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Florida Marijuana

A proposal that would award $2.5 million for UF to study medical marijuana recently moved forward in the Florida House of Representatives. The proposal states that money from the General Revenue Fund will be used to fund UF’s study on the safety and efficiency of medical cannabis. The bill, which passed through the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee, moved into the Appropriations Committee on Friday.

If the bill is passed in the committee, it will go to a full House vote for final approval. If it passes through the House, the proposal states the one time fund will be finalized in July. House member Dane Eagle, a republican who represents District 77, sponsored the proposal, which was first submitted February 7. Janine Sikes, spokesperson for UF, wrote in an email that the money would fund UF’s proposed Cannabis and Safety Outcomes Surveillance System, a program which would monitor the safety and effectiveness of medical cannabis on 25,000 enrolled patients throughout the state.

Florida’s Amendment 2, a constitutional amendment that allows stronger cannabis to be used for a broader list of conditions, took effect in January. Of the six medical cannabis dispensaries licensed in Florida, two are in Alachua County, according to the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Compassionate Use. Sikes said the UF program would monitor treatments that haven’t been approved by the FDA. UF would create a secure Data Warehouse to track patient data as part of the program.

She said the $2.5 million would be for costs such as faculty salaries and data processing. She stated, “Evidence is lacking to evaluate risk/benefit of medical marijuana. It is pivotal that the state establishes a system to monitor emerging safety concerns, especially for use in children.” She said the proposal is related to the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014, which requires physicians to submit a quarterly patient treatment plan to the UF’s College of Pharmacy for research on the safety and effectiveness of low-THC cannabis on patients. The details of the proposal state that it would offer funding to implement research provisions in the 2014 act.

A UF nursing senior, Alicia Ciliezar, said she supports the use and research of medical cannabis. The substance helps improve pain levels for individuals with issues such as neurologic conditions and digestive disorders. She said, “I’m very eager to see the aims of the study, the objectives and the outcomes. I’m sure it will be fascinating and shape our perception on the substance.”

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Florida Marijuana

Fort Myers, Florida Representative Ray Rodrigues recently revealed the first medical marijuana statutes. They would prohibit people from smoking cannabis or using edibles. Patients would also be banned from vaporizing marijuana if they are not terminally ill. Rodrigues’ proposal is even more restrictive than the laws that existed before Florida voted to legalize medical marijuana. Ben Pollara, United for Care’s campaign director stated, “It goes further than the current statute in terms of restricting medical marijuana. There was unanimous agreement that the new amendment would expand use.”

Rodrigues’ proposal defines the “medical use” of marijuana as “the acquisition, possession, use, delivery, transfer, or administration of marijuana authorized by a physician certification.” Specifically, however, the proposal says medical use does not include “possession, use, or administration of marijuana in a form for smoking or vaping, or in the form of commercially produced food items made with marijuana or marijuana oils, except for vapable forms possessed, used, or administered by or for a qualified patient diagnosed with a terminal condition.”

Rodrigues said, “The question we’ve been asking all day is, ‘Well, how can you ingest it?”. Before last year’s legalization vote, the state had already allowed low-tetrahydrocannabinol cannabis derivatives for terminally ill people under what was known as the “Compassionate Use” law. Under the old system, doctors could register on a state database and administer low-THC, high-cannabidiol medicines such as the “Charlotte’s Web” hemp extract.

Legislators included statutes mandating that a medical marijuana patient submit his or her state driver’s license and a second form of ID to obtain approved for medicinal cannabis. Patients can have their medical-marijuana licenses suspended if they are charged with any drug offense. The state can also revoke cannabis licenses once a patient is believed to be “cured.” People who want to administer drugs to individuals who can not take them themselves must undergo background checks and training courses. Both caregivers and patients will be issued photo ID cards. Patients will be prohibited from buying more than a 90-day supply of marijuana.

The proposal also sanctions an “education campaign” to publicize the “short-term and long-term health effects of marijuana use, the “legal requirements for licit use and possession of marijuana in this state,” and the “safe use of marijuana.” The proposal also sets up an impaired-driving education campaign. Pollara said, “I don’t know how malleable the bill is right now, but it can be amended. It’s a disappointing place to start, but I’d rather it be disappointing to start than disappointing to finish.”

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Florida Marijuana

Dr. Joseph Dorn was the medical director of Surterra Therapeutics, which is one of six distributing locations that are licensed to dispense medical marijuana in the state of Florida. The constitutional amendment allows higher-strength cannabis to be used for a broader range of medical conditions. However, the true measure of what the amendment means won’t be seen immediately until a new set of rules are carried out by the State’s Legislature.

“I think the expectations for most people is it is going to be a free-for-all, and all people have to do is get their cards to receive it,” Dorn stated. “I think there is going to be a lot of chaos initially because there is still a lot of work to be done.”

WHAT THE AMENDMENT DOES
It allows the use of medical cannabis for people with debilitating medical ailments. In 2014, the Florida Legislature approved the use of low-THC and non-smoked marijuana for patients suffering from cancer, chronic seizures, epilepsy, and chronic muscle spasms.

HOW PATIENTS CAN OBTAIN MARIJUANA
Recipients must be under the care of a doctor who has finished an eight hour class and has been under examination for at least three months. Dorn said he is practically booked with appointments. There are 340 registered physicians according to the Department of Health. Christian Bax, who runs the Office of Compassionate Use recently stated that he anticipates an increase in registered doctors during the first quarter of 2017.

DISTRIBUTING ORGANIZATIONS
Five licensed locations have received authorization to distribute medical cannabis. CHT Medical will begin in-home delivery soon. There may be at least one more license that will be granted after a recent settlement between the Department of Health and two Southwest Florida nurseries.

NEXT STEPS
There are five more legislative committee weeks that are scheduled before the start of the Florida Legislature on March 7. The State Senate’s Health Policy committee held a workshop in December to hear matters concerning all parties. The House’s Health Policy committee has yet to meet.

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After failing to pass in the November 2014 election, Amendment 2 was finally passed in Florida with 71.29% (6,495,970 votes). The limited Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 is now replaced by Amendment 2 titled “Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions.”

Florida physicians will decide if patients satisfy the conditions defined as “cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.”

The Amendment states that the Florida Department of Health (DOH) will “register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers.” The DOH has six months to establish stated procedures “for the registration of MMTCs [Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers] that include procedures for the issuance, renewal, suspension and revocation of registration, and standards to ensure proper security, record keeping, testing, labeling, inspection, and safety. … [The DOH] will begin issuing qualifying patient and caregiver identification cards, and registering

MMTCs no later than nine (9) months after the effective date of this section.”
The amendment does not specify how many licenses will be awarded or how the system will function. Amendment 2 will be an improvement from the 2014 act rated as an F in a report ‘Medical Marijuana Access in the United States: A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws,’ by Americans for Safe Access.

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Seven states legalized marijuana in some form on Election Day. California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada showed up to support recreational marijuana, while Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota passed ballot initiatives legalizing medical marijuana. As the governor of Colorado said at the time the state legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, users shouldn’t “break out the Cheetos” just yet. Sales are still a ways away.

Here’s a summary of when residents can use marijuana legally within their states:

Arkansas
For the people who live in Arkansas with one of 17 qualifying medical conditions — including cancer, glaucoma, and fibromyalgia — may now buy marijuana legally with a doctor’s recommendation.

The downside is that there’s no one currently ready sell patients their medicine yet. A newly made state commission will start accepting licensing applications for dispensaries and cultivation facilities on June 1, 2017. It could be a year before the first retailer opens.

California
Residents of the one of the nation’s most pot-friendly states may now use, possess, and transport up to an ounce of marijuana — roughly a sandwich bag full — for recreation, starting immediately.

Yet, there’s no place to legally buy it until January 1, 2018, when the state can begin issuing licenses to marijuana dispensaries that allow them to sell nonmedical bud.

Those eager to light up before 2018 can still do so by becoming a medical marijuana patient. And if you happen to find yourself in possession of a friend’s bud, that works, too.

Florida
Florida broadened access to its existing medical marijuana program by adding 10 new qualifying conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Sunshine State will begin issuing identification cards for patients and registering dispensaries and cultivation facilities by October.

Maine
The most nail-biting ballot initiative of the election gave Mainers the right to possess a whopping 2.5 ounces of marijuana, more than double the limit in most other states. It goes into effect 30 days after the governor certifies the election results.

The state has nine months to develop regulations for licensing recreational marijuana dispensaries and “marijuana social clubs,” delaying retailers possibly for years.

Massachusetts
Massachusetts, which made medical marijuana legal in 2012, will allow residents to consume and carry small amounts of weed without a prescription beginning December 15.

The ballot initiative clears a path for marijuana retail stores to open in the state as early as January 1, 2018, which could bring in some $300 million in new tax revenue.

Nevada
Voters gave a resounding yes to recreational marijuana in Nevada, where it will become legal to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, effective January 1.

The ability to sell will take much longer. The measure directs Nevada’s taxation office to implement regulations by the end of 2017 in preparation for a 2018 retail launch.

North Dakota
Patients with one of a dozen qualifying medical conditions may have an unprecedented 3 ounces of marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. If the resident lives 40 miles from a dispensary, they may grow up to eight plants for personal use. The law takes effect in February.

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Almost all small-business owners dream of the day when they can expand nationally. This has proved to be a unique challenge for those in the marijuana industry because the products they create are illegal under federal law, and the checkerboard of states that permit marijuana sales have complex and constantly changing regulations. Dixie Brands, a company in Denver that creates drinks and other products using marijuana, is aiming to navigate those hurdles and become one of the first companies in the industry to build a national presence.

California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada approved adult-use marijuana. Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota and Montana voted to legalize or expand medical marijuana use. GreenWave Advisors, a financial research and advisory firm based in New York, estimates that marijuana product sales in the United States will be $6.5 billion in 2016 and about $30 billion in 2021 if products derived from marijuana are legalized in all 50 states in some capacity.

The company makes Dixie Elixirs, bottled beverages infused with THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. All are sold at licensed recreational pot shops and medical marijuana dispensaries. Because of federal laws on controlled substances, one challenge to expansion is that products cannot cross state lines, so a pot brownie baked in Oregon, for example, cannot be sold in neighboring Washington, even though the product is legal in both places.

Some states require marijuana businesses to be owned by in-state residents, further impeding multistate expansion. When Colorado recently required all marijuana food products to be stamped with a THC symbol, Dixie Brands had to create all new molds for its chocolates and discontinue their Dixie Roll product, which is similar to Tootsie Rolls, because it could not be stamped efficiently. Because of federal laws, marijuana companies cannot open bank accounts, cannot use credit cards and cannot deduct business expenses from their federal taxes. Many companies in the marijuana industry had been started by product aficionados with little business experience.

When recreational marijuana joined medical marijuana as a legal market in Colorado in 2014, they were poised to expand Dixie Brands by adding to their line of products. Two years ago, in their first move outside of the state, the pair found a licensing partner to produce Dixie products in California.

“Our partner wanted to manufacture other companies’ products as well as ours, and we wanted more focus on absolute quality and consistency,” Mr. Smith stated.

“To have total legal, financial and operational control, we decided we would need to control the manufacturing and distribution facilities in any state we expanded to.” To make this happen, Mr. Smith had to find a way to work within regulations that require owners of marijuana businesses to be residents of the state.

A local partner would grow and process the marijuana, but only for Dixie Brands, and only under the company’s strict instructions. Consistent product quality is critical, Mr. Smith said.

“Coca-Cola in Denver and Seattle taste exactly the same, and we want Dixie Elixirs and our other products to have that reputation.” Each new manufacturing site will cost about $2 million, according to Mr. Smith.

The state-based partner will own the marijuana itself and employ the personnel who work with the marijuana in any form: plants, concentrates, finished products and the like.

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By late last night on election day, it was clear that Amendment 2—the amendment allowing those with debilitating conditions to use medicinal marijuana—would pass. Amendment 2 needed at least 60% of the vote to pass, which it did easily by receiving 71% of the vote in favor of passing Amendment 2. Florida now becomes the 26th state to legalize marijuana for either medicinal or recreational purposes. California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada also approved marijuana for recreational use Tuesday night.

Two years ago, Florida had a similar amendment on its ballots for medicinal marijuana, however this amendment fell short of the 60% majority vote it needed to pass. John Morgan, an Orlando trial lawyer who has been outspoken in his support for medicinal marijuana on the ballot, receives a sweet victory after all his efforts on the medicinal marijuana campaign.

As of right now, it is unclear how the medicinal marijuana provision will be implemented in Florida. The Florida Department of Health has a deadline of July 2017 to set in place how they plan on regulating the amendment. By October of 2017, Florida must start registering growers, dispensaries, and issuing medicinal cards to patients.

Recent polls leading up to the election made it seem clear that Amendment 2 was going to pass, despite efforts by Republican fundraise Mel Sembler and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s effort to campaign against medicinal marijuana use. The arguments against the amendment for medicinal marijuana referenced how marijuana dispensaries may not be safe, and an overall unregulated drug industry. However, Amendment 2 allows for the state to closely regulate every aspect of the medicinal marijuana selling and growing process.

On the other hand, supporters of Amendment 2 claimed that medicinal marijuana is a wonder drug that provides relief and therapy to those who have serious medical conditions, along with claiming that marijuana, when regulated, is safe to use. Overall, the passing of Amendment 2 is not only a big step for Florida, but also a big step in the overall process of legalizing marijuana across the nation.

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Tuesday night brought in the biggest electoral victory for marijuana reform since 2012. People in California, Nevada, and Massachusetts accepted recreational marijuana initiatives. In Florida, Arkansas, and North Dakota voters have approved medical marijuana initiatives. In Arizona, a similar legalization measure did not gain enough support to pass, having a 52 percent rejection rate.

Reformers were triumphant. “This represents a monumental victory for the marijuana reform movement,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, in a statement. “With California’s leadership now, the end of marijuana prohibition nationally, and even internationally, is fast approaching.”
California has been a leader by both supporters and opponents of marijuana reform. California makes up approximately 12 percent of the U.S. population. The economic impact of the state could encourage federal authorities to rethink their 10-year probation on the use of marijuana.

“The prospect of Rudy Giuliani or Chris Christie as attorney general does not bode well,” the Drug Policy Alliance’s Nadelmann said in an interview. “There are various ways in which a hostile White House could trip things up.”

Nadelmann pointed to the success of marijuana measures during an evident Republican wave as a sign that support for legalization now cuts deeply across party lines. And quoting Trump’s often contradictory statements on marijuana and drug use in the past, Nadelmann added that “Donald Trump personally could probably go any which way on this.”

Legal marijuana is also making its way into the Northeast. “Marijuana legalization has arrived on the East Coast,” said Tom Angell of the marijuana reform group Marijuana Majority in an email. “What Colorado and other states have already done is generating revenue, creating jobs and reducing crime, so it’s not surprising that voters in more places are eager to end prohibition.”
Opponents of lega

legalization said they were disappointed by the outcomes. “We were outspent greatly in both California and Massachusetts, so this loss is disappointing, but not wholly unexpected,” said Kevin Sabet of the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana in a statement. “Despite having gained considerable ground in the last few weeks, the out-of-state interests determined to make money off of legalization put in too much money to overcome.”

In Florida and North Dakota, the votes on medical marijuana were decisive. Florida’s Amendment 2 passed with 71 percent support. In North Dakota, the AP shows 64 percent of voters approving of the medical marijuana measure.

“This is a major tipping point,” said Tom Angell of Florida’s vote. “With Florida’s decision, a majority of states in the U.S. now have laws allowing patients to find relief with medical marijuana, and these protections and programs are no longer concentrated in certain regions of the country like the West and Northeast.”
The victory in North Dakota was surprising as no polling was done on the measure before the vote. As well, the medical marijuana measure will allow doctors in North Dakota to recommend pot for several severe medical conditions.

Medical marijuana is currently legal in 25 other states and the District and with the passage of Amendment 2, Florida will become the first Southern state to pass a robust medical marijuana regime. “Better late than never,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the drug reform group Drug Policy Alliance, in a statement. “Most states outside the South already have legal medical marijuana, but the overwhelming victory today in Florida is likely to accelerate the momentum for reform throughout the region.”

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The votes are in and the 3 biggest states out of the 9 with initiatives for Medical marijuana and recreational marijuana have passed. California passed recreational marijuana, Nevada passed recreational marijuana and Florida passed medical marijuana. As I write this it seems that Donald Trump will be our next President and global markets are hitting the panic button, it seems that Gary Johnson is responsible for this, but we already wrote that story in June. Silver lining here is that Marijuana Stocks are event driven equities and the passage of laws for these three states is a major catalyst for an industry that has historically been recession proof.
Here are a few of the companies that stand to benefit from legalization by state

Florida: AGSTF (TSX:AGS)

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Arcturus GrowthStar Technologies just entered into an LOI to purchase a farm that is in a designation zone for cultivating cannabis. The company was pretty wise in this potential acquisition because the farm already produces $2.6m in annual revenue and if Florida’s amendment 2 didn’t pass their ability to quadruple yields with their controlled environment Agritech (CEA) would have still been a huge win for the company. Now that Florida has passed medical marijuana the potential for revenues is still rather large. It’s also important to note that there are currently 6 licensed producers by region in the state that will need to be expanded to meet what will likely be massive demand. Factor in that AGS hired the former VP of operations of Tilray which is Canada’s biggest private licensed producer and it stands to reason that their is an unknown strategy at play here. Canadian companies can touch the plant state side and still be public, unlike many of the US based public companies, but do not forget tAGS also has an urban farm in Rhode Island currently being built out.
On the chart AGSTF previously had resistance around $0.145 that was broken to the upside on heavy volume on October 5th. The stock went on to hit $0.384 on October 6th just days after we published a Connect the Dots piece on the company. Over the past month, we have been introducing our readers to this company as we believe they could play a major role in the overall marijuana industry’s expansion. The $0.145 area that was once resistance, is now acting as major support. AGSTF tested this level three times over the past month and held beautifully.

A descending triangle or wedge formed throughout October that was broken to the upside on massive volume on November 7th and experienced strong follow through on the 8th. If momentum is sustained it won’t be long until we see AGTSF test the previous high of $0.384. And a favorable marijuana ballot vote in the state of Florida could catapult AGSTF to brand new highs.

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HEMP is yet to really participate in the marijuana industry rally. But there are some key technical indicators to watch for a trade to trigger. Also their facility to process industrial hemp is about to be turned on. It has been a long road for Hemp inc, but they currently have millions of pounds of industrial hemp ready to process and turn into LCM’s. LCM’s are basically filler for oil wells that are being drilled and they are low impact on the environment, effective and cheap; they also go for about $2 a pound. It stands to reason that the shift in cannabis will make growing hemp US wide a no brainer. Hemp also has one of the only processing units in the country. As for the chart…

The $0.036 area has been solid resistance for several months until broken to the upside on heavy volume on October 21st. That $0.036 area is now acting as support being tested twice already. We also see a descending triangle/wedge pattern now forming. If the support area continues to hold, a break out of this descending triangle pattern on high volume could ignite a move back to retest the $0.055-$0.06 area.

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Nevada: MCIG

MCIG is one of the most well known companies in the Pot Stock space and they are also one of the few companies that has taken on any type of toxic financing to fund the operation. They have bolstered their revenues in the ecig/vape market, graduated to selling top notch CBD products in the US and international markets and created a division geared towards construction for cultivation operations called Scalable Solutions. Nevada just passed recreational in an already red hot medical marijuana market. We are about to see an explosion of new money come into the state in order to support the license holders or current license holders will ramp up production that will likely be at a deficit. Supply and demand issues will be an absolute windfall for MCIG and this decision. Its actually quite exciting when you consider there is absolutely nothing in MCIG’s way in terms of debt and legacy shareholders. Factor in that they have roughly 70,000,000 shares of VTCQ stock which is trading at .01 and it stands to reason they will be able to self fund any expansion they may need to meet what will surely be growing demand. On the Chart…

MCIG continues to trade in a strong uptrend on very high volume. After breaking through resistance around $0.135 on November 2nd, we saw that same $0.135 area hold as support on November 4th. Volume has remained high throughout the breakout as MCIG briefly made new highs on November 8th but failed to hold a green close finishing the day -0.75%. $0.18 is now a new minor support level heading into a critical marijuana ballot in the state of Nevada. A favorable vote in Nevada would do wonders for MCIG and their operations. And with no debt conversions or dilution on their books, there shouldn’t be much to hold MCIG back from making a push to the $0.30 area or higher should we see a favorable marijuana vote in Nevada.

California: MSRT

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The easiest way to explain this is that the vote for recreational marijuana just passed in the biggest state and now this market completely opens up to the company as growing demand for advertising will be needed for the flood of new companies, products and native consumers. On the Chart…
MSRT has a resistance area in place along with a double top at $1.08. MSRT has two support areas in place from gap ups that need to hold in order for us to break through the double top. These levels are $0.97 and $0.75. A break above $1.08 on high volume could take us to the $1.50 area possibly testing previous highs from April of this year.

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A long awaited and certainly overdue victory for the state of Florida on passing amendment 2. November 8th, 2016 will be remembered, not only for announcing the next leader of the nation but when medical marijuana became legal in the Sun Shine state by a landslide of 71.2% to 28.8% in favor of medical marijuana.

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