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Legal medical marijuana passes Iowa Senate on 45-5 vote


A wide-ranging bill authorizing the use of medical marijuana for ailments from cancer to post-traumatic stress disorder was passed Monday night by the Iowa Senate, although it’s unlikely to win approval in the Iowa House.

DES MOINES — The Senate voted 45-5 Monday to approve an expanded medical marijuana law that would allow making and dispensing cannabis products in Iowa for adults to legally possess and use under a doctor’s care to treat an array of medical conditions, but under tight regulation.

“I think this is the right thing to do,” said Sen. Matt McCoy, D-Des Moines, who said many of the ill people who advocated for Senate File 506 have died waiting for the Legislature to act.

Senators passed “The Compassionate Use of Cannabis Act,” a new law that would replace Iowa’s existing but limited cannabis oil statute.

It lays out an expanded approach to reclassify marijuana and open it as a limited medical alternative under tight regulation and supervision. The bill now goes to the House, where its prospects are uncertain.

“Let’s do the right thing for the people out there who are suffering,” said Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale. The bill was supported by 25 Republicans 19 Democrats and one independent, while four Republicans and one Democrat opposed it.

Under provisions of SF 506, Iowa would license up to four manufacturers to “possess, cultivate, transport or supply medical cannabis” by July 2, 2018, so up to 12 licensed dispensaries could begin distribution to qualified adult Iowans by July 16, 2018. Interested makers and dispensers would pay a non-refundable $15,000 state fee.

 

Full Read – http://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/government/iowa-senate-advances-medical-cannabis-expansion-20170417

Is Legal Weed Hurting the Restaurant Industry?

Colorado’s restaurants are feeling the pinch

Houston area decriminalizes possession of small amounts of weed

Effective March 1, the nation’s fourth-largest city will no longer make arrests of those carrying four ounces or less of marijuana

HOUSTON — The district attorney in the most populous Texas county has announced a new program in which law enforcement agencies will not arrest individuals caught with four ounces or less of marijuana.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced in Houston on Thursday that her office will offer those possessing misdemeanor amounts of marijuana an opportunity to participate in the program starting March 1.

Individuals won’t be jailed or have to appear in court, but they will have 90 days to complete a four-hour decision-making class. Those completing the program won’t face charges.

Read Full – http://www.thecannabist.co/2017/02/17/houston-marijuana-possession-misdemeanor/73835/

How a Federal Crackdown on Marijuana Could Affect Mexican Cartels

President Donald Trump campaigned on making the United States “great again,” but if his administration follows through on a threat to crack down on legal marijuana, it’s Mexican drug cartels that could be restored to their former glory.

TOM ANGELL – MARIJUANA.COM

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that states with legal recreational marijuana will likely “see greater enforcement” of federal laws, which prohibit all use of cannabis. Spicer’s statements echo what Attorney General Jeff Sessions said during his confirmation hearings: “It is not so much the attorney general’s job to decide what laws to enforce. We should do our job and enforce laws effectively as we are able.”

The Department of Justice declined to comment.

Eight states and the District of Columbia currently allow the retail sale of marijuana for recreational use, all thanks to voter referendums.

In Colorado, where in 2012 voters were the first in the nation to back retail sales, the marijuana industry generated over $1.3 billion in revenue last year, adding about $200 million in taxes to the state’s coffers. In California, the first state to legalize the medical use of cannabis, marijuana has become the state’s leading agricultural commodity, according to the Orange County Register, which estimated its value at $23.3 billion — even before voters legalized recreational sales last November.

Most people think that’s a good thing. A poll released Thursday by Quinnipiac University found a majority of the U.S. public now supports marijuana legalization, and 71 percent oppose a federal crack down on states that have legalized it already.

The rise of the homegrown weed industry has come at a cost, though: In 2016, U.S. Border Patrol reported that “marijuana seizures along the southwest border tumbled to their lowest level in at least a decade,” The Washington Post reported. Between 2011 and 2015, seizures dropped 39 percent, according to Fortune.

Read Full – http://www.attn.com/stories/15170/how-president-trump-could-affect-mexican-drug-cartel

Will California finally have a statewide standard for the sale of legal marijuana by 2018?

November’s law legalizing recreational weed has added a new set of challenges for regulation

Marijuana for medical use has been legal in California since 1996, but efforts to regulate it like a normal product have been elusive.

For nearly two decades the production, distribution, sale and taxation of cannabis has operated through a patchwork of local rules that can differ from one city or county to the next. What one grower or pot dispensary does in one part of the state could be illegal in another, from the number of plants producers can grow to whether or not cannabis-based edibles require warning labels.

Now that voters have approved the sale of marijuana for recreational use through November’s Proposition 64 referendum, officials involved with working out regulations are scrambling. They must establish statewide rules before the start of next year, when licenses are supposed to become available for the sale of recreational-use marijuana.

Some are doubtful that state policymakers will have everything in order by then.

“They can’t get it together about what they want the laws to be,” Alicia Darrow, chief operations manager of Blum Oakland, a 13-year-old Bay Area medical marijuana dispensary, told Salon. “I’ll be shocked if it goes live in 2018.”

The problem, she said, is that Prop. 64 threw a wrench into regulators’ efforts that began in October 2015 after the passage of Assembly Bill 266, the state’s first successful attempt to pass a law regulating medical marijuana.

Prop. 64 and AB 266 have considerable differences in the way marijuana is regulated that must be worked out. For example, AB 266 requires a small number of third-party companies to control distribution and oversee testing for pesticide contamination, something dispensaries argue is unnecessary and would increase costs. Another unanswered question pertains to how dispensaries that sell medical-use marijuana and the more heavily taxed recreational-use weed will be required to track and manage their inventories and sales. Under Prop. 64,  dispensaries must have two separate inventories and tracking systems.

“It’s a big job, but we’re working hard and have every intention of meeting our goals,” Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the state’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, said in an email to Salon. “The work we’ve done on regulations for medical cannabis have given us a great start.”

Meanwhile established growers, many of them mom-and-pop operations, are worried about being muscled out by bigger, well-financed ventures backed by deep-pocketed investment groups that are chasing the potential for big gains in the years to come. California’s medical marijuana business generated nearly $2.7 billion in sales in 2015 and that’s expected to balloon to $6.45 billion annually by 2020, including sales from recreational-use marijuana, according to cannabis industry investment network Arcview.

Read Full – http://www.salon.com/2017/02/05/will-california-finally-have-a-statewide-standard-for-the-sale-of-legal-marijuana-by-2018/