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Drive-Thru Windows Allowed for Naperville Clinics

December 25th

Medical marijuana dispensaries looking to open in Naperville will be allowed to do so in some retail areas and can have drive-thru windows. The Naperville City Council approved regulations for the dispensaries and cultivation centers before the drug officially becomes legal for medical purposes Jan. 1.

Cities are not allowed to prohibit such facilities entirely, but they can impose more stringent zoning regulations than the state, which has rules about their proximity to homes and schools.

Naperville council members agreed to limit cultivation facilities to industrial areas and require owners to go through a hearing process.

Dispensing facilities will be able to open in industrial areas without a hearing. They also will be allowed in some retail areas outside downtown, but a hearing will be needed. The city also has added a provision keeping such facilities at least 250 feet from residential areas.

The council debated whether to limit the amount of retail sales a dispensary could have.

“These facilities, what they sell other than medical marijuana oftentimes are health-related, natural, or. . . . . READ MORE

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Panel OKs Rules for Wash. State’s MJ Industry

October 18th

Washington became the second U.S. state to adopt rules for the recreational sale of marijuana Wednesday, setting what advocates expect to become a template for the legalization of the drug around the world.

“We feel very proud of what we’re doing,” said Sharon Foster, chairwoman of the Washington Liquor Control Board, as she and her two colleagues approved the rules. “We are making history.”

Washington and Colorado last year legalized the possession of up to an ounce of pot by adults over 21, with voters deciding to set up systems of state-licensed growers, processors and sellers. The measures put state officials in the difficult position of crafting rules for a fledgling industry barred by federal law for more than seven decades.

The liquor board devised the rules after nearly a year of research, debate and planning, including public hearings that drew hundreds of people around the state. The rules cover everything from the security at and size of licensed marijuana gardens, to how many pot stores can open in cities across the state.

. . . . . READ MORE

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Conservatives Fight Marijuana Taxation

September 12th

In front of the U.S. Capitol Thursday, two congressmen discussed H.R. 2240, the Small Business Tax Equity Act, a little known bill introduced in June by Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer to allow deductions and credits relating to expenditures for marijuana sales conducted in compliance with state law.

The bill, according to GovTrack.Us, has a 0% chance of being enacted and has a tiny chance of even getting out of the House Ways and Means committee. The main reason it has reached national attention is Grover Norquist, the President of Americans for Tax Reform, who has corralled 219 Representatives and 39 Senators to pledge to oppose any and all tax increases. He has taken up the no-tax-penalty-for-pot cause. Norquist—who has “No, absolutely not” ever smoked the stuff—believes that federal encroachment on the nascent field of state regulation of marijuana is a deeply serious topic, irrespective of the drug’s effects.

“There’s always a slight giggle factor on the issue dealing with marijuana,” said Norquist. “That said, this is tax policy, this is real stuff. This is important. This is everything from jobs to whether the federal government comes in and writes rules. . . . . READ MORE

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Feds in Talks With Banks Over Marijuana Business

September 11th

The government is in talks with bank regulators to see whether financial institutions in states that have approved recreational marijuana use can do business with drug dispensaries there, a top Justice Department official said Tuesday.

The announcement came nearly two weeks after the Justice Department decided it won’t take legal action against Colorado and Washington, which approved recreational marijuana use last year.

Banks, worried they could be violating federal laws, have been hesitant to provide services to state-authorized marijuana dispensaries, forcing the dispensaries to become mostly cash-only enterprises. And “that’s a prescription for problems,” potentially including armed robberies, according to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I don’t want to see a shootout somewhere and have innocent people or law enforcement endangered by that,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said during a committee hearing Tuesday.

The Justice Department’s number two agreed, saying it’s “an issue that we need to deal with.”

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Medical Marijuana Rules Approved

August 28th

Connecticut’s new medical marijuana program will move forward now that regulations governing the system were approved by a key legislative committee in a voice vote Tuesday afternoon.

The vote, by the regulations review committee, clears the way for the state to seek applications for marijuana growers and sellers. William Rubenstein, consumer protection commissioner, said he expects that producers and dispensaries will be up and running by spring or early summer next year.

To qualify to use marijuana for medical purposes, a patient must be diagnosed with one of the following debilitating medical conditions: cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, epilepsy, cachexia, wasting syndrome, Crohn’s disease or post-traumatic stress disorder. The Department of Consumer Protection can add other medical conditions to the list, in consultation with a state-appointed, eight-member board of physicians.

The patient would receive certification from a physician and register with consumer protectio. . . . . READ MORE

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Quinn To Sign Medical Marijuana Bill Thursday

August 2nd

Gov. Pat Quinn will sign a bill into law Thursday legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes in Illinois at an event at the University of Chicago, two state government sources told the Tribune today. Supporters say the four-year trial program here will be the strictest law of its kind in the nation.

For years, the measure had failed to gain traction at the Capitol, particularly in the House. But sponsoring Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, was able to cobble together a simple majority in the spring to send the bill to the Senate, where a similar but less restrictive bill had passed in previous years.

As the legislation was gaining momentum, Quinn indicated that he would keep an “open mind” about the issue. Proponents took it as a positive sign from a governor who has displayed his liberal tendencies on issues ranging from abolishing the death penalty to supporting a gay marriage bill.

One reason Quinn said he was giving legalized pot more thought was that he was impressed by an injured military veteran who maintained marijuana provided him relief from war wounds.

Under the new law, which would t. . . . . READ MORE

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Senate OKs Bill to Legalize Medical Pot Shops

July 4th

Seeking to make it easier for medical pot users to get their medicine and harder for the black market to get its hands on Oregon weed, the state Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would legalize and license marijuana shops.

Under current Oregon law, nearly 55,000 cardholders must grow the drug themselves or designate someone to grow it for them. Medical pot users say dispensaries are needed, to give them a reliable place to get their medicine.

Medical marijuana dispensaries that exist now operate without oversight and run the risk of being shut down by law enforcement. Some counties have taken a hands-off approach and allowed the establishments to remain open. But dispensaries in other counties have been raided by police and forced to close.

Another major concern of Oregon’s medical pot program is that the weed supposedly intended for medical marijuana patients is getting sold on the black market.

Architects of the bill passed on Wednesday say it will give cardholders certainty that they can acquire their medicine, and that it is safe. They also hope the bill will keep excess pot from being siphoned . . . . . READ MORE

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Finding a Place for Medical Marijuana

May 30th

The legalization of medical marijuana is prompting cities and towns across the region to consider zoning restrictions to limit where dispensaries may open. With state regulations in effect as of Friday, and the dispensary application process scheduled by the state for this summer and fall, many communities are feeling time is short to regulate what some see as an unwelcome neighbor.

Milford passed zoning restrictions last week; Framingham and Natick are looking at working together on zoning that could allow dispensaries on Route 9 in the neighboring towns; and Newton, amid several inquiries from prospective dispensary operators, is reviewing its zoning bylaw to see whether it is adequate for dealing with the new state law.

“What we’re doing is actually taking some time to internally review the regulations, since they still just came out, and we have not made any specific plans to alter the usual zoning requirements for new businesses, but we are looking into it,” said Dori Zaleznik, Newton’s commissioner of health and human services.

Massachusetts voters approved the legalization of medical marijuana via statewide ballot in November. The measu. . . . . READ MORE

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Sharp Limits on L.A. MMJ Businesses Approved

May 22nd

A ballot measure to sharply limit the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in the Los Angeles was approved by voters Tuesday night. The measure won with 62% of the vote, according to the latest results.

Proposition D would reduce the number of pot shops in the city from about 700 now to about 130 by allowing only those that opened before the adoption of a failed 2007 city moratorium on new dispensaries to remain open. A rival initiative, Measure F, which would have allowed an unlimited number of dispensaries to operate, failed. Both measures would raise taxes on medical marijuana sales 20%.

Yami Bolanos, a Proposition D supporter who opened PureLife Alternative Wellness Center in 2006, cried with happiness as the first election results came in, saying she felt as though years of uncertainty about the future of medical marijuana in the city were coming to an end. “Voters had the heart to stand up for the patients like the city council never did,” Bolanos said.

City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, a cancer patient and medical marijuana user who backed Proposition D, said the measure “takes us out of chaos.” He said the dispensaries that have been in the city . . . . . READ MORE

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Medical Marijuana Shouldn’t be for ‘Adults Only’

May 15th

My 9-year-old daughter has Aicardi syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes extremely hard-to-control seizures, debilitation, disability and early mortality. She began having seizures at three months of age, and since that time has had multiple seizures every day, with rare exception — probably to the tune of nearly 200,000 seizures in her lifetime.

For most families, even one such day would be an emergency. For ours, it is the norm.

My daughter is a beautiful, loving girl who goes to school, enjoys music and parks, loves to be read to and adores looking at big, modern art in museums. She cannot walk independently, cannot talk and wears diapers. Every day she is at risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy, or SUDEP, which accounts for 34 percent of all sudden deaths in children.

She is one of the 3 million Americans who have epilepsy, and one of the 40 percent whose seizures cannot be controlled by anti-seizure drugs. She has tried 10 anti-seizure medications as well as a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet called the ketogenic diet; she takes three anti-seizure medications at once and has a vagus nerve stimulator implant th. . . . . READ MORE

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