On June 30, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) submitted 258,582 signatures to state officials in order to place an initiative to tax and regulate marijuana on the November ballot. Their submission exceeded the required number of 150,642 signatures. The ballot initiative would “allow adults 21 and older to possess limited amounts of marijuana; establish a system in which marijuana is regulated similarly to alcohol; and enact a 15 percent tax on retail marijuana sales, from which a majority of the revenue would be directed to Arizona schools and public education programs.” The submission was presented a day after the Joint Legislative Budget Committee announced findings that the initiative would generate around $82 million a year in tax revenue, at least $55 million of which will go to K-12 education.
The state of Minnesota implemented its medical marijuana program in 2015 with a list of nine qualifying conditions, which allowed smoke-free forms of the substance to be consumed by those with doctors’ recommendations, but incurable pain was not one of the conditions. Starting in July, patients with incurable pain were allowed to register for Minnesota’s medical marijuana program with their doctor’s recommendation. During the last month, approximately 500 patients have registered as medical marijuana patients, which is more than five times the number of patients who registered when the program launched last year. Patients with intractable pain began legally purchasing the medicine on August 1.
In July, the Arkansas Secretary of State announced that Arkansans for Compassionate Care’s medical marijuana initiative qualified for the ballot in November. The measure, the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, would allow seriously ill patients, who have a certification from their doctor, to obtain medical cannabis from nonprofit compassion centers. In addition, patients – or their licensed caregivers – could cultivate up to 10 cannabis plants at home provided they take steps to ensure it is secure. Support for medical marijuana in the state is strong, with one of the latest polls putting it at 58 percent which is in contrast to four years ago when a medical cannabis legalization measure in Arkansas failed by two percent.
In July, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin announced that the ‘Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana’ initiative will appear as Question 4 on the November ballot. The initiative would allow persons aged 21 and older to purchase, possess, use, and transfer marijuana and products containing marijuana concentrates, including edible products. It would also allow a taxed and regulated marijuana market in the state.
Trulieve, the first dispensary to open in the Sunshine State, came on line in late July in Tallahassee. For now, only low-THC cannabis products will be available for Florida’s patients, but cannabis with more THC will eventually be available for terminally ill patients. To recommend or order the drug for a patient, doctors must have a three-month history with the patient, in addition to taking a ‘Low THC Cannabis’ Continuing Medical Education course, which is followed by an exam. Qualifying conditions for patients to use medical cannabis in Florida include cancer, seizures, or severe and persistent muscle spasms. If a patient qualifies, they will be assigned an identification number and added to a patient registry through the state. The state’s Office of Compassionate Use, which oversees state regulation of medical cannabis, projects there will be dispensaries in 19 of Florida’s cities.