WARREN, R.I. — A retired Newport firefighter wants to open a "club" in the former Nathaniel Porter Inn where medical marijuana can be purchased and smoked while classes are offered on cultivation and cooking techniques.
For months, Patrick Rimoshytus has been searching for a home for his new venture, Green Cross of Rhode Island, with the hope of connecting medical marijuana users and growers in part because he believes the state-regulated dispensaries are too expensive.
"What he's trying to do is link up people who have available medicine with people who are in need of medicine. He certainly doesn't want to violate any law. When we went to Warren to meet with a building inspector, nothing specifically allowed for the placement of this facility, so we had to consider an ordinance," said Rimoshytus' attorney, Robert J. Healey Jr., the former Moderate Party gubernatorial candidate.
The Warren Planning Board has already unanimously approved an amendment to allow three "nonprofit medical marijuana care center(s) operating as membership club(s)" in districts zoned for business, manufacturing and waterfront among others. (The use would not be permitted in a residential area.) The Warren Town Council will have a public hearing on the amendment at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
If approved, the club would be a first for the state. Rimoshytus, who testified before the General Assembly multiple times this year on bills that would expand the state's medical marijuana program, had said he uses the drug for chronic pain and anxiety associated with his former career as a firefighter. He received a Carnegie Medal in 2013 for pulling a Barrington woman from a burning car and in the process suffered first-and-second degree burns.
He plans to operate Green Cross of Rhode Island as a nonprofit, members-only club with dues paid to support the cost of operation. The business was registered in December 2014 to "assist registered qualifying patients with information and services regarding the medical use of marijuana in a safe, secure and private environment."
But questions remain.
If Warren were to approve the zoning change and allow the club to operate, it's not entirely clear how the state would view the business.
Neither the Attorney General's Office nor the Department of Health were consulted on the proposal, but both suggested it could be problematic.
"A cursory look at the language of the suggested ordinance raises more questions than it answers. It is yet another example of the attempted expansion of marijuana in this state and is an exploitation of the medical marijuana program," said Amy Kempe, a spokeswomen for the Attorney General's Office.
Christina Batastini, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health, had this to say: "At present, the state is limited by statute to three compassion centers. ... The Department has concerns that a proposal like this could be used to circumvent the registration certificate required for a compassion center."
Healey said the proposal is in no means an attempt to skirt the law.
"It's an interesting little war because the compassion centers have a strong voice in the legislature, but the cost is really weighing on the patients," Healey said. "If the state is truly patient-oriented, they'll see this is not a bad idea. The Department of Health hasn't issued much guidance in this area, so everybody is groping in the dark to figure out how to implement state law."
Lawmakers first permitted the use of medical marijuana in 2006. In 2012, the stateeliminated criminal charges for those who possess an ounce or less of marijuana. For five consecutive years, legislation proposing to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana has been introduced in the General Assembly, though the bills have not been approved.
This year, the House approved a measure to legalize the growth of hemp — cannabis with less than 1 percent of the psychoactive ingredient THC. The bill never cleared the Senate before the General Assembly's disheveled recess in June.
There are 11,427 qualifying medical marijuana patients in the state, and 3,263 people are registered caregivers.
There are also three state-regulated medical marijuana dispensaries or "compassion centers" — in Providence, Warwick and Portsmouth — where there are no limits to the number of patients that can be served.
Questions in town
Warren Councilman Steven Thompson said the proposal has created a "buzz" in the town for months. He's heard from residents concerned about everything from children's exposure to parking problems near the proposed location at 125 Water St.
He said he believes the council needs to publicly discuss the impact on the community with the potential for hundreds of people converging on the only such "club" in the state.
"As a society it seems like this is probably the direction we are moving towards, and Rhode Island has been toying with the sort of vague structure we have set up now for a while. My concern is that I want to be very sure that if we are going to put this as an allotted use we understand what the ramifications are," Thompson said.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown recently signed into law a bill that allows medical cannabis dispensaries to sell recreational cannabis to anyone 21 and older beginning October 1st. According Oregon’s official website, there are currently – as of this publication – 310 medical cannabis dispensaries approved to operate in the state.
Oregon’s website includes a directory of each of the state’s dispensaries, which can be found by clicking here. Each of these locations will be allowed to sell up to a quarter ounce of recreational cannabis to those 21 and older starting October 1st.
We recommend contacting the outlets prior to October 1st to confirm that they’ll be selling recreational cannabis before planning to purchase from them. It’s also a good idea to confirm that they’re currently open for business.
In Oregon, as of July 1st, it’s legal for those 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis in public, and up to eight ounces at a private residence. The personal cultivation of up to four plants is also allowed.
VIA The Joint Blog
For the first time in the history of the event, the 2015 Washington D.C. Fair will feature a marijuana growing competition.
With the legalization of cannabis being enacted in D.C. five months ago, this competition is an opportunity for citizens to show off their green thumbs. It will be called the “Best Buds” category, adding it to a list of other contests including homebrew and pickled food competitions.
Each plant will be judged in four categories:
- Appearance: How well is the plant manicured and does it have trichomes?
- Touch: Does the stem snap? How sticky is the plant?
- Odor: What is the smell like and is it sweet, spicy or murky?
- Story: Was the light used artificial or natural? Grown in soil or hydroponically? Was the plant grown organically?
The entries will not be judged on how high, nor the type of high that results when consumed because the fair must follow the law — it is illegal to smoke in a public place.
Anna Tauzin, a board member and outreach director for the fair, stated:
“Now that it’s legal for residents of the District to grow their own plants, we wanted a way to highlight this new freedom while also showing off the agricultural talents of the District’s people.”
The judges for the competition have not been selected yet, but are expected to be a mix of cannabis experts from around the area. After the Denver County Fair canceled their Pot Pavillon exhibit, it appears that the D.C. Fair will be one of the few featuring cannabis themed events.
The winner will receive a blue ribbon and other items from local businesses.
Oregon adults will be able to legally purchase recreational marijuana beginning Oct. 1, about a year earlier than had been expected.
Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed a law on Tuesday allowing the sale of recreational marijuana in existing medical marijuana dispensaries, starting just three months after Oregon's reformed marijuana law went into effect.
The measure "is a smart solution to a short-term logistical problem," Kristen Grainger, Brown's spokeswoman, told The Huffington Post. "Oregon’s new recreational marijuana law went into effect in July 2015, but Oregonians couldn’t lawfully buy it anywhere for another year or more. If marijuana is legal to use, it shouldn’t be illegal to buy."
The new marijuana law allows adults 21 and older to buy up to one-fourth ounce of recreational marijuana per day at medical marijuana shops. Consumers also may buy seeds and up to four non-flowering cannabis plants. The 25 percent state tax on marijuana sales won't begin until Jan. 4, so early shoppers can buy their newly legal weed tax-free for a few months.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, charged with regulating and monitoring the industry, will issue licenses to new recreational marijuana retailers later. Those shops, which will be allowed to sell up to one ounce per transaction, are likely to open before the end of 2016.
State voters in November approved Measure 91, which legalized the possession, use and sale of recreational marijuana for adults. The law took effect July 1, but sales hadn't been expected to begin until late 2016, giving state authorities time to establish a regulatory framework and issue licenses to retailers.
“I think this is a step forward," U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D) told HuffPost of the new law. "The state is doing a careful job of rolling this out in a thoughtful way, working to keep with the intent of the ballot measure.”
Blumenauer has been a vocal supporter of ending marijuana prohibition-style policies, offering several congressional bills aimed at reforming marijuana policy.
To date, four states, and the District of Columbia, have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. Colorado and Washington state were the first to legalize the substance for adult use in 2012, with the first shops opening in both states in 2014. Twenty-three states, including Oregon in 1998, have legalized medical marijuana.
Despite more than half of all states forging their own way on marijuana policy, the federal government continues to ban the plant, classifying it as one of the "most dangerous" drugs alongside heroin and LSD.
Multiple recent polls have illustrated the dramatic shift in public opinion on the issue, finding record high percentages of Americans in support of legalization for recreational purposes.
In April, CBS News found 53 percent in support of legalization, the most since CBS began asking the question in 1979. That same month, Fox News found a record 51 percent in favor of legalization. In March, General Social Survey, widely regarded as the most authoritative source on public opinion research, found 52 percent in favor.
VIA Huffington Post
TORONTO -- Canadians who have been prescribed medical marijuana could one day see their insurance company footing the bill, experts predict, following the introduction of new Health Canada rules that allow for the sale of cannabis oils.
Health Canada announced revamped medical marijuana regulations earlier this month after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that users of the drug should be permitted to consume it in other forms, such as oils and edibles, rather than having to smoke dried buds.
"You're going to see insurance companies slowly start to creep into the sector," says Khurram Malik, an analyst at Jacob Securities Inc., noting that the new regulations will allow medical marijuana producers to sell gel caps similar to those made from cod liver oil.
That will allow for more precise dosing, Malik says.
"When you're trying to smoke a plant you have no idea how much you're consuming, so that makes doctors a little nervous," he said.
Experts say the changes are a major step towards legitimizing the drug in the eyes of doctors and insurers.
"When something doesn't look different than other medicines, it becomes much easier for people to get comfortable with the idea that this is, in fact, a possible treatment option for patients," says Bruce Linton, the chief executive of Smiths Falls, Ont.-based Tweed Marijuana Inc. (CVE:TWD).
However, medical marijuana producers still have one major hurdle to overcome before insurers begin routinely funding the drug -- cannabis currently doesn't have a drug identification number, known as a DIN.
"If it was issued a DIN by Health Canada, it's quite likely that the insurance companies would cover it," says Wendy Hope, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc.
"To obtain a DIN, the new form of medical marijuana would need to go through the full Health Canada approval process like any new drug."
As it stands, most insurance companies don't routinely cover medical marijuana. But some insurers, including Manulife, say they will consider making an exception if the employer has specifically requested it for one of its employees.
"It's up to the employer to ask if they want to have it covered," says Hope.
Earlier this year, Sun Life agreed to pay for a University of Waterloo's medical marijuana prescription through his student health plan after the student union went to bat for him. Jonathan Zaid, 22, uses the drug to combat a syndrome called new daily persistent headache.
Some health insurance companies may pay for medical marijuana through a health spending account, says Hope. But, she adds, "my understanding is it doesn't happen often."
Malik says the primary reason why medical marijuana doesn't have a DIN is a lack of rigorous, clinical research on its efficacy.
"The evidence is very circumstantial -- not your typical 10-year, double-blind study that doctors and big pharmaceutical companies like to see," Malik said.
He suspects that's about to change.
"You're going to see a lot of Canadian companies partnering up with universities overseas that are a little more progressive than the ones we have here, at least in this space, to drive this research forward and legitimize it in the eyes of doctors and get DIN numbers on these things," Malik said.
Malik says there is a financial incentive for insurers to pay for medical marijuana, rather than shelling out for pricier chronic pain drugs such as opiates.
"From a dollars and cents standpoint, if marijuana is the same thing as a narcotic opiate, they would much rather cover marijuana because they're in the business to make money," Malik said.
While cops in the United States persist in their prohibitionary efforts—sometimes paralyzing and brutally murdering the average citizen over marijuana—police forces throughout northeast England have pulled out of the war on weed, at least for the most part. According to reports, cops are now only busting street hooligans engaged in large-scale black market operations—small timers are free to grow.
In a move that some government officials consider insubordinate decriminalization, County Durham crime commissioner Ron Hogg recently approved a series of guidelines dictating that police resources no longer be used to crack down on low-level home pot cultivators. Instead, their authority will be used solely as a weapon to fight against the scourge of organized crime, dope dealers and street gangs.
"We are not prioritizing people who have a small number of cannabis plants for their own use” Hogg told the Telegraph. “In low-level cases we say it is better to work with them and put them in a position where they can recover.
"In these cases,” he continued, “the most likely way of dealing with them would be with a caution and by taking the plants away and disposing of them. It is unlikely that a case like that would be brought before a court.”
This rubber-fisted approach to dealing with petty pot crimes, according to Hogg, will not only save police time and money but, perhaps, even inspire a much needed debate over how the entire nation handles drug offenders.
Although marijuana cultivation is still considered a serious offense in the eyes of Crown Prosecution Services—an offense with a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison—Hogg said his troops are no longer going after “users and small-time growers” unless there is a complaint or a “blatant” disregard for the law. Therefore, as long as cannabis connoisseurs maintain grows of a reasonable size, there should never be any reason for a vicious shakedown.
The latest Crime Survey for England and Wales indicates that Hogg’s blind-eye approach to personal pot plants could remove a significant amount of heat off British cannabis culture. Statistics show that between 2012 and 2014, pot seizures increased by 45 percent. Interestingly, in around 90 percent of those cases, less than 50 plants were confiscated—evidence that the majority of these arrests have been for the average user, not large black market operations.
Yet, officials with the National Drug Prevention Alliance argue that the Durham Constabulary has gone rogue, suggesting that the publicity surrounding his newfound policy will encourage more people to grow weed. However, Hogg contends that his position is simply about “keeping people out of the criminal justice system and reducing costs.”
"Cannabis use is still illegal and smoking it is still a crime, but if you are caught, you will get this opportunity to stop re-offending,” Hogg told the Northern Echo.
Commissioner Hogg explained that although he supports decriminalization and the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, he remains concerned about the mental health implications associated with the herb.
“Legal or illegal makes no difference—it can be detrimental to health just like alcohol,” he said.
For now, resident stoners will have to settle for this concept of quasi-decriminalization because the U.K. government has no plans to legalize the leaf anytime in the near future. Commissioner Hogg said that as long as there is evidence that weed is damaging to the mental and physical condition, parliament will not tender its support.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.
VIA High Times
The top moving destination in 2014 was Oregon, which voted to legalize marijuana last November.
When choosing retirement locales, a few factors pop to mind: climate, amenities, proximity to grandchildren, access to quality healthcare.
Chris Cooper had something else to consider – marijuana laws.
The investment adviser from Toledo had long struggled with back pain due to a fractured vertebra and crushed disc from a fall. He hated powerful prescription drugs like Vicodin, but one thing did help ease the pain and spasms: marijuana.
So when Cooper, 57, was looking for a place to retire, he ended up in San Diego, since California allows medical marijuana. A growing number of retirees are also factoring in the legalization of pot when choosing where to spend their golden years.
“Stores are packed with every type of person you can imagine,” said Cooper who takes marijuana once or twice a week, often orally. “There are old men in wheelchairs, or women whose hair is falling out from chemotherapy. You see literally everybody.”
Cooper, who figures he spends about $150 on the drug each month, is not alone in retiring to a marijuana-friendly state.
Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing medical marijuana use. A handful – Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and D.C. – allow recreational use as well.
The U.S. legal marijuana market was $2.7 billion in 2014, a figure expected to rise to $3.4 billion this year, according to ArcView Market Research.
Figuring out how many people are retiring to states that let you smoke pot is challenging since retirees do not have to check off a box on a form saying why they chose a particular location to their final years.
But “there is anecdotal evidence that people with health conditions which medical marijuana could help treat, are relocating to states with legalized marijuana,” said Michael Stoll, a professor of public policy at University of California, Los Angeles who studies retiree migration trends.
He cited data from United Van Lines, which show the top U.S. moving destinations in 2014 was Oregon, where marijuana had been expected to be legalized for several years and finally passed a ballot initiative last November.
Two-thirds of moves involving Oregon last year were inbound. That is a 5 percent jump over the previous year, as the state “continues to pull away from the pack,” the moving company said in a report.
The Mountain West – including Colorado, which legalized medical marijuana in 2000, and recreational use in 2012 – boasted the highest percentage of people moving there to retire, United Van Lines said. One-third of movers to the region said they were going there specifically to retire.
Lining Up for Pot
The image of marijuana-using seniors might seem strange, but it is the byproduct of a graying counterculture. Much of the baby boom generation was in college during the 1960s and 70s, and have had much more familiarity with the drug than previous generations.
Many of the health afflictions of older Americans push them to seek out dispensaries for relief.
“A lot of the things marijuana is best at are conditions which become more of an issue as you get older,” said Taylor West, deputy director of the Denver-based National Cannabis Industry Association. “Chronic pain, inflammation, insomnia, loss of appetite: All of those things are widespread among seniors.”
Since those in their 60s and 70s presumably have no desire to be skulking around on the criminal market in states where usage is outlawed, it makes sense they would gravitate to states where marijuana is legal.
“In Colorado, since legalization, many dispensaries have seen the largest portion of sales going to baby boomers and people of retirement age,” West said.
The folks at the sales counters agree: Their clientele has proven to be surprisingly mature.
“Our demographic is not punk kids,” added Karl Keich, founder of Seattle Medical Marijuana Association, a collective garden in Washington State. “About half of the people coming into our shop are seniors. It’s a place where your mother or grandmother can come in and feel safe.”
A neurology professor at the University of South Florida will join a group of speakers to bring together leaders in health care and medical marijuana.
Dr. Juan Sanchez-Ramos, who conducts research on Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, is one of seven speakers to advocate for medical marijuana at the three-day International Canna Pro Expo that starts Oct. 2.
The expo expects to bring over 2,000 people to Orlando.
“There’s a lot of room for business,” Sanchez-Ramos said in an interview July 20. “Believe me.”
The professor will discuss how marijuana can help treat neurological disorders, slow down brain aging, and relieve pain for people who can’t take opiates.
He hopes to win over health care professionals not yet sold on marijuana’s benefits and explain the need for more studies on the plant. Major health organizations still take defiant stances against medical marijuana, he said.
Though some states have legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use, the biggest obstacle to research is marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I drug, he said.
This means the federal government believes marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical treatment use, is unsafe under medical supervision, can’t be prescribed and is not readily available for clinical use. The list includes marijuana, heroin, LSD and more.
Plants have historically been used for beneficial drugs, be it aspirin from willow bark or morphine from poppies. He predicts a renaissance of marijuana research to come with more legalization.
“They should allow it to be studied in a scientific way,” he said. “Finally, society is starting to see the light.”
In Florida, only the Charlotte’s Web strain of marijuana is legal. Only in May did a final judicial hurdle finish before growers across the state could send in applications to grow the plant.
Five regional growers will be chosen later this year.
Advocates want to expand medical marijuana legalization in the state through a vote or through the Legislature next year.
If legalized in all 50 states, New York marijuana industry research firm GreenWave Advisors predicts $35 billion in retail marijuana sales revenue by 2020.
It may come as a shocking surprise, but even though you can’t bring your own bottled water through TSA checkpoints, you can bring your own marijuana!
Fox 12 Oregon reports that passengers traveling on flights within Oregon are now going to be permitted to bring a small amount of “personal use” marijuana with them. The new approach is being implemented after the state’s recreational marijuana law just went into effect at the beginning of this month.
Passengers flying through Portland International Airport, will be allowed to go through TSA checkpoints with marijuana from now on.
The Transportation Security Administration has always claimed that their job is to “detect threats to aviation security.”
That would seem to indicate that this should not bother the agency one bit. As long as adult marijuana users are staying under the state’s 1 ounce marijuana limit, the International Business Times reports, they will be left alone by the TSA.
The TSA agents will, however, alert airport police, who will check out whether the passenger is staying in state, or flying out of state.
If they are heading across state lines, they’ll have to ditch the pot at the checkpoint.
Traveling across state lines with the plant is still regarded as a federal offense.
Local Fox 12 interviewed passengers about the new law. Arnold Lucht said, “I don’t care if they got it in their pocket. I could care less as long as they can’t smoke it in the airport, you can’t smoke it in the airplane. So depends if wherever they’re going if it’s legal, that’s fine with me.”
Verena Douglas, who moved to Oregon from Colorado, said, “I’m not anti-marijuana, but I’m pro-hairspray. I would really like to have some hairspray or some shampoo. What’s shampoo going to do to somebody? Why can’t I take my shampoo on a plane? I think it’s a little lopsided. Silly, it’s actually silly.”
Retail marijuana sales to begin in Oregon this October 1.
Things are really beginning to change with marijuana and the law in the United States. How long do you think it will be before we #EndMarijuanaProhibition and #EndTheDrugWar entirely?
(Article by Jackson Marciana)