Medical Marijuana rules Are Too Strict
The Legislature defied Gov. Chris Christie’s latest compromise on New Jersey’s medical marijuana law today, voting to repeal the governor’s rules and requiring the administration to rewrite the regulations. The Senate voted, 22-16, to send the state health department back to the drawing board, giving the Christie administration 30 days to rewrite the rules that now would limit the potency of the drug that could be sold.
Hours after the vote on Sen. Nicholas Scutari’s resolution, the Union County Democrat introduced a new measure demanding the Attorney General rewrite its rules regarding physicians who prescribe marijuana to their patients. The Attorney General’s rules are so strict, Scutari said, that they would discourage many doctors from participating, a possibility he called "chilling." Scutari then called upon the Christie administration to work toward "a real compromise so people who want to be in the business, and sick people who desperately need this medicine can get together in a way that is legal and viable.’’
Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the governor, called Scutari’s "transparent maneuvering pure and simple politics.’’ "It is truly unfortunate that the senator will now further delay providing patients in need with the critical relief already achieved by Governor Christie and Assemblyman (Reed) Gusciora’s bipartisan solution,’’ Drewniak said. "Senator Scutari’s current objections were not even addressed in the original bill" he sponsored.
Medical Marijuana A New Challenge For Schools
Now that Arizona has become the 15th state to approve the use of medical marijuana, Valley school leaders say it will likely fall in the prescription-drug category, and any abuses will be handled the same as other prescription medications. Some districts are talking with California schools to see how they have handled the issue. It was the first state to approve a medical-marijuana law, in 1996.
Medical marijuana will be yet another challenge to schools as they urge students to stay away from drugs, especially since prescription-drug abuse is most common among young people. "We will continue to work with students to understand it's not healthy and not a good lifestyle choice and here's why," said Lorah Neville, director of curriculum for the Chandler Unified School District. "Just because you can get a prescription for something doesn't mean it's safe."
In the Phoenix Union High School District, spokesman Craig Pletenik doesn't foresee any changes in curriculum because medical marijuana is still a drug, prescription or not. Proposition 203, approved by voters last month, prohibits possession and use of medical marijuana on a school bus or school grounds.
Judge Issues Injunction Against L.A.'s Medical Marijuana Law
A judge handed Los Angeles a setback in its faltering drive to limit the number of medical marijuana dispensaries, granting a preliminary injunction on Friday that bars the city from enforcing key provisions in its controversial six-month-old ordinance.
The decision, issued by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mohr, leaves the city with limited power to control pot stores, which opened by the hundreds, angering neighborhood activists when city officials failed to enforce a 2007 moratorium.
Near the end of his 40-page ruling, Mohr acknowledged "there is a good chance that a large number of collectives could open once this injunction takes effect," but said his order was warranted because the dispensaries that sued the city are highly likely to prevail in a trial.
The City Council first discussed regulating dispensaries 5 1/2 years ago. At the time, the Los Angeles Police Departmentcould find just four of them. It was five years before the city's ordinance, one of the most complex and convoluted in the state, took effect.
Colorado could change zero tolerance for marijuana
A special legislative panel in Colorado is recommending passage of a bill that would relax the zero-tolerance rule for marijuana.
Colorado law now has a zero-tolerance policy for drugs in a driver’s bloodstream. Drivers suspected of being impaired are required to submit to a blood test or face a suspension of their driving privileges.
The Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice is calling for lawmakers to change the state’s rules. Similar to Pennsylvania, a threshold of 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood will be pursued during the session that begins Jan. 6, 2011.
Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, a member of the panel, is expected to introduce the bill setting a marijuana driving impairment level similar to the 0.08 percent blood alcohol level.
The issue is drawing attention at the statehouse due to the rising use of medical marijuana.
Supporters say the 5 nanogram limit would protect the public while not putting undue burden on legal users.
N.J. Reaches Deal Allowing Medical Marijuana Sales
New Jersey governor Chris Christie reached a compromise with medical marijuana supporters, paving the way for sales of marijuana to the state's "seriously ill" patients by next summer, The New York Times reported Dec. 3.
New Jersey became the 14th state to legalize medical marijuana when the previous governor, Jon S. Corzine, signed the legislation last January. Governor Christie's administration then lobbied legislators and supporters for stringent regulations on growth and sales. For example, Christie advocated for two growing sites and four distribution sites; the compromise deal allows six locations for growing and distribution; home-growing will not be allowed.
Christie also wanted to limit access to medical marijuana to patients who had tried every other treatment first. Only seizures, glaucoma, and "intractable muscle spasms" will be covered by that rule.
However, New Jersey will be the only state that limits the drug's potency. State regulations will place a ceiling on the amount of the psychoactive ingredient that can be in the medical marijuana grown and sold in the state. Potency will be limited to 10% of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
Doctors who want to prescribe medical marijuana for their patients will have to register with the state and undergo training. Patients who are certified to have the drug will be limited to two ounces a month.
According to Mr. Christie, the regulations represent "the best way to move forward on a responsible, medically based program that will avoid the significant fraud and criminal diversion that other states have experienced."
Advocates felt the deal unnecessarily restricted access to medical marijuana. Doctors would have to "attest that they've provided education for the patients on the lack of scientific consensus for the use of medical marijuana," said Ken Wolski, a registered nurse who leads the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey. He said this was contradicted by the language of the law itself, which had "found legitimate uses for marijuana therapy in a number of specified conditions."
Wolski said that the two-ounce monthly limit would not be enough for half the patients and that marijuana dispensed by pharmacies in the Netherlands had 13 to 18 percent THC.
Arizona Comfort Care Now Writing Medical Marijuana Recommendations
This week, in our blog "Medical Marijuana Rip-Offs: Five Reasons to Not Pay for Patient Pre-Registration,'" we referred to two different companies: Arizona Dispensary University, and Arizona Comfort Care.
Our opinion on ADU, where we attended a class, has not changed. But at the time the "rip-off" blog was written, we hadn't had an opportunity to speak with a physician from ACC, and the company website gave no information about its physicians. So when we received blog comments and contact information from a Dr. Edgar Suter indicating some of our statements about ACC were incorrect, we called him right away.
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