Oakland’s Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Move To Block An Open Market

CALIFORNIA: Oakland’s mayor and Cannabis Regulatory Commission want to remove the cap on medical marijuana dispensaries. The eight licensed medical marijuana dispensaries have hired a lobbyist to prevent that from happening

The eight licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Oakland, California have banded together to limit the number of dispensaries in the city in a bid to consolidate their grip on the legal marijuana market.

A document obtained by BuzzFeed News shows that those eight dispensaries hired a lobbyist in July and last month announced that they would be forming the Oakland Dispensary Council to advocate on their behalf, raising questions about the extent of the cannabis industry’s growing spending power and political influence.

As legalization becomes more common, pot consumers are starting to pay more attention to the details of proposed regulatory schemes and who will profit from them. Last week, Ohioans voted overwhelmingly against a legalization initiative that would have given control of all commercial cultivation of cannabis to the same group of wealthy investors that bankrolled the campaign. Polls showed that a majority of voters in the Buckeye state support both recreational and medical marijuana, but 53% of voters felt this specific initiative was a “bad idea” because it created a “monopoly on growing marijuana.”

Tempe AZ Weighs Changes To Medical-Marijuana Rules

ARIZONA:  Eighteen-year-olds could soon be allowed in Tempe medical-marijuana dispensaries, and stores may be allowed to lengthen their hours.

The changes would be part of a series of tweaks the city could make to its medical-marijuana rules.  Dispensary operator Steve White is asking the city for some of the changes. He believes the current rules hurt his customers.

For one, Tempe is the only city in the Valley that requires dispensaries to close at 6 p.m.

Unlicensed Marijuana Stores Grow Like Weeds in LA

CALIFORNIA: Graffiti-tagged buildings, barricaded doors and iron-barred windows mark nearly every block of Avalon Boulevard as it cuts through the predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of Wilmington, 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles.

The streets are lined with small mom-and-pop shops – clothing stores, a piñata shop, garages and small, family-owned restaurants – and a clutch of illegal medical marijuana dispensaries, some located within feet of each other.

Other nearby dispensaries are shuttered with signs announcing ‘closed,’ ‘for lease’ and ‘for rent’ – the result of the city’s most recent attempts to close the door on L.A.’s robust illegal medical marijuana industry. But when one dispensary closes, it usually opens somewhere else, police say.

Passed by California voters nearly two decades ago, but absent statewide regulation, the legalization of medical marijuana has spawned a vast network of illegal dispensaries and wide disparities over how businesses are monitored across the state- if they are at all.

Illinois Approves 2 Downstate Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

ILLINOIS:  Illinois officials issued licenses Monday for medical marijuana dispensaries in Springfield and Collinsville but denied an application in Chicago’s Hyde Park.

HealthCentral’s Springfield site will be at 620 E. Adams St., walking distance from the Old State Capitol, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the high-rise Hilton Springfield. Its Collinsville site is next to the state police district headquarters.

Company co-owner and Effingham attorney Matthew Hortenstine said he welcomed any extra scrutiny that may come with the locations, saying, “We’re going to be the poster child for how to do it right.”


Clackamas County Commissioners Approve Draft Marijuana Ordinance

OREGON: Clackamas County commissioners approved a draft ordinance that would regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in a policy session Tuesday, March 10.

The ordinance calls for dispensaries to have minimum setbacks of 2,500 feet from neighboring dispensaries; 2,000 feet from schools; 1,500 feet from light rail transit stops, libraries, parks, treatment centers, adult foster care locations, public housing and state liquor stores; 500 feet from licensed childcare facilities; and 100 feet from residentially zoned property that does not front a state highway or major arterial road.

At the request of commissioner Paul Savas, commissioners approved a last-minute amendment extending the 2,500 feet dispensary setback to potential future recreational dispensaries, instead of just concerning medical dispensaries.

The regulations mostly allow dispensaries in small patches around Gladstone, Milwaukie and Clackamas Town Center, and would only allow for one more dispensary on McLoughlin Boulevard, where two currently operate and a third recently closed, according to the county.

Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Legislation Gets Smoked

MICHIGAN:  A proposed measure that would have made medical marijuana dispensaries legal in Michigan got smoked early Friday, when Senate wrapped up the 2013-14 session without taking any action on the measure.

The lower chamber of the Legislature had approved the legislation (House Bill 4271) around year ago, but it failed to advance as the Senate didn’t pay any heed to it.

A companion measure that would have allowed patients to use non-smokable forms of the medical marijuana, including medibles, also failed to attract the Senate’s attention.

Earlier this week, the Michigan Legislature approved two other bills that would legalize industrial hemp research in the state. The federal government treats hemp as an illegal drug since 1970 because of its similarity to marijuana, but the federal Farm Bill ratified earlier this year included an amendment allowing state to do industrial hemp research.


Santa Ana Leads The Way On Medical Pot

CALIFORNIA:  Is Santa Ana the city that finally figures out how to properly manage medical marijuana dispensaries in OC?

No doubt marijuana is California’s next gold rush.

The industry has long thrived in the shadows.

Bringing it mainstream and harnessing its enormous economic potential, while balancing regulation and public safety, is what Santa Ana city leaders are grappling with.

US Attorney Asked To Block Local Marijuana Clinics Near Schools

MASSACHUSETTS:  US Attorney Carmen Ortiz is weighing whether to use federal law to shut down medical marijuana dispensaries, including those proposed for Boston and Brookline, if they open within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, or public housing.

Under federal law, the 15 dispensaries and additional cultivation sites provisionally approved in Massachusetts could face prosecution and asset forfeiture if they open too close to a school — even if the locations would be allowed under local and state regulations. A Globe review found that at least six of the dispensaries would be within 1,000 feet of schools or playgrounds.

A critic of the Brookline dispensary has appealed to the top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts to intervene, saying it is vital to separate dispensaries from children.

“It raises important questions, and we’re going to have to take them into consideration,” Ortiz’s spokeswoman, Christina DiIorio-Sterling, said. “We are looking into it. We need to assess it and have some internal discussions, and we will have a decision soon.”

Some Montana Medical Marijuana Providers Seek Tougher Regulation

MONTANA:  The medical marijuana industry in Montana came to a halt in 2011 when federal agents raided greenhouses and dispensaries across the state.

Some providers abandoned the business, but since then dispensaries have slowly been coming back – and now – some current providers are calling for better regulation.

“I think 2011 was the big change, it just exploded up until that point I think it cleaned up a lot. There’s no more people driving around with free this free that in the back of their trucks,” said Roger Petersen, who’s been running a dispensary in Columbia Falls since 2010.

“In another medical state you’d probably only see one reservoir per one room and it’d be real easy, you’d mix one big 400 gallon reservoir up, you’d feed everything, you’d harvest things all at once and then you’d be done, whereas we have to harvest one table to, two tables every week,” Petersen added.


Indian River Commission Schedules Medical Marijuana Zoning Meetings

FLORIDA:  The County Commission scheduled a pair of public meetings next month to discuss approving land use regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries in Indian River County.

It’s a contingency plan county leaders want to set up in case Florida voters on Nov. 4 pass Amendment 2, which would expand the permitted use of medical marijuana in the Sunshine state. The meetings are scheduled for 9 a.m. Nov. 4 and 5 p.m. Nov. 18.

At Tuesday morning’s meeting, commissioners said they want to be able to set up local standards for distributing medical marijuana rather than getting a directive from the state on how to do it.

Commissioners said proposing the medical marijuana sale locations was not an endorsement of Amendment 2 by the board. During their comments, four of the five commissioners specified their opposition to the ballot question.