Minnesota: PTSD Patients Allowed to Obtain Medicinal Cannabis


By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Minnesota residents who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder are permitted to buy medical cannabis from the state’s dispensaries, as of August 1st, under the state's medical marijuana program.

In 2016, Minnesota approved PTSD as a qualifying condition, but patients weren’t permitted to obtain medical cannabis to treat their disorder until August 1st.

Only 105 patients with PTSD had started or completed the registration process in the month leading up to legal sales, despite the addition of the illness to Minnesota’s list of qualifying conditions, according to state data.

Minnesota: Medical Cannabis Patients Report Benefits In Department of Health Study


Majority of Minnesota Medical Cannabis Patients Saw Benefit in Program’s First Year

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Based on patient surveys and other data, a significant number of patients who used medical cannabis during the first year of Minnesota’s marijuana program reported benefits, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Less than a quarter of patients who participated in the study experienced negative side effects from cannabis.

The MDH study draws on data from survey results as well as enrollment, purchasing, and related health information to describe the experience of patients using medical cannabis from the program’s start on July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016.

“Based on this evidence from the first year, Minnesota’s approach is providing many people with substantial benefits, minimal side effects, and no serious adverse events,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger.

Minnesota: Authorities Find $1.4 Million Worth Of Marijuana Smuggled In New Ford Fusions


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Police in the state of Minnesota have found approximately 1,100 pounds of marijuana hidden in the trunks of around 22 brand-new Ford Fusions manufactured and shipped from Mexico's Ford plant in February and March of this year, Alpha News reports. The total street value of the marijuana seized is around $1.4 million.

It began in February, when St. Paul authorities discovered 80 pounds of marijuana hidden in the spare tire wells of two Fusions ready for delivery in a railway vehicle holding lot. Authorities soon learned the cars were part of a larger group of 15 cars -- 13 of which had already been delivered to dealerships.

Police tracked down the remaining cars and found a 40-60 pound brick of marijuana in the spare tire well of each one. One of the Ford Fusions recovered had already been sold to an 86 year-old man. Police in Dillworth, Minnesota later found an additional 217 pounds of marijuana in seven more Ford Fusions after railroad employees discovered the drugs during a routine inspection.

Authorities believe the marijuana was placed in the cars by members of the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel as they were loaded onto train cars for shipment to the US, and that the plan was to have someone break into the railway cars once they reached the US and recover the marijuana to be distributed.

U.S.: GW Pharma Moves To Monopolize CBD Market


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Bruce Barcott of Leafly has exposed some actions taken by GW Pharma (NASDAQ: GWPH) that seem to attempt to limit competition from suppliers of CBD.

Lobbyists have been engaged in several states by the company and its U.S. subsidiary, Greenwich BioSciences, companies which are both supporting legislation in South Dakota and Nebraska that would “effectively give GW/Greenwich a temporary monopoly on legal CBD products” in those states for its Epidiolex.

If given FDA approval, Epidiolex could be on the market in early 2018. Legislation advancing in both South Dakota and Nebraska suggests that CBD would be permitted only from FDA-approved providers.

Barcott says GW Pharma and Greenwich BioSciences have hired lobbyists in Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin and possibly in California. Barcott attempted to contact GW Pharma for comment but has not yet received a reply. Should GW Pharma succeed in stifling competition, it could have a serious impact on hopeful in-state poducers of CBD, as well as companies both foreign and domestic who extract CBD from industrial hemp.

Minnesota: PTSD Added to List of Qualifying Conditions For Medical Marijuana

Minnesota mmj.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Minnesota Department of Health is adding post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to its list of conditions that can qualify patients for medical marijuana.

Minnesota now joins New Jersey, Michigan, California, Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Arizona, Washington, Rhode Island and Oregon as states that allow those with PTSD to legally use medical cannabis.

A large amount of research has led to the conclusion that medical marijuana can be useful for "innovative intervention strategies (e.g. pharmacological enhancement of exposure-based therapy) in PTSD and other fear learning-related disorders,” according to a government-funded study released in 2014.

Another study released in 2015 found that; “When inhaled or delivered orally or transdermally, cannabinoids (the psychoactive components of unrefined marijuana and various derivative products) activate endogenous cannabinoid receptors, modulating neurotransmitter release and producing a wide range of central nervous system effects, including increased pleasure and alteration of memory processes…. Those effects provide a pharmacologic rationale for the use of cannabinoids to manage the three core PTSD symptom clusters: reexperiencing, avoidance and numbing, and hyperarousal.”

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

Vireo Health.jpg

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.

Minnesota: Man Sentenced In Marijuana Wax Fire

Dustin Zablocki.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A St. Cloud man was sentenced to seven years in prison Thursday for playing a role in causing an accidental fire that killed his grandmother.

Dustin Ross Zablocki, 19, was accused of making marijuana wax with a friend and starting a fire that killed his grandmother. He had previously pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting third-degree murder.

According to investigators, the fire started when Justin Edward Pick,20, and Zablocki were making "dabs', a potent marijuana oil extract. The fire resulted in the death of Zablocki's grandmother, Sally Douglas.

Ken Wilson, Zablocki's attorney, said that his client expressed remorse and didn't give much thought to his behavior and the possible consequences.

"He was very remorseful, and he feels like the system was fair," Wilson said. "Dustin wishes he understood the dangers of marijuana wax before the tragedy happened."

Pick previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to slightly more than seven months in jail and 25 years of probation.

The fire highlighted a growing trend of making what’s also known as butane hash oil, or BHO, from marijuana and the dangers of the process.

Minnesota: Intractable Pain Added As Qualifying Condition For Medical Marijuana


Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger on Wednesday announced that intractable pain, as defined in Minnesota law, will be added to the list of qualifying conditions for which patients can legally access medical marijuana.

The commissioner must notify the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative health and public safety policy committees. Intractable pain will become a qualifying condition for medical marijuana effective August 1, 2016, unless the legislature passes a law stating otherwise.

The vast majority of the 23 states with workable medical marijuana programs allow the use of medical marijuana to treat intractable pain.

“This is a sensible and compassionate decision that will help a lot of Minnesotans who suffer every day from intractable pain," said Robert Capecchi of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "The commissioner heard from countless medical professionals, patients, and families from across the state about the benefits of medical marijuana for people suffering from this debilitating condition.

"We commend Commissioner Ehlinger and everyone else involved in taking this important step toward improving the lives of countless Minnesotans," Capecchi said.

“Medical marijuana has been found to be an effective treatment option for people suffering from severe and chronic pain," Capecchi said. "It is oftentimes more effective than prescription painkillers, and it is undeniably far less addictive and less toxic.

Minnesota: Medical Marijuana Panel Recommends Against Adding Intractable Pain As Qualifying Condition


Majority of panel opposes adding intractable pain; recommendations include a variety of additional criteria be met in order for intractable pain patients to have access to medical marijuana, if commissioner decides to add

The Minnesota Office of Medical Cannabis Intractable Pain Advisory Committee late on Wednesday posted its recommendations on the question of whether intractable pain should be a medical cannabis qualifying condition. A majority of the panel opposed adding intractable pain, despite marijuana’s relative safety when compared to commonly prescribed pain medications.

The panel also listed a variety of conditions that it suggests be met if the Commissioner of Health were to ultimately decide to add intractable pain to the program.

The recommendations — which include a 21 and older age restriction and a requirement that “traditional” methods of treatment be exhausted — will now be considered by Minnesota Commissioner of Health Ed Ehlinger. If he decides to add intractable pain, with or without added criteria, he must notify the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative health and public safety policy committees.

Intractable pain would become a qualifying condition for medical marijuana, effective August 1, 2016, unless the legislature passes a law stating otherwise.

Minnesota: First Medical Marijuana Dispensary To Open Wednesday In Minneapolis


Minnesota’s first medical marijuana dispensary (called a "patient center" in their scheme of things) is scheduled to open in Minneapolis Wednesday. Minnesota Medical Solutions is scheduled to open its doors to patients at 12:01 a.m. CDT.

“This is a great day for suffering patients who have been waiting a long time to have access to this medicine,” said Patrick McClellan of Minnesotans for Compassionate Care, a Bloomington man with a rare form of muscular dystrophy who will be among the first patients served on Wednesday. “We are grateful that the Department of Health stepped up and implemented this law promptly.

"Patients in some states have had to wait years between their laws passing and medical marijuana finally becoming accessible,” McClellan said.

Minnesota’s medical marijuana law authorizes eight marijuana patient distribution centers throughout the state, and patients must comply with strict requirements in order to visit them. Their doctor must certify that they have one of nine specific medical conditions, which include cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, severe muscle spasms, seizures, Crohn’s Disease, and glaucoma.

Patients must then register with the state Department of Health and pay a $200 annual fee. Following each visit to a marijuana center, they must submit an online self-evaluation form before they may return to a center to obtain more medicine.

State records show only 41 patients have been approved and, according to Minnesota Medical Solutions, about half of them already have appointments for Wednesday.

Minnesota: Pot (The Movie) World Premiere Set For Minneapolis-St. Paul Film Festival


With April 20, the global marijuana holiday, just around the corner and marijuana policy becoming an ever-increasing political hot button subject, a cannabis documentary is set to debut on the big screen.

Pot (the movie) will have its world premiere on April 11, at St. Anthony Main Theater as part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival. Filmmaker Michael Hope brings together the modern information on marijuana use and products, current law enforcement perspectives, as well as the history and science that led us to this crossroad in history.

“If people are going to have an opinion on marijuana, they should have accurate, current information for an informed opinion," Hope said. "This is that film.

"This is an educational documentary, intended to help people have an informed opinion on the subject of marijuana," Hope said. "Pot (the movie) has original, timely content, which people need to see now. It is unlike any movie on the subject, showing important information about current science, use, laws, and effect of current policies.”

Hope spent 2014 traveling across the country exploring the issue between legalization in Colorado and the strict prosecution in his home state of South Dakota. Along his travels, Hope came across some wonderful stories, especially on the medical side of the marijuana story, from mother, Angela Brown, who is being prosecuted for using cannabis as medicine for her son’s traumatic brain injury after traditional medicine failed, to other law-abiding citizens being affected by outdated public policy.

U.S.: Marijuana Conviction On Your Record? Criminals Wanted For Scholarship


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

You might think that criminal record of yours limits your opportunities. But now there's a $1,000 law school scholarship available where applicants must prove they've already been in trouble with the law.

The Appelman Law Firm, LLC, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, says the idea is designed to reward those who've made better choices after a conviction -- "those who have managed to turn their lives around and intend to pursue a career in criminal defense."

"There's a real need for passionate attorneys in criminal defense," said Avery Appelman, the firm's founder. "Nothing instills a great passion for justice quite like having suffered through the process yourself."

That's where the Appelman Law Firm Criminal Defense Scholarship comes in, and Appelman isn't alone in thinking a criminal record shouldn't be a barrier to making a better life.

"There are just too many ways to run afoul of the law for anyoen to think they are immune," Appelman said. "A mistake can easily lead to an arrest or jail."

Attempts to determine just how many criminal statutes exist have failed, because there are so many. An estimate from the government in the 1980s put it at about 3,000 in the federal system alone. Shortly afterward, another study from the American Bar Association said that was too low a figure, but couldn't come up with a better number.

Adding in state crimes only makes the situation worse. For many, avoiding a criminal record has become more a matter of luck than of being a good citizen.

Minnesota: Advocates Call For Dropped Charges Against Mother Who Treated Son With Marijuana Oil


Patient advocate Patrick McClellan of Minnesotans for Compassionate Care on Tuesday at 10 a.m. CT, will deliver a Change.org petition with close to 9,000 signatures to Lac qui Parle County Attorney Rick Stulz, calling on him to drop child endangerment charges against Angela Brown.

Brown is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday to face charges of child endangerment for treating her son, who suffers from a traumatic brain injury (TBI), with medical marijuana oil.

In May, Gov. Mark Dayton signed a medical marijuana bill into law that allows Minnesota residents suffering from certain conditions to access medical marijuana oil if their doctors recommend it. The law does not take effect until July 2015.

“The charges that have been brought against Angela Brown are not just serious, but outrageous,” McClellan said. “This is a mother who is being punished for treating her son with a product that is now recognized as medicine in the State of Minnesota. Ironically, helping her son has led to child endangerment charges that are hurting her son and their family.

“An overwhelming majority of Minnesotans support laws that allow access to medical marijuana. Our legislature approved one, and the governor signed it,” McClellan said. “The County Attorney Office’s actions are unnecessary, unreasonable, and out of touch with Minnesota values.”

WHAT: Patient advocate to deliver Change.org petition urging Lac qui Parle County Attorney Rick Stulz to drop child endangerment charges against Angela Brown for treating her son’s brain injury with medical marijuana oil

Minnesota: Companies Could Supply Medical Marijuana As Soon As July


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two companies will supply qualifying Minnesotans with medical marijuana as soon as July 2015, but some patients will be forced to drive hours if they want to participate in the program.

The Minnesota Health Department on Monday announced that Leafline Labs, in Cottage Grove, and Minnesota Medical Solutions, in Otsego, have been licensed to grow marijuana and process it into liquid, pills and vapor, reports Don Davis at the West Central Tribune.

The reason that all this "processing" is necessary is that Minnesota's poorly written medical marijuana law doesn't allow the use of herbal cannabis flowers in any form, and specifically forbids smoking them (a method of quick relief for many patients). Moronically, the law allows the use of processed concentrates, but not the plant itself.

A dozen organizations have submitted applications to grow and process medical marijuana in Minnesota.

Leafline, owned by the Bachman family of floral fame, plans to open a distribution center in Eagan, Minn., next year, with satellite sites in Hibbing, St. Cloud, and St. Paul opening by July 1, 2016. Groundbreaking on the firm's Cottage Grove growing and processing facility is expected before the end of this year.

Minnesota: Department of Health Awards Two Medical Marijuana Manufacturer Licenses


Patients expected to have access by July 2015

Patients and advocates praise Minnesota Department of Health for selecting the two manufacturers in accordance with the legislative timeline

The Minnesota Department of Health on Monday announced that they have selected two entities to operate as medical cannabis manufacturers under the provisions of the medical cannabis law enacted in May 2014. The successful applicants were chosen among 12 competing proposals.

This announcement is on schedule with the legislatively-enacted timeline, which aims to have distribution sites open and dispensing medical cannabis products to registered patients and their caregivers by July 1, 2015.

Minnesota’s implementation was among the most rapid of any medical marijuana program that includes regulated dispensing. Each manufacturer will be allowed to have up to four distribution points across the state to serve the estimated 5,000 seriously ill Minnesotans who will qualify under the law.

“Selection of the medical cannabis manufacturers is a big step forward toward safe and legal access to the medicine my son needs,” said Jessica Hauser, whose son Wyatt suffers from a condition that can cause hundreds of seizures a day. “After traveling to Oregon, my family knows that Wyatt will benefit from using medical cannabis products.

"We are excited for the day where we can get in our car, instead of on a plane, to obtain medicine that we know improves his quality of life,” Hauser said.

Minnesota: Seriously Ill Residents Excluded From State's Medical Marijuana Program Question Candidates


Patients Call on Gubernatorial Candidates to Tell Voters Whether They Support Expanding the Law

Patients, family members, and supporters to announce which candidates have signed a statement in support of expanding the law at a new conference Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in the State Office Building

Seriously ill Minnesotans who have been denied access to the state’s limited medical marijuana program are calling on gubernatorial candidates to publicly state whether they support expanding the state’s medical marijuana law.

A group of patients, family members, and advocates will announce which candidates have signed the statement at a news conference on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. CT in Room 181 of the State Office Building. They will also explain why Minnesota’s medical marijuana program must be expanded to include all of the medical conditions and methods of administering medical marijuana that were approved by a bipartisan majority of the Minnesota Senate but left out of the final legislation.

“Unfortunately, there are a lot of Minnesotans suffering from truly debilitating conditions who will not be allowed to access medical marijuana under the new law,” said Patrick McClellan, a medical marijuana patient advocate. “Whoever is elected governor must be ready to work with the legislature to expand it to include all seriously ill Minnesotans who could benefit from medical marijuana.

"Voters deserve to know which candidates are committed to doing that,” McClellan said.

Minnesota: Marijuana Policy Project Makes Maximum Contribution To GOP Gubernatorial Candidate


MPP backing Republican gubernatorial candidate in light of his support for a more compassionate and comprehensive medical marijuana program

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) PAC has contributed $4,000 to the campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson. The contribution to the Johnson for Governor Campaign is the maximum allowed under Minnesota law.

Johnson is challenging Gov. Mark Dayton in the Minnesota gubernatorial election following a legislative session in which the governor refused to support a compassionate and comprehensive medical marijuana program championed by patients and approved by the Minnesota Senate. The contribution was made in light of Johnson’s support for the more inclusive legislation. A matching contribution was made to the Senate DFL PAC as well.

The medical marijuana proposal supported by Johnson and a bipartisan Senate coalition would have protected an estimated 30,000 seriously ill Minnesotans, according to a fiscal analysis prepared by the state. Gov. Dayton refused to sign such a bill and insisted on a restrictive program that will only help an estimated 5,000 patients.

The governor’s resistance also resulted in the law prohibiting the use of marijuana in its natural form, requiring patients to use oils or extracts that will be produced by just two manufacturers for the entire state. Some patients have said they will not sign up for the program because whole plant cannabis is the most effective form of treatment for their conditions.

Minnesota: Mom Charged For Treating Son's Pain With Medical Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Minnesota mother has been charged with child endangerment for giving her son medical marijuana to treat his pain.

Cannabis oil has been a lifesaver for 15-year-old Trey Brown, according to his mother Angela Brown, reports Liz Collin at WCCO.

"No mother should have to hold their child so they don't hurt themselves," Angela said, "He didn't want to live."

Three years ago, Trey suffered a traumatic brain injury at a baseball game. "It's been a very, very rough three years," said David Brown, Trey's father.

One pitch at a game of baseball with friends changed Trey's life forever.

"It just hurts my brain everywhere," Trey said. "I really can't explain the pain."

Trey gets headaches, muscle spasms and seizures. His condition got so bad, he wasn't able to go to school, and started to punch and cut himself.

"I was afraid to go to the bathroom; he'd be harming himself," Angela said.

Minnesota doctors seemed unable to help. Last winter, the Browns went to Colorado, where they found something that worked.

"Within an hour of him taking it, we could tell a difference," Angela said. They brought some cannabis oil back with them from Boulder, Colorado.

"I felt better -- the pain went away," Trey said. But when he school asked why Trey was doing so much better, teachers didn't like his parents' answer.

Minnesota: Medical Marijuana Battle Turns To Patients In Chronic Pain


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

When Minnesota lawmakers passed a medical marijuana law last month, they left out the largest potential group of patients in the state: those with chronic pain. They did so on purpose.

But the debate isn't over, reports John Welsh at MinnPost, and the outcome could determine whether Minnesota's medical marijuana program helps a few thousand people -- or a few hundred thousand.

Medical marijuana advocates got their first victory in the state last month after more than a decade of effort at the Capitol. The new law covers nine conditions, including cancer and epilepsy, with each category expected to generate from 100 to 1,000 patients.

In all, Minnesota estimates there will be 5,000 patients in the program, which is scheduled to begin providing marijuana on July 1, 2015.

In states like Colorado and Oregon, at least 94 percent of medical marijuana patient participants list chronic pain as their qualifying diagnosis. Minnesota officials estimated that adding "intractable pain" to the list of qualifying diagnoses would add about 33,000 patients to the program, but there is some evidence that estimate might be low.

State officials based their estimates on patient participation in Arizona's medical marijuana program, but Arizona has a low participation rate of just 0.7 percent of state residents. In Oregon, the rate is 1.5 percent; in Colorado, the rate is 2.2 percent.

Minnesota: Message Delivered To Governor By Mothers Whose Children Need Medical Marijuana


The day after Gov. Mark Dayton signs medical marijuana bill, patients and advocates deliver him 33 flowers, each representing 1,000 seriously ill Minnesotans who will not be able to access medical marijuana under the new law; the governor blocked a more effective proposal that would have allowed them to participate in the program

Medical marijuana patients, their family members, and supporters gathered in front of the residence of Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday to express their disappointment with the medical marijuana bill he signed into law one day earlier. The group delivered 33 flowers to the governor, each representing 1,000 seriously ill Minnesotans who will not be allowed to benefit from the new law, but would have benefitted from a more effective proposal that was blocked by Gov. Dayton.

Among the group were Heather Kainz of Duluth and Shelly Olander of Brainerd. The new law will not allow Kainz’s two-year-old son, Parker, to access medical marijuana to treat a painful movement disorder stemming from a congenital brain malformation. Olander’s six-year-old son, Lincoln, who suffers from a mitochondrial disease that causes severe nausea, wasting, and vomiting, also will not be able to access medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana has been found to be an effective treatment for both children’s symptoms.

“Medical marijuana won’t cure my six-year-old, but we hoped it would ease his persistent nausea and quell the vomiting associated with it,” Olander said. “I am heartbroken that conditions such as his were excluded from the final language.

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