Medical Marijuana

Montana and Michigan voters still support medical marijuana

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, March, 8th 2011 by THCFinder

Despite efforts in Montana and Michigan to repeal or alter medical marijuana laws, recent polls show voters in both states still support the practice.

A February survey of 2,212 Montana voters by Public Policy Polling found that 63% still back marijuana for medical purposes. Most voters, however, also support stricter regulations under the law. The survey was funded by Patients & Families United, a Montana support group for patients who use medical marijuana.

The Montana House of Representatives voted Feb. 10 to repeal the state's 2004 voter-enacted law. House Speaker Mike Milburn, a Republican, said many patients approved for medical marijuana are not terminally ill, and that the law has created a growing illegal drug trade. At this article's deadline, the House measure had not gone to the Senate.

The Montana Medical Assn. had no comment on the repeal of the medical marijuana law in its state, a representative said. In general, the association's position on medical marijuana is that the drug should be used only in the safest, legally-approved way and "be subject to the same regulatory scrutiny as any other psychoactive drug with the potential for abuse." More research regarding the safety, dosage and effectiveness of medical marijuana is needed, the MMA said in a statement.

In Michigan, a January poll of 600 voters by the Marketing Research Group found that 61% of residents would vote again for the medical marijuana law enacted in 2008. The poll was funded by the Michigan Assn. of Compassion Centers, which advocates citizens' rights under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.

The Michigan State Medical Society said in a statement that it supports the use of cannabinoids for medical purposes by routes other than smoking. The society also urges further research and testing on the drug.



Washington workers await court's decision on protecting legal marijuana use

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, March, 8th 2011 by THCFinder

Among the questions left unanswered by Washington's medical-marijuana law: Can legal use of medical marijuana get you fired?

Thirteen years after voters approved its use, that question is likely to be answered by the Washington Supreme Court, which heard a test case on the issue last month.

It involves a woman fired by a Bremerton, Wash., call center in 2006 because she failed a pre-employment drug test but had a valid authorization from a doctor.

The woman, identified in court by the pseudonym Jane Roe, used marijuana at night to treat migraines. The call center, Teletech Customer Care, offered no evidence that the use impaired her ability to work.

Michael Subit, Jane Roe's Seattle attorney, argued before the state high court that such use is implicitly protected because voters legalized it. "It would flabbergast the average voter to think, 'I've been given this right but can fired for it anyway,' " he said.

Courts in other states, including Oregon and California, have ruled in favor of businesses in similar cases.

Washington business groups are watching the Jane Roe case closely, anxious that the court potentially could define medical-marijuana use as a disability and therefore protect patients from firing.

"There's only so often that we want Washington to be an outlier, to appear to be less competitive because we put obligation on employers that they wouldn't face elsewhere," said Timothy O'Connell, a Seattle employment lawyer speaking on behalf of the Association of Washington Business.

(Full story HERE)


Colleges keep pot bans despite states easing laws

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, March, 7th 2011 by THCFinder

As legislatures nationwide debate whether to legalize medical marijuana, colleges and universities in states where laws have been adopted say their campuses will remain drug-free.


The reason: Marijuana use and possession violates federal law, and colleges don't want to risk losing federal funding.
This year, 13 state legislatures are considering proposals to legalize medical marijuana, and four more are looking at bills, says Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project, a group that advocates loosening marijuana laws. Proposals to tighten or ease laws are pending in at least 10 of the 15 states, plus the District of Columbia, where medical marijuana is legal.
Colleges say they have no choice but to abide by the federal rules and keep marijuana off their campuses
•In New Jersey, where a medical-marijuana law passed last year, Rutgers University declined an invitation by the governor to grow and research medical marijuana.
•In Arizona, where a law passed in November, University of Arizona lawyers in January posted a notice saying anyone found with marijuana on campus "will continue to be subject to disciplinary action."
•In San Diego, the City Council approved in January a proposal that medical-marijuana dispensaries be located at least 1,000 feet from college campuses. "Dispensaries are not compatible with our educational mission," San Diego State University President Stephen Weber said in a letter to the council urging a buffer zone.
•In Illinois, where a bill to help medical-marijuana users was introduced in January, students on two campuses have run into roadblocks as they seek to create advocacy groups for changing marijuana laws.
After a steady decline in marijuana use since 2003, the percentage of college students who said they had used marijuana in the previous month jumped from 17.9% in 2008 to 20.1% in 2009, says the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The survey doesn't tie the rise to medical-marijuana legalization, but "highlighting (marijuana) as some kind of medicine has sent a terrible message to young people," says Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Some activists see legalizing medical marijuana as part of a larger strategy to decriminalize the drug.
At the University of Arkansas, where the chancellor last fall rejected a proposal to ease penalties for marijuana-related violations, students are developing a state campaign to legalize medical marijuana. "We decided to focus our efforts where we could accomplish some real policy changes," says Robert Pfountz, a past president of the campus chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy.



N.J. patients, advocates criticize proposed rules on medical marijuana

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, March, 7th 2011 by THCFinder

TRENTON — For nearly two hours today, dozens of patients and their advocates — some through tears, others at the top of their lungs — vented their frustrations over the state's proposed rules for New Jersey's yet-to-launch medical marijuana program.

"You're getting hammered up there, aren't ya?'' Crohn's disease sufferer Stephen Cuspilich, of Southampton, told the state health department officials conducted the legally-required hearing on the proposed rules expected to take effect this summer.

Cuspilich questioned why the state would require doctors who recommend marijuana to take courses on drug addiction first, and treat marijuana more cautiously than morphine, which can kill.

"You're putting these flaming hoops and hurdles in front of everybody to get this medication — me and everyone else. We know what works for us and what doesn't work for us.'' 

"You need to stop thinking about the business of the law and think about the intent of the law, which is compassion,'' he said, eliciting applause.

(Full story HERE)


L.A. pot dispensaries fight proposed tax on medical marijuana

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Sat, March, 5th 2011 by THCFinder

As Los Angeles voters decide Tuesday whether to create a pot tax, medical marijuana activists who once urged City Hall to tax and regulate them are hoping to defeat the proposal.

The critics said they are angered by the council's decision to limit the number of dispensaries to 100 and choose them by lottery.

"The city has done nothing for the patients, and I don't see why the patients have to pay a sin tax. We're not a topless bar," said Yamileth Bolanos, a dispensary operator who leads a group of the city's oldest collectives. "The city hasn't even been able to enact an ordinance that creates safe access."

Measure M would require the city's dispensaries to pay a 5% business tax on gross receipts, which is 10 times more than the city's highest tax. Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who proposed the tax, estimated that it would raise at least $10 million. The city faces a $54-million budget shortfall through June.

(Full story here)


Cranston police chief criticizes medical-marijuana program after drug bust

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Sat, March, 5th 2011 by THCFinder

CRANSTON — Col. Marco Palombo Jr., chief of police, on Friday questioned the standards of the state Department of Health after, he said, a suspect arrested Thursday in a drug raid said that he had obtained a state medical-marijuana card to further the illegal distribution of the drug.

“I’m not sure what they are doing to vet these people,” Palombo said. “It appears to me some of these individuals are getting a veil of protection from enforcement. This was a drug house, no mistake about it.”

Kitland Juste, 24, was arrested in the raid at 196 Maplewood Ave. on Thursday, along with Sander Juste, 23, and Gerald Pierre, 23.

Officers confiscated more than three pounds of marijuana and reported encountering a pit bull in the house.

Annemarie Beardsworth, public information officer for the Department of Health, said Friday she was not allowed to confirm whether Kitland Juste had a medical-marijuana card. She said the department is permitted to confirm only to law enforcement officers, by checking a registration number, whether a card is active.

Beardsworth said there are two kinds of cards, one for patients and the other for caregivers. She said patients are allowed to grow their own marijuana. If they choose not to, they may designate someone as a caregiver, who then, after a criminal background check, receives permission to grow marijuana for the patient.

In both cases, there are limits to the amount of marijuana the person can possess legally.

“That person is responsible for following the rules of the medical-marijuana program,” she said. “When we get information from law enforcement that someone is not using the card for its intended use, we have authority to revoke the card.”

Beardsworth said the department had not yet heard officially from the police, so no action had been taken.

“[Juste] admitted it to an investigator that he procured that card to fly under the radar in terms of distributing marijuana,” Palombo said. “It’s gone far enough when we have medical marijuana providers in drug houses with pit bulls. Something needs to be fixed.”

Maj. Robert Ryan, police spokesman, said, “Obviously, what these men had in their possession was being packaged for illicit distribution and well in excess of the maximum allowable amounts promulgated by statute. It was clearly not being used for medicinal purposes.”

The suspects have been charged with possessing marijuana with intent to deliver it, and conspiracy.

Arraigned in District Court, Warwick, they were ordered held without bail pending a court appearance March 10.




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