medical marijuana

Colorado: Proposed State Crackdown On Marijuana Home Grows Getting Weaker

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A plan to crack down on home marijuana grows in Colorado is heading to the governor's desk after lawmakers changed the bill to give medical cannabis patients more leeway.

A Senate committee voted 5-0 to limit the number of plants grown to 12 per residential property statewide. Current law allows up to 99 plants.

Lawmakers changed the bill to allow medical marijuana patients and their caregivers to grow up to 24 plants, if they register with state and local authorities. Registration is presently required only if the patient has more than 99 plants.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and lawmakers from both parties have said the marijuana crackdown is a top priority as the state awaits word of how the new federal administration plans to treat marijuana states.

Among 28 states with legal medical marijuana, Colorado is the only one that allows patients to grow more than 16 plants at home.

“It is time that we fix this before someone comes in and fixes it for us,” said Greenwood Village Police Chief John Jackson, speaking on behalf of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police.

Lawmakers amended the bill to make it a misdemeanor, instead of a felony, to be caught with too many plants until the third offense.

California: Medical Marijuana Legalization Associated With Fewer Hospitalizations From Opioids

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

According to data published online ahead of print in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, states that have legalized medical marijuana have seen a reduction in the number of opioid-related hospitalizations.

A researcher from the University of California at San Diego, assessing the association between medical marijuana laws and hospitalizations related to opioid use, reported both immediate and long-term reductions in opioid-related hospitalization following changes in law.

"This study demonstrated significant reductions on OPR- (opioid pain reliever) related hospitalizations associated with the implementation of medical marijuana policies. ... We found reductions in OPR-related hospitalizations immediately after the year of policy implementation as well as delayed reductions in the third post-policy year."

The author also dismissed the argument that liberalized marijuana were associated with an increase in marijuana-related hospitalizations, saying "While the interpretation of the results should remain cautious, this study suggested that medical marijuana policies were not associated with marijuana-related hospitalizations. Instead, the policies were unintendedly associated with substantial reductions in OPR related hospitalizations."

Florida: Medical Marijuana Bill Would Outlaw Smokable And Edible Pot

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Last year, 72 percent of Floridians voted to amend the state constitution to make medical marijuana legal for patients with certain qualifying illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer's. The Florida Legislature must now come up with medical marijuana rules.

Fort Myers Rep. Ray Rodrigues introduced the first medical marijuana regulations yesterday, and they would ban patients from smoking marijuana or using edibles. Only patients that are terminally ill would be allowed to vaporize.

"It goes further than the current statute in terms of restricting medical marijuana," says Ben Pollara, United for Care's campaign director. "There was unanimous agreement that the new amendment would expand use."

Rodrigues' bill defines the "medical use" of cannabis as "the acquisition, possession, use, delivery, transfer, or administration of marijuana authorized by a physician certification."

Specifically, however, the bill says medical use does not include "possession, use, or administration of marijuana in a form for smoking or vaping or in the form of commercially produced food items made with marijuana or marijuana oils, except for vapable forms possessed, used, or administered by or for a qualified patient diagnosed with a terminal condition."

South Carolina: Bills Introduced To Legalize Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Bills were recently introduced in South Carolina to legalize medical marijuana for certain qualifying conditions.

The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act would allow those with a physician's recommendation to use and possess marijuana and marijuana-related products if they have a qualifying condition.

Those conditions include glaucoma, cancer, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, HIV/AIDs, ulcerative colitis, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD, autism, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, Parkinson’s disease and neural-tube defects.

The bills are being introduced, “to improve the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of South Carolina patients who can benefit from alternate courses of treatment instead of pharmaceutical,” says David Newsom, head of Government Affairs for SC Compassion, a nonprofit medical cannabis group that has been working with the lawmakers to help draft the bills.

Germany: Medical Marijuana Program To Begin In March

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Qualifying patients in Germany should be able to obtain medical marijuana as early as next month, as a result of medical marijuana legislation recently passed by the German government.

Regulators will license marijuana cultivation under the new program to provide the drug for patients with qualifying conditions. Patients will not be permitted to grow their own plants under the new law. Health insurance providers will cover marijuana-related expenses for patients.

Regulators will import marijuana from the Netherlands and Canada in the early stages of the program.

Germany joins several other nations, including Jamaica and Colombia, which have recently passed legislation to legally produce and supply medical marijuana.

Georgia: House Passes Medical Marijuana Expansion

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Georgia House on Wednesday backed a broad expansion of the state's medical marijuana law.

House Bill 65, sponsored by state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, would double the list of illnesses and conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana in Georgia to include AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, autoimmune disease, epidermolysis bullosa, HIV, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette’s syndrome.

The bill will remove a one-year residency requirement.

It will also allow people with registration cards from other states with similar low-THC cannabis oil laws to also possess the oil in Georgia.

Under Georgia’s 2015 law, patients and, in the case of children, families who register with the state are allowed to possess up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil to treat severe forms of eight specific illnesses, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

The oil can have no more than 5 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the component of marijuana that causes a "high."

Federal officials still consider the oil an illegal drug.

Texas: State Could Lose Millions Of Tax Dollars If Medical Marijuana Not Implemented

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Governor Greg Abbott signed the Texas Compassionate Care Act into law on June 1, 2015, but it looks now as if the state may not implement its medical marijuana program, and could miss out on collecting millions of dollars in potential tax revenues.

A major obstacle delaying the program in Texas is that the law requires a doctor to write a prescription for medical marijuana. The problem is that doctors can't legally write a prescription for marijuana, because it remains federally illegal, and a controlled substance. Also, prescriptions must be filled by a pharmacy, not a dispensary. The law would need to be amended so that doctors could recommend medical marijuana, not prescribe it. Heather Fazio of Texans for Responsible Marijuana said that legal medical cannabis in Texas may "not ever get off the ground, if we're not able to change that language in the law."

So far, the only disease approved to be treated by medical marijuana in Texas is intractable epilepsy, leaving cancer patients, pain sufferers and veterans with post traumatic stress disorder unable to legally get the medicine. A bill has been introduced in both the Texas House and Senate to expand the list of qualifying conditions.

Utah: Lawmakers Planning For How They Would Legalize Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Utah lawmakers took a first step Monday to outline how medical marijuana would be cultivated, produced and sold if it ever is made legal in the state.

The Senate Health and Human Services voted 5-0 to approve SB211, and sent it to the full Senate.

"This is a road map leading to medical marijuana," said Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City. "We are getting it set up, getting it ready. And all we have to do then is have a quick vote — and we'll have the legal structure" to accommodate prescription cannabis.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, said, "It does create the pattern on how the state would handle it, if and when a [legalized medical marijuana] policy is adopted."

Vickers said legalization could come soon "by the Legislature, it could be adopted by a referendum process, it could be adopted by the Legislature itself putting something on the ballot for next year."

So, Vickers said, "We felt like it was prudent to continue the discussion how the state would handle things, realizing nothing would be triggered until you had something in place that said we're going to legalize this type of cannabis product and for these conditions."

Georgia: Medical Marijuana Expansion Moves Ahead In State House

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A broad expansion to Georgia’s medical marijuana law passed a House panel Monday, coming closer to a floor vote before Friday's deadline for passage.

House Bill 65, sponsored by state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, would double the list of illnesses and conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana in Georgia to include AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, autoimmune disease, epidermolysis bullosa, HIV, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette’s syndrome.

The bill would also allow people who have registration cards from other states that similarly allow possession of certain low-THC cannabis oil to also possess the oil in Georgia.

The bill passed on a 7-3 vote, and the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee made changes that would require annual reporting by doctors who oversee medical marijuana patients. They also removed post-traumatic stress disorder from the proposed list of newly eligible diseases.

Under Georgia’s 2015 law, patients who register with the state are allowed to possess up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil to treat severe forms of eight specific illnesses, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

The oil can have no more than 5 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the component of marijuana that causes a "high".

The bill must win passage from the House by Friday to have a clear path to becoming law.

West Virginia: Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced In State Senate

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A bill was introduced Tuesday in the West Virginia Senate to make medical marijuana legal in the state.

Senate Bill 386 was introduced to create the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act.

A commission and a special revenue account for medical marijuana would be set up by the bill.

The West Virginia Cannabis Commission would license medical marijuana growers and set up guidelines for them.

Marshall University's Forensic Science Center was established as the primary testing laboratory.

A new criminal offense would be created for anyone distributing, possessing, manufacturing or using marijuana that was intended for authorized medicinal use.

The bill will be referred to the Health and Human Resources Committee and then on to the Judiciary Committee.

Oklahoma: State May Legalize Medical Marijuana Soon

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Oklahoma could legalize medical marijuana a year before voters get a chance to decide on State Question 788 if Representative Eric Proctor (D-Tulsa) gets his bill passed.

Critics of the new bill complain that it only covers a few ailments and is too narrow.

House Bill 1877 would allow medical marijuana for the following list of conditions: Glaucoma, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Tourette’s syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, post-traumatic stress disorder, severe arthritis, fibromyalgia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Proctor's bill is modeled on the medical marijuana measure passed in Arkansas in 2016.

“Arkansas is a state that is very similar to Oklahoma, and this will give us the opportunity to see what works there and also see what doesn’t work,” Rep. Proctor told NewsOK in an interview.

State Question 788 is pending, but House Bill 1877 would speed up access to medical marijuana by a year or more.

William Jones, a leader of Oklahomans for Health, does not support Proctor's bill, complaining that it limits medical marijuana use to patients with a handful of ailments.

New Jersey: Migraine, Chronic Pain Patients Seek Approval To Use Medical Marijuana

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by Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A health department panel in New Jersey will consider adding chronic pain and other ailments to the state's list of conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana.

The public is invited to attend and make comments at the hearing scheduled for February 22. The panel will consist of eight doctors, pharmacists, and nurses who were appointed by Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett nearly one year ago.

“I think cannabis can replace all three of the medications I take for anxiety, migraines, and chronic pain,” said Bob Kane, 56, a retired landscaper from Ocean View who had his family doctor write letters to the department supporting his request in three petitions he submitted.

68 people sent petitions to the panel. Migraines, autism, lupus, and opiate-addiction disorder were some of the 20 or so ailments mentioned in the petitions.

The medical marijuana program currently allows patients who have terminal cancer, multiple sclerosis, seizure disorders, glaucoma, and several other conditions to obtain cannabis if recommended by their doctor.

Utah: Committee Unanimously Passes Medical Marijuana Research Bill

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Utah’s House Health and Human Services committee unanimously passed House Bill 130, allowing research on medical marijuana without federal approval.

State Representative Brad Daw (R), the bill’s sponsor in the House, said, “This is the first step in what I think is the right policy direction for this state.”

The proposal specifically:

allows a person to possess cannabis, a cannabinoid product, and an expanded cannabinoid product and to distribute the cannabis, a cannabinoid product, or an expanded cannabinoid product to a patient pursuant to an institutional review board-approved study; and
allows a person conducting an institutional review board-approved study to import and distribute cannabis, a cannabinoid product, and an expanded cannabinoid product under certain circumstances.

Proponents of medical marijuana are frustrated with the decision, believing there is plenty of research to prove its medical use, and want the state to expand upon a law passed in 2014 that allows for the medical use of low-THC, high-CBD cannabis oil, but only for those with epilepsy to allow full-plant use (as well as THC), and to greatly expand the list of qualifying conditions.

California: San Diego Allows Recreational Pot Sales In Medical Shops

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The San Diego City Council met on Tuesday to consider proposed regulation changes in marijuana business practices in the city. One of the main issues discussed was the possibility of allowing recreational pot sales in medical marijuana dispensaries.

Terrie Best, Chapter Chair of Americans for Safe Access in San Diego, told The Weed Blog that “council voted to grandfather in (and write land use law within 9 months) business tax certification holders in the areas of manufacturing, cultivation and testing. Deliveries will now need to be connected to a Medical Marijuana Card Clinic (MMCC) conditional use permit only, no stand-alones. We also may have lost events where products are used and consumed.”

She added, “Our outdoor Proposition 64 six plant personal right must be exercised under a green house, and all MMCC’s will be allowed to sell to adults 21 and over along with their patient clients.”

Best applauded the city council, saying “Not too bad for a town FULL of loud prohibitionists. I am upset about the delivery loss and event ban though. But, I don’t think it will stop us.”

Arkansas: Medical Marijuana Cultivation Licensing Fee Set At $100,000

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has decided on a fee of $100,000 for those wanting to obtain a license to legally grow medical cannabis. This is in addition to the $15,000 fee just to apply for the license.

Commissioner Dr. Carlos Roman argued for a much lower fee of $15,000, saying he didn't want to keep a large part of the population from being able to obtain a license because of the $100,000 fee.

On the other hand, Commissioner Travis Story pushed for an even higher fee to be set at $185,000. His argument was that he wanted to ensure that businesses wouldn’t quickly go under and shut down.

Arkansas passed a law legalizing medical marijuana in November. It allows patients with certain qualifying conditions to receive a recommendation for medical cannabis from a physician.

Medical cannabis dispensaries are expected to be open in the state sometime next year.

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