By Jeff Bess, second-year student at the University of Washington School of Law.
Photo by Flickr user *sax, used under Creative Commons license.
As Thanksgiving 2015 approaches, the unexpected effects of state-legalized cannabis are most salient in Oregon. As bargain shoppers in the state are prepping for the Black Friday gauntlet, a group of recreational cannabis dispensaries are getting into the consumer action with deals of their own.
On Friday, November 27, more than twenty dispensaries in Oregon will host a “Green Friday” event that advertises a quarter ounce of cannabis flower sold for $20 to recreational customers over the age of 21. Despite some concern over an oversaturaturated cannabis market, the Green Friday deal represents a discount that is at home in the ecosystem of Black Friday door-buster advertisements. Green Friday deals apply to one hundred pounds of cannabis that have been distributed to participating dispensaries; once that inventory is gone, the deal is finished. Continue reading
The Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB) is currently creating rules for implementing Senate Bill 5052 (SB 5052) and House Bill 2136 (HB 2136), which unify Washington’s medical and recreational cannabis markets. The LCB is holding hearings throughout the state where members of the public have the opportunity to present oral testimony to the Board. The final hearing will take place this evening, November 19, 2015, in Everett. This post will summarize the hearing that took place on November 16 in Seattle.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is already working on fulfilling his campaign promise to legalize marijuana. On November 13, 2015, he stated in a mandate letter to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould, that one of her “top priorities” will be to work with the “Ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Health [to] create a federal-provincial-territorial process that will lead to the legalization and regulation of marijuana.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo via Cannabis Culture under a Creative Commons License.
In a politically unprecedented move to publish what is normally kept secret at the federal level, the letter is a lengthy list of campaign promises that were made public “so Canadians can hold us accountable to deliver on our commitments.” Continue reading
Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton explained her views on cannabis to a crowded town hall audience last week in South Carolina. Although the former Secretary of State refrained from joining the chorus on complete decriminalization, Clinton expressed a desire to reclassify marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II substance. Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, while Schedule II drugs may have a high abuse potential, they have accepted medical uses (e.g., morphine).
Clinton advocates for rescheduling cannabis.
Reclassifying cannabis, Clinton noted, would allow scientists at universities and health institutes to study cannabis without having to navigate the extreme legal and procedural hurdles currently facing marijuana researchers under Schedule I.
On November 4, 2015, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders introduced Senate Bill 2237 (SB 2237) called the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015. As the title suggests, this bill would end federal marijuana prohibition. The bill is modeled after the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2013, which was introduced to the House of Representatives by Rep. Jared Polio of Colorado.
Mr. Sanders has made marijuana part of his platform.
Sanders appears to be motivated, at least in party, by reforming the criminal justice system. The Vermont Senator expressed his concerns in a speech at George Mason University:
“Too many Americans have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use.”
By Jason Liu, second-year student at the University of Washington School of Law.
Photo by Laurie Avocado , used under Creative Commons License.
Previously, we said that the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) issued medical marijuana emergency rules on pesticides, testing, safe handling, and employee training, while also beginning the official rule making process. Here, we will discuss why the DOH is tasked with making these rules and what the current emergency rules mean.
Why is the DOH Issuing Medical Marijuana Rules?
Recently, the Washington State Legislature delegated rulemaking authority to the DOH. Senate Bill 5052 (link) was drafted to harmonize the regulations between medical and recreational cannabis. In part, the bill was a response to concerns about product standards for medical marijuana, the rationale being that patients seeking medical marijuana to treat a malady may have compromised immune systems. Regulating medical marijuana is an added protection for potentially vulnerable patients.
Under Senate Bill 5052, the DOH is tasked with issuing the safe handling and testing practices of medical marijuana.The bill states that “medical specific regulations [will] be adopted as needed and under consultation of the departments of health and agriculture so that safe handling practices will be adopted and so that testing standards for medical products meet or exceed those standards in use in the recreational market.” Continue reading
On Election Day 2015, Ohio voters overwhelmingly rejected a constitutional amendment to legalize medical and recreational marijuana. The proposed amendment, Issue 3, was highly controversial because it created a constitutional monopoly for marijuana production and processing. Ohio was the only state to consider marijuana legalization this year and this was the first defeat for marijuana legalization since Florida’s medical marijuana rejection in 2014.
Image used under Creative Commons License.
Issue 3 conditioned Ohio’s legalization of marijuana on the requirement that a few select persons were solely responsible for production. Issue 3 endowed “exclusive rights for commercial marijuana growth, cultivation, and extraction to self-designated landowners who own ten predetermined parcels of land. . .” This clause established a constitutional monopoly of marijuana production, which complicated the issue of marijuana legalization for Ohio voters.
Image used under a Creative Commons License
Recent events hint at changes to Canada’s prohibition on marijuana. With an election of Liberal Party candidate Justin Trudeau for prime minister, a shift in Vancouver marijuana licensing practices, and a recent Supreme Court ruling, there may be changes in the overall attitude towards marijuana.