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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
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- Tue, 11 Jun 2019 04:20:21 PST

Illinois to Become Eleventh State to Legalize Adult Use Marijuana

Springfield, IL: House and Senate lawmakers have advanced legislation to the governor legalizing the adult use of cannabis and regulating its commercial production and retail sale. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzer is anticipated to sign the measure into law imminently.

Under the proposal, Illinois residents who are 21 or older may legally possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, while those visiting from out-of-state may legally possess half that amount. Those patients enrolled in the state's medical cannabis access program will be permitted for the first time to legally home cultivate up to five marijuana plants. Non-patients face civil fines of no more than $200 for growing personal use quantities of cannabis. Under current law, minor marijuana cultivation offenses are punishable by up to one-year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

The bill also facilitates the expedited expungement of low-level minor convictions, while also establishing a process to vacate more serious offenses.

Under the plan, licensed medical dispensaries will have the first opportunity to engage in adult-use marijuana sales. New applicants will be able to access low-interest loans in order to defray start-up costs.

Once signed, the new law takes effect on January 1, 2020.

Illinois will become the eleventh state to legalize adult use marijuana possession. It is only the second state to legalize marijuana use via legislative action (rather than by voter initiative) and it is the first state to legislatively regulate cannabis sales.

FDA Responds to Testimony Regarding Marketing of CBD Products

Washington, DC: A representative of the US Food and Drug Administration responded to day-long public testimony regarding the establishment of regulations governing the retail sale of CBD-infused products.

On Friday, the agency held its first-ever public hearing dedicated to issues surrounding the "manufacturing, product quality, marketing, labeling, and sale" of hemp-derived CBD-infused retail products. NORML provided written testimony ahead of the event, calling on the agency to clarify confusion among both consumers and regulators with regard to the legality of certain CBD products. NORML further recommended that the FDA move expeditiously to provide regulatory guidelines governing the products' manufacturing, standardization, and quality.

Following the conclusion of the hearing, Dr. Amy Abernethy – Principal Deputy Commissioner of the FDA – issued a series of tweets concurring with many of NORML's concerns. She agreed, "There is a need to further clarify the regulatory framework to reduce confusion in the market." She also acknowledged, "Consumers need consistent information and labeling," and further stressed the need for the objective lab testing of retail products. Recently, third-party testing of over 240 commercially available CBD-infused products reported that many of them contain heavy metals, such as lead and arsenic, and that they typically contain less-than-advertised quantities of CBD.

She concluded: "[S]peakers reinforced that regulatory pathways are unclear. We must sort this out in service of public health. ... We will work as quickly as possible to define a way forward."

In December, Congress enacted legislation removing industrial hemp (defined as cannabis containing less than 0.3 percent THC) and products containing cannabinoids derived from hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act. The following day, the FDA stated: "Congress explicitly preserved the agency's current authority to regulate products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and section 351 of the Public Health Service Act." The agency further opined, "[I]t's unlawful under the FD&C Act to introduce food containing added CBD or THC into interstate commerce, or to market CBD or THC products as, or in, dietary supplements, regardless of whether the substances are hemp-derived." This past March, outgoing FDA director Scott Gottlieb testified to Congress that it could take up to four years for the FDA to create a regulatory pathway for the retail sale of CBD-infused food products or health food supplements.

The agency continues to selectively target manufacturers who it believes are marketing CBD-infused products in a manner that violates the agency's interpretation of the law.

Study: Hospice Professionals Overwhelmingly Support Medical Cannabis Access

Baltimore, MD: Health professional overwhelmingly support the use of medical cannabis among patients in hospice care, according to data published in The Journal of Palliative Medicine.

Investigators from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy surveyed a nationally representative sample of 310 hospice professionals (primarily nurses) from 40 states.

Ninety-one percent of respondents endorsed the use of medical cannabis among hospice patients. Ninety percent of respondents said that they have fielded questions from patients regarding the use of medical cannabis, and 73 percent acknowledging having cared for a patient who has used it.

Authors reported, "[R]egardless of legal status, hospice staff overwhelmingly support patient access to MC (medical cannabis). Those who practice in states where MC is not yet legal wish that it was."

They concluded: "The consensus of our survey sample is that MC appears to be relatively safe and effective for a variety of conditions and is being used by several routes of administration. ... Our findings highlight important opportunities to support hospice providers and their patients through education and the development of policies."

Full text of the study, "A survey of hospice professional regarding medical cannabis practices," appears in The Journal of Palliative Medicine.

Arizona: Supreme Court Rules That Concentrates Are Legal Under State's Medical Cannabis Access Law

Phoenix, AZ: The manufacturing and possession of concentrated forms of cannabis are legally protected activities under the state's medical cannabis access law, according to a unanimous decision by the Arizona Supreme Court. The decision reverses a 2018 ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals.

Writing for the Court, justices opined: "AMMA (the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act) defines 'marijuana' as 'all parts of [the] plant.' The word 'all,' one of the most comprehensive words in the English language, means exactly that. Taken together, 'all parts' refers to all constituent elements of the marijuana plant, and the fact the resin must first be extracted from the plant reflects that it is part of the plant."

They added: "Proposition 203 was intended to allow the use of marijuana in connection with a wide array of debilitating medical conditions. ... It is implausible that voters intended to allow patients with these conditions to use marijuana only if they could consume it in dried-leaf/flower form. Such an interpretation would preclude the use of marijuana as an option for those for whom smoking or consuming those parts of the marijuana plants would be ineffective or impossible. Consistent with voter intent, our interpretation enables patients to use medical marijuana to treat their debilitating medical conditions, in whatever form best suits them, so long as they do not possess more than the allowable amount."

NORML Legal Committee member Thomas Dean filed an amicus brief in the case on behalf of NORML.

The ruling vacates the conviction of Rodney Jones, a state-registered patient, who served two-and-one-half years in prison for the possession of 0.05 ounces of hashish.

The case is State v Jones (No. CR-18-0370-PR).

Colorado: Governor Signs Multiple Marijuana Law Reform Measures

Denver, CO: Democratic Gov. Jared Polis has signed multiple bills into law amending the state's marijuana laws.

House Bill 1234 establishes regulations for the delivery of cannabis products from state-licensed retailers. Under the plan, deliveries are limited to one per day per household, and are only permitted in municipalities that explicitly allow for such activities. Deliveries to college campuses are prohibited. The delivery of medical cannabis products will begin on January 2, 2020, while the delivery of retail cannabis products will begin on January 2, 2021.

House Bill 1230 establishes regulations for the licensing of "marijuana hospitality spaces." Under the measure, licensed dispensaries and retailers could apply for on-site consumption permits. Hotels, restaurants and other private business would also be permitted to apply for similar licensing. At indoor facilities, marijuana smoking will be permitted unless prohibited by local rules. The new law takes effect on January 1, 2020. Colorado is only the second state to regulate social use marijuana spaces.

House Bill 1263 reduces criminal penalties for the possession of large quantities of cannabis. It amends penalties for the possession of over six ounces of marijuana and/or three ounces of marijuana concentrate from a level 4 felony to level 1 misdemeanor. It also mandates that police may not arrest a defendant for violations involving the possession of between one and two ounces of cannabis. The measure further reduces penalties for the low-level possession of other controlled substances from felonies to misdemeanors. The new penalties take effect on March 1, 2020.

Nevada: Governor Signs Measure Sealing Past Marijuana Convictions Thursday, 06 June 2019

Carson City, NV: Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak has signed legislation into law facilitating the ability of those with past marijuana crimes to have their records sealed.

Assembly Bill 192 permits those convicted of marijuana-specific activities which have since been decriminalized or legalized to submit a written request to the court to have those records sealed. Petitioners may not be charged a fee for submitting such a request, and any objections to the request must be filed within ten judicial days.

Upon signing the bill, the Governor stated, "[I]t's time also to provide a better future for those who face barriers to success because of an old marijuana conviction. Proud to sign this bill that will provide a better life for so many Nevadans."

The new law takes effect on July 1, 2019.

The measure is similar to newly enacted laws in several other states – including California, Colorado, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington – facilitating either the expungement or the sealing of prior marijuana convictions (or, in some cases, other criminal violations).

The governor separately signed legislation (AB 431) restoring voting rights to felons immediately following their release from prison, and Senate Bill 430, expanding to the pool of patients eligible to receive medical cannabis therapy to include those diagnosed with chronic pain, autism, anxiety, and opioid dependency, among other conditions. Both acts become effective on July 1, 2019.

New Jersey: Health Regulators to Greatly Expand Number of Licensed Dispensaries Thursday, 06 June 2019

Trenton, NJ: Representatives of the state Department of Health announced this week that regulators intend to license up to 108 additional medical cannabis facilities over the coming months. Up to half of the new facilities will operate as dispensaries while others will operate as cultivators and manufacturers.

Prior to this week's announcement, regulators had capped the total number of available dispensaries in the state to no more than twelve.

The agency acknowledged in a statement, "Due to the growing patient population served by the Medicinal Marijuana Program over the course of the 2018 and 2019, and the projected future expansion outlined in the Department's Biennial Report, the Department has determined that additional ATCs are necessary to meet the needs of the population of qualified patients."

Over 47,500 patients are registered to access medical marijuana under the state's program.

Separate legislation (Assembly Bill 10) to further amend and expand the state's medical cannabis law is expected to be advanced to the Governor next week.

Oregon: Lawmakers Advance Bill Prohibiting Landlords from Discriminating Against Medical Cannabis Consumers

Salem, OR: Lawmakers have advanced legislation, Senate Bill 970, prohibiting landlords from taking discriminatory action against those who either use medical cannabis or possess cannabis-related convictions. The measure awaits action from Democratic Gov. Kate Brown.

The measure states that a landlord may not take into consideration an applicant's "status as a medical marijuana patient" or whether they have a "conviction based solely on the use or possession of marijuana."

Once signed, the new law takes effect on January 1, 2020.

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