Colorado legislates legal cannabis rules, Washington hands task to Alcohol Board
By Jeremy Daw, JD, weedthepeoplebook.com
Since two states legalized adult cannabis sales and use last November, they have taken different approaches to the voter mandates. Colorado’s Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force, an appointed body of experts and bureaucrats, has released its final recommendations for how to treat cannabis businesses in the state’s new legal regime. By contrast, Washington State has outsourced much of its implementation of Initiative 502 to an outside group.
Colorado’s A-64, approved by a 55-45 margin by voters, placed a constitutional imperative on state bureaucrats to regulate so-called “recreational” cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol, but many of the specific regulations like tax rates and cultivation restrictions were left unaddressed by the voter-approved ballot initiative. The Task Force’s recommendations, which are preliminary and non-binding, are thus the first proposed rules for many specific
Read More: Two states take different approaches to legalization
By David Frankel, Attorney at law
Yuba County supervisors amended a May 2012 medical marijuana ordinance by a 4-1 vote Dec. 18, resulting in one of California’s most progressive cultivation ordinances, but only after successful negotiations to settle a lawsuit brought by attorney Jeffrey Lake on behalf of the Yuba County Growers Assn., Sam McConnell, Lew Neal, Kathie Thelen and their patient collectives.
“This revised ordinance strikes a balance between the County’s interest in regulating marijuana cultivation for public health and safety, and the legally protected interest of patients to have safe access to their medicine,” said Lake. “It should become a model for similar ordinances throughout California.”
The amended ordinance restricts outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana to six mature plants on parcels under one acre, but allows patients to cultivate up to 18 mature plants on parcels from one to five acres; 36 on parcels between five and
Read More: Yuba patients win round
By Mikki Norris
County Counsel Thomas Parker announced Dec. 21, 2012 that Mendocino County (CA) had filed a suit to quash five federal subpoenas that seek information about cultivation in the county’s innovative 9.31 program, saying, “The scope of the subpoenas is overbroad and burdensome, oppressive and constitutes an improper intrusion into the ability of state and local government to administer programs for the health and welfare of their residents.”
Ordinance 9.31, adopted in 2008, restricts cultivation to 25 medical marijuana plants per parcel, but allows qualified patients to voluntarily purchase “zip-ties” to attach to each plant. The zip-ties, with unique identifying numbers, enable law enforcement easily to identify authorized medical gardens. The ordinance was amended in 2010 to allow collectives to grow 99 plants per parcel with a permit issued by the sheriff, sufficient zip-ties and a series of inspections.
Federal subpoenas issued in late October to compel
Read More: Mendocino County moves to quash federal subpoenas
By Pebbles Trippet, firstname.lastname@example.org
The 9th annual Emerald Cup, a competition among outdoor organic medical marijuana farmers in the heart of the Emerald Triangle, brought 500 connoisseurs to Humboldt County’s Mateel Community Center in Redway, CA, Dec. 15, 2012 for two stages of speakers, music, panels and an awards ceremony for the best bud, hash and photo. Speakers covered the ins and outs of seeds, dabs, labs, growing organically in the sun, legal issues, medical discoveries.
Tim Blake started the Emerald Cup in 2004 at Area 101, a spiritual and cultural center, as a safe cannabis celebration and marketplace of strains to connect growers, share tips and compare trichomes in a family atmosphere. In 2011-2012, it flowered into a full-fledged conference of high-level ideas on the science, law, economics and social significance of cannabis.
Trial lawyer extraordinaire Tony Serra was honored with the 2012 Emerald Lifetime Achievement Award. The
Read More: Emerald cup moves north
By Robert Raich,* Attorney at Law
The state Supreme Court will affect the future of California medical cannabis dispensaries in 2013 by ruling on whether the Medical Marijuana Program Act (MMPA), also known as Senate Bill 420 (SB420), prevents municipalities from banning dispensaries. Thus far, answers from the various courts of appeal have been contradictory.
The Court has granted review in five cases regarding municipal regulation of dispensaries: two cases hold that local ordinances may entirely prohibit dispensaries (City of Riverside v Inland Empire Patient’s Health and Wellness Center, Inc. and People v G3 Holistic, Inc.); two cases hold that municipalities may not ban dispensaries (City of Lake Forest v Evergreen Holistic Collective and County of LA v Alternative Medicinal Cannabis Collective [AMCC]); and one case hold that municipalities may regulate collectives strictly, albeit short of a total ban (420 Caregivers, LLC v City of LA).
Briefing in the
Read More: Cal Supreme Court holds key
Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA, developed an academic institute in autumn 2012 to focus on marijuana-related issues. This groundbreaking effort highlights the impact cannabis has had on the Northern California county’s economy and culture. The school chose not to shy away from the once unspoken mystery but to embrace the topic from an intellectual standpoint. The institute is co-chaired by Sociology professor Josh Meisel and economics professor Erick Eschker, who developed the idea in 2010 when state ballot measure Prop 19 made the issue a hot-button topic in the area.
“People across the spectrum became concerned after Prop 19,” said Meisel. “With these public discussions, there were a lot more questions than there were answers.” The institute looked to answer some of those questions and develop a more educated reference on the subject of marijuana. Topics covered include the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting eradication program, effects of cultivation
Read More: HSU creates institute for marijuana research
By Mickey Martin, weedactivist.com
The FBI ranked Oakland, CA the fourth most dangerous city in America for 2012, at 1,683 violent crimes per 100,000 people, and 26.3 murders per 100,000 people. These staggering statistics inspired a local cannabis dispensary, Purple Heart Patient Center, to donate $100,000 to increase public safety through a local gun buyback program in December 2012. It succeeded in taking more than 600 guns off the street; they can no longer be used to cause violence in the area.
Executive Director Keith Stephenson called the donation “part of the philosophy we practice called capitalism with a conscience. I just felt the public needed to know that medical marijuana can have benefits besides just paying taxes,” he said. “Hopefully, this might spread to a national buyback day.”
Since the Oakland Police Dept. could not directly accept funds from the cannabis collective due to federal prohibition, they worked
Read More: Oakland dispensary funds gun buy back program
By Mikki Norris
County Counsel Thomas Parker announced Dec. 21, 2012 that Mendocino County (CA) had filed suit to quash five federal subpoenas seeking information on its ‘9.31’ cultivation program, saying, “The scope of the subpoenas is overbroad and burdensome, oppressive and constitutes an improper intrusion into the ability of state and local government to administer programs for the health and welfare of their residents.”
Ordinance 9.31, adopted in 2008, restricts cultivation to 25 medical marijuana plants per parcel, but allows qualified patients to voluntarily purchase “zip-ties” with unique identifying numbers to attach to each plant, so that law enforcement can easily identify authorized medical gardens. The ordinance was amended in 2010 to allow collectives to grow 99 plants per parcel with a permit issued by the sheriff, sufficient zip-ties and a series of inspections.
Federal subpoenas were issued in October 2012 to compel the release of “any and
Read More: County moves to quash federal subpoenas
By Matthew Abel,* Attorney at law
After four years of no change in the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act and almost two years of political posturing, the state legislature rushed through several bills on medical marijuana in a lame-duck session Dec. 14, 2012 at around 4 a.m. They take effect April 1, 2013, although the final legislation, the ‘enrolled bills,’ have yet to be posted.
A major change affecting cannabis patients and caregivers is House Bill 4856, creating a new misdemeanor with a maximum 93 days confinement and/or $500 fine for transporting usable marijuana in a car or other self-propelled vehicle unless it is either enclosed in a case in the trunk or, if there is no trunk, enclosed in a case that is not readily accessible from the interior of the vehicle.
Another major change is HB 4834, requiring proof of state residency for cards that will now be
Read More: Michigan update
By Tom Daubert, montananext.org
Nowhere has President Obama’s crackdown on state-legal medical marijuana been more devastating than in Montana.
At the very moment that the 2011 Montana legislature was rejecting a bill to repeal the state medical use law, the DEA conducted 26 simultaneous raids on dispensaries all over the state, which is proportionally equivalent to more than 960 raids in California — and they were every bit as overwhelming in impact.
The raids devastated the state’s medical marijuana program, leaving thousands of patients without access to cannabis, and emboldened the legislature’s prohibitionist majority to pass a bill a month later that proponents boasted was intended as “de facto repeal” of the ballot measure.
But the Feds did not stop there. A record-setting number of prosecutions followed, with prison sentences and worse.
The US attorney brought charges against more than 27 residents — in most cases multiple charges with
Read More: Feds hit Montanans hard for following medical use law
By Tom Daubert, montananext.org
Despite dramatic set-backs over the past two years, Montana’s marijuana policy reformers refuse to give up. The state medical use law, adopted in 2004 by a record 62% vote, enticed nearly 30,000 people to participate in the program at its height, expanding the ranks of those to be hit in the state and federal crackdown.
Federal raids in March 2011 destroyed much of the state’s medical marijuana production for patients. A ‘repeal-in-disguise’ law passed the Legislature a month later to further the destruction, but the Montana Cannabis Industry Assn. filed a lawsuit that successfully enjoined several of the new law’s worst provisions. Then the Patients for Reform, Not Repeal petition was able in several months’ time to gather nearly 40,000 signatures to put a referendum on the new law on the 2012 presidential election ballot.
A workable medical marijuana law needed votes of “no” to
Read More: Montana Next aims at 2014