Columbus, Ohio May Significantly Reduce Penalties for Marijuana Possession

The city council in Columbus, Ohio is considering cannabis policy reforms that would significantly reduce the penalties imposed for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The council has scheduled a public hearing on a proposed city ordinance to enact the reforms for Thursday evening.

Under the proposed ordinance, possession of up to 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces) of marijuana would be subject to a fine of up to $10. Those caught possessing between 100 and 200 grams (approximately seven ounces) of cannabis could be fined up to $25. Possession of more than 200 grams would still be a felony.

The fine for possession of marijuana paraphernalia would be reduced to $10. The ordinance would also increase funding to help those with previous convictions for marijuana possession offenses have their criminal records sealed.

The fines for cannabis possession would not apply to “any person who obtained the marihuana pursuant to a lawful prescription issued by a licensed health professional authorized to prescribe drugs,” according to the ordinance.

Punishments More Severe Under State Law

Under Ohio state law, possession of up to 100 grams of cannabis can be punished with a fine of up to $150 while possessing 100 to 200 grams

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New Jersey Opens Major Expansion of Medical Marijuana Program

On Monday, New Jersey’s Department of Health announced plans to accept applications for individuals and entities interested in opening operational and cultivation facilities. The agency said that it is seeking applicants to operate as many as 24 Alternative Treatment Centers, with the aim to place eight in the northern part of the state, eight in the central region and seven in the south. An additional facility will be placed in a yet-to-be-determined region, the department said. 

Moreover, the department said it intends to grant licenses for an additional 15 dispensaries, five cultivation centers and four “vertically integrated permits,” which would involve a combination of cultivation, manufacturing and dispensary. The applications, which were made available on Monday, are due on August 22; it costs $20,000 to apply, though failed applicants will receive a reimbursement of $18,000. 

All applicants “must submit a security plan and an environmental impact statement,” and demonstrate “experience in cultivating, manufacturing or retailing marijuana and provide quality control and assurance plans,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. 

The permit expansion was put in motion earlier this month when New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, signed a bill to grant an additional 24 licenses. It’s part of an ongoing

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Plan For Automatic Expungement of Cannabis Records Proposed in Michigan

There continues to be some large gaps in justice when it comes to the state by state cannabis legalization movement. Among them is a key question; What happens to those individuals with cannabis offenses that took place before the laws changed? Believe it or not, many of them aren’t automatically, retroactively covered by new laws that decriminalize or legalize weed going forward. In Michigan, one senator is looking to right this wrong. 

On Tuesday, Senator Jeff Irwin of Ann Arbor presented a piece of legislation that would guarantee automatic expungement for those with past, low level cannabis misdemeanors on their records. Estimates project that the bill could affect around 235,000 people. That’s key, as criminal records can make a difference in people getting employment, or qualifying for state benefits. Automatic expungement would also dodge the high cost to the state of clearing cases individually in court. 

“Automatic expungement for all of our lowest-level cannabis offenders allows people to move on with their lives and making it automatic is essential because many people can’t afford an attorney, or the legal fees associated with an application,” Irwin said, as reported by Click On Detroit. “Cannabis is now legal in Michigan and petty

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CBD Catching on Among Professional Athletes and Sports Leagues

Though cannabis remains on The World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances, WADA stopped prohibiting the use of cannabidiol in 2017. Soccer players are no longer penalized for having CBD in their systems during the World Cups.

Several sports leagues and associations have followed WADA’s lead, such as the United Fighting Championship (UFC), which oversees mixed martial arts competitions and rankings. One of its members Nate Diaz famously hit a vape pen after a match in 2016.

“It’s CBD,” he told reporters. “It helps with the healing process and inflammation… before and after the fights and training. It’ll make your life a better place.”

BIG3 CO-FOUNDER ICE CUBE ON CBD: “There’s something out there that can help that doesn’t enhance performance or intoxicate. To me, it’s simple compassion.”

Other positive signs include the recent announcement by the BIG3, the professional 3-on-3 basketball league, that it now permits players to use CBD for pain management and recovery. “These guys put their bodies on the line for us and the fans to entertain us with their talent,” says BIG3 co-founder Ice Cube. “There’s something out there that can help them that doesn’t enhance

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Study Finds Legal Cannabis Reduces Illicit Grows in National Forests

Conversations about the effects of legalizing cannabis frequently focus on a few key issues: economic opportunity, social justice, the potential for new medical treatments, and other health benefits. What’s less talked about, however, is how cannabis legalization impacts the environment. Researchers have long documented the ways unchecked outdoor cannabis cultivation can strain resources and negatively impact the environment. And data from the U.S. Department of Justice shows that a significant amount of illegally produced cannabis is grown on federal lands— especially, national forests.

But what if legalization was making a difference? That’s exactly the question a new, first-of-its-kind study set out to answer. Do cannabis-related policies have any effect on illicit grow operations in U.S. national forests? The answer appears to be that yes, legalization does impact illegal grows. In fact, it reduces them significantly.

Expanding Legalization Reduces Illicit Grows in National Forests by a Fifth or More, Study Concludes

As the legal cannabis industry in the United States expands, demand for cannabis products is growing with it. But in the U.S. market, supply and demand have yet to find their equilibrium. So despite the major changes in the production and consumption of legal cannabis over the past decade, the

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