Towns in Vermont Prepare to Host Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Medical marijuana dispensary operators like Shayne Lynn are gearing up to open for business in Vermont soon. Shayne is going to operate a dispensary in Burlington, along the waterfront.
"There will be an old-fashioned glass countertop, and then there will be a selection of cannabis products underneath the glass. I see it as a small waiting area," said Lynn.
Lynn, who is 42, is passionate about medical marijuana. He founded a nonprofit called Champlain Valley Dispensary two years ago and then submitted his application for a state permit.
When the state approved it, he says he was thrilled and humbled.
"It gives you pause to make sure this is something that you really want to do," Lynn said. "I think the law that the Vermont Legislature passed is good and those regulations are what will help this program succeed."
All the dispensaries in Vermont, of which there will be 4, must be operated as non-profits.
Lynn also has the support of city officials, including Mayor Miro Weinberger.
"There have been successful dispensaries in many parts of the country," Weinberger said, standing in his office just blocks from Lynn's dispensary. "We're watching, but we're certainly hoping that's exactly what happens here."
With those high expectations, Lynn feels a certain responsibility. "There are stereotypes out there about cannabis use, and this is an opportunity to change that and show that people really use it for symptom relief - and that it can be a positive," he said.
It’s true that a stigma surrounds medical marijuana, and dispensaries in particular. But as more dispensaries open up, more people will see first-hand that dispensaries are just like any other business with a valuable product, and that they too can be an asset to the community.
Man Behind Spoof Medical Marijuana Site in MA Steps Forward
The man behind the spoof website that is linked in a Massachusetts voter’s guide as a site that is supposed to be against medical marijuana – and which is actually an “Onion-like” satire of the myths used against marijuana – has stepped forward to take the credit for his stroke of genius.
Scott Gacek realized on Tuesday that while VoteNoOnQuestion3.org is listed in the voter guide, the group opposing Question 3 – the measure to legalize medical cannabis in Massachusetts – had not registered to address. In less than 4 hours his spoof site was up, boasting such hard-hitting stories as “Marijuana is the Gateway to Twinkies.”
“I did it for fun,” Gacek said. “It was kind of a ‘set it and forget it’ kind of thing.”
The local freelance web designer buys domain names and creates pro-marijuana websites. He also writes for a pro-marijuana reform blog.
“I’m a very vocal proponent of medical marijuana,” he said. “I can’t wait for it to pass in November.”
When Gacek first went on the hunt for anti-marijuana sites, he said his search came up empty.
“I thought, there’s no real opposition, so let’s have some fun with it and make some fake opposition,” he said. “I wanted to poke some fun at some of the reasons why people will say that medical marijuana is bad.”
The post Gacek is most proud of so far is one about a Massachusetts drug dealers union urging voters to vote against marijuana regulation. “I try to be informative with it at the same time,” he said.
The real vote-no campaign sent out a press release saying that medical marijuana supporters were tampering with the democratic process through “underhanded efforts.” But a campaign spokesman did admit that the committee made a mistake. The group has now created an official site at MAVoteNoOnQuestion3.com.
Arizona Already Pulling the Medical Marijuana Cards of Violators
Health officials in Arizona say they have already revoked the medical marijuana cards from two patients in the state and they are ready to revoke more than a dozen more from people they say are violating the AZ medical marijuana law.
Typically, officials said, cards are revoked if a law-enforcement agency notifies health officials of an arrest tied to buying or selling medical marijuana, which is illegal. The law does not allow the sale of marijuana to patients outside of dispensaries, which have yet to open in Arizona. Instead, patients can only give marijuana to each other, receiving nothing of value in return. Or, health officials said, cards can be revoked if patients fail to properly secure plants in a locked facility.
Tom Salow, a rules administrator for ADHS, said some caregivers could soon lose their marijuana cards, too, because they either did not disclose a violent-crime history on their applications or they have violated certain drug laws.
He said the agency has fallen behind in revoking the cards because officials have to research applicants’ backgrounds and issue the cards in a short time.
“(The law) doesn’t give us enough time to get background checks from the Department of Public Safety and make a decision on the application in enough time,” Salow said. “We approve the applications, give them a card, and if it comes back with a hit after research … and a decision to revoke is made, then we revoke. It takes us a little while — it isn’t as easy as we thought it would be.”
While medical marijuana laws are great and represent progress, at some point a non-toxic plant like cannabis should not have all these rules and hoops to jump through while much more dangerous substances are easier to get.
Medical Marijuana Businesswomen to Call on President Obama to Halt MMJ Crackdown
On Thursday, September 13th, the National Cannabis Industry Association, in conjunction with the Women's CannaBusiness Network will hold a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. At the event, female business leaders from the medical cannabis industry will call on President Obama to stop enforcement actions against medical cannabis providers while the administration reviews its policies to determine whether they are in the public interest. The women will explain the hardships caused by the federal government's ongoing crackdown on legitimate medical cannabis businesses.
"In the last year alone, the Department of Justice has taken action against hundreds of medical cannabis providers, including a large percentage who were acting in full compliance with state and local laws," said NCIA executive director, Aaron Smith. "It is painfully obvious that the Department of Justice is not following the administration's stated policy of respecting state medical marijuana laws."
In what is by some measures the worst economic recovery in U.S. history, those who run businesses can’t see the logic in the federal medical marijuana crackdown and its resulting economic effects.
The group will also release a report entitled, "The Colorado Cannabis Industry: A Tale of Ten Cities," which details the sales and tax revenues generated by medical marijuana centers in ten Colorado cities. These ten cities alone, generated close to $10 million in state and local sales taxes in 2011. Representatives from businesses that produced this revenue, but are now suffering due to the Obama administration actions, will speak.
Who: Female business owners and medical cannabis industry employees
Where: National Press Club (in the Fourth Estate Room), 529 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC
When: Thursday, September 13 at 9:30 a.m.
All government efforts at this point should be directed toward fostering job growth, not finding reasons to shut down businesses.
Former Oregon Corrections Counselor on Voting Yes on Measure 80
Shelley Fox-Loken used to be a corrections counselor in Oregon and is now a speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (http://leap.cc), an organization that advocates for an end to prohibition and is made up of former and current law enforcement officials.
She recently wrote an op-ed piece for OregonLive.com in which she spells out the reasons for voting for Measure 80, a measure to legalize and regulate marijuana in the state.
“I went into criminal justice because I wanted to serve the public,” she writes. “As a corrections official, I thought that by working with inmates I'd be able to help them reintegrate into society, making their lives better and our community safer. I quickly became disillusioned with that noble idea, however, as I saw that rehabilitation, once the overarching goal of the penal system, was increasingly impeded as Oregon's prisons were overrun with people whose only crimes were drug-related.
“Prison used to be reserved for those who committed what we think of when we hear the word ‘crime’ -- murderers, rapists, thieves. But increasingly during the past 40 years, drug users and low-level dealers who've committed no offense other than succumbing to the medical problem of substance abuse have been joining those ranks. In order to prosecute those committing these consensual crimes, we're using resources -- police time, court time, jail beds -- that could be better spent going after those whose victims are all too real.
“Measure 80, the initiative on Oregon's ballot this November that would regulate marijuana like alcohol, doesn't solve that problem entirely, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.
“Not only would regulating marijuana free up law enforcement resources to go after the real criminals in society, it would increase public safety in other ways. Right now, the marijuana trade is largely controlled by large and dangerous international drug cartels drawn to the industry because of the huge profits available. Many of these cartels are in Mexico -- which by some estimates has lost 60,000 people to drug war-related violence since 2006 -- although the U.S. Justice Department reports that Mexican cartels are now operating in more than 1,000 U.S. cities.”
Time will tell what happens in Oregon, but one thing is for sure: legalization gains momentum every day.
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