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Collecting Taxes from Medical Marijuana in Washington State

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, August, 20th 2012 by THCFinder

Tax officials in Washington State have begun auditing medical marijuana dispensaries, dispensaries that are not technically allowed under state law.

 

Since 2010 the state Department of Revenue has been telling marijuana operations that they must remit sales taxes on their transactions. About 50 dispensaries have registered with the state, bringing in some $750,000 in taxes from the industry over the span of one year.

 

“We’ve been doing the educational part and now we’re doing the enforcement part,” said Mike Gowrylow, a spokesman for the Department of Revenue.

 

But Seattle medical marijuana lawyer Douglas Hiatt said he doesn’t believe the state can tax medical marijuana sales, and says he would not allow one of his clients to cooperate with an audit.

 

“There’s no way they can do this,” Hiatt said. “DOR doesn’t have the power to tax marijuana. It’s not only that you can’t tax it because it’s illegal, it’s that you can’t tax it because it’s medicine. There’s an exemption for prescription medicine under state law, and an authorization is the functional equivalent of a prescription.”

 

Steve Sarich - who runs a medical marijuana establishment in Seattle called Access 4 Washington - said any money exchanged at his facility is a donation to the collective effort of producing the marijuana. He noted that it is illegal to sell marijuana under both state and federal law, so it would be hard for any medical marijuana provider to claim sales of the drug.

 

“If you pay sales tax, you’re admitting to sales,” Sarich said. “I wouldn’t advise anyone to do that.”

 

Herein lies the problem with incomplete medical marijuana laws. Any functional MMJ law needs to have provisions for growing one’s own medicine as well a dispensary system to sell the medicine. If dispensaries were legal in Washington, then the issue of taxation could be discussed.

 

Source: http://www.thenewstribune.com


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Bipolar disorder and pot: Study claims marijuana helps mental condition

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, August, 20th 2012 by THCFinder
Bipolar disorder is a common condition among millions and a new study suggest smoking pot might actually help the mental condition.
 
Statistics in a test studied show that those who used marijuana had less severe bipolar than those who haven't tried the banned substance. It's also claimed that pot helps with anxiety, insomnia, certain eye conditions, and chronic pain. The idea this could help with psychiatric disorders is a new one -- and likely to be with even more controversy.
 
Scientific researchers at Zucker Hillside Hospital on Long Island reviewed 200 participants in their test -- with 150 those who have never smoked marijuana in the past. The other 50 had used pot at some point. Every one of the participants consistently experienced the onset of bipolar disorder at a standard age.
 
The study showed that the participants who used pot had better "neurocognitive performance."
 
Researchers wrote:
 
“Results from our analysis suggest that subjects with bipolar disorder and history of (marijuana use) demonstrate significantly better neurocognitive performance, particularly on measures of attention, processing speed, and working memory.”
 
They continued that similar results showed up in studies for schizophrenia and pot use.
 
The researchers also stated that "it is also possible that these findings may be due to the requirement for a certain level of cognitive function and related social skills in the acquisition of illicit drugs.”
 
 

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Arkansas Voters Likely to get a Chance to Vote on Medical Marijuana This Fall

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, August, 17th 2012 by THCFinder

An Arkansas initiative to legalize medical marijuana looks like it will qualify for the November ballot after supporters handed in 74,000 more signatures Monday. The group, Arkansans for Compassionate Care, needs 62,507 valid voter signatures to qualify and already has more than 36,000 qualified from a previous signature hand-in.

 

Which means they only need about 26,000 of the new 74,000 to be valid for the measure to make the ballot. Most ballot initiatives look for about a 50% success rate with valid signatures.

 

Melissa Fults, Arkansans for Compassionate Care, said the group had learned more about the process after handing in its first batch of signatures. During the second round, the group made sure volunteers and paid canvassers were careful when checking that signers were indeed registered to vote.

 

"I don't think there's much of a chance we won't" qualify for the ballot, Fults said.

 

Supporters should find out by next week whether or not they were successful.

 

The ballot measure itself – The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act - would allow patients suffering from certain medical conditions to use marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. It would allow for a system of state-licensed non-profit dispensaries, and would allow patients or their caregivers to grow their own only if they are not within five miles of a dispensary. In that case, patients could grow up to six flowering plants and patients would be allowed to possess up to 2 ½ ounces of marijuana.

 

It would be easy to dismiss this attempt as a nice first try in a bible belt state, but considering the ease with which supporters gathered signatures, the vote may be close this fall.  Arkansas could be the tipping point when it comes to medical marijuana in the southeastern part of the country.

 

Source: http://stopthedrugwar.org


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Arizona Medical Marijuana Card Database Used Frequently by Cops and Employers

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, August, 17th 2012 by THCFinder

Under provisions in the 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, the state Department of Health Services had to set up and maintain a computer list of registered patients and caregivers for the purpose of ensuring that patients don't get arrested if caught with pot by police.

 

The database, which now contains info on about 40,000 patients and caregivers, can't be searched by inputting names or addresses. Only a registration card number can be submitted for verification. Meaning law enforcement can’t look up people they might want to target.

 

So far 2,646 access accounts have been created for people to check on the validity of medical-marijuana cards. Police departments, sheriff's offices, and even federal outfits like the Border Patrol and ATF are among the agencies that have set up accounts. The DEA only has one account that it has not used. Of over 2,600 accounts, 851 are from the Phoenix Police Department.

 

The database is used by police to check the validity of the medical marijuana registration of someone they have just pulled over, for example. Employers use it to make sure their employees who test positive for marijuana are indeed legal patients.

 

Among the employers who have created accounts to check medical marijuana registration numbers are Arizona Game and Fish, Go Daddy, Swift Transportation and PetSmart.

 

The list also contains many drug-testing businesses. Chad Haas, spokesman for Complete Testing Solutions, says his company routinely validates medical-marijuana cards for employees who have been ordered to take a drug test by their employer. Haas says that it has been his experience that employers "are pretty lenient" about their card-holding employees unless the patient has a job that could involve danger to others, such as a bus driver.

 

Progress continues in Arizona despite the best efforts of the Governor and her Attorney General.

 

Source: http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com


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New Medical Marijuana Rules Clear Michigan Senate Panel

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, August, 16th 2012 by THCFinder

In an attempt to reign in a supposedly out-of-control medical marijuana program in Michigan, a state Senate panel has approved several changes to the program.

 

Proposed changes to the law were approved Wednesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Versions of the measures have already been approved in the House, and now they move to the Senate floor.

 

Some lawmakers and Attorney General Bill Schuette say changes are needed to Michigan’s voter-approved 2008 law that allows marijuana use for medical purposes. Schuette has said the law has “more holes than Swiss cheese.”

 

House Bill 4851 looks to clarify the doctor-patient relationship, since some lawmakers think it’s too easy to get a medical marijuana recommendation. Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said one goal is to have doctors and patients meet "face to face, not over the Internet."

 

More insidiously, House Bill 4834 would allow law enforcement to have access to medical marijuana patient information, meaning the police would have all the evidence they needed to prosecute any patient on federal charges.

 

Law enforcement always claims they have the best intentions when it comes to information, but the fact is information can be used for any purpose. Everything a medical marijuana patient does in Michigan with cannabis is illegal under federal law, whether it be possession, use, cultivation or distribution. According to the DEA they are criminals. What is to stop the DEA from easily accessing medical information in Michigan to use against patients when they run out of other targets?

 

Things have been contentious to say the least between patients/caregivers and law enforcement in Michigan since voters approved the state’s MMJ law in 2008. More regulations can seem like a way to makes things clearer, but if the result is less access for patients, then clarity shouldn’t be the goal.

 

Source: http://www.mlive.com


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50 NJ patients eligible for medical marijuana

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, August, 16th 2012 by THCFinder
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Advocates for medical marijuana say they are not surprised by a slow start for the registry of patients eligible to access the drug legally in the state.
 
The state Department of Health said Wednesday that since the registry opened on Aug. 9, 21 patients have begun the process of signing up for permission to use the drug, which is otherwise illegal.
 
Under New Jersey's procedures, a patient can submit an application only after a physician has declared he or she meets the qualifications. The state says 50 patients have been declared eligible by doctors so far.
 
Earlier Wednesday, the health department said 18 people had applied and 44 had been identified by doctors as eligible.
 
The number of early registrations is far lower than in Arizona, where 718 people applied to use medical marijuana in the first week the program opened there in April 2011.
 
The Coalition for Medical Marijuana of New Jersey says the state's list of conditions is too restrictive, the prices of medical marijuana will be too expensive, the drug in the program will be too weak and too few doctors are registered to recommend pot to patients.
 
"Patients meanwhile are going on the underground market," said Chris Goldstein, a spokesman for the advocacy group. "It's not like they're not accessing medicine out there."
 
He said patients who want legal protections for using pot would be better off moving to a state with a less restrictive program, such as Rhode Island or Maine.
 
Vanessa Waltz, a board member for the organization, said she has contacted 115 of the roughly 150 doctor's offices that have signed up to recommend cannabis. She said 23 told her they were accepting new patients and insurance plans. An equal number said they were not interested in recommending pot. Ten, she said, said they would take new patients and consider marijuana recommendations — but the patients would have to pay cash.
 
While the state hasn't been swamped with applications, there are indications that interest is high. Between Aug. 9 and Tuesday, about 8,400 people visited the state's medical marijuana website.
 
New Jersey patients with certain conditions, including terminal cancer, multiple sclerosis and glaucoma, can qualify to use marijuana, which alleviates nausea and pain.
 
Patients will have to pay $200 for their registration cards, which are good for two years. Those on public assistance, such as Medicare and Medicaid, will have to pay $20.
 
The state's first legal dispensary, Greenleaf Compassion Center, is expected to open to patients next month in Montclair.
 
Greenleaf is one of six nonprofit groups approved by the state last year to grow and dispense pot to patients. Only one other group has announced approvals for a site.
 
 

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