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Marijuana Industry News March 29, 2013


Portugal Decriminalization Yielding Positive Results…

The idea of decriminalizing marijuana has become increasingly popular over the years.  At times, it seems only elected officials are seeking to maintain the failed approach.  The idea of decriminalization and re diverting money while keeping teens out of jail is winning the argument.  Those who support outdated drug laws never seem to take Portugal into consideration.  Twelve years ago, Portugal underwent a major overhaul of their approach to controlled substance regulation.  Even in the midst of many critics, they decided to pass decriminalization laws.  The results are not shocking to activists as Portugal has seen the new laws produce results.  Doctor João Goulão, a former family physician, has contributed a great deal to the new policies.  He recently said that decriminalized laws needed to be considered because “We figured perhaps this way we would be better able get things under control.  Criminalization certainly wasn’t working all that well.”  While the idea enjoys more acceptance today, Dr. Goulão explained that Portugal was a pioneer in their approach over a decade ago.  He said “At the point when we designed the law, we had hardly any data to draw on.  We weren’t the least bit certain this would work.”  The bill passed is referred to as “Law 30/2000” and Dr. Goulão explains that it has been successful.  Specifically he said “This is working. Drug consumption has not increased severely. There is no mass chaos. For me as an evaluator, that’s a very good outcome.”

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Bill to Legalize and Tax Marijuana In Maine receives Support From Many Lawmakers…

With Colorado and Washington’s historic laws to legalize marijuana, it is not surprising that many other states are following their lead.  We at have been pleased to report about all the new states considering decriminalization, legalization, and medical marijuana laws.  Maine has recently introduced a bill that would legalize and tax marijuana.  While it is unclear if the bill will pass, it is making sizable waves in the state government.  There are already 35 co-sponsors for the bill and now it will move to a legislative committee hearing.  If passed, there would be a $50 tax per ounce, with individuals being permitted to posses 2.5 ounces.  Earlier this week, Maine’s political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, David Boyer said Maine can and should take a more sensible approach to marijuana policy and we are glad to see so many legislators agree.”  Another interesting element of the Maine legalization bill is that is was lawmaker initiated.  The legalization laws in Washington and Colorado were voter driven, as activists collected enough signatures to get the laws on the ballot and by a vote of the people.  Maine appears to highlight a turning point, where introducing a marijuana legalization bill no longer hurts and perhaps even enhances their standing with voters.

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Dispensaries May Open this Year in Massachusetts…


It is clear that he northeast region of the United States is becoming a hotbed for marijuana reform.  We have spoken at great length about New Jersey finally getting its medical program off the ground.  Additionally, New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo has been fighting hard to reform “stop and frisk” in order for decriminalization laws function as they were intended.  Connecticut has also legalized medical marijuana and just above this story we spoke about Maine considering legalization.  Massachusetts may see the doors open to dispensaries before 2013 is over.  The Massachusetts Department of Health has now filed draft regulations on medical marijuana use and expects to have a finalized version by May.  The Department of Health is expected to start accepting applications for dispensaries over the summer.  Last November, 63% of Massachusetts voters elected to legalize medical marijuana.

For more on this story and a listing of the Department of Health’s requirements to open a dispensary, click here

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