For the first time ever in the United States, marijuana plants were presented, voted on, and displayed at a state fair, helping to further it's casual image in the public eye. Most fair-goers are familiar with competitions judging the largest pumkin or squash, but this year Oregon residents were able to see the newly legalized plant up close and personal. While the cannabis plant is beautiful and fragrant, only immature plants were allowed at the fair, meaning no marijuana buds were present, and no toking was had. The group organizing the cannabis display is currently working to get full flowering marijuana plants next year, but no legislation has been finalized. It has been a slow process just to let adults view a harmless plant at the fair, but the progress is showing as the public acceptance of marijuana is higher than it's ever been. The Oregon State Fair allowed a display about marijuana — but without any living plants — last year at the fair and it generated no complaints, so this year the organization took the next step and agreed to let marijuana growers display live plants on fair grounds. Marijuana leaves are much less potent then the flowers, or buds, and it's not yet legal to transport flowering plants within the state anyway. Donald Morse, director of the Oregon Cannabis Business Council, said his group hopes to get permission to display flowering pot plants next year, but the details aren't finalized.
The Israeli government has recently passed measures giving easier access to medical marijuana for it's 23,000 patients. Officials have discussed legislation that would decriminalize soft drugs, like cannabis, and issue personal fines instead of jail time for those caught in possession. With more lax cannabis laws, the Agriculteral Minister, Uri Ariel, announced a plan to soon begin exporting Israeli medical marijuana abroad. This weekend, Ariel confidently broadcasted over Israel Radio that farmers will be able to grow marijuana within 2 years. Israel plans to have no limit on growers, allow more doctors to prescribe the drug, and increase availability around local pharmacies. “In two years we will have protocols in place that will allow farmers to grow cannabis,” Ariel told Israel Radio over the weekend, according to Israel’s online Hebrew-language magazine Cannabis. “The Agriculture Ministry has set up specific areas for the research and trial of growing cannabis, a plant whose foremost use is the medical treatment of patients around the world,” he said
Tampa Bay, Florida opened it's first medical marijuana dispensary last week, Trulieve, located north of Sunset Point Road on US Highway 19, Clearwater. Trulieve's first location is in Tallahassee, and delivery is available for patients unable to make the trip. High and Low-dose THC cannabis products are available for patients registered on the Florida Department of Health's Compassionate Use Registr. Patients must see a doctor and suffer from epilepsy, seizures, muscle spasms, cancer, or other terminal conditions to be put on the state's registry. Some doctor's are very pleased with the state's medical marijuana program and allowing those with debilitating conditions to try other options. Bonnie’s doctor, Kathy Anderson weighed in, "As a physician I feel it is my duty to ensure patients are given all the options available, so I am very pleased that medical cannabis is now an industry recognized course of treatment I can recommend for my appropriate patients," she explained, “I think Florida is doing it right with a strict policy for dispensing the medicinal marijuana.”
The DEA had a chance to reschedule or legalize marijuana in some forms this year, but instead of legalizing they made a few important changes to the drug's regulation. The National Institute of Drug Abuse has had a monopoly over the sole legal source of marijuana being grown at the University of Mississippi, and in their time researching it they have only focussed on the negatives and why the drug should stay illegal, while also stopping any other studies from having access. The FDA requires that any studies done to approve a drug must use the exact same drug that will be marketed to consumers, which forces anyone interested in studying and marketing marijuana to use the supply from the University of Mississippi, which is prohibited. Luckily, the DEA has now authorized other growers to use their marijuana for medical research, removing the long-held restrictions that have kept marijuana in a cage. While the floodgates for research have been lifted, it will still take some time for proper studies to be planned, conducted, and published, as well as upwards of $20 million to fund it. Now that the DEA has agreed to authorize other growers, research sponsors like MAPS can apply for licenses or contract with new licensees, which will make it possible to ensure that the marijuana used in their studies is the same as the marijuana they plan to make available as a medicine. "What's been so frustrating [is] that, on the one hand, the federal government has said there's not enough evidence to reschedule marijuana," Doblin said, "but on the other hand, they've blocked the ability to get the evidence. And so now that DEA has said that they'll end the NIDA monopoly, that evidence can be gathered....It's going to take four to six years, it could be $15 to $25 million, to gather it. But at least it's possible now, whereas before it was not possible."
A campaign called MI Legalize set out to legalize cannabis like alcohol and gathered over 350,000 signatures to make it onto this year's voting ballot. The problem arose after the Michigan Court of Claims decided that 200,000 of the signatures were invalid because they were collected 180 days before the petition had been submitted. In a lawsuit fighting for the signature's validity, MI Legalize argued that the 180 day limit to gather signatures is unconstitutional, and that there are enough people in the state who believe in the cause to pass it. But the court denied the signatures, turning down the campaign's chance at a fair vote. In a last ditch effort to save the campaign, advocates are pushing for an emergency appeal with the state Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court can come to a decision in a few weeks time and push back some deadlines, the appeal has a shot for this November, but chances are slim. If that appeal isn't enough, campaign leaders will try for a final appeal through the US Supreme Court on the grounds of the First Amendment, but any further outcomes will result in 2018. Although MI Legalize submitted 354,000 signatures — well over the 252,000 required — the court agreed with a State Board of Canvassers decision in June, deciding that “more than 200,000 were collected more than 180 days before the petition was submitted” to the Secretary of State — a violation of state law. “We’re disappointed but we always figured this would go to the state Supreme Court — and that’s where we’re headed” with an emergency appeal, said Jeff Hank, a Lansing lawyer who is chairman of MI Legalize. Hank and others in the pro-marijuana camp who voiced opinions online held out hope about their chances.
Box subscription business models are becoming more common, from dog treats to beauty products, shaving kits, and now your favorite cannabis treats! The company, Au Box, features several packages for consumers to choose from including 'edibles', 'sampler', and 'intimate', which is designed to encourage romance at home. With prices as low as $99/month, San Francisco residents can become a subscriber for 12, 6, 3, or a single trial month. Subscribers can receive pre-rolled joints, hash, buds, kush cake pops, cannabis bath bombs, Foria oil, and even cannabis beard oils. The company also features a special box for your special furry friends with dog treats rich in CBD for healthy joints, CBD shampoos, and hemp toys. Whatever you could want to treat yourself with on a monthly basis, theres a box for that. A new company called Au Box has introduced a monthly subscription service, available only in San Francisco at the moment, where clients with a medical marijuana license can sign up and receive a special box of cannabis products to their doorstep each month. There are three main categories of boxes: “edibles,” “sampler,” and “intimates.” A one-month trial is $150 and subscriptions are $140 a month for three months, $120 a month for six months, and $99 a month for one year.
Back in 2012 a state employee in Connecticut, Gregory Linhoff, was fired when he was caught smoking in a state-owned vehicle. After being arrested, his charges were soon dismissed, as well as his firing being overturned. Not only had Linhoff never had discliplinary problems in his 14 years working for the state, but he was considered a favorable employee. Marijuana helped him cope with medical problems and a pending divorce, leading an arbitrator to instead penalize him with a 6-month suspension without pay, as well as participate in random drug testing for a year. After once again being overturned by a Superior Court judge on the grounds of public policy, Linhoff's union appealed within the Supreme Court, leading the decision to be overruled one last time in a unanimous decision by all 7 Supreme Court justices. The justices ruled that although state drug policy allows for firing, it is not required, allowing some to be awarded proper second chances under the right circumstance. All seven justices agreed that the lower court judge was wrong to overturn the arbitrator's ruling, saying that while state policy on drug use in the work place allows for firing workers it does not require it. Justices also said that judicial second-guessing of arbitration awards is uncommon and should be reserved only for extraordinary circumstances "By the arbitrator's estimation, (Linhoff's) personal qualities and overall record indicate that he is a good candidate for a second chance," Rogers wrote. "Moreover, the discipline the arbitrator imposed was appropriately severe, and sends a message to others who might consider committing similar misconduct that painful consequences will result." At the time Linhoff was fired, he was seeking treatment for depression, stress and anxiety because his wife had filed for divorce and he had a cancer scare; he believed smoking pot helped to alleviate his worries, Collins said.
While the Oregon Liquor Control Commision continues to prepare for the state's recreational marijuana industry, medical marijuana dispensaries have been able to sell recreational marijuana with a 25% tax since January. Oregon voters legalized recreational marijuana back in 2014 and the program is expected to be fully operational by next year. In the 6 months from January to July that dispensaries have been able to collect marijuana taxes, there has been $25.5 million turned into the state. Estimates for next year's recreational marijuana taxes shot up from $8.4 to $35 million after this year's numbers were turned in. Oregon has processed $25.5 million in tax payments from recreational marijuana from January through the end of July. Anticipated state revenue from recreational marijuana through June 2017 was recently quadrupled by Oregon's Legislative Revenue Office. The expected amount rose from $8.4 million to $35 million
A new campaign in Colorado will be encouraging parents to speak to their children about underage marijuana smoking and why it could effect them negatively in the future. A 2015 study in Colorado shows that those with parents openly against underage marijuana use are 4 times more likely to refrain from smoking, and kids with a positive support system at home and in school are 2 times more likely to stray away from the drug. For years our schools have been pushing anti-drug messages, but the study shows that strong messages as such are more effective when delivered from parents. "Our research shows underage marijuana use can impair brain development and keep Colorado kids from reaching their potential," said Dr. Larry Wolk, health department executive director and chief medical officer. "We also know parents and other trusted adults can make a big difference in whether young people choose to use marijuana." CDPHE says a 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado survey found is a parent believes underage marijuana use is wrong, their children are four time less likely to use marijuana. The survey also found youth who have teachers who care, families with clear rules or parents willing to their children are nearly twice as likely not to use the drug.
New York's Department of Health released a progress report for the state's medical marijuana program recently with a recommendation to double the amount of allowed growers and dispensaries around the state within the next two years, giving more access where it's needed. Over half of the state's medical marijuana patient's and registered doctors are located in Long Island and New York City, making access scarce around the rest of the state. The Department of Health also recommended that nurse practitioners be given the ability to certify medical marijuana patients, just as they can prescribe other controlled substances. With easier access to medical professionals and dispensaries, more people will be able to seek out and find the relief they need from medical marijuana. Recommendations must be approved by state legislators and the governor before becoming law. Currently, the state allows five companies to operate one growing facility and four dispensaries each. The Department of Health recommends doubling that over the next two years, which the report says will help "meet additional patient demand and increase access to medical marijuana throughout New York State." "Allowing NPs to issue certifications for medical marijuana would allow them to properly treat patients suffering from severe, debilitating or life threatening conditions, particularly in many rural counties where there are fewer physicians available to treat such ailments," according to the report
Gov. Wolf of Pennsylvania signed the state's medical marijuana bill into law in April, and this week a draft of the regulations to grow, cultivate, and track the drug have been released for aspiring business owners' benefit. The market to grow and sell medical marijuana will be intensely competitive with only 25 licenses awarded, and businesses will have to move quickly to begin sales by the estimated open date of 2018. Growers will have a 30-day window to import seeds. but after the first crop, no out of state cannabis imports will be legal. The proposal has received praise from advocates for using the successful aspects and compensating for problems in other states' current programs. "These regulations take into account what other states have done successfully and what other states would have liked to have done better," Bronstein said, "but the Pennsylvania program is its own animal." No out-of-state marijuana plants can be brought into Pennsylvania at any time. Growers will have a 30-day window to import seeds for their first crops, but subsequent crops must be grown with seeds, clones, or grafts produced at in-state facilities
Currently in Tennessee, those caught with less than an ounce of marijuana face a misdemeanor punshable up to a year in jail and fines up to $2,500, but some legislators are hoping to change that. In a first vote by the Metro Council, legislators passed a decriminalization bill that would lower penalties in Nashville for those possessing less than half an ounce of marijuana to a $50 fine or 10 hours of community service. Some legislators who voted for the proposal have stated that they'll likely vote against the bill in the future, but wanted to open up the floor to discussion. Nashville legislators have never considered a marijuana decriminalization proposal before this, but they hope to model the current proposal after Tampa's. “I think it’s completely unfair to shut off debate and kill this bill before we’ve ever had it before any committee — any conversation about it whatsoever,” Pulley said. “Let’s at least move it through the process and see what we can come up with. Everybody’s going to have an opportunity to weigh in on this.”