When a state is legalizing marijuana in some form, it's common for certain cities or counties to opt out of or limit the regulation within city limits, as is the case for atleast 81 cities in Oregon, while others choose to instill unreasonably high taxes on the drug. Fairview, Oregon taxes recreational marijuana sales at 40% to discourage retailers, and the city has an outright ban on marijuana grows, however, Oregon state law does not specify the ability for cities to ban medical marijuana grows. While operating under the city ban, officials forced out 3 growers in an industrial park in Fairview, leaving the owner of the rented buildings at a loss. In an attempt to collect missed revenue and reinstate his tenants, the industrial park owner is suing Fairview now knowing that the city did not have the ability to ban medical marijuana grows due to state law. Troutner instructed his tenants to stop growing. Three of four stopped renting, and Troutner expects the fourth to leave soon, the lawsuit said. Troutner has lost $3,290 a month in rent and will lose another $880 when the fourth tenant leaves, the lawsuit said. "There's no authority from the state for a city to ban (on medical growing)," the park's lawyer Bear Wilner-Nugent said.
Cannabis has long been part of the Rastafarian and Jamaican culture, but only recently has the country legalized the possession of small amounts of the drug. Legalized for medical and sacramental purposes, locals and tourists alike will be able to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana purchased from one of the conveniently located airport/seaport kiosks. Medical professionals will man the kiosks and help visiting patients purchase a local permit to carry the drug. For those visiting without an established medical marijuana card, they will be able to 'self-declare' and carry up to 2 ounces. To those living on the island, each house will be limited to growing 5 or fewer cannabis plants. “It would primarily be for people who have a prescription and, in effect, you're doing it for medicinal purposes with a permit from the Ministry of Health. If they don't have a prescription, then they can do what we call 'self-declare', and this will allow them to have the two ounces while they are here,” Mr Lightbourne said.
According to the 2016 Nevada Legal Cannabis Market State Profile released by Arcview Market Research, if Nevada legalizes the adult recreational use of marijuana this November, sales will grow at an annual compound growth rate of 51% over the next 4 years, allowing sales to go from $121.6 million (2016) to an estimated $630 million (2020). Home to under 3 million residents, Nevada's legal marijuana market will see most of it's success from tourists, of which 55 million visited the state in 2015. As a prime entertainment and hospitality location, Nevada will continue to grow with tourism, but it's up to the voters if that will soon include recreational marijuana or not. Nevada’s population is just under 3 million residents, leading to a relatively small resident consumer market. However, over 55 million tourists visited Nevada in 2015, and the state’s medical marijuana reciprocity laws allow nonresident patients to purchase cannabis products while visiting the state. Nevada’s experience managing world-class recreational experiences will create exciting opportunities to integrate cannabis into the state’s rich hospitality and entertainment portfolio. If adult use legalization passes, a significant portion of all legal sales in the state are projected to come from tourists, and for many domestic and international travelers, Nevada will be their first experience in a market where adult use of cannabis is legal.
Coalinga, California City Council passed a bill allowing the immediate cultivation of medical marijuana within city limits. The company Ocean Grow Extracts has been approved to begin hiring it's 100 local workers, and has already received over 200 applications. The city of Coalinga found itself nearly $3.5 million in debt before it allowed Ocean Grow Extracts to purchase a local grow location, a dormant prison, for $4.1 million, covering the city's debt. The original proposed deal also included Ocean Grow Extracts paying around $2 million in rent/fees for the prison per year. Though some members of the community needed convincing of it's legitimacy, medical marijuana has finally been accepted in Coalinga and the city will likely vote on dispensing and delivering the drug in the future. The council also approved the sale of the city’s dormant prison, Claremont Custody Center, to Ocean Grown Extracts for $4.1 million. Ocean Grown will transform the prison into a medical cannabis oil extraction manufacturing plant. “We listened to the citizens and created a package that was reflective of our population.” Keough believes that the dozens of hours spent educating the community on the medical marijuana industry has changed the small town’s way of thinking. “You can never do anything that satisfies everyone,” Keough said, “but we were pretty darn close to doing that.”
An accusation by many marijuana opponents is that medical marijuana is only a front for recreational marijuana users, but how can we be sure that patients are using the drug medically? In the first study of it's kind, researchers found that states with legalized medical marijuana have experienced a decline in Medicare prescriptions for drugs used to treat the same conditions as marijuana. The same decline was not found in drugs used to treat other illnesses not associated with medical marijuana. In 2013, the medical marijuana industry saved Medicare about $165 million in public healthcare costs, and a separate unreleased study has found that Medicaid has experienced an even bigger drop in prescription drug payments. Medical marijuana programs have also dramatically dropped the prescription rate of opioid painkillers by about 1,800 daily doses per doctor per year. Because the prescriptions for drugs like opioid painkillers and antidepressants — and associated Medicare spending on those drugs — fell in states where marijuana could feasibly be used as a replacement, the researchers said it appears likely legalization led to a drop in prescriptions. That point, they said, is strengthened because prescriptions didn't drop for medicines such as blood-thinners, for which marijuana isn't an alternative. Medical marijuana saved Medicare about $165 million in 2013, the researchers concluded. They estimated that, if medical marijuana were available nationwide, Medicare Part D spending would have declined in the same year by about $470 million. That's about half a percent of the program's total expenditures. The researchers found that in states with medical marijuana laws on the books, the number of prescriptions dropped for drugs to treat anxiety, depression, nausea, pain, psychosis, seizures, sleep disorders and spasticity. Those are all conditions for which marijuana is sometimes recommended. Marijuana is unlike other drugs, such as opioids, in which overdoses are fatal, said Deepak D'Souza, a professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, who has researched marijuana. "That doesn't happen with marijuana," he added.
Florida passed it's first medical marijuana law 2 years ago allowing low-THC cannabis to be grown and sold in the state for seizure patients. 2 years later and there is still no such system set in place, leaving seizure patients, many of them children, to suffer and wait. As many state's have experienced, legal issues and debates have held back implementation of the medical marijuana program, but Florida has seen another setback this year after passing a law allowing growers to challenge other growers for their license. The state had hoped to have oil ready for patients by January 1, 2015, but now the Department of Health's Office of Compassionate Use is confident that the drug will be ready this fall. "We were told January 1, 2015, oil would be available to patients," Moseley said. After two years -- nothing. The state licensed five growers originally, but things have been tangled in a web of legal issues, causing a change in state law where a grower could challenge for a license if they weren't originally granted one. "It's entirely likely that product will be available before September," said Christian Bax, of the Office of Compassionate Use.
After Washington state legalized recreational marijuana, the city of University Place created a ban to prohibit marijuana businesses. 2 years later, and now the city council is questioning the ban while preparing for next year's estimated $1 million shortfall. The state Liquor and Cannabis Board has already allotted 1 marijuana store license to the city of 31,500 residents, and if the ban is lifted, some city council members are concerned that more licenses would be allotted to the city. While the city council debates on lifting the ban, or rewriting it, the issue is no longer about legalizing it, but whether to continue the ban. City Attorney Steve Victor gave the council two options at a study session Tuesday: lift the current ban and allow marijuana sales, or pass a new ban. “The one I would suggest would be to remove the prohibition,” Victor told the council. “If we allow the store, the state gives us a portion of that revenue,” Victor said Tuesday. “A year ago that would have been about $15,000. Today that’s somewhere between the $40,000 and $60,000 range. In the context of our budget, that’s significant.
2016 could be the year that marks a majority of states in the US as having some form of legal marijuana after this November's vote. Colorado continues to set an appealing example with legal marijuana sales growing 40% in 2015 to almost $1 billion. The $135 million in tax revenue and fees was used on school construction and other public projects. With all signs pointing towards legalization, at least 3 states will be voting on medical marijauna (Arkansas, Florida, and Missouri), and at least 5 will vote on recreational marijuana for adult use (Nevada, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, and Maine. In fact, after November, a majority of U.S. states could have legal marijuana in some form, as three more states—Arkansas, Florida, and Missouri—are expected to vote on whether or not to legalize medical marijuana in the upcoming election (Florida saw a similar ballot initiative fail two years ago). And, at least five states will vote on legalizing adult-use, or recreational, marijuana in November, including California, which already has the country’s largest legal marijuana market, thanks to a medical pot industry that has been around for two decades
After having previously resisted the expansion of Illinois' medical marijuana program, Governor Rauner has decided to sign the bill extending the state's program until atleast 2020. Ontop of allowing the medical marijuana businesses to grow and patients' continued access to the drug, PTSD and terminal illnesses are now qualyfing conditions for medical marijuana. Terminal illnesses are defined as those with less than 6 months to live. The Illinois Department of Public Health is working to update the registration system, but currently those with PTSD or a terminal illness are not able to sign up for the program. A state law allows people to petition to add new illnesses to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, and currently the conditions being debated in lawsuits are: osteoarthritis, autism, chronic post-operative pain, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, polycystic kidney disease and intractable pain. The new law also streamlines how doctors approve patients and gives the governor the ability to reappoint members of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board. State Rep. Lou Lang, the Skokie Democrat who has sponsored medical marijuana proposals, said the extension and technical changes are crucial to gauging the program's success. "They won't have to revert to purchasing cannabis illegally or consider moving to another state that has a medical cannabis program," Morgan said.
To bring recreational marijuana to November's ballot, The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol needs only 150,642 signatures to be valid out of the 258,582 signatures they submitted to the Arizona Secretary of State this week. With numbers on their side, marijuana activists are sure the initiative will make the ballot, but the question remains if Arizona voters will be able to legalize the drug. If the initiative passes, adults over 21 in Arizona will be able to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana purchased from a licensed distributor, or grow up to 6 plants at home. The initiative would also introduce a Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control to regulate program, and a 15% tax on retail marijuana sales with revenue funding education and public health. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol needs 150,642 valid signatures from registered voters to qualify, and they have likely submitted enough signatures to account for any that may be thrown out. The measure almost certainly will make the ballot[.] The proposition would ask Arizona voters to legalize marijuana for recreational use and establish a network of licensed cannabis shops that would tax sales of the drug, similar to the model established in Colorado. By 2020, according to a new analysis by the Joint Budget Legislative Committee, $27.8 million in tax revenues would go to K-12 public schools for operating costs and another $27.8 million would go to schools to help pay for full-day kindergarte
Marijuana has shown promising results in treating many illnesses from epilepsy to PTSD, but now researchers have reason to believe THC could help breakdown protein buildup and relieve inflammation in the brain - problems associated with Alzheimer's. When the brain's neurons are inflamed they cannot communicate properly. The lab grown neurons were altered to create a buildup of the protein beta-amyloid, simulating a cause of Alzheimers, and the THC and other cannabis compounds were able to engage the body's naturally occuring endocannabinoid receptors to treat the protein buildup. Scientists have previously discovered that physical activity helps engage the endocannabinoid receptors and slow the progression of Alzheimer's. "Although other studies have offered evidence that cannabinoids might be neuroprotective against the symptoms of Alzheimer's, we believe our study is the first to demonstrate that cannabinoids affect both inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells," says Salk Professor David Schubert, the senior author of the paper said in a statement. The researchers believe that the THC was able to reduce the protein buildup and inflammation by working in the brain’s endocannabinoid receptors, which are naturally occurring in the body. Scientists had already known that exercise engages these receptors, and physical activity can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease
The federal government's refusal to implement marijuana-friendly laws has taken it's toll over the years, but now users are worried about their second amendment rights. Darren White, a former head of the Department of Public Safety and 8-year sheriff, has brought to light the issue of state-legal marijuana users being denied the right to legally own firearms. As it stands, the federal government prohibits unlawful users of controlled substances to purchase or possess a firearm. White is a medical cannabis patient in New Mexico, where the use of medical marijuana is legal, and he is also an investor and chief administrator/chief of security for a new medical grower in Albuquerque. As former law enforcement and a current marijuana consumer, White does not want anyone to be persecuted or denied their second amendment rights for simply using a drug that is now legal in 25 states. During a standard background check for a firearm, medical marijuana users are required to say 'yes' when asked “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.” which will immediately disqualify anyone. Some have recommended lying on the application, but a false statement on a background check is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A false statement on a background check form is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In Colorado, county sheriffs issue concealed carry permits, and some sheriffs specifically ask applicants whether they are marijuana users. Supporters of a proposal that would have prohibited sheriffs from denying permits because of marijuana use were unsuccessful in forcing a statewide vote this year on the proposal. “It’s very similar to most of the ways the federal government approaches marijuana,” he says. “They have not caught up to the states. They do not recognize medical cannabis at all. States tend to lead the way on issues like this. They already have.”