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Medical Marijuana Advocates See Momentum on Their Side
States like Maine are a good example. Still under the federal radar, they are able to evolve their medical marijuana programs to meet patient needs. Advocates gathered in Maine this weekend to celebrate medical marijuana and the momentum in the movement.
"It's such a big change in just the past few years even, seeing the wide mix of people openly talking about this and not being afraid of a plant, the communication; more and more people are growing and seeing the actual therapeutic benefits," said Hillary Lister, an advocate for medical marijuana use through Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, a trade association.
Jill Stein, who is a Green Party Independent presidential candidate, was one of the speakers at CannaFest, and she sees stereotypes of cannabis as a substance that could harm someone. Endorsing outright legalization, Stein said these stereotypes aren't based on facts.
"As a medical doctor and a public health advocate, marijuana, cannabis is a substance which is dangerous because it's illegal. It's not illegal because it's dangerous," Stein said.
Lister said she senses a growing awareness of the healing effects of cannabis for certain patients.
"I think more and more people are having bad experiences with all the overprescribed pharmaceuticals. There's a lot of people who were really opposed to cannabis even a year or so ago who are finding it really does help," she said.
In the end the federal government can only do so much to combat medical marijuana. Most people support it and realize that everyone should have the choice of cannabis as a medicine as opposed to some dangerous and addictive pharmaceutical.
Former Medical Marijuana Caregiver Dies in Custody
68-year-old Richard Flor, a Vietnam veteran who was sentenced to five years in prison earlier this year on drug related charges stemming from medical marijuana raids In Montana, has died during a transfer to federal custody. The transfer was precipitated by Richard’s worsening health.
Richard was finally being transferred after months of delays during which his health deteriorated. He had been diagnosed with dementia and depression, and he had recently suffered two heart attacks.
Montana Cannabis Industry Association President Chris Lindsey was quoted as saying, “It’s sad that Richard was in prison at all for being a caregiver, especially when such a large number of people think marijuana should be available as an option for sick patients. In affect he got a life sentence which is tragic and really kind of hard to imagine. My heart goes out to his family and I can only hope that our government will end the war on marijuana and come up with a better solution than throwing people like Richard into prison.”
So federal prohibition laws kill another person in a long line of death in misery going back decades; how long must this madness continue? How many people need to die for no reason?
How many must die to keep the profits flowing for Big Pharma?
The scariest thing about it all is that there are many powerful people who sleep perfectly well at night while millions suffer. It is chilling to say the least. These people cannot be allowed to keep their power. They have to be replaced by people with souls who actually care about what happens to their fellow human beings.
It is up to all of you to register and vote against those who don’t fight for your interests.
Delays Continue for Medical Marijuana Patients in New Jersey
Medical marijuana patients in New Jersey continue to wait for the state’s medical marijuana program to get off the ground. Then-Gov. John Corzine first signed the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act in January 2010, but since then, progress has been slow. Although the state originally planned to have the necessary alternative treatment centers open in July 2011, the state’s first licensee, Greenleaf Compassion Center, is not scheduled to open until September of this year.
Five planned facilities have been approved in NJ, but 4 do not yet have approved locations. Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) has even called for a hearing into the cause of the delays, saying that there is “no adequate explanation” for the current situation. Difficulties with organization, vetting the necessary officials, and objections by locals have been some of the reasons cited for the delay.
Furthermore advocates say the regulations surrounding the program are too strict, and there have been very few patients approved in the state so far. Under the current system, patients must have an existing “bona fide” relationship with one of the limited number of participating physicians. The doctor must then submit an official statement recommending the patient.
The physician must then transfer a unique reference code to the patient, who can then use it to register themselves. The registration of a patient is only valid for 90 days, after which the doctor and the patient must repeat the process, a cumbersome process to say the least.
So far only about 50 patients have been registered in the state, and only 150 doctors are participating, out of 30,000 total doctors in New Jersey.
Relief seems to be on the way for some medical marijuana patients in NJ, albeit slowly. Hopefully the legislature or voters can relax the strict regulations currently in place and allow more people the choice of medical cannabis.
Medical Marijuana Industry Group says Denver Outdoor Advertising Ban is "Appropriate"
The Denver City Council voted last week to ban outdoor medical marijuana advertising, and a medical marijuana advocacy group say that’s a good thing.
Michael Elliott, the executive director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group (MMIG) says, “Under the new ordinance, medical marijuana businesses will still have access to a comprehensive range of affordable venues in which to advertise. These include but are not limited to: the print media, merchandising, and web-based solutions including social media. In addition, business signage will still be allowed. But most importantly, patients can be assured that they will have the necessary tools to easily locate and procure their medication.
“Put simply, this ordinance addresses those concerns most often voiced by Denver’s citizenry, while maintaining the rights of industry participants to market their businesses in an efficient, fair, and cost-effective manner.
“While we remain sympathetic to critics who question the need for additional regulations, MMIG is committed to pushing for a comprehensive regulatory framework. Some may argue that when compared to other industries, medical marijuana has been overregulated. However, for better or worse, we are participants in a young, dynamic, and scrutinized industry. If we are to survive the attacks from without, oversight and regulation must be promulgated and supported from within.”
But one has to wonder: where do you draw the line when it comes to regulations on medical marijuana?
“To prove to our communities that this industry can be the good neighbor, employer, and healthcare provider they desire, we must be willing to compromise and make concessions,” Mr. Elliot said.
Advocates must be careful about how much they give in an effort to appease others. Acting like marijuana is a bad thing that needs to be hidden sets what could be a dangerous precedent.
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