Tensions have been running high in Minnesota lately, with Gov. Mark Dayton facing a television commercial that openly accuses him of singlehandedly blocking medical marijuana. However, he isn’t blocking all medical marijuana, rather he has been trying to steamroll a restricted measure that only permits medical marijuana for seizure disorders. Activists have discounted this because it deprives many other patients of the benefits.
According to CBS Minnesota, Rep. Pat Garofalo (R) pulled a more broad-based bill until at least after the Easter break. This could be a tactical measure to outmaneuver Dayton. Heather Azzi, director of Minnesotans for Compassionate Care, thinks the delay is an opportunity as she perceptively notes, “It’s important that we take more time with it” because “we need the governor’s signature to get a medical marijuana bill enacted in Minnesota.”
Garafolo’s deferred bill proposes that medical marijuana plants be logged from seeding to point of sale, and reported on by traders the Commissioner of Health agrees to register. Inhalation would remain illegal to reduce the possibility of intoxication, and private cultivation would be discouraged.
Twin Cities Pioneer Press thinks a vote could still take place in the current legislative session because support spans the political divide. Opponents continue to deny the medicinal benefits are proven, and they play the gateway drug card. Caught in the middle, Dayton is holding back his consent until medical professionals and law enforcement officers agree. He is clearly frustrated as evident from his recent comment that lawmakers “have hidden behind their desks” while he takes the flak.
In regards to activity in the legal marijuana market, the Miami Herald has posted figures from The Colorado Department of Public Revenue that suggest demand for regulated marijuana may be growing at a slower rate than first implied. Overall February taxes were $4.1 million, which is an increase of $0.6 million compared to the January launch. Most of this came in the form of license fees.
The figures in the Miami Herald are compelling. In January, the number of fee-paying dealers was 59. This has increased to 83 with a forecast of 190 by the end of March. MMJ Investor News is unsure whether this is a case of excessive taxes driving the trade underground, or too many dealers chasing too few customers.
This could be a signal that Colorado’s small family-owned dealerships are not going to make the pile of money they had hoped for. Like other fast moving consumer goods, the marijuana money is in low-price volume and the vehicle could become chain stores.