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Tom Ammiano

Marijuana Industry News April 26, 2013

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California Condition Set up Committee Passes Medicinal Marijuana Regulation Bill…


The legislative mess that signifies California’s medicinal marijuana law continues to be well recorded.  Since Proposition 215 was passed in 1996, when medicinal marijuana was initially legalized in California,government bodies, patients and collectives have observed a lot of confusion regarding what is allowable underneath the law. The possible lack of proper regulation has permitted illegitimate collectives to thrive while well intentioned institutions have frequently found trouble.  Condition Assemblyman, Tom Ammiano introduced AB 473, an invoice to possess California’s Department of Alcohol Beverage Control oversee a lot of this program.  He walked from an identical bill this past year when congress tried to give a provision to permit cities to prohibit shops.  Now, condition set up committee passed  AB473 the 2009 week.  It’s unclear whether it can survive the whole political process and be law.


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Michigan Congress Introduce Decriminalization Bill…


Michigan has already established probably the most progressive marijuana laws and regulations around the books.  Attorney General Bill Schuette had attempted to battle against medical and native decriminalization laws and regulations despite citizens outwardly supporting reform measures.  It seems his efforts may fail short as state-wide decriminalization bill with bi partisan support continues to be introduced.  Democratic Condition Repetition. Shaun Irwin features an invoice that considerably reduce the seriousness of low-level marijuana possession charges.  For individuals caught with under one ounce, the penalty will be a civil infraction along with a fine.  Presently, individuals with no valid marijuana prescription caught with similar amount could address annually of incarceration along with a misdemeanor charge.  Repetition. Irwin lately stated “Even though we are investing no less than $325 million annually on arresting, trying and incarcerating marijuana customers within this condition, we all know marijuana has not been more available. We all know that police force is not effective at keeping marijuana from the hands of anybody within this condition.” The balance has got the support of some Republican congress within the condition government too, including Repetition. Mike Shirkey.  Mr. Shirkey spoke concerning the bill lately and stated “This is actually the proper time to possess this debate in Michigan.  “We are using lots of money, energy and assets in Michigan and nationwide to complete something we have unsuccessful at.”


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NY Condition Set up Committee Passes bill to Legalize Medicinal Marijuana…


Despite the fact that most of New You are able to citizens have supported medicinal marijuana for quite some time,  there continues to be little movement around the problem.  Recently, however,  NY political figures appear to become conditioning their stance.  Governor Andrew Cuomo has began to guide electric power charge toward reform and it has notoriously adopted stop and frisk.  Now a committee in the condition set up has transpired a medicinal marijuana bill.  The election was almost unanimous and went by a margin of 21-4.  New You are able to congress have battled to obtain previous medicinal marijuana bills off the floor.  However, Gabriel Sayegh, director of recent York’s Drug Policy Alliance feels things may change soon.  He told news shops “I believe it is becoming progressively obvious that regarding medicinal marijuana, New You are able to is actually behind the occasions.”  He continued to state “We still heavily criminalize it, yet we’re encircled by states which are permitting medicinal marijuana.”  There’s been lots of movement recently within the northeast also it appears only dependent on time before NY joins the growing listing of states enabling using medicinal marijuana


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Marijuana Industry News March 22, 2013

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Tom Ammiano Back with New California Legalization Bill…

The lack of a statewide system in place to regulate medical marijuana has plagued California since the program’s inception in 1996.  A patchwork of legal fixes have either been implemented or proposed, but no effort, to date, has really solved the issue.  Federal authorities would likely be less motivated to conduct raids if a uniform set of laws was instituted in California.  Other states, such as Colorado have experienced far less problems with organized crime and federal interference due in large part to proper regulation at the state level.  State Assemblyman, Tom Ammiano, is trying to get a bill passed that would set up a state regulated system.  He has attempted this previously, only to find resistance from both law enforcement and activists.  Many accused his proposal of being too vague.  Mr. Ammiano is back with a new proposal and law enforcement is already issuing criticism.  The bill would have marijuana be regulated like alcohol, an idea that is clearly gaining momentum as both Colorado and Washington have passed similar laws.


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Marijuana Arrests Cost NYC One Million Police Hours During Mayor Bloomberg’s Tenure as Mayor


New York’s “Stop and Frisk”, a legal loophole used by law enforcement to defeat the spirit of the state’s marijuana decriminalization bill, has been receiving considerable media attention as of late.  Community organizers have been vocal in letting NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly know that they do not support the high arrests for small marijuana possession.  These arrests tend to target Black and Hispanic teens.  Governor Cuomo is trying to get Albany lawmakers to adopt new legislation to put an end to “Stop and Frisk”.  A new statistic will likely embolden the Governor and residents who wish to see their tax dollars put to better use.   According to the Drug Policy Alliance, New York City has spent over one million police hours pursuing marijuana arrests since Michael Bloomberg became mayor (11 years ago).   In a city as vast and populated as New York, residents are getting fed up with the direction law enforcement has taken.  Many neighborhoods are still dangerous and police may be able to utilize their time in a way that would help the city.  The relationship between police and residents has degenerated, due in large part to “Stop and Frisk.”


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Push For Medical Marijuana in Florida Gets Huge Financial Support…

Although many associate Florida with retirees, the Sunshine State is also known for its large number of indoor marijuana grows.  Even though penalty and cultivation penalties are harsh in Florida, the black market for marijuana is tremendous, especially as so many seek physical relief.  Past efforts to legalize marijuana in Florida have failed.  However, activists may find more success as they are about to be bankrolled by two top democratic fundraisers in Florida.  One the individuals is John Morgan, who recently became the chairman of the People United for Medical Marijuana-Florida.  The group has previously struggled to raise enough money to get their message out.  Kim Russell, the group’s founder recently said they “were just scraping pennies together” to get by.  John Morgan appears ready to take his successful political fundraising techniques to the group.  Earlier this week he said “I’m prepared to keep raising money and writing checks until I get the signatures to put it on the ballot.”  Political analysts are wondering how influential John Morgan’s fundraising can be, especially as he has raised considerable funds for high profile candidates, including President Barack Obama.

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New Marijuana Regulations in California to be put on Hold

Tom Ammiano bill

Proposition 215 and Dennis Peron changed the course of history in 1996 by overcoming staggering political opposition to medical marijuana.  It was a great first step and should have been followed up with a more structured system for how to regulate and dispense medical marijuana.  The lack of additional regulation has steadily become a growing problem with the recent dispensary raids symbolizing state lawmakers futility in evolving the program.

State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano had recently pushed for legislation, Assembly Bill 2312, that would create a state run medical marijuana program.  Currently local municipalities have different interpretations of how to regulate cannabis dispensaries.  With many pending lawsuits, momentum for a dispensary ban in Los Angeles, and the fact that the state supreme court will not be taking up the issue for at least a year, many were hoping to see lawmakers provide a solution.  Ammiano’s bill passed in the State Assembly recently but was expected to face a difficult time passing California’s Senate committee vote.  The bill aimed to set up a “Bureau of Medical Marijuana Enforcement”.  The Bureau would oversee the entire program and allow local governments to collect tax revenue from marijuana sales.

While the bill or a similar one is needed, many analysts and members of law enforcement were not pleased with it.  As in any developing billion dollar industry, there were varied interests at stake.  As a result many were wondering just exactly who would be part of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Enforcement and what interests they would serve.  Additionally, the extent and specifics of what the Bureau would do seemed vague.  Law enforcement officials criticized the bill as being a free pass for dispensaries to operate without worry.  While that may not be entirely accurate the bill did seem ill equipped at ensuring a patient oriented industry.  It seems the criticism reached Ammiano as he canceled the Senate vote earlier this week.

Regarding the move he said “There is no doubt that my colleagues understand the need for this legislation, and I have a lot of faith in this committee that we can hammer out a well-balanced regulatory policy during the fall to answer calls from local governments, law enforcement including our Attorney General, patients, and the public to enact a highly regulated system for medical marijuana and provide a clear set of rules for everybody.”

If in fact Tom Ammiano canceled the vote in order to present a more comprehensive solution, then the news is not a total loss.  However, many are wondering if they will ever see the state politicians come together and place the rhetoric aside and protect dispensaries and patients.  To date, political solutions have failed and the “Safe Access” granted in Proposition 215 seems to be in jeopardy.

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Bill Proposed by Tom Ammiano could Erase Setback in Los Angeles

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The battle over marijuana dispensaries has been a major point of contention for the city of Los Angeles lately.  Even as patients have voiced their concerns over the idea of shutting down marijuana caregivers, lawmakers from the Los Angeles City Council are pushing for a ban on all dispensaries.

Fortunately for patients, there was some great news to come out of state level government.  Tom Ammiano has been working for a long time to get a bill passed that would provide the necessary state level regulation that the California medical marijuana program desperately needs.  Assembly Bill 2312 was passed by the California State Assembly by a vote of 41-28.  It now will face the California State Senate and then possibly would await Governor Jerry Brown’s signature.  It is unclear if the bill will survive the entire legislative process, but if enacted, it would bring much more structure to the state’s medical cannabis program.  Dispensaries would be legal but could be limited our outlawed on a local municipal level, a fact that reminds advocates of the current muddled legal situation.  The law would also see a council created which would oversee the selling, growing and transporting marijuana.  Critics have blasted the bill as being light on specifics on how California can govern so many dispensaries and employees and feel it is not nearly as thorough as Colorado law.

Assembly Bill 2312 would eliminate the legal guessing game that has frustrated patients and dispensary owners.  Patients are often faced with uncertainty as to where they will find safe access to their medication.  With over 80% of the states residents supporting medical marijuana in a new poll and the thousands of cardholders, shutting down the dispensaries in LA without a contingency plan could turn out to be a regrettable move.  The bill could also prevent many of the dispensary raids that have rocked the state.  Federal authorities have attributed many of the raids to the fact that dispensaries were not operating within state law.  Colorado, for example, has had far less raids which seems mostly due in part to its tighter run program.  Additional revenue could be generated as a provision for a potential 5% tax was also included in the bill.

As it has been since medical marijuana was first approved in 1996, patients and advocates have been faced with many setbacks.  However, many of these setbacks are often accompanied by uplifting news.  The LA dispensary ban seems no different as Tom Ammiano’s plans has gained the spotlight even when the mood in LA is down.  Even if the bill does not pass this time around, it may generate enough momentum for future legislation or the upcoming decision by California’s Supreme Court when they review the situation next year.

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Medical Marijuana Industry News April 20, 2012

420 event

420 Recognized Around the World…



Today people are gathering around the world in celebration of the hugely popular international marijuana holiday.  Events will be held in appreciation for everything marijuana has to offer.  Marijuana support has been growing steady and the community, as always, peaceful and fun gatherings are expected.  Fortunately this year 420 falls on a Friday, leaving the entire weekend full of events. will be at the High Times Medical Marijuana Cup in Denver.  We will be celebrating 420 by providing patient awareness and education at the cup.  You may also find us mingling with patients at the Deep Green Festival in San Franscisco. Check back tomorrow for a history on The Cannabis Cup and other 420 events.


Click here for More on the History of how 420 came to be


Oaksterdam Reopens in Limited Capacity…


Patients and dispensary workers were happy to find out that Oaksterdam has opened its doors again. News of Oaksterdam University’s raid by federal authorities drew national attention.  Patients, students, and dispensary workers were shocked but claims to see the university open again proved true.  The school had to release 25 employees at the school and another 20 dispensary workers affiliated with Oaksterdam after federal authorities seized assets.  Oaksterdam is currently going to be operating at a smaller capacity and they will not use actual marijuana in classes and demonstrations.  Richard Lee will not be overseeing Oaksterdam.


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Proposed Law In California Could Make Local Municipalities Permit Marijuana Dispensaries…


Local governments have adopted different interpretations of California’s medical marijuana program.  Some municipalities have attempted to ban dispensaries with others limiting them.  There have been conflicting court rulings making the legalities even less clear.  Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has introduced legislation that could fix legal inconsistencies in California.  AB 2312, The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Control Act, would set a standard for California medical marijuana law.  It would actually require municipalities to permit medical marijuana dispensaries.  The bill has cleared its initial hurdle and was passed by the Assembly Committee on Public Safety.  Many think the bill has a legitimate chance to pass and now will go before the Assembly Appropriations Committee.


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Marijuana Advocates Lobby California Officials while Patients Suffer Defeat in Maryland


Although laws should be based on facts and common sense, it would be incredibly naïve to assume this was the case.  Patients and advocates have found out the hard way that simply having a superior argument is not enough to change the legislative culture.

Marijuana advocates have become increasingly sophisticated in the methods they employ to push for legal change.  A high powered group consisting of growers, dispensaries, and union members are shifting course from running a ballot initiative to getting their message on the airwaves with television and radio advertisements.  The group will now also use the millions it has collected to lobby California lawmakers to fix the legislative mess that marijuana law finds itself in.  Democratic assembly member Tom Ammiano is already on board and has proposed a new system for marijuana regulation in California.  Ammiano’s plan would  create a state run system that could avoid the pitfalls of the current system where individual municipalities interpret state law differently.  The state would oversee dispensary  permits, cultivation, and distribution of cannabis.  The system would offer a flexible tax system where local governments could institute a tax of up to 2% on transactions.  One of the most interesting provisions was designed with patients in mind as Ammiano’s plan would require one dispensary for every 50,000 people, ensuring patient’s “safe access”.

Maryland activists may also have to consider lobbyists as Governor Martin O’Malley has vetoed a recent bill that would have allowed medical marijuana.  Patients were hopeful they would be receiving their medicine soon as there seemed to be considerable momentum for a medical bill.  State legislators passed this recent measure and last year a law was passed in Maryland that eliminates penalties for those possessing marijuana if they have a debilitating illness.  All hope is not lost in Maryland, but Governor O’Malley stated that the federal climate would have to change in order for him to pass a medical marijuana bill.  Citing a fear of state employees being arrested the governor said,  “I will say that, would the federal landscape look different, then I would support a bill like this.”

California stands to have an eventful legal year as it tries to overhaul its medical marijuana program.  Advocates have taken their movement to the next level and politicians may have no choice but to listen.  While the defeat in Maryland is unfortunate, patients can at least have hope as their legislators are not staunchly against providing relief.

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