Vermont Marijuana News Cannabidiol Dispensary

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With marijuana legalization efforts complete in Colorado and Washington, advocacy organizations and lawmakers are looking to Vermont as one of the next major battlegrounds in the fight.

Sam VT, a group in Vermont staunchly against the legalization of marijuana, is gearing up for the upcoming debate, which will be kicked off by a new RAND Corporation study on how much tax revenue Vermont could expect if marijuana were legalized in the state. The study will be released on Jan. 15.

“As a grass roots organization we are committed to keeping our youth, our roadways, and public safe.  Whenever a state looks at changing its culture by legalizing a drug, we need to think about the societal costs. VT will hopefully have a spirited discussion in 2015 that we hope will bring science, research and thoughtful discourse to a complicated topic,” Debbie Haskins, Director of SAM Vermont, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“We hope that VT’ers care enough to have this discussion based on science, rather than emotion or for money,” Debbie said.

Sam VT is hosting an educational event on Jan. 9, in order to inform legislators and other interested parties regarding the risks of legal marijuana.

Medical marijuana is already approved in Vermont, but advocacy organizations are hoping for lawmakers to move the debate all the way to its conclusion: legalization.

In the beginning months of 2014, Vermont lawyer Carl Lisman registered an organization called “Vermont Cannabis,” which has the express purpose of promoting cannabis products. The Marijuana Policy Project is eyeing Vermont as a prospect in 2015, as well.

“Creating a legal market for marijuana would result in businesses being able to make money, hire people, create jobs, increase economic activity in Vermont, and we see it being a win for Vermont businesses,” Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), told Vermont Public Radio.

MPP has placed a field director and grassroots outreach director in Vermont this past year, and the organization’s goal for 2015 is to see legislators adopt a marijuana legalization bill for consideration. Vermont Sen. David Zuckerman is currently 85 percent done with a draft of a legalization bill which would set out regulations and tax policy for the drug. An October poll found that more voters supported legalization of marijuana in Vermont than opposed it.

But the prospects for a legalization bill don’t look promising, as legislators are intent on waiting to see the results in Colorado and Washington before proceeding. Vermont legislators also have their attention grabbed by a $100 million dollar budget shortfall.

“I don’t think it’s going to be something of a major priority this year,” said Vermont Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning. “I think people are still waiting to see how it works.”

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Four medical marijuana dispensaries in Vermont are treating more patients than they ever expected, and the people who run them say they are hoping to break even within five years.

The dispensaries in Brandon, Brattleboro, Burlington and Montpelier, the first four facilities approved by the Legislature for a program run by the Department of Public Safety, had 1,290 registered patients as of this summer.

While dispensaries have been lucrative in some other states, the Vermont ones are all relatively new nonprofit facilities that face strict regulations as they try to prove to lawmakers that they can cultivate marijuana to treat symptoms of epilepsy, cancer and HIV.

Shayne Lynn has run the Champlain Valley Dispensary on Main Street in Burlington since June 2013 and Southern Vermont Wellness on Putney Road in Brattleboro since February 2014.

“Our grow operation is very small compared to what they do out West,” he said. “I was planning about 150 patients, and now we have over 800 between here and Brattleboro, and that’s a testament that there is a real need for it.”

Lynn was born and raised on a farm in southern Vermont. He said he wanted to do something that would make use of his plant science degree, and that his dispensaries are doing more good than he ever imagined.

“We found that it really is, across the board, really good for a lot of people,” Lynn said of medical marijuana. “When (patients) share their stories about how it changes their lives, it’s powerful.”

He said patients have the most success from cannabis strains that have high concentrations of cannabidiol, or CBD, rather than the tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, found in black-market marijuana that is used to get high.

“CBD is good for epilepsy, and it’s non-psychoactive,” Lynn said. “THC gets all the spotlight, but science is starting to show that CBD is what helps people.”

He said his two dispensaries provide 18 different strains to patients, including Cinderella 99, Critical Mass, and Silver Haze, but insurance does not cover any of them.

Lynn said his dispensaries have “a large amount of debt,” and he has no equity because the company is not-for-profit. “I’m an executive director,” he said. “I’m not an owner. We’re planning around five years to break even.”

Under Vermont law, patients must get approval from a doctor before applying to the medical marijuana registry through the Vermont Criminal Information Center.

Four medical conditions — cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV and AIDS — can make a person eligible for using medical marijuana, according to the Department of Public Safety’s Vermont Crime Information Center.

Someone with “intractable symptoms” like wasting syndrome, severe nausea, severe pain or seizures can also obtain a medical marijuana registry card, as long as “reasonable medical efforts have been made over a reasonable amount of time without success to relieve the symptoms.”

“There’s not one agency that specifically oversees everything (dispensaries) do,” said Jeffrey Wallin, director of the Vermont Crime Information Center. “We cooperate fairly regularly with other agencies.”

The industry is still small scale, Wallin said, and the state Legislature limited the number of dispensaries to four out of fear that the industry would proliferate throughout Vermont.

The dispensaries are designated as nonprofits through the Vermont secretary of state, but “the IRS simply won’t give them that designation because of the nature of what they do,” Wallin said.

“The Legislature wanted it in the Department of Public Service to give it the highest level of oversight possible,” he said. “The program has as much or more oversight than any other program in the country.”

Lynn said that oversight extends to his dispensaries’ day-to-day operations. “They actually have online access to our point-of-sale system,” he said. “They can come any time and show up and inspect. They conduct FBI background checks on our employees.”

In Montpelier, the Vermont Patients Alliance on Main Street has operated in a nondescript building since June 2013. The dispensary is the only one in Washington County, where 193 patients were in the registry as of July.

The Vermont Patients Alliance did not respond to a request for an interview. The facility only accepts cash or check, and will only see patients once they have designated the Montpelier location as their dispensary.

Alexandra Ford, who has been executive director of Rutland County Organics in Brandon since before the dispensary on Lovers’ Lane opened in October 2013, said her dispensary focuses on patient relations and making products affordable.

“Our dispensary is extremely patient-friendly,” she said.

Ford said her favorite part is being “humbled” by her patients, and one of the worst parts is when patients die.

“I knew that we were helping, but I didn’t know it would be so much,” she said. “I’ve had patients fall into my arms and say ‘Thank you.’”

Under state law, patients and caregivers can only go to dispensaries by appointment, although new delivery laws will take effect soon to help patients who cannot get to the dispensary.

Ford said patients who have gone through the steps to get a medical marijuana registry card do not have to disclose what medical condition brought them there. Patients do describe their symptoms, and the staff figures out which of 22 strains — all the same price — is best for treating the symptoms.

Patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, can have a caretaker place liquefied cannabis under their tongues and relieve symptoms. The staff rolls joints because some patients can’t, and patients can also choose cannabis-infused brownies or cookies.

Certain strains can help put patients to sleep. Other strains are better for patients who need to focus throughout the day.

“If you’re on our sliding scale, it’s $12.50 per gram,” Ford said. “It is comparable to the black market prices of $350 an ounce. … Our business is doing fine, except that we went into the area that demographically has the fewest number of patients.”

“We can cover operational expenses, but as far as capital expenditures, we have a lot of debt,” she said. “It’s a very expensive endeavor. We’re going to be borrowing more money to expand.”

During its next session, the Legislature will find out exactly how much money each dispensary makes, because Wallin said his department must submit a report that includes each nonprofit group’s financial audit.

erin.mansfield @rutlandherald.com

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Authorities busted a large marijuana grow operation in Vermont on Friday.

Thirty-four-year-old Seth Brownell of Bridgewater faces a marijuana cultivation charge after Vermont State Police say they received an anonymous tip about a growing operation at a residence on Route 4 in Bridgewater.

Police say that when they arrived, they met with residents who lived there outside of the home, and could smell fresh, unburned marijuana, which they say developed cause to search the property. State police also said they received consent to search.

A large grow operation with 55 marijuana plants in various stages of growth was found upstairs in a bedroom, according to state police.

Grow lights, fans, heaters, ventilation systems, a water irrigation system and humidifiers to support the grow were also allegedly found.

Police say Brownell, a resident, was arrested there and then taken to the Royalton Barracks for processing. He was issued a criminal citation, and he’s expected to appear in Windsor Superior Court on Jan. 27. 

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MONTPELIER, Vt. –

While momentum for legal weed is growing in Vermont, passage of a bill to legalize it is far from a certainty.

Progressive State Senator David Zuckerman says he’s about 85 percent done drafting a bill that would allow for recreational use of marijuana with state regulation and taxation.

Similar measures have been proposed in the past but those never approached passage. Zuckerman hopes tri-partisan support will make this bill different

“We would rather have it be a regulated substance that we can have a little more control over than the current situation where it’s a free-for-all, in the criminal market,” said Zuckerman.

On his side is growing popular support.

In October, our WCAX poll found a higher percentage of voters favored legalization than opposed and when pollsters looked beyond just voters and included the whole population support increased.

Voters in Colorado and Washington passed laws there, and a state-commissioned report on the pros and cons will land in front of Vermont legislators early next year.

“90 percent of my caucus or more will be opposed to it. We’ll do everything we can to raise the points of contention,” said Rep. Don Turner, House Minority Leader.

Opposition is not limited to the Republican Representative. Democratic House Speaker Shap Smith says he’s on the same page when it comes to legal weed.

The Senate’s path to passage does not appear any easier.

“It’s tough to handicap whether the Senate has the votes this year,” said Sen. Tim Ashe, D/P Chittenden County.

The bill will burn out if it can’t pass two critical committees which Ashe sat on last session.

He says he supports legalization, but is not convinced lawmakers will have enough time to properly vet the issue and regulatory structure. There are other big issues on the docket, a $100 million budget gap and education finance reform.

“Really it’s about doing it right, and that’s something we’ll be working on in the next year or two I think to figure out what’s the Vermont specific path forward,” said Ashe.

“I think this is the kind of issue that can potentially gain more and more support as we present the various facts,” said Zuckerman.

Zuckerman says he’s still ironing out the specifics on a tax structure, and allowable practices, but he hopes a well thought out bill and data to back up his case will lead to a different result for yet another legalization proposal.

Zuckerman says he believes the bill could result in $30 to $50 million in increased revenue for the state.

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The feds can no longer rain all over states where medical marijuana is legal, ending an era of raids on dispensaries and the patients who depend on their medicine.

Basically, a measure to end the federal government’s ban on medical MJ was included in a 1,603-page spending bill passed by Congress the weekend of December 13th. According to the new rules, which Obama will sign into law this week, the government can no longer use their funding to mess with marijuana pharmacies.

Unfortunately for the states where even recreational weed is legal, the new law won’t have an effect on nonmedical marijuana shops. Sorry, Colorado/Washington/Oregon/Alaska/Washington, D.C. Weed for funsies still isn’t protected.

While Obama’s been proceeding this way for a while now, the new strategy wasn’t yet written into law. By making it official, the government’s making a permanent move away from old rules that many saw as oppressive.

Medical marijuana is currently legal in 32 states, although the DEA continues to classify it among the most dangerous narcotics, saying it has no medical use. However, cannabis has gained quite a reputation for treating kids with seizure disorders, helping cancer patients retain their appetites, replacing intense and addictive painkillers, and even decreasing suicide rates among young male smokers.

According to the ACLU, 52 percent of all drug arrests in 2010 had to do with marijuana — and black people are almost four times as likely as Caucasians to be arrested for pot. In other words, this new bill has the potential to save the United States a whole lot of money while ending a few discriminatory policing practices along the way.

Could this be the beginning of the end for marijuana prohibition?

RECOMMENDED BY Rebecca

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — The federal government has shifted its stance on medical marijuana, effectively ending a ban on it.

The move ends almost 20 years of tension between states and the federal government over medical use of the drug.

It is a giant step toward the legalization of marijuana, which the feds weren’t on board with until recently. But this weekend, Congress passed the federal spending measure and included in that bill is a provision that effectively ends their war on medical pot.

Under the provision, states where medical marijuana is legal won’t have to worry about federal drug agents raiding dispensaries. Agents would be prohibited from raids.

Until now, dispensaries operating with the blessing of state government had to keep one eye on federal agents.

The movement to legalize pot will eventually get in line for the same federal consideration.

More than half the states, including Oregon and Washington, have legalized medical pot. Oregon was the first to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana and one of the first to OK it for medical use.

Here is the wording from Section 538 of the relevant bill signed by President Obama:

Sec. 538.  None of the funds made available in this Act to the  Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of  Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine,  Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode  Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation  of medical marijuana.

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Unfortunately for patients, nothing in the federal spending bill prevents raids from continuing.

Unfortunately for patients, nothing in the federal spending bill prevents raids from continuing.

Adding to the already considerable confusion in the mainstream media over the effects of cannabis-related provisions in the federal 2014 “cromnibus” spending bill which passed by an 11th-hour vote of Congress, major media outlets are now claiming that a provision in the 1,603-page spending bill will effectively halt federal raids in medical marijuana states.

The brief spending amendment, or ‘rider,’ in question reads:

Sec. 538. None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

Both the LA Times and High Times are claiming this language effectively prohibits the DEA (as a branch of the Department of Justice) from conducting any more raids in the listed states, but Dale Gierenger, director of California NORML, warns that such an interpretation is unsupported by the text. “Although Congress’ approval of a ban on federal spending to undermine state medical marijuana laws is a welcome development,” Gierenger noted, “medical marijuana providers are cautioned not to read too much into it. NORML attorneys note that the language is designed  to protect state laws and those who enforce them, rather than actual offenders who may be charged with violating such laws (which are still contentiously vague here in California). Also, the bill expires at the end of this federal budget cycle, later next year.”

The history of this amendment goes back to 2003, when Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) first offered it in response to widespread concerns among state bureaucrats and elected officials that merely enacting medical marijuana laws demanded by the voters of their states would expose them to legal risk from the federal government. Even if the Justice Department doesn’t move against such public servants in a criminal capacity, the feds could still sue for an injunction against state governments implementing state reforms, according to UCLA professor of public policy Mark A.R. Kleiman and other experts.

It is this class of activities — lawsuits and other legal actions against state governments — which will be proscribed for the coming fiscal year, not raids. Nothing in either the spending bill nor any other federal law prevents the raids from continuing.

Raids May Continue Under New Federal Spending Bill

Raids May Continue Under New Federal Spending Bill

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Retailers are always trying to offer new shopping experiences to the American consumer.

One novel retail experience – that skirts the edge of legality under federal law – is about to become available to millions of consumers around the country, in addition to those in Colorado and Washington State: the recreational-marijuana store.

The sale of cannabis to adults 21 and over with valid ID is now legal in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska by voter initiative. Colorado and Washington rolled out state-licensed stores in 2014 (after voting to legalize in 2012). Oregon and Alaska will develop their new commercial marijuana markets in the coming year after legalizing recreational pot in November 2014. 

Marijuana-legalization advocates, meanwhile, predict that as many as 11 more states could pass similar initiatives by 2017: California, Nevada, Arizona, Missouri, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Hawaii. Medical marijuana is already legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia, and is available to people  as young as 18 years old, with a medical prescription. Marijuana is still classified as a controlled substance and its production, distribution, sale and possession remains illegal under federal law.

Marketplace reporter Mitchell Hartman recently visited Live Green Cannabis, a recreational marijuana store in suburban Denver. Manager Brian Zordan showed off the security – extensive video cameras and old-fashioned safes for storing cash and inventory. He also displayed  the three main types of consumable marijuana for sale: leaves and buds, edibles and concentrates.

Marijuana leaf-and-bud is sold in resealable packages, at $40 to $50 for 1/8 ounce. That is more than double what one black-market Colorado dealer offered; approximately 30 percent of the sale price at legal marijuana stores goes to state and local taxes. A few dozen varieties are available at the store; all must be produced in Colorado by law. Varieties available include Lamb’s Breath, Hippy Chick, White Fire/Cinderella 99, and Daywalker/Tang Tang. The THC content is displayed on the package. The store also sells a wide range of edibles, including hard-candies, drinks, cookies and chocolates – all made with varying potencies of marijuana.

Anyone with a valid (21-and-over) ID from any state may purchase and possess up to 1 ounce of recreational marijuana in Colorado. Store employees carefully check ID before admitting a patron to the store, but they do not  keep any record of the individual’s name or other personal information. Nor do they keep a record of the type or amount of marijuana purchased.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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As America inches toward a historic peace in its 77-year-old war on marijuana, the knowledge gap between the experts and the mainstream has never been wider. In pockets of the Bay Area, patients discuss the benefits of cannabidiol vaporization. But in other parts of the state and country, those terms might as well be in Swahili.

Rushing in to fill the gap this year has been a bumper crop of literature on the subject. From a massive, encyclopedic tome published by Oxford University Press, to a breezy, entry-level primer from the folks at High Times, there are titles for every interest level, whether you’re a neophyte retiree researching topicals, an aspiring extraction technician, or a doctor looking to continue your education. Check ’em out.

Handbook of Cannabis

Edited by Roger Pertwee, $150, Oxford University Press

This brick-sized motherlode of cannabis science from Oxford University is 768 pages long and it dropped into stores in October. Each chapter on the science, medical uses, and public health challenges and benefits of pot is written by a group of authors recognized internationally as experts. It’s the new benchmark for what’s relevant, accurate, and correctly interpreted in a field polluted by propaganda. From pharmacological history to international control to cultivation and phenotypes, Handbook of Cannabis contains the science that backs up what an estimated 92 percent of California adults who have used pot for a serious illness say: It works. It’s the ultimate academic reference title. Editor Roger Pertwee has three degrees from Oxford (biochemistry, pharmacology, and physiological sciences) and is a professor of neuropharmacology at the University of Aberdeen. Guest authors include UC Berkeley’s Amanda Reiman and plant science luminary Dr. Arno Hazekamp.

Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana

By Michael Backes, $22.95, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers

Perfect for regular folks looking to arm themselves with medical cannabis science to treat illness and symptoms, Cannabis Pharmacy by respected expert Michael Backes goes through 29 of the most common conditions for which doctors recommend cannabis, including chronic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, and Parkinson’s disease. Southern California resident Backes is a member of the American Herbal Products Association’s Cannabis Committee, and is active with the Bay Area-based Project CBD — which pioneered the return of non-psychoactive cannabis therapies. It’s both well-researched and easy to read with a foreword by integrative medicine pioneer Andrew Weil. M.D., who has sold more than 10 million copies of his books Spontaneous Healing, 8 Weeks to Optimal Health, and Healthy Aging.

The Last Pirate: A Father, His Son, and the Golden Age of Marijuana

By Tony Dokoupil, $26.95, Doubleday

America is a porous, expansive country where international drug interdiction is more theater than reality. Diving into that reality is journalist Tony Dokoupil who finds an unlikely lens through which to examine the futile drug war: his father “Big Tony.” Big Tony ran stateside operations for one of the biggest pot smuggling rings of the twentieth century, responsible for the distribution of at least fifty tons of it. Little Dokoupil is a senior writer for NBC News who didn’t find out until age thirty that his father was not, in fact, an antique dealer and real estate agent in Vermont. Proceeds from the Colombian weed import biz paid for young Tony’s rather posh upbringing in Eighties Miami, and the journalist Dokoupil neither venerates nor demonizes his dad — who was simultaneously a seeker, a good father, and a self-destructive addict.

Hemp Bound: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution

By Doug Fine, $14.95, Chelsea Green

Doug Fine, the comedic investigative journalist and best-selling author of Too High to Fail, throws himself once more into the topic of pot — this time focusing on the return of industrial hemp for fiber, food, and, most importantly, fuel. Fine argues for the ancient textile as the linchpin of a green food and energy revolution in America.

Beyond Buds: Marijuana Extracts — Hash, Vaping, Dabbing, Edibles and Medicines

By Ed Rosenthal, $24.95, Quick Trading

Oakland celebrity cannabis author Ed Rosenthal tackles the science and DIY production of marijuana extracts in Beyond Buds (featuring contributions from your humble columnist). Rosenthal is the author of the blockbuster textbook Marijuana Grower’s Handbook. Beyond Buds hit number one on Amazon’s best-sellers list for hobby books, beating out titles on Etsy, home-brewing, and knitting.

Marijuana for Everybody!: The Official High Times Guide to Getting High, Feeling Good, and Having Fun

By Elise McDonough, $16.95, Chronicle Books

Medical or not, marijuana is America’s most popular illicit substance, and with mores shifting, norms are missing. Filling this gap are titles such as Marijuana For Everybody! from Chronicle Books. It’s by Santa Cruz-based Elise McDonough, a High Times staffer, edibles book author, and event organizer for the magazine. Chapter topics include what is weed, how it works, cooking with pot, FAQs, and “I’m High, Now What” — a selection of activities to amuse the freshly baked.

SkyMaul 2 – Where America Buys His Stuff

By Kasper Hauser, $16.99, St. Martin’s Griffin

If laughter is the best medicine, it also pairs nicely with pot in this unauthorized parody of the infamous in-flight SkyMall catalog. Bay Area comedy troupe Kasper Hauser — Rob Baedeker, Dan Klein, and James Reichmuth — are the writers of Obama’s Blackberry and SkyMaul: Happy Crap You Can Buy From a Plane. The catalog format lends itself to attention-limited, coffee table reading, but the jokes are evergreen. The book’s artwork is equally absurd and spot-on, especially for the Karate Clarinet Bong ($42), The Standing Naked Desk ($339), and the Tweaker Fishing Set ($99).

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Inside the fiscal 2015 spending bill — yes, the one that’s 1,603 pages long — is a measure that prevents the federal government from interfering with states that have allowed medical marijuana or allow the drug entirely. Federal agents are now prohibited from raiding marijuana retail operations.

Sound too good to be true? Here are the relevant sections:

Sec. 538. None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

Sec. 539. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (“Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research”) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.

As you can see from the above — taken from the text of the bill H.R. 83 — it’s not just medical marijuana users who can feel safer. The bill also protects hemp farmers; in Colorado last year, farmers harvested the very first hemp crop since the 1950s.

Pressure has been building for the federal government to change its marijuana policy; by now, 32 states and Washington, DC have legalized marijuana or its ingredients for treating illness. Colorado and Washington state have legalized the drug entirely; sales in Colorado began January 1, and sales in Washington followed in July. Last month, citizens in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, DC voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Though the Drug Enforcement Administration still classes marijuana as a Schedule I drug — a dangerous drug with no medical benefits — states began allowing medical use of pot starting in the 1990s, an implicit rebuke to the DEA. Today, the majority of Americans favor legal weed; it’s hard not to see the text in H.R. 83 as a belated acknowledgment of that fact.

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