US News Updates
State Sen. Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington), the author of Delaware’s medical marijuana law, has announced she will introduce legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis in Delaware once the General Assembly reconvenes in January. The bill would legalize possession and consumption of cannabis by adults 21 or older, and it would establish a regulated market for sales. The specifics of the bill are still being drafted. Henry said she is consulting lawyers and will work to muster support in the Senate. “It’s going to be an uphill battle,” she said during a meeting of the state’s Medical Marijuana Act Oversight Committee. “But it’s time, quite frankly.”
Cannabis supporters are pushing back against a state Senate report, claiming that its “misconstrued statistics and unfounded speculation” have misinformed voters about legalization in the lead-up to November’s election. The report was the result of a trip to Colorado taken by members of the Special Senate Committee on Marijuana to see the legal cannabis industry for themselves. After roughly a year of work, the committee released a report that was highly critical of the state’s legalization ballot measure, Question 4. The leader of the Senate committee, Sen. Jason Lewis (D-Winthrop) has gone on to join the steering committee of the measure’s opposition campaign. The Yes on 4 campaign said voters “should base their decisions on facts and sound policy arguments rather than the misconstrued statistics and unfounded speculation of misinformed public officials.” During a visit to Boston this week, PBS host Rick Steves told voters that “Your legislators don’t have the courage to learn about [cannabis].”
A new East Lansing ordinance decriminalizes the possession and consumption of less than an ounce of cannabis. Ordinance No. 1393 amends provisions regarding the use and possession of cannabis to allow adults 21 and older to use and possess on private property up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use. Rather than charging a violator with a misdemeanor, the penalty for the possession of less than an ounce of cannabis in public will be a civil infraction of a fine of no more than $25, community service, and/or substance screening.
Ohio’s new medical marijuana advisory committee members have only just been appointed, and they’re already causing controversy. That’s because two outspoken legalization opponents were given seats on the 14-member panel. Republican House Speaker Cliff Rosenberg made the appointments, tapping Marcie Seidel, executive director of the Drug Free Action Alliance, and Tony Coder, assistant director of the Drug Free Action Alliance. Rosenberg defended his appointments by saying that Seidel and Coder are meant to represent professionals in mental health and addiction treatment, but cannabis advocates are concerned it’s an effort to obstruct medical marijuana.
Oregon cannabis producers are in an uproar about the state’s latest testing rules, which could keep products such as edibles, concentrates, and extracts from the marketplace. The state requires a lengthy list of tests to be conducted on products, but so far there are only 18 accredited labs—and just four labs are approved to handle pesticide testing. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission held a meeting this week to discuss the latest concerns, and officials expect it will be early next year before the industry can fully adapt to the new rules.
The Utah Association for Responsible Cannabis Legislation formed to launch an Oct. 12 summit, titled “Medical Cannabis: The Science. The Truth,” to examine the latest scientific research on medical cannabis. The summit, organized in conjunction with United Patients Group, Sacred Roots of Healing, and Republican state Rep. Gage Froerer, was invitation-only and included business leaders, lawmakers, health care professionals, and law enforcement officials in Salt Lake City. The event is ultimately designed to lead to comprehensive medical marijuana legislation with sufficiently strict regulation that the generally conservative state may adopt it.
International News Updates
Queensland’s Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2016, passed by lawmakers on Wednesday, will provide patients legal access to medicinal cannabis products to treat a range of qualifying conditions. The law grants specialists such as oncologists, pediatric neurologists, and palliative care specialists the first rights to begin prescribing medical cannabis as early as March of next year, while other doctors can apply through Queensland Health for the permission to prescribe cannabis. The bill will take effect March 2017 and will be reviewed after two years.
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As Canada prepares to legalize cannabis for adult use, Ottawa’s public health agency is suggesting an unusual definition of “adult.” In a report that contains 33 recommendations on how to regulate the coming market, the agency recommends that the minimum age for buying legal cannabis should be set at 25. The minimum age of 25 matches a recommendation already put forth by the Canadian Medical Association. The Ottawa Board of Health (OBH) is set to consider the recommendations next week.