Here’s What’s New In Florida’s Medical Marijuana Amendment

FLORIDA:  Medical marijuana is close to being back in the hands of Florida voters, but this time around, the amendment has new wording.

Here’s what’s new, according to Ben Pollara, campaign manager of medical marijuana organization United for Care:

  • The original amendment allowed five medical marijuana patients per caregiver, but now it says the Department of Health decides the number of patients per caregiver.
  • The Department of Health can perform background checks on caregivers, per text of the amendment.

Naturopath Busted By The State For Medical Marijuana Authorizations: “I’m Not Settling—I Didn’t Do Anything Wrong”

WASHINGTON:  At this very moment, in a nondescript-looking office building in Kent, the Department of Health‘s Board of Naturopathy is conducting a hearing that may have a significant effect on the future of medical marijuana in Washington State.

At issue is a 74-year-old naturopathic doctor named Kathleen Naughton who, after a nearly 40-year career with no formal complaints or disciplinary action against her, has been busted by the DOH for giving a patient a temporary marijuana authorization and suggesting she use a non-intoxicating cream for a repetitive-stress injury.

The problem: The “patient” was an undercover DOH investigator, sent to Dr. Naughton’s clinic to deceive a doctor (not Dr. Naughton necessarily—apparently, any doctor at the clinic would’ve done) and see if she could wheedle her way into a marijuana authorization.

The undercover agent got what she came for, and the DOH began disciplinary proceedings. What the agency didn’t realize was that this 74-year-old naturopath and activist, whose career began with free women’s health clinics and midwifery, was going to fight back.

Medical Marijuana Growers Sue New Mexico Over New Rules

NEW MEXICO:  New rules for New Mexico‘s medical marijuana program are being challenged in court.

The Santa Fe New Mexican ( ) reports that a lawsuit filed by 19 growers against the state Department of Health contends the rules are arbitrary and capricious, not based in evidence and go beyond the department’s authority.

The department adopted the new rules last month after a lengthy public process. The lawsuit was filed Monday in state District Court.


Utilities Struggle To Control Appetites In Energy-Hungry Marijuana Industry

WASHINGTON:  Kurt Nielsen is on a strange assignment, especially for a public employee. As the manager of the Lighting Design Lab, which is a spinoff of Seattle’s power company, he has been tasked with finding energy-efficient lights for the growing of marijuana.

Most of the country’s legal cannabis farming, in Washington and Colorado, is happening indoors and under scorching-hot lights. Washington state has issued licenses for the cultivation of 1.2 million square feet of cannabis “canopy,” as it’s called, since voters approved its production and sale for recreational purposes two years ago.

But neither state has given much thought to where the energy will come from.

Nielsen has been looking for a while now and declared that the efficiency quest is “a wild goose hunt.”

“This has become a major issue with most of the regional utilities, now that we have legalized the recreational use of cannabis in this state. There is a huge new industry that’s popping up, grow operations. They’re getting as much as 200 watts per square foot of lighting power density, which is astronomical,” he said. “How are they going to handle and manage this industry?”

Utilities and energy officials in Washington and Colorado indicate they are deeply worried about serving their new set of energy-intense customers while not running afoul of federal drug laws. The intertwined relationships between state and federal governments mean that acting to lower marijuana’s energy usage could endanger millions of dollars in federal grants or electricity deliveries from federal hydroelectric dams.


Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Dispensary Could See Extra Traffic

MASSACHUSETTS:  When it comes to medical marijuana, Boston’s loss could be this city’s gain.

The Department of Health recently announced that only 11 of the 20 medical marijuana outfits it had originally approved to open dispensaries across the state would actually be allowed to do so, after a verification process found problems with multiple applications.

It was good news for Newburyport-based Alternative Therapies, the dispensary that’s still on track to open at 50 Grove St. in Salem early next year. But local officials say it also means the dispensary could see heavier traffic than it had anticipated, at least temporarily.

Half of the state’s counties aren’t yet slated to host any dispensaries, and one in particular could boost visits to Salem: Suffolk. Two groups had applied for licenses in Boston, but both were eliminated — leaving the city without any marijuana dispensary.