WHITE PLAINS, New York – Vireo Health, one of the five companies in New York State that began growing and selling non-smokable cannabis medicines this year, is alleged to have illegally smuggled a half-million worth of cannabis oils from Minnesota to New York. Minnesota authorities are acting on a tip from a former Vireo employee who alleges that Vireo committed the crime because it wasn’t going to meet the 2016 deadline for supplying the medical marijuana program. Vireo is the parent company of Minnesota Medical Solutions, which had employed the tipster. A surprise raid in Minnesota found over 5.5 kilograms of cannabis oil missing, listed as outbound in December 2015 with no final address. Vireo denies the allegations and claims software inadequacies failed to account for their destruction of the oil.
PHOENIX, Arizona – An Arizona Administrative Law Judge has determined that the state department of health wrongly denied a hearing for the evaluation of Parkinson’s disease as a qualifying medical marijuana condition. The ruling by Judge Dorinda Lang said that “the department has utilized a standard of proof that is higher than the rules call for” in evaluating a petition for review of Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases. That petition, brought by Cannabis Radio Host Nurse Heather Manus, head of the Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association, was denied by the department for not showing strong enough evidence and not proving marijuana was safe for treatment. Judge Lang noted that Manus submitted two peer-reviewed journal studies that certainly qualified as evidence and that the rules don’t provide a method of her submitting evidence for marijuana’s safety.
SACRAMENTO, California – More taxes on California medical marijuana may become a reality after the Assembly passed AB 2243 in a 60-12 vote yesterday. The bill calls for taxes of $9.25 per ounce of marijuana flowers, $2.75 per ounce of pot leaves and $1.25 per ounce of immature pot plants. Earlier this week, the California Senate passed a flat 15 percent medical marijuana tax. Localities also tax medical marijuana at around 7.5 percent. The legislature estimates the Assembly’s per-ounce taxes would raise $77 million a year, with funds to be dedicated to local police and environmental cleanup.
AUGUSTA, Maine – The event page for a marijuana trade show this weekend in Augusta was hacked yesterday, with a cancellation notice posted on the website. The Kennebec Journal reports that organizers scrambled to fix the listing today and assured the public that the show was still happening this Saturday and Sunday at the Augusta Civic Center. The show, called Home Grown Maine and put on by Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, is billed as “the largest medical marijuana trade show in New England.” There will be over 130 exhibitors, speakers, and educational panels on cannabis issues. A medication tent is made available for registered patients to vaporize cannabis on site. Catherine Lewis, chairman of the board of Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, says this is the second time in two months the group has experienced a cyber attack.
PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island – Petitioners from Regulate Rhode Island came to the statehouse to deliver more than 1,300 signatures calling on the General Assembly to regulate marijuana. According to recent polling cited by the group, 55 percent of Rhode Islanders support legalization of marijuana. The activists want legislative leaders to allow two nearly identical legalization bills to move through the House and Senate. Marijuana legalization bills have been submitted annually for five years, but never even get to the committee vote stage. The protest and petition may have had little effect, however, as legislative insiders predict there will be no movement on legalization in Rhode Island this year.