Cannabis in food gets stamp of approval from watchdog
CANNABIS ice cream, cake and beer have been cleared on health grounds by the nation's food watchdog, despite fears the "marijuana munchies" could trigger positive drug tests.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand yesterday sought public comment on an application by deregistered Sydney doctor Andrew Katelaris to lift Australia's ban on food derived from cannabis.
Dr Katelaris, who is appealing against his deregistration for supplying medical marijuana to patients, yesterday said the seeds of industrial hemp contained more Omega 3 acids than seafood. "We're looking at making ice cream and health food bars," he said.
"Our vision is that anything you can do with soy beans or dairy you can do better with hemp seed."
A Food Standards investigation concluded that industrial hemp contained such low levels of the psychoactive substance delta 9-tetraydrocannabinol (THC) that anyone consuming the food would not feel its effect.
"FSANZ has not identified any safety concerns relating to the consumption of hemp foods," the Food Standards report says.
"Hemp seed is a nutritious food containing sizeable amounts of protein, polyunsaturated fats and dietary fibre . . . (and) micronutrients such as thiamin, vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc."
But Food Standards reveals that "various government stakeholders" have raised concerns of high-THC seeds entering the food chain, of advertisers falsely claiming hemp foods have psychoactive properties or that they could trigger positive drug-test results.
"There is a potential risk that . . . labelling and advertising of hemp foods could suggest psychoactive properties . . . (but) this would be misleading," the report says. "Concerns have also been expressed about positive drug tests for cannabis use . . . This is of particular relevance for workplaces that may have drug-testing protocols, for athletes and for roadside drug testing".
The Food Standards report cites a scientific study that this is unlikely, as a person would have to consume eight teaspoons of hemp seed oil, or 300g of seed, daily to fail a drug test "and it is considered that consumption of such amounts is unrealistic."
Fort Collins: Cap on medical marijuana shops may be lifted
The number of medical marijuana businesses that could operate in Fort Collins would not be limited to those that are currently operating under revised regulations headed to the City Council for consideration.
Existing businesses, most of which do not meet the city’s requirements of being specific distances from facilities such as schools, child-care centers and places of worship, would be “grandfathered” and allowed to keep operating. Future businesses would have to meet the distancing requirements.
The Fort Collins City Council is scheduled to give final consideration today to a set of ordinances regulating medical marijuana businesses, including where they may locate and how much marijuana may be bought and sold between centers.
The ordinances received initial approval last month. But council members directed staff to change some elements of the regulations, including a cap on the number of licenses for medical marijuana businesses, or MMBs, the city would issue at 23, which is how many businesses are already operating in the city plus those going through the approval process.
The idea behind capping the number of MMBs in town was to protect the city from becoming the “grow capital of Northern Colorado if not the state,” said Capt. Jerry Schiager of Fort Collins police.
But some council members said the number of stores in other industries that may operate in the city is not restricted and marijuana businesses shouldn’t be treated differently.
The cap was an arbitrary number, said Steve Ackerman, a medical marijuana business owner and president of the Northern Colorado Medical Marijuana Business Council. The number of businesses that will survive will depend on the market, he said.
“I don’t think a cap on the number of places is going to reduce the demand or consumption of medical marijuana in Fort Collins,” Ackerman said. “If they take away the number of access points, they’ll drive patients to places that are unsafe, unregulated and untaxed.”
Opponents of medical marijuana said they plan to take their concerns to the council.
Colorado: Medical marijuana hearing continues this afternoon
Attorneys for three Loveland medical marijuana dispensaries and for the city of Loveland are arguing before a judge today about whether existing pot businesses can stay open — despite a city vote to shut them all down March 1.
Rocky Mountain Kind, Magic’s Emporium and Colorado Canna Care asked an 8th Judicial District Court judge to intervene and let them continue to provide medical marijuana to their patients.
The hearing is restarting after a lunch recess.
Several marijuana patients, a dispensary manager, a doctor and a landlord testified this morning about hardships they would face if the judge does not grant temporary injunction to allow the businesses to operate while the case questioning the November election goes through court.
The city has said patients could be served in surrounding communities such as Berthoud or Fort Collins.
The judge will take more testimony, including from the city, this afternoon and is expected to make a prompt decision regarding the temporary injunction.
Hearing Today on Bill to Allow Medical Marijuana in Connecticut
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.
Medical Marijuana Faces Legislative Battle In Colorado
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.
Inside Lafayette's medical marijuana district
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.
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