May 132015

Anchorage has cleared the way for Alaska’s first large-scale marijuana convention this weekend. But not without a few strings attached. While the city’s Assembly voted to allow marijuana on site, it cannot be consumed there. The vote to allow vendors to display marijuana at this weekend’s NW Cannabis Classic expo in the Dena’ina Center passed unanimously. Assembly Member Patrick Flynn pushed for a designated smoking area on the building’s patio. “It’s a little naive,” Flynn said, “that we can’t provide any venue whatsoever for consumption. And I’m trying to create a very narrowly crafted, personal use facility on the grounds that is private, out of sight of minors, and therefore appropriate.” But the rest of the Assembly didn’t agree, citing the case of a man who fell to his death from an escalator at the Center after consuming too much alcohol.

A bill that would legalize some forms of medical marijuana in Nebraska passed its first hurdle Tuesday after state senators voted to advance the proposal. The bill, which was first debated last week, gained support among skeptics after senators adopted an amendment that would prohibit marijuana smoking and exclude “chronic pain” from the list of qualifying medical conditions. In the first-round vote on the Medical Cannabis Act, lawmakers voted 27 to 12 to move the bill forward – three votes shy of a veto-proof majority. “Colleagues, we need to be strong, we need to be brave,” said the bill’s author, Republican Sen. Tommy Garrett. “We need to help those that are sick and ailing and out of options.” Garrett added that legalizing medical marijuana in Nebraska was “not about stoners getting high… We are not Colorado, we are not California.”

Delaware Sen. Ernie Lopez, is sponsoring the legislation that would narrowly open Delaware’s medical marijuana program to minors by allowing access to marijuana oils. Lopez’s bill would specifically allow doctors to certify minor patients to use marijuana for the treatment of intractable epilepsy or “involuntary muscle contractions that cause slow, repetitive movements or abnormal postures.” The proposal would allow Delaware children to use two oils extracted from marijuana to help treat seizures – cannabidiol oil and THC-A oil. Children would not become intoxicated from using the oils, advocates say. Children are blocked from using marijuana under the state’s medical marijuana program. Officials at the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, who oversee Delaware’s medical marijuana program, are not throwing their support behind the effort. The Medical Society of Delaware also is remaining neutral, saying they are awaiting scientific proof that marijuana oils can be beneficial.

US Virgin Islands voters in November said yes to a referendum that asked whether the Legislature should take up the question of legalizing medical marijuana in the territory. Sen. Terrence Nelson said last week that he will offer medical marijuana legislation – but that he also has an interest in separately pursuing full legalization of marijuana. Nelson expects his staff to have a draft bill that would legalize, license and regulate a medical marijuana industry in the territory by the end of the month, he said. The bill, he said, would contain provisions to license and regulate medical marijuana, but for “marijuana used medicinally,” would allow people to grow a small number of marijuana plants for their personal consumption to treat certain conditions that he said they could identify for themselves. Personal marijuana possession was decriminalized over the governor’s veto last December and Nelson says he has plans to decriminalize personal marijuana cultivation and industrial hemp as well.

In Washington, the State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) Enforcement and Education Division’s youth access compliance check program begins this May, the regulators announced Tuesday. The WSLCB will use 18-21 year-old male and female “investigative aides (IA)” who are employees of the WSLCB hired to sting pot shops. They look like kids, too. “We do not allow IAs to be deceptively mature, and they appear similar to others in their respective age group,” the WSLCB states. If an illegal sale occurs, both the cashier and employees are liable for the violation and the cashier could be changed with furnishing marijuana to the minor, which is classified as a felony. The pot shop licensee also can face administrative penalties for non-compliance. To date, underage stings in Colorado’s recreational and medical marijuana shops have failed to produce one single instance of selling marijuana to a minor.