Medical Marijuana

Eric Holder okay with lawful MMCs, but do threats remain?

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, December, 9th 2011 by THCFinder
This week, Congressman Jared Polis quizzed U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder about the Department of Justice's approach to medical marijuana; see a video of the exchange below. For the most part, Holder suggested that MMJ businesses following state law are not Department of Justice priorities, despite recent crackdowns in California and elsewhere. Attorney Jessica Peck sees positives in his responses, but also areas of concern for the industry.
Peck, a lawyer and political strategist for Henley Public Affairs, is a fan of Polis's. "I've spoken with him, and I'm very impressed with how he talks with all the different stakeholders and works with everyone, including Republicans," she says. "I think he went into the committee hearing trying to get points from all perspectives, which is what a congressman should do."
​Regarding Holder's responses to Polis's questions, she calls them "fascinating, because you have the White House now saying it stands behind its previous position as outlined in the Ogden memo" -- a 2009 document penned by Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, which directed U.S. Attorneys not to target medical marijuana businesses in states where they're legal as long as they're following state law.
This summer, a memo by another deputy attorney general, James Cole "articulated a different position" than did the Ogden directive, Peck believes. In it, Cole wrote that while "it is likely not an efficient use of federal resources to focus enforcement efforts on individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regiment consistent with applicable state law, or their caregivers," he stressed that the term "caregiver" means "individuals providing care to individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses, not commercial operations cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana." In other words, a dispensary isn't a caregiver.
Given this apparent shift, Peck was cheered when Holder said the Ogden memo is still current. That shows "the White House is standing behind its original position," she feels, "and that's significant. And I also thought Holder's wording was interesting. It was clear he didn't know a lot about Colorado's system. But he did say it's the federal government's position that so long as people are acting in conformity with state law, the feds don't see it as a law enforcement priority. That's different from what was previously said, which called for 'unambiguous compliance.'


Weed Wars: Watch a 5-Year Old Use Medical Marijuana Tonight

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, December, 9th 2011 by THCFinder
A few common schools of thought persist in the medical marijuana debate -- on one end, doubters point to young men at dispensaries and say that the drug is widely abused by people who are "not that sick." On the other hand, believers say that you don't need to be on death's door to benefit from medicine. And isn't Oxycontin prescription heroin, anyway?
A scene bound to engender even more controversy over medical marijuana will be broadcast on national television tonight, when a father will administer medical marijuana to his 5-year-old epileptic son for the first time in front of film crews for the Discovery Channel's Weed Wars.
Proposition 215 recommendations and marijuana use have been good enough reasons for Child Protective Services to take children away from their pot-smoking parents. So then, is giving an admittedly sick kid pot on TV such a good idea?
As its PR machine informed the world, Weed Wars followed around the world of Harborside Health Center for a few months, filming a day in the life of the nation's largest cannabis dispensary and its charismatic CEO, Steve DeAngelo. 
In this case, DeAngelo's crew recommended medical marijuana for a desperate "single father", Jason, whose son, Jayden, began experiencing hour-long seizures at the age of four months. The child is given what some might call the devil's weed via a few drops of CBD-laden tincture administered under the tongue. CBD, we may remind you, is the cannabinoid that is associated with non-intoxicating, healing properties; the medical student to its partying roommate, THC.
The first episode aired last week, and the second comes on tonight at 10 on the Discovery Channel. Check your local listings, or break down and order cable (or, like us, just get to know someone who has it).
Tales of children who are hospitalized after inadvertently eating marijuana-laden brownies or cookies have been in the mainstream media recently. But often neglected in the marijuana debate is whether -- like Ritalin -- medical cannabis is okay for children to consume.
In fact, it was the specter of kids smoking pot legally that caused opponents of the drug to pounce in 1996, when Prop. 215 was passed. And indeed, stiff criminal penalties for those using pot in front of children have been floated even by medical marijuana advocates -- included in Prop. 19 last year, supported by DeAngelo, for example.
However, at least one other sick child -- 2-year-old Cash Hyde who suffered a brain tumor -- has been given medical cannabis as a healing agent -- and it worked, according to his father.  
So if a father's last resort was medical marijuana and it worked to heal his son, what's the harm? 


Medical marijuana dispensaries outlawed in Sacramento, Calif.

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, December, 8th 2011 by THCFinder
Sacramento County supervisors said they wanted to make it unambiguous that they won't permit medical marijuana dispensaries.
So board members passed a county zoning amendment that fails to include the words "medical" or "marijuana" or "dispensaries."
Instead, supervisors are seeking to bring an end to the county's once teeming medical marijuana trade by denying business permits to establishments that conflict with "either state or federal law, or both" under a new policy approved Tuesday.
The board's action comes after aggressive code enforcement efforts – and threats of federal prosecution or property seizures – shuttered all but a handful of marijuana stores in the county's unincorporated communities.
Officials said medical marijuana outlets were never permitted under county zoning laws. But that didn't stop as many as 99 dispensaries from opening in the past two years.
So board Chairwoman Roberta MacGlashan said supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday "to clarify our existing ordinance" because it "didn't address marijuana dispensaries."
Even though the amended zoning code still doesn't, MacGlashan said the supervisors' vote now effectively bans marijuana stores by making it "clear we don't allow any use that is inconsistent with federal law."
The vote came after counsel Michelle Bach and other staffers told supervisors the only local land use they know of that conflicted with federal law is medical marijuana.
Supervisor Phil Serna, the lone dissenting vote, said his colleagues took an unnecessary action given the county's already "robust code enforcement" against dispensaries.
Serna said the vote effectively bans both marijuana stores and cultivation in the county. He protested it "foreclosed the opportunity" to negotiate zoning rules to accommodate seriously ill medical marijuana users.
The vote came after county staff advised supervisors of a state 2nd District Court of Appeal decision in October that said the city of Long Beach could not license dispensaries because of federal marijuana laws and a District Court ruling in November upholding a city of Riverside ban on pot stores.


Dad seeks medical marijuana solution for sick son on 'Weed Wars'

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, December, 7th 2011 by THCFinder
A severe and difficult to treat disorder leaves one desperate dad willing to try an unexpected solution for his 5-year-old son on the next episode of "Weed Wars."
Since Jaden was diagnosed with Dravet's Syndrome, which is father describes as "the most extreme, catastrophic form of epilepsy out there," there has been little relief for him. The child's first grand mal seizure hit him when he was just 4 months old, and it lasted a full hour. Traditional medical treatments have only offered minimal help.
"Lately, I've been reaching out to a lot of different parent groups," Jaden's dad explained. "I've heard there are other kids with epilepsy that tried medical cannabis, and they're doing much better. That's why I want to try it."
So he visited Harborside Health Center, a California-based wellness center that offers, among other things, medical marijuana. There he was directed to a tincture containing a high dose of a cannabinoid believed to relieve convulsions, but completely lacking THC, the psychoactive agent found in marijuana.
Jaden received his first dose of the treatment on-camera. His father insisted, "I'm not trying to get my son high. I'm trying to cure my son's seizures."
As a "Weed Wars" disclaimer warns, "while selling and using marijuana for medicinal purposes with a valid permit is legal under California law, it is a crime under Federal law and could result in jail time and other penalties."
Find out how the treatment worked out for Jaden when "Weed Wars" airs Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on Discovery.


N.J. Green-Lights Medical Marijuana Program as Calif's Goes Up in Smoke

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, December, 6th 2011 by THCFinder
Nearly two years after it was legalized in New Jersey, lawmakers announced last week that the state’s medical marijuana program, the most restrictive in the country, would be fully functional sometime in 2012.
How high are the risks? Should New York be looking to its historically less-progressive neighbor as a model for effective medical marijuana policy?
Gov. Chris Christie had issued a surprise announcement in July that the state would move forward with its then-stalled medical marijuana program. But since then, federal prosecutors have done something even more surprising: They raided and seized property from medical marijuana growers and dispensaries in California, despite the Obama administration’s indications that they would not crack down on such facilities.
New Jersey’s medical marijuana policy has been in flux for months now. In 2010, the New Jersey State Senate passed the Compassionate Care Act, requiring the state to license six medical marijuana dispensaries. But even though 86 percent of New Jersey voters support medical marijuana, Christie put the program on hold while he awaited word from federal officials that New Jersey marijuana workers and doctors would not be prosecuted, reported the Star-Ledger.


Medical Marijuana Moguls: No Pot for Recreational Purposes

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, December, 6th 2011 by THCFinder
Leading up to the promotion of their new Discovery Channel reality show, Weed Wars, brothers Steven and Andrew DeAngelo appeared on the Dylan Ratigan Show (on the left-leaning MSNBC) and on The O’Reilly Factor (on the right-leaning FOX News Channel).  Steven and Andrew run the world’s largest cannabis dispensary, Harborside Health Center, serving over 98,000 patients and grossing in excess of $20 million annually.
First, Dylan Ratigan asks Steven whether he would be “presumptuous in suggesting that you guys would be in favor of legalization?”
Steven DeAngelo: “Yes, you would. I don’t believe that any psychoactive substance should be used for recreation.“
Hmm.  That sounds like a problematic stance in a society that recognizes the recreational use of the psychoactive substance called “wine”.  So is all wine use “wellness”, now, too?  Do we all need to tell our doctor we’re using red wine for its anti-oxidant benefits for healthy hearts, when, really, we just want a light after-dinner buzz?  Do we need to repeal the 21st Amendment and go back to “medical whiskey” prescriptions?
Speaking of wine (hat-tip to Cannabis Warrior), California’s Steve Kubby is promoting the “Regulate Marijuana Like Wine” initiative in California.  He asked Steve DeAngelo about it while backstage at Seattle Hempfest in August:
Click here to view the embedded video.
Steven DeAngelo: “Wine and cannabis… you know, I support any effort to change the cannabis laws that’s going to get the people who are in prison out of there, and if we can do it by repeal, great, if we can do it with a wine analogy, great.”
So… uh… you do support comparing cannabis to wine, a psychoactive substance, all of which you believe should not be used recreationally, but only for “health and wellness”?  I’m confused… does this mean wine should be treated like medical marijuana or that marijuana should be treated as wine and both require a doctor?
Next on The O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly pushes the brothers on the medical aspect of California’s Prop 215, with his familiar bloviating about his “undercover report” that showed how easy it is to get a medical marijuana recommendation.  He acknowledges Steven’s degenerative disc disease and Andrew’s glaucoma as serious ailments in need of cannabis treatment, but points out that cannabis in California can be recommended for anxiety and that it is ludicrously easy to find a doctor who will find you anxious enough to need a weed card.  O’Reilly dangles the fish-hook of “isn’t this quasi-legalization?” and Andrew takes the bait (cue video to 3:35):
Andrew DeAngelo: “We will say right here on this show, Bill, that we do not support the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes.“



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