Miami Finally Gives OK to Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

More than five years after Florida voters legalized the medicinal use of cannabis in 2016, city leaders in Miami finally relented and have voted to allow a business to pursue opening a medical dispensary within the city limits. With a 3-2 vote on Thursday, the Miami City Commission ended its de facto ban on medical cannabis retailers and cleared the way for businesses to begin applying for permits to operate.

“The people of Florida decided to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in Florida,” City Commissioner Alex Díaz de la Portilla said at Thursday’s meeting, according to a report from the Miami Herald. “The city of Miami has to keep up with the times. Properly regulated, it’s the time to do it. We have to move forward and not look backwards.”

Medical Cannabis Legalized in Florida in 2016

Florida voters legalized the medicinal use of cannabis with the approval of a constitutional amendment ballot measure in 2016. The amendment passed by voters gave local governments the authority to ban or regulate medical pot dispensaries, but the Miami city government failed to pass measures to take either step.

The passage of the amendment prompted entrepreneur Romie Chaudhari, a Los Angeles-based real estate investor, to apply for a permit for his business MRC44 to open a medical pot dispensary at a site in downtown Miami. Chaudhari was denied a permit for the dispensary, with the Miami city attorney arguing that the ballot initiative is in violation of the federal prohibition of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act.

Chaudhari and MRC44 then sued the city of Miami in federal court for a permit to open a medical dispensary. The judge sent the case to state court but ruled that the city had “failed to act” by not banning or regulating dispensaries.

Miami’s Planning and Zoning Appeals Board ruled in favor of Chaudhari’s plan to open a dispensary, but the city zoning director appealed that decision in April 2021. On Thursday the city commissioners voted to deny the appeal, clearing the way for Chaudhari and MRC44 to continue its quest to gain the proper permits and license to operate.

Commissioner Ken Russell, who is a registered medical cannabis patient and has publicly voiced his support for cannabis policy reform, voted to deny the appeal and allow Chaudhari to seek approval for the dispensary.

“I believe the state constitution is clear that we had the right to ban this use in our city and we have not done that,” Russell said, as quoted by the Miami New Times. “[Chaudhari has] applied in earnest under the lack of that ban, and I believe therefore we should grant their certificate of use.”

He said that it is time for the federal government to catch up with state and local governments that have legalized cannabis for medical use.

“Florida voters decided that it should be accessible in our state,” Russell added. “Because of the conflict between state and federal law, however, our City Commission had to settle the dispute as to whether our residents would get that access. We voted that they will.”

Regulations Still To Come

Russell was joined in Thursday’s vote by City Commissioners Alex Díaz de la Portilla and Christine King, who said that the city government was on the wrong side of the issue. Díaz de la Portilla said that the will of the voters should be respected and that the city should regulate medical cannabis dispensaries to avoid a proliferation of the businesses.

“The people of Florida decided to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in Florida,” he said. “The city of Miami has to keep up with the times. Properly regulated, it’s the time to do it. We have to move forward and not look backwards.”

Commissioners Joe Carollo and Manolo Reyes voted against the measure, arguing that the city should first implement a plan to regulate medical pot dispensaries to prevent a mass influx of the operations.

“I’m of the opinion that before we move forward in voting on this we need to establish our ordinance that what are the procedures and guidelines for someone to open up such an establishment,” Carollo said at Thursday’s meeting of the city commission. “Otherwise, we’re kind of making this into a sort of Cheech and Chong free-for-all.”

Reyes echoed his colleague’s sentiments, saying “You know how it is. They are going to be all over.”

“Wherever you go and they are permitted, you see people smoking pot in the streets,” he said.

Diaz de la Portilla agreed that the commission should act to regulate dispensaries.

“With the understanding that we are going to address the issues because Commissioners Reyes and Carollo are correct that we have to have a policy so we don’t have a proliferation of these dispensaries throughout our city,” Diaz de la Portilla said as he seconded Russell’s motion to vote in favor of Chaudhari.

An attorney representing MRC44 declined to comment after Thursday’s vote.

The post Miami Finally Gives OK to Medical Cannabis Dispensaries appeared first on High Times.

Wonderland: Miami Takes Shape as the Largest Psychedelic Medicine Business Event

On November 8 and 9, Miami, Florida will host Wonderland: Miami, the largest-ever business gathering in the psychedelic medicine sector, presented by Microdose, a guide to the business of psychedelics. Wonderland: Miami will be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Miami, Florida.

Wonderland: Miami features 30 programming tracks, panels, fireside chats, networking, a Dragon’s Den style pitch competition and insights from speakers such as Rick Doblin, Ph.D, Founder and Executive Director of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), who will share insights, information and experiences.

Also speaking will be Robin Carhart-Harris, a psychologist and neuroscientist and Head of the Centre for Psychedelic Research, Division of Brain Sciences, Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London.Carhart-Harris coordinated the first clinical study of psilocybin in the UK and the first clinical study of a classic psychedelic drug in the UK for over 40 years. He’ll be joined by Dr. Joseph Tucker, CEO of what is now Enveric, an innovative biotechnology company developing a next-generation mental health and oncology treatment clinical discovery platform, leveraging psychedelic-derived molecules for the mind and synthetic cannabinoids for the body.

Sports icons, including Mike Tyson, Lamar Odom and Anna Symonds will be in attendance to share their stories. In addition, Kelsey Ramsden, CEO of MINDCURE, and Lynn Marie Morski, President of the Psychedelic Medicine Association will also discuss topics including the treatment of mental health, addiction and pain challenges in the psychedelic medicine landscape.

‘’I believe if I’d been introduced to the benefit of psychedelics for therapeutic use early in my professional career, I may not have encountered as much anxiety or depression,” said Mike Tyson, who now serves as an advisor for Wesana Health. “I’m excited to be speaking among the most talented researchers, scientists and minds such as Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, Prof. David Nutt, Dr. Ben Sessa, Dr. Matthew W. Johnson, Ph.D, Rick Doblin, Ph.D. at Wonderland: Miami. Events like Wonderland: Miami are immensely important in helping improve mental health by showing people how life-altering experiences with psychedelic medicines can be.’’  

Wonderland: Miami is supported by companies including Numinus, Mindset Pharma, Wesana Health, The Conscious Fund, Nushama, Braxia Scientific, Awakn Life Sciences, Levitee Labs, Negev Capital, Ambria Capital, MINDCURE, KGK Science, Psychedelic Water, Zuber Lawler, IMIO Life Ltd, Cybin, MNP LLP, Iter Investments, Ibogacine, Tryp Therapeutics, Psychedelic Invest, Entheo Digital and Maya Health. 

Perhaps due to the growth potential of the psychedelic medicine market, there is a growing list of psychedelic medicine companies listed on the NASDAQ. The companies are also receiving heightened investor focus from high profile investors such as Peter Thiel, and Wonderland has attracted a top cohort of financiers including one of the leading franchises in the psychedelics sector—H.C. Wainwright & Co., LLC., as a headliner and Official Banking Sponsor. 

“We are delighted to be supporting Microdose in this industry-leading event and to be a part of their mission to increase visibility for this growing and important sector,” said David Dinkin, Investment Banking, H.C. Wainwright & Co., LLC.

The show will attract scientists from Johns Hopkins, UCSF, Imperial College London, as well as  leading financiers, innovators and CEOs, discussing the fastest growing sector in medicine. With almost a thousand new psychedelic clinics in the U.S., and an explosion of investor interest across Florida, the Wonderland conference could not be more timely.

Wonderland: Miami is takes place November 8-9, 2021 in Miami, Florida at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, Inc. 1300 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, FL 33132. For more information, please visit microdose.buzz/wonderland

Psychedelic reform is happening everywhere—at the local and state levels.

Psychedelics are in the spotlight thanks to people like Gwyneth Paltrow, Matthew McConaughey and series such as 9 Perfect Strangers on Netflix. A number of public figures opened up recently about the potential of psychedelic medicine, including Elon Musk, Will Smith and Andrew Yang, who advocated for veteran psychedelic use in New York City.

Studies roll out every day, touting the potential of psychedelic-assisted therapies including psilocybin, ketamine, MDMA and more. A number of investigations are looking at how psychedelics can help to “reset” negative patterns in the brain—such as addiction or depression.

The post Wonderland: Miami Takes Shape as the Largest Psychedelic Medicine Business Event appeared first on High Times.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, July 23, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Top Congressional Chairman And Presidential Candidate File Marijuana Legalization Bills (Forbes)

// Mark Kleiman, who changed the way we think about crime and drugs, has died at 68 (Vox)

// Leading Legalization Group Unveils Report On Marijuana Policy Wins In 2019 So Far (Marijuana Moment)


Today’s headlines are brought to you by our friends over at Eaze.com, California’s top one stop website for legal marijuana delivery. If you live in the golden state, swing over to Eaze.com to see if they are active in your area. With deliveries taking place in less than an hour, it’s never been easier to get legal California marijuana delivery. And of course, if you don’t live where Eaze delivers, you can still benefit from all the useful bits of industry insight and analysis they’ve developed using their properly aggregate and anonymized sales data stream.


// Miami Cops Can No Longer Use Just ‘Weed Odor’ as Excuse to Search Cars (Merry Jane)

// Marijuana Legalization More Popular Than Free College And $15 Minimum Wage, Poll Finds (Marijuana Moment)

// California Police Confiscate 47 Tons of Weed, Bust Hash Lab in Black Market Raid (Merry Jane)

// Dixie CEO Chuck Smith Says He Expects To Be In 8 States Very Soon (Green Market Report)

// California legislative update: Several key cannabis bills still hang in balance (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Bipartisan Senate Bill Would Give Marijuana Businesses Access To Insurance Coverage (Marijuana Moment)

// Hundreds Of Pet Owners Tell FDA That CBD Is Helping Their Furry Companions (Marijuana Moment)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Patrick Thibodeau/Flickr