4. CHRONICLE AM: POT POLLS IN MI & SC, CA DIVERSION BILL GOES TO
GOVERNOR; ECUADOR RETRENCHES, MORE (9/10/15)
New polls show majority support for legalization in Michigan and
overwhelming support for having the feds butt out in South Carolina,
efforts to get a medical marijuana regulation bill passed in California
are still alive, Ecuador's president wants to toughen sentences for
small-time dealers, and more. http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2015/sep/10/chronicle_am_pot_polls_mi_sc_ca
5. CHRONICLE AM: CA ON VERGE OF REGULATING MEDMJ, FEDERAL NO MANDATORY
MINIMUMS DRUG BILL FILED, MORE (9/11/15)
Nearly 20 years after the passage of Prop 215, California may finally
get statewide medical marijuana regulation; the Illinois governor's veto
pen has an impact, but also gets blunted; there's a new report on drug
policy and human rights in Latin America, and more. http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2015/sep/11/chronicle_am_ca_verge_regulating
8. CHRONICLE AM: CO POT TAX HOLIDAY, TOLEDO DECRIMINALIZES, SO DOES
SOUTH PALM BEACH (SORT OF), MORE (9/16/15)
Marijuana, marijuana, marijuana. It's almost all pot news today, from
Colorado taxes to decrim in Toledo and South Palm Beach, to a new
federal bill aimed at ending DEA funding of marijuana eradication, and
9. CHRONICLE AM: REPUBLICANS ON DRUGS, O'MALLEY ON MARIJUANA, NC NEEDLE
BILL ADVANCES, MORE (9/17/15)
Republican presidential contenders spar over drug policy, Martin
O'Malley talks marijuana, Ohio's Supreme Court slaps down biased ballot language for ResponsibleOhio's initiative, pot people will march in
Vienna on Saturday, and more. http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2015/sep/17/chronicle_am_republicans_drugs_o
After nearly 20 years of wrangling over what is and is not legal under California's 1996 Proposition 215 medical marijuana law, the state
legislature has passed a set of bills designed to bring order to the chaos.
If, as expected, Gov. Brown signs the bills into law, the medical
marijuana status quo, rife with ambiguities, contradictions, and grey
areas, will be transformed into a robust, strictly regulated medical
marijuana industry. It won't always be painless, and there will be
winners and losers.
The general consensus -- although not universal -- is that patients will benefit from the package of bills. They will gain access to
quality-controlled medical marijuana through unambiguously legal means,
and even though localities will retain the ability to ban dispensaries, patients will now be able to have their medicine delivered anywhere in
Growers who seek the security of legality also stand to benefit. They
will be able to come out from the shadows, pay their fees, get their
licenses, and go about their business. But growers using the ambiguity
of the state's current lack of regulation as a cover for grey or black
market production will probably find their wiggle-room decreased. A
similar dynamic will be at play in other sectors of the industry,
including some that have operated in the open throughout the years.
"Big Marijuana," that favorite bogey-man of prohibitionists, doesn't
fare so well. There are constraints on vertical integration within the industry, and the licensing scheme foreseen is tilted toward small and
The bills will once and for all clarify to law enforcement that licensed medical marijuana producers and activities "are not unlawful under state
law and shall not be an offense subject to arrest, prosecution, or
sanction under state law, or be subject to a civil fine or be a basis
for seizure or forfeiture of assets under state law."
The bills also clarify that medical marijuana can be a profit-making and -taking industry. Some local law enforcement and prosecutors have used
making a profit as a basis for charging medical marijuana operators.
Now, no more.
Patients and caregivers maintain their Prop 215 rights to possess and
grow their own medicine, but collectives will be phased out, and anyone
who wants to grow more than a personal amount will need a license. The
bills provide for 12 different types of licenses, for "specialty,"
small, and medium indoor, outdoor, and mixed-light commercial grows; manufacturers, testers, transporters, distributors, and dispensaries.
"This is an important and inevitable step forward. It finally lays the groundwork for a legally regulated medical cannabis distribution and
production system in California," said Dale Gieringer, longtime director
of California NORML (http://www.canorml.org).
"There was a pretty broad coalition of groups that contributed to the
process of drafting the bills and who managed to more or less concur on
the final thing, despite some reservations," he said in something of an understatement.
Getting the package passed required the juggling of many moving parts,
not only in the state legislature and executive branch, but in balancing
the interests of groups ranging from state law enforcement and local
government associations to the various interest groups within the
medical marijuana industry -- patients, growers, dispensary operators, manufacturers, distributors -- as well as groups, such as those
concerned with environmental degradation, who see themselves impacted by
the medical marijuana industry.
Making sure the proper balance was reached is going to require careful
scrutiny and ongoing monitoring of rulemaking and implementation,
"This is a really complicated piece of legislation, and we're combing
through it carefully, looking for possible glitches," he said. "There
are some problematic details, but most of the potential glitches are in
the future. It's going to take at least a year for this to ramp up, and
there's a new agency that has to be up by January, and we're now also
going to have all these local governments starting to take a look at
this and deciding what they want to do. There are hardly any
jurisdictions in the state that recognize commercial cultivation, but
there are probably 40,000 people doing that now. How many cities and
counties are going to act to recognize and ally themselves with the
growers they're already harboring?"
That's something Hezekiah Allen is wondering, too. The son of Mendocino
County pot farmers, he's followed in their footsteps, but has now traded
farm apparel for suit and tie as chair and executive director of the
Emerald Growers Association (http://www.emeraldgrowers.org), and was
deeply involved in the sausage-making around the bills. They were
overdue, he said.
"Regulation is never an easy thing to transition to, but there has been
a decades long crisis due first to prohibition and then to the
unregulated nature of this industry, and at the end of the day, we took
a monumental and historic step toward bringing some order to this
industry and creating stronger communities," he said. "It's a pretty
Not only does the legislation treat marijuana growing as an agricultural
issue and address questions of direct relevance to producers, it also
seems to support small and medium producers, Allen pointed out.
"We only ever wanted to be farmers -- that's how we should be regulated
-- and cultivation is pretty firmly in the agriculture category," he
said. "We also really believe in decentralized economies and small,
sustainable agriculture moving forward. This legislation outlines
specific policy tools to license small and medium producers, but not
large ones. That's a real bias toward small and medium producers."
Allen also pronounced himself pleased that the legislation allowed for addressing things like standards for what can be called organic and
standards for pesticides.
"There is a mish-mash of state-federal policy challenges, one example
being organic standards," he said. "It's really challenging for us to
label anything as organic given that the FDA 'owns' the term, but the
state already has the Organic Produce Act, which created provisions that
gives us authority to develop organic standards, and this legislation
takes that another step forward."
It's a similar issue with pesticides, Allen said. There are no
guidelines for pesticides with medical marijuana because the federal
government hasn't established them, but the legislation encourages state regulators to develop guidelines.
"We called for this," he said.
Americans for Safe Access (http://www.safeaccessnow.org) (ASA), the
country's largest medical marijuana advocacy group, was also deeply
involved in the work in Sacramento.
"We think the regulatory bills are mostly good," said ASA press
secretary Chris Brown. "We've researched licensing and regulation in the
past and found it perfectly compatible with patient access. We also
think it's very important to have a system in place for medical
marijuana before adult use comes in, so it won't be seen as the
unregulated part of a broader market."
ASA wasn't happy with everything, though.
"There was a late provision added that sets a maximum 100 square feet of cultivation space per patient," Brown noted. "We didn't know about that
and we don't like it."
And there will be ongoing concerns as the regulatory rulemaking process
"There are a lot of issues around vertical integration, and there are
things we're going to have to monitor closely to see if they create
problems moving forward," Brown said. "We will monitor things as they
move forward, and we'll be very active in rulemaking and implementation.
We have a lot of experience with that in other states, and our activists
are great in terms of getting their voices heard."
Some other voices from the medical marijuana community are even less
happy. At Harborside Health Center in Oakland, the state's largest
dispensary, executive director and cofounder Steve DeAngelo "welcomed"
the legislation, but had some "concerns."
"Harborside welcomes the long overdue enactment of statewide medical
cannabis regulations -- almost two decades after Proposition 215 called
for them," said DeAngelo (http://www.theweedblog.com/harborside-health-center-new-california-medical-marijuana-regulations/).
"However, we are concerned that time pressures made it impossible for legislators to adequately consider the impact of the new regulations on
medical cannabis patients and the organizations that serve them. In
addition, some of the language in the bill is unclear or may be in
conflict with prior legislation. Harborside looks forward to working
with lawmakers next session to address and resolve these outstanding
And Steven Kubby of the American Medical Marijuana Association (http://americanmarijuana.org) is threatening to sue over what he calls
the "hijacking" of Proposition 215.
"Our medical cannabis rights, protected for nearly 20 years by Prop.
215, have been hijacked and Prop. 215 is under attack like never before.
The new law is an unacceptable and illegal infringement on our rights
under Prop. 215," said Kubby. "I'm getting calls from frightened
patients who fear their own state government is planning on going after cannabis doctors as if they are some sort of dangerous threat that must
be carefully supervised. Sick people cannot handle this kind of stress. Thousands of patients will die because of this calculated attempt to
thwart the will of the people and deprive them of medical cannabis and
the doctors who write recommendations to use the healing herb," he added.
Kubby cited the 100 square foot patient garden limit, provisions that
allow localities to ban medical marijuana activitiies, and new
restrictions on medical marijuana-recommending doctors.
Clearly, there remains work to be done. Potency and purity standards
haven't been set yet, the dual licensing structure with both state and
local permits hasn't been settled, and lots of issues remain to be
hashed out by state officials charged with writing regulations to
implement the bills. And the critics need to be addressed, assuaged, or
But California's billion dollar medical marijuana industry is about to
come in from the cold.
bliss -- Cacao Powered... (-SF4ever at DSLExtreme dot com)
bobbie sellers - a retired nurse in San Francisco
"It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
It is by the beans of cacao that the thoughts acquire speed,
the thighs acquire girth, the girth become a warning.
It is by theobromine alone I set my mind in motion."
--from Someone else's Dune spoof ripped to my taste.