Episode 412 – Seventh Time’s the Charm

Guests Taylor West, Brian Adams, and Thomas Haren speak with host Ben Larson about the passage of the cannabis-provision-laden National Defense Authorization Act by the House and what the chances those provisions will survive in the Senate, as well as the general state of the economy. Produced by Shea Gunther.

Wyoming Legislators Introduce Cannabis Decriminalization Bill

House Bill 0106 was introduced to the Wyoming legislature to potentially decriminalize small amounts of cannabis and reduce possession fines, if passed.

HB-0106 was filed by Representative Mark Baker on February 15, in addition to 11 co-sponsors, which includes House Speaker Eric Barlow and House Majority Whip Jared Olsen.

According to the current bill text, if passed, cannabis in solid form, such as edibles, ointments, and tinctures would receive new possession limitations. Liquid-form cannabis products would be limited to 72 ounces, and concentrated cannabis would be set at a maximum of 30 grams. The bill would also create “a civil penalty for possessing specified amounts of marijuana and eliminating criminal penalties for possessing specified amounts of marijuana, eliminating use of marijuana and possession of marijuana paraphernalia as crimes; eliminating the prohibition on practitioners prescribing marijuana; amending definitions; making conforming amendments; repealing a provision; and providing for an effective date,” the bill states.

In the 2021 legislative session, two legalization bills failed to pass. One was passed by the Judiciary Committee, which was led by Olsen in the role of chairman. “With my opening remarks, I would pose this question to the committee, which is simply: is Wyoming ready to legalize marijuana?” said Olsen. “That’s the question in front of this committee, that’s the topic that this legislature has not heard for over four years now, so I think this marks an important moment in Wyoming, where we are now discussing a topic that we’ve all avoided for many years.” Unfortunately, the bill stalled in March 2021.

Aside for the legislative effort to decriminalize cannabis in Wyoming, signatures are currently being gathered by advocates for two ballot initiatives to legalize; one aimed at decriminalizing cannabis, and another striving for medical cannabis legalization. Both initiatives are managed by NORML Wyoming and the national Libertarian Party, which has been actively collecting signatures and is holding a Wyoming NORML Lobby Day 2022 on February 24. The organization did not collect enough signatures to qualify for the ballot deadline for 2022, but have since set their sights on 2024 as a new goal.

In response to a comment on Facebook regarding the 2024 delay, NORML Wyoming shared promising information about the effort. “We don’t yet have the signatures needed. We should wrap collections by the end of summer,” the organization posted. “We already have more than we got after the full 18 months last time! We are introducing both Initiatives as bills during the intervening legislative sessions, so we may see even faster action.” NORML Wyoming’s approach to decriminalization would make the first and second offenders pay a $50 fee, and other offenses would result in a $75 fine. The medical cannabis legalization initiative, currently referred to as the Wyoming Medical Marijuana Initiative (2024), would allow patients who suffer from a variety of medical conditions, such as “multiple sclerosis, ALS, AIDS, cancer, seizures, Alzheimer’s/dementia, PTSD, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, nausea/wasting, muscle spasticity, depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, and more,” to cultivate their own cannabis at home.

Chief Strategist of the national Libertarian Party, Apollo Pazell, confirmed that it would be ideal for legislators to take on the responsibility of crafting reliable cannabis bills. “We would prefer a legislative process,” he told the Casper Star Tribune. However, he also noted the challenge of opposition fundamentalist legislators. “The fundamentalist candidates have consistently taken a position against cannabis,” Pazell said. “[There are] many more fundamentalist legislators in there now than there used to be.”

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a little over half of the states in the US have decriminalized small amounts of cannabis. Residents in Wyoming are in support of cannabis. In a survey from 2020, conducted by the University of Wyoming, an estimated 54 percent of residents “support allowing adults in Wyoming to legally possess marijuana for personal use. This continues the steady increase in support observed from 2014, 2016, and 2018, when support rose from 37 percent to 41 percent to 49 percent, respectively.”

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Episode 395 – An April Surprise for Legalization?

Andrew Livingston and Kieran Ringgenberg joins host Ben Larson to talk about the Tennessee Valley Authority backing down from early threats to block cannabis growers, the promise made by Senator Chuck Schumer to introduce legalization legislation in April, and the latest tax and regulatory trials and tribulations for legal cannabis in California. Produced by Shea Gunther.

Landlords, Tenants and Cannabis: Some Important Things to Know

Landlords tend to have a lot of rules around cannabis, smoking, and vaping. Here are some important things to know for tenants. First and foremost, landlord-tenant relations tend to be laid out in provincial legislation. So depending on where you live in Canada, you should check out your province’s or territory’s legislation tenancy act. It […]

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Episode 385 – A Roll of the Loaded Dice

Mike Liszewski and Kieran Ringgenberg join host Heather Sullivan to talk about the proposed States Reform Act, the ways that states handling cannabis business applications, and the latest news from marijuana social network and listing site Weed Maps. Produced by Shea Gunther.

Marijuana in Germany: Will Weed Finally be Legalized?

Throughout its history, Germany has held conservative laws around cannabis. But with recent election results, weed might finally be legalized. The country recently had its election in September, where the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), Germany’s centre-left party, won over the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU). The CDU is the nation’s centre-right party and has […]

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Michigan Legislature Introduces Bills to Reduce Caregiver Program

Michigan lawmakers proposed three bills yesterday that aim to reduce what caregivers can provide for medical cannabis patients.

The Michigan legislature returned full-time on September 9, and House Bills 5300, 5301 and 5302 were introduced on September 14. This bill package seeks to alter the Medical Marihuana Act, which was initially implemented in 2008. If passed, the bills would reduce caregiver patients from five to only one, and reduce the number of plants a caregiver can grow from 60 to 12, with an additional 12 plants they’re allowed to grow for personal use. One of the bills also creates a license called “specialty medical grower,” which would require a $500 application to get cannabis tested.

According to Mlive.com, these bills were proposed one day before a protest was set to occur. Yesterday, the “Michigan Caregivers United: Rally at the Capitol” protest was held in front of the state capitol in Lansing. The march was held to protest the Michigan Cannabis Manufacturer’s Association (MCMA) and its push to limit caregiver’s allowances for their patients. 

“Michigan’s cannabis consumers have lashed out in anger; a boycott of MCMA products and companies affiliated with them has resulted in the resignation of their president, the removal of any reference to individual members on their website, the election of a new board chair to clean up their public relations and the cancellation of orders from MCMA companies by retailers.” The protest has been in the works for some time, with an official press release announcement posted on July 8 in anticipation of these plans.

The MCMA released a study in June through the Anderson Economic Group stating that 70 percent of cannabis sales were made outside of regulated dispensaries, and that illegal sales are the main way that residents are obtaining cannabis. 

“Michigan’s unregulated cannabis market poses an immediate threat to the health of all Michiganders, and the Michigan Cannabis Safety Act updates outdated laws to help ensure all Michiganders have access to tested, tracked and labeled cannabis products,” MCMA Board Chair Shelly Edgerton told Mlive.com

“We look forward to working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to bring Michigan’s unregulated, unlicensed cannabis market in line with the rest of the cannabis industry to help ensure safe, high-quality cannabis is available for all Michiganders.”

The MCMA’s website states that the organization represents “nearly half of all multiple Class C cannabis licenses in Michigan,” which is the most expensive license type, and represents the largest cultivation businesses in the state.

Those who oppose this notion argue that caregivers are not responsible for black market sales, and that there’s no good reason to threaten the caregiver system. Over 250 companies have spoken out in favor of supporting the caregiver program as well as small businesses. Companies such as The Botanical Co. released official statements regarding the MCMA. 

“We stand with our fellow industry professionals in their efforts to stop the attack on caregivers. It is our belief that our industry thrives when small businesses and caregivers can flourish,” officials said in a statement. “Our customers and patients remain at the core of what we do and to ensure they continue to have access to the products they rely on, we are actively pursuing the sourcing of high quality products from companies that more align with our mission. We encourage local brands to contact us if they are interested in retail space at our stores. Together, we can make a difference and move our industry forward.”

According to the Marijuana Regulatory Agency in a July report, there are 30,229 caregivers in the state and 251,284 medical cannabis patients that they serve. A majority of these patients suffer from conditions such as chronic pain, arthritis, muscle spasms and PTSD. Meanwhile, the state is taking many steps toward improving social equity and supporting residents’ rights to consume while off the job.

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Episode 375 – What Can New York and California Learn From Each Other?

Mike Liszewski and Jeremy Berke speak with host Ben Larson about the lessons New York and California can learn from one another as their respective markets take hold and mature, as well as the status of federal legalization and cannabis research legislation. Produced by Shea Gunther.

Photo: Elsa Olofsson/Flickr