Medical Marijuana Implementation Bill Signed Into Law by Florida Governor

As promised, Florida Governor Rick Scott has signed into law a bill to implement the legalization of medical marijuana.

The governor’s signature comes after the House amended and passed the bill with a 103 to 9 vote, which was followed by a 29 to 6 vote in the Senate. The new law implements a medical cannabis legalization initiative approved by voters last year (Amendment 2). Controversially, the legislation removes patients’ ability to actually smoke medical marijuana, leaving them to rely on other methods of consumption such as edibles and tinctures.

“Don’t get me wrong: this legislation is FAR from perfect. But it is a major step forward for patient access, and is drastically different and more patient-friendly than either chamber’s original implementing bills”, says Ben Pollara of Florida for Care. Pollara was previously the Campaign Manager for United for Care, the group that successfully placed Amendment 2 on last year’s ballot.

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Nevada Governor Signs Executive Order Allowing Recreational Marijuana Sales to Begin July 1st

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval has signed an executive order allowing recreational marijuana sales to begin on July 1st.

The order signed into law by Governor Sandoval allows currently operating medical cannabis dispensaries to begin selling marijuana to everyone 21 and older beginning July 1st. The governor’s order comes amid concerns that a judge’s order could block the early start of recreational marijuana sales, which was approved by state tax officials in May.

The new law explicitly allows licensed dispensaries to sell up to an ounce of cannabis to those 21 and older; this includes tourists. Once the state’s system of recreational cannabis retail outlets is established next year, dispensaries will go back to selling cannabis exclusively to qualifying patients with a physician recommendation. The early start to marijuana sales is due to the fact that possession of up to an ounce of marijuana is currently legal, despite there being no legal means of obtaining it.

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Study: Marijuana Legalization Doesn’t Negatively Impact Traffic Fatality Rates

Laws legalizing marijuana on the state level aren’t associated with increased traffic fatalities, according to a new study.

For the study, published today in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers at the University of Texas-Austin evaluated crash fatality rates in Colorado and Washington before and after the states legalized cannabis for adult use They compared these rates to those of eight control states that had not enacted any significant changes in their marijuana laws.

“We found no significant association between recreational marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado and subsequent changes in motor vehicle fatality rates in the first three years after recreational marijuana legalization,” the study concludes. Authors also reported no association between adult use marijuana legalization and the total number of non-fatal crashes.

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Vermont Senate Approves Marijuana Legalization Compromise Bill

Vermont’s full Senate approved a bill today that would legalize marijuana, and addresses concerns Governor Phil Scott expressed when he vetoed a similar bill in May.

Legislation that would make marijuana legal for those 21 and older in Vermont was approved by the Senate on Wednesday, the first day of a two-day veto session. House Bill 511 reflects a compromise between legislative leaders and Governor Scott, who vetoed a similar bill in late May. It will now go the House, where passage by a three-quarters vote will put it to the desk of Governor Scott who plans to sign it into law.

The law approved by the Senate would make it legal for those 21 and older to possess and use up to an ounce of cannabis beginning July 2018. It would also be legal to grow up to two mature, nd four immature cannabis plants. In addition, a study commission would be created to develop legislation to regulate and tax marijuana for adult use. According to the Marijuana Policy Project, the amended bill “would extend the time allotted by S. 22 for the commission to submit its report, add additional agency directors and the defender general to the commission, and increase penalties for dispensing marijuana to minors or exposing them to marijuana smoke in cars.”

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New York Legislature Approves Measure to Allow Medical Marijuana for PTSD

A bipartisan proposal to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying medical marijuana condition in New York has been passed by the state’s legislature and sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo for consideration.

The Senate passed Senate Bill 5629 today with a 50 to 13 vote. The Assembly version of the measure, Assembly Bill 7006, was passed in May with an overwhelming 131 to 8 vote. The legislation allows those with PTSD to legally purchase, possess and use medical cannabis, given they receive a recommendation from a physician and register with the state.

“State lawmakers are standing up for thousands of New Yorkers who are suffering from PTSD and might benefit from medical marijuana,” said Kate Bell, legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project. “We hope Gov. Cuomo will do the same and sign this important legislation. With a single swipe of his pen, he can help countless people find relief.”

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Mexico Legalizes Medical Cannabis

A bill to legalize medical marijuana in Mexico has officially been passed into law, according to President Enrique Peña Nieto.

The new law directs the Ministry of Health to draft and implement regulations, with  “public policies regulating the medicinal use of pharmacological derivatives of cannabis sativa, indica and Americana or marijuana, including tetrahydrocannabinol, its isomers and stereochemical variants, as well as how to regulate the research and national production of them.”

The new law was passed by the nation’s lower house of parliament in April with an overwhelming vote of 371 to 11. “The ruling eliminates the prohibition and criminalization of acts related to the medicinal use of marijuana and its scientific research, and those relating to the production and distribution of the plant for these purposes,” the Lower House said in a statement on its website after its passage.

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Former Trump Advisor Roger Stone Forms Coalition to Legalize Marijuana Nationwide

Roger Stone, a political consultant and lobbyist who served as an advisor for President Trump during his campaign, has formed a bipartisan coalition which goal is to help legalize marijuana across the United states.

Roger Stone. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Roger Stone announced the formation of the United States Cannabis Coalition (USCC) on Friday during the Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo in New York. As noted by Business Insider, the USCC is registered with the IRS as a section 527 nonprofit, the same tax-exempt status that applies to political action committees.

“I am going to be working with a coalition of Republicans and Democrats, progressives and libertarians, liberals, and conservatives to persuade the president to keep his campaign pledge,” says Stone, “and to remind the president that he took a strong and forthright position on this issue in the election.”

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Initiative to Legalize Medical Marijuana Placed on 2018 Ballot in Oklahoma

Oklahoma voters will have the opportunity next year to legalize medical cannabis.

Advocates have successfully collected and submitted enough valid signatures on their initiative to legalize medical marijuana to put it to a vote in one of the nation’s most conservative states. State Question 788 will appear on the November, 2018 ballot and would legalize the possession, use and licensed distribution of cannabis for medical purposes.

The proposed law – which taxes cannabis at 7% – would allow patients to possess up to three ounces of marijuana (eight in a private residence) and up to 72 ounces of marijuana edibles. They would also be allowed to grow up to six mature cannabis plants, in addition to six seedlings. The measure states that “A regulatory office shall be established under the Oklahoma State Department of Health which will receive applications for medical license recipients, dispensaries, growers, and packagers within sixty (60) days of the passage of this initiative.”

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Jeff Sessions: “It’s Time to Get Tough Again” on Drug Sentencing

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says being soft on drug sentencing means “more violent crimes”, and that “it’s time to get tough again”.

On Friday the Washington Post published an op-ed from Attorney General Jeff Sessions detailing his position on America’s drug laws. Once again, he’s pushing for harsher sentences and escalating outdated and harmful drug war policies. Sessions notes that from 2011 to 2016, federal prosecutions for drug offenses fell by 23 percent, while the average sentence length for a convicted federal drug offender decreased 18 percent from 2009 to 2016. Many of this is due to Obama-era policies that reduce or end mandatory minimum sentencing, something Sessions is working to overturn.

“Cracking down on drug crimes with harsher sentences isn’t going to make us safer,” says Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership. “We already tried that. Drug war violence will diminish when we move the market into the legal sector and treat drug use as a health issue.”

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Study: Cannabis Consumers Among the “Most Well-Adjusted and Successful of American Adults”

A new study has found that many of the stereotypes surrounding cannabis are untrue, and that cannabis consumers are among the “most well-adjusted and successful of American adults”.

According to the study by BDS Analytics; “Public support for cannabis legalization is stronger today than ever before, yet the “stoner” stereotype — apathetic, unsuccessful, flaky — persists. But not, we believe, for much longer.”

According to the research group; “Cannabis consumers, it turns out, are among the most well-adjusted and successful of American adults, based on results from BDS Analytics’ landmark cannabis consumer research study, the first of its kind in history. The ongoing study is the most comprehensive and detailed look at cannabis consumers ever conducted.”

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