House Bill 1258 passed both houses of the Colorado General Assembly and is now heading to the governor’s desk. If signed, the bill would allow approved retail cannabis stores to open a tasting room where on-site cannabis consumption is allowed.
This is yet another big step forward in a state that has long been a leader in cannabis policy. If the bill becomes law, customers could purchase concentrates for vaping on site, along with edible marijuana products. Visitors to the shops would not be allowed to bring their own cannabis products, consume whole-plant cannabis, or smoke on site.
Although Colorado voters ended cannabis prohibition in 2012, restrictions on where cannabis can be consumed have been a burden, particularly for visitors to the state and people living in public housing. While purchases are allowed, there are few options for those who are unable to consume at a private residence. HB 1258 offers a solution by establishing regulated locations where adults can gather and consume without fear of breaking local or state law.
Many responsible marijuana consumers in Colorado believe they should be able to meet in a social setting, no different than those who enjoy a beer with friends at a public place.
If you are a Colorado resident, please ask Gov. John Hickenlooper to sign HB 1258 without delay.
Nevada is moving toward well-regulated and accessible medical and recreation marijuana programs - Governor Sandoval signed marijuana-related bills into law and the state has approved early-start recreational sales!
Of the bills, the first, SB344, requires marijuana edibles be in unattractive, childproof packaging; the second, AB422, lowers medical marijuana patient fees; and the third, SB487, imposes a 10% tax on recreational marijuana sales – adding the revenue to the state’s rainy day fund and regulating limited access of the fund until 2019.
Unfortunately, the Governor vetoed AB259, a bill that would have expunged criminal records of those convicted of possessing one ounce or less of marijuana or violating any provision of law involving marijuana that is now legal.
The approved bills will join four bills signed into law this session providing a framework for Nevada’s new recreational marijuana industry, while preserving the state’s medical marijuana program.
Additionally, Nevada’s adult-use marijuana industry could begin adult-use sales by July 1. The Department of Taxation approved temporary regulations and applications have already been accepted. However, adult-use sales could be delayed by a legal challenge from alcohol distributors. MPP is monitoring closely and will be working to avoid any delay.
North Dakota Sen. Rich Wardner’s medical marijuana bill, SB 2344, continues to work its way through the North Dakota Legislative Assembly, being revised and improved along the way. While an earlier version of the bill would have significantly harmed patients, the current version — which passed the House in early April— leaves more of the will of the voters intact. Voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of establishing a medical marijuana program last November, in a margin greater than the support received by President Trump.
The current version of the bill, which you can read about here, allows whole plant cannabis and other preparations, but does not permit extracts or edibles. Advanced practice nurses will now be able to issue certifications to patients, though 18-year-olds will still need their parents’ permission to enroll. Unfortunately, the bill would eliminate the tightly controlled home cultivation provision that was included in Measure 5, along with the petition process to expand the list of qualifying conditions. However, terminal illnesses will be added to the program, along with critical legal protections originally missing from the voter initiative.
While MPP still believes the current version of the bill has severe limitations, we are pleased that the bill has improved, and recognize that clear legal protections are an essential element of medical cannabis laws.
S. 241 would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and establish a tightly controlled system of licensed marijuana cultivation sites, testing facilities, and retail stores. It would also create a study commission to examine issues such as edible marijuana products and home cultivation, which would not be allowed under the bill. It would remain illegal to consume marijuana in public or drive under the influence of marijuana. If approved, rulemaking would begin this summer, but the new law would not take effect until January 2018. The bill will now go to the Senate Committee on Finance for consideration.
The Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana is working to build support for the bill and keep up the momentum. It recently launched a television ad, produced by the Marijuana Policy Project, which features former Vermont Attorney General Kimberly Cheney. Cheney was also the subject of a series of web ads launched earlier this month.
We are down to the final two days of the 2014 legislative session in Michigan, and this is the last opportunity to pass two critically important bills. HB 5104 would protect patients who consume non-smoked forms of marijuana, while HB 4271 would create clear legal protections for medical marijuana provisioning centers (dispensaries) to ensure patients have safe and regular access to medical marijuana.
Both bills must pass out of the Senate committee and receive a vote on the floor before time runs out on Thursday. Law enforcement has been lobbying hard against these compassionate measures, and it’s crucial your senator hears from you. If you are a Michigan resident, please ask your senator to support these bills and demand that the Senate take up both measures today.
Currently, non-smoked forms of marijuana are not considered “usable marijuana,” and therefore can’t be legally consumed by those who prefer not to smoke –- sometimes leading to tragic consequences. At the same time, provisioning centers do not have clear protections under Michigan law, which harms patients who should have safe, regulated access to medicine. These bills both make huge improvements for patients. Both passed by wide margins in the House, and now we are down to the final steps in the Senate.
Last week, an article by columnist Maureen Dowd highlighted the need for educating marijuana consumers, particularly those who are inexperienced with the substance. In the legal marijuana market, edible products are heavily regulated and labeled, but consumers occasionally ignore the warnings on the packaging, sometimes with dangerous results.
MPP's Mason Tvert discusses the issue further here on MSNBC:
Many of Michigan’s medical marijuana patients have conditions that limit their ability to smoke marijuana. Often, doctors prefer that patients avoid smoking entirely. However, a recent decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals leaves patients who use medical marijuana edible products, tinctures, and ointments at risk of being arrested!
Marijuana patients who are too ill to smoke or prefer a different option should not have to live in fear of arrest. Michigan’s law should accommodate this important option – a lifeline for patients in the state. If you are a Michigan resident, please take a moment to tell your state senator and representative that Michigan’s laws need to protect patients who prefer to consume marijuana in edible form.
Please pass this message on to friends, family, and other supporters in Michigan and help spread the word!
State Senator Kimberly Yee said she would amend her medical marijuana labeling bill — SB 1440 — so that a first-time violation would not result in the permanent closure of legal dispensaries. This is one of many problems with the bill.
This didn’t occur, and the future of medical marijuana is in jeopardy. If you are an Arizona resident, please write your legislators today.
SB 1440 is billed as a way to label medical marijuana edibles so they won’t fall into the hands of children. That’s a great idea, and we support it. However, the rules are vague, and the bill contains a one strike and you’re out clause, which would permanently close a dispensary for even a minor violation.
Arizona voters have said “yes” to medical marijuana three times, but some elected officials ignore the will of the voters and the plight of patients.
It’s clear that the intent of SB 1440 is not to protect children but to shut down licensed dispensaries that provide relief to thousands of Arizonans with serious medical conditions. It’s being pushed by medical marijuana opponents and is a back-door attempt to gut the program.