Quick Hits: California City Turns Prison Into Marijuana Grow
COALINGA, California – The Central California city of Coalinga has sold its empty prison to a marijuana company that will grow and process cannabis there. The abandoned Claremont Custody Center was sold to Ocean Grown Extracts for $4.1 million by the city, which had been struggling under almost $3.8 million in debt. The sale puts the city’s budget back into the black and was approved by the city council in a 4-1 vote. Residents who once resisted marijuana operations in their area have come around, thanks to some education about the nature of marijuana businesses, the adoption by California legislators of a statewide regulatory system, and the promise of up to 100 new jobs for the area. Referring to the prison-turned-pot-farm, Coalinga Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Keough told The Fresno Bee, “It’s like what the Grateful Dead said: ‘What a long, strange trip it’s been.’”
PHOENIX, Arizona – An Arizona judge has set August 12 as the date to hear a challenge by anti-marijuana campaigners to strike a legalization initiative from the November ballot. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Jo Lynn Gentry will hold the hearing concerning a suit from Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, a group made up of mostly law enforcement and rehab opposed to legalization. Attorney Brett Johnson claims that the summary of the initiative as one that “regulates marijuana like alcohol” is flawed. The initiative requires employers to prove workers were impaired by marijuana use before firing them, which Johnson says is quite different than how alcohol is treated. Johnson also points to the initiative’s license guarantees for existing medical marijuana dispensaries as differing from alcohol policy. Legalization spokesperson Kory Langhofer called Johnson’s examples “immaterial” and said the 100-word summary is in no way fraudulent.
DENVER, Colorado – The Colorado State Medical Board has suspended the licenses of four doctors over allegations they routinely recommended massive plant count limits for medical marijuana grows. The four doctors are accused of writing recommendations for over 1,500 patients that allow them up to 75 cannabis plants each. Six plants are the standard limit for medical marijuana patients in Colorado under the Constitution, but doctors may recommend more plants if “medically necessary”. Patient advocates argue that the sickest patients need greater limits to produce oils and tinctures, but law enforcement believes the large grows are merely cover for illicit marijuana trafficking activity. The state generally recommends investigation of doctors who make recommendations for more plants to over 30 percent of their medical marijuana patients.
TALLAHASSEE, Florida – Tallahassee grower and dispensary Trulieve will be the first medical marijuana facility in the state of Florida to open its doors for the sale of CBD oil. Florida is one of sixteen states, mostly in the South, that allow the use of a non-psychoactive cannabis oil for the treatment of childhood epilepsy. Florida’s Trulieve will be the only outlet for CBD oil in any of these states; while a few other states are working on providing access, most require the parents of the epileptic child to acquire the oil from other states like Colorado, then smuggle it back to their home state in violation of federal law. Another new Florida law called “Right to Try” will allow terminally-ill patients to use cannabis products with psychoactive THC; Trulieve says they’ll make those products available in August.