Vermont Becomes First State to Make Marijuana Legal Through Its Legislature

Until today, all eight of the states that have made marijuana legal for adults did so through ballot initiatives. Over the past three elections in 2012, 2014, and 2016, voters in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada (and Washington, D.C.) approved ballot questions to legalize marijuana.

Today, we reached an important milestone in Vermont: a state legislature has enacted a law, signed by the governor, that legalizes possession and home cultivation of marijuana for adults aged 21 and older. H. 511 eliminates Vermont’s civil penalty for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana and removes penalties for possession of up to two mature marijuana plants and up to four immature plants for people 21 and older, beginning on July 1.

“After more than 15 years of hard work by MPP and our allies in the state, adults in Vermont no longer need to fear being fined or criminalized for low-level marijuana possession and cultivation,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, in a press release. “This is a great step forward for the state and the whole region. Responsible adults will soon have the freedom to enjoy a safer option legally, and law enforcement will be free to concentrate on serious crimes with actual victims. We are looking forward to working with lawmakers and state leaders to continue improving marijuana laws in the Green Mountain State.”

Our coalition’s goal, this year or next, is to enact a law that regulates marijuana and allows for its legal sale (the newly enacted law only allows possession and home cultivation).

 

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Vermont Governor Signs Marijuana Legalization Bill Into Law, Takes Effect July 1

As expected, Vermont Governor Phil Scott on Monday officially signed a bill into law that makes marijuana legal for those 21 and  older.

Governor Scott signing H. 511 into law makes Vermont the first state in U.S. history to legalize marijuana through state lawmakers (the other eight states with legal marijuana did so through the initiative process). The new law – which takes full effect on July 1 – allows those 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to two mature (and four immature) cannabis plants.

“After more than 15 years of hard work by MPP and our allies in the state, adults in Vermont no longer need to fear being fined or criminalized for low-level marijuana possession and cultivation,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “This is a great step forward for the state and the whole region. Responsible adults will soon have the freedom to enjoy a safer option legally, and law enforcement will be free to concentrate on serious crimes with actual victims. We are looking forward to working with lawmakers and state leaders to continue improving marijuana laws in the Green Mountain State.”

Matthew Schweich, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, says that; “Gov. Scott and the Vermont Legislature made history today by removing penalties for adult possession and limited cultivation of marijuana, and they are almost certainly just the first to do so. Lawmakers around the country are finally catching up with their constituents and realizing that there is no reason to punish responsible adults for possessing a substance that is safer than alcohol. Vermont exhibited real leadership on this issue, and we urge other state legislatures to work toward sensible marijuana policies with the same diligence.”

Fifty-seven percent of Vermont voters support allowing adults 21 and older to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana, according to …

Washington Senate Committee Votes to Allow Financial Institutions to Service Marijuana Businesses

Legislation that would explicitly allow financial institutions in Washington State to provide services to licensed marijuana businesses has been approved by the Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.

The vote on Senate Bill 5928 comes shortly after a companion bill – House Bill 2098 – was approved by the House Judiciary Committee. The bipartisan measure would provide  “immunity from state criminal prosecution to a financial institution providing financial services to licensed marijuana businesses and qualifying patients, health care professionals, and providers under medical marijuana laws.”

For purposes of the bill, “financial institution” is defined as “a bank, trust company, mutual savings bank, savings and loan association, or credit union authorized to do business and accept deposits in Washington under state or federal law. Financial institutions are generally regulated by the Department of Financial Institutions.”

Although the measure wouldn’t protect financial institutions and marijuana businesses from a potential federal crackdown, it would give them assurance that they won’t be persecuted by the state.

The full text of Senate Bill 5928 can be found by clicking here.

The post Washington Senate Committee Votes to Allow Financial Institutions to Service Marijuana Businesses appeared first on TheJointBlog.

from https://thejointblog.com/washington-senate-committee-votes-allow-financial-institutions-service-marijuana-businesses/…

Federal Protections on Medical Marijuana Expire Amid Government Shutdown

The U.S. government has officially been put into a shutdown, which has caused federal protections on state-level medical marijuana and hemp laws to expire.

Despite the House of Representatives on Thursday approving an extension of federal funding, the Senate has failed to do the same. This means that as of Midnight, the government has been placed in a shutdown. This shutdown has resulted in the expiration of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which prohibits the Department of Justice from using funds to enforce federal cannabis laws in states that have legalized the plant for medical use.

The government shutdown has also caused the expiration of a federal amendment which protects state laws allowing for the cultivation and research of hemp.

It’s unclear at this point when lawmakers will agree on a bill to fully fund the government and renew the medical marijuana and hemp protections. An extension needs to be passed by both the House and Senate before it can go to President Trump for consideration.

The post Federal Protections on Medical Marijuana Expire Amid Government Shutdown appeared first on TheJointBlog.

from https://thejointblog.com/federal-protections-medical-marijuana-expire-amid-government-shutdown/…

Study: Marijuana Use Associated with Reduced Prevalence of Liver Disease in Alcoholics

Alcoholics who use cannabis are less likely to have liver disease, according to a new study being published in the journal Liver International and epublished ahead of print by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

“Abusive alcohol use has well-established health risks including causing liver disease (ALD) characterized by alcoholic steatosis (AS), steatohepatitis (AH), fibrosis, cirrhosis (AC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)”, states the study’s abstract. “Strikingly, a significant number of individuals who abuse alcohol also use Cannabis, which has seen increased legalization globally. While cannabis has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties, its combined use with alcohol and the development of liver disease remains unclear.” With this in mind, the aim of the study was to “determine the effects of cannabis use on the incidence of liver disease in individuals who abuse alcohol.

For the study, researchers analyzed “the 2014 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project – Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) discharge records of patients 18years and older, who had a past or current history of abusive alcohol use”. Using the International Classification of Disease, Ninth Edition codes, they “studied the four distinct phases of progressive ALD with respect to three cannabis exposure groups: non-cannabis-users (90.39%), non-dependent-cannabis-users (8.26%) and dependent cannabis users (1.36%).” Researchers “accounted for the complex survey sampling methodology and estimated the adjusted odds ratio (AOR) for developing AS, AH, AC and HCC with respect to cannabis use (SAS 9.4).”

The study “revealed that among alcohol users, individuals who additionally use cannabis (dependent and non-dependent cannabis use) showed significantly lower odds of developing AS, AH, AC and HCC (AOR: 0.55[0.48-0.64], 0.57[0.53-0.61], 0.45[0.43-0.48] & 0.62[0.51-0.76]). Further, dependent users had significantly lower odds than non-dependent users for developing liver disease.”

Researchers conclude by stating that; “Our findings suggest that cannabis use is associated with reduced incidence of liver disease in alcoholics.”

The full study can be found by clicking here.

The post Study: Marijuana Use Associated with Reduced Prevalence of Liver Disease

Equity in Oakland: Giving Minorities a Chance

Oakland, California is tackling the diversity in cannabis issue head-on. Its Equity Program, passed by the City Council last March, was designed to help the city’s black and Latino residents, granting them 50% of new cannabis business permits for everything from cultivation to manufacturing.

As of Nov. 17, less than four months before adult-use marijuana became legal in California on Jan. 1, 129 of the 255 applications for cannabis-business permits in Oakland had come from equity candidates.

The lack of equity up until now is largely due to cities and states not allowing people with criminal records to work in the industry, hence shutting out many people from the racial and ethnic groups that have been disproportionately arrested and incarcerated for possession and sales. In 2011, 90% of all people arrested for marijuana in Oakland were black or Latino.

People from these two groups are nearly four times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than whites are, even though use is about the same in each group. The Equity Program was created to deal with this disparity and act as a kind of reparation.

WA: House Judiciary Committee Approves Measure Explicitly Allowing Financial Institutions to Work with Marijuana Industry

A Washington bill to give explicit permission to financial institutions to provide services to licensed marijuana businesses has been approved by the state’s House Judiciary Committee.

The bipartisan House Bill 2098 was filed by Representative David Sawyer (D), and is cosponsored by Representatives Brandon Bick (R), Steve Kirby (D) and Cary Condotta (R). The measure “Provides immunity from state criminal prosecution to a financial institution providing financial services to licensed marijuana businesses and qualifying patients, health care professionals, and providers under medical marijuana laws.”

For purposes of the bill, “financial institution” is defined as “a bank, trust company, mutual savings bank, savings and loan association, or credit union authorized to do business and accept deposits in Washington under state or federal law. Financial institutions are generally regulated by the Department of Financial Institutions.”

The full text of House Bill 2098 can be found by clicking here.

 

– which was approved by the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of _ to _ –

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U.S. House Votes Extend Medical Marijuana and Hemp Protections

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a bill to avoid a government shutdown, and extend federal protections for state medical marijuana and hemp programs.

The measure was approved by a vote of 230 to 197, which extends government funding through February 16. The approved legislation extends the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment , was was initially passed in 2014. The amendment prohibits the Department of Justice – which includes the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – from using funds to enforce federal cannabis laws in states that have legalized the plant for medical use.

The legislation also extends an amendment that gives federal protection to state laws that allow for the cultivation of hemp for research purposes.

The measure must now be approved by the Senate before it can be sent to President Trump for final consideration.

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from https://thejointblog.com/u-s-house-votes-extend-medical-marijuana-hemp-protections/…

Vermont Governor to Sign Marijuana Legalization Bill Into Law Monday

On Monday Vermont will become the 9th state to legalize marijuana, and the first to do so through state lawmakers (all other states with legal marijuana legalized through a citizen initiative).

Governor Phil Scott say he will sign H. 511 into law on Monday, legalizing marijuana for everyone 21 and older. The new law will allow for the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, and the personal cultivation of up to two mature (or four immature) cannabis plants.

Although eight other states have legalized marijuana (Washington, Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, Maine, Massachusetts and California), Vermont on Monday will become the first in U.S. history to do so through the legislative process, and not through an initiative approved by voters. Approval of the law comes just days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era memo that provided protections to state-legal marijuana businesses.

According to recent polling conducted by Public Policy Polling, 57% of Vermont voters support the move to legalize marijuana for adults.

The post Vermont Governor to Sign Marijuana Legalization Bill Into Law Monday appeared first on TheJointBlog.

from https://thejointblog.com/vermont-governor-sign-marijuana-legalization-bill-law-monday/…

Review: Prophets of Rage’s Debut Album

If you’re one of those nostalgic counterculture revolutionaries wondering where all the protest music has gone, Prophets of Rage is for you. It’s an old-school supergroup formed by members of three of the most radical, politically outspoken acts of the ’80s and ’90s: Rage Against the Machine’s guitar-slinging Harvard alum Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk; Public Enemy’s Chuck D and DJ Lord; and Cypress Hill’s B-Real.

The result marries Rage’s heavy-metal/hip-hop hybrid, fueled by Morello’s turntable-esque guitar stylings, and the OG rap of East Coast rabble-rouser Chuck D and West Coast bud-banger B-Real. Multiracial (like Morello himself) and politically to the left, Prophets of Rage—the name comes from a Public Enemy track on their groundbreaking It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back album from 1988—hark back to both the ’60s rock’n’roll call for rebellion and the ’70s punk howl for anarchy.

They first teamed up to make a political statement during the 2016 presidential campaign, touring from May to October. Without an album out or any new material, the tour featured a mix of Rage, PE and Cypress songs, with a few covers like the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep ’Til Brooklyn” sprinkled in. Now they have their eponymously titled debut album to play and promote.

Prophets of Rage

From left: Tim Commerford, Tom Morello, B-Real, Chuck D, DJ Lord and Brad Wilk (Photo by Travis Shinn)

On Prophets of Rage, Chuck D and B-Real form a two-headed lead vocalist that recalls the give-and-take dialogue of Run the Jewels’ El-P and Killer Mike, with a similar eye towards the political zeitgeist. The album’s opening salvo, “Radical Eyes,” is a vehement call to arms, as Chuck D delivers the rallying cry, “If you need anything else to make me bleed/That you wanna blame me for what I read.”

Diversity in the New Marijuana Economy

Diversity Black Marijuana

The Hood Incubator in Oakland focuses on increasing the participation of black and brown communities in the cannabis industry.

There have been plenty of stories, blogs and social-media posts about the “whitewashing of the Green Rush.” For years, the Minority Cannabis Business Association and other groups have sounded the alarms about how this new wave of ganjapreneurs is distressingly monochromatic. Is anything actually being done?

Yes, things are being done. Oakland, California, which continues to be far ahead of any other municipality when it comes to cannabis, has approved a program that gives half of new city cannabusiness licenses to people with lower incomes or who live in the neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by the War on Drugs. 

diversity

Boston Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley is for equity in cannabis.

Massachusetts’ new adult-use pot law has a provision mandating outreach programs to the historically disenfranchised, and Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley has introduced legislation that would direct 20% of unspent revenues from state and local marijuana taxes toward programs aimed at social justice and creating more opportunities for people of color. Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia have all enacted legislation designed to create more diversity in the cannabis industry. In fact, Pennsylvania requires businesses applying for medical-cannabis licenses to spell out their plan for ensuring a diverse workforce.

Women are taking the lead in cannabis industry in terms of diversity. They fill 36% of the executive positions, according to a 2015 Marijuana Business Daily survey. That’s significantly higher than the 22% national average in the non-weed world.

Will the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment Survive?

Rohrabacher

Reps. Rohrabacher (right) and Blumenauer in 2014. (Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers Fight for Federal Marijuana Protections

With Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinding the Cole Memo on Jan. 4, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment is the only federal law standing in the way of a potential crackdown on medical marijuana.

First passed in 2014, Rohrabacher-Blumenauer (then known as Rohrabacher-Farr) is an amendment to the annual appropriations bill that prohibits the Department of Justice from using federal funds to crack down on medical marijuana programs in the 29 states where it’s legal. In December, President Trump signed a stopgap funding bill that would extend these protections until Jan. 19.

For example, last August, a federal judge in San Francisco cited the amendment in a ruling that two California medical-marijuana growers who’d pleaded guilty to cultivation charges could not be sentenced to prison due to the amendment. And on Oct. 18, federal prosecutors in Washington State admitted that it prohibited them from prosecuting a group of medical growers known as the Kettle Falls Five.

Reps. McClintock and Polis Re-Introduce Their Amendment

Sessions’ decision to revoke federal protections in the eight legal recreational marijuana states has prompted a backlash in Congress. On Jan. 12, a bipartisan group of 69 members sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging them to include the McClintock-Polis amendment in the appropriations bill as well. Introduced by Reps. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.), its language is similar the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment’s, but it would also protect legal state recreational cannabis programs.

Cypress Hill and Bhang Form Company, Plan Joint Products

DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill

With Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Tommy Chong and the Bob Marley family already making cannabis products, Cypress Hill has decided to join the Green Rush, inking a deal with Bhang Chocolates. Their company is called CHB.

Cypress cofounder DJ Muggs says he met with a lot of people in the industry before deciding on a partnership with Bhang, the popular California edibles company. “When I sat down with Scott (Van Rixel) and Richard (Sellers) it was organic,” he says of Bhang’s CEO and COO. “They understood the band. Scott’s a big fan. He knew our history and all of our lyrics. Plus, he’s a chocolatier. It was like I was meant to meet these guys.”

The plan is to roll out CHB strains in conjunction with the release of Cypress’ first new album in eight years, Elephants on Acid, in April. The title refers to a strain (Elephant Acid) grown by Muggs’ team.

DJ MUGGS on Cypress Hill“We’re still brothers.”

“We’re going to have super-unique packaging that celebrates the music and incorporates the band,” Muggs tells Freedom Leaf. “It’s going to be a way to distribute our music through our cannabis products. A lot of the songs will solely be distributed this way, since there aren’t record stores anymore. There are more headshops and places that sell weed than records. Now you’ll be able to go to one spot and get your weed and your records.”

Slowly But Surely, Cannabis Licenses Are Being Issued in Jamaica

Though many have the perception that Jamaica is all about free-flowing cannabis, that’s not officially the case. It’s true that the country’s tropical climate and fertile soil provide perfect conditions to grow ganja, and that reggae music and Rastafarian religious practices exalt the herb. But Jamaica’s government has opposed its use throughout most of the country’s history.

Cannabis was originally brought to Jamaica by East Indian laborers (who called it ganja) in the mid-1800s. By the 1930s, the plant had become widely used in the culture and a foundation of Rastafarian religious practices, even though the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1913 (a.k.a. the Ganja Law) made possession, cultivation and trafficking of marijuana illegal, with harsh prison sentences for violators.

Cultural perceptions became more permissive in the 1960s and 1970s, especially as Rastafarian and outspoken spliff-lover Bob Marley became Jamaica’s best-known citizen abroad, his music bringing the island nation’s culture to the world. But with Jamaica becoming a major exporter of ganja to Europe and North America, officials rejected attempts to relax the laws, for fear of violating international treaties.

It wasn’t until 2015 that the Dangerous Drugs Act was amended to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis for personal use. Now, possession of up to two ounces is a petty offense, and cultivation of five or fewer plants per household is legal. Adult Rastafarians are permitted to use cannabis for religious purposes. The 2015 amendment also made medical cannabis legal and created the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA), which is responsible for regulating cultivation and distribution.

Penalty Reduction Bills Slated for Virginia Legislative Session

The Virginia General Assembly convened last week, and marijuana law reform is on the docket! After a disappointing conclusion to last year’s session, the General Assembly appears ready to tackle decriminalization of marijuana.

Late last year, the Virginia State Crime Commission looked at the benefits of marijuana decriminalization in Virginia, and the majority leader of the Senate, Sen. Tommy Norment (R), expressed his intent to introduce a bill to decriminalize simple possession of small amounts of marijuana. Sen. Norment’s bill has not yet been introduced, but he has indicated it will make the first offense a misdemeanor rather than making it a civil offense; we don’t expect the penalty for subsequent offenses to be reduced.

Sen. Adam Ebbin (D), on the other hand, has introduced SB 111, which would reduce the penalty for simple possession to a civil penalty: $50 for the first violation, $100 for the second violation, and $250 for the third and subsequent violations. This bill is a huge step forward for Virginia, and Sen. Norment should stick to his promise of real decriminalization and support SB 111.

Considering Gov. Ralph Northam’s pro-decriminalization position during his campaign and the new makeup of the House of Delegates, 2018 could be the year the commonwealth stops arresting Virginians for simple possession.

If you are a Virginia resident, please contact your Senators today and tell them to support decriminalizing marijuana.

The post Penalty Reduction Bills Slated for Virginia Legislative Session appeared first on MPP Blog.

from https://blog.mpp.org/prohibition/penalty-reduction-bills-slated-virginia-legislative-session/…

Medical Marijuana Bills Introduced in Kansas

Kansas lawmakers began their 2018 legislative session last week with several marijuana bills before them, including SB 187 / HB 2348, the Kansas Safe Access Act. This bill would create an effective medical marijuana program in Kansas.

These bills were introduced in 2017 (the legislative session carries over from 2017 to 2018), yet never even received a hearing. And, Kansas is one of only two states in the entire U.S. that does not even have a limited low-THC medical cannabis law. Seriously ill Kansans deserve better.

If you are a Kansas resident, please ask your representatives to show compassion and allow patients access to treatments that can help alleviate the suffering associated with serious conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. Medical marijuana can also help reduce patients’ use of dangerous opiates.

The post Medical Marijuana Bills Introduced in Kansas appeared first on MPP Blog.

from https://blog.mpp.org/uncategorized/medical-marijuana-bills-introduced-kansas/…

New York Governor Calls for Legalization Study

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in announcing his budget proposal, included a call for a study of the impact on New York of legalizing the adult use of marijuana.

This proposal is a change from the governor’s past views on the topic; he previously said he was opposed to legalization, citing the now-debunked “gateway theory” as the reason. In fact, marijuana is simply a gateway to the criminal justice system and the lifetime of collateral consequences that come with a conviction.

While this is encouraging news, a study commission is only as good as the experts who serve on it. Please help us ensure that the commission includes experts in public health, marijuana policy, and criminal justice reform as well as the law enforcement officers Gov. Cuomo mentioned would be on it.

The post New York Governor Calls for Legalization Study appeared first on MPP Blog.

from https://blog.mpp.org/research/new-york-governor-calls-legalization-study/…

Review: Prophets of Rage’s Debut Album

If you’re one of those nostalgic counterculture revolutionaries wondering where all the protest music has gone, Prophets of Rage is for you. It’s an old-school supergroup formed by members of three of the most radical, politically outspoken acts of the ’80s and ’90s: Rage Against the Machine’s guitar-slinging Harvard alum Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk; Public Enemy’s Chuck D and DJ Lord; and Cypress Hill’s B-Real.

The result marries Rage’s heavy-metal/hip-hop hybrid, fueled by Morello’s turntable-esque guitar stylings, and the OG rap of East Coast rabble-rouser Chuck D and West Coast bud-banger B-Real. Multiracial (like Morello himself) and politically to the left, Prophets of Rage—the name comes from a Public Enemy track on their groundbreaking It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back album from 1988—hark back to both the ’60s rock’n’roll call for rebellion and the ’70s punk howl for anarchy.

They first teamed up to make a political statement during the 2016 presidential campaign, touring from May to October. Without an album out or any new material, the tour featured a mix of Rage, PE and Cypress songs, with a few covers like the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep ’Til Brooklyn” sprinkled in. Now they have their eponymously titled debut album to play and promote.

Prophets of Rage

From left: Tim Commerford, Tom Morello, B-Real, Chuck D, DJ Lord and Brad Wilk (Photo by Travis Shinn)

On Prophets of Rage, Chuck D and B-Real form a two-headed lead vocalist that recalls the give-and-take dialogue of Run the Jewels’ El-P and Killer Mike, with a similar eye towards the political zeitgeist. The album’s opening salvo, “Radical Eyes,” is a vehement call to arms, as Chuck D delivers the rallying cry, “If you need anything else to make me bleed/That you wanna blame me for what I read.”

Diversity in the New Marijuana Economy

Diversity Black Marijuana

The Hood Incubator in Oakland focuses on increasing the participation of black and brown communities in the cannabis industry.

There have been plenty of stories, blogs and social-media posts about the “whitewashing of the Green Rush.” For years, the Minority Cannabis Business Association and other groups have sounded the alarms about how this new wave of ganjapreneurs is distressingly monochromatic. Is anything actually being done?

Yes, things are being done. Oakland, California, which continues to be far ahead of any other municipality when it comes to cannabis, has approved a program that gives half of new city cannabusiness licenses to people with lower incomes or who live in the neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by the War on Drugs. 

diversity

Boston Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley is for equity in cannabis.

Massachusetts’ new adult-use pot law has a provision mandating outreach programs to the historically disenfranchised, and Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley has introduced legislation that would direct 20% of unspent revenues from state and local marijuana taxes toward programs aimed at social justice and creating more opportunities for people of color. Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia have all enacted legislation designed to create more diversity in the cannabis industry. In fact, Pennsylvania requires businesses applying for medical-cannabis licenses to spell out their plan for ensuring a diverse workforce.

Women are taking the lead in cannabis industry in terms of diversity. They fill 36% of the executive positions, according to a 2015 Marijuana Business Daily survey. That’s significantly higher than the 22% national average in the non-weed world.

Will the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment Survive?

Rohrabacher

Reps. Rohrabacher (right) and Blumenauer in 2014. (Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers Fight for Federal Marijuana Protections

With Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinding the Cole Memo on Jan. 4, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment is the only federal law standing in the way of a potential crackdown on medical marijuana.

First passed in 2014, Rohrabacher-Blumenauer (then known as Rohrabacher-Farr) is an amendment to the annual appropriations bill that prohibits the Department of Justice from using federal funds to crack down on medical marijuana programs in the 29 states where it’s legal. In December, President Trump signed a stopgap funding bill that would extend these protections until Jan. 19.

For example, last August, a federal judge in San Francisco cited the amendment in a ruling that two California medical-marijuana growers who’d pleaded guilty to cultivation charges could not be sentenced to prison due to the amendment. And on Oct. 18, federal prosecutors in Washington State admitted that it prohibited them from prosecuting a group of medical growers known as the Kettle Falls Five.

Rep. McClintock and Polis Re-Introduce Their Amendment

Sessions’ decision to revoke federal protections in the eight legal recreational marijuana states has prompted a backlash in Congress. On Jan. 12, a bipartisan group of 69 members sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging them to include the McClintock-Polis amendment in the appropriations bill as well. Introduced by Reps. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.), its language is similar the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment’s, but it would also protect legal state recreational cannabis programs.

Washington Committee Approves Bill Prohibiting Cities from Banning Medical Marijuana Cooperatives

Legislation that would prohibit cities in Washington State from banning or adding new regulations to medical marijuana cooperatives was passed yesterday through its initial legislative committee.

House Bill 2471 was approved yesterday by the House Commerce and Gaming Committee. The measure, filed by Representative Steve Kirby (D), would make it so that “Counties, cities, and towns are prohibited from enacting any regulations pertaining to medical marijuana cooperatives absent an express grant of authority from the state.”

Under the proposal, state law regarding coops – which allows 10 patients to come together to grow and share cannabis at a share location – preempt all city laws. This is important given that several cities in the state have placed bans or moratoriums on medical marijuana cooperatives.

According to the bill’s official text;

The state of Washington fully occupies and preempts the entire field of regulating medical marijuana cooperatives authorized under RCW 69.51A.250. The state of Washington has sole authority to enact regulatory provisions regarding medical marijuana cooperatives, and cities, towns, and counties are prohibited from enacting regulations pertaining to such cooperatives absent an express grant of authority from the state.

House Bill 2471 is cosponsored by Representatives David Sawyer (D), Cary Condotta (R) and Nicole Macri (D).

The post Washington Committee Approves Bill Prohibiting Cities from Banning Medical Marijuana Cooperatives appeared first on TheJointBlog.

from https://thejointblog.com/washington-committee-approves-bill-prohibiting-cities-banning-medical-marijuana-cooperatives/…

WA: Bill Prohibiting Use of Public Resources to Assist Federal Marijuana Crackdown Gets Public Hearing

Legislation to protect Washington State’s legal marijuana industry from federal intrusion received a public hearing today in the state’s House Finance Committee.

House Bill 2124 “Prohibits the use of public resources to assist the federal government in any activity that might impede or interfere with revenue to the operating budget pursuant to Washington state’s regulation of marijuana and marijuana-related products as prescribed by the laws of the state of Washington.” The measure “Provides that a public employee who knowingly violates this prohibition may be subject to disciplinary proceedings.”

The measure, filed by Representative David Sawyer (D) along with a bipartisan coalition of six other lawmakers, received a public hearing today in its initial committee. Representative Sawyer spoke in favor of the bill, stating that although a large number of people signed up to speak and express their support, he asked them to withhold from doing so in order to respect the committee member’s time. No one spoke in opposition to the measure.

The full text of House Bill 2124 can be found by clicking here. The bill “contains an emergency clause and takes effect immediately” upon passage.

The post WA: Bill Prohibiting Use of Public Resources to Assist Federal Marijuana Crackdown Gets Public Hearing appeared first on TheJointBlog.

from https://thejointblog.com/wa-bill-prohibiting-use-public-resources-assist-federal-marijuana-crackdown-gets-public-hearing/…

Illinois Judge Orders State to Add Intractable Pain as Qualifying Medical Cannabis Condition

In a decision that will significantly expand the pool of people eligible to use medical cannabis in Illinois, a judge has ruled that the state must add intractable pain as a qualifying medical cannabis condition.

In 2016 the Illinois Department of Public Health rejected a petition to add intractable pain to the state’s medical cannabis program. Now, two years later, Cook County Judge Raymond Mitchell has ordered the agency to add the condition. Intractable pain is defined as pain that’s resistant to standard treatment options.

The ruling comes from a lawsuit brought forth by Ann Mednick, who often experiences extreme pain associated with osteoarthritis; Mednick uses prescription opioids, but says they fail to control the pain and result in numerous side effects.

“Illinois is years behind the times,” says Mednick. “The state needs to get [it] together.” Mednick previously petitioned the now-disbanded Medical Cannabis Advisory Board to recommend the state add intractable pain as a medical cannabis condition; the board voted unanimously to approve the petition, 10 to 0. However, this didn’t stop Department of Public Health Director Dr. Nirav Shah from rejecting the recommendation in January of 2016.

In his ruling Judge Mitchell stated that Dr. Shah’s decision was  “clearly erroneous”. He pointed to the fact that Dr. Mednick said intractable pain is not a condition listed in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems as a recognized unique medical condition, despite that not being true. The judge also said that; “The record shows that individuals with intractable pain would benefit from the medical use of cannabis”.

Unsurprisingly, the Department of Public Health says it plans to appeal the judge’s ruling.

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Tennessee Medical Marijuana Bill Passed on First Consideration

A Tennessee medical marijuana measure has been introduced and “passed on first consideration” in the state’s Senate.

Senate Bill 1633, introduced by Senator Jeff Yarbro, “establishes a defense to prosecution for the possession of marijuana in an amount not to exceed one ounce by declaring such possession is justified if possessed for the treatment of certain provable medical conditions.” The measure was filed today in the Tennessee Senate, and quickly passed on first consideration. The legislation must now go through the committee process and be approved by both the House and Senate before it can be sent to Governor Bill Haslam for consideration.

According to the proposal; “The person can prove a medical diagnosis of one (1) of the following:

(A) Cancer;
(B) Glaucoma;
(C) Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune
deficiency syndrome (AIDS);
(D) Hepatitis C;
(E) Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
(F) Tourette’s syndrome;
(G) Crohn’s disease;
(H) Ulcerative colitis;
(I) Post-traumatic stress disorder;
(J) Severe arthritis;
(K) Fibromyalgia;
(L) Alzheimer’s disease;
(M) Cachexia or wasting syndrome;
(N) Peripheral neuropathy;
(O) Intractable pain that has not responded to ordinary
medications, treatment, or surgical measures for more than six (6)
months;
(P) Severe nausea;
(Q) Seizures, including, without limitation, those characteristic of
epilepsy; or
(R) Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including, without
limitation, those characteristic of multiple sclerosis.

 

Section 2 of the bill states that “This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it.”

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