California: Legislator Introduces Bill To End Organ Transplant Denials For Medical Marijuana PatientsSubmitted by steveelliott on Thu, 02/12/2015 - 19:37
Americans for Safe Access sponsors bill introduced by Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) to end discriminatory practice
California State Assembly member Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) has introduced AB 258, the Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act, a bill aimed at preventing medical marijuana patients from being unduly denied organ transplants.
The Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act is sponsored by Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which has long advocated for patients seeking organ transplants, including Norman B. Smith, a medical marijuana patient who died in 2012 after being denied a liver transplant at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Specifically, AB 258 states that, "A hospital, physician and surgeon, procurement organization, or other person shall not determine the ultimate recipient of an anatomical gift based solely upon a potential recipient's status as a qualified patient...or based solely on a positive test for the use of medical marijuana by a potential recipient who is a qualified patient." The bill simply establishes the same protections that currently exist for other transplant candidates with mental or physical disabilities.
By Steve Elliott
More than 100 Native American tribes have reportedly contacted FoxBarry Farms, a company which says it is building the nation's first marijuana cultivation facility on tribal land, over the past month expressing industry in the cannabis industry.
There's been a surge of interest since the federal Department of Justice's announcement late last year that tribes are free to grow and sell marijuana on their lands, as long as they follow specific guidelines, reports Carly Schwartz at The Huffington Post.
"I really underestimated," said FoxBarry CEO Barry Brautman, whose company also works with tribes to build and operate casinos. "So many tribes are wanting to do this right now."
FoxBarry and the Denver-based United Cannabis Corp., recently signed a contract to construct a huge medical marijuana farm on the Pinoleville Pomo Nation's ranch in Northern California. The 2.5-acre, $10 million installation will cultivate, process and sell marijuana under the United Cannabis brand, according to Brautman, who said the operation would employ 50 to 100 people, with preference to tribe members.
Tribes across the country could experience an economic boom, according to Brautman, who's also negotiating with three other California-based tribes, as well as groups in seven other states.
By Steve Elliott
An informal study by has shown Florida is the worst state in the Union for marijuana smokers.
Reporter Evan Anderson became curious about cannabis citations around the United States after reading a MuckRock piece by Beryl Anderson on citation data from California marijuana arrests after decriminalization. Copying the language used by MuckRock user Dave Maass to get California's numbers, Anderson requested the same data from Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Texas, Vermont and Washington. Data from Washington and Colorado, both of which have legalized pot, were unavailable at the time of the requests, and the Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice never acknowledged his request.
The number of marijuana citations given in Florida "blows the rest of the states out or the water," Anderson reports in MuckRock.
Part of that is due to the unfortunate fact that possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis in Florida is a felony with a maximum punishment of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Steep Hill, which specializes in cannabis testing and analytics in the United States and internationally, on Monday released GenKit, a new testing product to assist the growing cannabis industry. GenKit is a proprietary sexing test kit to quickly determine the sex of cannabis plants.
According to Steep Hill, this testing product allows outdoor seed-based growers to speed up the process by which male plants are identified and culled from the crop. Steep Hill’s GenKit allows sex determination at a very early stage in the plant’s development, and shortens this process from several weeks to several days.
GenKit is an industry breakthrough that allows crops to be grown more intelligently, conserving resources and expanding yield, according to the company.
Steep Hill said GenKit works by analyzing genetic information early in the cannabis growth cycle, enabling the removal of unwanted plants from the garden, lowering plant counts, and saving precious resources and cultivation space.
"This revolutionary test, built in modular format, utilizes DNA based diagnostics to very accurately determine the sex of a specific cannabis plant, all of which is made possible by our new long read sequencer," said Reggie Gaudino, Ph.D., director of Intellectual Property & Genetic Analysis at Steep Hill.
By Steve Elliott
The residency requirement for legally getting a medical marijuana authorization in California doesn't really exist, according to at least two Bay Area lawyers who say the industry is misinterpreting state law.
Veteran marijuana lawyer William Panzer on Thursday confirmed the contents of a talk given by another attorney, Lauren Vazquez, to a group of entrepreneurs on January 22, reports David Downs at SF Gate.
"No, there is no residency requirement," Panzer said. "It's just misinformation."
"Why not?" Panzer said. "My wife hurt her ankle in Florida and had to go to the doctor for pain pills. They didn't say, 'Sorry, you don't live in Florida.'"
Almost all authorizing physicians and dispensaries in California enforce the residency requirement, turning away tens of millions of dollars in business each year by enforcing what looks to be a non-existent rule.
One of every 20 California adults is estimated to have used cannabis medicinally for a "serious" condition, and 92 percent of them believe it was helpful, according to recent polls.
Vazquez, speaking to about 30 marijuana investors, said that the preface to the 1996 Compassionate Use Act mentions "Californians," but the preface has no legal weight. This was confirmed by the California Supreme Court in a split ruling in 2013, allowing cities and counties to ban medical marijuana activity.
By Steve Elliott
A Northern California Native American tribe has announced it is building a $10 million indoor marijuana cultivation facility just north of Ukiah.
"The tribes are just getting out ahead of the game," said Mendocino County Supervisor Dan Hamburg, reports Glenda Anderson at The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa.
"Legalization is coming," said Dale Gieringer, California state coordinator for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). "It looks like it'll be the tribes."
The Pinoleville Pomo Nation has contracted with United Cannabis, based in Colorado, and FoxBarry Companies, based in Kansas, to grow thousands of marijuana plants in greenhouses on its 99-acre rancheria, The Press Democrat reports. FoxBarry -- which, interestingly enough, also invests in tribal casinos -- is bankrolling and managing the project.
This is believed to be the first California tribe to build a large cannabis-growing facility, but at least two more are already planned at other locations in the state -- by the same corporations behind the Ukiah operation. Those two locations are still undisclosed, other that they will be in Central and Southern California.
The Brookings Institution has released a list of eight critical marijuana legalization items to monitor during 2015.
The list, from Brookings Fellow John Hudak, follows:
1) Oregon, Alaska Plan & Prepare for Legal Marijuana: How well each of these state legislatures and alcohol regulatory bodies work together will determine the success or failure of marijuana policy in these states. As it borders Washington, Oregon’s commercial and regulatory choices will be particularly crucial in understanding to what extent states may strive for market advantages vis-à-vis bordering states.
2) Identifying the Next States to Legalize: 2015 will show which states are serious about ballot initiatives in 2016. It’s widely expected that California will advance an initiative and Florida might take another swing at approving medical marijuana, after falling just short of approval in 2014.
3) Cannabis Policy & State Legislative Action: In some states, the battleground for enacting items like the legalization of recreational or medical marijuana is not the ballot box, but the state legislature.
4) Cannabis & the Courts: Multiple high-profile lawsuits surrounding marijuana policy may play out in 2015. For instance, Coats v. Dish Network may settle the issue of employer-sponsored marijuana testing and a Supreme Court case involving Nebraska and Oklahoma’s suing of Colorado over legalizing marijuana will indicate the willingness of federal courts to engage in this policy area.
By Steve Elliott
A medical marijuana delivery smartphone application based in Los Angeles had aimed at becoming the city's first such service was ordered to stop conducting business by a county judge on Thursday.
Judge Robert O'Brien of the Los Angeles County Superior Court said Nestdrop, a mobile phone app designed to connect legal medical marijuana patients with dispensaries, violated a voter-approved law called Proposition D that bans medical marijuana delivery, reports Time Magazine.
Nestdrop said they weren't violating the law because they only connect dispensaries with patients, and don't handle the cannabis themselves, reports Soumya Karlamangla at the Los Angeles Times.
"We're a technology company," said Nestdrop cofounder Michael Pycher. "We have every right to be an app."
According to Pycher, Nestdrop helps bring more "legitimacy and compliance" with the city's medical marijuana rules, because they can track everything through the app. "We thought this would be making the city happy," he said.
By Steve Elliott
Dab-haters be damned -- "concentrated cannabis" qualifies as medical marijuana, a California appellate court in Sacramento has ruled.
The unanimous decision by a three-justice panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal last week disagreed with an earlier ruling by El Dorado Superior Court Judge James R. Wagoner, reversing that judge's ruling that a medical marijuana patient violated probation by possessing concentrated cannabis, reports Denny Walsh at The Sacramento Bee.
Sean Patrick Mulcrevy was charged in 2013 with unlawful possession of a concentrated cannabis, a misdemeanor, and was accused of violating his probation because of his failure "to obey all laws."
Judge Wagoner had reviewed the existing legal language indicating that cannabis concentrates are covered by California's Compassionate Use Act (CUA), the 1996 voter initiative that made the state the first to legalize medicinal use of marijuana with a doctor's authorization. But Wagoner rejected the authority as "unsound" and ruled that "the (CUA) does not apply to concentrated cannabis" because the act doesn't define "marijuana," refer to concentrates or incorporate statutory definitions of either term.
Concentrated cannabis is, according to the California Health & Safety Code, "the separated resin, whether crude or purified, obtained from marijuana."
In 2015, the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition will again take place in the epicenter for business and media, New York City, June 17-19 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition Fall will take place September 16-18, 2015 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, in Los Angeles.
The International Cannabis Association (ICA) has entered into a strategic partnership with H.A. Bruno, LLC, a global B2B event producer for more than 40 years, to form Leading Edge Events, LLC. Leading Edge Events will now oversee the management and business development of the ICA’s trade shows and conferences centered around the legal marijuana industry in the United States.
“All of the industry’s varied interests are coming into perfect alignment for this event," said Leading Edge Events spokesman Don Berey. "Exhibitors, buyers, legislators, and ICA trade association members have all been polled and everyone is in agreement that it’s go, go, go to New York’s Javits Center next June.”
The Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition Fall in Los Angeles will include dispensary owners, growers, suppliers, investors, medical professionals, government regulators, legal counsel, and entrepreneurs, according to Berey.
By Steve Elliott
Medical cannabis dispensaries in San Francisco want illegal guns off the street, and they're willing to put their money where their mouths are.
A gun buyback in South of Market last weekend, on the second anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre in Connecticut, was underwritten by three dispensaries and a marijuana attorney, reports Chris Roberts at the SF Examiner.
South of Market dispensaries The Green Door and Barbary Coast, Tenderloin-area dispensary Grassroots, and the legal firm Hallinan & Hallinan gave $35,000 to provide the funds to buy back illegal firearms, according to attorney Brendan Hallinan.
"It's giving back a little bit to law enforcement, contributing to public safety," Hallinan said. "And pot clubs are often accused of creating crime, of causing robberies. ... We wanted to counter that a little bit."
Anyone who turned in a handgun got $100; assault weapons fetched $200. All guns were accepted, no questions asked, by law enforcement.
It's believed this is the first time marijuana businesses have funded a gun buyback.
"We want to participate in society, we want to contribute," said Mike Nolin, The Green Door's founder and CEO of medical cannabis consulting firm Boss Enterprises.
Photo: Oakland Police Department
By Steve Elliott
If you've ever doubted the existence of police privilege, it may be time to reassess. A police officer in California who was caught redhanded with marijuana in his home earlier this year -- more than 4 pounds of it -- "probably" won't be charged with a crime due to "lack of evidence."
K-9 Officer Joe Avila has been on paid leave since September, pending results of an internal investigation, according to the Richmond Police Department, reports Rick Hurd at the Contra Costa Times.
The Contra Costa District Attorney's Office has been "investigating" but "is not inclined to file charges," said Robin Lipetzky, the county's chief public defender. That decision "likely" comes from "evidence not strong enough to produce a conviction," according to Lipetzky (remember, they caught this cop with between 4 and 5 pounds of weed in his house).
A search warrant obtained by the Contra Costa Times showed that Avila picked up a box containing 4 to 5 pounds of cannabis from a UPS store on November 25, 2013. He then radioed a dispatcher to say he'd file an incident report.
But Officer Avila never filed that report. Instead, he took the marijuana to his home in Oakley instead of placing it in a department evidence locker, which would have been policy.
CMA resolution comes as California lawmakers consider introducing a bill to address widespread problem of transplant denials
The California Medical Association (CMA) this weekend voted unanimously to urge transplant clinics in the state against removing patients from organ transplant lists based on their medical marijuana status or use. The CMA House of Delegates was in San Diego for its annual meeting, and voted Saturday on Resolution 116-14 in support of patients' ability to remain on transplant lists despite their medical marijuana use.
The refusal of transplant clinics to place or keep medical marijuana patients on organ transplant lists is a widespread problem in California and other states. Medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which is fighting to reform organ transplant policies in California, has received numerous reports of such actions at hospitals across the state, including Cedars-Sinai, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), University of California San Francisco, and Stanford Medical School.
Expanding from its home market in Los Angeles, Nestdrop, which calls itself "the country's first completely in-App, on-demand medical marijuana delivery service," is now available for San Francisco patients on Android smartphones and tablets.
Medical marijuana patients will be required to upload a photo of valid ID and either a doctor's recommendation or medical marijuana identification card to Nestdrop's securely encrypted vault to receive approval before ordering. Unlike other online medical marijuana delivery services, Nestdrop says it is the first to provide an entirely in-app marketplace experience and orders will be fulfilled within an hour or less.
Nestdrop's medical marijuana service is currently available on Android throughout San Francisco as well as parts of Oakland and San Jose. More cities in the Bay Area will be added regularly.
"Expanding into San Francisco marks a milestone for us as we continue our mission of providing a safe method for medical marijuana patients to get the medicine they need in a convenient, discrete fashion," said Nestdrop co-founder Michael Pycher. "We are also excited to be the first medical marijuana delivery service in two major markets, with more on the way."
"Unlike New York-based High Times events or L.A.-based Hempcon, The Emerald Cup is presented by locals, for locals, and the state’s definitive county fair draws much of California’s original cannabis industry." ~ SFGate, "Smell The Truth"
“Not only is the spirit of the event responsible, it is vital that the lessons it has to offer are heard and understood by those outside it. Sustainability, earth-friendly practices, clean medicine and better business standards all take center stage during the event, one which is beginning to attract a global audience.” ~ John Vergados, SKUNK Magazine
The Emerald Cup will make its highly anticipated return to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California, on December 13 and 14. For more than a decade, The Emerald Cup has become synonymous with setting the highest standards for sustainable, sun-grown, outdoor cannabis and is the largest, most respected, organic, outdoor, medicinal cannabis competition in the world, making it “The Definitive Cup for the Fall Harvest.”
For the third year in a row, SKUNK Magazine will present the Emerald Cup’s grand prize of an all-inclusive stay for two at their resort, Pure Garden, in Negril, Jamaica.