFORNIA: In October, when Gov. Jerry Brown signed three bills establishing a statewide system to regulate medicinal cannabis, he called it a long-overdue framework that would “make sure patients have access to medical marijuana, while ensuring a robust tracking system.” He should have added: “Everywhere in the state, except Los Angeles,” because it turns out California’s strict licensing regime won’t apply to the state’s largest city. What’s more, under the terms of the new state law, if L.A. doesn’t change its existing rules, all medicinal pot shops in the city’s boundaries will be illegal in 2018.

In other words, it is possible that there’s even more chaos ahead for this city’s already-unacceptably-chaotic medical marijuana regime. It took nearly 20 years after Californians passed the Compassionate Use Act for the state to adopt a comprehensive system to regulate the cultivation, transportation and sale of medical marijuana — and now it is going to exclude 10% of the state’s population and a significant piece of the cannabis marketplace, and come into seemingly intractable conflict with the city’s most recent effort to manage the situation.

 

California’s Sweeping New Marijuana Industry Laws Are A Win For The Environment

CALIFORNIA: A comprehensive suite of marijuana regulations were passed by California Governor Jerry Brown yesterday, creating much-needed government oversight over the state’s billion-dollar industry. The bill specifically addresses the environmental impact of growing marijuana, including water use during the drought.

Since the state’s Compassionate Care Act was passed almost 20 years ago, marijuana cultivation has been legal in California for the farmers who sell to the state’s dispensaries. But it hasn’t been easy for growers, who are governed by an inconsistent set of rules, and haphazard, if any, enforcement.

Assembly Bill 243, Assembly Bill 266, and State Bill 643 will set up state and local licenses for marijuana businesses and create a brand-new, dedicated Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. As part of it, farmers would be required to track and report their water use and document the sources of that water. Earlier this summer, a study showed that some farmers in Northern California were diverting wild streams.

Long Beach, Other Cities, Given Leeway In Crafting Medical Marijuana Laws

CALIFORNIA: New legislation that would create California’s first comprehensive attempt to regulate the medical marijuana industry would give Long Beach and other cities considerable leeway to regulate the sales and cultivation of cannabis.

Local governments could even enact outright bans on dispensaries and cultivation sites.

Such is the view of the Long Beach City Attorney’s office, where lawyers had roughly one week to examine a trio of bills that passed before the state’s Sept. 11 deadline on new laws ran out.

“The MMRSA (Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act) makes clear that local public entities retain their current right to ban medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and related medical marijuana activities within their respective jurisdictions,” Long Beach assistant city attorney Michael Mais wrote in an analysis released Friday afternoon.

California Lawmakers Announce Deal On Medical Marijuana Legislation

 

Colorado Preparing To Spend $9 Million On Medical Marijuana Research

COLORADO:  More than a decade after voters here first said marijuana could be medicine, Colorado is preparing to embark on the largest state-funded effort to study the medical benefits of cannabis.

Under a bill signed this year by Gov. John Hickenlooper, the state health department will give out about $9 million in grantsin the next five years to researchers for marijuana studies. Most importantly, the research is expected to include clinical trials on the kinds of marijuana products actually being used in Colorado — something that federally funded studies on marijuana have lacked.

“Our intent is to be rigorous scientifically, but to also act with some expediency because these are products that a large percentage of our population is using today,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, the executive director and chief medical officer of the health department. “We want to make sure that what’s happening out there in everyday practice isn’t harming people.”

Nearly 20 years after California became the first state in the U.S. to pass a medical marijuana law, the research on marijuana’s health effects is still largely polarized.

Free Marijuana For San Jose Voters, “Weed For Votes”, Tuesday June 3rd

CALIFORNIA: The San Jose City Council‘s actions regarding medical cannabis has activated the cannabis voter base for the June 3rd elections. To encourage turnout for several closely contested races, including the mayoral race, collectives are providing discounts and even free weed to encourage their supporters to vote. To help, the Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition (SVCC) has created a cannabis friendly voter guide at CannaVote.com for the June primary elections.

With an expected low turnout Tuesday, cannabis supporters could have double the impact. Each vote could effectively count as two votes in June compared to the November elections. Activists hope to show local politicians that their supporters can impact elections and that politicians need to take their concerns seriously.

“We have a huge opportunity to make a large impact in who runs San Jose,” said John Lee, Director of the SVCC. “Although we may not have regulations on the June ballot, ensuring the right politicians are elected is even more important.”

Throughout San Jose, cannabis collectives are offering everything from discounts to free medicine to members who come in with an “I Voted” sticker or ballot stub on June 3rd. A complete list of clubs participating in the “Weed for Votes” program will be announced on Monday, June 2nd.

San Jose City Council Delays Vote On Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

CALIFORNIA: Both sides in the debate over the future of medical marijuana dispensaries in San Jose filled city council chambers for a contentious meeting Tuesday night, though council members delayed a vote on a proposed ordinance.

The measure would impose new rules on pot clubs. If approved, dispensaries would have to be at least 1,000 feet away from schools, day care centers, churches, recreation centers, parks, libraries and other collectives, 500 feet from rehab centers and 150 feet from homes. The dispensaries would also only be allowed to offer marijuana that they have cultivated themselves.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, medical marijuana advocates said that’s the wrong approach.

“I am tired of watching this city council try to gain political points by passing measures that harm the disabled,” said one speaker. Advocates also said that these proposed regulations would lead to a larger “black market” for medical marijuana, and force many dispensaries to close up shop and go out of business.

State Oversight May Tame California Pot Shops

CALIFORNIA:  Law and order may soon be coming to the Wild West of weed.

A California lawmaker has introduced legislation to regulate the state’s free-wheeling medical marijuana industry — the farmers that grow the drug, the hundreds of storefront shops that sell it and especially the doctors who write recommendations allowing people to use it.

The state in 1996 was the first to authorize marijuana use for health purposes — there are now 20. But to this day no one knows how many dispensaries and patients California has or what conditions pot is being used to treat because the loosely worded law did not give government agencies a role in tracking the information. [Read more…]

Brilliant Girl Scout Sells Cookies Outside Marijuana Dispensary

CALIFORNIA:  In perhaps the greatest display of entrepreneurial spirit in modern history, a California Girl Scout has been selling cookies outside of a San Francisco marijuana dispensary.

Danielle Lei, 13, set up shop in front of The Green Cross on Monday, selling a whopping 117 boxes in just two hours, according to Mashable. That’s about one box per minute.

The Green Cross told The Huffington Post that Lei’s mother contacted the dispensary beforehand to ask for permission to set up a table outside. The owners welcomed the girl with open arms and reportedly bought several boxes. [Read more…]

At California Pot Convention, Business Is Strong – And Potent

CALIFORNIA: Working from a small booth on the fringes of a trade show packed with thousands of enthusiasts, Sean Donahoe says these are heady times to be in the marijuana business.

“In a gold rush, you sell picks and shovels,” says Donahoe, deputy director of the California Cannabis Industry Association. The young organization is trying to become in effect the Chamber of Commerce of the marijuana business in the nation’s largest state. [Read more…]