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Medical Marijuana Act on Nov. ballot for Arkansas

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, October, 23rd 2012 by THCFinder
The act makes marijuana legal for medical use under state law while still acknowledging that marijuana use, possession and distribution for any purpose is illegal under federal law.
 
To do so, the act establishes a cultivation, acquisition and distribution system for qualifying patients through nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries, which have limited immunity. There would be registration and operation requirements for the dispensaries, with limits set on the amount of marijuana each dispensary cultivated and dispensed.
 
According to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture’s Public Policy Center, no more than one dispensary registration certificate can be issued for every 25 pharmacies with a pharmacy permit from the Arkansas Board of Pharmacy. There are 761 retail pharmacies licensed in the state, according to the Arkansas Pharmacies Association.
 
Patients and caregivers who qualify could receive limited authorization to cultivate marijuana if the patient lives more than five miles from the closest dispensary.
 
The act also establishes an initial list of qualifying medical conditions, and qualified patients who have a doctor’s written certification, designated caregivers and the nonprofit dispensary agents would not be subject to criminal or civil penalties for this use. It does not protect these citizens from federal law.
 
According to the Public Policy Center, medical marijuana would not be allowed for use in public places, schools, community centers, on public transportation or in correctional facilities. It would also prohibit driving a motor vehicle, aircraft or watercraft under the influence.
The act defines three categories of qualifying medical conditions. The first includes cancer, glaucoma, positive status for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Tourette’s disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, post-traumatic stress disorder, fibromyalgia, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease or the treatment of these conditions.
 
“The second category is defined as ‘a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or Wasting Syndrome; peripheral neuropathy; intractable pain, which is pain that has not responded to ordinary medications, treatment or surgical measures for more than six months; severe nausea; seizures, including those characteristic of Epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of Multiple Sclerosis,” the fact sheet said.
The Arkansas Department of Health is authorized to add additional qualifying medical conditions, which is the third category. It would also establish applications rules for Registry Identification Cards, of operating nonprofit dispensaries and the addition of qualifying medical conditions if necessary.
 
The department would also set standards to ensure confidentiality and to provide Legislature annual quantitative reports about the program.
 
California was the first state to pass a medical marijuana law. It passed in 1996 and, since then, 16 states and the District of Columbia have passed similar laws. Massachusetts is the only other state with the medical marijuana law on this year’s ballot.
 

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Purple Train Wreck

Category: Nugs | Posted on Tue, October, 23rd 2012 by THCFinder

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Federal Medical Marijuana Policy Harmful to Patients

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, October, 23rd 2012 by THCFinder
Appeals court issued rare order last week for supplemental briefing on "standing" in landmark federal case
 
Washington, D.C. -- Less than a week after oral arguments in the landmark federal case to reclassify marijuana for medical use, the plaintiffs filed an additional brief late yesterday at the request of the court. In the case Americans for Safe Access v. Drug Enforcement Administration, the D.C. Circuit issued an order last week seeking details on the harm sustained by plaintiff and disabled U.S. Air Force veteran Michael Krawitz as a result of the federal government's policy on medical marijuana.
 
The federal appeals court will use this additional briefing to decide whether the plaintiffs have legal "standing" to bring such a lawsuit against the government. The lawsuit argues that the government has acted arbitrarily and capriciously by keeping marijuana classified as a Schedule I substance, a dangerous drug with no medical value. By ignoring the overwhelming scientific evidence, ASA argues that the federal government has kept marijuana out of reach for millions of Americans who would otherwise benefit from its therapeutic value.
 
"The court's request for clarification is a sign that this case is being taken very seriously," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and the attorney who is arguing before the D.C. Circuit. "The experience of plaintiff Michael Krawitz being denied treatment by the Department of Veterans Affairs is real and emblematic of many other patients caught up in the federal government's harmful policy on medical marijuana." According to Krawitz, his denial of Veterans Affairs (VA) treatment has forced him to "expend significant economic and other resources to be treated by an Oregon physician outside the VA system, which I pay for on my own."
 
The brief filed yesterday by ASA argues that, "The injuries suffered by Krawitz are caused by marijuana's placement in Schedule I and would be redressed by a favorable decision in this case." Specifically, the brief states that Krawitz was "denied prescription pain medication for a time and compelled to this day to seek pain treatment outside the VA system because he refused to sign a VA pain contract that would require him to abstain from the use of medical marijuana."
 
Legal "standing" is where the courts consider the harm endured by the plaintiffs. If standing is satisfied, the court can then rule on the merits of a case. The previous legal challenge to the classification of marijuana was rejected by the D.C. Circuit in 2002 because of inadequate standing, however no actual medical marijuana patients were part of that case. Not only are there several patient plaintiffs in the current legal challenge, but ASA is also alleging harm by having to counter political rhetoric with scientific information.
 
 

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