You can now get a degree in marijuana, so it's time to deal with the lives ruined by weed convictions

As you almost certainly are aware, more states are further legalizing medical and recreational marijuana in recent years, with some cities even decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of weed, all of which means that the plant is starting to be treated with some respect — finally.

More research is being done about topics like what marijuana does to kids’ development and whether or not breastfeeding moms should be able to vape — and one university in Michigan is offering a full-on, four-year bachelor’s degree in all things having to do with the farming, marketing, and sale of weed. So now that you can get a degree in marijuana, what do we do about the fact that, legally, weed is still seriously ruining a lot of people’s lives?


Could recreational marijuana soon be legal in Ohio?

Ohio’s medical marijuana program will go into effect in about 10 months. But already there’s a push to make all marijuana legal across the board.

Ohioans have heard this once before: A constitutional amendment to give voters a chance to approve marijuana use, both medical and recreational.

But this time, the man behind it is promising to fix the issue that had even pot supporters fired up when the last amendment came up for a vote.

Jimmy Gould of Green Light Acquisitions, LLC, will propose making marijuana legal for all adults in Ohio. Details are expected to be revealed at a Monday morning news conference.


Could local lawsuit delay Ohio's medical pot plans?

Just as Ohio is learning who its first medial marijuana growers may be, a local firm is threatening legal actions that could delay the state's legal pot plans.

Downtown-based CannAscend is among dozens of firms that applied and were denied a license by Ohio to grow medical marijuana, an announcement made Thursday.  More than 100 firms filed applications for just 24 licenses made available across Ohio.

CannAscend said it's planning to file a lawsuit against the state for what it calls a "flawed" grading process used to award licenses. Among other allegations, the firm claims:


No guns: Ohio's medical marijuana users won't be able to have firearms

People who register with the state of Ohio to legally use medical marijuana will be prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law, according to guidance released by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

In an open letter to federally licensed firearms dealers, the ATF advised in 2011 that marijuana is still a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law so any use of the drug is unlawful, and gun dealers are prohibited from providing guns or ammo to anyone they have cause to believe uses pot.

“There are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana purportedly used for medicinal purposes, even if such is sanctioned by state law,” the memo says.


Ohio just announced who can grow medical cannabis — here's the list

A participant practices rolling a joint at the Cannabis Carnivalus 4/20 event in Seattle Thomson Reuters

The tiny village of Mount Orab and the city of Akron are among diverse locations of the 12 large growers Ohio picked Thursday to participate in its medical marijuana program.

In announcing the large cultivators and a final small grower, the state rounded out the list of 24 companies authorized to produce medicinal crops under a new system expected to go live by September. Ohio is the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana.

Large growers paid $20,000 to apply to operate sites up to 25,000 square feet. Initial license fees were $180,000 and renewals will cost $200,000 annually.


Anticipating medical marijuana's arrival in Ohio, police turn to Colorado for help

Ohio police departments are learning how to interpret the law and medical marijuana in the new year.

So they are turning to experts from Colorado for direction on arrests, cases and how to handle the drug in the field.

Blue Ash Police Chief Paul Hartinger said medical marijuana presents a new era for law enforcement and that's why he wants to make sure his officers are ready.

"I think it's imperative to keep my officers up to speed, every day, every month, every week, whatever it is," Hartinger said.

Hartinger is big on training and now his focus is shifting to medical marijuana.

"What are the things that I need to know on the streets so that I do my job well and do it right but still enforce the laws that are on the books?" Hartinger said.


The rush is on for Ohio's marijuana dispensary licenses

Today, the Ohio Department of Commerce will stop accepting applications for its first crop of medical marijuana dispensary licenses. Although only 60 licenses will be issued, some industry insiders estimate that applications will number in the hundreds.

"It's a very hot market," said Thomas Rosenberger, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association's recently formed Ohio chapter. Up to 18 dispensaries in Northeast Ohio will get in on the ground floor of what is expected to be a $300 million to $400 million per year industry.

But first, would-be weed-dispensers must clear some major hurdles including bureaucratic and financial requirements, logistical challenges and legal risks.


Marijuana legalization 2017: States and cities where weed won this November

Marijuana remains illegal at a federal level, is classified as a Schedule I drug, and is still seen as a “life-wrecking” substance by the country’s Attorney General. But cannabis advocates made enormous strides in elections across the country this week. By Wednesday, it became clear that, just like last year, a scattering of marijuana-related reforms occurred throughout the United States, including the election of candidates who want to institute those reforms.


Marijuana won Tuesday's election

Voters in two states chose new governors on Tuesday. Both of those elections -- as well as the results of a number of local races across the country -- will have huge implications for efforts to legalize marijuana.

Here's an overview of cannabis-specific ballot measures that voters approved, along with details on how the Democratic gubernatorial wins in New Jersey and Virginia will boost marijuana reform campaigns in those states.

New Jersey Governor-Elect Phil Murphy


Ohio: Cleveland city council okays medical marijuana operations, but with restrictions

Cleveland City Council voted 15-1 Monday night to adopt zoning legislation that will allow state-licensed medical marijuana cultivators, processors, retail dispensaries and testing laboratories to operate in limited zones throughout the city.

Councilwoman Dona Brady was the lone dissenting vote. She felt the restrictions did not go far enough.

The restrictions roughly match those imposed by the state of Ohio, in rules completed this summer after medical marijuana was legalized last year. The biggest restriction is that operations are prohibited within 500 feet of schools, parks, churches and libraries.


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