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Medical Marijuana

NY's Medical Marijuana Plan Is A Joke

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, February, 5th 2015 by THCFinder
ny-medical-mj-is-a-jokeNew York’s upcoming medical marijuana program will look nothing like California's, where “green cards” may be issued for everything from insomnia to headaches. Instead, as advocates argued on Tuesday at Hostos Community College in the Bronx, the highly restrictive program will allow medical marijuana for only “a handful” of New Yorkers with certain conditions, and even they may have trouble accessing the state’s few dispensaries.
 
At the forum Tuesday, organizers with Compassionate Care NY and advocacy groups like VOCAL-NY, Boom! Health, and the Drug Policy Alliance argued that New York’s medical marijuana program will be far too small to make a big difference in residents’ lives: Preliminary regulations include only 10 diagnoses in the list of patients’ qualifying conditions, and allow for only five organizations to open four dispensary sites each, creating a total of just 20 medical marijuana dispensaries to serve the entire state and its population of 20 million.
 
Governor Andrew Cuomo, who fought against the Compassionate Care Act and even threatened to veto it, has acted as a barrier to the more inclusive medical marijuana policy advocates would like. His resistance forced the Compassionate Care NY coalition to make the restrictive concessions they are now hoping the Department of Health commissioner may revise.
 
With a February 13th deadline for public input on regulations drafted to implement the Compassionate Care Act [PDF] approaching, advocates for legal medical marijuana access are hurrying to gather enough support to convince NY’s Department of Health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to broaden the scope of the state’s medical marijuana program, which should be functioning as early as January 2016.
 
One major concern is that smoking of the raw cannabis flower is not allowed—a provision so strict organizers said it occurs in only one of the 22 states that allow for medical marijuana. New York’s program also bans marijuana edibles, allowing for only oil “extracts” that may be vaporized, swallowed in a capsule, or absorbed in the mouth. Each organization may produce no more than five “brands” containing DoH-approved concentrations of cannabinoids like Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which activates marijuana’s psychoactive effect, and cannabidiol (CBD), which is considered to have more medical uses, like reduction of seizures in patients with life-threatening Dravet’s syndrome.
 

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Major Concerns Raised About New Yorks Medical Marijuana Program

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, February, 4th 2015 by THCFinder
ny-medical-concernsYesterday, elected officials, patients, and more than twenty community groups gathered at Hostos Community College in the Bronx to discuss the proposed regulations for New York’s medical marijuana program. At the end of December, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) released more than a hundred pages of draft regulations outlining many features of the proposed program. Yesterday’s forum, which comes less than two weeks before the public comment period ends on February 13th, was aimed at creating an opportunity for the public to better understand and respond to the proposal.
 
The more than 100 participants raised a number of issues, including their concern that the program will not be accessible to low income people and that the program is overly restrictive.
 
The sponsor of the medical marijuana law in the Assembly, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, said in a prepared statement: “The proposed regulations are highly and unjustifiably restrictive and will make it as difficult as possible to implement the Compassionate Care Act. The Health Department should move quickly to clean up the regulations in response to the comments it is getting. And the Legislature needs to amend the law to take out some of the pointless restrictions that were added last year. It is distressing that the state is taking so long – and it will take even longer – for a single suffering patient to get any help.”
 
The barriers to low income patients were one focus of today’s discussion. Aside from a proposal to waive the $50 patient registration fee in case of financial hardship, the regulations make no provisions to help low income patients pay for medication or equipment, even though insurance is unlikely to cover these costs.
 
“Medical marijuana saves lives,” said Robert Cordero, President of BOOM!Health. We need to make sure all patients, regardless of income status, can access medical marijuana services in the Bronx and beyond.”
 
Advocates, who worked tirelessly to pass the legislation, are now concerned that they and many others will be left behind. They urged those in attendance to submit public comments and work to make the program as widely accessible to patients in need as possible.
 
“Having fought hard for the establishment of the medical marijuana program to serve thousands of sick and disabled New Yorkers – including myself – who are in desperate need of safe and legal access, I’m gravely concerned that the State is setting up a two-tier system where low-income and poor people of color are cut out,” said Wanda Hernandez, a 20 year survivor of HIV and the Board Chair of VOCAL-NY. “We need our voices heard and our needs met in this process. I’m encouraging everyone who has a stake in this to participate in the public comment period and continue to take action as the program develops.”
 
Other concerns raised at the forum included the limits on who is covered. The proposed regulations only cover ten medical conditions without providing any rationale or transparent process for how additional medical conditions that could benefit from medical cannabis will be added. Some elected officials called on the Department of Health to move quickly to fix these issues when they revise the regulations.
 

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Justice Department Continues To Crack Down On Medical Marijuana In California

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, February, 4th 2015 by THCFinder
justice-dept-cracking-down-on-med-mmjLawyers for U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag appeared in court Tuesday in an effort to shut down a medical marijuana collective in Oakland, California, despite federal guidance discouraging U.S. prosecutors from going after state-legal cannabis operations.
 
"There was quite a bit of head-scratching," Tamar Todd, director of marijuana law and policy for the Drug Policy Alliance, told The Huffington Post of Tuesday's hearing, which she attended. "The Department of Justice has repeatedly said to back off these cases. Why pick this fight?"
 
Haag first targeted Harborside Health Center, a $25-million-a-year business widely considered to be the nation's largest marijuana dispensary, in July 2012 on grounds that the facility had grown too big. Later that year, attorneys representing the city of Oakland sued to block Haag's actions, arguing that Harborside is an asset to the community and that closing it may create a public health crisis. The case is now being argued before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
 
"There's no question that Harborside is well-regulated, compliant and an industry leader," Todd said, adding that attorneys speaking Haag's behalf couldn't answer repeated questions from judges as to "why they're fighting a city that clearly wants this business to operate here."
 
Haag's office did not immediately respond to HuffPost's request for comment.
 
Since Haag first tried to shut down Harborside, the federal government has made multiple gestures in favor of giving states the freedom to adopt marijuana laws. A memo issued in 2013 instructed federal prosecutors not to interfere in state-legal operations that adhered to eight guidelines, including keeping pot out of the hands of minors and criminal organizations.
 
Late last year, Congress passed a spending bill provision that prohibited the use of federal funds to crack down on marijuana businesses in states that had adopted cannabis laws. And last month, outgoing U.S. Attorney Eric Holder announced a new policy that prevents federal agencies from seizing property without a warrant, which often happens when U.S. attorneys go after pot shops.
 

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Lifetime Medical Marijuana Recommendations Are Legal In Washington

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, February, 3rd 2015 by THCFinder
lifetime-medical-marijuana-recommendations-are-legal-in-waIn Washington State, physicians that specialize in medical cannabis often offer 1-year and 2-year recommendations to qualifying individuals, though don’t offer ones that last indefinitely (‘lifetime recommendations”). Many dispensaries throughout the state, in fact, will deny patients who have lifetime recommendations, claiming that it’s required for a recommendations to be renewed either yearly, or biyearly. This, however, just isn’t true. Lifetime recommendations are entirely legal in Washington State, which we confirmed through the state’s Department of Health.
 
An example of a location denying patients who have lifetime recommendations is the Northwest Cannabis Market, which operates two medical cannabis farmers markets in Seattle. We contacted their Rainier Ave. location to ask why they deny lifetime recommendations that are signed after 2011, and were told that the law requires it. When we corrected them, we were then told its their policy, “simply as that” (they wouldn’t comment further on the issue).
 
We then contacted the 16th Ave SW location to confirm this policy, which they did. When we asked why this was the case despite it not being the law, we were told that the reason is not disclosed to the public or media. When we asked why they would require patients to pay for additional recommendations that they aren’t legally required to obtain, we were hung up on.
 
Unfortunately this is commonplace throughout the state. We urge patients to stand up against this, and to point out that there’s nothing in the law that requires medical cannabis recommendations to be renewed. Those who tell you otherwise are either uninformed, or have an ulterior motive.
 
Washington State’s full medical cannabis law – which doesn’t require recommendations to be renewed.
 

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Former NFL Players Want Research For Marijuana And Brain Injuries

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, January, 27th 2015 by THCFinder
nfl-players-want-brain-injury-researchNumerous NFL Players have experienced brain injuries during their careers. There have been many tragic stories in recent years about how the NFL didn’t do enough to educate and warn players about what repeated injuries could do to their brains. There have been a number of studies suggesting that medical marijuana can help people with brain injuries recover and heal. The NFL of course frowns upon all things marijuana, which is something that former NFL players want to see changed. Per New York Daily News:
 
In a column posted Monday on The Huffington Post, the three NFL retirees urge commissioner Roger Goodell and the league to finance research pot’s effectiveness in treating traumatic head injuries.
 
First and foremost, the NFL should allocate financial resources to advance medical research on the efficacy of medical marijuana in treating brain injuries. In the case of trauma, a lot of inflammation occurs, which affects cognitive functioning and neural connectivity. A compound in marijuana called cannabidiol (CBD) has shown scientific potential to be an antioxidant and neuroprotectant for the brain. In a sport where closed head injuries are common, the league should be doing everything it can to help keep their players healthy during and after their careers. If the NFL wants to continue to grow its game, it must investigate potential medical solutions for its industrial disease, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Even the federal government holds a patent on marijuana for this purpose.
 
Washington, Ayanbadejo and Fujita also call for the league to abandon drug testing and punishing players for the use of marijuana, as well as take a “leadership role” in addressing racial disparities in marijuana law enforcement and other problems caused by the War on Drugs.
 
The NFL does not have any valid reasons for why they prohibit any consumption of marijuana, medical or recreational. All players have a lot of aches and pains, in addition to some experiencing brain injuries. If they want to use marijuana to help them deal with those ailments, they should be allowed to do so. An NFL player can get as drunk as they want off the field, so they should also be allowed to use marijuana if they want, because after all, marijuana is much safer.
 

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Michigan Medical Marijuana Program Enrollment Decreases Second Year In A Row

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, January, 20th 2015 by THCFinder
mmj-michigan-program-enrollment-decreasesIt’s fairly rare to see a state medical marijuana program decrease in enrollment. It happened once in my home state of Oregon. That dip in patient enrollment was due to a doubling of the enrollment fee for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. Michigan saw a dip in patient enrollment for the second straight year, which is interesting considering the fact that Michigan has one of the most established programs in the country. Per Detroit News:
 
The number of patients in Michigan’s medical marijuana program declined for the second year in a row in 2014, according to state statistics reviewed by The Detroit News.
 
Last year, the number of identification cards for patients in the program totaled 96,408, according to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. That compares with 119,470 patients in 2011, and 118,368 in 2013.
 
The downward trend continued in Metro Detroit, too, with the number of medical marijuana patients falling in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties for a third straight year.
 
There’s no clear reason why the numbers are decreasing in Michigan. Some point to overzealous law enforcement in some parts of Michigan. Some patients feel that the medical marijuana law in Michigan doesn’t necessarily protect them, and that it’s better to operate in the shadows. Others blame the fact that there are no clear rules for medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan, which has left them open to attacks by law enforcement. Whatever the reason is, it’s a trend that could continue into 2015.
 

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