Medicinal Cannabis

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Czech Republic: Medical Marijuana Goes On Sale In Pharmacies

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana went on sale legally in pharmacies throughout the Czech Republic on Tuesday.

Eligible for cannabis treatment are patients suffering from cancer, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis, reports The Voice of Russia.

Patients will need a doctor's prescription to get marijuana at pharmacies. The new law doesn't include health insurance coverage for cannabis treatment.

While medical marijuana officially became legal in the Czech Republic on Monday, it was virtually unavailable, as most pharmacies across the nation of 10.5 million people were closed over the long Easter weekend, reports Agence France-Press.

Marijuana will at first be imported for about a year, reportedly from either the Netherlands or Israel, until the State Institute for Drug Control issues licenses to local growers. Government authorities plan to issue five-year licenses for cannabis cultivation.

The Czech Republic already had some of the most liberal cannabis laws in the European Union. Possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana or growing up to five plants results only in a small fine.

Florida: Charges Dropped Man Accused of Growing Marijuana For His Sick Wife

(Photo: News 13)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Charges have been dropped against Robert Jordan, who was accused of growing marijuana at his home in Parrish, Florida.

Manatee County Sheriff's Department deputies in February raided Robert and Cathy Jordan's home, confiscating 23 cannabis plants from their back yard, reports News 13.

The Jordans said that they were growing marijuana to help his wife, who uses it to treat Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS).

Robert Jordan learned on Tuesday that the state had dropped all charges against him.

The Jordans are current in Tallahassee, Florida's capitol city, lobbying for the legalization of medical marijuana in the Sunshine State.

The Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act has been filed with state legislators. If passed, Florida would become the 19th state allowing medical marijuana.

(Photo: News 13)

Maryland: Legal Protections Passed For Medical Marijuana Caregivers; Bill Heads To Governor's Desk

(Illustration: Splice Today)Caregivers May Possess Up To An Ounce of Marijuana With No Criminal Charges

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Maryland General Assembly on Monday passed a law that allows caregivers of medical marijuana patients to possess up to an ounce of cannabis without being convicted of a crime.

"We are expressing our belief that people who are sick should be able to access the drug without civil or criminal penalties," explained Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County), who introduced the bill, reports Erin Cox at >The Baltimore Sun.

The House of Delegates on Monday voted 92-37 to approve a bill extending an affirmative defense, granted to medical marijuana patients in 2011, to those patienets' caregivers. The Senate had already passed the same bill.

Maryland patients already have some protection under a 2011 law that allows them to use the "affirmative defense" of medical necessity in court if they are charged with marijuana possession or drug paraphernalia.

The caregiver protection measure is now headed to the desk of Governor Martin O'Malley. He hasn't decided whether he'll sign it, according to spokeswoman Raquel Guillory.

Florida: Medical Marijuana Bill Stalls; Bong Ban Moves Forward

There is a truth that must be heard!Republican Legislator Suggests Medical Marijuana Patients Move Out of the State

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act can't even get a hearing in the Florida Senate or House, despite the fact that seven of 10 Floridians support medical marijuana. Meanwhile, a bill banning bongs was approved by a Senate committee -- unanimously.

What's going on in Florida? Things are so bad, that one Republican legislator, Jimmy Patronis of Panama City, has suggested that Cathy Jordan and other Floridians who need medical marijuana for their conditions should move out of the state and go somewhere it's legal, reports the Huffington Post.

"Shame on us as a Legislature for not taking the opportunity to hear this bill this year," said House bill sponsor Rep. Katie Edwards (D-Plantation) on Monday. She introduced the bill after getting cancer herself last year and talking with fellow patients about how marijuana alleviated their suffering.

"I thought, 'These are real people,' and I cannot turn a blind eye and stick my head in the sane and pretend like it's not happening, because it is," Edwards told ABC Action News.

Maine: Medical Marijuana Lobbyist Wins Dinner With Governor

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A political lobbyist for a medical marijuana trade group in Maine will be dining with Governor Paul LePage after making the winning bid at a benefit auction for a dinner for four with the governor.

Paul McCarrier, a lobbyist for Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, bid $1,000 at a Thursday auction to benefit the Legislative Memorial Scholarship Fund, report Steve Mistler and Michael Shepherd at the Portland Press Herald.

McCarrier told the Press Herald he wouldn't be lobbying Gov. LePage. He said he made the bid on behalf of a MMC group member who supports the governor and has been asking to get him a meeting with LePage.

The winning bid came in after others, including Democratic lawmakers, drove the bidding up to $875. When McCarrier bid $1,000, nobody made a counter bid.

"We were tempted to keep going," said Ericka Dodge, spokeswoman for the Senate Democrats," but we figured the marijuana folks deserved it."

"That's a whole scholarship," said Rep. Stacey Guerin (R-Glenblum), who ran the auction. Guerin said McCarrier "made quite a name for himself."

(Illustration: The Weed Blog)

Michigan: Changes To Medical Marijuana Law Take Effect Monday

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Some of the first big changes to Michigan's 2008 voter-approved medical marijuana law take effect on Monday, including extending the one-year registry cards to two years and further defining the doctor-patient relationship necessary for authorization.

An overwhelming 63 percent of Michigan's voters approved the medical marijuana law, but lawmakers claimed it left too much open to interpretation and passed measures at the end of last session which were supposed to "clarify" the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.

The doctor-patient relationship needed for an authorization before marijuana can be legally used was one of the biggest issues faced by the Legislature, reports Alanna Durkin at The Associated Press. Lawmakers were concerned that it was just too easy to get authorizized to use cannabis.

But starting Monday, April 1, doctors are required to complete face-to-face medical evaluations of patients, review relevant medical records, and assess their medical condition and history. Follow-up with patients to see whether marijuana is helping are also required.

The new rules will help doctors and patients by codifying what is expected throughout the medical marijuana authorization process, according to Michael Komorn, a Michigan attorney who specializes in medical marijuana law.

Massachusetts: First Marijuana Dispensaries Could Open By Year's End

Illustration: The Daily ChronicBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The first medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts could open by the end of this year, according to a timeline released on Friday by the state Department of Public Health.

Draft regulations on the medical use of marijuana in Massachusetts were filed by the DPH, which expects the final regulations to be approved by the Public Health Council and the Secretary of State by the end of May, report Marie Szaniszio and Erin Smith at the Boston Herald.

DPH is expected to start accepting applications from prospective dispensary operators by summer, and continue reviewing shops for license approval through the fall, said Interim Commissioner Dr. Lauren Smith.

"DPH solicited an unprecedented level of input in drafting these regulations to create a medical marijuana system that is right for Massachusetts," Smith said. "In this proposal, we have sought to achieve a balanced approach that will provide appropriate access for patients, while maintaining a secure system that keeps our communities safe." ("Safe" from one of the most non-toxic substances known to man, presumably.)

DPH requires that each nonprofit medical marijuana treatment center (MMTC), as it calls dispensaries, will operate its own growing facilities. No wholesale distribution of cannabis products will be allowed.

California: Lawsuit Alleges Long Beach Police Brutalized Marijuana Dispensary Employee

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A lawsuit filed on Tuesday alleges that Long Beach police who were raiding a medical marijuana dispensary brutalized one of the employees.

Security camera footage of the incident, which happened June 19 of last year, show employee Dorian Brooks, a young African-American with no prior arrests on his record, lying on the ground when an LBPD officer steps on his neck, reports Nick Schou at OC Weekly.

The footage also shows police officers trying to destroy a security camera after the attack.

When Brooks -- who posed no visible threat to the officers -- cried out in pain from the weight of the cop standing on his neck, officers roughly handcuffed him, according to the complaint, and said, "You're a black drug dealer; you should be used to this."

When officers battered down the security camera -- allegedly trying to destroy evidence of their misbehavior -- debris from the camera fell on Brooks, and he again cried out in pain. At that point, one of the officers told him, "Shut up, you dumb nigger," according to the complaint.

Officers refused to loosen Brooks' handcuffs, according to the lawsuit, and they made racially insulting and otherwise insensitive remarks to two overweight Latino dispensary employees. They allegedly loosened the handcuffs on two white workers.

Colorado: Prominent Marijuana Activist Damien LaGoy Dies At 53

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Prominent cannabis activist Damien LaGoy of Colorado, who was battling AIDS and hepatitis C, died at age 53 on Saturday, advocates from the group Sensible Colorado announced this week.

LaGoy became "the public face of medical-marijuana patients in Colorado," reports John Ingold of The Denver Post.

"Damien LaGoy was pound for pound the toughest individual I have ever known," said Dan Pope, a longtime friend and caregiver. "He was very genuine in his compassion and sense of fairness, yet he could be tenacious as hell when pushed."

LaGoy won court battles in 2007 and again in 2009, securing victories that laid the foundation for Colorado's earliest medical marijuana dispensaries.

He had, with both cases, challenged state Health Department rules that limited the number of patients a caregiver could serve. The limit had been set at five, but LaGoy said that would have leeft him without a provider, because he was Pope's sixth patient.

"If I lose my caregiver, I don't know what I'll do," LaGoy said in 2009. "I'll have to find someone on Colfax or by the Civic Center and get it off the street."

Maine: Concerns Raised About Pesticides On Medical Marijuana

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Maine Department of Health on Monday said its investigation of Wellness Connection of Maine, the operator of four of the state's eight medical marijuana dispensaries, had revealed 20 violations of state law and program rules, including pesticide use and security breaches.

But on Tuesday, the Portland Press Herald, the same newspaper which had run the headline "State: Marijuana supplier used pesticides, violated rules" ran another story by the same reporter, Michael Shepherd, headlined "Dangers of pesticides on cannabis pretty hazy."

It seems five of the nine pesticides that state officials say were used by the medical marijuana dispensary group contain active ingredients that are safe for many uses and are federally approved for tobacco, according to Maine's official pesticide toxicologist.

However, the state still says it can't vouch for the pesticides' safety on marijuana, because not much is known about the chemicals' interaction with cannabis when smoked.

Regulators don't set standards for pesticide use on marijuana, because it is illegal under federal law; that's why Maine prohibits all pesticides in its medical marijuana program.

West Virginia: Lawmakers To Hold Hearing on Medical Marijuana Bill Thursday

(Photo: Marijuana.com)House Health and Human Resources Committee will discuss proposal to allow patients with debilitating medical conditions to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The House Health and Human Resources Committee on Thursday will hold a hearing on a bill that would allow patients with serious illnesses to obtain and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

H.B. 2961, the Compassionate Medical Marijuana Use Act of 2013, introduced by State Rep. Mike Manypenny (D-Taylor), would allow patients with certain qualifying medical conditions to possess up to six ounces of marijuana with their doctor's authorization.

It would initially establish five tightly regulated compassion centers across the state to provide patients with safe, reliable access to medical marijuana. Patients would also have the option of privately cultivating up to 12 plants in their homes. The bill currently has nine cosponsors, including two Republican delegates.

“The evidence is clear that medical marijuana can provide significant benefits to people suffering from a variety of serious illnesses,” said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) who is a West Virginia native and graduate of West Virginia University.

New York: Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced In Legislature

(Photo: 420 Times)Legislation Would End the Needless Suffering of Thousands of Seriously Ill New Yorkers

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New York State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and Senator Diane Savino on Wednesday introduced a bill that would create one of the nation’s most tightly regulated medical marijuana programs.

If passed, New York would join 18 other states – including New Jersey and Connecticut -- and the District of Columbia in allowing patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and other serious illnesses to access to medical marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider.

The entire program, including the registration of patients and the licensing of producers and dispensaries, would be subject to strict state regulation and oversight.

Doctors, physicians' assistants and nurse practitioners could authorize medical marijuana patients to the New York Department of Health, reports Teri Weaver at Syracuse.com. The department would create a patient registry; patients would have photo ID cards and would be allowed to buy up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis at a time from certified growers or dispensaries.

The department would also be in charge of approving growers and sellers. Growers would be required to cultivate marijuana indoors at secure locations. Growing and selling would be taxed up to $250 pound, according to the proposal.

D.C.: First Medical Marijuana Dispensary In Nation's Capitol To Open Next Month

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Everything's in place at Capital City Care in Washington, D.C. -- the security cameras, the scales, the signage. Everything, that is, except the cannabis. The first medical marijuana dispensary in the United States' capitol city is set to open in April.

"It's very high-grade, very pure, very potent marijuana," said David Guard, cofounder and general manager of the dispensary, reports Abha Bhattarai at The Washington Post. "But first, everything has to be triple-checked. We have a high level of security and an inordinate number of cameras."

The cannabis itself is being grown in a separate building in northeast D.C. The rules adopted by the D.C. Council require that the marijuana plants be in the ground at least 60 days before they are harvested, and each cultivation facility can grow no more than 95 plants at the time.

Capital City Care plans to sell four strains of medical marijuana by mid-April from its 2,000-square-foot storefront on North Capitol Street. Five more licensed dispensaries are scheduled to open soon after that.

Maryland: Medical Marijuana Bill Receives Final Approval from House of Delegates

Maryland: Medical Marijuana Bill Receives Final Approval from House of DelegatesBroadly supported proposal would allow academic medical research centers to provide medical marijuana to patients with serious illnesses

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill that could allow Maryland citizens with serious illnesses to obtain medical marijuana legally via state-regulated programs took an important step toward becoming law today when the Maryland House of Delegates voted 108-28 to send it to the Senate, where it is also expected to pass.

“People who use medical marijuana to treat illnesses like cancer and multiple sclerosis shouldn’t have to resort to the illicit market to obtain doctor-recommended medicine,” said Dan Riffle, deputy director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “States around the nation are successfully implementing programs that provide patients with safe, legal, and reliable access to medical marijuana.”

HB 1101, introduced by Del. Dan Morhaim (D-Baltimore), an emergency room physician, would create a commission through which academic medical research centers could apply to operate medical marijuana programs. The programs would provide patients with marijuana grown by the federal government or state-licensed growers regulated by the commission.

Arizona: Medical Marijuana Policy Experts Host Phoenix Educational Event

There is a truth that must be heard!Arizona bills, federal legislation on the docket for discussion at trade association event

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) will host an Educational Series Event on Tuesday, March 26 in Uptown Phoenix. Geared to assist medical marijuana entrepreuners and investors create responsible and successful businesses, Educational Series Events feature a panel of experts and networking period for cannabusiness professionals.

Tuesday's 90-minute program will feature experts on state and federal marijuana policy who will discuss efforts to reform federal law as well as the ongoing efforts in the Arizona legislature to improve or quash the medical marijuana program.

The presentation will be followed by a question and answer period and networking reception.

What: NCIA Educational Series Event, "State and Federal Policy Update"

Where The Vig Uptown, 6015 N. 16th Street, Phoenix, AZ

When: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 7-10 p.m.

Who: Ryan Hurley, Rose Law Group, Phoenix, AZ (bio)

David Jones, Capitol Counsel, Washington, DC (bio)

Aaron Smith, National Cannabis Industry Association, Phoenix, AZ (bio)

Moderated by Betty Aldworth, National Cannabis Industry Association, Denver, CO

Nevada: Lawmakers Fly To Arizona For Marijuana Dispensary Tour

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Nevada legislators today left the State Capitol in Carson City on a marijuana mission to Arizona.

Five state senators and one Assembly member went to Phoenix to tour a medical marijuana dispensary and a grow house before meeting with Arizona legislators to discuss the state's new system of safe access to cannabis for patients, reports Andrew Doughman at the Las Vegas Sun.

Organizing the fact-finding mission was Sen. Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas), a lawyer who has a "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" poster in his Carson City office.

Segerblom hopes Nevada can create dispensaries and fix a flaw in the the state's medical marijuana law, whereby people are constitutionally allowed to have medicinal cannabis, but have nowhere to legally buy it.

"We're going to hear lots of reasons why we can't do it (or) we shouldn't do it, but to me, if Arizona, which is the most conservative state in the country, can do it, then Nevada can do it," the plain-talking Segerblom said. "It's not a junket. It's not taxpayer money, but it is a legitimate working trip to see it in person."

Traveling with Segerblom are Senators Mark Hutchison (R-Las Vegas); Scott Hammond (R-Las Vegas); David Parks (D-Las Vegas); Ruben Kihuen (D-Las Vegas), and Assemblywoman Michelle Fiore (R-Las Vegas).

The lawmakers are each paying their own way.

New Hampshire: House Overwhelmingly Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

There is a truth that must be heard!
By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The New Hampshire House, in an overwhelming show of support for medical marijuana, voted 286-64 on Wednesday to pass a medical marijuana bill with a veto-proof majority. It's the fourth time in six years a MMJ bill has passed the House.

House Bill 573 would allow five dispensaries at which Granite State patients could buy medicinal cannabis, reports The Associated Press. It also would allow patients or their caregivers to grow up to three marijuana plants.

"This overwhelming vote comes as a great relief to patients who have been waiting years to legally follow their doctors' advice," said Matt Simon, a New Hampshire-based legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "Patients should not have to live iun fear of arrest in the 'Live Free Or Die' state, and it's a great relief for them to see such strong, bipartisan support from the House."

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Donna Schlachman (D-Exeter), was previously approved 14-1 by the House Committee on Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs. The committee made a number of changes, including a language change from "medical marijuana" to "therapeutic use of cannabis," which was suggested by the New Hampshire Medical Society.

Florida: Medical Marijuana Campaign Gets Financial Backers

Photo - Florida: Medical Marijuana Campaign Gets Financial BackersBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two major Democratic fundraisers have said they would provide the money and expertise to get legalization of medical marijuana on the Florida ballot in 2014.

"I'm prepared to keep raising money and writing checks until I get the signatures to put it on the ballot," said attorney John Morgan -- who routinely hosts presidents and national political figures at his home, and is a former fundraiser for President Barack Obama -- late on Tuesday, reports Barbara Liston of Reuters.

Morgan recently signed on as chairman of People United For Medical Marijuana (PUFMM), a grassroots campaign that, until now, was operating on a shoestring budget. He was recruited by Ben Pollara, a lobbyist and fellow Obama campaign fundraiser, who recently became treasurer of PUFMM.

The problem was, PUFMM didn't have the money to wage a high-profile battle and couldn't get enough signatures to get their medical marijuana legalization proposal on the ballot.

"We were just scraping together pennies," said Kim Russell of Orlando, who founded PUFMM four years ago. The group could barely afford to photocopy its own petition, she said.

Now, PUFMM has commissioned a poll and is planning to hire a company to manage the petition drive. "It's a 180-degree turnaround," Russell said.

Colorado: Medical Marijuana Training Program Approved

Photo: Cannabis NewsBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill aimed at training dispensary personnel and others who work in medical marijuana businesses was approved on Tuesday by the Colorado Legislature and is headed to Governor John Hickenlooper's desk.

The state Senate voted 23-12 on Tuesday to approve the bill, which creates a "responsible medical marijuana vendor" designation, reports The Associated Press.

The designation, which remains optional rather than mandatory, would allow dispensaries to train their employees regarding the state's medical marijuana rules, and how to spot fake patient ID cards.

The businesses could then get a break if they run afoul of state regulations. A similar designation has already been created for the alcohol industry.

Recreational marijuana stores created by Amendment 64, which are soon to appear, wouldn't be affected by the measure. The Legislature is still working on the rules for those shops, which will be allowed to sell cannabis to any adult 21 or older.

Something similar to a "responsible vendor" designation is likely to come in the recreational marijuana market, as well, according to observers.

The "responsible vendor" measure, backed by the medical marijuana industry, passed the House last month.

(Photo: Cannabis News)

Ohio: Ballot Drive Launched To Legalize Medical Marijuana

Ohio: Ballot Drive Launched To Legalize Medical MarijuanaBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Ohio voters could get the chance to decide on a constitutional amendment that would legalize medical marijuana and create a million new jobs statewide, if the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment gets the necessary signatures.

The signature drive for the amendment, which would allow medicinal use of cannabis and the cultivation of industrial hemp, was launched over the weekend in Lorain County, reports Jessica James at the Northern Ohio Morning Journal.

Ohio Rights Group President John Pardee and his wife Linda, of Amherst, attended an event in Oberlin on Saturday which launched the drive to collect 1,000 signatures required for the approval of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine for a full statewide petition.

If approved by the attorney general, the group will need 385,000 signatures of valid voters to get the amendment on the ballot.

"We are for medical marijuana for qualifying residents and veterans in need, but we're also incorporating the permission for farmers to grow industrial hemp," said Pardee. "There are very low levels of THC, the psychoactive drug compound in marijuana, in hemp. But because it's a part of the cannabis genus, it is also prohibited."

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