Governor Matt Bevin was asked about his stance on cannabis this week. He was speaking at a community event and explained how personal the topic is for him. During his answer, he clearly stated that cannabis has medicinal benefits for many people. At one point he got very emotional and mentioned his young nephew who fought and died from cancer. Unfortunately, countless other people are going through a similar situation. Legally, they can only rely on dangerous pharmaceutical drugs. He realizes that, and claims he will support a well-written bill. It was stressed during his talk that the main goal shouldn’t be to raise tax money.
Kentucky is one of the few remaining states without an active medical marijuana program. The southern states are notorious for their history of harsh marijuana laws. Cannabis has a much more negative stigma among the general population. States like Kentucky are not known for being progressive with any of their laws. Conservatives hold control of the state government and the population of voters is also strongly republican. However, medical marijuana is one of the rare topics that both democrats and republicans can agree on. Now that more then half the country has legalized medical marijuana, they are finally taking steps in the right direction.
Also this past week, a medical marijuana bill was introduced by Senator Stephen West. A lot of the rules drafted in the bill are likely to change before it has the chance to pass into law. It is very early on in the process, but still very promising. The timing is perfect with the Governor making his pro-cannabis remarks. One thing to keep in mind is that Bevin is not a supporter of recreational marijuana use. My guess is that more then half the country will need to have legalized cannabis before Kentucky reconsiders. However, anything is better then their current laws.
Bringing cannabis to an airport is something most people would never think of doing. The benefits do not outweigh the risks. The fact that cannabis is a popular substance worldwide that can be found rather easily, prevents people from transporting it across state lines. While other airports in states with legal cannabis have made it clear bringing cannabis on their jurisdiction is not acceptable, LAX has decided to take a different approach. They have announced they will be allowing passengers to possess amounts that stay within the state’s current cannabis laws. This means that local police will not arrest people in the airport’s jurisdiction. Those who are departing the airport to a different location are no longer provided legal protection once they leave. It’s also possible TSA could hold you up until local police sort out the issue. The TSA is required to report violations of federal law and possessing marijuana is still illegal federally.
It appears the key to staying out of trouble for traveling with marijuana via plane is knowing the local laws of the state you are departing and arriving in. We can only hope that other airports take a similar stance publicly about their policy on recreational/medical weed. Until it becomes a trend in airports across the country I would avoid bringing anything along for the ride. Those with serious medical conditions that are willing to take the risk to ensure the availability of their specific strain/product should only bring what is allowed in both states. TSA claims they are not looking for drugs but upon their discovery will report it to local law enforcement. This is a primary reason why it shouldn’t be declared until it has been discovered.
For Los Angeles specifically, the state is allowing anyone over the age of 21 to carry up to an ounce of flower and 8 grams of concentrates. That should be more than enough to get you through your trip. There have been reports of medical marijuana patients being permitted to carry much larger amounts of their medicine because of California’s generous possession amounts for patients. It seems there is only one way to find out exactly what will result from a marijuana discovery outside of LAX. I’m not willing to test the waters myself, but I am interested in what will happen over time as people become more bold about traveling with their legal marijuana. Assuming other airports follow suit with a policy change reflecting their local laws, the TSA might stop bothering to report it at all. It’s also possible that if this becomes a trend, the federal government may respond and find a new way to prosecute these people. Technically most of these flights are in the jurisdiction of many more than 2 places. Today only 9 states have protections for recreational use and possession. So the vast majority of the country is still enforcing prohibition and this could be a technicality the government uses to respond like it usually does and target cannabis.
The list of negative consequences from cannabis being illegal at the federal level seems to keep growing longer and longer. The government is now stating that if Canadians legally work in their medical marijuana industry they can be denied entry into the United States and could even receive a lifetime ban. The Customs and Border Patrol Agency has made it clear that they do not recognize these marijuana businesses as legal entities whether they are operating legally in their home country or not. Law enforcement has far too much power if it has the authority to ban someone from a country forever for doing nothing wrong. Preventing a substance that you consider illegal is one thing, but preventing family members and visitors from ever seeing the great United States again is a crime. Especially when the federal government is allowing its own states to pass laws that directly contradict their own criminal code.
Canadians have to be aware of this so they can take preventative steps and avoid being denied entry. This applies to anybody that has ever used illegal drugs in the past, not just workers in the marijuana industry. It will likely apply to an even larger number of people once recreational marijuana legalization takes effect on October 17th. It is unclear exactly how Homeland Security will evaluate whether someone is associated with the cannabis industry. The best bet for those visiting the country would be to never admit to any past marijuana use or involvement in the legal marijuana industry. It is unlikely that the officer will be asking those type of questions without a solid reason to believe you are involved with cannabis, but it is definitely a possibility. Open admission is a guaranteed way to get yourself denied entry. You will be treated as a potential harm to society without a second thought.
These types of questions will probably become more popular among border patrol agents come October so they can exercise their power with more results. Luckily a democratic representative from California, Lou Correa, is questioning this policy as well as asking for clarification on how it will be enforced. The letter addressed to the Secretary of Homeland Security asked for a response by the beginning of October. It seems the letter will have little effect on the enforcement of banning Canadians but the response should help clarify what to expect when crossing the border. Hopefully it will be crystal clear for travelers what questions to expect and what type of answers could land them in trouble. There will likely be a large number of people who suffer because they weren’t aware that their legal activities can still have serious consequences.
Patients in the state of Michigan with a registered caregiver have been taking advantage of home delivery since 2008. Those who do not have a registered caregiver in the program and use provisioning centers as their point of access will likely have similar options soon. This is great news because for many patients there simply aren’t any local dispensaries operating nearby. Also, there are many cases where a patient is severely ill or suffers from a condition that affects their ability to drive. The fact that caregivers can only supply up to five patients makes it hard for some people to find a grower who can supply them with a steady supply of high-quality medicine. Along with that, some people benefit/prefer using marijuana in different ways outside of its raw form. As a result, this sends many patients to dispensaries so that they can have a large selection of products to choose from.
If you live in Michigan or have looked at the local Weedmaps directory, it is obvious that delivery services have been operating for years. These businesses are hiding in a grey area at best. They can’t claim to be caregivers because they are servicing anybody with a valid medical marijuana license that contacts them. While I’m sure a few have run into some legal trouble, the overall delivery market hasn’t been affected or slowed down. These services are prevalent in metro Detroit and offer reasonable pricing despite their convenience. Patients most likely wouldn’t see any major changes if deliveries become allowed, it would simply provide protection for brick and mortar stores to expand operations outside their store. Unregulated delivery services will probably be cracked down on and be forced to apply for a commercial license or close. This is no guarantee, just what I think is likely to happen considering the closing of all the dispensaries in Detroit lately. By September 15th, all dispensaries who haven’t been awarded a commercial license must close their doors. Unless there is an extension to that date, I think this will be applied to existing delivery services soon. The state hasn’t been too friendly to the medical marijuana businesses that have been operating unregulated for years and I think that trend will continue.
The proposed rules would allow dispensaries to have only one staff member making deliveries at a time. This driver can only make three consecutive stops before returning. In addition, the GPS location of the driver must be tracked and logged by the dispensary. There is also a provision added to the proposal that mentions residents living in a city or township banning dispensaries would still be allowed to receive deliveries. These “dry” communities have accomplished nothing but make medicine less accessible for patients. At least residents will now have legal protection to acquire medicine without leaving their local area. It seems that the state is headed in the right direction establishing permanent rules and providing protections for those looking to deliver medicine to patients. However, I think it could go with a lot less regulation. Making it so existing delivery services have to have a physical storefront and limiting the number of staff that can be conducting deliveries is just unnecessary. Marijuana has been unregulated for years through prohibition and even up until last December when the state began accepting commercial licenses. Those who took all the risks and were the pioneers in the industry are being flushed out by newcomers with lots of capital. It would be nice to see some of the existing delivery services able to continue to build their business and reap some benefits for all the risks they have taken for their patients.
There seems to be one common similarity among the different states and countries that have moved to legalize marijuana. Each law mentions the issue of public consumption and explains that it is still illegal. Even though the punishment for consuming in public is minor in most jurisdictions, the only legal place the law allows consumption without penalty is your own private property. If you look at any other recreational substance that is popular in our society, it’s clear that it is not a reasonable expectation for people to never consume marijuana outside of their own private property. The local city council in Calgary is concerned with this issue and wants to address it before legalization even takes effect in Canada.
One of the issues that are brought up by opponents of public consumption areas is that there will be a rise in impaired driving rates in cities that allow these type of businesses to run. The truth is that if lawmakers were truly that concerned about the dangers of impaired driving, alcohol wouldn’t be served at nearly every restaurant and corner store. Alcohol has been proven through numerous studies to have a much larger impact on motor skills and leads to more aggressive driving behaviors then marijuana. Not to mention drunk driving is responsible for more than 10,000 deaths a year Anybody that has used both will tell you the same thing. However, the availability of more dangerous substances for public consumption by itself doesn’t justify allowing these places to operate. The fact that there are enormous amounts of people who visit/live in Calgary without owning any property means legally they can’t use marijuana at all. Why make it legal in the first place if only property owners have the right to consume? This essentially keeps prohibition in place for the rest of the local population. People will of course not abide by these rules and smoke in public places regardless, so it’s only sensible they establish designated areas to help regulate where it is used.
Canada’s legalization measure not only banned public consumption of marijuana but it also prohibited its use in apartment buildings, condominiums, and hotels. It seems counterintuitive that the country wanted to eliminate smoking in these locations but did not offer any alternative in order to make this law reasonable. This is why the city council is taking matters into its own hands. It is proposing that there be four separate locations that were selected in relation to their distance from schools and areas frequented by children. All of these locations would be located in Ward 9 and within a relative proximity of one another. Even though the public is most likely going to be in agreement and support the availability of cannabis clubs, the government wants to reach out and receive feedback before the 9th of September. The committee will be holding a meeting on the 9th of October where the public can also make comments in person about the important issue. Calgary should have a clear decision made by the time the new law goes into effect so consumers won’t have to worry about being prosecuted for consuming a legal product.
Although it was November 8th of this year when Massachusetts voted to eliminate penalties for personal consumption and cultivation of marijuana, the law officially takes effect today. For legal sales, the soonest we’ll see stores opening is not until January of 2018 however. This is huge as Massachusetts is the first state on the east coast to implement a law like this. Maine also passed the ballot measure to legalize marijuana but it hasn’t taken effect yet. Keep in mind, these two states are very far away from the next closest recreational state of Colorado. This is definitely a victory worth celebrating and is the best example of an effective drug policy outside the western coastal area.
So what can the people of Massachusetts do exactly without going to prison or facing fines? What they should have always been able to do, cultivate and bring up to an oz of buds with them on their person. At home, the rule is 6 plants per person and total of 12 per household. You can also have up to 10 ounces kept at home. Prices at the recreational shops are sure to be ridiculously high when first starting out, so make sure to start your grow now and save some serious cash come 2018. Tax rates in the state are supposed to be low in comparison to other states like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon but the law of supply and demand the first opening months will guarantee some pricey buds.
For those of us that can’t grow because they don’t have the resources, knowledge, or time to put into an operation, there are no new options for obtaining cannabis. It’s illegal for people to sell and advertise on Craigslist and other sites so still go to your connection that you used before it became legal. There is no real legal way to purchase weed it’s suppose to just appear from nothing.(wouldn’t be so bad) Sticking to this method will not put the consumer at any additional risk instead of going to someone new who is openly advertising illegally. There have been plenty of cases on the news of police operations based on this idea in other states. This is a huge moment in history for personal freedom and I am just smiling thinking about the real crime that will be stopped, and the innocent lives that will be saved from the permanent damage of a criminal record. As long as you remember not to use in public or surpass the limits allowed, you can sleep at night knowing you’re no longer considered a criminal.