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notsofasteddie    629

Study: Oral Cannabis Extracts Associated With Seizure Control In Children With Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy

By Paul Armentano | NORML Deputy Director

April 21, 2015

         

cannabis-extract-oil.jpg?resize=628%2C36

The administration of oral cannabis extracts is associated with the mitigation of seizures in adolescents with epilepsy, according to clinical data published this month in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior.

Researchers from the Colorado Children’s Hospital in Denver performed a retrospective chart review of 75 children provided cannabis extracts. Authors reported that 57 percent of subjects showed some level of improvement in seizure control while 33 percent reported a greater than 50 percent reduction in seizure frequency.

Researchers also reported “improved behavior/alertness” in one-third of subjects and improved motor skills in ten percent of treated patients. Adverse events were reported in 44 percent of subjects, 13 percent of which reported increased seizure activity. Overall, however, authors concluded that the extracts were “well tolerated by children.”

Separate clinical trial results publicized last week at the 67th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology reported that the administration of a proprietary form of CBD (cannabidiol) extracts decreased seizure frequency by 54 percent over a 12-week period in children with treatment-resistant epilepsy.

Survey data compiled by Stanford University in 2013 reported that the administration of cannabidiol-enriched cannabis decreased seizures in 16 of 19 patients with pediatric epilepsy.

Last February, the Epilepsy Foundation of America enacted a resolution in support of the “rights of patients and families living with seizures and epilepsy to access physician directed care, including medical marijuana.”

An abstract of the study, “Parental reporting of response to oral cannabis extracts for treatment of refractory epilepsy,” appears online here.

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notsofasteddie    629

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

April 22, 2015

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

Busy, busy at the statehouse, there's news out of Washington, DC, too, a Wyoming medical marijuana initiative gears up, and more.

National

On Sunday, Obama suggested support for the Senate medical marijuana bill. In an interview aired Sunday night on CNN's Weed 3 special with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Gupta asked the president if he would get behind the CARERS Act, which would reschedule marijuana and allow states with medical marijuana laws to proceed without threat of federal punishment. "You know, I think I’d have to take a look at the details," Obama replied, "but I’m on record as saying that not only do I think carefully prescribed medical use of marijuana may in fact be appropriate and we should follow the science as opposed to ideology on this issue, but I’m also on record as saying that the more we treat some of these issues related to drug abuse from a public health model and not just from an incarceration model, the better off we’re going to be."

On Tuesday, six House Republicans filed the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act. Led by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), a half-dozen GOP congressmen today filed the act, which would amend the Controlled Substances Act to clarify that anyone acting in compliance with a state marijuana law would be immune from federal prosecution. The act would apply to both medical and recreational marijuana laws. It is not yet available on the congressional web site.

California

Last Wednesday, a 2016 medical marijuana initiative was filed. A group of medical marijuana activists have filed the Compassionate and Sensible Access Act, which is designed to protect a doctor's right to recommend medical marijuana and limit officials' ability to regulate cultivation, distribution, and transportation of the plant. To make the ballot, the language must first be approved by state officials, then campaigners will have to gather more than half a million valid voter signatures within 180 days of starting.

Also last Wednesday, the Riverside County planning commission recommended approval of an ordinance that would clarify that growing marijuana is illegal. The move is laying the groundwork for a crackdown on grows in unincorporated parts of the county. An ordinance pending before the Board of Supervisors would impose both civil and criminal penalties for such grows, with only a limited exemption for patients and caregivers.

Last Thursday, an Orange County Superior Court judge denied a motion to force Costa Mesa to hold a special election this year about whether to allow dispensaries in the city. The city council had refused to hold a special election even though a petition had been submitted and certified, instead opting to put the issue on the general election ballot in November.

Also last Thursday, the Assembly Agriculture Committee approved AB 243, which would require all medical cannabis grows to follow existing environmental laws and be permitted by the state. The bill was supported by a broad coalition of environmental and governmental interests, as well as by some growers. But Cal NORML, Americans for Safe Access, and Crusaders for Patients' Rights are opposing the bill unless it is amended to delete a requirement that individual patients get permits to grow, which the groups see as an unconstitutional infringement on Prop 215 patients' rights.

Last Friday, Yuba County advocates sought a state Supreme Court order asking local officials to accept petitions for a voter referendum challenging the county's new marijuana grow ordinance. The motion also seeks t stay enforcement of the ordinance, which limits indoor grows to 12 plants in a qualifying accessory structure. The move comes after the 3rd District Court of Appeals a week earlier denied an emergency writ that would have allowed for referendum petitions to move forward.

On Tuesday, the El Centro city council killed a medical marijuana ordinance that would have allowed for dispensaries in the city. The move reverses a 2011 decision to allow them. The city never actually had any permitted dispensaries, though; it kept passing moratoria while it sought to sort out legal issues.

Also on Tuesday, a medical marijuana regulation bill won a Senate committee vote. The Senate Business and Professions Committee approved Senate Bill 643, which would establish a comprehensive, statewide licensing system for medical marijuana commerce.

Georgia

Last Thursday, the governor signed the CBD cannabis oil bill. Gov. Nathan Deal ® today signed into law House Bill 1, which allows for the use of CBD cannabis oil for a list of specified diseases and medical conditions. The bill allows patients to possess the oil, but has no provision for obtaining it in the state.

Hawaii

On Tuesday, the Senate approved a 25% tax on medical marijuana sales. The bill is House Bill 321. It was approved by the House without the tax provision, which was added by a Senate committee without any public hearing. The bill now goes to conference committee, where advocates hope the tax can be reduced or eliminated. There is no tax on prescription medications.

Idaho

Last Thursday, the governor vetoed the CBD cannabis oil bill. Gov. "Butch" Otter vetoed a bill that would have allowed the use of CBD cannabis oil to treat children suffering from epileptic seizures. Senate Bill 1146 had passed the House 39-30 and the Senate 22-12. Otter said the bill asked the state to ignore the potential for abuse and misuse, even though the oils don't contain enough THC for anyone to get high.

Illinois

On Tuesday, the House approved a bill extending the medical marijuana program. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), would extend the program beyond January 1, 2018, when it is set to expire as a pilot program. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Oklahoma

Last Wednesday, a CBD cannabis oil bill won final approval in the legislature. The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 124, which would allow for the use of the oil to treat seizure disorders in children. The bill passed the House in February and now heads to the desk of Gov. Mary Fallin ®.

Pennsylvania

On Tuesday, the medical marijuana bill won a committee vote. The Senate State Government Committee has approved Senate Bill 3, but will hold further hearings on it next month. The sponsor, Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon County) says it may be modified to address concerns raised in the House.

Wyoming

On Monday, plans for a medical marijuana initiative get underway. Activists with Wyoming NORML submitted their initiative application with the secretary of state's office Monday. If and when the application is approved, organizers will have until next February to gather 25,673 valid voter signatures to place it on the 2016 general election ballot. A recent poll had support for marijuana at 72% in the Cowboy State.

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

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notsofasteddie    629

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

April 29, 2015

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

Bills to fold medical marijuan into legal marijuana system advance in Oregon and become law in Washington, Florida gears up for another initiative campaign after the legislature fails to act, the Oklahoma legislature passes a CBD cannabis oil bill, and more.

Alabama

Last Wednesday, a medical marijuana bill won a committee vote. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill on a 4-3 vote. The measure is Senate Bill 326, sponsored by Sen. Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro).

California

On Monday, opponents of Yuba County's new cultivation ordinance rallied in Marysville. The ordinance approved last month banned outdoor grows and limited indoor ones to a dozen plants in an accessory building.

On Tuesday, a proposed Vacaville ordinance to ban medical marijuana grows died on a tie vote. The council had unanimously approved a draft ordinance banning grows last November, but relented in the face of opposition from local citizens.

Colorado

On Monday a bill allowing probationers and parolees to use medical marijuana passed the legislature. The bill, House Bill 1267, passed the Senate on a 34-1 vote Monday and has already passed the House.

Florida

On Tuesday, the legislative session ended and the 2016 medical marijuana initiative campaign began. The session ended Tuesday without any action on pending medical marijuana legislation, and the United for Care campaign, which led the defeated 2014 initiative (it got 58% of the vote, but needed 60% because it was a constitutional amendment), immediately announced it was aiming to get back on the ballot next year.

Iowa

On Monday, the House speaker reiterated that he will block a medical marijuana bill. House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) has repeated that he will not allow a medical marijuana bill to be considered this year. Sen. Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City), the sponsor of Senate File 484, had said Monday that the House had a "moral obligation" to consider the bill, which has already passed the Senate. But Paulsen said he didn't understand what Bolkcom meant and that the carefully drawn bill was "virtually a recreational use bill." The session ends May 1.

New York

Last Thursday the state began accepting applications for medical marijuana licenses. The state Department of Health announced that it is accepting applications from entities that want to register to grow or distribute medical marijuana. The state expects to announce the companies selected by July.

On Wednesday, a bill to expedite the state's medical marijuana program was filed. Assemblymen Richard Gottfried (D) and Brian Kolb ® today filed Assembly Bill 7060, which would direct the state to establish a program to help patients get access to medical marijuana as soon as possible. Gottfried is head of the Assembly Health Committee and Kolb is the Assembly Minority Leader. The bill comes 10 months after Gov. Cuomo signed the state's limited medical marijuana bill into law, but no Empire State patient has yet to receive legal medical marijuana.

Oklahoma

On Monday, a CBD cannabis oil study bill passed the legislature. The bill, House Bill 2154, passed the House 85-5 today for final approval after it had been modified in the Senate. Now, it's up to Gov. Mary Fallin ® to sign it.

Oregon

On Monday, a bill to regulate medical marijuana advanced. A bill that puts new limits on medical marijuana growers is moving. The measure, an amendment to Senate Bill 844, is expected to be approved a House-Senate marijuana committee tomorrow. It would limit current growers to 96 plants, new growers to 48 plants. It would limit current residential growers to 24 plants and new ones to 12 plants. But it would also bar cities and counties from banning dispensaries and growing and processing operations.

Texas

On Tuesday, a trio of medical marijuana bills got a hearing, but no action. The House Committee on Public Health heard emotional testimony Tuesday night from patients, parents, and veterans seeking access to medical marijuana or CBD cannabis oil. Despite the hours of testimony, the committee took no action on any of the bills. Click on the link to read testimony details.

Washington

Last Friday, the governor signed a bill folding medical marijuana into the legal marijuana system. Gov. Jay Inslee (D) last Friday signed into law Senate Bill 5052, which attempts to regulate the state's previously unregulated medical marijuana system and bring it into harmony with its legal marijuana system. The bill creates a voluntary registry system for patients that would allow them to possess more marijuana than others and face lower taxes. It will also eliminate the "collective gardens" that currently supply thousands of patients, although it will allow "cooperative gardens" for no more than four patients. Some collective gardens will be allowed to continue; they will be given priority in licensing if they have been good citizens.

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

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notsofasteddie    629

ASA Activist Newsletter - May 2015

William Dolphin

May 04, 2015 

In this Issue

•Veterans Equal Access Amendment Vote Shows Progress

•New House Bill Would Recognize State Programs

•DEA Head Resigns during Sex Scandal

•CNN Special Shows Barriers to Medical Cannabis Research

•Washington State Undermines Patient Access

•New York Opens 30-Day Window for Applications

•Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Bill Clears Senate Committee

•California Citizen Lobby Day, June 14-15

•ACTIVIST PROFILE: Pennsylvania Campaign for Compassion

•ACTION ALERT: Tell Obama to Fix the DEA

__________________________________

Veterans Equal Access Amendment Vote Shows Progress

On the last day of April, Congress narrowly rejected a bipartisan budget amendment that would have allowed veterans to access medical cannabis with recommendations from their Veterans Health Administration (VHA) physicians. Currently, VHA policy bars physicians from providing the recommendations state programs require for participation.

The Veterans Equal Access Amendment (VEAA), introduced by Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) as the House considered the FY2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, failed on a vote of 210 in favor, 213 opposed. The identical bill when offered last year attracted 15 fewer votes, though it was then the most any medical cannabis legislation had received in the House.

“We were able to make the case publicly to members and their staff about the inequity of a situation where 213 million Americans live in states where they have access to medical marijuana, yet veterans are denied the ability to be helped by their VA primary care provider,” said Blumenauer in a statement issued after the vote. “While opponents provided false information that medical marijuana has no therapeutic value, we were able to drive home the point that the current system, which denies veterans medical marijuana but overprescribes them highly addictive and dangerous opioids, is the real scandal.”

Last week, the Appropriations Committee also rejected the amendment, voting on party lines after committee Chair Hal Rogers (R-KY) organized opposition, but Representatives Blumenauer, Tom Reed (R-NY), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who were again sponsoring the measure, reintroduced it when the budget measure came to the floor.

blumenauer.jpg

The VEAA would have prevented the VHA from using any funds to punish physicians who write state-legal medical marijuana recommendations. VHA. Directive 2011-004 allows veterans to participate in state medical cannabis programs without being excluded from VHA care, but VHA doctors are still explicitly forbidden from providing recommendations. As a result, any veteran who qualifies for a state program must pay out of pocket for a private medical consultation. This effectively denies access to medical cannabis for veterans who rely solely on VHA healthcare.

Veterans are more likely to suffer from conditions that can be helped by cannabis, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, neurological disorders, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorders. Currently, 22 veterans commit suicide each day, and an estimated 25 million veterans live with chronic pain.

The bipartisan CARERS act, which has both Senate and House versions under consideration, would also lift the gag order on VHA doctors.

More Information:

Roll call of the vote: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2015/roll188.xml

__________________________________

New House Bill Would Recognize State Programs

A bipartisan bill introduced April 22 by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) would prevent the federal government from prosecuting individuals for marijuana crimes when they are in compliance with their state’s laws. The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2015 (H.R. 1940), cosponsored by five other Republicans and six Democrats, mirrors a bill Rohrabacher offered in 2013.

“The American people, through the 35 states that have liberalized laws banning either medical marijuana, marijuana in general, or cannabinoid oils, have made it clear that federal enforcers should stay out of their personal lives," Rohrabacher said in a statement. "It’s time for restraint of the federal government’s over-aggressive weed warriors.”

rohrabacher.jpg

Rohrabacher also sponsored last year's successful bipartisan amendment to a federal spending bill that currently prohibits the Department of Justice from using funds to interfere in state medical cannabis programs. The DOJ has said the measure does not restrain them from prosecuting individuals who are in compliance with state law. The congressman sent a letter to the Attorney General’s office declaring the DOJ's interpretation of the law "emphatically wrong."

The new bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act to create an exception to federal law for anyone authorized to use, possess or distribute cannabis under state law.

Under the Obama administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration has raided hundreds of marijuana dispensaries, and federal prosecutors have sent people to prison who complied with state laws. The US Attorney in northern California continues to purse asset forfeiture actions against dispensaries in the San Francisco Bay Area.

According to ASA’s 2013 report “What’s the Cost?” the Obama administration has spent nearly $80 million each year targeting medical cannabis patients and providers.

The federal government has ignored the congressional action, also introduced by Rohrabacher, in ongoing

More Information:

Text of HR 1940

ASA’s report: What’s The Cost? The Federal War on Patients

__________________________________

DEA Head Resigns during Sex Scandal

Michele Leonhart, administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), resigned in April. Her departure coincided with a government investigation that revealed DEA agents in Colombia attended sex parties sponsored by drug cartels and used federal funds to pay for prostitutes over more than a decade.

Leonhart has defied the Obama Administration's policies on medical cannabis and criticized the President publicly after he stated in an interview that cannabis is no more dangerous than alcohol. Despite repeated questions during a Congressional oversight hearing in 2012, Leonhart refused to state if she thought crack and heroin were more dangerous than cannabis.

Leonhart also opposed sentencing reforms embraced by the Obama Administration and other law enforcement agencies and worked to maintain cannabis’ Schedule I status. She famously said that rising violence in Mexico was a sign of the drug war’s success.

“Michele Leonhart has been out of step with this administration's policies and has been a roadblock to the rescheduling cannabis,” said Steph Sherer, ASA’s executive director. “We encourage President Obama to replace her with someone willing to institute policies that, as the President said recently, ‘follow the science as opposed to ideology.’”

During Leonhart’s tenure, the Obama Administration has spent over an average of $180,000 a day interfering with state medical cannabis programs and conducted over 300 raids targeting medical cannabis patients and providers.

__________________________________

CNN Special Shows Barriers to Medical Cannabis Research

icon_closerlook.jpg

The groundbreaking reporting on medical cannabis from CNN continued last month with the special program Weed 3. In it, medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduced new stories of patients benefiting from medical marijuana and documented the barriers to research and treatment. The special included an interview with President Obama in which he voiced his strongest support to date for medical cannabis, and discussed bipartisan attempts underway in Congress that would reform federal policy on medical cannabis.

Patient profiles such as that of veteran Sean Kiernan, who uses medical marijuana to treat PTSD symptoms, again demonstrated the potential benefits of cannabis for suffering patients. Weed 3 also highlighted the obstacles that have delayed Dr. Sue Sisley’s study of cannabis as a treatment for veterans with PTSD, and threatened to prevent the study from being conducted at all.

“The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) monopoly on the supply of cannabis for government-approved research has proven to be a failure,” said Mike Liszewski, ASA Government Affair Director. “One of the many ways the CARERS Act would help move research forward is ending NIDA’s crippling monopoly.”

__________________________________

Washington State Undermines Patient Access

icon_washington.jpg

Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill last month that substantially changes Washington State’s long-standing medical cannabis program. The new law, passed as SB 5052, purports to harmonize that program with the state's new market for recreational pot, The law creates a voluntary identification registry for patients, eliminates collective gardens that serve more than four patients, and will require patients to buy medicine at recreational marijuana stores that obtain an endorsement to sell medical cannabis.

“SB 5052 undermines the ability of patients to maintain their access to a steady supply of essential cannabis products,” said ASA executive director Steph Sherer. “Patients havc unique needs this approach cannot meet.”

Those who have been operating large collective gardens may get priority in obtaining new licenses if they can show they have been responsible and paid their taxes. Patients who are accepted into the new voluntary registry can possess three times more cannabis than recreational users and cultivate six plants at home. Registered patients can also possess 48 ounces of cannabis-infused solids, 216 ounces of liquid and 21 grams of concentrates. Patients who do not register can still cultivate up to three plants, but they can only possess the recreational limit of a single ounce of usable medicine.

More information:

ASA letter to Governor Inslee calling for Veto

__________________________________

New York Opens 30-Day Window for Applications

icon_new_york.jpg

The New York state Department of Health is now taking applications for businesses seeking licenses to cultivate and distribute medical cannabis, but interested parties have only 30 days to complete them. Each of the five selected cultivators will be authorized to also operate up to four dispensaries for distributing medical cannabis products to registered patients. New York limits cannabis medicines to only non-combustion delivery methods.

Applicants for cultivation and distribution licenses must submit detailed plans about their operations and pay both a non-refundable $10,000 application fee and a $200,000 registration fee. The registration fee will be refunded if the applicant is not accepted.

An 18-month clock on implementing New York’s medical cannabis law began when it was signed July 7 of last year. The Department of Health is certifying doctors to recommend medical cannabis to patients with cancer, epilepsy and other serious conditions.

A new bill in the state Assembly, introduced by Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried, would, if enacted, expedite the registration process for patients.

More Information

New York Department of Health cultivation and distribution application

__________________________________

Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Bill Clears Senate Committee

icon_pennsylvania.jpg

A bipartisan medical cannabis bill has cleared a key Pennsylvania state Senate committee, with a full Senate vote expected early this month. Senate Bill 3 passed out of the Government Committee by a unanimous vote of 10-0. The committee is chaired by one of the bill’s sponsors, Republican Sen. Mike Folmer, who was a special guest at ASA’s National Unity Conference and Lobby Day in March.

In the last session of the Pennsylvania state legislature, a medical cannabis bill passed the full Senate 43-7 but did not clear the state House. The Senate Government Committee made changes to bill to address House concerns, and more changes are expected before it goes to the floor of the Senate.

Governor Tom Wolf has expressed his support for medical cannabis legislation in the past, and his press secretary said, “The governor believes we should not deny doctor-recommended treatment that could help people suffering from seizures or cancer patients affected by chemotherapy,”

More information:

Text of Pennsylvania SB 3

Video of Sen. Folmer talking about the bill

__________________________________

California Citizen Lobby Day, June 14-15

CA Citizen Lobby Day

CA_Lobby_2015_Web_Banner_Final_Purple.jp

Registration is now open for ASA’s California Citizen Lobby Day, June 14-15, in Sacramento. This two-day event will be the biggest California lobby day yet, featuring workshops on local regulations and voter initiatives, special legislative briefings, citizen lobbyist training, and much more. ASA has been lobbying in support of AB 258, the Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act, which would end discrimination against medical cannabis patients in the organ transplant process. The bill passed the Assembly on April 30 by a vote of 52 to 8, with 20 assembly members not voting.

California Assembly Member Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) introduced AB 258 after two ASA members visited his office last year as part of our annual medical cannabis lobby day in the state legislature. The bill’s introduction is a clear example of direct grassroots action making a real difference in the political process and the lives of patients.

Register today and ASA will make an appointment for you to meet with you state Assembly Member and Senator. The requested donation for the lobby day is just $25, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

__________________________________

ACTIVIST PROFILE: Pennsylvania Campaign for Compassion

The Pennsylvania Campaign for Compassion was honored with an ASA Excellence Award for outstanding action group at this year’s National Unity Conference.

icon_pennsylvania.jpg

Campaign for Compassion was founded by a number of dedicated parents fighting for safe and legal access to medical cannabis for all. The initial organizing took place soon after CNN’s first special on medical cannabis aired in 2013. Several moms whose children suffer from the types of seizure disorders featured in Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s special found each other on social media. The campaign quickly expanded to include veterans and others seeking safe access to medical cannabis. The group’s closed facebook page for sharing information now has more than 1,500 subscribers.

PA_camp4comp.jpg

The group’s lobbying efforts began with a visit by one of the founders, Dana Ulrich, to the office of her state Senator, Republican Mike Folmer. Folmer surprised her by saying he was already a supporter, but he still needed convincing to sponsor legislation. Ulrich provided the senator with a packet of materials on medical cannabis at that Friday meeting. On Monday, he contacted her to say he had stayed up all night studying the issue and was now on board. Sen. Folmer is now a passionate supporter of safe access and a cosponsor of Senate Bill 3, which is advancing in the Pennsylvania Assembly.

The Campaign for Compassion has held numerous education and lobby days. Some members of the state Assembly have urged them to accept a limited, CBD-only bill similar to those that have passed more than a dozen states, but the group has remained steadfast in seeking a medical cannabis law that allows vaporizing whole-plant medicines and lets physicians decide which conditions medical cannabis may be effective treating.

“We believe everyone deserves a better life, and no one should be left behind," said Ulrich.

The Pennsylvania Campaign for Compassion’s next lobby day is scheduled for May 12. Find out more at the group’s website: http://www.campaign4compassion.com.

__________________________________

ACTION ALERT: Tell Obama to Fix the DEA

Tell President Obama he should select a replacement to head the Drug Enforcement Administration who, as he told CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, “follows the science as opposed to ideology” on medical cannabis. The DEA needs an administrator who understands medical cannabis should be considered from a "public health model and not just from an incarceration model." Urge the President to set a new course for the DEA today.

ASA

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notsofasteddie    629

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

May 06, 2015

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

CBD cannabis oil bills become law in Georgia, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, a similar bill is moving in Texas, Hawaii moves closer to allowing dispensaries, and more.

National

Last Thursday, the House narrowly defeated medical marijuana access for vets. An amendment from Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) to allow the Veterans Administration help veterans gain access to medical marijuana was defeated Thursday by a vote of 213-210. The amendment was to the spending bill to the Veterans Administration.

California

Last Thursday, the Assembly passed a medical marijuana organ transplant bill. The Assembly approved Assembly Bill 258, filed by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael). The bill bars anyone in the organ transplant process from using a patient's use of medical marijuana to deny them a transplant, unless that use is clinically significant to the transplant process. The bill now heads to the state Senate.

On Monday, Clearlake officials said petitioners have gathered enough signatures to force a referendum on the "zero tolerance" cultivation ordinance passed by the city council in February. That means the previous ordinance, which allowed for up to six plants, remains in effect. Now, the council will have to decide what to do.

Also on Monday, Huntington Beach strengthened its ban on dispensaries. The city council voted to clarify and toughen the ban, and to do so without the usual 30-day grace period. The vote was 4-3.

Also on Monday, Vallejo filed lawsuits against two dispensary ballot initiatives and is asking the courts to declare them invalid. It is also seeking a court order saying that it is not required to produce a ballot title and summary for the initiatives. The lawsuit claims the initiatives are "facially invalid on both constitutional and statutory grounds."

On Tuesday, the Eureka city council voted to approve two dispensaries within the city. The two dispensaries would be allowed to acquire the product elsewhere. An earlier version of the ordinance would have allowed four dispensaries that grow their own product.

Georgia

Last Thursday, the governor signed the CBD cannabis oil bill. Gov. Nathan Deal ® signed into law House Bill 1, the "Hailey's Hope Act." The law will allow qualifying patients to use CBD cannabis oils containing less than 5% THC. Click on the link to see the list of qualifying conditions.

Hawaii

Over the weekend, a dispensary bill came back from the dead. Negotiations over the dispensary bill, House Bill 321, collapsed last Friday, but after drama over the weekend, a Senate and House conference committee was set to reconsider the bill Monday. Sixteen of 25 senators had asked for reconsideration after conference committee chair Sen. Josh Green refused to agree to a final version of the bill. Senate President Donna Mercado then threw him off the committee, and Kim and House Speaker Joseph Souki sent out a letter late Friday saying the bill would be reconsidered today. Click on the link for all the juicy details.

On Tuesday, the dispensary bill won a final committee vote. A bill to finally bring dispensaries to the Aloha State has passed its final committee vote and now heads for a final legislative vote. House Bill 321 would allow for eight dispensaries statewide, with each allowed two retail locations and two grow sites.

Illinois

On Monday, an advisory board voted against adding anxiety and diabetes. The board has rejected adding anxiety and diabetes to the list of qualifying conditions and diseases, but is still considering whether to add Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

On Tuesday, the board expanded the list of qualifying illnesses. The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board Monday recommended adding PTSD and seven other illnesses and conditions to the list of those for which medical marijuana can be used. The decision isn't final; the Department of Public Health must approve.

Louisiana

Last Wednesday, a medical marijuana bill won a Senate committee vote. Only a year after overwhelmingly rejecting a similar bill, the Senate Health Committee unanimously approved a medical marijuana bill, Senate Bill 143, sponsored by Sen. Fred Mills, Jr. (R-Parks). The bill is set for a Senate floor vote this week. The bill does not allow for smoked marijuana; only marijuana processed into oils.

On Monday, the Senate passed the medical marijuana bill. The Senate approved Senate Bill 143, which would allow people suffering from cancer, glaucoma, and cerebral palsy to use the herb. It would create a single grow site and medical marijuana would be distributed through 10 pharmacies. The bill now heads to the House.

Missouri

On Monday, a CBD cannabis oil expansion bill won a committee vote. The bill, SB 386, passed unanimously out of the House Emerging Issues Committee Monday. It now goes to the Select Committee on General Laws.

Oklahoma

Last Thursday, the governor signed the CBD cannabis oil bill. Gov. Mary Fallin ® today signed into law House Bill 2154, also known as Katie and Cayman's Law. It allows for the use of CBD cannabis oil by children suffering from epileptic seizures and sets up a study program.

Rhode Island

On Monday, the state ACLU said it would file a lawsuit over employment rights. The ACLU of Rhode Island says it plans to file a complaint against an employer who refuses to hire medical marijuana patients, even though it is legal in the state. Lawsuits challenging the firing of medical marijuana users have been turned away in California and Michigan.

Tennessee

On Monday, the governor signed the CBD cannabis oil bill. Gov. Bill Haslam ® signed into law House Bill 1097, which will expand access to CBD cannabis oil.

Texas

On Monday, CBD cannabis oil bills moved in both chambers. Bills that would allow people suffering from epilepsy to use CBD cannabis oil won committee votes in both chambers Monday. Senate Bill 339 passed out of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services on an 8-1 vote, while its companion measure, House Bill 892, was approved by the House Public Health Committee, also on an 8-1 vote. A Senate floor vote come could next week.

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

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Shaun485    1
Who would have believed that cancer could possibly be averted from spreading by utilizing medical marijuana! As outlined by studies, substances in marijuana could possibly eliminate cancer cells!
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notsofasteddie    629

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

May 27, 2015

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

California localities continue to wrestle with medical marijuana, Illinois' nascent program gets an extension, another South Dakota initiative could be coming, Seattle plans to shut down dozens of dispensaries, and more.

California

Last Tuesday, Marin County supervisors began working on a restrictive medical marijuana ordinance. The ordinance envisions up to three nonprofit dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county, but critics said it would create so much red tape that it would be difficult to comply with its provisions.

Last Wednesday, the State Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Yuba County patients challenging the county's new marijuana cultivation ordinance and especially its urgency provision. That provision effectively stopped opponents' ability to circulate petitions for a voter referendum. Other legal challenges to the ordinance are still pending.

On Tuesday, a successful Santa Cruz County referendum blocked a supervisors' ban on commercial medical marijuana grows. The supes had voted last month to enact the ban, but opponents managed to gather enough signatures in just three weeks to qualify an initiative for the ballot, thus putting the ban on hold until the vote.

Illinois

Last Thursday, the Senate approved an extension of the medical marijuana program. The state Senate voted 33-16 to approve House Bill 3299, which would extend the program by two more years. The measure has already passed the House and is headed for the desk of Gov. Bruce Rauner ®, but it's unclear if he will sign it. He has said he didn't think the program should be extended until it's been fully evaluated -- but it hasn't even really started.

Nebraska

Last Thursday, the legislature approved a CBD cannabis oil study bill. The state Senate gave final approval to Legislative Bill 390, under which the University of Nebraska Medical Center would study the effectiveness of CBD in treating epileptic seizures. Gov. Pete Ricketts ® now has five days to act on it.

On Wednesday, a CBD cannabis oil bill was pronounced dead. A bill that would have allowed the limited use of CBD cannabis oil has died. LB 643, filed by state Sen. Tommy Garrett (D-Bellevue), did not have enough support to advance, Garrett said. He said he would bring it back next year.

Pennsylvania

On Monday, it looked like the medical marijuana bill had been blocked in the House. A medical marijuana bill, Senate Bill 3, has passed the Senate, but appears to be bottled up in the House after being assigned to the Health Committee, which is headed by medical marijuana foe Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tioga County). He told local media last week he didn't see the bill moving any time soon. Bill supporters are exploring their options, including moving the bill to a different committee, adding it as an amendment to other legislation, and including it in a budget measure.

South Dakota

On Wednesday, word came that a medical marijuana initiative is in the works. Maybe the third time will be the charm. An activist from Emery has submitted initiative language to the state Attorney General's office. If approved, petitioners would have to gather 13,871 valid voter signatures by November 8 to qualify for the 2016 ballot. South Dakota voted down previous efforts in 2006 and 2010.

Washington

Last Thursday, the state Supreme Court upheld local collective garden bans. The high court ruled 8-1 that the city of Kent can ban medical marijuana collective gardens. The decision upheld lower court rulings allowing cities to impose bans via zoning regulations. The case was Cannabis Action Council v. City of Kent.

On Tuesday, Seattle's mayor said he planned to shutter dozens of dispensaries. Mayor Ed Murray said Tuesday he plans to require special business licenses for marijuana shops and that dispensaries in operation before January 1, 2013, will get priority in licensing. But of the city's 99 dispensaries, 54 either opened after that date or are operating without a license, and the mayor's office says they need to shut down.

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

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notsofasteddie    629

State's medical-marijuana law clears legal hurdle

Judge clears way for Charlotte's Web marijuana

By Scott Powers and Gray Rohrer Orlando Sentinel

May 27, 2015

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/os-charlottes-web-ruling-20150526-story.html#

Florida's "Charlotte's Web" medical-marijuana law cleared a major hurdle Wednesday when a judge in Tallahassee upheld it. (Video by FOX35)

Barring appeal, court ruling clears way for state to issue licenses for non-euphoric medical marijuana growers

The state's noneuphoric-medical-marijuana law cleared a major legal hurdle Wednesday when a judge in Tallahassee upheld it, which allows the state to begin licensing marijuana growers this summer..

Florida Administrative Hearings Judge David Watkins rejected claims by an Orange County nursery that the state's proposed rules and regulations were unfairly developed to give advantage to bigger, politically connected nurseries to win the five regional medical-marijuana-growing licenses the law allows.

As a result, the Florida Department of Health can file the rules as "final" and begin soliciting applications for the licenses within three weeks, provided Baywood Nurseries of Apopka does not appeal Watkins' decision.

Lawyers for Baywood did not immediately return calls for comment Wednesday.

Backers of the limited medical-marijuana law were ecstatic.

"It's about time we all moved forward on this," said Seth Hyman, a medical-marijuana advocate from Weston who wants the medicine for his daughter. "It's been too long, and the patients of Florida continue to suffer, which includes my little 9-year-old-daughter, Rebecca."

Florida may now start creating a statewide medical-marijuana program that so far has only been proposed. The program, as written, allows five companies to grow low-THC marijuana, extract an oil and sell it as medicine for people who suffer from intractable epilepsy and several other debilitating conditions.

The law was approved by the 2014 Florida Legislature and went into effect last July 1. But the department's efforts to write rules and regulations have bogged down in bureaucracy and legal challenges for nearly a year. Last fall Watkins sided with a challenger, throwing out much of the department's first attempt at writing rules.

Baywood challenged the department's second attempt.

Even barring any additional legal challenges — which remain possible — it is not entirely clear how quickly the marijuana oil, sometimes known by a popular nickname "Charlotte's Web," might be available.

In a statement after the ruling, the Department of Health said, "The department remains committed to ensuring safe and efficient access to this product for children with refractory epilepsy and patients with advanced cancer. We are moving swiftly to facilitate access to the product before the end of the year."

The Department of Health can start accepting applications for licenses as soon as 20 days from now. Then there is a 21-day window for qualified growers — in business at least 30 years, with capacity for at least 400,000 plants — to apply for the regional licenses to grow in Southeast, Southwest, Central, Northwest and Northeast Florida.

Some of the financial requirements are daunting, so the possibility exists that the department might get only one qualified application in some regions, suggested Louis Rotundo, lobbyist for the Winter Park-based Florida Medical Cannabis Association. If that happens, the department could issue that license immediately. Otherwise, the department has up to 90 days to pick the winning applicants.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, who sponsored a House version of the bill last year, said he expects the Department of Health to act quickly.

"I want to see medicine in the hands of needy Floridians," Gaetz said.

Once the licenses are awarded, the growers will have to obtain marijuana seeds or seedlings. Kerry Herndon, owner of Kerry's Nursery in Apopka, said it is "tight but doable" to have oil available for medicine 90 days after seedlings arrive, but the optimum time could be up to 160 days.

Herndon, who plans to immediately apply for a license, does not expect any more legal delays. He said losing applicants might file lawsuits after the licenses are issued, but by then the winning growers would already be growing plants.

"I understand about everyone getting a chance," to challenge the process, he said. "But you're talking about a year now, and sick children, and it's time. It's time."

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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

June 03, 2015

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

The House tells the DEA to stay out of medical marijuana states, California and Oregon move toward regulating medical marijuana grows, CBC cannabis oil bills and programs make progress, and more.

National

On Wednesday, the House voted to bar the DEA from interfering in states with CBD cannabis oil and medical marijuana laws. The moves were part of a broader assault on the DEA in the House. Click on the link for more information.

Arizona

Last Tuesday, the state Supreme Court agreed to review DUID immunity for patients. The court agreed to review a state Court of Appeals ruling issued last November that said medical marijuana patients can still be prosecuted under laws against drugged driving. Arizona has a zero tolerance per se DUID law under which all that is necessary to convict if the presence of inactive metabolites in the blood.

California

On Monday, a medical marijuana regulation bill won a committee vote. The Assembly Appropriations Committee has approved a compromise regulation bill that combines features of two competing bills, Assembly Bill 34 and Assembly Bill 266. The bill would create a Governor's Office of Medical Marijuana Regulation, with three divisions. The Agriculture Department would handle cultivation, the Public Health Department would handle product safety and labeling, and the Board of Equalization would be responsible for licensing. The compromise bill is AB 266. A floor vote is expected later this week.

Florida

Last Wednesday, a state judge cleared the way for the CBD cannabis oil program. A judge in Tallahassee dismissed the final challenge to the state's CBD cannabis oil law passed last year, clearing the way for the long-delayed program to actually get underway. Now, growers should be able to provide CBD cannabis oils to patients within a few months.

Illinois

Last Saturday, a bill to add PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions moved ahead. The House last Saturday approved a bill that would add PTSD to the list of qualifying medical conditions. The bill has already been approved by the Senate, but will have to go back there for approval after the House added language clarifying that patients are not prohibited from having a state firearms owner ID card.

Minnesota

As of Monday, the CBD cannabis oil program is taking registrants. Patients can sign up for the state's CBD cannabis oil program, which will go into effect July 1. The state estimates that some 5,000 people will sign up.

Oklahoma

On Saturday, a medical marijuana initiative campaign got underway. Hundreds of people showed up at the state capitol for the launch of a medical marijuana initiative campaign led by Oklahomans for Health.

Oregon

Last Friday, the Senate passed a bill restricting medical marijuana growers. The state Senate voted overwhelmingly to approve a bill widely opposed by patients and growers that limits the number of plants caregivers could grow. The measure, Senate Bill 964, also requires regular reporting by growers and allows localities to prohibit dispensaries.

South Carolina

Last Friday, the medical marijuana bill was pronounced dead for the year. A bill that would have allowed for the use of medical marijuana is dead in the state legislature this year, senators said. Senate Bill 672, sponsored by Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort), will, however, get more hearings before the legislature begins the second year of its two-year session in January.

Texas

On Monday, the CBD cannabis oil bill was signed into law. Gov. Greg Abbott ® Monday signed into law the CBD cannabis oil bill, Senate Bill 339, which allows the use of the oil for treating severe forms of epilepsy. Texas is now the 15th state to allow the use of CBD cannabis oils.

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

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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,
June 10, 2015

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

It's getting a bit quieter on the medical marijuana front as state legislative sessions wind down, but there is still some action.


National

Last weekend, the AMA called for protections for medical marijuana doctors. Meeting at its annual convention in Chicago, the American Medical Association has passed a resolution called "Immunity from Federal Prosecution for Cannabis Prescribing." The resolution is "consistent with AMA policy to protect patient-physician communications about treatment options, supporting a public health approach rather than a law-enforcement focus, for individuals possessing cannabis for personal use and opposing government interference with the practice of medicine," the nation's largest doctors' group said.

Alabama

Last Thursday,medical marijuana legislation died. The legislative session ended last Thursday, and medical marijuana legislation died without action. Again.

California

Last Thursday, the Santa Barbara planning commission approved a dispensary. The commission approved a location at Ontare Plaza by a 6-1 vote. It still must be approved by the city council.

Louisiana

Last Thursday, the House approved a medical marijuana bill. The House approved Senate Bill 143, which would allow for the use of non-smoked marijuana for medical reasons and which would set up a system of 10 dispensaries statewide. The bill has already passed the Senate, but now returns there for a final vote after the house amended the bill. Gov. Bobby Jindal ® has said he will sign the bill.


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


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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

June 17, 2015

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

The Senate sends a message to the DEA, a new study deflates fears of medical marijuana leading to increased teen pot-smoking, California continues to try to regulate its medical marijuana free-for-all, and more.

National

Last Thursday, a Senate committee voted to keep the DEA out of medical marijuana states. Just a week earlier, in a series of successful amendments to the Justice Department appropriations bill, the House sent a clear message to the DEA and DOJ to stop interfering in medical marijuana states. Last Thursday, a similar message came from the Senate. The Senate Appropriations Committee voted two-to-one today in favor of an amendment from Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) that prohibits the Justice Department, including the DEA, from using federal funds to interfere in the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. Click on the link for more details and reaction.

On Tuesday, a study found that medical marijuana doesn't lead to increased youth use. A study published in the British medical journal The Lancet finds that allowing for the legal use of medical marijuana has not led to an increase in the number of teens using it in the US. The study relied on 24 years' worth of data from the Monitoring the Future surveys and found that while youth use levels were higher in some medical marijuana states, those higher levels of use had preceded the legalization of medical marijuana.

California

Last Wednesday, the Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act won a committee vote. The measure, Assembly Bill 258, would bar health providers from denying organ transplants to people solely because they are medical marijuana patients. It has already passed the Assembly, and was approved by the Senate Health Committee. It now heads for a Senate floor vote.

On Monday, members of a Santa Ana dispensary filed a lawsuit against local elected officials and police. The suit comes in the wake of a highly-publicized raid on the dispensary in which police were caught smashing surveillance cameras (oops, they missed one), making crude remarks about patients, and helping themselves to samples of the edibles. But the lawsuit alleges deeper problems, including collusion between Mayor Pulido, the police, and other elected officials to rig the dispensary permit system and harass unpermitted dispensaries.

Colorado

On Monday, the state Supreme Court ruled that employers can fire medical marijuana patients for off-duty use. The Court today affirmed lower court decisions allowing employers to fire employees for marijuana use while off-duty. The decision hinged on the state's lawful off-duty activities statute. The Court held that in order for the off-duty conduct to be considered "lawful," it must be legal under both state and federal law. The unanimous decision was not a surprise to advocates working to reform marijuana law and policy in Colorado. The case is Coats v. Dish Network. Coats is a quadriplegic who worked in customer service for Dish, but was fired after a random drug test turned up marijuana metabolites.

Delaware

Last Thursday, the legislature approved a youth CBD cannabis oil bill. The state Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 90, which would allow children with epilepsy to use CBC cannabis oil. The bill, also known as Rylie's Law after 9-year-old Rylie Maedler, who suffers from severe seizures, already passed the House and now heads to the governor's desk.

Georgia

On Monday, the state unveiled its online registry for CBD cannabis oil patients. The Department of Public Health today went live with its online registry for patients authorized to use low-THC CBD cannabis oil. Also, the Georgia Commission on Medical Cannabis met for the first time.

South Dakota

Last Wednesday, a medical marijuana initiative was filed. A state activist has filed the explanation for a medical marijuana initiative with the state attorney general's office. Once it is reviewed and approved, proponents will then have 180 days to come up with 13, 871 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. Medical marijuana initiatives have twice been defeated in the state. Maybe the third time will be the charm.

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

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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

June 24, 2015

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

Massachusetts finally sees its first dispensary, the White House removes a barrier to marijuana research (although others remain), a Delaware kids' CBD cannabis oil becomes law, California stays busy, and more.

Global

Last week, the Dalai Lama endorsed medical marijuana. Speaking at a an event in Guanajuato, Mexico, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism said he supported the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Speaking in response to a question about legalizing marijuana, the Dalai clarified that he opposed its recreational use, but using it medicinally would be "the exception."

National

On Monday, the White House removed a crucial barrier to marijuana research. The Obama administration announced it is ending a major impediment to marijuana research, the Public Health Service review. That hurdle, created under the Clinton administration, required all applications for marijuana research to undergo an individual review, slowing down marijuana research and making it more difficult to study than heroin or cocaine. More hurdles remain, though.

On Wednesday, the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control Took Up CBD. The caucus, generally composed of old school drug warriors, somewhat surprisingly examined issues around access to CBDs, focusing on barriers to research and potential medical benefits.

California

Last Thursday, a Santa Cruz County initiative to overturn a cultivation ban qualified for the ballot. Now, county supervisors must either repeal the ban themselves or give voters the opportunity to do so. The county's ordinance banned commercial grows and limited personal grows to 100 square feet. If supervisors don't act, it could be on a June 2016 election ballot, or supervisors could call a special election.

Also last Thursday, the San Diego Planning Commission okayed a sixth dispensary. The dispensary is set to operate in Mira Mesa. The first approved dispensary in the city opened in Otay Mesa in March. San Diego allows for up to four dispensaries in each city council district.

Last Friday, a judge in Santa Ana denied a request to freeze the dispensary permitting process despite accusations that the process was unfair. That means the city can go ahead with permitting up to 20 dispensaries.

On Monday, the medical marijuana organ transplant bill passed the legislature. The bill would bar health care providers from denying access to organ transplants based solely on the patient's medical marijuana use. Assembly Bill 258 now awaits the governor's signature.

Also on Monday, a Mendocino County initiative to create a marijuana commission failed to qualify for the ballot. Proponents needed 5,004 valid signatures to qualify, but only came up with 2,797 raw signatures.

On Tuesday, Redding officials signaled that they will extend a dispensary moratorium for another year. Zoning Board officials said they would vote Wednesday night to extend the moratorium.

Delaware

On Tuesday, the governor signed a CBD cannabis oil for kids bill into law. Gov. Jack Markell (D) signed into law Rylie's Law, named after a Delaware youth who suffered from epileptic seizures. The law will allow physicians to recommend the use of CBD cannabis oils for epileptic children who do not respond to other treatments. The oil will only be available at medical marijuana dispensaries, the first of which opens Friday.

Massachusetts

Last Friday, the state's first dispensary was approved to sell medical marijuana. The Alternatives Therapy Group in Salem is ready to start selling to patients after winning a temporary waiver from state testing guidelines widely viewed as too strict. The Department of Public Health has said it will reconsider the standards. The dispensary is one of four in the state that have started growing their own supply, and is the furthest along. It opened on Wednesday.

New Jersey

On Monday, a bill to allow sick kids to use CBC cannabis oil at school was filed. Assemblymembers Pamela Lampitt (D-Camden) and Lou Greenwald (D-Camden) filed a bill that would allow children to use CBD cannabis oil at school. The bill would require parents or a designated adult to come to the school and administer the oil. The measure is Assembly Bill 4587.

New York

On Monday, an early access medical marijuana bill passed the legislature. A bill that would allow early access to medical marijuana passed the Senate Monday night after already being approved in the Assembly. The move comes as a year has gone by since Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed the Compassionate Use Act into law, but not one patient has yet to be able to legally obtain any. This bill would provide expedited access to seriously ill patients.

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

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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

July 01, 2015

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

It's been quite a week for medical marijuana. Delaware, Massachusetts, and Minnesota saw their first dispensaries open; Hawaii is now set to join the dispensary crowd; CBD cannabis oil became legal in Wyoming, and more.

Delaware

Last Friday, the state's first dispensary opened for business. The First State Compassion Center opened last in a Wilmington industrial park. This is nearly four years after the legislature approved them, but the process was stalled when Gov. Jack Markell (D) backed away in the face of federal threats. Finally, Delaware's patients have a legal place to obtain their medicine.

Hawaii

On Monday, it became clear that the dispensary bill will become law. Gov. David Ige (D) has released a list of bills he intends to veto, and the dispensary bill is not on it. That bill, House Bill 321, will initially allow up to 16 dispensaries, to be operated by eight medical marijuana businesses. It comes 15 years after the state became the first to legalize medical marijuana through the legislative process.

Massachusetts

Last Thursday, the state's first dispensary opened for business. The Alternative Therapies Group has opened the state's first dispensary in Salem. It only took three years once voters approved medical marijuana in 2012.

Minnesota

On Wednesday, medical marijuana became legal in the state, but you can't smoke it. The state's new medical marijuana law went into effect at midnight, with people lining up at the Minnesota Medical Solutions clinic in downtown Minneapolis as it opened its doors as soon as it was legally able. The state's law is very restrictive and highly regulated, and does not allow for use of smokeable marijuana as medicine.

New Jersey

On Monday, the legislature approved a bill allowing sick kids to use CBD cannabis oil in school. The state Senate Monday approved the bill; an identical version had already passed the House. Now it's up to Gov. Christ Christie ® to sign it.

Pennsylvania

Last Friday, the House Health Committee unanimously approved a medical marijuana bill. The committee voted unanimously to approve Senate Bill 3, which would allow seriously ill Pennsylvanians to access medical marijuana with recommendations from their doctors. The bill will now go to the House Rules Committee for further consideration. The bill had been bottled up by the committee chair, but a vote was allowed after Rep. Nick Miccarelli (R-Ridley Park) filed a discharge petition that would have put it before the House for a floor vote. The bill passed the Senate in May.

On Monday, a "compromise" medical marijuana bill was filed. Rep. Ron Marisco (R-Dauphin) and several cosponsors have filed House Bill 1432, which would allow for the limited use of medical marijuana. The move comes as a measure that passed the Senate, Senate Bill 3, has been stuck in the House.

Wyoming

On Wednesday, CBD cannabis oil became legal in the state. A new law allowing seizure patients to use CBD cannabis oil is now in effect. But the state health department hasn't yet created patient registration cards, leaving patients uncertain about their legal status. The department says it is working on it. The measure was House Bill 32.

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

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ASA Activist Newsletter - July 2015

 July 02, 2015 |  William Dolphin

In this Issue:

•White House Scraps Barrier to Cannabis Research

•Senate Pushes Medical Cannabis Policy Changes

•Study Finds Many Medical Edibles Mislabeled

•California Legislature Passes Transplant Bill

•California Moves toward State Regulation

•Colorado Court Rules against Employee Rights

•New Life for Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Bill

•Activist Profile: The Collins Family, Virginia

•Action Alert: Support the CARERS Act

_______________________

White House Scraps Barrier to Cannabis Research

icon_federaladvocacy.jpg

A bureaucratic barrier to medical cannabis research has fallen. The Obama Administration has dropped a review requirement that researchers working with no other drug faced. Last month, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced that new cannabis research will no longer have to pass review by the Public Health Service (PHS) as well as the Food and Drug Administration.

In May, a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) had sent a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services calling for an end to the additional PHS review requirement. For the past 16 years, research studies on cannabis have been the only ones for which the government has required the extra step.

140714111739-sgmd-gupta-sisley-marijuana

Dr Sanjay Gupta interviews Dr Sue Sisley about her research

"The US government has systematically impeded marijuana efficacy research, and the PHS review has played a large role in that stonewalling," said Sue Sisley MD, whose research has been delayed. "To see the government finally eliminate this waste of taxpayer dollars is a triumph and hopefully represents another historic shift in drug policy reform."

Since 2009, Dr. Sisley has been attempting to start a research study on using cannabis to treat post traumatic stress disorder among veterans of the US military. The project, which is sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, received final approval March 12, 2014 from the Department of Health and Human Services. The State of Colorado has provided a $2 million grant for the study, but researchers are still waiting for federal cannabis to be released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which holds the only federal license to produce research cannabis in the US, despite a DEA ruling calling for more.

In a 2007 ruling related to this study, an administrative law judge for the Drug Enforcement Administration found that issuing additional licenses for the cultivation of research cannabis was in the public interest, but the DEA has refused to do so. No other drug is limited to a single production license, making heroin and cocaine easier drugs to research than cannabis.

“The next and even more crucial reform is ending the monopoly on DEA-licensed marijuana that can be used in FDA-regulated research,” said Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of MAPS.”Once there are privately-funded, DEA-licensed medical marijuana producers, then the question of the medical use of marijuana will be evaluated by the FDA based on scientific data, the same as with all other drugs."

More Information:

ASA Action Alert: Ask your Congressperson to Allow Medical Cannabis Research

Department of Health and Human Services Guidance On Procedures For The Provision of Marijuana Medical Research

The ONDCP statement on policy change

_______________________

Senate Pushes Medical Cannabis Policy Changes

icon_federaladvocacy.jpg

Congressional support for new medical cannabis policy continues to grow. Last month, the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment aimed at stopping federal interference with medical cannabis programs. The amendment offered by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Mary.) to the Commerce, Science and Justice (CJS) Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2015 mirrors the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment that was added to the CJS bill in the House of Representatives in May by a vote of 242 to 186. The Mikulski amendment marks the first time the US Senate has voted on a measure that supports state-level medical cannabis programs. It passed out of the committee with the bipartisan support of 13 Democrats and 7 Republicans.

The amendment to the CJS budget bill would continue the onSen. Barbara Mikulskie-year ban on federal interference with state medical cannabis programs that was enacted last year, to the surprise of many pundits. The Senate never voted on last year’s amendment, but the conference committee that resolved differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget preserved it, thanks to the support of Sen. Mikulski and others.

BarbaraMikulski_BM4X3_0.jpg

“Passage of the Mikulski medical cannabis amendment shows that Senate support exists for the central elements of the CARERS Act,” said Steph Sherer, ASA Executive Director. “The CARERS Act would make permanent the protections for medical cannabis programs and patients and create a much-needed framework for critical research.”

The increasing Congressional support for new medical cannabis policy is seen in not just the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment. Also progressing is a different budget measure that would enable Veterans Health Administration physicians to complete the paperwork their patients need to participate in state medical cannabis programs. The bipartisan Veterans Equal Access amendment was added by the Senate Appropriations Committee to their version of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill by Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). The amendment was originally offered by Reps. Earl Blumenaeur (D-OR), Sam Farr (D-CA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) but narrowly lost in the House in May.

Both appropriations bills have to go through the House-Senate conference committee and get re-voted on as a whole before they go to President Obama for a signature.

More Information:

Rohrabacher- Farr Amendment Text

ASA Fact Sheet on Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment

ASA Analysis of the CARERS Act

_______________________

Study Finds Many Medical Edibles Mislabeled

American consumers expect to be able to check the labels of food products to determine what is in them. For products infused with medical cannabis, that is all the more important, but a new study finds that cannabis products may be more often mislabeled than not.

Last fall, researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine collected edible medical cannabis products from dispensaries in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle. Their analysis, published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that THC and CBD content matched the labels in only 13 of the 75 different products tested. Accurate labeling considered to be anything measuring within 10 percent of the listed amount.

THC content was less than the product label listed in 45 of the 75 samples, sometimes strikingly so. According to lead author Ryan Vandrey, two products that were supposed to contain 100 milligrams of THC had only two to three milligrams.

Perhaps even more problematic than patients not getting the medicine they pay for was the study’s finding that 23 percent of the products contained more THC than the label indicated. The lag time between ingesting a product and feeling its effects make proper dosing tricky. Ingesting a more potent product than intended can be counterproductive to the therapeutic benefits sought and produce uncomfortable side effects

Cannabidiol (CBD) was also consistently mislabeled or not labeled at all. Of the 75 products tested, 54 showed detectable levels of CBD, but only 13 had CBD content labeled, and none were accurate. Four had less CBD than labeled, while nine had more.

“The manufacture and labeling of medicines must meet the most stringent standards,” said Kristin Nevedal, director of the Patient Focused Certification program at Americans for Safe Access. “That’s why third-party audits and verification are so important at every step, from cultivation to distribution to testing.”

ASA’s Patient Focused Certification program is working with industry stakeholders and regulators to provide objective verification that products and organizations meet the national standards established by the American Herbal Products Association for botanical medicines. To date, the PFC program has certified the compliance of companies in Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, New Mexico, Washington State and the District of Columbia.

More Information:

The study abstract: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2338239

ASA’s Patient Focused Certification: http://patientfocusedcertification.org/

_______________________

California Moves toward State Regulation

icon_california.jpg

On June 5, the California Assembly passed a compromise bill by a vote of 60-8 that would create a comprehensive regulatory structure for the state’s medical cannabis program. The measure is now before the state Senate, where it is scheduled for hearings before the Health Committee on July 8. Americans for Safe Access supports AB 266, the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Control Act, and is working to further improve it.

“AB 266 helps put aside issues that distract from ensuring access to medicine for patients in California,” said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. “Americans for Safe Access supports amending the proposed licensing structure to protect the historic diversity of the California's medical cannabis program and allow new entrants to the industry.”

Rival bills, AB 266 and AB 34, were merged to create the measure which passed. Assembly member Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) was made lead author of the new bill, with original proponent Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) and Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) listed as coauthors. AB 266 is supported by the Emerald Growers Association, which lobbies for small cannabis farms, as well as the Police Chiefs Association and the League of California Cities.

AB 266 would create an Office of Marijuana Regulation to oversee the implementation of the licensing and regulation of commercial cannabis operations. Responsibility for various aspects of operations would be split between state agencies already tasked with similar oversight. The state Department of Agriculture would be in charge of cannabis cultivation. The Department of Public Health would monitor cannabis testing, laboratory certification and product safety. The Board of Equalization would be in charge of dispensaries and transportation. Tiers of licenses would be available, based on the size of the operation, with separate licenses for cultivation, distribution and transportation of cannabis. No licenses or permits would be required for patient collectives of five or fewer persons, so long as they were not selling medical cannabis products

“California was the first state in the nation to approve medical cannabis with the passage of Prop 215 in 1996, but since then we as a state have stagnated, and it is time that the Legislature takes definitive action on this important issue,” said Assembly member Bonta. “As Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, I feel it is imperative that we create a viable framework for medical cannabis that preserves our core priorities and provides strong patient protections and access to their medicine.”

Almost 20 years since voters approved medical cannabis use, production and distribution, California still lacks a statewide regulatory system. Research conducted by ASA has shown that sound regulation can both ensure safe access and reduce crime and community complaints. The federal Department of Justice has said it will defer to state law enforcement on medical cannabis only when and where there is a robust regulatory system in place.

More Information:

ASA Report: Medical Cannabis Dispensing and Local Regulation

Analysis of the bill

Current text of the bill

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California Legislature Passes Transplant Bill

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An ASA-sponsored bill to prevent medical cannabis patients from being denied life-saving organ transplants is on the desk of California Governor Jerry Brown, awaiting his signature.

On June 22, the California Senate approved AB 258, the Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act, to prohibit discrimination against medical cannabis patients. AB 258 passed the Senate by a vote of 33 to 1 after 200 patients and advocates visited Senate offices in support of it as part of ASA’s California Citizen Lobby Day. The bill, sponsored by Assembly Member Marc Levine (D-San Rafael), passed the state Assembly on April 30 by a vote of 64 to 12.

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Norman Smith

Medical cannabis patients in California are routinely removed from the organ transplant waiting list if they test positive for cannabis use, even when that use was recommended by their doctor. Many transplant centers define all cannabis use as drug abuse, making qualified patients ineligible for transplants. Those policies have cost several Californians their lives.

ASA member Norman Smith, who had liver cancer, died in 2012 after Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles denied him a transplant because of the cannabis use his oncologist had recommended. Toni Trujillo was denied a life-saving kidney transplant at Cedars-Sinai in 2012 because her medical cannabis use was also classified as “substance abuse.” Richard Hawthorne was denied a liver transplant by Stanford Medical School last year, despite a friend offering to be a donor.

Unlike many other medical cannabis states, California does not protect patients from civil liabilities or discrimination based on their legal medical cannabis use. California patients face pervasive discrimination in employment, housing, parental rights, and access to health care.

More Information:

Background on AB 258

Action Alert urging Gov. Brown to sign AB 258

_______________________

Colorado Court Rules against Employee Rights

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Qualified patients in Colorado can be fired for cannabis use away from the workplace, even though its use is legal for all adults in the state. That was the decision of the Supreme Court of Colorado, which ruled unanimously that a quadriplegic employee who used cannabis legally to control leg spasms was lawfully terminated because all marijuana use is illegal under federal law. Brandon Coats was fired in 2010 by the Dish Network when he failed a random drug test.

A landmark case in California, Ross v. Raging Wire, whose appeal was litigated by ASA, came to a similar end with the state Supreme Court ruling that employers can use federal law as a reason for terminating employees who comply with state law.

Many states with more recently enacted medical cannabis laws have included explicit civil protections for patients, shielding them from discrimination in hiring, housing and other matters.

_______________________

New Life for Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Bill

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Patients and advocates in Pennsylvania have new hope. A medical cannabis bill that seemed dead in the House after it was assigned to a committee chaired by a vocal opponent has been revived.

Senate Bill 3, which had 27 cosponsors and passed the Senate by an overwhelming margin in May, was moved to a new committee last week to thwart a parliamentary maneuver that would have brought it to the floor of the House for an immediate vote.

Gov. Tom Wolf has said he will sign a medical cannabis bill if it reaches him. A similar measure passed the Senate last year but was never voted on by the House.

SB 3 would license dispensaries from which qualified patients could obtain a limited variety of medical cannabis products. Patients with certain serious medical conditions whose physicians recommend cannabis use would be allowed to register with the state to participate but would be limited in how they could use the medicine.

According to polls, nearly nine out of 10 Pennsylvania voters support safe access, and nine out of 10 Pennsylvania doctors would recommend it to their patients who might benefit from it.

_______________________

Activist Profile: The Collins Family, Virginia

Beth and Jennifer Collins with Sen. MarsdenOver the past 18 years, 23 states and the District of Columbia have created full-fledged medical cannabis programs. Over the past 18 months, 15 other states have enacted laws allowing limited cannabis extract use. Behind that recent string of legislative victories are parents. Few politicians can say no to someone with a seriously sick child, and ever since Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s first CNN special on medical cannabis highlighted how extracts can help children with seizure disorders, parents have been lining up at statehouse doors around the country, demanding access.

In most of those 15 new states, the law requires those extracts to be predominately or exclusively cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive constituent of cannabis that has therapeutic properties. Most also restrict legal use to managing seizure disorders, in some cases only minor children may use it legally.

Of the five medical cannabis laws that have passed so far this year, Virginia is notable for allowing extracts that contain not just CBD but THCA, the plant’s precursor of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THCA is non-psychoactive but converts to psychoactive THC when heated. THCA is also what has proven effective for managing one young Virginian’s intractable seizures, though she and her mother had to move to Colorado to discover that.

Jennifer Collins, now 15, has been back in Fairfax, Virginia since last December, after spending a year in Colorado, separated from her father and sister. She and her mother returned because the stress of having the family split between two states was taking a toll on all of them, but a letter Jennifer had written to the Virginia legislature prompted Senator David Marsden to introduce a bill that would make her medicine legal.

Jennifer and her parents, Beth and Patrick Collins, successfully lobbied for the bill during a session that saw three medical cannabis measures introduced but none expected to pass. Along with other parents, Beth worked with Virginia Parents for Medical Marijuana, the national Parents Coalition for Rescheduling Medical Cannabis, and Americans for Safe Access in convincing lawmakers that her daughter needed legal access to the medicine they had discovered worked far better than conventional pharmaceutical drugs.

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“Citizen lobbying made a difference in Virginia,” said Mike Liszewski, ASA Government Affairs Director. “The Collins family shows how powerful the voices of both parents and patients can be in these debates.”

Jennifer suffers from a seizure disorder known as Jeavons Syndrome, a type of childhood-onset epilepsy that is lifelong and highly resistant to treatment. Jennifer was diagnosed in 2008 after her parents noticed her eyelids would flutter involuntarily at the dinner table. The small seizures she was having increased to as many as 300 a day as she grew older. When she reached puberty, they began to occur in clusters that produced serious grand mal seizures that would leave her blue and convulsing. Her doctors tried a dozen different pharmaceutical medications with little success. The drugs controlled the grand mal seizures but not the smaller ones, and the side effects were serious, including cognitive decline, suicidal thoughts and unpredictable rages. Since she began using THCA oil, Jennifer has reduced the number of both seizures and medications, as well as what she calls “outrageous side effects.”

Beth and Patrick Collins have not stopped their advocacy efforts. They are working to see the law expanded and a robust medical cannabis program established in the Commonwealth. Virginia’s new law does not allow for the legal production or distribution of the cannabis oil their daughter needs; the law just provides a mechanism for keeping them out of jail if they are charged with a marijuana offense because of it.

“We want the law to protect everyone who may be using medical marijuana,” said Beth.

“We support the CARERS Act,” added Patrick.

Fifteen states now allow use of CBD extracts: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. Idaho passed a similar bill in 2015, but it was vetoed by their governor.

More Information:

Text of the Virginia CBD and THCa bill

__________________________________

ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress to Pass the CARERS Act TODAY!

Congress has the chance to take comprehensive action on medical cannabis with the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act. First introduced in the Senate, a bipartisan companion bill is now also in the House.

Take action today! Tell your Senators and Representative they need to resolve the conflicts between new state laws and outdated federal policies. CARERS would do that, as well as reschedule cannabis, allow VA doctors to discuss medical cannabis with veterans, and allow cannabis businesses to have bank accounts. Sign the Petition to tell Congress to support the CARERS Act at SafeAccessNow.org/careers.

ASA

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notsofasteddie    629

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

July 08, 2015

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

With state legislative sessions winding down, its been pretty quiet on the medical marijuana front, except for California, where both localities and the legislature continue to grapple with the issue.

California

Last Thursday, an attorney representing collectives filed a lawsuit challenging Riverside County's new restrictions on grows in unincorporated parts of the county. James De Aguilera, representing Chronic Relief and others, seeks an injunction to block implementation of an ordinance passed in May, which is set to go into effect Thursday. The ordinance bans commercial grows, but allows patients and caregivers to grow up to 12 plants.

On Monday, the governor signed the medical marijuana organ transplant bill into law. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed Assembly Bill 258, which will bar doctors and hospitals from denying organ transplants to medical marijuana patients solely because they use it. Some patients have been denied life-saving organ transplants in the past. The new law goes into effect January 1.

On Tuesday, a medical marijuana regulation bill advanced. The Assembly Business and Professions Committee approved the medical marijuana regulation bill, Senate Bill 643, on Tuesday. The bill provides a statewide regulatory framework for the industry, and has already passed out of the Senate.

Also on Tuesday, Monterey County supervisors adopted a temporary dispensary and cultivation ban in unincorporated areas of the county. They approved a 45-day interim ordinance to allow them time to write and enact regulations for what they think will be a burgeoning industry.

On Wednesday, Senator Feinstein was delivered petitions demanding she get on board with medical marijuana. Marijuana reform advocates led by the Drug Policy Alliance delivered a petition with 10,000 signatures from people "fed up with Feinstein's well-documented opposition to medical marijuana" to her San Francisco office. They want her to change her stance. "California has allowed access to medical marijuana for 20 years and the vast majority of Californians support this," said DPA's Amanda Reiman. "It is disappointing that Sen. Feinstein continues to be a lone voice of opposition from California when it comes to supporting medical marijuana patients."

Louisiana

On Monday, the governor signed a medical marijuana bill into law. Gov. Bobby Jindal ® Monday signed into law Senate Bill 143, which allows doctors to prescribe marijuana for medical use. The law foresees an extensive regulatory process to select and supervise a state-authorized grower and 10 licensed distributors, but some advocates are concerned that the prescribing language will make the law meaningless. The DEA will pull prescribing privileges from doctors who prescribe marijuana, which is why other states say doctors can recommend it. The bill originally called for recommendations, but the language was changed at the behest of social conservative groups in the state.

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

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notsofasteddie    629

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

July 15, 2015

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Medical marijuana continues to be an issue in Congress, medical marijuana programs in Illinois and New York move ahead, a federal appeals court decision hits dispensaries in the pocketbook, and more.

National

Last Wednesday, House Republicans blocked a bid for more marijuana studies. Republicans in the House killed an amendment to an appropriations bill that would have reclassified marijuana so laboratories could conduct "credible research on its safety and efficacy as a medical treatment." The amendment would have encouraged the DEA and the National Institutes of Health to work together to allow studies of the risks and benefits of using marijuana to treat various diseases and conditions. The amendment, sponsored by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Sam Farr (D-CA), as well as marijuana legalization foe Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), would have created a new designation in the federal drug scheduling scheme, Schedule 1R, for research.

On Monday, US senators sought information from federal agencies on progress on medical marijuana research. A group of eight United States senators Monday sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) requesting information about the agencies’ efforts to facilitate and coordinate scientific research on medical marijuana. The letter was signed by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

California

Last Thursday, a federal appeals court ruled that dispensaries can't deduct business expenses. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that they can't take the deductions because their product is prohibited under federal law. The ruling came in the case of the embattled Vapor Room dispensary, whose owner had claimed $650,000 in business expenses in 2004 and 2005. The IRS balked, and now the appeals court has sided with the IRS.

Florida

On Monday, state officials said the CBD cannabis oil grow program had 24 apllicants. Some 24 commercial plant nurseries have applied for state licenses to grow marijuana and produce CBD cannabis oil to treat epilepsy and other medical conditions. The state is divided into five regions, and only one license will be awarded for each region.

Illinois

On Monday, the first cultivation center in the state began medical marijuana production. The Ataraxia cultivation center announced that it is beginning to grow medical marijuana. The group says it thinks it is the first in the state to do so. The grow is located in Albion.

New York

Last Friday, the Department of Health said the medical marijuana distribution program had 43 applicants. Nearly four dozen companies have applied for licenses to grow and distribute medical marijuana under a program approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). The state Department of Health is expected to decide which applicants will get licenses sometime within the next couple of weeks.

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

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notsofasteddie    629

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

July 22, 2015

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

There's medical marijuana news from the far Pacific, with Hawaii okaying dispensaries and Guam releasing draft medical marijuana regulations, plus more.

Colorado

Last Wednesday, state officials rejected medical marijuana for PTSD. Health officials voted against adding PTSD to the list of qualifying ailments for medical marijuana. They cited scant research on the issue. "We can't have physicians counseling people in favor of it because we don't have data to show it's correct," said Jill Hunsaker-Ryan, one of the board members who voted no.

Hawaii

Last Tuesday, Hawaii began moving toward licensing dispensaries. After Gov. David Ige (D) signed a bill allowing for eight dispensaries to operate in the state, state officials are moving forward with developing rules and regulations for the program. They say to they will begin accepting license applications early next year. The move comes 15 years after Hawaii became the first state to okay medical marijuana through the legislative process.

Guam

Last Thursday, the US protectorate released medical marijuana draft regulations. The Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services has released draft rules for the island territory's medical marijuana program. Guamanians voted to allow medical marijuana in last November's elections. The rules must be approved by the legislature. Click on the link to read the draft rules.

Michigan

Last week, Michigan cops raided medical marijuana dispensaries. Police departments in the greater Detroit area have shut down several dispensaries in the past week, in some cases bringing felony charges against the operators. Raids, arrests, and seizures took place in Shelby Township and Detroit last week. While the city has an estimated 180 dispensaries, they are illegal under the state's medical marijuana law.

On Tuesday, a state panel deferred a decision on medical marijuana for autism. The Michigan Medical Marijuana Review Panel postponed action on recommending whether or not autism should be a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. The panel said it wanted more time to review the evidence.

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

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ASA Activist Newsletter - August 2015

William Dolphin

August 02, 2015

In This Issue:

•Congressmen Call for Probe of Justice Department

•CARERS Act Gains Powerful Co-Sponsors

•New Medical Cannabis Laws in Effect in Washington State

•Oregon to Allow All Adults to Use Dispensaries

•Kettle Falls Five Defendant Sentenced to 16 Months

•New York Announces Medical Cannabis Licensees

•First Nevada Dispensary Opens

•Michigan Supreme Court Steps in Again

•Israel to Expand Program, Provide Cannabis in Pharmacies

•Italy’s Army Now Cultivating Medical Cannabis

•ACTION ALERT: 5 Things to Do this Summer

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Congressmen Call for Probe of Justice Department Compliance

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Members of Congress want an investigation of federal prosecutors who continue to pursue medical cannabis cases despite restrictions placed on them last year. Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Sam Farr (D-CA) sent a letter on July 30 to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, asking him “to investigate potential violations of the Anti-Deficiency Act by the Department with regard to its prosecution and other enforcement actions against persons and businesses conducting legitimate medical marijuana activities under state law."

DOJ officials have said they can prosecute individuals who are part of state medical cannabis programs and pursue civil asset forfeiture against them because that is not interfering with states implementing their laws.

Reps. Rohrabacher and Farr authored the amendment to the 2015 DOJ budget bill intended to stop enforcement actions against anyone participating in state medical cannabis programs. Their letter states debate on their amendment made clear that supporters and opponents alike understood it was intended to end all federal prosecution of state-qualified patients and providers because "the implementation of state law is carried out by individuals and businesses as the state authorizes them to do."

Prosecutors in California and Washington State have refused to back down from several high-profile cases, asking for prison time for the Kettle Falls Five, members of a family patient co-op in Washington State, as well as a dispensary operator in California, while pursuing asset forfeiture against the building leased by a dispensary in Oakland, California. In the letter, Rohrabacher and Farr write that such cases “are all instances of DOJ expending dollars it does not have the legal authority to spend,"

Prosecutors in California and Washington State have refused to back down from several high-profile cases, asking for prison time for the Kettle Falls Five, members of a family patient co-op in Washington State, as well as a dispensary operator in California, while pursuing asset forfeiture against the building leased by a dispensary in Oakland, California. In the letter, Rohrabacher and Farr write that such cases “are all instances of DOJ expending dollars it does not have the legal authority to spend."

More Info:

Text of the Rohrabacher-Farr letter to the Inspector General

____________________

CARERS Act Gains Powerful Co-Sponsors

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The CARERS Act, the first comprehensive medical cannabis legislation to be considered by Congress, is up to 15 bipartisan co-sponsors in the Senate, now that two influential senior senators have added their names. Chuck Schumer of New York and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland each became co-sponsors of SB 683 at the end of July.

Sen. Mikulski is the ranking member of the powerful Appropriations Committee, where she was instrumental in preserving the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment to the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill, limiting federal interference in state medical cannabis laws. Sen. Schumer is the third ranking Democrat in the Senate with a reputation as an ardent supporter of the War on Drugs.

“Medical marijuana is the only recourse for many in New York and across the country who are in a great deal of pain,” Sen. Schumer said in a statement. “It is only humane and fair that they have access to the treatment they need when prescribed by a doctor.”

The legislation authored by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) was originally co-sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and the junior senator from New York, Kirsten Gillibrand (D). Other co-sponsors include senators from California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Wisconsin. The bill is currently in the hands of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but committee chair Charles Grassley (R-IA) has yet to set hearings.

More Info:

SB 683 (CARERS Act) cosponsors and text

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New Medical Cannabis Laws Go into Effect in Washington State

Several medical cannabis bills were passed by the Washington State legislature or went into effect last month. The measures were part of policymakers’ attempt to harmonize the state’s existing medical cannabis program with the new law that allows anyone who is at least 21 years of age to purchase and use cannabis. Among the changes is the name of the regulatory agency, which goes from being the Liquor Control Board to the Liquor and Cannabis Board.

Of the bills, the most wide-reaching is SB 5052, which brings much of the state’s largely unregulated medical cannabis operations under the umbrella of the new adult-use regulations while allowing qualified patients to continue personal cultivation and possess larger quantities than non-medical consumers. Households will now be limited to the cultivation of 15 plants. To qualify for the additional amounts and protections, qualifying patients must register in the state’s new voluntary database, which law enforcement will be able to access to confirm registrations. This bill also expanded the qualifying medical conditions to include post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries but creates restrictions that will shut down many of the state’s existing medical cannabis businesses. The bill also specifies that qualifying patients between the ages of 18 and 21 will be able to purchase cannabis at retail locations with a medical endorsement.

State support for cannabis research was created by SB 5121, which establishes a licensing mechanism for studying cannabis, including establishing potency, testing cannabis-based products, exploring potential treatments, and conducting agricultural research. Studies are to be approved by the state’s Life Sciences Discovery Fund Authority.

Cities and counties in Washington State will enjoy a share of the tax revenues to be generated by sale of cannabis, medical or otherwise, thanks to HB 2136

More Info:

Text of SB 5052

Text of SB 5051

Text of HB 2136

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Oregon to Allow All Adults to Use Dispensaries

Late last month, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a law that will allow the state’s medical dispensaries to sell small amounts of cannabis to anyone over the age of 21. The move accelerates the timetable for implementing Measure 91, the initiative passed by voters last November, making marijuana available to all adults a year sooner than expected. Lawmakers said they are eager to move from an underground market to a regulated one.

The Oregon Health Authority has until October 1 to establish regulations for a transitional phase from medical-only access to the 21-and-over model. Dispensaries and other stores that want to sell cannabis under the new law can apply for permits beginning Jan. 4, 2016. Health officials will oversee the transition as the Oregon Liquor Commission takes on regulatory oversight of the adult-use retail marijuana stores that are to be operating by October 2016.

Anyone 21 or older will be able to buy up to one-fourth ounce of cannabis per day at dispensaries, as well as seeds and up to four immature plants. The new adult-use retailers to be licensed by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission will be allowed to sell up to one ounce at a time.

A consequence of the newly established transitional phase is that for three months adults will be able to buy cannabis without paying the 25 percent tax that goes into effect on January 4, 2016. Measure 91, the initiative that legalized the possession, use and sale of cannabis for all adults, took effect July 1, but retail sales have been awaiting a regulatory framework and licensed retailers.

More info:

Text of the new Oregon law

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Kettle Falls Five Defendant Sentenced to 16 Months

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The Kettle Falls Five, before trial.

The first prison sentence has been handed down in the case of the “Kettle Falls Five,” the group of qualified patients in Eastern Washington who were indicted on federal charges.District Court Judge Thomas O. Rice sentenced Jason Zucker to 16 months in federal prison, but he remains free on bond pending appeal.

Zucker, 39, second from left in the photo at right, was the only one of the group to plead guilty. He accepted a last-minute deal with prosecutors to avoid the 20-year mandatory minimum sentence he faced if convicted.

Charges against Larry Harvey, the 71-year-old patriarch of the family who was ASA’s Lobbyist of the Year, were dropped in March just before trial because he has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. At trial, Zucker testified against Harvey’s wife, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, and her son and daughter-in law, Rolland and Michelle Gregg, but made clear that their cannabis cultivation operation was a co-op in which he and the four family members shared the medicine.

The jury acquitted Firestack-Harvey and the Greggs of four out of five charges and rejected the government’s claim that they had cultivated more than 100 plants. The remaining three defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on October 2 in Spokane.

More Info:

www.kettlefallsfive.com

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New York Announces Medical Cannabis Licensees

In what Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker called “a major milestone” for the state’s medical cannabis program, New York has announced five companies that will be licensed to operate dispensaries and cultivation facilities. Forty-three had applied.

The five selected firms are Bloomfield Industries Inc., Columbia Care NY LLC, Empire State Health Solutions, Etain LLC, PharmaCann LLC. Each will have a single cultivation facility and four retail dispensing locations in different cities.

The firms selected are to have medical cannabis products, which will be subject to a 7 percent tax, available by Jan. 1. The Compassionate Care Act was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last July.

____________________

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First Nevada Dispensary Opens

On the last day of July, Nevada’s first medical cannabis dispensary opened in Sparks, just a few miles east of Reno. Of the two dozen states that allow medical cannabis use, Nevada is one of the few with reciprocity that recognizes patients who are registered to use cannabis in their home state.

Since the state legislature adopted rules for distribution operations two years ago, 66 dispensary licenses have been issued. The Sparks City Council approved medical marijuana dispensaries last year, with Silver State Relief the first to begin serving patients. The licensing process went awry in the Las Vegas area, which has 40 million visitors each year, when county and state officials approved applicants in separate processes, ending in the state deferring to local decision on eight applicants.

In the 15 years since state voters okayed medical use, registered patients or their caregivers could only access medical cannabis by growing up to 12 plants themselves, which they may continue to do.

Nevada's new distribution regulations include "seed-to-sale" tracking similar to Colorado’s. The state Department of Agriculture is finalizing a testing process that will screen for dozens of common pesticides.

___________________

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Michigan Supreme Court Steps in Again

For the ninth time in the seven years since the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act was adopted, the state’s Supreme Court has stepped in to clarify what it allows. In two cases before the court, the defendants claimed they should have been immune from prosecution because they were registered with the Michigan program to cultivate and provide cannabis to other patients, but the courts rejected their pretrial motions in 2011 and 2012.

Both Robert Tuttle and Richard Hartwick were certified to use and cultivate medical cannabis. Hartwick provided cannabis to five other people, and Tuttle to three others. The state Supreme Court in a unanimous ruling has now returned those cases to the circuit court for new hearings on the immunity motions.

Noting that ” the many inconsistencies in the law have caused confusion,” the Michigan Supreme Court also overturned a lower court ruling that caregivers must obtain proof of their patients’ medical conditions and doctor-patient relationship.

For the last three years, state lawmakers have tried to pass bills that would allow local approval of dispensaries and set rules for the sale of cannabis oils and edible products.

___________________

Israel to Expand Program, Provide Cannabis in Pharmacies

Long a leader in cannabis research, Israel will soon make medical cannabis available through pharmacies in the country and expand the number of physicians who are authorized to prescribe it. The announcement was made in the Knesset by Israel’s deputy health minister, Yaakov Litzman, head of an ultra-orthodox party. Before the Health Ministry can license more growers to supply the pharmacies, the country’s Supreme Court must sign off.

The 22,000 Israelis who are authorized to use medical cannabis must acquire it directly from government-authorized farms. Allowing more physicians to prescribe the medicine is intended to eliminate the wait list that is currently a barrier to access. Israel has more medical users per capita than any other country.

___________________

Italy’s Army Now Cultivating Medical Cannabis

The Italian army is currently growing medical cannabis in a military pharmaceutical facility in Florence, with plans to make100 kilos of medicine available to patients by the end of the year. Medical cannabis has been legal in Italy since 2007, but the country currently imports from the Netherlands about 50 kilos of medical cannabis each year for distribution through Italian pharmacies.

Italians with cancer, multiple sclerosis or chronic pain may obtain a prescription for cannabis from a physician. Demand for medical cannabis in Italy has reportedly skyrocketed in the past year.

___________________

ACTION ALERT: 5 Things to Do this Summer

1. Host or Attend an Educational Session

Three workshop sessions are available in ASA's Truth About Medical Marijuana Educational Series. We’ll send you everything you need for a successful meeting, including a video, engagement materials, and a survey.

2. Engage your Senators about the CARERS Act

Constituents are 6x more effective than lobbyists with elected officials. Meet with your Senators to urge support for the bipartisan CARERS Act, the comprehensive federal medical cannabis legislation. Visit their local Senate office. Take five minutes to call your Members of Congress and demand their support for patients.

Click Here to Find Your Elected Officials

Click here to watch online training videos & download of guide on how to successful meeting

Click here to read comprehensive analysis for the CARERS Act

3. Sign the CARERS Act Petition and Gather Signatures

Click here to sign the CARERS Act petition today.

Then download the petition, gather more signatures, and send them back to ASA.

Click here to download the petition.

4. Become an ASA member

Membership matters! Americans for Safe Access is a grassroots organization, and your support means we will have the resources to make medical cannabis legally available for everyone who can benefit from it. Click here to become a member today!

5. Build the movement!

Help us build momentum by printing 10 copies of our outreach poster and posting them in your community. 85% of Americans support medical cannabis, but 1% are active participants in the conversation. Remind your community that reform needs support to make it a reality. Click here to download the ASA Outreach Poster.

___________________

Get the PDF Version to Print and Distribute

Download a printable copy of this Newsletter

ASA

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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

July 29, 2015

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

There's a CDC warning on "potential danger" from edibles, a Northern California US attorney who went after dispensaries steps down, Washington state medical marijuana enters a new, uncomfortable era, and more.

National

Last Friday, the CDC warned of "potential danger" from edibles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report citing the case of a Wyoming college student who fell to his death after eating edibles in Colorado to warn of the "potential danger" with the products. "Although the decedent in this case was advised against eating multiple servings at one time," the CDC article says, "he reportedly consumed all five of the remaining servings of the THC-infused cookie within 30-60 minutes after the first serving." The CDC noted that the coroner in the case listed "marijuana intoxication" as a contributing factor in the death, which was classified as an accident.

California

On Tuesday, Humboldt County supervisors delayed discussions on repealing the county's ban on new dispensaries. No dispensaries have been allowed to open in the county since December 2011, when supervisors enacted a moratorium on them. Prospective dispensary operators who have been waiting for more than four years will have to wait a little longer. Supervisors said they would discuss the issue at their August 18 meeting.

On Wednesday, US Attorney for Northern California Melinda Haag said she is stepping down. Haag earned the antipathy of medical marijuana advocates for her crackdown on Northern California dispensaries, which she accused of being fronts for illegal dealers. Advocates harshly criticized her for attempting to shut down the Harborside dispensary in Oakland, the nation's largest. It's still open for business as the legal wrangle continues.

Michigan

Last Friday, the state Supreme Court ruled that a medical marijuana card doesn't grant sweeping immunity, but... In a pair of cases regarding medical marijuana caregivers, the state's high court has ruled that the medical marijuana law does not grant sweeping immunity to cardholders, but sent the cases back to lower courts to determine whether the defendants are entitled to immunity. The court seems to be getting tired of medical marijuana. It has addressed the issue nine times in the past seven years. "The many inconsistencies in the law have caused confusion for medical marijuana caregivers and patients, law enforcement, attorneys, and judges, and have consumed valuable public and private resources to interpret and apply it," wrote Justice Bryan Zahra.

Minnesota

Last Thursday, the second dispensary in the state opened for business. The state's first medical marijuana dispensary outside of the Twin Cities, Minnesota Medical Solutions in Rochester opened its doors. A Minneapolis-area dispensary opened earlier this year.

Ohio

On Wednesday, the attorney general rejected the wording of a medical marijuana petition. Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today that he had rejected a petition for the Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment, saying he had found several defects in the language. Now, the group will have to address those defects, gather another 1,000 initial signatures, and try again.

Washington

Last Friday, changes to the state's medical marijuana program went into effect. Recently passed legislation designed to bring the program in line with the state's legalization system are now active. The Liquor Control Board is now the Liquor and Cannabis Control Board, PTSD and traumatic brain injury are now considered qualifying conditions, a voluntary patient database (which patients must join if they want the tax breaks for medical marijuana) is now in effect, the number of plants in a household is limited to 15 no matter how many patients live there, and doctors who write more than one medical marijuana authorization a day must report their totals to the Department of Health.

Also last Friday, a member of the Kettle Falls Five got 16 months in federal prison. They grew medical marijuana in a state where it is legal -- heck, even recreational is legal in Washington -- but were prosecuted by zealous federal prosecutors operating out of Spokane. Now, after pleading guilty and testifying for the federal government against fellow members of the five, Jason Lee Zucker has been rewarded with 16 months in federal prison. Assistant US Attorney Caitlin Baunsgard said last Friday Zucker's testimony was "integral" to obtaining convictions against his co-defendants and urged the lighter sentence. He could have been sent to federal prison for five years. Three of the other Kettle Falls Five face sentencing in October after being found guilty and are looking at up to 20 years. The fifth member, family patriarch Larry Harvey, saw charges against him dropped after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

On Tuesday, King County said it will force unlicensed dispensaries to close. King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said that dispensaries operating illegally in unincorporated areas of the county will have to shut down soon. He said that he would be serving up lawsuits against 15 collectives in coming days. "Their days as marijuana sellers where they never had a license, and they never paid taxes, those days are over," he said. He added that the businesses had a couple of months to shut down before he goes after them in court.

International

Israel to Make Medical Marijuana Available By Prescription, Will Be Sold in Pharmacies. Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said Monday that medical marijuana will be available in pharmacies and more doctors will be allowed to prescribe it. "There are already pharmacies that dispense all sorts of other drugs, such as morphine. There is order with that, and there will be order with this," Litzman said. "There will be registration, and we'll supervise it, but it will be according to a standard, like a drug. Right now, we're in a case at the High Court of Justice because of the growers, and we'll issue a tender for the growers. I hope we get approval from the High Court of Justice. We'll fight aggressively to allow this to get out," Litzman emphasized. "The growers will also be stronger. As soon as there is a tender, it shifts to selling a drug by prescription, and I'm sure it will be accepted. We have a lot more work and much more to do, but this is my headline."

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

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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

August 06, 2015

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Medical marijuana got attention on the national stage this past week, medical marijuana for PTSD sufferers was at issue in two states, Florida looks poised to pass a medical marijuana initiative next time around, and more.

National

Last Thursday, two congressmen asked the DOJ inspector general to look into harassment of medical marijuana providers after Congress voted to bar it. Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Sam Farr (D-CA) sent a letter to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz asking him to clarify whether continued prosecutions against medical marijuana providers in states where it is legal violate a successful budget rider that prevents the department from spending money to interfere in those states. "Cases such as the Kettle Falls Five case in Washington, asset forfeiture actions against dispensaries in the San Francisco Bay area, or the Lynch case now pending in the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, are all instances of DOJ expending dollars it does not have the legal authority to spend," Rohrabacher and Farr write. "Consequently, we believe there is sufficient cause for your office to investigate potential violations of the Anti-Deficiency Act by the Department with regard to its prosecution and other enforcement actions against persons and businesses conducting legitimate medical marijuana activities under state law." That act makes it a crime to use federal funds for purposes not approved by Congress.

Last Friday, Chris Christie said strictly regulated medical marijuana was okay, but not legalization. The New Jersey governor and Republican presidential contender told a crowd in Cedar Falls, Iowa, that medical marijuana should be allowed through tightly regulated, state-run programs, but that he would enforce federal law on recreational marijuana. "This is a decision on medical marijuana that I think needs to be made state-by-state," Christie said. "I don't want it used recreationally, but for medical purposes, it's helpful for certain adult illness and certain pediatric illness. So where it's helpful and when a doctor prescribes it, I have no problem with it."

On Monday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley said he wasn't moving on a medical marijuana bill. A bill that would reschedule marijuana and let states set their own medical marijuana policies has some congressional support, but with only two Republican cosponsors, Rand Paul (KY) and Dean Heller (NV), Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) said the bill was not exactly a priority. "I'm going to wait until I talk to other Republican members," he told Politico.

On Tuesday, Marco Rubio said he's willing to look at medical marijuana, but not legalization. Florida senator and Republican presidential contender Marco Rubio said Tuesday that he could support medical marijuana if it went through an FDA approval process, but that he did not support full legalization. "I'm not in support of any additional intoxicants being legalized," he said at a Republican presidential forum in Manchester, New Hampshire.

On Wednesday, news came that the DOJ tried to mislead Congress on the impact of a medical marijuana amendment. In the days before Congress voted to approve an amendment limiting the Justice Department's ability to interfere in medical marijuana states, an internal memo obtained by Tom Angell at Marijuana.com shows that the department tried to mislead Congress by falsely claiming that the amendment could "in effect, limit or possibly eliminate the Department's ability to enforce federal law in recreational marijuana cases as well,' according to the document. [Emphasis added.] The memo admits that the DOJ talking points were "intended to discourage passage of the rider," but "do not reflect our current thinking." Click on the link for more.

Arizona

Last Wednesday, a state judge blocked efforts to remove limits on medical marijuana for PTSD. In a ruling Wednesday, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge rejected efforts by patient advocates to overturn a decision by then state health chief Will Humble that medical marijuana could be used for PTSD, but only for palliative care. Judge Crane McClennen said there was "substantial evidence" to support Humble's restrictions.

California

On Tuesday, the first legal dispensary in Santa Ana opened. South Coast Safe Access is the first and only licensed dispensary so far in the city and the country. The city's permitting system has been plagued by division and lawsuits, but now the first dispensary has arrived.

Colorado

On Saturday, veterans with PTSD lined up for free medical marijuana in a Denver protest. Hundreds of Colorado veterans lined up to receive free medical marijuana products as part of a protest against the state health board's refusal to include PTSD among conditions treatable by medical marijuana. The protest was organized by Grow4Vets. "We're tired of waiting around for the government to do something to help veterans," cofounder Richard Martin said. "We're losing over 50 American heroes every single day as a result of prescription drug overdose or suicide, and the VA's position up until this point has pretty much been let's just keep them in a drug stupor."

Florida

On Monday, a poll had support for a medical marijuana initiative above two-thirds. A new survey from St. Pete Polls has more than 68% of respondents saying they would vote for a new medical marijuana initiative if it makes the ballot. An effort last year got 58% of the vote, but failed because, as a constitutional amendment, it needed 60% to pass. These poll results strongly suggest it will pass next time around. Click on the link for more poll results.

Michigan

Last Friday, a state panel okayed medical marijuana for autistic kids. In a 4-2 vote, the state Medical Marijuana Review Panel okayed medical marijuana for kids with severe forms of autism. Its use must be approved by two doctors, and the kids wouldn't smoke it, but would use it in edible or concentrate form.

Nevada

Last Friday, the state's first dispensary opened for business. Silver State Relief was set to open its doors today in the Reno suburb of Sparks. It's the first to open in the state, and one of two approved by city fathers.

New York

Last Friday, the state awarded five medical marijuana licenses. The Department of Health announced the names of five groups that will be allowed to sell medical marijuana in the state. Each group can open up to four dispensaries across the state. They are required to be open for business within six months, meaning patients may be able to buy it before year's end. Click on the link to see who the groups are.

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

(This article was prepared by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501©(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

August 12, 2015

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

With state legislatures adjourned and the dog days of summer upon us, it's pretty quiet on the medical marijuana front this week. But there is some news from the Northeast.

Massachusetts

Last Friday, what could be Boston's first dispensary came a step closer to opening. Patriot Care Corporation received tentative approval from zoning board officials to open the first dispensary in the city, despite some opposition from locals. After twice delaying a decision, the Zoning Board of Appeals decided Tuesday to grant Patriot Care conditional approval. The state's first dispensary opened in June in Salem.

On Monday, patient advocates protested the slow pace of medical marijuana implementation. Led by the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, protestors held a vigil on the stops of the State House this week in memory of patients who had died before they could get access to medical marijuana and to protest the slow pace of implementation of the state's medical marijuana law. Three years after voters approved it, the state's first dispensary just opened. Click on the link for more.

New Jersey

On Monday, a judge ruled that a junior high girl cannot be given her edibles at school. An administrative law judge has ruled that allowing a junior high student to be provided medical marijuana edibles at school would violate the Drug Free School Zone Act. The girls' parents had sued for the right and are vowing to appeal, but they said they also plan to test a portion of the ruling that said that, as her caregivers, they have the right to possess medical marijuana even on school grounds. "We are going to try to go to school to give Genny her medicine," Roger Barbour said. "If they say no, Lora will come bearing the judge's decision and will insist on it."

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

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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

August 19, 2015

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There's a union corruption scandal brewing in California, medical marijuana faces awkward transitions in Oregon and Washington, and more.

California

Last Thursday, Oakland was once again considering licensing medical marijuana gardens. The city is in the process of crafting regulations and issuing licenses for medical marijuana grows, as well as other marijuana-related businesses. The city had proposed something similar in 2011, but retreated after federal prosecutors criticized the plan. But now the federal position has changed, and Oakland is ready to try again.

Also last Thursday, a UFCW Official was accused of taking bribes from dispensaries. Dan Rush, the executive director of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) cannabis division, has been charged in federal court with taking bribes or kickbacks to endorse potential dispensary operators. The feds accuse Rush of taking a $600,000 loan from one dispensary operator, and when he was unable to repay it, then working with an attorney to "[propose] and [take] steps to provide various labor benefits to the (dispensary operator), including union support for opening dispensaries and reducing or eliminating pressure to unionize dispensary workers," the complaint says.

On Tuesday, Humboldt County supervisors approved a land use ordinance that would allow for up to 15 dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county. The ordinance was approved unanimously. There was spirited dissent from one dispensary owner; click on the link to get the low down.

Also on Tuesday, Yuba County officials approved for circulation a ballot measure to overturn the county's medical marijuana cultivation ordinance. The initiative proposed by the Progressive Business Alliance needs 2,483 valid voter signatures by January 19 to force a special election. This is the third set of petitions okayed by county election officials in recent months, meaning the county could see three separate special elections. The current ordinance bans outdoor cultivation in unincorporated areas of the county and limits indoor grows to 12 plants. The latest initiative would allow up to 12 plants indoors or out on parcels of less than an acre, with larger plant counts on larger parcels.

Florida

Last Thursday, a CBD expansion bill was filed. Sarasota state Rep. Greg Steube ® filed a bill Thursday that would expand the state's CBC cannabis oil program. The measure, House Bill 63, would lower barriers to entry for would-be medical marijuana growers and manufacturers, particularly by removing limits on the number of manufacturers.

North Dakota

North Dakota Medical Marijuana Initiative Trying to Get Going. A Fargo man has formed a committee to advance a medical marijuana initiative and is getting ready to submit initiative language to the Secretary of State's Office. Rilie Ray Morgan said the legislature's refusal to pass a medical marijuana bill showed it is out of touch with popular feeling and that the GOP-dominated House and Senate are "awfully conservative."

Oregon

Last Thursday, Oregon's governor signed a medical marijuana task force bill. Gov. Kate Brown (D) has signed into law Senate Bill 844, which establishes a task force to research the medical and public health properties of marijuana. The task force will make a report with recommendations to the legislature on developing a medical marijuana industry that supplies patients with products that will meet their needs.

Washington

On Tuesday, the Tacoma city council ordered most dispensaries to be shut down. The city council decided to shut down most of the city's 60 unregulated medical marijuana dispensaries. The dispensaries have 45 days to close. After passage of Senate Bill 5052, which essentially folds the medical marijuana system into the recreational marijuana system, dispensaries and collective gardens will have to get licenses from the state beginning next July 1 or shut their doors.

Wyoming

Last Friday, Wyoming initiative supporters announced their signature-gathering campaign would get underway over the weekend. An initiative campaign led by Wyoming NORML is getting underway this weekend. The group is set to unveil the initiative this weekend. They will need to come up with 25,000 valid voter signatures by February to qualify for the November 2016 ballot.

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

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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

August 26, 2015

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California still has some problems with the feds, dispensaries open in Nevada and get licensed in Illinois, an Oklahoma initiative campaign is gearing up, and more.

California

Last Thursday, a federal appeals court rejected Oakland's lawsuit backing the Harborside dispensary. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court ruling dismissing Oakland's lawsuit against the Justice Department and the Northern California US Attorney's office. The city had argued that closing the dispensary would deprive it of tax revenues and increase crime by creating a black market for marijuana. Then US Attorney Melinda Haag moved in 2012 to seize Harborside, claiming it violated federal law by selling medical marijuana. The case continues even though the Justice Department has since said it generally wouldn't interfere with state marijuana laws.

Last Friday, the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana sought relief in federal court from a permanent civil injunction barring it from operating. Dispensary founder Lynnette Shaw cited last December's passage of the Rorhabacher-Farr amendment, which bars the Justice Department from interfering with state medical marijuana laws, in filing the motion for relief.

Colorado

Last Thursday, Colorado patients sued over the state's refusal to include PTSD as a qualifying condition. Five PTSD patients filed suit against the state Board of Health over its decision not to include PTSD on the state's medical marijuana eligibility list. The board and the Department of Public Health and Environment, which is also named in the complaint, now have 21 days to respond.

Illinois

On Tuesday, the state issued its first dispensary license. The state Department of Financial and Professional Regulations has granted a dispensary license to the Harbory in Marion. Another dispensary is under construction in Milan, but has yet to be licensed. There will be more to come. "Illinois medical cannabis dispensaries will continue to be registered on a rolling basis," said the DFPR in a statement. "Illinois medical cannabis dispensaries will receive medical cannabis exclusively from Illinois' licensed growing facilities once it becomes available."

Michigan

On Monday, one group planning a legalization initiative said it would instead focus on medical marijuana. The Michigan Responsibility Council, which had been considering running a third legalization initiative campaign in the state, has decided to instead focus on an initiative aimed at improving the state's medical marijuana law. Two other groups are continuing with their marijuana legalization efforts.

Nevada

On Monday, the first Las Vegas dispensary opened for business. A spokesman for Euphoria Wellness said Thursday the dispensary had won final state and county approvals this week and would open for business Monday. It will be the first dispensary in Clark County. The first dispensary in the state opened last month in the Reno suburb of Sparks.

On Wednesday, Reno's first dispensary opened for business. Sierra Wellness Connections opened near downtown Reno. It is the first one in the city and the third one in the state. One in nearby Sparks opened earlier this month, and one in Las Vegas opened Monday.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Initiative Coming. Medical marijuana advocates filed papers with the state last Friday indicating they are preparing another initiative petition drive to put the issue before the voters. Once the initiative is approved for circulation, proponents will have 90 days to gather 123,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. A similar effort fell short in 2014. This one is being run by a group called Green the Vote.

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

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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

September 09, 2015

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The California legislature is still trying to pass a medical marijuana regulation bill, the ground looks fertile for another initiative in Arkansas, a Michigan bureaucrat overrides his advisory panel and refuses to allow PTSD as a qualifying condition, and more.

California

On August 28, an appeals court upheld Bakersfield's dispensary ban ordinance. The Fifth Appellate District Court in Fresno agreed with a lower court that the ban did not violate the state Environmental Quality Act because the city did not change existing zoning laws and thus was exempt from the act. Attorneys for Bakersfield said they were already going after existing dispensaries through civil actions and may now seek preliminary injunctions as well. There are an estimated 44 dispensaries in the city.

On August 30, a medical marijuana regulation bill was gutted, but was still alive. A measure aimed at bringing the state's medical marijuana industry into an era of statewide regulation passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee that Thursday, but there was nothing in the version of the bill approved by the committee. Assembly Bill 266 was gutted and now simply reads: "It is the intention of the state legislature to regulate medical marijuana." It appears the move is designed to make room for input from the office of Gov. Jerry Brown (D), which has now submitted its language. The governor's language largely mirrors earlier language and would set up a tightly regulated system. The legislature has until next month to get the bill passed.

Arkansas

On Wednesday, a new Arkansas poll had support for medical marijuana at 84%. A new Talk Business & Politics poll shows very strong support for medical marijuana in the state. More than half (56%) strongly agreed that adults should be able to use marijuana with a doctor's prescription, with another 28% somewhat agreeing. Only 14% disagreed. A medical marijuana initiative barely failed there in 2012, winning 48.5% of the vote. That initiative included a provision for home grows, but this poll found a slight majority opposing home grows. Support for outright legalization was much lower, at 42%.

Michigan

On August 30, the state rejected medical marijuana for autism. Although an advisory panel recommended allowing medical marijuana for autism, Mike Zimmer, the director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, said Thursday he was rejecting that recommendation. Zimmer said there was not sufficient research and he questioned whether cannabis oil is even allowed under the state's medical marijuana law. Advocates said he was mistaken in his reading of the law, and said they were frustrated with the decision.

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

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ASA Activist Newsletter - Sept 2015

William Dolphin

September 09, 2015 

In this issue

•Maryland Taps ASA to Train Cannabis Compliance Inspectors

•Quality Control Testing Evolving in States

•Clock Ticking on Regulation Bill in California

•DOJ Contradicts itself about Cannabis Enforcement

•Michigan and Colorado Reject New Conditions

•New Mexico Expanding Medical Cannabis Cultivation

•First Dispensary Licensed in Illinois

•Georgia Registering Medical Cannabis Patients

•Activist Profile: Remembering Larry Harvey

•ACTION ALERT: Register for Unity 2016 today

Maryland Taps ASA to Train Cannabis Compliance Inspectors

icon_maryland.jpgMaryland officials tasked with watching over the state’s emerging medical cannabis program will be trained by the Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program, a project of Americans for Safe Access Foundation. The announcement of the decision by Maryland's Natalie M. laPrade Medical Cannabis Commission came shortly after they finalized state regulations in late August at the end of an 18=month process. The PFC-trained auditors will ensure medical cannabis businesses operating in Maryland comply with those regulations.

Maryland will issue 15 licenses to cultivate cannabis, permit two dispensaries for each of the 47 state senate districts and allow an unlimited number of licenses for processors. Applications for permits to cultivate, process and dispense medical cannabis will be available online by Sept. 15. Officials say their state’s program should be operational by 2016 with medicine available to patients in 2017.

Maryland has adopted seed-to-consumption quality control measures for medical cannabis products, including the American Herbal Product Association’s (AHPA) Recommendations to Regulators in the areas of: cultivation, distribution and manufacturing. The PFC program is based on both AHPA standards and those published by the American Herbal Pharmacopeia. PFC has trained thousands of employees of the medical cannabis industry and is currently under contract with the District of Columbia to train all medical cannabis staff on regulatory compliance.

“We are focused on implementing industry best practices to ensure Maryland’s medical cannabis compliance inspectors are the best trained in the nation,” said Hannah Byron, Executive Director of the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. “The rigorous regulatory and clinical oversight called for in the ASA PFC program will ensure the safety, security and quality of the medicine being grown, processed, inspected and delivered in our state.”

Maryland has also adopted laboratory requirements based on the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia’s (AHP) cannabis monograph as well as the AHPA guidelines. AHP monographs are commonly used as guidance for regulating botanical medicines by the Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the European Union.

Elements of the AHP cannabis monograph and the AHPA cannabis guidelines have been included in regulations in 12 states: Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oregon and Washington State. Pennsylvania and California have pending legislation that includes components of these guidance documents.

“The Maryland Commission has created a shining example of how to regulate the medical cannabis industry to ensure patient access and public safety,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access. “We are honored that our Patient Focused Certification program can help give patients’ confidence in the safety and quality of medical cannabis products in Maryland.”

The PFC program was developed following a long-term collaboration between ASA, AHPA and the AHP to address product safety and quality control standards for the medical cannabis industry.

More Information:

Patient Focused Certification Website

AHPA Guidelines

APH Cannabis Monograph

Maryland Regulations

________________________________________

Quality Control Testing Evolving in States

Product safety testing required by the state of Nevada has resulted in a shortage of medical cannabis. Many pounds of medicine have been destroyed after pesticides, mycotoxins and heavy metals were detected in the products. Those problems have postponed the opening off at least one dispensary. Nevada now allows dispensary operations, but only a few are open yet.

Nevada is not alone. An expose in Oregon that found products laden with pesticides were making it on to dispensary shelves. A study in Colorado found many medical cannabis products were mislabeled as to their potency and content, and the city of Denver six months ago began a crackdown on the presence of pesticides in products. A follow up study just published this week by the Denver Post found that banned pesticides are still present in some products, though most were in conformance with regulation.

“Patients and the public alike should be able to trust the medical cannabis products distributed under state oversight,” said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. “That’s why sensible regulations based on the best-practice standards developed by the American Herbal Products Association and the American Herbal Pharmacopeia are so important.”

Oregon’s medical marijuana rules do not prohibit many of the pesticides detected in independent analysis, but of the 14 found, six have been identified by federal health officials as posing potential cancer risks. Colorado and Washington State provide cannabis cultivators with guidelines for pesticide use and oversee tests, but many say they do not go far enough. Oregon does not exercise oversight of labs responsible for testing medical cannabis.

________________________________________

Clock Ticking on Regulation Bill in California

icon_california.jpgAs the legislative session enters its final days, California lawmakers may be poised to finally take the regulatory action on medical cannabis that voters directed them to with the passage of Proposition 215 nearly 20 years ago. The session has seen numerous medical cannabis measures introduced, modified and merged, but the big move came at the end of August, when Assembly Bill 266, the product of long wrangling over provisions governing all aspects of medical cannabis production and distribution, was amended by the Senate Appropriates Committee to simply a dozen words: “It is the intention of the state legislature to regulate medical marijuana.” It was passed 5:1.

jerry_brown.jpg

The reason for the sudden restart was apparently Governor Jerry Brown’s intervention, though his office has refused comment. His aides have reportedly been “heavily involved” in crafting a more streamlined regulatory system for commercial production and distribution of medical cannabis.

Friday, September 11 is the last day the legislature can pass a bill this session. The last-minute negotiations and the tight time frame for taking action, with only a few days left for the legislature to act, makes it difficult for citizen lobbyists and advocacy groups to have a voice in what emerges. But lawmakers say they are motivated to establish the type of comprehensive regulation the U.S. Department of Justice has said states must adopt in order to avoid federal interference.

Those who have seen the draft language say all production and distribution other than the basic rights created by Prop 215 for patients and caregivers will be classified as regulated commercial activity. Some type of product testing and labeling is likely to be required, and commercial cultivation will likely be limited by square footage rather than plant counts. Separation between cultivation and retail operations has been proposed, with separate licenses for transporting medical cannabis products commercially.

One bill that has already made it through the legislature and gotten the Governor’s signature already is Senate Bill 212, which creates additional penalties for anyone convicted of operating a butane extraction operation within 300 feet of a residence. Butane extraction processes for cannabis were already prohibited in California because of risks of fire and explosion. Colorado and Washington allow butane extraction but only by licensed operations.

________________________________________

DOJ Contradicts itself about Cannabis Enforcement

icon_federaladvocacy.jpgLast month, it was revealed that the Department of Justice told Congress that the effect of limiting their budget on medical cannabis enforcement would be just the opposite of what they now claim. When Congress was considering passing the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, the DOJ sent out talking points saying that it would effectively "limit or possibly eliminate the Department’s ability to enforce federal law in recreational marijuana cases as well." The DOJ now says that the amendment limits them not at all in enforcing federal prohibition by prosecuting or pursuing civil asset forfeiture against individuals -- whether patients, caregivers, or recreational users – regardless of state laws.

"The February 27, 2015 DOJ memo shows that they were providing either deliberately misleading statements or, at the very least, contradictory and confusing messages in their talking points in opposition to the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment that was offered to protect citizen access and participation in state-level medical cannabis programs,” said ASA Government Affairs Director Mike Liszewski. “ The language of the amendment and numerous statements clarifying the intent of the bill's sponsors make it clear that DOJ is barred from interfering with conduct that is legal under a given state's medical marijuana law.”

A spokesman for the DOJ defended the original talking points when questioned by the Huffington Post, claiming the talking points were merely “informal guidance,” not a legal opinion. He said the DOJ’s current position is that their ability to prosecute private citizens or business entities was unaffected by the amendment, despite the floor debate, the strenuous protests of the bill’s authors, and the DOJ’s own talking points.

“If actual fulfillment of the state medical marijuana laws is not achieved due to federal investigations, raids, arrests, prosecution and incarceration, then by definition state implementation of these laws is being interfered with,” said ASA’s Liszewski. “It is not possible to accomplish the purpose of the state medical marijuana laws if patients, caregivers, physicians, cultivators, providers, landlords, etc. are being thwarted from engaging in this conduct due to federal interference, which is why it is prohibited by the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment.”

________________________________________

Michigan and Colorado Reject New Conditions

Last month, a state official in Michigan rejected a medical panel’s recommendation that autism be added to the list of qualifying conditions. That comes a month after Colorado officials rejected an attempt to add post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to its list. Both moves elicited complaints from advocates and actions aimed at revisiting the decisions.

icon_michigan.jpgIn Michigan, three years of lobbying by parents and advocates to add autism resulted at the end of July in a 4-2 vote in favor by the review panel of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). That recommendation was overruled in September by LARA Director Mike Zimmer, who said he was concerned that medical cannabis would be used with children who are only mildly autistic.

The review panel’s original vote was delayed eight days when LARA staffers admitted that they had withheld from the panel many hundreds of pages of supporting research that had been submitted by the petitioners, led by the mother of a 6-year-old boy with autism.

icon_colorado.jpgIn Colorado, by a vote of 6-2, the state Board of Health for the third time rejected an attempt to add PTSD to the state’s qualifying conditions, despite the recommendation of the state’s chief medical officer. . The decision came in mid July, and last month a group of five patients, four of whom are veterans, filed suit against the state in response. Many veterans report cannabis alleviates their PTSD symptoms, and a federally approved research study on treating veterans with cannabis has received a multi-million dollar grant from the state of Colorado.

Legislation to make the change was introduced last year but failed to advance. Nine states list PTSD as a condition for which cannabis is an approved treatment.

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New Mexico Expanding Medical Cannabis Cultivation

icon_new_mexico.jpgYears of medical cannabis shortages in New Mexico are being addressed by issuing new licenses to cultivate. The state’s Department of Health (DOH) announced August 31 that 17 applicants made the cut from a pool of 84 seeking medical cannabis production licenses. No new cultivation licenses have been issued since 2010.

Sometime this month, DOH Secretary Retta Ward will select from those 17 finalists the applicants who will receive state licenses to serve the more than 16,000 patients enrolled in the program. The applications and the information in them, including the identities of the applicants, are confidential, but the state is working on creating more transparency in the program.

State health officials have already approved plans for ten of the 23 cultivation operations already licensed to increase the number of plants from 150 to the maximum of 450 the state allows under its new rules. Six others will increase production to fewer than 400 but more than 200 plants.

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First Dispensary Licensed in Illinois

icon_illinois.jpgThe city of Marion is home to the first medical cannabis dispensary to be licensed in Illinois. The dispensary, named Harbory, will receive medical cannabis products from one of the state’s licensed cultivation centers, once it is available. A statement from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which is responsible for the licensing, says “Illinois medical cannabis dispensaries will continue to be registered on a rolling basis.” Approved dispensaries will be listed online at http://www.idfpr.com as they are approved.

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Georgia Registering Medical Cannabis Patients

Nearly 200 residents of the state of Georgia have registered to be part of its two-month-old medical cannabis program. An estimated 500,000 Georgians are eligible, which allows only extracts with low levels of THC, the cannabis component responsible for psychoactive effects.

Currently, cannabis cannot be cultivated in the state or legally purchased, but lawmakers are considering allowing it in the future and expanding conditions that qualify.

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Activist Profile: Remembering Larry Harvey

Larry_on_Capitol.jpeg?1440531706

Larry Harvey on Capitol HillLarry Harvey, a retired long-haul trucker and commercial fisherman from Northeastern Washington State who inspired a change in federal medical cannabis policy, passed away August 20 at the age of 71 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Larry became the face of continued federal interference with state medical cannabis programs after he and members of his family were charged in a case that came to be known as the Kettle Falls Five. Federal charges followed a raid by state law enforcement that found several dozen cannabis plants being cultivated on Larry’s rural property, where he lived with his wife. Larry, his wife, two other family members and a family friend all faced charges that carried a mandatory minimum of 10 years in federal prison.

Under pressure from prosecutors, the family friend took a plea deal, but Larry not only stood firm but travelled twice to Washington D.C. to lobby on behalf of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which cut off funds for interference with state programs. His trips to the Capitol paid off, and the amendment passed last year.

His fearless activism earned Larry ASA’s Patient Lobbyist of the Year award at the national Unity conference last year. Sadly, he was too sick to travel to accept it, but the government dismissed charges against him shortly after and returned his beloved motorcycle, which had been seized in the raid along with other personal property. His wife and the other two remaining defendants were acquitted of all but one lesser charge and await sentencing. Everyone at Americans for Safe Access joins his family in mourning the passing of a courageous man.

ASA Blog remembering Larry, by Government Affairs Director Mike Liszewski

http://www.safeaccessnow.org/remembering_larry_harvey

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ACTION ALERT: Register for Unity 2016 today

Register now for the 2016 National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference at the Lowes Madison Hotel in Washington, DC, March 18-22, 2016. Early Bird prices are in effect.

The Unity conference is your place to learn best practices, exchange ideas and learn how to navigate this new political landscape. This conference will provide professional development and leadership training in all areas of advocacy, including federal, state and local government relations, public affairs, community relations, public policy, legislation, Congressional relations, community activism, political engagement and campaigns.

Register today at nationalmedicalcannabisunityconference.org.

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