Politics  The latest in cannabis legalization including laws and policies, legislators’ views, election coverage, and more.

Florida Fights for Medical Marijuana and Potentially Good News for Georgia Patients: The Leafly Cannabis Legalization Update

Progress is everywhere and change is imminent! Will 2015 bring legalization to more states? Let’s see what’s happening in cannabis news:

U.S. Updates

ALASKA

The Juneau Assembly is considering a 12-month moratorium on land-use permits for cannabis businesses and another ordinance to add cannabis smoking to the indoor smoking ban already in effect. The city’s law enforcement officials have said that the moratorium is intended to give the city time to establish rules and regulations for where and when canna-businesses should be allowed to operate and that they do not intend to make it an outright ban.

CALIFORNIA

A Denver-based company, United Cannabis Corp., has proposed a licensing agreement to assist Native American tribes in creating cannabis facilities for cultivating and processing cannabis, with the anticipation of creating a line of cannabis products with varying levels of THC and CBD to sell in medical marijuana dispensaries across California.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

D.C. Councilman David Grosso quietly introduced legislation to tax and regulate the sales of cannabis like alcohol, with four colleagues already signed on as co-sponsors for the bill. This move comes in direct defiance to the recent rider to the Congressional omnibus bill that disallowed any federal funding to be allotted towards the implementation of Initiative 71, which passed overwhelmingly in the 2014 midterm elections. Thank you, Councilman Grosso, for standing up and respecting the will of the voters.

FLORIDA

Good news: the fight for medical marijuana in Florida is back on! The language of the original medical cannabis measure has been rewritten to minimize any attempts at fear-mongering advertisements, which were prominently featured during the November midterm elections in which the measure gained 58% of the vote but failed to reach the 60% necessary for a state constitutional amendment. C’mon, Florida! We’re rooting for you!

GEORGIA

Georgia’s cannabis bill is facing a proposed change that would legalize medical marijuana, but without a model to grow and distribute medical cannabis in the state. State Representative Allen Peake is sponsoring the measure, which will extend protections and immunity for medical patients who bring back cannabis obtained legally in other states. Currently, there are a pocket of “medical refugees,” patients who have a need for cannabis and/or high-CBD medications, traveling to recreationally legal states to obtain the medicine and, in bringing it back to their home state of Georgia, face prosecution and legal entanglements.

WASHINGTON

Attorney Pete Holmes, a prominent supporter of I-502, the initiative that legalized cannabis in the state of Washington, has created a proposal to expand Washington’s current marijuana laws. His proposal includes plans to:

  • Allow vapor lounges
  • Allow home-cultivation
  • Merge the existing medical marijuana dispensary industry into the emerging recreational cannabis industry

These are three of the major complaints and issues with the current recreational marijuana law in Washington and, if approved, would serve to significantly improve the recreational industry.

International Updates

AUSTRALIA

New South Wales Labor leader Luke Foley suggested that the NSW government abandon plans for a clinical medical trial for terminally ill patients, prompting outrage from well-meaning supporters, including NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner, who called his suggestion “irresponsible.” However, his comments were taken out of context, as he was actually advocating a law change that would make the law more comprehensive and allow people suffering from terminal illnesses to be treated with medical cannabis. Foley said that he wants to see a major change to the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act, “as a matter of urgency,” so that terminally ill patients and their loved ones will not face prosecution for their medical use of cannabis.

CHILE

Chilean authorities have just authorized the company Agrofuturo to carry out a cultivation and harvest of cannabis for medical purposes for the second time. The first marijuana plantation project was approved last September for academic and medicinal purposes, despite acquiring permission for the project in 2011. There have been several street demonstrations in favor of legalization in Chile, which may have influenced the decision of the Public Health Institute to allow these operations to continue.