This Week In Cannabis 6/13

The Right to Know. The Right to Grow.

Joint Benefits
Colorado continues to lead the way down the green path. Recently it was announced that the state health department will infuse $9 million into medical marijuana research grants over the next five years, making it the largest state-funded research effort aimed at understanding the plant’s medical benefits. This truly is a great way to burn money.

Taking the Odds Against Medical Marijuana
Is legalizing medical marijuana a sure thing on Florida’s upcoming November ballot? Don’t bet on it. Casino giant, Sheldon Adelson, has reportedly forked out $2.5 million of his considerable wealth to aid Drug Free Florida Committee in their crusade against Amendment 2.

If it passes, the Amendment—which is scheduled to appear on the upcoming ballot in Florida—would legalize growing marijuana as well as its purchase and possession for those with approved medical conditions.

The hope by medical marijuana advocates is that Adelson’s losing streak continues. He has a history of backing the wrong horse; not much of the $150million he spent on GOP candidates in 2012 did a lot to help them into office. And with a poll indicating that 90% of Florida’s voters are in favor of the measure, his money looks set to, well, go up in smoke. And speaking of legalities in Florida….

Pot Shots
Sibling rivalries have resulted in some pretty notable stories throughout history. This is perhaps one more for the tabloids than a history book.

When Polk County, FL sheriffs showed up brothers Rodney and Jackie Brown’s house after responding to a call about a domestic dispute, they had to restrain Rodney from lashing his brother with uprooted marijuana plants.

What might have only been a night in jail had he used a different plant to make his point, Rodney Brown now could face up to 5 years in jail for cultivation and possession charges added to the domestic battery.

South Carolina’s Burning Question
The Weed Blog is reporting that South Carolina introduced “non-binding advisory questions” on the primary ballot regarding medical marijuana. Or rather the Democrats did. The ballot asked, amongst other things, “should medical marijuana be legalized for use in cases of severe, chronic illnesses when documented by a physician?” This procedure amounts to a ballot-issue litmus test. Think of it as South Carolina testing the waters on the viability of medical marijuana with Democrats their state. And they got their answer:  75% voted yay, 25% voted nay.

Pennsylvania Going to Pot
Pennsylvania is running medical marijuana legalization up the flagpole, too. The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act (which would legalize medical marijuana cultivation, distribution and use) saw some time in front of the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

Sen. Chuck McIlhinney (R) believes that the support the bill currently enjoys on both sides of the aisle will see it pass when it makes its way before lawmakers in the Senate later this year.

But of course it wouldn’t be medical marijuana legislation if there wasn’t at least one hurdle. If the bill makes it way to Governor Tom Corbett’s desk for signature, it might spend a little time there, as he is not in favor of medical marijuana and is tethering his decision to the FDA’s findings.

Another difficult crowd to convince is the Pennsylvania Medical Society, which does not support legalization of medical marijuana through state legislation. Instead, they advocate for controlled medical research and FDA approval.

I think State Senator Mike Folmer (R) best summarized the pitfalls of relying too heavily on this approach when he made this statement at the hearing:

“There’s a mother right here, I know where she spent her last New Year’s Eve. She spent it in the hospital because her daughter’s heart stopped beating from her FDA approved medication. It’s become a very emotional issue for me, I’m sorry, but we need to pass [this bill] now.”