The latest pot and politics news for the northeastern United States. Updated daily and weekly.
Gov. Cuomo OKs medical marijuana for PTSD
November 12—Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced, before the NYC Veterans Day Parade, that he would sign legislation to add post-traumatic stress disorder to the state’s medical marijuana program list of eligible conditions. “Many of our veterans are suffering from PTSD, and the medical community has determined that (medical marijuana) can be a helpful treatment,” he said.
Maryland Medical Cannabis Regulator Resigns
November 10—Maryland’s top medical cannabis director resigned on Thursday, stating that “the time has come for me to pursue other interests.” Patrick Jameson is a former state trooper and the second in his position to resign in the last two years. The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission will continue to review the final stage of approval for 40 of the more than 100 dispensaries selected to launch the industry.
Massachusetts Pot Companies Launch Alliance
November 10—A group of Massachusetts cannabis companies launched a nonprofit to advance responsible regulation of the cannabis industry there. The Responsible Regulation Alliance (RRA) will offer learned insights into cannabis regulation as the state’s rule-making process continues.
Cannabis Production Goes up, so Does the Market
November 10—ArcView, a leading research group for the legal marijuana industry, reports that legal cannabis, hemp and marijuana sales soared in North America by 34% last year, growing through to 2021 by an average of 26% annually.
Positive Response to Pensylvannia MMJ Program
November 9—More than 3,800 patients and 200 caregivers have registered for the Pennsylvania medical marijuana program since Nov. 1, when the MMJ program was launched. Patients can visit medicalmarijuana.pa.gov for more information on eligibility, sign-up forms, and find a list of doctors.
Maine’s New Rules for Cannabis Caregivers
November 9—Maines Department of Health and Human Services issued new rules Wednesday, cracking down on Maine’s fast-growing and changing medical marijuana program. The primary concern is how caregivers grow and distribute medical marijuana. They will now be subject to surprise inspections and a plant-to-patient tracking system.
Connecticut Marijuana Facility Owner Arrested
November 9—The owner of Portland, Connecticut-based CT Pharmaceutical Solutions has resigned his medical marijuana employee license and has been charged by police after the Department of Consumer Protection received an anonymous tip that Andrew Bozzuto, 54, of North Branford, was “diverting marijuana” from the facility.
Legal Marijuana Wins the New Jersey Election
November 8—Democrat Phil Murphy’s victory in the governor’s race means it’s “full-steam ahead” for New Jersey’s legal marijuana industry. Murphy stated throughout his campaign that he wanted to make non-medical marijuana available for people 21 and older and that he intends the sales tax from legal cannabis—a possible $300 million of the estimated $1.3 billion industry—to help fund education programs and the public worker pensions. State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, who controls which bills the Senate debate and vote on, aims to table the legislation within 100 days of the Murphy administration. Let the countdown to April begin.
Rhode Island Recreational Marijuana Study Commission Meets for the Second Time
November 8—Members of Rhode Island’s new recreational marijuana study commission will study the rollout of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington State as they consider whether the state should legalize recreational pot. The neighboring states of Maine and Massachusetts have already legalized recreational marijuana and are preparing to implement their policies.
Marijuana rates linked to decrease in cigarette use
November 8—Declining cigarette use among teens may have helped keep marijuana use from rising in recent years, authors said in a new study. Adolescents’ beliefs about marijuana risks are also closely tied to their decision to use the drug, according to the study “Prevalence and Attitudes Regarding Marijuana Use Among Adolescents Over the Past Decade.”
Queens of the Stoned Age Talk Sex and Pot
November 7—For the season finale of the MERRY JANE series, Queens of the Stoned Age, the panel of women speak openly about their relationship with cannabis as it pertains to their sex lives. Adult film stars Riley Reid and Jenna Sativa, comedians Esther Ku and Rachel Wolfson, Cannabis Feminist’s Jessica Assaf, matchmaker Molly Peckler, photographer Jennifer Rovero, and blogger Jacqueline Epcar open up about increasing pleasure, banishing anxiety, unlocking pain relief, and making stronger physical and mental connections with sex partners.
Pennsylvania Professor Finds Faulty CBD Labels
The Business of Cannabis in Vermont [Listen]
November 7—Listen as Brian Voigt, a research professor at UVM’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, explains the differences between hemp, CBD (Cannabidiol) and marijuana to Vermont Public Radio, as well as the challenges of growing hemp and marijuana in Vermont.
Massachusetts Bill Would Expunge These Pot Convictions
November 7—This Massachusetts House bill would allow people to completely wipe out marijuana possession convictions from their records. Currently, someone convicted of marijuana possession can petition a judge to have their record sealed, which does means it is still available to law enforcement, probation officers, the court, gun licensing agencies, and some other agencies.
Massachusetts Is Hiring a Marijuana Inspector
November 7—According to this job posting on Mass.gov, the state Department of Agricultural Resources is hiring an agricultural inspector who knows marijuana. The successful candidate “will enforce the laws and regulations involving hemp and overlapping laws and regulations that impact the cultivation of marijuana.” Of the states that have legalized recreational pot, Massachusetts seems to be taking extra care with their marijuana law reform.
Pennsylvania’s list of medical marijuana doctors
November 6—Of the more than 300 physicians who have registered with thePennsylvania Department of Health, 109 doctors have been approved to prescribe medical marijuana. There are 10 doctors in Allegheny County, five in Butler County, two in Washington County, and one in Beaver County approved to prescribe medical marijuana, according to the list. So far, no doctors in Westmoreland County have received approval. Besides registering, hopeful physicians must complete a four-hour training course and a review by the health department.
New Jersey Gov. Gives Anti-Marijuana Speech
November 6—“I have literally been the only thing standing between New Jersey and medical marijuana legalization. And how the election goes…there may be nothing standing between it,” said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), referring to his re-election bid, Tuesday. The Governor, who chaired the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, gave this anti-marijuana speech during a two-day symposium hosted by Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, where he mentioned his commission was “inundated” with comments calling for marijuana law reform. “We’re the most medicated country in the world. Do we really need to legalize another drug?”
Maine Lawmakers May Override Veto Letter
November 6—The state legislature will vote today on whether or not to override Gov. Paul Lepage’s veto letter from Friday. LePage says that he vetoed the bill to avoid a conflict between state and federal marijuana laws. However, pro-pot lawmakers argue that the legislation would help establish a state licensing system for non-medical marijuana, and would set a 10 percent sales tax, plus an excise tax. The bill requires a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and the Senate to pass.
Update: By the end of day, November 6, Maine lawmakers had failed to override governor Lepage’s veto of a recreational marijuana law. Retail pot sales for Maine are now in limbo. Gov. Lepage has also vowed to veto a health care expansion that would expand the program to 70,000 people.
Pennsylvania opens medical marijuana registry
November 6—Patients and caregivers are adding their names to Pennsylvania’s new medical marijuana registry. With registration comes a medical marijuana card and the right to lawfully fill a doctor’s medical marijuana recommendation at a dispensary, which the state says will open within the next six months. Pennsylvania residents diagnosed with a qualifying condition no longer have to run the risk of being arrested for buying marijuana illegally to treat their symptoms.
Maine Gov. Submits Anti-Pot Veto Letter
November 5—Maine Gov. Paul Lepage submitted a veto letter on Friday for a bill that would have built a recreational marijuana retail market. In his veto letter, LePage urges the Maine legislature to “sustain this veto” because of the poor quality of the bill. LePage’s most significant complaint is that he did not know how the Trump administration intended to enforce federal marijuana laws in states that legalized non-medical marijuana. The bill in question passed with enough votes to overturn a veto in the state Senate, but not the statehouse.
Vermont Hemp Farmers Voice Concern
November 5—Hemp farming in Vermont has grown significantly with the Department of Agriculture reporting nearly 560 acres of hemp farm registered in the state. However, hemp farmers see big changes on the horizon if its close cousin, marijuana, is legalized. Since hemp and marijuana are two different plants—hemp has a lower THC level than marijuana and can be used to create clothing, rope, and building materials—those in the hemp trade don’t want legalization to divert from hemp’s useful contribution as a grain, fiber, and CBD-rich medicine. Conversations between Vermont and its hemp industry are expected once Gov. Phil Scott’s commissioned report on how recreational marijuana should be regulated is delivered.