Tag: marijuana legalization

5 things to know about the new California marijuana regulations

SAN FRANCISCO — Nearly two decades after California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana, the state finally is planning to regulate the vast, unruly industry the voter-approved move spawned.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed a package of bills that create a licensing and oversight framework for the growing and selling of medical marijuana and pot-infused products.

Here are the basics on the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, how it might affect the existing landscape for medical marijuana and what happens next.
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HOW WILL THE REGULATIONS WORK?

Every person and company involved in the commercial medical marijuana trade will be required to obtain both a local operating permit and an annual state license beginning Jan. 1, 2018. That includes marijuana growers, retail operations such as storefront dispensaries and delivery services, and makers of processed pot products.

The framework, modeled after the system the state uses for regulating alcohol sales, also creates new industry players that will have to carry licenses as well: wholesale distribution centers that do pre-sale tracking and inspections, transporters that will be charged with getting pot from the distributors to the point of sale, and product safety testing labs.

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WHO WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR CARRYING OUT THE NEW SCHEME?

A new Bureau of Marijuana Regulation within the Department of Consumer Affairs will oversee the work of several existing state agencies. The bureau will be led by a director appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Legislature. It initially will be financed by a $10 million advance from a dedicated fund where licensing fees will go.

Authority to license indoor and outdoor marijuana growers will reside with the Department of Food and Agriculture, which also will be responsible for enforcing strict acreage and square footage limits for commercial cultivation sites. The Department of Pesticide Regulation has been given responsibility for developing standards on the use of pesticides in growing pot.

Consumer affairs will issue licenses to dispensaries, distributors and transporters. The Department of Public Health will be in charge of product testing labs and manufacturers, a task that will include creating packaging and labeling rules.
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HOW MUCH REVENUE WILL THE MEASURES GENERATE?

Pot dispensaries already are supposed to pay state sales taxes, but because the state has not had a way of tracking the businesses, officials suspect that many vendors either underreport their sales or skip the step altogether.

The bills the governor signed did not include any other taxing mechanism for the state. They do, however, authorize counties to tax medical marijuana cultivation and sales with voter approval.

The state hasn’t provided any projections for how much it expects to take in from license fees other than to say they will be set at a level to cover the cost of the aforementioned bureaucracy.
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WILL STATE OVERSIGHT CAUSE THE INDUSTRY TO EXPAND OR SHRINK?

Local governments and the California Association of Police Chiefs fought hard for provisions that preserve the right of counties and cities to ban or restrict dispensaries, as at least 250 do now.

Medical marijuana advocates are hoping that many cities, tempted by a new source of tax revenue, will lift their bans now that the state has stepped up to tame and set uniform standards for the industry.
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WHAT WILL HAPPEN WITH MARIJUANA GARDENS?

The impact also remains unclear for growers. While the package seeks to protect small farms by restricting most license holders to 10,000 square feet or less of “total canopy” at one site, experts note that California likely produces way more marijuana than is needed to meet in-state demand.

In truth, since no one knows how many growers, retail outlets or even medical marijuana users California now has and with voters expected to consider legalizing recreational marijuana use next, the full impact of the regulations may always remain unclear.

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New Quinnipiac Poll: 53 Percent of Ohio’s Voters Support Marijuana Legalization

Despite the fact that Gov. John Kasich was recently called out for being the “Biggest Buzzkill” in the GOP by the Daily Beast, based on his opposition to marijuana legalization in the state of Ohio. A recent Quinnipiac University (QU) poll has discovered 53% of Ohio’s voters are in complete support of legalizing recreational marijuana in the Buckeye State. Leaving the 2016 presidential candidate on the wrong side of this critical issue.

While that may be bad news for the current governors presidential aspirations, the results from the new poll smells like sweet news for supporters of Ohio’s Issue 3.

Issue 3 is an initiative that was originally proposed by ResponsibleOhio; if passed by voters on November 3rd, it would legalize recreational marijuana consumption for those adults over the age of 21 in the state of Ohio.

According to the results of this most recent poll, a paltry 44% of Ohio’s voters believe in keeping marijuana illegal substance. View results below:

Quinnipiac University Poll: "Florida voters support legalizing personal marijuana use 51 - 45 percent"

Quinnipiac University Poll: “Florida voters support legalizing personal marijuana use 51 – 45 percent”

While the poll was lacking any mention of Issue 3 specifically, the QU poll clearly demonstrated that the legalization initiative is seemingly high on the majority of many Ohio constituents “Yes” list.

While Peter A. Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, believes this is an age-related issue, “Not surprisingly, support for the change is linked to age, with younger voters more likely to see personal use of pot as a good thing,” most voters view it as a salvaging of their personal and civil liberties.

Provided liberty (and legalization) wins on November 3, Issue 3 would legalize the personal possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana, and would allow for state sanctioned distribution throughout Ohio for those adults over the age of 21.

As the national pendulum for marijuana reform swings hard in favor legalization, candidates like Ohio’s Gov. Kasich, who oppose marijuana reform, have shown themselves to be seriously out of touch with their potential constituents burning desires – marijuana legalization.

 

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As Oregon takes its place in weed history, a look at what’s ahead for U.S.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Marijuana stores in Oregon on Thursday began selling to anyone over 21, a major milestone in the decades-long movement to liberalize marijuana laws.

Oregon is the third state to allow pot sales to adults after voters decided overwhelmingly last year to end state sanctions for use and possession of pot, with some restrictions.

More than 250 stores that were already selling medical marijuana to people with health problems opened their doors to the general public. Some opened at midnight, gave away free food and T-shirts, brought a live band or offered discounted marijuana.

THE MARIJUANA MOVEMENT
Oregon was the first state to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The move, in 1973, made pot possession akin to a traffic violation, but it still garnered big fines and a mark on one’s record. Later, Oregon was among the first states to allow people with medical conditions to use the drug with a doctor’s recommendation.

In 2012, voters in Washington and Colorado voted to allow legal sales of the drug to all adults, and they opened stores a year later. In 2014, Oregon and Alaska legalized the drug. Alaska is likely to start selling the drug next year.

WHAT’S DIFFERENT IN OREGON
To start, Oregon is allowing legal sales with limited products, limited quantities and limited regulations.

While state officials work on developing complex rules to govern marijuana growers, testers and sellers, they didn’t wait before allowing sales to begin.

As a result, Oregon starts selling the drug with far more stores and far more product than Colorado and Washington. The state is allowing existing medical marijuana dispensaries — which, until now, could only sell to people with a state-issued card — to serve all adults.

The more than 250 stores dwarfs 24 that were open on Day 1 in Colorado, and the four that were open in Washington. Both states have since opened many more stores.

Oregon isn’t requiring growers to be licensed and isn’t testing the drug for pesticides. That will make it much easier to quickly get pot to buyers.

Due to a quirk in state law, taxes of up to 20 percent don’t kick in until January.

WHAT’S LEGAL
Adults 21 and older can possess up to eight ounces of marijuana in their home and up to one ounce away from home. Other limits apply to marijuana in edible and drinkable forms, as well as mature and immature plants.

Until the full-scale regulations are ready in about a year, only limited products are available for sale to people without a medical marijuana card. They include up to seven grams at a time of dried flower and leaf; four immature plants and an unlimited number of seeds.

Candy, cookies, oil, lotions and other marijuana-infused products are off limits for now.

Consumption in public is illegal.

WHAT’S NEXT
After their success in four states, marijuana advocates are setting their sights on six more in the 2015 and 2016 elections. They are: California, Massachusetts, Arizona, Ohio, Nevada and Maine.

California, in particular, would be a big prize for the marijuana movement, which has tried and failed to persuade voters in the nation’s largest state to legalize the drug.

The advocates learned from their experiences in the first four states about how to craft a popular initiative and how to appeal to voters. But they still face strong opposition from critics who worry about the health effects and that children will get access.

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