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Ohio: Madeira Says 'No' To Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The city of Madeira, Ohio - a suburb of Cincinnati - has decided to allow no medical marijuana dispensaries within its limits.

Madeira City Council passed an ordinance by emergency to prohibit the sale of medical marijuana within the city at its April 10 meeting.

“Medical marijuana may or may not have its merits but I don’t think Madeira would be ... appropriate for a dispensary to be located,” said Councilman Scott Gehring.

The ordinance goes into effect immediately since Council passed it by emergency. State laws regulating medical marijuana in Ohio go into effect on September 8.

A moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries was approved within the city in August. Law Director Brian Fox advised against continuing the moratorium and drafted the legislation for the prohibition. He also drafted legislation to limit dispensaries to certain areas.

“I am not outright opposed to medical marijuana dispensaries and the possibility that we might have residents that would very much appreciate and value having close access to that. But it seems that there are still a lot of unknowns in how this will be enforced and what that would mean,” Councilwoman Nancy Spencer said.

Mayor Melisa Adrien said she would like to see how dispensaries operate in other communities before allowing them in Madeira.

Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Rules For Doctors Released

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Pennsylvania has issued proposed rules for doctors practicing under the state's medical marijuana program, which is expected to start up in 2018. The program will cover 17 chronic conditions, allowing cannabis to be dispensed as pills, oils, a liquid that can be vaporized, and topicals.

The rules require physicians to complete a four-hour training program on medical marijuana but they cannot advertise their ability to make recommendations. The rules are designed to dissuade doctors from becoming “stereotypical pot docs” that will issue recommendations to almost anyone for a set price, according to Becky Dansky, legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project.

Participating doctors must also sign up to the state registry, which could limit participation.

“Asking them to put their name on a list increases the odds of those doctors not participating,” she said in the report. “And when doctors don’t participate, patient access is hindered. A better option would have been to require registration of doctors who are submitting a significant number of recommendations per month.”

The Department of Health is seeking comments on the proposals.

Vermont: Marijuana Reforms Unlikely To Pass This Session

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Lawmakers in Vermont's senate have announced that they will not support a marijuana legalization plan being circulated in the House because it “reinforces a black market approach rather than… [a] more streamlined, regulated system,” Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe said in a report on Vermont Public Radio.

The House plan was initially approved by the chamber’s Judiciary Committee but was pulled by House leadership after it became clear it would not pass. The plan would have legalized possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana by adults 21 and older, and allowed them to grow up to two mature and seven immature plants.

Democratic state Sen. Jeannette White said she “can’t imagine” a scenario in which the Senate would pass the House proposal, adding that the measure “does nothing to decrease the black market.”

“It in fact encourages it, because now you’re going to be able to have a certain amount, or an increased amount, and it will be completely legal,” White said in the report. “There’s no place for you to get it, so it’s going to increase the underground market.”

The report disclosed that last year the Senate passed a measure that would have legalized a taxed and regulated recreational marijuana system in the state. That bill failed in the House, however.

Canada: Legislation To Legalize Marijuana Announced

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Canadian government announced new legislation on Thursday legalizing marijuana, fulfilling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's campaign promise.

Canada anticipates that legalization will take effect in the summer of 2018.

The new law will make it legal for adults to possess small amounts of cannabis throughout the country and will establish guidelines for who can buy, sell and grow the drug.

The individual provinces will be left to determine specifics of who can possess or sell marijuana.

Marijuana has been legal for some medicinal purposes in Canada since 2001.

Maryland: House Fails To Pass Amended Bill Adding Five Medical Marijuana Cultivation Licenses

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A plan to add five medical marijuana cultivation licenses in Maryland was defeated in the House of Delegates after Republican lawmakers delayed the vote right up until midnight, which marked the official end of the legislative session. The measure was pushed by Legislative Black Caucus chairwoman Del. Cheryl Glenn as part of her efforts to create equity in the state’s medical marijuana licensing program.

The bill was passed last week, but was returned to lawmakers for amendments. The revised bill did not receive another vote by the full House, which was required for its survival.

Glenn has called on legislative leaders to hold a special one-day session specifically to consider the measure. “It’s not important to me what the speaker’s reasons or justifications were,” Glenn said in the report. “What is important is to understand where this leaves the black community: It leaves us outside of the medical cannabis industry, and that is absolutely unacceptable.”

The legislation would have put an end to lawsuits against the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission by minority-owned medical cannabis companies who say the commission did not follow the law which requires regulators to “actively seek and achieve” racial and ethnic diversity in the industry.

Alaska: Marijuana Control Board Delays Decision On Onsite Marijuana Consumption

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board was expected to consider recently whether to move forward with proposed rules allowing marijuana customers to consume their purchases on site, something no other state with legalized recreational has yet allowed. However, discussions about onsite marijuana consumption have been delayed until next month by Alaska marijuana regulators.

Kim Kole, Owner/Founder of Raspberry Roots, has been very active in following the roll out of this policy, and explained that the Board had to delay the discussion and creation of onsite consumption regulations because there were so many potential licenses to be approved on the 2 day agenda.

“Unlike Colorado and Oregon, Alaska is starting this industry from scratch, so we didn’t have any cultivations, manufacturers, or retails established. This, coupled with onerous regulations in the municipality of Anchorage (by far the largest city) is why our roll out has been particularly slow. Demand far exceeds supply, so it’s imperative for the viability of the industry to get as many cultivators up and running before our tourist season starts in a couple of months. The Board did approve an additional meeting in May to address more cultivations and onsite regulations in time for the influx of people this summer.”

U.S.: New White House Drug Czar Has Quite An Idea Where To Put Nonviolent Drug Users

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) will be President Trump's drug czar, CBS News reports. Marino's congressional voting record shows he is a hard-liner on marijuana issues and he recently said that he'd like to put nonviolent drug offenders in some sort of “hospital-slash-prison.”

Marino will oversee the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a branch of the White House that advises the president on drug policy issues. Whereas the office under President Obama quite publicly retired the phrase “war on drugs,” Trump's attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is moving to put criminal justice back at the forefront of drug policy.

Although Marino seems to share that view, his views are unlikely to influence the administration's policy in the same ways Sessions's views do. The drug czar's office has traditionally played a limited role in setting policy. It coordinates drug control strategy and funding across the federal government instead.

In Congress, Marino voted several times against a bipartisan measure to prevent the Justice Department from going after state-legal medical marijuana businesses, a measure which eventually passed.

He voted against a measure to allow Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their patients, as well as against a separate measure to loosen federal restrictions on industrial hemp.

Iowa: Medical Marijuana Bill On Fast Track In Senate

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Legislation is moving quickly through the Iowa Senate that would authorize the use of medical marijuana to provide help for patients with cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder and several other ailments.

Senate Study Bill 1190, The Compassionate Use of Cannabis Act, was approved Wednesday morning on a 3-0 subcommittee vote and it cleared Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday afternoon.

Sen. Charles Schneider, R-West Des Moines, said the bill could be approved by the full Senate as early as Monday. The measure would then be sent to the House for consideration.

“This is not just a statement bill. We would like to get this through the House and down to the governor’s desk," said Schneider, a supporter of medical cannabis. Lawmakers would need to act soon, however, because the 2017 session could end next week.

Illinois: Lawmakers Push To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Illinois lawmakers say that legal recreational marijuana will be part of the state's future; it's a question of when, not if. That is the message sent this morning from lawmakers backing legislation to fully legalize and regulate cannabis, and the coalition of groups lining up to support the bills.

State Representative Kelly Cassidy and state Senator Heather Steans, both Democrats from Chicago, were joined by members of the Coalition for a Safer Illinois this morning at the Thompson Center in the Loop. They gave reporters details on the General Assembly’s first hearing on Senate Bill 316 and House Bill 2353.

They say prohibition of marijuana has not worked and it's time to get gangs and drug cartels out of the market which creates violent crime.

Cassidy cited surveys that show that 66 percent of the Illinois population support cannabis legalization.

The lawmakers believe that adults should be allowed to possess, grow and purchase up to 28 grams of marijuana, and that legalization would create millions of dollars in tax revenue.

The lawmakers were joined by representatives of Clergy for a New Drug Policy, the Marijuana Policy Project and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

The ACLU, NORML and other legal, medical and community groups also make up part of the coalition

Nevada: New Bill Would Make Regulations For Marijuana Edibles Strictest In the Nation

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Nevada legalized the recreational use of marijuana last year, and sales could possibly start by this summer if things work out. A new marijuana-related bill has been introduced to the state regarding edible marijuana products that will be the strictest in the nation if it passes.

The Marijuana Times reported:

"One of the more recent bills that was introduced to the Senate aims to further restrict processors of edibles, who already have to adhere to strict packaging requirements. Nevada Senate Bill 344 would make it illegal for cannabis edibles to have sugar in them unless they are considered baked goods – effectively banning candy like lollipops and gummies, as well as sodas, chocolate bars and other items that are widely popular in legal cannabis states.

Colorado: Lawmakers Pass Bill Outlawing Cooperative Marijuana Grows

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Colorado’s legislature has passed another bill as part of their efforts to reign in the state’s so-called cannabis gray market, the Associated Press reports. If the governor signs it, the measure would outlaw cannabis cultivation co-ops, which allow people to grow plants for others under the state’s adult-use laws.

Under current state law, people over 21 are allowed to grow their own cannabis or assist others, allowing a single farmer to cultivate crops for an unlimited number of people, which allows the growers to avoid taxes that can reach as high as 30 percent in some jurisdictions.

The bill also allocates $6 million a year from the marijuana tax fund for law enforcement in order to help them investigate illegal grows.

Governor John Hickenlooper indicated that he would sign another bill this week that limits the number of marijuana plants allowed to be grown by an individual from 99 to 12. That legislation would force medical cannabis cardholders allowed to grow more than 12 plants to grow in locations zoned for agricultural or commercial purposes, or buy from licensed dispensaries.

New Mexico: Governor Vetoes Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has vetoed her third marijuana-related bill this session, stopping a bill that would have expanded the state’s medical cannabis program. Last month she vetoed two pieces of legislation that would have allowed for industrial hemp production in compliance with the 2014 Federal Farm Bill.

The legislation would have added 14 qualifying conditions to the medical cannabis program, including post-traumatic stress disorder, opioid use disorder, and chronic pain. The law would have also permitted reciprocity in the program for non-residents. The measure would also allow medical marijuana patients to be eligible for organ transplants, an issue that has created controversy after a recent Maine medical marijuana patient was denied a kidney transplant because of his use of cannabis.

Martinez included a statement with the rejection of the medical marijuana reforms. In that message, she said it is the responsibility of the Department of Health and the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board to add conditions to the qualifying conditions list and that adding conditions via legislative action “would eliminate an important responsibility of the Board.”

Maryland: Registration For Marijuana Patients And Caregivers Begins

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Patients and potential caregivers in Maryland can now sign up for medical marijuana licenses with a doctor’s approval that they meet one of the qualifying conditions under the law.

Registration began yesterday for those whose last names start with the letters A through L; registration for those whose last names start with the letters M through Z will begin on Apr. 17; and open registration begins on Apr. 24.

“Medical cannabis is currently not available in the state of Maryland,” the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission website states. “The industry is still being constructed and we expect availability by the end of summer 2017 depending on industry progress. The Commission will make a public announcement once medical cannabis becomes available to the public.”

Oregon: Lawmakers Pass Bill Banning Marijuana Merchants From Keeping Buyer Information

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Oregon lawmakers approved a bill Monday to ban sellers of marijuana for recreational use from keeping information from their customers to protect buyers from possible penalties under federal law.

Although more than two dozen states have legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use, the drug remains illegal at the federal level.

The bill, passed by the Oregon House of Representatives 53-5, bans merchants who sell recreational marijuana from keeping information for more than 48 hours that they collect from identification, such as a driver license.

The state Senate approved the bill in March. It now goes to the desk of Oregon Governor Kate Brown for her to sign into law.

"I personally am very concerned that we give as much protection to Oregon citizens to ensure that their personal identification information is not somehow compromised," Senator Floyd Prozanski told a committee last month.

Recent comments from members of the Trump administration indicate that federal anti-marijuana laws might be stepped up.

Brown and the governors of Alaska, Colorado and Washington - states where recreational marijuana use has been legalized - sent a letter in early April to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin requesting to work with the administration if they planned to enforce federal marijuana laws.

Arizona: Phoenix Medical Marijuana Dispensary Robbed At Gunpoint

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Police in Phoenix, Arizona are looking for three suspects for the armed robbery of a medical marijuana dispensary.

According to police, the robbery occurred around 10:00 p.m. on March 26 at Bloom Dispensary near 44th Street and Washington in Phoenix.

One suspect walked through the business and attempted to leave a door unlocked for two accomplices that were seen waiting behind the dispensary. Employees were able to re-lock the door, preventing the suspects from being able to enter.

About one hour later one of the suspects that had been waiting behind the business returned and confronted employees with a gun.

Police say the employees were taken to the back room and forced to surrender money from the business. That suspect then fled in an unknown direction with the money.

All three suspects are described as black men aged between 25-35, 6 feet tall and weighing 180-200 pounds.

Phoenix police are asking anyone with information to call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.

Oregon: Marijuana Workers Face Difficulties Applying For Personal Loans

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Oregon's recreational marijuana industry has had a huge impact on the local economy. But employees of cannabis-related businesses are finding it difficult to obtain financial assistance for things like mortgages and car payments.

Since marijuana remains classified as a Schedule 1 drug, most federally-regulated banks and credit unions shun marijuana-related businesses. But these obstacles have also carried over to affect a number of cannabis-business employees, who are finding it equally difficult to obtain financial assistance.

Banks and credit unions in Oregon are allowed to deny loan applications for pretty much any reason, as long as discrimination against race, gender or national origin doesn't play a role in the decision. A recent story published by Oregon Public Broadcasting shared the story of Melissa Johnson, who works as a customer service representative at the retail cannabis shop Bloom Well.

U.S.: New Federal Bill Would Reschedule Marijuana As Schedule III

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new bill introduced to Congress would reschedule marijuana as a Schedule III substance, a classification it would share with Tylenol and codeine.

Two Florida congressmen, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz and Democratic Rep. Darren Soto, introduced legislation Thursday that would transfer marijuana from its current standing as a Schedule I substance, the strictest of the classifications, to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act.

In an interview with The Cannabist, Gaets said that having marijuana on a lower rung would uphold the rights of states that have legalized the medical use of cannabis, allow for banking activities and create a clearer path for research,

“I have supported cannabis reform as a state legislator, and I want to see the people that I fought for in my state have access to a legal, high-quality product that’s been well-researched,” Gaetz said.

If it passes, the yet-to-be-named House Bill 2020 would not affect recreational cannabis businesses in operation.

Virginia: Governor Amends Mandatory Driver's Suspension Law

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has signed legislation into law amending the state's mandatory driver's suspension law.

Under existing law, defendants convicted of a marijuana violation lose their driving privileges for six months, even if the offense was not driving related.

Under the new legislation, SB 1091, the mandatory suspension will no longer apply to adults convicted of simple marijuana possession offenses.

The new law takes effect July 1, 2017.

States like Virginia enacted drivers' suspension laws due to the direction of the federal government decades ago. Members of Congress introduced legislation this week, 'The Better Driver Act,' to eliminate federal provisions that encourage states to suspend drivers' licenses in situations involving non-traffic related minor drug violations.

Missouri: Kansas City Passes Measure To Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Kansas City voters approved a measure on Tuesday to decriminalize marijuana possession within the city's limits.

Nearly 75 percent of voters decided 'yes' on Question 5 which reduces penalties for the possession of up to 35 grams of cannabis from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil violation punishable by a $25 fine. The measure also eliminates penalties for the possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia.

The era of reefer madness in Kansas City has come to an end and no longer will otherwise law abiding citizens be targeted or arrested for the mere possession of marijuana," said Jamie Kacz, Executive Director of KC NORML.

The new ordinance takes effect when signed by the mayor or within five days.

Uruguay: Legal Marijuana Sales Set To Begin In July

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Legal marijuana sales are set to begin in Uruguay in July, more than four years after the South American nation fully legalized the cannabis trade. Marijuana will be available under the law to citizens and permanent residents 18 years of age and older at pharmacies for $1.30 per gram. Buyers will be limited to purchasing no more than 40 grams per month and will be required to sign up with a national registry. Home growers and cooperative clubs will be allowed to cultivate up to 99 plants.

Presidential Aide Juan Andres Roballo said the registry would be up and running by May 2

The government currently has 16 pharmacies on board, but many pharmacists have doubted the financial benefits of selling cost-controlled cannabis. Some Uruguayans have also expressed privacy concerns over the national registry.

Roballo said that before the registry is launched there would be a public health campaign. He said that he does not believe there will be “an avalanche of users” signing up for the registry.

Uruguay legalized the sale and cultivation of marijuana in 2013 under former President José Mujica in an effort to combat homicides and crime associated with drug trafficking.

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