Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is denying he ever told Jessica Hauser to get medical marijuana from street dealers. As we reported yesterday, Hauser and other parents of epileptic children met privately with the governor on March 13 to lobby for a medical marijuana bill. Hauser said, “I told [Gov. Dayton] in great detail our story and our struggles. My optimism quickly turned to dismay when, after hearing my son’s story, the governor actually suggested I should just find medical marijuana for my son off the street.” When asked if Hauser’s claim was true, Dayton said, “No,” and as reporters asked follow-up questions, he said, “I’ve said all I’m going to say about medical marijuana, I’ve issued a statement, I’ve answered questions, I’m just not going to discuss it further.” Dayton said the issue has been very difficult for him, explaining, “It’s very hard to be vilified. It’s very hard to be told that I don’t care about people and their suffering.”
The New Hampshire House has just voted down a legalization bill it had previously passed. In January, the House had become the first state legislative body to vote for legalization by 170-162. The law would have allowed the possession and purchase of up to an ounce of marijuana, subject to a $60 wholesale tax. However, the bill could not generate enough support in the House Ways & Means Committee and the Republican-controlled Senate indicated it would not let the measure get passed. Even if it did pass the Senate, Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan had vowed to veto it. On Wednesday, the House voted again and defeated the bill, 192-140.
Maryland’s Senate has just passed a marijuana decriminalization bill for the second year in a row. SB 364 would replace criminal penalties for the possession of 10 grams of marijuana with a civil fine of up to $100. The bill was passed by all the Senate Democrats with seven Republicans crossing the aisle for a 36-8 victory. More than two-thirds of Maryland voters (68 percent) support changing state laws to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil offense punishable by a fine of up to $100, according to a survey conducted in September by Public Policy Polling. The House Judiciary Committee will now take up the measure.
The country of Uruguay will implement controls on marijuana tighter than anything proposed in Washington and Colorado. In addition to radio-frequency tags that can be found in a Colorado “seed-to-sale” model, Uruguay will be tracing the genetic markers of each government-grown cannabis plant to be able to identify the point of origin of any marijuana seized. Uruguay’s drug czar, National Drug Commission President Julio Calzada, explained, “There will be a registration system for the growing clubs and for self-growing. The information about each plant will remain in a database. What we want is to know that what’s being planted here isn’t leaving the country.”
An Iowa Democratic gubernatorial candidate is attempting a last-hour bid to pass medical marijuana in the state. State Sen. Jack Hatch is retooling the whole-plant medical legislation that was declared dead on arrival when no Republicans would sign on in this GOP-controlled state. To attract the support of five Republicans who have signed on to support medical marijuana research, Hatch has modified the bill to only apply to children with epilepsy who could be helped by a non-smoked cannabis extract high in CBD and low in THC. Like bills passed in Utah and Alabama and currently considered elsewhere, desperate parents would have to acquire CBD oil from out of state and risk breaking that state’s laws and federal drug trafficking laws to bring the medicine back into Iowa.
Las Vegas patients and caregivers turned out to complain about a draft set of regulations for the Nevada’s new medical marijuana dispensaries. One of the proposed regulations forbids patients from purchasing marijuana while wearing a hat and sunglasses, something one citizen pointed out would be difficult for glaucoma patients who must shield their eyes from the light. Other complaints included not allowing dispensary owners to refer patients to physicians, requiring three security guards, and keeping cultivation facilities separate from the dispensaries, which would be more costly for medical pot businesses. One patient suggested the city of Las Vegas, Clark County, and the state of Nevada should collaborate to ensure their regulations all conform to one another’s. As dispensaries open, new patients living within 25 miles are not allowed to grow at home. Patients currently growing within 25 miles of a dispensary must cease growing in the next two years.