Monthly Archives: December 2015

CLPP’s Medical Marijuana Survey

Photo by Wikimedia user Meganp - used under a Creative Commons license.

Photo by Wikimedia user Meganp – used under a Creative Commons license.

 

The University of Washington’s Cannabis Law and Policy Project (CLPP) will be working with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) to research the amount of medical marijuana canopy space required to merge the recreational and medical cannabis markets, pursuant to House Bill 5052 and Senate Bill 2136. CLPP will be collecting data from existing dispensaries and collective gardens.

Earlier this month, LCB announced it would be granting an additional 222 retail licenses to accommodate medical marijuana patients as they transition from dispensaries and collective gardens to LCB licensed retail outlets. Those stores will need sufficient cannabis product to provide to patients who have been getting medicine from collective gardens, dispensaries, or the illicit market.

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Tribes of Warm Springs To Sell Cannabis in Oregon

Map of Warm Springs Reservation

Map of Warm Springs Reservation

Last week members of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs voted to grow, process, and sell recreational marijuana. This decision is the result of a referendum that passed with an 86 percent approval. The referendum drew about 1,400 voters total, many of which were younger tribal members. The Warm Springs Reservation is home to nine federally recognized tribes and is the largest reservation in the state, located on 650,000 acres in north central Oregon.

The approved referendum allows the tribe to grow marijuana on the reservation in a greenhouse that may range from 10,000 to 36,000 square feet. However, the possession of marijuana is prohibited on the reservation and the referendum does nothing to change that. Consequently, the marijuana grown on the reservation will be sold to the public through three tribal-owned stores located off the reservation.

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Cannabis Research with Human Subjects?

By Jason Liu, second-year stu­dent at the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton School of Law. 

Image used under Cre­ative Com­mons License.

Image used under Cre­ative Com­mons License.

As state-legal cannabis systems are developing, there is a growing interest in the research in cannabis. The Portland Tribune reported today that on Oregon creating a new task force (Senate Bill 844) to develop research frameworks for the study of cannabis.  The task force aims to lay the groundwork for state-backed medical marijuana research.  Other states have implemented similar frameworks.  However, because cannabis is listed as Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act, the federal legal frameworks on cannabis provide researchers very limited opportunities to research cannabis.  The FDA noted that it “has not approved marijuana as a safe and effective drug,” however it “is aware there is considerable interest in its use to attempt to treat a number of medical conditions.”  With all of this interest, what is the proper regulatory pathway a researcher must take to research cannabis?

As “research” is broad, there are many ways cannabis can be researched (e.g., chemical analyses, genomic studies, animal studies).  In this post, we will review the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) guidelines for research on human subjects.  Because HHS heavily regulates the research of human subjects, looking at HHS protocols is a good place to start. Continue reading

DEA Raid on Menominee Tribal Land Sparks Lawsuit

By Sam Mendez, executive director of the Cannabis Law and Policy Project

In the wake of a recent raid on their land of 30,000 plants by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Menominee Indian Tribe in Wisconsin has filed suit, demanding declaratory judgments that its cultivation of hemp was legal and asking for declaratory relief and attorney’s fees. Interestingly, the tribe claimed no monetary damages. The tribe claims that the crop was to be used as hemp fiber for use in manufacturing to improve their local economy, and that no plants exceeded 0.3% in THC, a level set by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the “Farm Bill”)1 and by Tribal law. It’s been reported that the DEA claims that the plants were high-grade marijuana.

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Tribal chairman Gary Besaw. (Photo: Press-Gazette Media)

The THC level of the marijuana is an important factual contention, and one that could lengthen a case considerably. Perhaps that is the reason why the tribe is only seeking a declaratory judgment that their cultivation of hemp is legal, the success of which would allow them to begin another crop next year. The tribe hopes to have a court decision by spring.

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Why Oregon’s Coming Sales Tax on Cannabis May Be More “Taxing” than Anticipated

By Jeff Bess, second-year stu­dent at the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton School of Law. 

Image taken by 401kcalculator.org.

Image  by 401kcalculator.org, used under Creative Commons License.

Oregon has long been known (and loved) for its lack of sales tax. It is one of five states that does not tax the sale of goods. However, Oregon will make an exception to its tax policy when it comes to cannabis.

A major rationale for state-level legalization of cannabis is the promise of tax revenues that can help fund education, infrastructure, drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs, and other social services.  Oregon’s northern neighbor Washington is projected to exceed one billion dollars over the next four years in tax revenue from the sale of recreational cannabis.  Oregon’s new sales tax, which will apply at a rate of 17-20% (localities have discretion to add up to 3% on top of the 17% state-level tax), is also expected to be a boon to the state’s budget.  Effectively implementing and enforcing any tax of that scale and actually realizing these anticipated fiscal benefits, however, presents challenges.

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U.S. Postal Service Warns Against Advertisements for Mailing Marijuana

By Sam Mendez, executive director of the Cannabis Law and Policy Project

If a recreational marijuana retail store advertised in a newspaper that was mailed to a residence, are they breaking the law?

© United States Postal Service. Use qualifies as fair use under copyright law.

© United States Postal Service. Use qualifies as fair use under copyright law.

In a surprising move, a Portland-based U.S. Postal Service (USPS) office issued a statement warning against advertisements for mailing marijuana pursuant to the USPS’s Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), and also citing to the Controlled Substances Act for ads seeking to sell or buy marijuana. The Oregonian reported the statement stating the USPS “warned newspapers that it is a felony to mail material that includes marijuana advertising. But the USPS statement never says it is a felony, nor do the laws that the statement cites to. Notably, the Oregonian pointed out that the statement came from a local office and not a regional or national office. Continue reading

Holland’s Cannabis Law

Image used under Cre­ative Com­mons License.

As Washington, Colorado, and other states set forth legislation regulating cannabis, it is important to remember how institutions in the past dealt with cannabis. Review of a veteran of cannabis policy, such as Holland, could offer wisdom and useful model.  After all, no need to reinvent the wheel?  For many, Amsterdam immediately comes to mind as a bastion of legalized recreational drugs.  So, how do they handle legalized cannabis in the Netherlands? Continue reading

Looking Abroad for Regulatory Guidance: Legalized Cannabis in Uruguay

Image used under Cre­ative Com­mons License.

Policy makers across the country are being faced with the need to develop systems for regulating cannabis as there are few places that can serve as regulatory models.  When looking abroad to examine these systems of legalization, Amsterdam is well-known for its coffee shops and cannabis tourism.  But, as the first nation to officially legalize cannabis, Uruguay provides an example of a pragmatic national cannabis regulation program designed to address public health. Continue reading