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Washington Governor Jay Inslee on April 24 signed into law regulations which essentially eliminate medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, along with the medicinal cannabis system as it’s been known there since voters approved it back in 1998.
Purportedly an “overhaul” measure to subject medicinal cannabis to the licensing, testing, inspection, and tax requirements of the recreational side, the bill’s actual intent and effect is to get rid of the pesky medical marijuana community, which has consistently outperformed the recreational I-502 cannabis outlets with better product and lower prices.
Patients who have for years enjoyed the ability to visit medical marijuana dispensaries where the employees themselves were also facing medical challenges, and had bothered to inform themselves about medicinal applications of cannabis, will now be forced into the recreational market, where the focus isn’t on medicine and in fact where I-502 store employees are forbidden by law from even mentioning the medical applications of marijuana.
U.S. Reps. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) and Denny Heck (WA-10), along with a bipartisan group of 16 other Republicans and Democrats, on Wednesday re-introduced H.R. 2076, the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015 to resolve the banking crisis marijuana-related businesses are facing.
By updating federal banking laws and regulations to resolve conflicts between federal and state laws, the legislation allows marijuana-related businesses to access the banking system, ensuring these businesses do not have to operate on a cash-only basis. In addition, a similar companion bill in the Senate is expected to be introduced soon.
“First and foremost this is an issue of public safety,” said Rep. Perlmutter. “Not only are the proprietors at risk, but the employees and customers are also at risk of serious and violent crimes.”
When the U.S. House of Representatives this week considered the FY 2016 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon offered an amendment to make it easier for qualified veterans to access medical marijuana.
Currently, the Veterans Administration (VA) specifically prohibits its medical providers from completing forms brought by their patients seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a Veteran’s participation in a state medical marijuana program. Congressman Blumenauer’s amendment ensures that no funds made available to the VA can be used to implement this prohibition, which would, in effect, strike it down.
The amendment is currently co-sponsored by Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY), Sam Farr (D-CA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is leading the Cannabis Parade in NYC on this Saturday, May 2, reports Jack A. Cole of LEAP. “The first 60 people to signup to be part of the LEAP contingent for that parade will be given free LEAP T-shirts and badges,” Cole announced on Facebook Tuesday.
“Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or text me at 617-792-3877, with your name, cell phone, email address, and T-shirt size to reserve a shirt,” Cole said. “The LEAP contingent will walk behind our ‘End the Drug War-Stop the Killing’ Banner.”
Patients, family members and activists stood with legislators on Tuesday as they announced the introduction of Assembly bill A. 7060, which would direct the state to establish a program to help critically ill patients obtain emergency access to medical marijuana as soon as possible. The bill, introduced by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried and Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb, comes 298 days after Governor Cuomo signed the medical marijuana bill into law on July 5, and nine months after the Governor urged the Health Commissioner to do everything in his power to get medical marijuana to children suffering from life-threatening forms of epilepsy.
To date, not one patient has received any medical marijuana, and at least three children who might have benefitted from medical marijuana have died since the bill was passed.
“This bill would create emergency access to medical marijuana for patients with the most urgent needs – including children suffering from severe epilepsy,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried, sponsor of the original medical marijuana bill. “Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb and I introducing this bill shows the broad, bipartisan support for emergency access.
“It is good and compassionate public health policy,” Gottfried said. “If ever there was a basis for emergency action, the suffering of these children is it.”
A number of U.S.-based and international criminal justice reform, human rights and public health groups on Tuesday are joining together to condemn the execution of nonviolent drug offenders by the Indonesian government that just took place.
“Wherever they occur, executions for nonviolent offenses violate human rights,” a sign-on letter from the groups says.
Despite repeated pleas for mercy from family members, citizens, human rights organizations, the United Nations, and governments around the world, Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, Nigerians Martin Anderson, Raheem Agbaje Salami, Okwuduli Oyatanze, and Silvester Obiekwe Nwolise, Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte, and Indonesian Zainal Abidin faced a firing squad at just past midnight Indonesia-time. Serge Atlaoui from France has been given a temporary reprieve and Mary Jane Veloso from the Philippines was given a last-minute reprieve.
A record-high 57 percent of Rhode Island voters support changing state law to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol, according to a survey conducted this month by Public Policy Polling. Only 35 percent were opposed.
S 510/H 5777, the “Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act,” would allow adults 21 and older to possess of up to one ounce of marijuana and grow one mature marijuana plant in an enclosed, locked space. It would create a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, and testing facilities and direct the Department of Business Regulation to create rules regulating security, labeling, and health and safety requirements.
It would also establish wholesale excise taxes at the point of transfer from the cultivation facility to a retail store, as well as a special sales tax on retail sales to consumers.
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