medical cannabis

Florida: Lawmakers Fail To Reconcile Medical Marijuana Implementation Bills

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Florida lawmakers failed to enact legislation this legislative session establishing rules for the implementation of Amendment 2, a voter-initiated measure that legalizes the use, production, and dispensing of medical marijuana. The constitutional amendment was approved in November, passing with the support of more than 70 percent of voters.

Unless lawmakers convene a special legislative session to address the issue, Department of Health staff will be responsible for establishing regulations for the program. Those rules are due by July 3. The amendment calls for the program to be operational by October.

Mexico: Lawmakers Approve Legislation To Legalize Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Lawmakers in Mexico have approved the legalization of medical marijuana products. President Enrique Peña Nieto, who has spoken in favor of the measure, must sign it to make it official.

The measure authorizes the Health Ministry to design regulations for the use, importation, and production of pharmaceutical products derived from CBD-dominant/low-THC cannabis. Presently, CBD-infused products may be imported into the country on a case by case basis.

The personal possession of up to five grams of cannabis was decriminalized by Mexican lawmakers in 2009. President Nieto proposed legislation last year to increase this threshold to one ounce.

In 2015, Mexico's Supreme Court ruled that federal anti-drug laws should not trump individuals' rights to grow and consume marijuana for their own personal use.

Cayman Islands: Hospital Begins Dispensing Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A hospital in the Cayman Islands has begun dispensing medical marijuana oils almost six months after Gov. Helen Kilpatrick signed the medical marijuana bill into law, according to a CNS Business report. Grand Cayman’s CTMH Doctors Hospital & Cayman Pharmacy Group will prescribe and dispense the cannabis oils for various serious, chronic medical conditions such as cancer and epilepsy, and as a pain reliever for rheumatoid and osteoarthritis symptoms.

The hospital is being supplied by Canada’s CanniMed Therapeutics Inc., since the law does not allow medical cannabis products to be cultivated or produced on the islands. Initially, cannabis oils will be dispensed to a small number of physician-selected patients as they seek to educate themselves and track patient progress.

“There will be follow-up phone calls from the pharmacists themselves to closely monitor each patient. The pharmacist will also provide feedback for the physicians and together they will work towards an individually tuned treatment plan,” the hospital said in a press release. “Professional Pharmacy will consider prescriptions for cannabis oil from all licensed prescribers. Patients are encouraged to seek medical advice on this therapy directly from their physicians.”

Texas: Slow Paperwork Prevents Medical Marijuana Vote

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Texas legislature failed to pass a medical marijuana regime before the end of session and the failure was due to the Calendars Committee not receiving paperwork for the bill on time, according to the Texas Cannabis Report.

The report says that the measure was not heard by the Public Health Committee until one week before the end of the legislative session. By the end of that hearing, 77 of the House’s 150 members had signed on in support — enough to pass the bill. The committee passed the bill on Friday.

Heather Fazio, a member of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, said that Health Committee Chair Rep. Four Price might have had “his heart and mind” opened by the testimony at the hearing.

“He still wasn’t ready to vote for the bill himself, but he was attentive during the hearing and demonstrated exceptional character when he allowed the bill to be voted on by the committee,” Fazio said in the report.

The Calendar Committee said the paperwork had not arrived on Monday, meaning they were unable to schedule the bill that day. The paperwork arrived Tuesday, but that was too late for the House to take it up. The next opportunity to revisit the legislation is 2019 as the Texas legislature meets every other year from January through May.

Ohio: Some Patients Already Receiving Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Even though Ohio is not ready to open its first medical marijuana dispensaries yet, some patients in the state are already receiving medical marijuana.

Patients are going to the Holistic Center in Toledo where they are issued an affirmative defense card, which protects them from prosecution if stopped with marijuana in Ohio. They are then able to head north to Michigan to get medical marijuana.

We have doctors who are actually very passionate about providing alternative solutions to opioids," said Louis Johnson, of Omni Medical Services. “The state is still working out their infrastructure but the law says patients have the right to use marijuana and as long as a doctor certifies such then they have that right to do so," said Johnson.

There are several conditions that can qualify a patient in Ohio to use medical marijuana:

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
Alzheimer's disease
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Cancer
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
Crohn's disease
Epilepsy or another seizure disorder
Fibromyalgia
Glaucoma
Hepatitis C
Inflammatory bowel disease
Multiple sclerosis

Pain that is either of the following:
Chronic and severe
Intractable.

Parkinson's disease
Positive status for HIV
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Sickle cell anemia
Spinal cord disease or injury
Tourette's syndrome

Indiana: Large Majority Of Voters Support Legalizing Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new WTHR/HPI Indiana Poll has found that a vast majority of likely Indiana voters are in support of legalizing medical marijuana in the state. The poll focused specifically on likely voters and strongly indicates that an initiative effort to legalize marijuana as a medicine would be approved with overwhelming support.

According to the poll, 73% of likely voters in the state are in support of medical marijuana. Only 25% are opposed to the move, and want to keep medical narijuana illegal.

Only 2% of likely voters were found to be undecided.

The survey found Democrats to be the most likely to support medical cannabis with 82%, support followed by independents at 77%. Support among Republicans was lower, but still a strong majority was in support at 59%.

There are lawmakers in the state who are working to make a change in the law. Last year Indiana State Senator filed Senate Bill 284, a proposal to legalize medical cannabis, including personal cultivation and dispensaries. Unfortunately the measure failed to advance, but the conversation is already underway.

Connecticut: Minors Can Now Become Medical Marijuana Patients

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Connecticut House Bill 5450, signed into law by Governor Dannel P. Malloy earlier this year, is now in full effect. This means that those under 18 with certain qualifying conditions can legally use medical marijuana if they receive a recommendation from a physician. Nurses are also now authorized to recommend medical marijuana to both adults and minors. Previously that authority was exclusive to physicians.

The new law was approved 152 to 24 by the state’s legislature. It means that children with a wide variety of ailments would be allowed to use non-smokeable forms of cannabis, such as tinctures, for medical use, so long as the minor has approval from their parent or guardian and receives a recommendation from a physician or registered nurse (under current Connecticut law medical cannabis is already legal for those 18 and older).

Qualifying conditions include terminal illness, cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy, irreversible spinal cord injury with intractable spasticity, severe epilepsy and intractable seizure disorders.

“We introduced this bill to support those who need it – this is a deeply emotional issue for many families,” says Chris Collibee, a spokesperson for Governor Malloy. “Delivering access to ease illness is something many states have passed. It’s the right thing to do.”

Florida: New Ad Campaign Says Marijuana Isn't Medicine

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The anti-marijuana group Drug Free Florida released a 30 second ad Thursday which opens with a prescription for Marinol, which the group says offers the same benefits as medical marijuana.

Marinol is a pharmaceutical tetrahydrocannabinol, a drug which contains the principal psychoactive component of cannabis. 

The ad then goes on to slam medical marijuana for not being regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and for not being prescribed by a doctor.

The group says amendment 2 is a “scam” which would make medical marijuana legal. “You don’t smoke medicine,” the ad says, while pictures of young people smoking marijuana flash on the screen. 

The ad is the latest in the fight against Amendment 2, which would legalize medical marijuana in Florida for patients with “debilitating conditions.”

Conditions covered under the amendment would include cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, and for other conditions which a physician feels using medical marijuana would outweigh the potential health risks for a patient. 

There are differences between Marinol and marijuana. Marinol contains only THC, and can take about an hour to take effect, while smoked or vaporized THC takes effect in a matter of seconds or minutes. Marinol is often used to treat cancer patients, HIV/AIDS patients, and people undergoing chemotherapy.

Montana: Initiative On Ballot To Improve Medical Marijuana Laws

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Most states have relaxed restrictions on marijuana in recent years. Some have legalized it for recreational use; half the states have legalized some form of medical marijuana. But Montana has gone backward.

Although Montana adopted medical marijuana in 2004, a law was passed in 2011 that severely limited the reach of marijuana providers. The Supreme Court affirmed the law in February.

Today, marijuana advertising is banned, marijuana dispensaries cannot have more than three registered users and doctors who prescribe marijuana to more than 25 patients annually will be reviewed by the state. Hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries closed when the restrictions took effect the end of August.

But supporters of medical marijuana are hoping to be back in business come November with Montana I-182, a ballot initiative that would repeal the law that effectively killed the medical marijuana industry. A "yes" vote would repeal the limit of three patients per dispensary, which estimates say cut off at least 12,000 medical marijuana users when it was put into effect — the vast majority of those were using marijuana as medication.

Ohio: Board's Timeline Concerns Medical Marijuana Advocates

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Advocates are concerned over the length of time it will take Ohio's medical board to draft rules governing how doctors can recommend to patients they use medical marijuana.

The medical board met Wednesday for the first time since the medical marijuana law went into effect and says it plans to study laws and practices in other states before drafting Ohio's regulations.

The medical board has a September 2017 deadline for establishing rules for medical doctors. Ohioans for Medical Marijuana spokesman Aaron Marshall says advocates want the board to act sooner.

Marshall says those who need the drug therapeutically are "seriously ill people" who should know how to defend themselves in court if caught with marijuana before the state's physician rules are established.

Ohio: Lakewood, Other Cities Block Medical Marijuana Business Licenses Before Any Will Be Awarded

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Laws for legal medical marijuana take effect in Ohio in one month, but Lakewood and other cities across the state are making moves to block cannabis businesses from opening in their communities.

Several Ohio cities have put a six-month moratorium on licensing marijuana cultivators, processors and retailers. Several others are considering temporary bans in advance of the new law, which takes effect September 8.

But it's likely to be six months before any marijuana businesses are licensed in Ohio. Three government agencies will be setting up the regulations and licensing processes, and the first deadline is in May 2017.

Ohio's medical marijuana law will people with about 20 qualifying medical conditions to use marijuana with the recommendation and approval by a physician. Stores will be able to sell cannabis plant material, patches, tinctures and oils.

Lakewood, Beavercreek, Troy and Piqua recently passed six-month moratoriums on licensing businesses and Rocky River, Lancaster, Lima and Liberty Township in Southwest Ohio are working on similar temporary bans.

One city has gone so far as to ban all legal marijuana operations. Hamilton, in Butler County, passed its ban in February 2015, months in advance of that year's recreational marijuana measure qualifying for the ballot.

Massachusetts: Boston's First Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Almost four years after voters approved medical marijuana in Massachusetts, the first Boston dispensary opened today, August 3.

The new dispensary in downtown Boston on historic Milk Street is the seventh to open in the state.

Columbia Care CEO Nicholas Vita expects business to be brisk. Columbia Care is the parent company of Patriot Care, which is opening the Boston location.

"But we don't expect it to be overwhelming," Vita said. "It's still a medically focused program so the patients we see have all received their certification from physicians approved by the state."

Fr. Joe Quinn, a friar at St. Anthony's Shrine, attended the opening on Wednesday.
"This takes away the stigma, which is wonderful," he said. "This is a medication and that's all it's used for."

There were more than 27,000 medical marijuana card holders in Massachusetts as of the end of June.

The other Massachusetts marijuana dispensaries are located in in Ayer, Brockton, Brookline, Lowell, Northampton and Salem.

Japan: Medical Marijuana Advocate Dies Of Cancer While On Trial

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Masamitsu Yamamoto, a former chef from Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan with advanced liver cancer, died last Monday at the age of 58. He fought and was still fighting for legalization of medical marijuana while on trial for drug possession at the time of his death.

He had crusaded for years for the government to permit the medical use of marijuana, currently banned by the Cannabis Control Law. He was standing trial at the Tokyo District Court after being arrested in December for suspicion of marijuana possession.

He appeared in a wheelchair on July 12 at a court hearing, in which he claimed he used marijuana as a last resort after determining all other medical approaches had been to no avail,
and that he had been unable to get approval to use medical marijuana legally.

The case will be dropped now that the defendant is deceased. The trial would have concluded tomorrow, August 2, at which time prosecutors would have demanded a prison term and set a sentencing date.

Hideo Nagayoshi of the nonprofit organization Iryo Taima wo Kangaerukai (Japan Medical Marijuana Association), which supported Yamamoto during the trial said that the case’s dismissal means the many questions about the ban raised by the defendant will remain unanswered.

Florida: Second Marijuana Dispensary To Open In Pensacola

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Florida saw its first medical marijuana dispensary open its doors on Tuesday in Tallahassee, and a Pensacola location is scheduled to open very soon, according to the CEO of the dispensing company.

Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers said Wednesday that the company has found a location in Pensacola, received zoning verification,and is awaiting a permit from the Department of Health. The company plans to work with architects to plan the necessary security renovations to convert the location into a dispensary.

"We think it's very important that we're serving patients here in Northwest Florida, so Pensacola is definitely an important market for us," Rivers said.

Trulieve currently only offers low-THC marijuana treatments, but has plans to provide full-strength strains to eligible patients by August.

Florida has six licensed medical marijuana growers, and Trulieve dispenses medical marijuana for Hackney Nursery Company, one of those six.

The new location shares the block with a probation and parole office, the Independence for the Blind headquarters, and Eden Garden Supply. Eden Garden Supply owner Greg Armour said he welcomes the new business.

Florida: Opening Day For The State's First Medical Marijuana Dispensary

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Florida's first medical marijuana dispensary opened Tuesday in a storefront in Tallahassee, a week after receiving approval from thew state to sell a low-THC cannabis oil.

Patients who suffer from chronic muscle spasms, seizures, and cancer can qualify to use the oil, thanks to a law passed in 2014.

Another law passed in the last legislative session allows terminally ill patients to use full-strength cannabis.

“When I say it is an historic and momentous day, it really is," Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers said at a packed news conference at the store Tuesday. "We are really overwhelmed and so proud to be this pioneer."

Some patients wanting to get medical cannabis are having trouble finding a physician to agree to the treatment.

Only 15 doctors in the state had signed up to order the low-THC products as of last week.

Florida: Opening Day For The State's First Medical Marijuana Dispensary

Florida medical marijuana.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Florida's first medical marijuana dispensary opened Tuesday in a storefront in Tallahassee, a week after receiving approval from thew state to sell a low-THC cannabis oil.

Patients who suffer from chronic muscle spasms, seizures, and cancer can qualify to use the oil, thanks to a law passed in 2014.

Another law passed in the last legislative session allows terminally ill patients to use full-strength cannabis.

“When I say it is an historic and momentous day, it really is," Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers said at a packed news conference at the store Tuesday. "We are really overwhelmed and so proud to be this pioneer."

Some patients wanting to get medical cannabis are having trouble finding a physician to agree to the treatment.

Only 15 doctors in the state had signed up to order the low-THC products as of last week.

Florida: Publix Heiress Donates $800,000 To Fight Medical Marijuana Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Publix is probably the most popular supermarket chain in Florida, but some of its patrons may be surprised to learn that the family that founded the chain just donated $800,000 to a campaign fighting medical marijuana in the state.

The Carol Jenkins Barnett Family Trust donated $800,000 to Drug Free Florida on July 14. The same group helped kill Florida's 2014 medical marijuana amendment, which was only two percent short of the 60 percent vote it needed to pass.

Drug Free Florida is spreading misinformation and lies about Amendment 2, the medical marijuana measure on the ballot this November. They've been responsible for releasing several ridiculous Reefer Madness-style videos this year.

Jenkins Barnett, daughter of Publix founder George Jenkins, gave more than $500,000 to Drug Free Florida in 2014, and so has surpassed that amount for this year.

Illinois: Medical Marijuana Director Resigns After 1 Year

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

An attorney appointed by Gov. Bruce Rauner to lead the Illinois medical marijuana program last year has resigned to pursue work in the private sector.

Joseph Wright, 32, was in the position just over one year. He told the Associated Press on Monday that he felt the time was right to explore other opportunities, perhaps in the medical marijuana industry.

Catherine Kelly, a spokeswoman for the governor, conformed the resignation on Monday. She told the AP the governor's office "will have no further comment" on the reasons for the resignation.

Wright was paid $53,370 last year according to a public database of state employee's salaries. His resignation was turned in on Friday. He will be replaced by Jack Campbell, the program's bureau chief in the Department of Agriculture, Kelly said.

Arkansas: Group Submits 117K Signatures To Get Medical Marijuana On Ballot

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Supporters of medical marijuana in Arkansas turned in thousands of signatures Monday in an effort to put their proposal on the state's ballot this fall.

Arkansans for Compassionate Care submitted 117,469 signatures to the secretary of state's office while calling on backers of a competing ballot to end their campaign.

The secretary of state's office has 30 days to review the petitions and determine whether the group has the 67,887 valid signatures needed to get their act on the ballot. It would legalize marijuana for patients with a qualifying condition with a doctor's recommendation.

“The patients of Arkansas deserve a safer alternative,” Melissa Fults, the group’s campaign director, said at a news conference at the Capitol. “They should not have to choose between treating their illnesses or breaking the law.”

Arkansas voters narrowly missed approving a proposal to legalize medical marijuana four years ago. Fults said she believes the support for medical marijuana is still strong, but urged backers of a competing proposal to drop their campaign and join her group’s effort.

Putting both measures on the ballot “will absolutely cause both to fail,” Fults said.

Arkansas: Medical Marijuana Advocates Scramble To Collect Signatures To Legalize

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Medical marijuana advocates in Arkansas are scrambling to meet a July 8 deadline to submit petitions for medical marijuana legalization. They worry that competing measures may divide support for the issue.

"It will be enough to split the vote and both will fail," said Melissa Fults, campaign director for Arkansans for Compassionate Care.

Fults says her group has gathered over 70,000 valid signatures from registered voters, well over the 67,887 required to get the act on the ballot. They plan to continue gathering signatures to ensure that any duplicate or invalid signatures are taken into consideration.

The Arkansans for Compassionate Care had their initiative approved by former Attorney General Dustin McDaniel in September of 2014, and the group has been gathering signatures and support ever since.

David Couch, the Little Rock lawyer behind a competing medical marijuana proposal, says he's not worried about the prospect of both measures being on the ballot. Couch said he's gathered support from more than 40,000 registered voters, nearly half of the 84,859 required to put his plan on the ballot. Because his proposal would be a constitutional amendment, it requires more signatures.

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