June 4, 2013

MMJ Momentum Continues as Nevada, New York Medical Cannabis Bills Advance


Lawmakers in Nevada and New York advanced key medical marijuana legislation on Monday, raising hopes that dispensaries will be able to open in both states and setting the stage for what could turn out to be a blockbuster month for medical cannabis.

In Nevada, a bill to enhance the state’s long-standing medical marijuana laws by allowing dispensaries to open cleared the Assembly and appears headed for the governor’s desk. Under the measure – Senate Bill 374 – a varying number of dispensaries could open in each county based on population, with a maximum of 40 in Clark County (which includes Las Vegas). Up to 10 dispensaries could launch in counties with a population of between 100,000 and 700,000, two in counties with 55,000-100,000 residents and one in smaller counties.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has come out against recreational marijuana use but said he is open to the idea of allowing dispensaries, so there’s a good chance he will give it the green light. Sandoval will have until mid-month to sign or veto the measure.

In New York, the state Assembly passed a bill on Monday to legalize medical marijuana by a wide margin, with 95 lawmakers voting in favor of it vs. just 38 who shot it down. Just as impressively, the measure gained bi-partisan support. It now heads to the Senate, which has until the current session ends on June 20 to weigh in. If the bill passes, dozens of dispensaries could open up across the state.

“From Delaware to Maine, almost every state allows medical use of marijuana,” Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried said in a press release. “If the patient and physician agree that a severe debilitating or life-threatening condition should be treated with medical marijuana, the government should not stand in the way.  It is cruel to deny treatment to patients who are suffering or turn them into criminals.”

InStoryEastCoastSeminarAd MMJ Momentum Continues as Nevada, New York Medical Cannabis Bills AdvanceThe bill – sponsored by Gottfried and Sen. Diane Savino – aims to head off the problems seen in other states with weak medical marijuana regulations by incorporating stringent rules on everything from dispensary applications to  inventory tracking requirements. It also calls for an excise tax on marijuana manufacturing and sales, with a good chunk of the revenues going toward local municipalities.

“This legislation represents the best model for medical marijuana in the country and is the result of hard work, research and learning from the mistakes and successes of other states,” said Meg Sanders, chief executive officer of Gaia Plant-Based Medicine, a Colorado-based dispensary and grow operation that is involved in lobbying for the New York bill. “This is not a pathway to legalization, but is instead a means to providing safe, limited access to proven medication for patients who seek relief from the debilitating effects of serious diseases.”

The main challenge now will be getting the measure up for a vote in the Senate and, if it passes, convincing a somewhat skeptical governor to sign it into law.

A similar bill to legalize medical marijuana has also cleared the Illinois legislature and now awaits the governor’s signature. If all three measures pass – and there’s a chance they all could this month – the medical marijuana industry will grow by leaps and bounds in the coming years, leading to thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenues.

Post Your Comment:

Please note:
Comments are moderated by our editors who do their best to approve comments ASAP. As Marijuana Business Daily is focused on business, we approve comments that are specifically relevant to industry professionals. General opinions and questions about cannabis may not be posted.

New York Taking Applications for Medical Cannabis Business Licenses

Ready, set, go! Entrepreneurs can now apply for medical cannabis business licenses in New York, [click to continue...]

Video Statement Part of Settlement Tied to $100M Lawsuit

In an unusual legal settlement, a Colorado company has issued a video statement about its [click to continue...]

WA Gov. Signs Sweeping Bill Moving MMJ Into Rec Program

News about Washington medical cannabis dispensaries, state marijuana laws and marijiana businesses

Washington State’s MMJ program will officially be rolled into its recreational market after Gov. Jay [click to continue...]

Minnesota MMJ Companies Raise $30M

The two companies selected to grow and dispense medical cannabis in Minnesota have raised a [click to continue...]

Canadian MMJ Crackdown On the Way?

Medical marijuana businesses in Vancouver, British Columbia, may soon be in the city’s crosshairs. The [click to continue...]

Seed-to-Sale Tracking Trend Continues With New Mexico

seed to sale

An increasing number of states are requiring cannabis companies to track every plant from seed [click to continue...]

Oregon Catering to Cash-Carrying Cannabis Businesses

The agency in charge of overseeing Oregon’s recreational marijuana industry is planning to add a [click to continue...]

Bill Would Prevent Feds From Targeting Compliant MJ Companies

Cannabis business owners harassed by federal prosecutors despite operating legally in their respective states would [click to continue...]

Florida Medical Marijuana Measures Fizzle Out


An attempt to legalize medical marijuana in Florida this year via the state Legislature is [click to continue...]

Ohio Group Claims Sabotage in Legalization Efforts

An Ohio organization pushing for medical marijuana legalization in the state says a stronger, more [click to continue...]

California Industry Association Head Faces Suit to Close Dispensary

A dispensary run by the president of the California Cannabis Industry Association has come under [click to continue...]

Oregon Expects 2,000 Applicants for Recreational MJ Licenses


Oregon officials in charge of regulating the state’s up-and-coming recreational marijuana industry expect roughly 2,000 [click to continue...]

Marijuana Testing Lab Seeks $5 Million for International Expansion

One of the first commercial cannabis testing labs in the United States is seeking $5 [click to continue...]

Anti-Marijuana DEA Chief to Resign

The head of the Drug Enforcement Agency will resign next month, prompting cheers from cannabis [click to continue...]

Marijuana Business Daily