Medical Marijuana Effort Takes A Step Back
Efforts to establish a medical marijuana program in Iowa took a step backwards at the statehouse Wednesday. A House subcommittee approved legislation that strengthens language classifying marijuana as a schedule one drug, which is defined as a substance having no proven or acceptable medical use and a high potential for abuse. Representative Tom Sands, a Republican from Wapello, says the bill also makes it clear that the legislature has authority over the issue. “I do not support medical marijuana. I know there are those individuals out there that believe that it has helped them. I have no personal knowledge whether it has or has not helped them. Maybe it is up to medical professionals and the Board of Pharmacy to change our mind that we’re wrong,” Sands said.
Sands says any decisions about marijuana should be made by the legislature. “It’s quite often a gateway drug, especially for some of our younger people and more vulnerable…that it leads them into more hallucinogenic type drugs that do far more damage,” Sands said. The Executive Officer of the Iowa Board of Pharmacy says the board agrees that any decisions about marijuana should be made by the legislature. Terry Witkowski says they never intended to establish a medicinal program.
“A pharmacy could not distribute marijuana because it’s an illegal drug federally and that would essentially put the pharmacy out of business,” Witkowski said. But a lobbyist for the Justice Reform Consortium says the Iowa Board of Pharmacy has already spoken on the issue. Stephanie Fawkes Lee says after a series of public hearings in 2009 the board voted to recommend that marijuana be reclassified as a drug that does have medicinal value. “And the Board of Pharmacy took the time and used resources to go across the state and have people come and say yes we do use this for medical reasons,’” Fawkes Lee said. ”So, to have this bill introduced, it’s like calling those people liars. They were in pain, they have health issues and medical cannabis actually helps them.” Other supporters of medical marijuana are less concerned about the bill. Carl Olsen of Des Moines says it merely upholds existing law, and does not stop the Democratically controlled Senate from considering alternative legislation to reclassify the drug.
Medical-marijuana advocates raise privacy concerns
A lineup of medical-marijuana activists and business owners said today the state's proposed new rules for the cannabis industry threaten patient privacy.
Requirements that transactions at dispensaries be videotaped, purchases be documented and personal information be recorded could cause many of the state's more than 115,000 medical-marijuana patients to opt out of the system and return to buying pot on the street, advocates said. State officials say details of the purchases would be kept in a secure online database, but medical-marijuana advocates pointed to recent WikiLeaks disclosures as evidence that even guarded information can become public.
The advocates expressed their concerns this morning at the beginning of a two-day hearing on the rules, proposed by the state Revenue Department to regulate the thousands of medical-marijuana businesses that have sprung up in the last two years. About 30 advocates spoke during a public comment section of the hearing this morning.
"I am very concerned that many individuals ... will, due to the risk of having their information leaked, return to the black market," said Bruce Grainger, a dispensary owner who served on an advisory committee that helped craft some of the rules.
Read more: Denverpost.com
Medical marijuana to be taxed in Arizona
PHOENIX - Arizona soon will be taxing a new product — medical marijuana.
The tax on medical marijuana will be the same as taxing any other product in the state, whether it be candy or furniture.
Anthony Forschino, assistant director of the state Department of Revenue, says that's a 6.6 percent state tax, and between 2 and 3 percent for cities.
Arizona voters approved medical marijuana in November, making the state the 15th in the nation to pass such a law.
The measure will allow patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and other chronic or debilitating diseases to buy 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana every two weeks or grow a limited number of plants themselves if they live 25 miles from a dispensary.
Patients could begin buying pot with a doctor's recommendation in the state this summer.
Delaware lawmakers hear case for medical marijuana
DOVER -- For years, talk show host Montel Williams has advocated the legalization of medical marijuana, which he uses to manage the debilitating pain of multiple sclerosis
On Tuesday, Williams appeared in Legislative Hall to endorse legislation that would legalize medical marijuana in Delaware, while keeping it more closely regulated than other states.
His visit corresponded with the introduction of Senate Bill 17, which would make it legal for patients with a state license and doctor's prescription to possess up to 6 ounces of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Williams urged lawmakers to put aside the decades-long debate about decriminalizing possessing, smoking and distributing marijuana and focus on the documented medical uses of the drug.
"Let's take the patients off the battlefield," Williams told the full House. "They're not the problem. They're not the criminals."
Senate Majority Whip Margaret Rose Henry's legislation -- named the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act -- would allow physicians to issue prescriptions to patients with a state-issued identification card to purchase marijuana from a not-for-profit dispensary in each county.
Marijuana prescriptions would be limited to people 21 years or older who have HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma or a chronic and debilitating disease. The bill would let patients designate a caregiver to pick up their medicine from a dispensary or "compassion center," which could only dispense three ounces to each patient every 14 days.
The proposed law would not allow marijuana to be grown at the home of a patient or caregiver. Eleven states currently allow home cultivation, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group.
With cannabis now legal for medicinal purposes in 15 states and the District of Columbia, Williams said, his celebrity lobbying "has been hijacked" by opportunists looking to turn marijuana into a cash crop. Many states, including New Jersey, are wrestling with how to control the sale and distribution of medical marijuana.
Colorado Marijuana Patients Must Give Up Privacy
If these new go into effect, the medical marijuana of Colorado will suffer an illegal and immoral violation of their rights. The new Department of Revenue rules related to video surveillance and tracking of patient purchases violate the patients’ right to confidentiality guaranteed in the Article XVIII, Section 14 of the Colorado Constitution.
The sharing of the personal information of these patients will profile them to be automatic suspects in a variety of situations!
“There are no security guidelines for how this information will be kept secure,” CTI said in a Monday press release. “As we have seen with WikiLeaks, it is virtually impossible to guarantee that electronic records will remain confidential.” “This is an unprecedented assault on the Constitutional guarantee to confidentiality of medical marijuana patients in Colorado,” CTI said. “We MUST stop the state from developing this database and replacing the confidential registry.”
Medical Marijuana in the Workplace
The House Human Services Committee today hears a bill tackling medical marijuana in the workplace.
This the third bill to come from an interim committee that spent six months working on medical marijuana legislation, Republican Representative Gary MacLaren’s (House District 89,) House Bill 43 gives guidelines and restrictions to employers on how to handle employees who may be impaired due to medical marijuana.
Medical cannabis supporters say they interpret the bill to mean that an employer could terminate an employee simply for having a medical marijuana card, at the same time subjecting them to drug testing that violates privacy.
Supporters of the bill claim that the clarifications address public safety, acting as a safety net from litigation and wrongful termination lawsuits.
“Right away that employee claims, well you fired me because of my medical marijuana card. Now that would be fine, except, the employer won the day but now you’re looking at a lot of attorney’s fees for no reason,” says one proponent.
“This bill does nothing to address job performance or impairment on the job, it simply targets medical cannabis patients. It reminds me strongly of legislation proposed in the early 80’s targeting the homosexual community denying them access to jobs and public education, etc.” says Doug Chyatte with Montanans for Responsible Legislation.
“If the guy that’s running that machine, is not fully cognoscente of everything going on around him or her, there could be some tragic consequences,” says Cary Hegreberg, Montana Contractors' Association.
“You’re basically legalizing a kind of bigotry,” says Tom Daubert with Patients and Families Unitied who opposed the bill for going too far.
The bill does not include prescription medication and medical cannabis advocates say the bill opens up currently exempt employees in the state of Montana to drug testing.
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