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Marijuana news from around the world

Arkansas

Meet a reluctant medical marijuana doctor in the heart of the Bible Belt

Dr. Joseph Parker is Texarkana’s only physician yet to go public with the decision to authorize patients’ medical marijuana use. His rules are stricter than state regulations.

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Record Amount of States to Vote on Marijuana Reform

Back in June we covered which states were going to be voting on marijuana law reform in November 2016. We also listed each state and the initiatives that they were hoping to be voting on this November. Recently, I read a blog at Sensi Magazine with updates for the record amount of states that will be voting on marijuana […]

The post Record Amount of States to Vote on Marijuana Reform appeared first on The Weed Blog.

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Marijuana Industry News August 9, 2013

AARP

Older Generations Trying Marijuana in Higher Numbers Than Younger…

Earlier this week Marijuana.net reported on a recent Gallup survey that found the number of teens co summing marijuana has remained steady for years.  The conversation revolved the perceived notion that legal medical and recreational marijuana would lead to a spike in usage by the teen to 29 year old bracket.  In 1985,  56% of of those ages 18-29 had tried marijuana.  Now, according to the new Gallup data,  that number is just 36%.  Of from the ages of 30-49,  49% have tried cannabis.  As much or more of a surprise is that those from the 50-64 age bracket are smoking marijuana at much higher rates.  In 1985 only 9% of Americans from the age of 50-64 smoked marijuana.  Now that number has risen to 44%.  The makeup and attitudes of this age group is considerably different.  In 1985,  many people from this group were World War 2 and Korean War vets.  Today many from this age group were part of the Hippie Movement.  Additionally, critics of legal marijuana dismiss the chance that regulation works.  Any marijuana to them will result in waves of zombie like teens willing to anything for access with caregivers driving around in vans willing to distribute.  Perhaps medical cards has been a deterrent for teens.

 

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Chilean Psychologist Leads Push To Follow Uruguay’s Legal Marijuana Path…

Recently we learned that Uruguay has moved very close to legalizing marijuana.  The impact may be spreading thought Central and South America as there seems to be even more interest in Chilean marijuana activist, Dr. Milton Flores.  He is considered to be the most well known marijuana reform advocate in Chile. The psychologist has been a long time advocate of legalizing marijuana.  He is trying to end the criminalization of those who are non violent or require medical relief.  Dr.  Flores has been  He recently said “Cannabis is neither good nor bad.  Its use can be appropriate or inappropriate. It’s a tool that can have very significant effects.”  While Dr. Flores had been trying to bring awareness the issue for decades,  he has found much more support in recent years. There has been growing support for legalization in Chile as of late.  Mexico may also consider legalization soon as their former president, Vicente Fox had been quite vocal on the issue.  With Uruguay’s plans to move forward on marijuana legalization,  the idea seems to be generating momentum all over South and Central America.

 

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Arkansas Activists Revise and Resubmit Medical Marijuana Ballot…

The Deep South may represent the last stronghold of marijuana reform opposition.  When it comes to reform,  the west was first,  the northeast has been on fire,  and medical marijuana has even made its way to the Midwest.  However,  with Florida having an elderly population in need of medicine and already producing the highest quantities of illegal marijuana,  there clearly is demand in the sunshine state.  While reform in  Florida may be on the way,  it is Arkansas who may be the first to drastically alter marijuana laws.  The group Arkansans for Medical Cannabis are working hard to get the decision into the hands of the people. A previous ballot proposal was rejected by state Attorney General Dustin McDaniels lady month.  If approved this time,  which is certainly not guaranteed, those with Arkansans for Medical Cannabis would have the opportunity to collect enough signatures and put medical marijuana to a vote of the people in 2014.

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Game Changers After Historic Election

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There were many highlights from Tuesday’s election.  Obviously the headlines are focusing on President Barack Obama’s re-election which came by dominating the electoral college.  However the President won a much slimmer popular vote victory.  There were also tremendous victories for the LGBT community and anyone who supports equal protection.  Minnesota residents voted against outlawing same sex marriage Maine and Maryland passed legislation allowing the unions.  Other stories include the fact that the majorities in the House (Republican controlled) and the Senate (Democratically controlled) stayed the same, with the exception of a few seats shifting.  Another victory for the people was the apparent failure of the Super PACS(outside political groups with no limits to how much they can spend) to impact the election.  Perhaps there will be a few less advertisements in 2016 or for the 2014 midterm elections, though that is likely wishful thinking.

In the world of marijuana reform, America saw a true game changing events.  Massachusetts has now become the 18th state to pass medical marijuana legislation.  The list almost grew to 19 but the ballot initiative narrowly failed(51-49%).  However, activists should be pleased as a narrow defeat shows even the deep south is changing and is receptive to marijuana reform.  What is even more striking is that Colorado and Washington State voters have passed an initiative that will regulate, tax, and distribute recreational marijuana.

Although the legalization in Colorado and Washington State does not end the conflict with the federal government, it does provide even more legitimacy for legalized marijuana.  Now there will be tighter regulation and greater tax revenues collected from marijuana sales.  If federal agents intervene, they now will have to compromise local economies and infringe on state laws.  They will have to take marijuana from safe and regulated environments and return it to street dealers.  Additionally, we are fresh off of a major statement by the people and while the feds have not respected our will previously, the writing on the wall is becoming more and more apparent.  All over this country the people want to see a different approach toward regulating marijuana, and the old system is simply obsolete.

Thankfully the election cycle is finally over.  It may be instinctive and easy to take a cynical outlook on what occurred but we should all be encouraged by the fact that the biggest changes in this country came directly from the hard work of the people and groups such as Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and New Approach Washington .  Ballot initiatives have produced same sex marriage equality and common sense marijuana reform.  The 2012 election was historic and will set the stage for even more states to return rights back to the people.

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Medical Marijuana Industry News

red cross

East Coast Still Recovering from Hurricane Sandy…

 

Sandy is perhaps the worst storm to hit the Northeast in modern history.  The region is still trying to recover from the incident as many are still without power.  Entire homes and lives have been lost and marijuana.net continues to extend our wishes out to those impacted.  We are donating water and food to collection centers in the New York area.  We hope everyone comes together and rebuilds the east coast better than ever.  We were pleased to see Governor Chris Christie and President Obama work together in what is becoming a rare bi-partisan moment.  Many are unable to help, but many can.  Below you can click on a link to the Red Cross with instructions on how you can help.


Click here if you are interested in Contributing to the Red Cross

 

Legalized Marijuana Likely To Pass In Washington State…

 

Marijuana reform has been gaining momentum for years now.  The conversation is usually centered around decriminalization and medical marijuana legislation.  However, as citizens demand more personal freedom and science highlights the benign nature of marijuana, recreation legalization has gained momentum.  Colorado, Washington, and Oregon will all  be voting on legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana.  The situation looks good for advocates in Washington State as many politicians and members of law enforcement have supported initiative 502 for quite some time. However, residents who will be voting seem to be demonstrating overwhelming support for the bill.  In a recent poll of likely voters Washington residents indicated by a margin of 55.4-37.6.  Check out for our election coverage next week as we discuss the presidency as well as the outcome of many bills that pertain to marijuana reform.  Residents also seem likely to pass a bill that will legalize same sex marriage.


For more about the situation in Washington State click here

 

Arkansas Sees Big Dollars Spent For and Against Medical Marijuana Bill…

 

Above we mentioned the bill in Washington State that seems likely to pass on Tuesday.  In Arkansas the fate of their medical marijuana initiative may be less certain.  There is considerable support for the bill but also many who oppose the idea.  Arkansas has the chance to become the first state in the deep south to have a medical marijuana program.  In the true spirit of the political season, a great deal of money has been spent on trying to get initiative passed.  Arkansans for Compassionate Care has raised $419,000 and spent $406,000 with almost all of the money going toward television ads.  Marijuana.net will report on whether or not the initiative passes next week.

 

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Medical Marijuana Industry News October 19, 2012

35th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards - Press Room

Montel Williams Calls Anti-Medical Marijuana Ads Racist in Arkansas…

Before it was cool for celebrities to come out and support marijuana reform, patients and activists always knew they could count on Montel Williams.  The former talk show host suffers from MS and has been very vocal about marijuana providing him with relief and has done a great deal of work to highlight marijuana’s medicinal benefits.  Now that medical marijuana is gaining acceptance, opposing groups are ratcheting up their efforts to promote propaganda.  Montel Williams is coming out against an ad that opposes the proposed medical marijuana program in Arkansas that will be voted on by residents in three weeks.  In the ad promoted by the Family Council Action Committee, a black man is shown dealing drugs as the narrator says “dope dealers” will be able to take advantage of legalized medical marijuana.  Yesterday Mr. Williams told a crowd in Little Rock that the ad was “the most egregiously false, racist statement you’ve ever seen in your life.”   Montel Williams said of his medical marijuana use that “For me, cannabis became a choice that my doctor and I had to make.”  Arkansas can become the first southern state to pass medical marijuana legislation.

 

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New Jersey Dispensary Receives Go Ahead to Start Selling Medical Marijuana…

For those who appreciate a good legal drama, New Jersey has provided a great deal of material.  New Jersey passed a bill permitting medical marijuana several years ago and has seen progress come in small intervals due to bureaucratic delays and challenges from Governor Chris Christie. No patients have been served in the years since the program received its initial approval.  However, that all appears ready to change as Greenleaf Compassion Center in Montclair has received a permit to distribute marijuana.  New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd said “This permit marks a significant step forward in the implementation of New Jersey’s medicinal marijuana program.”  Patients who have been approved are expected to be receiving their medical marijuana cards any day.  Analysts are still unsure as to exactly when Greenleaf Compassion will open its doors but most feel it will be operation before the end of the year.

 

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Arizona Officials Keep Up Battle with Residents and Medical Marijuana….

Arizona has some of the strangest and maybe even most unfair laws on record.  However, officials only seem to be able to focus on two issues, immigration and marijuana.  Earlier this week marijuana.net reported on a story where Arizona police officers raided a patient’s home and arrested her on felony narcotic possession, seemingly because they were not familiar with what a marijuana tincture is.  Now, Maricopa County will be making its case in court as they refuse to provide zoning permits for medical marijuana dispensaries, despite a state law passed by residents that has legalize medical cannabis.  Officials in Maricopa County claim that the law is in violation of Federal law.  Ironically, many critics have made a similar accusation in regards to how Arizona handles immigration law.  The Arizona “show me your papers” and other parts of the state’s immigration laws seem to be at odds with Federal laws, though state lawmakers do not seem to mind.  Today a judge in Maricopa County will hear the opening arguments in a case filed by the ACLU.

 

For more click here

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Applications Now To Be Available for Connecticut Medical Marijuana Program

marijuana application

Federal pressure on state run medical marijuana programs has been increasing over the last year.  However, this has not been successful in stopping states from responding to the call from patients and regulation advocates.  Vermont is about to open medical marijuana dispensaries and Arkansas is set have its residents vote on a measure that would have them join the other 17 states with legalized cannabis.

Today, Connecticut provides another example of states taking on a new approach to marijuana law.  Lawmakers passed a bill to permit medical marijuana several months ago and Governor Dannel P. Molloy signed it into law shortly after.  The program is making even more progress today.  Starting today, it is expected that patients will be able to apply online to the state’s medical marijuana program.

Although the program seems to be progressing, residents who are concerned about unregulated marijuana availability may be able to relax.  The state is expected to have a tight grip on their program.  Governor Malloy’s Criminal Justice Adviser, Michael Lawlor recently said “From talking to a lot of people, Connecticut clearly will have the tightest,  most restrictive system in the country.”  The list of conditions that can qualify patients for the Connecticut program include HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, cancer, and MS.

Analysts may consider Connecticut’s medical marijuana patient application process overly restrictive, however, it is important no to lose sight of the progress that is being made all over the country.  Even as federal authorities demonstrate their inability to take action, residents and state lawmakers have decided not to sit idle as patients seek compassionate relief  Connecticut will soon be providing relief to patients and activists will have the opportunity to push for patients with underrepresented conditions to qualify.

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Newest Marijuana Initiative Polls

states medical marijuana

Political junkies or those working in campaigns have been spending a considerable amount of time analyzing polls recently.  Even those who are not as enthusiastic about the election probably cannot escape the constant updates on polling.  Yesterday marijuana.net spoke about a polls showing that Colorado voters seem to be heavily leaning toward enacting a measure that would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana.

Today, we thought maybe we would talk about some polls on marijuana initiatives in other states.  Colorado is not the only state with a major marijuana legislative overhaul law that will be voted on by the people in November.  Arkansas, Montana, Massachusetts, Washington State and Oregon will leave the future of marijuana reform in the hands of voters in November.  These polls are gauging the public’s interest in bills they will be voting on.  However, there is also pending legislation in other states to legalize medical marijuana or decriminalize.

The news for activists has been in mostly in their favor.  As marijuana.net mentioned yesterday, polls showed a strong majority of Colorado residents favoring the legalization of marijuana.  Similar results were found in Washington State as 57% supported legalization with 34% opposed.  In Massachusetts 58% of those polled signaled their support to legalize medical marijuana with only 27% opposing the measure.    Additionally, a majority of Montana voters do not support the state setting up additional limits on the state’s medical marijuana program.  Oregon voters were much more on the fence when it comes to legalizing marijuana with a slight majority disapproving of the measure (46%-43%).  There has not been polling data on residents of Arkansas, where they will vote on bring medical marijuana to the south.

The likelihood of at least one state passing a legalized marijuana bill seems extremely high.  Additionally it seems at one or more states may soon be joining the growing list of 17 states (and Washington D.C.) that have medical marijuana programs.  While many of us have grown weary from polling and statistics being directed our way, we thought many marijuana activists would be pleased to see their efforts are winning over the people.

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Medical Marijuana Industry News September 14, 2012

congress

New Bills In Congress Would Allow States to Decide Medical Marijuana…

As detailed often on marijuana.net, one of the biggest concerns for the medical marijuana industry is that is in a state of legislative limbo.  Patients are often left to wonder if they will have access to their medication.  Additionally, dispensaries face many difficulties operating in under the current system.  For the most part they are prevented from utilizing bank accounts or credit unions.  This results in high levels of marijuana and cash on premises, and dramatically increases the likelihood of being robbed.  Additionally, these businesses cannot benefit from the tax code or deduct expenses, making their survival challenging.  Several new laws in Congress have been introduced that would actually address these concerns.  Three different bills, HB 1983, HB1984, and HB1985, would allow dispensaries to take advantage of electronic banking, tax deductions, and would allow states to decide if they wish to permit medical marijuana by re-scheduling marijuana.  While similar bills have failed previously, there seems to be more bi-partisan support than ever for re-hauling the government’s approach toward medical marijuana.  While support was previously higher from Democrats, they have now been joined by fiscally conservatives who no longer want to see funds wasted on DEA raids.  Additionally, there is a growing call for returning many rights back to the states.

 

For more on this click here

 

Two Marijuana Dispensaries to Open in Vermont…

The federal crackdown and raids on marijuana dispensaries may not be producing the intended outcomes, especially in the Northeast.  In recent months, Connecticut has approved a measure to permit medical marijuana and even under the well known Republican Governor, Chris Christie (who does not support the program) New Jersey is close to dispensing marijuana to patients.  There is momentum across the country as Detroit, the state of Washington, Colorado, and Oregon will see their residents vote to regulate and legalize even recreation marijuana use.  A successful ballot initiative has also given residents of Arkansas the opportunity to vote on enacting a medical marijuana program.  In Vermont, two marijuana dispensaries have been given the green light to open.  One of the dispensaries will be located in Burlington while another will open its doors in Waterbury.  Vermont legalized medical marijuana in 2004 but patients are responsible for growing and cultivating their own medicine.  Patients in Vermont can possess up to 2 ounces and own 3 plants.  Last year Vermont lawmakers passed a new law that would allow up to 4 dispensaries to open.  The two dispensaries are expected to open in 6 months with additional applications to fill the other 2 openings under review.

 

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Seattle’s Children’s Alliance Supports Marijuana Legalization Initiative…

Supporting marijuana reform was previously career suicide in the public arena. Over the past few years there have been surprising supporters of marijuana reform including televangelist Pat Robertson and Progressive Insurance Chairman Peter B. Lewis.  However, an even more surprising group of supporters have revealed themselves.  A Seattle based non-profit group named The Children’s Alliance has come out in support of Initiative 502, which if passed by Washington State residents, would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana in a way that is similar to how alcohol is handled.  The group’s main focus is on protecting children’s futures.  Although whites and African Americans consume marijuana at similar rates, non whites are significantly more at risk for being arrested for it.  Often these arrests are of teens and having a criminal record can seriously jeopardize their ability to get a job, housing, or gain college acceptance.  Jon Gould, Deputy Director of The Children’s Alliance said “The status quo is not working for children, particularly children of color. Public policy ought to move us further toward racial equity and justice, and Initiative 502 is one step forward to that.”

 

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Medical Marijuana Industry News August 24, 2012

case dismissed

Court Ruling Could Reverse Dispensary Bans in California…

The Los Angeles City Council has come under much scrutiny after its controversial decision to ban all medical marijuana dispensaries.  Many even wondered if they had the legal authority to even enact such a law with a decision by California’s 2nd District of Appeals stating that dispensaries could not banned.  The city decided to move forward with the ban even though it was clear they would have to spend considerable tax dollars defending their ill advised legal decision.  A lawsuit has already been filed by the “Patient Care Alliance” challenging the ban.  Additionally, Americans For Safe Access have been in the process of collecting the necessary signatures to get a ballot initiative off the ground that would present residents with a chance to overturn the ban themselves.  The lawsuit and the ballot initiative may not even be necessary in the end as we recently learned that the court case Pack V. Long Beach was thrown out by the California Supreme Court.  Previously, the decision in Pack V. Long Beach ruled that marijuana dispensaries could be banned on the basis that medical marijuana is not permitted by federal law.  As a result, municipalities such as L.A. and Long Beach used the decision to ban dispensaries.  The state supreme court ruled that since the municipalities have abandoned their federal argument in the recent bans, then everything pertaining to Pack V. Long Beach has been invalidated.  Joe Elford of Americans for Safe Access applauded the decision and said “The California Supreme Court has essentially pulled out the rug from under local officials who have used the Pack decision to deny access to medical marijuana for thousands of patients across the state.”

 

For more on this decision click here

 

NAACP Backs Marijuana Legalization Effort In Colorado…

A group familiar with social struggles announced its support for Amendment 64 and Colorado’s marijuana legalization efforts.  The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) was formed in 1909 setting out on a mission “to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.”  The oldest civil rights organization is now seeking passage of Amendment 64.  However, their support is not entirely linked to the right to smoke marijuana itself as the group is also very much concerned with the disproportionate numbers of African Americans being jailed for cannabis related convictions.  Rosemarie Harris Lytle, president of the NAACP’s Colorado branch said “Marijuana prohibition policy does more harm to our communities than good.  “That is why we have endorsed Amendment 64 which presents a more effective and socially responsible approach to how Colorado addresses the adult use of marijuana.”  Arrests numbers by race are discouraging across the country but Colorado seems to have an even greater racial disparity in marijuana arrests than other areas of the country.  In Colorado, African Americans make up 4% of population but make up 9% of marijuana possession arrests and 22% of sale and cultivation charges.  In Denver the numbers are even more alarming as 11% of Denver’s population is African American even as they represent 31.5% of marijuana possession arrests.

 

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Medical Marijuana Makes Arkansas Ballot for November Election…

Activists in Arkansas faced a major setback when they were unable to deliver enough votes to get medical marijuana to the ballot earlier this summer.  However, a renewed effort has been successful with 74,406 signatures being submitted this time.  The number is higher than the 62,507 needed.  However ballot initiatives often see a significant number of signatures disqualified.  This was not the case in Arkansas as the Arkansas Secretary of State said earlier this week that “Our office verified over 69,000 signatures for Arkansans for Compassionate Care. They will be certified to the ballot.”  If residents approve the measure Arkansas will join the 17 other states (and Washington D.C.) that permit medical marijuana.  They would, however, become the first southern state to start a medical marijuana program.

 

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