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With Final House Vote, Pennsylvania Set to Become 24th Medical Marijuana State

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 03/16/2016 - 23:07

This article was produced in collaboration with AlterNet and first appeared here.

Following a 10-month delay since the state Senate first approved Senate Bill 3, which will allow residents suffering from specified medical conditions to use medical marijuana with their doctor's approval, the House Wednesday approved an amended version of the bill.

[image:1 align:left]The Senate is expected to approve the amended bill, and Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has said he will sign it into law.

"Today's vote comes as huge relief to countless Pennsylvanians," said Latrisha Bentch of Harrisburg, whose daughter suffers from mesial temporal sclerosis, a condition marked by frequent seizures that could be treated with medical marijuana. She is a founding member of the Campaign for Compassion, a local organization of patients and families advocating for comprehensive medical marijuana legislation.

"This has been a long and difficult journey for many patients and families, and our destination is finally in sight," Bentch said. "We gave House members a lot of grief for not getting this done quickly, but we are grateful for the incredible bipartisan support the bill received during the floor debate and final vote. We commend them for showing that compassion is not a partisan issue."

The amended bill would allow for up to 25 growers and processors licensed by the Department of Health. The department would also license up to 50 dispensaries, each of which could have up to three locations. Home cultivation will not be allowed.

Qualifying conditions under the bill include cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, seizures, autism, sickle cell anemia, and intractable pain if conventional therapies or opiates are contraindicated or ineffective.

"Patients and families throughout Pennsylvania have been waiting for years to see this day," said Becky Dansky, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. "We applaud the members of the House for passing this important legislation, which will significantly improve the quality of life for tens of thousands of seriously ill Pennsylvanians. The Senate and Gov. Wolf have already demonstrated extraordinary leadership on this issue. We hope they will act quickly to get this bill approved and signed into law."

Once they do, Pennsylvania will become the 24th state with a full-fledged medical marijuana law. About a dozen more states only allow access to low- or no-THC cannabis oils made with cannabidiol.

Categories: Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Update

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 03/16/2016 - 21:33

Michigan dispensaries get raided, a CBD cannabis oil bill comes back to life in Georgia, a CBD cannabis oil bill dies in Utah, Pennsylvania is just a couple of votes away from medical marijuana, and more.

[image:1 align:right]California

On Monday, an appeals court upheld LA's ban on medical marijuana deliveries A three-judge appellate court panel upheld a lower court's decision to temporarily ban Nestdrop, an app that allowed people in the city to have marijuana delivered to their door. But the decision will have an impact beyond Nestdrop; the justices held that under the city's zoning law, Proposition D, all delivery services are barred from operating in the city.

Georgia

On Monday, the CBD cannabis oil bill wa revived. Supporters of House Bill 722, which would expand access to CBD cannabis oil, have resurrected the measure by attaching its language to an old Senate bill. It could go to a House vote as early as today. The bill would expand conditions that qualify for CBD cannabis oil and allow companies outside the state to ship it in. Language that would have allowed in-state marijuana cultivation to produce the oil was stripped out earlier in the House.

Michigan

On Sunday, dispensary raids sparked protests. Nearly a hundred people took to the streets outside the Michigan State Police Gaylord Post Sunday to protest raids against 12 Oswego County dispensaries two days earlier. The Straits Area Narcotic Enforcement (SANE) team led the raids, which were the second such law enforcement assault on patient access in the area in the past year.

On Tuesday, more raids were revealed. The West Michigan Enforcement Team (WEMET) has raided four dispensaries for allegedly selling medical marijuana to cardholders who were not their registered patients. Two were in Saugatuck, one in Allegan City, and one in Pullman. Twelve other Northern Michigan dispensaries were raided last week.

Nebraska

On Monday, a state medical marijuana political party was formed. Cornhusker activists tired of waiting for the legislature to act have formed a political party, Legal Marijuana Now Nebraska, and are preparing a signature drive to put medical marijuana to the voters. The will need to gather 6,500 valid voter signatures by August 1 to qualify for the November ballot.

Ohio

On Tuesday, the medical marijuana initiative campaign resubmitted initiative language. That didn't take long. Last Friday, Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) rejected the Ohioans for Medical Marijuana initiative because of deficiencies in its summary. On Tuesday, the campaign submitted revised language. After 20 days of review by state officials, the campaign will then have until July to gather 306,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Pennsylvania

 

Last Thursday, a key House member said he would allow a vote on the medical marijuana bill this week. Ten months after the Senate approved Sen. Mike Folmer's Senate Bill 3, the House will finally vote on it this week. On Monday, the bill began to move. The House Monday night passed an amended version of Sen. Mike Folmer's Senate Bill 3. The vote comes 10 months after the bill passed the Senate. The bill still faces a final House vote and then must return to the Senate for its approval of the amended version. South Dakota Last Wednesday, the House killed a CBD cannabis oil bill. A bill that would have allowed for the use of CBD cannabis oil was killed in the House Wednesday on a 25-43 vote, with one "no" voter suggesting parents who lobbied for it should move to another state. The measure, Senate Bill 171, had already passed the Senate, and Republican Gov. Dennis Daugard had suggested he would sign it. Rep. Kristin Conzet (R-Rapid City) told people suffering seizure disorders they should move elsewhere. "I don’t like the road that we’re going down at this time," she said. "This is not a bill for South Dakota." 

Utah

Last Thursday, the legislative killed a CBD cannabis oil bill. First, lawmakers killed an actual medical marijuana, Senate Bill 73, and then, a watered-down substitute, Senate Bill 89 died as lawmakers could not come to agreement on late amendments on the last day of the session. The stage is now set for a medical marijuana initiative drive by patients and supporters frustrated with the legislature's inaction.

 

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

Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: CDC Urges Docs to Severely Limit Pain Pill Prescribing, NY Rep Wants Safe Injection Sites, More... (3/16/16

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 03/16/2016 - 20:41

Another poll has a national majority for pot legalization, the Vermont legalization bill is now before the House, the CDC urges doctors to really cut back on pain pill prescriptions, a New York assemblywoman wants supervised injection sites, a Mexican governor wants a pilot program of opium cultivation, and more. 

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

Another Poll Has a Narrow National Majority for Legalization. A new national tracking poll conducted by Morning Consult has support for legalization at 52%, with 43% opposed and 5% undecided. That's in line with other major national polls in recent years that generally show support for legalization in the 50s. The most recent Gallup poll had it at 60%.

Massachusetts Sheriffs Oppose Legalization Initiative. More of the usual suspects weigh in against legalization, with the state's sheriffs saying it would destigmatize drug use and make it easier for teens to get their hands on the weed. Last week, the state Hospital Association and leading elected officials, including Gov. Charlie Baker (R), Attorney General Maura Healey (D), and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D) came out against the initiative from the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Massachusetts.  

Vermont Legalization Bill Now Before House. Senate Bill 241, the pot legalization bill, is now before the House Judiciary Committee. On Tuesday, Sen. Dick Sears (D-Bennington) and Sen. Joe Benning (R-Caledonia) introduced the bill to the committee.

Medical Marijuana

Georgia CBD Cannabis Oil Bill Revived. Supporters of House Bill 722, which would expand access to CBD cannabis oil, have resurrected the measure by attaching its language to an old Senate bill. It could go to a House vote as early as today. The bill would expand conditions that qualify for CBD cannabis oil and allow companies outside the state to ship it in. Language that would have allowed in-state marijuana cultivation to produce the oil was stripped out earlier in the House.

More Michigan Medical Marijuana Dispensary Raids. The West Michigan Enforcement Team (WEMET) has raided four dispensaries for allegedly selling medical marijuana to cardholders who were not their registered patients. Two were in Saugatuck, one in Allegan City, and one in Pullman. Twelve other Northern Michigan dispensaries were raided last week.

Ohio Medical Marijuana Campaign Resubmits Initiative. That didn't take long. Last Friday, Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) rejected the Ohioans for Medical Marijuana initiative because of deficiencies in its summary. On Tuesday, the campaign submitted revised language. After 20 days of review by state officials, the campaign will then have until July to gather 306,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

Criminal Justice

Massachusetts Conference Committee Agrees on Ending Driver's License Suspensions for Drug Offenders. House and Senate negotiators announced Tuesday that they had reached agreement on a bill to end the state's long-running policy of automatically suspending for five years the driver's licenses of people convicted of drug crimes. The relic of the 1980s drug war will be officially repealed after the full House and Senate vote on the amended bill. Both houses passed bills, and the conference committee has been ironing out the differences. More than 30 other states have taken similar steps.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

CDC Urges Docs to Reduce Prescribing Pain Relievers. In a move bitterly decried by chronic pain advocates, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Tuesday doctors should only prescribe opioid pain relievers as a last resort. Instead, doctors should urge their patients to try physical therapy, exercise, and over-the-counter medications before using opioids to treat chronic pain. The CDC is recommending not using opioids except to treat cancer and for palliative end-of-life care, using the lowest effective dose of opioids, and limiting prescriptions to three days for short-term pain.

Harm Reduction

New York Assemblywoman Wants Supervised Injection Facilities Statewide. Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) said Tuesday she will soon introduce a bill to establish the harm reduction facilities. Rosenthal's move comes after Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick hoisted a proposal for such a facility there. "New York, and nearly every other state across the country, is grappling with a heroin and opioid addiction crisis that has grown to epidemic proportions," said Rosenthal, who heads the Assembly's Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, in a statement. "Addiction is a public health crisis, and we must address it as such, with aggressive, community-based solutions that reduce harm and provide access to life-saving treatment services."

International

Mexican Governor Proposes Legalizing Opium Cultivation.  Hector Astudillo, governor of violence-plagued Guerrero, said Monday that legalizing opium cultivation for medical purposes might help reduce the violence in his state and the idea should be considered. "Let's do some sort of pilot scheme," Astudillo, a member of President Enrique Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party, said. "Provided it's used for medical issues ... It's a way out that could get us away from the violence there has been in Guerrero," he added.

Categories: Marijuana

CN NS: Editorial: Sounds Like Perfect Role For Science

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 03/16/2016 - 07:00
Cape Breton Post, 16 Mar 2016 - As illustrious a scientist as Arthur McDonald is expressing optimism about the current federal government's indication it will embrace the scientific community. That change in attitude by the Liberals as compared to the former government should come as a relief to Canadians in general, for a range of reasons.
Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Grow Pot Openly, Get Seeds For Free

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 03/16/2016 - 07:00
Vancouver 24hours, 16 Mar 2016 - Sensible BC Director Doing Giveaway As 'Final Step' Of 'Civil Disobedience' Local cannabis activist Dana Larsen says Canadians growing marijuana at home is the "final stage" in Canada's legalization movement-and he's providing the seeds to get people started.
Categories: Marijuana

Canada: Column: Marijuana's Effect on Sleeping Still Unclear

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 03/16/2016 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 16 Mar 2016 - At least once a week, I hear from patients that smoking marijuana helps them to relax and to sleep. I know that other clinicians hear the same thing because they ask me about it at insomnia workshops. Does cannabis really improve sleep? Several studies done in the 1970s examined the effects of smoked marijuana on objective sleep patterns, measured using polysomnography. This method of overnight recording involves the tracking of brain waves, eye movements and muscle tone in order to distinguish the sleep stages and their pattern of occurrence throughout the night.
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Singapore: Editorial: Drug Problem 'Not Just a Public Health

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 03/16/2016 - 07:00
Straits Times, 16 Mar 2016 - Singapore's uncompromising stance against drugs is the reason it has stayed relatively drug-free, with arrested drug abusers comprising less than 0.1 per cent of the country's population. Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee said this on Monday at a meeting of international delegates, at the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna, Austria.
Categories: Marijuana

US: Early-Age Pot Habit May Alter Brain, Study Says

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 03/16/2016 - 07:00
Chicago Tribune, 16 Mar 2016 - Young teens who smoke pot may wind up with brains that look strikingly different from those who start using marijuana later in their lives, a new study reports. Early pot use may alter the physical development of a young teen's brain. It seems to obstruct the natural process by which the body eliminates unneeded neurons and synaptic connections, the researchers reported.
Categories: Marijuana

US HI: OPED: 'War on Drugs' Has Failed, and Here's What to Do

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 03/16/2016 - 07:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 16 Mar 2016 - Outdated drug policies around the world have resulted in soaring drug-related violence, overstretched criminal justice systems, runaway corruption and mangled democratic institutions. After reviewing the evidence, consulting drug policy experts and examining our own failures on this front while in office, we came to an unavoidable conclusion: The "war on drugs" is an unmitigated disaster.
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US PA: Time to Exhale: Delco Lawmakers Support Medical

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 03/16/2016 - 07:00
Daily Times, 16 Mar 2016 - Medical marijuana has the support of the Delaware County delegation because of its potential to decrease opiate addiction while simultaneously offering relief to those with chronic or terminal conditions. As state legislators work their way through hundreds of amendments, at consideration is Senate Bill 3, which would allow patients who have a recommendation from their doctor to purchase and use medical cannabis from a licensed center.
Categories: Marijuana

US HI: Bill Would Offer Guidelines on Medical Marijuana Testing

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 03/16/2016 - 07:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 16 Mar 2016 - Industry experts say there are a lot of chemicals that could contaminate Hawaii's medical marijuana. Dispensaries are set to open in Hawaii in July, and state lawmakers are pushing a broad bill to address many of the obstacles the industry is facing. One is how to regulate marijuana testing.
Categories: Marijuana

US CO: Column: Council Wants Cannabis Clubs Out; Clubs Dig in

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 03/16/2016 - 07:00
Colorado Springs Independent, 16 Mar 2016 - On Tuesday, March 8, after a marathon public comment period, Colorado Springs City Council voted to ban cannabis clubs in the city by 2024. The 6-3 vote comes after years of deliberation over how to handle the clubs, which provide a social setting to consume legal cannabis. Though many in attendance testified that the clubs are a place of community, refuge and healing, detractors see the clubs' mere existence as flagrantly defying the previous Council's decision to opt out of recreational sales following statewide legalization. This ordinance, which will get its final reading on March 22, sets up the framework for the ban. It prohibits the opening of any new Marijuana Consumption Club (MCC) - defined as "an establishment, organization, association, club, teapad, or other similar entity or place where a purpose is to allow the consumption of marijuana, medical marijuana or marijuana product on the premises" - but lets certain clubs stay open, for now.
Categories: Marijuana

US: Marijuana-Based Drug Reduces Seizures In Tests

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 03/16/2016 - 07:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 16 Mar 2016 - An experimental drug derived from marijuana has succeeded in reducing epileptic seizures in its first major clinical trial, the product's developer announced Monday, a finding that could lend credence to the medical marijuana movement. The developer, GW Pharmaceuticals, said the drug, Epidiolex, achieved the main goal of the trial, reducing convulsive seizures when compared with a placebo in patients with Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy.
Categories: Marijuana

US CT: Medical Marijuana Advocate Dies At Age 13

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 03/16/2016 - 07:00
The Day, 16 Mar 2016 - Montville Girl Had Moved to Maine for Access to Drug Montville - Just last week, Susan Meehan was in Hartford telling legislators that she left Connecticut to give her daughter, Cyndimae, a better life.
Categories: Marijuana

Will UNGASS 2016 Be the Beginning of the End for the War on Drugs?

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 03/16/2016 - 05:56

This article is by Ann Fordham and Martin Jelsma, and is republished from

read more

Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: PA MedMJ Bill Finally Moving, WA Governor Vetoes Hemp Bill, More... (3/15/16)

Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 03/15/2016 - 20:56

Rhode Island voters may get a say on pot legalization, no medical marijuana deliveries for Los Angeles, the Pennsylvania medical marijuana bill is finally moving, Colombia's high criminal court expands the parameters of decriminalization, and more.

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

Rhode Island Governor Open to Legalization Referendum. Gov. Gina Raimundo (D) said today that she is open to the idea of a statewide referendum on marijuana legalization proposed by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (D). The referendum would be non-binding. There is "some talk at the General Assembly of maybe putting it on the ballot to ask the voters their opinion of should we do this? And I would be open to that, because I think it's a big issue and it would be good know where the voters stand," Raimundo said. The talk comes as the legislature considers pending legalization proposals.

Medical Marijuana

California Appeals Court Upholds Ban on LA Pot Deliveries. A three-judge appellate court panel Monday upheld a lower court's decision to temporarily ban Nestdrop, an app that allowed people in the city to have marijuana delivered to their door. But the decision will have an impact beyond Nestdrop; the justices held that under the city's zoning law, Proposition D, all delivery services are barred from operating in the city.

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Bill Moves After Long Delay. The House Monday night passed an amended version of Sen. Mike Folmer's Senate Bill 3. The vote comes 10 months after the bill passed the Senate. The bill still faces a final House vote and then must return to the Senate for its approval of the amended version.

Hemp

Washington Governor Vetoes Hemp Bill for No Good Reason. Gov. Jay Inslee (D) has vetoed Senate Bill 6206, which would have legalized industrial hemp production in the state. Inslee's reason nothing to do with the substance of the bill; he is irritated with the legislature for failing to pass a budget bill. Inslee said the hemp measure was "a worthy bill," but he couldn't sign it until "a budget agreement is reached." The bill passed the House unanimously and the Senate 48-1, so a veto override is possible.  

International

Colombian Supreme Court of Justice Rules "Addicts" Can Carry More Than "Minimum Dose" of Drugs. The high criminal court ruled that "addicts" can carry more than the legal "minimum dose" of drugs out of "necessity" without being charged with a crime. The ruling came in the case of soldier caught with 50 grams of marijuana, 2 ½ times the decriminalized amount of 20 grams. Instead of the "minimum dose," the courts will have to contend with the "supply dose," enough of the drug to meet to the user's needs. Prior to this ruling, people caught in excess of the "minimum dose" faced charges of drug possession with intent to traffic. They can still be charged that way, but now have an additional defense.

Bloody Gunfights in Mexico's Reynosa.  Prohibition-related violence flared in the Mexican border town of Reynosa, just across the Rio Grande from McAllen, Texas, Sunday, when at least nine suspected cartel gunmen died in battles with government forces. At least three separate armed clashes took place, with gunmen also setting vehicles afire and blocking roads. The operation was aimed at taking down Gulf Cartel leaders in the city, but it wasn't clear if the police and military found their targets.

 

Categories: Marijuana

US PA: Pa. Lawmakers Start Debating Medical Pot Bill

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 03/15/2016 - 07:00
Pottstown Mercury, 15 Mar 2016 - HARRISBURG, PA. (AP) - The Pennsylvania House of Representatives took up a proposal Monday to permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes, a potential breakthrough for supporters who have worked for several years to get legalization through the Republican-controlled Legislature. The debate began with passage of an elaborate amendment, crafted by a bipartisan task force, laying out rules for how the program would work, including eligibility and regulations. It was approved by a 152-38 vote, but the measure still requires a final House vote.
Categories: Marijuana

US PA: PA. Lawmakers Start Debating Bill to Permit the Use of

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 03/15/2016 - 07:00
The Citizens' Voice, 15 Mar 2016 - HARRISBURG (AP) - The Pennsylvania House of Representatives took up a proposal Monday to permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes, a potential breakthrough for supporters who have worked for several years to get legalization through the Republican-controlled Legislature. The debate began with passage of an elaborate amendment, crafted by a bipartisan task force, laying out rules for how the program would work, including eligibility and regulations. It was approved by a 152-38 vote, but the measure still requires a final House vote.
Categories: Marijuana

US: Study: Early-Age Pot Habit May Alter Brain

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 03/15/2016 - 07:00
Orlando Sentinel, 15 Mar 2016 - Young teens who smoke pot may wind up with brains that look strikingly different from those who start using marijuana later in their lives, a new study reports. Early pot use may alter the physical development of a young teen's brain. It seems to obstruct the natural process by which the body eliminates unneeded neurons and synaptic connections, the researchers reported.
Categories: Marijuana

US: Gambling On Marijuana's Future

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 03/15/2016 - 07:00
Orlando Sentinel, 15 Mar 2016 - Pot Exchanges Are Popping Up Despite Federal Roadblocks Legal marijuana is a $5 billion business in the United States, and Steve Janjic figured he'd get a piece of it. With a commodity exchange. For a product that can't be transported across state lines.
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