safe access

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Ohio: Medical Marijuana Signature Drive Suspended


Ohioans for Medical Marijuana on Friday evening, "after considerable discussion," suspended a drive to place an issue on the November 2016 Ohio ballot.

"We make this decision with a heavy heart as we will surely disappoint our many volunteers, supporters and patient-advocates who invested considerable time and effort in our movement," said Brandon Lynaugh, campaign manager for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana. "It had become increasingly clear following the state legislature’s passage of a medical marijuana law on Wednesday that our ballot issue campaign had arrived at a critical juncture.

"With several hundred thousand signatures collected thus far, one option for our movement would have been to continue to pour our resources into obtaining the additional signatures needed to put the issue before voters," Lynaugh said. "But the reality is that raising funds for medical marijuana policy changes is incredibly difficult, especially given the improvements made to the proposed program by the Ohio General Assembly and the fact that the Governor is expected to sign the bill.

Ohio: Legislature's Embrace of Medical Marijuana Bolsters Amendment Prospects


With the approval of H.B. 523 by the Ohio Senate and expected concurrence by the Ohio House of Representatives, Ohioans for Medical Marijuana on Thursday announced it will move toward the November ballot with the issue of patient’s rights to medical marijuana supported by the Ohio General Assembly.

"This General Assembly has taken a step forward on this issue,” said Aaron Marshall, spokesman for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana. “Their support for medical marijuana speaks volumes for eliminating any remaining biases against allowing doctors to recommend this life-enhancing treatment to patients in need.”

"Our Constitutional amendment builds on the legislature’s work by incorporating national best practices and offers voters an opportunity to enact a law free of the horse-trading inherent in the legislative process," Marshall said. "Our amendment also protects the rights of patients in the Ohio Constitution, not leaving this important issue vulnerable to the reach of special interests."

While the legislative bill clears several important societal and policy-making hurdles, it omits a number of critical issues. They include:

Nevada: The Source Medical Marijuana Dispensary Raises $1,000 For Friends of Parkinson's


The+Source medical marijuana dispensary in Las Vegas on Tuesday celebrated raising $1,000 in support of Las Vegas-based organization, Friends of Parkinson’s with a big check presentation held at 4 p.m.

The+Source is one of Nevada’s first medical marijuana dispensaries, providing a variety of medicinal cannabis products to in and out-of-state patients. Nevada's medical marijuana law allows reciprocity, which means they honor medicinal cannabis authorizations from other states.

Friends of Parkinson’s is a non-profit organization that connects and creates local, nationwide, and international initiatives that support the neurological community and communities related to Parkinson‘s. Friends of Parkinson’s supports healing, care, and lifestyle management that applies to various forms of mental illnesses and the families, friends, and communities that support them.

Washington: Study Says Licensed Grows Can Meet Recreational, Medical Marijuana Needs


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new study released on Thursday performed for the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board by the University of Washington supposedly shows that the amount of marijuana allowed to be grown by state-licensed I-502 producers in the state "is enough to satisfy both the medical and recreational marijuana markets," while ignoring the challenges of price, pesticides, and access which I-502 stores present for patients.

The study, "Estimating Canopy Size for the Washington Medical Marijuana Market," seems tailor-made to be used as political ammunition in the fight led by many I-502 recreational cannabis merchants to finish the shutting-down of Washington's medical marijuana community, which is already slated for extinction, at least as we know it, on July 1. After that date, any medical marijuana dispensaries which don't have an I-502 license will be required to shut down under penalty of law.

Washington: LCB Says Patients Can Grow 4 Plants Each, Up To 15 Per Household


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Multiple authorized medical cannabis patients living in the same residence in Washington state can grow up to four plants each, up to a total of 15 plants, without being on the patient registry, according to information received from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board on Thursday.

In answers to a Washington state medical marijuana patient advocate, Brian E. Smith of the WSLCB clarified the home growing rules for patients in the state. Only medicinal patients with a physician's authorization are allowed to cultivate cannabis in Washington without an I-502 cultivation license.

A qualifying patient not entered in the medical marijuana authorization database (Washington's euphemism for a patient registry) is allowed to grow up to four plants and possess up to six ounces of useable marijuana in his or her domicile, according to the LCB. This possession limit is per patient (RCW 69.51A.210) (3)).

Nevada: Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Dispensary To Host Patient Orientation


The+Source, one of the first medical marijuana dispensaries to open for business in the Las Vegas Valley, will offer an informational orientation and seminar at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 3.

Located at 2550 S. Rainbow Blvd., the orientation is free of charge and does not require an RSVP. Aimed at new medical marijuana patients and cardholders, the orientation is also open to the public and anyone interested in learning more about the medical uses of cannabis.

All attendees will have the opportunity to speak with The+Source’s director of medical education, Dr. William Troutt. Attendees do not have to be cardholders to participate.

“It has been my sole focus to consult with thousands of patients to help them find the cannabis-based medicine that is right for their ailment,” said Dr. Troutt. “Every patient is different; and how each person reacts to various strains of cannabis is different. I work with The+Source to educate patients, so they can find the best medication.”

More information about the upcoming orientation can be found online at

About The+Source

"The+Source aims to provide a safe, clean, comfortable, respectful and compassionate environment to its patients looking to obtain medical marijuana," according to the dispensary.

California: S.F.'s First Boutique Style Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens


Harvest, which is calling itself "San Francisco’s first boutique-style cannabis dispensary and private member lounge," opened in January, and according to its owners, the shop "offers a new style of shopping experience for those who are seeking a wide variety of high quality, chemical-free, tested medical cannabis products."

Harvest, which is located on Geary Boulevard in San Francisco’s Inner Richmond District, offers, according to management, "expertly curated artisanal products sourced from California’s craft cannabis artisans."

The retail store and members-only lounge interiors "were imagined by top designers from San Francisco and Chicago, reflecting a completely innovative approach to cannabis merchandising and consumption," we learn from a Wednesday press release.

"Harvest serves a growing number of San Franciscans who are seeking a retail experience that transcends the counter-culture industry reputation," the prepared release reads. "With windows open to Geary Boulevard, the bright and airy atmosphere features modern wood detail, contemporary lighting, polished concrete floors, and open shelving.

"Customers can freely interact with cannabis consultants and carefully chosen selections of cannabis flowers, concentrates, cosmetics, edibles, accessories, pet supplies and other products," the release reads.

Washington: Board To Close Marijuana Retail License Application Window March 31


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) on Monday announced it will stop accepting marijuana retail license applications March 31 at 5 p.m.

The WSLCB had begun processing retail applications on Oct. 12, 2015, to accommodate additional demand and provide additional access points before the medical and recreational marketplace are merged on July 1, 2016.

“We are at the point where the number of highest priority applicants will exceed the number of available retail licenses,” said WSLCB Licensing Division Director Becky Smith. “We’ll meet the retail cap with priority ones and twos that we’re already processing.”

Retail Cap

On January 6, the Board adopted emergency rules to expand the number of retail marijuana outlets to "align the two markets," i.e., preside over the shutdown of medical marijuana dispensaries which weren't able to obtain a 502 license.

Based on staff’s recommendation, the former retail store cap of 334 was lifted to a new cap of 556. The recommendation followed an analysis of the entire marijuana marketplace by the state’s contracted research organization, BOTEC Analysis Corporation.

Priority System

SB 5052, the so-called "2015 Cannabis Patient Protection Act," which was devised by I-502 merchants as a way of eliminating the medical competition -- and then passed by a Legislature grateful for the productive new source of campaign donations, both over and under the table -- directed the WSLCB to issue licenses in the following priority order.

California: Medical Marijuana Dispensary Welcomes Workers' Choice To Unionize


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

More than 20 workers at the South Coast Safe Access medicinal cannabis dispensary on Thursday celebrated joining the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 324.

Workers at South Coast Safe Access and their union representatives also worked productively with dispensary management to quickly come to an agreement for a historic first contract, according to Derek Worden, president of the dispensary. The comprehensive contract agreed to includes fair wages, health insurance, a retirement pension, grievance procedure, and other protections and benefits for workers.

Officials from Orange County's labor community had been in talks with the dispensary for some time. Formal recognition of the union by the facility avoids the need for a contentious fight over representation. That ultimately paved the way for a comprehensive contract that included fair wages, health insurance, a retirement pension, grievance procedure and other protections and benefits for workers, according to Worden.

“We pride ourselves in being a great employer, a valuable community partner, and a safe access provider for thousands of patients,” Worden said. “We are pleased that our staff have decided to unite and collectively work together to ensure fair wages, good benefits, and the safest working conditions so that our patients can continue to have reliable access to the highest quality, environmentally-friendly, and affordable medicinal cannabis in the region.

California: Veterans Don't Want Marijuana Legalization To Affect Medical Access


Military veterans that reside in the state of California have come together to express concerns over the implications to them from the passage of Sean Parker's Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AB 266) legislation. Under AB 266, almost all of the donations of medicine (medical cannabis) the veterans receive would be outlawed with the risk of jail to all involved.

"Across the state of California, from growers to manufacturers, all would become unable to donate medicine," according to the Weed For Warrirors Project (WFWP). "This legislation would make it nearly impossible to provide medicine to those members of society who require it most."

"Veterans have already fought for our freedoms; most will never live a normal life again because of it," according to the Weed For Warriors Project. "They come home only to be drugged up beyond comprehension by the VA who has been working alongside big pharmacy for their medical programs. These veterans do not want to cause problems; they just want their right to choose what they medicate with without the threat of jail or losing their benefits.

"The vets of California, as well as from around the country, understand the legislation for regulation of medical cannabis is necessary, and they seek to help advance this effort," the WFWP announced. "However, AB 266, as it stands, if passed, would place the veteran population in California at unnecessary risk. They are asking that Sean Parker and his team amend this issue before it becomes law and destroys more lives than the war they already fought."

Washington: Almost Half The Medical Marijuana Dispensaries In Seattle Voluntarily Close


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Almost half of Seattle's medical marijuana dispensaries have voluntarily closed in just one month, according to city officials. Fifty-six of the city's 120 dispensaries are now shuttered, according to the city's Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) department, which handles enforcement.

"We're trying to get you to be in compliance and if you can't get on the legal path, you just need to close," said William Edwards, director of enforcement for FAS, reports Ryan Takeo at King 5 News.

The FAS said it sent a letter to all non-recreational marijuana businesses in August, informing them of the new city ordinance.

Some of the city's criteria includes paying all applicable taxes, having a Seattle business license before 2013, and applying to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) for a license.

City officials said they'd filed criminal complaints against three businesses. The maximum penalty for a criminal conviction under the ordinance is 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine, according to a city memo.

"If we have to, which the city is not interested in, to move towards a criminal complaint," Edwards said of the rather unusual situation under with "legalization" is resulting in less access for medical marijuana patients so that recreational marijuana stores can have less competition and greater profits.

Washington: Medical Marijuana Referendum 76 Won't Be On Ballot


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Voters won't get the chance this fall to have their say on whether the Washington should keep changes made by the Legislature this spring to the state's medical marijuana laws.

Organizers of a petition drive to place a referendum on November's ballot reported they won't be turning in signatures by the deadline this week.

"I regret to report that the Referendum 76 effort has fallen short of the number of signatures gathered to qualify for the November ballot," organizer Don Skakie posted on the R76 NO Facebook page on Tuesday. "This was made known to the Elections Office yesterday afternoon and has appeared in the press already.

"While things are bad for patients, the struggle continues," Skakie said. "Please support Real Legalization through Initiative 739 for home growing, collecting signatures through December 31, 2015."

The secretary of state's office on Monday confirmed that the referendum had fallen short, reports Jim Camden at The Spokesman-Review.

R-76 would have challenged changes in Washington's medical marijuana law, putting medicinal cannabis under the regulation of the Liquor Control Board, currently in charge of recreational marijuana industry.

Medical marijuana dispensaries and growers will have to be licensed; the Catch-22 is that no licenses are currently available, and the path to legality for the shops is murky at best.

U.S.: New Doobster App For On Demand Legal Marijuana Delivery Does Things Differently


Logistics Trust, Inc. has launched a subsidiary named Doobster, a mobile application and platform that allows a consumer of legal marijuana to order products from their smartphones, tablets or computer and have the products delivered to their physical location. The company said it is launching in 15 states.

Started as a logistics and compliance consulting company in January 2013 by Scott Abadjian, founder and CEO, Logistics Trust said it now plans to provide consumers with a user-friendly, on-demand mobile (SaaS) platform.

"Consumers can register and order products quickly and with confidence," the company announced in a press release. "Products are delivered to a consumer’s location within minutes by using smart algorithms, advanced routing, heat maps, GPS, location services and other techniques."

“Doobster is not Uber for marijuana; we are more than a marijuana delivery app,” Abadjian said. "The Company intends to make the term 'doobster' synonymous with quality logistics and compliance facilitation services within the legal marijuana industry.

"Another objective of the Company is to create long-term value for its customers and business partners through the quality of its technology and services, its ability to facilitate compliance with applicable state and local laws, and its active commitment to helping customers and business partners build wealth," Abadjian said.

Doobster Platform users will include the following parties:

• State-authorized Cooperatives/Collectives/Dispensaries (“vendors”; “dispensaries”);

U.S.: Blumenauer To Offer Amendment To Remove Restrictions Preventing VA From Recommending Marijuana


When the U.S. House of Representatives this week is expected to consider the FY 2016 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon plans to offer an amendment to make it easier for qualified veterans to access medical marijuana.

Currently, the Veterans Administration (VA) specifically prohibits its medical providers from completing forms brought by their patients seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a Veteran’s participation in a state medical marijuana program. Congressman Blumenauer’s amendment ensures that no funds made available to the VA can be used to implement this prohibition, which would, in effect, strike it down.

The amendment is currently co-sponsored by Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY), Sam Farr (D-CA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).

“While there is no single approach to aiding our nation’s veterans, medical marijuana is proven to help in treating post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries frequently suffered by veterans,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “States are listening to their residents on the benefits of medical marijuana, including veterans, and are changing their laws.

California: Nestdrop Medical Marijuana Delivery Service Launches GoFundMe Campaign


To help pay for its upcoming legal battle with the City of Los Angeles, medical marijuana delivery service Nestdrop has launched a GoFundMe campaign to seek donations from medicinal cannabis patients, fellow tech companies, dispensaries and supporters across the country.

After sending a letter to the City Attorney’s office offering to work with them on sensible medical marijuana enforcement -- which went unanswered -- Nestdrop has moved forward with appealing the injunction.

The City Attorney’s injunction has done absolutely nothing to stop medical marijuana deliveries in Los Angeles; a quick search online search will bring up dozens, if not hundreds, of medical marijuana delivery services that are still operating to this day in the city. Nestdrop was targeted simply for being a technology company that received national attention.

Since they are a small tech company, Nestdrop said it doesn't have the budget for a long legal fight and are seeing donations from supporters at Nestdrop has a goal of $70,000 and any funds raised over its final legal bill will be donated to local L.A. causes that tax payer dollars could have gone to instead of this lawsuit.

Nestdrop, which descrinbes itself as "the technology company behind the country’s first in-App, on-demand medical marijuana service," launched the GoFundMe campaign to help raise $70,000 in funds for its legal fight.

Michigan: House Panel Approves Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, Edibles


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana dispensaries -- declared illegal by the Michigan Supreme Court, despite a 2008 law approved by voters -- may be returning to the state under a proposal headed to the House floor.

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved bills that would update Michigan's medical marijuana law to allow safe access through dispensaries, and to allow more parts of the cannabis plant to be used in edibles, reports Jonathan Oosting at

In a separate vote, the panel also approved 8-1-2 (with two Democrats passing) a proposal to create a separate "pharmaceutical-grade cannabis" designation in case the federal government ever reclassifies marijuana as a Schedule II controlled substance allowed for medical use. That actually paves the way for a possible eventual Big Pharma takeover of the medical marijuana business, according to some observers of the scene.

Cannabis is currently classified as Schedule I under federal law, meaning, by definition, that it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical uses, despite the fact that the federal government holds a patent -- Patent No. 663057 -- on the medical uses of cannabis.

House Bill 4271, introduced by Rep. Mike Callton (R-Nashville) would let towns decide whether they want to allow dispensaries. The safe access points had operated in Michigan until February, when the Michigan Supreme Court said they were illegal.

New Jersey: Patients Cheer Opening of State's Third Medical Marijuana Dispensary


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New Jersey’s medical marijuana program has suffered from numerous delays. There were controversies over the state’s vetting process, over the lack of traditional bank financing, over the reluctance of doctors to participate, and over the unwillingness of many local officials to host a dispensary in their town. But the state's third medical marijuana access point, Garden State Dispensary, finally opened on Wednesday.

The facility occupies an old electronics store between shopping centers and a car dealership in Woodbridge, reports Susan K. Livio at The Star-Ledger. Wednesday's grand opening was largely ceremonial; the owners and staff had a "soft opening" on November 22, according to Yale Galanter, the dispensary's lawyer and spokesman.

From the trial launch through 4 p.m. on Wednesday, 430 patients had bought medical marijuana from Garden State Dispensary, according to Galanter. Starting on Thursday, the shop will serve 40 patients a day, he said.

Michael Weisser, Garden State's Florida-based chief operating officer, also runs eight medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado along with his son, David. He said his goal was to serve all 1,500 of New Jersey's medical marijuana patients, many of whom have waited more than a year for safe access.

New Jersey: 1,000 Medical Marijuana Patients Now Registered; Only 130 Have Access


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The New Jersey Health Department last week reported that 1,000 patients are now registered in the state's medical marijuana program. The department reported this fact without much fanfare -- likely because, so far, only about 130 patients can actually buy cannabis.

Due to a shortage of functional dispensaries and other delays created by foot-dragging on the part of Republican Gov. Chris Christie -- who was never that thrilled about medical marijuana to begin with -- the access still just isn't there, three-and-a-half years after former Gov. Jon Corzine signed the medical marijuana bill into law.

Many patients are upset, reports Jan Hefler at In New Jersey, only patients with serious illnesses qualify for medical marijuana -- but patients with terminal cancer, AIDS, epilepsy and MS, though they qualify and have registered, are still waiting.

One patient, a former corrections officer, has sued the state for the delays, saying he is suffering while the state wrangles over strict rules that have led so far to the opening of only one dispensary. That one sells only to North Jersey patients, and has said it is overwhelmed by the demand.

Nevada: Assembly Approves Medical Marijuana Dispensaries


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Nevada lawmakers are finally taking steps to ensure medical marijuana patients have safe access to the medicine recommended by their doctors, 13 years after state voters legalized medicinal cannabis by amending the state constitution.

The Assembly passed SB 374, which establishes marijuana dispensaries, Monday on a 28-14 vote. The measure now goes to the Senate for approval; if the Senate approves, it will head to the desk of GOP Governor Brian Sandoval, who has said he would "consider" signing it.

The bill would establish a system of nonprofit, state-regulated dispensaries to make cannabis available to authorized medicinal cannabis patients, and sets up fees and requirements for growers, processors and dispensaries.

Nevada voters legalized medical marijuana in 2000; a year later, qualified patients started getting their ID cards. But there has been no legal way to actually acquire marijuana unless they grow it themselves -- presumably from seeds given to them by their Fairy Godmother, since there's no legal channel for those, either.

Patients who are registered with the state are allowed to grow three mature and four immature marijuana plants, and are allowed to possess up to one ounce of cannabis. But many patients' health makes it hard or impossible to grow their own, and many are concerned about thieves. For them, dispensaries would be a good solution for safe access.

(Illustration: KOLO)

California: More Cities Moving To Shut Down Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

(Photo: Where's Weed)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

More California cities are planning to shut down medical marijuana dispensaries following a state Supreme Court ruling that such citywide bans are legal.

San Bernardino authorities raided a dispensary on Thursday, seizing 30 pounds of marijuana, 80 plants, a 12-gauge shotgun and $9,000 in cash, and citing four dispensary employees, according to City Attorney James Penman, report Richard K. DeAtley and John Asbury at the Riverside Press Enterprise.

The city also sent closure notices to about 30 shops, threatening fines of $1,000 a day. By Wednesday, 17 of the shops had voluntarily shut down.

"Most were very friendly; their lawyers had contacted them and they were in the process of removing their signs, their green crosses," Penman smirked.

"We're treating these businesses as illegal drug houses and drug businesses," Penman bragged. "What we hope to find today and every day is that these stores have closed. Our goal is to shut everyone down." Eleven shops were still operating by the end of thursday, Penman said.

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