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MJ News for 07/04/2014. 'Murica Day!

7greeneyes

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http://www.oregonlive.com/marijuana/index.ssf/2014/07/washington_prepares_to_launch.html





Washington prepares to launch recreational marijuana industry


When it came to picking a spot for their marijuana shop, a group of entrepreneurs with business backgrounds didn’t consider Seattle, Washington’s biggest city and home to a thriving culture of recreational cannabis use.

The guys behind Main Street Marijuana instead set their sights south. They chose Vancouver, in large part because of its easy access to Portland, another West Coast city with affection for high quality pot.

Oregonians will get the chance to vote on legalizing recreational marijuana in November, but practically speaking, access to legal cannabis begins next week when Washington becomes the second state in the country to launch a regulated recreational marijuana market.

The Washington Liquor Control Board, which oversees recreational marijuana facilities, on Monday plans to issue permits to an estimated 20 recreational marijuana retailers statewide. The following day, one of Vancouver’s first marijuana shops will open in a Main Street storefront, a prime spot managers Ramsey Hamide, 35, and Christopher Stipe, 31, chose for its proximity to Portland.


Main Street Marijuana to Open in Vancouver, Washington
Ramsey Hamide and Chris Stipe, managers at Main Street Marijuana in downtown Vancouver, Washington, talk about positioning the business, which will offer retail recreational marijuana, next door to Oregon.
“Oregon is going to be a great neighbor to have,” said Stipe, as contractors bustled around the former jewelry store installing security and coating the windows with opaque coverings so marijuana can’t be seen from the street. “We’re off the freeway. Hopefully, we’ll get people coming into Oregon from out of state. I think tourists will want to check it out.”

The state’s recreational marijuana program, approved by Washington voters in 2012, isn’t headed for a smooth start. Retailers say inventory will be low, prompting at least one shop to consider limiting sales to a few grams per consumer instead of the one ounce allowed under Washington law. Extremely popular consumer products, such as marijuana-infused cookies and other sweets, as well as potent marijuana oils and other concentrates, won’t be in stock at first, as the state continues to process licenses for those businesses.

“I think the stores will definitely be able to open,” said Alison Holcomb, criminal justice director of the ACLU of Washington and the primary drafter of Initiative 502, the state’s recreational marijuana law. “How long they will be able to keep supply on the shelves is a really important question.

“There may be outages from time to time,” she said. “It will be a little rough in the beginning.”

Holcomb said Washington officials didn’t anticipate the flood of applications they got for producer, processor and retailer licenses. She said they estimated several hundred but ended up with 7,000 -- and only 18 staffers to process them.

The Washington Liquor Control Board so far has licensed 16 marijuana growers that are market ready. All of their product must be harvested, dried and tested for mold, mildew and pesticides, as well as tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol at a state-certified lab. The state so far has licensed two marijuana testing labs.

Growers themselves are a factor in the low supply, she said. After decades of operating on the black market, Washington’s pot growers find themselves adjusting to tight state regulation and oversight. The learning curve, said Holcomb, is steep.

“A lot of the producers weren’t ready for final inspection,” said Holcomb. “These are people who had been growing in their basement, backyard and farmland without having to meet the requirements for business licensing.”

Brian Stroh, 44, owner of CannaMan Farms, a licensed marijuana grower in Vancouver, said he expects to have up to six pounds ready for sale by the end of next week. He said testing the product, a process that takes five days, adds to the delay in getting the product onto store shelves.

“There hasn’t been enough time,” said Stroh, who came to the marijuana industry after two decades in finance. “There were not enough producers licensed early enough to support the stores.”

He gets about a half-dozen calls daily from retailers searching for inventory.

His response: “I don’t have any product.”

Eventually, he expects to produce between 20 and 30 pounds of cannabis a month.

Under Washington law, anyone 21 and older can buy up to an ounce of marijuana. For now, supply is so tight Stroh’s packaging his cannabis by the gram so shop owners can more easily sell smaller amounts.

Brian Budz, 40, owner of New Vansterdam, located at 6515 East Mill Plain Boulevard, plans to cap how much cannabis his customers can purchase until the inventory stabilizes.

“We want people to be able to come in and have some fun, but we are probably not going to let anyone have the maximum of an ounce,” said Budz, who expects to be licensed Monday but won’t open until next Friday. (And yes, Budz is his real name.)

“That would clean us out pretty quickly,” he said.

At Main Street Marijuana, where shop managers said they will aim for a high-end crowd that includes tourists, Stipe expects to sell marijuana for between $12 and $15 a gram. Some estimates are as high as $25 a gram at other outlets. Marijuana sells for between $5 to $10 on the black market in the Portland area.

Hamide said Washington’s marijuana shops, stocked with state-regulated and tested cannabis, have a “serious advantage” over the black market.

“It you want cheap weed, you can go to the local dealer,” he said.

That’s what some Oregonians say they’ll continue to do until Washington’s prices come down.

Russ Belville, who hosts a Portland-based talk radio show about marijuana policy and culture, said Washington’s marijuana prices will discourage recreational users from heading north to buy it.

Regular recreational cannabis users in Portland already have cheaper sources for pot.

“I don’t see anyone from Portland beating a path to Vancouver to pay $25 a gram,” he said. “Even at $12 a gram it’s going to be difficult.”
 

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http://abcnews.go.com/International/las-marijuana-farmers-market-opens-today/story?id=24428970




First Marijuana Farmers Market in Los Angeles Opens Today


Medical marijuana users in Los Angeles will now be able to buy pot directly from a farmers market the same say they purchase fresh fruit and vegetables.

The California Heritage Market, set to be held at the West Coast Collective in a 15,000 square-foot open-air venue, will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. this weekend starting today, according to Adam Henry, general manager of the market.

"This is a chance for patients to learn directly from the growers," Henry told ABC News. "Also, you get much competitive prices."

Henry said patients can get one gram of marijuana for seven dollars at the market, compared to $20 in dispensaries.

"We cut down the price of overhead and middle man," Henry said. "You need guards at dispensaries. You need employees. Rent is expensive. That drivers up costs."

Some 50 vendors are at the market today selling everything from fresh buds to baked goods.

Henry said the market is completely legal, as it is not located within 100 feet of school or 600 feet of park, which is required by the Los Angeles.

The market is free to enter, but not open to the public. Customers will have to show their ID and medical marijuana recommendation the first thing when they go in the market.
 

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http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum/2014/07/03/maureen-dowds-marijuana-edibles-problemand-mine/




Maureen Dowd's Marijuana Edibles Problem -- And Mine



During a recent trip to Colorado, I sat on the cold hard floor of my hotel bathroom in the middle of the night, thinking about Maureen Dowd. The New York Times columnist had been widely mocked for eating too much marijuana-infused chocolate, which left her “curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours.” And not in a good way. “I was panting and paranoid, sure that when the room-service waiter knocked and I didn’t answer, he’d call the police and have me arrested for being unable to handle my candy,” Dowd wrote last month. “I strained to remember where I was or even what I was wearing, touching my green corduroy jeans and staring at the exposed-brick wall. As my paranoia deepened, I became convinced that I had died and no one was telling me.”

My own marijuana overdose was not nearly so dramatic. But I clearly had eaten one sour gummy candy too many. When I got up from bed to use the bathroom shortly after midnight, I was so dizzy that I had to sit down. I sat/fell hard enough to leave an impressive-looking bruise on my lower back. I know because during my massage with cannabis-infused lotion a few days later the masseuse remarked on it, which prompted me to tell her the whole embarrassing story, the moral of which is that edibles are indeed tricky, but consumers are not quite as helpless as Dowd portrays them.

Toni Fox , owner of 3D Cannabis Center in Denver, does not discount the unpleasantness of Dowd’s ordeal. Although “you’re not going to die from it,” she says, “you can feel absolutely horrific if you’ve never had an experience like that.” At the same time, Fox thinks Dowd should have known better. “I believe the dispensary told her what the proper dosage was,” she says. “I believe her tour guide told her what a proper dosage is.” The guide who showed Dowd around during her visit told The Cannabist he warned her to be careful with edibles. “We all know that the world is watching us,” says Fox, whose dispensary was the first recreational pot store to open in January. “He knew who she was. He’s going to inform her correctly.”

Dowd claims that in response to experiences like hers Colorado regulators are “moving toward demarcating a single-serving size of 10 milligrams.” But state regulations already require that labels on marijuana-infused foods and beverages indicate the total amount of THC and the number of 10-milligram “standard servings” in a package. “Total THC content is very clear on the packaging,” notes Joe Hodas, chief marketing officer at Dixie Elixirs & Edibles in Denver. Labels also indicate that “10 milligrams is a serving size,” he adds, and “if there are multiple servings of THC within an item, that is denoted appropriately.”

Dowd says the wrapper of the candy bar she bought did not include this information. Yet almost all of the edibles I saw during my trip had labels that indicated an appropriate serving for new or occasional consumers. The one exception was a little mint chocolate bar at a dispensary in a mountain town near Denver. The budtender there showed me the stickers he puts on that product when he sells it, indicating total THC and number of servings.

Using the information on the label is often straightforward. Edi-Pure makes various cannabis-infused candies, including the watermelon-flavored gummies I bought, in packages of 10. Each candy contains one 10-milligram dose of THC. Sometimes calculating a serving is a bit trickier. Dixie sells bubbly, fruit-flavored drinks in 250-milliliter bottles that contain either 40 or 75 milligrams of THC, so you need a measuring cup (and possibly a calculator) to get the dose right. A standard serving is about 63 milliliters of the weaker version, 33 milliliters of the stronger one. In an effort to simplify things for newbies, Dixie recently introduced a five-milligram “single dose” drink “for those who are new to THC or don’t like to share.”

If Edi-Pure’s products make dosing easy, why did I end up reeling on the way to the bathroom? I ate one candy in the late afternoon. Two hours later, I felt slightly buzzed and made the mistake of eating another candy to enhance the effect before heading out to dinner. What I failed to consider is that although an edible’s effects typically are noticeable within an hour or two, they may not peak until a few hours after that. That one candy, it turned out, was plenty, and two was too many, which may explain why I had so much trouble following the plot of Ender’s Game on the hotel’s pay-per-view system and fell asleep a third of the way through the movie (or maybe not; I have not tried to watch the movie sober). The extra candy also explains why I had so much trouble walking to the bathroom later that night.

For occasional cannabis consumers who would like to benefit from my stupidity, I’d say a good rule is to consume no more than a 10-milligram dose the first time around. The next day, you may decide in retrospect that 10 milligrams was not enough, but do not try to figure the right dose out on the fly, since it may take hours to feel the full effects. “Start with a low dose,” advises Dixie’s Joe Hodas, “and see how it feels—just as you would if you’ve never heard of alcohol in your life or never tried it before. Start low and go slow.” The thing about edibles, as Maureen Dowd discovered, is that you can’t uneat them when you realize you’ve had too much.

Despite frequently expressed concerns about the special risks posed by edibles, restrictions on marijuana consumption in Colorado may be steering people toward them. It can be such a such a challenge to find a place where smoking pot is legal, especially for tourists, that people who otherwise would prefer to light up a bowl or a joint may end up eating truffles or cookies instead. “If you’re worried about the safety of edibles,” says Denver attorney Christian Sederberg, a leader of Colorado’s legalization campaign, “then you should be encouraging places where people can smoke.”

Consumers put off by the long and unpredictable delays associated with marijuana-infused foods may want to try vape pens, which use cartridges containing cannabis concentrates. These devices deliver THC as fast as smoking, so you can easily titrate your dose, but without combustion products. They also avoid digestion and processing by the liver, which creates 11-hydroxy-THC, a variation on marijuana’s main psychoactive ingredient that may be more conducive to freakouts like Dowd’s than the delta-9-THC that smokers and vapers get. Vape pens look like e-cigarettes and generate only a faint, quickly dissipating cannabis odor, so they can be used more discreetly than a joint or pipe.

For those who are determined not to inhale anything, several products occupy a middle ground between smoking/vaping and swallowing cannabis-infused solids. Beverages like Dixie’s start to take effect much more quickly than solid foods (within 20 minutes for me, although your experience may be different). Then there are various products, including tinctures, sucking candies, and dissolving strips, that deliver THC mainly through the mucus membrane of the mouth, avoiding the liver and hastening the psychoactive effect. “We have a THC-infused mint that is incredibly popular,” says Dixie CEO Tripp Keber. “It’s placed between cheek and gum. You would absorb it through your buccal [mucosa], and it goes straight to the brain, so a very low dose is very efficient.”

Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor and Libertarian presidential candidate, recently became CEO of a new company, Cannabis Sativa Inc., that will make marijuana-infused lozenges similar to cough drops. “Couple of things hit you when you try the product,” Johnson told A.P. this week. “One is, wow, why would anybody smoke marijuana given this is an alternative? And then secondly, it’s just very, very pleasant. I mean, very pleasant.”

One thing Dowd got right is that Colorado’s marijuana industry developed to serve regular users—i.e., patients—who have developed tolerance and are accustomed to high doses of THC. “The medical marijuana patient was driving the dosing up,” Keber says. “They wanted as much medicine [as they could get] for their dollar.” With the recreational consumers now entering the market, he says, “the profile is dramatically different. They want to be social. They want to be creative. They don’t want to have a 100-milligram elixir and then sit in the corner.”

The industry is adjusting, offering less potent products such as Dixie’s five-milligram drinks, which are part of the new Dixie One line. But it would be a mistake to mandate a one-size-fits-all approach. Currently the maximum amount of THC per package for recreational products is 100 milligrams, or 10 standard servings. Gov. John Hickenlooper has suggested each package should contain just “one dose.” But one dose for whom? Ten milligrams may be plenty for an occasional user, but it is too low for many regular consumers. “I know people for whom 50 milligrams is their standard thing,” says Dixie’s Hodas. “So now I’m going to have to force that person to eat five pieces of chocolate or whatever it is?” Such a mandate would impose extra packaging expenses on manufacturers (and ultimately on consumers) while decreasing customer satisfaction. It makes more sense to offer a variety of potencies to suit the needs of different consumers.


The Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division has appointed a working group to consider whether new regulations are needed with respect to the potency and serving size of edibles. The main goal should not be to impose arbitrary limits but to give consumers the variety and information they need to make choices that satisfy them. At the same time, legislators and regulators should keep in mind that even the best rules will not always prevent people who should know better from making decisions they regret.
 

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/03/washington-marijuana-supply_n_5552962.html




Washington State Is Low On Legal Weed For Retail Marijuana Debut


Washington state's new recreational marijuana shops will open next week for the first time to legally sell marijuana to adults. But there's a problem: They're low on weed.

"Supply is going to be tight as this market launches," said Brian Smith, communications director for the state Liquor Control Board --the agency charged with regulating the nascent retail marijuana market. "This is an emerging market that doesn't exist anywhere in the world. It's a lot different than Colorado. And just like Colorado did when it first opened up, it had some shortages, but Washington's supply system is very robust and in a little bit of time all those suppliers will be feeding into the retail chain and there will be a lot."

The LCB will issue the first retail marijuana business licenses on Monday to about 20 outlets, Smith said. That gives the new pot shops about 24 hours to enter their cannabis inventory into the state's seed-to-sale marijuana tracking system so they can open for business on Tuesday.

"We've been looking at population and geography on where retail shops' locations," Smith told The Huffington Post. "We've moved maybe 30 forward, but not all of them are going to be ready come next week. We'd like to open several in Seattle, considering it's the big city, but it's going to be difficult come Tuesday."

Seattle's Cannabis City, which may be the only marijuana shop in the city opening on Tuesday, will have about 10 pounds of pot, owner James Lathrop said. "We''ll be selling in the $15 to $20 range per gram," Lathrop told HuffPost. "We expect to sell out that day."

Lathrop is probably right. In Colorado, which began allowing recreational pot sales Jan. 1, several of the nearly 40 shops around the state ran low or completely sold out of their supply in the early days at $10 to $20 per gram.

Top Shelf Cannabis, in Bellingham -- in the northwest corner of the state about 90 miles from Seattle -- has secured about 18 pounds of marijuana for its opening day on Tuesday.

"There's a supply and demand issue right now and people can charge whatever they want, but if you charge too much we're going to ruin this industry," John Evich, an investor in Top Shelf, told HuffPost. "We're planning on selling our product for about $12 to $25 per gram."

Both shop owners told HuffPost they plan to sell marijuana in two-gram amounts, hoping to supply any customers who want to be part of the state's first day of legalization.

Retail cannabis growers in Washington were allowed to bring plants to be tagged and registered with the state tracking system two weeks after receiving state licenses. The first licenses weren't issued until March. The state's LCB has approved about 79 licenses for marijuana producers and processors.

In November 2013, the LCB opened the application process for retail marijuana businesses. Unsurprisingly, there was a flood.

"We had a 30-day window beginning Nov. 20 and [the applications] just poured in," Smith recalled. "We received somewhere in the neighborhood of 7,000 applications."

The Liquor Control Board has stopped accepting applications and capped the number of recreational marijuana shops at 334. But just as in Colorado, there are dozens of local bans and moratoriums on recreational marijuana shops across the state, so it may take some time for all those state-allotted retail outlets to open.

Colorado and Washington were the first U.S. states to approve adult-use marijuana in 2012. Colorado's first retail marijuana shops opened in January to long lines and high sales. In the first week, Colorado shops collectively raked in more than $5 million. To date, with more than 100 shops now open, recreational marijuana retailers have generated sales of about $70 million.

Washington sales are regulated by the Liquor Control Board, while Colorado is regulated by the Department of Revenue's Marijuana Enforcement Division, which monitored the state medical marijuana industry prior to recreational legalization.

In Washington, marijuana producers and processors cannot also be retailers. In Colorado, retailers can also be growers. Until this month, retail shops in Colorado had to have been a medical marijuana dispensary in "good standing" with the state prior to being allowed to make recreational sales. Now, the state is accepting applications for marijuana businesses from newcomers. In Washington, anyone could apply for a recreational marijuana business license. The approximately 20 retailers that will open on July 8 are not former medical marijuana shops.
 

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http://americasmarkets.usatoday.com/2014/07/02/investors-light-up-on-cannabis-sativa/




Investors light up Cannabis Sativa


Shares of Cannibas Sativa soared 56% to $8.96 Wednesday after former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson was named CEO.

Johnson, a two-term governor and former construction company owner, hopes to grow Cannabis Sativa into a major marijuana company as more states consider legalizing the drug.

“I think in 10 years, for the most part, the U.S. will legalize marijuana,” Johnson said. “And what the U.S. does, so does the world.” “With the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, we are already seeing that the demand is significant. We believe the opportunity is here to deliver products that could change the world for the better,” he said.

Cannabis Sativa will make marijuana-based oils aimed at helping children with epilepsy, as well as cough drop-like edibles for recreational use.

“Couple of things hit you when you try the product. One is, wow, why would anybody smoke marijuana given this is an alternative?” Johnson said. “And then secondly, it’s just very, very pleasant. I mean, very pleasant.”

Cannabis Sativa also announced that it had acquired Kush, a pot research business, and named Kush founder Steve Kubby as chairman. Johnson will receive $1 a year in salary and equity in the company. Kubby will get $60,000 a year.

Like other thinly traded marijuana stocks, Cannabis Sativa has had its share of volatility. The stock has traded as low as 51 cents a share, rising to $18 before shedding more than half its value.

Cannabis Sativa was initially incorporated in 2005 as a tanning salon business. It sold Saraha Sun Tanning in September. Before the acquisition of Kush, the company’s prime focus had been distributing herbal-based skin products.
 

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https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/2439057...ouncil-to-hold-inquiry-into-medical-cannabis/




Tasmania's Legislative Council to hold inquiry into medical cannabis


Tasmania's Legislative Council will hold an inquiry into the medicinal use of cannabis.

The idea was proposed by Ruth Forrest, the independent Member for Murchison, and in a telephone hook-up the Members of the Legislative Council (MLCs) supported her.

The decision follows the State Government's rejection of a proposal from a local company to trial the growth, processing and administration of medicinal cannabis in conjunction with the University of Tasmania.

Ms Forrest has told 7.30 Tasmania the Government was wrong not to consider the proposal.

"Personally I'm disappointed that they're not going to look at it... not only for another agricultural crop in the state, obviously it needs regulation, but also for the people out there who have a variety of medical conditions that don't respond well to other forms of treatment," she said.

"I think they're being a little bit narrow-minded in the view here, in that it's just about smoking joints - it's not."

The MLCs have agreed to establish a parliamentary committee to investigate the issue and will seek public submissions as part of its inquiry.

The Legislative Council will submit its report on the issue to Parliament next year.

Minister's father says medical cannabis not a threat to poppy

Meanwhile, the father of Agriculture Minister Jeremy Rockliff has rejected his son's claim that medical cannabis poses a threat to Tasmania's lucrative poppy industry.

Rick Rockliff is a poppy grower and field operations manager for the poppy processing company Tasmanian Alkaloids.

In rejecting the proposal for a medical cannabis trial the Minister said growing medical marijuana would threaten the poppy industry.

But that is not the case, according to his father.

"I personally don't see it as a threat at all," Rick Rockliff said.

He told the ABC's Country Hour program that Tasmania would be better placed than other states to grow cannabis because of the regulations already in place for poppies.

"We've got strict regulatory requirements around our poppy industry and I guess it would be easy to slip something into place alongside that," he said.

Yesterday New South Wales MPs visited poppy processing plants in Tasmania's north to research their bid to legalise medicinal cannabis.

Mother says medical cannabis is a life saver

Nicole Cowles, whose eight-year-old daughter Alice suffers from a rare genetic condition, wants to see medicinal cannabis used more widely.

Ms Cowles believes medical cannabis saved her daughter's life.

Alice suffers from a condition called CDKL5, which triggers frequent serious seizures - up to 30 a day and some lasting as long as an hour.

Her mother spent years looking for ways to alleviate Alice's seizures, and the research led her to medical cannabis, which she began to source from interstate.

"We started the trial earlier this year, and almost instantly her seizures stopped," Ms Cowles said.

"And not only did her seizures stop but her growth and development has been phenomenal."

Ms Cowles was told Alice would never walk or talk.

Now Alice is walking and communicating and has only had two seizures in the past six weeks.

"Medical cannabis has definitely saved her - we have no other choice," she said.

"It's not a choice to take medical cannabis for Alice.

"I can either be brave enough to stand out and give Alive the medical cannabis or I can watch her die in my arms."
 

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http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/2014/07/04/campaigns-for-cannabis-heat-up




Campaigns for cannabis heat up


THE world-wide trend to decriminalise cannabis has given a boost to campaigners in South Africa as mainstream medical opinion now favours the use of cannabis products by patients suffering from a range of illnesses.

Buoyed by the fact that more and more countries are decriminalising the herb, two separate campaigns have emerged and are gaining momentum: one in Parliament for legislative change and another in the courts — another stab at having the ban on possession of cannabis being declared unconstitutional.

A lot has changed since Rastafarian would-be lawyer Garreth Prince lost his Constitutional Court case — by the narrowest majority — to decriminalise the use of cannabis by Rastafarians.

More and more countries are decriminalising and last year Uruguay was the first country to completely legalise cannabis.

The policy arguments in favour of decriminalisation are strong: the medical benefits; the absurdity of a ban on cannabis while the more harmful alcohol and tobacco are tolerated; the racist history of how cannabis came to be banned in SA — academics have argued that preventing inter-racial contact was at the heart of the ban; the potential of hemp for industrial purposes; the tax potential; the prohibitive cost of policing and prosecuting cannabis offences; the ineffectiveness of banning in the war on drugs.

These arguments have gained traction and the idea of decriminalisation is not as outlandish as it was 15 years ago. Earlier this year, the issue took centre stage in Parliament with an impassioned plea for decriminalisation by Inkatha Freedom Party MP Mario Oriano-Ambrosini, who has cancer and has been relying on cannabis for pain relief. President Jacob Zuma said he would ask Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to look into it.

However, policy arguments are irrelevant in a court.

As the majority judgment in Mr Prince’s case explicitly says: the case is not about whether criminalisation is good or bad, it is about whether it is constitutional or unconstitutional.

And what has not changed since Mr Prince’s case is the law. The Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act still classifies "cannabis (dagga)" (sic) as a part III, schedule 2 undesirable, dependence-producing substance and makes its possession an offence.

But the "Dagga Couple" — life partners Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke — hope to succeed where Mr Prince failed by relying on entirely different grounds.

While Mr Prince’s case was decided on the right to freedom of religion, Mr Stobbs and Ms Clarke freely say that they — just like a third of middle-class South Africans — use cannabis recreationally.

In their pleadings, they refer to a host of constitutional rights they think are infringed by the law on cannabis, including the right to dignity, the right to freedom and security of the person, the right to freedom of association and the right of access to healthcare services. They even refer to the right to have the environment protected.

However, a recent article by one of their lawyers suggests that, since the pleadings were first drafted, they have narrowed their case and plan to base it predominantly on the right to equality before the law (section 9(1) of the constitution).

The couple’s attorney says in a recent article that the criminal prohibition of cannabis breaches the right to equality before the law because it irrationally differentiates between cannabis users and alcohol and tobacco users.

Alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than cannabis but cannabis users are the ones treated as criminals, they say.

While laymen may think "of course it’s irrational", the challenge for the Dagga Couple’s legal team is that, in law, it takes very little to show a rational connection.

The legal test for rationality is that the law in issue must be connected to a legitimate government objective — in this case to prevent or mitigate the harm associated with cannabis.

The Constitutional Court has said: "The question is not whether the government could have achieved its purpose in a manner the court feels is better or more effective or more closely connected to that purpose. The question is whether the means the government chose are rationally connected to the purpose, as opposed to being arbitrary or capricious."

In this case, once you accept that there is some kind of harm in using cannabis, then you may have to accept that the government has a legitimate objective in preventing its use. Whether banning it is the best way to prevent the harm is a policy, not a legal, question.

As the University of Cape Town’s Prof Pierre de Vos said in a blog post on a different matter: "Anyone who has read the Constitutional Court judgments on equality will know that if one wants to win one’s case with an equality argument, one will have to argue that the law differentiates on the basis of race, sex, gender, sexual orientation or a similar ground and thus constitutes unfair discrimination in terms of section 9(3)."

The section 9(1) route is a difficult one.

However, the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to the pleadings means the couple could still explore other constitutional routes more fully. The right of access to healthcare especially might be a safer tree to bark up.

The Dagga Couple are also not putting all their eggs in one court case basket and are just as active in campaigning for policy change. Other cannabis smokers might do well to do the same.
 

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http://abcnews.go.com/International/las-marijuana-farmers-market-opens-today/story?id=24428970




First Marijuana Farmers Market in Los Angeles Opens Today


Medical marijuana users in Los Angeles will now be able to buy pot directly from a farmers market the same say they purchase fresh fruit and vegetables.

The California Heritage Market, set to be held at the West Coast Collective in a 15,000 square-foot open-air venue, will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. this weekend starting today, according to Adam Henry, general manager of the market.

"This is a chance for patients to learn directly from the growers," Henry told ABC News. "Also, you get much competitive prices."

Henry said patients can get one gram of marijuana for seven dollars at the market, compared to $20 in dispensaries.

"We cut down the price of overhead and middle man," Henry said. "You need guards at dispensaries. You need employees. Rent is expensive. That drivers up costs."

Some 50 vendors are at the market today selling everything from fresh buds to baked goods.

Henry said the market is completely legal, as it is not located within 100 feet of school or 600 feet of park, which is required by the Los Angeles.

The market is free to enter, but not open to the public. Customers will have to show their ID and medical marijuana recommendation the first thing when they go in the market.
I can't believe I wasn't there for this.
 

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Those talking heads keep talking about how testing will give people something they haven't had. Wrong, the labs have been testing product for years, who do they think started that?

Plus most of those 502 growers don't know ****. If the state wants to meet demand they should allow mmj growers to supply the stores.

Most of the test results show the 502 growers can't compete, 10-12% thc, bone dry, no thanks.
 

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