New York Expands Medical Marijuana Program… Denver Decides No Social Cannabis Use in Bars… Arizona Pushes for Medical Marijuana Upgrade
Read all about it in the HIGH TIMES weekly Legalization Roundup for November 28:
What: Legal Weed Could Stall
Although voters in Massachusetts approved an initiative to legalize marijuana, some experts say the state legislature could be slow to get the industry up an running before the 2018 deadline. This potential snag has mostly to do with the regulatory issues now being in the hands of the very forces that opposed the measure, with lawmakers caring very little about the time restriction because there is no political risk involved. In December, marijuana will officially become legal in the Commonwealth, but retail shops are not expected to open until sometime around the beginning of 2018.
What: Medical Marijuana Upgrade
Pot proponents are on a wild-eyed mission to strengthen the state’s medical marijuana program by putting an expansion proposal in front of the voters in 2018.
Last week, the Independent Wellness Center announced it was working on an initiative to expand aspects of the state’s medical marijuana laws, adding more qualified conditions and broadening the home-cultivation rule. The group has until July 2018 to collect the more than 150,000 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. Organizers say they are not expecting to be hit with the same resistance as a recreational marijuana initiative (Proposition 205) did in the most recent election, because most of the people who opposed that measure, including Governor Doug Ducey, are in favor of legalization for medicinal purposes.
What: No Pot in Bars
The Liquor Enforcement Division of the Colorado Department of Revenue recently announced a new rule that will prevent the food and beverage industry from allowing social marijuana use under Initiative 300, the city’s new law allowing so-called “social use” of pot. The new ordinance will, however, give those other city businesses— coffee shops, even Laundromats—the ability to apply for a separate permit to open a special cannabis-consumption area. The new ordinance was designed to create a four-year pilot program that will explore the realities of allowing marijuana consumption to be treated in a manner similar to how alcohol is done in various public places. It is set to expire in 2020.
Where: New York
What: Medical Marijuana Expansion
New York officials are expanding the state’s medical marijuana program. Last Tuesday, the Department of Health officially submitted an amendment to the current rules intended to give nurse practitioners and physician assistants the freedom to write patient certifications. The DOH is still trying to determine whether to include “chronic pain” on its list of qualified conditions. That decision is expected to come sometime before the end of the month. The first modifications to the state’s medical marijuana program comes after health officials issued a two-year analysis over the summer that suggested the longevity of the program depended on fewer restrictions. There is now some hope that this modest progression will persuade lawmakers to give some serious consideration to further expansion efforts in 2017.
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