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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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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 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.
 
According to Hans Sjögren, clinical investigator at the MPA, patient will not get any drug-like high out of the drug.
 

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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.
 

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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.”
 

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