Politics 

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

The Shake: Ohio’s Second-Try Initiative Drops Tuesday, Texas Likes MMJ Despite Media Scare Story

The full details of Ohio’s medical marijuana initiative will be released tomorrow. The state’s cannabis supporters dropped plans for adult-use legalization in favor of a medical-only initiative after last year’s failed legalization attempt. The medical marijuana initiative has the backing of Marijuana Policy Project, the group behind legalization measures in Colorado, Alaska, and now Maine and Massachusetts. MPP helped draft the initiative to create a comprehensive medical marijuana program in the state, and will be holding a press conference on Tuesday to discuss details. The full initiative text will be available here after 9am EST tomorrow.

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Another misleading article about shatter makes headlines in Houston.  ABC-13 Eyewitness News declared that “High Potency Marijuana Product Shattering Lives” over the weekend, a story that ran (coincidentally?) at the same time as Texas’ first-ever cannabis conference.  ABC-13 reporter Pooja Lodhia interviewed a DEA special agent and two former cannabis users who attested to the strength and potency of cannabis concentrates. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this kind of misinformation from the media. When shatter is extracted in a qualified laboratory with closed-loop botanical equipment and proper ventilation, as it is in a regulated environment, cannabis concentrate extraction will not cause explosions. Unfortunately, due to the illegal nature of most cannabis products in Texas, most extractions are done at home, increasing the risk of explosion and injury. And their last nod to the “devastating” effects on the lives of cannabis consumers? “I wound up facing prison time because of what I’ve done.” Criminalizing cannabis doesn’t work, Texas. Legal regulation makes everyone safer in the long run. 

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Those $237,000 Oscars goodie bags contained vaporizers. This is the second year in a row that nominees and attendees received the $249.99 Haze Vaporizer in the Oscars gift bag. The vaporizer can be used for tobacco or cannabis, or even for aromatherapy, as their website suggests. Either way, the vaporizer actually sounds like one of the less outlandish products included in the bag: a “Vampire Breast Lift” (not entirely sure what that means), Fiera Arouser for Her (which appears to be a suction cup for one’s crotch) and $5,530 in plastic surgery. 

Montana’s medical marijuana industry teetering after a state Supreme Court ruling.  The court upheld provisions of a 2011 bill, which limits dispensaries to three patients each and initiates a state review for doctors that recommend medical cannabis to more than 25 people. Many businesses were hoping to see a boom in doctors that can recommend cannabis for patients in order to remain in business, but a limit on the number of patients could be the kiss of death for dispensaries. Patients are still allows to grow and possess up to one ounce of dried cannabis or four immature plants. 

QUICK HITS: Houston may be anti-shatter, but the percentage of Texans who support medical marijuana is on the rise. The Texas Tegna Poll found that 71 percent of respondents would support expanding medical marijuana. Hawaii faces a number of challenges in bringing medical marijuana dispensaries to the islands. Geography related to the transporting of cannabis between islands will present a legal challenge, as well as the general remoteness and likelihood of supply shortages. Australia’s most progressive medical cannabis legislation will be receiving a debate in April in Queensland. The Public Health (Medical Cannabis) Bill 2016 would create a formal process for physicians to prescribe medicinal cannabis and has been released for comments from the public.

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