A California company which specializes in custom vending machines and automated retailing systems announced on Wednesday that its new Lane Recognition Technology will have a "profound impact" on America's growing legal marijuana industry.
According to a press release from AVT, Inc., the technology, which identifies every item in its temperature controlled storage area, provides verification on each package that it dispenses. The system eliminates human error, and provides 100 percent dispensing accuracy, according to the company.
This can be especially important in retail environments where precise "seed-to-sale" tracking is often required.
The use of marijuana to treat a variety of conditions is now allowed in almost half the country, reports CNN. New York was one of the latest states to pass a form of medical marijuana legalization.
"The momentum has picked up recently," CNN reported, as more states line up to pass sensible laws regarding the medical use of cannabis.
D.C. Hoping to Follow Colorado and Washington, as Polls Show Over 60% Support for Legalization Among DC Residents
The D.C. Cannabis Campaign will submit 58,000 signatures to the D.C. Board of Elections at 441 4th Street NW, Suite 250, on Monday at 10 a.m., in order to place Initiative 71 on the November ballot. The Board of Elections will have 30 days to verify that the campaign has the required 23,780 signatures to qualify.
Monday at noon, members of the campaign will join D.C. elected officials on a national press teleconference to discuss the impact of the ballot initiative and the City Council’s bill on overall marijuana arrest rates, issues surrounding racial justice, and the District’s fight for self-determination.
D.C. hopes to follow in the steps of Colorado and Washington by legalizing marijuana and polls show the issue is popular among District residents, with support above 60 percent. The District of Columbia currently has the highest per capita marijuana arrest rates in the U.S.
In 2010 black people in the District accounted for 91 percent of all marijuana arrests -– even though black and white people use marijuana at roughly similar rates.
Initiative 71 allows adults over the age of 21 to possess up to two ounces of marijuana on their person at any time, and allows for the cultivation of up to six marijuana plants at home.
District law prevents the ballot initiative from addressing the sale of marijuana. However, the D.C. City Council is currently considering a bill which will tax and regulate marijuana within the District.
By Steve Elliott
A prominent marijuana researcher who only months ago had received rare federal approval to study the effects of cannabis on patients with post traumatic stress disorder has been abruptly fired by the University of Arizona.
Professor Suzanne A. Sisley's dismissal puts her research at risk, and has caused dismay among medical marijuana advocates, reports Evan Halper at The Los Angeles Times.
Dr. Sisley, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry, said she was fired after her research created unwanted attention for the university from legislative Republicans who control its funding.
"This is a clear political retaliation for the advocacy and educaiton I have been providing the public and lawmakers," Sisley said. "I pulled all my evaluations and this is not about my job performance."
University officials refused to explain the non-renewal of Sisley's contract, but claimed their motives weren't political.
"The university has received no political pressure to terminate any employee," claimed University of Arizona spokesman Chris Sigurdson, who noted that university supported a 2013 legislative measure permitting such studies.
Dr. Sisley got letters from university officials on Friday, telling her that she will be terminated from her job on September 26. The letters offered no explanation beyond citing guidelines which permit the university to fire its employees.
By Steve Elliott
At least 20 lawmakers in the Philippines have signed on as co-authors of a bill which would legalize marijuana for medical purposes.
House Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora is among the supporters of the bill, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, House Bill 4477, filed by Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, reports Maricel Cruz at the Manila Standard.
"Right now, the bill has been backed by at least 20 lawmakers, and counting," Albano said. "For the record, the measure would not decriminalize the sale and use of marijuana as this is intended for medical purposes. It is just a matter of explaining to them what the bill is all about."
House Minority Leader Zamora said it's time for the Phillippine Congress to open its discussions on the medical benefits of cannabis. "We are in agreement that marijuana for medicinal -- strictly medicinal purposes -- should be examined," he said. "For recreational purposes, that's an entirely different issue."
House Deputy Minority Leader Rep. John Jorge Banal Jr., from Quezon City, said Albano's measure has a chance of being approved in Congress, as it would help patients suffering from serious illnesses that could be helped by medical marijuana.
By Steve Elliott
A Nevada-based company that plans to sell recreational and medical marijuana products has named former Libertarian Presidential candidate New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson as its CEO and president, the company, Cannabis Sativa Inc., announced on Tuesday.
The company also said it has acquired Kush, a marijuana research business founded by Steve Kubby, a fellow Libertarian who once called for California to secede from the United States. Kubby, the 1998 Libertarian Party nominee for California governor, was named chairman by Cannabis Sativa Inc.
Johnson said he hoped to expand the company and said he intends to work out of New Mexico to help develop products that are legal in Colorado and Washington, reports the Associated Press. Johnson will be paid $1 a year and receive equity in the company.
The company will make marijuana-based oils aimed at helping children with epilepsy, according to Johnson, who said it will also make cough drop-like products for recreational use.
"Couple of things hit you when you try the product," Johnson said. "One is, wow, why would anybody smoke marijuana given this is an alternative? And then secondly, it's just very, very pleasant. I mean, very pleasant."
By Steve Elliott
Stephen Gaskin, the tie-dye wearing hippie philosopher who founded The Farm commune in Tennessee and authored books including "Cannabis Spirituality," died Tuesday morning at his home in Summertown, Tennessee after a lengthy illness.
Gaskin, an ex-combat Marine and self-described "hippie priest and freelance rabble rouser," had led a caravan of hippies across the United States in the early 1970s from San Francisco eventually to the hills of Tennessee, where they founded a commune based on utopian ideals. It became one of the world's oldest surviving intentional communities.
"We have been freethinkers for generations," Gaskin wrote of his family. "And, as is provided for in the Constitution, I have passed my philosophical and religious ways on to my children, who are very proud of their heritage and ancestors."
Gaskin's teachings inspired not only those who followed him across the country to found The Farm. His ideas also changed forever the way a generation thought about changing society and making the world a better place in which for us to live.
He spent two years teaching English and creative writing at San Francisco State College after earning his master's in 1964. In 1967, he began an informal philosophy seminar that became the Monday Night Class, in which the hippie guru would discuss religion, politics, sex and drugs.
Florida's Amendment 2, which would legalize medical marijuana in the Sunshine State, is leading with a lop-sided margin in the polls. With change seemingly on the way, the Florida Medical Marijuana Institute's Regulatory Seminars are aimed at entrepreneurs and investors, doctors, lawyers and pharmacy owners across Florida, who seek insight into Florida's likely regulatory landscape.
"People ask us, 'How will your Regulatory Seminar address regulations that haven't yet been issued?'" said Jan Frel, director at the Florida MMTC Institute, a business education school offering a Regulatory Seminar on July 12 at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Downtown Miami. "There is an abundance of useful information to use as a guide for Florida's likely regulatory scenarios; the right mix of experts can provide invaluable business guidance."
Regulatory seminars will be offered every three weeks through November, according to the Institute.
The Institute draws its analysis from the Amendment 2 language on Florida's November ballot, the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act approved by the Florida Legislature in May, regulatory approaches in other medical marijuana states, and current Florida statutes regulating related industries, such as the production and distribution of alcohol and pharmaceuticals.
By Steve Elliott
Iowa's new CBD-only medical marijuana law takes effect July 1, a month after being signed by Governor Terry Branstad. The governor, like many other Republicans, had previously been a firm opponent of medical marijuana, but he signed this bill to allow parents to buy cannabis-based cannabidiol (CBD) oil to reduce their children's seizures.
Two-year-old Quinn Stumpf and her parents, April and Chad, played a big role in the passage of the bill, a very narrowly defined law that marks Iowa's first venture into medical marijuana, reports Josh O'Leary at the Iowa City Press-Citizen. The Stumpf family visited Des Moines several times in recent months; one one of the trips, the parent sat down with Gov. Branstad in his office, and Quinn made an appearance on the Senate floor.
Quinn, who has a severe neurological disease, is on a long list of medicaitons and has endured more than 150 doctor visits and eight hospitalizations in her two years of life. "She's in pain, it seems like, all the time," April said of her daughter.
"They haven't given us the best prognosis for Quinn, but to know she's helped make a difference in so many lives and touched so many people, for her to have done that at such a young age is something we're really proud of," April said. "No matter what happens with her, we know she's made an impact on so many lives."
By Steve Elliott
John Morgan, the man who has led the fight to legalize medical marijuana in Florida, has donated $4 million more of his own money to the campaign.
Morgan is pushing to pass Amendment 2, and he says it's for his dad, his brother, and others who may suffer from debilitating diseases, reports Kendra Conlon at WTSP.
"It's all frivolous until it happens to you," John's brother Tim Morgan said. Tim broke his back in 1977 in a lifeguarding accident; he's now quadriplegic, with excruciating pain that has only gotten worse over the decades.
"I had cancer in 2003 and a pacemaker put in two years ago," said Tim, who added that medical marijuana gets him through the day as director of Morgan and Morgan. "You just break out in a sweat for no reason; you smoke pot and it stops. Why? I don't know; I don't care. It works."
"With my dad, he was dying from emphysema," John Morgan said. "It gave him appetite on Day 1, and it took away his anxiety."
If Amendment 2 passes with 60 percent or more of the vote (as a constitutional amendment, it needs more than a simple majority), it would allow doctors to authorize patients to use medical marijuana, with the state regulating production and distribution.
"I have never met one person -- because there's none -- who has ever died from a marijuana overdose, ever," John said. "It's so simple and so easy, and that's why I think it's going to pass."
By Steve Elliott
It's been almost a year and a half since Washington state voters approved Initiative 502, the limited marijuana legalization measure, in 2012. But there still isn't a single state-licensed cannabis store open in the state -- and once the shops finally open, presumably next week, Washington could then face a marijuana shortage.
What's wrong with this picture? How did Colorado get so much more right in implementing legalization than did the weed-friendly Evergreen State? Well, Colorado -- unlike Washington -- built its recreational marijuana infrastructure on the already existing medical marijuana system, rather than foolishly opting, as did Washington, to build an entirely new system from the ground up.
Wait a minute, you may be saying. That's just crazy. They had, in place, a system of retailing marijuana -- and proprietors experienced in doing so -- but they are completely eliminating that system and turning the business over to a new set of retailers? Yes, you're getting the idea -- and that has resulted in a bureaucratic nightmare, reports Jordan Larson at Vice.
Producers, processors and retailers have had trouble getting the necessary licenses and space to retail, warehouse, and grow cannabis.
By Steve Elliott
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is cracking down on the state's booming cottage industry of medical marijuana caregivers who have been selling cannabis to meet the demand created by the state's medical marijuana law, adopted 18 months ago.
The state has sent letters to more than 1,300 patients, along with 17 caregivers, warning them that state regulations may prohibit any caregiver from selling marijuana to more than one patient, according to David Kibbe, spokesman for the Department of Health, report Shelley Murphy and Kay Lazar at The Boston Globe.
The caregivers are the only legal avenue for Massachusetts patients to buy medical marijuana until storefront dispensaries start to open -- and that won't happen before November at the earliest. Many of the caregivers advertise on the Internet.
The action angered many patients who rely on cannabis to relieve their symptoms.
"I have been put in a terrible situation," said David Tamarin, 41, a lawyer from North Andover whose doctor authorized him to use medical marijuana for chronic back pain and anxiety. Tamarin said he was outraged by the letter telling him he had to find another caregiver -- one who was not serving any other patients.
"The legalization of medical marijuana should make it easier, not more difficult, for a patient to get his medicine," Tamarind said.
By Steve Elliott
A Maryland woman found a small bag of marijuana in her french fries after visiting a local Sonic restaurant last week.
Carla McFarland, 35, of Frederick, had taken her six-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son to the fast food restaurant on Guilford drive on Wednesday, reports Courtney Mabeus at The Frederick News-Post. After passing them chicken strips and fries, McFarland reached into the bag for her own food and found a small plastic bag containing what looked like cannabis in a third container holding her own order of fries.
"I just kind of sat there in my car in shock," McFarland said on Thursday. "I kept thinking, what if my kids had eaten it?" (Nothing serious would have happened, even in that worst-case scenario, of course. You see, that's the thing about cannabis -- it's non-poisonous.)
McFarland said she immediately asked to speak to the manager at Sonic, and also called the police. A manager also called the police, McFarland said, and told her than one employee had admitted the pot was hers, saying it must have slipped from her apron.
"When she asked the three employees, one of the young ladies stepped up and said it was hers," McFarland said, reports NBC Washington.
By Steve Elliott
Former President Bill Clinton, who once infamously said he "didn't inhale" when he tried marijuana, said on Sunday that he thinks states should be able to legalize cannabis regardless of federal law.
"Look, I think there's a lot of evidence to argue for the medical marijuana thing," Clinton said in a "Meet the Press" interview with NBC's David Gregory, after being asked if it's time to "give pot a chance." "I think there are a lot of unresolved questions."
"This really is a time when there should be laboratories of democracy, because nobody really knows where this is going," Clinton said, reports Dylan Stableford of Yahoo News. "Are there adequate quality controls? There's pot and there's pot; what's in it? What's going to happen? There are all these questions."
States like Colorado and Washington, where voters in 2012 chose to legalize marijuana, should be allowed to experiment with their cannabis laws, Clinton said.
"I think we should leave it to the states," Clinton said. "If the state wants to try it, they can. And then they'll be able to see what happens."
Back in 1992, Clinton was a Democratic candidate for President when he commented on his own marijuana use during a campaign forum in New York. "When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two and didn't like it," Clinton said of his time as a student at Oxford University in the late 1960s. "I didn't inhale, and I didn't try it again."
Members of Congress May Take Away DC Voter’s Right to Vote on Initiative
In less than 75 days, the DC Cannabis Campaign has collected more than twice the number signatures required to place Initiative 71 on November’s General Election ballot. However, the Campaign is alarmed that members of Congress may prevent District voters from being able to vote on the ballot initiative due to policy riders that were added to the District of Columbia’s 2015 appropriation budget.
“We are proud of our petition circulators who braved the heat to further democracy in the District of Columbia,” said Campaign chairman Adam Eidinger, “but I am very concerned that members of Congress will use their power to stop District of Columbia voters from being able to fully participate in the democratic process. We deserve the right to vote on Initiative 71.”
With the citizens of Colorado and Washington state voting to legalize marijuana in 2012, the Campaign believes that voters of the District of Columbia should be afforded the same right to vote on cannabis legalization. The appropriations rider introduced by Congressman Andy Harris (R, MD-1) on June 25 could prevent the District of Columbia Board of Elections from using its funds to print the ballots that include Initiative 71.
Worse, the policy rider may impede the District of Columbia’s decriminalization of marijuana law set to take effect mid-July and prevent any changes to the District’s medical marijuana program.
Senate Law and Justice Committee votes in favor of bill that would allow seriously ill Pennsylvanians to use marijuana to treat their medical conditions
The Pennsylvania Senate Law and Justice Committee on Friday voted unanimously to approve a bill that would make it legal for seriously ill patients to use marijuana to treat their conditions with recommendations from their doctors. This is the first time medical marijuana legislation has been considered in Pennsylvania.
The bill is expected to go to the Senate Appropriations Committee for a vote next, before going to the full Senate.
SB 1182, sponsored by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) and Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery), would allow qualified patients to obtain medical marijuana from a limited number of licensed, regulated dispensaries throughout the state. Smoking would not be permitted, but patients could consume marijuana in edible form or through vaporization of the plant or its extracts.
(This trend towards "non-smoking" medical marijuana bills, by the way, is absurd, and also goes against accepted medical practice of letting physicians and their patients decide upon the most appropriate and effective routes of administration.)
Home cultivation would also not be allowed under the bill. Patients under the age of 18 would be required to have parental consent in order to take part in the program.
A companion bill, HB 2182, was introduced in the House with 46 co-sponsors, but has not yet received a hearing.