In Washington State, a Pierce County Superior Court judge has ruled unconstitutional a state law that prohibits doctors and other medical professionals from mentioning medical cannabis in their advertisements. Judge Elizabeth Martin said the law violates both the state and federal constitutions by curtailing free speech. The state might have an interest in regulating such advertising, but banning it outright is unacceptable, Martin said. Attorney Mark G. Olson of Everett argued in pleadings that the state’s ban hindered patients’ ability to find doctors willing to provide authorization cards to people seeking to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. The state argued that doctors “cannot claim constitutionally protected commercial speech … for the medical use of marijuana because marijuana is illegal under federal law and the medical use of marijuana remains illegal under state law,” referring to the fact that Washington only provides an affirmative defense for medical marijuana patients.
Outgoing Illinois Gov. Quinn has failed to issue the licenses for state medical marijuana cultivators and dispensaries, an act that was originally promised to happen on January 1st. With the new administration casting a very jaundiced eye toward medical marijuana, supporters are now hopping mad. “I’m real ticked off,” said state Rep. Louis Lang, the Skokie Democrat who authored the law. “The state agencies were ready. These licenses were ready to be issued. The governor chose to not put his final stamp of approval on them.” Incoming Gov.-Elect Rauner is known to not be a fan of the program, and said during the campaign he would have vetoed the bill. However, Gov. Quinn did recommend prohibiting patients to be subjected to criminal background checks, called for extending the current sunset for the pilot program through 2017 for two years longer, through 2019, and clarified some of the ambiguity around the licensing of proposed cultivation centers.
Floridians can expect the Legislature to ponder expanding the state’s new medical marijuana law to allow for more potent pot that would treat other illnesses, but lawmakers might first wait to carry out the statute the state already has. Last year the Legislature approved a law that allows CBD-only marijuana preparations for Floridians who suffer from epilepsy, cancer and a handful of other ailments that cause severe seizures or spasms. Even so, medical-marijuana advocates are lobbying to get the law expanded to possibly allow extracts made from higher-THC marijuana. Such a treatment would get users high, but they are believed to be more effective for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, dementia and other ailments. United For Care director Ben Pollara said they are getting encouraging feedback from lawmakers about expanding the law. He pointed out that Amendment 2 barely missed approval last November, when 58 percent of voters said yes to it. It needed 60 percent for approval.
After extensive testimony Monday, the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly approved a moratorium that prohibits marijuana-related businesses until Oct. 19, six months after the end of the Alaska Legislature’s scheduled end. The marijuana legalization ballot measure approved by Alaska voters becomes effective Feb. 24, allowing Alaskans to use marijuana recreationally. Under the terms of the ballot measure, the state has until Nov. 24 to finalize regulations covering retail marijuana sales. The first permit for a retail marijuana store can be issued no later than Feb. 24, 2016. Eight individuals gave public comment on the ordinance. Most of those who testified asked for a shorter moratorium, saying that a yearlong block on paperwork would prevent them from planning ahead to meet the state’s anticipated permitting process. Others told the assembly that the longer it takes to get legitimate businesses up and running, the longer the city must deal with a black or “gray” market for marijuana.
An anti-Mayor de Blasio group is flying a banner over the Hudson River today reading, “DeBlasio Get Off The Pot. Resign. We ❤ NYPD.” The same group that took credit for two recent banners—one read, “DeBlasio Failed All NY’ERS. It’s Time. Resign,” the other read, “NY Support NYPD. Rest in Peace Det’s Liu and Ramos.”—has taken credit for today’s stunt. The group, who now call themselves Retired NYPD For A Safe New York, claims to be made up of “several thousand retired New York City Police Officers who have joined together to actively support the brave men and women of the New York City Police Department in today’s anti-police climate.” In addition to those banners, there were two more inflammatory signs that flew in the last month, one of which read, “De Blasio, Our Backs Have Turned to You,” the other, “De Blasio Apologize To The NYPD!!”