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Biden embraces drug courts, but do they actually work?

11/2/20--Despite three decades of intensive research, experts remain deeply divided over the efficacy — and ethics — of drug courts. Drug courts essentially offer a choice to defendants whose alleged crimes are deemed to have been the result of a substance use disorder. Proponents say these courts are both a compassionate alternative to incarceration and a more efficient form of justice, achieving lower crime and recidivism rates for less money than traditional criminal processes. Read

After landlord’s change of heart, West Coast marijuana brand Cookies could land in Harvard Square

8/19/20--Back in 2017, the Harvard Square landlord filed a federal racketeering lawsuit to prevent the Healthy Pharms medical marijuana dispensary from opening near his Galleria building, calling such businesses “bad neighbors.” But, now, in an unusual public letter recently published, Dhanda said his previous views were “misinformed” and have “evolved” after meeting with local Black marijuana entrepreneurs. Read

Healey joins group of bipartisan attorneys general to tell Congress to pass marijuana banking as part of coronavirus bill

5/20/20--A bipartisan coalition of 34 state and territory attorneys general, including Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, is urging Congress to pass coronavirus relief legislation that includes a provision to protect banks that serve marijuana businesses from being penalized by federal regulators. Read

Getting a medical marijuana card is easier than you think

4/1/20--Due to some recent regulatory changes, getting a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts is an easy process. For starters, the temporary Cannabis Control Commission process meant to support social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak, offers initial appointments (and required annual certification renewals) that can now be conducted over the phone. The agency also recently eliminated state fees for medical patients. Read

Fifth person dies from vaping illness in Mass. as CDC reports ‘continued declines’ in new cases

2/26/20--State health officials announced Wednesday that a fifth person has died from a vaping-related illness in Massachusetts. Officials did not say whether he purchased the product through a licensed dispensary or through the illicit market. The man is among 46 confirmed cases of vaping-related illness in Massachusetts. Read

Elizabeth Warren has a new plan for legalizing marijuana

2/23/20--US Senator Elizabeth Warren unveiled a plan for federal marijuana reform Sunday, calling for legalization as well as a series of policies aimed at righting the wrongs of the drug war and promoting involvement in the legal industry by communities harmed by prohibition. Read

Raimondo budget sets up clash with lawmakers over car tax, marijuana

1/16/20--Governor Gina M. Raimondo's $10.2 billion tax-and-spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1 would make Rhode Island the first state in the country to have total control over the sale of marijuana, but asks for more time to fully phase out the car tax. However, House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio have repeatedly said they oppose the legalization of marijuana. Read

Pot politics : Some Northeast states regroup on legalization

1/13/20--Although marijuana legalization already passed in three of the Northeast region’s states and was a priority for governors in three more, the governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut still want to make recreational pot legal even after legislative efforts stalled and a vaping sickness stirred new concerns. These governors, as well as Pennsylvania’s governor have been comparing notes on how to do it. Read

Boston subpoenaed by grand jury in marijuana corruption probe

11/7/19--A federal grand jury has subpoenaed the City of Boston for records of interactions between local officials and marijuana company representatives. The demand makes the city the most prominent subject yet of a wide-ranging investigation into municipal corruption by the office of US Attorney Andrew Lelling. Read

Are recreational marijuana shops preparing to open in your town? Check our maps

11/1/19--The maps and tables shown, based on data from the commission, are where prospective retail operators hope to set up shop to sell recreational marijuana for consumers, as well as the stores that have already opened. Read

‘It’s honestly hell.’ Hospitals see rare vomiting syndrome in heavy marijuana consumers

11/11/19--Since recreational marijuana became legal in Massachusetts three years ago, hospitals have noticed more cases of a rare illness afflicting a small portion of heavy cannabis consumers. The condition, called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, can be horrific for patients, causing intense abdominal pain, nausea, and days-long vomiting episodes that are strangely relieved by hot showers or baths. The illness can be cured by quitting pot. Read

Cigarettes, N.H., Craigslist: How the vaping public is contending with Baker’s ban

10/3/19--Within hours of Governor Charlie Baker’s emergency ban last week on vape sales, products that consumers and medical marijuana patients had relied on for years suddenly disappeared from store shelves. Now, the Baker administration is facing a series of lawsuits and protests, part of a growing backlash from critics who insist the hastily conceived ban will ultimately harm, not improve, public health. Read

Baker ban on vaping sales expected to survive first legal challenge in US District Court in Boston

10/4/19--Governor Charlie Baker’s four-month ban on all vaping product sales was expected to survive its first major legal challenge after a federal judge in Boston seemed cool to arguments seeking a temporary halt to the ban. Baker’s ban is considered one of the strictest vaping regulations nationwide. Read

Mass. marijuana vape sales drop sharply amid health crisis

9/19/19--Revenue from sales of marijuana vaporizers at licensed cannabis stores in Massachusetts has plunged 25 percent amid widespread consumer health concerns about the devices, according to data provided to the Globe by the Cannabis Control Commission. Experts said the change, which is almost certainly because of warnings from state and federal authorities that vaporizers are probably the cause of a mysterious outbreak of lung ailments. Read

Marijuana dispensary slams state for pesticide bust

9/13/18--Members of the Massachusetts medical marijuana industry are warning that a state crackdown on their use of pesticides would cripple growing operations and threaten the supply of cannabis to patients who rely on the drug. Read

Mass. credit union will serve recreational marijuana companies

9/14/18--GFA Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Gardner, Massachusetts, will become the first financial institution in the state to offer banking services to recreational marijuana companies, a step that will allow consumers to pay for pot with plastic and helps cannabis businesses avoid the expensive and risky proposition of running all-cash operations. Read

First billboard ads for a marijuana dispensary debut

10/6/17--New England Treatment Access, NETA, which operates medical marijuana dispensaries in Brookline and Northampton, has purchased space on four billboards: two on the Massachusetts Turnpike near Exit 5 in Chicopee, one on Route 28 in Somerville, and another near the Mass. Ave. exit off Interstate 93 in Boston. The ads are simply set against a bright green background, they read, “Why wait for better health?” with NETA’s web address included. Read

Mass. marijuana czar hopeful for on-time rollout of pot sales

9/6/17--In his first public comments since becoming chair of the new Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, Steve Hoffman said that he believes marijuana isn’t harmful, that the country’s prohibitionist drug policies have failed, and that he’s committed to creating a thriving recreational sector. Hoffman’s remarks should help soothe the angst of the many voters, advocates, and cannabis entrepreneurs who are upset that state officials have delayed implementation of the Question 4 ballot initiative that legalized marijuana. Read

What’s that smell in the air? In Boston, marijuana

7/4/17--As pot works its way further into mainstream society, its distinct odor is likely to become more of an issue, in businesses, housing, and schools. in Boston, marijuana smokers emboldened by the drug’s new legal status are altering the scentscape. Despite all the discussion and lobbying ahead of last November’s ballot question to legalize recreational marijuana, the problem of second-hand toking never seemed to be a big part of the conversation. Read

Questions remain on changes to pot law

6/29/17--Massachusetts legislators hit an impasse as they tried to iron out differences between a House version that would alter major parts of the ballot measure and a Senate bill with more modest changes. If lawmakers can find common ground, their bill would answer key questions about the future of legalization in the state. Read

Lawmakers may strip treasurer of pot authority

4/3/17--The Legislature appears likely to strip Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, Massachusetts’ top recreational marijuana regulator, of her authority, perhaps creating an independent marijuana oversight commission instead. Representative Mark J. Cusack, House chairman of the committee overhauling the voter-passed pot law, mentioned the possibility that a “new regulatory structure, such as an independent commission,” might work better for Massachusetts than the current plan. Read

Who will get to regulate new Mass. pot industry?

3/19/17--Deborah B. Goldberg, Massachusetts’ top marijuana regulator, states in a draft testimony that her office has spent substantial time preparing to oversee the industry and readying an infrastructure to protect public health and safety. Yet, several legislators have floated the idea of taking Goldberg’s authority away or diluting it significantly, and at least one bill before the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy does just that. Read

If Trump cracks down on pot, where does that leave Mass.?

3/7/17--Officials in the four most recent states to legalize marijuana — including Massachusetts and Maine — are languishing in limbo after signals from the Trump administration that a recreational marijuana market crackdown may be coming. Massachusetts’ top marijuana regulator, Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, asked the Trump administration for an explanation of its intentions on the issue. A Trump spokesman predicted “greater enforcement” efforts against recreational marijuana, but provided no specifics. Read

For marijuana advertisers, options are limited

3/1/17--Despite shifting public opinion and the legalization of recreational marijuana in eight states, most social media sites, online ad networks, broadcasters, and print publications enforce partial or outright bans on pot content. While advertisers do not want to risk being punished for promoting a contraband product due to the fact that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, some argue the inability to advertise to a wider audience is holding back efforts to “professionalize” marijuana’s image and costing the industry millions of dollars in lost opportunity. Read

Can they do that? Startup delivers lemonade with ‘very special gift’

2/25/17--HighSpeed, an online-only company that just started making deliveries in Boston and Cambridge, is getting marijuana into the hands of consumers more than a year before sales are expected to be legal in the state. The company sells its Jalapeno Lemonade for $55, and says the marijuana is “a very special gift” with each purchase of its “locally sourced” and “fresh-pressed” juice. Read

Weed advocates don’t like this Mass. senator

1/5/17--Marijuana advocates are trying to block anti-legalization lawmaker Senator Jason M. Lewis from becoming the state Senate’s point person on pot, contending that his outspoken criticism of recreational marijuana makes him unfit for the position. The advocates are lobbying Senate leaders not to appoint Lewis as the co-chairman of the new Committee on Marijuana because Lewis was a key opponent of Question 4, which legalized pot purchase, possession, and use. Read

Mass. lawmakers approve marijuana delay bill

12/28/16--State legislators approved a bill that would overturn significant parts of a marijuana legalization law that 1.8 million voters approved in November. It also delays the likely opening date for recreational marijuana stores in Massachusetts by half a year — from January to July 2018. Read

Trump AG pick could halt legal pot industry

12/3/16--Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, ailment who has a long history of hard-line opposition to marijuana, could unravel the burgeoning recreational marijuana industry across the country. Because marijuana remains illegal under federal law, Sessions, if he is confirmed, could choose to order targeted prosecutions of recreational marijuana farms and shops that are operating legally under state law. Such a move could seriously threaten the retail marijuana industry. Read

A test for marijuana impairment? A UMass prof has an app for that

11/20/16--Michael Milburn, troche a psychology professor at University of Massachusetts Boston, illness is trying to get his app that tests for marijuana impairment into the hands of law enforcement. He has created and self-funded DRUID, pill an acronym for for driving under the influence of drugs. It is a tablet-based app in which users are asked to perform a series of tasks in five minutes. Read

Marijuana gold rush? Walmart of Weed? Not so fast

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-8-39-33-am11/16/16--Cannabis companies anticipate the retail market for legal marijuana in Massachusetts will be slow to develop and fragmented among numerous small firms, most of them homegrown startups or locally-owned partnerships with boutique pot companies. Some retailers may partner with experienced operators from Colorado or Oregon, but a Walmart of Weed? There’s no such thing as stated in a Boston Globe article by staff writers Dan Adams and Adam Vaccaro. Read

Mass. official wants to extend the deadline to open pot shops

11/9/16--Just a day after voters legalized marijuana for recreational use, Massachusetts’ top regulator, Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, called on the Legislature to extend the deadline for opening retail shops beyond the January 2018 target date so she has time to build an effective oversight force. Legalization backers, however, balked at the prospect of state officials changing the timeline, tax, or home-growing provisions. Read

Plans for massive marijuana greenhouse advance

10/25/16--Denver-based AmeriCann Inc. is preparing to build the state’s largest marijuana greenhouse, a sprawling, high-tech complex that could eventually expand to nearly 1 million square feet. The facility, to be built in phases over several years, is designed to bolster the state’s struggling medical marijuana program. But, if voters decide on Nov. 8 to legalize the sale of marijuana for recreational use by adults, AmeriCann expects to accelerate construction and would likely rent some of its cultivation space to a retailer of recreational cannabis. Read

Trooper’s widow makes emotional plea against legalizing marijuana

10/24/16--Reisa Clardy, discount the widow of a state trooper killed by a driver allegedly high on marijuana, try is speaking out against legalization of the drug in a wrenching new web video. Her husband was killed in March when a medical marijuana patient swerved across the highway and slammed into his cruiser. Clardy says, “There’s going to be more accidents, there’s going to be more fatalities, you’re going to have families that are going to be without their loved ones.” Read

Sheldon Adelson donating $1 million to Mass. anti-pot campaign

10/15/16--Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is joining the fight against a ballot question to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Massachusetts, donating $1 million to the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts. Read

Marijuana dispensaries remain a tough sell in many communities

10/3/16--Just seven dispensaries have cleared local hurdles and opened since voters backed medical marijuana in 2012. Four years after Massachusetts residents overwhelmingly approved legalizing marijuana for medical use, dispensaries have become the ultimate not-in-my-backyard symbol in many towns. Read

Mass. marijuana doctor should not have lost license, judge says

9/26/16--Dr. John C. Nadolny, medical director of Canna Care Docs, ask  should not have had his medical license suspended for allowing nurse practitioners in his office to certify patients for medical marijuana use, according to a state administrative law judge. The Board of Registration in Medicine had ruled that Nadolny was an immediate threat to public safety. Read

Marijuana legalization dollars roll into Mass. ahead of ballot question

9/12/16--The campaign pushing to legalize marijuana and establish a new pot retail system in Massachusetts has raised more than $2.4 million in 2016, with $2.1 million coming from one source, a D.C.-based cannabis reform advocacy group. Read

Why marijuana legalization in liberal Mass. might be a tough sell

9/6/16--The most recent polling has suggested Massachusetts voters may be having second thoughts about full legalization ahead of the fall’s campaign. In May, one poll found a 46-43 percent advantage for the opposition. Another poll in July found a 10-point lead for the ‘no’ crowd. Read

A Colorado county revolts against legalized marijuana

9/6/16--A revolt against retail marijuana sales smolders in Colorado awash in $1 billion of legal pot. After local officials welcomed the new industry, anti-marijuana activists in Pueblo County gathered enough signatures to force an unprecedented question on the November ballot: whether to terminate recreational marijuana sales and operations. Read