Tag: Politics

Jeff Sessions Giving You Trouble? Washington State AG Wants to Know

Washington state officials sent up a flare over the state’s legal cannabis industry this week, asking operators to speak up about problems that have arisen in the wake of US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent rescission of the Cole memo.

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An alert sent Monday by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board requests that businesses relay any Sessions-related troubles to the office of state Attorney General Bob Ferguson—a sign that Ferguson’s office could be gearing up to mount a challenge to the Justice Department.

(Courtesy of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board)

“If you have experienced a change in your business practices or customer relationships that you believe is connected to the Sessions Memo,” the bulletin says, “we invite you to share your experiences.” It refers respondents to a dedicated email address at the AG’s office: marijuanaimpacts@atg.wa.gov.

The office could be looking for a posterchild for Jeff Sessions’ misplaced attack on legal cannabis.

It’s no surprise, of course, that the state’s top attorney has a stake in keeping tabs on cannabis at a time when federal raids or lawsuits could come without warning. But there are signs that the unassuming announcement could be more than just a status check. The notice is similar to what attorneys in private practice send out when they’re in search of sympathetic plaintiffs to bring a lawsuit.

In other words, the office could be looking for a posterchild for Jeff Sessions’ misplaced attack on legal cannabis.

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It’s speculative, sure, but Ferguson would be a likely candidate to mount a charge against Sessions. His office hasn’t been shy about suing the Trump administration, having filed or signed onto nearly 20 suits since Trump took office.

On top of that, the notice was sent by Washington state cannabis regulators. Ferguson’s office has yet to issue a press release about the matter. That means the announcement is likely aimed not at winning media attention but at connecting directly with members of the cannabis industry.

If the state AG’s office could demonstrate that Sessions’ actions have harmed legal cannabis businesses, lawyers for the state could more easily challenge them in court. Even absent a lawsuit, industry experiences could be used to make a political case against Sessions. Showing that Sessions threw an otherwise well-regulated state system into chaos, for example, could be potent fodder at a time when congressional leaders are eyeing stronger cannabis protections at the federal level.

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At an event in October, I asked Ferguson how his office would respond to signs of a coming crackdown by the Trump administration. “We would defend Washington’s interests,” he said at the time.

Ferguson was more guarded about the strategy he might use, saying only, “We think we have good legal arguments.”

Monday’s announcement may suggest that one such argument is in the making.


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 Jersey Gov Signs Order to Expand Medical Marijuana Access

Exactly one week after taking office, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed an executive order expanding access to medical marijuana for patients who qualify for it under state law.

Murphy’s order instructs the state Health Department to review barriers to access for patients, and remove them.

Cannabis reform was near the top of Murphy’s policy agenda during last year’s campaign. The Democrat promised to sign legislation legalizing and regulating the adult use of cannabis. That bill is now working its way through the New Jersey Legislature. In the meantime, Murphy this morning signed an executive order aimed at cutting through the difficulties encountered by the state’s 15,000 registered patients who currently have access to only five dispensaries across New Jersey.

Murphy called the state’s medical marijuana program, which was enacted in 2010 and then slow-walked under previous Gov. Chris Christie, an MMJ program “in name only,” and declared that New Jersey’s patients will no longer be denied compassionate care.

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Murphy noted that New Jersey, with a population of 9 million, serves only 15,000 patients. Michigan, with a similar population, serves more than 218,000 patients, and Arizona, with a smaller population, serves more than 136,000 patients. “The need for medical marijuana in New Jersey currently far exceeds the supply that the existing licensed [dispensaries] are able to provide,” says the order. (The full text of Murphy’s executive order is reprinted below.)

“Our law is eight years old,” Murphy said. “Since it took effect, significant medical research has been conducted. Our goal is to modernize the program in New Jersey, bring it up to current standards, and put patients first.”

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Murphy says he’s asking state government to focus on expanding the medical marijuana program and proposing new rules or repealing those that hamper the program.

The advocacy group NJ Marijuana Reform posted this video of the governor at this morning’s ceremony:

Krystal Knapp, reporting for PlanetPrinceton, noted that:

Due to administrative barriers instituted by the Christie administration, Murphy said New Jersey’s highly stringent rules have means countless residents who could benefit from medical marijuana are left out of the program. More than 15,000 people currently enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program have access to only five dispensaries in operation in the state.

To combat lack of access, the executive order mandates that the New Jersey Department of Health and Board of Medical Examiners complete the review of New Jersey’s medical marijuana program within 60 days. The order also requires that the review’s findings are submitted along with recommendations for new rules and regulations – or for the elimination of existing ones.

Murphy himself tweeted that he’s “turning the page” on MMJ access in the Garden State:

Full Text of Murphy’s Executive Order

Executive Order 6:

WHEREAS, it is beyond dispute that patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions deserve to live in dignity with as little suffering as possible; and

WHEREAS, medical decisions must be based on science and health, not ideology or social policy; and

WHEREAS, scientific studies demonstrate that the medical use of marijuana has proven to be an effective treatment for patients suffering from painful, debilitating, and often chronic medical conditions; and

WHEREAS, New Jersey amended its state law to allow for the authorized medical use of marijuana with the passage of the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act in 2010; and

WHEREAS, 29 states have recently allowed the use of marijuana for medical purposes; and

WHEREAS, even a Republican-controlled Congress has repeatedly renewed the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, prohibiting the U.S. Department of Justice from using funds to interfere with state medical marijuana laws; and

WHEREAS, implementation of the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was a lengthy process marked by significant delays, resulting in far fewer patients being served by the program than anticipated when the law was enacted; and

WHEREAS, there are currently five medical marijuana alternative treatment centers (ATCs) in operation in New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, only one additional ATC has been able to obtain a permit and is scheduled to begin operations in the foreseeable future; and

WHEREAS, of New Jersey’s nine million residents, only approximately 15,000 are able to participate in the State’s medical marijuana program; and

WHEREAS, in contrast, the medical marijuana program in Michigan, a state with a similar population to New Jersey, currently serves over 218,000 patients, and the program in Arizona, a state with a smaller population than New Jersey, serves over 136,000 patients; and

WHEREAS, the need for medical marijuana in New Jersey currently far exceeds the supply that the existing licensed ATCs in operation are able to provide; and

WHEREAS, giving patients a greater opportunity to obtain medical marijuana in accordance with State law will ensure that they are receiving a product tailored to their medical needs, and make them less likely to turn to potentially more harmful and less medically appropriate drugs such as opioids, the use of which was declared a public health crisis in Executive Order No. 219 (2017); and

WHEREAS, one study conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center found that the annual number of deaths from prescription drug overdose is 25 percent lower in states where medical marijuana is legal than in states where it is illegal; and

WHEREAS, my administration is committed to fulfilling the intent, promise, and potential of the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act by providing patients in New Jersey with a well-functioning and effectively administered medical marijuana program that best serves their medical needs;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, PHILIP D. MURPHY, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

1.         The Department of Health (“Department”) and the Board of Medical Examiners (“Board”) shall undertake a review of all aspects of New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, with a focus on ways to expand access to marijuana for medical purposes.  This review should include, but not be limited to:

a.          An evaluation of the current rules regulating the operations and siting of dispensaries and cultivation facilities, particularly focusing on whether the rules should be revised to remove unwarranted obstructions to expansion;

b.         A review of the current process for obtaining a license to operate a medical marijuana dispensary, including recommendations to expedite that process;

c.          An examination of conditions for participating physicians in the program to ensure that any such requirements are not needlessly onerous;

d.         An analysis of the current list of debilitating medical conditions for which medical marijuana may be authorized pursuant to N.J.S.A. 24:61-3, and a recommendation as to whether doctors should be given flexibility to make these determinations on their own;

e.          An assessment of the methods through which patients or their primary caregivers are obtaining medical marijuana and a recommendation of whether rules should be amended to approve additional methods that could facilitate patient access;

f.          A review of regulations that govern the forms in which medical marijuana can be ingested, taking into consideration the needs for different methods for different patients; and

g.         Any other aspect of the program within the Department or the Board’s discretion that hinders or fails to effectively achieve the statutory objective of ensuring safe access to medical marijuana for patients in need.

2.         This review shall conclude within 60 days of this Order, at which time the Department and Board shall initiate the rule making process for appropriate regulatory reforms consistent with this Order.

3.         This Order shall take effect immediately.

GIVEN, under my hand and seal this 23rd day of January, Two Thousand and Eighteen and of the Independence of the United States the Two Hundred and Forty-Second.

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.

Senate Revives Gov’t, and Medical Marijuana Protections, Until Feb. 8

Senate Democrats and Republicans came to an agreement to end the federal government shutdown on Monday afternoon. By a vote of 81-18 (60 votes were needed), the Senate passed a continuing resolution that keeps the government running for another 17 days.

The next budget vote will have to take place by the end of the day on Feb. 8, or another shutdown may ensue. Today’s deal secured six years of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) program, and rested on the promise that Congress will take up legislation regarding DACA, border security and related issues between now and Feb. 8.

Today’s vote keeps federal protections for medical marijuana patients and caregivers in effect until Feb. 8.

The House passed the continuing resolution late Monday afternoon, and President Trump is expected to sign the legislation this evening.

As part of that budget deal, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, which protects medical cannabis patients and caregivers in legal medical states, is once again in effect—but only until Feb. 8.

“I expect that during this time period, we will be maneuvering on the cannabis issue and the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment,” Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) told Leafly earlier today, as Senate leaders were brokering a deal. “So this is a time for people to make sure that they contact their own member of Congress to make sure that they get behind the amendment for the final bill.”

Rorhabacher said that he hoped Congress won’t just pass another continuing resolution on Feb. 8. “I hope that we come up with an omnibus bill that will include an appropriations bill for the Department of Justice. At that point, then we are safe for eight or nine months. Then hopefully during those eight or nine months, we will pass a regular piece of legislation that will prevent us from jumping through all of these hoops every year.”

Rohrabacher: Looking for ‘Breathing Space’

Those eight or nine months will give legislators a “little bit of breathing space” to lay down the foundation for federal law, he said. “That law will then codify the position and keep it there as a matter of record. It will also allow for people to mobilize, to get behind one piece of legislation. Then everyone can go to their elected officials and say ‘Look. This is what we are demanding’, and actually have a major push.”

Rohrabacher is pushing his own bill, HR 975, “Respect State Marijuana Laws of 2017”, which was introduced nearly a year ago and now has 40 co-sponsors (with 16 new ones since January 8).

“That bill would be putting into law the idea that the states will be the ones that will make the decision, and everybody, not just the Department of Justice, but everybody, like the banking regulators and other regulators, will then have to deal with the cannabis issue just the way they would with any other commodity throughout the states that have designated it that way,” Rohrabacher told Leafly.

‘There is a new coalition out there. It’s not left or right. It’s a coalition of people who believe cannabis should be left up to the states.’

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, (R-CA)

Today’s action leaves the industry at an interesting crossroads. Prior to the Senate deal, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed into law the first legislature-created bill for recreational marijuana, making it the ninth adult-use state. New Jersey is poised to become the tenth, as their new cannabis-friendly governor takes office. And major pieces of federal cannabis legalization legislation are finally gaining serious traction.

“You now have people who are basing their political action today on political circumstances and coalitions and power dynamics that are decades old,” Rohrabacher told Leafly. “We’ve got to break through that, and get people to realize that there is a new coalition out there that is not Democrat and not Republican and not a left or a right coalition. It’s a coalition of people that have said that the issue of cannabis should be left up to the states, and that the reason why we are pushing for that is because we believe that there is some legitimate uses of cannabis at the very least for medical purposes but also for adults to make their own decision as to what they will consume.”

“We are going to have to create this new coalition,” he said, “and it’s very possible to do it.”


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.

Vermont Governor Signs Cannabis Bill With ‘Mixed Emotions’

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Gov. Phil Scott on Monday privately signed Vermont’s marijuana bill into law, making the state the first in the country to authorize the recreational use of the substance by an act of a state legislature.

The law, which goes into effect July 1, allows adults to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, two mature and four immature plants.

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Vermont will become the ninth state in the country, along with Washington, D.C, to approve the recreational use of marijuana. The other states and Washington authorized the recreational use of marijuana through a vote of residents. Vermont law contains no mechanism that allows for a citizen referendum.

“I think the vast majority of Vermonters won’t notice any change at all.”

Matt Simon, Marijuana Policy Project

The Republican governor had until the end of the day Monday to sign the bill. His office issued a statement Monday afternoon saying he had signed the bill.

“Today, with mixed emotions, I have signed” the bill he said. “I personally believe that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children.”

The law contains no mechanism for the taxation or sale of marijuana, although the Legislature is expected to develop such a system.

Vermont’s move is an incremental reform that will have little impact for most people in the state, said Matt Simon, New England political director for the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project.

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“I think the vast majority of Vermonters won’t notice any change at all,” Simon said. “It’s simply eliminating a fine and eliminating a penalty for growing a small number of plants.”

The new law is unlikely to prompt people who don’t now smoke marijuana to take it up, said Robert Sand, a Vermont law school professor and former county prosecutor who has advocated for years to change the state’s drug laws.

“Realistically anyone who wanted to try it has tried it,” Sand said.

There will be times when people misuse marijuana and opponents will cite the incidents as evidence that legalization was not a good thing, he said.

“I believe we will end up with a net improvement of public health and safety even though I recognize there will be some bad outcomes,” Sand said.

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The Vermont Legislature passed a similar proposal last spring, but Scott vetoed it, citing practical concerns. Lawmakers revised the proposal to do more to protect children and enhance highway safety.

The revised bill passed both chambers this month.

Recreational use of marijuana already has passed in Maine and Massachusetts, and both states are awaiting the implementation of systems to tax and regulate marijuana.

New Hampshire’s House gave preliminary approval to a bill earlier this month that would allow adults to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and to cultivate it in limited quantities, even though a commission studying the issue won’t finish its work until next fall.

Scott said last week he was declining to hold a bill signing ceremony because “some people don’t feel that this is a momentous occasion.”


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.

Here’s What Vermont’s Legalization Law Allows—and Doesn’t

With today’s signing by Gov. Phil Scott, Vermont becomes America’s ninth state to legalize the adult use of cannabis and the first to legalize through a state legislature.

Congratulations, Vermont!

Now, what does it actually mean?

Vermont’s legalization law is one of the tightest in the nation. You may possess a limited amount, but you may not buy or sell.

That’s where it gets complicated. Vermont’s new legalization law, which takes effect on July 1, 2018, is one of the nation’s most limited legalization regimes. The new law allows for small and private home grows, possession, and consumption. It does not set up a regulated system for commercial farming or sales. That, hopefully, will come a little later down the road. Gov. Scott’s Marijuana Advisory Committee is scheduled to deliver a report by Dec. 15 that lays out recommendations for a legal, regulated state system.

The top-line brief: As of July 1, possession of up to one ounce of cannabis flower is legal for adults age 21 and older. Possession of up to five grams of hashish will also be legal. Private individuals of legal age may grow up to two mature (flowering) cannabis plants per dwelling. They may also grow up to four immature (non-budding) plants per dwelling.

Former Gov. Pete Shumlin, left, advocated for legalization, but his successor, Gov. Phil Scott, right, moved the measure over the finish line by signing the bill into law earlier today. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

There’s a Whole And/Or Problem Here

Beyond that, things grow muddled. After July 1, can you possess both one ounce of flower and five grams of hashish? That’s not certain, as the law contains some tricky use of the word “or” that confuses the issue.

Also: In some places the law says an adult may possess two mature plants or four immature plants. In other places the law says an adult may possess two mature and four immature plants.

Also also: The law mentions “hashish” but makes no mention of edibles, topicals, concentrates like shatter or wax (is “hashish” a catchall?), vape oil, tinctures, or any other common cannabis products. The use of “hashish” makes it seem like the legislators who wrote the law time-traveled to the 1970s to learn about cannabis.

Clearly, this is a law that will need some improving. Until then, we’ve combed through the final language and come up with the handy guide below.

What to Know Before You Go…and Consume

The new law:

  • Removes all criminal and civil penalties for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, or more than five grams of hashish, for persons 21 years of age or older. As the law is written, it’s unclear whether this is an either/or situation—in other words, whether you can possess both an ounce of flower and five grams of hash, or whether you’re limited to an ounce or five grams and cannot possess both.
  • Does not allow for the commercial cultivation and/or sale of cannabis to persons 21 years of age or older. Vermont’s law is strictly a homegrow, personal-use law as it stands now. The law does, however, mandate that the state make plans to adopt a “comprehensive regulatory structure for legalizing and licensing the marijuana market.” The Governor’s Marijuana Advisory Commission has been directed to report on such a system by Dec. 15, 2018.
  • Legalizes the possession of paraphernalia for cannabis use for persons 21 years of age or older.
  • Legalizes the cultivation of two mature cannabis plants or four immature plants, for anyone 21 years of age or older. “Immature” means a female plant that has not flowered and does not have visible buds. Those plants must be in an enclosure screened from public view and secure so that access is limited to the cultivator. The cultivation limit applies to each dwelling, regardless of how many residents 21 or older reside in the dwelling. So: One house, two mature plants, period. The law is clear that these plants may be possessed in addition to the one ounce of cannabis flower. The law is not clear about whether a person may possess two mature plants and four immature plants—again with the “or” problem in the law’s language. In some of the law’s sections, two mature or four immature plants may be possessed. In other sections, two mature and four immature plants may be possessed.
  • Retains civil and criminal penalties for possession of cannabis above the legal limit, and for unauthorized sale or dispensing of cannabis. A person 21 or older who possesses more than one ounce of flower, but less than two ounces, and more than five grams of hashish but less than 10 grams, faces a $200 fine.
  • Revises civil and criminal penalties for possession of larger amounts—and those penalties can be significant. For a first offense, the offender will be offered a drug diversion option. That first offense may also come with a $500 fine and/or six months in jail. Second and subsequent offenses come with a $2,000 fine and up to two years in prison. Personal possession of more than one pound of cannabis flower or more than 2.8 ounces of hashish, or cultivating more than six mature plants or 12 immature plants, may face up to a $10,000 fine and five years in prison. For possession of 10+ pounds or more than one pound of hashish, or cultivating more than 12 mature plants or 24 immature plants, faces a $500,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison.
  • Retains civil (not criminal) penalties for underage possession; those penalties are the same as for underage possession of alcohol. To wit: a $300 fine, 30-day driver’s license suspension for a first offense; $600 fine and a 90-day license suspension for subsequent offenses.
  • Establishes civil (not criminal) penalties for consuming cannabis in a public place. “Public place” means any street, alley, park, sidewalk, public building other than individual dwellings, any place of public accommodation (hotels, motels, etc.), and any place where tobacco smoking is prohibited. Penalties are: $100 for first offense, $200 for second offense, $500 for third and subsequent offenses.
  • Establishes criminal penalties and civil action for the act of furnishing cannabis to a person under 21 years of age. Those range from two years in prison and a $2,000 fine, up to five years and a $10,000 fine. Different penalties apply to a person under 21 who furnishes cannabis to another person under 21. (It gets complicated. Just don’t touch it if you’re under 21.)
  • Does not legalize personal cannabis extraction—in fact the new law establishes chemical extraction of cannabis (via butane or hexane) by private parties as a crime. Penalties range from two years/$2,000 up to five years/$5,000. There are exceptions under the law for state-registered medical cannabis dispensaries.
  • Defines “marijuana” as all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa.
  • Allows school authorities to impose administrative penalties for the possession of cannabis on school property.
  • Allows landlords to ban possession or use of cannabis in a lease agreement.
  • Does not allow a jail or prison inmate to possess or use cannabis.
  • Does not allow a driver or passenger in a motor vehicle to consume cannabis or possess any open container that contains cannabis. This is treated the same as an alcohol open container law. In addition, a driver who is operating a motor vehicle containing secondhand cannabis smoke shall be considered to be “consuming” cannabis. Pro tip: Keep it in the trunk.
  • Allows for the legal consumption of alcohol in motor vehicles for hire (limousines, party buses, etc), but does not explicitly allow or prohibit the consumption of cannabis in same. (I know, weird.)
  • Prohibits the sale of drug paraphernalia (pipes, bongs, papers, etc) to anyone under the age of 18. Penalties run up to two years in prison and a $2,000 fine.
  • Does not require an employer to permit or accommodate the possession or use of cannabis in the workplace.
  • Does not prevent an employer from adopting a policy that prohibits the use of cannabis in the workplace.
  • Does not “create a cause of action against an employer” who fires an employee for a policy that prohibits the use of cannabis by employees.
  • Creates a special category of prohibition for persons convicted of selling cannabis to minors, as a felony, after July 1, 2018. Those people may not possess any cannabis, and are subject to civil penalties if they do.
  • Takes effect on July 1, 2018.


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.

Ontario: Want Licensed Cannabis Lounges? Weigh in Now!

The Ontario government last week released a list of proposed modifications to the province’s cannabis regulations, and is now seeking citizen input.

The new proposals could potentially legalize everything from cannabis use in boats and RVs to licensed cannabis consumption lounges.

The key theme among the new proposals: expanding where recreational and medical cannabis can legally be consumed. The existing draft of Ontario’s Cannabis Plan forbids cannabis consumption in all public places—essentially restricting legal use to private residences—but the new proposals could open things up considerably, potentially legalizing everything from cannabis use in boats and RVs to allowing for licensed cannabis consumption lounges.

“Ontario’s proposed regulations would also relax consumption rules in other areas,” writes Jacquie Miller in the Ottawa Citizen. “Tourists would find it easier to check out Ontario’s legal pot, for instance. People would be allowed to smoke or vape in any hotel room where cigarette smoking is allowed.”

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Legal cannabis consumption in parked RVs and hotels is nice, but the main point of excitement around Ontario’s proposed modifications is the prospect of licensed cannabis consumption lounges, the importance of which was recently underscored by cannabis activist (and grey-market cannabis lounge proprietor) Abi Roach.

By outlawing lounges, ‘You’re creating an unwelcoming environment for tourists and an uncomfortable home situation for families,’ says Abi Roach.

By outlawing cannabis lounges, Roach told Leafly, “You’re pushing people out into the streets and alleys, and their cars. You’re pushing people into more dangerous situations. You’re creating an unwelcoming environment for tourists and an uncomfortable home situation for families.”

Trina Fraser, an Ottawa lawyer specializing in cannabis law, agrees.

“If you’re not creating venues for people to consume cannabis, you are basically driving it into the very places you don’t want,” Fraser told the Citizen. “If somebody doesn’t want to get evicted from their (no-smoking) apartment, they might smoke in their car, and you don’t want them smoking in their car. But they are going to feel like, ‘I’ve got no choice. I’ve got no other place to go where I can use cannabis.’ That’s an issue.”

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The Ontario government is seeking citizen input on the proposed modifications through March 5. Read the full text of the proposed modifications and submit comments here.


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.

How a Cannabis Ban Turned One California County Into ‘Ground Zero for Chaos’

On Jan. 10, supervisors in this historic county—where Gold Rush mining camps flourished in 1850—voted to kill off the Green Rush that exploded here in 2016. By a 3–2 tally, the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors declared all commercial cannabis farms illegal. The county planning department estimated that as many as 1,600 commercial cannabis growers were operating in the region in mid-2017. Many of them were licensed by the county. Now, the move to ban cannabis businesses means every one of those growers must cease operations by May 1. Millions of dollars in tax money will vanish from the economically beleaguered county of 45,000 residents.

In the vote’s aftermath, protests have stirred amid fears over devastating cuts to the county workforce. Lawsuits appear certain.

“It is just ground zero for chaos,” says Paul Smith, vice president of governmental affairs for the Rural County Representatives of California, an organization focusing on the Golden State’s sparsely populated inland and northern coastal counties.

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Calaveras has long been known for its dysfunctional politics. Even before its explosion of cannabis farming, there were frictions between a local “hippie culture and strong pockets of old ranchers and their constituency groups,” Smith said. Against that backdrop, the county’s move to regulate commercial cannabis production in 2016 was sure to strike a raw nerve.

“You have to go through wars in these types of communities before you reach consensus,” Smith said. “Calaveras is kind of on steroids on this.”

Prapanna Smith, a former school administrator, tends to his cannabis plants during what’s likely to be his last permitted growing cycle in Calaveras County. (Peter Hecht for Leafly)

In the late summer of 2015, Calaveras, nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills 70 miles east of Sacramento, suffered a devastating blaze—the Butte Fire. The following spring, unauthorized marijuana farms bloomed beneath scorched oaks and pines as cannabis speculators snatched up cheap properties devalued by the fire that had destroyed 860 homes.

“You’re talking about losing hundreds of farm families and layoffs this county has never seen. It’s mind-numbing.”

Mark Bolger, cannabis farmer

Urged on by local medical marijuana advocates, supervisors in the conservative county passed an ordinance to regulate the local cannabis industry. It promised strict rules for licensees, enforcement resources to drive out unwanted criminal growers, and some decidedly liberal cultivation rules: The county allowed commercial cannabis farming on parcels as small as two acres and gardens of up to a half-acre on parcels of five acres or larger.

In June 2016, Calaveras collected $3.7 million in $5,000-per-farm registration fees from more than 700 cannabis cultivators. Five months later, voters heartily approved an initiative, Measure C, to impose cultivation taxes of $2 per square foot on outdoor farms and $5 per square foot on indoor gardens.

Yet the election also revealed a significant portion of the local citizenry that hated cannabis liberalization. Another initiative, Measure D, which would’ve further sweetened cultivation rules and permitted cannabis concentrate manufacturing, was defeated. Although California’s Nov. 2016 adult-use measure, Proposition 64, passed easily statewide, 53% of Calaveras County voters cast ballots against it.

Two supervisors who backed the cultivation ordinance were due to retire after the Nov. 2016 election. Two others were drummed out by voters. In their place, voters chose a new board majority openly hostile to cannabis farms.

“This county has repeatedly spoken out against this,” said Dennis Mills, who won a seat on the board after championing a cultivation ban, Measure B, that was blocked from the ballot by legal challenges. “My district solidly voted down Proposition 64. They solidly voted down Measure D. They wanted an initiative to ban.”

“I won my seat in a landslide, sir,” Mills told me recently. “Marijuana was one of the issues. People asked me how I felt about it. And I told them outright.”

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Mills, a former member of the Calaveras County Water District, saw cannabis farming as both an affront to the county’s character and, worse, an environmental disaster that fouled streams and water supplies with illicit dams, sediment, fertilizers. and pesticides. He made little distinction between permitted growers and criminal cultivators.

After his proposed ban failed in October, Mills pushed through a new ban this month with the backing of two other recently elected supervisors, Gary Tofanelli and Clyde Clapp.

Burch Shufeld, who bought up properties and secured two local licenses on a promise of participating in the legal cannabis economy, looks over vacant greenhouses that may stay that way (Peter Hecht for Leafly)

Calaveras County has so far collected $7.5 million in Measure C cultivation taxes in 2017, with more revenue due from tax bills that went out in November. The total two-year haul—including permit fees and renewals to cover costs of cannabis regulation, policing, and code enforcement—approaches $12 million. The county has a $63 million annual budget.

Since 2016, Calaveras has granted some 200 permits for commercial marijuana farms, with roughly 300 applications still pending and 200 denied or withdrawn.

One of those permittees was Burch Shufeldt, 34, an environmental studies major at University of California Santa Cruz who dropped out to grow in Calaveras for a Santa Cruz dispensary in 2006. At the time, with state and local rules ill-defined, he chose a secluded indoor growing location.

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After Calaveras embraced regulated cultivation, Shufeldt made a major investment: $1 million for two sprawling properties, a total of 220 acres, with the landowner providing financing for the purchase. Shufeldt paid $88,000 in cultivation taxes plus $15,000 in fees in 2016 and 2017 for two permitted outdoor sites, with one renewal permit fee due.

“It seemed like Calaveras had decided to stick to its conservative and libertarian ideas when it came to property rights— even if many of its people were older and didn’t like cannabis,” he said.

Now, in the face of ban, he is looking to get by on income from cattle grazing and growing kale. That is unlikely, he says, “to keep us out of poverty.”

When supervisors took up the vote on Jan. 10, locally-licensed cannabis farmer Mark Bolger had just paid his November tax bill, bringing his two-year cultivation payments to the county to $54,0o0.

“You’ve given people a privilege. You’ve taken their taxes and fees. And now you’re taking that privilege back.”

Khurshid Khoja, former CCIA general counsel

Bolger, 30, the son of an agricultural industry investment broker in the nearby San Joaquin Valley farming belt, invested in Calaveras cannabis on a forested 20-acre parcel he dubbed Rimrock Farms. He invited county officers, sheriff’s deputies, and state water officials for walking tours though lush plants that flowered on terraces framed by security fencing and rock beds, with netting and straw for erosion control.

On Jan. 10, Bolger was one of a number of licensed cannabis farmers seated before the Board of Supervisors, watching his investment drain away.

Supervisors had directed staff to draft two ordinances – one to regulate the industry and another to ban it. The staff proposal to regulate would have allowed commercial cultivation on certain properties over 20 acres, but Bolger’s site didn’t meet the specific zoning requirements. In recent months, Supervisor Tofanelli also advanced a plan to set the standard at 50 acres or more. He later pushed for a 100-acre minimum.

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Bolger had made an aggressive move to stay in business, buying 196 acres with plans to relocate his farm. A title company representative handling the last 80 acres of his purchase reached out as he was sitting in the supervisors’ boardroom.

“I got a text saying we just closed on the sale,” he said. “The title is transferred in my name. There is no turning back.”

Then he watched as supervisors banned his business.

The vote, effective next month, requires cannabis farms to cease operations within 90 days, meaning they will be out of business by May. For Bolger, it means no 2018 growing season.

“I’ve got six employees, people with young children, people from multigenerational families in this area,” Bolger said. “That tumultuous feeling I got in my stomach wasn’t just for our livelihoods—it was for the livelihood of our county.”

“When three people on the Board of Supervisors tank the economic driver of this county, you’re talking about losing hundreds of farm families and layoffs this county has never seen. It’s mind-numbing.”

Prapanna Smith, 56, a former school administrator in San Diego County who moved to Calaveras for its proximity to the Pacific Crest Trail and apparent amenability to cannabis, invested $300,000 in a county-permitted indoor cultivation business.

Smith, who recently also secured a state license to grow adult-use cannabis, paid Calaveras $10,000 in permit fees and $25,0o0 in cultivation taxes. He hopes to harvest a final indoor crop before May and, after that, seek retribution in a lawsuit over a breach of trust.

“If they succeed in shutting us down, they owe me for all my investment,” Smith said of the county. “They owe me for my loss of income. And they owe me for the cost of having to move, because what they’re doing is bullshit.”


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.

What the Federal Shutdown Means for Medical Marijuana

At midnight Friday, the federal government shut down.

What does that mean for medical marijuana? It’s not good.

Rohrabacher-Blumenauer protections are no longer in effect. But they will likely return.

The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, which has protected medical cannabis patients and caregivers from federal interference since 2014, was part of the budget appropriations bill. So when the budget expired, so did those protections.

The protections are no longer operative—but that doesn’t mean federal officials are going to start arresting MMJ patients tomorrow.

With the federal government shut down, all non-essential government personnel are furloughed. Even if a federal prosecutor wanted to go after a medical marijuana target, they wouldn’t have the law enforcement personnel on hand to carry out the arrests.

Mind the Gap

In addition, the protections in the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment affect any cases that might be brought during this gap in coverage. In other words, if the next budget that Congress adopts includes the amendment, then federal authorities could not pursue any case that was brought during the lapse in coverage.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) reiterated on Thursday that he will continue working to maintain the provision in whatever funding bill Congress passes next.

Here’s the ‘Good Shutdown’

Even though President Trump said he wanted to avoid a shutdown, the uncertainty he caused through Thursday intensified on Friday. Trump has supported a government shutdown in the past, writing in a tweet last May when the government was in the same position: “Our country needs a good shutdown in September to fix mess!”

This time, Trump’s flip-flopping on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the so-called “Dreamers” immigration policy act, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), providing low-cost health coverage to children in families that earn too much money for Medicaid, accelerated the uncertainty in budget negotiations through the week, resulting in the shutdown on Friday.

Meanwhile, a Flurry of Cannabis Bills

The only upside to the chaos of the shutdown has been the quiet work on marijuana legalization that was happening at the same time on the Hill, much of it since the middle of January.

A new House bill introduced on January 17, sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and about a dozen co-sponsors, is a companion bill to Sen. Cory Booker’s “Marijuana Justice Act”, S. 1689 that was introduced in August, 2017, and has languished in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

NORML reports that this is the first time that companion legislation has been introduced in both chambers of Congress to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

On January 18th, Lee tweeted that her justice act bill “is a landmark bill to help us end the destructive, discriminatory #WarOnDrugs and rebuild the lives torn apart by these failed policies.”

Barbara Lee: The New Cannabis Champion

Congresswoman Lee is also the sponsor of “States’ Medical Marijuana Property Rights Protection Act” (HR 331), with Blumenauer as one of the six co-sponsors; a co-sponsor, along with both Rohrabacher and Blumenauer, of Colorado Rep. Jared Polis’ bill “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act” (HR 1841), that saw a surge of six new co-sponsors since the beginning of the year for a total of 23;  a co-sponsor of Blumenauer’s bill “Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act” (HR 1823); and one of 66 co-sponsors (eight just since January 16) along with both Blumenauer and Rohrabacher, of “Safe and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE) of 2017” (HR 2215).

She is also a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, and is seen as a strong ally in Congress in any discussion of the continuation of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment.

Old Bills See New Life

Even older marijuana-related bills have been getting traction in January while Congress focused on the budget.

Both Blumenauer and Rohrabacher are co-sponsors of Rep. Tom Garrett’s (R-VA) bill “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017” (HR 1227), introduced February 27, 2017, now with 25 co-sponsors – 10 since the beginning of 2018.

Also in February, 2017, Rohrabacher introduced the “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017” (HR 975), now with 40 co-sponsors including both Blumenauer and Lee – 16 since the beginning of the year.

Now that work will potentially have to face renewed scrutiny because of the shutdown and the elimination of the amendment.


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.

Prohibitionists’ Poll Backfires, Reveals 83% Support for Cannabis Reform

Trial lawyers have a well-known rule of thumb about witnesses: Never ask them a question you don’t already know the answer to.

The ardent prohibitionists over at Project SAM, headed by Kevin Sabet and Patrick Kennedy, may want to consider that advice the next time they commission a poll.

Vox reported earlier today that the anti-cannabis advocacy group hired Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, of Jacksonville, Florida, to ask 1,000 registered voters around the nation about their views on marijuana legalization.

The question put to the voters was as follows:

QUESTION: I want to ask a few questions about marijuana policy in the United States. Currently, possessing and using marijuana is against federal law. Which one of the following best describes your preference on national marijuana policy?

  • Keep the current policy
  • Keep the current policy, but legalize the use of marijuana for physician-supervised medical use
  • Decriminalize marijuana use by removing the possibility of jail time for possession and also allowing for medical marijuana, but keep the sale of marijuana illegal.
  • Legalize the commercial production, use and sale of marijuana for recreational use, as they have done recently in several states.

The public responded with a loud and overwhelming vote in favor of change. In all, 83% of respondents said they want to see some form of federal cannabis legal reform, which is exactly what Project SAM is working against. Here’s how the numbers broke down:

What is your preference on national marijuana policy?

Source: Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy / Learnaboutsam.org

Gender, Age, and Political Differences

Some of the poll’s most interesting findings came in the areas of gender, age, and political affiliation. There’s still a minor gap between men and women when it comes to adult-use legalization, with 53% of men favoring it compared to only 46% of women. The gender gap was virtually nonexistent when it came to keeping prohibition and legalizing medical only.

People under 50 were much more likely to favor legalization of all types compared to people over 50. Only 8% of the younger demographic wanted to keep cannabis federally illegal, while 25% of people over 50 favored the current policy. On full adult-use legalization, 54% of the younger set favored it, compared to only 44% of the 50+ crowd.

Democrats overwhelmingly supported various forms of legal reform, while one-quarter of Republicans wanted to keep cannabis fully illegal. Interestingly, more Independents expressed a preference for full adult-use (57%) than those who identified as Democrats (55%). Only 36% of Republicans opted for full adult-use legalization.

Source: Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy / Learnaboutsam.org

It’s… a Victory! Kind of.

Officials at SAM spun the poll results as best they could.

“New National Poll Shows Support for Marijuana Legalization Dips Below 50% When Voters Are Given Other Policy Choices,” read the headline on their media release. Well… that’s just not so. Project SAM continues to oppose all forms of cannabis legalization, and has always considered medical legalization as “legalization.” So by their own definition, the poll shows 78% support for exactly the kind of legalization they spend their days opposing.


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.

‘Beyonce Takes THC’: The Week in Cannabis Quotes

Another week, another bunch of people using their mouths—and sometimes their forefingers—to say things about cannabis. From Toronto snow graffiti to politicians’ proclamations, here’s a roundup of the week’s most notable cannabis quotables.

“New Jersey may legalize marijuana. Massachusetts already has. On the other hand, Attorney General Sessions says he’s going to end marijuana in every state. So you have the whole confluence of different information. I think we should fund [the Department of Health] to do a study. Let them work with state police and other agencies to look at the health impact and economic impact.”

– New York Governor Mario Cuomo, addressing the State Legislature and proposing a study to determine the impacts of legalizing cannabis in New York State

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Late last year, the conservative Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch made a splash by coming out swinging for medical marijuana. This week, he lit up Twitter for removing glasses he’s not wearing.

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Meanwhile in Colorado: What do legal cannabis dispensaries do for home values? The answer may surprise you!

“We went into the project and we weren’t really sure what to expect. We thought maybe there would be a negative impact. I think our takeaway after working on the project was that we don’t see a negative effect—we see results point to a positive effect.”

– James Conklin, University of Georgia real-estate professor and co-author of the study  ‘Contact High: The External Effects of Retail Marijuana Establishments on House Prices,’ which found that after Denver legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, single-family homes within 0.1 miles of a dispensary saw gains of 8.4 percent relative to houses located between 0.1 and 0.25 miles away. (Quote from The Cannifornian.)

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And in Washington DC:

“This legislation will end this destructive war on drugs. Here on the first day, we have 12 co-signers, which is really remarkable.”

– US Rep. Barbara Lee, introducing the House version of the Marijuana Justice Act, which would end federal cannabis prohibition and help correct decades of injustice surrounding the discriminatory enforcement of marijuana criminalization laws in the United States

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To bring things full circle,  let’s close with another noteworthy snapshot from the streets of Canada:


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.