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Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana legalization won't boost teen pot use, study finds

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, June, 20th 2012 by THCFinder
(CBS News) When it comes to legalizing medical marijuana, federal officials have argued recent increases in pot use among teens might be a result of better access to pot in states where it's legal.
A new study finds there is no evidence that legalization of medical marijuana increases teen drug use.
 
Marijuana use among teens has been on the rise since 2005, according to the researchers. A CDC study from the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YBRS) earlier this month found pot smoking increased among teens from 21 percent reported in 2009 to 23 percent in 2011, which suggests more teens currently smoke marijuana than they do cigarettes.
 
For the new study, economists at three universities analyzed data from the youth risk survey that were collected from 1993 to 2009, and compared those results with when medical marijuana laws were passed. Over the 16-year-period included for analysis, medical marijuana was legalized in 13 states, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Currently 17 states legalize medical marijuana.
 
Researchers specifically examined the relationship between legalization and marijuana use at school, whether the teen was offered drugs on school property, and alcohol and cocaine use. Their results provided no evidence that medical marijuana legalization led to increases in pot use at school, the likelihood of being offered drugs at school, or the use of other harmful substances. The researchers also looked closely at state surveys of youth risk behavior and didn't find such evidence.
 
"There is anecdotal evidence that medical marijuana is finding its way into the hands of teenagers, but there's no statistical evidence that legalization increases the probability of use," Daniel I. Rees, a professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver, said in a written statement.
 
The study has been made available by the nonprofit Institute for the Study of Labor based on Bonn, Germany. The research is not peer-reviewed.
 
Last December, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said teen marijuana use was on the rise in part because medical marijuana had been legalized.
 
"We know that any substance that is legally available is more widely used," he told the Los Angeles Times.
 
Regardless of teen drug use rates, federal officials have contended marijuana is not a safe or effective medicine and therefore won't legalize it nationwide.
 
"Simply put, it is not a benign drug," Kerlikowske said in response to a 2011 petition to legalize and regulate marijuana like alcohol. "Like many, we are interested in the potential marijuana may have in providing relief to individuals diagnosed with certain serious illnesses," he said. "To date, however, the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition."
 

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No Evidence That Medical Marijuana Leads To Increased Teen Use Says Study

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, June, 18th 2012 by THCFinder

According to a new study of the relationship between medical marijuana and teen marijuana use shows no evidence that the former increases the latter.

 

Using the government’s own Youth Risky Behavior Survey (YRBS) for the years 1993 through 2009, the study saw no correlation between states legalizing medical marijuana and teens using the plant.

 

"There is anecdotal evidence that medical marijuana is finding its way into the hands of teenagers, but there's no statistical evidence that legalization increases the probability of use," said Daniel I. Rees, a professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver, who co-authored the study along with Benjamin Hansen, assistant professor of economics at the University of Oregon and D. Mark Anderson, assistant professor of economics at Montana State University.

 

While many studies show that marijuana use is on the rise among teens, there are many things more likely to attribute to that than taking some marijuana out of the hands of drug dealers and into the hands of registered businesses and caregivers. In fact, even in states where medical marijuana is legal, a large black market still thrives because most marijuana users don’t qualify medically.

 

Common sense tells you that the more you regulate a product, the less likely teens are to get it. Alcohol and tobacco are prime examples. The government has no control over the black market - as much as they like to pretend they do – and drug dealers have no incentive to check I.D. because they are already breaking the law. But a liquor store will check I.D. because they want to keep their liquor license and keep making money legally.

 

Another contributing factor to a rise in teen use could be education about how much safer marijuana is than any other recreational substance. Maybe teens have more information because anything can be looked up on the internet.

 

Source: http://medicalxpress.com


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Michigan Medical Marijuana Grower Withdraws Guilty Plea

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Sat, June, 16th 2012 by THCFinder
In light of a recent Michigan Supreme Court ruling that says the state’s MMJ law can be used as an
affirmative defense in criminal cases (http://www.thcfinder.com/marijuana-blog/medical-marijuana/
2012/06/michigan-supreme-court-says-states-mmj-law-shields-patients-from-prosecution), a 45-year-
old medical marijuana grower is withdrawing his guilty plea in a drug manufacturing case.
 
 
Mark Rowe initially entered the guilty plea after a judge ruled he could not bring up Michigan’s medical
marijuana law in the case. He was charged with marijuana manufacturing after police found 12 plants
growing in a garden outside his home. This is within the legal limit under Michigan law, but police say he
violated the law because his plants were not secured, something Mark denies.
 
 
This led the judge to rule out a medical marijuana defense because Mark was supposedly violating the
medical marijuana law, but that hasn’t been proven in court. Mark was denied the ability to even bring
up the fact that he was a legal grower under state law, making him just some guy growing weed in his
garden in the eyes of a jury.
 
 
The judge in Mark’s case has now allowed him to withdraw the guilty plea he entered last fall.
 
 
Rowe’s case is similar to the one involving an Owosso, Michigan resident named Larry King, the case that
led to the recent state Supreme Court decision.
 
 
To observers of the national marijuana scene in the U.S., it may seem like Michigan state and local
authorities are more hostile to medical cannabis patients than authorities in other MMJ states. But
things may changing now with this new state Supreme Court ruling. Courts have a way of chastening
law enforcement, and hopefully authorities will begin to back off of patients and caregivers and let the
state’s medical marijuana law do what it was intended to do.
 
 
That’s the best Michigan patients can hope for at this point.
 
 

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Medical Marijuana Growers Bankruptcy Case Thrown out by Judge

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, June, 15th 2012 by THCFinder
While the fact that their product is illegal under federal law did not stand them good stead in
bankruptcy court to begin with, in the end the Chapter 11 case of CGO Enterprises LLC was thrown
out of court by Judge Michael Romero of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Denver because they filed
an “incomplete bankruptcy case” and then refused to provide the court with more information. 
 
 
The judge waited for 42 days for a response from CGO, who filed their case on May 1 st in an attempt to
keep from being evicted from a warehouse in Denver, CO where they grow their plants. In court papers
the company claimed that it owed its landlord some $800,000.
 
 
But one has to wonder how far the case would have gone anyway, considering that marijuana
cultivation is illegal under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. “It is well known that the cultivation
and distribution of marijuana for profit would be a criminal violation of the federal Controlled
Substances Act and other narcotics statutes,” said a federal “watchdog,” Richard Wieland of the Justice
Department’s U.S. trustee office, in a court filing.
 
 
An attorney for CGO said the company didn’t disagree with the dismissal of the case, but that it did “not
agree with some of the allegations regarding ‘criminal’ activity made in such motion.”
 
 
In fact medical marijuana is heavily regulated in Colorado, but in federal court there is really no way
around the fact that it’s illegal under federal law.
 
 
The bottom line is that federal law infects just about every aspect of medical marijuana. It dictates
how many states react to medical cannabis, and just how much access patients get. Until federal law is
changed, medical marijuana patients will never truly be free.
 
 
And businesses will never be able to take advantage of the laws that “regular” businesses do.
 
 

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Medical Marijuana Patient-Tracking Program against Colorado Constitution?

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, June, 13th 2012 by THCFinder

Medical marijuana advocates are crying foul over a proposed plan in Colorado to track patients and share the information with law enforcement, and also over the way discussions about the plan have been kept from the public.

 

The firestorm kicked off when William Breathes from Denver Westword reported on a closed-door meeting on the issue. "The departments are not helping us," said medical marijuana advocate Kathleen Chippi. "We've talked to people at every department that was involved in the meeting," which focused on collaboration between the Colorado Department of Health and Environment and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, "and we got responses like, 'Well, we can't answer that,' or something to that effect. They're not giving us a clear and concise answer. But the bottom line is, we know the meeting wasn't posted publicly, and we know from William's article that the public was asked not to come."

 

According to William Breathes, CDPHE spokesman Mark Salley confirmed that the meeting was not open to the public, which Chippi says violates Colorado Sunshine laws. Furthermore Chippi says the proposed system itself violates Colorado’s Amendment 20, the state’s medical marijuana law. In particular the passage that states, “Authorized employees of state or local law enforcement agencies shall be granted access to the information contained within the state health agency's confidential registry only for the purpose of verifying that an individual who has presented a registry identification card to a state or local law enforcement official is lawfully in possession of such card.”

 

No mention of tracking and sharing info with law enforcement. "For twelve years, our constitutional amendment has said something, and patients thought they were protected," Chippi said. "And for ten years, the health department has said the registry would never be put online at all. It was supposed to be one modem at the department of health. And now they're sharing information with law enforcement."

 

Chippi is backing a ballot initiative known as Amendment 70, which would make marijuana legalization a constitutional right in the state and would also stop Colorado resources from being used by the feds in medical marijuana crackdowns. Supporters of Amendment 70 are currently gathering signatures.

 

Source: http://blogs.westword.com


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Michigan Supreme Court Says States MMJ Law Shields Patients from Prosecution

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, June, 1st 2012 by THCFinder

On Thursday the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the state’s medical cannabis law shields patients from prosecution by state authorities.

 

The court said that the law showed voters’ "intent to permit both registered and unregistered patients to assert medical reasons for using marijuana as a defense to any prosecution involving marijuana."

 

"That's the way we wrote it," said Karen O'Keefe, an attorney with The Marijuana Policy Project, the group that spearheaded Michigan’s medical marijuana maw in 2008.

 

The ruling basically states that anyone with a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana before their arrest on marijuana-related offenses can use medical marijuana as a defense, even if they are not registered with the state.

 

Those of you who live in Michigan or have followed the progress of their medical marijuana laws knows that a lot of patients are being helped but that oftentimes the relationship between medical cannabis providers and state law enforcement has been contentious at best.

 

This new ruling may only be a small distinction to some, but if you have a doctor’s recommendation in Michigan it can be a very big deal. The essence of medical marijuana laws are their function as a shield for medical marijuana patients from regular cannabis laws. While this does nothing to change federal law, medical marijuana patients will come into contact with state and local law enforcement much more often than they will see a DEA agent.

 

And in the end all positive steps in marijuana law reform should be celebrated. Some will say that the pace of change is slow, but so to was the pace of prohibition. Marijuana became nationally illegal in the 1930’s but it took a few decades before law enforcement started cracking heads over it.

 

The road back to legality will be long, but as long as progress is always made the success of the ultimate goal is inevitable.

 

Source: http://www.freep.com


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