Michigan Issues First Medical Marijuana Home Delivery Licenses

Michigan Issues First Medical Marijuana Home Delivery Licenses

[Canniseur: While home delivery of cannabis for medical patients might sound like a good idea, there are a few big caveats. First, the regulations are a bit draconian. Second, have the regulators thought this all the way through? The rules around home delivery seem to be designed to keep the cannabis out of the illegal market and make sure it only gets delivered to medical patients in real need. GPS? Can a cell phone with location tracking work? The rules don’t specify what constitutes GPS tracking. The second caveat appears to be concern about movement of legal cannabis into the black market. Guess what? The cannabis that’s in the black market in Michigan is better and (probably) cheaper than what is getting delivered in the legal market. Perhaps robbery might be the problem in the regulators were thinking about. However, I don’t think robbery would be an issue. It’s cannabis and there’s lots to go around…and it’s pretty cheap.]

Medical marijuana patients in Michigan are about to see improved access. Thanks to new rules approved and put into place by the state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency, medical marijuana providers can now legally deliver to patients. The change is the latest development in several key changes to Michigan’s medical marijuana program.

Home Delivery in Michigan

Last week, the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency issued the state’s first three home delivery licenses.

One license went to a dispensary called Lake Effect, which serves patients in Kalamazoo County. And the other two home delivery licenses went to BotaniQ and Utopia Gardens. Both are located in Detroit.

Under the new rules, these and any other dispensaries to receive licenses in the future will now be able to deliver orders directly to patients’ homes.

Not surprisingly, the new home delivery program will be heavily regulated by the state. Here’s home delivery will work:

  • To complete home deliveries legally, dispensaries with a license must hire their own delivery drivers.
  • Dispensaries licensed for home delivery must document and track all delivery inventory.
  • All delivery vehicles must be tracked with a GPS system.
  • Dispensaries will have to get a copy of the patient’s identification card and medical marijuana card before doing deliveries.
  • The delivery address must match the patient’s address as listed on both their identification card and their medical marijuana card.
  • Patients can order up to the daily maximum, which is 2.5 ounces of flower.

Above and beyond those rules, many dispensaries plan to implement their own additional guidelines. For example, local news source MLive reported that some shops plan to install dashcams in delivery vehicles.

Similarly, some dispensaries will take additional security measures. This could include giving delivery people body cameras.

“It’s the first time it’s ever been done in the state of Michigan legally,” Jevin Weyenberg, general manager of Lake Effect, told MLive. “We want to make sure everything is secure. We want to make sure we’re a hard target for any criminal that might try anything.”

Expanding Access

The new rule is being hailed as an effective way to improve patient access. In one key provision, home deliveries will be available even in places that have not yet allowed any dispensaries to open.

As a result, patients who live in a city or town that has banned dispensaries, or that has not yet joined the state’s medical marijuana program, can get deliveries from elsewhere.

Of course, each dispensary will have different rules for how far they will deliver. At this point, Lake Effect plans to take phone orders. Additionally, the dispensary will deliver to patients throughout Kalamazoo County.

Meanwhile, Utopia Gardens will deliver to patients within a 20-mile radius of the shop. For now, this shop will take online or phone orders.

At this point, many in the state hope that home delivery will make it easier for a broader range of patients to access the medicine they need.

“We know a lot of the patients we’re going to be delivering to,” Weyenberg told MLive. “A lot of them are in wheelchairs. Convenient access to medicine—you can never put a price on that. It’s life-saving for some people.”

Michigan Issues First Medical Marijuana Home Delivery Licenses was posted on High Times.

Alabama Health Officials Report Spike in Synthetic Cannabis Overdoses

Alabama Health Officials Report Spike in Synthetic Cannabis Overdoses

[Canniseur: This is getting old. With a legal cannabis market, this wouldn’t be an issue. When it comes to cannabis use, Alabama is a pretty regressive state. Legislators and the police need to put their heads in the right place when it comes to legalizing.]

Synthetic marijuana is back in the headlines. And this time it’s hitting northern Alabama. Specifically, public health and law enforcement agencies are reporting a sharp uptick in overdoses related to synthetic marijuana. Now, officials are trying to warn the public of the dangers of smoking synthetic weed.

Synthetic Cannabis Use is Spiking in Northern Alabama

As reported by local news source Al.com, multiple public agencies are warning the public to watch out for and avoid synthetic cannabis.

The warnings come as health officials and law enforcement in Alabama have begun noticing an increase in the number of people experiencing medical problems after smoking the drug.

For now, exact numbers have not been made public. But according to local reports, there is a distinct uptick in the number of overdoses and hospitalizations linked to synthetic cannabis. Currently, the spike is being seen primarily in the northern part of Alabama.

Responding to the trend, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Clay Morris, and Northern District U.S. Attorney, Jay Town, issued a statement yesterday.

“We have begun to notice a disturbing trend through our crime intelligence networks of overdoses related to synthetic marijuana in our district,” Town said. “Today we are joining together with our law enforcement partners to warn the public that the use of any synthetic illicit narcotic, such as synthetic marijuana, fentanyl, and other opioids, could result in fatal overdose by the user.”

In particular, officials in Alabama are trying to avoid a crisis like the one the state experienced in 2015. That year, synthetic cannabis swept through the state.

In fact, in a roughly two month period that year, more than 900 people showed up in the emergency room after consuming synthetic weed. And out of those patients, 196 were hospitalized. Even worse, five of them died.

“Clearly the public has forgotten about that,” DEA Agent Morris told Al.com. “We can’t go back there.”

Now, to avoid a similar epidemic, authorities are trying to spread the word. In particular, they are trying to reach out to young people to educate them about the dangers of synthetic cannabis.

Synthetic Cannabis is Dangerous

Typically, synthetic cannabis goes by a number of names. Specifically, these include names like spice, K2, Black Mamba, Smoke, Genie, and others.

And to be clear, synthetic cannabis is not weed. Instead, it’s essentially a cocktail of synthetically-manufactured cannabinoids.

Usually, these chemicals are sprayed onto some sort of shredded plant material. And in many cases, other chemicals are added to the mix. This can even include things like pesticides and rat poison.

On the surface, synthetic cannabinoids have been designed to activate the same parts of the brain that real cannabis stimulates. But the chemicals in synthetic cannabis can often lead to a number of negative side effects.

Specifically, these harmful side effects can include severe agitation, hyperactive behavior, very lethargic behavior, extreme anxiety, elevated blood pressure and heart rate, muscle spasms, seizures or tremors, hallucinations, psychotic episodes, and more.

Additionally, severe side effects can lead to coma or death. Over the past few years, there have been periodic waves of overdoses from synthetic weed in different locations around the world.

Alabama Health Officials Report Spike in Synthetic Cannabis Overdoses was posted on High Times.

Denver Mayor Urges Cities to Protect Immigrants in Legal Weed Industry

Denver Mayor Urges Cities to Protect Immigrants in Legal Weed Industry

[Canniseur: The Federal government needs to butt out of the legal cannabis industry. The STATES Act needs to pass, and soon. But this isn’t really about pot, it’s about this anti-immigration administration’s horrific policies.]

Is the Trump administration using the legal weed industry to target immigrants?

After federal agents denied citizenship to two immigrants who worked in the legal marijuana industry, the mayor of Denver, Colorado is speaking out.

In a new letter addressed to mayors of pro-cannabis cities around the country, Mayor Michael B. Hancock called on local governments to protect immigrants from federal prosecution.

Mayor Hancock Speaks Out

Last week, Hancock sent a letter to mayors around the country who are part of the Government for Responsible U.S. Cannabis Policy Coalition. Specifically, he sent the letter to the mayors of:

  • Oakland, CA
  • West Hollywood, CA
  • Portland, OR
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Thornton, CO
  • Everett, WA
  • Seattle, WA

In the letter, he spoke out against the recent decision by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to deny citizenship to two immigrants who worked in Colorado’s legal marijuana industry.

Hancock also called on mayors in the coalition to protect immigrants who work or have worked in the legal cannabis industry.

The letter comes in the wake of a controversial decision by USCIS. The agency, which oversees the naturalization process, recently denied citizenship to two legal immigrants who live in Denver.

In both instances, USCIS agents based their decision solely on the fact that the immigrants had at one point worked in the marijuana industry.

More specifically, the agency said that employment in the legal marijuana industry was a violation of federal law. And as a result, the agency claimed, both immigrants failed to prove “good moral character.”

Both immigrants now face heightened risk of future prosecution, including detention and possible deportation.

Earlier this month, Hancock wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr. In it, the mayor asked for greater federal clarity and consistency in how it approaches state and local cannabis laws.

And in an April 19 response, federal agents doubled down on their position.

Specifically, USCIS said that immigrants working in the legal marijuana industry will not be considered people of “good moral character,” and are therefore likely to be denied citizenship.

Hancock Urges Mayors to Protect Immigrants

In light of USCIS’s statement, Mayor Hancock’s newest letter calls on mayors to protect immigrants who may be involved in the legal marijuana industry.

“We fundamentally disagree with today’s guidance from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,” Hancock wrote.

“This is a matter [of] equity and social justice, and working in the legal cannabis industry does not mean someone is a bad person.”

He added: “Everyone should have a right to work in this burgeoning industry regardless of where they came from, what language they speak or the color of their skin.”

The Trump Administration’s “Second Wall”

Hancock and immigrant rights workers in Denver have voiced alarm over USCIS’s recent actions.

In particular, many are worried that federal agencies could begin using the legal marijuana industry to target immigrants.

In his most recent letter to other mayors, Hancock described USCIS’s actions as consistent with anti-immigrant moves coming from the Trump administration.

“At every turn, this administration is erecting barriers to legal paths to citizenship for our immigrant community,” he wrote.

Denver-based immigrant rights activist and Communications Director for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Cristian Solano-Córdova agrees.

Specifically, he told High Times that USCIS’s recent actions are part of what some call “the second wall.”

According to Solano-Córdova, the second wall refers to a growing list of federal policies and decisions designed to make it harder for people to immigrate to the U.S.

“To us, this seems like a continuation of that second wall. They’re looking for any and all possible ways to limit legal immigration,” he told High Times.

“The wait times for naturalization have skyrocketed since the end of the Obama administration. Approvals for visas have gone down dramatically. And they’ve started a denaturalization campaign combing through millions of naturalized citizen applications that might be slightly off and using it as an excuse to take away citizenship and deport people.”

Now, Solano-Córdova and others fear that employment in the legal marijuana industry could become the newest brick in the Trump administration’s “second wall.”

“This isn’t an anti-cannabis move,” Solano-Cordóva told High Times. “It’s an anti-immigrant move.”

Denver Mayor Urges Cities to Protect Immigrants in Legal Weed Industry was posted on High Times.

Alabama Senate Committee Unanimously Approves Major Marijuana Law Reform Bill

Alabama Senate Committee Unanimously Approves Major Marijuana Law Reform Bill

[Canniseur: I would never think of Alabama as a state that would make voluntary reforms to their draconian cannabis laws. The birthplace of Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions is surprising us with this new reform bill. Keep going Alabama! Maybe Alabama could become the Humboldt County of the South and the South shall rise again. Or at least get high.]

When people think of weed-friendly states, Alabama is probably not one of the states that comes to mind. But now, a new bill could introduce some important changes to Alabama’s cannabis laws.

While the new bill will not legalize cannabis, it could go a long way toward reducing the penalties for those caught with weed. And many in the state see that as a positive step forward.

Alabama’s New Marijuana Bill

Yesterday, Alabama’s new marijuana bill cleared its first major hurdle. Specifically, it was approved by the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee. In fact, the bill didn’t just pass, it passed by a unanimous 11-0 vote.

Now that it’s cleared that Committee, the bill is now in line to move on to the Senate.

If the bill eventually passes into law, it will introduce a number of potentially important changes to Alabama’s cannabis laws.

For starters, it will revise how the state defines marijuana-related offenses. These revisions dramatically alter current laws.

For example, under current laws a person caught with cannabis for purposes other than personal use, or a person with a previous cannabis conviction who gets caught with weed, can be charged with first-degree possession.

This is currently classified as a felony charge, carrying relatively severe penalties.

But under the new bill, first-degree possession will only apply to a person caught with two ounces of weed or more.

And a first conviction would only be a misdemeanor carrying a fine of up to $250. From there, a second conviction would also be a misdemeanor with a $500 fine, and all convictions after that will become Class D felonies.

Similarly, the new bill will redefine second-degree possession. Currently, this category is for people caught with weed for personal use.

This charge is currently a Class A misdemeanor, which is the most serious level of misdemeanor.

But the new bill would change that. Second-degree possession would apply only to people caught with less than two ounces of pot. And it would be a minor violation, carrying a fine of up to $250.

Addressing Problems With Alabama’s Criminal System

On top of these changes, the new bill also calls for a potentially important change for folks who already have cannabis charges on their records.

Specifically, the new bill will make it possible for cannabis charges to be expunged. Under the terms of the new bill, people convicted of first- or second-degree possession could have those charges expunged if they don’t have any other arrests for five years.

For many of the lawmakers supporting the bill, these changes are about addressing the harm caused by current laws.

Speaking to local media source AL.com, Senator Malika Sanders-Fortier said that upper class people are rarely punished for so-called marijuana crimes.

“It’s the low-income people, people who are impoverished,” Senator Malika Sanders-Fortier said. “And they pay a different kind of penalty, and I think that’s unfair. So, to me it’s a matter of mercy.”

Along with class, race is another primary source of inequity in Alabama’s current marijuana laws. Just last year, a study found that Alabama cannabis laws disproportionately harm black cannabis consumers.

This bill isn’t the first time Alabama lawmakers have tried to revise the state’s cannabis laws. Last year, a similar bill aimed at reducing the penalties for weed was brought before the Legislature. That bill failed to materialize.

Alabama Senate Committee Unanimously Approves Major Marijuana Law Reform Bill was posted on High Times.

Fox & Friends Hosts Blame Homelessness, Teen Drug Use on Legal Marijuana

Fox & Friends Hosts Blame Homelessness, Teen Drug Use on Legal Marijuana

Ed. Note: Fox News really can’t get their act together. Fox is supposed to be a “NEWS” outlet, however it seems that Fox is in the business of misinformation, lies, innuendo, falsehoods and misstatements. It’s obvious that they’re only interested in eyeballs on the screen rather than facts. They let… Read this yourself. Fox is most assuredly not news. Dragging up disproven ‘facts’ and presenting as such does not make them a news outlet.

Conservative pundits at right-wing media outlet Fox News are at it again. The network is known for taking hardline conservative positions on everything, often lying and spreading misinformation along the way.

Now, the network is back on the “reefer madness” bandwagon. This time, Fox News spokespeople and other right-wing talking heads are making the spurious claim that legal marijuana is responsible for a host of social problems, including homelessness, poverty, and teen drug use.

“Fox & Friends” Spreading Reefer Madness Misinformation

On a recent episode of “Fox & Friends,” the network’s right-wing propagandists had plenty of anti-cannabis rhetoric to spread. In the wake of Canada making cannabis legal earlier this week, the talk show turned its focus to the U.S. In particular, they talked about whether or not the U.S. is on course for legalization.

At one point in the conversation, co-host Steve Doocy asked his guest commentators about legalization. He said: “Is it a good idea… to legalize pot nationwide here in the United States? Canada just did it.”

The first person to respond to the question was a guy named Joe Peters. At Fox, the fact that he’s a former cop qualifies him to be an authoritative voice on complex social and political issues.

The reality, though, is that Peters is a far-right authoritarian who supports the harmful, violent, and fundamentally racist war on drugs.

Peters responded that legalization would be a bad idea. As proof, he pointed to Colorado. Here’s what he claims has happened in the state since it made marijuana legal:

“By every metric, it was a failure, in my view. Teen drug use is the highest in the country—teen drug use. Drug driving is off the charts, doubled with marijuana impaired driving. Homelessness is up. Emergency room admissions.” He goes on and on from there.

Propaganda, Not Fact

The problem for Peters and the rest of the “Fox & Friends” staff is that this entire line of reasoning is based on lies and misinformation. It’s propaganda, not fact.

For starters, legal marijuana has not catalyzed any significant drug-related problems among teens. In fact, teen drug use has remained remarkably unchanged, even as more and more places begin to legalize cannabis.

Actual stats about teen marijuana consumption and drug use paint a very different, much more complex reality than Peters would have it. For starters, stats show that teen consumption of marijuana has remained relatively static for the past seven years or so—even in places with legal weed like Colorado.

It is true that 2017 saw the first uptick in cannabis consumption among teens. The number of teens who consumed weed in the prior year rose 1.3 percent. But that’s the only noticeable change in nearly a decade.

What has changed among teens is the number of young people consuming nicotine. The metric where the biggest changes has happened is in vaping. In that category, teen use is definitely on the rise.

But this has nothing to do with weed. And Fox didn’t express a whole lot of concern over this trend.

Similarly, Peters’ claim that legal weed causes homelessness is false. Studies and data simply don’t back him up. For example, a study of legal marijuana in Pueblo, Colorado was published in March.

The report explicitly concluded that “legal cannabis has not had a significant impact on homelessness rates.” Instead, the study found that “disconnected utilities” were the “largest single cause of homelessness in Pueblo in 2016.”

Ultimately, Peters and the rest of “Fox & Friends” are focused  on moving the conversation away from the realities at the root of poverty and homelessness: the rising cost of living, lack of jobs that pay a living wage, lack of affordable housing, inaccessible resources, racism, homophobia, transphobia, intimate partner violence, and more.

Instead, they spread a bunch of lies about cannabis to push a far-right agenda aimed at protecting power and criminalizing already-marginalized communities.

Fox & Friends Hosts Blame Homelessness, Teen Drug Use on Legal Marijuana was posted on High Times.

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