Medicinal Cannabis

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Massachusetts: Cannabis Trade Group Advises Prospective Dispensary Owners

Massachusetts: Cannabis Trade Group Advises Prospective Dispensary OwnersBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It's just two weeks until Massachusetts releases its regulations for medical marijuana, and people interested in getting into the business gathered for a symposium in downtown Boston held by a national cannabis trade association.

Members of the National Cannabis Industry Association educated potential entrepreneurs on Saturday, reports Lynn Jolicoeur at WBUR.

"It's certainly not an easy business to be in," said NCIA Executive Director Aaron Smith. "If somebody thinks they're going to get in this and make a bunch of cash and get out without a lot of headaches, then they're wrong and they need to get involved in something else potentially."

"There's something altruistic in nature in being involved in this industry," agreed Ean Seeb, who runs a medical marijuana dispensary in Denver. "And if you're getting involved in it simply for the money, it's probably the wrong reason to be involved."

"You need to be fully aware of the possible repercussions of what could happen as a result of you being involved in the industry," Seeb said. "On the other side, the number one reason to be involved is because, at least for us, we want to be on the right side of history."

Draft regulations governing medical marijuana will be released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at the end of March.

Massachusetts: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries May Open This Summer

Illustration: The Daily ChronicBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana patients in Massachusetts could have safe access through dispensaries by this summer. State public health officials plan to approve final regulations for the shops this spring.

Draft regulations will be issued March 29 by the Department of Public Health, reports Josh Stilts at the The Berkshire Eagle. If approved by the Public Health Council, which reviews all health policies in the state, the rules could go into effect May 24.

Massachusetts cities are not allowed to completely ban local medical marijuana dispensaries, according to a recent ruling by Attorney General Martha M. Coakley. They can, however, regulate and/or delay them through zoning and other measures.

The attorney general's ruling, prompted by a dispensary ban enacted last fall by the town of Wakefield, says that local bans would conflict with the intent of the state's medical marijuana law, approved by 63 percent of state voters in November. Wakefield's dispensary ban came just one week after medical marijuana was legalized.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had written Coakley last month, urging her to rule against Wakefield's bylaw which banned dispensaries.

Massachusetts: Medical Marijuana Experts Host Boston Educational Event

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

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) will host the Northeastern CannaBusiness Symposium on March 16 in downtown Boston. Prior to the release of the Massachusetts medical marijuana regulations slated for March 28, stakeholders in Massachusetts' future medical marijuana market and others engaged in medical marijuana business in the northeast will gather for this trade association symposium.

The half-day educational program will present investors and entrepreneurs interested in Massachusetts' emerging medical cannabis market with an opportunity to glean information from cannabusiness professionals and experts in the fields of regulatory models, operations and ancillary businesses. The event will feature individual and panel presentations, question and answer periods, and an evening networking reception.

"NCIA is honored to have the opportunity to ensure development of the most well-educated and sophisticated local medical cannabis market by connecting Northeastern entrepreneurs with the best and brightest minds in the national industry," said Aaron Smith, NCIA's executive director. "Collectively, the symposium speakers represent decades of experience in the legal medical cannabis industry and can provide unique insight to those looking to contribute to the Commonwealth's nascent industry."

What: Northeastern CannaBusiness Symposium

Arizona: Rights of Medical Marijuana Patients Are Under Attack

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

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act -- a voter-approved initiative -- has been law for more than three years. But several state and county officials have tried to usurp the wishes of the voters, and these efforts continue.

The medical marijuana program falls under the protection of the Arizona Voter Proposition Act, Prop 105. Based on this provision legislators who try to work against the spirit of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act are violating the loyalty oath they signed when entering office.

In the past three years, the Arizona Legislature has made it legal for employers to look up which of their employees use medical marijuana, and has simplified the process for law enforcement officers to track sick patients.

"Legally, the Arizona State Legislature may only advance the intent of the ballot measure passed by voters, but citizens have been set up for disappointment," states a Wednesday press release from a group called the American Council for Patient Liberty (ACPL).

"The new Senate Bill 1441 enables destruction of all medical marijuana in the state of Arizona without due process and is a hindrance to patient liberty," the group's press release states.

Michigan: Medical Marijuana Is Not A Fringe Issue

Photo - Michigan: Medical Marijuana Is Not A Fringe IssueBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

If medical marijuana is a fringe issue, as some in Michigan claim, then "that's one large fringe," according to Michigan op-ed writer Brad Flory.

"It is fashionable to write off the medical-marijuana movement as a fringe group, a fact I discovered two weeks ago in feedback from upstanding citizens annoyed by my soft-on-weed views," Flory wrote on Mlive.com on Thursday.

"Softness on weed was not my intention," he wrote. "I didn't say anything good, bad or indifferent about marijuana or its medicinal value.

"What I said was this: Medical marijuana is only kinda-sorta legal four years after the voters of Michigan legalized it, which is not the way things should work in a healthy democracy," Flory wrote.

"The problem is, state government has created no legal method for selling medical marijuana to people who qualify for it," Flory wrote. "That is not my definition of legalizing something."

Medical marijuana was passed by an overwhelming 63 percent of Michigan's voters.

"For every 37 voters in Michigan who opposed legalization of medical marijuana, 63 supported it," Flory wrote. "It passed in all 83 counties, including ones always described as Republican, conservative and religious."

U.S.: Web Marketing Service Offered To Medical Marijuana Businesses

U.S.: Web Marketing Service Offered To Medical Marijuana BusinessesBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new service, MarijuanaAdvertising.com, says it is the marketing solution to dispensaries, collectives, delivery services and safe access providers.

The launch of the new service is designed to allow medical marijuana safe access providers to advertise their brand, to provide more transparency and search engine visibility while increasing traffic, conversion rates and patient referrals, according to the .

According to its creators, MarijuanaAdvertising.com will allow dispensaries to buy a professionally designed website, a search engine optimization tune-up, a syndicated press release, a social media blast to 50,000 fans, geo-targeted coupons, newsletter blasts to key consumers and inclusion in the Medical Cannabis Network's web linking program of 300 cannabis related web properties.

MarijuanaAdvertising.com also said it offers brand image consultation, marketing placement, logo development, and blog marketing content.

MCN said it created the service for medical marijuana businesses looking for search engine optimized websites with visually appealing designs.

Massachusetts: AG Says Towns Cannot Ban Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Photo - Massachusetts: AG Says Towns Cannot Ban Medical Marijuana DispensariesBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Towns and cities in Massachusetts cannot elect total bans on medical marijuana dispensaries, the office of state Attorney General Martha Coakley said on Wednesday.

The decision, released in a response to the town of Wakefield passing a bylaw banning dispensaries, said such bans would "frustate the purpose" of the medical marijuana law voters overwhelmingly approved on the November ballot, with 63 percent voting yes.

The law's legislative purpose "could not be served if a municipality could prohibit treatment centers within its borders, for if one municipality could so so, presumably all could do so," reads the decision, written by Assistant Attorney General Margaret Hurley, director of the Municipal Law Unit.

Cities are, however, allowed to regulate dispensaries through zoning bylaws, according to Hurley.

In a separate decision, responding to a bylaw passed by the town of Burlington, Hurley said towns can adopt temporary moratoriums on marijuana dispensaries.

Marijuana dispensaries wouldn't be "in keeping with the vision" for the communities of Wakefield, Reading and Melrose, according to Ruth Clay, health director for the three municipalities, although she claimed she and other local officials weren't "morally opposed" to medicinal cannabis.

Massachusetts: State Regulators To Unveil Medical Marijuana Rules March 29

Illustration: The Daily ChronicBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Regulations for the use of medical marijuana in Massachusetts will be unveiled on march 29, state public health regulators said on Wednesday morning.

The draft regulations will be filed with the Secretary of State's office that day and also posted on the health department's website, according to Interim Deputy Public Health Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett, reports Kay Lazar at the Boston Globe.

The regulations will be presented on April 10 to the Public Health Council, an appointed group of doctors, policy specialists, and educators, for a "comprehensive discussion that will serve as our primary opportunity to engage in substantive deliberation" about the policy, Bartlett said.

Massachusetts voters, with 63 percent in favor, overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure allowing patients with certain medical conditions to be authorized by the doctors to use cannabis medically. The new law required the health department to issue medical marijuana regulations by May 1.

Health officials have already admitted they're going to miss the target date. The timeline announced on Wednesday morning has the council approving final regulations on May 8, after a public hearing scheduled for April 19.

Minnesota: Nearly Two-Thirds of Voters Support Medical Marijuana Law

Photo: Weed Street JournalBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Minnesota voters support changing state law to allow people with serious and terminal illnesses to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it, according to a new poll conducted by Public Policy Polling.

"A vast majority of Minnesota voters agree that people suffering from conditions like cancer and multiple sclerosis should be able to use marijuana in the treatment of their conditions," said Heather Azzi, political director for Minnesotans for Compassionate Care. "Criminalizing seriously and sometimes terminally ill people who use marijuana to relieve their pain and suffering is not a popular idea."

The results of the statewide survey come as state lawmakers prepare a bipartisan bill that would make it legal for Minnesota residents with debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS, to access and use medical marijuana if advised to do so by their physicians. Its introduction is expected within the next two weeks, at which time details of the proposal will be made available.

The poll found a strong majority (54 percent) of voters in the state would disapprove of their county sheriff or county attorney working to defeat such a bill, while only 24 percent would approve. Two-thirds (66 percent) think Gov. Mark Dayton should sign it if it is approved by the Legislature.

Arizona: House Panel Says Cops Can Destroy Marijuana, Even If Patients Had Right To Possess It

Photo by Howard Fischer, Capitol Media ServicesBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

An Arizona House panel voted on Tuesday to let police destroy marijuana they have seized, even if it was seized from legal medical marijuana patients who had a right to possess it.

The panel ignored the pleas of Arizona's former top federal prosecutor, who told members of the Judiciary Committee that SB 1441 -- supposedly meant to "tighten up" the state's medical marijuana law -- is an improer end-run around the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, approved by voters in 2010, reports Howard Fischer at Capitol Media Services.

McDonald said he is more than an idle bystander to the medical marijuana debate. He told lawmakers of the seizures endured by his stepson, Bennett Black, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a 1997 accident and had to have part of his brain removed. McDonald said both the seizures and the pills which were supposed to control them made Bennett sick and nauseous.

It was only when McDonald's wife, Cindy, began to get marijuana for their son -- illegally, until the state's medical marijuana law was passed -- that he actually was able to eat and reverse the weight loss which had seen him shrink from 180 pounds to just 118.

Vermont: Town May Allow Medical Marijuana Dispensary

Vermont: Town May Allow Medical Marijuana DispensaryBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Vermont's newest medical marijuana dispensary may have found a home after the town of Brandon's Development Review Board changed the conditional use of permit of a building to allow for the cultivation and dispensing of cannabis.

The board issued its decision on March 6 for the application by Alexandra Ford, on behalf of Rutland County Organics, to use a 6,700-square-foot building located at 84 Lovers Lane, as allowed by the state, reports Lucia Suarez at the Rutland Herald. The board approved the change by a unanimous 5-0 vote.

"The board finds the proposed development as submitted meets the requirements of the Brandon Zoning Bylaw and is in accordance with the Performance Objectives and Standards of the Brandon Land Use Ordinance," the March 6 decision read.

The building is owned by Chuck Mitchell Properties, and formerly housed a wood furniture manufacturing facility until last year.

Zoning Administrator Tina Wiles said people with interested party status have until April to appeal the board's approval. She said any appeals would need to prove that the board's decision results in "undue adverse effects" to the capacity of the building, the character of the area, traffic in the vicinity, Brandon's bylaws and ordinances, and impacts.

"A person cannot appeal just because they don't like the project," Wiles said.

United States: Medical Marijuana bill, "The Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act", introduced in Florida Legislature

By Charles Billi, WTSP

There is a truth that must be heard! Tallahassee, Florida -- You may not know the name Cathy Jordan, but you will soon. Jordan is the woman at the center of the battle to legalize medical marijuana in Florida.

She suffers from Lou Gehrig's disease and she grows and smokes marijuana to help alleviate her pain.

Ironically, police raided her home Monday and seized her marijuana stash after a government employee saw her pot plants growing in her yard. Because she can barely speak, her husband, Bob Jordan, a veteran, speaks for her.

"If there is another drug that can help her, tell me what it is and we will use it, but there's not. I'm going to do what I have to do to keep my wife alive," said Jordan.

Wednesday, State Senator Jeff Clemens of Lake Worth introduced State Bill 1250 in Tallahassee entitled "The Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act," that would allow Floridians with debilitating medical conditions to legally obtain and use marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

The announcement is front and center on Clemens' Facebook page, and his address on the subject two months ago hit Youtube.

"We have to get to those people who are non-believers. We need to reach those people who are willing to listen," said Clemens. "We need to get to those people who we can change their hearts and minds, because that's how we're going to make a difference in the state."

Maryland: Health Secretary Backs Medical Marijuana Bill

Maryland: Health Secretary Backs Medical Marijuana BillBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Maryland's health secretary has expressed support for a measure to allow medical marijuana in the state.

Secretary Joshua Sharfstein told lawmakers on Friday that Governor Martin O'Malley's administration has changed its position since last year, when it opposed a medical marijuana bill because, it said, it could expose state employees who administered such a program to being federally charged.

Sharfstein said the O'Malley administration is changing its position because the federal government has not brought charges against any state employees in other states who are involved in administering medical marijuana programs.

Sharfstein said the administration is now behind the bill sponsored by Delegate Dan Morhaim (D-Baltimore County), with some amendments.

Morhaim's bill would create a commission to oversee the medical marijuana program at academic medical centers. It would be "the tighest and most controlled of any state" medical marijuana program, according to Morhaim.

Montana: Medical Marijuana Advocates Push Bill To Amend Strict 2011 Law

Montana: Medical Marijuana Advocates Push Bill To Amend Strict 2011 LawBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana advocates are making what is being called a final try this legislative session to fix the 2011 law that imposed such tight restrictions on what was then a booming industry that it has been called a defacto legislative repeal of the 2000 law approved by 62 percent of voters.

Senator Dave Wanzenreid (D-Missoula), who has consistently been a friend to medical marijuana patients in the Big Sky state, recently introduced Senate Bill 377 on behalf of a group called Montana Association for Rights, reports Charles S. Johnson at The Missoulian.

A hearing date hasn't yet been set for the bill, which has been assigned to the Senate Business and Labor Committee. Wanzenreid hopes to get the bill switched to the Judiciary Committee.

Political analysts believe SB 377 may have a tough time getting any traction; it would expand the 2011 medical marijuana law in some ways.

The 2013 Legislature, controlled by Republicans, has so far opposed changing the current strict law, killing, so far, six other bills that sought to soften it. The 2011 law was intended by the Legislature to make it harder for people to get medical marijuana cards, and to profit from the industry.

California: Company Wants To Bring Marijuana Dispensing Machines To San Diego

Photo - California: Company Wants To Bring Marijuana Dispensing Machines To San DiegoBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

One New York City-based company says they have the solution to controlling medical marijuana purchases: vending machines selling the herb in dispensaries.

Far from being as shocking as it might appear at first blush, Dr. Bruce Bedrick said his cannabis vending machine, called a MedBox, could actually help regulate medical marijuana sales, reports Fox5.

"Our technology is not a vending machine that is sitting out on the street corner," explained Bedrick. "These are 800-pound, armor coated machines that are sitting in dispensaries."

Patients would first be required to show their medical marijuana card to an employee at the dispensary before using the machine. They would then get a card which would allow them to make future purchases from the MedBox.

"This type of technology really helps regulate the industry," Bedrick said. "The software and the way the system is set up can limit the actual dispensing to patients."

"In our case, there's no free-wheeling marijuana around," Bedrick said. "There's no marijuana in big glass jars that's unaccounted for."

New Jersey: Lawmakers Want To Keep Marijuana Patients From Being Kicked Off Organ Transplant Lists

(Photo: Think Progress Health)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill which would ensure that medical marijuana patients' use of cannabis would not prevent them from getting needed medical care such as organ transplants was approved Tuesday by a New Jersey state Senate committee.

The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee took action to prevent patients from getting kicked off transplant lists due to their physician-authorized medicinal cannabis use, reports Sy Mukerjee at Think Progress.

The panel passed S-1220, sponsored by New Jersey state Senators Joseph F. Vitale and Nicholas P. Scutari. The legislation "would provide that a registered, qualifying patient's authorized use of medical marijuana would be considered equivalent to using other prescribed medication rather than an illicit substance and therefore would not qualify the person from needed medical care, such as an organ transplant."

"We are hearing of cases in other states of sick and dying patients being kicked off organ transplant waiting lists for their legal use of medical marijuana," said Sen. Vitale (D-Middlesex), who is chairman of the Senate Health Committee. "This practice is unconscionable as the patients have followed their doctors' orders and have taken a legal medication to reduce the pain and suffering associated with their illness.

California: L.A. Mayor Frontrunner Calls On Feds To End Marijuana 'Hypocrisy'

Source: blogdowntownBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Los Angeles mayoral frontrunner Eric Garcetti is calling on the federal government to reclassify marijuana as medically useful, urging the Obama Administration to end what he called the "hypocrisy" of current pot laws.

"I think the federal government should do that swiftly and end some of the hypocrisy on the use of marijuana as a medicine," Garcetti told HuffPost Live's Jacob Soboroff on Wednesday.

Garcetti said the issue is personal for him because of fellow L.A. City Council member Bill Rosendahl, who is fighting cancer, reports The Huffington Post. According to Garcetti, if it weren't for medical marijuana, Rosendahl would not be able to keep food down during his cancer treatments.

During an emotional city council meeting last October, Rosendahl begged his fellow council members to reverse a recently passed dispensary ban in Los Angeles.

"Where does anybody go, even a councilman go, to get his medical marijuana?" Rosendahl asked during the meeting. He decided not to seek reelection this year, in order to focus on his recovery.

Florida: Robert Platshorn's Pot Infomercial Pulled By Orlando Station

Florida: Robert Platshorn's Pot Infomercial Pulled By Orlando StationBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Robert Platshorn wants to spread the good news about medicinal cannabis. Since late last year, the former pot smuggler -- who served almost 30 years in federal prison after the "Black Tuna Gang" was busted by authorities -- has been buying TV time on local stations for his infomercial aimed and senior citizens, Should Grandma Smoke Pot?

The 30-minute show aims to educate the elderly on the pros of medical legalization, and is an extension of Platshorn's popular "Silver Tour," reports Kyle Swenson at Broward Palm Beach New Times.

Having already successful bought airtime and aired the show on stations in the Tampa area and in South Florida, Platshorn was ready to crack the Orlando market on WKCF, a CW affiliate owned by Hearst Media. But the deal fell apart at the last minute when the station got cold feet about the infomercial's message.

"When we bought the time to start running in March, they were very happy to sell it to us," Platshorn said. Should Grandma Smoke Pot? was scheduled for six half-hour slots on WKCF, according to Platshorn, at a total price of about $2,200; the deal was signed on February 26.

Maryland: Medical Marijuana Push Begins

Maryland: Medical Marijuana Push BeginsBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Delegate Cheryl Glenn (D-Baltimore) wants Maryland patients who need medical marijuana to have safe access to it. Glenn held a Thursday news conference to discuss a bill which would allow the distribution of medicinal cannabis to patients with chronic or debilitating medical conditions through compassion centers.

Florida stockbroker Irvin Rosenfeld, one of four surviving federal medical marijuana patients, is expected to deliver remarks during the event, reports WBAL.

Rosenfeld still receives 300 pre-rolled joints from the federal government each month as part of the Compassionate Investigative New Drug program, as he has for almost 30 years. The IND program stopped taking on new patients during the George H.W. Bush Administration, when it became clear that hundreds of AIDS patients would be eligible.

Glenn has already introduced the medical marijuana legislation. Baltimore County Delegate Dan Morhaim, a physician, has also introduced a two bills this session.

New Hampshire: House Committee Approves Medical Marijuana Bill 14-1

Photo - New Hampshire: House Committee Approves Medical Marijuana Bill 14-1By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill to allow New Hampshire residents with debilitating medical conditions to use medical marijuana moved one step closer to becoming law on Thursday when it was approved 14-1 by the House Committee on Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs. House Bill 573 will now be considered by the full House of Representatives.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Donna Schlachman (D-Exeter), would allow seriously ill patients to use medicinal cannabis if their doctors recommend it. Patients would be allowed to grow up to three mature marijuana plants in their homes, or obtain cannabis through one of five nonprofit, state-licensed alternative treatment centers.

New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan has expressed support for passing medical marijuana legislation. A similar medical marijuana bill that passed with bipartisan support last session was vetoed by then-Governor John Lynch.

Prior to the vote, Rep. Patrick Culbert (R-Pelham) made an emotional plea to his colleagues, sharing his experience caring for his wife, Judy, as she slowly died of cancer. He recounted how she found relief from her "agonizing" symptoms the one time she tried using medical marijuana -- but did not use it again, because she feared being arrested.

"People like Judy shouldn't have to die like that," Rep. Culbert said. "She should have died with dignity and she didn't."

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