Aug 062014

420RADIO News for 2014-08-06 (Wednesday)

The Washington DC Board of Elections has certified that the DC Cannabis Campaign has submitted enough valid signatures to place legalization on the ballot this November.  When passed, District residents will legally be allowed to carry up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use. Residents may also cultivate six marijuana plants at home, with three of those being mature at any time.  Residents may also give another adult up to one ounce of marijuana; however, there will neither be personal nor commercial sales of marijuana in the District.  Sales and use of marijuana paraphernalia and growing equipment will also be made legal.  Congress still has the final say over Washington DC’s affairs and politicians always seem ready to block any marijuana reforms there.  Medical marijuana was held up in 1998 through congressional shenanigans and recent DC decriminalization is being threatened by Rep. Andy Harris of neighboring Maryland.  Washington DC joins Oregon and Alaska on voting for full legalization this election.

The Oregon State Financial Estimate Committee has projected between $17 and $40 million in annual revenues from marijuana legalization proposed by Measure 91.  The committee, which includes the Secretary of State, Treasurer and Revenue director, give a range whose lowest estimate is still $1 million more than the $16 million estimate the Legislative Revenue Office produced in late July.  The high range is $1.5 million more than the $38.5 million estimate ECONorthwest produced for New Approach Oregon.  The committee estimates marijuana legalization will cost the state $3.9 million per year.  The Oregon Liquor Control Commission estimated that creating a new regulatory system for recreational marijuana would cost the agency $3.8 million by 2017, plus increases in operating expenses by $3.2 million annually.  Oregon’s Department of Agriculture thinks it will need $100,000 annually for regulation of marijuana infused foods.  The Oregon Health Authority estimated it would spend $200,000 annually on two positions for marijuana licensing.  And the Oregon State Police told the committee it would need to add three detectives and send certain deputies for additional training at a cost of $400,000 annually.

Last week a Colorado task force unveiled proposed new rules to limit potency levels, and on Wednesday the National Cannabis Industry Association launched its first Food Safety Basics course specifically for marijuana industry professionals.  It is based on a curriculum originally developed by the National Restaurant Association, and participants in Denver will learn about subjects including food borne illnesses, proper personal hygiene, how to prevent cross-contamination, sanitizing, and more.  Pot edibles account for about two-thirds of Colorado’s legal marijuana market, the NCIA estimates, and it says “isolated cases” of production issues and irresponsible use proved the potential benefit of expanding training programs.  The first food safety course is taking place on Wednesday and the responsible selling program will be held on Aug. 19, the NCIA said, adding that more training dates would be scheduled.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage announced Wednesday that the state will soon begin drug testing convicted drug felons who apply for or receive federal welfare benefits.  The drug testing was authorized by a law change that passed in 2011 as part of a compromise between Democrats and Republicans, but it was never implemented.  Tests will be required of drug felons who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, a federal program administered as a block grant in each state.  If a person tests positive, he or she will have the option to be tested a second time.  At any time, an individual can avoid termination of benefits by enrolling in an approved and appropriate substance abuse program.  LePage and his Republican allies in the Legislature tried to push legislation that would institute random drug testing for all welfare recipients but were not successful.  Currently, 11 states have some form of drug testing for TANF recipients, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The states that have laws either have language that allows testing for recipients if there is reasonable suspicion that they might be drug users or make applicants fill out a questionnaire designed to gauge whether they are a drug user.  Random drug-testing laws have faced constitutional challenges in some states, including Florida, where a law was struck down earlier this year.

According to the Seattle Police Department, burglars cut a hole in the side of a Georgetown marijuana dispensary Wednesday morning, stealing $50,000 worth of medical marijuana stored inside.  Officers were called to reports of a burglary at 6:50 am. The pot dispensary had a large hole cut into its side and marijuana strewn about inside. The business owner told police it appeared $50,000 worth of pot was gone, and that someone had climbed in from the hole to snatch it.  Seattle police were able to recover fingerprints as well as video surveillance footage from the business. They are looking for the burglars.

An Arvada man was rushed by ambulance to the hospital on Sunday after he said he consumed a chocolate bar that contained THC at the Denver County Fair’s Pot Pavilion.  “They were giving out samples and they made sure to tell us that the samples are just a sample of their chocolate, doesn’t have any THC in it and the guy went so far as to let us know if we came into the store, the ones in the store would taste different,” Richard Jones said.  On-site EMTs first attended to the Arvada man before calling him an ambulance. Tests at the hospital revealed he had more than 100 nanograms of THC in his system, or about twenty times the legal driving limit.