Browsing: Legislation

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The Massachusetts Supreme Court has ruled that a company acted improperly when it fired medical marijuana patient Cristina Barbuto after she tested positive for pot. The Colorado Supreme Court reached the opposite conclusion in an analogous 2015 case, determining that DISH had the right to dismiss paralyzed MMJ patient Brandon Coats following his own positive test for cannabis. And while the Barbuto finding won’t directly impact the Colorado case, Coats’s lawyer sees a trend toward granting more patient protections here and in other medical marijuana states.

Lindsey Bartlett

On July 20, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill for fiscal year 2018, authorizing $38.4 billion in spending. Wedged into this bill was the Industrial Hemp Water Rights Act, a piece of bipartisan legislation introduced in part by Colorado senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner.

File photo by Shane Lopes/L.A. Weekly

New legislation would force the federal government to allow veterans to obtain medical marijuana in states, like California, where it’s legal.

The amendment to force the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to make cannabis available to veterans who need it was recently approved by the Senate’s Appropriations Committee 24 to 7. The department would be prohibited from interfering with a veteran’s ability to obtain weed, and from blocking healthcare providers from giving pot to veterans where it’s legal, according to language attached to a military appropriations bill.

“The amendment ensures that veterans have equal access to all of the medical options available in their local community, to include medical marijuana in states where it is legal,” according to a statement from the office of co-author Steve Daines, a Montana Republican.

Ray Stern

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions missed major opportunities this week to rail against legal marijuana, giving marijuana-industry experts some much-craved hope that a crackdown is not imminent.

The cannabis-hating U.S. Attorney General delivered a speech at the Nevada U.S. Attorney’s Office in Las Vegas on Wednesday about crime, drugs, and immigration, but failed to mention the state’s newly launched recreational program.

Gustavo Turner/L.A. Weekly

Strict laws in the city and county of Los Angeles have, over the years, led to the closure of hundreds of illicit marijuana dispensaries, action hailed by some as a way to combat drug-related crime such as robberies and loitering.

But a new study contradicts the argument, sometimes made by law enforcement itself, that weed stores are crime magnets. The research, published in the July issue of the Journal of Urban Economics, took a close look at the city’s closure of hundreds of illicit dispensaries in 2010.

It concluded that crime around pot shops forced to shut down actually increased afterward. “When marijuana dispensaries were shut down, we found the opposite of what we were expecting,” says the paper’s co-author, USC business economics professor Tom Y. Chang. “Crime actually increased in the areas that closed relative to the ones allowed to stay open.”

Jacqueline Collins

Dispensary shelves across Colorado are about to become more consistent because of a new distribution law, according to several cannabis business owners. The law, signed in June and effective July 1, allows couriers and distributors to store cannabis inventory in third-party locations and also gives them more time to ship products.

Brian Feinizimer

In March, L.A. voters overwhelmingly approved Measure M, giving City Council permission to regulate the marijuana industry in the world’s biggest market. But industry leaders worry that the council’s proposed rules, released earlier this month, could force cannabis companies to relocate to more amenable cities, taking their jobs and tax dollars with them.

The proposed rules are up for a 60-day public comment period.

Marijuana industry insiders’ main complaint is that while Measure M empowered city council to regulate the industry, the proposed rules would not give cannabis businesses full legal standing. Instead of licenses or permits, the draft regulations offer “certificates of compliance.”

Marijuana reform is headed for Texas, but it probably won’t get here anytime soon.

During the 85th Texas legislative session, which ended in May, two cannabis reform bills made it further than pretty much any similar efforts have before. Although both laws had an apparent majority in the Texas House of Representatives, the session ended before they could be voted on.

One bill aimed to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. The other tried to create a real medical marijuana program. While the bills’ legislative journey says a lot about how much politicians in Texas have warmed to marijuana, it will probably be at least two or three more years before the state sees any big changes to its pot laws.

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