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Eye on Cannabis: Marijuana News Roundup, Friday Dec. 8

EYE ON CANNABIS: Marijuana News from Around the Country

David Royse | LedeTree

Happy Friday,

The states where medical marijuana is legal have a couple more weeks to breathe easy following a vote in Congress on Thursday that keeps the feds off their backs a little longer.

The amendment – known by the unfortunate mouthful Rohrabacher-Blumenauer (sounds like a neighborhood in Berlin) – that prohibits the federal government from spending money to go after states where medical marijuana is legal was in the stopgap spending measure passed Thursday in the House and Senate. That was the bill that also kept the government open until Congress can work out a more permanent spending plan.

MORE in our story on that from this morning.

The long-term fate of the amendment remains up in the air – the Senate included it in its version of the original spending bill, while the House has not. Much will depend on how the two chambers work out the long-term spending bill (if and when they do).

YOU LOVE L.A.

Another big story in the marijuana world this week was out in California, where the Los Angeles city council unanimously signed off on regulations for cannabis sales once adult recreational use is legal in the state, which starts Jan. 1.

The move makes Los Angeles likely to be ready for marijuana sales on New Year’s Day, and moves L.A. a step closer to being the biggest city in the United States where non-medical marijuana use is legal. Regulations include a program aimed to spread the licenses around demographically and caps on how many permits will be issued. The 12-0 council vote sends the proposed regulations to the city’s mayor for final approval.

“Let’s make history,” Council President Herb Wesson said before the vote.

The LA Times has the most comprehensive story on the plans.

OTHER STATE NEWS

MARYLAND

Six of the 10 dispensaries licensed by Maryland opened this past week, with the others expected to open in the coming weeks, the Baltimore Sun reported. Eventually the state expects there will be 92 dispensaries spread across Maryland. But, some of the outlets have already run out of pot.

MICHIGAN

State officials in Michigan issued emergency rules this past week that will govern medical marijuana there. Applications open Dec. 15. More from MLive    RELATED: Officials in Kalamazoo will decide next year whether to allow medical marijuana dispensaries.

NEW JERSEY

Lawmakers should start working soon on a measure to legalize non-medical marijuana use, which was supported by newly-elected Gov. Phil Murphy. New Jersey’s app.com reports passage could come as soon as March, though it also may not be voted on until next summer.

COMPANY NEWS

Aphria Inc. has joined the small group of Canadian companies with multi-billion dollar market caps, following its announcement of an exclusive deal to provide cannabis at Canadian retail pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart. Aphria’s shares jumped more than 15 percent on the news, pushing its market cap to $2 billion. That puts in the public Canadian cannabis giant category along with Canopy Growth ($3.6 billion) and Aurora Cannabis ($3 billion.)

RESEARCH NEWS

Finally this week, researchers from the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University have found that places with legal medical marijuana have seen a 15 percent reduction in monthly alcohol sales. The researchers used retail store scanner data to track alcohol sales, comparing sales in counties in states with legal medical marijuana to those in states where it’s not legal before and after legalization.

“We find that the legalization of medical marijuana reduces alcohol consumption,” the researchers write. “We find consistent evidence across different specifications and alcohol products (i.e. alcohol in general, beer and wine). States legalizing medical marijuana use experience significant decrease in the aggregate sales of alcohol, beer and wine. Moreover, the effects are not short lived, with significant reductions observed up to 24 months after the passage of the law.”

Have a good weekend, and follow us on Twitter

 

About David Royse

David Royse is the Editor-in-Chief of Ledetree.com. He has been a professional journalist for more than 20 years, including stints with The Associated Press and The News Service of Florida. He enjoys writing about health and medical science, and hopeful stories about scientific breakthroughs and new technology.

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