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1 N MB: Column: Let's Embrace Cannabis As Emerging Medical BreakthroughTue, 13 Mar 2018
Source:Winnipeg Sun (CN MB) Author:Oliver, Joe        Lines:99 Added:03/17/2018

This summer, millennials, their anxious parents and users from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside to Bay Street will get what they long believed was their right - the opportunity to toke up legally.

That will be a seminal societal event (pun intended). However, what is attracting less attention than it should are breakthrough discoveries about how non-psychoactive cannabis extracts can alleviate suffering and treat diseases that afflict hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

Legalization of a substance for recreational purposes and medical studies should be unrelated issues. But since they are based on the same plant, legal prohibitions and social stigma have held back research, thereby prolonging the suffering of patients and costing lives.

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2 US MA: DARE Officers, Their Ranks Thinned, Face Legal Pot And OpioidTue, 13 Mar 2018
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Contrera, Jessica Area:Massachusetts Lines:218 Added:03/16/2018

WEST BRIDGEWATER - The class had covered bullying, Internet safety, and good decision-making, and by February, Officer Kenneth Thaxter could see that the sixth-graders were ready.

The lights went off, and the projector went on.

"Today," the DARE officer said, "we're going to talk about marijuana."

For 16 years, every elementary school student in this small town has learned about drugs from Thaxter. But this year, his lesson needed to change, and he was about to find out whether the students knew why.

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3US CA: Weedmaps to California's Bureau of Cannabis Control: You Don'tTue, 13 Mar 2018
Source:Sacramento Bee (CA) Author:Branan, Brad Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:03/16/2018

A popular marijuana website has told the state's cannabis czar that she lacks the authority to make the company stop running advertisements for unlicensed pot retailers.

In a letter sent Monday to Lori Ajax of the Bureau of Cannabis Control, Doug Francis and Chris Beals of said the company is not licensed by the bureau and therefore not subject to its enforcement.

They also said Weedmaps is protected from such action because the company is an "interactive computer service" covered under the federal Communications Decency Act. The law states that such a service shall not be treated as the publisher of information provided by a third party.

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4US CA: Are You Getting Marijuana Delivered To You? If So, It'sFri, 16 Mar 2018
Source:Sacramento Bee (CA) Author:Branan, Brad Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:03/16/2018

Unlicensed marijuana delivery companies are operating across Sacramento County, drawing the ire of legal pot retailers and warnings from state and local regulators.

Regulators cite concerns about the delivery companies not paying fees and taxes and selling weed that hasn't been tested for pesticides or other possible toxins. They say the companies are threatening the financial viability of legal retailers who must pay those costs in a new legal marijuana market that started in California on Jan. 1.

In Sacramento County, about 200 marijuana delivery services were advertising Friday on the website Only one jurisdiction in the county, the city of Sacramento, has plans to allow cannabis delivery services, and it has yet to issue permits. In the interim, city pot czar Joe Devlin has told delivery companies to register with city, and eight have done so.

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5 US PA: Ex-Pennsylvania Narcotics Agent To Plead Guilty In MoneyTue, 13 Mar 2018
Source:Morning Call (Allentown, PA)          Area:Pennsylvania Lines:74 Added:03/16/2018

A former Pennsylvania narcotics agent will plead guilty to conspiring to launder money from a seizure of nearly $1.8 million in illicit drug proceeds in 2014, federal court records show.

By pleading guilty Timothy B. Riley, a retired state attorney general's office agent, could be sent to prison for up to 20 years and fined up to $500,000, according to a plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg.

Federal authorities charged Riley, 48, of Philadelphia, on Feb. 23 with accepting three cash payments totaling $48,000, which he knew was stolen from a drug dealer. Riley then deposited the money and used it in financial transactions, according to David Freed, U.S. attorney of Pennsylvania's Middle District.

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6 US MD: Editorial: Untangling The Knot Of Md. Medical PotMon, 12 Mar 2018
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD)          Area:Maryland Lines:137 Added:03/16/2018

A bill in the Maryland General Assembly had sought to add more black firms to the state's regulated medical marijuana industry.

Instead it might end up favoring existing players -- nearly all of whom are white-owned companies.

A bill in the Maryland General Assembly had sought to add more black firms to the state's regulated medical marijuana industry.

Instead it might end up favoring existing players -- nearly all of whom are white-owned companies.

Given how much the Legislative Black Caucus has complained about the lack of minority-owned firms among Maryland's medical marijuana growers and processors, it may seem crazy that the legislation designed to address the issue that just passed overwhelmingly in the House could lead to more white men getting licenses.

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7 US PA: Legalized Pot In New Jersey - Not So FastFri, 09 Mar 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Hefler, Jan Area:Pennsylvania Lines:156 Added:03/13/2018

When New Jersey State Sen. Nicholas Scutari introduced a 62-page bill and primer on how to legalize marijuana almost one year ago, he chuckled when asked if it had a prayer of passing.

The legal sale of recreational marijuana had not yet begun in any other East Coast state, and yes, Chris Christie, the Republican governor at the time, had threatened a veto.

The bill, Scutari insisted, would give lawmakers time to digest and debate the issue so that a palatable package would be "ready for the next governor."

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8 US: Is This The End Of The Pre-Employment Drug Test?Sun, 11 Mar 2018
Source:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) Author:Greenfield, Rebecca Area:United States Lines:112 Added:03/13/2018

Employers are struggling to hire workers in tightening U.S. job market. Marijuana is now legal in nine states and Washington, D.C., meaning more than one in five American adults can eat, drink, smoke or vape as they please. The result is the slow decline of pre-employment drug tests, which for decades had been a requirement for new recruits in industries ranging from manufacturing to finance.

As of the beginning of 2018, Excellence Health Inc., a Las Vegas-based health care company with around 6,000 employees, no longer drug tests people coming to work for the pharmaceutical side of the business. The company stopped testing for marijuana two years ago. "We don't care what people do in their free time," said Liam Meyer, a company spokesperson. "We want to help these people, instead of saying: 'Hey, you can't work for us because you used a substance,'" he added. The company also added a hotline for any workers who might be struggling with drug use.

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9 US: Federal Prosecutors Won't Take On Small-Time Pot CasesSat, 10 Mar 2018
Source:Honolulu Star-Advertiser (HI)          Area:United States Lines:55 Added:03/13/2018

WASHINGTON - Federal prosecutors won't take on small-time marijuana cases, despite the Justice Department's decision to lift an Obama-era policy that discouraged U.S. authorities from cracking down on the pot trade in states where the drug is legal, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said today.

Federal law enforcement lacks the resources to take on "routine cases" and will continue to focus on drug gangs and larger conspiracies, Sessions said. The comments come after the Trump administration in January threw the burgeoning marijuana legalization movement into uncertainty by reversing the largely hands-off approach that prevailed during the Obama administration, saying federal prosecutors should instead handle marijuana cases however they see fit.

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10 US IL: Editorial: An FBI fable: The Case Of The Cannabis CandidateThu, 08 Mar 2018
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL)          Area:Illinois Lines:61 Added:03/10/2018

There's a lot of truth-bending in political campaigns. Remember then-presidential candidate Donald Trump's false assertion in 2015 that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the 9/11 attacks? Or how about Hillary Clinton's tall tale in her 2008 campaign that on a trip to Bosnia, "I remember landing under sniper fire. aE& We just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base." That, too, didn't happen.

Benjamin Thomas Wolf's Pinocchio moment is also a doozy.

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11 US KY: Kentucky Lawmakers Urged To Say No To Medical Marijuana BillTue, 06 Mar 2018
Source:Lexington Herald-Leader (KY) Author:Brammer, Jack Area:Kentucky Lines:83 Added:03/10/2018

FRANKFORT -- Four law enforcement officials and a doctor urged state lawmakers Tuesday to say no to a bill that would legalize medical marijuana.

For more than an hour, opponents of House Bill 166 told members of the House Judiciary Committee the ills they see in it.

Their predictions about passage of the measure included an increase in crime, creation of trafficking problems along the state's borders, an enhancement of economic and social costs, temptations of children to use marijuana and uncertain physical outcomes over long-term usage.

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12 US NJ: New Jersey Lawmakers Weigh Legalizing MarijuanaMon, 05 Mar 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Hefler, Jan Area:New Jersey Lines:97 Added:03/10/2018

TRENTON -- The first New Jersey legislative hearing on the legalization of marijuana held since Gov. Murphy took office -- after he promised his support -- unfolded Monday before more than 100 people.

More than a dozen experts traveled from as far as Colorado and Massachusetts to office advice on legalization, a topic gaining traction after Murphy, a Democrat, replaced Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican adamantly opposed to it, in January.

Several lawmakers are working on legalization bills, but none has come up for a vote and some legislators say they are trying to get a consensus.

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13 US KY: Kentucky Medical Marijuana Bill Shelved By House CommitteeWed, 07 Mar 2018
Source:Lexington Herald-Leader (KY) Author:Brammer, Jack Area:Kentucky Lines:69 Added:03/10/2018

FRANKFORT -- Kentucky lawmakers shelved Wednesday a controversial bill to legalize medical marijuana, but supporters of the measure pledged to continue their fight.

Some backers of House Bill 166 were in tears after the House Judiciary Committee voted 14-4 to "pass over" the measure. That's a procedure to put off voting on the bill until a later date.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. John Sims, D-Flemingsburg, said it's doubtful the proposal will be revisited in this year's legislative session but "anything is possible."

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14 US KY: Oped: It's Time To Legalize Medical Marijuana In KentuckyWed, 07 Mar 2018
Source:Lexington Herald-Leader (KY) Author:Lundergan, Alison Area:Kentucky Lines:115 Added:03/10/2018

For years, Kentucky veterans have approached us with a question that has no good answer: "Why are my comrades in other states able to treat PTSD and pain with medical cannabis while I cannot?"

Frustrated and confused, these men and women struggle daily with the effects of post-traumatic stress triggered by the horrors of war and chronic pain from injuries suffered in combat.

One is Eric Pollack whose PTSD became so unbearable that he nearly became part of a depressing statistic. In Kentucky, the veteran suicide rate is 10 percent higher than the national average.

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15 US: States Mull 'Sanctuary' Status For Marijuana BusinessesMon, 05 Mar 2018
Source:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) Author:Bohrer, Becky Area:United States Lines:118 Added:03/09/2018

JUNEAU, Alaska -- Taking a cue from the fight over immigration, some states that have legalized marijuana are considering providing so-called sanctuary status for licensed pot businesses, hoping to protect the fledgling industry from a shift in federal enforcement policy.

Just hours after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Jan. 4 that federal prosecutors would be free to crack down on marijuana operations as they see fit, Jesse Arreguin, the mayor in Berkeley, California, summoned city councilman Ben Bartlett to his office with a novel idea.

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16 US CA: Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Kratom Hits San Diego AreaSat, 03 Mar 2018
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Sisson, Paul Area:California Lines:115 Added:03/08/2018

A San Diego County resident is among 40 people nationwide to become infected with salmonella bacteria linked to kratom, the controversial tropical herb that many have begun using to treat opioid addiction despite an import ban from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

According to the county Health and Human Services Agency, a 44-year-old, whose gender and city of residence were not released, became ill in January.

Testing performed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that symptoms were caused by the same subspecies of the salmonella bacteria that has now produced cases in 27 states.

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17 US: Oped: Balance On Cannabis May Lead To Answers On OpioidsSat, 03 Mar 2018
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Hill, Kevin P. Area:United States Lines:89 Added:03/08/2018

The United States is the midst of an opioid crisis. Ninety Americans die each day from opioid overdoses on prescription opioids, heroin, or fentanyl, and Massachusetts has not been spared. Many states are using the best available tools to battle the crisis, with an eye on developing better science and policy to put an end to the crisis. As more states implement either medical or legalized recreational cannabis policies, they should consider whether cannabis can play a role in the opioid crisis.

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18 US PA: Your Taxes Pale Beside What Marijuana Businesses PaySat, 03 Mar 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:135 Added:03/08/2018

You think your taxes are high?

For medical marijuana dispensaries in the United States, they can be stratospheric. Cannabis retailers face an effective tax rate of up to 85 percent, and that won't be reduced by the new tax law.

Most mainstream businesses pay effective tax rates of about 15 percent to 30 percent.

"It's a burden," said Chris Visco, co-owner of TerraVida Holistic Centers, which opened one of Pennsylvania's first medicinal cannabis shops on Feb. 17 in Sellersville. "People think that we're getting rich. It's really not the case. The profit margins are going to be really narrow after taxes. And you have to still pay local and state taxes."

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19 US PA: Growing Pains for Pa. Marijuana ProgramFri, 02 Mar 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:68 Added:03/05/2018

Too much demand. Not enough supply.

Less than two weeks after it launched, Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program is a victim of its own success.

The two open marijuana dispensaries in the Philadelphia region reported Friday they had sold out of most medicines and might not be restocked until after March 15.

"We have no inventory," said Chris Visco, co-owner of the TerraVida Holistic Center in Sellersville, Bucks County. "We took a shipment on Wednesday. On Thursday we had the biggest sales day we've ever had. By this morning, all we had left were a handful of disposable vape pens," a type of electronic cigarette loaded with hash oil.

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20 US IL: Bipartisan Effort Pushing To Legalize Recreational MarijuanaFri, 02 Mar 2018
Source:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) Author:Griffin, Jake Area:Illinois Lines:63 Added:03/05/2018

Legislation to legalize recreational marijuana use throughout the state is being revised to gain more bipartisan support in an effort to secure a veto-proof majority.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy and state Sen. Heather Steans introduced the bills last year, but the Chicago Democrats are rewriting some aspects to make the legislation more attractive to Republican counterparts.

Cassidy and Skillicorn met Friday with the Daily Herald editorial board to discuss the legislation.

Cassidy said having Republican support for the legislation would help get the law implemented this year since Gov. Bruce Rauner has signaled he would veto such a bill. Democrats have a veto-proof majority in the Senate, but would need at least five Republicans in the House to override a gubernatorial veto even if every Democrat supported the bill.

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21 US FL: Ex-DEA Chief Blasts White-Collar PushersThu, 01 Mar 2018
Source:Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL) Author:Cox, Billy Area:Florida Lines:55 Added:03/05/2018

SARASOTA - When the Drug Enforcement Administration was formed in 1973, roughly 2,000 Americans were dying from overdoses each week, largely from heroin injections. In 2016 alone, thanks to a deregulated pharmaceutical industry, fatal overdoses -- 80 percent opioid related - -- claimed 63,000 lives.

Or, as Peter Bensinger pointed out Thursday morning, opium-derived drugs have exacted a higher death toll in a single year than nearly two decades of fighting in the Vietnam War.

Appointed by President Ford in 1976 to become the nation's second DEA director, Bensinger detailed the history of America's relationship with the poppy to a Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning crowd gathered at First United Methodist Church. As the leading cause of death for U.S. residents under 50, the toll from opioids and its synthetic counterparts today would've been unimaginable to Bensinger when he was the nation's top drug cop.

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22 US MA: Trafficking Will Disqualify Potential Pot Industry WorkersThu, 01 Mar 2018
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Young, Colin A. Area:Massachusetts Lines:119 Added:03/05/2018

The state Cannabis Control Commission split 3-2 Wednesday over whether to automatically disqualify people with trafficking convictions from working with legal marijuana.

People with a prior conviction for trafficking in drugs other than marijuana will be barred from working in jobs that include access to the plant in the newly legal marijuana industry, a decision made after about an hour of tense debate among state pot regulators.

The Cannabis Control Commission split 3-2 on Wednesday afternoon over whether to automatically disqualify people with trafficking convictions from working with marijuana, adding those convictions to a list of automatically disqualifying issues like being registered as a sex offender, open or unresolved criminal proceedings, violent felony convictions, and felony convictions involving drugs other than marijuana.

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23 US MD: No Medical Marijuana Dispensaries In Harford YetThu, 01 Mar 2018
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Anderson, David Area:Maryland Lines:189 Added:03/05/2018

No medical marijuana dispensaries have come to Harford County yet, but two companies have applied for county government approval to open their respective businesses in Joppa and Street, plus a dispensary has already opened just across the Susquehanna River in Perryville.

Dispensaries must have a state license before they open and two dispensaries are allowed in each of Maryland's 47 state Senate districts.

"Certainly any business that comes to Harford County has to meet all of our local requirements, and these businesses will be held to that standard, as any other," county government spokesperson Cindy Mumby said in a recent interview.

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24 US IL: Republicans Signing On To Bills To Legalize RecreationalFri, 02 Mar 2018
Source:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) Author:Griffin, Jake Area:Illinois Lines:73 Added:03/02/2018

East Dundee Republican state Rep. Allen Skillicorn, left, has co-sponsored a bill introduced by Chicago Democratic state Rep. Kelly Cassidy to legalize recreational use of marijuana in the state.

Legislation to legalize recreational marijuana use throughout the state is being revised to gain more bipartisan support in an effort to secure a veto-proof majority.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy and state Sen. Heather Steans introduced the bills last year, but the Chicago Democrats are rewriting some aspects to make the legislation more attractive to Republican counterparts.

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25 US IL: Legal Marijuana Question A Step Closer To Being On NovemberThu, 01 Mar 2018
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:Garcia, Monique Area:Illinois Lines:63 Added:03/01/2018

The state Senate on Thursday voted to ask on the November ballot whether recreational use of marijuana should be legalized and taxed in Illinois.

The ballot question would be only advisory, so even if voters approve, lawmakers still would have to act.

Sponsoring Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago, said it is important to poll the public because some lawmakers are already working to legalize recreational marijuana use for people over 21. He noted that in most states that allow recreational use, it was done by voters expressing support in the ballot box.

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26 US MA: State Shuts Down Retail Sales At Medical Marijuana Shops InTue, 27 Feb 2018
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:McGuinness, Dylan Area:Massachusetts Lines:58 Added:03/01/2018

The state Department of Public Health has suspended retail sales of medical marijuana products at Healthy Pharms Inc. until further notice after a sample tested positive for a pesticide, officials said Monday.

The company, which has retail locations in Cambridge and Georgetown, notified the state on Friday that a sample batch of marijuana was found to contain bifenthrin, a pesticide commonly used in food products, the Department of Public Health said in a statement.

Registered marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts are prohibited from using pesticides on marijuana grown in their facilities, officials said. Healthy Pharms said none of the marijuana from the contaminated batch was sold to the public.

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27 US MA: Marijuana Regulators Strike Licensing CompromiseTue, 27 Feb 2018
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Adams, Dan Area:Massachusetts Lines:133 Added:03/01/2018

State regulators voted Monday to limit the roll-out of recreational marijuana sales in July, postponing licensing of home delivery services and pot lounges while allowing retail pot shops and their suppliers to open in July as scheduled.

The Cannabis Control Commission had been under pressure to delay delivery and "social consumption" operations from Governor Charlie Baker and other political figures, law enforcement officials, and medical marijuana business interests, who had argued the nascent agency was trying to do too much at the outset and would struggle to oversee so many different types of operations.

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28 US PA: Hemp Farming To Expand Exponentially In Pa.Mon, 26 Feb 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:31 Added:03/01/2018

The amount of industrial hemp cultivated in Pennsylvania is about to grow significantly.

The Department of Agriculture this month approved 39 research projects that will allow cultivation of about 1,000 acres of marijuana's non-psychoactive cousin. Last year, 14 growers produced a total of 36 acres of hemp statewide.

In the southeastern region of the state, permission to grow hemp was granted to farmers in Bucks, Chester, Lancaster, and Montgomery Counties. Those cultivators will be required to pay a $2,000 permit fee. After the paperwork has cleared, the state Bureau of Plant Industry will submit orders for hemp seed to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency which must approve importation of the seed into the U.S.

Industrial hemp is grown for fiber and seed. It must maintain a concentration of the psychoactive compound THC below the 0.3 percent legal threshold.


29 US PA: Pa. Medical Marijuana Debuts With High Prices And Lots OfMon, 26 Feb 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:88 Added:02/28/2018

Limited quantities, sticker shock, and some mislabeled product.

The first week of medical marijuana sales in Pennsylvania was marked by these birthing pains. On the whole, retailers and the Department of Health said the launch of the nascent industry - expected to grow into one of the nation's largest markets - had largely gone "as hoped."

"We've been working to get medicines to patients as quickly as we can," said department spokeswoman April Hutcheson. "To see that come to fruition is a big win for the moms with sick children and all the patients who needed this medication."

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30 US PA: Millennials Bear The Brunt Of Pa. Marijuana ArrestsMon, 26 Feb 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Goldstein, Chris Area:Pennsylvania Lines:103 Added:02/28/2018

Philadelphia is evolving into a safe haven for cannabis consumers even as arrests increase across Pennsylvania. Newly-elected District Attorney Larry Krasner announced Thursday that he would drop any marijuana possession cases brought to the court by police.

A 2014 decriminalization ordinance allowing tickets caused common weed arrests to decline by more than 85 percent. Still, I reported last year that hundreds of racially disparate cases were still being brought to Philly courts each year for less than 30 grams of buds.

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31 US MD: Legalizing Marijuana, Other Pot Proposals Await Action InMon, 26 Feb 2018
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Dresser, Michael Area:Maryland Lines:131 Added:02/28/2018

Pot is hot for Maryland lawmakers in Annapolis this year.

The General Assembly is considering more than two dozen bills on marijuana -- or cannabis, as the substance is called when used as a medicine.

For marijuana enthusiasts, full legalization for recreational purposes is at the top of the wish list. Bills in both the House and the Senate would put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to let voters decide whether to replace prohibition with a system of regulated sales and taxation.

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32 US PA: Busiest Medical Marijuana Dispensary In N.J. Is In TinyFri, 23 Feb 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Hefler, Jan Area:Pennsylvania Lines:101 Added:02/28/2018

The medical marijuana dispensary that opened in Camden County in September 2015 is the busiest of the five that have opened in New Jersey since the program began seven years ago, according to a Department of Health annual report.

Compassionate Sciences Alternative Treatment Center, in an industrial park in tiny Bellmawr, served 2,762 patients and sold nearly 885 pounds of cannabis in 2016, the report said. The state had nearly 10,800 registered patients as of the end of last year.

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33 US KY: Medical Marijuana In Kentucky: Lexington Council Taking AMon, 26 Feb 2018
Source:Lexington Herald-Leader (KY) Author:Musgrave, Beth Area:Kentucky Lines:114 Added:02/28/2018

Lexington's city council will likely take its first vote Tuesday on a resolution supporting state legislation that would make medical marijuana legal in Kentucky.

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council began debate on the issue during a Thursday council meeting after half a dozen people who support making marijuana legal for those with a prescription spoke at the meeting. The council will likely debate the issue during a Tuesday work session and may take its first vote during a specially-called council meeting at 5 p.m.

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34 US CT: Medicinal Marijuana Urged To Help Combat Deadly OpioidMon, 26 Feb 2018
Source:Hartford Courant (CT) Author:Hladky, Gregory B. Area:Connecticut Lines:92 Added:02/28/2018

People who were addicted to opioids and those who lost loved ones to opioid overdoses offered emotional testimony Monday urging state officials to approve medical marijuana as an alternative painkiller that could help halt Connecticut's deadly opioid epidemic.

"My passion and drive to achieve this is fueled by my personal experience battling pharmaceutical drug addiction solely with the use of cannabis," Cody Roberts of Seymour told the state Board of Physicians, which is charged with approving conditions for the state's medical marijuana program. Roberts testified he's lost eight friends in the past year to opioid overdoses, and has been addicted himself.

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35 US MA: Worcester Zoning Regs Proposed For Marijuana EstablishmentsSun, 25 Feb 2018
Source:Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA) Author:Kotsopoulos, Nick Area:Massachusetts Lines:123 Added:02/27/2018

WORCESTER - City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. wants to ban recreational marijuana retail stores, cultivators, manufacturers and related establishments from all residential-zoned areas and preclude them from being located within 500 feet of schools, public parks, playgrounds, licensed day care centers and public libraries.

Under zoning amendments being recommended by Mr. Augustus, recreational marijuana establishments would only be allowed by special permit in areas zoned for manufacturing and business uses, as well as in Institutional-Hospital zones and in the Airport zone, which includes the industrial park next to Worcester Regional Airport.

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36 US MD: Editorial: It's Not Whether Maryland Will Legalize MarijuanaTue, 27 Feb 2018
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD)          Area:Maryland Lines:96 Added:02/27/2018

There isn't a better reader of the tea lives in Annapolis than Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller. He's been saying for a couple of years now that legalization of recreational marijuana in Maryland -- something that seemed like a far-out idea when former Del. Heather Mizeur made it a central plank of her 2014 gubernatorial campaign -- is inevitable. We're inclined to believe him. Public attitudes on the drug have shifted rapidly in recent years, and it is now legal for recreational use in nine states and (sort of) Washington, D.C. The most recent polls on the issue report that about 60 percent of Maryland voters support legalization. At least four of the seven Democrats running to unseat Gov. Larry Hogan have voiced support for some form of it. But legalization still may not happen as fast as proponents might like.

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37 US PA: Rothman Institute In Philly Will Study Medical Marijuana ForThu, 22 Feb 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:93 Added:02/26/2018

The Rothman Institute at Jefferson, one of the nation's largest orthopedic practices, announced Thursday it would collaborate on a study to investigate the benefits of medical marijuana for patients suffering from chronic and acute pain.

Rothman will work with Franklin BioScience, a Colorado-based cannabis grower and retailer. Franklin BioScience expects to open a medical marijuana dispensary in late-March called Beyond Hello in Bristol Township, Bucks County.

"There's a link between access to cannabis and reduced opioid overdoses," said physician Ari Greis, a Rothman pain management specialist who will oversee the research. "We're all being cautiously optimistic that it could be helpful to some of our patients. Because we're leaders in orthopedic medicine, we feel this is an opportunity we can't pass up."

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38 US IL: Illinois Voters Could Be Asked In November About LegalizingThu, 22 Feb 2018
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:Lukitsch, Bill Area:Illinois Lines:67 Added:02/26/2018

Illinois voters could get a say whether the state should legalize recreational marijuana if lawmakers decide to put the question on November ballots.

A state Senate committee advanced the idea on Wednesday, but a ballot question would be non-binding. That means it would work like a statewide public opinion poll and wouldn't legalize marijuana even if a majority of voters approve. Lawmakers who want to legalize the drug could get a political boost, though, if voters favor it.

State Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago, said putting the matter to a vote would "bring the public into the debate" and "give them an opportunity to register their opinion" as lawmakers debate the idea in Springfield.

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39 US MA: Top Cannabis Regulator: Massachusetts Should ConsiderThu, 22 Feb 2018
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Adams, Dan Area:Massachusetts Lines:153 Added:02/26/2018

Massachusetts should consider creating a state-run bank to serve recreational marijuana companies, the state's top cannabis official suggested Wednesday, warning that an all-cash industry would create security risks and regulatory headaches.

With recreational pot sales scheduled to begin in July, Cannabis Control Commission chairman Steve Hoffman said no local banks or credit unions have committed to providing financial services to recreational marijuana shops and other licensed cannabis operations, wary they will run afoul of federal restrictions.

"There's a high degree of urgency, so it's something we need to start talking about," Hoffman said in an interview. "Unfortunately, it's a real possibility" that the recreational industry won't have access to any banking services, he said. "We're working as hard as we can to preempt that, but we can't force any bank or credit union to service this industry."

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40US LA: One Of Louisiana's 1st Medical Marijuana Pharmacies Plans ToWed, 21 Feb 2018
Source:Times-Picayune, The (New Orleans, LA) Author:Bacon-Blood, Littice Area:Louisiana Lines:Excerpt Added:02/23/2018

The Rx Greenhouse, one of the state's first marijuana pharmacy is looking to open in Metairie. This rendering is a picture of the pharmacy's waiting area.

One of the state's first marijuana pharmacies is looking to open in Metairie nearly two years after Louisiana lawmakers authorized the use of medical marijuana for certain conditions.

The Rx Greenhouse last month got preliminary approval from the state Pharmacy Board and plans to be operational by Sept. 1, according to CEO Dr. Sajal Roy, who is also a pharmacist.

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41 US SC: SC Lawmaker Proposes Cannabis Oil For Some InmatesWed, 21 Feb 2018
Source:State, The (SC) Author:Schechter, Maayan Area:South Carolina Lines:46 Added:02/23/2018

South Carolina could allow prison inmates with physical or mental-health issues to be treated with cannabidiol oil, an active ingredient found in marijuana plants.

The S.C. House budget-writing committee OK'd an amendment Tuesday that would authorize the S.C. Department of Corrections to start a pilot program to study the effects of cannabidiol oil use on inmates.

South Carolina already has a law -- Julian's Law -- that allows patients with certain forms of epilepsy to use cannabidiol oil.

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42US CA: Auditor: Continue Marijuana Program Despite 'Multiple' FlawsWed, 21 Feb 2018
Source:Fresno Bee, The (CA)          Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:02/23/2018

The state auditor says Ohio should continue its medical marijuana program despite "multiple" flaws in selecting grower applicants.

Republican Auditor David Yost says the program's flaws should be handled by administrative appeals or lawsuits.

At issue is the Department of Commerce's admission last week that a scoring error led to a company's inadvertent exclusion from the proposed list of the dozen big marijuana growers in Ohio's new program.

The agency says it identified the mistake after Yost expressed concern that two employees had complete access to the scoring data.

The agency offered to put the program on hold. Yost said in Wednesday's letter it's too late for that. He urged the agency to get advice from the Ohio Attorney General.


43 US TX: Pete Sessions At Opioid Addiction Summit Talks MarijuanaTue, 20 Feb 2018
Source:Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX) Author:Caplan, Jeff Area:Texas Lines:148 Added:02/23/2018

Congressman Pete Sessions used a speech to a group of doctors and other healthcare providers at an opioid epidemic summit Tuesday to suggest that marijuana is the gateway to addiction and as a campaign against the medical and recreational legalization movement.

The Republican from Dallas called the rising number of deaths from opioid overdose a "national crisis" and implored those on the front lines of the fight, the scientific and medical communities, he said, to provide solutions he can bring to Congress, saying he will get the appropriate funding added to next month's budget bill.

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44 US PA: Tears Of Joy At Opening Of Bucks County Medical MarijuanaSat, 17 Feb 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Terruso, Julia Area:Pennsylvania Lines:128 Added:02/22/2018

Robert Consulmagno walked into TerraVida Holistic Center in Sellersville around 9:30 a.m. Saturday and left half an hour later feeling hopeful for the first time in a while.

"Help is on the way," Consulmagno said, lifting his purchase – a vape pen and cartridge of 500 mg of "Keystone Kush" – to applause from dispensary staff. "I've been waiting a long time for this."

Consulmagno, a disabled Marine veteran who suffers from bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, was the first person to buy medical marijuana from TerraVida, one of two dispensaries to open in the Philadelphia area Saturday. The other, Keystone Shops, is in Devon. Pennsylvania's first dispensary opened Thursday in Butler, followed by others in Pittsburgh, Bethlehem, and Enola on Friday.

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45US MN: Minnesota's Marijuana Moment: Why To Legalize, By Someone WhoSat, 17 Feb 2018
Source:Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN) Author:Scott, Paul John Area:Minnesota Lines:Excerpt Added:02/22/2018

With decriminalization advancing coast to coast, legalized pot appears on its way, and Minnesota will light up the debate this year. Change is overdue.

I don't smoke marijuana. There are secret purchases required, plus the learning of code, dealer etiquette, dosing expertise, exotic strains, the latest artisanal delivery systems, and it all sounds way too complicated.

Also, because it's easy to forget this detail, pot is illegal.

But even if pot were decriminalized tomorrow - a proposal on the table at the State Capitol - the chances of my racing out to score some "Chronicles of Narnia" and then heading home to roll up a fatty are, well, slim. Unlike Bill Clinton, the one time I did blaze up, over 20 years ago, I inhaled quite deeply enough to find the effect unpleasant. Some of us have all the feelings of alienation and existential weirdness you could ask for, thank you very much.

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46 US AZ: PUB LTE: A Real SolutionSun, 18 Feb 2018
Source:East Valley Tribune (AZ) Author:Muse, Kirk Area:Arizona Lines:26 Added:02/22/2018

Thanks for publishing Kathy Inman's outstanding letter: "Marijuana Solution" (Feb. 11). I'd like to add that about seven years ago before and after my hip-replacement surgery, I was taking about six Vicodin tablets every day.Now, thanks to medical marijuana, I take no pain pills.

Vicodin can and does kill thousands of people every year. Cannabis, on the other hand, has never killed anyone. For those who oppose cannabis use don't buy it. Don't buy it. Don't grow it and don't use it. Period.

Kirk Muse



47 US HI: Illegal Marijuana Sales Alleged At ExpoSun, 18 Feb 2018
Source:Honolulu Star-Advertiser (HI) Author:Consillio, Kristen Area:Hawaii Lines:118 Added:02/22/2018

The state Narcotics Enforcement Division is investigating allegations of illegal activity at last weekend's Hawaii Cannabis Expo, where some vendors openly distributed cannabis seeds and other products.

Most of the more than 100 vendors, including all three of Oahu's legal medical marijuana dispensaries, were not distributing products illegally. But some were straddling the line of recreational use - including a number of exhibitors "giving away" seeds by donation.

The state Department of Health notified the attorney general's office and law enforcement about possible illegal sales at the event and is "concerned about the allegations," DOH spokeswoman Janice Okubo said.

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48 US CA: California Police Are Watching Volunteers Get High OnFri, 16 Feb 2018
Source:State, The (SC) Author:Hill, Crystal Area:California Lines:77 Added:02/16/2018

Now that marijuana is legal in California, people don't have to hide their marijuana use -- in fact, some are smoking it right in officers' faces.

But these pot smokers aren't being brazen. They're actually helping police better detect impaired drivers on the road, CBS Los Angeles reported.

Glendale police Officer Bryan Duncan told the news station that about 75 percent of the DUI arrests he makes these days are drug impaired -- "more cannabis than alcohol."

A group of smokers recently gathered at a hotel where they were first given field sobriety tests, and then allowed to start smoking marijuana, Inside Edition reported. They later took sobriety tests for a second time to judge how the drug affected their mental and motor skill, the news outlet said.

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49 US CT: Public Hearing On Legalizing Recreational MarijuanaFri, 16 Feb 2018
Source:Hartford Courant (CT) Author:Gomez-Aceves, Sandra Area:Connecticut Lines:70 Added:02/16/2018

In a change from the past, the legislature's general law committee will hold a public hearing on whether the state should legalize recreational marijuana.

In a change from the past, the legislature's general law committee will hold a public hearing on whether the state should legalize recreational marijuana. (Getty Images)

In a switch from the past, the legislature's general law committee will hold a public hearing on whether the state should legalize recreational marijuana.

Traditionally, committees such as public health and judiciary have had jurisdiction over the issue. But this year, legislators said the issue is being routed through the general law committee under its new House co-chairman, Rep. Michael D'Agostino, a Democrat who is running for attorney general.

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50US FL: Medical Marijuana May Be Legal, But Patients Still Go WithoutSat, 10 Feb 2018
Source:Tampa Tribune (FL) Author:Koh, Elizabeth Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:02/15/2018

Seth and Danielle Hyman with their daughter Rebecca 8, of Weston, are seeking to have a strain of marijuana legalized to help prevent seizures in their daughter, Rebecca, in 2014. Despite the legalization of medical marijuana, Seth Hyman said the drug is still difficult to get for is daughter. [Miami Herald]

When Seth Hyman first began to buy medical marijuana in Florida for his 12-year-old daughter last year, he hoped it would be the answer to fixing her life-threatening seizures.

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