Uruguayan President Jose Mujica has called legalization of marijuana in Colorado “fiction” on the eve of rolling out his country’s first-in-the-world legalized marijuana. Speaking to Associated Press, President Mujica said, “We don’t go along with the idea that marijuana is benign, poetic and surrounded by virtues. No addiction is good,” he said. “We aren’t going to promote smokefests, bohemianism, all this stuff they try to pass off as innocuous when it isn’t. They’ll label us old reactionaries. But this isn’t a policy that seeks to expand marijuana consumption. What it aims to do is keep it all within reason, and not allow it to become an illness.” In Uruguay, the only marijuana that will be legal will be cloned from a set of government-approved plants and sold with limits of 10 grams per week to consumers licensed and tracked by the government. Anyone caught with marijuana not matching the genetic markers of the official plants will still face criminal punishment.
The race is on to whether Iowa or Florida becomes the next CBD-only state. Yesterday we reported that the Iowa Senate had forwarded to its governor a bill to legalize only the cannabidiol extract of the cannabis plant and only for those people suffering intractable epileptic seizures. Today, the Florida Senate has sent to Gov. Rick Scott a bill that would do the same. Florida cannabidiol extract must contain no more than 0.8% THC and can only be recommended by a doctor who has provided ongoing treatment and exhausted every other possible treatment. The extract will be made available at four dispensaries across the Sunshine State to registered patients, unlike Iowa’s bill, which will require patients to smuggle the oil across state lines in violation of state and federal laws. Other states that have passed laws legalizing limited use of cannabidiol only are Utah, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.
Wait, this just in: add Missouri to the race for the sixth CBD-only state. Thanks to the personal pleas of a state senator whose 9-year-old son has intractable epilepsy, the Missouri Senate has unanimously approved a CBD-only bill and sent it the desk of Gov. Jay Nixon. Under Missouri’s proposal, two non-profit companies in Missouri would grow “Charlotte’s Web” cannabis plants and extract cannabidiol oil for registered patients. Only a neurologist could recommend the CBD oil, and then only if the doctor can prove the patient has tried at least three other treatments. The state will audit the non-profits to ensure their plants remain below 0.3% THC. The bill passed the House 136-12. Should all of these states’ governors sign these bills, there will be eight states that have gone CBD-only in just this year.
Legal marijuana businesses in Colorado are still fighting to access banking services and a plan to help them died in the Colorado legislature almost as soon as it was hatched. A proposal was introduced to allow state-licensed marijuana businesses to form an uninsured financial cooperative, with permission to provide services such as checking and credit, subject to approval by the US Federal Reserve. The proposal was introduced late Wednesday and had cleared a House committee before legislators late yesterday tabled the bill in favor of more study. Don Childers, head of the Colorado Bankers Association, testified Thursday that, “It is flatly illegal to deal in any illegal substance or any proceeds therefrom.” Regarding the proposed co-op, Childers said, “We really do not believe that that will work,” noting failed attempts by lawmakers two years ago to create a state-chartered bank for the medical marijuana industry.
Washington State’s Liquor Control Board has posted the results of its lottery to award 334 retail recreational marijuana licenses. More than 2,000 people submitted applications for the coveted licenses and the number of eligible applicants was whittled down to 1,174. Those applicants were assigned a number and randomizing their place in the lottery was handled by the firm that runs the Washington Lottery and Washington State University’s Social and Economics Sciences Research Center. A high placement in the lottery does not guarantee an applicant a license; if they fail a background check, financial investigation, or other requirements, they will lose their place to the next applicant in line. There are 191 applicants in line for 21 retail marijuana licenses in Seattle. Diego Pellicer, the marijuana brand launched by former Microsoft manager Jamon Shively, managed to nab spot #21.
This Saturday is the Global Cannabis March all across the world! Join me and Urb Thrasher and most of the Portland-area’s marijuana reformers for our march and speeches to begin and end at “Portland’s living room”, Pioneer Courthouse Square. I began my career in activism at the 2005 March, so this will be my tenth opportunity to march the streets of Portland to demand our cannabis rights and hemp heritage. It’s free, but please leave your dog, your drugs, and your alcohol at home – this is about freedom, not partying.