The Marijuana Value Tax Act was introduced in California this week, if passed, medical marijuana will be taxed at 15% or higher if cities and counties want to enact their own tax. Heavy regulation is coming after the quickly expanding industry has been unregulated since the state's initial legalization almost 20 years ago. The state brought in $50 million in taxes from medical marijuana in 2014 alone. Revenue from cannabis will be split up between the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, the state's general fund, state parks, the Natural Resource Agency, and last but not least is to local drug and alcohol treatment programs. The Marijuana Value Tax Act could bring the state more than $100 million in new revenue. The tax was anticipated after the state passed historic regulations last year that require state and local licenses for medical marijuana businesses under the new Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulations. Marijuana taxes could eventually be higher than 15 percent if the bill becomes law. As with sales taxes, cities and counties would be able to enact their own local taxes or fees on top of the state’s 15 percent tax
Vermont is one step closer to being the first state to legalize marijuana through legislature as opposed to popular vote as the bill passes the Senate Finance Committee vote. If passed, adults would be limited to purchasing one half of an ounce at a time, with a 25% flat tax to compete with the illegal black market. Legislators and advocates are still divided on the issue of growing marijuana at home but will continue to revise the bill. The judiciary's proposal stirred controversy among legal weed advocates when the senators took out the option of homegrown marijuana, pending further study by a commission created to examine marijuana issues. Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, the chairman of Judiciary, said the homegrown issue was a line in the sand, and its inclusion would force him to vote against legalization.
In a letter to the CDC, Senator Elizabeth Warren asked to have medical marijuana considered in further research of opioid addiction. The prescription drug epidemic is a major problem that needs addressing and even presidential candidates are looking for the solution. From 2000-2014, prescription opioid use doubled in the US, creating unnecessary addiction while attempting to treat chronic pain. Warren requested the CDC provide more information on “the use, uptake and effectiveness of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids for pain treatment in states where it is legal”. She also asked them to look into “the impact of the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana on opioid overdose deaths”. Medical cannabis laws were tied with lower state-level opioid overdose death rates, according to a study published in the December 2014 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association. And hundreds of people in Massachusetts who are addicted to opioids are being treated with medical marijuana.
The US have 23 states with medical marijuana and 4 with recreational, Canada's new Prime Minister wants to fully legalize pot, and now Australia is joining the pot parade. A bill introduced this week into parliament would reverse the Narcotics Drugs Act 1967 and make medical marijuana legal for qualifying patients. Expected opposition has actually supported this bill, making the bill expected to pass into law by March. Some parts of Australia have previously started the road to medical legalization but this new legislation will give Australia a consistent and universal medical marijuana system. Under the proposal a national licensing and permit scheme would be established for supplying medical cannabis to patients with painful and chronic conditions. It’s expected to become law by the end of March. “This government understands that there are some Australians suffering from severe conditions for which cannabis may have applications and we want to enable access to the most effective medical treatments available,” health minister Sussan Ley told parliament.
The city of Olympia, Washington will soon be home to two additional recreational marijuana dispensaries making four total. Opening day has not been announced yet for the new licenses, and several other recreational licenses are still pending. The city hopes to clear up the unlicensed marijuana businesses as they will be forced to shut down by July 1. Revised zoning codes have added 427 properties eligible for a recreational marijuana business, for a total of 670 locations. Green Lady Marijuana and A Bud and Leaf are already open on the city’s east side. This month, the state Liquor and Cannabis Board awarded retail licenses to Northwest Express, 234 Division St. NW, and THC of Olympia, 3203 Martin Way E. After a public hearing Tuesday, the Olympia City Council voted to keep temporary zoning regulations in place for recreational marijuana retailers. The zoning was first approved as an emergency ordinance Dec. 15, ahead of the Liquor and Cannabis Board’s plan to issue more recreational retail licenses. In January, the board raised the cap on licenses statewide from 334 to 556 retailers.
Marijuana has become pop culture in the last several years and is often discussed as having potential medicinal value, but people forget the appeal of including marijuana in their sex life as an aphrodisiac, lube, or even for fighting ED! Thats right, many cultures throughout history have used marijuana in different remedies thought to cure erectile disfuntion and even prolonge arousal. Colorado and California marijuana markets have recently been introduced to a new cannabis lube that can be used to increase physical sensations with no psychoactive effects. Weed was thought to prolong one’s arousal to herculean lengths, and some texts describe cannabis sex rituals lasting up to eight hours, not stopping until “a glow of fire envelops the lovers in total-body orgasms, which result in erasure of mental ideations and ego, the timeless freedom from self which equals Nirvana.” Comedian Margaret Cho fully endorses marijuana lube, as she told High Times: “Pot puts me in touch with my body. … You can just really feel and enjoy what’s happening to you; it’s a great enhancement and a great aphrodisiac. … I think that people don’t connect sexuality and pot as much as they should. And the best thing: marijuana lube!”
A new product is on the horizon to aid women with menstrual cramps, but it's currently wrapped in controversy over safety concerns. Experts are worried the product could be unsafe, not because it has harmed anyone, but simply because it is medically untested. Foria Relief, the brand new product, contains 60mg of THC and 10mg of CBD and comes in the form of a vaginal suppository. The FDA has not approved the product for medical relief and as long as marijuana remains schedule I, marijuana products will continue to go unapproved. However, Foria Relief has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, meaning that the effectiveness and safety of the product have not been proven. The company notes in a disclaimer that information on its product is "based on patients' reported experiences." Because the product is not FDA-approved, it cannot be marketed to treat or cure any disease.
Alaska legalized marijuana for recreational use about a year ago and before the state even begins legal sales, one city has already had enough. Unalaska, Alaksa is debating banning the production and sale of marijuana in the city after a local activist pushed to bring the issue to ballot. The opposition to legal sales comes from the leaders of the local school district and christian fellowship. Their concerned that allowing cannabis sales will "threaten[s] the town’s stature as an 'idyllic,' or a picturesque and pleasant community". The bill needs to clear one more vote on Febraury 9th to become law. Unalaska Christian Fellowship Pastor Ron Williams linked longterm marijuana use to reduced intelligence quotients, saying it cut IQ by about 6 percent. Other UCF officials were also opposed at an earlier meeting, including Pastor John Honan and Coe Whittern, an elder at the church. Council member Bong Tungul reacted angrily to the vote against locally regulated sales, saying after the meeting that “it doesn’t make any sense.” The black market, he said, exposes youth to far more dangerous drugs.
Hawaii's medical marijuana sales are set to begin this July. Permits will be handed out in April to a select few; among the 60+ applicants are Woody Harrelson's company, Simply Organic Living. If selected, applicants must have $1 million cash and an additional $100,000 for every dispensary location. Hawaii was one of the first states to ever legalize medical marijuana and this year will open it's first 8 dispensaries across the islands. The state currently has recreational legislation in the works, but lawmakers are not confident it will pass this year. If selected, dispensary applicants must have $1 million cash before applying for a licenses, plus $100,000 for each dispensary location. All applicants must have been Hawaii residents for more than five years. Hawaii became the first to legalize medical marijuana through the legislative process 16 years ago. Lawmakers have introduced laws to legalize recreational marijuana; however they don't think they're likely to pass this year.
Utah patients may be relieved to hear that 2 different medical marijuana bills are advancing in the Senate. Bill 89 is a very strict bill that would legalize "trace amounts of THC" likely meaning primarily CBD medication for epileptic seizures. The second bill, known as the "whole plant" bill will likely be less restrictive and allow for cannabis buds to be sold, however exact policy details will not be shared until next week. Debate over boths bills were met with testimonies of hopeful patients who have found relief from opioid addiction and pain meds. "I know that this can help so many people and this can prevent addiction," said Dallas Sainsbury, who suffers from Crohn's Disease. She described problems with opioids, and said marijuana has been more beneficial. Kenneth Thomason, a terminal cancer patient, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that marijuana helped ease his pain.
Last year, Delaware passed legislation allowing for children with epilepsy to participate in the state's medical marijuana program. After running into some roadblocks, legislators are supporting a new bill without opposition that would allow the school to not only hold onto the medication but also administer it by qualified caregivers. A 2014 poll shows that 81% of the US thinks that doctors should be able to prescribe marijuana for serious illnesses and although federal legislation has not reflected this, almost half of US states have already legalized medical marijuana. As the bill's main sponsor, he said he views its administration at schools "like a nurse administering an epipen" and said only adults who are pre-qualified to properly apply the oil would be allowed to carry it. He added he has yet to see any opposition from either side of the political aisle and House Speaker Rep. Peter Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, has also thrown his support behind the bill.
Less than a year into their recreational marijuana program, Oregon has the lowest average price per oz of marijuana at $214 an ounce. Washington and Colorado are the other two states with fully functioning recreational programs, with average prices of $238 and $225. Experts estimate price per ounce will drop to around $150 over the next few years after allowing the programs to mature. The city of Aurora, Colorado has the cheapest average ounce per city at $192. Legal recreational marijuana went into effect in Oregon in July 2015, however, sales didn't start until October because dispensaries had to complete the registration process. As the recreational market begins to mature over the next three years, prices are expected to drop below $150 an ounce, according to economics consulting firm ECONorthwest.