Oregon voters passed recreational marijuana in 2014. While recreational shops waited for legislation and regulations, medical marijuana shops have been selling recreational marijuana since last year, but no more. This week the Oregon Liquor Control Commission approved 8 licenses which are the first to be awarded under the newly legalized recreational marijuana program. Licensees must pay their license fee before beginning operations ($3,750 - $5,750 depending on the size of grow). 910 applications were submitted and the committee expects an additional 1,000-2,000 during this year. Around 850 licenses are expected to be handed out this year. “Today is just another step on the path to implementation,” said Steve Marks, Executive Director of the OLCC. “We’re going to continue to remain focused on creating a recreational marijuana system that ensures public safety, protects our children, and fosters a successful legal market for the recreational use of marijuana.
Adults in Connecticut have been able to seek medical marijuana as treatment since 2014, but what about the children with debilitating diseases that could benefit from marijuana? It's no mystery that cannabis has positively changed many families lives after they discover it can provide relief to some ailments that no approved drugs can. Some opponents continue to fear sending children the wrong message about using marijuana, but after debating and hearing from parents who have seen first hand that the medical cannabis can ease their children's pain, the bill ultimately passed in the Senate. Now on its way to the Governor's desk, the bill is expected to be signed into law, granting qualified children the access they need. [Qualifying] conditions include cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, irreversible spinal cord damage and severe epilepsy. In addition, medical marijuana dispensaries could not provide qualified children any marijuana product that is smoked, vaporized or inhaled
One of the primary concerns for states that are considering any type of marijuana legalization is teens gaining more access to the drug, but this is not the first study to prove that fear to be invalid. The study, "Adolescents' Ease of Access to Marijuana Before and After Legalization of Marijuana in Washington State," analyzes the data from 2010 to 2014, and shows that in 2010, 55% of teens said marijuana was 'easy' to get, while in 2014 the same group showed 54%. While it's normal for a these numbers to fluctuate small amounts from year to year, it's important to note that not only did the number of teens with easy access to pot decrease slightly after legalization, but marijuana opponents fears of increased teen access have once again been proved a non-issue. There was virtually no change in the proportion of teens who reported it was "easy" to access marijuana in 2010 (55 percent), compared to 2014 (54 percent) after the new law was enacted, according to the study. This seemingly good news was tempered by additional findings suggesting that current public health efforts around drug abuse prevention may be less effective for marijuana than for other substances teens now perceive as more difficult to obtain. "It is both surprising and reassuring that teens didn't perceive that marijuana was easier to access after it was legalized for recreational use by adults," said senior investigator Andrew Adesman, MD, FAAP, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York.
When it comes to advocating for marijuana in any form, corporate companies don't typically announce their support for a federally illicit substance. However, while Walgreens has not officially taken any stance on cannabis, they have released a new blog post for purely informative purposes entitled, Clarifying Clinical Cannabis. A spokesperson for Walgreen Co. said the blog was written to educate their patients who have had questions about the medicine. A controversial topic such as marijuana is sure to spark debate, but it will likely have no negative effects for the company as polls show over half of the United States support the legalization of marijuana. “Research has indicated it may impair your lungs, memory and judgment. However, research has also shown marijuana provides pain relief in ways traditional pain medicines don’t. Medical marijuana can improve appetite and relieve nausea in those who have cancer and it may help relieve symptoms such as muscle stiffness in people who have multiple sclerosis.” “The content is strictly informative, and nowhere do we take any stance on the issue,” Jim Cohn, a spokesman for Walgreen Co., told The Huffington Post. “It was developed to address some of the questions we’ve received from patients and customers through various channels.”
Many years after legalizing medical marijuana, Hawaii lawmakers have finally approved a regulated system and chosen from 60 applicants to pick the 8 companies to award marijuana business licenses. The selected applicants now have 7 days to submit their $75,000 licensing fee and then get certified by the Narcotics Enforcement Division of the Dept. of Public Safety. Each company is allowed 2 different production center and 2 different dispensary locations within their approved county, but all sales are being held until July 15 later this year. The Department will award three licenses for the City and County of Honolulu, two licenses each for the Counties of Hawaii and Maui, and one dispensary license for the County of Kauai. The applicants that have been selected are: City and County of Honolulu Aloha Green Holdings Inc. Manoa Botanicals LLC TCG Retro Market 1, LLC dba Cure Oahu County of Hawaii Hawaiian Ethos LLC Lau Ola LLC County of Maui Maui Wellness Group, LLC Pono Life Sciences Maui, LLC County of Kauai Green Aloha, Ltd.
Saturday, April 30th is the day advocates in New Hampshire will finally see their hard work come to life when the state's first medical marijuana dispensary opens. Almost 3 years after New Hampshire legalized medical marijuana, Sanctuary ATC opens their doors at 11am and will become the state's first dispensary. New Hampshire legislation allows for only 4 dispensaries across the state, which 3 different companies will be running. Temescal Wellness plans to open both of their locations within the next few weeks, and the final dispensary, Prime ATC will take even longer due to a cultivation delay. Roughly 800 patients have applied for their medical marijuana ID card, with 613 approvals so far. Upon registration, patients must select one of the 4 dispensaries they wish to seek treatment, but they can also change their minds after registration. So far, Sanctuary ATC’s location in Plymouth — New Hampshire’s northernmost dispensary — is the most popular. As of this week, 147 people have signed up there. “I’m really surprised by the numbers in the North Country,” Martin said. “We really wondered if there were going to be enough patients in the North Country to sustain an alternative treatment center.” Another 136 people have signed up with Prime ATC’s dispensary in Merrimack. A combined 170 people have signed up with Temescal Wellness,108 in Dover and 62 in Lebanon.
Illinois' medical marijuana program has not been active long, but advocates would like to see more patients have access to the medicine by including more illnesses. Citizens can suggest new conditions 2 times a year, but Governor Rauner's administration has the power to deny them as has been demonstrated twice before. 15 conditions have been recommended and will be debated on monday including: irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, Lyme disease, osteoarthritis, autism, chronic low-level depression, chronic pain, diabetes, and migraine. This time, the expert panel will discuss petitions submitted during January. Fifteen conditions are on the agenda. They include irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, Lyme disease, osteoarthritis, autism and chronic low-level depression. The expert panel has recommended many of the conditions before to no avail.
Medical marijuana has been legal in Louisiana for decades, but no cultivation or distribution program was ever set up, leaving the bill useless and patients relying on the black market. Lawmakers in the state want to help patients finally gain safe access, but are wary of some proposal's leniency. The proposal with the most support has already passed through the Senate and is on it's way to the House. If passed, the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana would greatly increase from the current 3 conditions, adding HIV/AIDS, cachexia, seizure disorders, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis. The proposal comes alongsides pleas for help from patients suffering without medication. Many patients have been forced to move to a state with a more reliable medical marijuana program such as Colorado, but far from their home and families. “I’m just really upset you don’t understand about how many real, physical memories I have had,” said LSU law student Jacob Irving, who has spastic quadriplegia. “I’m going to leave if this isn’t available. … That would be a sad thing because I think I’m a valuable member of the community, and I think you should feel that way too.” Michele Hall, whose daughter suffers from severe epilepsy, moved away from her family to Colorado so she could have access to the treatment. “I’m begging you to please pass this law so we can come home to my family,” she said.
Over the last few months Vermont has had some traction to become the first state to legalize recreational marijuana through the legislature, but recent news of lack of support may set the bill back by a year or more. After making it to the House the bill was cut down tremendously, going from a liberal recreational marijuana bill down to a simple decriminalization bill only allowing up to two cannabis plants at home. After another revision by the Ways and Means Committee the proposal would now legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana as well as the two cannabis plants at home, however there would be no retail marijuana market. With the latest revision, more lawmakers have shown support again, but this session's deadline is May 7, and if the bill is not passed by then it will likely wait to be revisited until 2017. House Speaker Shap Smith recently told reporters that with the legislative session set to expire at the end of next week, not to mention the inability of the House to come to some agreement on a functional proposal, it is not likely that Vermont will legalize a recreational pot market this year. He said there simply are not enough votes in either chamber for Governor Peter Shumlin to expect a bill to land on his desk anytime in the near future. “Many Vermonters have been very vocal in support of allowing limited home cultivation, and it appears their voices did not fall on deaf ears,” said Matt Simon, the New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “This amendment breathes new life into S.241. The House is engaged in a very deliberative process, and we’re hopeful it will do the right thing and end marijuana prohibition in Vermont.”
Several states could legalize recreational marijuana later this year, including California who already has a lenient medical marijuana system. Lawmakers have proposed bills in preparation for the coming legalization, but some of these possible changes could effect a large amount of patients and tokers. Legislation from 2011 allows landlords to prohibit the smoking of tobacco products on rental properties, and if recreational marijuana is passed this year, all forms of marijuana smoke would be included. Landlords and lawmakers are concerned about the effect of secondhand smoke for other tenants, however all non-smokeable forms of marijuana like edibles and oils, would still be permitted. “Secondhand smoke, regardless of whether it’s smoke from tobacco or marijuana, is especially problematic in multiunit apartments and condos because the smoke easily travels the windows, doors and other ventilation systems,” Wood said. “It’s a nuisance that tenants should not have to live with.” California law already prohibits smoking medical marijuana anywhere tobacco is banned, which includes most public places. But the bill sponsor, the California Apartment Association, said it is important to give landlords explicit authority to forbid pot smoke on their properties, since it can create tension among tenants
After being denied on a signature technicality, the initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in Maine is back on track and the needed 61,123 signatures have been confirmed. Now that the initiative has been approved, lawmakers have their chance this Friday to enact the bill immediately or put it on the voter's ballot in November. While there are still naysayers opposing the coming legalization, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol will be working hard this year to educate voters about proper use and the benefits to ending prohibition. If passed, the initiative would tax and regulate marijuana allowing adults over 21 to possess up to 2.5 ounces. David Boyer from the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said he looks forward to educating Maine voters as to why ending marijuana prohibition makes sense. "We think that regulation and controlling marijuana and putting it behind the counter is a far better approach than giving drug dealers a monopoly," Boyer said.
Arizona lawmakers and advocates have been working tirelessly to bring marijuana legalizatoin to this year's ballot and now another initiative has been approved by the Arkansas Attorney General. The Arkansas Cannabis Amendment, if passed, would establish a medical and recreational marijuana system where possession, cultivation, and purchase would be legal for adults over 21. The initiaive would also provide regulations to once again industrialize the hemp market. Those with a license would be limited to 36 marijuana plants, and dispensaries will sell cannabis with standard tax and an additional 5% tax as an option. The initiative needs 85,000 signatures to bring it to a vote in November. The amendment, sponsored by Mary Berry, would provide regulations for industrial hemp, permitting purchases and possession and cultivation of recreational and medical marijuana under state law. The popular name, The Arkansas Cannabis Amendment, was certified as well by Rutledge on Monday (April 25).