Archive for the ‘Dispensaries’ category

Study: Enactment Of Medical Cannabis Laws Not Associated With Higher Crime Rates

April 8th, 2014

The enactment of medicinal cannabis laws is not associated with any rise in statewide criminal activity and may even be related to reductions in incidences of violent crime, according to data published online in the journal PLoS ONE.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas tracked crime rates across all 50 states between the years between 1990 and 2006, a time period during which 11 states legalized marijuana for medical use. Authors reviewed FBI data to determine whether there existed any association between the passage of medicinal cannabis laws and varying rates of statewide criminal activity, specifically reported crimes of homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft.

Investigators reported that the passage of medical marijuana laws was not associated with an increase in any of the seven crime types assessed, but that liberalized laws were associated with decreases in certain types of violent crime.

“The central finding gleaned from the present study was that MML (medical marijuana legalization) is not predictive of higher crime rates and may be related to reductions in rates of homicide and assault,” authors reported. “Interestingly, robbery and burglary rates were unaffected by medicinal marijuana legislation, which runs counter to the claim that dispensaries and grow houses lead to an increase in victimization due to the opportunity structures linked to the amount of drugs and cash that are present. Although, this is in line with prior research suggesting that medical marijuana dispensaries may actually reduce crime in the immediate vicinity.”

Researchers concluded: “Medical marijuana laws were not found to have a crime exacerbating effect on any of the seven crime types. On the contrary, our findings indicated that MML precedes a reduction in homicide and assault. … In sum, these findings run counter to arguments suggesting the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes poses a danger to public health in terms of exposure to violent crime and property crimes.”

Full text of the study, “The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on Crime: Evidence from State Panel Data, 1990-2006,” appears online here.

Oregon Considering Bill That Would Permit Dispensary Bans

February 26th, 2014

Last week, the Oregon Senate unanimously approved legislation to allow local governments to enact reasonable restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries. As passed by the Senate, SB 1531 would allow municipalities to develop rules about where, when, and how dispensaries can operate. Unfortunately, the bill was amended to allow municipalities to completely ban medical marijuana dispensaries. 

The Oregon legislature passed a bill creating a regulated medical marijuana dispensary program last year. The legislation required the state health authority to create thorough regulations dispensaries must adhere to. These regulations ensure the dispensaries are run responsibly. There is no reason to deny patients access to their medicine simply because of where they happen to live. If you are an Oregon residentplease ask your representative to oppose this unnecessary proposal.

Regulated medical marijuana dispensaries are no more harmful to a neighborhood than a coffee shop. It makes little sense to allow cities to ban them completely when they provide a necessary service to some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

Hawaii: 66 Percent Of Voters Back Legalizing Cannabis

February 3rd, 2014

Hawaii voters overwhelmingly support legalizing and regulating the adult use of cannabis, according to just-released statewide survey data by QMark Research and commissioned by the Hawaii Drug Policy Action Group.

Sixty-six percent of respondents said they endorsed legalizing cannabis, an increase of nine points since pollsters last posed the question in 2012.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents separately said that jail time is an inappropriate sanction for those found to be in violation of the state’s existing marijuana possession laws. Under present law, possessing any amount of cannabis for non-medical purposes in Hawaii is a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Eight-five percent of those polled also backed the establishment of licensed medical cannabis dispensaries. Hawaii lawmakers legalized the possession and cultivation of medicinal cannabis by state-qualified patients in 2000, but did not provide for dispensaries.

Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, Maine, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, DC now have licensed medical cannabis dispensaries up and running. (California dispensaries are not licensed by the state.) Similar dispensary outlets are in the process of opening in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Oregon.

Summaries of various pending bills to liberalize Hawaii’s marijuana policies are available online here and here.

The QMark poll possesses a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points.

For those keeping score, recent statewide polls in Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Texas all show majority support for legalizing the adult consumption of cannabis.

Feds To Issue Banking Guidelines For Businesses Engaged In Cannabis Commerce

January 24th, 2014

Federal officials are poised to unveil new regulations allowing for financial institutions to legally interact with licensed businesses that are engaged in cannabis commerce.

United States Attorney General Eric Holder announced the forthcoming guidelines yesterday in a speech at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.

“You don’t want just huge amounts of cash in these place. They (retail facilities that dispense cannabis) want to be able to use the banking system,” Holder said. “And so we (the Obama administration) will be issuing some regulations I think very soon to deal with that issue.”

Presently, federal law discourages financial institutions from accepting deposits or providing banking services for facilities that engage in cannabis-related commerce because the plant remains illegal under the US Controlled Substances Act. While the Obama administration is unlikely to amend cannabis’ illegal status under federal law, the forthcoming rules are anticipated to provide clear guidelines for banks that wish to provide support for state-licensed cannabis facilities.

In Colorado, where retail stores began legally selling cannabis on January 1 to anyone age 21 and older, businesses were estimated to have engaged in over $5 million in marijuana sales in their first week of business.

Washington: Over 1,300 Applications Submitted So Far By Those Seeking To Operate Commercial Marijuana Businesses

December 4th, 2013

Washington state regulators are presently reviewing over 1,300 applications from would-be entrepreneurs seeking to engage in the state-licensed production and/or sale of cannabis and cannabis-infused products to those age 21 and over. Regulators began accepting applications for licenses in mid-November and will continue accepting applications until December 19.

According to a review of applications by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper, 635 applications have been submitted by those seeking commercial growing licenses and 461 applications have been submitted by those seeking to produce cannabis-infused products. Two-hundred and thirty applicants are seeking licenses to operate retail cannabis outlets.

Regulators may license the operation of up to 334 marijuana retail stores. There is no limit on the number of commercial cannabis growers or producers that may be licensed. Licensed facilities are anticipated to begin operating in Washington early-to-mid 2014.

In Colorado, regulators began accepting similar applications for commercial cannabis licenses in October. Regulators accepted 136 applications that month from applicants seeking to operate retail marijuana stores — the first of which was approved in late November. Licensed cannabis operations are anticipated to be operational in Colorado on January 1, 2014.

Delaware Moving Forward With Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program

August 16th, 2013

Oregon: Governor Signs Law Authorizing Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

August 14th, 2013

Illinois Becomes 20th State To Sanction Therapeutic Use Of Cannabis

August 1st, 2013

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn this morning signed legislation (HB 01) into law making Illinois the 20th state to authorize the physician-recommended use of cannabis for qualified patients. (View numerous pictures of today’s bill signing ceremony from Illinois NORML here.)

The new law establishes a statewide, four-year pilot program regulating the production, distribution, and possession of medical cannabis. The program creates up to 22 state-licensed cannabis cultivation centers and up to 60 state-licensed dispensaries. Qualified patients participating in the program must have a preexisting relationship with their physician prior to receiving a recommendation for cannabis therapy. Patients diagnosed with one of approximately 40 qualifying conditions — including cancer, hepatitis C, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and Crohn’s disease — will be permitted to legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis per 14-day period. Under the law, patients must obtain cannabis only from a state-licensed facility.

The law takes effect on January 1, 2014. State regulators have 120-days following the bill’s enactment to file program rules and regulations with the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.

Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, Maine, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, DC now have licensed medical cannabis dispensaries up and running. (California dispensaries are not licensed by the state.) Similar dispensary outlets are in the process of opening in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Nevada and New Hampshire. Legislation in Oregon to license and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries awaits action from the governor.

Oregon: Lawmakers Finalize Measure to License Medicinal Cannabis Dispensaries

July 8th, 2013

Members of the Oregon House and Senate have given final approval to House Bill 3460, which licenses medicinal cannabis dispensaries statewide.

Senate members approved an amended version of the bill by an 18 to 12 vote on July 3. House members had previously passed the bill in June. Members signed off on the Senate’s amendments this past weekend.

House Bill 3460 “directs [the] Oregon Health Authority to establish a registration system for medical marijuana facilities.” The department has until March 2014 to draft rules regulating dispensaries. Such facilities exist presently in the state but are unregulated and remain subject to state and local prosecution. Officials expect to register an estimated 225 dispensaries in the first two years.

Oregonians initially authorized the physician-supervised use of cannabis in 1998. However, the law limits patients’ access to cannabis to either home-cultivation or cultivation by a designated caregiver.

House Bill 3460 was publicly supported of Oregon’s Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum. The measure now awaits approval from Gov. John Kitzhaber.

Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, Maine, New Mexico, and Rhode Island have state-licensed medical cannabis dispensaries up and running. (California dispensaries are not licensed by the state.) Similar dispensary outlets are in the process of opening in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nevada, Vermont, and Washington, DC.

New Hampshire Medical Marijuana Bill Earns Final House and Senate Approval

June 27th, 2013

Yesterday, the House and Senate granted final approval to the compromise version of New Hampshire’s medical marijuana bill. HB 573 will soon be printed and transmitted to the governor’s desk, and Gov. Maggie Hassan has already promised to sign it into law. The Senate approved the bill in a voice vote, with no discussion, and the House voted 284-66 in favor, also with no discussion.

Many of us have mixed feelings about the details of HB 573 (summary is available here), but we should all agree that its passage represents a major step forward for marijuana policy reform in New Hampshire. It’s unfortunate that patients will have to wait up to a year until ID cards are issued before they can receive legal protection, and it’s unfortunate that patients will not have legal access to medical marijuana until alternative treatment centers are open. However, we will strongly encourage the state health department to begin issuing ID cards and registering alternative treatment centers as soon as possible.

With Gov. Hassan’s signature, New Hampshire will become either the 19th or 20th state to pass an effective medical marijuana law. (A similar bill is awaiting the governor’s signature in Illinois.) MPP will continue working on this policy until New Hampshire patients have safe, legal access to medical marijuana!