Mar 072014

420RADIO News for 2014-03-07 (Friday)

The Oregon Legislature has passed a Senate Bill allowing cities and counties to ban newly legalized medical marijuana dispensaries until May 2015.  About 300 businesses have applied for the licenses to dispense medical marijuana that were made legal by the legislature last year, when regulations were passed to reign in a rapidly growing field of ad hoc dispensaries.  Some cities and counties began passing bans on newly legal dispensaries by forcing them to comport with federal law to acquire a business license.  Businesses planned to sue to overturn bans and the counsel for the legislature suggested that only the state, not localities, had the right to regulate dispensaries.  The just-passed bill addressed that issue, with the Senate rejecting bans in favor of regulations on time, place, and manner of operations and the House favoring outright bans.  The compromise legislation to allow a moratorium until May 2015 passed the Senate 28-2.

The New Hampshire House has passed a bill that would allow medical marijuana patients to cultivate their own plants.  The bill easily passed the House 227-73 and would allow any patient who lives more than 30 miles from a dispensary to cultivate one flowing plant, one vegetating plant, and six seedlings in less than a 48 square foot canopy.  The bill also increases possession limits from two ounces to six and adds epilepsy, lupus and Parkinson’s disease to the list of qualifying conditions.  New Hampshire has no operating dispensaries yet and the 30 mile “halo rule” is similar to Arizona’s medical marijuana law, which allowed patients statewide to cultivate marijuana before any dispensaries opened.  But as dispensaries have opened in Arizona, patients who were growing had to stop, and now only 6% of the population lives where patients can home grow.  Home grow was removed from the medical marijuana law by the Senate to appease the governor, who still threatens to veto any law with home grow.

A South Carolina representative has introduced a medical marijuana bill he is calling the “Put Patients First Act.”  House Minority Leader Rep. Todd Rutherford told WLTX in Columbia, “The time has come to put aside archaic misconceptions of medical marijuana and put patients first.  I hear devastating stories every single day from people who are battling epilepsy or suffering from a brain tumor who desperately need medical marijuana to treat the debilitating symptoms.”  The bill would create a medical marijuana patient registry for people with cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and cachexia, and would allow patients to cultivate six plants and possess two ounces of marijuana.  Another bill that legalizes only high-CBD oil advanced to the House Judiciary Committee.  South Carolina is one of 14 states that have inactive therapeutic research laws on medical cannabis from the late 70s / early 80s, a point noted by Rep. Rutherford.

Three million dollars in statewide funding just isn’t a large enough piece of the legalization pie for cops in Colorado.  In a letter to Governor Hickenlooper, the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police complained that the latest budget dispersal of $133 million dollars in tax revenue from medical and legal pot sales fails to earmark any money for local law enforcement.  The chiefs want more money to train drug recognition experts to spot stoned drivers, to purchase oral fluid collection technologies for impaired driving checkpoints, and the creation of a statewide database of marijuana crimes.  According to the chiefs’ letter, “Many of our local law enforcement agencies have diverted staff from other operations into marijuana enforcement, leaving gaps in other service areas as a direct result of marijuana legalization.”

A Minneapolis City Council member made a stunning plea for a medical marijuana bill that passed a House committee Tuesday.  “I have less vision than I should,” explained Minneapolis City Council Member Andrew Johnson, because his doctor could not prescribe marijuana for his glaucoma.  Johnson lined up a row of pill bottles he was prescribed instead.  Others testifying included a former police officer who used cannabis as an “exit drug” from the painkillers he’d become addicted to, a veteran turned rehab counselor who lamented the illegality of treating PTSD with cannabis, and a tearful mother who explained how cannabis was the only thing that brought relief to her daughter who died of cancer.  One lawmaker proposed an amendment to allow only pill, liquid, or vapor forms of cannabis medicine, but it was voted down in committee.  State law enforcement endorses such an amendment and 420RADIO News has acquired a list of demands from police about medical marijuana, which we will reveal in our next segment.