Proposal to restrict Oregon medical marijuana use gets trashed in hearing
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, March, 17th 2011 by THCFinder
SALEM -- Legislators got an earful Wednesday from medical marijuana advocates who condemned a proposal to greatly restrict who can legally use the drug to combat illnesses.
It's the second time in recent weeks that the issue has come up, as some lawmakers have made it clear they think too many people are scamming the law that allows use of cannabis to treat some diseases and symptoms.
"I personally think the program is out of control," said Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, sponsor of one of the bills targeting the growth of medical marijuana use. "I know people who just find it a legal way to smoke pot."
Opponents called his proposal "heartless" and said it would subject cancer patients and other sick people who rely on marijuana to arrest and imprisonment.
To take away an effective medical treatment "is simply a cruel task, a cruel thing to do that will only harm someone battling cancer," said Anthony Johnson, spokesman for a coalition of groups that support medical marijuana.
Kruse's proposal, contained in Senate Bill 777, strikes several general illnesses from the list of those for which cannabis can be legally used, including cancer, severe pain, severe nausea and seizures. It replaces them with more specific conditions, such as nausea resulting from chemotherapy treatment for cancer, and spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis.
Kruse said he came up with the list after asking a number of doctors what kind of conditions marijuana is effective against. He said he hears from law enforcement, particularly in southern Oregon, that marijuana use is rampant, partly because of its legal use for medical reasons.
After listening to nearly an hour of testimony against his bill, Kruse said he's willing to be "flexible" and make some changes. He also acknowledged that his bill may not make it far in the Democratically controlled Senate.
However, he said he expects some changes to the law to come out of the Legislature this year. A work group already has formed to look at ways to prevent abuses of the 1998 voter-approved measure that legalized use of marijuana for medical reasons.
Using Medical Marijuana Can Get You Fired
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, March, 16th 2011 by THCFinder
You may live in a state where medical marijuana is legal and have a prescription to use the drug for a legitimate medical purpose, but that doesn't mean you can't be fired by your employer if you fail a drug test. A federal judge has ruled medical marijuana laws do not regulate private employment.
The ruling came in the case of a Michigan man who sued WalMart after he was fired for testing positive for marijuana.
Joseph Casias, a former associate of the year at a Battle Creek WalMart store, was prescribed medical marijuana for pain associated with an inoperable brain tumor and cancer. He did not smoke marijuana at work, but failed a random drug test.
WalMart said its policy had nothing to do with whether the marijuana was prescribed, the issue was whether or not its employees could do their jobs safely.
Judge Jonker said no where in Michigan's medical marijuana law does it mandate that employers have to accommodate employees' off-duty use of marijuana.
ACLU to Appeal Ruling
Earlier, a Michigan judge ruled that employers and workers compensation insurers do not have to pay for medical marijuana.
The American Civil Liberties Union plans to appeal the rulings.
"No patient should be forced to choose between adequate pain relief and gainful employment, and no employer should be allowed to intrude upon private medical choices made by employees in consultation with their doctors," Scott Michelman, an ACLU attorney said.
Medical marijuana growers accused of trafficking
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, March, 16th 2011 by THCFinder
(Reuters) - A medical marijuana law in the state of Montana is being used for large-scale drug trafficking, federal prosecutors said, days after the U.S. government raided facilities across the state.
The raids on Monday capped an 18-month investigation of marijuana trafficking statewide, the U.S. Attorney for Montana, Michael Cotter, said in a statement.
Seizures also were carried out at financial institutions in three Montana cities under civil warrants seeking up to $4 million in connection with the alleged drug trade, he said.
The sweep prompted an outcry from medical marijuana advocates, who accused the government of cracking down on growers and distributors who were operating legally under the state's seven-year-old medical marijuana law.
But Cotter said in his statement that the raids were conducted "where there is probable cause that the premises were involved in illegal and large-scale trafficking of marijuana."
"When criminal networks violate federal laws, those involved will be prosecuted," he said.
Although cannabis is still considered an illegal narcotic under federal law, 15 states and the District of Columbia have statutes legalizing pot for medical use, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
Cannabis in food gets stamp of approval from watchdog
CANNABIS ice cream, cake and beer have been cleared on health grounds by the nation's food watchdog, despite fears the "marijuana munchies" could trigger positive drug tests.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand yesterday sought public comment on an application by deregistered Sydney doctor Andrew Katelaris to lift Australia's ban on food derived from cannabis.
Dr Katelaris, who is appealing against his deregistration for supplying medical marijuana to patients, yesterday said the seeds of industrial hemp contained more Omega 3 acids than seafood. "We're looking at making ice cream and health food bars," he said.
"Our vision is that anything you can do with soy beans or dairy you can do better with hemp seed."
A Food Standards investigation concluded that industrial hemp contained such low levels of the psychoactive substance delta 9-tetraydrocannabinol (THC) that anyone consuming the food would not feel its effect.
"FSANZ has not identified any safety concerns relating to the consumption of hemp foods," the Food Standards report says.
"Hemp seed is a nutritious food containing sizeable amounts of protein, polyunsaturated fats and dietary fibre . . . (and) micronutrients such as thiamin, vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc."
But Food Standards reveals that "various government stakeholders" have raised concerns of high-THC seeds entering the food chain, of advertisers falsely claiming hemp foods have psychoactive properties or that they could trigger positive drug-test results.
"There is a potential risk that . . . labelling and advertising of hemp foods could suggest psychoactive properties . . . (but) this would be misleading," the report says. "Concerns have also been expressed about positive drug tests for cannabis use . . . This is of particular relevance for workplaces that may have drug-testing protocols, for athletes and for roadside drug testing".
The Food Standards report cites a scientific study that this is unlikely, as a person would have to consume eight teaspoons of hemp seed oil, or 300g of seed, daily to fail a drug test "and it is considered that consumption of such amounts is unrealistic."
Fort Collins: Cap on medical marijuana shops may be lifted
The number of medical marijuana businesses that could operate in Fort Collins would not be limited to those that are currently operating under revised regulations headed to the City Council for consideration.
Existing businesses, most of which do not meet the city’s requirements of being specific distances from facilities such as schools, child-care centers and places of worship, would be “grandfathered” and allowed to keep operating. Future businesses would have to meet the distancing requirements.
The Fort Collins City Council is scheduled to give final consideration today to a set of ordinances regulating medical marijuana businesses, including where they may locate and how much marijuana may be bought and sold between centers.
The ordinances received initial approval last month. But council members directed staff to change some elements of the regulations, including a cap on the number of licenses for medical marijuana businesses, or MMBs, the city would issue at 23, which is how many businesses are already operating in the city plus those going through the approval process.
The idea behind capping the number of MMBs in town was to protect the city from becoming the “grow capital of Northern Colorado if not the state,” said Capt. Jerry Schiager of Fort Collins police.
But some council members said the number of stores in other industries that may operate in the city is not restricted and marijuana businesses shouldn’t be treated differently.
The cap was an arbitrary number, said Steve Ackerman, a medical marijuana business owner and president of the Northern Colorado Medical Marijuana Business Council. The number of businesses that will survive will depend on the market, he said.
“I don’t think a cap on the number of places is going to reduce the demand or consumption of medical marijuana in Fort Collins,” Ackerman said. “If they take away the number of access points, they’ll drive patients to places that are unsafe, unregulated and untaxed.”
Opponents of medical marijuana said they plan to take their concerns to the council.
Colorado: Medical marijuana hearing continues this afternoon
Attorneys for three Loveland medical marijuana dispensaries and for the city of Loveland are arguing before a judge today about whether existing pot businesses can stay open — despite a city vote to shut them all down March 1.
Rocky Mountain Kind, Magic’s Emporium and Colorado Canna Care asked an 8th Judicial District Court judge to intervene and let them continue to provide medical marijuana to their patients.
The hearing is restarting after a lunch recess.
Several marijuana patients, a dispensary manager, a doctor and a landlord testified this morning about hardships they would face if the judge does not grant temporary injunction to allow the businesses to operate while the case questioning the November election goes through court.
The city has said patients could be served in surrounding communities such as Berthoud or Fort Collins.
The judge will take more testimony, including from the city, this afternoon and is expected to make a prompt decision regarding the temporary injunction.
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