Massachusetts Approves State’s First Recreational Marijuana Business License

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission voted unanimously yesterday to approve the state’s first-ever recreational marijuana business license.

Cannabis Becomes Legal TonightThe commission approved granting the license to Sira Naturals, a marijuana cultivation facility (located in Milford). The company currently grows medical marijuana.

“We’re very excited about it and we are going to work very, very hard to continue our tradition of providing premium cannabis sustainably grown and sold with integrity,” said Sira Naturals CEO Michael Dundas following the commission’s approval of his company’s license.

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New York: Governor-Commissioned Report to Recommend Legalizing Marijuana

New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker announced this week that a forthcoming report conducted by his office will recommend that the state legalize marijuana.

The Health Department report will recommend that “a regulated, legal marijuana program be available to adults in the state”, Commissioner Zucker said at a recent press conference. “We looked at the pros, we looked at the cons, and when were done, we realized that the pros outweighed the cons. We have new facts.” The complete report is expected to be released in the near future, potentially as soon as next week.

The announcement from Commissioner Zucker comes just weeks after the New York City Comptroller’s office stated that they estimate New York would garner $434 million in annual tax revenue if the state legalized marijuana for adults.

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Delaware Legislature Unanimously Approves Bill to Expand Medical Cannabis Law

Legislation that would add two new conditions that qualify someone to become a medical cannabis patient has been passed by Delaware’s full legislature.

According to its official summary, House Bill 374 “adds glaucoma and chronic debilitating migraines to the list of debilitating medical conditions which may qualify a person, upon certification by a physician, to be eligible for the use of medical marijuana in accordance with the terms of the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act.”

The measure was passed by the House of Representatives last month in a unanimous 41 to 0 vote. It was passed by the Senate yesterday, also unanimously (19 to 0). The bill will now go to Governor John Carney for consideration. Although Carney has the option of signing it into law, allowing it to become law without a signature, or vetoing it, the legislature can override a veto with 2/3rds vote.

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Canada Parliament Passes Marijuana Legalization Bill

Canada’s full House of Commons and Senate has officially passed the same marijuana legalization bill, sending it towards Royal Assent.

C-45 was passed by the Senate today in a 52 to 29 vote. Having  already passed the House of Commons, it will now be sent to the Governor General for Royal Assent (final approval). With Royal Assent essentially being a formality, it’s all but official that Canada has legalized marijuana, with the law expected to be in full swing by September.

Once the law does takes effect, those 18 and older will be allowed to legally possess and grow marijuana for personal use. They’ll be able to buy the plant through licensed marijuana stores, or by purchasing  it online. Although the age limit is set at 18, some provinces are expected to set the limit at 19.

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Poll: For First Time, Majority in France Support Legalizing Marijuana

New polling shows that for the first time a majority of adults in France support legalizing marijuana, and a much larger majority support medical marijuana legalization.

According to the new poll from Institut français d’opinion publique (Ifop) for Terra Nova and Echo Citoyen, 51% of those in France support marijuana legalization, with 40% opposed; the remaining 9% are currently undecided on the issue.

Thierry Pech, head of Terra Nova, says the poll marks a “turning point”, saying that “French people made the finding that prohibition and repression did not work to preserve the health of users”.

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Marijuana Possession, Cultivation Become Legal in Vermont in Less than Two Weeks

On July 1, Vermont will officially become the ninth U.S. state where it’s legal for those 21 and older to possess marijuana for personal use.

The new law – which was signed by Governor Phil Scott in January – will also make Vermont the eighth state where it’s legal to cultivate marijuana for personal use, and the first to do so through state lawmakers (rather than a citizen’s initiative). Specifically, the law allows those 21 and older to grow up to two mature, and four immature plants in a private residence. The possession limit is set at an ounce, although the limit doesn’t apply to marijuana harvested from personally grown plants, as long as it remains stored on-site (in other words someone can grow and possess, say, four ounces, but they can’t leave their house with more than an ounce).

Unfortunately Vermont’s law doesn’t authorize marijuana retail outlets. This makes Vermont the only state where marijuana possession has been legalized that doesn’t allow marijuana stores. However, marijuana advocates continue to push lawmakers to allow such businesses, and are hopeful that lawmakers will get on board in the near future.

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Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Initiative Being Voted On Next Week

Next week, on June 26, an initiative to legalize medical marijuana will be up for a vote in Oklahoma.

State Question 788, to legalize medical cannabis, will be voted on June 26 in Oklahoma. Put forth by the nonprofit Oklahomans for Health, the initiative would allow those with a doctor recommendation to legally possess and use medical cannabis and cannabis products. A state-licensed system of dispensaries would be authorized to sell the plant to qualified patients. The proposal doesn’t establish a list of qualifying conditions, instead leaving it up to physicians to decide who can benefit from the medicine.

Under the initiative patients would be allowed to purchase and possess up to three ounces of cannabis, and up to 72 ounces of cannabis-infused products such as edibles and topicals.

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Portugal Parliament Passes Legislation to Legalize Marijuana Medicines

Portugal’s full parliament overwhelmingly approved a bill today that would legalize marijuana-based medicines, reports Reuters.

Only one party, the center-right CDS-PP, abstained in the vote. The bill would legalize prescription marijuana to treat chronic pain, post traumatic stress disorder, side effects from cancer therapy, and a list of other ailments. The bill now goes to President Marcelo Rebelo de Souza who can sign it into law, allow it to become law without a signature, or veto it.

Under the proposed law all marijuana medicines will need to be licenses from regulator Infarmed, the body which last year authorized a medical marijuana plantation in central Portugal for export.

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Study: No Association Between Cannabis Use and Suicidal Behavior in Those With Psychiatric Disorders

A detailed, peer-reviewed study published this week by the National Institute of Health found “no association between cannabis use and suicidal behavior in men or women with psychiatric disorders”.

The purpose of the study, which was also published by the journal Biology of Sex Differences, was to ” investigate the association between cannabis use and suicide attempts in men and women with psychiatric disorders.” To do so researchers “employed a multivariable logistic regression to assess the association between cannabis use and suicide attempts in men and women with psychiatric disorders.”

Researchers analyzed data from 465 men and 444 women. Amongst these, 112 men and 158 women had attempted suicide. The average age of our participants was 40 years.

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Oregon Brings in Nearly $9 Million in Taxes from Legal Marijuana in April

Oregon made nearly $9 million in taxes from legal marijuana sales in April.

According to Oregon’s Department of Revenue, the state garnered $8,868,932 in marijuana sales taxes in April of this year. This marks an over 70% increase from April, 2017, when the state brought in a little over $5 million in marijuana taxes.

Of the $8.8 million in taxes garnered in April, the vast majority – $7.6 million – came from Oregon’s 17% state tax on marijuana. The remaining $1.2 million came from local taxes, which can be up to 3%.

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