Dec 032014

House Republicans are fighting to roll back the District of Columbia’s recently passed marijuana legalization initiative.  Republicans are insisting on including a provision in an omnibus spending bill that would ban the District from using local funds to carry out the legalization measure, which was passed overwhelmingly by ballot initiative in November.  House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers has been a vehement opponent of relaxing drug laws, animated by the spread of methamphetamine and prescription-drug use in his home state of Kentucky. The White House said in a policy statement released after the House passed the Financial Services and General Government bill that it “strongly opposes” any efforts to direct how the District enforces its laws. But if Republicans make the proposal central to their demands, it remains uncertain how hard Democrats will fight to keep it from becoming law.

More than 400 medical marijuana dispensaries in the city have been closed, and Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer says he is now taking aim against the creator of a pot delivery app.  Officials say the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office has filed more than 200 criminal cases against 743 defendants, including both dispensary operators and property owners, effectively closing 402 medical marijuana dispensaries in the 17 months since Feuer took office.  Nestdrop, also used for alcohol deliveries, announced in October that it planned to expand into medical marijuana delivery. That started in mid-November, Feuer said.  Feuer wants a Superior Court judge to issue a cease-and-desist order that would stop Nestdrop LLC from delivering pot, contending that it is doing business unlawfully and circumventing Proposition D, which limited the number of medical pot dispensaries in the city.

The clock is ticking on the state’s first decisions concerning the licensing of medical marijuana in Illinois.  Only licensed physicians can write a prescription for medical marijuana, and under terms of the Illinois law, any pot must be consumed in the patient’s home. A total of 60 dispensaries will be licensed to fill prescriptions statewide. So far, 211 have applied.  It isn’t clear how many dispensaries will be located in the City of Chicago.  Applicants who are granted a dispensary license face what the state hopes are airtight regulations. No building can be located within a thousand feet of a school or day care center. All must be outfitted with high tech security systems to protect not only the pot but what is expected to be large volumes of cash.  Some 8,000 patients have already applied for marijuana cards in Illinois.

Bill Downing isn’t sure if the medical cannabis products he sells at his Boston store are legal. He also said he doesn’t care whether or not they are.  Downing operates CBD Please in the Allston neighborhood of Boston. Through his Lincoln Street store he sells medical marijuana that he believes is legal because it is made from hemp oil. But the Department of Public Health forced Downing to shut down a previous store, and the Boston Police Department told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones that it is “looking into the legality” of the newest operation. Downing, meanwhile, argues that cannabidiol (CBD) is the medically active ingredient in hemp and it is not an intoxicant. He does not have a medical marijuana license.  Marijuana products at Downing’s store include roll-on and rub-on salves, sprays, capsules, and scalp and haircare items.  According to Downing, the items do not have THC, which is the intoxicating ingredient in marijuana.

As efforts to decriminalize marijuana use make significant gains in Latin American countries, a new TV channel in Chile is now making an attempt to win the hearts and minds of the public at large. It’s called Cultiva TV, and the people behind it want to dispel misinformation about marijuana consumption and educate Chileans about the “medicinal, cultural and spiritual” properties of getting high. Although public opinion has rallied in favor of its medicinal uses, people in Chile, including politicians, fear that legalizing medicinal marijuana will cause an increase in its illegal recreational use. Small gains, however, have been made: last September, Chilean authorities approved the first legal medicinal marijuana farm, and earlier this year, a Chilean cancer and lupus patient was granted “special permission” to take a cannabis-derived painkiller known as Sativex. Laws regulating drugs in Chile do not penalize personal cannabis use in a private setting, although they do outlaw growing the plant.