Maryland legalized medical marijuana over 3 years ago, but delays have continuously pushed back the program's start. This week officials announced the first 102 businesses that will be able to sell legal medical marijuana in Maryland whom the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission chose from over 800 applications in an anonymous unbiased system. Advocates hope to have the program up and running by the summer of 2017 and available to patients with conditions such as seizures, anxiety and the side effects of cancer or chemotherapy. The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission said patients could be able to begin legally purchasing the drug as soon as this summer to treat conditions including seizures, anxiety and the side effects of cancer or chemotherapy. Lawmakers first approved medical marijuana 3½ years ago, but the program has been beset by various delays. The commission last month gave preliminary authorization to dispensaries in each of the 47 state Senate districts, choosing from a pool of more than 800 applications scored by outside experts and with names of the companies and people involved redacted to avoid bias.
Retail cannabis shops have been open in Alaska for over a month now, but when will it's largest city, Anchorage, open it's first recreational marijuana store? Alaska Fireweed became the first Anchorage dispensary to pass it's final inspection this week, with another shop not far behind. Scheduled to open it's doors on Dec. 17, Alaska Fireweed will soon have shelves stocked with 9 different strains of cannabis supplied by the Kasilof cultivator, Greatland Ganja. Another Anchorage shop, Enlighten Alaska, ran into some bad luck after being robbed over Thanksgiving, setting the shop back a few weeks, now hoping to open by the new year. “Its very exciting and nerve racking at the same time,” Alaska Fireweed General Manager Will Ingram said. “We’re at the finish line now. I can see it in sight.” The store’s empty shelves will soon be filled with nine strains of cannabis from Greatland Ganja, a cultivator from Kasilof. Alaska Fireweed is set to open to the public at “high noon” on Saturday December, 17. “This is a great way to initiate the holidays,” Ingram says. Still, that puts Anchorage more than a month behind other stores around the state
Arkansas voters chose to legalize medical marijuana last month, and despite political officials' clear opposition to the bill, legislators are ready to represent the will of the people and get the program up and running. Appointed to the new Medical Marijuana Commission was a breast cancer surgeon, a pain specialist, a pharmacist, a former Senate chief of staff and a lawyer. The newly appointed group has 4 short months to decide rules and regulations for the coming industry, which will license 4-8 grow centers and 20-40 dispensaries. “We were rather vocal in our opposition to the amendment, but the people spoke and it is our responsibility to take the steps necessary to implement in a fair and responsible way the amendment that was passed by the people of Arkansas,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. Under the state constitutional amendment adopted last month, the commission will establish rules governing marijuana distribution to people suffering from certain medical conditions. It can license between four and eight growing centers and authorize between 20 and 40 dispensaries. No county can have more than four distribution sites.
Last month, California voters passed Proposition 64 legalizing recreational marijuana for adults 21 and up, but you won't see a recreational dispensary for a long while. San Diego legislators just announced their proposal to allow the 15 medical marijuana shops to also sell recreational marijuana once recreational marijuana licenses are issued in January 2018. If passed, the proposal would restrict business signs to only alphabetical characters, no images or logos. It would restrict marijuana grows to secured green houses only, and it would also permit specific retailers to be able to deliver marijuana. Proposition 64 made it legal for individuals to use and grow marijuana for personal use on Nov. 9. But the sale and subsequent taxation of recreational marijuana will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2018, because that’s when state licenses needed to sell it will take effect. The revised regulations would also prohibit the cultivation of marijuana and the outdoor growing of residential marijuana, but cultivation in secured greenhouses would be allowed
California voters made the choice to pass Proposition 64 last month legalizing recreational marijuana for adults, but not everyone is prepared just yet. San Mateo County's Board of Supervisors want to place a moratorium on the coming legalization to ban it's citizens from growing or purchasing marijuana. While officials say they aren't in favor or against the legalization, they believe the county needs more time to prepare. Proposition 64 had the support of 57% of California voters including 63% of San Mateos who do not have a local medical marijuana dispensary. San Mateo County’s Board of Supervisors unanimously supported a temporary moratorium on legalization Tuesday that would ban personal marijuana growing and distribution activities for an unspecified amount of time. “It’s not that you’re saying yes or that you’re saying ‘no,’” said San Mateo’s District Five Supervisor Adrienne Tissier. “I just think the county needs to digest the materials here and not move too fast.
In the state of New York, medical marijuana is available for patients with any of the 10 qualifying conditions like cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis epilepsy, and this week the state Health Department announced that they're developing regulations to include patients with chronic pain. Around 11,000 patients have been certified by their doctor to receive medical marijuana, but adding chronic pain to the list could help ease the pain of many more Americans. Chronic pain is currently defined as having pain for more than 15 days a month, which the DENT Neurologic Institute says includes 100-million Americans. “Medical marijuana is already helping thousands of patients across New York state, and adding chronic pain as a qualifying condition will help more patients and further strengthen the program," state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said in a statement. Mechtler says medical marijuana will help get many patients off of prescription opiates. "I'd rather have individuals on medical marijuana than I do with opiates. There has not been one certified death from overdose of medical marijuana," says Mechtler. "I think this is an exciting time for medical marijuana to step in to decrease the addiction rate, to decrease the overdose, and help our patients and our athletes and our students who have chronic pain."
Uruguay, the first country in the world to fully legalize marijuana, will be opening Latin America's first museum dedicated to cannabis this week. After legalizing the production, use and sale of marijuana in 2013 to help defeat cartels, Uruguayans are also able to grow up to 6 plants for personal use. Museum operators hope to bring biological and cultural diversity to it's visitors, and offering exhibits such as "a trip to one of the oldest crops in the world," which they believe will be one of the most important plants of this millennium. Uruguay has set a precedent for legalizing cannabis, and it's surrounding countries are taking notes. The new initiative is set to be the first museum dedicated to cannabis in Latin America and the southern hemisphere. Part of its mission is to promote “biological and cultural diversity,” according to the museum’s Facebook page, while also serving as a “cultural club.” “It’s a way to connect people who love nature, art and science,” museum Director Eduardo Blasina said. Uruguay fully legalized production, use and sale of recreational cannabis in 2013, including allowing users to grow up to six pot plants for personal use. The government is also working to give the green light for the unprecedented sale of three different varieties of marijuana at pharmacies across the country.
Cannabis regulators in the state of Washington are rolling out a new code of conduct as well as starting a fund to help pay for medical marijuana for those who cannot afford it. Most other medications can come with government or financial aid for patients with need but no way to afford their drugs. Marijuana presents a unique problem due to it's illegal federal status, meaning that type of financial assistance isn't available. The Washington CannaBusiness Association is starting this fund which anyone can donate to, to help the patients who truly need it. WACA hopes to have the fund ready by the spring of next year, where patients will be able to apply at a WACA members' retail location or online. Patients facing an array of medical conditions can sometimes get assistance for prescription drugs from pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and charities. That support system doesn’t exist for medical marijuana. “Hopefully we can help fill that void until the federal government changes the status of marijuana nationally,” Christophersen said. Qualifying patients with an authorization from a medical professional can apply for financial support from the fund. Forms will be available at WACA members’ retail locations and online starting in the first quarter of next year, according to the association
With 19 years of history on Wall Street, Peter Barsoom knows a good business opportunity when he sees one, which is why in 2014 he chose to open a company selling premium low-dose cannabis infused chocolate. Barsoom sees a cannabis market flooded with high dose edibles intended for heavy users, but he believes there is a valuable market for the casual user. The company, 1906, serves several different styles of chocolate like a dark chocolate remedy for insomnia and a caffeine and amino acid chocolate meant for energy. When eaten, the active cannabinoid in marijuana (THC) can be twice as strong as when smoked. Edibles can take 1 to 2 hours for users to feel it's effects, making it easy for beginners to overdo the intended dose, however there are no recorded fatal overdoses from cannabis. 1906 offers 10 milligram dose chocolates which they believe is a better more consistent dose. Weed-laced treats offer a different experience than a joint or a bong hit. When eaten, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, undergoes a transformation in the liver that turns it into a substance that's twice as strong and lasts twice as long as when it's inhaled. A user's high might not peak until one to three hours after eating. 1906 products are sold in select dispensaries in Colorado, where Barsoom hopes to change people's minds about the usability of edibles. "Everybody has a bad story about edibles. It doesn't need to be this way. People don't have a bad story about taking Tylenol," Barsoom said. "This can be done better."
In 2015 Texas passed a law allowing patients with intractable epilepsy to use medical marijuana, and this week a bill was filed to expand on that program by allowing patients with debilitating or chronic conditions to be recommended medical marijuana by their doctor. Senator José Menéndez, who author the bill, believes it will be helpful, but that patients with even more conditions could benefit from the drug. Menéndez wants patients and their doctors to be able to decide what is best for them, including medical marijuana. Senate Bill 269, which was filed Tuesday morning, would allow patients with debilitating or chronic conditions to receive medical cannabis under their doctor's recommendation. The bill would expand on a 2015 Texas law that allows patients to receive certain forms of cannabis if they have intractable epilepsy. "Why are we forcing Texans to become medical refugees?" Menéndez asked. "If that's what they've come to find that works for them, they should be able to live in their state and be able to have access to the medicine that their doctor feels is best for them."
Ireland may join countries like Italy, Czech Republic, and Australia this year to reform it's marijuana laws and allow medical marijuana for qualifying patients. The bill will have it's first reading soon and is backed by all other parties. Ireland's Health Minister says the government would be unable to stop the bill, but that they would pursue amendments in the future to ensure proper regulation. Officials want to keep the law from becoming recreational, but want those in need to have access to relief. Harris said he wanted to remove references from the bill that could have the effect of making it legal for anyone to possess cannabis, including for recreational purposes - changes Kenny said he would accept. "It's been overwhelming, not only in the Dail, but to see the people who have contacted us and who are trying to access medical cannabis for themselves or their children," Kenny, a People Before Profit Alliance party lawmaker, told national broadcaster RTE. "I even got emails this morning saying that 'if this goes through it will change my life'. If this can do something small for somebody, it's a very, very positive thing that's happened."
Obama has been fairly open about his history with marijuana use when he was younger, and since becoming the President he has even made remarks about it not being as dangerous as alcohol, but he has never taken a strong stand agains prohibition. President Obama wants to be clear that he does not support substance abuse, however he does think that marijuana should be treated similar to alcohol and tobacco. He says that legalization is not done by an order of the president, but instead should be handled by organizations in charge of enforcing prohibition or through legislation. Typically how these classifications are changed are not done by presidential edict but are done either legislatively or through the DEA. As you might imagine, the DEA, whose job it is historically to enforce drug laws, is not always going to be on the cutting edge about these issues." He added that it's "untenable over the long term for the Justice Department or the DEA to be enforcing a patchwork of laws, where something that's legal in one state could get you a 20-year prison sentence in another."