Archive for the ‘news’ category

Smokable medical marijuana could cost less for Florida patients

March 20th, 2019

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Medical marijuana cardholders who are looking forward to buying smokable flower buds at cannabis dispensaries could also pay a lot less for medical marijuana soon.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Monday

to repeal Florida’s ban on smokable medical marijuana.

But no one knows when the sale of flower buds will be allowed at medical marijuana dispensaries.


Doctor explains benefits of smokable medical marijuana

“As soon as the rules get promulgated by the Department of Health and the Office of Medical Marijuana Use, and as soon as they give us approval to start selling flowers, we’ll be ready to sell,” said Vijay Choksi with GrowHealthy Medical Cannabis Dispensary.

Choksi said they’ve been waiting for the smoke to clear on this, and so have many of their customers.

“Patients are questioning how they are allowed to purchase smokable flower,” said Choksi.

Medical marijuana cardholders will still have to get approval from a doctor certified to issue medical marijuana prescriptions to smoke flower buds, but once they do, they’re looking at a 20 to 25 percent price drop to medicate.

“Right now, we take a flower and it requires a processing into that end-substance,” said

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Medical marijuana growers can meet demand for recreational pot after legalization, study commissioned by growers says

March 19th, 2019

Existing growers of Illinois’ medical marijuana crop would be able to meet demand for recreational pot in Illinois for up to four years after legalization, but the state would need more than 400 new dispensaries to handle distribution, according to a study released Tuesday from a group that represents about two dozen state licensed marijuana growers and sellers.

The study contradicts a report released last month that suggested existing growers could meet recreational pot demand for only about two years. That study was commissioned by lawmakers drafting a bill to legalize recreational marijuana, which is a priority for Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

One of the central questions facing lawmakers is how many licenses should be created for growers and sellers of recreational pot. There are 17 companies licensed to grow and 55 dispensaries in this state’s medical marijuana pilot program.

“The bottom line, we believe, in all of it is that additional licenses may be needed, but the concern is when and how,” said Pam Althoff, a former Republican state senator who leads the Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois, which sponsored the latest study. As recently as last month, the alliance said it opposed any new growing licenses.

Two years after voters approved it, Florida legalizes smoking medical marijuana

March 19th, 2019

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Medical cannabis expansion has high support in the Texas Legislature. But Dan Patrick might stand in the way.

March 19th, 2019

State Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, was on the floor of the Texas House in 2015 trying to convince her colleagues to open up the state to medical cannabis, and it was not going well.

One lawmaker yelled, “This is a bad bill.” Others booed as Klick argued that her bill would legalize medical cannabis in the most narrow way possible. It only allowed the sale of specific medical cannabis products if they contained low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol — the psychoactive element in marijuana known as THC — to Texans with intractable epilepsy who had already tried two FDA-approved drugs and found them to be ineffective. Patients also needed to be permanent Texas residents and get approval from two doctors listed on the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas.

Getting her measure across the finish line in the House amounted to nothing short of a floor fight. Yet the bill, dubbed the Compassionate Use Act, ultimately passed both chambers that year, sending it to Gov. Greg Abbott, who later signed it into law. Three dispensaries have since opened in Texas.

Now, nearly four years later, a broad coalition of lawmakers plus some powerful lobbyists support expanding access to medical cannabis in Texas. But bills to do so face a major obstacle: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the Senate’s presiding officer, who can single-handedly block any legislation from coming up for a vote in the upper chamber.

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MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Medical marijuana patients can now smoke the drug

March 19th, 2019

Up in smoke: Gov. DeSantis signs bill into law killing ban on smokable medical marijuana

March 18th, 2019

Governor Ron DeSantis signed the first bill of his administration into law today, lifting a ban on the sale of smokable medical marijuana by licensed dispensaries.

He also filed a joint motion in state appellate court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by medical marijuana advocates against the state challenging the constitutionality of a 2017 law that made smokable medical marijuana illegal.

Related: Senate signs off on smokable marijuana

Nikki Fried: Democracy up in smoke in Florida | Opinion

“I thank my colleagues in the Legislature for working with me to ensure the will of the voters is upheld,” DeSantis said. “Now that we have honored our duty to find a legislative solution, I have honored my commitment and filed a joint motion to dismiss the state’s appeal and to vacate the lower court decision which had held the prior law to be unconstitutional.”

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A Very Busy (Marijuana) Day in Trenton

March 18th, 2019


(I spent 20 minutes trying to do a cannabis version of “Trenton Makes The World Makes” and came up with nothing. You’ve been failed.)

It’s a very busy Monday in Trenton with several cannabis bills up for debate. Legislation to improve NJ’s badly-broken medical marijuana program (A10) gets a vote in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Medical marijuana is an easy lift at this point, look for this bill to advance easily and headed to a full vote in the Assembly.

That same committee also debates the NJ Cannabis Expungement Act (A4497.) That’s New Jersey’s version of marijuana legalization. For better or worse.

On the Senate side, the Judiciary committee is scheduled to take up  their version of the legalization bill (S2703.) I’m hearing chatter this might get pushed off til’ Thursday on account of changes to the bill. A short delay is not uncommon and in this instance it’s not uncomplicated. The Assembly bill must reflect whatever changes happen to the Senate version between now and Thursday. So basically today’s Assembly committee might have to time-travel to properly make an  informed decision on the bill.

With the recreational debate still taking shape, I’ll focus today on (A10), legislating to improve NJ’s medical cannabis program.

Everyone knows New Jersey’s medical marijuana program needs work. Cannabis therapy is too expensive in a state with only six dispensaries. Anyone who maxes out their monthly 2 ounce allotment shells out roughly $900. A10 would increase the monthly allotment to 3 oz, a positive step.

There’s no cure for HIV/AIDS.

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Missouri medical marijuana program releases proposed rules for facilities

March 18th, 2019

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has released its second set of draft rules for the state’s first medical marijuana program.

The latest set of DHSS rules address dispensaries and other medical marijuana facilities.

The new draft covers “cultivation facilities, dispensary facilities, infused products manufacturing facilities and medical marijuana establishments in general.” Read draft rules.

The rules, for instance, set limits on how many facilities can be owned by one entity, separate testing facilities from dispensaries, regulate waste and byproduct disposal and set distances between facilities and schools, daycares and churches.

The DHSS Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation released rules for qualified patients and primary caregivers in February. The agency held public forums in Jefferson City, Poplar Bluff, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield in January and February to hear more about the needs of patients and caregivers.

Lyndall Fraker, Director of the DHSS Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation, says, “All feedback we received was considered, and is still being considered, as we continue drafting the rules.”

Public feedback can still be submitted on feedback on these drafts using the online suggestion form.

Jack Cardetti, a spokesman for Missouri medical cannabis trade association (MoCannTrade), praises DHSS for taking the time to hear from citizens and stakeholders before creating rules.

“It’s a steep hill. [The Missouri Constitution] lays some fairly aggressive timeline to get applications out to patients, applications out to those who want to be involved in cultivation and dispensary and they have

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Ex-Ohio medical marijuana chief lands industry job

March 18th, 2019


Ohio’s seed to sale process for producing medical marijuana.
Michael Nyerges, Cincinnati Enquirer

COLUMBUS – The former chief of Ohio’s new medical marijuana program is now working for a large cultivator, continuing a national trend in which industry regulators later find jobs in the industry.

Justin Hunt served as chief operating officer of the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program at the Ohio Department of Commerce until May 2018.

He is now the executive vice president for Grow Ohio Pharmaceuticals, a large-scale marijuana cultivator and processor outside Zanesville.

Ohio’s revolving door laws prevent Hunt from representing the company before his former employer, the Ohio Department of Commerce, and any other state agency for one year after leaving his government job. His last day with the agency was Dec. 7, 2018.

He is also barred forever from sharing confidential information acquired in his state job with his new employer.

More: Everything you ever wanted to know about medical marijuana in Ohio

More: ‘No longer waiting for relief’: Medical marijuana sales begin in Ohio

A Department of Commerce spokeswoman said Hunt notified the agency he was seeking employment in the industry in accordance with state ethics law. Hunt began considering industry jobs in October 2018 and applied for a job as the executive director of the “Statewide Medical Cannabis Industry Trade Association,” according to the Ohio Ethics Commission opinion he requested.

“We have the right people in place

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Minnesota medical marijuana task force has ‘no real purpos…

March 17th, 2019

The state set up the task force when it legalized medical marijuana in 2014. State law said the group would hold hearings to assess patient experiences, access and other issues.

The program is not working for many of the patients who need it. High prices have pushed many patients into the black market and the state’s two growers have lost millions because of a strict tax structure.

The task force met several times over its first few years. But after its meeting in January 2017, it did not meet again for two years. This left members frustrated and patients without a voice.

“We were there because we thought our voices mattered and we were going to say something. It didn’t,” said Sarah Wellington, a medical marijuana patient who sits on the task force.

State Sen. Scott Dibble, a Minneapolis Democrat on the task force, agreed. He said he would like to see the group strengthened or disbanded.

“It’s a coffee club … it has no real purpose,” Dibble said.

A Democratic state lawmaker and Gov. Tim Walz have discussed ways to revamp the task force.

High tensions and sparse attendance

Dibble said that tension between members was often high; supporters and opponents of the medical marijuana program were given seats on the task force. The task force was made up of lawmakers, health officials, doctors, patients and law enforcement.

Conflicts often boiled down to disputes over what the task force could do; the language in the law is somewhat vague. Some members thought the task force should recommend new

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