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The September 2015 issue of the ASA Activist Newsletter is finally out! Our monthly newsletter is your go to guide for the most up to date information on state and federal legislation, product safety, citizen advocacy and so much more!
Maryland Taps ASA to Train Cannabis Compliance Inspectors
Maryland officials tasked with watching over the state’s emerging medical cannabis program will be trained by the Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program, a project of Americans for Safe Access Foundation. The announcement of the decision by Maryland's Natalie M. laPrade Medical Cannabis Commission came shortly after they finalized state regulations in late August at the end of an 18 month process. The PFC-trained auditors will ensure medical cannabis businesses operating in Maryland comply with those regulations.
We are focused on implementing industry best practices to ensure Maryland’s medical cannabis compliance inspectors are the best trained in the nation. The rigorous regulatory and clinical oversight called for in the ASA PFC program will ensure the safety, security and quality of the medicine being grown, processed, inspected and delivered in our state.
– Hannah Byron, Executive Director of the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission
Maryland will issue 15 licenses to cultivate cannabis, permit two dispensaries for each of the 47 state senate districts and allow an unlimited number of licenses for processors. Applications for permits to cultivate, process and dispense medical cannabis will be available online by Sept. 15. Officials say their state’s program should be operational by 2016 with medicine available to patients in 2017.
Quality Control Testing Evolving in States
Product safety testing required by the state of Nevada has resulted in a shortage of medical cannabis. Many pounds of medicine have been destroyed after pesticides, mycotoxins and heavy metals were detected in the products. Those problems have postponed the opening off at least one dispensary. Nevada now allows dispensary operations, but only a few are open yet.
Clock Ticking on Regulation Bill in California
As the legislative session enters its final days, California lawmakers may be poised to finally take the regulatory action on medical cannabis that voters directed them to with the passage of Proposition 215 nearly 20 years ago. The session has seen numerous medical cannabis measures introduced, modified and merged, but the big move came at the end of August, when Assembly Bill 266, the product of long wrangling over provisions governing all aspects of medical cannabis production and distribution, was amended by the Senate Appropriates Committee to simply a dozen words: “It is the intention of the state legislature to regulate medical marijuana.” It was passed 5:1.
DOJ Contradicts itself about Cannabis Enforcement
Last month, it was revealed that the Department of Justice told Congress that the effect of limiting their budget on medical cannabis enforcement would be just the opposite of what they now claim. When Congress was considering passing the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, the DOJ sent out talking points saying that it would effectively "limit or possibly eliminate the Department’s ability to enforce federal law in recreational marijuana cases as well." The DOJ now says that the amendment limits them not at all in enforcing federal prohibition by prosecuting or pursuing civil asset forfeiture against individuals -- whether patients, caregivers, or recreational users – regardless of state laws.
Michigan and Colorado Reject New Conditions
Last month, a state official in Michigan rejected a medical panel’s recommendation that autism be added to the list of qualifying conditions. That comes a month after Colorado officials rejected an attempt to add post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to its list. Both moves elicited complaints from advocates and actions aimed at revisiting the decisions.
New Mexico Expanding Medical Cannabis Cultivation
Years of medical cannabis shortages in New Mexico are being addressed by issuing new licenses to cultivate. The state’s Department of Health (DOH) announced August 31 that 17 applicants made the cut from a pool of 84 seeking medical cannabis production licenses. No new cultivation licenses have been issued since 2010.
First Dispensary Licensed in Illinois
The city of Marion is home to the first medical cannabis dispensary to be licensed in Illinois. The dispensary, named Harbory, will receive medical cannabis products from one of the state’s licensed cultivation centers, once it is available.
Georgia Registering Medical Cannabis Patients
Nearly 200 residents of the state of Georgia have registered to be part of its two-month-old medical cannabis program. An estimated 500,000 Georgians are eligible, which allows only extracts with low levels of THC, the cannabis component responsible for psychoactive effects.
Activist Profile: Remembering Larry Harvey
Larry Harvey, a retired long-haul trucker and commercial fisherman from Northeastern Washington State who inspired a change in federal medical cannabis policy, passed away August 20 at the age of 71 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Larry became the face of continued federal interference with state medical cannabis programs after he and members of his family were charged in a case that came to be known as the Kettle Falls Five. Federal charges followed a raid by state law enforcement that found several dozen cannabis plants being cultivated on Larry’s rural property, where he lived with his wife. Larry, his wife, two other family members and a family friend all faced charges that carried a mandatory minimum of 10 years in federal prison.
ACTION ALERT: Register for Unity 2016 today
Register now for the 2016 National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference at the Lowes Madison Hotel in Washington, DC, March 18-22, 2016. Early Bird prices are in effect.
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