Nevada law demands that marijuana products undergo proper testing before being sold to consumers. 374 Labs is one of several laboratories in the state testing marijuana for yeast, mold, e coli, salmonella, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury. The labs are also testing for the potency of 9 different cannabinoids including THC and CBD. Nevada's early adopted testing methods have set a precedent for states new to legalizing cannabis, including the incoming recreational legalization coming to Nevada. Testing the product gives consumers peace of mind knowing that they're getting the highest quality clean cannabis, something the blackmarket cannot give them. Strull said Nevada's stringent testing requirements make it one of the safest states in which to buy marijuana products. "It's a lot safer than the products [people] can get on the black market because it has been tested for pesticides. It has been tested for microbial growth so that patients know that the product they're getting is safe." He said 374 Labs can also test for organic compounds called terpenes, which can affect how a strain of marijuana affects the user. For example, some strains target migraines while other aim to help the consumer sleep. Strull said his lab works closely with production facilities to test for terpene content, which in turn can help producers selectively breed marijuana plants.
In an attempt to further expand the budding marijuana industry, Portland commissioners unanimously approved a system for licensing incoming "marijuana retail couriers" as legal businesses. These delivery-only marijuana businesses will not be able to sell from their shops and will be limited to daytime hours and city limits. Such a business allows those who may not be able to invest into a fully functioning dispensary a chance to break into the marijuana industry. The marijuana delivery headquarters must follow the same zoning regulations as regular cannabis businesses, staying 1,000ft away from schools and other pot businesses. Retail dispensaries can be approved to make deliveries to homes though only a few have shown interest. "We're seeing it with everything," he said. "Pizza is not the only thing that's delivered. You get Amazon Prime, drone deliveries are going to happen soon. I think that this online ordering process is going to start to take over a little bit." Businesses operating as "marijuana retail couriers" would not be able to sell from brick & mortar shops and they could only receive and deliver orders between certain hours of the day. According to the ordinance, they could only deliver products within city limits.
Maine voters made their voices heard during last month's election by legalizing recreational marijuana for adults, but some towns are trying to slow down the process. Cities like South Portland and Bangor have chosen to enact a moratorium on the sale of cannabis for at least 6 months to ensure regulations and zoning restictions are prepared. Some even want a "dry town" which would ban any sale of marijuana. Others are concerned the moratoriums are ignoring the problems of the black market, where product is unregulated and dealers do not I.D. As it stands, the cities with moratoriums would still be benefiting from cannabis tax revenue collected from around the state which some deem unfair. “Marijuana is still going to be sold in Maine – it’s still going to be sold in Skowhegan,” said David Boyer, campaign manager for Yes on 1, to legalize recreational marijuana. “We have a choice… do we want marijuana sold by licensed businesses, or by drug dealers that don’t check ID?” Boyer’s campaign estimates Maine could receive $15 million in revenue from the marijuana industry: money that could go to substance abuse prevention, education, or infrastructure, among other programs.
The DEA's recent move to track marijuana extracts with a new code number in the Federal Register made many nervous when media outlets claimed the move was making CBD more illegal. On the contrary, marijuana extract's new code number might actually make CBD gain approval even faster. Though CBD is purely medicinal and does not get the user high, up until recently it has been considered alongside THC and whole-plant marijuana as a Schedule 1 illicit substance with no medicinal value and highly addictive. While the DEA changing the code number does not move CBD from Schedule 1, it does allow CBD research studies to be considered within their own category, streamlining the process and prioritizing over other applications. That's not the case. The publication last week of a final rule notice for a Controlled Substances Code Number for extracts in the U.S. Federal Register was a matter of bookkeeping that has been in the works since 2011, according to DEA spokesman Russ Baer. In fact, the separate designation could be a sign of enlightenment — that the agency is doing its job in allowing legitimate research on the most promising facet of medical weed. Instead of a clampdown, this latest development could be a breakthrough for American cannabis research.
With the holiday season among us, it's always important to remember that it's better to give than receive, and that guideline is also great for cannabis! What else could bring a smile to your loved one's faces like a dank bag of buds? With recreational legalization sweeping the nation in last month's election, it's important to be aware of the changing marijuana laws around you. Several marijuana legal states allow you to gift up to 1 ounce of marijuana flowers including: Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, California and Massachusetts, though Massachusetts is unique in that adults can posses up to 10 ounces in their home. Adults in California will only be able to receive marijuana as a gift from a generous friend who is also a medical marijuana cardholder. Nevada adults will also be able to gift up to 1 ounce, but must wait for the law to go into effect on Jan. 1. Last but not least, adults in Washington D.C. will be able to gift up to 2 ounces, while Maine adults will be able to gift up to 2.5 ounces once the law goes into effect which is currently TBD. Thanks to voters who checked “yes” for recreational marijuana legalization on this year’s election ballot, gift-giving during the holidays is about to get a lot more dank. But just because recreational marijuana is legal in a state doesn’t necessarily mean you can just give it away willy nilly. Make sure your holiday good cheer doesn’t come with a side of incarceration by using this handy guide to cannabis gift giving, organized by state.
Since approving medical marijuana in 2008, the state of Michigan has had a rough history with marijuana businesses being raided, but a new law going into effect today will hopefully change that. In addition to the currently legal flower or buds of marijuana, the legislature has added the words 'resin and extract' to the state's medical marijuana bill officially making cannabis concentrates legal. Included as a 'concentrate' are topical oils, tinctures, and edibles, greatly expanding what products will be available for patients. Other changes to the bill would enact a new tax on medical marijuana as well as a seed-to-sale tracking system for cannabis plants similar to other states. “In addition to dried leaves and flowers being legal to possess for patients, the legislature has added the words resin and extract, so now concentrated forms of cannabis will be legal in Michigan … and topical oils and ointments, tinctures, which are a liquid that someone might put under their tongue, beverages and edibles.”
Research done at Columbia University has concluded that states who adopted medical marijuana laws, on average, saw a reduction in traffic fatalities of 11%. When compared to states without medical marijuana laws the average medical marijuana state lowered traffic fatalities by 26%. The findings showed larger reductions in traffic fatalities for patients aged 25-44 (12%) compared to patients over 44 years old (9%). Researchers speculate what is causing the decrease in traffic fatalities, whether its attributed to less alcohol consumption in patients, stronger law enforcement, or stronger public health laws. More studies will be done in the future including the number of non-fatal traffic injuries associated with cannabis, but until then everyone can agree more research is needed. Specifically, the researchers observed an 11 percent reduction of among those aged 15 to 24 years, 12 percent for ages 25 to 44, and 9 percent for those 45 years and older. Operational dispensaries were also associated with a significant reduction in traffic fatalities in those aged 25 to 44 years at 5 percent. "These findings provide evidence of the heterogeneity of medical marijuana laws and indicate the need for further research on the particularities of implementing the laws at the local level. It also indicates an interaction of medical marijuana laws with other aspects, such as stronger police enforcement, that may influence traffic fatality rates," noted Santaella-Tenorio.
Last week the media heavily reported on an announcement made by the DEA that the status of CBD had been changed making it more illegal, but fortunately that's just not true. The DEA did however formally announce the addition of "marihuana extracts" to the Federal Register, giving it a separate code (7350) from whole cannabis (7360). This allows regulation agencies like the DEA to keep better track of both cannabis buds and extracts as separate products, as well as follow specific research on CBD more closely. Medical Marijuana Inc. wants to reassure it's customers that the company's hemp oil industry will not be affected by the change in the Federal Register. The change only forces companies working with cannabis extracts to register the products under a new code. “Medical Marijuana, Inc. is pleased to announce that the DEA Federal Registry amendment to create a new code for ‘marijuana extracts,’ in no way affects the Company’s hemp oil, containing naturally occurring cannabinoids, including CBD, or its operations. “These codes just help the DEA with record-keeping,” Steenstra told Ganjapreneur. “But that’s not going to result in any kind of enforcement action.”
Several states legalized marijuana in some forms this year and it's left a lasting impression around the country. While some state officials were quick to submit new legislation to follow the legalization trend, others like Virginia Senator Thomas Norment Jr. have requested a state study of cannabis by the Virginia State Crime Commission. The study would be focused on finding what consequences states experienced after loosening marijuana laws, the latest research on marijuana as a 'gateway drug', and the potential for regulating drivers under the influence of the drug. Some lawmakers have heard the voices of young people and changed their minds, but others remain committed to prohibition despite it's harsh penalties for a victimless crime. The Senate's majority leader last week requested that a state criminal justice agency examine Virginia's marijuana laws in light of recent national developments — and then weigh in on what kinds of changes might make sense. "I think it's absolutely crazy that we continue to lock people up for possession of a modest amount of marijuana," Norment told the Norfolk City Council on Nov. 1, according to The Virginian-Pilot. "We are tough on crime. It's a question of what crimes we want to be tough on." Under current Virginia law, a first simple marijuana possession conviction is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum punishment of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Medical marijuana legislation from a small team of Republican lawmakers will be announced next week in the Tennesee House. The move follows a 2015 bill to legalize industrial hemp for cannabidiol (CBD oil) which has been used to treat different conditions from seizures to pain. A similar medical marijuana bill was proposed last year with no results, and 2016 was no different. Despite expected opposition from some Republicans, many believe medical marijuana and a patient's right to relief has bipartisan support. One House member, Jeremy Faison, visited Colorado recently and documented his exploration of medical marijuana and patients. Faison hopes to see more veterans with PTSD benefit from medical marijuana in the future. An announcement from the House Republican Caucus on Friday said an official announcement will come next week from state Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, and Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, who are planning to introduce legislation about medical marijuana. "Letting seriously ill people follow their doctors' recommendations without fear of being sent to jail is a concept that appeals to people across party lines, and polls consistently bear that out," Angell said. Faison has been conducting research into the use of marijuana in recent months. Sources in the legislature say he's passionate about the legislation and how medical marijuana might be used in Tennessee, specifically among military veterans who might be battling post-traumatic stress disorder or other conditions related to their service.
It has been a successful election season for marijuana legalization, it's no wonder that other states like Kentucky might be eager to follow suite. Kentucky Senator Perry Clark has already submitted a legalization proposal to be considered for the next legislative session in 2017. Several seats in the Kentucky State Senate have changed, though the number of Democrat to Republican seats has stayed the same. The bill has language similar to previously unsuccessful legislation, but new ideas and opinions in the Senate may be more open minded to legalization. Alternatively, the fact that recent elections have replaced some candidates could mean the newcomers are more receptive to marijuana legalization than their predecessors. Ballotpedia points out that the Kentucky State Senate had “19 of 38 total seats… up for election in 2016.” The outcome of this election did have some surprises, such as a large number of state senators running for re-election while also being unopposed. Another interesting note in history is that the current bipartisan makeup of 11 Democrats and 27 Republicans in the Kentucky State Senate has remained the same before and after the election. On the other hand, Kentucky might need to worry about Republicans voting against marijuana legalization because many members of the GOP are not as anti-marijuana legalization as they were in the recent past.
After voters in Massachusetts passed the recreational marijuana proposition last month, advocates were worried the law might not go into effect on time next week. Luckily, the Governor's Council was able to count and confirm the win for legalization, allowing the law to take effect on December 15. Once marijuana is legal in Massachusetts adults over 21 will be able to possess up to 10 ounces in a private residence and 1 ounce in public. Users will also be able to grow up to 6 plants per person (12 per household), assuming that they're out of sight from the neighbors. Marijuana will also follow alcohol's example with open container laws, meaning any "open container" of cannabis must be in a locked glove box or in the trunk of a vehicle. Secretary of State William Galvin now says that votes from the November election will be certified in time for the new law to take effect on December 15, the start date outlined in the ballot question voters approved 53 to 46. A spokesman for his office tells the State House News Service that the Governor’s Council will not, as some had feared, have to delay final approval until after the New Year. They plan to take up the votes when they meet on Wednesday. Lawmakers as late as this week were not ruling out a delay. “We’re very happy that he certification was done in time to honor the will of the voters,” says Jim Borghesani, the former spokesman for the pro-marijuana Yes on 4 campaign.