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Medical Marijuana

Chronicle AM: NE, OK Seek to Undo CO Pot Legalization, Philly Backs Off on Home Seizures, More (12/18/14)

Medical Marijuana (STDW) - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 22:46

Colorado's conservative neighbors try to undo its marijuana legalization, Philadelphia drops a pair of high-profile asset forfeiture cases, Obama commutes sentences for eight drug offenders, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana Policy

Nebraska, Oklahoma Ask Supreme Court to Undo Colorado Legalization. The attorneys general of Nebraska and Oklahoma filed a lawsuit today with the US Supreme Court asking it to declare that Colorado's marijuana legalization violates the Constitution. "Federal law undisputedly prohibits the production and sale of marijuana," Nebraska Attorney General Bruning said. "Colorado has undermined the United States Constitution, and I hope the US Supreme Court will uphold our constitutional principles." But Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, who got a courtesy call from Bruning, scoffed. "We believe this suit is without merit, and we will vigorously defend against it in the US Supreme Court," he said.

New York Lawmakers Hold Hearing on Legalization. State Sens. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) and Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx) held a hearing Wednesday on a bill that would legalize marijuana in the Empire State. Krueger conceded the legislation was unlikely to pass during the coming legislative session, but said it was important to keep the conversation going.

Medical Marijuana

Colorado Awards $8 Million for Marijuana Research. The Colorado Board of Health awarded more than $8 million for medical marijuana research Wednesday. The awards will allow researchers to investigate marijuana's medical potential, not its downsides, as is required for most federally-approved research on marijuana. Three of the eight studies will still require federal approval and marijuana from the US government. In the other five "observational" studies, subjects will be providing their own marijuana. Researchers will study marijuana's impact on PTSD, irritable bowel syndrome, pain relief for children with brain tumors, pediatric epileptic seizures, and compare it with oxycodone for pain relief.

American Academy of Neurology Calls for Rescheduling Marijuana. In a just-released position statement on the use of medical marijuana for neurological disorders, the academy said it could not yet recommend medical marijuana for those disorders "because further research is needed to determine the benefits and safety of such products." To that end, the academy "requests the reclassification of marijuana-based products from their current Schedule I status so as to improve access for study of marijuana or cannabinoids under IRB-approved research protocols." Click on the link to read the entire position statement.

Asset Forfeiture

Philadelphia Drops Two High Profile Asset Forfeiture Cases. Faced with an ongoing federal class-action lawsuit filed by the Institute for Justice over its brazen asset forfeiture practices, the city of Philadelphia announced today that it is dropping efforts to seize the homes of two families. In one case, the city moved to seize a home after an adult son of the owners was busted for selling heroin; in the other, the city moved to seize a home after  the owner's estranged husband was caught selling small amounts of marijuana. Meanwhile, the federal lawsuit continues.

Pardons and Commutations

Obama Issues Commutations for Eight Drug Offenders. President Barack Obama Wednesday commuted the prison sentences of eight drug offenders and issued pardons for 12 other people who had already finished their sentences. The commutations were for people imprisoned for crack cocaine and methamphetamine offenses. No one is walking out of prison today, but all eight had their sentences reduced to lengths that will allow them to walk out at some point in the next year.Among those who got commutations is Sidney Earl Johnson of Mobile, Alabama, who has been serving a life sentence for crack cocaine offenses since 1994. Another is Larry Naylor of Memphis, who has been serving a life sentence for 50 grams of crack since 1997.

Opiates

Senators Send Letter to Officials, Health Groups Urging Stronger Response to Drug Overdoses. Members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee this week urged government officials and health groups to come up with stronger responses to drug overdoses. The call came in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Governors' Association, the American Medical Association, and associations of state and local health officials. Click on the link to read the letter.

International

Eleven Dead in Mexico Vigilante Clashes. Mexican "self-defense" vigilante groups in the Western state of Michoacan turned their guns on each other Tuesday, leaving 11 dead. The vigilante groups emerged last year in rural communities to fight the Knights Templar cartel, and in May they accepted an offer to be folded into government security forces. And now they are fighting among themselves.

Bangkok Police Hassling Tourists With Searches, Drug Tests, On-the-Spot Fines. Since the military coup in May, foreign visitors to Thailand are increasingly complaining that police Bangkok are stopping and questioning them, searching their persons and belongings, demanding they submit to drug tests, and handing out on-the-spot fines that must be paid immediately in cash. Most of the harassment is taking place on the city's main thoroughfare, Sukhumvit Road. The British ambassador said last week he had raised the issue with local tourism authorities. 

Categories: Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Update

Medical Marijuana (STDW) - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 00:31

Big news out of Washington and, for a change, most of our medical marijuana news is out of the Midwest this week. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]National

Last Saturday, the Senate passed the omnibus spending bill with an amendment blocking federal medical marijuana enforcement. The amendment that will effectively end for now Justice Department interference in states where medical marijuana is legal by barring the department from using its funds to go after patients and providers there.

Indiana

On Wednesday, a lawmaker said she would introduce a medical marijuana bill. Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) said she plans to introduce a medical marijuana bill in the upcoming legislative session. She cited Congress's vote to bar the use of Justice Department funds to go after medical marijuana in states where it is legal. In previous sessions, Tallian has introduced pot decriminalization bills, but those have gone nowhere.

Iowa

On Tuesday,a group of Iowans orgnized to push for a more effective medical marijuana law. The legislature this year passed a bill allowing for the use of low-THC cannabis oil to treat people with epilepsy, but that's not good enough for a new group, Iowans 4 Medical Cannabis. The group today announced it had formed to push legislators to make it possible to produce and dispense medical marijuana.

Oklahoma

Last Friday, a cannabis oil medical marijuana bill was filed. Rep. John Echols (R-Oklahoma City) has said he planned to file a low-THC cannabis oil bill. The bill would only allow for use my children suffering from epilepsy. The news comes as the director of the state's drug agency says he now backs a study that would make the medicine available to sick children.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

Categories: Medical Marijuana

Chronicle AM: A Century of Drug War, Yet Another Drug War Bill, Iran Drug Executions Slammed, More (12/17/14)

Medical Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 22:47

It's the 100th anniversary of the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, a GOP senator chides Obama for "pro-marijuana" messages, human rights groups urge the UNODC to quit funding Iranian drug enforcement because of its resort to the death penalty, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Republican Senator Says Obama Administration's "Pro-Marijuana" Messages Promote Teen Drug Use. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) suggested Tuesday that the Obama administration's failure to block marijuana legalization had sent kids the message that drug use is okay. "When kids receive the message that marijuana use is acceptable and even welcome, it's no wonder that the perception of harm from marijuana goes down," Grassley said in a statement. "By offering pro-marijuana messages, the president and his top appointees are working at cross purposes with the federal government experts who are trying to stop drug use among teenagers." Grassley was complaining that the annual Monitoring the Future survey of teen drug use showed that kids didn't think pot was as dangerous as they used to. But he seems to have missed the part that showed that teen marijuana is not increasing.

Anchorage City Council Kills Move to Ban Pot Sales. A proposal from Anchorage Assembly member and mayoral candidate Amy Demboski to ban recreational marijuana sales in Alaska's largest city went down in ignominious defeat Tuesday night. After four hours of public testimony -- almost unanimously against the measure -- and debate, the measure was killed on a vote of 9-2.

Medical Marijuana

Indiana Lawmaker Will Introduce Medical Marijuana Bill. Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) said today she plans to introduce a medical marijuana bill in the upcoming legislative session. She cited Congress's vote to bar the use of Justice Department funds to go after medical marijuana in states where it is legal. In previous sessions, Tallian has introduced pot decriminalization bills, but those have gone nowhere.

Drug Policy

A Hundred Years of the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act. Today is the 100th anniversary of the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, generally considered to mark the beginning of America's 20th Century war on drugs. While the act was not directly prohibitionist -- it was a regulatory and taxation measure -- it led almost immediately to the criminalization of both drug-addicted people and the doctors who sought to treat them with maintenance doses of opiates. A hundred years later, we're still mired in the drug war.

Senate Approves Yet Another Drug War Bill. The Senate Monday approved Senate Bill 706, the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act, which would give the Justice Department the authority to prosecute people in other countries who manufacture drugs or precursors that they have "reasonable cause to believe… will be unlawfully imported into the United States." It also increases penalties for trafficking in counterfeit drugs. The bill was cosponsored by Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Charles Grassley (R-IA). An identical bill, HR 2214, is in the House, but has not moved since May.

International

Citing Death Penalty, Human Rights Groups Urge UN to Quit Funding Counter-Drug Operations in Iran. Six human rights organizations today called on the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to quit funding anti-drug operations in Iran until the Islamic Republic ends the death penalty for drug offenses. The call came in a letter sent to UNODC head Yuri Fedotov. The groups said more than 300 drug traffickers had been executed in Iran so far this year. Signatories to the letter included Human Rights Watch, Reprieve, Iran Human Rights, the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, Harm Reduction International and the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation.

French Health Minister Wants to Ban Pot Vaporizers. Health Minister Marisol Touraine said Tuesday she would seek to ban a new e-cigarette than contains marijuana. The move came on the same day a French-Czech company called Kanavape announced its vaporizers were going on sale in France. "I am opposed to such a product being commercialized in France," Touraine said. Such as product would "incite the consumption of cannabis," she added. Kanavape argues its product is legal because its oil contains no THC.

Most Dutch-Grown Pot is Exported, Government Report Says. A report from the Dutch government's Research and Documentation Center (WODC) estimates that between 78% and 91% of marijuana grown in the Netherlands is exported. The report is expected to support moves by the Dutch government to crack down on marijuana cultivation instead of moving to regulate it.

Categories: Medical Marijuana

US CO: Colorado Funds Medical Marijuana Research, A First

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 08:00
Pueblo Chieftain, 17 Dec 2014 - DENVER (AP) - Colorado will spend more than $8 million researching marijuana's medical potential - a new frontier because government-funded marijuana research traditionally focuses on the drug's negative health effects. The grants awarded by the Colorado Board of Health will go to studies on whether marijuana helps treat epilepsy, brain tumors, Parkinson's disease and post-traumatic stress disorder. Some of the studies still need federal approval.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US WA: Why Does the Mayor Want to Put Your Weed Delivery Guy

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 08:00
The Stranger, 17 Dec 2014 - Blame Legalization The news came during the final minutes of a two-hour city council meeting, after most people had trickled out of the room. A handful of PowerPoint slides made it plain: Mayor Ed Murray is going after marijuana.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US: Quiet End To Medical Pot Ban

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 08:00
Los Angeles Times, 17 Dec 2014 - The Spending Bill Passed by Congress Contains a Significant Change in the Federal Government's Policy. WASHINGTON - Tucked deep inside the 1,603-page federal spending measure is a provision that effectively ends the federal government's prohibition on medical marijuana and signals a major shift in drug policy.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

Chronicle AM: Teen Pot Use Not Up, Federal Police Killings Bill Filed, Mexico Mayhem, More (12/16/14)

Medical Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 23:16

The Monitoring the Future teen drug use survey is out, the "CRomnibus" bill also killed highway drug use surveys, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) wants better information on police killings, a damning report is released in Mexico, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Drug Use Survey Finds Teen Marijuana Use Declining Even as States Legalize. The annual Monitoring the Future survey of teen habits is out today, and it finds that legalization has not sparked an increase in teen pot smoking. The survey found that 24% of eighth, 10th, and 12th graders reported past use marijuana last, down from 26% the year before. And among 12th graders, the number who reported daily use also declined from 6.5% last year to 5.8% this year. There's much more to the survey; click the survey link to see it.

Medical Marijuana

Iowans Organize to Push for More Effective Medical Marijuana Law. The legislature this year passed a bill allowing for the use of low-THC cannabis oil to treat people with epilepsy, but that's not good enough for a new group, Iowans 4 Medical Cannabis. The group today announced it had formed to push legislators to make it possible to produce and dispense medical marijuana.

Driving

Omnibus Spending Bill Cut Funds for NHTSA Roadside Drug Use Surveys. The $1.1 trillion spending bill that has gotten so much attention over its marijuana provisions also bars the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from using funds to complete its "National Roadside Survey." It was a voluntary survey that only collected data from people willing to participate, but came under congressional criticism after a Texas TV station aired a program about a Fort Worth checkpoint where police ordered motorists off the road at random to collect samples.

Law Enforcement

Federal Bill Filed to Increase Reporting of Deadly Force by Police. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) has filed HR 5866, which would "require the Attorney General to issue rules pertaining to the collection and compilation of data on the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers." The bill next was not available at press time. The bill has five cosponsors -- all Democrats -- and has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

Drug Testing

WorkForce West Virginia Drug Testing Doesn't Find Many Dopers. In its annual report to the legislature, WorkForce West Virginia, the state's employment services program, reported that it had subjected 1,205 people to drug testing upon their seeking tuition reimbursement for employment training programs. Only 1% of them failed. No word on the cost of drug testing all those people.

International

Mexican Federal Police Accused of Collaborating With Local Cops in Case of Missing Student Teachers. In an article published over the weekend, the respected Mexican political weekly Proceso reported that federal police worked together with Iguala police in the September attack on teachers' college students that left 43 missing and presumed dead and which has sparked protests across the country. Proceso also reported that federal police likely tortured key witnesses whose testimony was critical in the federal attorney general's investigation of the case. "We have information that proves the federal government knew what was happening in the moment it was happening, and participated in it," Anabel Hernández, the lead reporter for the Proceso piece, said in an interview. "The government has tried to hide this information." There's much more at the link.

Armed Civilians Block Western Mexico Highways Seeking Crackdown on Cartels, But… Hundreds of armed men blocked highways around nine cities in the Western state of Michoacan over the weekend as a means of pressuring the government to crack down on the Knights Templar cartel. They unfurled banners calling for the arrest of cartel leaders. But at least some of the armed men were identified as members of Los Viagras, a group of gunmen who had once served as the Knights Templar's armed wing and who are now trying to displace them from the drug trade in the state.

Canadian Federal Government Loses Again in Bid to Block Home Medical Marijuana Cultivation. Health Canada earlier this year issued new medical marijuana rules that prohibited home growing and shifted production to commercial operations, but it has so far been blocked by the courts from implementing them, and now it has been blocked again. Patients won an injunction earlier this year to allow them to continue growing their own. Health Canada appealed that decision, but the Federal Court of Appeal has now upheld the injunction.

Druze Leader Walid Jumblatt Calls Again for Legal Hash in Lebanon. Veteran Lebanese power-broker Walid Jumblatt, leader of the Druze community, has renewed his call for legal hash production. "It's time to allow hash to be grown and to overturn arrest warrants against people sought for doing so," wrote in Arabic on his Twitter feed. He expanded his comments in an interview with Al-Jadeed TV. "Never in my life have I smoked marijuana, but I support growing cannabis for medical use and to improve the living conditions of farmers in north Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley. Let's legalize cannabis and regulate its cultivation."

Categories: Medical Marijuana

US WA: Editorial: Give Vets Access To Cannabis

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:00
The Herald, 16 Dec 2014 - Government agencies and legislative bodies, which usually move at a slug-like pace, can act quickly, especially if no one is particularly seeking the change. The Department of Justice announced last week that Indian tribes can grow and sell marijuana on their lands as long as they follow the same federal conditions laid out for states that have legalized the drug, the Associated Press reported. Never mind that many tribes oppose legalization and only a few have expressed interest in the marijuana industry. But the choice is there, just in case. (Which is a good thing.) In contrast, for several years now, veterans, advocacy and medical groups have petitioned the federal government to reclassify marijuana as a drug with medical benefits, from its current Schedule 1, which means marijuana is not recognized as having any medical benefit. A reclassification would allow doctors to recommend it, veterans to use it and researchers to legally study it.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US PA: Editorial: Wolf, GOP Should Move On Medical Pot

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:00
Pottstown Mercury, 16 Dec 2014 - All the Pundits Have Been Busily Clucking About What a Rocky Road Lies Ahead for New Gov. Tom Wolf. They're right, of course. The state's financial situation is dire - and both Republicans and Democrats are playing the blame game. The new governor is sure to find himself at odds with an even more solidly Republican Legislature (thanks to gerrymandering). Inequitable school funding is a huge problem across the state. Small cities such as York are imploding into insolvency.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US WA: Input Sought On Rules For Rural Pot

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:00
The Herald, 16 Dec 2014 - The Planning Commission Will Hold a Hearing Today As It Seeks Recommendations for the County Council on Marijuana Businesses in Unincorporated Areas. EVERETT - Marijuana-enterprise owners are expected to plead for their businesses at a public hearing before the Snohomish County Planning Commission on Tuesday.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

Canada: New Supply System Beset By Complaints

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 16 Dec 2014 - Low supply and high prices among list of patients' concerns after production became restricted to commercial firms Shaun Simpson has had a migraine headache for the past seven years. His medical problems started with surgery to remove a piece of his skull that was pressing against his brain. The procedure left him with a spinal-fluid leak, which, in turn, fuels a near-constant headache.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

CN NS: Editorial: Missing The Boat On Medical Marijuana

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:00
Truro Daily News, 16 Dec 2014 - When it comes to health care, we need to be open to new means of helping people. Medical marijuana comes with built-in controversy because it's been an illegal substance for so many decades. It's time to get rid of that stigma and have a more honest review of the potential medicinal benefits. Practical uses of the drug have been slow to catch on in the medical community, purportedly due to a lack of information - but also, some suspect, because of lingering suspicions from the level of lawmakers.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

CN ON: City Plans Pot Rules Meeting

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:00
The Sun Times, 16 Dec 2014 - Owen Sound has kick-started a process that could establish areas of the city where Health Canada approved medical marijuana production facilities are permitted. City council approved a staff recommendation Monday night to hold a public meeting on a proposed zoning bylaw amendment that, if approved, would allow the buildings on industrial lands that meet certain criteria.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US: Marijuana-friendly States To Get Break From DEA

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:00
Sun-Sentinel, 16 Dec 2014 - Spending Bill Ends Federal Prohibition on Medical Pot WASHINGTON - Tucked deep inside the 1,603-page federal spending measure is a provision that effectively ends the federal government's prohibition on medical marijuana and signals a major shift in drug policy.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US NM: Congress Eases Up On Medical Pot Crackdowns

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:00
The New Mexican, 16 Dec 2014 - Budget Bill Sent to Obama Calls for Backing off State-Run Programs For the first time ever, Congress has gone on record opposing federal intervention against state-sanctioned marijuana businesses in states like New Mexico that have medical marijuana programs.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US: Marijuana-Friendly States To Get Break From DEA

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:00
Baltimore Sun, 16 Dec 2014 - Spending Bill Ends Federal Prohibition on Medical Pot WASHINGTON - Tucked deep inside the 1,603-page federal spending measure is a provision that effectively ends the federal government's prohibition on medical marijuana and signals a major shift in drug policy.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US CA: Editorial: Mixed Messages On Pot Shops

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:00
Los Angeles Times, 16 Dec 2014 - Despite 2013's Measure D, under which only about 135 existing medical marijuana dispensaries have permission to stay open in Los Angeles, the city has continued to issue tax registration certificates to new pot shops and keeps collecting business taxes from some 450 dispensaries. Talk about mixed messages. While the city attorney and Police Department are attempting to close rogue pot shops, the Office of Finance keeps cranking out new tax certificates for those same dispensaries. Even though the certificate is not a permit - and it says so right on the document - it sure feels like one; often, for instance, it can convince a landlord that the dispensary is OK with City Hall. The city collected $3.6 million in business taxes this year from dispensaries, whether they were allowed to operate or not. What's more, the finance department has only recently begun sharing the list of tax-paying pot shops with the Police Department and the city attorney, after City Council members questioned why nobody was using the tax rolls to crack down on illicit shops.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US PA: Editorial: Authorize Medicinal Pot

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 08:00
The Times-Tribune, 15 Dec 2014 - If Pennsylvania House members had been asked to legalize marijuana for recreational use, their commitment to delay would be understandable. Legalization in Colorado, Oregon and Washington is a work in progress, an experiment that could guide other states in the future. But the state House and Gov. Tom Corbett have treated the legalization of medicinal marijuana as a law enforcement matter rather than the introduction of a valuable medicine to relieve suffering. That position contradicts the experiences of 21 other states where medicinal marijuana is legal and uncontroversial.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US PA: Editorial: Medicinal Marijuana Should Be Legalized

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 08:00
Standard-Speaker, 15 Dec 2014 - If Pennsylvania House members had been asked to legalize marijuana for recreational use, their commitment to delay would be understandable. Legalization in Colorado, Oregon and Washington is a work in progress, an experiment that could guide other states in the future. But the state House and Gov. Tom Corbett have treated the legalization of medicinal marijuana as a law enforcement matter rather than the introduction of a valuable medicine to relieve suffering. That position contradicts the experiences of 21 other states where medicinal marijuana is legal and uncontroversial.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US CA: Pot Contest Grows

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 08:00
The Press Democrat, 15 Dec 2014 - In a sign of the burgeoning marijuana cultivation industry and its mainstream acceptance, an estimated 10,000 people flocked to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds over the weekend to honor the growers behind some of the finest and most powerful strains of pot in Northern California. The Emerald Cup, now in its second year in Santa Rosa, drew a record number of people and entrants to the competition to acknowledge and celebrate "the best outdoor cannabis in the world."
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