USA TODAY purchased nearly $500 worth of marijuana and edibles in Colorado, and then had it independently tested to check for potency and accuracy in labeling. The samples were tested by an independent lab because the law prohibits state-certified marijuana labs from testing for anyone but the licensed marijuana industry. The results revealed wide variation in the strength of the marijuana, even when it was sold under the same name. For instance, three samples of what was sold as “Blue Dream,” a popular strain known to give a euphoric high tested at 13.54%, 13.63% and 18.73% THC. The testing also revealed wide variation in the marijuana-infused edibles. Most of them were weaker than advertised on the label. One product claimed 50 mg of THC, but only contained 19.22 mg, the testing showed. Another product, a chocolate bar, claimed to contain 80 mg but contained only half that.
As more states and governments pass laws to decriminalize or legalize pot, the Commonwealth of Virginia is now the next state getting ready to tackle weed. A Virginia State Senator will bring his marijuana decriminalization bill to Richmond this January. “This is not going to legalize marijuana. It is going to make it no longer have a criminal penalty,” said Senator Adam Ebbin, (D) 30th District, Virginia. He says too many African Americans are going to jail and too much money is being spent. “We are spending $67 million dollars of taxpayer funds to enforce marijuana prohibition,” said Sen. Ebbin. Under the current law, a first offense will cost someone $500 and 30 days in jail. Sen. Ebbin’s bill would reduce the fine to $100 and would only be a civil offense – like a parking ticket.
A Metro Atlanta lawmaker wants to put at least the conversation, if not the reality, of legalized marijuana in Georgia on the table. Democratic state Sen. Curt Thompson introduced two bills – one allows for the sale of full plant medical marijuana for people with certain illnesses. The second would allow regulated retail stores to sell marijuana to adults. Thompson would tax the drug and earmark the money for education and transportation projects. Thompson’s bills would be much more extensive than the plan defeated in the last legislative session that would have allowed the use of cannabis oil for medical reasons. “We are the 10th-largest state and we ought to have a voice and be talking about this and we ought to be getting folks involved,” Thompson said.
The conversation about whether New Mexico should join other Western states in legalizing marijuana is cranking up as state lawmakers prepare for the 2015 legislative session. Rep. Bill McCamley, a Democrat from southern New Mexico, took his case for legalization to fellow lawmakers Tuesday during a meeting of the interim Health and Human Services Committee. McCamley has yet to craft the legislation, but he’s looking at Oregon as a model. Voters in that state, Alaska and the District of Columbia approved ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana earlier this month, joining Colorado and Washington. In New Mexico, the push for legalization follows the success of ballot questions in two of the state’s most populous counties that gauged voter support for decriminalizing marijuana. McCamley also estimates that the state could save over $33 million in costs associated with police, courts and corrections if marijuana is legalized. Gov. Susana Martinez has been an outspoken critic of decriminalizing marijuana, and control of the state House of Representatives swinging to Republicans will likely make for a challenge in getting legislation passed.
School officials Monday flatly turned down a $14,000 donation from a local marijuana farmer, taking a strong stand against youth marijuana use. “We’re not taking it; end of story,” said Ray Tolcacher, Prosser School District superintendent. The donor, Randy Williams, now is looking for another local recipient. “I never thought it’d be a problem to give money away,” said the owner of Fireweed Farms, a marijuana producer north of this city of 5,800. Williams’ next choice is the Prosser branch of the Boys & Girls Club. The youth nonprofit will “evaluate internally,” said Brian Ace, executive director of Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties. Next in line would be the VFW, Williams said.
While some California cities reject marijuana dispensaries near anything child related, the Oregon city of Astoria just approved a day care next door to a dispensary. After a litany of public testimony in support of the request, the Astoria Planning Commission approved a plan to expand Sea of Dreams Childcare into a commercial storefront next to The Farmacy, a medical marijuana dispensary. City Planner Rosemary Johnson said that while dispensaries must be at least 1,000 feet from schools, there’s no regulation regarding their proximity to child care facilities. Staff recommended approving the request.