Feb 122015

The Russ Belville Show #541 420RADIO News – Colorado considers mandatory testing requirements for medmj [2015-02-12 Thu]

Colorado lawmakers are considering mandatory testing requirements for medical marijuana, something patients have wanted for years, but there are some concerns from the pot industry.  Currently recreational pot is only required to be tested for potency and homogeneity at one of 15 state certified testing facilities.  The Marijuana Enforcement Division said it expects to roll out testing for mold, pesticides and other contaminants this year.  Rep. Jonathan Singer is among a handful of state lawmakers now working to create similar requirements for medical pot.  Lawmakers are looking at the state’s medical marijuana market as a whole because the original regulations were passed with a five year sunset provision in 2010. The rules currently in place will expire if legislators don’t act this year.  Michael Elliott, the executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, said there are concerns about increased costs for patients, and inconsistencies with results from multiple labs.

The legal status of medical marijuana dispensaries and edible products in Michigan could be clarified under re-introduced legislation that stalled out last year in the Michigan Legislature.  The proposals would help local communities, patients and caregivers, according to state Rep. Mike Callton.  Callton, in a Thursday morning press conference, announced a new bill that would provide a regulatory framework for “provisioning centers,” which could sell extra medical marijuana grown by caregivers after the product was tested for quality and contaminants.  Local governments could choose to ban provisioning centers or limit the number of storefronts that can operate under Callton’s proposal.  Separate legislation sponsored by Rep. Lisa Lyons, would allow certified medical marijuana patients to use non-smokable forms for the drug, including liquids, edibles and topical creams.  Michigan’s 2008 medical marijuana law does not directly address dispensaries or edible products, and a series of court cases have clouded the legal status of both.

Oklahoma is one step closer to legalizing cannabis oil, derived from marijuana.  State lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday that would allow children with epilepsy to use cannabis oil that contains less than 0.3% THC, the chemical in marijuana that gets you high.  The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) supports the idea.  “This is not the legalization of medical marijuana. It’s simply taking the particular chemicals in it and putting it in a medical form,” Mark Woodward, with the OBN, said.  “It’s all about helping children, there’s no downside,” Rep. Jon Echols, the bill’s author said.  Echols named the bill “Katie’s Law.” Katie is Rep. Echols’ niece, who suffers from seizures.  The bill will now go to the Senate. If the Senate agrees, it will go to Governor Mary Fallin. If she signs the bill, “Katie’s Law” will take effect immediately.  Gov. Fallin says she supports the bill.

The Suquamish Tribe has thrown its support behind legislation that would allow the state of Washington and tribes to work closely together on marijuana regulation.  A Suquamish representative testified Tuesday in Olympia in favor of a bill authorizing the governor to craft agreements with tribes addressing how legalization, regulation and sales of marijuana on reservations would work in conjunction with state law. The proposed legislation was introduced in the Legislature as House Bill 2000 and Senate Bill 5848. Both were referred to committees. The House Commerce and Gaming Committee held a public hearing for HB 2000 Tuesday.  The bills were proposed after the U.S. Department of Justice issued a memo effectively clearing way for tribes to legalize marijuana, provided they regulate the drug in concert with federal law enforcement priorities. The Justice memo was issued partially in response to inquiries by the Suquamish Tribe.

Former University of Nevada-Reno president Joe Crowley has found a new line of work—selling marijuana.  The well-liked former university boss is president of Sierra Wellness Connection, one of two companies that were awarded Reno’s first business licenses for cultivating medical marijuana.  The second business is MMG Agriculture, headed by Reno’s Job Hall, a former real estate executive.  The Reno City Council voted unanimously to approve privileged business licenses for the two companies, which must obtain final state approval before opening.  Sierra Wellness Connection will also be operating a dispensary in the city of Reno, Crowley said.  Crowley said he became interested in medical marijuana as his older brother was dying of multiple sclerosis. His older sister, who underwent 13 major surgeries, also used medical marijuana as a pain reliever, he said.  Crowley said he and his business partners are not part of the push to legalize marijuana for recreational use.