Jun 102015

The Environmental Protection Agency is offering a process through which pesticides could be approved for cannabis in states where medical or recreational marijuana is legal. By applying to register certain cannabis-related products as a “Special Local Need” as defined under section 24(c) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the marijuana industry could have a comparatively swift and cheap way to obtain appropriate pest control options without running afoul of federal law. “I think it is a very positive sign,” says Mitch Yergert, director of the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA)’s Division of Plant Industry, who received the letter from the EPA detailing the process on May 19. “It allows us to move forward in a very normal manner on pesticides for marijuana, just like any other crop. I think it is a huge step forward for the EPA, the industry and us.”

Support for the legalization of recreational marijuana use by adults has reached an all-time high in California, a state whose pot-friendly reputation precedes it but that has failed to get residents to approve full legalization in the past. A record 54 percent of potential California voters said they favored legalizing weed this year, a 3 percent increase in support from 2014, according to a June poll from the Public Policy Institute of California. Overall, support for legalization has increased among likely California voters by 6 percent since 2010, the policy group found. Researchers noted that for the first time, a majority (52 percent) of Californians ages 55 and older said they thought marijuana should be legalized – up from 42 percent in 2010. Support was highest among residents between the ages of 18 and 34, with 61 percent favoring legalization.

Backers of an effort to legalize marijuana in Ohio for medicinal and recreational use say they have more than enough signatures to qualify for the 2015 ballot. ResponsibleOhio said Tuesday they have collected more than the 550,000 valid signatures they need – and met an additional requirement by hitting signature minimums in 70 of 88 counties. State officials still must review the petitions. Executive Director Ian James said a robust voter registration effort was conducted in tandem with the signature gathering. The group estimates that about 10 percent of petition signers also initiated or updated their voter registrations. ResponsibleOhio is working to pass the Marijuana Legalization Amendment, which calls for adults 21 and over to be able to buy marijuana, and to grow up to four plants at home.

A House spending bill introduced Wednesday would block the District of Columbia from using any money “to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties” for possession of marijuana — a move that would keep the drug quasi-legal in the city. Voters approved a ballot initiative in 2014 that legalized possession of up to an ounce of marijuana in the District, however without legislative action by local lawmakers it will remain illegal to buy or sell the drug. The congressional rider will continue to block city leaders from pursuing legislation to regulate the sale and taxation of marijuana. A similar provision was included in a congressional spending plan adopted in December. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s nonvoting representative in Congress, noted that she was gearing up to fight the inclusion of the marijuana rider, as well as others that continue to block the city from using local funds to pay for abortions for low-income women.

A proposal that would create a $100 fine for marijuana possession in Florida’s Miami-Dade County gets its first hearing before county commissioners Wednesday, a key test for a law designed to keep minor pot offenses out of the criminal system. Criminal penalties would remain an option for misdemeanor possession of marijuana, but the change in county rules would give all police in Miami-Dade the option of treating it a civil offense instead. If issued a civil citation, the offender would receive a ticket and not a criminal charge that bring up to one year in jail.

The 170-acre CannaCamp opening July 1 in Durango in southwest Colorado calls itself the nation’s first cannabis-friendly ranch resort. Guests won’t be given marijuana, because that violates state law. Instead, the resort allows guests to bring their own pot and use it while at the resort. In addition to horseshoes and hiking, guests are offered yoga sessions and workshops on marijuana cultivation. Guests stay in cabins that allow smoking on porches but not inside. Rates start at $395 per person per night.