Archive for May, 2019

How Looser Medical Marijuana Laws Could Bite NY In The Bud

May 22nd, 2019

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This photo a guest takes a puff from a marijuana cigarette at the Sensi Magazine party celebrating the 420 holiday in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles (Richard Vogel/AP/Shutterstock)

The Brian Lehrer Show spent three weeks looking at the issues facing marijuana legalization in the tri-state area for a series called Reefer, Managed. Here’s the first of three stories cataloguing some of their findings for Gothamist.

As New York’s legislature struggles to reach a consensus on how to legalize recreational marijuana, some lawmakers are also seeking to expand the state’s existing medical marijuana program, which is one of the most restrictive in the country.

Senator Diane Savino and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried are co-sponsoring a new bill that would allow companies currently registered to grow and distribute medical cannabis products to increase the number of their dispensaries.

“So we need to double the number of dispensaries minimally. We need to add more registered organizations,” Senator Savino recently said on the FAQ NYC podcast. “We need to eliminate conditions as a requirement and leave that up to doctors and patients. We need to lift the restriction on smoking.”

A more relaxed medical marijuana system in New York might make the path to full legalization easier. But in states like California, which went from a lenient medical market to a highly taxed and regulated system in 2018, sales of illicit marijuana are vastly undercutting legal weed, and

Article source: http://gothamist.com/2019/05/21/medical_marijuana_california_beware.php

Medical marijuana, expungement bills pass through Assembly and Senate committees

May 21st, 2019

When Senate President Steve Sweeney announced last week that voters would have to decide the marijuana question, it was a victory for the legislature’s sharpest critic of legalization, Sen. Ron Rice.

“I don’t call it a victory. I want to thank the Legislature and the majority who understood that to pass legalization of recreational marijuana would do more harm for minorities and minority communities than good,” Rice said.

While that issue is slated to go on the 2020 ballot, two other issues remain: medical marijuana expansion and expungement of criminal records.

Senate and Assembly committees approved legislation Monday that addresses both. The medical marijuana bill doubles the number of dispensaries in the state from six to 12 and makes it easier for patients to access medical cannabis.

Two other bills deal with the social justice component.

One makes it easier to expunge a criminal conviction for low-level possession. The other says if you’re caught with less than 2 ounces of pot, you get a small fine, like a traffic ticket. That is essentially decriminalization.

It was hard to keep track of the bills Monday.

Word kept going round that they were being held or being amended. Even cannabis industry lobbyist Bill Caruso had trouble keeping up with the script.

“It’s very confusing. I think there are a lot of people that were expecting a vote in March on a broad race bill package that dealt with medical, that dealt with a lot of the answers related to criminal and social justice issues and began down a

Article source: https://www.njtvonline.org/news/video/nj-lawmakers-advance-medical-cannabis-expungement-bills/

‘It’s about time.’ First Greater Cincinnati medical marijuana dispensary opens

May 21st, 2019

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Dozens wait in line to enter the first medical marijuana dispensary in southwest Ohio.
Meg Vogel, Cincinnati

About 60 people stood in line Tuesday morning outside the About Wellness Ohio medical marijuana dispensary Lebanon, anticipating the opening of the first dispensary in Southwest Ohio.

As registered medical marijuana patients and caregivers filed into the dispensary single-file after presenting their ID cards at the door, Betty Duermit of West Chester breathed a sigh of relief.

“We’ve been waiting for a dispensary to open up close to us for months,’’ Duermit said. “It’s about time.’’

The 79-year-old grandmother said she came seeking relief for tremors in her left arm that she fears may be an early sign of Parkinson’s disease.

Duermit said she doesn’t like pills, and none of the prescription medicines she’s tried have been effective for treating her symptoms.

She’s never tried it before, but she’s hoping she’ll have better luck with medical marijuana, although many of her friends and family are skeptical.

“They think it’s just pot, and you’re just going to get high all the time,’’ Duermit joked. “I’m not sure what to expect. We really don’t know what we’re doing, or what we need. I’m really just looking for anything that will calm this tremor down.’’

Melissa West, 30, also from West Chester, has had her medical marijuana card for more than a year, and had been driving to a dispensary in Sandusky, Ohio to buy products.

She

Article source: https://www.cincinnati.com/story/money/2019/05/20/medical-marijuana-dispensary-cincinnati-lebanon-about-wellness-ohio/3743429002/

Medical marijuana smuggling charges against ex-Vireo Health officers upheld

May 21st, 2019

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Robert Maciol, president of the state Sheriff’s Association and the Oneida County sheriff, spoke out against recreational marijuana during a news conference in Albany on Feb. 7, 2019.
Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief

Minnesota’s state Court of Appeals has upheld criminal charges filed against two cannabis company officers accused of smuggling medical marijuana from Minnesota to New York.

The appellate decision Monday rejected the ex-Vireo Health officers’ bid to have the charges tossed, clearing the way for a potential trial.

The two former officers of Vireo, which has New York dispensaries in White Plains and Johnson City, are accused of using the company’s armored vehicle to illegally transport medical cannabis oil from Minnesota to New York in December 2015.

The case is focused on whether state laws sufficiently addressed smuggling medical marijuana across state borders.

The appellate court ruled Minnesota state law didn’t allow medical marijuana transfers between Minnesota-based Vireo’s corporate affiliates, including the one in New York.

That unraveled a key argument for the defense attorney for one of the company’s ex-officers, Dr. Laura Bultman, who was chief medical officer at the time of the alleged smuggling.

The legal battle is important for cannabis industry leaders with affiliates across the country, such as those lobbying New York’s lawmakers to legalize recreational pot.

ARRESTS: Legalize marijuana in New York? Arrest stats over 18 years

POT: What to know about black-market forces threatening recreational pot

POLITICS: Is there

Article source: https://www.lohud.com/story/news/investigations/2019/05/20/ny-medical-marijuana-smuggling-charges-vireo-health/3744803002/

NJ Lawmakers Advance Medical Cannabis, Expungement Bills

May 21st, 2019

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey lawmakers advanced legislation Monday expanding the state’s medical marijuana program and making it easier for certain convicts to clear their records.

Democrat-led Assembly and Senate committees advanced the measures, with votes in each chamber coming as early as this week.

Monday’s votes come days after Senate President Steve Sweeney said a bill legalizing cannabis for adults 21 and older didn’t have enough support to pass and he instead would pursue a 2020 referendum.

Sweeney also said that in the interim, lawmakers would pursue an expanded medical cannabis program as well as legislation to ease the expungement of certain criminal records.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy supports adult-use cannabis legalization but had a “mixed reaction” to Sweeney’s proposal. Murphy’s office declined to comment Monday on the bills.

The medical marijuana legislation sets up a regulatory commission to oversee the program, which is managed by the Department of Health under current law.

The bill also calls for up to 23 permits for medical cannabis cultivation. Currently there are six alternative treatment centers, which are authorized to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana. The Murphy administration has said it would double that number to 12.

The 2010 law enacted under former Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine authorized the treatment centers to cultivate, process and sell medical cannabis. The new legislation instead provides for different categories for wholesale and retail, for example, mirroring language in the recreational marijuana bill that remains on ice.

The measure also phases

Article source: https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/new-jersey-lawmakers-advance-medical-cannabis-expungement-bills

New Jersey medical marijuana expansion bill gains traction

May 20th, 2019

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NJ medical marijuana expansion, expungement reform move forward but decriminalization bill pulled

May 20th, 2019

TRENTON — While the legislative push to legalize weed may be dead, the effort to expand the New Jersey medical marijuana program and overhaul the expungement process could soon be headed to a floor vote.

The Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act received unanimous approval from the Senate Health committee on Monday, the first vote since last week’s announcement that marijuana legalization would head to the ballot instead of the Senate floor.

If signed into law, the bill would allow patients to purchase up to 3 ounces of cannabis per month — up from 2 ounces — and legalize edible forms of medical marijuana. The sales tax on medical marijuana purchases would be phased out by 2025. 

RELATED: Focus on medical marijuana is ‘happy day’ for patients, namesake’s father says

“While the bill’s not perfect … this is still light years ahead of our present program, and it’s at a time when it’s exactly appropriate,” said bill sponsor Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth.

The medical marijuana expansion bill is due for a vote in the Assembly Appropriations Committee Monday afternoon.

Article source: https://www.app.com/story/news/local/new-jersey/marijuana/2019/05/20/new-jersey-marijuana-legalization-legal-weed-decriminalization-medical/3738597002/

What new bill means for Montana medical marijuana dispensaries – KPAX

May 20th, 2019

BILLINGS – When Montana’s medical marijuana program first debuted in 2004 it, unfortunately, had some difficulties.

With the passing of Senate Bill 333 back in 2017 and the current passing of Senate Bill 265, there have been a lot of revisions to the program that tackle different elements; the most notable change being the untethering of patients from only having one caregiver while placing a five ounce limit on the amount of marijuana patients can buy each month.

“It’s kind of just the wild west,” said Ryder Gerberding, owner of Medicine Creek Caregivers. “Everybody was advertising where they wanted to, doing whatever they wanted to, with absolutely no oversight.”

“The state will have a system set up of all the providers who are in their tracking system and you can choose whichever one you want to go to, so that will give patients the freedom if they’re traveling to go somewhere else,” said Montana Advanced Caregivers CFO Jean Lucas.

For patients now being allowed to shop at multiple dispensaries, what does that mean for competition in the industry?

It will allow providers to focus much more on their niche. For example, if a provider is excellent at making edibles, but their flowers don’t grow very well, this will allow them to focus their attention much more on perfecting just edibles.

Medical Marijuana
(MTN News photo)

In 2018, the total sales in the medical marijuana program reached $45

Article source: https://kpax.com/health-news/2019/05/19/what-new-bill-means-for-montana-medical-marijuana-dispensaries/

Cities Prepare For Legalized Medical Marijuana In Missouri

May 20th, 2019

While the state will license medical marijuana dispensary facilities, it’s up to cities to set the rules on where they can locate in their towns.

The amendment voters approved last fall to legalize medical marijuana has some provisions regulating the location of dispensaries, labs, cultivation centers and testing facilities. That includes a minimum of 1,000 feet from schools, day cares and places of worship.

Cities have the ability to reduce that buffer. They can also regulate hours of operation and how the sites will fit into local zoning designations. Missouri will start taking applications for medical marijuana dispensary locations in August.

Cities can not keep medical marijuana facilities out. The amendment says no local government can prevent them from being within city limits “through the enactment of ordinances or regulations.”

“That’s really saying that, in essence, you can’t zone out these kinds of things,” said Rolla City Administrator John Butz. “The market’s going to have to have reasonable expectations where this type of dispensary would be able to operate in your community.”

If a city doesn’t do anything, the minimum separation from schools, places of worship and day cares will be 1,000 feet. The proposal Rolla’s Planning and Zoning Commission sent to the city council recently sets it at 500 feet. It also stipulates dispensaries can be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.

Medical marijuana proponents say any limit is too much.

“We voted it in as a medicine. That means we should definitely treat that industry as fairly as we treat

Article source: https://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/cities-prepare-legalized-medical-marijuana-missouri

What new bill means for Montana medical marijuana dispensaries

May 19th, 2019

BILLINGS – When Montana’s medical marijuana program first debuted in 2004 it unfortunately had some difficulties.

With the passing of Senate Bill 333 back in 2017 and the current passing of Bill 265, there have been a lot of revisions to the program that tackle different elements; the most notable change being the untethering of patients from only having one caregiver while placing a five ounce limit on the amount of marijuana patients can buy each month.

“It’s kind of just the wild west,” said Ryder Gerberding, owner of Medicine Creek Caregivers. “Everybody was advertising where they wanted to, doing whatever they wanted to, with absolutely no oversight.”

“The state will have a system set up of all the providers who are in their tracking system and you can choose whichever one you want to go to, so that will give patients the freedom if they’re traveling to go somewhere else,” said Jean Lucas, CFO of Montana Advanced Caregivers.

For patients now being allowed to shop at multiple dispensaries, what does that mean for competition in the industry?

It will allow providers to focus much more on their niche. For example, if a provider is excellent at making edibles, but their flowers don’t grow very well, this will allow them to focus their attention much more on perfecting just edibles.

In 2018 the total sales in the medical marijuana program reached $45 million dollars; with the tax being raised back to 4 percent to fund the program, where exactly is the excess revenue going?

“As the

Article source: https://kxlf.com/news/montana-news/2019/05/19/what-new-bill-means-for-montana-medical-marijuana-dispensaries/