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Oklahoma – The rollout of statewide medical and recreational marijuana programs typically is a grindingly slow process that can take years. Not so in Oklahoma, which moved with lightning speed once voters approved medical cannabis in June.

The ballot question received 57 percent support and established one of the nation’s most liberal medical pot laws in one of the most conservative states. Six months later, the cannabis industry is booming.

Farmers and entrepreneurs are racing to start commercial grow operations, and the state is issuing licenses to new patients, growers and dispensary operators at a frantic pace. Retail outlets opened just four months after legalization.

By contrast, voters in North Dakota, Ohio and neighboring Arkansas approved medical pot in 2016 but have yet to see sales begin amid legal wrangling and legislative meddling.

“I think we really are the wild, wild West in many respects,” said attorney Sarah Lee Gossett Parrish, whose firm in Norman represents several cannabis businesses. “Here in Oklahoma, we’re a pretty independent constituency. We are primarily a red state, but we don’t like a lot of government controls.”

Indeed, unlike virtually every other state, Oklahoma officials created no list of qualifying medical conditions for people to get medicinal marijuana. That has prompted a flood of applications for personal licenses to purchase pot.

Since August more than 22,000 have been approved and thousands more are in the pipeline. There are now 785 licensed dispensaries. Some small Oklahoma towns have as many as a half-dozen. Norman and Stillwater, the state’s two largest college towns, have 45 combined.

Sage Farms is among more than 1,200 licensed commercial growers. Owner Ben Neal has been using high-tech growing techniques for years to produce tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and other vegetables at his six greenhouses in rural Tulsa County. He’s now converted a third of his operation to growing marijuana, hired three new workers and just harvested 200 pounds of various strains that will be auctioned next month.

Neal said he has been offered $2,800 per pound for the entire crop, a total of $560,000. He’s shocked at how quickly Oklahoma has embraced the industry.

“Nine months ago, I was saying that Oklahoma would be the last state that ever does it, and then all of a sudden this happened,” Neal said.

In the bedroom community of Shawnee, east of Oklahoma City, business is steady at the Oklahoma Roots dispensary. Chance Gilbert grows, processes and sells marijuana inside what once was a metal fabrication shop.

“It’s kind of radical how fast it’s gotten going,” said Gilbert, who expects to produce about 50 pounds of marijuana a month once at full capacity. “We assumed it would be an Arkansas model, that it would be years before it was implemented and rolled out.”

The primary driver behind Oklahoma’s quick rollout was a broadly written, citizen-led ballot question that included quick deadlines and required regulators to grant a license to every qualified applicant. But several political ingredients combined to push the effort along.

First, instead of the general election in November, Gov. Mary Fallin placed the question on the June primary ballot, where it passed overwhelmingly despite opposition from law enforcement, doctors and clergy. That allowed more time for the program to ramp up before the Legislature returns in February.

Then, when the Oklahoma State Board of Health tried to impose heavy-handed restrictions, such as banning smoke-able pot and requiring a pharmacist at every dispensary, the public was outraged. Every segment of the pro-marijuana movement mobilized and even the state’s Republican attorney general weighed in with a legal opinion that the board had gone too far.

“I think every Oklahoman who has a soul was appalled that they tried to change a political decision that the people of Oklahoma had just made,” said Chip Paul, who helped write and push for State Question 788. “After that board meeting and after the attorney general’s letter, the third rail of politics would be to mess with SQ 788.”

Oklahoma’s conservative Legislature took notice. While GOP leaders still plan…Read More Here



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Texas Marijuana Legalization in 2019

The mention of medical or recreational was blatantly missing from the ballots this November, although the topic was not killed with silence as planned. Representatives in the Texas Gov have already filed 10 bills to correct this for Texas Marijuana Legalization in 2019.

Texas Marijuana Related Bills Filed for 2019 include:

HB 63 (Rep. Joe Moody) – Related to the civil and criminal penalties for possession of certain small amounts of marijuana and an exception to prosecution for possession of associated drug paraphernalia; creating a criminal offense.

SB 90 (Sen. Jose Menendez) – Related to authorizing the possession, use, cultivation, distribution, transportation, and delivery of medical cannabis for medical use by qualifying patients with certain debilitating medical conditions and the licensing of dispensing organizations and testing facilities; authorizing fees.

HB 186 (Rep. Terry Canales) – Related to the determination of the weight of marijuana and other cannabinols for the purpose of the prosecution and punishment of the offense of possession of those substances.

HB 122 (Rep. Gina Hinojosa) – Related to the medical use of marijuana; providing an affirmative defense to prosecution for possession of marihuana.

SB 116 (Sen. Jose Menendez) – Related to industrial hemp; requiring an occupational license; authorizing fees.

SJR 7 (Sen. Jose Rodriguez) – Proposes a constitutional amendment to authorize and regulate the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis for medical use.

SJR 8 (Sen. Jose Rodriguez)– Proposes a constitutional amendment to authorize and regulate the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis.

SB 156 (Sen. Jose Rodriguez) – Related to the civil and criminal penalties for possession of certain small amounts of marijuana and an exception to prosecution for possession of associated drug paraphernalia; creating a criminal offense.

HJR 21 (Rep. Ron Reynolds) – Proposes a constitutional amendment to authorize and regulate the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis for medical use.

HB 209 (Rep. Ron Reynolds) – Related to authorizing the possession, use, cultivation, distribution, transportation, and delivery of medical cannabis for medical use by qualifying patients with certain debilitating medical conditions and the licensing of dispensing organizations and testing facilities; authorizing fees.

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Recreational Weed Legalization in TexasSupport Is Building For Recreational Marijuana Legalization in Texas

In 2015 a state representative by the name of David Simpson proposed a bill which would have legalized recreational weed in Texas. Simpson’s argument, simple? “I don’t believe that when God made marijuana, he made a mistake that government needs to fix.”

Although Texas lawmakers failed to pass marijuana legislation in 2017, support for legal cannabis seems to be building in the state. Advocates are optimistic that changes will come at the state’s next legislative session in 2019. Both political parties show support for reform of marijuana laws in their platforms.

At the recent GOP convention attendees approved a plank supporting “a change in the law to make it a civil, and not a criminal, offense for legal adults only to possess one ounce or less of marijuana for personal use.” Democrats also tweaked their platform to support full, statewide legalization. And democratic candidate for governor Lupe Valdez favors decriminalization and a serious discussion on full legalization.

Representative In Texas That Do Not Support Cannabis Gets The Peoples Boot

  • Pete Sessions, Texas

The people say enough. On election day, Tuesday November 6th 2018, the people of Texas removed Congressman Pete Sessions, the single greatest roadblock to federal marijuana law reform in the House of Representatives. Many good efforts in Congress to let US states to go ahead with legalization of marijuana have been thwarted by Sessions, who chairs a powerful committee.

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State Rep. Joe Moody, a Democrat from El Paso, introduced a bill on Monday to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in the Texas House of Representatives. The measure, House Bill 63, was submitted by Moody on the first day of the pre-filing period for the 2019 legislative session.

If passed, “a person who knowingly or intentionally possesses a usable quantity of marihuana [sic] in an amount that is one ounce or less does not commit an offense but is liable to the state for a civil penalty not to exceed $250,” according to the text of the bill.

It appears the bill might have a chance at success. Both Moody’s own Democratic Party and that of state Republicans call for cannabis reform. And in September, Gov. Greg Abbott, long an obstacle to marijuana reform, indicated that he was “open” to reducing the penalties for possession of small quantities of pot.

Texas Republicans Support Reform

In June, at the convention for the Republican Party of Texas, delegates approved a platform that included several planks in favor of cannabis reform.

“We support a change in the law to make it a civil, and not a criminal, offense for legal adults only to possess one ounce or less of marijuana for personal use, punishable by a fine of up to $100, but without jail time,” reads the official party stance on cannabis.

Another plank called for a change in marijuana regulation at the federal level.

“Congress should remove cannabis from the list of Schedule 1.”

Heather Fazio, coalition coordinator for Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, said the party’s positions reflected the opinions of most Americans.

“Texas Republicans, like the majority of Americans, are ready to see more sensible marijuana policies enacted,” Fazio said. “Our state wastes valuable criminal justice resources arresting between 60,000-70,000 Texans annually. Delegates took a stand this week for a better approach.”

“While it would be preferable for cannabis to be de-scheduled entirely, this call by the Texas GOP signifies a very positive shift in opinion,” Fazio added. “Outright prohibition is not working and Texas Republicans want to see Congress take action to make cannabis more accessible.”

Will the Governor Be Onboard?

Since taking office as governor….Read More Here…

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Unless your Grandma was more into jam bands than making jam, you’ve probably never tasted pot brownies that could even compare to her delicious, fudgy chocolate-swirl brownies. Until now. The recipe comes from Denver’s Sweet Grass Kitchen, one of Colorado’s largest distributors of cannabis-infused edibles, and winner of this year’s People’s Choice for “Best Edible Products” at the Cannabis Business Awards.

Lauren Finesilver, executive chef at Sweet Grass, tweaked her Grandmother’s recipe slightly by adding cannabutter, but the rest remains true to the original. The secret to these brownies’ rich, fudgy consistency is dark chocolate made with 60-70% cacao. “Cocoa powder doesn’t have enough chocolate flavor to balance out the cannabis,” she says. Finesilver has tried her fair share of pot-brownie recipes, including her Dad’s from the ‘70s. “His recipe included rum-soaked raisins and a ‘lid’ of pot with seeds, stems, and everything. They’re the kind of brownies that knock you out for days.”

– Read the entire article at Thrillist.

Read More Here…

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When it comes to side dishes that can double as main meals, is there anything better than macaroni and cheese? Not only do you have two of the best food groups — carbs and cheese — but you can customize it to fit the rest of the meal. You can easily go from a multi-cheese mac to a barbecue chicken mac and cheese to almost literally anything else (as long as you have the ingredients you want) if you needed to.

One of our favorite additions to mac and cheese is the king of the crustaceans, lobster. Soft, buttery lobster meat coated in melted cheese? How is that not the idea of side dish perfection? (Trick question, because it is side dish perfection.)

While it may be perfection, we realized something recently. It can be made even better. How? Cannabis, of course. A delicious meal that also relaxes us? Sign us up yesterday.

– Read the entire article at The Mnaual.

Read More Here…

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Those looking to play a role in the development of medical uses of cannabis in the United States, listen up; Uncle Sam needs you. As reported by Marijuana Moment, a listing posted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse via the Federal Business Opportunities website last week asked for “capability statements” from businesses with the capacity to produce a variety of marijuana strains and products. Prospective firms must also be equipped with storage space for up to 5000 kilograms of cannabis stock.

The posting seems to be excellent news for those who have been waiting for the US to step up the cannabis stock available for critical drug trials. Such projects can only proceed with federally authorized marijuana and only one farm has been approved by the feds to provide such a supply. A University of Mississippi site currently holds the only authorization—as it has since it was approved way back in 1968.

What could have caused this long-awaited entrée to the expansion of cannabis science? Many will point to the recent resignation by request of Trump of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions’ well-known reputation as a salty adversary of legal cannabis may have played a major role in slowing

Read More Here…

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Legislation to decriminalize marijuana possession has been filed in the Texas Legislature.

State Representative Joe Moody has prefiled legislation that would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. The measure would make it so that anyone caught with up to an ounce could be fined a maximum of $250, but would not receive any jail time or criminal record. This is in stark contrast to current law, where possessing up to an ounce is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and up to six months in jail (as well as a misdemeanor charge on your record).

“Civil penalty legislation is the first thing I’ve filed on the first day of filing for the 86th Session”, said Moody in a press release. “There’s been an incredible swell of bipartisan support since last session, and the official Texas Republican and Democratic platforms both approve of this kind of reform now,”. Moody says he’s “optimistic that this will be the session we finally see smarter, fairer marijuana laws in Texas.”

According to a poll released in April and conducted by Quinnipiac University,  61% of voters in Texas are in favor of ending cannabis prohibition, with just 39% opposed.

Read More Here…

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Stephen Carter 2018-11-12

Texas Senator Jose Menendez, a Democrat who represents the San Antonio area in District 26, has pre-filed a medical cannabis bill for the 2019 legislative session which he describes as “comprehensive and compassionate.” He filed similar bills in 2017 and 2015.

Menendez’s office released a statement today on SB 90:

To alleviate suffering for thousands of Texas patients, Senator Jose Menendez filed Senate Bill 90, a comprehensive and compassionate medical cannabis bill. If passed, Texas would become the 33rd state to offer medical cannabis for qualifying patients. The proposed legislation would increase the number of debilitating medical conditions that qualify for the Texas Compassionate Use Program (T.CUP). Senate Bill 90 would also allow doctors to treat medical cannabis like any other medicine.

“Doctors, not politicians, should determine what is best for Texas patients,” said Senator Menendez. “Studies have proven that cannabis is a legitimate medicine that can help a variety of Texans including, individuals suffering from opioid addiction, veterans coping with PTSD, cancer patients, and people on the Autism spectrum. Texas should provide real relief for our suffering patients.”

“Patients should not be arrested for using a medicine that is legal in every state that borders Texas, including conservative states like Oklahoma and Arkansas,” said Senator Menendez. The legislature must act and provide medical freedom to those who need it the most.”

Senator Menendez has demonstrated he is a leader on this issue, having filed medical cannabis legislation in the previous two sessions, Senate Bill 1839 in 2015 and Senate Bill 269 in 2017. He was also the co-author of the landmark Senate Bill 339 which allowed for limited cannabis use for people with intractable epilepsy.”

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Stephen Carter 2018-11-12

November 12 marks the first day of pre-filing of legislation for the 2019 Texas legislative session. Cannabis law reform is an issue gearing up for major push again following strong support from legislature in 2017 despite no bills making it to the floor of the Texas House of Representatives.

As of publishing time, the total stands at 10, and will likely continue to rise. Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy has been keeping an eye on the bills as they are introduced, and will keep an updated list throughout the session here.

Current bills include:

HB 63 (Rep. Joe Moody) — Relating to the civil and criminal penalties for possession of certain small amounts of marihuana and an exception to prosecution for possession of associated drug paraphernalia; creating a criminal offense.

SB 90 (Sen. Jose Menendez) — Relating to authorizing the possession, use, cultivation, distribution, transportation, and delivery of medical cannabis for medical use by qualifying patients with certain debilitating medical conditions and the licensing of dispensing organizations and testing facilities; authorizing fees.

HB 186 (Rep. Terry Canales) — Relating to the determination of the weight of marihuana and other tetrahydrocannabinols for the purpose of the prosecution and punishment of the offense of possession of those substances.

HB 122 (Rep. Gina Hinojosa) — Relating to the medical use of marihuana; providing an affirmative defense to prosecution for possession of marihuana.

HJR 21 (Rep. Ron Reynolds) — Proposing a constitutional amendment to authorize and regulate the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis for medical use.

HB 209 (Rep. Ron Reynolds) — Relating to authorizing the possession, use, cultivation, distribution, transportation, and delivery of medical cannabis for medical use by qualifying patients with certain debilitating medical conditions and the licensing of dispensing organizations and testing facilities; authorizing fees.

SB 116 (Sen. Jose Menendez) — Relating

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