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.
CA Gov’s Office Looks at Medical Cannabis Program
California Governor Jerry Brown recently weighed in on the cannabis legislation that has been circulating in the California Senate and Assembly. The three bills, AB 266, AB 243, and SB 643 were all drastically revised in anticipation of the Governor’s office submitting the most authoritative language on the subject. All of these bills called for the definition and regulation of California’s medical cannabis program.
The Governor’s revisions are occurring with a sense of urgency, because the 2015 Legislative session ends on September 11th, and any prospective bill must be approved by the Senate and Assembly before that time. Various inside sources suggest that the Governor’s office will most likely maintain the general scope and provisions of the bill, but may work to eliminate fractured county ordinances. Here is a list of things to expect from the Governor’s amendments:
- Required business licensing: business would be required to apply for individual licenses to cultivate, transport, manufacture, test, and distribute cannabis flowers and products. (SB 643, Article 6, Sec. 122 D)
- Potential limit of two licenses per company: businesses would only be permitted two licenses, thus eliminating the potential for an all-inclusive cannabis company. (SB 643, Art. 5 Sec. 177 A & Art. 8 Sec. 125 A)
- Create a system for organic certification: under federal law, cannabis cultivation cannot be deemed “organic,” even though some growers go to great lengths to cultivate using organic methods. (SB 643, Art. 7, Sec 124)
- Laboratory testing requirements: all products must be submitted to a certified testing facility to undergo potency and safety tests. The terms of the future testing requirements are unclear, and varied between the different bills. (SB 643, Art. 10)
- Cultivation limits: statewide limits will be established for indoor and outdoor cultivation. (SB 643, Art. 6, Sec. 122 D)
- Delivery services prohibited unless expressly permitted by local ordinance (SB 643, Art 9.5, Sec. 133)
- Cannabis properly labeled by geographic origin (SB 643, Art. 7)
- Local ordinances against commercial activity would be permitted (SB 643, Art. 3, Sec. 104 C)
Note: All of these provisions are from SB 643 prior to September 1st, 2015
CO Pesticide Labeling Fiasco
Colorado had a very exciting week, and it turns out the excitement should have been avoided. Last week, Colorado dispensaries were ordered to remove products that allegedly contained spinosad, a pesticide prohibited under Colorado’s regulations for pesticide use on cannabis. Inspector’s ordered a hold on all sales and distribution of Mountain High Suckers products until the products could be thoroughly tested. This was one of the first major scares, and prompted recalls, of tainted cannabis products being available at retail locations.
Luckily, there was a happy ending, although it most definitely should have been avoided. Turns out that Mountain High Suckers and MMJ America were offering products with out-dated labels. All of the products contained no traces of spinosad, but the product labeling clearly listed the product as being present. The labels had been created prior to spinosad being submitted for the list of banned pesticides for cannabis cultivation. Smoke Reports has in the past discussed the importance of accurate product labels, and hiccups like these will continue to happen until there is a responsible program in place. The hold on the products has since been lifted.
Jeff Mizanskey: Cannabis Lifer Walks Free
Jeff Mizanskey spent nearly two decades in the Jefferson City Correctional Center in Missouri. Last week, he walked free after a successful parole hearing. Mizanskey was spending his life behind bars under Missouri’s strict three-strike rule. Mizanskey had been convicted of three non-violent cannabis charges, in 1984, 1991, and 1993 respectively.
A petition on Change.org had received over 400,000 signatures, prompting Governor Jay Nixon to commute Mizanskey’s sentence, making him eligible for parole. Mizanskey, 61 years old, is greeted by a cannabis community much more advanced than the one he was familiar with over 20 years ago.
MA Dispensary Sees Incredible Demand for Cannabis
Alternative Therapies Group in Salem, MA opened its doors two months ago. In that time, they have served over 1,500 patients, the first measure of consumer demand in the state. Regulators have been forced to streamline the dispensary application process so that more of the state’s 20,000 approved medical cannabis patients will have better access to products. Required lab testing has also slowed the distribution process, and the state has temporarily waived the necessity to test products for certain contaminants.
Florida Legalization Initiative to be on the Ballot
Regulate Florida, the organization behind a new initiative, have successfully required over 600,000 signatures, securing a spot on the 2016 ballot. Florida voters have been fighting tooth and nail against a Legislative system that will not even approve of CBD-only medical cannabis. The upcoming election will see at least one medical cannabis program initiative, as well as this new full legalization initiative.
Upcoming Cannabis Events
Smoke Reports will be taking part in the San Francisco Freedom Festival, so mark your calendars in advance! The festival will celebrate and explore the concept of freedom through the arts, activism, and healing. Admission is free, and there will be live music, interactive art, guest speakers, workshops, massage, and more. The event takes place at the Old Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, Sept. 13th, from 12-6pm.
Join Smoke Reports at the 2nd annual Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo in Los Angeles. The event will include many members of both the cannabis community and industry, including members of the Smoke Reports team! Come say hello and talk about the future of the cannabis industry. Melissa Etheridge, pictured above, will be one of the guest speakers. Melissa is a singer-songwriter who has since turned to cannabis activism and industry. She will discuss the future of the cannabis economy and what everyone can do to improve the legitimacy of cannabis.
The Native American Marijuana and Hemp Conference & Expo will be held September 9-10 at Harrah’s Resort in Southern California, just north of San Diego. The event calls for conversations between tribal leaders, council members, industry professionals, and other economic development consultants. The goal is to educate the decision makers within each tribe so that they can decide for themselves whether or not they wish to join the cannabis space.
The 4th Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference is set to take place at the Hilton Portland Executive Tower. It is a great opportunity for lawyers to connect with the industry and learn about the network of cannabis regulation. Producers, marketing firms, and entrepreneurs are a few of the many types of folks expected to attend.
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