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Medical Marijuana

Hearing Today on Bill to Allow Medical Marijuana in Connecticut

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, March, 14th 2011 by THCFinder
Penny Bacchiochi doesn’t want anyone to have to go through what she did to ease the suffering of a loved one dying of cancer.
 
“Twenty years later, I still remember the fear I felt. It is not right to put someone through that, who is only acting on the advice of a doctor,” Ms. Bacchiochi said of her illegal purchase of marijuana to ease her husband’s nausea.
 
When all other medications had failed, the marijuana helped his appetite and stabilized his weight after he had lost 80 pounds from chemotherapy treatments.
 
Her husband succumbed to the disease, but Ms. Bacchiochi, the Republican state representative from Somers, has been campaigning for the past seven years for the state to allow the medical use of marijuana, a measure that cleared the General Assembly in 2007, only to be vetoed by then-Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
 
This year, with the support of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the leadership of state Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, D-New Haven, it has a better chance of passing.
 
Lawmakers will also take up separate legislation to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana and to allow judges the option of home arrest for certain nonviolent drug offenses involving less than 4 ounces of marijuana.
 
The bills are offered as an update of the state’s marijuana laws that proponents say will save money and bring Connecticut into line with 15 other states on the use of medical marijuana and a growing number that have decriminalized personal use of less than an ounce of marijuana, including Massachusetts. That state passed it overwhelmingly two years ago by referendum.
 
“It takes away the specter of arrest for otherwise law-abiding people,” said Michael Lawlor, referring to the medical marijuana bill. Mr. Lawlor, the former longtime representative from East Haven and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is now Governor Malloy’s criminal policy adviser in the Office of Policy and Management.
 
A poll released by the Quinnipiac Polling Institute this month found 79 percent of voters were in favor of the medical marijuana bill, while 65 percent felt it was time to stop treating possession of small amounts of pot as a crime.
 

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Medical Marijuana Faces Legislative Battle In Colorado

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, March, 14th 2011 by THCFinder
The Colorado Board of Health plans to refine procedures on how well doctors should know patients before recommending marijuana for medical use, the Associated Press (AP) reports.
 
The ongoing dispute over which doctors can recommend medical marijuana will become even more confounding when state health authorities consider tighter limits at the same time lawmakers debate conflicting regulations.
 
One consideration relates to doctors with conditions on their medical licenses should be able to recommend pot, similar to rules against surgeons diagnosed with arthritis from performing surgery. 
 
Colorado lawmakers called last year for a “bona fide” relationship between doctors and patients — designed to discourage so-called “marijuana mills” in which doctors prescribe marijuana to people after brief visits.
 
License conditions of some doctors resulted in the state health officials rejecting some 1,300 people last year who applied for medical marijuana cards. Doctors, along with the Colorado Medical Society, argue that rejecting all doctors with conditions from recommending marijuana is too broadly biased because many doctors’ license conditions do not affect their ability to recommend prescriptions.
 
A bill, waiting in the Colorado House to be voted on, would allow doctors with license conditions to ask the Colorado Medical Board for permission to recommend marijuana. 
Assuming their license conditions are unrelated to recommending drugs, physicians would be able to write recommendations for pot.
 
Diana Protopapa of the Colorado Medical Society says her group prefers that approach and that marijuana shouldn’t have special limitations.
 
Protopapa told AP's Kristen Wyatt: “Voters in 2000 deemed that it was medicine,” referring to the year Colorado voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana. “What the medical society then wants is for marijuana to be treated like other medicine.”
 
The doctor-patient relationship regulation proposal would require physicians to complete “a full assessment of the patient’s medical history ... including an appropriate personal physical condition.” One regulation proposed would have required doctors to see a patient more than once before recommending medical marijuana. Another would have banned mobile pot clinics that travel around the state.
 

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Inside Lafayette's medical marijuana district

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, March, 14th 2011 by THCFinder
LAFAYETTE -- For those wanting to sell medical marijuana in this city, opportunity looks like a swath of mostly vacant land on the south side of town where nondescript office buildings mingle with aging strip malls.
 
Lafayette's proposed medical marijuana district could be on the way to becoming a reality, with the City Council set to vote on new medical Tuesday. But will dispensaries be welcome here?
 
Reaction from those already running businesses in this 75-acre zone seems to run the gamut from indifference to staunch opposition.
 
"The smell, the clientele, what it brings to the area -- it would interfere with my business tremendously," said Larry Stallcup, owner of The Bingo Mine inside the Plaza Lafayette on South Boulder Road. "My customer base is 55 and older and they don't buy into that sort of thing."
 
Stallcup, who served as Lafayette's chief of police in the 1970s and 1980s, said a dispensary near his bingo hall would be the final straw.
 
"As a matter of fact, I would move my business," he said.
 
Just a few doors east in the shopping center, however, Vision Quest Martial Arts chief instructor Christopher Spann doesn't have any qualms about a store selling medicinal pot nearby.
 
He equates it to a liquor store being granted a license to operate.
 
"I don't think it's going to be like, 'Oh you're the karate school near the pot store,'" said Spann, whose clientele is largely made up of kids. "As long as it's a legitimate business and they run it like a legitimate business, I don't really have a problem with it."
 
Lafayette, which is in the midst of crafting rules for medical marijuana centers, has touched off consternation among industry advocates as it tries to figure out where to allow the facilities.
 
Last year, the state passed legislation that gives municipalities the power to stipulate where medical marijuana centers can set up shop. Colorado voters legalized medical pot 11 years ago.
 
Under Lafayette's proposed rules, no dispensaries would be permitted within 1,000 feet of schools, hospitals and other medical marijuana centers; within 500 feet of residential areas and day-care centers; or along U.S. 287 and Colo. 7.
 
That leaves a 75-acre area largely centered on South Boulder Road -- between South Public Road and U.S. 287 -- open to the businesses. There's also a 3-acre parcel on the northeast side of town, but there is no infrastructure or utilities there.
 
The owners of Lafayette's two dispensaries, both of which would be forced under the regulations to close their current locations in Old Town and at Black Diamond Plaza on U.S. 287, have complained that there are few landlords in the proposed medical marijuana zoning area willing to lease space to them.
 
 
Full story HERE

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Bill on medical marijuana passes Illinois committee vote

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, March, 10th 2011 by THCFinder

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. • The Illinois business community worries that, under the state's latest medical marijuana proposal, employers would have no authority to enforce drug-free workplace codes.

Todd Maisch, vice president of governmental affairs for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, told an Illinois House committee on Wednesday that the measure would create a loophole for employees to use marijuana without penalties.

Maisch said he envisions problems involving a worker "who knows a little bit about the law to say, 'You know what, my cousin is under the care of medical marijuana and we were just hanging out together, watching the big ballgame, and consequently that's where I came under'" the influence.

Legislation approved by a human services committee Wednesday includes language specifically aimed at calming employer concerns.

State Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, the bill's sponsor, pointed out: "This act shall in no way limit an employer's ability to discipline an employee for ingesting cannabis in the workplace or for working while under the influence of cannabis."

Chairman of the committee, state Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, said that employers should be just as worried about monitoring prescription medication use. Debate on how legalizing cannabis for medical purposes would affect the state's business community will continue as the bill advances to the House floor.

Changes approved Wednesday include establishing a database of users that allows law enforcement to monitor patients, removing the "grow-your-own" option from the bill and establishing nonprofit dispensaries to distribute controlled doses of the drug.

The committee approved the measure Wednesday by a 6-5 vote.

The bill is HB30.

(Source)


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Medical Marijuana Discrimination Bill Passes House, Heads to State Senate

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, March, 9th 2011 by THCFinder

Arizona's new medical marijuana law protects qualified patients from discrimination by their employers, a progressive feature that sets it apart from similar laws in other states.


legislative bill we told you about last month aims to dilute that protection, however, and it has solid support among state lawmakers.


The Patient Discrimination Act, is it might come to be called, gives employers immunity they don't need from lawsuits that might result from the firing or reassignment of a worker who uses medical marijuana or any other illegal drug. Introduced by Representative Kimberly Yee, R-Phoenix, and crafted by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, HB 2541 expands anexisting law that protects drug-testing employers from litigation.


The bill passed the House on Monday with a 56-3 vote.

 

At least the bill's latest version ditches the part about banning the use of medical marijuana in a "condominium or planned community common area that is open to use by the public." And, though Proposition 203 was the motivation for Yee's bill, it doesn't necessarily discriminate against marijuana: It would apply to any legal or illegal drug that might impair an employee.

Still, Yee's effort to please the state's employers clearly paints a big, green target on medical weed users. Employers would be immune from wrongful termination lawsuits as long as they had a "good faith belief" that the employee had used or possessed drugs, or was impaired, at a workplace or during work hours. It allows any worker suspected of ongoing "involvement with drugs" to be put on unpaid leave or reassigned, with no legal recourse.

It almost seems like this bill would entitle an anti-pot employer to mess with anyone believed to be carrying a medical marijuana card.

The voter-approved Prop 203 was never intended to allow impairment on the job, but defines the situation more narrowly than Yee's bill. No discrimination by employers is allowed "unless the patient used, possessed or was impaired by marijuana on the premises of the place of employment or during the hours of employment."

(Source)


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Montana and Michigan voters still support medical marijuana

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, March, 8th 2011 by THCFinder

Despite efforts in Montana and Michigan to repeal or alter medical marijuana laws, recent polls show voters in both states still support the practice.

A February survey of 2,212 Montana voters by Public Policy Polling found that 63% still back marijuana for medical purposes. Most voters, however, also support stricter regulations under the law. The survey was funded by Patients & Families United, a Montana support group for patients who use medical marijuana.

The Montana House of Representatives voted Feb. 10 to repeal the state's 2004 voter-enacted law. House Speaker Mike Milburn, a Republican, said many patients approved for medical marijuana are not terminally ill, and that the law has created a growing illegal drug trade. At this article's deadline, the House measure had not gone to the Senate.

The Montana Medical Assn. had no comment on the repeal of the medical marijuana law in its state, a representative said. In general, the association's position on medical marijuana is that the drug should be used only in the safest, legally-approved way and "be subject to the same regulatory scrutiny as any other psychoactive drug with the potential for abuse." More research regarding the safety, dosage and effectiveness of medical marijuana is needed, the MMA said in a statement.

In Michigan, a January poll of 600 voters by the Marketing Research Group found that 61% of residents would vote again for the medical marijuana law enacted in 2008. The poll was funded by the Michigan Assn. of Compassion Centers, which advocates citizens' rights under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.

The Michigan State Medical Society said in a statement that it supports the use of cannabinoids for medical purposes by routes other than smoking. The society also urges further research and testing on the drug.

(Source)


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