MJ News for 06/20/2014

7greeneyes

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http://www.wbng.com/news/local/Is-NY-next-to-join-the-medical-marijuana-movement-263881441.html




(New York) Medical marijuana legislation passed by State Assembly

Albany, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The New York State Assembly approved a bill to legalize the administration of medical marijuana.

The State Senate will vote on the legislation Friday morning.

The Assembly passed the Compassionate Care Bill just before 3 a.m. Friday. The legislation will establish a medical marijuana program for New York State.

It includes provisions to ensure medical marijuana is reserved only for patients with serious conditions and is dispensed and administered in a manner that protects public health and safety.

"This legislation strikes the right balance," Governor Cuomo said. "Medical marijuana has the capacity to do a lot of good for a lot of people who are in pain and suffering, and are in desperate need of a treatment that will provide some relief. At the same time, medical marijuana is a difficult issue because there are risks to public health and safety that have to be averted. I believe this bill is the right balance, and I commend the members of the Legislature who worked so hard on this measure."

New York State Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D) is a co-sponsor of the bill.

"The assembly has passed this bill many many years in a row and now it looks like we're going to have the beginnings of the medical marijuana program in New York State," said Lupardo. "Not everything that those of us in assembly wanted but its certainly a huge step forward for people who wanted to have this option for treatment."

If passed by Senate and signed by the Governor, New York would become the 23rd state to legalize medical marijuana.

Find details of the bill below:

Medical Marijuana Reserved for Patients with Serious Conditions:

To ensure medical marijuana is available only to patients with serious conditions who can most benefit from the treatment, the legislation establishes a certification and registry process for physicians to administer the drug.

To be prescribed medical marijuana, a patient must receive a certification from a licensed practitioner who must register with the Department of Health and be qualified to treat the serious condition for which the patient is seeking treatment. The serious conditions for which medical marijuana can be prescribed are cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication on intractable spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, Huntington’s Disease, or as added by the commissioner by DOH.

To ensure medical marijuana is in the hands of only individuals in need and their health care provider, Registry Identification Cards will be issued by DOH to certified patients. The card would contain any recommendation or limitation on form or dosage imposed by the practitioner as well as other information. The Department would be able to suspend or revoke the card of a patient who willfully violates any provision of the new law.

Health insurers would not be required to provide coverage for medical marijuana.

Administering Medical Marijuana Safely:

Any form of medical marijuana not approved by the Department of Health is prohibited, and under no circumstances would smoking be allowed. DOH will issue guidelines regulating the allowed dosage amounts, and patients would not be allowed to possess an amount of medical marijuana in excess of a 30 day supply. Additionally, the patient would be required to keep the medical marijuana in the original packaging in which it was dispensed.

The legislation puts in place a process for patients to obtain, and manufacturers to dispense medical marijuana. Organizations seeking to manufacture or distribute medical marijuana must be registered with DOH and conform to a specific list of requirements. Registration would be valid for two years at a time, renewable, and subject to revocation. Registered organizations would be required to comply with strict security and record keeping requirements. The legislation allows for five registered organizations that can each operate up to four dispensaries statewide.

Registration identifications and registrations for organization would be issued 18 months after the effective date of the bill, unless DOH certifies that the new program could not be implemented in accordance with public health and safety interests.

Registered organizations would be able to dispense medical marijuana to individuals who present a registry identification card. The organization would not be able to dispense an amount greater than a thirty day supply to a patient. The medical marijuana would be dispensed in a sealed and properly labeled package with a safety insert included. All manufacturing and dispensing of medical marijuana by registered organizations would take place in New York and registered organizations would contract with an independent laboratory to test the medical marijuana.

Tough Penalties for Individuals and Physicians Who Abuse Medical
Marijuana Program

The legislation makes it a Class E felony for a practitioner to certify an individual as eligible to facilitate the possession of medical marijuana if he or she knows or reasonably should know the person who is asking for it has no need for it. The legislation also makes it a misdemeanor for recipients of medical marijuana to sell or trade the medical marijuana, or retain beyond what is needed for treatment the marijuana for their own use or the use of others.

Distribution of Tax Revenue from Medical Marijuana

The legislation puts in place a 7 percent excise tax on every sale of medical marijuana by a registered organization to a certified patient or designated caregiver. Proceeds from the excise tax would be allocated as follows: 22.5% to the county in New York state in which the medical marijuana was manufactured; 22.5% to the county in New York state in which the medical marijuana was dispensed; 5% to the State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services to be used for additional drug abuse prevention, counseling and treatment services; and 5% to the Division of Criminal Justice Services to support law enforcement measures related to this legislation.

The legislation grants DOH the authority to issue any necessary regulations to implement the state's medical marijuana program, as well as set a price. The Governor would also be allowed to suspend or terminate any provisions of the program based on the recommendations of the Commissioner or Superintendent.

The bill would take effect immediately and sunset in seven years.
 

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http://www.newyorker.com/online/blo...edical-marijuana-canada-mining-companies.html




(Canada) MINING’S NEW JOINT VENTURE


This isn’t a great time for small Canadian mining businesses. For the past couple of years, people have worried that China’s economic problems will keep it from buying metals and minerals in big quantities, as it once did, which has lowered prices for some of those commodities. Plus, mine workers are aging and retiring, and there may not be enough younger people to replace them. The combined value of the hundred largest “junior” mining companies—the small ones focussed on exploring deposits, in contrast to “major” companies, which extract the deposits that juniors have analyzed—fell by forty-four per cent last year. As Winston Churchill said, “To improve is to change.” So a couple dozen mining companies are now trying out a sexier business: weed.

Canada started granting its first commercial permits to grow marijuana for medicinal purposes late last year. Since then, at least thirty junior mining enterprises have started diversifying into medical marijuana—“M.M.J.,” for short—or have announced plans to do so.

“As a publicly traded company, we always need a story that’s good enough to raise money on,” Jennifer Boyle, the C.E.O. of Satori Resources Inc., told me. Satori is—or has been, in any case—a gold-mining company. Now Boyle wants to get into pot. “If you can latch on to something you can probably raise money on, i.e., medical marijuana, then why not?” she said. “Because otherwise, your assets are in danger of being bought for next to nothing.”

The fact that exploratory mining and growing marijuana have little in common is, it seems, hardly important. The Papuan Precious Metals Corp.’s stock price rose from two cents to fourteen cents after it announced plans to consider agricultural projects and then hired a marijuana consultant. This month, Papuan agreed to acquire the assets of a pot dispensary in Colorado, where marijuana is now legal for anyone who is twenty-one or older. Other junior companies are experimenting with growing mediums and fertilizers, or looking to provide equipment to growers. “The reason you’re seeing the junior mining companies going to medical marijuana is because there is no money in mining,” Greg Downey, the C.F.O. of Papuan, said. “We look to where the money is going.”

The junior mining companies experimenting with marijuana are not high up in the hierarchy of mining. At the bottom level, there are prospectors, who walk hillsides and fields, kicking rocks in search of minerals and metals. One step up are the juniors: they follow up on prospectors’ finds by conducting more serious studies and sometimes even developing mining sites, with the goal of one day selling their assets to a major mining corporation. Most of the juniors that are turning to pot have market capitalizations of five million dollars or less; they represent only about one per cent of Canada’s estimated three thousand two hundred mining firms.

Major mining companies have had trouble raising capital because of falling commodities prices and a tendency toward cost overruns, which has made it even more difficult for juniors to raise money for their projects, since chances of a buyout are remote. It hasn’t helped that junior mining projects keep failing. There is also an impending labor crisis: in the next ten years, the mining industry will need to replace more than half of its workforce, as current employees retire or depart for more attractive industries. This is problematic both because companies will have to cover those former workers’ retirement benefits and because not many young people choose mining as their profession these days, according to a report by the Canadian government’s Mining Industry Human Resources Council.

The marijuana business isn’t necessarily a panacea. Marijuana remains illegal in Canada, although, since 2001, the federal regulatory agency Health Canada has let residents with a doctor’s authorization possess the plant for personal use. It also granted tens of thousands of permits to grow the drug for personal use or to grow it for someone else’s personal use. Last year, Health Canada became convinced that marijuana was being abused for recreational purposes, announced a repeal of the old growing permits, and started accepting applications for commercial-growing permits instead. (A court injunction put the repeal on hold for the moment, but Health Canada has issued thirteen of the commercial permits. It hasn’t put a cap on how many commercial permits it will grant, but it has said that it has received more than nine hundred applications.) Wagner, the consultant, said that only forty thousand Canadians or so have medical-marijuana prescriptions, a level of demand that a couple hundred growers could easily meet; even if the number of people with prescriptions grows to more than four hundred thousand by 2024, as Health Canada is forecasting, he predicts that this would create only enough customers for an additional several hundred growers. So far, none of the mining companies have been granted a commercial-growing license, although one former mining company is close to merging with a company that owns a license. Many are applying for a license or conducting medical-marijuana due diligence.

Executives at the junior mining companies gave various reasons for why they are well suited to enter the marijuana industry: Downey said that juniors are already publicly listed and therefore have immediate access to capital. Another said that his skill set is in assembling teams, whether it is geologists or pot growers. Boyle, the C.E.O. of Satori Resources Inc., pointed out that her company already has the ticker BUD, which gives it a natural leg up; even now, investors assume that the company is in the marijuana business.

Michael Dehn, the C.E.O. of Jourdan Resources Co., said that he wound up in the marijuana business by happenstance. His company owns several properties in Quebec that it wants to mine for phosphates, a component of fertilizer. It also leases office space in a strip mall in a Toronto suburb, next to a pot grower called ChroniCare Canada Corp. “One day, I was out in the parking lot talking to the guy next door, and I said to him, ‘What do you do?’ ” Dehn recalled. “He said, ‘We grow marijuana,’ and I said, ‘We make fertilizer. We should work together.’ ”

Jourdan and Satori Resources have joined together to excavate and pulverize a small amount of phosphate rock, and they’re partnering with ChroniCare to test whether it could be used to fertilize pot. If it works, the companies would together start selling fertilizer to pot growers.

“We were always going to do fertilizer, and our plan was to target corn or wheat, but we’re still five years away from that, so in the meantime we’ll receive a cash flow,” Dehn explained.

The Canadian market, however, is small. With only thirty-five million people in the country, Dehn and others said that they are thinking about export opportunities. “You kind of look at this as the prohibition period, like when Canada was smuggling alcohol to the U.S.,” he said. Dehn has never smoked pot, but he has heard good things about Canadian-grown marijuana. “For most of my life, this is where you heard the good weed was,” he said. “It’s like France—that’s where you go for champagne.”
 

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http://time.com/2904299/pope-francis-condemns-legalization-of-marijuana/




Pope Francis Condemns Legalization of Marijuana


(VATICAN CITY) — Pope Francis has come out strongly against the legalization of recreational drugs, lending his voice to the debate which is raging from the U.S. to Uruguay and beyond.

Francis told members of a drug-enforcement conference meeting in Rome on Friday that even limited attempts to legalize recreational drugs “are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects.”

Francis has frequently railed against the “evil” of drug addiction and has met with addicts on several occasions.

Just last month, Uruguay — next door to Francis’ native Argentina — approved selling marijuana cigarettes in pharmacies, and recreational marijuana is legal in the U.S. states of Colorado and Washington.
 

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http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsu...marijuana-everywhere-but-nowhere-to-smoke-it/




Colorado's Cannabis Conundrum: Marijuana Everywhere, But Not A Spot To Smoke


For cannabis consumers who are accustomed to the black market’s meager selection and iffy quality, Colorado’s dispensaries are a revelation: dozens of strains, each with a distinctive bouquet, fresh enough that you can actually smell the difference. Denver-area budtenders, who say tourists account for half or more of their business, are used to amazed reactions, reminiscent of the scene in Moscow on the Hudson where Robin Williams, playing a Soviet defector, encounters an American supermarket for the first time. But once a visitor settles on a gram of Budderface or a quarter-ounce of Cinderella 99, he has a problem: Where can he smoke it? State and local restrictions have made answering that question a much bigger challenge than it needs to be.

Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana for recreational use, prohibits consumption of cannabis on the premises of the state-licensed stores that sell it. Furthermore, those stores are not allowed to sell anything but marijuana products and related merchandise, so the only food and beverages they stock are cannabis-infused edibles. Colorado therefore does not have anything like Amsterdam’s famous “coffee shops,” where you can buy and consume marijuana along with soft drinks and snacks.

Well, you might think, that would have been fun, but at least you can buy your pot at a dispensary and take it somewhere else to consume it. Not so fast.


The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, which has been amended to cover marijuana as well as tobacco, bans smoking inside bars and restaurants. Outdoor areas of those businesses are exempt from the smoking ban, but that does not necessarily mean tourists can enjoy their newly purchased pot there. The section of Amendment 64 that eliminated penalties for marijuana use does not apply to “consumption that is conducted openly and publicly.” Last year Denver—which is the epicenter of marijuana retailing, with more pot shops than the rest of the state combined—passed an ordinance that defines “openly and publicly” broadly enough to foil the plans of visitors who thought they could legally smoke pot on the patio of a bar or restaurant.

Denver’s ordinance defines openly as “occurring or existing in a manner that is unconcealed, undisguised, or obvious.” It defines publicly as “occurring or existing in a public place” or “occurring or existing in any outdoor location where the consumption of marijuana is clearly observable from a public place.” Finally, Denver defines public place to include not just city sidewalks and parks but any business open to the public, such as a bar or restaurant.

Fine, you might say. Let’s go back to the hotel. But that is also a problem.

When I checked into the Warwick in downtown Denver on Sunday, the registration form included the following notice: “The recent Colorado law permitting recreational marijuana use does not apply to this private business. City of Denver law prohibits marijuana consumption on hotel balconies.” That first sentence asserts the hotel’s right to ban marijuana consumption on its own property, a right that every property owner retains under Amendment 64. But the second sentence claims that consuming marijuana on a hotel balcony is illegal in Denver. Is that true?

A hotel balcony is not a public place by Denver’s definition, since it is open only to registered guests and the people they invite, not just anybody walking in off the street. You could argue that a hotel balcony is an “outdoor location where the consumption of marijuana is clearly observable from a public place.” But that depends on various factors, including the time of day, the amount of pedestrian traffic on the street, the floor where the room is located, and the discretion of the marijuana consumer. If all that can be seen from the street is smoke, who is to say what sort of dried vegetable matter is being burned? And if you are smoking pot at 2 a.m. on the balcony of a 12th-floor room above a deserted street, your actions may not be “clearly observable” by anyone. The Warwick nevertheless reads Denver’s ordinance as a blanket ban on balcony bud burning.


In practice, the hotel may be more cannabis-friendly than its warning suggests. “It’s hilarious,” says Nick Brown, co-owner of Spiro Tours, which arranges marijuana-themed itineraries. “Cannabis is a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ type of thing. The Warwick is what every operator uses for their cannabis-friendly hotels because they have balconies. The balconies help us comply with the Clean Indoor Air Act.”

But does that mean the hotel does not really care what you are lighting up on the balcony? “In my conversations with the hotel, it’s kind of vague,” Brown says. “Cannabis is Denver, Colorado. People come and smoke pot here all the time. It happens. So I’m like, ‘OK, am I allowed to have the tourists in there smoke pot without getting in trouble?’ And she says the trouble would be a smoking fine just for filling up the room with smoke. But that applies if they smoke cigarettes in there too.”

Peter Johnson, founder and CEO of Colorado Green Tours, thinks it will be a while before hotels officially welcome cannabis consumers. “They’ve got an odd interpretation of the law,” he says. “They have smoking policies. They make you sign [a form] saying it’s illegal to consume cannabis, when technically it’s not. You have to keep in mind that they’re not Colorado-only businesses. Their rules are being written over in Prohibitionville; that’s where there’s a big disconnect. A lot of these hotels come across as very cannaphobic, and I think it’s going to be a while before they have an ‘a-ha’ moment and say, ‘Oh, they’re really not bad people. They’ve been staying here all along anyway, so we might as well openly allow them to do what they’re doing.’”

Some Colorado-based businesses do explicitly offer cannabis-friendly lodging, and renting apartments is another option. If you happen to have friends in Colorado (or make some during your trip), consuming marijuana in their homes is clearly legal. According to Brown and Johnson, so is consuming marijuana in a private vehicle such as a limo, a van, or a bus (as long as you’re not the driver). Tour companies therefore can let customers sample their dispensary purchases en route to the next destination.

But if you want to legally consume marijuana in a social setting similar to a tavern or a cocktail party, rather than sneaking puffs here and there, the options are limited. The Colorado Symphony Orchestra (CSO) explored that territory when it announced a “Classically Cannabis” concert series last spring. The original plan was to let anyone who bought a $75 ticket bring his own marijuana and consume it on the enclosed patio of Space Gallery, a private event venue in Denver that the CSO rented especially for the concerts. But that was not sufficiently private for city officials. In a May 8 letter to CSO President Jerry Kern, Stacie Loucks, director of Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses, warned that “the event, as advertised, could violate both City and State law.”

Loucks noted that Amendment 64 allows penalties for “consumption that is conducted openly and publicly.” She also cited a city ordinance saying “it shall be unlawful for any person to engage in any form of business or commerce involving the cultivation, processing, manufacturing, storage, sale, distribution or consumption of marijuana” unless he is licensed to do so. The implication was that the CSO, by letting concertgoers consume their own cannabis at Space Gallery, could be deemed to be running an unlicensed marijuana business. Loucks urged the CSO to cancel the concerts, saying the city would “exercise any and all options” to stop them from happening and warning that “failure to follow the law may result in civil and criminal penalties.”

Less than a week later, the CSO announced that it had reached a compromise with the city: Everyone who had bought a “Classically Cannabis” ticket would receive a refund, and the concerts would proceed as invitation-only fundraisers. That solution represented real progress, says Christian Sederberg, a Denver lawyer who helped run the Amendment 64 campaign and represented the CSO in discussions with the city. “Before they never would have let anyone have marijuana,” Sederberg says. “They didn’t change their opinion under pressure. They looked at the law more carefully and basically realized that there is a distinction to be drawn here. We had an event that was blessed, and we were like, ‘OK, we can do this.’ It’s totally legitimate.”


Unadvertised, invitation-only events, of course, will not be much use to people visiting Colorado for a few days or a week. But Rob Corry, a Denver attorney and longtime cannabis activist, thinks the CSO compromise means the city should be OK with private, members-only clubs where people can consume their own marijuana. “The symphony has shown us the way,” he says. “It probably took a wealthy, yuppie, white institution to break that barrier, but so be it. The rest of us are going to follow that model.”

While the CSO made a big splash in the press and quickly attracted the city’s attention, iBake, a pipe shop and cannabis club, has been quietly operating in Denver since February 2013. Littletree Oppy, iBake’s co-owner, says the business qualifies as a tobacconist and is therefore exempt from the state’s smoking ban. Smoking and hanging-out privileges are reserved for members who pay a $10 monthly fee. Oppy says iBake, which sells soft drinks and snacks as well as marijuana paraphernalia, has not had any trouble with the city. But it caters mainly to locals and is unlikely to attract many tourists, especially since explicitly advertising a cannabis-friendly environment to the general public tends to set off alarms at city hall.

Surprisingly, Colorado Springs, which has banned the sale of recreational marijuana within its borders, seems to be more tolerant of cannabis clubs than Denver, home to about 60 pot stores. After several attempts at closing down Studio A64, a “cannabis social club” with the motto “inhale responsibly,” the Colorado Springs City Council decided the operation was legal. Colorado Springs has at least one other cannabis club: the Speak Easy Vape Lounge.


Invitation-only events and cannabis clubs are aimed at preventing consumption from being “public.” Another approach is to make consumption so discreet that it does not count as “open.” Although Louks’ letter to the CSO mentioned consumption of “edible marijuana” as potentially illegal, a cannabis-infused truffle or gummy candy looks just like the unspiked versions of those products. How can marijuana consumption be open if no one knows you’re doing it? Similarly, the vape pens used to consume marijuana concentrates look like e-cigarettes. Except for a quickly dissipating cannabis scent that people might not notice unless they are standing right next to you, these devices are indistinguishable from the ones that deliver nicotine.

“If you’re smoking a vape pen that looks exactly like an e-cigarette, or if you’re eating a brownie,” Sederberg argues, “you are not consuming marijuana openly.” He also thinks Denver’s definition of public is too broad. “‘Open and public’ was meant to be someone standing out here smoking pot,” Sederberg says, pointing at the sidewalk along a restaurant patio on Denver’s 16th Street Mall. “It was not intended to stop people here [on the patio], with permission from the owner, from smoking marijuana.”

Since Amendment 64 is now part of Colorado’s constitution, Denver’s definition of “openly and publicly” can be legally challenged. Although Sederberg thinks “there is a decent legal argument that ‘open and public,’ the way they’re interpreting it, is overreach,” for now he’d rather work with the city than take it to court. “They’re struggling with the idea of Denver becoming like Amsterdam,” he says. “They don’t want a coffee shop model.”

Still, Sederberg says, “if they set the floor in a place that we don’t agree with, you’ve got to look at the part of the amendment that says private landowners have the ability to prohibit or otherwise regulate marijuana consumption.” That ability, he says, implicitly includes the power to allow marijuana consumption as well as ban it. “We will continue to dialogue about it,” he says. “But if people are going to come here from other places to use marijuana, they need a place to do that.”
 

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http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...anary-app-medical-marijuana-seattle/11035899/




Canary app delivers medical marijuana to your door


Need weed and don't want to leave the house?

Two University of Washington students have come up with an app called Canary that allows medical marijuana patients to order pot and have it delivered to their door.

"The easiest way we say it is that it's Uber for marijuana," co-founder Josiah Tullis said in an interview with KIRO-TV in Seattle.

Canary will be offered to medical marijuana patients in Seattle next month, with plans to expand to Denver and California, KIRO reports.

Patients will have to send in a picture of their medical marijuana card when they sign up, and they will have to show their card again at the time of delivery, according to KIRO.

Currently, Washington and Colorado are the only two states with legal recreational marijuana. Tullis and his partner, Megh Vakharia, told KIRO they want to expand the app to recreational marijuana in Washington, but state law prohibits it.

Canary will partner with local dispensaries and hire the drivers. The service is 24/7, and delivery is usually within an hour, according to the app's website.

The deliveries may initially be cash-only. Most banks have refused to do business with the marijuana industry over fears of violating federal money-laundering laws.
 

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/19/rand-paul-medical-marijuana_n_5511734.html




Senate Could Follow House In Blocking DEA From Targeting Medical Marijuana


WASHINGTON -- The Senate could soon follow the House in banning the Drug Enforcement Administration from using its budget to crack down on states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Wednesday introduced a Senate amendment to the Justice Department budget bill that would restrict DEA agents and federal prosecutors from using allotted funds to pursue providers of and patients using medical marijuana in the 22 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized its use.

The measure, if passed, would also protect states that have enacted the more limited legalization of CBD oil -- a non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that is frequently used to treat epilepsy -- for limited medical use or research.

Support for the ban is gaining momentum, as Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) signed on Thursday as a co-sponsor of the Senate amendment, according to a statement from the Drug Policy Alliance.

“Poll after poll shows 70-80 percent of Americans support medical marijuana," Marijuana Policy Project's Dan Riffle said. "Even among conservatives, most oppose enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states where marijuana is legal for some purpose. Having two rising stars like Rand Paul and Cory Booker team up to introduce this amendment just shows how popular the issue has become, and that our outdated federal marijuana laws are inevitably going to change.”

Just last month, the House took even longtime supporters by surprise when it voted 219-189 for a similar amendment, co-sponsored by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Sam Farr (D-Calif.), that prevents federal agents from stopping the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. If both the Senate and House versions of the budget include the amendment, the final language of the budget bill is likely to include the ban when it emerges from a joint conference.

The DEA told HuffPost it does not comment on pending legislation.

"Our recent bipartisan victory in the House showed that elected officials are beginning to wake up to the fact that supermajorities of voters support letting states set their own marijuana laws without federal interference,” Marijuana Majority's Tom Angell told HuffPost. “Now that senators with clear presidential aspirations are getting on board, it's even more clear that savvy politicians are aware that this is a mainstream, winning issue they should support instead of run away from.”

Despite nearly half of all U.S. states having approved medical marijuana programs, the plant remains illegal under federal law. The DEA classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance, along with heroin and LSD, with “no currently accepted medical use.”

During the Obama administration, the DEA and several U.S. attorneys have raided dispensaries that were acting in compliance with state laws. Those agencies have seemed less aggressive in their pursuit of medical marijuana providers in the 10 months since Deputy Attorney General James Cole issued a memo outlining specific federal priorities for marijuana enforcement.

Senate amendment text:

At the appropriate place in title II of division A, insert the following: Sec. __. None of the funds made available under this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.
 

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http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2014/06/high_times_magazine_bringing_c.html




High Times Cannabis Cup marijuana trade expo slated for Genesee County


VIENNA TWP, MI -- It's like the Super Bowl for marijuana.
It's the High Times magazine's Cannabis Cup, considered one of the premier marijuana events in the world. And it's coming to Genesee County.

The Cannabis Cup is scheduled for July 26 and 27 at the Michigan Auto City Speedway in Vienna Township. High Times is hosting four installments of the Cannabis Cup this year. The other cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Amsterdam.

The magazine's signature event -- a combination of a trade expo, conference, marijuana competition and cultural celebration -- started in Amsterdam in 1988 and is still an annual event there. In recent years, with marijuana and medical marijuana regulations relaxing around the United States, the New York City-based High Times has hosted U.S. events in states such as California and Denver.

The event aims to showcase and provide information for the Michigan cannabis industry, as well as its top businesses and advocates, said Dan Skye, editorial director of High Times.

"Basically, it's a cannabis trade expo, when you get down to it," Skye said.

Event organizers are expecting attendance of around 5,000 people.

With Michigan voters passing a law decriminalizing medical marijuana in 2008, the magazine has looked at the state as another battleground in the effort to end pot prohibition. A Cannabis Cup was held in 2011 in Detroit, but organizers weren't happy with the response from local police.

Since then, organizers have wanted to come back to Michigan.

"We love Michigan," Skye said. "They have a booming medical marijuana industry going on."

Matt Johnson -- who in 2012 started Lush Lighting in Niles, Mich. -- has been in constant contact with a High Times editor since the Detroit event.

"I've been bugging him for two years to get him to come back to Michigan," said Johnson, who's company produces LED light bulbs for agriculture. The company is a sponsor of the July event.

Organizers say they've contacted local law enforcement, officials and attorneys and the event is completely legal. Only people who possess a valid medical marijuana card will be allowed to use marijuana at the event.

"Seriously," Skye said. "When we had one in L.A., we dealt with LAPD directly. Everybody knows what we're up to. There is no secret."

Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell said he's aware of the event and doesn't see a problem with it, as long as laws are respected.

'We're going to protect their constitutional right to meet," Pickell said. "But in the process, if any laws are violated, we're going to enforce the law."

Otherwise, Pickell said, he's planning to treat it like any other event.

"At this point, we're not going to do anything differently," he said. "If we get a sense that there's going to be a problem or it creates traffic issues, we'll have a stepped-up presence."

Joe DeWitte, owner of Michigan Auto City Speedway, said he understands the event might be controversial to some local people. DeWitte said the magazine approached his business about renting the facility. To him, it's simply another business deal and not a statement of support for or against medical marijuana.

"Our decision didn't come lightly on this one," DeWitte said. "We did a lot of work, a lot of leg work. Talked to attorneys, talked to Bob Pickell."

DeWitte said the event organizers are providing most of the staff and security for the event. Some of his employees will be on hand for services such as parking and concessions.

"The unique thing about it is, very honestly, it's going to bring a lot of business to the area."
 

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