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Medical Marijuana

The pros and cons of medical marijuana

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, December, 31st 2010 by THCFinder

Don't let boutique-style dispensaries and a respectable new name —medical marijuana - blow smoke in your eyes. Marijuana has solid credentials for relieving serious problems such as cancer pain, nausea, anorexia and tough-to-ease nerve pain, but it's far from an all-purpose healer.

Here are some of its risks:

HEART STRAIN: In the hour after you smoke a joint, the danger of aheart attack rises five-fold because pot boosts levels of a compound called apolipoprotein III that keeps fats stuck in your bloodstream. Plus, pot revs up your heart rate.

BRAIN DRAIN: Plenty of people who use medical marijuana responsibly try to keep doses low (or use pills instead) to avoid the highs, spaciness and brain fog you get from smoking it. In one study, people with multiple sclerosis who smoked marijuana were 50 percent slower on a mental-processing test than nonsmokers. They also were more depressed and anxious.

WEAKENED IMMUNITY:THC - the ingredient in pot that eases pain and makes you high - is also a powerfulimmune-system downer.

LUNG DAMAGE:Smoking three to four joints a day may cause as much lung damage as smoking a pack of cigarettes. Long-term use doubles your odds for coughing, wheezing and chronic bronchitis.

So what are the safer alternatives? Start with the prescription pills that contain marijuana's active ingredients, particularly synthetic THC. And, a prescription mouth spray, already available in Canada and Europe, may be on the way.

Also, try eating your medicine instead of smoking it. Mix marijuana into baked goods or, if you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal, buy your supply at a marijuana bakery. Or consider a vaporizer, which in essence releases marijuana "smoke"; if you inhale the vapors, you get the active ingredients with fewer toxins, research suggests.

(Source)


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Nevada's Wild West spirit snubs legal marijuana

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, December, 30th 2010 by THCFinder

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada is known for letting just about anything slide, whether it's booze, bets or brothels. But even here there are limits.

It has been OK to smoke pot to treat illness for ten years. But don't think about selling it. Lately, federal agents and local police have taken notice, raiding several pot shops in and around Sin City.

All of it has pot activists scratching their heads: How is a state that has long lured visitors with promises of unconstrained debauchery stricter with pot than its more wholesome neighbors of Colorado, Arizona and California?

"I really thought they would leave us alone," said Pierre Werner, whose family's pot shop was raided and who now faces federal charges. "No one should go to prison for a plant."

Political leaders and historians say these activists don't know Nevada.

Sure, they say, the state has libertarian leanings and is generally willing to prosper from activities that most states have declared repugnant.

For many, however, pot is for hippies.

And Nevada, borne in the rugged days of the Wild West, is no place for hippies.

"The attitude was real men drank, whored and gambled — these are the vices of frontier men and women," said Guy Rocha, Nevada's former archivist.

"When it comes to drugs, Nevada has looked at it as, 'that's what those wild people in California do, or New York or Oregon,'" he said.

Nevada passed its medical marijuana law in 2000, four years after California passed its first-in-the-nation program. In all, 15 states and the District of Columbia allow it.

Advocates say the strict Nevada law makes it nearly impossible to legally smoke pot. Patients cannot buy or sell marijuana and can only grow seven plants for personal use.

Nevada's health department, which regulates medical marijuana, tells patients it cannot provide information about how to grow cannabis.

During the past year, at least 27 marijuana shops have opened in Las Vegas, according toweedmaps.com, an online dispensary and physician locator service.

The discreet outposts feature lengthy menus with whimsical names such as the Incredible Hulk, Purple Monster, Green Cheese and Pineapple Crack.

Transactions are called donations, not purchases. Customers are patients. Marijuana is medicine. Police, however, still means trouble.

The stores, many saying they are referral services for doctors willing to recommend marijuana, were largely left alone at first.

Then came reports that undercover police officers were making buys at the dispensaries.

In September, it was official. Local and federal investigators served search warrants at several marijuana shops in and around Las Vegas.

Law enforcement officials refuse to discuss the raids, saying the investigations remained open. They would not say what prompted the crackdown.

Federal law continues to classify marijuana as a controlled substance, prohibited from being prescribed by doctors.

Attorney General Eric Holder has said federal prosecutors will not pursue people who sell marijuana in compliance with a state law, but has warned that people who violate both federal and state laws will be targeted.

Nevada has long lured revelers from across the world with promises of leggy temptresses, modern gladiators and fertile slot machines.

Nearly a third of the state's revenue comes from taxes on casino winnings.

More than a decage ago, marijuana proponents enticed by Nevada's hedonistic reputation began targeting the Silver State.

Until 2000, Nevada had one of the nation's strictest marijuana laws, when possession of a single joint was a felony punishable by a year or more in prison.

The earliest campaigns to loosen such punishments were easy sells.

The medical marijuana law then removed criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients with written documentation from their physician.

Since 2000, activists have spent $12 million trying to make Nevada the first state to legalize pot and bring Amsterdam-style pot-smoking bars into casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project lead five failed efforts to pass pro-marijuana laws in Nevada.

"Obviously there is legalized gambling and to a certain extent prostitution as well. It just seems like the idea of taxing and regulating marijuana could have worked," said Steve Fox, the group's director of state campaigns.

California, Arizona and Colorado, meanwhile, have become the darlings of the pro-pot movement, with voters and lawmakers in those states embracing dispensaries.

In Nevada, law enforcement agencies, ant-drug activists and politicians in rural northern Nevada have led the opposition against the ballot measures.

The state's mighty casino industry, long eager to portray a balance of propriety and rebellion, has remained silent.

Activists are expected to try again to legalize pot in Nevada in 2012, but politicians and marijuana lobbyists alike predict another loss.

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, a martini-drinking advocate of sex tourism, said he is open to legalizing marijuana, but doesn't think voters are going to anytime soon.

"The people are not ready, he said, "no matter how we are characterized."LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada is known for letting just about anything slide, whether it's booze, bets or brothels. But even here there are limits.

It has been OK to smoke pot to treat illness for ten years. But don't think about selling it. Lately, federal agents and local police have taken notice, raiding several pot shops in and around Sin City.

All of it has pot activists scratching their heads: How is a state that has long lured visitors with promises of unconstrained debauchery stricter with pot than its more wholesome neighbors of Colorado, Arizona and California?

"I really thought they would leave us alone," said Pierre Werner, whose family's pot shop was raided and who now faces federal charges. "No one should go to prison for a plant."

Political leaders and historians say these activists don't know Nevada.

Sure, they say, the state has libertarian leanings and is generally willing to prosper from activities that most states have declared repugnant.

For many, however, pot is for hippies.

And Nevada, borne in the rugged days of the Wild West, is no place for hippies.

"The attitude was real men drank, whored and gambled — these are the vices of frontier men and women," said Guy Rocha, Nevada's former archivist.

"When it comes to drugs, Nevada has looked at it as, 'that's what those wild people in California do, or New York or Oregon,'" he said.

Nevada passed its medical marijuana law in 2000, four years after California passed its first-in-the-nation program. In all, 15 states and the District of Columbia allow it.

Advocates say the strict Nevada law makes it nearly impossible to legally smoke pot. Patients cannot buy or sell marijuana and can only grow seven plants for personal use.

Nevada's health department, which regulates medical marijuana, tells patients it cannot provide information about how to grow cannabis.

During the past year, at least 27 marijuana shops have opened in Las Vegas, according toweedmaps.com, an online dispensary and physician locator service.

The discreet outposts feature lengthy menus with whimsical names such as the Incredible Hulk, Purple Monster, Green Cheese and Pineapple Crack.

Transactions are called donations, not purchases. Customers are patients. Marijuana is medicine. Police, however, still means trouble.

The stores, many saying they are referral services for doctors willing to recommend marijuana, were largely left alone at first.

Then came reports that undercover police officers were making buys at the dispensaries.

In September, it was official. Local and federal investigators served search warrants at several marijuana shops in and around Las Vegas.

Law enforcement officials refuse to discuss the raids, saying the investigations remained open. They would not say what prompted the crackdown.

Federal law continues to classify marijuana as a controlled substance, prohibited from being prescribed by doctors.

Attorney General Eric Holder has said federal prosecutors will not pursue people who sell marijuana in compliance with a state law, but has warned that people who violate both federal and state laws will be targeted.

Nevada has long lured revelers from across the world with promises of leggy temptresses, modern gladiators and fertile slot machines.

Nearly a third of the state's revenue comes from taxes on casino winnings.

More than a decage ago, marijuana proponents enticed by Nevada's hedonistic reputation began targeting the Silver State.

Until 2000, Nevada had one of the nation's strictest marijuana laws, when possession of a single joint was a felony punishable by a year or more in prison.

The earliest campaigns to loosen such punishments were easy sells.

The medical marijuana law then removed criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients with written documentation from their physician.

Since 2000, activists have spent $12 million trying to make Nevada the first state to legalize pot and bring Amsterdam-style pot-smoking bars into casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project lead five failed efforts to pass pro-marijuana laws in Nevada.

"Obviously there is legalized gambling and to a certain extent prostitution as well. It just seems like the idea of taxing and regulating marijuana could have worked," said Steve Fox, the group's director of state campaigns.

California, Arizona and Colorado, meanwhile, have become the darlings of the pro-pot movement, with voters and lawmakers in those states embracing dispensaries.

In Nevada, law enforcement agencies, ant-drug activists and politicians in rural northern Nevada have led the opposition against the ballot measures.

The state's mighty casino industry, long eager to portray a balance of propriety and rebellion, has remained silent.

Activists are expected to try again to legalize pot in Nevada in 2012, but politicians and marijuana lobbyists alike predict another loss.

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, a martini-drinking advocate of sex tourism, said he is open to legalizing marijuana, but doesn't think voters are going to anytime soon.

"The people are not ready, he said, "no matter how we are characterized."

(Source)


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Food-for-pot program has high success rate

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, December, 29th 2010 by THCFinder

Get it? High? Sorry. Anyway, a medical marijuana dispensary in California offered a complimentary marijuana cigarette for every four cans of food a patient brought in this holiday season, and guess what?

The food came flooding in.

The Granny Purps dispensary in Soquel, about 60 miles southeast of San Francisco, took in 11,000 pounds of food and handed out 2,000 joints between November and Christmas Eve. The food was donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank, which said Granny Purps (what’s with that name, anyway?)  contributed the amount of food that would normally come from a business five times its size. And who knows how big it could have been — each patient was limited to a maximum of three cigarettes a day.

(Source)


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Phoenix seeks balance in governing medical marijuana

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, December, 28th 2010 by THCFinder
Medical marijuana is legal in Arizona, but don't expect grow houses and dispensaries to pop up in your neighborhood overnight.
 
Phoenix recently approved several zoning changes that will restrict where dispensaries and other medical marijuana related uses can go in the city.
 
Those hoping to get into the medical marijuana-business will have to comply with rules the Arizona Department of Health Services is formulating, which dictates who can prescribe and receive a prescription for medical marijuana and how to ensure facilities are secure.
 
 
Phoenix Planning and Development Services Director Debra Stark said about 55 percent of voters in the city supported the medical-marijuana initiative.
 
Stark said the city tried to strike a balance with its zoning laws that would be strict enough to protect the community and neighborhoods, but not too strict that they wouldn't be allowed in the city at all.
 
Phoenix divided medical marijuana land uses into three categories:
 
 Retail sales/dispensaries: Where patients can purchase medical marijuana. Sales will only be allowed in C-1 and C-2 zoning, which are generally strip malls and commercial retail centers. This covers many of the city's major intersections and streets. But that doesn't mean every neighborhood shopping center will be overrun with medical-marijuana facilities. The state has put a limit on dispensaries allowed in Arizona. The rules allow for one dispensary for every 10 pharmacies, so Arizona will have about 125 dispensaries statewide.
 
 Grow facilities: Where marijuana will be grown or cultivated to supply dispensaries. In Phoenix, grow facilities will only be allowed in areas zoned for heavy industrial or agriculture (S-1, S-2, A-1, A-2). Most of these land uses are in south Phoenix or far north Phoenix. Though, Stark said Phoenix does not expect many grow facilities in the city.
 
 Infusion: Where marijuana is blended into balms, lotions and food. While baking brownies may seem like a benign task, Phoenix is considering it manufacturing, so infusion facilities will be limited to heavy industrial areas (S-1, S-2).
 
South Phoenix has much of the zoning available for grow facilities, but Stark said medical marijuana will likely be cultivated in northern Arizona where the temperatures are cooler.
 
Growing in the Phoenix summer could prove to be expensive as green houses and other facilities would require a lot of electricity to regulate temperatures.
 
Any medical marijuana related industry in Phoenix will have to get a $1,380 use permit from the city. Of the largest cities in the state, Phoenix is one of the few that is requiring a use permit. Mesa, Scottsdale and Tucson are looking at or have adopted regulations that allow the facilities as a "use by right," which means they don't need permits but must follow the cities' distancing and zoning regulations.
 
Phoenix will limit the size of dispensaries to no more than 2,000 square feet and also require facilities to be a certain distance away from schools, bars, homes and churches depending on the location. Medical-marijuana buildings will have to be at least a mile away from each other.
 
Eric Johnson, founder of The Healing Phoenix, said he plans to open a dispensary in the Encanto area, where he hopes to serve the gay community. He said the city's zoning regulations for medical marijuana is a "perfect compromise" for neighborhoods that don't want dispensaries "showing up in their backyard" and those who will be medical-marijuana facilities to serve patients.
 
"Finally, patients get to have the medication that they deserve," Anderson said.
 
 

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Medical marijuana collective opens Federal Way branch; owner welcomes state taxation

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, December, 27th 2010 by THCFinder

Green Piece Alternative Medicine and Education (GAME) Collective may be Federal Way's first storefront medical marijuana dispensary.

 

In a strip mall off South 333rd Street and Pacific Highway South, most storefronts bear Korean names except for one newbie. A sign on the plain glass door gives a phone number, hours of operation and a list of medicated edibles like cookies. Qualified clients can buy medical-grade cannabis inside the studio-like room, where mirrors line one wall, legal documents hang on another wall, a TV hums in the ceiling corner and lounge chairs sit on the floor. On a desk is a pipe shaped like a Seahawks helmet, with a short length of hose and a handwritten note granting permission to try it.

Brionne Corbray opened the third branch of his collective Oct. 1 in Federal Way. The collective, with two branches in Seattle, advertises openly online and in alternative publications.

In mid-December, the Washington State Department of Revenue announced plans to collect a sales tax from marijuana dispensaries. Corbray welcomes a sales tax because he can make more money. In fact, he would rather be a retail outlet store than a non-profit, he said.

"It's the new gold rush," said Corbray, 46, of Seattle. "We should be paying taxes. That means they're acknowledging we're legal businesses."

His clientele ranges in age from 19 to 87, he said, and all must have a verified recommendation from a qualified health care provider to do business. The collective often donates to low-income or gravely ill clients, he said.

"Collectives keep the crime rate down — keeps it off the street," he said. "I don't think it should be legal like cigarettes."

State laws for possession and gardening offer a defense for medical marijuana providers, and according to Corbray, there is no shortage of supplies.

"I make sure I stay within the guidelines of the law," he said.

(Source)


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Feds want Michigan records in medical-marijuana probe, challenging federal versus state laws

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, December, 27th 2010 by THCFinder

Federal agents want Michigan to turn over medical marijuana records as part of an investigation in the Lansing area, a sign that voter approval won't stop federal authorities from enforcing their drug laws.

Michigan voters agreed in 2008 to legalize the use of marijuana in treating some health problems.

But "the cultivation, possession and distribution of marijuana remains illegal under federal law," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Bruha said in a court filing last week.

The U.S. attorney's office has asked a judge to order the Department of Community Health to comply with a subpoena for records of seven people with medical marijuana or marijuana caregiver cards. The state has been resisting turning over the information because of a privacy provision in Michigan law, Bruha said. No names or identifying information about the seven are included in court documents, nor are details about the Drug Enforcement Administration's investigation.

DEA spokesman Rich Isaacson in Detroit wouldn't comment about the case Monday but said agents generally are "not targeting people that are unambiguously following the state medical marijuana law."

"The DEA targets large scale drug trafficking organizations and does not expend its resources on individuals possessing 'user amount' quantities of illegal drugs," he said.

The federal government apparently hasn't been in a rush to get the information: The subpoena was given to the Department of Community Health in June.

More than 45,000 people in Michigan are registered to use marijuana to ease the symptoms of cancer and other health problems. They can have up to 2 1/2 ounces of ready-to-use pot and up to 12 plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility. They could also choose to have a registered caregiver grow the drug for them.

Law enforcement officials have panned the law as poorly written, and an appeals court judge has called it a "maze." The American Civil Liberties Union is suing cities over anti-marijuana policies.

(Source)


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