Medical marijuana patients have a constitutional right to buy pot, not just use it, according to ruling Wednesday by a judge.
Arapahoe County District Court Judge Christopher Cross sided with the CannaMart dispensary, which sued the city of Centennial after it was shut down in October.
Cross granted the dispensary's request for an injunction, which will prevent the city from keeping the dispensary closed while CannaMart challenges the city's argument that it can ban pot shops because they violated federal drug laws.
Colorado in 2000 passed a constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana, which is now allowed in 14 states. Recent decisions by state health authorities, along with a signal this year from the U.S. attorney general that federal prosecutors won't interfere with state pot rules, have led to an explosion of commercial marijuana stores across Colorado.
Two North Dakota farmers failed to convince the 8th Circuit that cannabis grown for industrial hemp is not technically marijuana and should not be regulated under federal law.
The court in St. Louis upheld dismissal of the farmers’ lawsuit seeking a declaration that the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) does not apply to industrial-use cannabis.
The appeals court pointed out that the Act defines marijuana to include all cannabis plants, regardless of the THC concentration.
“The CSA likewise makes no distinction between cannabis grown for drug use and that grown for industrial use,” Judge Pasco Bowman wrote.
The three-judge panel rejected the notion that industrial hemp is not marijuana under the Act, or that Congress has no authority to regulate their state-sanctioned cultivation of cannabis.
State health regulators have issued proposed regulations for the operation of compassion centers to dispense medical marijuana, but it could still take up to a year before the first center opens its doors in Rhode Island.
Acting under legislation passed by the General Assembly last spring, the state Department of Health last week issued 22 pages of proposed rules for licensing and operating up to three compassion centers in Rhode Island. The rules, covering everything from the amount of marijuana dispensed to the background of those dispensing it to the security systems in place to guard it, will be the subject of a formal public hearing on Feb. 2.
After that, if state Health Director David R. Gifford determines that no revisions are necessary, it would take about a month and a half for the rules to become formally enacted. Then, the licensing process would allow for a 60-day application period for would-be compassion-center operators — which could be prolonged by further public hearings on the applicants before Gifford makes the final decision.
According to a recent article in the L.A. Times, a ballot initiative that, if passed, would legalize marijuana state wide is slated to be put on the 2010 general election ballot.
It would be a substantial breakthrough for California, which was the country's leader in decriminalizing marijuana for individual use and in developing medicinal marijuana.
Thankfully, it would also eliminate the contradictions that currently exist in the law that lead to absurd and incredibly unjust outcomes. I am specifically referring to the drastic difference in penalties for posessing less than an ounce of marijuana and selling less than an ounce of marijuana.
The War on Drugs continues, four decades after President Richard Nixon commenced hostilities. President Barack Obama--the third president in a row to have used illicit substances in his youth--is no drug warrior. However, he seems unlikely to challenge the disastrous new prohibition.
The president has, however, ended the federal campaign against medical marijuana, ordering administration officials to respect state laws legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes. This policy will grow increasingly important as more states allow use of med-pot (for instance, in November Maine voters legalized medical marijuana dispensaries). Congress should approve legislation introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), codifying administration policy into law.
A display case at Belmont Shore Natural Care showcases a large variety of marijuana types at the dispensary in Long Beach, California. Credit: Corbis
California and Los Angeles have been pioneer sites for the expansion of the legal right to use marijuana. But local officials may now be at the forefront of curtailing some of that exuberance. If the Los Angeles city council has its way, the plethora of largely unregulated medical-marijuana facilities that have become a neighborhood blight in parts of the city may finally be brought under control. L.A. officials and medical-marijuana advocates estimate there may be as many as 1,000 such dispensaries. But in a preliminary vote on Tuesday, Dec. 8, the council indicated its intention to cap the number at just 70.
At the same time, the language of the medical-marijuana ordinance being debated is putting dispensaries under increased scrutiny. At the moment, the proposed ordinance would allow the facilities to accept monetary contributions for their services, a way of finessing the stipulation under state law that dispensaries remain essentially nonprofits. Currently all dispensaries stay in business by selling marijuana, a status that city attorney Carmen Trutanich and Los Angeles County district attorney Steve Cooley believe already violates the nonprofit requirement. According to their interpretation, recent court decisions have shown that marijuana collectives cannot sell the drug over the counter for a profit, although members can be reimbursed for the cost of growing it. "Whatever [the city council does] come up with, we will study very carefully, and if they're proposing anything that is inconsistent with California state law, we will ignore their act and enforce the law as we're sworn to do," Cooley tells TIME.
Dwayne Gilliland, director of the Beneficial Care Collective in downtown San Diego, said of having a licensed security guard on site, “I wouldn’t be able to afford one.”
Marijuana dispensary operators have been characterized as everything from drug dealers out to make a fast buck to law-abiding business owners providing pain relief for seriously ill patients.
In an effort to shift more into the latter category, San Diego city leaders on Tuesday will debate about where, when and how medical marijuana storefronts can operate.
The City Council’s approach differs from that of other cities in the county, including Escondido and El Cajon, which have banned the storefronts.
The council will consider recommendations from an advisory task force to limit hours, require security and ban dispensaries within 500 feet of each other or within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds and libraries.
Frequently asked questions about
Medical Marijuana in Washington State
Is medical marijuana legal in Washington? I've heard conflicting answers to this question.
Marijuana possession is illegal in Washington. The medical marijuana law, Chapter 69.51A RCW, provides an affirmative defense for qualified patients and designated caregivers. People who qualify have a valid reason to possess a 60-day supply of marijuana. They may use that reason to defend against a legal action taken under Washington law. However, medical marijuana is not legal under federal law. There is no affirmative defense for people who are arrested or charged under federal law.
I heard the Obama Administration has legalized medical marijuana. Is that true?
No. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced formal guidelines for federal prosecutors in states that have laws allowing the use of medical marijuana. The guidelines do not legalize medical marijuana. The president directed federal prosecutors to consider appropriate medical use when making criminal charging decisions. The guidelines only provide direction for prosecutors when reviewing medical marijuana cases. The guidelines do not change the laws in Washington state.
New Jersey is poised to become the next state to allow residents to use marijuana, when recommended by a doctor, for relief from serious diseases and medical conditions.
The state Senate has approved the bill and the state Assembly is expected to follow. The legislation would then head to the governor's office for his signature.
Gov. Jon Corzine, the Democrat who lost his re-election bid last month, has indicated he would sign the bill if it reaches his desk before he leaves office in January. It would likely be one of Mr. Corzine's last acts before relinquishing the job to Republican Chris Christie.
Mr. Christie has indicated he would be supportive of such legislation, but had concerns that one draft of a bill he read didn't have enough restrictions, a spokeswoman said.
The bill has been endorsed by the New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians and the New Jersey State Nurses Association.
An American stockbroker has one of the world’s most prolific cannabis smokers – thanks to a constant supply of the drug to treat a rare bone disease.
Fort Lauderdale stockbroker Irvin Rosenfeld will tomorrow smoke his 115,000th joint - and it’s all legal.
The 56-year-old has been provided with cannabis by the government since 1982, when he became a patient in the Federal Drug Administration’s Investigational New Drug Programme.