Colorado House rejects first-ever marijuana investment fund
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, April, 12th 2011 by THCFinder
DENVER (AP) - The nation's first proposed state-backed investment bank for the marijuana business failed Tuesday after a fiery debate in the Colorado House.
Democrats and Republicans fell on both sides of the argument over starting a fund to legitimize investment in marijuana research. The proposed Colorado Investment Trust was promoted as a way to allow pot shops to borrow money and bank.
"This will legitimize this business, bring them into the light of day," said Republican Rep. Tom Massey, the idea's sponsor.
But opponents sided with another Republican who argued that because marijuana is federally illegal, and FDIC-insured banks won't accept marijuana money, Colorado would be wading into perilous legal territory if it tried to oversee marijuana-funded business.
"There's no way to get around this. ... You can't violate the federal law," argued Republican Rep. Mark Barker, who argued against the trust fund. The fund would have been the nation's first in which a state allowing medical marijuana also oversees business transactions rejected by federally chartered banks and investment firms.
Some Democrats opposed the idea, too. Rep. Claire Levy of Boulder agreed that the fund could put Colorado in conflict with federal banking regulations.
"I understand the problem of dealing with cash," Levy said, "but it puts the state in the business of investing in marijuana centers."
House members rejected the fund on a voice vote but then went on to give preliminary approval to a raft of new regulations for Colorado's booming marijuana business.
The new regulations relax residency requirements for people working in pot dispensaries, so that owners but not employees have to have been in Colorado for two years.
Maryland House Passes Medical Marijuana Defense Bill
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, April, 11th 2011 by THCFinder
A bill that would allow Maryland medical marijuana patients to mount an affirmative defense against pot possession charges passed the House of Delegates Saturday after being amended and approved by the House Judiciary Committee Thursday. The measure has already been approved by the state Senate, but now must go back to the Senate for a final vote as amended before heading for the desk of Gov. Martin O'Malley (D).
Patients could still be arrested, but not convicted under the proposed law. (Image via Wikimedia.org)
The bill, Senate Bill 308, builds on the 2003 Darrel Putnam Compassionate Use Act, which allowed for a medical necessity defense, but only to limit sentences. Under the 2003 law, qualified patients could still be found guilty and stuck with a misdemeanor conviction record, but could only be fined a maximum of $100.
SB 308 amends the 2003 law so that patients with "clear and convincing evidence" that they need to use marijuana for medical reasons are no longer found guilty and fined $100, but "if the court finds that the person used or possessed marijuana because of medical necessity, the court shall enter a finding of not guilty."
Unlike other medical marijuana states, patients are not protected from arrest and prosecution, but must instead defend themselves in court. Nor are there any provisions for them to grow their own medicine or buy it in dispensaries. But SB 308 does contain a provision that calls for a study group to ponder more comprehensive legislation for next year.
Medical marijuana prohibited on campus
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, April, 11th 2011 by THCFinder
Though medical marijuana is now legal in Rhode Island, administrators maintain that under both state and federal law, the University cannot allow smoking of marijuana on school grounds.
Medical marijuana was legalized in Rhode Island June 16, 2009 after state legislators voted to override a veto by then-Gov. Donald Carcieri '65. Three new dispensaries for medical marijuana will open in Rhode Island this summer.
Despite the state's legalization of medical marijuana and imminent opening of dispensaries, the University released a statement saying it would not permit smoking on campus because Rhode Island and federal law "prohibit smoking marijuana on any school grounds, including college campuses."
According to the statement, "Any breach of the federal law would put Brown's eligibility for federal funding at risk. A student with an illness serious enough to warrant a doctor's prescription for medical marijuana would need to consult with Brown's Health Services to identify options to meet their needs in compliance with the law."
Mark Porter, chief of police and director of public safety, did not respond to requests for comment.
The University's policy is in compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989, which does not allow students to "manufacture, distribute, dispense or possess with the intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense" any illicit drug, according to the Office of Student Life website.
If an officer catches a student violating the rules regarding drug use — even if the student is in possession of medical marijuana with a valid license — the student may be suspended, dismissed or expelled from the University in accordance with the non-academic disciplinary code.
Students caught with marijuana by off-campus law enforcement officers may be subject to more stringent legal sanctions like imprisonment and hefty fines.
Marijuana bill survives challenge in Vermont Senate
The medical marijuana dispensary bill survived a close call in the Senate Rules Committee today.
The bill to allow up to four medical marijuana dispensaries in Vermont – S. 17 – was expected to be debated on the Senate floor this week. First, it had to take a trip to the Senate Rules Committee because it didn’t meet the deadline for bills coming out of Senate committees. The Senate is being a little stricter with that rule this year.
It looked this morning like the bill might be killed by the rules committee. Sen. Dick Mazza, D-Grand Isle/Chitttenden, a member of the committee is among those who doesn’t like the idea of legalizing dispensaries.
A Senate Rules Committee meeting was called for Thursday afternoon to allow senators involved with the bill to make their case. Senate Government Operations Committee Chairwoman Jeanette White, D-Windham, said the bill made it out of her committee by the first deadline, but was delayed in the Finance Committee to give the Public Safety commissioner time to figure out what the fees needed to be to cover his costs.
The committee bought the argument, with a 5-0 vote. Mazza said the Rules Committee’s job is not to consider the merits of the bill but the process.
The bill is expected to be on the Senate floor Tuesday, after a wide-ranging telecommunications bill that could take some time.
Drug enforcement chief discusses enforcing medical marijuana regs
LONGMONT — Boulder County’s communities have either adopted or are still considering what’s likely to be a patchwork of approaches to regulating medical marijuana centers.
“It kind of makes it a real mixed bag for us,” Boulder County Drug Task Force Cmdr. Tom Sloan told Twin Peaks Rotary Club members on Thursday.
Sloan added, however, that state and local governments’ inspection staffs eventually will bear most of the burden of enforcing state and local rules for businesses that dispense or grow medical marijuana in Boulder County.
The Boulder County Drug Task Force will focus its efforts on complaints alleging criminal wrongdoing by the owners or employees of medical marijuana centers, Sloan said.
Despite the rapid growth of medical marijuana businesses in Boulder County over the past three years, “we’ve not had any issues with any of our dispensaries on a criminal level,” Sloan told his Rotary Club audience.
There have been some problems with marijuana growing operations that exceed the limits and restrictions set by state and local laws, Sloan said.
He noted last August’s discovery of growing sites that covered 6 acres and included about 7,500 plants near Miller Rock, southeast of Colo. Highway 7 and Colo. Highway 72.
Authorities said last year it was unclear if that crop was even destined for sale in Boulder County, but it was the largest illegal marijuana growing operation in the county’s history.
Sloan said that, when it comes to the medical marijuana that’s allowed to be grown and distributed under what he called a poorly written state constitutional amendment adopted by Colorado voters in 2000, “I have to deal with it,” even if he has “very little interest in it.”
Providing medical marijuana to other caregivers ruled illegal
Caregiver-to-caregiver transfers of medical marijuana - a practice widely used by some providers - is illegal under Montana's medical marijuana law" a judge in Missoula ruled this week.
The Medical Marijuana Act, passed by voter initiative in 2004, "particularly prohibits a caregiver from providing marijuana to anyone other than a qualifying patient who has registered that specific caregiver," District Judge John Larson wrote in an opinion issued Wednesday.
Larson's opinion backs up the Missoula County Attorney's Office, which issued a memo in August that such transactions run afoul of the law.
"We were hoping to stop them from doing that," said Chris Lindsey of Missoula, the attorney who pursued the case against Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg on behalf of Missoula caregiver Kevin Kerr. Lindsey also is part of a similar suit filed two weeks ago in Flathead County.
The suits, said Lindsey, aimed to clarify what he called "a gray area" in the law, which specifies that a caregiver "signs a statement agreeing to provide marijuana only to qualifying patients who have named the applicant as caregiver."
The county attorney's stance that the provision outlaws all caregiver-to-caregivers sales or exchanges "creates an impossibility," according to Kerr's complaint.
Caregivers have to get plants from someplace, it said.
"Quite simply, a caregiver can never meet his duty in providing marijuana to his patient(s) if he is never able to come in possession of it," it said.
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