On October 1, Oregonians could legally buy marijuana for recreational use at shops intended for that purpose. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) approved licenses for 26 retailers around the state, meeting a key deadline almost two years after voters passed a ballot measure legalizing pot. October had been set as the month in which retail store licensing would start under an OLCC timeline. Medical marijuana stores have been permitted to sell recreational marijuana since last October. Such dispensaries won’t be allowed to sell to recreational users after Dec. 31. The approved retail shops are located in the Portland area, and in southern, central and western Oregon. Ten testing laboratories have also been licensed.
Marijuana Control Board issued the state’s first retail business license in September. Frozen Budz, which plans to make cannabis-infused products, received Alaska’s first retail license. Many other applications remain under consideration, and the review process for other retail businesses continues. In addition, it has not adopted rules or considered applications for cannabis cafés, which are establishments that allow on-site consumption of alcohol commonly available for adults 21 and over who choose to consume a safer product should be able to partake at a regulated establishment, whether a resident or not.
A Saint Leo University poll released in late September indicated public support for an amendment that would legalize the use of medical cannabis in Florida. Amendment 2 will allow Florida doctors to legally recommend medical marijuana to their patients with debilitating illnesses. Passage of Amendment 2 also authorizes the Department of Health to issue identification cards to patients and caregivers who qualify, as well as register and regulate facilities to produce and distribute cannabis for medical purposes. Although a Florida amendment to legalize the use of medical marijuana in 2014 was unsuccessful, favorability toward
the amendment sits at 68 percent as of September. The amendment is required to get 60 percent of the vote for it to pass into law. In 2014, it received 58 percent.
Both major parties’ nominees for New Hampshire governor, Colin Van Ostern (D) and Chris Sununu (R), are on record in favor of decriminalizing marijuana possession. It now appears very likely that New Hampshire will be able to pass a marijuana decriminalization bill in 2017. Pro-decriminalization Republicans, Frank Edeblut and Sununu, finished in a near-tie for first with a combined more than 60 percent of the vote, laying to rest any lingering belief that Republican voters might support continuing the state’s war on marijuana users.
In September, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed Assembly Bill 457, which adds post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of qualifying conditions for the state’s medical marijuana program, making it legal for veterans and other people suffering from PTSD to participate in the program. There is no waiting period for the law to take effect. A statement issued by Governor Christie, who has frequently said he opposes medical marijuana, says the measure was put into action to help soldiers who emerged with this disorder following the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Christie said the new law is intended to “provide struggling veterans and others with the ability to use medical marijuana to treat PTSD, but only after it has been determined by a physician or psychiatrist that conventional medical therapy is ineffective.”