Medical Marijuana Regulation Bill in California Must Wait Another Year
AB 2312, the medical marijuana regulation bill sponsored by San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, will have to wait until next year for consideration. The bill passed the Assembly last month, but stalled in the Senate.
"I want the votes and I want the governor to sign this thing," Ammiano said. "It's still in play. We have some success under our belt and the best thing is the committee itself will now partner with me, they will help shepherd this." Now a Senate committee that deals with professional licenses will hold a hearing on the bill and study the issue further. Ammiano then plans on introducing a revised bill in 2013.
The current bill had been watered down some to secure passage in the Assembly, with restrictions on how cities could ban dispensaries being softened.
"In a sense, a lot of progress has been made, but we are also happy to go back to the drawing board to make sure we are all on the same page in terms of who this bill is supposed to help," said Kris Hermes, spokesman for the medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for safe Access.
Hopefully another year will gain enough support in both chambers of the legislature to get a solid bill passed and signed into law.
There are perhaps more than a million medical cannabis patients in California and they have the right to equal and fair treatment under state law. Federal law is another matter, and the feds will continue to do all they can to cripple the state’s medicinal marijuana industry.
But the least that state politicians can do is make sure there is a solid framework of clear rules and regulations for medical cannabis operators to exist under. And everything in a new bill should advance the goal of patients in the state having full and safe access to their medicine.
Medical Marijuana Returning to Fort Collins, CO Ballot
On Tuesday the Fort Collins, Colorado City Clerk’s Office confirmed that a citizen initiative to repeal the ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in the city has enough signatures to make the ballot this fall.
“We have certified it,” said acting City Clerk Rita Harris. “We stopped counting after we had verified 4,302 signatures (4,214 were needed), and there are 743 more signature lines that were not checked. I don’t think anything would have changed the outcome.”
“We feel great,” said initiative organizer Kirk Scramstad. “We’re happy that we collected the signatures that we have collected. We feel that shows that here is support for this issue within the city of Fort Collins, and we look forward to giving a larger number of voters a chance to vote on this issue in November.”
Organizers submitted about 9,000 signatures last week, and over half of them were thrown out.
Last year Fort Collins voters decided to ban dispensaries, and the proposed repeal of the ban would still prohibit dispensaries within 1,000 feet of a school or a playground and within 500 feet of a church, childcare center or recreation site. Plus, the number of dispensaries would be limited to one for every 500 registered medical marijuana patients.
If something was being banned that served just about any other group, cries of discrimination would come from everywhere, so why are medical marijuana patients allowed to be discriminated against? Just because they choose a safer form of medicine?
Propaganda about medical cannabis dispensaries still works, which is why it must be fought at every turn. They are not crime magnets but businesses just like any other with valuable merchandise. With good security they can be an asset to any neighborhood, and a great source of tax revenue for any city or town.
Michigan Court says MMJ Patients can be Arrested without their Paperwork
Things continue to evolve in Michigan, as they have since voters approved medical marijuana in the state in 2008.
A new Michigan Court of Appeals ruling says that legal medical marijuana patients can still be arrested for possession of cannabis, if they don’t have their state-issued medical marijuana registry card or application at a “reasonably accessible” location for law enforcement to see. Legal patients will still be able to produce their paperwork in court as their defense.
Last month the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that medical marijuana can be used as an affirmative defense by legal patients in the state (http://www.thcfinder.com/marijuana-blog/medical-marijuana/2012/06/michigan-supreme-court-says-states-mmj-law-shields-patients-from-prosecution).
"Defendant still has one more hurdle to overcome to be entitled to immunity from prosecution; he must also establish that at the time of his arrest he was engaged in the medical use of marijuana in accordance with the (Michigan Medical Marihuana Act)," the appeals judges wrote in the decision.
Things have been rough for some patients and caregivers in Michigan when dealing with local and state law enforcement, and hopefully these rulings will go a long way toward avoiding animosity-inducing interactions. In this way more patients can be helped and the medical cannabis industry in Michigan can grow faster, a win-win for everyone.
Michigan is a heavily-populated state, meaning there are many people who can benefit from medical cannabis. They should be able to choose a safer alternative to deadly and addictive prescription drugs.
The medical marijuana law in Michigan has the potential to become a model for states still discussing the possibility of medicinal marijuana legalization, and it may take the courts to decide exactly what’s legal at this point. While we don’t want courts making laws, many times they are vital in clearing up the finer points of existing law.
Behold, the Future of Marijuana
We all imagine the future at one time or another: jet packs, magic weight loss pills, microchips in our head that play music like an iPod. But what will marijuana be like in the future?
With the advances in breeding and growing, cannabis will likely be even more versatile than it is now. Strains with more THC, or more CBD, strains targeted to more and more specific ailments. And the way you get marijuana will be different as well.
Yes, there will still be a lot of human interaction given the complicated nature of cannabis and the lack of deep knowledge about it among the general public, and many will grow their own, especially when and where it is legal to do so. But for those who know what they want and don’t want to wait in a line or have somewhere they need to be, there will be the convenience of a vending machine.
A company that makes such a machine has already opened an office in Connecticut, where medical marijuana became legal earlier this month. It remains to be seen how popular the vending machines will become, and how many medical marijuana states will allow them in the beginning.
But one day in the future they will be available everywhere for medical and recreational users.
Uruguays Plan to Sell Marijuana to Registered Users
Under a plan being considered in the South American country of Uruguay, the country’s government would legalize marijuana and become the sole provider of cannabis to users who would register with the government.
If the plan is enacted, Uruguay would become the world’s only government provider of recreational marijuana, reaping the profits for themselves instead of allowing all that money to go to criminals and dealers.
As things stand now, personal drug use is not a crime in the country, but Uruguay’s government wants to take industry control one step beyond by selling marijuana itself.
By selling a relatively harmless “drug,” and increasing penalties for those who traffic in harder stuff, the Uruguay government hopes to steer its citizens away from more dangerous substances. Although the country currently enjoys little crime, the numbers are on the rise.
Defense Minister Eleuterio Fernandez Huidobro told reporters that Uruguayan farmers would grow the marijuana, although final details have not been hammered out.
It will be interesting to compare crime stats and usage rates (for all illicit substances) in Uruguay a few years down the road to see the success of their policy, if it becomes law. Drug use rates in Holland and Portugal – the two European countries with the most “liberal” drug laws – are below that of the U.S. There’s no reason to believe that marijuana use will rise in Uruguay, but much reason to expect a decrease in the crime associated with drug trafficking.
And the government will see a boon when it comes to money from marijuana sales; money that used to disappear into the hole that is the black market. And maybe huge amounts of cash will be what finally convinces politicians in other countries that money can be made from legality and freedom.
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