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Medical Marijuana

Historic Federal Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana Rolled Out Today [FEATURE]

Medical Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 03/10/2015 - 21:37

A bipartisan trio of senators today introduced historic legislation to legalize medical marijuana at the federal level. Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Rand Paul (R-KY) filed the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act, which would end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana and allow states to set their own policies.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]"We need policies that empower states to legalize medical marijuana if they so choose-recognizing that there are Americans who can realize real medical benefits if this treatment option is brought out of the shadows," said Sen. Booker. "Doctors and patients deserve federal laws that are fair and compassionate, and states should be able to set their own medical marijuana policies without federal interference. I am thankful to Senators Gillibrand and Paul as well as the Drug Policy Alliance for their hard work on this common-sense bill to make medical marijuana accessible to the millions of Americans who could benefit from it." 

The bill would reclassify marijuana for medical use, allow veterans to have access to medical marijuana, overhaul banking laws to allow licensed medical marijuana businesses to use financial services, and open up more research possibilities for medical marijuana.

In addition to the Drug Policy Alliance, the senators also consulted with the Marijuana Policy Project, Americans for Safe Access, and other voices for patients in drafting the bill. Although nearly half the states have passed medical marijuana laws (and a dozen more have passed limited CBD cannabis oil laws), marijuana remains illegal under federal law. That means patients and providers in medical marijuana states are still at risk of federal prosecution and families and patients in non-medical marijuana states must relocate or travel long distances to get treatment, facing the risk of prosecution in non-medical marijuana states along the way.

"I am so happy to support this bill. As the mother of a child with a severe seizure disorder, anxiously waiting to get access to a medication that is already helping thousands of others is unbearable," said Kate Hintz, a New York resident who has advocated for CBD to treat her daughter and others to treat epilepsy and seizures. "After persistent advocacy in my home state of New York, we finally saw a medical marijuana law passed last summer.  Yet individual state's laws, including New York's, will not succeed until we lift the current federal restrictions surrounding this plant," she added.

"I applaud Sens. Gillibrand, Booker and Paul for taking this bold step forward and insisting the federal government take action.  Let's end the fear and stigma associated with marijuana, and instead allow this bill to provide research, medicine, and long needed relief to so many. It cannot come fast enough, especially for my daughter," Hintz concluded.

[image:2 align:right caption:true]"For far too long, the government has enforced unnecessary laws that have restricted the ability of the medical community to determine the medicinal value of marijuana and have prohibited Americans from receiving essential care that would alleviate their chronic pain and suffering. I am proud today to stand with Sens. Gillibrand and Booker to introduce a bill that will fundamentally change our nation's drug policies and have a positive impact on the lives of our Veterans and children," said Sen. Paul.

While the Obama administration has, in recent years, largely taken a laissez-faire approach to medical marijuana in states that have approved it, that approach is both uneven and dependent on the whim of the administration in power. Just last week, federal prosecutors in Washington state took a family of five medical marijuana patients--the Kettle Falls Five--to trial, threatening them with lengthy, mandatory minimum prison sentences for growing medical marijuana legally under state law (in a state where even recreational marijuana is legal!).

Fortunately for the Kettle Falls Five, a federal jury acquitted them of most charges, including the most serious ones. But under the current state of federal marijuana prohibition, such prosecutions could continue.

Similarly, the Obama administration's recent restraint on medical marijuana is derived from Justice Department guidance to federal prosecutors about which cases raise the level of federal concern high enough to warrant prosecution. That guidance was crafted by a deputy attorney general answerable to Attorney General Holder and the president. Absent protections provided by this bill or similar legislation, a new administration could easily return to the bad old days of DEA raids and patients and providers being hauled off to federal prison.  

[image:3 align:left caption:true]"As the parents of severely ill children who could be helped by medical cannabis, we are dedicated to advancing safe, legal and viable access," said Maria De Gregorio, a parent leader of the Kentucky-based Parents Coalition for Rescheduling Medical Cannabis. "Rescheduling efforts must also guarantee access to whole plant extracts that have proven therapeutic benefits. We feel it is crucial to support state rights in all current and future medical marijuana programs. Thus, we strongly endorse this bill as it is written."
 
"Almost half the states have legalized marijuana for medical use; it's long past time to end the federal ban," said Michael Collins, Policy Manager for the Drug Policy Alliance. "This bipartisan legislation allows states to set their own medical marijuana policies and ends the criminalization of patients, their families, and the caregivers and dispensary owners and employees who provide them their medicine."

"With studies showing that medical cannabis access decreases suicide and addiction rates, the CARERS Act is absolutely necessary to help fix a broken healthcare system for veterans, which deals with suicides and addiction at catastrophic rates," said TJ Thompson, a retired U.S. Navy Third Class Petty Officer. "Now, I'm considered a criminal because of the medication that helps me. I take it illegally to treat my PTSD."

"This comprehensive proposal would effectively end the war on medical marijuana and let states compassionately provide care for seriously ill people without the federal government standing in the way," said Tom Angell, director of Marijuana Majority. "The fact that two young Democrats with likely long political futures have teamed up with a probable 2016 Republican presidential candidate shows how medical marijuana is a nonpartisan, noncontroversial issue that draws support from across the spectrum. With polls showing an overwhelming majority of American voters backing marijuana reform, you’d think taking up this proposal would be a no-brainer for legislative leaders who want to show that Congress can still get things done." 

We shall see. The bill text is not yet available on the congressional website, and it has not yet been assigned to a committee. That's the next step in a long process. 

Categories: Medical Marijuana

US: Investors See Potential Opportunity In Marijuana Reform Bill

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Tue, 03/10/2015 - 07:00
Wall Street Journal, 10 Mar 2015 - Proposed Carers Act would redefine cannabis as a Schedule II controlled substance When Sens. Cory Booker (D., N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) and Rand Paul (R., Ky.) announced a bill Tuesday to reform federal marijuana regulation, they pitched it not just as a health, military veteran and states' rights issue, but from a business angle. And they used words that investors in the developing marijuana industry have been waiting to hear for a long time.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

CN ON: Column: Going To Pot Here?

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 07:00
Ottawa Sun, 09 Mar 2015 - Bob Cabana says he would welcome a marijuana store moving in across the street from him. He figures it would be good for all the businesses on Wellington Street. Bob Cabana says this while dressed as a character from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. So he may be a little biased. On the business benefits of marijuana.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

CN BC: Fire Chiefs Clash Over Grow-Op Risk

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 07:00
Metro, 09 Mar 2015 - Court: Case challenging medical marijuana laws set to hear from two experts on whether residential grow-ops are more vulnerable to fire Surrey's fire chief has a "cultural confirmation bias" against licensed marijuana grow-ops, which is why he wrongly concludes they are more dangerous than regular residences, an expert witness will testify in a Vancouver court case.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US OH: Pot Or Not? The Case For And Against Legalization

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Sun, 03/08/2015 - 08:00
Dayton Daily News, 08 Mar 2015 - Editor's note: A group called ResponsibleOhio is proposing a state constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana and allow 10 Ohio sites owned and operated by investor groups to grow it. ResponsibleOhio is pushing to get their measure on the November ballot. Today, we hear from ResponsibleOhio as well as from Drug Free Action Alliance, an Ohio nonprofit whose mission is to help prevent substance abuse. We also hear from some of our readers about legalizing marijuana. - Connie Post
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US NM: Column: Employers Don't Need To Test For Marijuana

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Sun, 03/08/2015 - 08:00
The New Mexican, 08 Mar 2015 - Privacy Arguments Aside This Testing Is Expensive and Does Not Effectively Screen for Good Employees. Legal barriers to marijuana are falling all over the United States. Pot, tried by nearly half of all Americans at some point in their lives, is already legal in some form in 23 states, and four states allow recreational use. Last month, two House bills were filed that could end the federal prohibition of marijuana, including one which would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act's schedules and regulate it similarly to alcohol.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US VT: Police Debate Marijuana Legalization At Vt. Law School

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Sat, 03/07/2015 - 08:00
Times Argus, 07 Mar 2015 - SOUTH ROYALTON - A former New Jersey State Police lieutenant and a Vermont police chief have very different views on what to do about marijuana. One calls the drug wars a policy disaster that needs to be stopped. The other considers drug trafficking a violent crime and believes marijuana legalization will increase children's access to the drug.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

Chronicle AM: NH Decrim Bill Advances, Fallout from Florida SWAT Killing, Bolivia Top Narc Busted, More (3/6/15)

Medical Marijuana (STDW) - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 21:45

Decrim is moving in New Hampshire, Georgia families rally for medical marijuana, Louisianans will rally for Bernard Noble (13 years for two joints), roommates of a Florida man killed in a SWAT pot raid cry "murder," and more. 

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Northern California Counties Seek Unified Position on Pot Policy. As the state legislature again grapples with regulating medical marijuana, and with an almost certain legalization initiative in 2016 looming on the horizon, policymakers from Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Sonoma, and Trinity counties gathered in Santa Rosa (Sonoma County) Thursday to begin trying to reach a unified position on possible reforms. Click on the link for more detail.

New Hampshire Decriminalization Bill Moves. The legislature's Committee on Criminal Justice voted overwhelmingly yesterday to approve a bill that would decriminalize the possession of a half-ounce of pot or less. The measure is House Bill 0618. Although recent polling shows 71% of Granite Staters want either decriminalization or full legalization, the bill still faces opposition as it heads for House and Senate floor votes.

Medical Marijuana

Georgia Families Swarm State Capitol in Support of Strong Medical Marijuana Bill. Dozens of Georgia families streamed into the state capitol in Atlanta yesterday to crank up the pressure on the Senate to pass a medical marijuana bill. House Bill 1has already passed the House, but the Senate is now considering an alternate bill, Senate Bill 185, which would only set up a limited trial program for children with epilepsy. The families want House Bill 1.

Sentencing

Rally Saturday in New Orleans for Bernard Noble, Doing 13 Years for Two Joints. Supporters of Bernard Noble, who is serving 13 years without parole in state prison, are holding a rally in New Orleans Saturday to call for clemency for the non-violent offender and family man. Click on the link for event details and more information.

Law Enforcement

Roommates of Unarmed Florida Man Killed By SWAT Team in Pot Raid Call it Murder. Roommates of Derek Cruice, the 26-year-old Deltona man shot in the face and killed by a Volusia County deputy during a drug raid, described his killing as "murder" and strongly challenged the police version of events. See them describe what happened here. Supporters of Cruice held a rally this morning to decry his killing. A memorial event for Cruice is set for tomorrow morning at a local park. Click the title link for event details.  

International

Bolivia's Former Top Narc Arrested for Drug Links. General Oscar Nina, head of the national police in 2010 and 2011, has been arrested by Bolivian authorities on suspicion of illegal enrichment and links to drug trafficking. His wife, daughter, and son were also arrested on similar charges. Another former Bolivian top narc, General Rene Sanabria, is doing a 15-year sentence in the US for drug trafficking. President Evo Morales has vowed to wipe out "the cancer of corruption," but it seems to be a perpetual problem. 

Categories: Medical Marijuana

CN ON: Column: Free Speech Does Not Entitle You To Break Law

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 08:00
Northern News, 06 Mar 2015 - I do strongly object if you openly disregard the values of this community and then expect the community to support your cause. On Monday we saw something in Kirkland Lake that we don't often see, a protest march.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US CA: Editorial: Pismo's Reversal of Mobile Pot Dispensaries

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 08:00
The Tribune, 06 Mar 2015 - Reversing an Earlier Vote, the City Council Will Permit Mobile Marijuana Dispensaries The Pismo Beach City Council did a 180 on mobile pot dispensaries this week after hearing from constituents who rely on medical marijuana for themselves and their loved ones.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US: Survey: Pot Legalization Gains Favor, Reaching a Record

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 08:00
Sun-Sentinel, 06 Mar 2015 - WASHINGTON - For the first time, the General Social Survey - a national survey conducted every two years and widely considered to represent the gold standard for public opinion research - shows a majority of Americans favors the legalization of marijuana. In interviews conducted between March and October of last year - when the legal marijuana markets in Colorado and Washington were ramping up - researchers asked 1,687 respondents the following question: "Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal or not?"
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US: Survey: Pot Legalization Gains Favor, Reaching a Record

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 08:00
Chicago Tribune, 06 Mar 2015 - WASHINGTON - For the first time, the General Social Survey - a national survey conducted every two years and widely considered to represent the gold standard for public opinion research - shows a majority of Americans favors the legalization of marijuana. In interviews conducted between March and October of last year - when the legal marijuana markets in Colorado and Washington were ramping up - researchers asked 1,687 respondents the following question: "Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal or not?"
Categories: Medical Marijuana

CN ON: Mississauga, Marijuana - a Perfect Pair

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 08:00
Toronto Star, 06 Mar 2015 - After a false start as a 1970s bedroom community, Mississauga may have finally found its civic calling - industrial agriculture. It could well become the bread basket of the GTA. Where once the talk was all about call centres, today it's aquaponics. As for those branch plants former mayor Hazel McCallion bragged about for years, pretty soon they could all be medical marijuana farms, grow-ops by any other name.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

CN BC: Mounties' Medical Pot Affidavit Unfounded, Expert Says

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 06 Mar 2015 - The RCMP had no data to back up their claims that medical marijuana grow operations under Canada's old licensing system were inherently dangerous to producers and magnets for violent thieves and organized criminals, an expert told the Federal Court Thursday. RCMP Corporal Shane Holmquist, a supervisor on the Federal Serious Organized Crime Section's marijuana enforcement team, made headlines last year when he filed his affidavit in this case stating there was an "overwhelming temptation" for growers licensed under the old federal medical marijuana system to divert extra pot to the black market. His affidavit also stated that such producers face risks from mould, fire and electrical hazards and also attract organized crime groups because, quoting a 2005 RCMP report, "marihuana cultivation and trafficking represents the single most common (and most lucrative) activity pursued by organized crime."
Categories: Medical Marijuana

CN BC: Just Saying No To Pot ... Facility

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 08:00
Metro, 06 Mar 2015 - Maple Ridge. Locals Worried About Size, Possible Smell From Proposed Medical Marijuana Greenhouse Residents of Maple Ridge are fuming over plans for a massive medical-marijuana facility in their neighbourhood.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

Chronicle AM: CO Pot Law Challenged Again, RI Legalization Bill Filed, Global Pain Med Crisis, More (2/5/15)

Medical Marijuana (STDW) - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 22:45

Sheriffs from three states are suing Colorado over its pot law, legalization bills get filed in Rhode Island, new research scoffs at links between psychedelics and psychosis, heroin OD deaths are up, there's a big problem with global access to opioid pain medications, and more. 

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Sheriffs From Three States Sue Colorado Over Legalization. Sheriffs from Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska are the latest bunch to try to overturn the will of Colorado voters via a federal lawsuit. A lawsuit filed in federal court in Denver today asks the court to strike down Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana, and to order the closure of the state's more than 330 pot shops. The sheriffs claim Colorado's legalization creates "a crisis of conscience" for them and forces them to violate their oath to uphold the US Constitution.

Rhode Island Legalization Bills Filed. Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller (D-Cranston) and House Finance Committee member Scott A. Slater (D-Providence) have introduced legislation to make marijuana legal for adults 21 and older and to establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. The bills are House Bill 5777 and Senate Bill 510. The state has been tagged as one of the more likely ones to legalize it through the legislature. 

Medical Marijuana

Idaho CBD Cannabis Oil Bill on Hold. A bill that would allow access to CBD cannabis oil to treat epilepsy seizure disorders is alive, but on hold after the Senate State Affairs Committee decided it needed to be amended to address law enforcement concerns. The bill is Senate Bill 1106. Supporters are supposed to come up with amendments to address those concerns by next week.

North Carolina Medical Marijuana Bill Moves. A bill that would allow for medical marijuana in the Tarheel State has passed its first reading in the House. The bill is House Bill 78

Psychedelics

Researchers find No Link Between Psychedelics and Psychosis. Users of LSD and other psychedelics are no more likely to have mental health conditions than those who don’t, according to data from population surveys. The researchers said anecdotes about "acid casualties" dating back to the 1960s were precisely that—anecdotes. "We are not claiming that no individuals have ever been harmed by psychedelics," says the author of one of the two studies cited, Matthew Johnson, an associate professor in the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. "Anecdotes about acid casualties can be very powerful — but these instances are rare," he says. At the population level, he says, the data suggest that the harms of psychedelics "have been overstated."

Heroin

Rate of Heroin Overdose Tripled Between 2010 and 2013, CDC Says. More than 8,200 Americans died of heroin overdoses in 2013, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). That's an average of 23 people a day. The rate of heroin overdose deaths nearly tripled, from just under one per hundred thousand to just under three per hundred thousand. Who is dying has also changed. In 2000, the highest overdose rates were among middle-aged black, but by 2013, whites between 18 and 44 had the highest rates.

Drug Testing

Florida Governor Gives Up the Ghost on Welfare Drug Testing. This week was the deadline for Gov. Rick Scott (R) to ask the Supreme Court to overturn lower court rulings that found his suspicionless welfare drug testing law unconstitutional. He didn't act. "We chose not to appeal this case," a spokesman said.

International

INCB Report Says 75% of World Population Still Doesn't Have Access to Pain Relief Meds. In its annual report released this week, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said about 5.5 billion people on the planet are in danger of suffering pain if they become chronically or terminally ill because they don't have access to opioid pain relief medications. Click on the link for more and to read the INCB report.

New Uruguay President Postpones Allowing Pharmacy Pot Sales. New President Tabare Vasquez, who took office Sunday, has decided to postpone implementing public sales of marijuana. His chief drug regulator, Milton Romani, said yesterday he was in "no rush" to start pharmacy sales. "I want this project to be successful," he said. "If we make a mistake by rushing, we fail." For those really interested in getting their weed right now, there are now 15 cannabis clubs in operation and more than 2,000 grows.

Hispanic American Historical Review Has Special Issue on Drugs in Latin America. Lots of good stuff in there for those with an interest in the topic. Here's the table of contents for the issue. 

Categories: Medical Marijuana

CN ON: Mississauga Set To License Medical Marijuana Farms

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 08:00
Toronto Star, 05 Mar 2015 - City responsible for location and proper use of medical pot Mississauga is set to become the first city in Canada to license and regulate the production of medical marijuana. "The federal government legalized these operations, but we're the ones eventually responsible for where they're located and the enforcement of them," said Councillor Jim Tovey, after a committee vote on a new bylaw that passed Wednesday.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US CA: Column: Hey Ngaio, Is Weed Legal In The USA Yet?

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 08:00
Sacramento News & Review, 05 Mar 2015 - HEY NGAIO, IS WEED LEGAL IN THE USA YET? - -Hans and Frans Not yet, but a few things that happened last week will definitely pump (clap) you up!
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US AZ: Column: Not Satisfied

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 08:00
Tucson Weekly, 05 Mar 2015 - An Opinion on the Latest MJ Legalization Petition Draft From a MMJ Dispensary Operator I have been involved in the Pro-Cannabis movement for quite some time. I am actively involved with an alphabet soup of drug policy reform organizations. I voted to legalize medical marijuana in Arizona in 1996 and 1998. With my help those medical marijuana initiatives were passed by a majority of the voters but never enacted.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US HI: Dispensary Bill Moves To Full House

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 08:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 05 Mar 2015 - The Measure Would Allow Patients to Legally Obtain Medical Marijuana A bill to authorize the first legal medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii cleared a critical hurdle at the Legislature this week by winning approval from the House Finance Committee. That nod from the powerful committee that controls state funding means the bill is now positioned for a vote by the full state House of Representatives.
Categories: Medical Marijuana
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