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Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Update

Medical Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 22:47

Historic federal medical marijuana legislation was introduced and endorsed by the New York Times the next day, California localities continue to make life hard for dispensaries, a Utah medical marijuana bill is killed, and more.

[image:1 align:left]National

On Tuesday, a bipartisan trio of senators introduced historic legislation to legalize medical marijuana at the federal level. Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Rand Paul (R-KY) filed the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act, which would end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana and allow states to set their own policies. The bill is not yet available on the congressional website. Click the link for more details.

On Wednesday,The New York Times endorsed the federal medical marijuana bill. The editorial of the nation's "newspaper of record" wrote today that the bill, which would clear away federal impediments to state-level medical marijuana, "deserves to be passed by Congress and enacted into law." Click on the link for their reasoning. 

California

Last Friday, a poll found that Riverside voters were likely to reject dispensaries. Whether to allow them will be on the June 2 ballot, but the poll has 56% opposed and only 46% in favor.

On Tuesday, the VA in Southern California announced it would allow the use of medical marijuana with prescription opiates. Click on the link to read the policy.

Also on Tuesday, the Costa Mesa city council punted on dispensaries. The council decided to kill a draft dispensary ordinance and table the issue until next year, when it might write its own ballot measure to compete with two local initiatives that have already qualified for the ballot.

Also on Tuesday, the Upland city council decided against a special election for a dispensary ballot measure. Now, voters will have to wait until next year, and that has infuriated dispensary supporters, who are threatening a recall effort.

Georgia

Last, Thursday, Georgia families swarmed the state capitol in support of a strong medical marijuana bill. Dozens of Georgia families streamed into the state capitol in Atlanta yesterday to crank up the pressure on the Senate to pass a medical marijuana bill. House Bill 1 has already passed the House, but the Senate is now considering an alternate bill, Senate Bill 185, which would only set up a limited trial program for children with epilepsy. The families want House Bill 1.

Idaho

On Monday, a CBD cannabis oil bill was revised to only allow an affirmative defense. The bill, Senate Bill 1169, has been revised to address concerns from law enforcement. It would no longer legalize the use of CBD cannabis oil, but would provide for an affirmative defense in case of arrest. The original bill would have removed CBD cannabis oil from the state's law banning marijuana.

North Carolina

Last Wednesday, a medical marijuana bill moved in the legislature. A bill that would allow for medical marijuana in the Tarheel State has passed its first reading in the House. The bill is House Bill 78

North Dakota

On Tuesday, a House committee voted down a medical marijuana study bill. The Human Services Committee has rejected a resolution calling for an interim study on medical marijuana. The measure was House Concurrent Resolution 3059. The state legislature defeated a medical marijuana bill earlier this session, and backers of the resolution hoped they could keep the conversation going. They couldn't.

Tennessee.

On Monday, a CBD Cannabis won a House panel vote. The measure, House Bill 109, was approved by the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. It now moves to the House Criminal Committee, where chairman William Lamberth (R-Cottontown) says it has his support.

Utah

On Monday, a medical marijuana bill died by one vote. A bill that would have made Utah a medical marijuana state was defeated last night. Senate Bill 259, filed by Sen. Mark Madsen (R-Saratoga Springs) lost on a vote of 15-14 in the Senate.

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

Categories: Medical Marijuana

Chronicle AM: NY Times Backs Fed MedMJ Bill, MD Asset Forfeiture Reform, Drugs Legal Today in Ireland, More (3/11/15)

Medical Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 21:40

The Times takes a stand for medical marijuana, North Dakota says no thanks, asset forfeiture reform moves in Maryland, synthetic drug bans move in Texas, Kentucky gets sued over its drug treatment practices, and more. 

 

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

New York Times Endorses Booker-Gillibrand-Paul Medical Marijuana Bill. The editorial of the nation's "newspaper of record" wrote today that the bill, which would clear away federal impediments to state-level medical marijuana, "deserves to be passed by Congress and enacted into law." Click on the link for their reasoning.

North Dakota House Committee Votes Down Medical Marijuana Study Bill. The Human Services Committee has rejected a resolution calling for an interim study on medical marijuana. The measure was House Concurrent Resolution 3059. The state legislature defeated a medical marijuana bill earlier this session, and backers of the resolution hoped they could keep the conversation going. They couldn't.

New Synthetic Drugs

Texas Synthetic Drug Bill Advances. A pair of bills seeking to criminalize new synthetic drugs not covered by existing laws were approved unanimously by the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice Tuesday. The measures are Senate Bill 172 and Senate Bill 461.

Asset Forfeiture

Maryland House Passes Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill. The House of Delegates approved House Bill 360 Tuesday. The bill would require the state to prove that the property's owner knew it was used or intended for a drug crime, switching the traditional burden of proof in asset forfeiture. It would also require police to report seizures and bar them from using the federal asset forfeiture program to get around state law, except in federal cases. The bill now heads to the Senate. >

Opiate Maintenance

Kentucky Sued Over Drug Treatment Practices. A nurse with an opiate addiction whose bond bars her from using opiate maintenance medications has sued the state, saying its practice of forbidding addicts from using drugs such as methadone or suboxone while they are under the supervision of the criminal justice system violates the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Constitution's equal protection clause.

International

Peru Ponders a Return to Shooting Down Suspected Drug Planes. The government of President Ollanta Humala said Tuesday it is considering backing a bill that would lift a 14-year-old ban on shooting down suspected drug planes. That ban was enacted after a Peruvian jet fighter blew a civilian plane out of the sky, killing American missionary Roni Bowers and her infant child. The bill sponsored by an opposition member passed the defense commission on Monday.

 

Ecstasy, Meth, Other Drugs Are Legal in Ireland Today, But Not Tomorrow. The Irish court of appeal threw the country into a dizzy Tuesday when it threw out portions of the Misuse of Drugs Act, effectively legalizing the possession of drugs whose scheduling had not included consultations with parliament. But the parliament is moving emergency legislation which is expected to pass today and recriminalize their possession by tomorrow. 

 

Richard Branson Joins Call for Clemency for Australians to Be Executed in Indonesia. With execution looming for two Australian drug smugglers in Indonesia, British entrepreneur Richard Branson has joined the call for President Joko Widodo to spare them. Indonesia would be better off treating drugs as a health issue, he said in a letter. "Treating drugs as a health issue, not as a criminal issue, it actually helps lower the number of drug deaths," he said. "It limits the spread of infectious diseases like HIV and AIDS, or hepatitis C, and it reduces drug-related crime. And it allows people who struggle with addiction to become useful members of society again."

Categories: Medical Marijuana

CN NS: Health Canada Legal Changes Land Dartmouth Medical Pot User

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 07:00
Chronicle Herald, 11 Mar 2015 - Medical marijuana advocates are fuming over last week's arrest of a Dartmouth man who used to have Health Canada's permission to grow pot. As a result, the Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana society intends to hold a news conference at the Farm Assists cannabis shop on Gottingen Street in Halifax on Wednesday.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

CN BC: Fire Chiefs Differ On Safety Risks Of Home-grown

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 11 Mar 2015 - Fire chiefs testifying on opposite sides of a constitutional challenge to Canada's medical-marijuana laws disagree on whether growing medicinal pot at home poses an increased fire or safety risk, a federal court in Vancouver heard Tuesday. Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis's affidavit said that more than half his city's illegal and licensed operations posed a "high or extreme" electrical risk, and about a quarter of both illicit and licensed operations had observable mould, according to his report on 1,800 inspections by a joint municipal-RCMP team over the last decade. Nearly all (98 per cent) licensed growers had modified their structure without a permit, Chief Garis's affidavit stated.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US CA: Column: Big Business Is Lurking

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 07:00
East Bay Express, 11 Mar 2015 - California's marijuana industry must hang together and legalize pot in 2016, experts warn, or large corporations will cut them out. Just ask Ohio. A group of ten businesses in Ohio is aiming to not only legalize marijuana, but also corner the market on wholesale distribution of it - - a disturbing turn of events with lessons for California reformers.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US MI: Column: Creature Comforts

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 07:00
Metro Times, 11 Mar 2015 - Alan and Christi Marshall own 10 English Bulldogs so it seems like a natural extension that the company they own along with Phil Sable would take on that moniker. Bulldog Provisioning Center even sports a picture of a rather tough-looking bulldog on its logo. But Pullo, the dog wandering the premises the day I visited, was more cuddly than threatening as he waddled about the provisioning center seeking a little affection. Pullo rubbed against the legs of a patient who bent over to scratch his neck on a slow afternoon - apparently they've become pals.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US WA: Eastern Washington Jurors See Through the Federal

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 07:00
The Stranger, 11 Mar 2015 - A Family of Medical Marijuana Growers, Facing 10 Years in Prison, Was Recently Acquitted on Almost All Charges Against Them "You're not a cog in the machine of the federal government," attorney Phil Telfeyan told a jury drawn from self-reliant Eastern Washington on March 2. "You can stand up and say, 'No. The evidence isn't there.'" And that's exactly what they did.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US WA: Column: Weed In The Rose Garden

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 07:00
Seattle Weekly, 11 Mar 2015 - Every single day there's breaking news in the marijuana movement. Alaska officially legalized weed on February 24, making it the fourth state in the Union to toss aside the chains of prohibition, and the next day, at the stroke of midnight, our nation's capital, Washington, D.C., followed suit. #CommanderInSpleef! But if ya think the "Just Say No" Nancy Reagan types are gently stepping aside, and the taxation and regulation of cannabis are going along swimmingly, you've been smoking too much of the recently legalized chronic.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US: Marijuana Legalization Gets A Boost On Capitol Hill

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 07:00
Spokesman-Review, 11 Mar 2015 - WASHINGTON - Marijuana legalization got a boost Tuesday on Capitol Hill as a trio of rising stars in the Senate launched an effort to rewrite federal drug laws. The push to decriminalize at least the medical use of marijuana came from Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US: Lawmakers Seek To Ease, Clarify Use Of Medical Pot

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 07:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 11 Mar 2015 - WASHINGTON (AP) - Two Democratic senators and a possible Republican presidential candidate joined forces Tuesday to push a bill to remove federal prohibitions on medical marijuana in 23 states where it's already legal. Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Cory Booker of New Jersey said their unusual coalition is a sign of growing acceptance of medical marijuana.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US: Medical Pot Bill Could Ease Constraints

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 07:00
Washington Post, 11 Mar 2015 - 3 Senators Propose Ending Prohibition to Expand Access, Research A historic Senate medical marijuana bill unveiled Tuesday would dramatically reshape the landscape for the plant, nearly 80 years after it was effectively criminalized.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US NY: Editorial: A Sensible Bill On Medical Marijuana

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 07:00
New York Times, 11 Mar 2015 - Three senators, two Democrats and a Republican, introduced a bill on Tuesday that would allow patients to use marijuana for medical purposes in states where it is legal, without fear of federal prosecution for violating narcotics laws. The bill makes a number of important changes to federal marijuana policies - and it deserves to be passed by Congress and enacted into law. Though this legislation would not repeal the broad and destructive federal ban on marijuana, it is a big step in the right direction.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

New Zealand: Medical Cannabis Probed

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 07:00
New Zealand Herald, 11 Mar 2015 - Dunne Underwhelmed by Officials' Evidence but Drug Foundation Fears Advice Outdated. An investigation into the use of cannabis for medical purposes has been carried out by the Ministry of Health.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

Chronicle AM: Historic Fed MedMJ Bill Filed, Coca Boom Falters, Wichita Weed Wars, More (3/10/15)

Medical Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 03/10/2015 - 23:10

A bipartisan trio of US senators roll out a historic medical marijuana bill, American Indian tribes form a cannabis coalition, medical marijuana loses by one vote in Utah, South America's coca boom may be ending, and more.

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

Kansas Attorney General Says Wichita Decriminalization Initiative Unlawful. Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a letter to city officials that the pending initiative "may not be lawfully adopted" and shouldn't be put before voters. But residents are still likely to have a chance to vote on it. Then it will be up to the attorney general to file a lawsuit to block it. The measure would "conflict with uniform state law in numerous ways and would be void," the attorney general says.

National Indian Cannabis Coalition Forms. The country's first Native American-focused marijuana trade group launched today at a reservation economic summit in Las Vegas. The group's mission is "to inform and educate tribal leaders on the emerging regulated cannabis markets from an entrepreneurial and operations perspective," says its website.

Medical Marijuana

Historic Federal Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana Rolled Out Today. A bipartisan trio of senators today introduced historic legislation to legalize medical marijuana at the federal level. Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Rand Paul (R-KY) filed the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act, which would end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana and allow states to set their own policies. The bill is not yet available on the congressional website. Click the link for more details.

Revised Idaho CBD Cannabis Oil Bill Would Allow Affirmative Defense. The bill, Senate Bill 1169, has been revised to address concerns from law enforcement. It would no longer legalize the use of CBD cannabis oil, but would provide for an affirmative defense in case of arrest.The original bill would have removed CBD cannabis oil from the state's law banning marijuana.

Tennessee CBD Cannabis Oil Bill Wins House Panel Vote. The measure, House Bill 109, was approved by the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. It now moves to the House Criminal Committee, where chairman William Lamberth (R-Cottontown) says it has his support.

Utah Medical Marijuana Bill Dies by One Vote. A bill that would have made Utah a medical marijuana state was defeated last night. Senate Bill 259, filed by Sen. Mark Madsen (R-Saratoga Springs) lost on a vote of 15-14 in the Senate.

International

Coca Boom Over? Coca and cocaine production in South America appears to be stalling, with all three major coca-producing countries—Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru—seeing declines in acreage planted and overall cocaine production. Click on the link for more details.

Patients from 13 Countries Form International Medical Marijuana Coalition. They have formed the International Medical Cannabis Patients Coalition (IMCPC) this past week gathered at a medical marijuana conference in Prague. Member countries include Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The US delegation is led by Americans for Safe Access.

Conservative Dutch Justice Minister Forced Out in Drug Dealer Cash Payment Scandal. Marijuana foe Ivo Opstelten and his deputy, Fred Treeven, resigned yesterday rather than face parliamentary questioning over revelations they authorized the repayment of millions of dollars to the drug dealer from whom it had been seized. Teeven actually authorized the 2001 payment, but Opstelten misled parliament about it. Now, they're both gone. 

Categories: Medical Marijuana

Historic Federal Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana Rolled Out Today [FEATURE]

Medical Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 03/10/2015 - 21:37

A bipartisan trio of senators today introduced historic legislation to legalize medical marijuana at the federal level. Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Rand Paul (R-KY) filed the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act, which would end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana and allow states to set their own policies.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]"We need policies that empower states to legalize medical marijuana if they so choose-recognizing that there are Americans who can realize real medical benefits if this treatment option is brought out of the shadows," said Sen. Booker. "Doctors and patients deserve federal laws that are fair and compassionate, and states should be able to set their own medical marijuana policies without federal interference. I am thankful to Senators Gillibrand and Paul as well as the Drug Policy Alliance for their hard work on this common-sense bill to make medical marijuana accessible to the millions of Americans who could benefit from it." 

The bill would reclassify marijuana for medical use, allow veterans to have access to medical marijuana, overhaul banking laws to allow licensed medical marijuana businesses to use financial services, and open up more research possibilities for medical marijuana.

In addition to the Drug Policy Alliance, the senators also consulted with the Marijuana Policy Project, Americans for Safe Access, and other voices for patients in drafting the bill. Although nearly half the states have passed medical marijuana laws (and a dozen more have passed limited CBD cannabis oil laws), marijuana remains illegal under federal law. That means patients and providers in medical marijuana states are still at risk of federal prosecution and families and patients in non-medical marijuana states must relocate or travel long distances to get treatment, facing the risk of prosecution in non-medical marijuana states along the way.

"I am so happy to support this bill. As the mother of a child with a severe seizure disorder, anxiously waiting to get access to a medication that is already helping thousands of others is unbearable," said Kate Hintz, a New York resident who has advocated for CBD to treat her daughter and others to treat epilepsy and seizures. "After persistent advocacy in my home state of New York, we finally saw a medical marijuana law passed last summer.  Yet individual state's laws, including New York's, will not succeed until we lift the current federal restrictions surrounding this plant," she added.

"I applaud Sens. Gillibrand, Booker and Paul for taking this bold step forward and insisting the federal government take action.  Let's end the fear and stigma associated with marijuana, and instead allow this bill to provide research, medicine, and long needed relief to so many. It cannot come fast enough, especially for my daughter," Hintz concluded.

[image:2 align:right caption:true]"For far too long, the government has enforced unnecessary laws that have restricted the ability of the medical community to determine the medicinal value of marijuana and have prohibited Americans from receiving essential care that would alleviate their chronic pain and suffering. I am proud today to stand with Sens. Gillibrand and Booker to introduce a bill that will fundamentally change our nation's drug policies and have a positive impact on the lives of our Veterans and children," said Sen. Paul.

While the Obama administration has, in recent years, largely taken a laissez-faire approach to medical marijuana in states that have approved it, that approach is both uneven and dependent on the whim of the administration in power. Just last week, federal prosecutors in Washington state took a family of five medical marijuana patients--the Kettle Falls Five--to trial, threatening them with lengthy, mandatory minimum prison sentences for growing medical marijuana legally under state law (in a state where even recreational marijuana is legal!).

Fortunately for the Kettle Falls Five, a federal jury acquitted them of most charges, including the most serious ones. But under the current state of federal marijuana prohibition, such prosecutions could continue.

Similarly, the Obama administration's recent restraint on medical marijuana is derived from Justice Department guidance to federal prosecutors about which cases raise the level of federal concern high enough to warrant prosecution. That guidance was crafted by a deputy attorney general answerable to Attorney General Holder and the president. Absent protections provided by this bill or similar legislation, a new administration could easily return to the bad old days of DEA raids and patients and providers being hauled off to federal prison.  

[image:3 align:left caption:true]"As the parents of severely ill children who could be helped by medical cannabis, we are dedicated to advancing safe, legal and viable access," said Maria De Gregorio, a parent leader of the Kentucky-based Parents Coalition for Rescheduling Medical Cannabis. "Rescheduling efforts must also guarantee access to whole plant extracts that have proven therapeutic benefits. We feel it is crucial to support state rights in all current and future medical marijuana programs. Thus, we strongly endorse this bill as it is written."
 
"Almost half the states have legalized marijuana for medical use; it's long past time to end the federal ban," said Michael Collins, Policy Manager for the Drug Policy Alliance. "This bipartisan legislation allows states to set their own medical marijuana policies and ends the criminalization of patients, their families, and the caregivers and dispensary owners and employees who provide them their medicine."

"With studies showing that medical cannabis access decreases suicide and addiction rates, the CARERS Act is absolutely necessary to help fix a broken healthcare system for veterans, which deals with suicides and addiction at catastrophic rates," said TJ Thompson, a retired U.S. Navy Third Class Petty Officer. "Now, I'm considered a criminal because of the medication that helps me. I take it illegally to treat my PTSD."

"This comprehensive proposal would effectively end the war on medical marijuana and let states compassionately provide care for seriously ill people without the federal government standing in the way," said Tom Angell, director of Marijuana Majority. "The fact that two young Democrats with likely long political futures have teamed up with a probable 2016 Republican presidential candidate shows how medical marijuana is a nonpartisan, noncontroversial issue that draws support from across the spectrum. With polls showing an overwhelming majority of American voters backing marijuana reform, you’d think taking up this proposal would be a no-brainer for legislative leaders who want to show that Congress can still get things done." 

We shall see. The bill text is not yet available on the congressional website, and it has not yet been assigned to a committee. That's the next step in a long process. 

Categories: Medical Marijuana

US: Investors See Potential Opportunity In Marijuana Reform Bill

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Tue, 03/10/2015 - 07:00
Wall Street Journal, 10 Mar 2015 - Proposed Carers Act would redefine cannabis as a Schedule II controlled substance When Sens. Cory Booker (D., N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) and Rand Paul (R., Ky.) announced a bill Tuesday to reform federal marijuana regulation, they pitched it not just as a health, military veteran and states' rights issue, but from a business angle. And they used words that investors in the developing marijuana industry have been waiting to hear for a long time.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

CN ON: Column: Going To Pot Here?

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 07:00
Ottawa Sun, 09 Mar 2015 - Bob Cabana says he would welcome a marijuana store moving in across the street from him. He figures it would be good for all the businesses on Wellington Street. Bob Cabana says this while dressed as a character from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. So he may be a little biased. On the business benefits of marijuana.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

CN BC: Fire Chiefs Clash Over Grow-Op Risk

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 07:00
Metro, 09 Mar 2015 - Court: Case challenging medical marijuana laws set to hear from two experts on whether residential grow-ops are more vulnerable to fire Surrey's fire chief has a "cultural confirmation bias" against licensed marijuana grow-ops, which is why he wrongly concludes they are more dangerous than regular residences, an expert witness will testify in a Vancouver court case.
Categories: Medical Marijuana
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