Lawmaker in Montana Says Voters in North Dakota Shouldn't be able to Decide on Medical Marijuana
Montana State Senator Donald Steinbeisser, a Republican, says legislators in North Dakota should decide on medical marijuana, not the voters.
“The problem we had in Montana, before the last session, over half of the people that were using medical marijuana cards were 20- to 30-year-olds,” he said. “You know dog-gone well there’s something wrong with that.”
Is there something wrong with people choosing marijuana to treat whatever ailment they have instead of deadly and addictive prescriptions drugs? And since when do people under 40 have no medical conditions? This ignorance of this man is staggering.
But it seems ignorance is in abundant supply among officials in Montana. “A couple, three years ago it just exploded. Everybody was getting cards,” Fallon County, Montana, Sheriff Tim Barkley said. “One of the things that Montana failed to do is they kind of passed this law on the spur of the moment.”
At the peak, there were a little over 30,000 medical marijuana patients in Montana, out of a population of roughly 1 million. How that translates into “everybody” getting cards is anyone’s guess. It would be interesting to know how many people take prescription pills in Montana. It’s likely a number over 30,000.
“I don’t know if I know of anyone in our community or anyone personally that got a medical marijuana card for medical reasons,” Barkley said of that initial rush to obtain cards. “Most of the people that I saw get the cards were heavy users of marijuana for a lot of years. … I guess it was legal for them, then. But I didn’t know of any of them having cancer issues.”
Beyond the fact that studies have shown marijuana’s efficacy with many ailments besides cancer, this Sheriff acts like he knows more than a very slight fraction of people in Montana. I wonder if he knows any gay or black people. If not, they must not exist in Montana.
People shouldn’t be judged for actions that hurt no one else, period. Whether they use cannabis for medical or recreational reasons, people should be free to decide their own course in life.
Medical Marijuana Supporters in Los Angeles Seek to Overturn Dispensary Ban
Signature-gathers have spread throughout Los Angeles in recent weeks in an attempt to repeal a recent ban on marijuana dispensaries passed by the city council. If they can collect the roughly 27,400 names required within the next three weeks, a referendum to overturn the ban would go before voters in March, 2013.
If the repeal measure does make the ballot, it will share the slate with a mayoral primary race.
Looking to increase their influence in recent months, dispensary owners have coordinated contributions of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of some city council members, and a labor union made up of dispensary workers has held vocal rallies outside of City Hall.
The measure itself seeks a suspension of the ordinance banning dispensaries, knocking the city council back to square one on the issue.
"Relief is on its way," City Councilman Jose Huizar promised residents when the ban was passed, but relief from what? Overemployment? Too much medicine? Too many sick people finding alternate and safer ways of healing?
Some dispensary owners have said they will keep their doors open, even as the city has begun notifying them that they must shut down by September 6th. In a letter mailed last week, city lawyers warned dispensary operators that they risk jail time and fines of up to $2,500 a day if they fail to comply with the ban.
The current ban on dispensaries still allows patients to grow their own and groups of three or less are allowed to grow cannabis and share it within the group.
On Friday a lawsuit was filed against the city by a medical marijuana trade association that represents patients, dispensaries and growers.
Marc O'Hara - director of the Patient Care Alliance - said the dispensary ban is "heartless" and denies patients their right to assemble.
Collecting Taxes from Medical Marijuana in Washington State
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.
Bipolar disorder and pot: Study claims marijuana helps mental condition
Arkansas Voters Likely to get a Chance to Vote on Medical Marijuana This Fall
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.
Arizona Medical Marijuana Card Database Used Frequently by Cops and Employers
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.
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