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Medical Marijuana

Montana: Senate panel passes medical marijuana overhaul that repeals current law

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Sat, March, 26th 2011 by THCFinder
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday approved a bill that will repeal Montana’s current medical marijuana law and replace it with a much stricter regulatory system designed to drastically reduce the number of cardholders and squeeze the profits out of the industry.
 
Senate Bill 423, by Sen. Jeff Essmann, R-Billings, cleared the committee by a 10-2 vote after some major amendments, including the repeal language, and will be heard by the full Senate on Monday. The current law would be repealed July 1, with the bill setting up a transition schedule.
 
The 49-page bill, written in less than a week by a three-member subcommittee, is on the legislative fast track, at least in the Senate. It received mixed reviews in a hearing earlier Friday.
 
Sen. Greg Hinkle, R-Thompson Falls, who voted against the bill, said, “I think we’ve gone way too fast on this thing.”
 
Also opposing the bill was Sen. Larry Jent, D-Bozeman, who favors a repeal.
 
But Sen. Anders Blewett, D-Great Falls, said, “I think this bill moves us in the right direction. The number of cardholders is going to diminish dramatically. We need to do something about medical marijuana. The people of Montana want us to regulate it.”
 

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Medical Marijuana Sales Set To Rival Viagra This Year

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, March, 24th 2011 by THCFinder
Born in California in 1996, medical marijuana has grown from a baby bud to a full-blown industry flower that has blossomed across the nation.
Legal in 15 states, medical pot sales this year are projected to reach $1.7 billion, according to the self-proclaimed "first ever investor-grade analysis of the medical marijuana markets" released this week.
 
That number nears the $1.9 billion annual sales number for Viagra.
 
Not that the comparison is fair: Viagra gets you up. For many, marijuana is a pain killer and, arguably, a depressant.
 
Still, the report, The State of the Medical Marijuana Markets 2011, makes it sound like we're all in on the ground floor of a green rush. (Where do we sign up?).
 
"We're witnessing the beginning of a legal business ecosystem forming around medical marijuana," the report's editor, Ted Rose, told reporters.
 
Medical marijuana markets are rapidly growing across the country and will reach $1.7 billion this year. We undertook this effort because we noticed a dearth of reliable market information about this politically charged business.
 

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MARYLAND: Senate approves defense for medical marijuana use

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, March, 24th 2011 by THCFinder
ANNAPOLIS — Maryland residents who can prove they have a doctor's approval to use marijuana for medical reasons would have a new defense to avoid a $100 fine and a misdemeanor conviction under a measure approved 41-6 by the Maryland Senate on Thursday.
 
Under current law, a person who uses marijuana for medical reasons can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined $100 in Maryland.
 
"What we've done is we're going to say we're going to give you a complete defense, an affirmative defense, where you have to prove by clear and convincing evidence that you were using it for medicinal purposes," said Sen. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery.
 
The Senate bill was changed this month, after legislation that would have created a state-run production and distribution system for medical marijuana stalled in the House of Delegates.
 
Caren Woodson, a spokeswoman for the country's largest medical marijuana advocacy group, said Americans for Safe Access backed the bill as a step forward.
 
"It's not ideal, but the bill will help patients avoid what is now a guaranteed conviction if arrested," Woodson said in a statement.
 

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Maryland may approve Medical Marijuana

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, March, 23rd 2011 by THCFinder
ANNAPOLIS -- The Maryland Senate is making major changes to a medical marijuana bill proposed by Frederick County Sen. David Brinkley.
The Senate is expected to take up final approval of the measure this week, after giving a preliminary OK on Tuesday to the bill and amendments proposed by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
 
The bill will now allow people charged with use or possession of marijuana to argue before a judge that they did so out of medical necessity. If a judge agrees, the person would be found not guilty of the charge.
 
Additionally, the bill proposes a work group to come up with a model program to allow patient access to marijuana by 2013. The program would be through an academic medical research institution and would require further legislation before it could be implemented.
 
Brinkley said he felt the amended bill makes progress, and it is helpful to people who want to use an affirmative defense for marijuana charges. Under current law, they may use the medical defense and have punishment limited to a fine of less than $100, but would still be found guilty.
 
He doesn't think the new bill is perfect -- the original version he proposed with Delegate Dan Morhaim, a Baltimore County Democrat, would have established medical marijuana as a controlled dangerous substance and allowed doctors to prescribe it and pharmacies to dispense it.
 
Under the amended bill, patients "are still going to the black market, so we still don't have any type of legal mechanism for the acquisition of the substance, and that's what the study is supposed to get at," Brinkley said.
 
He envisions the state would solicit the help of the University of Maryland or Johns Hopkins University to help administer the program.
 

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Ann Arbor's medical marijuana regulations headed to council for final approval just in time for 4/20

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, March, 22nd 2011 by THCFinder
After more than three months of deliberations, the Ann Arbor City Council voted for the first time Monday night to move a proposed medical marijuana licensing ordinance past first reading.
 
The vote came unanimously after some final tweaking of the ordinance, which regulates dispensaries and cultivation facilities within the city limits.
 
The ordinance now moves on for final approval on April 19, which is a Tuesday — a deviation from the council's normal Monday meeting night. A proposed medical marijuana zoning ordinance also is expected to come back for final approval the same night.
 
It wasn't planned, but the expected final approval comes just in time for 4/20, a sort of countercultural cannabis holiday when marijuana advocates throughout the country light up in celebration and, in some places, participate in events advocating for decriminalization of pot.
 
The City Council took action Monday night to extend the city's moratorium on medical marijuana businesses through June 30, giving the council some leeway on making a final decision if it should need it. The moratorium has been in place since last August.
 
City officials estimate there are about 15 to 18 dispensaries in Ann Arbor. They think there could be a few that won't be allowed at their current locations under the zoning ordinance.
 
The licensing ordinance would have the city doling out a limited number of dispensary and cultivation facility licenses once the moratorium is lifted.
 
Operations that were up and running prior to the moratorium last August would have up to 60 days after the ordinance takes effect to submit an application for an annual license. No other applications would be accepted until 75 days after the ordinance takes effect.
 
The first year’s licenses would be capped at a number 10 percent higher than the licenses applied for in the first 60 days, but not more than 20 dispensaries and 10 cultivation facility licenses. So, if there really are 15 to 18 dispensaries in Ann Arbor, and all of them seek licenses, no more than two additional licenses would be available to new dispensaries.
 

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Inside Arizona Politics: Health Department officials ready to get medical marijuana program in place

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, March, 21st 2011 by THCFinder

PHOENIX - Will Humble, who runs the state Department of Health Services, is ready to put the state’s recently voter-approved medical marijuana program in place and get back to his normal work.

On March 31, his department will release all the rules governing Arizona’s medical marijuana program. On April 15, patients will be able to begin having medical pot recommendations certified, and on May 1, hopeful dispensary owners will be able to submit their applications for dispensary and cultivation operation licenses. 

As Humble puts it, “It’s crunch time,” and the pressure is high to get the rules right. Humble said he hopes that Arizona’s medical marijuana program will achieve a couple major goals, not the least of which is ensuring that legitimate patients will have access to pot and that recreational users will be kept out of the system. 

Then he and his department can go back to worrying about all the other duties the Health Department normally is responsible for. 

Interest in what the final rules will look like has been high since the November passage of Prop. 203. From potential patients and dispensary owners to those who think medical marijuana is a black mark on the state, the Health Department has been inundated with more than 3,000 comments on two drafts of the rule package, released in December and January. 

Humble said it’s been a challenge to try to accommodate those who will be served by the medical marijuana program, as well as those who have opposed it, but he feels the final rules will ultimately lay the groundwork for the sort of system he’s hoping to achieve. Recently, he outlined one of the key changes to expect in the final rules that will be released March 31.

(Read more)


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