Reporting of marijuana exposure incidents has increased in Washington state, especially among teenagers, in a trend experts said on Tuesday appears to be linked to the state’s largely unregulated medical marijuana industry. Marijuana exposures are defined as any situation where an adult or child suffers an adverse reaction to the consumption of marijuana, such as increased heart rate, paranoia or stomach illness, according to the Washington Poison Center. Some 210 marijuana exposures were reported in the first nine months of the year, more than in all of 2013, according to Washington Poison Center Clinical Managing Director Alexander Garrard. Most exposures among young children are accidental, with parents reporting their children found and ate marijuana-laced items such as cookies and candy bars. However, marijuana exposures do not even make the top ten list for items eaten by children and reported to poison control, while ibuprofen and hand sanitizers do.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris may have won re-election in the state last month by beating the pro-weed Republican candidate Ron Gold, but recently she said she has no “moral opposition” to marijuana and is “not opposed” to legalizing the drug. In fact, Harris said she thinks the idea of legalizing the drug has a “certain inevitability” about it. She didn’t go as far as endorsing legalization, though, adding that she does have concerns over the law enforcement implications of legalization. “I am not opposed to the legalization of marijuana. I’m the top cop, and so I have to look at it from a law enforcement perspective and a public safety perspective,” Harris told Buzzfeed News in an interview. “I think we are fortunate to have Colorado and Washington be in front of us on this and figuring out the details of what it looks like when it’s legalized.”
The former head of the Maine Medical Caregivers Association is launching a statewide campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016. But Paul T. McCarrier’s new group expects to face some competition from the Washington D.C,.-based Marijuana Policy Project, which has backed legalization efforts in other states. McCarrier’s group, called “Legalize Maine,” is also hoping to capitalize on homegrown appeal for the benefit of marijuana growers, users and Maine’s rural economy. McCarrier said the initial plan would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to 2.5 ounces of prepared marijuana, allow adults to cultivate up to six flowering marijuana plants, 12 immature plants and an unlimited number of seedlings. It also allows for the creation of marijuana social clubs. Municipalities would have the power to prohibit the clubs, and could also place local bans on retail storefronts and cultivation facilities. And McCarrier says marijuana would be taxed the same as prepared food and liquor at a rate of 8 percent.
After some members expressed reservations, the Iowa Pharmacy Board on Wednesday tabled until January its decision on marijuana’s drug classification in Iowa. A board subcommittee on Wednesday recommended reclassifying marijuana from a Class I drug — the most dangerous — to a Class II drug. The subcommittee’s recommendation was based on marijuana’s use for medical purposes, which is a Schedule II criteria, and bolstered by a new Iowa law that legalized the use of an oil found in the marijuana plant for treatment of children with epilepsy. But the full board voted unanimously to table the decision until its January meeting. The pharmacy board is weighing a recommendation; reclassification requires legislative action. The board recommended reclassifying marijuana to Schedule II in 2010, but the Legislature did not act.
Eight recreational marijuana businesses in Northglenn and a northern sliver of Aurora will see their sales taxes increase considerably next summer thanks to four measures that passed in the November elections. Adams County residents passed a ballot measure that allows the county to collect an additional 3 percent sales tax on all retail stores in the entire county that will go into effect July 1. Right now, Northglenn retail marijuana consumers pay 18.75 percent in total taxes — 8.75 for state, city, county, special district taxes and 10 percent for the Colorado excise tax on retail marijuana sales. With the approved 2 percent city tax and the approved 3 percent county tax, Northglenn marijuana consumers will pay 23.75 percent on retail marijuana and products in July. In Aurora, people who buy marijuana at one of the four Adams County locations pay 18.50 percent in sales taxes. That will go up to 23.50 percent next summer.