Apr 272015

A Colorado bill to allow medical marijuana use by people on probation or parole is on its way to the governor’s desk. Colorado has allowed medical marijuana use for 15 years, but not by people on probation or parole. A bill that passed the senate 34-1 Monday would change that policy so those with permission to use marijuana for medical purposes wouldn’t be charged with violating parole or probation. The bill has already passed in the House. Legislative analysts who conducted research for the bill didn’t know how many people have been cited for violating parole or probation after failing a marijuana-related drug test.

As Oregon prepares for legal marijuana July 1, the state’s energy agency is looking for ways to curb electricity use by indoor pot growers. Indoor marijuana gardens are well-known power hogs, but Oregon faces a dilemma as it researches how to extend its energy efficiency programs to the cannabis industry: federal money that typically helps pay for efficiency projects cannot be used for any activities that involve pot. The Northwest Power and Conservation Council estimated in September that energy demand from pot growers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana will nearly double over the next 20 years.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada has a plan to regulate retail marijuana business. The Canadian federal government is voicing its opposition against the motion, saying that could be a leap forward legalization of pot – which is still officially illegal. Vancouver already has about 80 unlicensed dispensaries. While Ottawa wants City of Vancouver to shut down marijuana shops, local Mayor Gregor Robertson has defended the regulations as “common sense.” The new proposed regulations in Vancouver will require shops to pay the hefty licensing fee of C$30,000. Aside from a steep licensing fee, regulations would ban dispensaries within 300 meters of schools and community centers, as well as within 300 meters of another dispensary.

With smiles, selfies and a few nervous chuckles, a group of Nevada legislators and policymakers got a first-hand look at Colorado’s fast-growing legal marijuana industry this weekend, coming face-to-face with thousands of green growing plants. The group met its Colorado counterparts, and toured several marijuana stores, including the high-tech, 40,000-square-foot Medicine Man in Denver, one of the state’s largest. “Last time I was in one of these, we were doing a bust,” joked Ron Dreher, a former narcotics and homicide detective who now works for the Peace Officers Research Association of Nevada. “Life changes, huh?” state Sen. Richard “Tick” Segerblom, a Las Vegas Democrat, shot back with a laugh as the two men took pictures of the plants. None of the Nevada delegation bought marijuana, although Segerblom said he was tempted. “When I was younger, I smoked it. I inhaled it. And I enjoyed it,” he said with a smile. “And I’m old enough to do it again.”

The Marketing Resource Group survey of 600 likely Michigan voters revealed 51 percent support for legalizing marijuana “if it was regulated and taxed like alcohol.” The results come as at least three separate groups are eyeing possible 2016 ballot proposals to tax and regulate marijuana. Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative Committee, an activist-led group seeking to put more of a “craft beer” legalization model on the 2016 ballot, is proposing that a share of marijuana tax revenue go to roads. Another group, the Michigan Cannabis Coalition, is proposing a centralized regulation concept with revenue for public safety, health and education. The Michigan Responsibility Council, the Oakland County group that is also considering a ballot measure, has discussed regulating marijuana like alcohol but has not yet announced any specific plans.

One of three proposals on the May 5 ballot for East Lansing, Michigan, voters would allow the use, possession and transfer of up to 1 ounce of the marijuana by people 21 and older. Lansing voters approved a similar amendment in 2013 and numerous cities across the state have passed decriminalization measures, including Detroit, Ferndale and Kalamazoo. Mayor Nathan Triplett says he supports decriminalization as a matter of public policy. “I also think doing it by local charter amendment is a terrible way to go about doing this,” he said, “because it creates a lot of confusion and conflict of law.” The best way to fix things, Triplett said, is for state or federal officials to do it. However, “I have no illusions that either the … Legislature or Congress will act on this at any point in the near future.”