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Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana dispensaries close after ruling

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, August, 25th 2011 by THCFinder
The day after the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that medical marijuana dispensaries can be considered a public nuisance and could be shut down, two facilities in Ann Arbor have been raided and facilities all over the state have closed, including the Mt. Pleasant dispensary at the center of the turmoil.
 
Compassionate Apothecary co-owner Matthew Taylor said a cease-and-desist letter by the Isabella County Prosecutor’s Office has forced their doors shut, pushing them toward filing their case with the Michigan Supreme Court. 
 
Under the Court of Appeals ruling, patient-to-patient sales, as happens at some dispensaries, has been deemed not part of the original legislation passed by voters in 2008. He said his facility cannot sell marijuana, which it does on behalf of caregivers who store their excess marijuana in lockers on their premises, and who pay the apothecary a service charge. 
 
“Really, our doors are just open today for political purposes,” said Taylor, who added that “patients are scared, panicking and crying.” 
 
Matt Newburg, a Lansing attorney who will be spearheading the Supreme Court effort, said Lansing dispensaries have also been closed. He is advising his clients to shutter “until the Supreme Court issues a different opinion or there is new legislation.” 
 
In Oak Park, Big Daddy’s Management, which owns five dispensaries in metro Detroit, closed at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, when the appeals ruling was handed down. Rick Ferris, head of the Michigan Association of Compassion Centers, said patients in Big Daddy’s Chesterfield Township facility were crowding their lobby, wondering what to do. 
 
“I have a building full of patients today,” he said.
 
At the A2 Go Green Corp, at 206 Main in downtown Ann Arbor, nearby business owners said the raid took place at about 10:20 a.m., shortly after the place opened.
 
Nearby merchants said they did not see any one being arrested but did see police carrying out boxes. 
 
“I saw cops carrying out big boxes of stuff,” said David Fritz, of David Fritz hair care next door to the dispensary, which is located over Café Felix.
 

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New Jersey Medical Marijuana Patient Sent to Prison

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, August, 25th 2011 by THCFinder
A New Jersey man convicted of marijuana manufacture after he grew 17 plants in his backyard to use to treat his multiple sclerosis was ordered to prison to begin serving a five-year sentence Wednesday even as he appeals his conviction to the state Supreme Court.
 
[image:1 align:left caption:true]According to a report from New Jersey-Pennsylvania marijuana reform activist Chris Goldstein's Freedom is Green blog, John Ray Wilson, 38, was taken into custody at the Somerset County Courthouse in Somerville immediately after a hearing where he sought unsuccessfully to continue to be granted bail pending the result of that appeal.
 
Wilson was arrested in 2008 and convicted of manufacture after he was not allowed to present evidence that he was growing the plants for his own use. He served five weeks in jail then before being granted bail and freed as he appealed to the New Jersey Appellate Division. He lost in the appeals court last month, and his attorney, William Buckman then filed a notice of petition to the Supreme Court to appeal the manufacturing conviction.
 
In Somerville Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Angela Borkowski ruled that any bail appeal should be made not to her court but to the Appellate Division, Goldstein reported. Buckman said he would file for bail immediately.
 
Deputy Attorney General Russell Curley argued during the hearing that Wilson should begin serving his sentence immediately, and Judge Borkowski agreed. He was taken into custody after the hearing.
 
"We think that the appellate decision is misguided," said Wilson’s attorney William Buckman, "We are hoping that the Supreme Court will set the record straight that New Jersey doesn’t want to put sick people or simple individual marijuana users into prison at the cost of $35,000 a year."
 
Wilson's plight has drawn the attention of activists who have championed his cause, including the Coalition for Medical Marijuana-New Jersey, whose executive director, Ken Wolski, was in the courtroom Wednesday.
 
"CMMNJ is still hopeful there is a chance for justice in the state Supreme Court," he told Goldstein. "But we are very disappointed that John is back in jail."
 

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Michigan court deals blow to new medical marijuana law

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, August, 24th 2011 by THCFinder
(Reuters) - A Michigan court on Wednesday dealt a blow to a nascent industry developing around the state's new medical marijuana law, ruling that sales are not permitted between registered patients.
 
An appeals court ordered a central Michigan medical marijuana dispensary closed as a public nuisance. It had facilitated the sale of about 19 pounds of marijuana between its members in the first 2-1/2 months after it opened in May 2010.
 
The dispensary in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, which generated about $21,000 before expenses in that opening period, violated state public health laws, the court found.
 
Michigan, whose voters approved the medical marijuana act in November 2008, is one of 17 states plus the District of Columbia which have active programs allowing possession and cultivation of marijuana for certain ailments.
 
Brandon McQueen and Matthew Taylor opened the dispensary called Compassionate Apothecary, or CA. McQueen is registered as a patient and as a primary caregiver for three other patients, while Taylor is a caregiver for two patients.
 
The Michigan law allows registered patients to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana at any one time and caregivers to possess up to 2.5 ounces per patient. Patients and caregivers also can possess up to an additional 12 marijuana plants.
 
The state has approved more than 96,000 patient registrations since rules were put in place in April 2009.
 
Under the dispensary's rules, members paid $5 per month and it rented 27 storage lockers for $50 a month where excess marijuana was made available for sale to member patients.
 
Patients who sought to buy the marijuana inspected samples under the supervision of dispensary workers who retrieved the drugs from the storage lockers, weighed and packaged them and then took the payments, the appeals court noted.
 
The dispensary took 20 percent of the sale price of the marijuana as a fee, but said they did not own the drugs.
 
The court disagreed, saying the dispensary possessed the marijuana stored in the lockers and controlled the drugs.
 

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Colorado NASCAR driver suspended for medical marijuana use

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, August, 24th 2011 by THCFinder
DENVER - A NASCAR driver has been suspended indefinitely after testing positive for marijuana. But Ronnie Hults says he got the drug legally, as a prescription for chronic pain.
 
While the state constitution allows people to smoke and buy medical marijuana, those rules may not apply to your workplace.
 
More than 127,000 people have medical marijuana cards in Colorado, but all can be suspended or fired if their employer has a policy against drug use.
 
That is what happened to Hults and now his NASCAR career could be over.
 
"Since I was a kid I've always told everybody I'm going to be a racecar driver," he said.
 
Hults, whose nickname is "speedy," says his doctor prescribed him medical marijuana for chronic back pain from a car accident.
 
"I'm only using medical marijuana at night to sleep when my hips are on fire and I have back pain," he said.
 
Three weeks ago, before a big race, NASCAR officials told Hults there was a problem.
 
"They drug tested me at 8 a.m. that morning," he said. "They said somebody called to complain that I was a 'nemesis' to the race track."
 
Hults says he was not high when he got behind the wheel.
 
"I am sober at the time when I race a car," he said.
 
"Ronnie is not doing this at the track or before a race. He's not endangering anybody," Gabriel Schwartz, Hults' attorney, said. "We're a medical marijuana state. It's in our state constitution."
 
Scwartz wants NASCAR to change its drug policy.
 
However, Amendment 20 to the Colorado Constitution, which covers medical marijuana, says: "Nothing in this section shall require any employer to accommodate the medical use of marijuana in any work place."
 
"As it stands right now, the employer's got all the cards," Curtis Graves, an attorney with the Mountain States Employers Council, said.
 
Graves says that means your boss can punish you, even if you have a prescription.
 
"If [an employer] says you're fired for testing positive for marijuana, then that's the way it goes," he said.
 

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Street sweeper fired for being a medical marijuana patient

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, August, 23rd 2011 by THCFinder
Jason Beinor is a legal medical marijuana patient. But that didn't prevent his firing as a street sweeper on the 16th Street Mall after registering a positive in a random blood test -- and neither did it convince the Colorado Court of Appeals that he deserved unemployment benefits following his termination. What's Beinor's take on the case, which has major implications for Colorado's 100,000-plus MMJ card holders?
 
"I believe the laws are biased against [medical] marijuana users," he notes via e-mail. "However, they are the LAW written by an elected government."
 
Beinor became a medical marijuana patient to deal with severe headaches, and he raves about the positive impact cannabis has had on him. "I believe in the benefits of MMJ in my own life," he stresses. "I've lost weight, stopped abusing alcohol, reconnected with my family and community."
 
None of this mattered to Service Group, Inc., the company that employed him to sweep Denver's 16th Street Mall using a broom and dustpan. Beinor failed a random drug test in February 2010 and was promptly fired due to SGI's zero-tolerance policy when it comes to marijuana and other illegal substances.
 
Afterward, Beinor filed for unemployment benefits -- and while his claim was initially denied, according to the August 18 Colorado Court of Appeals ruling on view below, a hearing officer later reversed that decision. He found Beinor wasn't at fault for losing his job because there was "no reliable evidence to suggest that... claimant was not eligible for a medical marijuana license" or that his use of the marijuana negatively impacted his job performance -- a determination SGI didn't dispute. And besides, the hearing officer wrote, "Claimant has a state constitutional right to use marijuana."
 

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Push to Legalize Medical Marijuana in Arkansas Causing Concern

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, August, 23rd 2011 by THCFinder
Little Rock, AR) -- An effort to legalize medical marijuana in Arkansas is causing concern for the Family Council Action Committee (FCAC).
 
On Tuesday, FCAC President Jerry Cox issued a statement regarding the push by Arkansans for Compassionate Care, which is gathering signatures for a ballot proposal in 2012.
 
"This is about legalizing marijuana," Cox said. "It's just a matter of legalizing it in degrees. I think you'd find, if you asked around, that a lot of the same folks who support this support total legalization of marijuana for any purpose. I believe their real agenda is to have marijuana be as legally available as tobacco."
 
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel certified Arkansans for Compassionate Care's initiative in April, meaning advocates can begin collecting the 62,507 valid signatures they'll need to place the initiative on the November 2012 ballot. They'll have until July 6, 2012 to do it.
 
According to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) website, the initiative would allow patients with serious illnesses like cancer, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, and PTSD whose doctors recommend medical marijuana to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. It would also allow patients to buy marijuana from one of up to about 30 dispensaries in the state, and allow patients who don't live near a dispensary to grow their own or designate a caregiver to grow it for them.
 
Cox said lifting restrictions on controlled substances poses a risk to families. "Substance abuse creates very real problems for families," Cox said. "If a husband or wife is addicted to something, it's going to put a strain on that marriage. It's going to put a strain on their kids. If you think we have problems with marijuana now, just wait until it becomes legally available."
 
Cox pointed out marijuana has been a Schedule I controlled substance for forty years. "This law would make Arkansas one of the most liberal states in the nation, where marijuana is concerned. And there are too many unanswered questions. How are we going to be sure medical marijuana grown in Arkansas isn't sold illegally across state lines? I've read marijuana can be cultivated with varying levels of active ingredients in it much the same way nicotine levels can be manipulated in tobacco. How are they going to keep marijuana growers from using that to make their product more potent or addictive?"
 
Cox pointed out that medical marijuana is a very unique approach to treating illness. "It's the only medicine you smoke," Cox said. "The health community has spent almost fifty years trying to stop smoking. Now a group of people wants Arkansas doctors to start encouraging just that: Smoking for your health. It just doesn't make sense."
 
Cox said he has not decided whether his group will file as a ballot question committee in opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment.
 

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