Cannabis is emerging from the shadows of prohibition. Every week, there are advancements in many fields related to cannabis. Smoke Reports will be re-capping the weekly events of the cannabis community and industry, so that you can stay up-to-date on the latest developments.
Oregon Now Supports Recreational Cannabis
Oregon’s legalization of cannabis went into effect on July 1st, 2015 under Measure 91, signed by Governor Kate Brown. Oregon policymakers are still working out the details behind how to implement a recreational industry for cannabis, which may not be ready for months or even a year. You must be twenty-one years of age or older to legally consume cannabis. Each residence is allowed up to four plants, and public consumption is still against the law. Individuals can have up to eight ounces of cannabis flowers at home, and a maximum of one ounce of cannabis flowers in public.
Louisiana Joins States with Medical Cannabis Laws
Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana signed two bills regarding cannabis:
1. SB 143 allows physicians to prescribe cannabis to patients “clinically diagnosed as suffering from glaucoma, symptoms resulting from the administration of chemotherapy cancer treatment, and spastic quadriplegia in accordance with the rules and regulations promulgated by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners.” Doctors can submit reports to the Senate and House committees recommending additional medical conditions to be eligible for the state’s medical cannabis program. The newly-signed bill also removed the requirement that Doctor’s prescribing cannabis had to be registered with the DEA to prescribe Schedule I substances. The bill does not approve inhaled cannabis as medicine, and also fails to fully establish the rules and regulations for the medical production or dispensing of cannabis within Louisiana. This means that there could be a substantial amount of time before patients actually have access to reliable, state-approved medicine. The Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners has until January 1st, 2016 to create rules and regulations authorizing physicians to prescribe cannabis. On another positive note, this bill, also known as “The Alison Neustrom Act,” once again proving that politicians must reconsider stubborn beliefs when a human life is staring back at them.
2. HB 149 was the second bill passed a law that reduced punishment for cannabis offenses when possessing fourteen grams or less. While violators cannot be fined more than $300 dollars, they can still be thrown in the parish (county) jail for up to fifteen days.
Medical Cannabis Laws in Minnesota Start July 1st
Minnesota’s medical cannabis program debuted on Wednesday (7/1/15), and although the rules and regulations are among the strictest in the nation, cannabis access for patients in dire need is a very positive step for this northern state. There are a few drawbacks with the medical cannabis program in Minnesota that will hopefully be revisited. There are only eight approved cannabis dispensing locations in the entire state of Minnesota. This means long commutes for patients not residing in populated areas. Like Louisiana, Minnesota does not believe smoked cannabis can possibly constitute medicine, and therefore only capsules, tinctures, topicals and vapors can be distributed. Minessota also has eligibility requirements, meaning some conditions do not qualify for the medical program as they would in other states:
- Terminal Illness
- Seizures including epilepsy
- HIV or AIDS
- Severe muscle spasms, as associated with multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Tourette’s syndrome
Hawai’i Soon to Have Dispensary System
Hawai’i has had medical cannabis since 2000, but during the past fifteen years, no dispensary network has been approved. The Governor of Hawai’i, David Ige does not intend to veto HB 321, which establishes a licensing system for medical cannabis dispensaries to be able to acquire and provide medicine to patients. Cannabis patients are allowed to have three ounces of usable cannabis, along with a maximum of three mature plants and four immature plants. For the majority of Hawaiian cannabis patients, growing their own plants is not a viable option, forcing them to rely on the black market to obtain cannabis for their medical therapy. The dispensary system could roll out as early as July of 2016, although Gov. David Ige maintains that rushing through the licensing system may not be the best option for patients. HB 321 requires the state and health departments of Hawaii to declare interim rules for licensing no later than January 4th, 2016.
California Bust Seizes Thousands of Pounds of Cannabis
Humboldt County Sheriffs served eight warrants between June 22nd and June 26th, resulting in the seizure of roughly $26.5 million dollars worth of cannabis.
The Sheriff’s Office seized or eradicated the following items from the search warrants:
1. 23,211 marijuana plants.
2. 4,394 pounds of processed marijuana.
3. 15 pounds of marijuana hash in brick form.
4. 16 firearms.
5. 50,000 rounds of ammunition in the following calibers, .50 caliber, .308 caliber and .556 caliber.
– Search Warrant: Case 201502868: www.HumboldtGov.org
Senate Committee Hearing on Cannabis Research
On June 24th, 2015, the Senate Caucus of International Narcotics Control discussed the efficacy of CBD (cannabidiol) and the existing hurdles that are keeping new research from being conducted. During the hearing, Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) asserts that CBD (cannabidiol) is not being thoroughly researched due to bureaucratic hurdles that associate CBD with its psychoactive counterpart, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Sen. Booker questions doctors and government administrators to confirm that medical studies concerning CBD would be more conductible if CBD was not listed as a Schedule I drug, with no medical benefit and a high risk of addiction. This Senate committee was responsible for convincing the Department of Health and Human Services to stop requiring the Public Health Service review of all cannabis research proposals. The PHS review was considered redundant because it overlapped with the FDA review. You can read more about the Senate hearing in our recent blog post.