Tuesday, October 02, 2018

California Governor Jerry Brown Issues Blow To Medical Cannabis Patients, Compassion

Protections for medical cannabis patients are eroding quickly in the state of California.  Two important medical cannabis bills that passed the legislature were not signed by Governor Jerry Brown this week, SB 829 and SB 1127, leaving what many think is a huge stain on Brown’s political legacy.

On September 11, 2015, the legislature passed MMRSA – Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act.  This set of rules was a clear violation of Proposition 215 as it made huge, sweeping amendments to a voter initiative.  In an act of diabolical genius immediately after MMRSA passed, AUMA – the Adult Use of Marijuana Act – was filed and signature gathering began soon thereafter quashing any effort to sue the State over MMRSA as any judge assigned to the case would suggest waiting until the outcome the election before moving forward with the case.  AUMA neatly umbrella’ed MMRSA making it part of their voter initiative and effectively compromising Prop. 215 – The Compassionate Use Act.  

Despite the diligent, articulate and informed arguments by patient advocates statewide that AUMA – Prop. 64 – greatly jeopardized The Compassionate Use Act, paid proponents of Prop. 64 worked to discredit and undermine decades of hard work by advocates to protect patients’ safe, affordable access to medical cannabis.  AUMA passed. The taxes and fees have skyrocketed.  Patients have stopped visiting licensed retail cannabis shops for unregulated sources.  Now a blow by the Governor to declare that Compassionate Care and allowing children access to their medicine at school are illegal.

As of January 1, 2018, giving cannabis away at no cost to vulnerable patients – the spirit of The Compassionate Use Act – became illegal.  SB 829 would have created a license for this activity to encourage the re-establishment of compassion programs allowing low-income patients and our veterans to have more livable lives.  SB 1127 would’ve allowed children with serious illnesses to have their medical cannabis available at school in case of an emergency. Many of these children suffer from Dravet Syndrome – a severe form of epilepsy that produces violent and debilitating seizures, often several times a day.  Medical cannabis alleviates the duration, frequency and severity of these seizures allowing children to have more livable lives.  Governor Brown is not concerned about the lives of Californians especially of they are poor, ill or use medical cannabis.

So, what are the options for medical cannabis patients, providers and their advocates? Taking the next several legislative sessions to make endless amendments to every part of these flawed laws is one burdensome option.  A legal challenge to Prop. 64, as it pertains to the claim that it doesn’t affect Prop. 215, is another option but not a long-term solution.  It appears more and more that the only way to protect patients and Prop. 215 is through the voter initiative process and specifically a constitutional amendment.  

However, statewide voter initiative campaigns are arduous and expensive.  Is there enough frustration to motivate a campaign?  Are there enough people willing to make a small donation to fund a campaign?  Patient Advocacy Network would like to hear your thoughts. 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Patient Advocacy Network Medical Cannabis News Digest – September 30, 2018

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Medical Cannabis News Around California

California bill allowing medical marijuana on school grounds reaches Gov. Brown’s desk

Weed Farmers Are Suing a California County After It Kicked Them Out

Santa Clarita Marijuana Delivery Services In ‘Legal Limbo’ As California Regulates Weed

As California Raids Illicit Pot Shops, Legal Industry Struggles With Safety Testing

Big safety testing failure rate for California pot products

Legal medical marijuana stores could start opening up in Fresno

City Council Could Approve First Medical Cannabis Dispensary

Judge rules Santa Rosa girl taking medical cannabis for seizures can attend public school

After 45 months of planning second cannabis dispensary opens in Santa Barbara

Medical Cannabis News Around The U.S.

Ninth Circuit Cannabis Ruling Gives Biz Owner New Chance to Fight Charges

Legalising medical marijuana shows no effect on crime rates in US states

Why The Adult Cannabis Market Could Kill Its Medical Counterpart

Data Shows the Global Medical Cannabis Usage Continues to Grow

US scholars back medical cannabis

Increasing use of Cannabis for Pain Treatment is set to Grow the U.S. Medical Cannabis Market

Measure to let VA doctors recommend marijuana was again left out of budget bill

Medical marijuana users are being shut out of public housing

Marijuana use among pregnant women is rising, and so are concerns
Solid data on the dangers of the drug to pregnant women and babies are hard to come by

The First Medicinal Cannabis Kitchen of Its Kind in the Country Will Debut in Arizona on Friday, Oct. 5

Connecticut - Federal Court Rules In Favor Of Worker Rejected For Medical Marijuana Use

Underground network brings medical marijuana to Georgia residents, and it's legal

Louisiana lifts limit on patients who can access medical marijuana

Maryland’s medical cannabis program bans food, but plenty of ingestible products are sold

98 Michigan medical marijuana dispensaries will have to shut down

Michigan - 98 medical marijuana dispensaries won't have to close due to judge's ruling

Michigan plans online registration for medical marijuana

Minnesota - To make medical cannabis more affordable, allow patients access to marijuana flower

North Dakota - Medical marijuana law shields manufacturing and dispensary applicants' information

Fargo, Bismarck locations among first ND medical marijuana dispensaries selected

Why Ohio's medical marijuana program is getting a late start and what's next

Ohio - 'Cannabis regulated like plutonium': Security measures causing delays in marijuana launch date

Ohio - Medical marijuana roll-out "sloppy," state auditor says

Oklahoma - More doctors added to medical marijuana registry, over 1,500 patients approved

Patients react to new limits on Oregon medical marijuana

A year after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s medical marijuana program back on track

South Carolina - Compassionate Care Alliance launches tour in support of medical cannabis

Utah - State lawmaker files bill to address medical marijuana proposition

Drug Safe Utah defends radio ad opposing medical marijuana ballot initiative

Utah’s medical marijuana campaign kicks off with a ‘tailwind of support

Forum panelists support medical marijuana, but some not in favor of Utah’s Prop 2

West Virginia Medical Marijuana Remains in Limbo

International Medical Cannabis News

Windsor doctor worries for medical cannabis once recreational use legalized
Canadian Medical Association wants medical use 'phased out' but local doctor says that's not the way

Canada’s Medical Cannabis Program Safe (For Now)

Malaysia in Talks to Become First in Asia to Allow Medical Pot


Saturday, September 29, 2018

Weed Sells, But Who's Buying? California's Unregulated Market Takes Over

California is experiencing a significant decrease in revenue from medical cannabis sales than what state officials originally predicted.  Some cannabis industry analysts point to adult recreational use as the primary factor.  However, patients and providers will tell you that over-taxation and the added costs of testing, packaging and licensing fees have pushed patients to seek unregulated sources for their medical cannabis.

Cannabis retail providers will tell you that it’s not only patients that have stopped coming in, but local adults, that frequented dispensaries a year ago, also stopped coming in after the new taxes went into effect January 1, 2018. So, who’s buying from licensed and permitted cannabis shops in California?  Tourists.

This benefits cannabis retailers fortunate and/or foresight-full enough to secure a permitted location in a major tourist thoroughfare, such as the Haight-Ashbury or the Venice Boardwalk.  Boutique providers in lesser known communities report that they are having a tough time business-wise – daily visits are low, unregulated options are plentiful, and the cost of doing business is too expensive – unreasonably so.  

Many boutique cannabis business owners see California’s current regulatory system favoring large, wealthy corporations over smaller, local mom-and-pop businesses. Investment money is nearly mandatory these days to keep up and stay afloat.  However, this has always been the way of capitalism and big money and business regulations.  Big money gets what it wants from the rule makers.  The little guy gets hit the hardest.  The consumer ends up paying more in the end.  

Except most California cannabis consumers refuse to pay more and there are plenty of more affordable options outside of the licensed industry.  If smaller cannabis businesses in California want to survive, they are going to have to demand more affordable rules and lower taxation.  The price out of the door has to match or beat the price on the street and right now “black market is king” according to social commentary.   

The $35 affordable eighth to the $65 premium eighth has been the standard on and off the streets for many years.  If regulations can’t meet this consumer demand, then the consumer is going to get it at that price elsewhere.  Does the legislature realize that the excessive taxation and cost of regulation has caused the unregulated market or ‘black market’ to explode?  Do they already know and this is by design? Why?

Always follow the money.