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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
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- Tue, 01 Oct 2019 04:20:21 PST

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Members of Congress Vote to Legitimize Retail Cannabis Sales

Washington, DC: Members of the US House of Representatives voted on Wednesday in favor of legislation, HR 1595: The SAFE Banking Act, explicitly amending federal law so that financial institutions may work directly with state-licensed marijuana retailers and other related businesses.

House members voted 321 to 103 in favor of the legislation, with 229 Democrats and 91 Republicans casting 'yes' votes.

Commenting on the vote, NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said: "This vote is a significant first step, but it must not be the last. Much more action will still need to be taken by lawmakers. In the Senate, we demand that lawmakers in the Senate Banking Committee hold true to their commitment to move expeditiously in support of similar federal reforms. And in the House, we anticipate additional efforts to move forward and pass comprehensive reform legislation like The MORE Act — which is sponsored by the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee — in order to ultimately comport federal law with the new political and cultural realities surrounding marijuana.

Federal law currently defines all marijuana-related business endeavors as criminal enterprises, including those commercial activities that are licensed and legally regulated under state laws. Therefore, almost no state-licensed cannabis businesses can legally obtain a bank account, process credit cards, or obtain loans for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Study: Cannabis Use Not Associated with Higher Risk of Adverse Outcomes in Kidney Transplantation

Minneapolis, MN: A history of cannabis use is not associated with any greater risk of adverse outcomes among kidney transplant recipients, according to data published in the journal Clinical Transplantation.

Investigators with the Minneapolis-based health care clinic chain Hennepin Healthcare assessed the impact of marijuana and tobacco consumption on over 900 kidney transplant recipients.

Authors reported that a history of tobacco use was associated with an elevated risk of adverse outcomes, but that the use of cannabis alone was not.

They concluded, "Marijuana use should not be an absolute contraindication to kidney transplant."

Their findings are consistent with those of prior studies concluding that a history of cannabis use is not contraindicated in patients receiving organ transplants. Nonetheless, it remains hospital policy in various jurisdictions to automatically disqualify medical cannabis patients from being eligible to receive organ transplants.

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director. Full text of the study, "Marijuana use should not preclude consideration for kidney transplantation," appears in Clinical Transplantation.

Australia: Capital Territory Becomes First Jurisdiction to Legalize Marijuana for Personal Use

Canberra, Australia: Members of the Legislative assembly for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) have enacted legislation depenalizing activities related to the personal possession and cultivation of cannabis. An estimated 400,000 people reside in the ACT, which includes Australia's capital, Canberra.

Under the new law, which takes effect on January 30, 2020, adults may possess up to 50 grams of cannabis and cultivate up to four plants per household without penalty. Public cannabis consumption, or use within close proximity to children, will remain prohibited. Under the territory's existing law, low-level marijuana offenses are punishable by civil fines.

The ACT's policy conflicts with Australian federal law, which defines cannabis-related activities as criminal offenses. Between 2017 and 2018, Australian police made over 72,000 marijuana-related arrests – 92 percent of which were for personal possession.

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director.

Delaware: Governor Signs Legislation Expanding Doctors' Discretion to Authorize Medical Cannabis Treatment

Dover, DE: Democratic Gov. John Carney has signed legislation into law expanding physicians' discretion to recommend medical cannabis therapy to patients.

Senate Bill 24 amends the state's medical marijuana access law by permitting physicians, under specific circumstances, to issue cannabis recommendations to patients who are not diagnosed with a pre-approved qualifying condition. In such circumstances, an authorizing physician must attest that the patient possesses a "debilitating condition, [that] current standard care practices and treatments have been exhausted, and [that] there are grounds to support that the patient may benefit from this treatment." The physician is also required to perform ongoing evaluations of the patient's progress with regard to whether the treatment is efficacious.

The new law took effect upon signing.

An estimated 6,000 patients are registered with the state to obtain medical cannabis products.

Massachusetts: Regulators Vote in Favor of Cannabis Deliveries, On-Site Consumption Facilities

Boston, MA: Members of the state's Cannabis Control Commission decided this week in favor of regulations to establish licensing for retail cannabis deliveries and for limited on-site consumption facilities.

Members voted 4 to 1 in favor of the provisions. Regulators in May had previously advanced the idea of permitting social use spaces.

A separate provision approved unanimously by the Commission eliminates the annual fee associated with patients' medical cannabis registration cards.

Regulators anticipate accepting applications for home-delivery licenses within "a couple of months." Applicants will first need to gain the approval of local communities prior to seeking a state-issued permit. Deliveries will not be permitted after 9pm or before 8am, and retailers are prohibited from delivering cannabis to college dormitories.

Regulators expect the rollout for the licensing of consumption facilities to be slower, and legislative changes to existing state law may be required before the program can become operational.

To date, only Alaska has finalized statewide regulation governing on-site facilities. In May, Colorado lawmakers enacted legislation regulating both marijuana deliveries and "hospitality spaces." Those laws take effect on January 1, 2020.

In a separate action taken this week, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker instituted an emergency ban on the retail sale of all vapor cartridge products. The retail ban took immediate effect and will remain in place until January 25, 2020. Massachusetts in the first state to enact an explicit ban on the sale of any vaping-related product.

New Hampshire: Senators Fail to Override Governor's Veto of Bill Allowing Patients to Home Cultivate Cannabis

Concord, NH: Members of the state Senate voted 13 to 11 to override Republican Gov. Chris Sununu's veto of legislation, HB 364, that sought to allow registered patients to cultivate personal use quantities of medical cannabis. Sixteen Senate votes were necessary to achieve the two-thirds majority required to overturn the veto.

Members of the House had previously voted 259 to 120 to override the Governor's veto.

House Bill 364 allowed patients enrolled in the state's medical cannabis access program the option to grow up to three mature cannabis plants at home.

In his veto message in August, Gov. Sununu opined that allowing patients to grow their own medical cannabis would "make the job of law enforcement significantly more difficult," and also suggested that it might reduce the number of patients soliciting the state's dispensaries.

By contrast, supermajorities of the House and Senate did override Gov. Sununu's veto of separate legislation that eliminates the state's three-month waiting period for patients seeking a medical cannabis authorization.

Utah: Governor Signs Law Amending Medical Cannabis Distribution Rules

Salt Lake City, UT: Republican Gov. Gary Herbert has signed legislation into law amending the state's nascent medical cannabis access program.

Under the new law, the distribution of medical cannabis products will no longer be overseen by public health regulators. Rather, regulators will license as many as 14 private entities throughout the state to dispense cannabis products to authorized patients. The new legislation also permits courier services to engage in cannabis deliveries to those patients who either reside a significant distance from an operating dispensary or who are homebound.

Lawmakers unanimously approved the changes during a special legislative session earlier this month. It marked the second time in less than a year that lawmakers had convened a special session to amend the state's medical cannabis law.

Voters in 2018 approved Proposition 2, which legalized the use and dispensing of medical cannabis to qualified patients. Shortly thereafter, lawmakers held a special legislative session where they voted to repeal and replace the initiative law with their own, more restrictive legislation.

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