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Advocates Dedicated to Overturn Ban in Oceanside

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SD-LocalNews

Oceanside has been in a tug of war with collectives for years, and has been in an apparent game of “whack-a-mole” with cannabis, according to City Attorney John Mullen. In January, the City Council voted to uphold its ban on collectives, cultivation and delivery services due to safety concerns. According to KPBS, since 2012, the city of Oceanside has experienced 46 cannabis-related robberies among other crimes. But that isn’t stopping the Association of Cannabis Professionals (ACP) from trying to overturn the city’s ban.

According to the Seaside Courier, ACP President Chris Siegel plans to gather signatures on a petition that qualify a measure proposed by the ACP for the November ballot. Siegel made this decision after hearing testimonies from patients and collectives in Oceanside which included veterans, elders and members of the school district. “[Oceanside] has a large and active patient base that has been vocal about its desire for access. We want these patients, their supporters and the general public to have a chance to have a voice on this important policy,” Siegel stated.

The ACP’s measure will be modeled after San Diego’s medical cannabis ordinance which requires collectives to obtain a conditional use permit before they can be approved by the City Council. The measure will also require collectives to create a 1,000-foot buffer zone between themselves and schools, churches, playgrounds and other collectives. In order to qualify for the ballot in November, the ACP’s measure must obtain signatures from 10 percent of the city’s registered voters, as explained by The San Diego Union Tribune. Once the petition is reviewed and ready to distribute, the ACP will have 180 days to collect an estimated 7,700 signatures.

If the ACP is able to collect a sufficient amount of signatures the City will have to choose whether it should approve the measure as presented, submit the measure to voters in the next municipal election or order a report to be conducted within 30 days that will highlight the impacts of the measure. If the council chooses to demand a report, after the 30 days or whenever the report is submitted, they will then have to decide to adopt the measure or let voters decide. In order for the measure to make it on the November ballot it would have to go before the City Council by August 10.

In March, the Oceanside City Council voted to allow delivery services from outside of the city to deliver medical cannabis to patients, as long as the business registered with Oceanside police, submitted a background check for all of its drivers and apply for a city business license. This concerned some patients as the only legal delivery services close to Oceanside are located in the city of San Diego. “A collective an hour away is not going to go out of its way to register every driver with the Oceanside Police Department, get a restrictive business license, carry a $1 million policy and be subject to background checks to deliver a $50 order,” stated David Newman, an Oceanside resident. The ACP’s measure will allow patients to get their medicine in due time and eliminate the worry of whether or not a collective will be willing to delivery medical cannabis to Oceanside.

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CO Bill to Allow Schools the Choice to Let Student Patients Medicate

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CO News 1 Medical Cannabis Approved in Schools

Colorado has been struggling with the issue of medical cannabis in schools ever since cannabis was first legalized in the state for medical use. Schools fear a loss of federal funding if they allow cannabis treatment for sick students, since the plant is still federally illegal, while parents, advocates and patients fight for patient access so that students can get relief. This month, cannabis patients won a major victory, as medicating with cannabis will now be allowed in Colorado public schools under a newly passed bill.

According to The Denver Post, House Bill 1373 requires treatment rights for patients, but allows schools to be able to choose where the patients can medicate, and what forms of cannabis they can use. Representative Jonathan Singer, the Democrat from Longmont who supported the bill, claims that schools who do not put such a policy into action are leaving it up to parents and students to choose how and where medication can take place.

The recent bill passed 10-3 in the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee, showing an overwhelming support for children being able to medicate on school property.

“It forces a conversation,” Singer told The Denver Post regarding the bill, “that we were hoping would be a voluntary conversation.”

This bill works to help patients gain access, since the currently existing bill, allowing medication only if schools create a program, has not been successful. So far, no schools have implemented such a program, so until now, no medical cannabis users have been able to imbibe on school property.

“It’s kind of exciting that they are finally going to let it in after fighting this for five years trying to get children their meds in schools,” explained Shan Moore, the father of Chaz Moore, who fought and struggled while in school to be able to use medical cannabis.

“I do think it’s great—it’s just a little late for my kid,” he added. “Chaz stopped going to school before graduating. He would get sick, not be able to take his meds in school, and got tired of playing that game, and when he went to try and get his GED the same thing happened, since those classes take place in schools as well. So maybe now he’ll be able to get his GED and make something happen. He tried the online schools, but he doesn’t learn well online—he really needs to be there in person.”

Moore hopes that maybe with this new bill in place, his son will be able to medicate in schools, and therefore take the GED and continue his education. Like Chaz Moore, many Colorado children desire an education, but struggle to work and focus because they can’t get the medicine they need. Hopefully with this new bill in place, students who need medicine will be able to receive relief so they can focus on learning.

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Colorado passes Ordinance to Implement a Cannabis Odor Regulation

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At first glance, odor regulations seem like something out of a cartoon or children’s book, but here in Denver they are very real.

According to The Denver Post, Denver City council is concerned about the offensive to some, pleasant to others, aroma that is omitted from dispensaries and other cannabis operations, and recently passed an ordinance to crack down tighter on odors.

While the city has been debating back and forth about how they should treat the expiring moratorium on cannabis businesses, they quickly decided in favor of the odor ordinance. If this passes this month, then this new rule will be officially approved and enforceable by the local Health Department. This new regulation would mean that businesses can file odor complaints, not just private citizens. Then, if a dispensary receives five complaints, they would have 30 days to clean up their act and fix the odor issue before they receive an inspection.

Cannabis businesses and advocates are not happy about this new complication, and are speaking out against the arbitrary nature of regulating odors.

“The only thing that can be done is air filtration to ensure that odors are mitigated through carbon scrubbers,” explained Mark Slaugh, Executive Director of the Cannabis Business Alliance, in an exclusive interview with CULTURE. “The ‘problem’ is not the odor per se, since obnoxious odors aren’t outright prohibited or regulated for other businesses with strong scents. The problem is the prejudice giving rise to complaints in the first place and over-reactionary ordinances that unfairly target cannabis businesses and don’t apply equally to other Denver businesses with obnoxious odors.”

Slaugh further argues that the cannabis industry is bringing needed change to the city, and should not be slighted for something as minor as strong odors.

“The cannabis industry is primarily responsible for producing economic benefits for once poor and decaying neighborhoods which the industry improved,” he added. “These areas were once stagnant, filled with commercially abandoned warehouses that eventually became cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facilities. The city of Denver has required the industry to improve the landscape around those buildings and they have truly begun transforming these neighborhoods.”

“Now, the industry is being targeted under this odor ordinance and under the moratorium as the ‘problem’ of these areas when, in fact, they are the pioneers of neighborhood renovation and a major factor in the rise of tourism and people moving to Denver post-legalization,” he continued. “It would seem that the City council wants to kick out and limit the very pioneers who created a settlement in the first place, all in the name of continued development and gentrification of the neighborhoods cannabis businesses have increased their value in and call home.”

Even some of the City council members are skeptical that this new ordinance will be a good way to fix the problem.

“When you begin to saturate and when you begin to concentrate (businesses), there’s no odor ordinance that can identify where this is coming from,” Albus Brooks, a local Councilman, told The Denver Post. “And I’ve never seen a council so sure of a bill that hasn’t even come through committee yet.”

While there is no doubt that some measures should be taken to ensure dispensaries and grows contain there odors, many seem opposed to this new, somewhat draconian, odor ordinance proposal. A final decision will be reached this month.

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Government Begins Rethinking Scheduling of Cannabis

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OR-LocalNews

There is currently a petition to the FDA in progress that calls the federal government to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act’s Schedule I list, which holds the plant in the same category as hard drugs such as methamphetamine or heroin. Although medical cannabis, and now even recreational cannabis, is legal in Oregon, it still is not recognized as legal by the federal government. The Feds also don’t recognize it as officially serving a medical purpose.

The Controlled Substances Act has very strict criteria for how to classify the drugs on its Schedule I list, and there are many people who think that after many recent studies, cannabis simply doesn’t meet that criteria. To be placed on the list in the first place, a drug not only has to have a high potential for abuse, but it also has to have no medical uses, and be considered unsafe. The fiction of these statements in reference to cannabis is now widely known. A few very recent studies have proved the effectiveness of treating seizures in children with cannabis oil. The people are basically calling the government out and saying, let’s rethink the way we think about cannabis. To get cannabis removed from the Schedule I list, there has to be a petition placed with the Drug Enforcement Administration. There have been many attempts to get cannabis removed from this list in the past. Since 1972, petitions to the DEA have been denied. This time, however, the DEA has requested the Food and Drug Administration to perform a study to see if the classification of cannabis really should be different.

Supporters of the reclassification of cannabis claim that once the plant is no longer controlled by the federal government, federal spending that was once used to enforce cannabis laws and process offenders through the criminal justice system can be reallocated to more important things like education. They also argue that the U.S. government could make tons of revenue on the taxation and regulation of the cannabis industry. We already know this to be true in Oregon, where the state government collected nearly 3.5 million dollars of revenue after only its first month of recreational sales.

The reclassification of cannabis, and its removal from the Controlled Substance Act’s Schedule I list, could mean big changes for Oregonians. It would first of all make a huge difference in the way we think about cannabis locally, and nationally. The stigmas that surround cannabis that are already starting to melt away will soon be gone completely. Secondly, medical growers and dispensary owners will start to face less opposition when trying to operate and run their businesses. Not constantly looking over their shoulder for the Feds. Our state government would finally be in agreement with the federal government, and Oregonians will no longer be breaking federal law when they smoke or sell cannabis. This would create big changes in the eyes of the Oregon State police and court system, and the way they deal with cannabis users.

The DEA has remained pretty silent about their upcoming decision, and their study with the FDA. It has been projected that they will be making a decision by mid-year. Hopefully the U.S. Government can finally recognize what Oregon and many other states already have about the medical benefits of cannabis.

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