Where's Weed Marijuana News Blog //blog.wheresweed.com Blog about medical marijuana dispensaries, politics and legal weed Poll shows unwavering support for medical marijuana //blog.wheresweed.com/2014/jul/poll-shows-unwavering-support-for-medical-marijuana/ <p><a href="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/full/poll-shows-unwavering-support-for-medical-marijuana.jpg" class="blog_img"><img alt="Support for MMJ high in FL" src="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/main/poll-shows-unwavering-support-for-medical-marijuana.jpg" /></a></p> <p>Florida&#39;s attempt to become the 24th state to completely legalize medical marijuana is beginning to look inevitable &ndash; with a new poll showing support from 88 percent of likely voters.</p> <p>The level of support is the same as<strong> </strong>Quinnipiac University Polling Institute&#39;s previous poll on the subject, which came out in May. This time, the highest support (95 percent) came from people ages 18 to 29; the lowest (80 percent) came from Republicans.</p> <p>Amendment 2, which would legalize medical marijuana in the state, needs 60 percent of the vote to pass this November.</p> <p>The new numbers are significant because two well-funded opposition groups have formed since the May poll -- Don&#39;t Let Florida Go to Pot, a campaign from the Florida Sheriffs Association and the Drug Free America Foundation, and Vote No on 2, a project of Drug Free Florida.</p> <p>While months of campaigning by both sides so far has not appeared to change support, the battle will likely continue heavily until November.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Old prison to be transformed into marijuana grow facility //blog.wheresweed.com/2014/jul/old-prison-to-be-transformed-into-marijuana-grow-facility/ <div style="float: right; padding-left: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px;"><a href="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/full/old-prison-to-be-transformed-into-marijuana-grow-facility.jpg" class="blog_img"><img src="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/main/old-prison-to-be-transformed-into-marijuana-grow-facility.jpg" alt="Old prison to be transformed into marijuana grow facility" /></a></div> <p>Local business man Nicholas Erker from Fort Morgan, CO is working with city officals to transform a closed prison into a marijuana cultivation and distribution facility. While local city ordinances prohibit such activity, Erker has appealed to the city council to consider his proposal. In addition to creating jobs in the community, the city also stands to gain from certain tax incentives.</p> <blockquote>&quot;After the public hearing, staff will compile all of the citizens&#39; comments and give it to council to consider. There would have to be a lot zoning changes. A lot of work would have to be done,&quot; Strand said.</blockquote> House introduces bill to legalize CBD Oils //blog.wheresweed.com/2014/jul/house-introduces-bill-to-legalize-cbd-oils/ <div style="float: right; padding-left: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px;"><a href="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/full/house-introduces-bill-to-legalize-cbd-oils.jpg" class="blog_img"><img src="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/main/house-introduces-bill-to-legalize-cbd-oils.jpg" alt="House introduces bill to legalize CBD Oils" /></a></div> <p>A bipartisan bill called &quot;Charlotte&#39;s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014&quot; was introduced today that would legalize CBD oils for severe epilepsy patients. If passed, the compound will be excluded from the Controlled Substances Act.</p> <blockquote>&quot;This bill in no way changes my stance on marijuana -- I still disagree with the recreational use of marijuana,&quot; Perry said in a statement. &quot;However, these children and individuals like them deserve a chance to lead a healthy and productive life and our government shouldn&rsquo;t stand in the way.&quot;</blockquote> Rand Paul introduces plan to protected medical marijuana from the Feds //blog.wheresweed.com/2014/jul/rand-paul-introduces-plan-to-protected-medical-marijuana-from-the-feds/ <div style="float: right; padding-bottom: 10px; padding-left: 10px;"><a href="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/full/rand-paul-introduces-plan-to-protected-medical-marijuana-from-the-feds.jpg" class="blog_img"><img src="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/main/rand-paul-introduces-plan-to-protected-medical-marijuana-from-the-feds.jpg" alt="Rand Paul introduces plan to protected medical marijuana from the Feds"></a></div> <p>Rand Paul recently filed an ammendment that protects patients and physicians in medical marijuana states. In short, the ammendment prohibits prosection from a federal level, while also defunding prosecutions.</p> <blockquote>"What we're trying to do is look at the law and allow states that have changed their laws and have allowed medical marijuana to do so, for doctors to be able to prescribe and for people to be able to get those prescriptions without being worried about the federal government coming in and arresting them," Brian Darling, Paul's communications director, told The Huffington Post.</blockquote> Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon arrested for marijuana possession //blog.wheresweed.com/2014/jul/jacksonville-jaguars-wide-receiver-justin-blackmon-arrested-for-marijuana-pessession/ <div style="float: right; padding-bottom: 10px; padding-left: 10px;"><a href="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/full/jacksonville-jaguars-wide-receiver-justin-blackmon-arrested-for-marijuana-pessession.jpg" class="blog_img"><img src="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/main/jacksonville-jaguars-wide-receiver-justin-blackmon-arrested-for-marijuana-pessession.jpg" alt="Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon arrested for marijuana possession "></a></div> <p>Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver was arrested Wednesday night in Edmond, Oklahoma for a minor driving violation and marijuana poessesion. Indefinite suspension is the NFL penalty for a third violation of its substance abuse policy.</p> <blockquote>Jaguars second-year wide receiver Ace Sanders says "personal issues" will keep him away from the start of training camp and that he also faces a four-game suspension for violating the substance abuse policy.</blockquote> Minnesota names new director of medical cannabis //blog.wheresweed.com/2014/jul/minnesota-names-new-director-of-medical-cannabis/ <p><a href="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/full/minnesota-names-new-director-of-medical-cannabis.png" class="blog_img"><img alt="MN names new medical cannabis director" src="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/main/minnesota-names-new-director-of-medical-cannabis.png" /></a></p> <p>Minnesota has hired a director to lead its newly created Office of Medical Cannabis.</p> <p>The Legislature legalized the limited use of medical marijuana this year and on Wednesday the Minnesota Department of Health named Michelle Larson to oversee the program.</p> <p>The new Office of Medical Cannabis has one year to set up a statewide system that can produce, distribute and regulate the use of medical marijuana. Larson comes to the job after serving as deputy director of the health department&#39;s Office of Statewide Health Improvement, which tackled hot-button issues like tobacco, obesity and nutrition.</p> <p>Larson&#39;s to-do list for the next few months will include screening and selecting the manufacturers who will produce medical marijuana, developing rules to govern the operation of the dispensary system and building a patient registry.</p> <p>Minnesota has one of the most restrictive medical marijuana laws among the 23 states that have legalized the drug for medical use. Starting in July 15, patients with certain doctor-certified conditions like cancer, seizure disorders, glaucoma or terminal illnesses, will be able to legally buy marijuana in liquid, pill or other non-smokable forms. The federal government still considers marijuana an illegal substance with no recognized medical use.</p> German residents now permitted to grow marijuana //blog.wheresweed.com/2014/jul/german-residents-now-permitted-to-grow-marijuana/ <div style="float: right; padding-left: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px;"><a href="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/full/german-residents-now-permitted-to-grow-marijuana.jpg" class="blog_img"><img src="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/main/german-residents-now-permitted-to-grow-marijuana.jpg" alt="German residents now permitted to grow marijuana" /></a></div> <p>In a recent court ruling, certain German residents will now be permitted to grow their own marijuana to alleviate chronic pain. While this is a step forward, it still requires a &quot;thorough and individual examination&quot; of each case.</p> <blockquote>&ldquo;The court says the three demonstrated they could not combat their pain any other way and could not afford to purchase medical marijuana, which is permitted in Germany but not usually covered by the country&#39;s health insurance system.&rdquo;</blockquote> Oregon voters to vote on legalization in November //blog.wheresweed.com/2014/jul/oregon-voters-to-vote-on-legalization-in-november/ <div style="float: right; padding-left: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px;"><a class="blog_img" href="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/full/oregon-voters-to-vote-on-legalization-in-november.jpg"><img alt="Oregon voters to vote on legalization in November" src="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/main/oregon-voters-to-vote-on-legalization-in-november.jpg" /></a></div> <p>In recent news, Oregon voters will now have the opportunitiy to vote to legalise marijuana later this year. Lead by the Oregon Secretary of State, the New Approach Oregon has lead enough signatures to put the Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act on the ballot.</p> <blockquote>"This is our moment to be part of history and lead a movement," said Dominique Lopez, metro regional organizer for New Approach Oregon. "Treating marijuana use as a crime has failed, but together we can win a more sensible approach and better the lives of Oregonians."</blockquote> Health officals recall edibles after a dirty washing machine was involved //blog.wheresweed.com/2014/jul/health-officals-recall-edibles-after-a-dirty-washing-machine-was-involved/ <div style="float: right; padding-left: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px;"><a href="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/full/health-officals-recall-edibles-after-a-dirty-washing-machine-was-involved.jpg" class="blog_img"><img src="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/main/health-officals-recall-edibles-after-a-dirty-washing-machine-was-involved.jpg" alt="Health officals recall edibles after a dirty washing machine was involved"></a></div> <p>The Denver Department of Environmental Health recalled thousands of edibles after it was revealed that At home Baked used a dirty washing machine while making the edibles. While comopany employees claim that using such equipment is standard, the health department was more concerned with the quality of the machines and the presence of mold in the machines.</p> <blockquote>Marijuana infused products are regulated just as any traditional food product under Denver's food safety code," Director of Public Health Inspections Bob McDonald said. McDonald said inspectors noticed the washing machine had a buildup of corrosion and mold. "It's a piece of equipment that shouldn't be used in that condition to manufacture anything that's edible," he said.</blockquote> DC decriminalizes marijuana, future complications arise //blog.wheresweed.com/2014/jul/dc-decriminalizes-marijuana-future-complications-arise/ <div style="float: right; padding-bottom: 10px; padding-left: 10px;"><a class="blog_img" href="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/full/dc-decriminalizes-marijuana-future-complications-arise.jpg"><img alt="DC decriminalizes marijuana, future complications arise" src="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/main/dc-decriminalizes-marijuana-future-complications-arise.jpg" /></a></div> <p>The D.C. city council has passed legislation that decriminalizes posession of less than one ounce of marijuana. Introduced by City Council member Tommy Wells, the bill will now fine D.C. residents $25 for a simple possession ticket. While some see this as a positive step forward, others consider this to complicate issues, being that marijuana posessesion is still a federal crime, especially at the center of the federal government.</p> <blockquote>The real road to full legalization remains thorny. Maryland Rep. Andy Harris recently amended a House budget bill to stop the district from utilizing taxpayer funds to enforce the decriminalization law, though it is unlikely to pass the Senate and has been publicly denounced by President Barack Obama, who cautioned Congress to not interfere with the city&#39;s laws.</blockquote> Illinois loosens restrictions on medical marijuana for children with seizures //blog.wheresweed.com/2014/jul/illinois-loosens-restrictions-on-medical-marijuana-for-children-with-seizures/ <div style="float: right; padding-left: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px;"><a href="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/full/illinois-loosens-restrictions-on-medical-marijuana-for-children-with-seizures.jpg" class="blog_img"><img src="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/main/illinois-loosens-restrictions-on-medical-marijuana-for-children-with-seizures.jpg" alt="Illinois loosens restrictions on medical marijuana for children with seizures"></a></div> <p>A series of ammendments to the Illinois law permitting usage of medical marijuana for children and adults suffering from epilepsy was just signed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. This was among other changes as the state puts on the final touches before the full program begins early 2015. </p> <blockquote>"This new law will help alleviate the suffering of many adults and children across the state," Quinn said in statement. "Epilepsy is a debilitating condition, and this much-needed relief will help to reduce some of its symptoms for those who endure seizures."</blockquote> Recreational marijuana in Washington: Shortages lead to erratic business hours at Vancouver pot shops //blog.wheresweed.com/2014/jul/recreational-marijuana-in-washington-shortages-lead-to-erratic-business-hours-at-vancouver-pot-shops/ <p><img alt="http://imgick.oregonlive.com/home/olive-media/pgmain/img/oregonian/photo/2014/07/09/justin-dufour-305d96a1a4ec87c8.jpg" class="decoded" src="http://imgick.oregonlive.com/home/olive-media/pgmain/img/oregonian/photo/2014/07/09/justin-dufour-305d96a1a4ec87c8.jpg" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A week into Washington&#39;s experiment with recreational marijuana, two Vancouver retailers say business has been so brisk that they&#39;ve experienced intermittent closures.</p> <p>Demand for recreational marijuana has far outpaced supply, said New Vansterdam owner Brian Budz, whose shop is closed until Friday. The business opened Friday and had enough inventory to get through the weekend, but closed Sunday with only a couple grams on the shelves.</p> <p>&quot;We anticipated being in good shape for seven to 10 days,&quot; he said.&quot; It didn&#39;t last us three days. It was unbelievable how many people came through our store Friday, Saturday and Sunday.&quot;</p> <p>Main Street Marijuana, also in Vancouver, opened last Wednesday but ran out of marijuana by the end of business Friday. More pot&nbsp;arrived late Monday so the shop opened Tuesday, said Ramsey Hamide, a shop manager. The shop&#39;s prices, which last week shot up to $30 a gram, now range from $15 to $20 a gram.</p> <p>&quot;We had a line of 150 people plus,&quot; he said of Tuesday&#39;s opening. &quot;When I left 15 minutes ago, there were at least 100 people still in line. The demand is huge.&quot;</p> <p>Main Street Marijuana and New Vansterdam were the among the first batch of marijuana retailers licensed by the state last week. Anyone 21 and older may possess as much as an ounce of marijuana under a law approved by Washington voters in 2012.&nbsp;</p> <p>The launch of Washington&rsquo;s recreational marijuana program has been dogged by low supply and high prices. Industry insiders think supply will improve as more licensed growers come on line. And, they say, more supply will lead to a drop in prices. &nbsp;</p> U.S. House Votes to Allow Banks to Accept Deposits from Marijuana Stores and Dispensaries //blog.wheresweed.com/2014/jul/us-house-votes-to-allow-banks-to-accept-deposits-from-marijuana-stores-and-dispensaries/ <div class="subhead"> <p>Historic Vote Falls on Heels of Votes in May to Prohibit DEA from Undermining State Medical Marijuana and Hemp Laws</p> <p>Meanwhile Conflict Over Washington, DC Decrim Law and Legalization Ballot Measure Increases</p> </div> <div class="content clearfix"> <p>In a historic vote today the U.S. House passed a bipartisan amendment by Representatives Heck (D-WA), Perlmutter (D-CO), Lee (D-CA) and Rohrabacher (R-CA) preventing the Treasury Department from spending any funding to penalize financial institutions that provide services to marijuana businesses that are legal under state law. The amendment passed 231 to 192.</p> <p>In May, the House passed an amendment prohibiting the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from undermining state medical marijuana laws and passed two amendments prohibiting the DEA from interfering with state hemp laws.</p> <p>&ldquo;Congress is yet again rejecting the failed war on marijuana,&rdquo; said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. &ldquo;They have read the poll numbers and are doing both what is right and what is politically smart.&rdquo;</p> <p>A recent Pew Research Center survey found that nearly three-in-four Americans (72 percent) believe that efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth, including 78 percent of Independents, 71 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of Republicans. There is strong support for state medical marijuana programs, with 80 percent of Democrats, 76 percent of Independents, and 61 percent of Republicans supporting the sale and use of medical marijuana in their state. A majority of Americans support taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol.</p> <p>Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have laws that legalize and regulate marijuana for medicinal purposes.&nbsp; Eleven states have laws on the books or about to be signed into law by their governors regulating CBD oils, a non-psychotropic component of medical marijuana which some parents are utilizing to treat their children&rsquo;s seizures. Two states have legalized marijuana like alcohol &ndash; Colorado and Washington State. Alaska and Oregon voters will vote on legalizing marijuana in November.</p> <p>The underlying spending bill that the Heck marijuana amendment was attached to also contains a an amendment, added in committee by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), that would block Washington, D.C. from carrying out any law, rule or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce criminal penalties for marijuana.&nbsp; That amendment was originally directed at blocking implementation of a recent law the District of Columbia passed replacing jail time for possessing small amounts of marijuana for personal use with a small fine.</p> <p>D.C.&rsquo;s marijuana decrim law, however, takes effect at midnight tonight, long before the Harris Amendment would take effect. It&rsquo;s also likely that the Harris Amendment will not pass the Senate, where the appropriations process has ground to a halt. President Obama has also threatened to veto the underlying bill.</p> <p>In a Statement of Administration Policy the White House declared:</p> <p>&ldquo;Similarly, the Administration strongly opposes the language in the bill preventing the District from using its own local funds to carry out locally- passed marijuana policies, which again undermines the principles of States&#39; rights and of District home rule. Furthermore, the language poses legal challenges to the Metropolitan Police Department&#39;s enforcement of all marijuana laws currently in force in the District.&rdquo;</p> <p>Advocates warn that if the Harris amendment does make it into law this year it could block implementation of Initiative 71 by local officials, should D.C. voters pass it this November, and block efforts by local lawmakers to tax and regulate adult marijuana sales.&nbsp; If passed by D.C. voters, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/marijuana-advocates-submit-petition-signatures-for-dc-ballot-initiative/2014/07/07/9966293a-05de-11e4-8a6a-19355c7e870a_story.html" target="_blank">Initiative 71 would allow adults over the age of 21 to possess up to two ounces of marijuana</a> on their person at any time, and allow for the cultivation of up to six marijuana plants at home. District law prevents the ballot initiative from addressing the sale of marijuana. However, the D.C. Council is currently considering a bill that will tax and regulate marijuana within the District.</p> <p>The District of Columbia has the highest per capita marijuana arrest rates in the U.S.&nbsp; In 2010 African Americans in the District accounted for 91 percent of all marijuana arrests &ndash; even though African American and white residents use marijuana at roughly similar rates.</p> <p>&ldquo;That Congressman Harris would try to kill D.C.&rsquo;s efforts to stop arresting people for marijuana possession is beyond disturbing,&rdquo; said Dr. Malik Burnett, D.C. policy manager with the Drug Policy Alliance. &ldquo;His amendment is an affront to the District&rsquo;s right to home rule, while ensuring that thousands of District residents continue to be arrested and suffer the collateral consequences associated with a criminal record. Congress should be following D.C.&rsquo;s example and end racist marijuana arrest policies, instead of defying the will of the people and reversing their decision.&rdquo;</p> </div> The Real Reason Pot Is Still Illegal //blog.wheresweed.com/2014/jul/the-real-reason-pot-is-still-illegal/ <p><a href="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/full/the-real-reason-pot-is-still-illegal.jpg" class="blog_img"><img alt=" The Real Reason Pot Is Still Illegal " class="imagecache imagecache-main_node_view_image" src="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/main/the-real-reason-pot-is-still-illegal.jpg" title="The Real Reason Pot Is Still Illegal" /></a></p> <p>Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, did several stints in rehab after crashing his car into a barricade on Capitol Hill in 2006, a headline-making event that revealed the then&ndash;US congressman for Rhode Island had been abusing prescription drugs, including the painkiller OxyContin. Kennedy went on to make mental health&mdash;including substance abuse&mdash;a cornerstone of his political agenda, and he is reportedly at work on a memoir about his struggles with addiction and mental illness. In 2013, he also helped found an advocacy group, Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), which has barnstormed the country opposing the growing state and federal efforts to legalize pot.</p> <p>Taking the stage to rousing applause last February, Kennedy joined more than 2,000 opponents of marijuana legalization a few miles south of Washington, DC, at the annual convention of the Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America (CADCA), one of the largest such organizations in the country.</p> <p>&ldquo;Let me tell you, there is nothing more inconsistent with trying to improve mental health and reduce substance-abuse disorders in this country than to legalize a third drug,&rdquo; Kennedy boomed. The former congressman also praised his fellow speakers for standing up to the &ldquo;extremist responses&rdquo; from legalization advocates.</p> <p>Given that CADCA is dedicated to protecting society from dangerous drugs, the event that day had a curious sponsor: Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxy-Contin, the highly addictive painkiller that nearly ruined Kennedy&rsquo;s congressional career and has been linked to thousands of overdose deaths nationwide.</p> <p>Prescription opioids, a line of pain-relieving medications derived from the opium poppy or produced synthetically, are the most dangerous drugs abused in America, with more than 16,000 deaths annually linked to opioid addiction and overdose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more Americans now die from painkillers than from heroin and cocaine combined. The recent uptick in heroin use around the country has been closely linked to the availability of prescription opioids, which give their users a similar high and can trigger a heroin craving in recovering addicts. (Notably, there are no known deaths related to marijuana, although there have been instances of impaired driving.)</p> DEA may be losing the war on marijuana politics //blog.wheresweed.com/2014/jul/dea-may-be-losing-the-war-on-marijuana-politics/ <p><a href="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/full/dea-may-be-losing-the-war-on-marijuana-politics.jpg" class="blog_img"><img alt="DEA Museum" class="trb_embed_imageContainer_img" src="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/main/dea-may-be-losing-the-war-on-marijuana-politics.jpg" title="DEA Museum" /></a></p> <p>For narcotics agents, who often confront hostile situations, Capitol Hill has been a refuge where lawmakers stand ready to salute efforts in the nation&#39;s war on drugs.</p> <p>Lately, however, the Drug Enforcement Administration has found itself under attack in Congress as it holds its ground against marijuana legalization while the resolve of longtime political allies &mdash; and the White House and Justice Department to which it reports &mdash; rapidly fades.</p> <p>&quot;For 13 of the 14 years I have worked on this issue, when the DEA came to a hearing, committee members jumped over themselves to cheerlead,&quot; said Bill Piper, a lobbyist with the Drug Policy Alliance, a pro-legalization group. &quot;Now the lawmakers are not just asking tough questions, but also getting aggressive with their arguments.&quot;</p> <p>So far this year, the DEA&#39;s role in the seizure of industrial hemp seeds bound for research facilities in Kentucky drew angry rebukes from the Senate&#39;s most powerful Republican. The GOP-controlled House recently voted to prohibit federal agents from busting medical marijuana operations that are legal under state laws. And that measure, which demonstrated a shared distaste for the DEA&#39;s approach to marijuana, brought one of the Senate&#39;s most conservative members together with one of its most liberal in a rare bipartisan alliance.</p> <p>How much the agency&#39;s stock has fallen was readily apparent in the House debate, when Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) denounced the agency&#39;s longtime chief.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Don't Laugh: Berkeley Plans to Give Free Marijuana to the Poor //blog.wheresweed.com/2014/jul/dont-laugh-berkeley-plans-to-give-free-marijuana-to-the-poor/ <p><a class="blog_img" href="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/full/dont-laugh-berkeley-plans-to-give-free-marijuana-to-the-poor.jpg"><img alt="Don't Laugh: Berkeley Plans to Give Free Marijuana to the Poor" class="media-viewer-candidate" src="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/main/dont-laugh-berkeley-plans-to-give-free-marijuana-to-the-poor.jpg" /></a></p> <p>Earlier this month, Berkeley&rsquo;s City Council voted unanimously for an ordinance that would provide free medical marijuana to patients with low incomes. If the ordinance passes its second reading in August, marijuana dispensaries will have to set aside 2 percent of their product &mdash; which must be of equivalent quality to the marijuana they&rsquo;re selling at market prices &mdash; and give it free to city residents with incomes below $32,000.</p> <p>It makes a lot more sense than it sounds like at first.</p> <p>In a way, Berkeley&rsquo;s action is ordinary: The government provides free or cheap medical products to people with low incomes all the time, with a goal of ensuring that people do not go without needed medical care. The government requires hospitals to provide emergency care to patients in need regardless of ability to pay. It provides free health insurance to the poor through Medicaid, and subsidizes insurance for people with low and moderate incomes through the Affordable Care Act exchanges.</p> <p>Those regular channels don&rsquo;t work for medical marijuana users. Even though California authorizes medical marijuana, it&rsquo;s illegal under federal law, and the Food and Drug Administration has not approved it. As a result, Medi-Cal, California&rsquo;s version of Medicaid, doesn&rsquo;t cover it. If any private health insurance plans cover it, I couldn&rsquo;t find them; Brendan Buck, a spokesman for the industry group America&rsquo;s Health Insurance Plans, told me they&rsquo;re not aware of any plans that cover marijuana, either.</p> Marijuana Clubs Rise Out of Decades-Old Spanish Laws //blog.wheresweed.com/2014/jul/marijuana-clubs-rise-out-of-decades-old-spanish-laws/ <p><a href="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/full/marijuana-clubs-rise-out-of-decades-old-spanish-laws.png" class="blog_img"><img src="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/main/marijuana-clubs-rise-out-of-decades-old-spanish-laws.png" alt="Marijuana Clubs Rise Out of Decades-Old Spanish Laws" /></a></p> <p>BARCELONA, Spain &mdash; On a recent evening, two vacationing German college students, armed with addresses they had gotten off the Internet, were trying to get into one of Barcelona&rsquo;s new marijuana clubs.</p> <p>They were not members. But no matter. They quickly found a club near the city&rsquo;s central boulevard, La Rambla, that was willing to ignore the rules, helping them choose from a dozen strains of marijuana for sale in plastic bins before letting them settle into the cushy lounge area to light up.</p> <p>Forty-five minutes later, they were back on the street, smiling. &ldquo;It was very nice,&rdquo; said one of the students, who had researched cannabis clubs before choosing Barcelona as a holiday destination. &ldquo;We will go back tomorrow.&rdquo;</p> <p>The number of cannabis clubs that have opened in Barcelona recently has some experts saying this city will soon challenge Amsterdam as the go-to destination for vacationers who want to get high in peace.</p> <p>Even as Amsterdam has wrestled with drug tourism<strong> </strong>in recent years, reducing the number of coffee shops where it is legal to buy and smoke marijuana and hashish, about 300 new cannabis clubs have opened in Barcelona and the surrounding Catalan region, a result, at least in part, of enterprising Spaniards looking for new ways to earn a living, experts say.</p> Colorado study pegs annual pot demand at 130 metric tons //blog.wheresweed.com/2014/jul/colorado-study-pegs-annual-pot-demand-at-130-metric-tons/ <p><a href="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/full/colorado-study-pegs-annual-pot-demand-at-130-metric-tons.png" class="blog_img"><img alt="Colorado pot demand at 130 tons" src="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/main/colorado-study-pegs-annual-pot-demand-at-130-metric-tons.png" /></a></p> <p>A state-produced study has concluded that high taxes and fewer stores are keeping Colorado medical-marijuana consumers from switching to the recreational cannabis market, a trend that, if it continues, will have a major impact on the state&rsquo;s predicted marijuana tax windfall.</p> <p>The study, released Wednesday, found that out-of-state visitors make up nearly half of recreational marijuana sales in the Denver area &mdash; and 90 percent of recreational sales in mountain resort communities. Tourists, though, account for only about 7 percent of the annual demand for marijuana in the state, which the study estimates at 130.3 metric tons.</p> <p>&ldquo;This study finds total marijuana demand to be much larger than previously estimated,&rdquo; the study&rsquo;s authors write <a href="http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?blobcol=urldata&amp;blobheadername1=Content-Disposition&amp;blobheadername2=Content-Type&amp;blobheadervalue1=inline%3B+filename%3D%22Market+Size+and+Demand+Study%2C+July+9%2C+2014.pdf%22&amp;blobheadervalue2=application%2Fpdf&amp;blobkey=id&amp;blobtable=MungoBlobs&amp;blobwhere=1252008574534&amp;ssbinary=true" target="_blank">in their report</a>.</p> <p>The reason, the authors conclude, is that previous studies have underestimated the level of demand from heavy users. The new study finds that the top 22 percent of marijuana users in Colorado account for nearly 67 percent of the total demand. The bottom 54 percent of users account for only about 4 percent of demand.</p> Obama turns down Rocky Mountain high //blog.wheresweed.com/2014/jul/obama-turns-down-rocky-mountain-high/ <p><a href="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/full/obama-turns-down-rocky-mountain-high.jpg" class="blog_img"><img alt="View image on Twitter" class="autosized-media" src="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/main/obama-turns-down-rocky-mountain-high.jpg" title="View image on Twitter" /></a></p> <p>&quot;Do you want to hit this?&quot; a man asked President Barack Obama in a bar in Denver Tuesday night. The president laughed but didn&#39;t indulge.</p> <p>It wasn&#39;t the only time Obama was offered weed on his night out. That&#39;s apparently what happens in Colorado, which recently legalized recreational marijuana.</p> <p>The man posted the exchange on Instagram for the world to see.</p> <p>Obama has admitted to smoking pot as a young man. He was an active member of the &quot;Choom Gang&quot; in high school, which perfected all sorts of techniques for getting high.</p> <p>The President has since spoken about those times in more serious settings, saying as recently as this year that he made &quot;bad choices&quot; without considering &quot;the harm it could do.&quot;</p> <p>Earlier in the evening, the presidential motorcade passed a bearded man holding a sign: &quot;Free weed 4 Obama.&quot; A sign outside a marijuana dispensary offered the same thing. The motorcade didn&#39;t stop.</p> New York Becomes 23rd State To Allow Medical Marijuana //blog.wheresweed.com/2014/jul/new-york-becomes-23rd-state-to-allow-medical-marijuana/ <p><a href="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/full/new-york-becomes-23rd-state-to-allow-medical-marijuana.png" class="blog_img"><img alt="NY becomes 23rd MMJ State" src="http://content.wheresweed.com/blog_images/main/new-york-becomes-23rd-state-to-allow-medical-marijuana.png" /></a></p> <p>New York has become the 23rd state in the U.S. to authorize medical marijuana &ndash;&nbsp;though the state&rsquo;s program is one of the nation&rsquo;s most restrictive.</p> <p>Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the measure into law Saturday and held a formal signing ceremony in New York City on Monday to highlight the new law.</p> <p>When the program gets up and running in about 18 months, patients with diseases including AIDS, cancer and epilepsy will be able to obtain nonsmokeable versions of the drug.</p> <p>Instead, the drug must be ingested or administered through a vaporizer or oil base.</p> <p>Cuomo, a Democrat, says prohibiting smokeable marijuana will help keep the drug out of the wrong hands.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was almost oxymoronic that a health department would operate a program allowing smoking, which they spend a very significant amount of their time trying to stop people from smoking,&rdquo; Cuomo told WCBS 880&prime;s Ginny Kosola. &ldquo;Second, you don&rsquo;t need the smoking to get the benefits of the drugs.&rdquo;</p> <p>The compromise was one of the final measures passed by lawmakers before they adjourned last month.</p> <p>&ldquo;This new law takes an important step toward bringing relief to patients living with extraordinary pain and illness,&rdquo; Cuomo said in a news release Monday. &ldquo;The legislation I am signing today strikes the right balance between our desire to give those suffering from serious diseases access to treatment, and our obligation to guard against threats to public health and safety. I applaud the lawmakers and advocates whose efforts over the past years were crucial in making medical marijuana a reality in New York State.&rdquo;</p> <p>Under the law, the state will approve and regulate up to five businesses authorized to grow and distribute the drug. The operators could each have up to four dispensaries statewide.</p> <p>&ldquo;From this day forward New Yorkers will now have access to the same life-changing treatment that other patients across the country have had,&rdquo; said state Sen. Diane Savino, D-Staten Island, who sponsored the legislation. &ldquo;This is an historic victory for the countless health care professionals, physicians, advocates, families and patients who know that the safe and reliable use of medical marijuana is a sensible, compassionate course of treatment for debilitating illness and disease. I stand with the thousands of New Yorkers who now will no longer have to suffer needlessly through their courageous medical battles.&rdquo;</p> <p>Patients would get prescriptions from physicians approved by the state to participate in the program.</p> <p>Patients who sell their prescribed marijuana could face a misdemeanor. Patients would be required to carry registration cards showing they are authorized to possess the drug and can be prescribed a maximum 30-day supply.</p> <p>The governor&nbsp;could shut down theprogram if it does not work out.</p>