7 States Where Medical Marijuana Is Legal But Barely Accessible
With New York State beginning to accept applications for medical marijuana providers last week, criticism of the hyper-strict program negotiated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been plentiful. Hinged on concerns about arbitrary regulations and insufficient patient access, advocates for medical marijuana access worry the program will be too small and restrictive to be effective.
However, New York is not the only state facing hurdles in implementing medical marijuana laws. In states across the country, legislators are struggling to enact the regulations necessary for legalized medical marijuana programs to function properly, leaving patients with long wait times and a slew of confusing procedures. Here are seven other states that are struggling to translate their marijuana legalization laws as they exist on paper into the real world.
In 2012, Massachusetts's voters approved via ballot initiative the legalization of medical marijuana and state-regulated dispensaries, but overcomplicated licensing procedures allowed not a single dispensary to open. Two dozen lawsuits followed a two-and-a-half-year wait for the law to be enforced.
Charges Filed Against Medical Marijuana Advocate in Kansas
Some lawmakers worry medical marijuana could spur corruption
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — As a majority of Louisiana lawmakers push forward with a proposed medical marijuana law, some are looking to the past — and not with nostalgia.
Some 15 years after former Gov. Edwin Edwards was convicted of bribery and extortion in a corruption scheme involving riverboat casino licenses, some lawmakers worry weaknesses in the medical marijuana proposal could lead to similar abuse.
"We're opening this up for corruptness," Rep. James Armes said before the House voted 70-29 in favor of Sen. Fred Mills' medical marijuana proposal. The bill, which Gov. Bobby Jindal says he will sign, is up for a final vote in the Senate this week after changes were made in the House.
Armes and a handful of lawmakers say that without safeguards, clout and influence peddling could play a role in who is granted a license to cultivate and distribute medical-grade pot.
Many of the guidelines governing the process haven't been written yet. That's because the bill directs state boards and agencies to develop those rules.
That puts power in the hands of state bureaucrats and politicians who will ultimately make the rules and issue licenses.
"I don't know if I trust some of these boards," said Armes, a Leesville Democrat who voted against the bill.
What '60 Minutes' Didn't Tell You About Legalized Marijuana
On Sunday night, ’60 Minutes’ revisited a story it had previously aired on the state of Colorado’s legalized marijuana industry, going back to the state in order to get an update. The story gave a great broad overview of the industry, but by trying to cover so many parts of this business, many things were missed.
The ’60 Minutes’ piece, called ‘Colorado Pot,’ noted that it isn’t easy to make money in legalized marijuana, but then like most of these general stories, zoomed in on the giant safe full of cash. The public assumes that because these businesses are awash in cash that they are profitable. That isn’t necessarily the case. The story did touch on the seed-to-sale software, but didn’t note that for the huge warehouse full of plants featured in the story, the software company could be charging anywhere from $0.25 to $0.45 an RFID or bar-code. These bar-codes can’t be reused and a big warehouse like the one on the show that is growing thousands of plants is spending thousands for inventory tracking.
The show was accurate in describing the difficulty these business owners face in finding a bank. Most of the major banks will not service these customers and some of the state chartered banks that were stepping in are now pulling back. First, they are concerned about the new Attorney General Loretta Lynch who is not for legalization. Secondly, it’s expensive for the banks to handle these customers. The amount of employees required to fill out all the paperwork to keep the banks in compliance make these money losing customers. The banks have to fill out SARS paperwork or Suspicious Activity Reports on the accounts. This takes people and time and while these businesses may be swimming in cash, it doesn’t pay off for the smaller banks. The big banks have said they won’t allow this type of banking until marijuana is no longer illegal at the Federal level.
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