Delays Continue for Medical Marijuana Patients in New Jersey
Medical marijuana patients in New Jersey continue to wait for the state’s medical marijuana program to get off the ground. Then-Gov. John Corzine first signed the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act in January 2010, but since then, progress has been slow. Although the state originally planned to have the necessary alternative treatment centers open in July 2011, the state’s first licensee, Greenleaf Compassion Center, is not scheduled to open until September of this year.
Five planned facilities have been approved in NJ, but 4 do not yet have approved locations. Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) has even called for a hearing into the cause of the delays, saying that there is “no adequate explanation” for the current situation. Difficulties with organization, vetting the necessary officials, and objections by locals have been some of the reasons cited for the delay.
Furthermore advocates say the regulations surrounding the program are too strict, and there have been very few patients approved in the state so far. Under the current system, patients must have an existing “bona fide” relationship with one of the limited number of participating physicians. The doctor must then submit an official statement recommending the patient.
The physician must then transfer a unique reference code to the patient, who can then use it to register themselves. The registration of a patient is only valid for 90 days, after which the doctor and the patient must repeat the process, a cumbersome process to say the least.
So far only about 50 patients have been registered in the state, and only 150 doctors are participating, out of 30,000 total doctors in New Jersey.
Relief seems to be on the way for some medical marijuana patients in NJ, albeit slowly. Hopefully the legislature or voters can relax the strict regulations currently in place and allow more people the choice of medical cannabis.
Medical Marijuana Industry Group says Denver Outdoor Advertising Ban is "Appropriate"
The Denver City Council voted last week to ban outdoor medical marijuana advertising, and a medical marijuana advocacy group say that’s a good thing.
Michael Elliott, the executive director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group (MMIG) says, “Under the new ordinance, medical marijuana businesses will still have access to a comprehensive range of affordable venues in which to advertise. These include but are not limited to: the print media, merchandising, and web-based solutions including social media. In addition, business signage will still be allowed. But most importantly, patients can be assured that they will have the necessary tools to easily locate and procure their medication.
“Put simply, this ordinance addresses those concerns most often voiced by Denver’s citizenry, while maintaining the rights of industry participants to market their businesses in an efficient, fair, and cost-effective manner.
“While we remain sympathetic to critics who question the need for additional regulations, MMIG is committed to pushing for a comprehensive regulatory framework. Some may argue that when compared to other industries, medical marijuana has been overregulated. However, for better or worse, we are participants in a young, dynamic, and scrutinized industry. If we are to survive the attacks from without, oversight and regulation must be promulgated and supported from within.”
But one has to wonder: where do you draw the line when it comes to regulations on medical marijuana?
“To prove to our communities that this industry can be the good neighbor, employer, and healthcare provider they desire, we must be willing to compromise and make concessions,” Mr. Elliot said.
Advocates must be careful about how much they give in an effort to appease others. Acting like marijuana is a bad thing that needs to be hidden sets what could be a dangerous precedent.
Court Commissioner in AZ Wants Deputies to Return Medical Marijuana to Woman in CA
A court commissioner in Yuma County, Arizona - Lisa Bleich – wants sheriff’s deputies in her county to return medical marijuana they confiscated from a legal California medical marijuana patient.
Valerie Okun has a valid CA medical marijuana card, and the medical marijuana law in Arizona specifically provides for honoring valid cards from other states. Deputies confiscated 3/4ths of an ounce from her at an interstate checkpoint last year, citing Arizona drug laws.
Five months later, Okun’s case was dismissed. Okun then filed for return of her property, with a judge ordering its release.
When Yuma County Sheriff Ralph Ogden refused, the judge ordered both sides to submit legal arguments to Bleich. And Bleich has ordered the return of Okun’s property.
"Congress did not intend to trample on the rights of the state to make their own laws pertaining to illegal drugs and medical marijuana use,” she wrote earlier this year, rejecting arguments by prosecutors that federal laws making possession and distribution of marijuana a crime override the 2010 voter-approved law in AZ. "It further implies that state laws pertaining to medical marijuana use can co-exist with federal law without conflict.”
Sheriff Deputies say returning the medical marijuana would violate federal law. "It doesn't resolve the fact that people shouldn't be forced to do things that are otherwise illegal under our state and/or federal law,” said Yuma County Attorney Jon Smith.
Deputy Yuma County Attorney Edward Feheley makes a similar argument in in trying to get relief from the Arizona Court of Appeals.
"The sheriff is prohibited from delivering marijuana to a person he knows has no right to possess marijuana -- even for medical purposes,” Feheley wrote, pointing out the federal law says there is no legitimate medical use for marijuana.
And the battle over medical marijuana in Arizona continues.
Medical Marijuana Chamber of Commerce Endorses Obama: Huh?
The United States Medical Marijuana Chamber of Commerce – a group 10,000 members strong – has endorsed President Barack Obama for reelection.
"Let’s not get distracted by the myriad of issues that will be brought to the forefront at the upcoming political conventions, the single most important election issue is getting our economy back on track,” said Thomas L. Leto III, president and founder of the U.S. Medical Marijuana Chamber of Commerce. “The economic potential of the cannabis business in the U.S. is limitless and President Obama understands this. It is our impression that Mr. Romney just doesn’t get it.”
No one can deny that Mitt Romney “just doesn’t get it,” but to claim the President does get it, in the midst of the biggest crackdown in medical marijuana’s short history, is ludicrous.
According to Leto, legalized cannabis would become a $100 billion annual industry and would bring with it 5 million new jobs within the first year of changing federal strictures. These stats may or may not be accurate; there is no way to tell the future, but we do know some tax revenue and some jobs will be created. But what has Obama done to indicate he wants to foster this future industry, besides some lies he coughed up as a candidate for President?
Like any good politician, Obama tries to claim he didn’t change his position, but his previous quotes are on video and his actions are in plain view for all to see.
One has to wonder why the Chamber didn’t endorse the obvious choice for President, Gary Johnson. He is the only who understands what legalization can do and he is the only one who continually advocates for it. He is also the only candidate on the ballot in all 50 states who will fight for the rights of medical marijuana patients and end the crackdown.
A Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana in Kentucky Introduced
State Senator Perry B. Clark (D-Louisville) has pre-filed legislation for the 2013 legislative session that would add Kentucky to the growing list of states that allow patients whose doctors have recommended it to use medical marijuana to treat multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other serious medical conditions.
If the bill passed there would be a statewide network of regulated dispensaries for use by qualified patients.
"This is not a conservative issue or a liberal issue; it's an issue of compassion," said Senator Clark. "Countless studies show that marijuana is effective at treating pain, nausea, loss of appetite, and other symptoms. If it was my family member, I would do anything to relieve their suffering."
Senator Clark emphasized that the bill would only apply to marijuana for medical purposes. "This is not about legalizing marijuana. It's about getting government out of healthcare, and putting science in." An early shot across the bow of those who are against legalization and will fear-monger the issue.
"I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at age four,” said Donna Fox, a patient from Louisville. “I've been living with this disease for 42 years and lost count many years ago as to how many injections I have endured and the thousands of pills I have swallowed. If medical marijuana, which carries far fewer and less severe side effects, can work then why should I be denied relief? I just want to live a functional life without the pain."
Donna speaks for thousands in Kentucky and millions across the country. What is wrong with someone having the choice of medical marijuana for their medication? Why must they only take substances that are more dangerous and addictive? Are the profits of Big Pharma more important than the health of citizens?
AZ Attorney General Seeks Summary Judgment in Medical Marijuana Lawsuit
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery and Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne have each filed separate motions for summary judgment in Superior Court on a lawsuit filed by White Mountain Health Center against Maricopa County and the Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS) on the issue of federal preemption of the state’s medical marijuana law.
“It is the County’s position that the AMMA is in direct violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act and therefore cannot be implemented without exposing County employees to the risk of federal prosecution,” Montgomery said. “The AMMA also runs afoul of the Supremacy Clause enshrined in the U.S. Constitution by our Founding Fathers, which preempts state law that conflicts with federal law,” he added.
Attorney General Tom Horne said, “I was recently asked by 13 out of the 15 County Attorneys in Arizona to issue an Opinion on whether the AMMA is pre-empted by federal law. The two most recent cases, from California and Oregon, clearly hold that states may not authorize what federal law prohibits. These rulings stem from Article Six of the U.S. Constitution, which, in case of conflict gives supremacy to federal law. Therefore, state authorization for growing or selling marijuana is prohibited under federal law and we are therefore asking the court to dismiss the Plaintiff’s complaint.”
If officials in every medical marijuana state felt the way some of those in Arizona do, legal protections for medical cannabis patients would likely not exist anywhere.
While we are quoting the Constitution, let me direct you to the words of the Tenth Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
Where does the federal government get the power to make a plant illegal?
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