medical marijuana

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.

Missouri: New Medical Marijuana Law Submitted

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A bill has been filed in Missouri to allow access to medical marijuana throughout the state. House Bill 437 was introduced yesterday by Republican Jim Neely. The initiative would add marijuana to a list of experimental drugs, products and devices that can be prescribed to eligible terminally ill patients under the “Right to Try Act.”

Missourians fighting for their lives don’t have time to wait for the FDA to approve investigational treatments that contain cannabis,” said Neely, a Republican Representative and physician who lost his daughter to stage four cancer in 2015.

Missouri attempted to get medical marijuana on the ballot in November 2016 with an initiative backed by New Approach Missouri. The initiative fell short of making it on the ballot by 23 signatures.

Florida: Medical Marijuana Available Starting Today

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Today marks the first day that patients in Florida have access to medical marijuana, and doctors are experiencing an influx of patients the new law is bringing in.

Doctors will not be handing out marijuana immediately, however. Doctors and state health officials have up to six months to create a plan for distributing the drug, under the new law.

Qualified physicians who have completed an eight-hour training course regarding medical marijuana will be allowed to prescribe two types of marijuana. Patients with cancer or a condition that causes chronic seizures or muscle spasms may qualify to receive low-THC marijuana, which has very low amounts of the psychoactive ingredient THC and does not usually produce the “high” commonly associated with marijuana.

If a patient has been determined to be terminally ill by two physicians, they may qualify for medical marijuana which contains significant levels of THC.

Some conditions that may qualify a patient for one of the treatments include cancer, seizures, muscle spasms, AIDS, glaucoma, and Parkinson's disease.

Oregon: Dispensaries, State Work To Continue Recreational Marijuana Sales

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

New rules affecting recreational marijuana retailers in Oregon take effect January 1.

Saturday will be the end of limited retail sales from the Oregon Health Authority, which began in October 2015, following the passing of Measure 91. Recreational sales and licenses will be governed by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission starting January 1. Medical dispensaries that wanted to continue selling recreational are working to beat a Sunday deadline to pay fees and file applications.

Mark Pettinger, spokesman for the OLCC Recreational Marijuana Program, said the organization is processing hundreds of applications from around the state.

“It’s a challenging time right now,” Pettinger said. “There are a lot of moving parts to all of this.”

Kayla Dunham, owner of The Agrestic In Corvallis, is planning a grand opening of a second location Sunday under the new law. She just received approval from the OLCC on Tuesday.

“There is always worry when what you’re trying to do is in the hands of someone else,” she told the Corvallis Gazette-Times. “And especially with these bureaucratic agencies, but every experience I’ve had so far with the OLCC has shown us they are motivated.”

“They’ve been extremely fast with their processing,” Dunham said. “They seem to have a lot of devotion to making sure things happen in the right way.”

Florida: Senator Wants State To Pay For Marijuana Research

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana is still classified by the federal government as a dangerous drug with no medicinal benefit, making research on the drug difficult. But a powerful state senator in Florida wants to change that.

Senator Bill Galvano said we need to know more and wants the state of Florida to pay for research.

"We are relying on anecdotal evidence," Galvano said. "We have a dearth of research from the feds for a variety of reasons, and it's important for us to understand both the benefits and potential hazards of this plant and drug as we go forward."

Galvano said he would send money to Moffitt Cancer Center at USF. Other universities, such as Florida A&M, may get some as well.

Legislation was expanded earlier this year to include legal medical marijuana for terminally ill patients and that expansion specifically allowed research in Florida universities.

"We have a product that has some medical relief that comes with it, so we'll be looking at what are the actual features of the plant that may be more medicinally important for the pharmaceutical industry," said Tim Moore, FAMU VP for research.

Nevada: Thousands Of Medical Marijuana Dispensary Applications Accidentally Leaked

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Nevada state government website has accidentally leaked the personal information of over 11,700 applicants for dispensing medical marijuana.

All of the applications, each one eight pages in length, include the person's full name, home address, citizenship, and even their weight and height, race, and eye and hair color. The applications also include the applicant's citizenship, their driving license number, and social security number.

How many years the applications date back is unknown.

A spokesperson for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed that the website has been pulled offline to prevent incidents of violations of privacy.

The state government will be notifying applicants of the leak in the next few days.

Nevada was one of the first states to legalize medical marijuana in 2000 and voted to legalize recreational marijuana in its recent election.

Maryland: Officials Warn Of Medical Marijuana Scammers

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Scammers are taking advantage of medical marijuana patients in Maryland that are still months away from being able to legally obtain cannabis, according to industry officials and regulators.

There are reports of companies selling "marijuana cards" or offering exams to "preapprove" medical marijuana patients.

Officials say neither of these is legitimate.

“They are telling patients that they have the ability to preapprove them for the medical cannabis program, and that is a lie,” said Darrell Carrington, executive director of the Maryland Cannabis Industry Association. “There is no such thing as preapproval.”

No physicians in Maryland have yet been authorized to issue certifications for legal medical marijuana. The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has issued preliminary licenses to businesses to grow and dispense marijuana, but none have received final licenses or begun operation.

“We know there are already attempts at fake patient identification cards being promulgated,” Patrick Jameson, executive director of the commission, said in a statement. “This type of fraudulent activity preys against the most vulnerable people in society and we will do everything possible to stop this behavior. Only patient identification cards issued by the Commission are legitimate. At this point no ID cards have been issued.”

U.S.: Study Says States With Medical Marijuana Have Lower Traffic Fatality Rates

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new study shows that states with legal medical marijuana have fewer traffic fatalities than those without.

Researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health reported that states with legal medical marijuana laws have an 11 percent reduction in traffic fatalities on average. The report is based on the researchers examining 23 states with medical marijuana laws, and the District of Columbia.

Silvia Martins, an associate professor and physician, was the senior author of the report. She theorized that the lower traffic fatality rates could be because people are substituting pot for booze, especially younger people, and therefore these states are seeing less alcohol-impaired driving.

The report indicated that there was little indication of a reduction in traffic in drivers 45 and older. The age group of 15 to 44 experienced the largest drop in traffic fatality rates in states.

“We found evidence that states with the marijuana laws in place compared with those which did not, reported, on average, lower rates of drivers endorsing driving after having too many drinks,” Martins said in a written statement. She said other factors that might help explain the correlation could be the “strength of public health laws related to driving, infrastructure characteristics, or the quality of health care systems.”

Montana: Judge Rules To Reopen Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Voters ended the Montana Marijuana Act last month, renaming it the Montana Medical Marijuana Act. One change that came with the renaming was a three-patient limit on providers, a change that closed medical dispensaries all over the state, leaving thousands of patients with no provider.

The limit, which took effect in August, was overrruled last week by District Judge James Reynolds.

"The folks that are maybe the most in need are the least able to provide, to grow their own," Reynolds said about his ruling, as reported by the Associated Press. "I think speed is more important than niceties."

The Montana Cannabis Industry Association expected the three-patient limit to be eliminated with the passing of the new initiative, but it was not.

"It punished the patients and the sickest people in the state," Bobby Long, owner of the Flower dispensary in Missoula, told the Missoulian. "It helped the black market and hurts people who were trying to do the right thing."

"The people who work providing marijuana in Montana were — let's face it — they were jerked around quite a bit," lobbyist Kate Cholewa told the AP. "They are somewhat used to it, and very good at coming back."

Mexico: Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Mexico may soon have legal medical marijuana available after its senate passed new legislation Tuesday to approve cannabis use for qualified patients. The bill, which was submitted to congress by President Enrique Pena Nieto early this year, still must be approved by the lower house before medical marijuana becomes legal in Mexico.

Mexico started allowing medicine with cannabidiol, an active chemical ingredient of marijuana, in 2015. The medicine was only granted on a case-by-case basis, however. The new law would allow patients with a variety of medical issues to use the plant and cannabis products containing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, marijuana's psychoactive ingredient.

"It's been years that we've been fighting for acknowledgment and approval and recognition of the medical and therapeutic uses of cannabis, and today we finally have something,” Lisa Sanchez of Mexico Unido Contra la Delincuencia, a crime-stopping organization, told Reuters.

The measure was approved by the Mexican senate with a vote of 98-7.

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