Skip to main content

Medical Marijuana Update

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #819)
Drug War Issues

The Colorado Supreme Court will take up an important medical marijuana employment rights case, Connecticut selects marijuana producers, Massachusetts gets ready to announce who gets dispensaries, California localities keep moving to restrict cultivation, and more. Let's get to it:


Last week, Fremont delayed moving ahead with a ban on visible outdoor grows. Police and city planners had hoped to enact the ban, but the Planning Commission raised concerns about the hazards of indoor cultivation if growers are all pushed indoors. "With indoor cultivation, there are increased fire hazards, more spikes in illegal electricity use that is off the grid, and increased environmental degradation, such as mold," said Commissioner David Bonaccorsi. The Planning Commission voted 4-3 last week against the plan, but that vote is not binding, and the city council could approve the ban at its February 11 meeting.

On Tuesday, the Shasta County board of supervisors voted to ban all outdoor grows. The vote was unanimous and goes into effect in 30 days. The move also restricts indoor grows to 12 plants or fewer. The board had originally proposed allowing outdoor grows on parcels on 10 acres of more, but went for the tougher line after Sheriff Tom Bosenko told the supervisors that a complete ban on all outdoor grows would make it easier to enforce, saying that if someone saw a garden, then it was obviously illegal.

Also on Tuesday, the Butte County board of supervisors approved tough new grow rules for the second time. The rules would limit the size of medical marijuana grows to 150 square-feet on properties 10 acres or larger, 100 square-feet on properties five to 10 acres, and 50 square-feet on properties from a half-acre to five acres. On lots smaller than a half-acre, only indoor grows of less than 120 square-feet would be allowed in a building dedicated to the crop. The vote was unanimous. A final vote is set for February 11.


On Monday, the state Supreme Court said it would take up a medical marijuana employment case. Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic, was fired from his job for using marijuana during his off hours. The court said it would look not just at whether a special Colorado law that protects legal off-the-clock activities covers marijuana. For the first time, the court announced it will also look at whether Colorado's constitution gives medical marijuana patients a right to cannabis. Colorado's Court of Appeals has previously ruled that patients don't have a right to use marijuana and that employers can fire workers for any marijuana use.


On Tuesday, state officials announced the selection of four medical marijuana producers. Consumer Protection Commissioner William Rubenstein, joined by Governor Dannel Malloy, Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and other officials, announced that four applicants have been chosen as the first-ever producers of medical marijuana to serve the needs of seriously ill patients in Connecticut. The anointed growers are Advanced Grow Labs, LLC of West Haven, Connecticut Pharmaceutical Solutions, LLC of Portland, Curaleaf, LLC of Simsbury, and Theraplant, LLC of Watertown.


On Tuesday, a bill to allow epileptic children to use high-CBS cannabis oil was filed. State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) said he was moved to file it after hearing from the parents of desperately ill children.


On Monday, the Department of Public Health said it would issue licenses this week for up to 35 dispensaries. Under state law, each county can have up to five dispensaries.


Last Thursday, the Ashland city council voted to allow dispensaries. It had previously enacted an ordinance effectively banning them by enacting a provision that allowed business licenses to be denied for unlawful activity.


On Tuesday, medical marijuana got a hearing at the legislature. The Senate Law and Justice Committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 1182. After emotive testimony, five more senators signed on a cosponsors of the bill.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit]

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.



Phil wrote two blog posts about Florida qualifying this week, and noted them in the Chronicle AM as well. He also wrote a feature story about the initiative last summer. So there is no lack of interest in what is happening Florida or with PUFMM. Somehow it got left out of the update last night -- I'm wondering if there was a copy and paste accident, as the update is shorter than usual.

- Dave

Thu, 01/30/2014 - 1:34pm Permalink
warmustend (not verified)

Here's what Florida's illustrious Senator Bill Nelson has to say about it. Maybe it is finally time for a change.


"Thank you for contacting me regarding our nation's drug control policy.  The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is tasked with reducing the use, manufacturing, and trafficking of illicit drugs, drug-related crime and violence, and drug-related health problems.

I believe we must provide our law enforcement community with adequate resources to combat the use and sale of illegal drugs. I have been a strong supporter of the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program that fights crime through community partnership and engagement programs.  At a time when local and State governments are slashing budgets, this money is vital to ensuring that sheriff and police forces have adequate staff and equipment to maintain public safety.  The COPS program has helped State and local police purchase new crime fighting technologies, including equipment to assist them in the war on drugs.  Florida’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas is a unique partnership between Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies to reduce trafficking in areas where this problem is most severe.  I believe these programs should be expanded.
However, more should be done to reduce the demand for illegal drugs through education and rehabilitation. In these tough economic times, we need real solutions to our problems not lawmakers blindly slashing programs without careful evaluation of their merits.  I believe that law enforcement should have the tools to effectively carry out their duties and ensure their safety.
     I oppose legalizing marijuana.  At this time, no legislation is pending in the Senate to decriminalize the possession or use of marijuana.  If such a proposal is introduced, I will keep your thoughts in mind.
Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns.  Your communication helps me serve you better in the Senate.
                                   Bill Nelson"
Thu, 02/06/2014 - 10:56pm Permalink

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.