Washington Debates Big Changes To Medical Marijuana System
Some state lawmakers are proposing major changes to Washington's voter-approved medical marijuana system. The bill debated in the Senate health committee Thursday was proposed by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle. It would give medical marijuana users more protections against arrest than they currently have.
The bill also would bring the supply chain of medical pot out of the current legal gray area. Under Kohl Welles' proposal, the state could license growers, processors and sellers of medical marijuana. Qualified patients could avoid arrest by showing proper documentation, and there would be a voluntary, secure registry of authorized patients. Right now, marijuana patients are only allowed to offer a defence in court if they're arrested and charged for possession.
N.J. Advocates For Medical Marijuana Blast Proposed Regulations
Medical marijuana advocates say the regulations New Jersey has proposed for medical pot don't make sense for businesses, patients or doctors. Advocates used a state Senate committee hearing today mostly to blast the proposed regulations, which had few defenders there. The hearing was a step in a rare constitutional manoeuvre the state Legislature is using to try to force Gov. Chris Christie's health department to come up with new regulations.
Some lawmakers say the rules drafted by the Christie administration don't follow the intent of the legislation that authorized medical marijuana. After the hearing, the next step is a vote to invalidate the regulations. That can't happen for at least 20 days.
Idaho lawmaker introduces medical marijuana bill
DEA: We Have Not Relaxed Our Policy on Medical Marijuana
The US Drug Enforcement Administration's "Position on Marijuana 2010" is a hot document. Dated to July, it didn't really start circulating until this January when activist Ed Rosenthal found his name in it.
Since then, the DEA link to the paper is gone, but aGoogle site search yields the file. Yesterday, the Marijuana Policy Project told supporters that the DEA's position paper labels the drug law reform group Enemy #1. But that's just a little bit of the 54-page collection of anecdotal Reefer Madness.
Thin on actual research, the littlescience the DEA cites is biased. The paper almost never discloses the number of patients in a study group, and can't cite much US research — ironically, because the DEA plays a role in ensuring such studies never get approved. But the paper does relate some sad drug war stories.
- “While some people [think] the federal government has relaxed its policy on 'medical' marijuana, this in fact is not the case. Investigations and prosecutions of violations of state and federal law will continue.”
Medical Marijuana Ads Help Sagging Media Profits
Access to medical marijuana delayed
D.C. residents seeking medical marijuana are unable to obtain a prescription in the city, despite the legalization of the drug last summer.
Difficulties in regulating the drug have caused delays in dispensaries being set up, D.C. Department of Health spokeswoman Mahlori Isaacs said.
"Due to legal litigation, it is unclear when medicinal marijuana will make it to Washington, D.C. depositories," Isaacs said.
Medical marijuana became legal in the District July 27, 2010, after Congress' allotted 30-day review period expired. If Congress does not touch a bill passed by the D.C. Council in that 30-day period, it automatically becomes law.
The D.C. health department is responsible for establishing the regulations needed to ensure the legal distribution of the controversial drug. Proposed rules for the cultivation and distribution of the drug are expected to take effect once they are published in the D.C. Register. Though this is expected to happen soon, there is no official date set at this time.
GW Hospital spokeswoman Heather Oldham said the hospital is unable to comment on whether or not it will be allowed to distribute medicinal marijuana.
Oldham said the hospital's lawyers are still attempting to figure out what changes the hospital would need to make in order to accommodate the law.
D.C. hospitals will be able to distribute the drug if they submit a dispensary registration application and are approved by the D.C. Board of Health, similar to any other dispensary, Issacs said. She added that hospitals will probably not qualify as cultivation centers due to difficulties in ensuring the security of the facility.
GW Hospital physicians will be able to recommend marijuana treatment for patients who qualify.
A medical marijuana certification provider, according to proposed rules, must certify businesses or individuals who want to distribute medicinal marijuana. To be certified, distributors must submit an application detailing facility's staffing, security, cultivation and product safety plan.
As of now, no dispensaries have been qualified by the DOH, Issacs said.
Only individuals with a recommendation from a Department of Health-registered physician will be able to use medical marijuana in D.C. Anyone who wants to obtain the drug for medicinal purposes must also provide a social security number and proof of residency in the District to be approved by the DOH.
Only D.C. residents will be able to obtain the drug here, so students who are not permanent residents of the District won't be able to purchase marijuana from D.C. dispensaries, even if they have permission to obtain the drug in states that already allow the use of medicinal marijuana.
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