Thanks to a historic ruling, the Colorado courts have now decided to retroactively apply Amendment 64, allowing for marijuana convictions to be overturned. This decision would effect thousands of incarcerated individuals and would also, in turn, set a precedence for similar states.
A panel of three Colorado Court of Appeals judges unanimously ruled in favor of allowing some state citizens who have been convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana prior to the implementation of Dec. 2012′s Amendment 64 to request their convictions be overturned.
On Wednesday, the Las Vegas city council voted 5-2 to establish regulations for marijuana dispensaries, which effectively ends the six-month moratorium on the businesses there.
City staff will have until early summer to draw up final zoning regulations for the businesses, which will then be put to another vote this summer. The number of dispensaries allowed in the city will depend on how the zoning process plays out.
The council also voted to implement a freeze on accepting dispensary business licenses until the regulations are in place, which means prospective business owners will have to wait to submit their bids.
Nevada legislators approved a bill allowing dispensaries in June 2013, but in September, the Las Vegas city council voted to delay the implementation of that law. Lawmakers had the option on Wednesday to extend that delay by another six months, however they instead decided to move forward with the rules.
The Las Vegas vote came the same day that officials in Clark County – Nevada’s most populous county – also approved land-use and licensing rules for dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county.
Under the rules, marijuana cultivation facilities will be limited to industrial zones, and will be prohibited from opening within 660 feet of residential areas. Also, dispensaries in Clark County must purchase their products from growers within the county, which could impact pricing and availability.
Clark County will cap the number of dispensaries within unincorporated zones to 10, however there will be no limit on cultivation or processing facilities. All business owners will have to pass a background check.
One of the disappointing aspects of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington is that neither state allows the sort of cannabis cafés you will find in Amsterdam and other Dutch cities, which sell marijuana along with food and beverages. Both states ban on-site consumption at licensed pot stores, which are barred from selling anything other than marijuana products and paraphernalia. Furthermore, Colorado’s Amendment 64 says “nothing in this section shall permit consumption that is conducted openly and publicly,” while Washington’s I-502 bans consumption “in view of the general public.” Finally, both states have laws that ban smoking inside bars and restaurants. But there are various possible ways around these restrictions, including the route taken by Cheryl and David Fanelli, who plan to open what KUSA, the NBC station in Denver, describes as “the only legally sanctioned cannabis club in the country” this month in Nederland (elevation: 8,228 feet; population: 1,500)
The Fanellis are taking advantage of an exception to the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act for “a place of employment that is not open to the public and that is under the control of an employer that employs three or fewer employees.” The same exception covers VFW posts, Elk’s clubs, and other private, members-only spaces where smoking is allowed. The Fanelli’s establishment, Club Ned, will be open only to dues-paying members, who will have to make appointments and bring their own pot. But Club Ned will have tables and sell refreshments, creating something resembling the convivial, tavern-like atmosphere at Dutch “coffee shops” (which are not legal, strictly speaking, but have been tolerated for decades). Since David Fanelli mentions an “acoustical stage area,” I gather that there will be live music as well.
The Fanellis ran their business plan by the city, the fire marshal, and the local district attorney to make sure they were doing everything legally. It took 14 months. The aim, Cheryl Fanelli explains to KUSA, the NBC affiliate in Denver, is to “keep everybody safe in a nice place where someone can watch over them.” Her husband is bursting with pride. “Is this history?” he asks. “This is history. Are we pioneers? Maybe more than pioneers.”
Club Ned is not the first venue in Colorado to provide a social setting outside the home where people can smoke pot together. That distinction belongs to Club 64, a floating pot party that had its first event at a hemp clothing store in Denver on New Year’s Eve 2012, right after Amendment 64′s provisions protecting possession and noncommercial transfers of up to an ounce took effect. That experiment inspired various imitators. But Club Ned seems to be the first permanent cannabis club to receive explicit approval from local government agencies.
A private club is not the only possible approach. The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act does not cover vaping or marijuana-infused foods, so a bar or restaurant should be able to allow those forms of consumption even inside, and the law does not apply to outdoor seating. Depending on how “openly and publicly” is interpreted, outdoor marijuana consumption, including smoking, could be legal on the patios or in the courtyards of Colorado bars and restaurants. It might even be legal in Washington, provided it is shielded from “the view of the general public.”
Original article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum/2014/03/11/colorado-couple-to-open-first-officially-approved-cannabis-club/?utm_campaign=DD%203.17.14&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=Full%20Story
MONROE, LA. (KNOE 8 News) - It's been a hot topic across the country and after two other states have legalized marijuana, reform is once again scheduled to be discussed in Baton Rouge.
Currently, there are seven bills on the table dealing with marijuana this legislative session.
Four bills would lessen the penalties for marijuana use and remove those convictions from the habitual offenders' law. One bill would change the drug from a Schedule I to a Schedule II. Two others would legalize marijuana for medical use.
But Senator Bob Kostelka said that's a slippery slope.
"It's hard to really control marijuana once you start legalizing it for any purpose. We've always had a law here that doctors can prescribe the ingredients of marijuana, but this law would now set up marijuana farms in each of the congressional districts," Kostelka said.
The state's black caucus supports lessening penalties for marijuana possession.
Representative Marcus Hunter said it's not their goal to legalize marijuana for any reason.
"We believe just like other parties and other persons believe that there should be fairness and equality in sentencing and guidelines as well. And there is no fairness and equality in sentencing relative to marijuana possession," Hunter said.
The issue gained more attention Thursday when a Monroe man was arrested for extortion.
Roy Green allegedly threatened a Louisiana representative's livelihood if the lawmaker did not support marijuana reform.
But whether penalties are reduced or prescriptions are handed out, it looks like the marijuana debate is here to stay.
Twenty states allow medical marijuana use. Colorado and Washington allow recreational use and Colorado cashed out with 1.4-million dollars in tax revenue for the first month marijuana was legal.
(Photo: Cannabis Culture/Flickr)
HB 105 passed the Senate on Tuesday in a unanimous 20-0 vote, and was given final approval by the House on Thursday. The bill has now been handed off to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.
The bill allows patients access to varieties of medical marijuana with low levels of THC (<0.3%), but high levels of CBD (>15%). Parents of epileptic children pushed for the bill in hope of accessing cannabis-based extracts that are widely reported to stop seizures.
HB 105 only allows marijuana to be grown for research purposes, however, so patients must obtain their supply from other states such as Colorado.
State lawmakers now refer to the bill as “Charlee’s Law,” in dedication to six-year-old Utah child Charlee Nelson, who could’ve benefited from cannabis treatment if the bill had passed sooner.
The family of Charlee Nelson, who is now in terminal condition, and Charlee herself were invited onto the Senate floor following Tuesday’s vote.
If the bill receives Gov. Herbert’s signature, which he has indicated is likely, patients who obtain support from a neurologist could apply to the Utah Department of Health for permission to import cannabis extract.
Also, Utah would become the 22nd state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.
New York became the 21st state earlier this year when Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled an initiative permitting medical marijuana to be prescribed in 20 hospitals across the state.
Similar cannabis initiatives are also on the verge of passing in Kentucky and Georgia.