Tag Archives: recreational marijuana

South Portland Council to Vote on Rules for Marijuana Shops

icon  08 Nov, 2017  /  icon  0        Author: Chloe

Maine is one of 8 states where recreational marijuana is legal, set to come into force next year. However, it has been slow off the mark with continual delays in procedure. Recreationalmarijuana was approved by Maine voters by a slim margin in November 2016 and was one of the first states on the East Coast to recognize recreational marijuana. Massachusetts and possibly Rhode Island are also set to legalize in 2018. Maine has a fantastic track record in terms of medical marijuana and was voted best in the country in 2014. Maine residents can now grow up to 6 plants in their own home but as for the sale of marijuana in outlets there is still a considerable amount of legislation that needs to be established. It is up to each county and city to decide on how they want to proceed, and like all counties facing this issue, it is a slow and piecemeal process with differing rules and requirements across the board that can be overly complex at times.

South Portland Marijuana Shops

The City Council of South Portland is set to take a final vote next week on proposed zoning and licensing regulations that would make this among the first municipalities in Maine to welcome marijuana businesses in the region. Officials have been working on the proposed ordinance amendments for nearly a year, after a majority of Maine voters approved recreational marijuana.

Most councilors have acknowledged the potential benefits of a “green economy” and the challenges of regulating a new market. The ordinance amendments are designed to both allow and control marijuana businesses in the city’s commercial and industrial districts.The regulations would prohibit marijuana social clubs and wouldn’t address marijuana cultivation as a home occupation – two businesses that some councilors wanted to allow. The council agreed to set those issues aside for now and revisit them in six months, according to City Manager Scott Morelli.

Public Enemy Number One

Public enemy number one in Maine at present is none other than Governor Paul Le Page, the Montgomery Burns of the marijuana industry and not the nuclear sector. According to LePage, he cannot support recreational expansion of marijuana as it is prohibited at the Federal level. This is a thin excuse often used by politicians who are against the legalization of marijuana but do not have a plausible explanation. They typically have 3 to choose from – That the scientific benefits of marijuana are not yet proven (a brazen lie), that it would lead to the degradation of society and increase in crime (it has not, and studies have proven that it leads to a decrease in crime) and the final excuse that it is illegal at the Federal level. While this may be true, this does not mean that individual states cannot pass the legalization of marijuana, as has been done previously in multiple states.

Governor LePage would continue to make up lies to cover over his vested interests in keeping marijuana prohibited. He stated that the bill failed to address shortcomings of the state’s medical marijuana program; would set up a confusing and costly dual-agency regulatory system; and might not collect enough taxes to cover the cost of implementing and regulating the new market. The same medical marijuana system that was voted the best in the country in 2014. The regulation does not have to be confusing or costly if it is done correctly, which is what politicians are paid for using taxpayer money. And in all states where recreational marijuana was passed, it has generated overwhelming profits. His statements can only be true if the situation is handled with a large degree of incompetency and gross negligence. He is clutching at straws while openly insulting the intelligence of the American people. All facts notwithstanding, The Maine House voted Monday to sustain Governor Paul LePage’s veto of a bill that would create the legal framework for retail sales of recreational marijuana.The 74-62 vote Monday fell 17 votes short of the two-thirds margin required to overturn LePage’s veto.

Meanwhile, in South Portland, there is much support for recreational marijuana. South Portland voters decided in 2014 that it was legal for adults in the city to possess small amounts of marijuana. A year ago, they voted 8,565 to 6,226 to legalize marijuana production, sales and use by adults statewide.

A Loss for the Little Guy

Last month, the Planning Board voted 4-2 to recommend the proposed zoning amendments which outline where marijuana growing, testing, processing and selling operations would be permitted or allowed by special exception. Marijuana businesses would be excluded from most residential districts; indoor growing operations would be allowed by special exception in the village residential and rural residential districts. Hopefully, Maine can implement recreational marijuana with as much success as they did with medical marijuana. A 2015 poll suggest that up to 65% of Maine residents are in favor of recreational marijuana. Unfortunately, with the house upholding the veto there is no clear path forward, and recreational marijuana has been left in limbo thanks to vested interests, which have clearly won this battle at the expense of the residents of Maine. It is up to independent organizations to get recreational marijuana back on the table, as the politicians are most certainly on the other side. In the meantime, black markets will flourish.

Merced County Sheriff Wants Pot Pushed Indoors. Advocates Say It’s a Burden

icon  24 Oct, 2017  /  icon  0        Author: Chloe

With the passing of Proposition 64, Californian voters opted to allow recreational marijuana in the state. The sale of marijuana is set to take plane from January 1st, 2018 onwards and all eyes are on California to see how well the state will do. It will be by far the largest marijuana industry in the USA, dwarfing both Oregon and Washington combined in terms of projected revenue. Most people in California are very optimistic about marijuana and are eager to see it pass, but so far marijuana in California has ran into many hurdles despite its potential social, economic and health benefits.

Pot Pushed Indoors

It has recently come to public attention that there is an incredible amount of illegal growing operations in California. These illegal growing operations are catastrophic to the environment as they leave desolated wastelands full of chemicals. Black market growers do not abide by any regulatory process, and the majority of these operations are run by illegal immigrants, most notable Mexican drug cartels. An added disadvantage is that the quality of weed is laden with toxins and not fit for human consumption. But it makes its way to the black market and is consumed by people who do not know any better, thinking they are ingesting a beneficial plant which is actually harming their bodies due to the ultra-high toxin levels that are never checked for.

It is for this reason, among others, that Merced County Sheriff wants pot pushed indoors. It is not possibly to track and monitor all of the illegal growing operations, the resources are simply not there. The office has busted a number of operations and have discovered what counties such as Humboldt and others have found – toxic, chemical laden wastelands. According to Sgt. Ray Framstad“We have chemicals that we have no idea what they are”. The Merced County planning commission meets next week to discuss the county’s plan to ban the growth of 12 plants outdoors. The ordinance would allow only the six plants grown indoors, which is the state standard. The sheriff’s office will be part of the presentation at the meeting, according to Framstad, who said moving growing indoors would be best. Cannabis advocates say indoor growing is more expensive and a burden on the most vulnerable.

Let them Be

The point of view of the sheriff’s office is understandable. There are a number of growth operations growing terrible marijuana that should not come anywhere near a human being. But the suggestion is immature and problematic for a number of reasons. One such reason is that the free market will do a better job than any sort or regulatory ban on indoor or outdoor growth. Come January 2018 there will be stricter rules and requirements on marijuana sale and distribution. Meaning that the marijuana will not make its way to the recreational market. And as people can simply grow their own anyway, there is no need to get marijuana from the black market. Let the illegal growers grow their black marijuana. It won’t pass any compliance standards or independent testing. There will be no reason for average residents to trust back market dealers when they can simply go down to the shop and get marijuana that they know is of a high quality. Or else they can ask their friends, as every neighborhood is going to have a cultivator or two growing organic, local weed for the community. Black market marijuana will be the last option, and if people are foolish enough to purchase this then natural selection should take its course. And it fundamentally makes no sense to punish hundreds of thousands of innocent growers simply because there will be a few people foolish enough to buy black market marijuana. This is a draconian policy, sometimes referred to as Socialism, that punishes 99% to protect 1%.

A Point of Debate

There is debate at the moment as to whether or not outdoor growing is easier or more difficult than indoor growing. Outdoor growing might require more skills, but indoor growing will require more money due to electricity and nutrients. Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke has taken a hard line against marijuana growth of any kind, saying it draws violence to cultivation sites and is bad for the environment. “The people growing this are absolutely polluting our groundwater…. The environmental impacts are bad. The criminal impacts are worse.” Recently, armed suspects in Calaveras County posing as law enforcement officials stole nearly 500 marijuana plants, a large amount of cash and a truck, tying up some of the victims they robbed. Before this, a teenager and an adult male were found dead at a cultivation site in San Joaquin County, according to the Stockton Record. Merced County raided 191 illegal growing sites from October 2016 to October 2017, according to Framstad, confiscating more than 54,000 plants. They also took 30 guns at those sites.

A Balanced Approach

While the police officers in this instance are commended in that they actually seem to be battling genuine crime, it has to be seen for what it is. These crimes are the dying breaths of black market marijuana, which cannot exist in an environment where marijuana is regulated and legal. How can it? The profits and incentives will not be there. Putting stiff penalties in place for growers who fail to adhere to environmental policies is a more balanced approach than forcing all marijuana indoors, which many cannot afford.

Newton in the age of legal marijuana?

icon  19 Oct, 2017  /  icon  0        Author: Chloe

In 2016, the residents of Massachusetts voted yes to Question 4, the result being that recreational marijuana was to become legal for those over the age of 21. Recreational marijuana legalization is a trend that can be seen across the USA, and it is a fair bet that next year will see two or three more states who have a vote on the issue. But the industry is still very new, and states such as Massachusetts still have to put procedures, rules and guidelines in place regulating the growth, distribution, sale and possession of marijuana. The Massachusetts State Treasurer will appoint a Cannabis Control Commission to promulgate regulations related to recreational marijuana by September 1, 2017. Licenses for the cultivation, distribution and retail of    marijuana will not be issued until January 2018, so cannabis connoisseurs are still waiting for the day they can buy their favorite substance. When a state legalizes recreational marijuana, it is up to local municipalities to vote on whether they want to accept or not, and they have the right to ban outlets and dispensaries. If a municipality allows the use of recreational marijuana, it can still be banned if a larger town or city has a referendum on the issue to ban or limit sales.

Newton and Marijuana

By a small margin, Newton voters accepted recreational marijuana in 2016 (around 25,000 to 20,000). But this is only the beginning, as Newton has to conclude what it is going to do in relation to the many questions that arise in relation to marijuana legalization. There are a number of considerations, the main ones being that medical marijuana dispensaries are regulated, as well as recreational dispensaries. There is the question of taxation. One of the main concerns is how to keep cannabis products out of the hands of children and teenagers. Rules on advertising need to be put in place, and Colorado recently put a ban on cannabis edibles in the shape of gummy bears, as these were too appealing to children. There is also the question of security, zoning and the hours of operation of dispensaries in Newton. One issue which is going under the radar is the question of marijuana quality. There is not enough of an emphasis on marijuana testing by independent facilities, and much marijuana is said to be laden with toxins of all kinds. Potential mayor candidate Ruthanne Fuller said on the issue that

“As mayor, I will reach out to all segments of our community to develop a comprehensive strategic plan that achieves these important goals. A special Mayor’s Committee will look to the input of citizens, the experience of other cities and states, the guidance of the state’s Cannabis Control Commission, and the perspectives of our educators, law enforcement personnel, public health officials, and other stakeholders, in fashioning that plan”

The new law gives the people of Newton the final say on one critical issue. Any limit on the number of dispensaries must be approved by the voters. This is a wonderful occurrence. What is happening all over the USA where medical marijuana is legal and recreational marijuana is not is that the whole marijuana industry is being centralized in the hands of a few select rich businesses. The permits are extremely prohibitive and completely eliminate startups from applying. The result is that patients must pay top dollar for their marijuana and have no choice but to purchase from them or go down the black-market avenue, which many patients in New Jersey are said to be doing due to the outrageous cost of medical marijuana in the area.

Marijuana in Massachusetts

It is still illegal to publicly consume marijuana in Massachusetts, though home growth and use is allowed. It is also illegal to smoke marijuana and drive, though there is no current method to test for marijuana. This is because there is no way to accurately measure the levels of THC in the body in the same way that police can measure alcohol in the blood. A breathalyzer test cannot work. Selling marijuana is also illegal until January 2018 when it becomes legal, and in the meantime there is something of a grey area. Residents can buy pot online from a dealer, and the dealer is breaking the law.

Massachusetts voters decriminalized marijuana in 2008, replacing the criminal penalties for possession of 1 ounce or less with a new system of civil penalties. In 2012, voters approved a ballot question legalizing marijuana for medical use. It then became law in 2016 which will come into force of January 2018. The current law allows up to 6 plants per person and a maximum of 12 plants per household. But much remains to be seen with rules and regulations, with the public hoping that administrators will not interfere too much with the growth of a plant that has been consumed for thousands of years. Of particular concern will be police who try to investigate households for growing more than 12 plants of marijuana, or of state regulators micro investigating the growth of the household plant.


3 Ways to Spot an Indoor Marijuana Grow in your Neighborhood

icon    /  icon  0        Author: Chloe

Marijuana has long been an illegal substance and criminals have needed to hide their activities, using various levels of ingenuity. Growing an illegal facility in the home is no doubt a tricky endeavor, as marijuana is notorious for its smell as well as requiring quite a large electricity bill, which might rouse the ire of fellow tenants. It also requires a number of tools, adequate space and an extensive lighting operation. Because of all the required ingredients for a successful marijuana grow, there are a number of ways to find illegal growing operations in your own neighborhood. While there is no need to actively snoop, a large indoor growing operation is no joke and needs to be investigated, and there are a number of telltale signs.

In any case, illegal growing operations are on the way out with an increase in legalization across the USA. When marijuana becomes legalized in a larger number of states there will simply be no need for black market. There is no reason for customers to go to a black-market dealer when they can get quality marijuana from a shop or medical dispensary. While marijuana is a beneficial plant, the worry with illegal growing operations at present is due to the chemicals used in the growing process. This results in weed that is full of toxins and makes its way to regular customers. Again, legalization will kill this market that was artificially created by prohibition as independent testing facilities can be setup which test various strains of marijuana for quality. In the meantime, here are 3 ways to spot an indoor marijuana grow in California.

How to Spot a marijuana Grow

The 3 main ways through which an indoor growing operation can be identified in California are

  • A black wrought iron fence around home and exterior security doors.
  • A set of security cameras at each entrance
  • A second fence between the black fence and front door

“Every indoor marijuana grow we’ve identified has the same fence installed by the same company,” said a drug enforcement officer who requested to remain anonymous.Police stressed that security cameras and fences alone are not indicative of a marijuana grow. However, when combined with the odor of marijuana or other suspicious activity, they can be a cause for concern. Alongside these obvious considerations require some common sense. If you know the person might there be a reason why they have a fence and security cameras? Did you see them with lots of equipment? What is their age and socioeconomic status? Though stereotypes are often inaccurate, if it is an elderly couple it is far more likely that they are simply afraid of being burgled. The criteria for finding out a growing operation is the same in every state and requires a number of factors. If you are more than sure it is a large scale growing operation then it might be a good idea to call the police. There is a huge difference between a person or couple growing their own marijuana to enjoy in the comfort of their own home and the real crime of cartels running illegal growing operations, which can be actively harmful to society. At the same time there is no reason to go 100% Sherlock Holmes. You do not want to knock on the door of a Mexican drug cartel asking them if they happen to be behind an illegal growing operation.

It’s hardly unusual for police in the Sacramento region to find an illegal marijuana grow house in an otherwise quiet suburb. But in a number of recent police raids, the occupants of these grow houses have turned out to be Chinese nationals. This raises questions with regard to who is recruiting them and how they are being financed.  Recent police raids in Yuba, Yolo, Placer and Sacramento counties have resulted in multiple arrests of people with Chinese passports, some of them speaking no English and apparently providing little help to investigators. One recently obtainedindictment asserts that money from a southern Chinese bank account was transferred to California to pay for down payments on homes that later became grow houses, suggesting that at least some in China are investing the illicit U.S. marijuana market.

Black Market Marijuana

California is rife with black market marijuana at present. Recreational marijuana is set to come into force in January 2018, where businesses will open their doors to the sale of marijuana. In the meantime there is a serious problem of black market growing operations. Many of these operations are operated by illegal immigrant cartels, most commonly said to be Mexican cartels. These growing facilities do not pay any heed to rules and regulations and the result is an environmental catastrophe which kills animals and often results in a toxic water supply and an actively dangerous toxic wasteland. And there is also the danger of the toxins in the weed itself, which many people are unware of as they purchase their marijuana. But these growing operations are grown outside, often in secluded forests as opposed to indoors. Marijuana is a cash crop and large indoor growing operations will almost always have some layer of security and protection, the most important considerations in investigating illegal indoor growing operations.

Medical Marijuana Physicians Cropping Up in Arkansas

Medical Marijuana Physicians Cropping Up in Arkansas

icon  04 Oct, 2017  /  icon  0        Author: Chloe

Recreational marijuana is not currently legal in Arkansas. But medical marijuana is another story. Like many states, fears of being left behind abound where medical marijuana is not legitimate, as states lose out doubly. First, they lose out in direct taxes associated with marijuana. Secondly, they lose out on tourism, as people do not go to the state and people leave it to go to marijuana friendly locations. In November 2016, medical marijuana was voted in for Arkansas.

To provide some statistics on former marijuana related crime, in 2012 there were over 5,700 marijuana arrests in Arkansas. Of those arrests, over 90% were for marijuana possession. During the same year, 91% of all reported burglaries, including home invasions, and over 90% of all motor vehicle thefts went unsolved. It is doubtless a better use of police resources to concentrate on fake crimes that harm people instead of crimes invented by legislature. If you are caught in Arkansas without a medical card with less than four ounces, you would potentially face a misdemeanor charge that carries up to a year in jail and fines as high as $2,500. Medical marijuana is still an illegal drug at the federal level and if the government decide to crack down on marijuana they have their own set of rules concerning the growth and distribution of a substance that is held to be in the same class as heroin and cocaine.

Marijuana Physicians in Arkansas

With the recent legalization, there has been an inevitable increase in the number of medical marijuana physicians popping up all over Arkansas. The reasons for this are obvious. First, people want marijuana and doctors will lose patients. Second is that it results in increased revenue from an increased number of patients. People who do not regularly go to doctors will now go in order to get a recommendation for medical marijuana. And lastly there are a number of doctors who are genuinely aware of the benefits of medical marijuana and how the plant can actually save lives and alleviate suffering. Medical marijuana has been successfully linked with the treatment of multiple illness, including glaucoma, insomnia, chronic pain, Parkinson’s, Chron’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and more. If cannabis was not scientifically proven to help treat these illnesses they would not be on the list of qualifying conditions to get a medical marijuana card in many different states.

One such doctor from Arkansas is Dr. Tammy Post, who has certified over a hundred patients in the past two months, nearly 20% of all medical marijuana approved individuals in Arkansas. “I was one of those doctors that thought marijuana was all the myths we believed about a gateway drug,”Dr Post was quoted as saying “I believed it to be illicit and dangerous, like ecstasy and heroin and cocaine”. But after doing months of research into the matter and becoming convinced of the myriad of benefits of marijuana she is now a medical marijuana expert and is convinced that marijuana is the way forward to treat a number ofhealth-related conditions. She read mounds of scientific literature on PubMed and discovered the scientifically proven benefits of marijuana along with not one single study that alluded to negative effects.

There are currently 16 Arkansas medical board licenses physicians who are also required to have a pharmaceutical             prescription authority. But this number is set to grow as more and more patients flock to these doctors. In order to obtain a medical marijuana card, like in most other States, patients have to be over the age of 21 and have a qualifying medical condition. These qualifying medical conditions include cancer, Alzheimer’s, severe arthritis, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, intractable pain or seizures. Unlike most other states, in Arkansas, the patients are subjected to a physical. The screening includes a urine tox screen to ensure that the patients are not merely addicts, blood pressure, pulse, weight, kidney and liver functioning. After the physician signs the paperwork, the medical patient can then submit their application to the Arkansas department of health. It is an important legal distinction that the doctor is only giving a recommendation for a medical marijuana card, and does not have the authority to prescribe marijuana directly, as this is illegal.

Arkansas Marijuana Laws

As per Arkansas law, there will be cultivation facilities and 32 cannabis dispensaries, regulated by the Arkansas medical marijuana commission. The process of actually getting marijuana froma dispensary is very much like going to the pharmacy. You have a certain condition and dispensaries will then give out the marijuana, but the amount and type is determined at the dispensary. Dispensaries are required to have a licensed pharmacist at hand to recommended the appropriate medical compounds. While medical marijuana is a huge boon socially and economically, many are attached to the fun of choosing their own strain and type of marijuana for the stone and quality that they are looking for. What is certain is that the number of medical marijuana physicians cropping up in Arkansas is on the rise. It is great to see individual doctors doing their research into the benefits of marijuana and recommending it to patients. More and more physicians are getting on board and coming to realize the many benefits that cannabis has to offer all people.


Lynn Haven Will Allow Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

icon  27 Sep, 2017  /  icon  0        Author: Chloe

The question for many states is whether or not to legalize recreational and medical marijuana. A balance has to be struck between societal implications and the financial benefits. There is also the very real matter of administrative burdens. It is no easy matter regulating a multibillion-dollar industry. Florida has strict requirements on the regulation of marijuana and it is not easy to obtain medical marijuana in the region. It is not like other states where obtaining medical marijuana is more of a formality. Potential patients have to have a qualifying condition and obtain a recommendation from a doctor they have been with for a minimum of three months. This can be contrasted to some other states where obtaining a medical marijuana card can be done online in under an hour.

Obtaining a Medical Marijuana License in Florida

In order to obtain a medical marijuana permit in Florida, it is first necessary to have a qualifying condition. After this, applicants go to their doctors who gives them a recommendation (The doctor has to have a permit in order to give out recommendations to applicants).All applicants must be over the age of 18, have a recommendation from their primary care physician, must have registered with the department of health and must have tried other treatments without success. This last clause is the killer for those who really want access to the benefits of medical marijuana. It means they must go down the horrendous chemical route before going down the organic and holistic marijuana avenue. This approach is exactly backwards and puts harmful treatments on a pedestal before the less invasive plant substance.

A doctor cannot give applicants a prescription for marijuana, as this is illegal.Doctors do not have this authority, but they can certify via a recommendation that the applicant is suitable for marijuana as a form of treatment for their illness. After you get your recommendation, you have to wait a minimum of 30 days to get the medical marijuana card, which usually takes 60 days.

Medical Marijuana in Lynn Haven

Last year, Florida voted to allow medical marijuana, albeit with strict requirements. Now it is up to each individual region as to whether they want to adopt this vote or not. Lynn Haven officials have voted to allow the medical marijuana dispensaries. With the closest medical dispensaries in Pensacola and Tallahassee, locals who use marijuana for medical conditions are finding this vote to be a gift that will make their lives much easier.

Dispensaries must follow specific guidelines. They must look like a pharmacy and operate like a pharmacy. The dispensaries and people who use the marijuana will be heavily regulated. Even if you have a medical marijuana card, action will be taken against you if you use the drug and drive.Also, you still can’t use marijuana in public. The law surrounding medical marijuana in Florida is still very immature and leaves much to be desired, but it is getting there, along with many other states in the USA. There have been nearly 100 years of misinformation and stigma surrounding marijuana, and it will take a while to get over. There is also the massive matter of regulation and certification of marijuana, which is not to be taken lightly. Any progress is good progress and as years go by people will grow more familiar with marijuana and the requirements will lessen. According to Lynn Haven mayor Margo Andersen:

“We basically had two choices based on Florida law: that is to ban them from the city limits, not to allow them at all, or we could draft an ordinance or resolution to allow them in any part of town where a regular pharmacy is allowed,…Florida overwhelmingly with 71 percent voted to allow medical marijuana for these debilitating and painful diseases because people can find pain relief, many times those with cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, it improves their appetite, it improves their overall quality of life,”


Slow but Steady Progress

There is not any word as of yet with regard to any dispensaries opening up but it is only a matter of time. Comprehensive rules and guidelines surrounding the opening of dispensaries have yet to be established as Lynn Haven has only recently opened its doors to medical marijuana dispensaries. In the meantime, recreational marijuana in Florida remains illegal, and patients have many hurdles to overcome before they can gain access to a medicinal herb with the rigid guidelines surrounding medical marijuana. And if they do get their card, the nearest dispensary is going to be Pensacola and Tallahassee. Bur progress is being made and time will see a wider acceptance of marijuana in general.