Washington State Garnering Nearly $1 Million in Daily Taxes from Legal Marijuana Sales

Washington State’s legal marijuana market continues to grow, with daily marijuana sales surpassing $4.8 million.

The daily average of $4.82 million in legal marijuana sales – a new high – garners the state roughly $910,000 in daily taxes. This is according to data collected by the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board. According to the board, there have been 490 retail licenses and 974 producer/processor licenses distributed throughout the state.

So far in fiscal year (FY) 2017, which began on July 1st, there has been $1,181,675,336 in legal marijuana sold, resulting in $220,980,590 in taxes. This has already topped the total sales ($972,729,675) and taxes ($185,786,493) for FY 2016.

Data from the Liquor and Cannabis Board ;shows that there has been 363,268 pounds of marijuana harvested, and 20,736 pounds of extracts produced, so far in FY 2017.

Further data on Washington’s legal cannabis market can be found on the Liquor and Cannabis Board’s website by clicking here.

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Washington D.C. Measure to Expand Number of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Signed by Mayor

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has signed an ordinance to expand access to medical cannabis.

Mayor Bowser signed Bill 22-0138 into law 10 days after the district’s council gave it unanimous approval with a 12 to 0 vote. Bowser had until March 27th to sign it, veto or or allow it become law without her signature.

The new law states that; “The Mayor shall open an application period for the registration of a dispensary in Ward 7 or Ward 8 within 60 days after the effective date of the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Emergency Amendment Act”. This increases the number of dispensaries in the district from five, to six.

Although cannabis is legal in D.C. for everyone 21 and older, dispensaries are accessible only by qualified patients.

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West Virginia Legislation to Legalize Medical Cannabis Advances

Legislation to legalize medical cannabis has advanced in West Virginia’s Legislature.

Senate Bill 386 to legalize medical cannabis has been advanced out of the Senate Health and Resources Committee, and is on its second reading in the House Judiciary Committee. Passage in the Judiciary Committee will send it towards a vote in the full House of Representatives, where passage will send it to the Senate.

The proposed law – sponsored by a bipartisan group of nine senators – would legalize the possession and use of medical cannabis for those with a qualifying condition who receive a recommendation from a physician. A system of licensed growers and dispensaries would be authorized to distribute the medicine to qualified patients. The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Commission would be established to oversee to medical cannabis industry.

Below are the medical conditions that qualify an individual to use cannabis legally under Senate Bill 386:

(A) A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that results in a patient being admitted into hospice or receiving palliative care; or

(B) A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment of a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that produces:

(i) Cachexia, anorexia, or wasting syndrome;

(ii) Severe or chronic pain that does not find effective relief through standard pain medication;

(iii) Severe nausea;

(iv) Seizures;

(v) Severe or persistent muscle spasms; or

(vi) Refractory generalized anxiety disorder.

(2) The commission may not limit treatment of a particular medical condition to one class of physicians.

(e) The commission may approve applications that include any other condition that is severe and for which other medical treatments have been ineffective if the symptoms reasonably can be expected to be relieved by the medical use of cannabis.

The full text of Senate Bill 386 can be found by clicking here.

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Study: Regular Marijuana Use Associated with Lower Body Mass Index (BMI)

By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

Those who consume marijuana more than five times per month possess, on average, a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who don’t use the substance.

This is according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Archives of Osteoporosis.

Researchers at Oregon’s Health and Science University assessed the relationship between cannabis use and a variety of health outcomes. They used a nationally representative sample of 4,743 participants between the ages of 20 and 59.

Authors reported. “Heavy users of cannabis had a lower mean BMI compared to that of never users, with a mean BMI being 26.7 kg/m in heavy users and 28.4 kg/m in never users.” The finding is consistent with those of prior reviews, such as those here and here.

On average, more regular consumers of cannabis spent more time per day engaging in daily physical activity than did occasional users or never users.

Investigators reported no relationship between cannabis use prevalence and changes in bone mineral density of the hip or spine. In preclinical models, cannabinoid administration has been associated with bone-stimulating effects.

Overall, 60 percent of subjects reported having used cannabis at some point during their lives. Forty-seven percent of respondents said that they were former users. Seven percent said that they were regular users while five percent defined themselves as occasional users.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Cannabis use and bone mineral density: NHANES 2007-2010,” appears in Archives of Osteoporosis.

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Colorado Bill Prohibiting Courts from Preventing Those on Bond from Using Medical Cannabis Advances

Colorado courts would be banned from prohibiting those out on bond from using medical cannabis under legislation that continues to advance in the state’s legislature.

Senate Bill 178, sponsored by Senator Vicki Marble (R), passed through its second reading in the House today, three days after being advanced by the House Public Health Care and Human Services Committee. The measure unanimously passed the Senate earlier this month.

According to the official summary of the bill, it “prohibits a court from imposing as a bond condition a ban on marijuana use if the person possesses a valid medical marijuana registry identification card.”

“This is a clean-up expanding upon existing law that allows the use of medical marijuana while on parole or probation,” says Senator Marble. “It is important to remember that medical marijuana patients released on bond have not been convicted of a crime. No judge should have the authority to overturn a doctor’s medical order.”

Click here for the full text of Senate Bill 178.

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DEA Approves THC Medicine for Schedule 2

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has given approval to a pharmaceutical THC product.

Syndros.

After waiting roughly two years, the pharmaceutical drug company Insys has received approval from the DEA for their product Syndros. Syndros, according to Westword, is “an oral remedy containing THC”, which has been approved to treat nausea and vomiting, particular for cancer patients going through chemotherapy.

The DEA’s approval of Syndros flies contrary to their stance of cannabis being a schedule 1 drug, meaning it has no known medical value. That can’t, however, be true if one of its primary compounds has been proven to being medically beneficial, and has been approved for medical use.

Insys, the makers of Syndros, donated half a million dollars to the primary campaign working to defeat a marijuana legalization initiative on last year’s ballot in Arizona.

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Hawaii Bill to Expand Medical Cannabis Law Passes Senate Committee, Already Passed House

Legislation to expand Hawaii’s medical cannabis program has been passed by its initial Senate committee; it’s already passed the full House of Representatives.

House Bill 1488 was reported out of the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health Committee today. Earlier this month it passed the full House of Representatives.

The proposed law would amend “the definition of “adequate supply” of marijuana to include seven marijuana seedlings”, and would amend “the definition of “debilitating medical condition” to include lupus, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and autism as conditions that qualify for the legal use of medical marijuana.”

In addition, the measure would amend “the definition of the term “transport” to allow qualified patients and primary caregivers to transport up to one gram of medical marijuana for laboratory testing under certain conditions.”

Below is a summary of other changes the bill would make:

Limits each location used to cultivate marijuana to use by five qualifying patients. Authorizes primary caregivers to cultivate marijuana for qualifying patients until December 31, 2020. Adds considerations for establishing marijuana testing standards and selecting additional dispensary licensees. Allows DOH to consider whether existing dispensary licensees shall be allowed to increase plant count, increase the number of production centers, or increase the number of retail dispensing locations. Requires retention of video security recordings of production centers and dispensaries for 45 days. Extends civil service exemptions and interim rulemaking authority to 2020. Authorizes an alternate medical marijuana dispensary tracking system for use when the DOH computer tracking system in nonfunctional and requires DOH to report to the legislative oversight working group.

A similar measure (Senate Bill 174) to add lupus, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, arthritis and autism as qualifying medical cannabis conditions recently passed Hawaii’s Senate and its initial House Committee.

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