Indiana family treating daughter with CBD oil abruptly moves to Colorado after issues with DCS

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An Indiana family feels it was bullied out of the state it’s always called home.

Last year, Lelah and Jade Jerger said their now 2-year-old daughter Jaelah was medically kidnapped and forced to use a certain medicine for her epilepsy when, in reality, CBD oil was more effective. That’s when the family starting having problems with the Department of Child Services.

“The DCS cases just kept coming, and we kept getting reported for just the most insane things,” Lelah Jerger said.

The allegations included that the Jergers were being abusive to each other or doing drugs.

“False allegations. That’s what they are,” Lelah Jerger said. “They’re all false allegations.”

On Thursday, there was yet another call from DCS.

“We don’t know what, because she wouldn’t tell us the allegations over the phone,” Lelah Jerger said.

Without a warrant, the Jerger’s attorney said not to meet with DCS. They already had plans to move to Colorado but decided to abruptly leave that night.

“We knew we had to get out of there. We had to get out of there now,” Lelah Jerger said. “It was if we stick around tonight, are they going to get a court order … or what are they going to do? We don’t know.”

The family’s world was turned upside down.

“We didn’t expect to leave the way we did leave,” Lelah Jerger said. “We didn’t get to say goodbye to a lot of people. We hadn’t gotten reported to DCS until our CBD investigation.”

But that CBD oil case was closed months ago.

“Are they really getting reports or are they trying to come back on us?” Lelah Jerger said. “Because we did get the case closed, and we’ll never know.”

The Jergers also wonder if it’s retaliation for their lawsuit against DCS.

“I’m going to be honest: I don’t see us returning,” Lelah Jerger said.

As for the Jergers’ lawsuit, the state filed a motion to dismiss and close the case. Their attorney filed a response and is now waiting on a judge’s ruling.

Earlier this year, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill allowing sale of CBD oil in Indiana

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New Vermont marijuana law leaves medical patients with conflicting rules.


Next month, Vermont will throw off restrictions on adult marijuana use — leaving thousands of Vermonters, who already use the drug for medical purposes, in a somewhat awkward situation.

Vermont will have two conflicting sets of marijuana laws on the books on July 1: new legal liberties for members of the general public, and old strictures for the nearly 6,000 Vermonters who are registered as medical marijuana patients and caregivers.

The Legislature has failed to clarify how the two sets of rules will interact. Even minor updates died this year when Gov. Phil Scott vetoed a bill for unrelated reasons.

Here are the conflicts

Adults who are at least 21 years old will be allowed to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, plus an unlimited harvest from home-grown plants. A separate law limits medical marijuana patients to 2 ounces, with no exceptions for harvested marijuana.

The general public will be able to plant cannabis outdoors, as long as the growing space is securely enclosed and the property owner has given permission. Patients are allowed three additional immature plants, but they’re supposed to keep all of their plants indoors.

“We tried to update that,” said Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. “It is what it is.”

Patients, who are allowed to be younger than 21 years old, can buy their marijuana from a dispensary. Adults in the general public will have no legal way to buy marijuana in Vermont.

“We need to figure out how to have two systems,” said Rep. Ann Pugh, D-South Burlington, chairwoman of the House Committee on Human Services. “Or for that matter, do we now need to have two systems?”

Does Vermont’s medical program have a future?

There’s evidence that some Vermonters may be dropping out of the medical marijuana program, or not signing up, in anticipation of July 1.

Lindsey Wells, the marijuana program administrator at the Department of Public Safety, said the registry’s growth has flattened in the last several months.

Nick Karabelas, a registered patient who grows and uses marijuana to relieve chronic pain, is considering giving up his patient card. There are no dispensaries near his home in Vershire, and he sees a disadvantage in following the medical growing restrictions.

“I find myself wondering, ‘What are the benefits of being a patient in the registry?'” Karabelas wrote to lawmakers in May. “If the state and the dispensaries want to continue with the program, they’re going to need patients. As someone who advises and helps register patients, it’s getting progressively more difficult to encourage them to participate in the program.”

Shayne Lynn, executive director of Champlain Valley Dispensary in Burlington, says medical marijuana delivery would benefit patients.

Shayne Lynn, a leader of two Vermont medical marijuana dispensaries, argues that the medical program remains valuable. Dispensaries offer expertise, testing, selection and a consistent way to buy marijuana.

In addition, the medical program is overseen by state government. Recreational marijuana, whether it comes from a backyard or the black market, will not be regulated by Vermont.

“From our point of view, we think it’s worth it,” said Lynn, who is executive director of Champlain Valley Dispensary and Southern Vermont Wellness in Brattleboro.

How lawmakers left the medical program hanging 

The Vermont Senate passed a bill in March that would have adjusted the medical program, including opening the program to patients with any medical condition or symptom.

The bill stalled in the House Human Services Committee.

“To be perfectly honest, there were issues of greater importance to more Vermonters that came across from the Senate that we needed to deal with first,” Pugh said.

After watching the bill wend through the Legislature, Karabelas said, “I find it personally rude and insulting, as a patient, that they don’t want to deal with it.”

The Senate has now passed a special session bill that would resurrect medical marijuana changes that died with a wide-ranging bill Gov. Scott vetoed for unrelated reasons. They would include the following:

  • Locked container transport: Patients are currently required to transport their marijuana in a locked container. No such requirement exists for adults in the general public.
  • Protection for caregivers of young medical marijuana patients: When Vermont legalized adult-use marijuana, lawmakers also voted to penalize anyone who provides marijuana to children and adults under the age of 21. Some medical marijuana patients are younger than 21, and their parents who serve as caregivers have no assurance that they will be exempt from the new criminal penalties.
  • Background checks for dispensary employees: Medical marijuana dispensaries have asked for changes that would allow new employees to start work while their background check is being processed. The background check process can take several weeks.

Additional questions will remain waiting when lawmakers return in January 2019. By that time, state officials will have witnessed six months of legalization and should have a better sense of what needs to be changed.

“Things that are fuzzy don’t usually sit well with folks,” Lynn said. “I hope the powers that be will clarify this. … Let’s have one set of rules for cannabis in Vermont.”

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Trump said he’s likely to sign a bill protecting states with legalized marijuana, directly opposing Jeff Sessions.

President Donald Trump said Friday that he will likely support a bipartisan bill in the Senate that would give states autonomy over their marijuana policy, putting himself directly at odds with his own attorney general.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has long held a hardline stance on marijuana. In January, he rescinded the Cole Memo, a set of Obama-era guidelines that instructed federal law enforcement not to target marijuana operations in states where the drug is legal.

Co-sponsored by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Entrusting States, or STATES Act, would protect businesses in states with legalized marijuana from federal government interference and prosecution from the Department of Justice.

Marijuana is considered an illegal, Schedule I substance by the federal government. However, it’s available for recreational use in nine states and the District of Columbia. Both senators hail from states that have legalized marijuana.

“I know exactly what [Gardner is] doing,” Trump told reporters at the G7 conference in Quebec. “We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that.”

“I really do. I support Senator Gardner,” Trump added.

Gardner, for his part, said in a Thursday press conference announcing the bill that he had spoken with Trump about the bill.

“I have talked to the president about this bill,” Gardner said. “He talked about his support for a states’ rights approach during the campaign. Not putting words in the mouth of the White House, but I think this will be an opportunity for us to fulfill what is that federalism approach.”

Gardner cut a deal with Trump to support the bill after a showdown over Justice Department nominees. Gardner blocked nominees after Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo in January.

Trump, so far, has remained mum on the topic of federal legalization throughout his term, though during the 2016 campaign that he supports state’s rights to choose how to regulate marijuana — an approach that’s directly in line with Warren and Gardner’s bill.

Because of federal regulations, most marijuana businesses are barred from traditional banks and opening lines of credit. That forces much of the industry to operate on an all-cash basis, presenting serious concerns over theft and making tax collection difficult.

“No legitimate business should be blocked from basic banking services – but that’s exactly what’s happening to law-abiding marijuana businesses,” Warren tweeted on Thursday. “My new bipartisan bill will help decrease the public safety risk that arises when these businesses are forced to operate in all-cash.”

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California weed dispensaries can legally sell customer information to data brokers

California is expected to become the largest weed industry in the United States, but unlike other legalized states, it has no laws in place to protect cannabis consumer data.

In the days before the marijuana legalization movement, the relationship between a pot dealer and their customers was a sacred one. Both were at risk of running afoul of the law, so it was important to be discreet about each other’s information. Fake names were used, secret meetings were arranged, and the product itself was referred to by all sorts of codes, as if the cops wouldn’t be able to figure out what you were up to when you texted your “friend” for an eighth of “burritos” at 1 AM on a Tuesday.

In states with legal weed things are a bit different today. Every gram of legal weed is tracked using sophisticated surveillance networks and many dispensaries keep meticulous records of their customers’ information, including their phone number and address, even if they aren’t required to by law. Privacy groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation are concerned this customer data may be sold to third-party data brokers or handed over to federal law enforcement officers.

Some states with legal pot, such as Oregon and Alaska, have explicitly prohibited the collection and sale of cannabis customer data. But until recently the privacy implications of legal pot have mostly gone unchecked in California, which is expected to become home to the largest marijuana industry in the United States.

In February, California Assembly member Evan Low introduced Assembly Bill 2402 as the latest proposed legislation in the US specifically designed to protect the privacy of recreational cannabis users. The bill would prohibit dispensaries from selling this information to data brokers—companies which generally use customer data for targeted advertising—without the customer’s consent. It would also prohibit dispensaries from denying their services to customers who choose not to provide their data to third parties.

“At best, this information can be used to target consumers with unwanted marketing materials,” reads a recent EFF letter in support of AB 2402. “At worst this information could be used to discriminate against lawful cannabis consumers in housing, hiring, credit, and benefits. This information would also more easily make its way into the hands of federal drug enforcement investigators.”

There is some precedence for cannabis consumer privacy laws in other states where weed is legal. In April 2017, Oregon passed a law that prohibited dispensaries from sharing or storing information about their customers’ identities or their purchase history. This law was similar to laws in Alaska and Colorado and was a reaction to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ promise to crackdown on legal pot.

California medicinal marijuana patients’ data already comes with some protectionsagainst these violations. For example, cops and employers can’t look up cannabis patients in the registry, thus protecting medical patients from discrimination. If passed by the California Senate, Low’s bill would extend these protections by turning medical marijuana cards into “medical information,” which comes with even more stringent privacy protections under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

In May, the bill was overwhelmingly approved in the California Assembly 61-5, and is now awaiting a vote in the California Senate.

“California voters passed Proposition 64 because they wanted to legalize recreational marijuana, not because they wanted their consumer data exposed to their employers, family members, or others,” Low told me in an email. “Good actors should be happy to comply with this bill, but as this new industry grows, more nefarious businesses will enter the market with no hesitation about profiting off the exploitation of consumer privacy.”

Selling customer information to data brokers is a huge industry, but there’s little data available on how much information is currently being bought and sold when it comes to cannabis consumers. Both Politifact and the Fresno Bee conducted surveys of California dispensaries and found that all of the dispensaries they contacted kept customer profiles, even though this isn’t required by Proposition 64, which legalized pot in the state.

“When asked why customer profiles were created, several dispensary workers incorrectly stated the information was required under Proposition 64,” the Fresno Beereported. “Others cited it as a customer convenience.”

EFF supported California’s bid for more explicit privacy laws around cannabis consumption on the grounds that privacy concerns could be exacerbated when cannabis sales are taken online, which allows for even more fine-grained profiling of customers.

This law would nip the practice in the bud, so to speak, and stop the collection of cannabis customer data online before it starts.

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