Tag: medical marijuana

Canada Wants to Tax Medical Cannabis. Get Ready for a Fight.

The Trudeau government’s proposed cannabis tax plan has angered provincial governments—who don’t believe tax revenue should be split evenly between Ottawa and the provinces—but they’re not the only peeved parties.

Medical cannabis patients and producers feel strongly that Ottawa should not be applying an excise tax on medical cannabis — full stop. They say medical cannabis should be exempt from taxation just as most other prescription medications are.

“This proposal feels totally wrong and unfair to medical cannabis patients.”

Jonathan Zaid, Executive Director of CFAMM

 Jonathan Zaid, executive director of CFAMM

In an interview with Leafly, Jonathan Zaid, executive director of Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM), noted that the majority of Canadians can’t get reimbursed for the cost of medical cannabis because insurance companies don’t cover it as standard practice—and that creates a financial burden.

“Patients are struggling to afford their medicine and this tax would just compound the problem,” he said, adding that many people who rely on medical cannabis are on disability.

“The government’s stated rationale behind this proposal is that they don’t want people feigning illness to acquire cannabis or abusing the system in any way. But that isn’t a legitimate argument for creating an extra burden on the more than 200,000 medical cannabis patients in this country.”


A Guide to Canada’s Medical Marijuana Program

The head of Toronto-based Apollo Cannabis Clinics, which provide medical cannabis prescriptions for people with chronic pain, depression, PTSD, and other conditions, says the proposed tax could contribute to a growing public health problem—the opioid crisis.

“Many of our patients are using medical cannabis as a tool to ween off opioids, or as an alternative to opioids altogether, which comes with a significant financial burden to the patient, considering most opioids are covered by insurance and medical cannabis is paid for out of pocket,”  said Bryan Hendin, founder and president of Apollo, to Leafly.

“Adding an additional tax for medical patients on top of the sales tax already charged, is not going to help patients switch to medical cannabis for their chronic pain or other conditions. In fact, it might drive patients back to using opioids entirely. With the opioid crisis in Canada, this is a step in the wrong direction.”

Taxing medical cannabis “is not in line with the taxation of medicine in Canada,” says John Fowler, CEO of Supreme Pharmaceuticals.

Many of the country’s licensed producers have also voiced objections to Ottawa’s proposal, which would add an excise tax of  $1 per gram of cannabis or 10 per cent of the final retail price, whichever is higher.

John Fowler, chief executive officer of Ontario-based Supreme Pharmaceuticals, told Leafly that Ottawa’s proposal to add roughly one dollar per gram to sales of cannabis for recreational use is “reasonable,” but believes taxing medical cannabis in the same way “is not in line with the taxation of medicine in Canada and presents a risk that certain patients may not have access to cannabis for financial reasons.”

Colette Rivet , executive director of the Cannabis Canada Association, which represents licensed cannabis producers across the country, believes medical cannabis should be exempt from excise tax and sales tax just as other prescription drugs are. She told Leafly she would like the federal and provincial governments to “ensure medical cannabis is affordable.”


Leafly List: The Top Cannabis Dispensaries in British Columbia, Fall 2017

“We support Ottawa’s efforts to bring forth a reasonable tax structure for the sale of adult-use recreational cannabis,” added Jordan Rodness, marketing manager at Emblem Cannabis, which is also based in Ontario, “but we strongly believe that medical cannabis should be zero-rated. We support groups like CFAMM that are championing this message, and will continue to do so.”

CFAMM has already mobilized in the fight against the proposal. It created an online petition that drew more than 600 signatures in just one day. “The overwhelming response from patients speaks volumes about their concerns over the government proposal,” said Zaid.

His organization is also bringing together several stakeholders—what he describes as a “coalition of voices”—to approach the government. Ottawa is holding consultations on the proposal and has asked interested individuals and organizations to submit written comments by December 7. CFAMM also plans to reach out to individual lawmakers.

Zaid’s conviction is unwavering. “This proposal feels totally wrong and unfair to medical cannabis patients,” he told Leafly. “Canadians have a fundamental right to have access to affordable medicine.”

Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

‘Human Rights? Lay Off, That Is None of Your Business’: The Week in Cannabis Quotes

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte dismisses those pesky human rights violation allegations, Maine’s legalization timeline runs into some issues, a 12-year old girl/badass sues Jeff Sessions, and a former wrestler verbally bodyslams some nosy cops. That and more in this week’s roundup of quotes.

“Human rights? Lay off, that is none of your business.”

– President Rodrigo Duterte’s warning to President Trump or any leader who tries to raise the issue of the Philippines’ human rights violations amidst its extremely harsh drug crackdown. World leaders are meeting at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Vietnam November 10-11.


Columbia’s Carl Hart Flees Philippines After Being Targeted by President Duterte

“We’ve legalized gasoline, but not gas stations here. If we don’t act and move we’re going to continue to create profits and incentives for the wrong people.”

– Rep. Martin Grohman (I-Biddeford), speaking before what would end up being a failed vote to override Maine Governor Paul LePage’s veto of a legalization bill for the state. The override needed a two-thirds majority in both chambers.


Maine Lawmakers Fail to Override Governor’s Cannabis Veto

“Small dispensaries effectively pay higher tax rates than Bill Gates or Walmart.”

– Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) in a Cannabist op-ed urging Congress to “stop punishing the cannabis industry” and remove 280E from the tax code. 280E prohibits Schedule I and II drug traffickers from deducting business expenses.


5 Tips for Lowering Your 280E Tax Burden

“We have a bunch of shops that accept DopeCoin, but no one uses it. I haven’t seen one actual dispensary or marijuana company use one of these marijuana cryptocurrencies to store their money or conduct daily business. It’s more of a gimmick at this point.”

– Adam Howell, creator of DopeCoin, explaining why a cannabis cryptocurrency hasn’t yet taken off


Why Cannabis and Cryptocurrency Have Yet to Hit It Off

– Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), speaking out about the need to help veterans and grant them legal access to medical marijuana


Blumenauer Calls for Cannabis Research to Combat Opioid Crisis

“I would like to be able to visit my grandparents without risking being taken to a foster home.”

– 12-year old Alexis Bortell of Colorado, who is suing US Attorney General Jeff Sessions over the country’s federal cannabis policy. Ms. Bortell, who suffers from epilepsy, and her family moved to Colorado from Texas so they could legally access cannabis oil that has kept her seizure-free for the past 2 1/2 years. 


CBD Holds Promise as Child Epilepsy Treatment, Studies Find

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“She was scared shitless. She had no clue she had done wrong. I pulled in for lunch after the fact. My thoughts are because she was wearing her state-issued MMJ dispensary agent card, I’m thinking one of the cops thought ‘Man, if I could get a blood draw from her, I bet I could get an easy DUI.’”

– Sean Allen Morley, former professional wrestler who performed under the moniker Val Venis, coming to his dispensary co-worker’s defense after she was harassed by local police at a gas station during her lunch break

Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

Liberty, Jobs, & Freedom: How Cannabis Became a Conservative Issue

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), left, speaks next to California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom at a news conference in support of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act ballot measure in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 4, 2016. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

Seven years ago, legalization was largely a blue issue. A 2010 Newsweek poll found that 55% of Democrats supported state adult-use legalization, while 72% of Republicans opposed it. In late 2017, a Gallup poll found that Democratic support topped 72%, while Republican support had moved from the mid-20s to 51%.

Seven years ago, 72% of Republicans opposed marijuana legalization. Today, 51% support it.

That happened in part because legalization is moving into the mainstream of conservative thought. More to the point, it’s moving into the mainstream of young conservative thought. Rising Republican leaders like Tom Garrett aren’t advocating in favor of legalization despite their conservative values. They’re embracing the issue because of them.

One of the main tenets of modern conservatism, Garrett says, is the idea that “people who aren’t hurting other people should be left alone.” And cannabis is not hurting people. “I refuse to concede that the recreational user is hurting anybody,” he says.

Republican support is up 9% in less than a year. Source: Gallup Poll.

There have always been rare conservative gadflies speaking up for legalization. Economist Milton Friedman was for it. William F. Buckley infamously sparked up on his sailboat beyond the territorial limit of federal law. But their positions often came off as theoretical and symbolic, not anything they’d fight for on the ground.

Legalization’s blue tinge wasn’t merely a perception issue. It was reality. When Rolling Stone profiled The 10 Best Politicians on Pot Reform in 2010, only two Republicans made the list—Dana Rohrabacher and Ron Paul.

So what changed? Many factors:

  • Public opinion shifted. Medical marijuana is now “more popular than the 4th of July,” as national political strategist Celinda Lake said recently. The latest Quinnipiac poll has 94% of Americans in favor of legal medical marijuana.
  • Legal states didn’t implode. Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Nevada went fully legal and did not implode in a miasma of cannabis addiction. In fact, those states enjoyed booming economies, an influx of talent, and healthy populations. Legal states proved that adults could handle legal, well-regulated cannabis.
  • Voting data opened eyes. As Leafly documented last year, conservative Republican states—North Dakota, Arkansas—swung hard for legal medical marijuana in November 2016. Deeply conservative counties in the critical swing state of Florida did, too.
  • Military veterans spoke out for medical marijuana. It was easy for conservatives to dismiss legalization pleas when they came from hippies. But when combat veterans spoke up, conservatives listened. Veterans said it helped them manage their PTSD, reduced their need for opioids, and saved their lives.
  • More patients told their storiesParents, relatives, and older friends became more comfortable talking about how medical marijuana helped them. That’s how Sen. Orrin Hatch’s mind changed on medical cannabis.
  • Conservatives got hip to the internet, where they could easily access real, accurate information—not just federal nonsense—about cannabis and its effects.
  • Old people died. To put it bluntly. Many of the oldest Americans, 77% of whom were against legalization (according to a 2010 Newsweek poll) and unlikely to change their minds, exited to the great beyond. Baby boomers, who are much more comfortable with cannabis, aged into the oldest voting demographic.
  • Young conservatives gained more power. Younger conservative voters—for whom legal medical marijuana was normal, no big deal—entered their 20s and 30s, and increasingly expressed their opinions on marijuana at the ballot box.


Data Dive: Legalization No Longer a Partisan Issue, Election Data Show

The Pioneer: Dana Rohrabacher

The cornerstone of the conservative legalization movement has been, and continues to be, California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. In the late 1990s, when powerful Republicans like Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), and Rep. Robert Barr (R-GA) howled against the passage of state medical marijuana laws, Rohrabacher, a conservative true believer from Orange County, chose a different path.

Rohrabacher: Re-elected after coming out for medical marijuana in 1999.

Though his own district overwhelmingly opposed California’s 1996 Prop. 215 (which legalized medical marijuana), Rohrabacher opted to vote against a non-binding Congressional resolution opposing medical cannabis in 1999.

Instead, he went on the record for medical marijuana. The following year he stood for re-election. And he won.

By getting re-elected after publicly embracing legalization, Rohrabacher showed that cannabis wasn’t a career killer.

Immunized by his connections to President Ronald Reagan (for whom Rohrabacher worked as a speechwriter) and his reputation as a right-wing cowboy, Rohrabacher stood on solid conservative ground when he argued that the federal government should leave his state, and its MMJ patients, the hell alone. It was a classic Nixon-to-China move.

By retaining his seat every two years, Rohrabacher proved that legalization wasn’t a career-killer for conservatives. In 2002, he introduced the first Congressional resolution to grant state medical marijuana programs protection from federal prosecution. Twelve years later it finally passed, with bipartisan support, as the Rohrabacher–Farr budget amendment.

Rohrabacher was in the writer’s room when Reagan’s toughest war-on-drugs speeches were crafted in the 1980s. Today, he’s on Capitol Hill fighting to protect cannabis legalization in 29 states. Say what you will about his other views and his current Russian troubles. On cannabis legalization, Rohrabacher has been a courageous leader for nearly two decades. He’s a bridge between generations. Without him there would be no Tom Garrett, no Allen Peake, and no Matt Gaetz.


We Speak with Rep. Allen Peake, Georgia’s Medical Cannabis Bulldog

The New Normal: ‘Conservative Outreach Director’

I don’t want to overstate the claim. Things are changing, but more Democrats than Republicans favor legalization—among both voters and elected officials. Conservatives like Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) remain dead set against state legalization, and they are currently blocking legislation to allow cannabis banking, legal regulation in the District of Columbia, and medical marijuana protections, respectively.

But so many conservative votes have turned in favor of cannabis—or at least appear to be up for grabs—that one of the nation’s leading legalization advocacy groups employs a full-time lobbyist to focus on conservative outreach. When Congress is in session, Don Murphy prowls the halls of the Senate and House office buildings, seeking to create Republican allies on behalf of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).

“If Republicans think they’re going to be defeated at the polls because of this issue, that’s the opposite of my experience,” Murphy told me recently. “I talk to lawmakers about legalization in terms of its consistency with their positions. You may not be for medical marijuana, but do you really think patients should lose their gun rights over it?”

MPP’s Don Murphy, campaigning for Florida’s Amendment 2 in 2016: ‘This issue won’t defeat you.’

Twenty-three years ago, Murphy ran for the Maryland Legislature as a law-and-order Republican. “My wife had been held up in an armed robbery,” he explained. “I ended up on a House judiciary committee, and I was voting to lock up everybody.”

One conversation opened his mind. “I had a guy come to me in the Legislature. He was a former Green Beret and a local farmer. He told me he was using marijuana with a doctor’s approval for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It was helping him eat, and he was finally gaining weight. He asked me: ‘Do you think I’m a criminal?’ ‘Of course not,’ I said. ‘The law does,’ he told me. That’s when I thought, well, he’s got a point.”

“That’s how I became the accidental advocate.”

Murphy eventually connected with officials at the Marijuana Policy Project, liked what they did, and talked himself into a job as the group’s director of conservative outreach. In that role, he’s helping shape the conservative conversation around cannabis.

Talking the Talk

When it comes to reaching conservatives, language and framing can make all the difference. Some conservative leaders, Murphy says, “are 10th Amendment people.” They’re states’ rights supporters who might agree that each state should be allowed to handle cannabis as it sees fit. (The 10th Amendment to the US Constitution is the “reserved powers” clause, which holds that “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”)

It’s hard to argue for states’ rights, and stand against legal state-regulated cannabis.

“South Carolina, their House members are strong 10th Amendment people,” Murphy told me.

The call of liberty also resounds well with many conservatives on Capitol Hill, who agree with Murphy in principle but may not want to be seen supporting marijuana because of its lingering cultural taint.

“I spoke with one member, who flies the Gadsden flag”—the Don’t Tread on Me rattlesnake—“outside his door and asked, ‘How come you’re not so good when it comes to drug policy?’ He answered me, ‘You keep doing what you’re doing, and I won’t get in your way.’”

A lot of his work, Murphy says, consists of showing how legalization embodies a conservative’s existing values and beliefs about freedom. “If this, then why not that?” he often asks Republicans.

Personal Stories Open Minds

Ann Lee, the 87-year-old founder of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (RAMP), is a Texas conservative who spent most of her life assuming that “the lies the government put out” about cannabis were true.

People are often surprised to hear that 27% of NORML members identify as conservative Republicans.

Then in 1990, her son Richard was injured in an accident and found that cannabis helped him recover. She saw with her own eyes that it was true. Richard Lee went on to create Oaksterdam University, the groundbreaking cannabis educational institution in Oakland, California. Ann created her own group, RAMP, in 2012.

Leafly contributor Katie Matlack profiled Ann Lee last year. She wrote:

For Lee, the tipping point came in 2012, shortly after she and her husband attended a five-person NORML panel and realized three of the five panelists were Republicans. The next day, she founded RAMP. “We modeled ourselves after Law Enforcement Against Prohibition,” she said. 

Ann Lee: Her own son’s experience changed her mind.

That surprise is not uncommon among those who attend a NORML event. I experienced it myself at the group’s Washington, DC, conference in September, when NORML Political Director Justin Strekal revealed that 27% of the group’s members identified as conservative Republicans (38% are progressive Democrats, and 35% identify as independents).

In his lobbying work, Strekal has learned how to speak the language of both progressives and conservatives to reach them on the issue of cannabis. For progressives, it’s often an issue of social justice and racial disparities in enforcement. For conservatives, it touches the values of freedom and liberty.

“This is an issue of freedom,” Strekal says. “It’s about freedom from government overreach. Who decides what we can and can’t ingest in the privacy of our own homes?”


Meet Ann Lee, the Texas Republican Calling for Legalization in Cleveland

The Cannabis Business is Business

It’s hard to tell where Bruce Nassau falls on the political spectrum. Maybe that’s why he’s such a good entrepreneur. Nassau, the owner of Colorado-based TruCannabis, is also the head of the Marijuana Industry Group, a leading cannabis industry advocacy organization. Before he got into cannabis, Nassau made a small fortune in the cable television industry. Now he spends much of his time talking to policymakers about cannabis.

“I find that many conservatives are very easy to work with once you sit down and talk face to face,” he says. “They begin to realize that you don’t have five eyes. They see that you’re a human being, you have concerns for public safety, patients, and children.”

‘We create jobs,’ says Bruce Nassau. ‘We create opportunity.’ That’s an idea most conservatives can get behind.

Nassau approaches the issue as an entrepreneur, so jobs are one of his favorite talking points. “We create jobs,” he says. “We create opportunity.”

That’s an idea conservative leaders can get behind. A 2016 Leafly investigation found that nearly 120,000 American jobs were supported by legal cannabis. By 2017 that figure had jumped to 149,000.

The cannabis industry acts as its own skills-training program, Nassau adds.

“We bring in a lot of people to work for us who might not typically be interested in working in other industries,” he says. “There are plenty of people who identify as countercultural, who don’t consider themselves traditional businesspeople. They might be turned off by the idea of working at the Home Depot or Macy’s. But when they work for us, they learn customer service skills, they learn how to operate a cash register, they learn how important a supply chain is. Pretty soon they’re skilled employees who have the ability to work where they want, live productive lives, and pay taxes.”

In legal states like Washington, Colorado, and Oregon, young budtenders and cannabis growers are gaining skills and experience, then going out on their own and creating their own businesses.

“That,” says Nassau, “goes to the heart of a conservative’s values.”


Cannabis Jobs Count: Legal Marijuana Supports 149,304 Americans

More Support Is Hiding, Waiting

Tom Garrett believes there’s more conservative support for cannabis reform out there, just waiting for the water to warm up. “Of the 435 votes in Congress, we’d probably have 235 in favor of getting the federal government out of the the marijuana scheduling business—if it got to the floor,” he says.

‘The fight now is in the back rooms. The fight is to get a hearing and get it to the floor.’

Rep. Tom Garrett, R-Virginia

“The fight is in the back rooms,” he adds. “The fight is to get a hearing. There are a series of gatekeepers,” he says, referring to the House committee chairs who, because those positions are often seniority-based, tend to be members of the older, anti-legalization generation. “And we need to bring political pressure to the gatekeepers.”mcc

Even some of those who publicly oppose legalization acknowledge the sea change that’s underway. During a lobbying event in September, NORML Political Director Justin Strekal ran into Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in the Russell Senate Office Building. McCain asked about the funny-looking lapel pin on Strekal’s jacket. “That’s a cannabis leaf, senator,” Strekal said, and gave his best pitch for the reform measures now circulating on Capitol Hill.

McCain, an old-school prohibitionist who has remained mostly silent on cannabis reform, smiled and parted amicably.

“Well,” said the senator, “you folks are winning.”


On Legalization’s 5th Anniversary, Here’s What We’ve Learned

(Featured photo at top: Jae C. Hong/AP)

Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

New Mexico May Add Opioid Use Disorder as a Qualifying Condition

New Mexico cannabis advocates are trying to add opioid use disorder (OUD) as a qualifying condition to the state’s medical marijuana program, and if they succeed, this will be the first state to officially recognize cannabis as an exit drug for those struggling with opioid dependence.


America’s Opioid Crisis: Can High-CBD Cannabis Combat Pain and Reduce Addiction Rates?

New Mexico health officials rejected a bid to add opiate dependence as a qualifying medical condition in June, but advocates are again taking their recommendations to the New Mexico Department of Health for a public meeting of the NM Dept. Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.

The petition was submitted by Dr. Anita Briscoe, a clinical nurse specializing in psychiatry and mental health. Briscoe submitted a nearly identical petition in 2016, which the state advisory board voted 5-1 in favor of adding opioid use disorder.


Cannabis as an Opioid Exit: 5 Real-Life Stories

After the November recommendation from the advisory board, NM Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher waited six months before rejecting the petition, citing a lack of scientific research on the efficacy of cannabis as treatment for opioid addiction. “While I share the Advisory Board’s concern about opioid use and its costs, I cannot say with confidence that the use of cannabis for treatment of opioid dependence and its symptoms would be either safe or effective,” Gallagher said in her rejection.

Briscoe has refused to give up the fight, noting that about 25% of her patients struggling with opioid addiction have used cannabis to relieve cravings and pain. With New Mexico so close to the Mexican border, cartels have lowered the price of heroin and Fentanyl dramatically, causing a spike in opioid overdoses in recent years.


Feds to Study Medical Marijuana’s Effect on Opioid Use

“I was compelled by reports from multiple patients who said that medical cannabis helped them kick their heroin or prescription opioid habit,” said Briscoe. “I’ve seen the devastating toll opioid misuse [has] on individuals and families, and in my experience as a clinician I have witnessed the benefits of access to medical cannabis for people suffering from addiction. I want to heal my town.”

Briscoe submitted 21 pages of research in support of the benefits of cannabis in treating opiate addiction, including articles from the American Medical Association, the American Journal of Public Health, and the American Journal of Addiction, along with letters in support from state Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D-Albuquerque) and Rep. Deborah Armstrong (D-Albuquerque).


Senators Urge Trump Administration to Consider Cannabis as Opioid Alternative

One of the major obstacles facing cannabis advocates in New Mexico is Governor Susana Martinez, who is a staunch cannabis opponent. The Republican governor has been in office for two terms, but is currently ranked as the sixth-least popular governor in the country, according to a recent survey released by Morning Consult. With her final year in office approaching, a Democratic legislature may ensure that she doesn’t win a re-election bid.

There are five candidates currently eyeing the gubernatorial position, of whom three out of five support legalizing cannabis for adult use. The two candidates who do not support legalization, Rep. Steve Pearce (R-Hobbs) and state Sen. Joseph Cervantes (D-Las Cruces), are not as rigidly opposed to cannabis as Martinez. Cervantes has sponsored a decriminalization measure several years in a row, but feels that the state doesn’t “have the infrastructure” to legalize cannabis. Pearce is the most vehemently opposed to legalization of the candidates, but “has been moved by the stories of patients who find relief from the drug.”


There’s a 3 in 5 Chance That New Mexico’s Next Governor Will Back Legalization

There is no timeline for when the decision on new qualifying conditions will be announced, but the advisory board is likely to support the addition of opioid use disorder to the program, as they have in the past.

The state may reject the petition, but there’s no doubt that Briscoe will resubmit her petition. Perhaps under a new, more progressive state administration, New Mexico will become the first state to allow medical marijuana as a course of treatment for opioid addiction.

Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

Licensed Producers in Ontario Concerned Over Polluted Lands

Licensed cannabis producers in Hamilton, Ontario are at loggerheads with city officials over where their grow-ops will go.

The tussle began last month, after Liberal MPP for Hamilton Ted McMeekin and several city council members suggested restricting where medicinal cannabis growers will be able to set up greenhouses once the product is legalized.

“Any contaminants or pollutants could cause devastating crop failure, and we could not give this to our patients whatsoever.”

Ian Wilms, vice-chair of Green Organic Dutchman

Growers are critical of city council’s suggestion that they build on old industrial land instead of prime farm land, claiming the air pollution would kill their product. Representatives from Beleave and Green Organic Dutchman told the CBC that such a move would be “catastrophic.”

Ian Wilms, vice-chair of Green Organic Dutchman, told the city council’s planning committee that “any contaminants or pollutants could cause devastating crop failure, and we could not give this to our patients whatsoever.” He says as per the company’s Health Canada license, any product that is compromised must be destroyed.


Ontario Tussles Over Grow-Ops on ‘Agricultural Land’

Wilms stressed that growers want to be in rural areas where air quality is better. Nevertheless, city councillor Lloyd Ferguson has suggested a limit on grow-ops in rural areas, stricter regulation, and a priority for growing food over cannabis.

Councilor Matthew Green was skeptical of the air-quality claim, noting that grow-ops are indoors and can create environments that keep out air pollution.

Councilor Matthew Green was skeptical of the air-quality claim, noting that grow-ops are indoors and can create environments that keep out air pollution.

There are currently four licensed medicinal marijuana corporations in the Hamilton area, but that number is likely to spike once cannabis is legalized in July 2018.

“If we planned properly, we could create an industry here—a green economy” on industrial land, said Councilor Green, noting that both Beleave’s and Green Organic Dutchman’s planned Hamilton expansions are that of “multinational corporations” rather than a “family farm.”

Green Organic Dutchman wants an additional 150,000 square feet to its current 7,000 square foot facility, while Beleave wants to expand its 14,000 square foot operation by an additional 80,000 square feet.


Leafly List: The Top Cannabis Dispensaries in British Columbia, Fall 2017

Both companies said they would find other spaces to develop if the restrictions are imposed by the city council.

Bill Panagiotakopoulos of Beleave told Global News that the Ontario municipalities Welland, Burlington, and Caledonia have already approached them for business.

Last month, McMeekin told the Hamilton Spectator he wants industrial-sized marijuana greenhouses to stay away from land that’s fit for cultivation.

“You shouldn’t be building greenhouses on class 1 agriculture land,” said McMeekin. “You should do it on class 3 or 4 land where you can’t grow anything.”

He suggests licensed growers look to northern Ontario to build their businesses, since the region could use the jobs and economic growth.

Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

Poland Legalizes Medical Cannabis

Nearly two years after joining the Polish parliament, former rapper turned politician Piotr Krzysztof Liroy-Marzec, aka Liroy, has finally managed to gain enough support to pass legislation legalizing the use of cannabis for medical reasons.

After a long, arduous battle through parliament, November 1st marked the first day that cannabis can be legally sold in Polish pharmacies.


Poland is Slowly Warming to the Healing Properties of Cannabis

Liroy has made medical cannabis his rallying cry since being elected as a member of parliament in 2015, representing Kielce as a member of the newly formed political movement, Kuzik’15. He introduced the legislative measure for medical marijuana early in 2016, but was forced to table the bill in February.

The bill was heavily amended, removing clauses to allow home cultivation of cannabis, among other things, while Deputy Health Minister Krzystof Łanda argued that patients already have access to certain cannabis-derived products, such as the sublingual spray Sativex. Liroy criticized the health ministry, saying, “People are dying every day because of the current laws. I am attending their funerals and you should start attending them, too, talk to their families and tell them face to face what you keep saying to media.”

After much deliberation and many revisions, the bill passed through the lower house of parliament, with 440 lawmakers voting in favor and just two voting against.


Polish Bill to Legalize Medical Cannabis Reaches Parlimentary Committee

The new bill will not allow adult use of cannabis; rather, patients must receive permission to use medical cannabis from a regional pharmaceutical inspector, along with a medical authorization from a physician. The qualifying conditions eligible for medical cannabis include chronic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, and treatment-resistant epilepsy. Cannabis will only be available through registered pharmacies, and the medicine must first be filed with the Office for Registration of Medicinal Products.

An independent survey in 2015 found that 78% of Poles supported the legalization of cannabis for medicinal use, and the same proportion said that denying patients access to medical marijuana was “cruel” and violated their right to access healthcare.

With 15,000 registered pharmacies in Poland, nearly 90% will be authorized to distribute cannabis, and the Polish Pharmaceutical Chamber anticipates that up to 300,000 patients could qualify for medical marijuana treatment. But will patients be able to access it?


Polish Rapper-Turned-Politician Introduces Medical Cannabis Bill: The Leafly Roundup

Passing the legislation was only the first step. Although it is now legal for pharmacies to sell cannabis to qualified patients, there is no system to cultivate cannabis, and any cannabis products will have to be imported from other countries in the European Union. One exception in the law allows patients who can’t access cannabis in Poland to visit one of the bloc’s 13 member states where medical marijuana is legal in order to fill their prescription.

A more viable, albeit ultimately more costly solution, is for the cannabis to be imported from Canada or the Netherlands. Pharmacists estimate that the cost per gram will run patients about 50-60 zł ($13-$16 USD), adding up to about 2000 zł ($550 USD) per patient per month.

Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

Medical Cannabis Advocate to Talk CBD at World Health Organization

This article is sponsored by CMW Media, the premier public and media relations agency proudly serving the cannabis industry worldwide.  

Next week, HempMeds Mexico President Raúl Elizalde will speak about cannabidiol (CBD) at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Drug Scheduling Convention in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 6th, 2017.

The invitation reflects the leadership role that organizations and governments throughout Central and South America have taken in adjusting their laws to allow the importation of CBD products to treat a variety of conditions including epilepsy and cancer. In contrast, some European nations like the United Kingdom have had a back and forth relationship with CBD products. In the U.S., meanwhile, fragmented state laws have seen the formation of CBD-product buyer’s clubs in some regions.

Elizalde and his family testifying before Mexico’s Senate about the efficacy of CBD in treating epilepsy. (Courtesy of CMW Media)

In the address, Elizalde hopes to educate world leaders about CBD, urging them to not consider CBD psychoactive and not schedule it as a drug. It’s an issue the long-time medical CBD advocate speaks to from personal experience.

After his daughter’s diagnosis with Lennox-Gastault Syndrome, a rare form of severe epilepsy, Elizalde founded the Por Grace Foundation to help other families affected by the disease. In addition to helping over 300 families, the Por Grace Foundation hosted a series of awareness events that eventually led to the first patients in Mexico being given special authorization to import medical cannabis products, setting the stage for more medical cannabis reform. The foundation has also helped to fund further scientific research into the efficacy of CBD products.


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“I am honored to be a part of this incredible opportunity to be invited to speak in front of such a prestigious audience on a topic in which I am deeply passionate about,” said Elizalde.

Elizalde hopes to share not only his own story, but those of the many patients and families whose lives have been impacted and improved by access to medicinal CBD products. He’s urging the public to share their experiences with CBD so that Elizalde can bring these powerful stories to the attention with United Nations leaders. To follow Elizalde on his journey to Switzerland and share your story, visit the RaulWHO? Campaign website.

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Elizalde has brought his advocacy to the boardroom as the president of HempMeds Mexico, the first company to provide Mexican citizens with access to medical products derived from cannabis (THC-free hemp CBD) after the Health Department of Mexico, COFEPRIS, issued the country’s first-ever import permits for the company’s Real Scientific Hemp Oil in 2016. More recently, the government of the state of Mexico has started providing the product directly to epilepsy patients.

“We are honored and excited to speak to United Nations leaders on a global stage about CBD as a supplement aimed to maintain and improve the wellbeing of millions,” said Medical Marijuana, Inc. CEO Dr. Stuart Titus. “We hope to bring light to the many benefits of CBD and convince decision-makers not to schedule CBD as a drug, but rather as a supplement.”

Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

Trump Declares Opioid Health Emergency; Sessions Blames Cannabis

President Donald Trump on Thursday declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency — a step that won’t bring new dollars to fight a scourge that kills nearly 100 Americans a day, but will expand access to medical services in rural areas, among other changes.

“This epidemic is a national health emergency,” Trump said in a speech at the White House, where he bemoaned a crisis he said had spared no segment of American society.

“As Americans we cannot allow this to continue,” he said.

“If we can teach young people, and people generally, not to start, it’s really, really easy not to take ’em.”

President Donald Trump

Administration officials have made clear that the declaration, which lasts for 90 days and can be renewed, comes with no dedicated dollars. But they said it will allow them to use existing money to better fight the crisis. Officials also said they would urge Congress, during end-of-the year budget negotiations, to add new cash to a public health emergency fund that Congress hasn’t replenished for years.

The Public Health Emergency Fund currently contains just $57,000, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, a negligible amount. Officials would not disclose how much they were seeking.


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Sessions Blames Cannabis

Meanwhile, across town at a forum hosted by the Heritage Foundation, Attorney General Jeff Sessions pinned the blame on cannabis and advised Americans to heed the advice Nancy Reagan gave in the 1980s. Americans, he said, should “just say no” to drugs.  

“I do think this whole country needs to not be so lackadaisical about drugs,” Sessions said. “When you talk to police chiefs, consistently they say much of the addiction starts with marijuana. It’s not a harmless drug.”

“We’ve got to to reestablish, first, a view that you should just say no,” he said. “People should say no to drug use.”

Buzzfeed’s Dominic Holden reported on Sessions’s Heritage Foundation speech, which was scheduled to focus on Constitutional law. Holden pointed out that numerous studies found that the ‘Just Say No’ programs of the 1980s were abysmal failures. Holden writes:

Exposure to abstinence-based drug programs of the era such as D.A.R.E. — which also promoted the notion that students should simply say no — have been abandoned by many school districts amid reports the curriculum failed to reduce drug initiation or use.

A 1994 study by the Research Triangle Institute, which was funded in part by the Justice Department, found that the program had little to no impact on drug use. And in 2011, the National Institute of Justice rated D.A.R.E. as having “no effects,” adding that there was “no statistically significant impact on drug use or attitude towards drug” for students involved.


What Does It Mean to Declare the Opioid Epidemic a ‘National Emergency’?

Pelosi: All Talk, No Action

Critics of the White House policy complained that today’s action by Trump consisted of no action at all. 

Leading up to the announcement, Trump had said he wanted to give his administration the “power to do things that you can’t do right now.”

“How can you say it’s an emergency if we’re not going to put a new nickel in it?” said Dr. Joseph Parks, medical director of the nonprofit National Council for Behavioral Health, which advocates for addiction treatment providers. “As far as moving the money around,” he added, “that’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi also was critical, calling the new declaration “words without the money.”

Trump’s audience Thursday included parents who have lost children to drug overdoses, people who have struggled with addiction, and first responders whose have used overdose reversal drugs to save lives. He also echoed Sessions’s back-to-the-80s advice: 

“The fact is, if we can teach young people, and people generally, not to start, it’s really, really easy not to take them,” the president said of drug use, after detailing his brother’s struggles with addiction. “And I think that’s going to end up being our most important thing. Really tough, really big, really great advertising. So we get to people before they start so they don’t have to go through the problems of what people are going through.”

“There is nothing desirable about drugs,” Trump added later. “They’re bad.”


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There’s an Ad Campaign?

Trump also spoke personally about his own family’s experience with addiction: His older brother, Fred Jr., died after struggling with alcoholism. It’s the reason the president does not drink.

Trump described his brother as a “great guy, best looking guy,” with a personality “much better than mine”

“But he had a problem, he had a problem with alcohol,” the president said. “I learned because of Fred.”

Trump said he hoped a massive advertising campaign, which sounded reminiscent of the 1980s “Just Say No” campaign, might have a similar impact.

“If we can teach young people, and people generally, not to start, it’s really, really easy not to take ’em,” he said.

Candidate Trump: Opioid Crisis a Priority

Leading up to the announcement, Trump had said he wanted to give his administration the “power to do things that you can’t do right now.” As a candidate, he had pledged to make fighting addiction a priority, and pressed the issue in some of the states hardest hit.

“When I won the New Hampshire primary, I promised the people of New Hampshire that I would stop drugs from pouring into your communities. I am now doubling down on that promise, and can guarantee you we will not only stop the drugs from pouring in, but we will help all of those people so seriously addicted get the assistance they need to unchain themselves,” Trump told a crowd in Maine weeks before last November’s election.

Once in office, Trump assembled a commission, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, to study the problem. The commission’s interim report argued an emergency declaration would free additional money and resources, but some in Trump’s administration disagreed.

Chris Christie: This Is ‘Bold Action’

Christie, in a statement, said Trump was taking “bold action” that shows “an unprecedented commitment to fighting this epidemic and placing the weight of the presidency behind saving lives across the country.”

Officials said the administration had considered a bolder emergency declaration, under the Stafford Act, which is typically used for natural disasters like hurricanes. But they decided that measure was better suited to more short-term, location-specific crises than the opioid problem. Drug overdoses of all kinds kill an estimated 142 Americans every day.

As a result of the public health emergency declaration, officials will be able to expand access to telemedicine services, include substance abuse treatment for people living in rural and remote areas. Officials will also be able to more easily deploy state and federal workers, secure Department of Labor grants for the unemployed, and shift funding for HIV and AIDs programs to provide more substance abuse treatment for people already eligible for those programs.

Obamacare Medicaid Pays for Treatment

Trump also directed other departments and agencies to exercise their own available emergency authorities to address the crisis.

But Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), said the effort falls far short of what is needed and will diverts staff and resources from other vital public health initiatives.

“Families in Connecticut suffering from the opioid epidemic deserve better than half measures and empty rhetoric offered seemingly as an afterthought,” he said in a statement. He argued, “An emergency of this magnitude must be met with sustained, robust funding and comprehensive treatment programs.”

Democrats also criticize Trump’s efforts to repeal and replace the “Obamacare” health law. Its Medicaid expansion has been crucial in confronting the opioid epidemic.

Adopted by 31 states, the Medicaid expansion provides coverage to low-income adults previously not eligible. Many are in their 20s and 30s, a demographic hit hard by the epidemic. Medicaid pays for detox and long-term treatment.

Sessions: ‘Do Our Best’ To Enforce Laws

Also today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions went on Hugh Hewitt’s conservative talk radio show to discuss a number of issues. Cannabis, of course, came up:

Hugh Hewitt: Let me turn to marijuana, Mr. Attorney General. A lot of states are just simply breaking the law. And a lot of money is being made and banked. One RICO prosecution of one producer and the banks that service them would shut this all down. Is such a prosecution going to happen?

Jeff Sessions: I don’t know that one prosecution would be quite as effective as that, but we, I do not believe that we should, I do not believe there’s any argument, because a state legalized marijuana that the federal law against marijuana is no longer in existence. I do believe that the federal laws clearly are in effect in all 50 states. And we will do our best to enforce the laws as we’re required to do so.

HH: But one prosecution that invokes a supremacy clause against one large dope manufacturing concern, and follows the money as it normally would in any drug operation and seizes it, would shut, would chill all of this. But I haven’t seen on in nine months, yet. Is one coming?

JS: Really analyze all those cases, and I can’t comment on the existence of an investigation at this time, Hugh, you know that, so, but I hear you. You’re making a suggestion. I hear it.

HH: I’m lobbying.

JS: (laughing) You’re lobbying.

Although a growing body of research suggests that medical marijuana is a powerful tool in preventing opioid addiction, lowering opioid dosages, and helping opioid-addicted patients move off the powerful painkillers, there was no mention of cannabis at today’s White House event.


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The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

California Senior Citizens Teach Garden-Wrecking Cops a Lesson

In the eyes of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, their officers were doing nothing more than enforcing the law.

In August 2014, California was suffering through yet another month of a seemingly endless drought. Gov. Jerry Brown had recently declared a statewide drought emergency, ordering extreme water conservation measures. The lack of rain was acutely felt in Lake County. The local Indian Valley reservoir, which provided water to the Spring Valley community, had dwindled to three percent of its capacity.

Moreover, two months earlier voters in Lake County had narrowly passed a local cultivation ordinance, Measure N. It banned outdoor cannabis gardens on lots smaller than one acre and restricted medicinal growing to 12 immature plants or six mature plants on larger properties. The Sikes and many of their neighbors’ gardens were technically out of compliance, with their cultivations having been planted before Measure N’s passage.

Spurred by the passage of the local initiative, Lake County law enforcement officials moved drought enforcement and plant abatement to the top of their priority list. More than 100 warrantless raids, mostly on small medicinal gardens, were carried out in the summer of 2014. Thirty occurred on August 1 alone.


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Jon Holt Stands Up

In the days after the August 1 raids, Jon Holt became the loudest, angriest voice in rallying neighbors to challenge the county raids.

Decrying “a vicious and egregious attack on my liberty,” he fired off letters to then-Sheriff Francisco Rivero and the Board of Supervisors.

‘My intentions had nothing to do with a lawsuit. I wanted these bastards put in jail.’

Jon Holt, medical marijuana patient

He wrote the California attorney general and medical cannabis advocacy groups including the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

“A recently passed land use ordinance in Lake County, intended to regulate the cultivation of medical cannabis,” he wrote, “is being used as an excuse to allow squads of armed men to enter private property though the force of intimidation, without warrant, warning or even the appearance of due process.”

Said Holt recently: “My intentions had nothing to do with a lawsuit – I wanted these bastards put in jail.”


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A Gathering of Outraged Citizens

The California chapter of NORML alerted Joe Elford, a Yale-educated lawyer specializing in cannabis law. With Holt’s help, Elford convened a late-summer meeting at a Lake County community center with neighbors targeted in the warrantless raids.

“I saw a very large group of people, 80 to 100, with fear in their eyes,” Elford said.

Among those in the group was Carl Ray Harris, a tall, grey-bearded former star defensive back at Fresno State University who earned a tryout with the Dallas Cowboys in the 1970s. Harris went on to work 35 years as a blackjack dealer and pit boss for casinos in Las Vegas and Reno.

A friend alerted Carl Ray Harris: ‘It’s a good thing you’re not home because they’ve got their guns out.’

He settled in Lake County to savor retirement as a local fishing guide. He got a medical marijuana recommendation for intractable pain from old football injuries, including a cracked hip and fractured vertebrae. He also had glaucoma.

Harris was at the doctor’s office when the narcotics task force arrived Aug. 1 at his home in Clearlake Oaks. His suburban house bordered state Highway 20, where directly across the road, vast wine vineyards leafed high into the foothills.

But officers were at his property to tear down his six water-wasting marijuana plants. A friend who had dropped by Harris’ home saw task force members scale his fence as other members of the team drew their weapons. The narcotics unit then cut a lock and broke an interior gate to get to his garden.

Harris was one of the few African-Americans living in Lake County. He felt a chill when his friend called to alert him about the unfolding raid.

“He said, ‘It’s a good thing you’re not home because they’ve got their guns out,’” Harris, now 69, recalled recently.

“I couldn’t understand. What were they going to do? Shoot the plants? If I had been home and had heard someone climbing my fence I might have grabbed my duck hunting gun and they would have shot me.”


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First Step: Injunction to Stop Raids

Despite Holt’s call to lock up the cops, Elford urged residents to take the more plausible legal step of seeking an injunction to stop the raids.

And even though cannabis remains federally illegal, a federal judge agreed. In October, 2014, federal judge Thelton E. Henderson signed an emergency injunction barring Lake County authorities from conducting additional raids on local medical marijuana growers without warrants or county abatement notices.

Henderson took note of the severe drought conditions. But he was troubled by the fact that in Lake County only “water used for medical marijuana cultivation” was deemed “an immediate threat to health, safety, and welfare of public” meriting such heavy-handed enforcement tactics.

“The protection of constitutional rights and the guarantee of access to state-recognized medicine tilts the scales in favor of (the) plaintiffs,” the judge wrote in authorizing an injunction to halt the raids.


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Second Step: Civil Lawsuit

After Henderson issued the protective order, Elford pressed on with a civil lawsuit seeking financial damages, believing that if the county paid out anything it would be admitting wrongdoing.

He carefully selected a  group of 10 citizens – including Jon Holt, Elvin and Nina Faye Sikes, and a total of six plaintiffs aged 61 and over –to press on with a lawsuit in Henderson’s United States District Court, where, again, all cannabis was considered illegal.

Then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris, now California’s junior U.S. Senator, filed a brief supporting Lake County’s case. Her office argued that the local growers weren’t entitled to relief for any financial damages in the raids.

‘This demonstrates that law enforcement officers are not themselves above the law.’

Joe Elford, lawyer for the Lake County Ten

“The plaintiffs in this action have few, if any recoverable special damages: no medical expenses, no legal expenses, and no lost income,” wrote Harris and Deputy Attorney General Grayson Marshall III. “Moreover, it is dubious whether plaintiffs can recover any amount for their lost medicine in this action: Under federal law, marijuana is contraband.”

Despite federal marijuana prohibition, and the county’s contention that the warrantless raids were justified by the water emergency and the gardens’ “exigent” threat to public safety, the residents argued that they were entitled to protection from unreasonable search and seizure under the 4th Amendment of the Constitution.

After nearly three years of litigation, Lake County recently agreed to pay the plaintiffs $250,000 in order to settle the case. They money isn’t much; after legal fees, it amounts to $10,000 per plaintiff. But the settlement, approved by Judge Henderson, affirmed a broader legal principle: Medical marijuana patients could seek redress in federal court over unconstitutional actions by police.


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“This demonstrates that law enforcement officers are not themselves above the law,” Elford said. “It affirms the legal teeth of the 4th Amendment, which was repeatedly ignored by Lake County’s narcotics enforcement team.”

Lake County’s decision to settle also appeared to affirm something else: the power of 10 underdog, determined and pissed off medicinal growers.

“I think this is quite fascinating,” said Michael Vitiello, a professor at University of Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law who specializes in criminal law and cannabis issues. “It may well be that the local government realized that they didn’t have a very sympathetic case: If you take pot away from elderly patients, a jury may want to poke a stick at the sheriff.

“This may not have been a huge settlement, but it has a good deal of symbolic value.”


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Settle, or Take it to Trial?

Elvin Sikes died of throat cancer in 2016, a year before the county and the Lake County 10 arrived at a settlement in the legal action. At the time of his death, Elvin had returned to cultivating – with a modest five backyard plants.

Some of the plaintiffs, notably Harris and Holt, were eager to push on with the lawsuit, hoping to force Lake County authorities to face the spectacle of a jury trial over the raids.

‘If they had listened to my ass, we would have gotten $100,000 apiece. We wanted to hold out.

Carl Ray Harris, MMJ grower and plaintiff

“If they had listened to my ass, we would have gotten $100,000 apiece,” Harris mused. “We wanted to hold out.”

But Nina Faye Harris suffered a broken hip, and some other elderly defendants became exhausted from traveling to San Francisco for depositions and court hearings. By the spring of 2017, Lake County also wanted to rid itself of the suit. A tentative settlement was reached in May; Judge Henderson approved the final terms in mid-August.

Besides the cash settlement, Lake County authorities agreed that they wouldn’t intrude onto properties of local cannabis growers without a warrant, code enforcement notice or a certified public safety emergency. The county also agreed that, for the next five years, authorities lacking warrants wouldn’t enter cannabis gardens without residents’ consent – in writing. Elford characterized the last concession as extraordinary, going beyond standard 4th amendment protections.

Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin, who took office in 2015 and wasn’t involved in the raids, told The Santa Rosa Press Democrat newspaper: “The policy we have doesn’t do anything more than ensures the public that we respect their constitutional rights.”

Martin, whose office declined a recent request for comment, added: “It’s not an imposition…It’s a reminder that’s consistent with our core values.”

Nina Faye Sikes is happy with the outcome.

“I think they acknowledged that they were wrong and they did wrong,” she said recently as she displayed on her kitchen table photographs of Elvin, her husband of 53 years. “The officers up here needed to learn you can’t treat people like that.


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Settlement and Aftermath

These days, Carl Ray Harris’ garden – with naked planting beds from 2014 still visible – is strewn with weeds. Friends provide him with medicine. He won’t take a chance on growing again.

“I thought this win was reasonable,” Carl Ray said of the legal resolution. “I know it’s going down in the archives as one of the first times people have taken law enforcement to court over marijuana and won a settlement.”

Harris used his $10,000 settlement to catch up on unpaid bills. The biggest, he says, was his property tax tab from Lake County.

“Tell them I just paid my taxes with marijuana money,” he said, smiling broadly. “Damn right.”

Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

Data Dive: Canadian Medical Marijuana Patient Total Tops 200,000

Canada’s medical marijuana industry continues to grow at steady rate, according to the most recent data released by Health Canada.

Several things stand out from the market report, but probably most notable is the number of medical patients topping 200,000. The majority of patients reside in Ontario and Alberta; Ontario contains 86,000 patients, and Alberta had 74,000  as of the end of this past June.

Province April Total Patients May Total Patients June Total Patients
Alberta 60,479 68,055 74,013
British Columbia 7,454 7,756 8,103
Manitoba 2,987 3,325 3,598
New Brunswick 5,284 5,511 5,748
Newfoundland and Labrador 1,853 2,027 2,162
Northwest Territories 112 123 125
Nova Scotia 7,685 8,087 8,737
Nunavut 47 45 46
Ontario 77,692 81,522 86,196
Prince Edward Island 739 782 831
Quebec 5,149 5,330 5,630
Saskatchewan 4,937 5,535 6,108
Yukon 85 102 101

One surprising figure: the low patient total in British Columbia. BC and Alberta are roughly comparable in population (3.8 million and 3.2 million, respectively), but Alberta has about nine times as many medical marijuana patients registered with Health Canada.

Province Adult Population (18+) Number of Patients Patients Per 1,000 Adults
British Columbia 3,867,520 8,103 2.10
Alberta 3,288,450 74,013 22.51
Saskatchewan 883,780 6,108 6.91
Manitoba 1,018,630 3,598 3.53
Ontario 11,194,980 86,196 7.70
Quebec 6,698,900 5,630 0.84
Newfoundland 433,870 2,162 4.98
New Brunswick 616,490 5,748 9.32
Prince Edward Island 119,470 831 6.95
Nova Scotia 778,020 8,737 11.23
Yukon 29,490 101 3.42
Northwest Territories 32,900 125 3.80
Nunavut 28,800 46 1.60

The agency’s data also tracks the amount of cannabis sold to patients in the first quarter of the 2017-18 fiscal year. In those three months, April-June, there was steady growth in cannabis sold, cannabis released for sale, as well as the amount of cannabis inventories at licensed producer’s facilities.


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Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.