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Meet the neighbors

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When looking around the country, it becomes all the more clear how far along our medical marijuana industry is, and how organized things really are, here in colorful Colorado. And if it doesn't seem that way yet, just do a little reading — it will.

California

In early April, famous marijuana college Oaksterdam University was raided by a veritable army of federal agents — the first time the college has been so targeted since opening in 2007.

For background, in 2003 Oakland became the first city in the country to regulate dispensaries, and Oaksterdam the first of its kind in collegiate marijuana education. It even pays homage to the Harvard University "ve-ri-tas" motto with its own "can-na-bis," surrounded by marijuana leaves instead of oak. The college's founder, Richard Lee, bankrolled the state's failed attempt in 2010 to legalize marijuana with Proposition 19.

The fate of the university is currently undecided. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Washington, D.C.

Just down the street from the White House, weGrow put down roots in late March. The self-proclaimed "Wal-Mart of Weed" sells everything but the plants themselves; by attempting to normalize and legitimize growing, it hopes the industry will lose its negative social stigma.

Though commercial growing licenses are currently sparse for lingering fear of substance abuse, several dispensary locations are expected to be announced in June. Says Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, "There is more smoke in D.C. closets than there is sex." (Washington Post/Washingtonian)

Tennessee

Though the creation of a legal medical-marijuana industry would generate approximately $34 million in revenue for Tennessee, state legislators still see the measure as an unnecessary risk for substance abuse. A bill that passed all the way through to the Senate Health and Welfare committee in Nashville died in session in early April, despite several personal testimonies supporting the medical benefits of the drug. Despite the setback, however, the bill may be reintroduced later in the month. (Tennessean)

New York

Though the Empire State's legalization of gay marriage in 2011 was deemed revolutionary, New York still has much headway to make in the realm of cannabis.

In 2011, 50,700 arrests for the illegal possession of marijuana were made by the New York Police Department, the highest number in more than a decade. In February, New York City Council voted 44-3 in support of Regulation 94-A, which would legalize the medical use of marijuana; the bill has yet to make it through the state Senate in Albany. In March, the state banned the sale of substances known as "synthetic cannabinoids" (like the "Spice" made illegal here last year) for their potentially toxic side effects. (WNYC)

New Jersey

Time is clearly not of the essence for New Jersey lawmakers when it comes to medical marijuana. Though Gov. Jon Corzine passed a legalization act on his way out of office in January 2010, his successor Chris Christie has been loath to actually implement the law. His current administration is now being sued as a result.

The charges? Undue delay in establishing regulations, and the implementation of rules "designed with the intent" of hindering the medical marijuana industry. (Star-Ledger)

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