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.
New Medical Marijuana Rules Clear Michigan Senate Panel
In an attempt to reign in a supposedly out-of-control medical marijuana program in Michigan, a state Senate panel has approved several changes to the program.
Proposed changes to the law were approved Wednesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Versions of the measures have already been approved in the House, and now they move to the Senate floor.
Some lawmakers and Attorney General Bill Schuette say changes are needed to Michigan’s voter-approved 2008 law that allows marijuana use for medical purposes. Schuette has said the law has “more holes than Swiss cheese.”
House Bill 4851 looks to clarify the doctor-patient relationship, since some lawmakers think it’s too easy to get a medical marijuana recommendation. Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said one goal is to have doctors and patients meet "face to face, not over the Internet."
More insidiously, House Bill 4834 would allow law enforcement to have access to medical marijuana patient information, meaning the police would have all the evidence they needed to prosecute any patient on federal charges.
Law enforcement always claims they have the best intentions when it comes to information, but the fact is information can be used for any purpose. Everything a medical marijuana patient does in Michigan with cannabis is illegal under federal law, whether it be possession, use, cultivation or distribution. According to the DEA they are criminals. What is to stop the DEA from easily accessing medical information in Michigan to use against patients when they run out of other targets?
Things have been contentious to say the least between patients/caregivers and law enforcement in Michigan since voters approved the state’s MMJ law in 2008. More regulations can seem like a way to makes things clearer, but if the result is less access for patients, then clarity shouldn’t be the goal.
50 NJ patients eligible for medical marijuana
New Medical Marijuana Rules in Maine cause Controversy
After a public hearing Monday on a controversial new rules for medical marijuana, Rep. Deb Sanderson, R-Chelsea, said the state should not implement rules that are more restrictive and divergent from the intent of the citizen's initiative legalizing medical marijuana passed in 2009.
"Hopefully the department will take into serious consideration much of the compelling testimony that was put before them," Sanderson said Tuesday. The plan now is to meet with the stakeholders, "folks that are in the industry, patients, physicians," Sanderson said, "so when the rules do come out in their final form, they're a clear reflection of the intent of the legislation."
"Over 175 people packed the State House on Monday to express discontent, grief and sometimes anger with proposed restrictions on the ability of patients and caregivers to legally cultivate medical marijuana," said Hillary Lister, an advocate for medical marijuana use in Maine.
In a statement, Lister said the proposed rules "would severely restrict the ability of patients to legally cultivate their medicine outdoors. Cultivation would not be allowed within 25 feet of any property boundary, and plants would be required to be enclosed by an 8 foot privacy fence, with motion sensitive lighting. The site would have to be at residence where the grower is living, and the department could require unspecified 'other security measures' at any time."
But Sanderson said the 8-foot rule would put an extra financial burden on people, when the standard fence is six feet.
Dr. Dustin Sulak, medical director at Maine Integrative Healthcare questioned some proposals as well, saying, "For example, in a neighborhood with no fences higher than 6 feet, an 8-foot fence would stand out like a target. Additionally, erecting such a fence would likely be cost prohibitive to many patients. Requiring such a fence be at least 25 feet from property boundary lines would likely discriminate against patients with small lots. Security lights may interrupt the flowering cycle of cannabis plants that require periods of darkness and compromise the quality of the medicine."
You can be sure politicians and officials in the state will continue to haggle over medical cannabis regulations for many months to come.
Health Officer in North Dakota says Medical Marijuana Carries Risks
The top health official in North Dakota doesn’t like the idea of legalizing medical marijuana, saying cannabis poses health risks to users.
Terry Dwelle says the federal Food and Drug Administration hasn't approved marijuana as a medicine.
Dwelle says there's increased heart attack risk for someone who smokes marijuana, and the smoke itself has cancer-causing elements. Yet marijuana has never been linked to a single case of cancer.
And what about those FDA-approved drugs? Based on the figures presented by the FDA, at least 30 million people have suffered serious injury or death as a result of taking FDA-approved drugs just since 1998 when the first cited study was published. If you go back several more decades, it is clear that potentially hundreds of millions of people have been directly harmed by the FDA's "negligent homicide."
So if the FDA approved medical marijuana tomorrow, what would that mean? It would certainly be more acceptable nationwide, but would it mean it’s safe? Of course not. We know marijuana is safe from thousands of studies and thousands of years of use.
Much of Mr. Dwelle’s thoughts on marijuana obviously come from what he was taught growing up, and in the schools he attended, which is sad. So much is known now about cannabis and how it reacts with the body, and the fact that North Dakota’s top health official is unaware of these things is scary to say the least.
It was once thought that smoking marijuana caused lung cancer and killed brain cells, but those things have been disproven. In fact, many studies show just the opposite in both cases, that marijuana can shrink cancer cells and encourage brain cell growth.
Education is vital when it comes to medical marijuana, especially among officials in power.
Public Hearing on Denver Medical Marijuana Ad Ban Held
A public hearing was set to take place Monday night in The Denver City Council to discuss a proposed ban on medical marijuana advertising in the city. The proposal would ban billboard, bus-bench and sidewalk sign-twirler advertising.
On one side of the issue is the Cannabis Business Alliance, which denounces the proposal by saying it creates too many uncertainties for the industry.
On the other side is the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, which supports the proposed ban by arguing that it is a show of neighborliness for an industry that is not always embraced in communities.
While outdoor ads would be banned under the proposal, dispensaries would still be able to advertise in newspapers and magazines and would also be able to put their logos on items for charity events they sponsor.
"I think this is in the best interests of our children across the city," City Councilwoman Debbie Ortega said of the ban.
Not telling children that marijuana can be used for medical purposes is in their best interests? Mommy and daddy have their pills and the beer in the fridge and the liquor in the cabinet, but we can’t tell kids that some people use cannabis for medical reasons?
Alcohol companies now have TV commercials for candy-flavored vodka that can easily be seen by children all over the country, but medical cannabis cannot be discussed and must even be hidden from public view.
Here’s an idea. Instead of banning billboards, why don’t parents tell their kids the truth about things? Is that an extreme of fringe idea? The Medical Marijuana Industry Group wants people to know dispensaries can be good neighbors, and that is a noble cause, especially in this dismal political climate, but things can be taken too far.
When will marijuana just be treated like what it is: a non-toxic substance with amazing medical and recreational properties?
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