Oregon Begins To Implement Legal Cannabis
Category: News | Posted on Wed, December, 17th 2014 by THCFinder
This past November, Oregon joined Colorado and Washington in the recreational cannabis legalization movement, along with Alaska. The state now needs to come up with a plan on how to regulate and tax the plant so that legal sales go smoothly. The Oregon Legislature’s Emergency Board approved funding Wednesday, totaling around $600,000, for the Liquor Control Commission to begin making the rules regarding legal cannabis.
With this funding, the commission would hire four workers. These four would include a program manager, two policy analysts, and a public affairs staffer. Even though there will just be these four to start out with, the state estimates that the regulation of recreational marijuana would end up including up to thirty workers.
Taxes from the legal marijuana sales are estimated to eventually to cover the costs for the regulatory system. The money that was approved for spending on Wednesday will come from the sales of liquor in the state and once the market for marijuana gets going, must be paid back with interest. Which means a ton of extra money for the state, along with the money made from commercial sales, reported to start sometime in 2016. But as of July 1st, personal possession and home grown pot are legal in the state of Oregon.
Building these systems to regulate cannabis are important, even though the laws can sometimes be frustrating. Oregon will hopefully rake in the same amount of revenue as Colorado and Washington, sending the funds to school, public workers, roads, and other issues that happen within state lines. Considering how high the taxes on marijuana are, the states stand to make considerable gains by legalizing cannabis.
Tacoma Washington May Shut Down DIspenaries
Category: News | Posted on Mon, December, 15th 2014 by THCFinder
Plans released by city leaders last week were to send out letter to cease operations at marijuana dispensaries as soon as this January, as they are not licensed under Initiative 502. For both business owners and patients, this serves as devastating news. All of the medical marijuana dispensaries in the city could be gone in early 2015.
But while the medical marijuana clinics would close, the recreational shops in the area would remain open. For people who want to get healed rather than high, this idea isn’t great for them. Recreational shops don’t offer the same type of medicinal products that medical shops do, not to mention that the taxes are higher on recreational cannabis.
Places like Ancient Holistic Remedies in Tacoma are extremely worried about what will happen if their shop gets shut down. “This is out apothecary,” said Kimberly Braga, the owner. “It’s our traditional Eastern apothecary and we do have cannabis.” The shop has been open since 2012, in honor of Kim’s father who died of cancer. When he was diagnosed, his treatment of choice was marijuana and Kim and her husband opened the shop in his memory. They serve a great deal of patients in the Tacoma area, like Susan Fairchild, a hairdresser that suffers from severe arthritis.
If the Tacoma City Council reveals a plan to shut down the unregulated pot shops, however, Ancient Apothecaries and as many as 50 other shops will have to close their doors. Tacoma City Council Member Anders Isben stated, “Ultimately, with these collective gardens, we respect the work that they’ve done and the work that went in to the process but there’s just such legal ambiguity and another concern is that there’s such a proliferation or concentration of these stores in certain neighborhoods.”
Fairchild compares getting her medicine at a recreational shop to buying isopropyl alcohol at a liquor store. It’s just not something that you do. “They aren’t taking the time to see who’s doing things right and they’re going to rope us all in to the same boat and set us out to sail, which is tragic,” Braga said.
Feds: Tribes Can Grow And Sell Marijuana On Tribal Lands
Category: News | Posted on Fri, December, 12th 2014 by THCFinder
I will never forget the first time I heard the story of the Oglala Sioux Nation’s efforts to grow hemp. The Oglala Sioux tribe is a recognized sovereign nation by the United States government, yet the feds prevented the Oglala Sioux people from growing hemp. I remember tearing up when I heard Alex White Plume speak about how the feds came and essentially stole the tribes hemp harvest at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. It was a harvest that the tribe was relying upon as a cash crop, and without it they suffered many economic hardships.
Zoom forward to today, where a historic position was taken by the United States government. Per the Los Angeles Times:
Opening the door for what could be a lucrative and controversial new industry on some Native American reservations, the Justice Department on Thursday will tell U.S. attorneys to not prevent tribes from growing or selling marijuana on the sovereign lands, even in states that ban the practice.
The new guidance, released in a memorandum, will be implemented on a case-by-case basis and tribes must still follow federal guidelines, said Timothy Purdon, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota and the chairman of the Attorney General’s Subcommittee on Native American Issues.
This of course is not true legalization, as it’s just guidance from the federal government via a memo, which can change at any moment without notice. This isn’t the first time this administration released a memo in regards to loosening marijuana enforcement, and that didn’t prove to be as sincere as people first thought. However, today’s news is still significant nonetheless. How many tribes will take advantage of the new policy is unclear, but it could potentially lead to legal marijuana being grown and sold within state borders that many thought (myself included) would never allow legal marijuana. Yes, technically a state like South Dakota is not a nation, it’s a state, and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is separate, but it would still involve legal marijuana within the borders of South Dakota should the Oglala Sioux people proceed to growing marijuana.
From reports I’ve read, Indian tribes were responsible for lobbying for the new policy. There was a lot of confusion when the news broke, with many activists scrambling to see who was working on it. I’m glad that Native Americans took the lead on this issue, and that it got results. I have to assume that just because marijuana is grown and sold on a reservation, it doesn’t mean that the marijuana will be allowed off the tribal land. So if/when sales begin, be aware of this fact. I am now dreaming of the day when I can go to the Grande Ronde casino near where I live, buy some legal marijuana, and enjoy a concert or two.
Outdoor Marijuana Cultivation Bans In California Are A Bad Idea
Category: News | Posted on Thu, December, 11th 2014 by THCFinder
Outdoor marijuana cultivation, or ‘sun grown’, is cheaper than indoor cultivation, and if done properly, is much more environmentally friendly compared to indoor cultivation. There are parts of California that are perfect for outdoor cultivation, which is why so many people have done it over the years. However, outdoor cultivation has been under attack from local governments in California. There are more and more proposed bans on outdoor cultivation popping up these days. Per Marijuana Business Daily:
More than 300 people, mostly medical cannabis patients and growers, attended a meeting in Yuba County, California, as supervisors considered a ban on outdoor marijuana cultivation.
About 45 people spoke during the event in which supervisors considered three ordinances from other counties – Sacramento, Shasta and Fresno – that all ban outdoor grows in the wake of court rulings allowing them to impose severe restrictions on cannabis cultivation, according to the Appeal-Democrat.
Patients told county supervisors a ban on outdoor grows was a bad idea during a three-hour workshop, while others were in favor of the moratorium, saying they’ve seen their neighborhoods turned into a “war zone,” the newspaper said.
There are many growers in California that cannot afford to grow marijuana indoors due to high equipment costs. There are also other growers that simply don’t have an adequate facility to cultivate marijuana indoors. Banning outdoor cultivation will essentially shut them down, leaving them without medicine, and leaving other patients that rely on them without medicine. That is unacceptable.
Congressional Spending Bill Blocks DEA Medical Marijuana Raids
Category: News | Posted on Wed, December, 10th 2014 by THCFinder
What a wild day yesterday. As I was sitting in my cubicle reading tweets earlier in the day, it seemed that Washington D.C.’s marijuana legalization bill was going to be entirely scrapped in a backdoor deal between Democrats and Republicans. As the day progressed, it appeared that possession and cultivation of marijuana in D.C. would move forward, but that Congress wouldn’t approve marijuana sales. Ultimately, the language that was agreed upon in the spending bill that will determine D.C.’s legalization implementation was somewhat vague. Some belief there’s wiggle room to implement legalization in some fashion, others don’t. There will no doubt be a battle over implementation, as there was with medical marijuana in D.C., so activists need to keep the pressure on as much as possible.
Something that was included in the spending bill’s language was a ban on using funds for federal medical marijuana raids and hemp enforcement. Those provisions brought praise from Tom Angell of the Marijuana Majority, who sent me the following message:
“Congressional leaders seem to have finally gotten the message that a supermajority of Americans wants states to be able to implement sensible marijuana reforms without federal interference. This legislation greatly reduces the chances that costly and senseless DEA raids will come between seriously ill patients and the doctor-recommended medicine they need for relief. Now that Congress has created political space by taking this important legislative step, there are no remaining excuses for the Obama administration not to exercise its executive power to reschedule marijuana immediately. The attorney general can begin that process today with the stroke of a pen.”
Below is the actual language regarding hemp and medical marijuana from the spending bill, also provided by the Marijuana Majority:
“Sec. 538. None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
“Sec. 539. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (“Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research”) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.”
“Section 538 prohibits the Department of Justice from preventing certain States from implementing State laws regarding the use of medical marijuana.”
“Section 539 prohibits the use of funds by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration in contravention of a certain section of the Agricultural Act of 2014.”
Yesterday was a bitter sweet day. Medical marijuana aids were de-funded, but Washington D.C.’s marijuana legalization is in limbo. Please contact your members of Congress and tell them to respect the will of D.C. voters. Tell them that vague language is far from good enough – we need full assurances that D.C. residents will be allowed to possess, cultivate, and gift marijuana as Initiative 71 outlined. Or even better – approve taxing and sales of marijuana.
Researchers Working On Creating A Marijuana Breathalyzer
Category: News | Posted on Tue, December, 9th 2014 by THCFinder
There’s a handful of people working on a marijuana breathalyzer right now. Some have been at it for a few years, and others, like some researchers at Washington State University, are just starting. Per Oregon Live:
Hill said he and WSU doctoral student Jessica Tufariello are working on a handheld device that uses a technique called ion mobility spectrometry to detect THC in someone’s breath.
Right now, officers and prosecutors rely on blood tests to determine how much active THC is present in a driver’s blood. Those test results aren’t immediately available to patrol officers who suspect someone is driving high.
There was a lot of media buzz last week when the research was announced out of Washington, with even many marijuana media outlets claiming that its going to be the future of how marijuana DUIIs are determined. However, I doubt this research, or any research involving a marijuana breathalyzer, will ever be used by officers in the field. Marijuana breathalyzers are built on junk science. Yes, they may eventually be able to detect if a person has marijuana in their system. However, they won’t be able to tell what level of active THC is in a person’s system, or how long ago they consumed marijuana, or most importantly if the person is impaired or not. Marijuana does not affect the system like alcohol does.
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