The latest in marijuana news, culture and politics
  • Medical Marijuana Posted Apr 2016

    Board to review 15 conditions for Illinois medical marijuana

    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 Posted Apr 2016

    Lawmakers at odds over medical marijuana access, depth of treatment: 'Don’t get bogged down in your fears'

    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.

  • News Posted Apr 2016

    Vermont House Speaker Doubts Legal Marijuana Will Happen in 2016

    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.” 

  • News Posted Apr 2016

    California bill would allow landlords to ban marijuana for renters

    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

  • Medical Marijuana Posted Apr 2016

    Marijuana Legalization Clears Hurdle to Maine Ballot

    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.

  • Legalization Posted Apr 2016

    Attorney General Certifies Marijuana Amendment Ballot Title

    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).

  • Medical Marijuana Posted Apr 2016

    Catholic bishop lends support to medical marijuana

    in 2014 Iowa lawmakers voted to legalize medical marijuana for certain ailments, but they never established a legal way to obtain the medicine. This year lawmakers continue to debate the topic, but instead of regulating their own statewide program, a new house bill, if passed, would allow Iowans to travel to their neighbors up north in Minnesota and piggyback off of their medical marijuana system. Some lawmakers were quick to point out the issues with the federal ban of transporting marijuana products across state borders, not to mention forcing Minnesota lawmakers to pass legislation and regulate for a whole new population. The need for such legislation seems silly when the Iowa House could simply pass Senate File 484, which would increase the number of ailments qualifying for medical marijuana as well as establish licensed growers and dispensaries to sell the drug to patients within their home state of Iowa. This logical Senate bill is being endorsed by Des Moines' Catholic Bishop Richard Pates who is an influential leader of 100,000 Roman Catholics in Iowa. “It is sad we are in a place where we are telling sick and vulnerable Iowans to go to another state to get critical health care they need," Bolkcom told The Des Moines Register.  "I hope the House will just take up the comprehensive bill the Senate passed last year and send it down to the governor. … It would provide safe, legal access to cannabis to critically ill Iowans."

  • News Posted Apr 2016

    Marijuana companies join forces to expand beyond state lines

    Marijuana businesses face many unfair roadblocks that normal businesses never worry about simply because the federal government refuses to budge on the illegality of cannabis. Certain state laws allow marijuana dispensaries to exist, but they cannot choose to expand nationwide in the same manner a fast food restaurant might. The federally illegal sticker on marijuana means even the states with legal marijuana programs cannot move any products across state lines for fear of federal involvement. Some canna-businesses have found a loop hole in this system by either establishing a partnership between companies and their manufacturing centers in different states, or by utilizing two different states with similarly regulated marijuana programs. Vireo Health is a medical marijuana dispensary that sells products in both New York and Minnesota as their programs are very similar in their restriction of only non-smokable forms of marijuana. For the moment, legal marijuana companies are too consumed by the state and local laws that are enforced to worry about federal ones that aren’t. The rules weigh heavily on companies that have a presence in more than one state because every state with a legal marijuana industry has its own laws on matters as varied as packaging, dosages in edibles (if they allow edibles) and dispensary security.

  • Medical Marijuana Posted Apr 2016

    White House sits down with marijuana law reformers today

    A few weeks following a large marijuana rally in front of the White House, advocates from DC Marijuana Justice earned a meeting with the Obama Administration to discuss why cannabis does not belong in schedule 1 next to heroin and LSD. While the drug war raged on for many years, slowly the public's view of marijuana has grown less harsh. Activists arent the only ones calling for marijuana's rescheduling as doctors, lawmakers, researchers and about 61% of the public agrees that marijuana should be legal. The DEA has announced their plan to possibly deschedule cannabis by this summer, and they also recently approved a study involving whole-plant marijuana to study the effects on PTSD patients. “DCMJ appreciates greatly the invitation by the Obama administration to begin an educated and passionate dialogue into the need to remove cannabis from the list of Schedule One drugs,” Eidinger said in a statement. “Thanks to Schedule One of the Controlled Substances Act, Americans, especially people of color, are needlessly incarcerated, and critical medical research into the healing properties of cannabis is placed on hold for no good reason.”

  • News Posted Apr 2016

    Senate accepts House changes to alcohol, marijuana bill

    Alaska voters legalized the recreational sale and use of marijuana in 2014, yet the market remains in the planning phase. Business owners and investors have been ready to begin operations for months, but legislators have been stuck debating details of the marijuana bill not even related to cannabis regulations, holding back the entire process. This week after much debate, the Alaska Senate finally passed the changes made by the House, moving the bill forward. The bill allows for local communities to vote and ban marijuana businesses if they see fit. After this legislation finally passed the Senate, marijuana businesses have begun applying for their licenses.  The bill’s passage by the Senate Friday is significant, since lawmakers so far have been unable to agree on a marijuana bill containing the background check provisions. The marijuana legislation has been stuck over differences on provisions that would bar legal marijuana operations in unincorporated areas outside of organized boroughs but allow communities in those areas to hold local elections to allow for pot businesses.

  • News Posted Apr 2016

    Marijuana Advocates Want to Establish a Standard Unit of Highness

    Alcohol, while having different rules and regulations depending on the state, is very uniform when it comes to measurement. The alcohol content in a beverage is an easy way to see exactly what you will be ingesting and how it will effect you compared to other drinks. Marijuana on the otherhand is not so simple. Though regulated markets have measurements of THC and CBD, the accuracy of such variables is not consistent across the different stores and states, and the same amount of THC can effect a user differently based on it being smoked, vaporized, or eaten. The standard serving that is growing more popular is instead 10 milligrams per dose, commonly found in edibles, would allow new users and experienced users alike to both make the best decision for them. Until marijuana is federally regulated, the variants in pot dosing will continue to fluctuate and users will be forced to get what they get. Settling on a regulatory standard of how big a hit should be might be tough, but some in the rapidly growing marijuana industry say that they would welcome the change. While it might mean more scrutiny of their products, settling on a standard would make it easier for producers, patients and recreational users alike to know just what it is they are getting in each puff or bite, Ricardo Baca wrote for the Cannabist in 2015. “In clearly marking what the dose is, hopefully that will lead to more responsible use and public education,” John Lord, who owns several Colorado pot shops, told Baca. “It keeps us safe, and it provides uniformity for the product itself.”

  • News Posted Apr 2016

    Iowa looks to Minnesota for medical marijuana

    In 2014 Iowa legalized CDB oils for patients suffering from seizures, which would have been helpful if patients could buy the drug anywhere within their state, but they cannot. Again, another state has 'legalized' CBD to help patients with no other options without giving them access to the drug, State legislators were hoping to expand on the bill this session but it does not look like it will make any progress soon. In hopes to relieve patients, the idea was proposed to allow Iowans in need of CBD to travel to their neighbors in Minnesota and piggyback their medical marijuana program. While Minnesota's medical marijuana program could use the business at only 1,275 patients, the program is also not practical for Iowans to travel long distances and then be at the threat of the federal government for crossing state lines with a schedule 1 drug. Realistically, though it may take time to battle through the republican legislature, the state will be best off cultivating and distributing the drug within it's own borders, atleast until the federal threat diminishes. A bill that would create a system for manufacturing, dispensing and possessing cannabis oil in Iowa — and expand the number of conditions that qualify — has stalled in the Republican-controlled Iowa House this session. “Why don’t we just do it the right way and make it happen here?” he said. “It’s not a slippery slope.”

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