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.
Sweden may legalize Medical Marijuana!
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, August, 18th 2011 by THCFinder
Another country is on the right path to getting Marijuana available to people in need.
Soon, medical ï»¿marijuana could be available on prescription in Sweden. This since the Swedish Medical Products Agency (MPA) is close to approve a breath spray with marijuana substance in.
The spray is for MS patients and is to relieve from muscle pain, according to public radio SR.
Since earlier is the medicine available in several other European countries.
ï»¿According to Hans Sjögren, clinical investigator at the MPA, patient will not get any drug-like high out of the drug.
Multiple Sclerosis Patient In New Jersey Appealing Marijuana Conviction
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, August, 17th 2011 by THCFinder
TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A New Jersey man with multiple sclerosis is appealing his conviction for growing 17 marijuana plants.
John Wilson, of Franklin Township in Somerset County, said he used the drug to treat his condition. However, he says he wasn’t allowed to tell that to the jury in his 2009 trial.
An appeals court ruled last month that a judge was right to bar the testimony and upheld his five-year sentence.
A marijuana advocacy group announced on Tuesday that Wilson has asked the state Supreme Court to consider the case.
Since Wilson’s conviction, New Jersey has passed a law to allow medical marijuana.
The program is still being set up and marijuana is not yet being distributed legally to patients.
Maryland begins process to legalize medical marijuana
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, August, 17th 2011 by THCFinder
A Maryland commission will take its first step Wednesday toward developing a plan to legalize medical marijuana in the state.
The 18-member, state-appointed group is scheduled to work through May 2012 on the feasibility of legalizing the drug for medical use. Medical marijuana is now legal in 17 states and D.C.
Medical marijuana has received increasing bipartisan support in Maryland's Democrat-controlled General Assembly, with legislators even floating a proposal this year to set up a state-run production and distribution system.
The plan was shot down by state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, who argued it needed several more years of research.
Many doctors contend that marijuana reduces pain, nausea and loss of appetite in patients undergoing chemotherapy and suffering from such diseases as AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis. Dr. Sharfstein in February pointed out remaining concerns over the drug’s potential negative effects, which include memory loss and pregnancy complications.
Sponsors revised their bill to increase protections for medical users who are caught using or possessing the drug. The revised bill, which allows such users to claim medical necessity as a legal defense, was signed into law in May.
The law allows for the acquittal of defendants charged with marijuana use or possession with the intent to use, if they can prove through medical records or a physician’s testimony that they have an illness for which the drug is likely to provide “therapeutic or palliative relief.”
The state formerly treated medical-marijuana possession as a misdemeanor subject to a $100 fine. Non-medical possession is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum one year in jail and $1,000 fine.
While a growing number of states have legalized medical marijuana, the trend has raised the concern of the Justice Department. While agency officials have largely ignored medical use — preferring not to pursue sick, small-scale users — they have contended that federal law prohibits the drug’s use or cultivation, regardless of state law.
Department officials sent a letter last month to federal prosecutors that stated officials should keep a close eye on cultivators and sellers to potentially stamp out large-scale distribution.
Despite concerns from Dr. Sharfstein and federal officials, medical-marijuana proponents have expressed optimism that Maryland is on its way to legalizing the drug eventually.
Delegate Dan K. Morhaim, a Baltimore County Democrat and physician who sponsored the proposal to legalize medical marijuana and will serve on the work group, said during the 2010 General Assembly session that he is happy to work with state officials to improve the plan.
“We’ll all work hard to see what we can accomplish this year,” said Dr. Morhaim, the Assembly’s only licensed medical doctor. “We want to have the best product possible that does the most good.”
New Jersey MS Patient Appeals Marijuana Cultivation to State Supreme Court
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, August, 16th 2011 by THCFinder
Criminal defense attorney William Buckman of Moorestown, NJ has filed an appeal to the state’s highest court for John Ray Wilson. The 38 year old man was convicted on the second-degree felony of “manufacturing” marijuana for growing seventeen cannabis plants. Last month an appellate court upheld Wilson’s 5-year prison sentence, saying that he could not claim that the plants were for “personal” use.
John Wilson lives without healthcare and battles the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. His conviction in January 2010 came just as the Garden State’s compassionate use law was passed. However, it was the first medical marijuana law in the country that continues to prohibit home cultivation.
In a press release today Buckman said, “New Jersey already has some of the most draconian laws in the nation with respect to marijuana, costing taxpayers outrageous sums to incarcerate nonviolent, otherwise responsible individuals– as well as in this case — the sick and infirm.”
Local cannabis advocates have supported John, demonstrating in front of the Somerset County Courthouse throughout his trial.
Ken Wolski, the Executive Director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey said, “This case has shocked the conscience of the community. Wilson was unable to present his only defense to the jury–that he used cannabis to treat his multiple sclerosis (MS).”
NJ Governor Chris Christie lifted his suspension of the medical marijuana program in July. But the six Alternative Treatment Centers are not likely to open until 2012. The ATCs have millions of dollars in backing from powerful groups of investors. They will farm thousands of cannabis plants and the sell the products to registered patients, including those with MS.
Wolski pointed out, “These ATCs were not available to John in 2008. Cultivation was the only way that he could afford to gain access. We hope that the Supreme Court will provide justice in this case.”
During his trial, Wilson testified that he told the NJ State Police that he was going to keep all of the marijuana. Wilson also described his medical condition to officers as they searched his home.
Bill Buckman is a member of the national NORML Legal Committee and the immediate past president of the NJ Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is a fierce trial lawyer who won a landmark case against the NJ State Police surrounding the the issue of racial profiling in traffic stops.
“As it stands, the case now allows a person who grows marijuana to be exposed to up to 20 years in jail, even if that marijuana is strictly for his or her own medical use,” said Buckman, “No fair reading of the law would ever sanction this result.”
Medical marijuana rules leave 'Stonerville, USA' irritated
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, August, 15th 2011 by THCFinder
NEDERLAND, Colo. — The Green Rush has gone bust in the town Rolling Stone dubbed "Stonerville, USA."
Kathleen Chippi, who runs the One Brown Mouse boutique but recently shut down her medical marijuana dispensary and smoking room, cursed as she blamed the government.
"I refuse to give up my … constitutional rights to the Colorado Department of Revenue," she fumed, indignant over what she called intrusive oversight and abusive taxation of marijuana.
More than 8,200 feet high in the Rockies, state regulation arrived in this famously mellow, pot-friendly town after Colorado passed landmark legislation over the past two years to tax, license and govern the state's wild, for-profit medical marijuana trade.
Colorado now has the most heavily regulated marijuana industry in America. Even Nederland's Board of Trustees imposed a $5,000 local fee on new cannabis stores, hoping to cash in on pot prosperity.
But it has meant heartache for this hamlet of 1,400 people.
In 2010, Nederland voters passed a symbolic measure, declaring all marijuana legal in the hippie haven and former silver town renowned for its high-grade cannabis. In practice, the town already had permitted seven medical marijuana stores. As many as 14 were said to be operating – one for every 100 residents.
Now Nederland has three marijuana stores left. A bonanza in local sales taxes is drying up, and the town's marijuana growers are fed up.
Rather than pay state licensing fees and hefty costs for video security and other state mandates for selling medical marijuana, Chippi closed the doors of her Nederland store last year.
"This is insane. It's 'Reefer Madness' run amok," she said.
In Colorado, industrial marijuana cultivation thrives in warehouses in Denver and nearby Boulder. But Nederland's medical cannabis growers have been all but cut off from selling their product to the retail market by state rules requiring stores to grow their own plants or buy from other commercial centers.
The new regulations were a double blow to Nederland resident Mark Rose, 51, a former hospital trauma technician.
A marijuana grower fiercely proud of his "Chem Dawg" and "Sweet Island Skunk," Rose was forced out as a partner in the town's Grateful Meds pot store.
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