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How Colorado Intends Protect Marijuana Industry from a Possible Federal Crackdown

Colorado is contemplating an uncommon strategy to safeguard its nascent marijuana industry from a possible federal crackdown even at the expense of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax collections.

A bill pending in the Legislature would enable marijuana growers and retailers to reclassify their recreational marijuana as medical marijuana if a change in federal law or enforcement happens.

It’s the boldest effort yet by a U.S. marijuana state to prevent federal intervention in its weed market.

The bill would enable Colorado’s 500 or so licensed recreational marijuana growers to immediately reclassify their weed. A change would cost the state more than $100 million a year because Colorado taxes medical marijuana far more lightly than recreational marijuana — 2.9 percent versus 17.9 percent.

The measure says licensed growers could instantly become medical licensees based on a business need as a result of change in local, state or federal law or enforcement policy. The change wouldn’t take recreational marijuana off the books, but nevertheless, it wouldn’t completely safeguard it either. What it could do is help growers protect their inventory in case federal authorities begin confiscating recreational marijuana.

The provision is receiving plenty of attention in the marijuana industry following recent opinions from members of President Donald Trump’s administration. White House spokesman Sean Spicer has said there’s a “big difference” between recreational and medical marijuana.

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Governor Brown of California Wants To Ease Up Starting A Marijuana Business

Gov. Jerry Brown disclosed a proposal last week to simplify statewide rules that regulate medical and recreational marijuana sales and production, in anticipation of the launching of the recreational cannabis industry in California in 2018. The proposal, if approved by the Legislature, would allow it to be simpler to take up a marijuana business in the Golden State.

“Brown’s administration has designed a tight, extensive regulatory framework that protects consumers, workers, public health, the environment and small business stakeholders, while ensuring an inclusionary framework that opens up access for individuals with low income and communities of color,” Lynne Lyman, state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement.

Under the proposal, only state licenses would be required for marijuana businesses, unless local municipalities choose to require local licenses as well. State licenses wouldn’t be accessible to entrepreneurs who want to set up shop in municipalities where marijuana businesses are prohibited.

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San Francisco California Opens World’s First Ever Marijuana Gym

A San Francisco fitness center slated to open this fall will motivate customers to use weed as part of their fitness routine.

Power Plant Fitness customers are going to have the choice to bring their own cannabis or order edibles, the gym’s preferable kind of cannabis, while they’re at the fitness center. Desired edibles will be brought by a delivery service to the fitness center within 15 minutes after customers place orders, said owner Jim McAlpine. Adult-use, recreational marijuana is legal in California, but it can be sold exclusively by dispensaries. Using marijuana in public is prohibited. The fitness center is going to have designated space for those inhaling pot.

The gym, which advertises itself as the world’s first cannabis fitness center, touts using the drug for meditation, focus and pain.

McAlpine, who’s already hosting Power Plant boot camps, wants people understand this isn’t going to be “a stoner gym.” The focus is still on fitness even if cannabis use is welcome.

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Texas Lawmakers Proposes To Reduce Marijuana Possession Penalties

The Dallas City Council will again consider stopping the Dallas Police Department’s policy to arrest people for possessing small amounts of marijuana, next week. Five members of the City Council, who pressed on the policy but didn’t obtain the approval, have pushed cite-and-release back on the council calendar. The policy permits authorities to issue tickets for marijuana possession instead of making arrests. The present penalties for marijuana possession would stay unchanged: a $2,000 fine and up to six months in jail for possession of two ounces or less.

When the council brought up cite-and-release this past year, then Dallas Police Chief David Brown opposed the policy out of concern that police authority would be reduced by it. This time around, the department, under Interim Police Chief David Pughes, means to follow whatever recommendation the council gives by next Wednesday.

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Texas Veterans Fight For Medical Marijuana As Treatment For PTSD

Amanda Berard is a mother, a University of North Texas grad student, and a veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

She was sexually assaulted while in the Army, which resulted in her PTSD.

“I experience it with depression and in hypervigilance,” Berard said.

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, 23 of every 100 women that use the VA say they have been a victim of sexual assault.

In order to cope with her PTSD symptoms, Amanda says that doctors in Texas can only do one thing:

“You’re given a cocktail of medication,” Berard described. “A cocktail of pharmaceutical pills. I have five or six different medications that I’m supposed to take. The prescriptions, I feel, are like a Band-Aid solution.”

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New Medical Marijuana Fees Expected To Surpass Program Costs

State regulators in Ohio recognize that proposed licensing fees for medical marijuana businesses could initially surpass the state’s costs of running the program.

The program is requested approximately $2.5 million a year for operational costs in each of the next two years. That doesn’t comprise several unknown costs, including preparing the program’s licensing, product tracking and payment systems and creating a necessary toll-free hotline.

In the event the state issues all of the licenses it’s making accessible — 24 to cultivators, 40 to product processors and 60 to dispensaries — fees as proposed would create $10.8 million. The state has also made application fees for the licenses non-refundable.

Several advisers pushed back against the notion that fees may be overly high.

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Ohio Businesses Ask Regulators To Have A Residency Requirement For Marijuana Business Licenses

Ohioans who want to take up a medical marijuana business encouraged regulators on Monday to issue the few lucrative cultivator licenses to Ohio residents only.

As it stands now, the Ohio Department of Commerce intends to grant up to 12 large grow licenses and 12 small grow licenses statewide,licenses based on standards including a company’s business plan, security measures and industry experience.

Evidence that the company is based in Ohio, owned by Ohioans and intends to hire local workers factor into the review but aren’t required.

Kelly Mottola, who owns Hydro Innovations in Hilliard, said out-of-state companies will want to bring out-of-state workers.

“We’re the ones who fought for this,” Mottola said during a public meeting about the proposed cultivator licensing procedure. “Letting people from outside the state isn’t benefiting Ohio or Ohioans or our unemployment.”

 

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Marijuana Advocates Gathered for the Legalization of Marijuana in Michigan

Leaders of 2018 marijuana legalization efforts in Michigan are taking their message across the state, after more than 10,000 individuals assembled for the 46th annual Hash Bash in Ann Arbor on Saturday.

Former state Rep. Jeff Irwin, a Democrat from Ann Arbor, is the political director for the newly formed Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, which is expecting to collect enough signatures beginning in May to get the issue of legalizing marijuana in Michigan on the ballot in November 2018.

Lansing lawyer Jeff Hank is heading the separate MI Legalize 2018 campaign, which likewise hopes to start collecting signatures in May.

Whether there will be two different initiatives, or whether the two groups unify around one proposal, remains to be seen.

Both efforts, together with other organizations, have been working together to draft language for a proposal to legalize recreational use of pot for individuals 21 and older, and to tax and regulate it.

 

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A Michigan City Commission To Consider Medical Marijuana

The medical marijuana decision made by the Adrian City Commission does not mean dispensaries or grow facilities will start popping up shortly.

It does mean such developments will likely be discussed and debated in the coming months and could eventually be a reality in the event the city later this year decides to enact local regulations for them.

By a 5-2 vote, the city commission made a decision to consider an ordinance allowing medical marijuana facilities within the city of Adrian. Commissioner Tom Faulhaber and Mayor Jim Berryman voted against the resolution.
City attorney Sarah Osburn said the city commission agreed to “consider” an ordinance, so there isn’t any obligation to anything more at this time. On the other hand the city will start analyzing and holding work sessions about a potential ordinance and determine its wording on such conditions as where and how many such facilities would be permitted within city limits.

 

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Maine Lawmakers Divided Regarding Retail Marijuana Regulation

A legislative committee is divided in half last Tuesday on the matter over which agencies should license and regulate marijuana businesses in Maine, emphasizing the challenging path ahead as the state moves toward retail sales of legal marijuana.

After weeks of talks, lawmakers did not coalesce behind just one strategy for which agency should take the lead in licensing the businesses which may grow, manufacture, test and sell marijuana products for the recreational market. While part of the committee wanted the Department of Administrative and Financial Services to manage all licensing, other members contended that the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is better equipped to at least manage licensing for cultivation, testing and packaging of marijuana.

It’s a debate over process with possible consequences for the timing of retail marijuana sales in Maine, anticipated to start next year.

 

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