medical marijuana

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Arizona: Cannabis Legal Expert Earns Partnership At Top Law Firm


The Rose Law Group of Arizona has named marijuana legal expert Laura Bianchi a partner in the firm. According to the firm, "the promotion was based on her demonstrated ability to navigate increasingly complex regulations as well as her pioneering legal efforts in the multi-billion dollar cannabis industry."

Along with her partner promotion, she will continue as director of the Business/Corporate Transactions and Estate Planning and Asset Protection departments.

Since Arizona’s medical marijuana legalization in 2010, Bianchi has been at the forefront, helping to transition the industry from illegality to legitimacy. As an integral part of Rose Law Group’s Medical Marijuana practice, Bianchi and her colleagues configured and instituted legal precedents where no prevailing template existed.

Bianchi’s innovative work and expertise in business transactions and administrative law have allowed her to establish a diverse and loyal client base throughout Arizona and across the country. Her continued success has lead to national recognition. In 2016, she was named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers, a rating service that selects and honors outstanding lawyers from across all 50 states.

Canada: Medical Marijuana Sellers Persevere Despite Crackdown

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Medical marijuana sellers in Canada are charging ahead despite recent crackdowns.

In Toronto, half of the city’s 83 known unlicensed stores have been targeted in raids and shutdowns that started May 26. Police have executed search warrants and seized products from stores they believe are selling to recreational consumers. But as the federal government moves toward full Canada marijuana legalization slated for a spring 2017 introduction, representatives from industry associations and medical marijuana stores met to discuss how to continue to operate.

Reuters reports:

"At Tuesday’s meeting, which was held at a marijuana-smoking lounge and attended by about 50 people, operators whose stores were raided told the audience what to expect. A lawyer spoke about how retailers can best deal with police.

Some unlicensed stores have been accused of selling to people without proper prescriptions. Some, such as the Cannabis Culture franchise in Toronto and Vancouver, sell openly to recreational users.

The federal government, which sets laws on both recreational and medical marijuana, has given little direction to municipalities on how to deal with either. Cities have used different regulatory and enforcement methods. Currently, only a few federally approved producers are allowed to sell medical marijuana – and only through the mail."

Ohio: Governor Kasich Signs Medical Marijuana Law


Ohio Governor John Kasich on Wednesday signed House Bill 523 into law, making Ohio the 25th medical marijuana state.

Kasisch's communications team announced the signing without any comment, simply including in a list of other bills the governor also signed on Wednesday, reports Jackie Borchardt of

"This is a joyous day for the thousands of Ohioans who will finally be able to safely access much-needed medicine," said Ohioans for Medical Marijuana spokesman Aaron Marshall. "As we continue this movement to bring medical marijuana to all Buckeyes who need it, we will remember today as a huge step forward."

The new law goes into effect 90 days after the bill is officially filed with the Ohio Secretary of State, making medical marijuana legal sometime in early September. Patients will then have an "affirmative defense" against prosecution for marijuana possession charges if they have written authorization from their doctor to use marijuana in a form allowed under the law.

It could be a year or more until Ohioans can actually walk into a storefront dispensary and buy medical marijuana. The program must be operational within two years, according to the law, but lawmakers said it will probably be up and running sooner than that.

Georgia: Veterans Suffering From PTSD Denied Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp news

Marijuana is increasingly being accepted and used nationally to legally treat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and chronic pain.

Last month, Congress approved an amendment which allows VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients in states where the drug is legal. But the move does nothing for patients in states where the drug has not been made legal, such as Georgia.

Joshua Littrell, founder and CEO of Veterans for Cannabis, is working with a grower in Colorado. He has developed an oil that is legal for Georgia vets to use.

"We want to help the veterans who put their life on the line for our freedom," Littrell said. "And now we're going to tell them they can't use something that truly is beneficial to them and they won't overdose and die from."

A Quinnipiac University National Poll recently showed that 87 percent of American voters believe the VA should be able to prescribe marijuana in pill form to veterans suffering from PTSD.

As for the national amendment, it will be taken to the White House later this year.

Kansas: August Hearing Set In Cancer Patient's Felony Medical Marijuana Case


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A motions hearing for a Kansas cancer patient facing felony marijuana charges has been scheduled for August to provide more time for review of his medical history.

Retired science teacher Terry Lynn Rugg, 64, of Ottawa, Kansas, is charged with marijuana cultivation, possession with intent to distribute, and possession of drug paraphernalia, all of which are felonies, reports Doug Carder at the Ottawa Herald. He was arrested on October 29, 2015.

Rugg's attorney, John Boyd, had already said he would provide the Franklin County Attorney's Office with Rugg's medical history, in hopes of reaching a plea bargain.

The prosecutor's office has indicated it wants to review Rugg's full medical records, which would require more time, Boyd said at his client's status conference on Monday morning.

Rugg has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, bladder cancer and urethral cancer, according to Boyd.

Colorado: New Bill Allows Parents To Send Medical Marijuana To School With Their Kids

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has signed a bill allowing parents to send medical marijuana with their kids to school.

The law only applies to students who have a license to use non-smokeable marijuana.

All of Colorado’s 177 school districts are required to follow the policy according to the new law.

The districts can opt out if they can prove that they have lost federal funding because of the policy or if they place an easy to find explanation on their website as to why they are opting out.

The law also said that if any district loses federal funding, the state will reimburse whatever is lost.

Students need two recommendations from a doctor and an official okay from the Colorado Department of Public Health before they can take medical marijuana at school.

U.S.: Poll Shows 87 Percent Of American Voters Support Medical Marijuana For Veterans With PTSD

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A recent Quinnipiac University National poll showed that 87 percent of registered American voters believe Veterans Health Administration doctors should be allowed to prescribe marijuana pills to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The results of the poll were released Monday; it asked 1,561 registered voters nationwide whether they support the use of marijuana for veterans, as well as broader questions, including whether general use of marijuana should be made legal in the U.S., and whether it should be made legal for adults if prescribed by a doctor for medical purposes.

The results came from many demographics, including political party affiliation, gender, age, ethnicity and whether voters had a college degree. The results revealed vast support in favor of marijuana use for medical purposes, overwhelmingly when it comes to veterans.

“If you serve your country and suffer for it, you deserve every health remedy available, including medical marijuana in pill form,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll in a news release. “That is the full-throated recommendation of Americans across the demographic spectrum, including voters in military households.”

Israel: Medical Marijuana Program A Big Success

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Israel's medical marijuana program has proven to be a huge success in treating people for pain and nausea, reports a study presented at the International Jerusalem Conference on Health Policy.

The study is the first of its kind to examine cancer and non-cancer patients who use medical marijuana for treatment with permission from Israel's health ministry.

Lead researcher Prof. Pesach Shvartzman of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Health Sciences Faculty said the vast majority of patients reported the drug helped relieve pain and nausea.

Israel has licensed more than 22,000 patients to use medical marijuana, but until now there has been no information about the users themselves.

Some patients reported minor side effects despite enjoying relief from pain and nausea. These included dry mouth, fatigue, hunger, and sleepiness. Patients were observed for two years.

More than 40 percent of patients were given a recommendation by their doctor to use marijuana, with 75 percent choosing to smoke it, 21 percent using oils and the rest vaping.

Almost all (99.6 percent) of the patients had previously found other conventional medicines to be ineffective.

Montana: Medical Marijuana Initiative 182 Surpasses 30,000 Signatures


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A whopping 64 percent majority of Montana voters in 2004 approved Initiative 148, creating a state medical marijuana program, but in 2011 the conservative GOP-controlled Legislature repealed that law in a fit of reefer madness.

Initiative 182, currently gathering signatures and with just two weeks to go, aims to create a new medical marijuana program to assist the 12,000 Montanans who will lose safe access to cannabis on August 31 following the spring ruling by the Montana Supreme Court to uphold the 2011 repeal, reports Dustin Klemann at KPAX.

Organizers on Monday said they've gathered 30,000 signatures, more than enough to qualify for the November ballot.

"We want to take that law they passed in 2011, and the intention behind that law was to create a program that didn't work," said Kate Cholewa, spokesperson for the Montana Cannabis Industry Association, which is funding the effort. "We've been able to just function due to the court case that has enjoined several provisions of the law passed in 2011."

U.S.: Top NFL Doctors Have Conference Call With Marijuana Advocates

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Eugene Monroe has been pushing for the NFL to change its marijuana policy for months. The NFL seems finally willing to listen.

A pair of the league's top medical people recently participated in a conference call with the researchers Monroe helped fund with a donation of $80,000.

Jeff Miller, the NFL's senior vice president for player health and safety, and Russell Lonser, a neurological surgeon and a member of the league's head, neck, and spine committee, talked to Monroe's group. The league had apparently requested the call.

“They are interested in learning more about the potential for cannabinoids to help current and former players, as is evidenced by them taking the call, and also expressed a desire to learn more,” said Marcel Bonn-Miller, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania school of medicine. “They are definitely showing genuine curiosity, and they are definitely not throwing up roadblocks.”

So far, Monroe is the only active player speaking out for changes in the league's marijuana policy.

Massachusetts: Medical Marijuana Doctor Loses License To Practice

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The state of Massachusetts has pulled the license of Dr. Tyrone S. Cushing, accusing him of recommending medical marijuana for a visibly pregnant woman with a history of substance abuse.

Cushing worked at Cannamed, a medical marijuana consultant service in Framingham. He is the second doctor in recent days to have his license suspended for improperly certifying patients as eligible to receive medical marijuana.

The Board of registration in Medicine described Cushing as the "third-highest provider of medical marijuana certificates", having issued 4,649 certificates as of May 20 while working only two days a week. Cushing acknowledged he did not conduct any physical examination or obtain vital signs of any patients, and may have certified many pregnant women, according to the order.

Last week the board summarily suspended the license of Dr. john C. Nadolny, saying he had signed 5,792 certificates without having a physician-patient relationship, as required by state law.

In a summary suspension, the board suspends a license without a hearing after finding that the doctor poses an immediate and serious threat to the public health, safety, and welfare. Suspended doctors must stop practicing but may request a hearing.

Minnesota: State Officials Investigate NY Medical Marijuana Company For Smuggling Drugs

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Vireo Health, the parent company of the White Plains medical marijuana dispensary, has been accused of illegally smuggling $500,000 worth of marijuana-based drugs from Minnesota to New York, according to court records.

A former employee of Vireo Health tipped authorities off to the alleged scheme, leading to an investigation.

The former employee said a Vireo Health official used the company's armored car to drive cannabis-based oils to New York, court records show.

Vireo Health contends the drugs were destroyed and denied the accusations as detailed in Minnesota court records.

“These claims were the impetus for the state investigation, and we are confident the claims relied upon by regulatory authorities to begin the investigation will be found to be false,” Vireo Health wrote in an email.

Vireo Health is the parent company of Vireo Health of New York, one of five companies that began growing and selling medical marijuana in New York in January.

The former employee, a chemist intimately involved in growing marijuana plants and manufacturing the cannabis-based drugs, gave state investigators a picture of supposed digital inventory records tied to the missing drugs, court records show.

California: Assembly Moves To Tax Marijuana Growers

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The California Assembly voted 60-12 Thursday to pass a bill that will levy taxes on medical marijuana growers.

The bill, AB2243, authorizes charges of $9.25 per ounce of marijuana flowers, $2.75 per ounce of pot leaves, and $1.25 per ounce of immature pot plants.

Legislative analysts expect the taxes to raise $77 million annually for local police and environmental cleanup.

Some marijuana activists oppose the taxes, saying they are unreasonably high. They say the flower tax alone would be 10 percent of marijuana's value.

The Senate approved a 15 percent sales tax on marijuana earlier this week. Local governments tax marijuana at about 7.5 percent.

Arizona: Judge Rules DHS Wrongly Denied Hearing On Medical Marijuana For Parkinson's


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

An Arizona judge has ruled that the state Department of Health Services wrongly denied a hearing to petitioners who want people with Parkinson's disease to qualify for medical marijuana.

"In a desire for professionalism, the department has utilized a standard of proof that is higher than the rules call for," Administrative Law Judge Dorinda Lang wrote in an eight-page ruling signed May 24 and released publicly on Tuesday, reports Ray Stern at Phoenix New Times.

Arizona voters in 2010 approved a list of ailments that qualify state residents to legally use cannabis. Last year, the Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association submitted eight petitions to add new qualifying ailments to the state's medical marijuana law, all of which were denied.

The group, led by Heather Manus, a registered nurse, appealed the denials for patients suffering from Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases. They got the pro bono help of San Diego attorney and former Tucson dispensary owner Ken Sobel.

Pennsylvania: Some Patients Could Get Medical Marijuana This Summer


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana is one step closer for patients in Pennsylvania. Some will be able to gain access to cannabis this summer, but others will have to wait a lot longer.

The wait will be over soon for patients under age 18, reports Mark Roper at Fox 43.

"The mothers are the ones who fought for this law, so their kids should come first," said medical marijuana attorney Gabe Chorno. "I have no problem with that. Unfortunately for vets and adult patients, we have to continue to wait."

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy on Wednesday morning announced the details on the first phase of regulations. Once the first temporary regulations are established, parents will be able to get medicinal cannabis for their children in other states before it is grown and available in Pennsylvania.

Parents will be required to register with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and receive an identification card for their child.

"The drafters of the legislation, as well as the governor, as well as the Department of Health, wanted to be sure that we assisted these parents that really were instrumental in supporting this legislation," said Dr. Murphy.

California: Santa Catalina Island To Vote On Medical Marijuana Dispensary


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A real estate broker hopes to turn his office into the first medical marijuana dispensary on Santa Catalina Island, off the Southern California coast near Long Beach.

Mark Malan is trying to sweeten the pot, so to speak, by promising to share a small portion of the revenue with local schools and city government, reports Louis Sahagun at the Los Angeles Times.

"It's going to create wheelbarrows of money," Malan said confidently.

A petition drive led by Malan has enough signatures to put an initiative on the ballot that would repeal Santa Catalina's current ban on cannabis dispensaries and allow at least two of them in the three-square-mile resort community with a population of about 3,800.

The Avalon Medical Cannabis Facility Act of 2016 would impose an annual license tax of $10,000 per dispensary and direct half of that amount to Avalon Schools, a K-12 complex of 750 students operated by the Long Beach Unified School District.

The initiative would also put a 12 percent transaction fee on all medicinal cannabis purchases, which would be divvied up one-third to drug and alcohol education for local students; one-third to Avalon's general fund; and one-third to its parks and recreation department.

Illinois: Medical Marijuana Advocates Applaud Rauner's About-face

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Medical marijuana advocates are happy that Gov. Bruce Rauner has changed his mind about expanding the Illinois pilot program, saying it will help more patients who are suffering.

Democratic state Rep. Lou Lana announced an agreement Friday with the Republican governor to extend Illinois' four-year pilot program to 2020. It was originally set to end in 2018, but supporters argued more time was needed because medical marijuana sales just started in November 2015.

The agreement adds post traumatic stress disorder and terminal illness to the qualifying conditions. Rauner had previously rejected recommendations to add conditions.

Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple is chairwoman of Illinois' Medical Cannabis Advisory Board. She says she's "thrilled" more patients will benefit.

Illinois: Medical Marijuana Advocates Cheer Governor's About-Face On Expanding Program


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana advocates are applauding Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner's about-face on expanding the state's medicinal cannabis pilot program, saying it will allow time to show the program is working and help more suffering patients.

Democratic Rep. Lou Lang on Friday announced an agreement with the Republican governor to extend the state's four-year medical marijuana pilot program to 2020, reports the Associated Press.

The program had been set to expire in 2018, but advocates said more time is needed because medicinal cannabis sales only began in November 2015.

The agreement, which still must be approved by the Illinois Legislature, adds post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and terminal illness to the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.

Governor Rauner had previously balked at adding any conditions, despite recommendations from the Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.

Chairwoman Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple of the board said she's "thrilled" that more patients will now benefit from the program.

Photo of Gov. Bruce Rauner: Chicago Now

Colombia: Fourth Latin American Country To Legalize Medical Marijuana


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Colombia House of Representatives made a historical decision Wednesday when they approved a law regulating the medicinal and therapeutic use of marijuana nationwide.

The idea, which came from Liberal Senator Juan Manuel Galan, was discussed for ten months, first by the Senate and then by the House. Ultimately, support of the initiative was almost unanimous, passing with a 83-3 vote.

The law passed by Congress regulates the planting, cultivation and distribution of marijuana, which are currently under government monopoly. They establish the necessary means to issue licenses for growing conditions, and distributes harsh penalties for those who contribute to illicit drug trafficking.

Also, the law establishes fees for the granting of licenses and establishes penalties for licensed growers who commit irregularities.

With the decision of Congress, Colombia becomes the fourth country in Latin America to have legislation on the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. So far, only three other countries- Chile, Puerto Rico and Uruguay- have taken this step.

In Chile, a law legalized the medical use of marijuana in 2014, and in April this year they harvested the first planting of cannabis for medicinal purposes authorized by the national government, with the aim of benefiting 200 cancer patients.

South Dakota: Medical Marijuana Measure Won't Be On Ballot

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A bill aimed at legalizing small amounts of marijuana for medical use in South Dakota will not appear on the November ballot, Secretary of State Shantel Krebs said Friday.

In a statement, Krebs said a challenge to the number of valid petition signatures submitted with the measure was unsuccessful and it didn't have enough to meet the 13,871 signatures needed to appear on the ballot.

It's not the first failed attempt to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

The measure's sponsors came up short last year in the number of signatures required to get a measure on the ballot.

Another marijuana measure was unexpectedly supported by senators and Gov. Dennis Daugaard, but failed in the Legislature. That bill would have legalized the use of cannabidiol, a marijuana derivative that doesn't give the user a high, for individuals who suffer from disorders with seizures.

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