Minnesota medical marijuana task force has ‘no real purpos…

March 17th, 2019 by admin No comments »

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

Article source: https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/government-and-politics/4586058-minnesota-medical-marijuana-task-force-has-no-real-purpose

Why the MN medical marijuana task force didn’t meet for two years

March 17th, 2019 by admin No comments »

Members of a task force charged with evaluating Minnesota’s medical cannabis program say the group is ineffective and poorly run. It didn’t even meet for a two-year stretch.

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.

RELATED: Patients can’t afford it. Can Minnesota fix its medical marijuana market?

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.

State Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis

“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

Article source: https://www.twincities.com/2019/03/17/mn-medical-marijuana-task-force-didnt-meet-for-two-years-has-no-real-purpose-members-say/

Medical marijuana farm in Eustis is pain in the grass

March 17th, 2019 by admin No comments »

EUSTIS — The emerging medical marijuana industry was supposed to provide pain relief to thousands of Floridians, but for one Eustis community, it’s nothing but a pain.

Residents along a rural stretch of County Road 44A are taking exception to the noise and smells emanating from a medical marijuana farm that ramped up about a month ago.

“I’m not against medical marijuana by no means. If it helps someone who’s sick, that’s great, but why should it affect my life? I can’t even have peace at my own home,” Ted Miller said. “I don’t like the strong smell of marijuana either, and you can see kids holding their noses at school bus stops, but that’s not even the biggest issue I’m having. It’s the noise. It’s unbearable really and it’s 24/7.”

Miller said it started about a month ago when he was woken one night at 3:30 a.m. by a loud humming sound, like a motor running. He thought someone was stealing his tractor, but went outside and discovered it was coming from the farm. And it has been continuous since.

Miller said he has  measured the noise levels and gotten consistent decibel readings in the mid-60s, with spikes in the high 70s.

“It’s changed our life as far as the way we go outside — having our family over, sitting outside, everything,” Ted’s wife, Vicki Miller, told Lake County commissioners at a meeting last week. “We need our community back. We need the noise shut down. We need help.”

In June of

Article source: https://www.dailycommercial.com/news/20190317/medical-marijuana-farm-in-eustis-is-pain-in-grass

Lawmakers seek fixes for medical marijuana market

March 17th, 2019 by admin No comments »

New patients are leaving the program in droves, turning to the black market or prescription opioids because they cannot afford the processed pills and oils that are legal. Growers are losing millions because of a strict tax structure written into the law.

Lawmakers can fix this, but they may have to look beyond their home state for solutions. There is a slew of proposals at the state Capitol that could save the manufacturers money and help them lower prices. Patients say they do not go far enough.

“We need the Legislature to make this a priority,” said Maren Schroeder, co-founder of Sensible Change Minnesota, a group that wants to expand access for the more than 15,000 medical marijuana patients in the state. “The patients can’t wait for incremental changes.”

Minnesota’s medical cannabis program is widely seen as one of the most restrictive in the country; the costly drugs are not insured and only patients with one of 13 severe conditions can use them.

Is there a commitment to shed that reputation?

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he would support legislative changes to the program, which he said is “very cumbersome” and “doesn’t work.”

“It felt like they did the bare minimum they could do just to kind of limp over,” Walz said, referring to the compromise that lawmakers and former Gov. Mark Dayton struck to legalize medical marijuana in 2014. “Now we’re stuck with a very minimal medicinal cannabis (program) that really is too expensive.”

Leaders in the Democratic House and

Article source: https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/business/healthcare/4585940-lawmakers-seek-fixes-medical-marijuana-market

Waiting for weed: don’t expect smokable medical marijuana right away

March 16th, 2019 by admin No comments »

Don’t toke that medicinal marijuana joint just yet.

The battle is over, the smoke has cleared on giving patients permission to light up and inhale their medicinal herb, but that doesn’t mean you can rush to your neighborhood  dispensary and grab some ganja any time soon. 

Assuming Gov. Ron DeSantisdoes as he’s indicated he would and signs SB 182 into law, lifting a state ban on smoking medical marijuana, it could take weeks or even months before rules are promulgated to make smokable medical marijuana available at state-approved dispensaries. 

The Department of Health has a reputation for moving at a glacial pace when it comes to issuing rules. Some industry officials, however, said the green-light to sell smokable marijuana will happen sooner than later.

“We anticipate an expedited process from the Governor and the Department of Health as it relates to the approval of smokable, whole-flower cannabis,” said Kim Rivers, CEO of Trulieve, the state’s largest licensed medical marijuana grower and distributor.

“The Governor has been clear in his desire to implement the will of the people by bringing smokable cannabis as an option for patients in Florida, and Trulieve stands ready to provide high-quality, safe flower to market as soon as the Department allows.”

Patients still will need to get a recommendation from their physician before they can buy smokable

Article source: https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2019/03/15/smokable-medical-marijuana-florida-legislature-desantis/3161266002/

April start seen for medical marijuana sales in Arkansas, but some uncertainty remains

March 16th, 2019 by admin No comments »

Medical marijuana should hit Arkansas shelves for the first time next month, industry officials said, but they’re less sure about how widespread the drug’s availability will be.

State regulators this week completed final inspections at two more growing facilities, meaning they are cleared to begin growing marijuana. The first of five cultivators was cleared to begin growing plants in January.

The first of the state’s 32 dispensaries are expected to begin opening next month, and one seller has already requested an Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement Division inspection.

What’s less clear is how much product will be available and how many retailers will be open in April.

Alex Gray, an attorney for the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association, expects a handful of dispensaries — fewer than 10 — to open next month, but some patients may have hourslong drives to reach a dispensary.

“I anticipate it will be possible for patients to obtain their medicine by mid-April,” Gray said. “However, there is no guarantee that it will be convenient. You could have certain zones where there are no dispensaries up and running.”

The medical-marijuana program’s debut next month would mark the end of legal and regulatory delays that have slowed the program’s implementation since Arkansans voted in 2016 to legalize the drug for medicinal purposes.

[RELATED: Complete Democrat-Gazette coverage of medical marijuana in Arkansas]

Amendment 98 to the constitution made Arkansas one of 33 states where medical cannabis is legal. The amendment permits patients and eligible caregivers to purchase and possess small quantities of the drug if a patient

Article source: https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2019/mar/16/april-start-seen-for-rx-pot-sales-20190/

Oklahoma governor signs medical marijuana rules into law

March 16th, 2019 by admin No comments »

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law regulations governing the state’s rapidly growing medical cannabis industry – rules that aren’t expected to curb the market’s growth.

The Republican on Thursday signed a measure known as the “unity bill” because it’s supported by various factions of the cannabis industry. The measure received bipartisan support in the state House and Senate.

The new law sets up guidelines for inventory testing and tracking, advertising, packaging and labeling, among other things. It also allows employers to fire medical marijuana users in certain “safety-sensitive jobs” who test positive for cannabis use.

Here are additional details, according to The Oklahoman:

  • Products will be tested for pesticides, THC, terpenoid potency and heavy metals.
  • Producers will be prohibited from using images on packaging other than their business name logos and product images. Packaging must include a universal THC symbol, the level of THC and potency and a statement that the product was tested for contaminants.
  • The state will use a seed-to-sale tracking system that will track batch numbers, product types, sales details and other inventory information.

The regulations come at a time when Oklahoma enjoys a fast start to a program legalized by voters only last June. Sales hit $7.2 million in February, the program’s second full month after launch.

As of March 11, state regulators have approved licenses for 1,109 dispensaries, 1,972 growers and 553 processors. In addition, 63,647 patients have qualified to receive MMJ products.

– Associated Press and

Article source: https://mjbizdaily.com/oklahoma-governor-signs-medical-cannabis-rules-into-law/

Missouri posts draft rules for medical marijuana dispensaries, grow facilities and more – Springfield News

March 16th, 2019 by admin No comments »

Late Friday, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services released more drafts of rules for the state’s emerging medical marijuana system.

According to a news release sent around 4:30 p.m., DHSS has posted draft regulations for marijuana cultivation facilities, dispensaries, manufacturing facilities and medical marijuana establishments in general.

Officials emphasized the rules are just drafts and may change. Amendment 2, formally known as Article XIV of the Missouri Constitution, compels DHSS to have all of the medical cannabis program’s rules finalized by June 4.

The rules were posted following five public forums held during February and March in Jefferson City, Poplar Bluff, St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield. (About 150 people attended the Springfield forum in early March.)

Attendees to the forums had the chance to speak directly with DHSS employees in the division of medical marijuana to share their concerns and suggestions.

In the news release, Lyndall Fraker, director of the DHSS section for medical marijuana regulation, said that

Article source: https://www.news-leader.com/story/news/local/ozarks/2019/03/15/missouri-posts-more-draft-rules-emerging-medical-marijuana-system/3180012002/

Medical marijuana tax revenue tops $2 million since sales began

March 15th, 2019 by admin No comments »

House Bill 2612, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act, commonly called the “Unity Bill,” is expected to cost nearly $10 million in its first year. It was created after multiple meetings and presentations before a bipartisan medical marijuana working group. (Rep. Jon Echols, co-chair, pictured.)

Among the most controversial aspects of the measure is a provision allowing employers in “safety-sensitive” fields to inquire whether employees have medical marijuana licenses. These positions include firefighting, handling hazardous materials, and operating motor vehicles and heavy machinery.

The measure grants express rule-making power to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, part of the state Health Department, and allows it to employ its own investigators to look into alleged violations.

Article source: https://www.tulsaworld.com/news/local/marijuana/medical-marijuana-tax-revenue-tops-million-since-sales-began/collection_71155db1-ff08-5363-ae3e-1a26947cd5d7.html

Mountain Home medical marijuana business owners outline progress

March 15th, 2019 by admin No comments »

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. — The owners of a medical marijuana business are on their way to building a medical marijuana dispensary called Plant Family Therapeutics.

It will be located off Highway 62 E in Baxter County, outside of Mountain Home.

“Making some final revisions to the blueprint and construction documents to improve work flow. Then we’ll get our soil test, dirt work will begin, break ground. Then prior to actually opening, the ABC will have to come through and do a final walk through,” Clint Mickle, one of the owners, said.

The business is only one of 32 that will open up in Arkansas.

Mickle says a lot of thought went into choosing the Mountain Home area.

“We like that there’s a large senior population,” he said. “There’s a large veteran population. And when we came into the community, we’re real impressed by the support we had.”

The team plans to have about 10 job openings. They plan to have plenty of security at the dispensary, and said the business will be run in a professional manner.

“We want the staff to come in to be dressed in a manner that would represent,” said Jeff McCannally, an owner of the business. “Think more of a doctor’s office, a medical facility. Have a nurse there, trained individuals.”

They are making efforts to make sure the community understands more about the business.

“We’ve started trying to introduce ourselves to the community abroad through our Facebook page, through our website. But we also started doing community meetings with civic groups throughout

Article source: https://www.ky3.com/content/news/Mountain-Home-medical-marijuana-business-owners-outline-progress-meeting-with-communities-507213361.html