legal marijuana

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Judge dismisses suit that challenged Pennsylvania medical marijuana program

A state court judge threw out a lawsuit that could have undone Pennsylvania’s nascent medical marijuana program.

The suit was filed in September 2017 by Keystone ReLeaf of Bethlehem, whose bid for a dispensing license failed.

The lawsuit, had it succeeded, could have delayed patient access and the state’s MMJ industry for years, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

In the lawsuit, Keystone argued the application process was conducted haphazardly and had been “infected by bias and favoritism” because Pennsylvania’s health department – which managed the application process – had kept the panelists who picked the winners secret.

Keystone’s lawyers said those problems invalidated the application process, according to the newspaper.

The company sought an injunction from the court that would have canceled all grow and dispensary permits awarded by the health department, the Inquirer reported. That would have forced the state to start the process from scratch.

But Judge Michael H. Wojcik dismissed the suit, writing that Keystone should have taken its complaints to the health department before the court, according to the Inquirer.

Read the full article HERE

Students need a policy for on-campus medical marijuana

By: 

In 2016, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed a law that legalized the use of medical marijuana in the state. In June 2017, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pennsylvania Department of Health awarded 27 companies licenses to open up dispensaries around the state.

According to a report from CNN, medical marijuana is used to reduce pain, as well as the symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s diseases. Cannabidiol, an active chemical in marijuana, offers numerous health benefits, according to The Washington Post.

With the evidence supporting medical marijuana, along with the legalization across Pennsylvania, Temple needs to enact a policy that allows students with a state-issued medical marijuana card to safely use the substance on Main Campus.

A student with a medical marijuana card who wishes to remain anonymous has reached out to Temple administrators inquiring about their rights to access and use medical marijuana on campus but has been left without answers.

“The City of Philadelphia effectively decriminalized possession of marijuana by reducing penalties and consequences for personal-use quantities of marijuana,” university spokesman Brandon Lausch wrote in an email. “As a result, Temple is monitoring regulatory guidance on how best to synchronize its policies with all current laws.”

Since the university is eager to be up to date with Philadelphia laws, it should take the same approach when creating an on-campus medical marijuana policy.

“The city of Philadelphia is doing the same, and there’s an active discussion with all businesses,” said Chris Goldstein, a journalism instructor who teaches the class Marijuana in the News. “How do we accommodate patients in the workplace?”

Enacting an on-campus medical marijuana policy should be obvious. This is a health need that should be addressed immediately.

Massachusetts also legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2012. To accommodate students with a medical need for marijuana, Tufts University enacted a policy that offers students a way to fulfill their medicinal needs.

Tufts doesn’t allow the use of marijuana on campus, but students with a medical marijuana card are permitted to submit a letter to the dean of student affairs to end their on-campus housing leases and relocate to an area off campus to use their medical marijuana.

Arizona also made the distinction between medical marijuana use and recreational use by decriminalizing medical use and allowing it on college campuses.

Temple should follow the lead set forth by these universities and allow students to safely use medical marijuana.

 

Read the full article HERE

Legal marijuana could soon be a bigger market than soda

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  • Legal marijuana is set to hit $75 billion in sales by 2030, according to a note from analysts at the investment bank Cowen.
  • Weed is already putting pressure on alcohol sales. In states that have legalized marijuana, binge drinking rates are declining.
  • The market for marijuana could eventually eclipse soda sales.

Cannabis could soon become a bigger industry than soda, and it has already started putting pressure on alcohol sales.

If marijuana is made legal nationwide in the US by 2030, the legal weed industry could generate $75 billion in sales by that year, according to a new note from the investment bank Cowen.

Cowen’s cannabis sector analyst, Vivien Azer, revised her previous estimate up by $25 billion. Legal marijuana sales are already around $50 billion, Azer said in the note.

Soda consumption, on the other hand, is declining. Per capita consumption fell to a 31-year low in the US in 2016, Bloomberg reports, with $76.4 billion in sales in 2017.

Legal marijuana is already starting to impact alcohol sales as well.

In states that have legalized cannabis, binge-drinking rates have fallen 9% below the national average, and 11% below states that don’t allow the sale of recreational marijuana, according to the note. Adults in states with legal cannabis binge drink an average of 13% fewer times per month than those in states without legal recreational marijuana.

“This work builds on our prior assertions that cannabis acts as a substitute social lubricant for consumers,” Azer said in the note.

“As cannabis access expands, we expect further pressure on alcohol sales, given this notable divide in consumer consumption pattern,” she added.

The cannabis market is still far behind alcohol, however. Sales of alcohol hit $210 billion in 2017, according to the note.

 

Read the full article HERE

Pennsylvania medical marijuana businesses may soon sell flower for vaping

Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis board has recommended allowing the sale of flower for vaping.

All that stands in the way of MMJ flower sales is a go-ahead from the state’s secretary of health, according to Triblive.com.

Adding flower to the list of available products should boost the bottom line of Pennsylvania’s cannabis companies.

Flower is one of the most affordable and commonly purchased forms of cannabis.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The board voted 11-0 to allow “dry leaf or plant form for administration by vaporization.” One member abstained.
  • Pennsylvania’s MMJ businesses currently can sell only oil, pills, tinctures or concentrate for vaping as well as ointments.
  • As of April 6, more than 25,000 MMJ patients were signed up to purchase medical cannabis, and 914 doctors were registered to recommend medical cannabis.
  • The advisory board is also expected to vote on whether to add terminal illness and palliative care to the list of medical conditions that can be treated with MMJ.

Read the full article HERE

Pennsylvania Green Lights Medical Cannabis Program Expansion

There have been issues with launching the medical cannabis program in the state of Pennsylvania, including dispensaries experiencing a shortage of available product for patients. Despite this, the State Department of Health recently announced it would be accepting more applications for new dispensaries and growing operations in April of this year.

According to NBC 10 Philadelphia, 13 permits will be up for grabs for growers and processors, while 23 will be available for dispensaries. In addition to the permits for dispensaries and grow-ops, the expansion of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program will include issuing permits to ‘clinical registrants’ for medical schools and hospitals who are interested in doing tests and much-needed research on the plant medicine.

One of those schools will likely be Thomas Jefferson University, who say they want to become an “academic clinical research center”. In 2017, Thomas Jefferson University received a donation of $3 million from Australian philanthropists Barry and Joy Lambert. The University used this donation to found the Lambert Center for the Study of Medical Cannabis and Hemp.

“This could really put Pennsylvania into the forefront of this whole controversial and challenging area,” Dr. Charles Pollack, director of the Lambert Center, told NBC10 after the university received the donation.

There are several other schools that are eager to run clinical tests on cannabis, including the University of Pittsburgh.

“We believe that the research will be of great importance in determining the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis products in treating specific diseases,” the University of Pittsburgh said in a statement.

Even though the Keystone State’s medical cannabis program is relatively restricted in comparison to that of other states, it is the only one that has introduced research elements. Ohio and Florida have both discussed research components in their programs, but there has not been any laws on the books as of yet.

Read the full article HERE.

New federal budget bill includes medical marijuana protections

By John Schroyer

A key federal law that prohibits the Department of Justice from using federal funds to prosecute medical marijuana companies looks likely to remain in place under a new federal budget deal reportedly reached Wednesday among Congressional leaders.

Language from the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment is included on page 240 of the 2,243-page budget bill, which was posted online by Republican leaders.

However, the spending deal has yet to be passed by Congress, which has a Friday deadline before the federal government shuts down.

The Washington Post reported that the deal is “uncertain.”

Even if it is approved, the deal would last only through September.

The amendment, which was first passed by Congress more than three years ago as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, blocks the DOJ and therefore the Drug Enforcement Administration from using federal funds to prevent states and territories “from implementing their own laws” on MMJ.

The law specifically protects medical marijuana laws – and, by extension, MMJ businesses – in 46 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico.

The only four states that aren’t protected are Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota – none of which have yet approved any functional MMJ industries. (There are several states that allow for possession of CBD but don’t permit production or sales.)

Read the full article HERE

Legalized pot in New Jersey – not so fast

by Jan Hefler

When New Jersey State Sen. Nicholas Scutari introduced a 62-page bill and primer on how to legalize marijuana almost one year ago, he chuckled when asked if it had a prayer of passing.

The legal sale of recreational marijuana had not yet begun in any other East Coast state, and yes, Chris Christie, the Republican governor at the time, had threatened a veto.

The bill, Scutari insisted, would give lawmakers time to digest and debate the issue so that a palatable package would be “ready for the next governor.”

 Gov. Murphy, a Democrat who promised on the campaign trail that he would give legal pot the green light, is now in his third month in office.  But no legalization bill has landed on his desk. None has even made it to the floor for debate, despite a Democratic majority in the Legislature and pledges from party leaders that this would be a priority.

“Many lawmakers are still undecided,” Scutari, a Democrat from Union County, said last week. In January, he predicted legalization would be approved by the spring, possibly the summer at the latest.  But now he says it might take a little longer.

“Politicians are not known as a courageous bunch, and it’s a topic people want to get comfortable with. … After 90 years of indoctrination that this is a bad substance, we have to turn people around, educate them,” said Scutari, a municipal prosecutor who two years ago led a bipartisan delegation of lawmakers to Colorado, the first state in the nation to legalize, to see for themselves how it was working.

Nine states and Washington, D.C., have approved recreational marijuana, and New Jersey was expected to be in the next wave, behind Massachusetts.  But some New Jersey lawmakers are suggesting alternatives, and legal pot may not be a certainty after all, at least for now.

Last September, a Quinnipiac University poll showed that 59 percent of New Jersey residents supported legal pot, while a Rutgers-Eagleton poll conducted in November pegged the number at 53 percent. Then, last month, a Fairleigh Dickinson survey found support had dropped to 42 percent.

“We’re starting with a blank slate, looking at all the options,” Assemblyman Joe Danielsen, a Democrat, said last week as he convened the first hearing on legalization at the New Jersey statehouse this year.

Danielsen is “Switzerland, very neutral” on the topic, said Wayne Dibofsky, his chief of staff.

As the chairman of the obscure Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee, Danielsen invited more than two dozen speakers to testify for and against legalization during a five-hour, standing-room-only session.

 

Read the full article HERE

New Jersey Lawmakers Weigh Legalizing Marijuana

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey lawmakers are hearing the case for and against marijuana legalization.

The Democrat-led Assembly Oversight Committee held the hearing Monday in Trenton. Three additional meetings are planned for the spring.

The issue is front and center after Democrat Phil Murphy won last year’s gubernatorial contest while campaigning for legalization.

Advocates say legalization can grow state revenue and the economy, help end a pot-fueled black market and reduce drug-related arrests.

Opponents dispute the arguments on the black market and also say children are at risk to drug exposure. They also raised concerns over driving while under the influence of drugs and a spike in emergency room visits.

Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational use.

Read the full article HERE