Many Medical Marijuana Patients on a Fixed Income Face Hardship
Elvy Musikka is a 73-year old grandmother who is a legal medical marijuana patient in Oregon. She is also one of the few surviving people still getting marijuana from the federal government under a 1978 program.
But the marijuana she gets from the feds is old and not very potent, so she mixes it with the three pounds of cannabis she gets from the state of Oregon. The problem is, the fees now charged by the state are getting to be too much for her budget to handle.
Last October, the state imposed new fees on medical marijuana card holders. The new fees doubled the annual cost of getting a medical marijuana card to $200. It also imposed grower fees of $50 and, if patients switch growers or change the address where it's grown, the state charges an additional $100.
"For them to come at us and ask for a hundred dollars from us, I find that very criminal," said Musikka.
She lives on a fixed income of $700 a month and said she she's now been forced to drop out of the program. And she said she's not alone, dozens of others have also been forced to drop out because of costs.
"I lost sight unnecessarily because of the change in those rules," she said.
She said without her Oregon medicine, her glaucoma has steadily gotten worse, resulting in two separate eye surgeries.
"It turned into two detached retinas, it turned into me being completely blind for a month."
Fees and taxes are always going to be a problem when it comes to legal marijuana, medical or otherwise. The natural instinct of government is to get as much money out of something as possible so they can proceed to waste a lot of it. It is up to advocates to fight back and keeps costs to patients as low as possible.
Medibles Industry Thrives, Regulation Struggles to Keep Up in Washington
Marijuana-infused edibles are a popular alternative for consuming cannabis for those who don’t want to smoke, or even vaporize. They can be transported easier than marijuana itself and the effects tend to last longer than smoked cannabis.
For this reason they will always be popular in areas where medical marijuana is legal, like Washington State. The problem is that the regulation of medibles isn’t keeping pace with how fast the industry is growing.
One of the things about prohibition is that is gives the illusion of control when in fact the government has little control over illegal markets. Lack of control means lack of regulation, which leaves suppliers and makers of medibles in the dark as to what standard to follow.
Medibles come in many forms, from cookies and brownies to candy and sodas. While they all contain marijuana, they also contain other ingredients, and there are really no rules when it comes to those ingredients.
"You have people making products that are not regulated in any way, with no instructions for how to be stored, no expiration date," said Jim Chaney, 27, who has produced infused chai-flavored drinks and capsules under the name Dream Cream. "The state is just failing to do any kind of quality health inspection."
Is it really that difficult for state officials to regulate food products that contain marijuana? The law in the state concerning medical marijuana is vague in some areas to be sure, but this is a matter of public health. Of course, medical marijuana itself is a public health issue, and officials in many states couldn’t seem to care less about that.
Real and sensible regulation will only come with full legalization. Until then, many in the industry just have to play it by ear.
Medical Marijuana/Cannabis Used to Treat Multiple Sclerosis Proves Successful
Legalizing Medical Marijuana in Florida
There have been several attempts over the past few years to legalize medical marijuana in the state of Florida, all falling far short of their goal. Now, if one state representative gets his way, the Florida constitution may be amended to legalize medical marijuana. Jeff Clemens of Lake Worth, FL has submitted a bill the last couple of legislative sessions that would allow voters to decide the issue of medical marijuana, and he says he will do so again if he is elected to the State Senate, a post he is currently battling for. He is facing only a write-in candidate, so he is likely to win.
Florida is a heavily populated state with a large senior segment of the population. Since seniors suffer from more ailments than their younger counterparts on average, they can benefit greatly from legal medical marijuana. Many say that Mr. Clemens has little chance of success with his medical cannabis crusade, but every law has to start somewhere. Freedom, once taken, is not easily restored.
If you live in Florida and care about medical marijuana, you must make your voice heard to your local representative or state senator.
Vote Yes on Question 3 in Massachusetts
In November voters in Massachusetts will get a chance to vote on the legalization of medical marijuana, Question 3. A group called the “Committee for Compassionate Medicine” (http://www.compassionforpatients.com/)has released a few videos supporting the measure, testimonials from patients themselves – the ones who will be affected the most by the measure.
“On November 6,” their website reads, “Massachusetts voters will have the opportunity to say YES to offering patients suffering from debilitating diseases the same treatment available in seventeen others states by regulating access to medical marijuana by voting YES on Question 3.
“For many patients suffering from debilitating illness, medical marijuana has proven highly effective as a pain management tool, an appetite stimulant, a way to decrease nausea and vomiting, a muscle relaxant and an alternative to heavy prescription painkillers.”
It’s hard to imagine medical marijuana losing in a “liberal state” like Massachusetts, but politics is a tricky game, and many things factor into how a vote goes. It’s up to activists in the state to give it everything they have in the next month.
Patients are depending on them.
MA Senate Candidates on Medical Marijuana
This November Democrat Jamie Eldrige is running against Republican Dean Cavaretta for a seat in the Massachusetts State Senate and they were both recently asked about Question 3, a ballot measure that would legalize medical cannabis in the state.
“I support Question 3,” Eldrige said, “which would allow doctors to consider the full range of medical treatments, including medical marijuana, for patients suffering from debilitating illnesses. I've spoken with constituents who have watched loved ones struggle with pain while fighting diseases like cancer. Passing this referendum is the compassionate thing to do.”
While not as supportive, even the GOP candidate agreed medical marijuana had a purpose.
“This is an issue where I would abide by the will of the Massachusetts voters,” he said. “I personally believe, with proper controls, there is probably a place for the medical use of marijuana.”
Medical marijuana is a very popular issue with voters these days, routinely polling 70%+ across the country, even in some conservative states. It’s hard to look voters in the face and tell them that sick people cannot have the option of medical marijuana to treat their illness.
Granted, some politicians have that gift, like Mitt Romney. He is seen in a popular video on the internet telling a man in a wheelchair that he does not support medical marijuana.
But politicians like Mitt Romney are a dying breed. Medical marijuana will be nationwide someday, helping tens of millions of patients.
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