MPP Quits Ohio Medical Marijuana Initiative

MPP Quits Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (CRN) – Ohioans for Medical Marijuana have announced they are dropping their campaign to pass a medical marijuana constitutional amendment that allows patients to cultivate their own cannabis. The group, backed by the Marijuana Policy Project, notes that the Ohio legislature’s passage of a medical marijuana law has undercut the potential for initiative campaign. “With several hundred thousand signatures collected thus far, one option for our movement would have been to continue to pour our resources into obtaining the additional signatures needed to put the issue before voters,” said campaign manager Brandon Lynaugh. “But the reality is that raising funds for medical marijuana policy changes is incredibly difficult, especially given the improvements made to the proposed program by the Ohio General Assembly and the fact that the Governor is expected to sign the bill.” The legislative medical marijuana bill does not allow for home cultivation, bans smoking medical marijuana, and limits cannabis concentrates to 70 percent THC.

NIJMEGEN (NAY-mech-han), The Netherlands (CRN) – The legalization of cannabis by United Nations’ member states does not violate international law, according to a new study by researchers at Radboud University in The Netherlands. While a trio of international drug control treaties ban the cultivation and sale of cannabis for recreational use, the study authors argue that nations can legalize cannabis to protect human rights, if doing so works better than drug prohibition. Five conditions must be met, which include the nation demonstrating a human rights justification for cannabis legalization, showing that legalization will succeed where prohibition has failed, deciding to legalize through the democratic process, preventing international trafficking of cannabis, and discouraging personal use of cannabis. Under such conditions, the authors argue, UN human rights obligations would trump the UN drug conventions.

CROSSVILLE, Tennessee (CRN) – A 77-year-old candidate for Congress in Tennessee has been busted for a 180-plant cannabis grow inside a barn on her property. Flo Matheson, running for Congress in Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District, was also found to be in possession of two ounces of usable marijuana inside her home. Matheson owns up to the marijuana – “I smoke marijuana, I’m guilty, I did it,” she said – but denies knowledge of the grow site in her barn, which she had allowed a friend to use, a homeless veteran named Stephen Harrington. “I really don’t regret that this happened,” she said. “It’s been a life-changing experience for me in that it has made me more defiant and determined to try and get these laws changed,” she told a local NBC affiliate.

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (AP) – Gov. Bruce Rauner has reversed course on broadening Illinois’ medical marijuana pilot program and is now supporting a plan to extend it roughly two years and add more qualifying health conditions. Legislation filed Friday by Deputy House Leader Lou Lang adds post-traumatic stress syndrome and terminal illness to the qualifying conditions, reconstitutes an advisory board and overhauls procedures. The proposal also extends the sunset to 2020 from 2018. Rauner has previously rejected attempts at expansion. He vetoed legislation adding PTSD. In a statement, Lang says Rauner and GOP leaders agreed on a plan that’ll help “seriously ill individuals.” Rauner’s office confirmed his support, but declined to comment. Democratic former Gov. Pat Quinn signed the program into law in 2013. The first sales were last year.

PORTLAND, Maine (CRN) – A coalition of drug rehab professionals, faith leaders, law enforcement and public health advocates has formed to oppose the initiative to legalize marijuana in Maine. The group is called Mainers Protecting Our Youth and Communities and is headed by Scott M. Gagnon, who is also the head of the local chapter of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), the national anti-legalization group headed by Kevin Sabet. “This initiative to legalize marijuana poses significant threats to our youth and communities,” Gagnon said in a prepared statement. “The marijuana industry has crafted an initiative that would see shops opened in neighborhoods all over Maine, selling potent pot gummy bears and cookies, and other highly addictive and dangerous products. These products have lead to increases in ER admissions in Colorado, including admissions of pre-school aged children.” A recent poll shows that 55 percent of Mainers support the legalization initiative.

SALEM, Oregon (CRN) – Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has appointed a county prosecutor as the state’s first senior adviser on marijuana policy. Jeffrey Rhoades, the Multnomah County prosecutor in the drug unit since 2011 and lobbyist for the county’s District Attorney’s Office, will earn almost $95,000 salary in the position.