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Medical Marijuana

Marijuana: DEA proposal, new Colorado law could lead to Big Pharma boom, attorney says

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, July, 12th 2011 by THCFinder
Last month, we told you about a loophole in HB 1043, the medical marijuana cleanup bill, that could let Big Pharma firms get involved in the Colorado MMJ industry. Now, the Drug Enforcement Administration has made a new proposal involving marijuana extracts, and attorney Warren Edson sees it as further fueling a possible boom in the manufacture of such products here.
 
HB 1043 states that "a medical marijuana center may provide a sample of its products to a laboratory that has an occupational license from the state licensing authority for testing and research purposes. The laboratory may develop, test, and produce medical marijuana-based products." Because these labs only need an occupational license, not a license specific to the medical marijuana industry, Edson believes the restrictions placed on dispensaries -- including the rule disallowing out-of-state ownership -- wouldn't apply.
 
​The latest development? The DEA has proposed establishing a new code number for what it refers to as "Marihuana Extract." This code would be different from the one pertaining to marijuana itself, allowing the agency to track extract separately.
On the surface, this change seems merely technical. But Edson believes it has greater significance. According to him, "it sure looks like this would create a little niche, a little nook that would allow a pharmaceutical company to make products with marijuana extract in addition to what they usually do, without jeopardizing their big money drugs. And because of that little addition to 1043, the only place in the country where they could do that is right here."
 
At first blush, opening such a window to the medical industry seems hypocritical. After all, as Edson notes, "you've got the federal government simultaneously issuing this new proposal and, out of the other side of its mouth, saying marijuana has no medicinal value" by registering it as a Schedule 1 narcotic. But such contradictions aren't unknown in the medical biz. "The coca plant supposedly has no medical value, either," he points out, "but its extract gives us pharmaceutical cocaine, which helps people with narcolepsy. So the extract does have medical value."
 

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Judges snuffing out probationers medical marijuana

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, July, 11th 2011 by THCFinder
ADRIAN, Mich. —
Medical marijuana users who run afoul of the law are discovering probation is an antidote to their
certification cards.
 
An Adrian man was warned against applying for a medical marijuana card when he was placed on probation Thursday for a cocaine offense. Growing and using marijuana is still against federal law, said Lenawee County Circuit Judge Timothy P. Pickard. And the state medical use program does not seem to be restricting certification to the seriously ill.
 
“I don’t buy it,” Pickard said during the sentencing. “It seems to be an excuse for everybody to light up and smoke dope.”
 
Pickard, Lenawee County’s chief judge, said Friday the courts have no policy ruling out all use of medical marijuana for people on probation. But he has to be convinced there is a legitimate need, he said.
 
Regulations written by the state after a medical marijuana ballot proposal was passed by voters in 2008 do not require a prescription. Citizens can apply for certification cards with only a signed statement from a physician saying it may benefit their medical condition.
 
Probation terms can restrict otherwise legal behavior, Pickard said, such as drinking alcohol or associating with people having felony records. And it would be difficult to excuse violating federal law by growing and using marijuana while on probation.  
 
Pickard said he will still consider approving medical marijuana use for probationers whose convictions are not drug-related and who can show evidence of a serious medical condition that can be treated with marijuana.
 
If those conditions are met, “I’m fine with it,” Pickard said. “That doesn’t seem to be the case. I haven’t seen that yet.”
 

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Agency Lights Up Legal Battle By Declaring Pot Lacks Accepted Medical Use

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, July, 11th 2011 by THCFinder
Despite the legalization of medical marijuana in 16 states and the District of Columbia, the federal government has ruled that cannabis has no accepted medical use and should remain classified, like heroin, as a highly dangerous drug.
 
As the Los Angeles Times reports, the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration issued its decision almost nine years after medical marijuana advocates asked the government to reclassify cannabis based on a growing body of research demonstrating its effectiveness in treating diseases such as glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.
 
Supporters of medical marijuana recently asked the U.S. Court of Appeals to force the administration to respond to their petition. While critical of the DEA’s new ruling, they were delighted that they now have a decision they can appeal to the federal courts.
 
“We have foiled the government’s strategy of delay, and we can now go head-to-head on the merits,” said Joe Elford, the chief counsel for Americans for Safe Access and the lead attorney on the lawsuit.
 
However, similar legal efforts to permit the medical use of marijuana have failed twice before, after the federal government turned down petitions to reclassify the drug in 1972 and again in 1995.
 
Elford said he was not surprised by the DEA decision, which comes after the Obama administration announced it would not tolerate large-scale commercial marijuana cultivation. “It is clearly motivated by a political decision that is anti-marijuana,” he said. 
 
In a June 21 letter to the organizations that filed the latest petition, DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said she rejected the request because marijuana has “a high potential for abuse” and lacks any “currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.” She added that  marijuana’s chemistry is not known and adequate studies have not been done on its usefulness or safety.
 
“At this time,” she said, “the known risks of marijuana use have not been outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy.”
 
Nevertheless, researchers continue to identify medical benefits well beyond the drug’s often-cited capacity to stimulate the appetite of patients on chemotherapy.
 

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Obama's medical marijuana 'reversal': A 'blatant contradiction'?

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, July, 11th 2011 by THCFinder
The Justice Department has threatened to crack down on medical marijuana businesses, even those allowed under state laws — and advocates aren't pleased
 
Medical marijuana advocates were thrilled in 2009 when President Obama's Justice Department advised federal attorneys to avoid prosecuting patients who use medical marijuana in accordance with state laws, or their caregivers. Now, the thrill is gone. Deputy Attorney General James Cole has issued a new memorandum offering "guidance" on the earlier policy: All marijuana use and commerce is illegal under the Controlled Substance Act, Cole reiterated, and the new crop of state-sanctioned, large-scale marijuana warehouses and dispensaries are in federal crosshairs. Is this a flip-flop on pot?
 
Obama broke his word: There's obviously a "blatant contradiction" here, but Obama's trying to have it both ways, says Jacob Sullum in Texas' Odessa American. As late as last summer, his administration told Congress that state-approved pot purveyors could rest easy, as Obama had promised during his presidential run. This new "unacknowledged reversal" is a ploy to "get credit for tolerance" and for being tough on drugs.
"The week of lying dangerously"
 

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U.S. decrees that marijuana has no accepted medical use

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, July, 8th 2011 by THCFinder
Marijuana has been approved by California, many other states and the nation's capital to treat a range of illnesses, but in a decision announced Friday the federal government ruled that it has no accepted medical use and should remain classified as a highly dangerous drug like heroin.
 
The decision comes almost nine years after medical marijuana supporters asked the government to reclassify cannabis to take into account a growing body of worldwide research that shows its effectiveness in treating certain diseases, such as glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.
 
Advocates for the medical use of the drug criticized the ruling but were elated that the Obama administration has finally acted, which allows them to appeal to the federal courts. The decision to deny the request was made by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and comes less than two months after advocates asked the U.S. Court of Appeals to force the administration to respond to their petition.
 
"We have foiled the government's strategy of delay, and we can now go head-to-head on the merits," said Joe Elford, the chief counsel for Americans for Safe Access and the lead attorney on the lawsuit.
 
Elford said he was not surprised by the decision, which comes after the Obama administration announced it would not tolerate large-scale commercial marijuana cultivation. "It is clearly motivated by a political decision that is anti-marijuana," he said. He noted that studies demonstrate pot has beneficial effects, including appetite stimulation for people undergoing chemotherapy. "One of the things people say about marijuana is that it gives you the munchies and the truth is that it does, and for some people that's a very positive thing."
 
In a June 21 letter to the organizations that filed the petition, DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said she rejected the request because marijuana "has a high potential for abuse," "has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States" and "lacks accepted safety for use under medical supervision." The letter and 37 pages of supporting documents were published Friday in the Federal Register.
 
This is the third time that petitions to reclassify marijuana have been spurned. The first was filed in 1972 and denied 17 years later. The second was filed in 1995 and denied six years later. Both decisions were appealed, but the courts sided with the federal government.
 

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HIV sufferer has medical marijuana confiscated

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, July, 8th 2011 by THCFinder
A St. John’s man had $1,500 of medical marijuana confiscated when he went to pick up a package at Purolator and was met by the RCMP instead.
 
Richard Oakley, who tested positive for HIV 25 years ago, moved back to the province from British Columbia three months ago to be near family.
 
He told The Telegram he received the first package since coming home without a problem from his designated grower in B.C.
 
But last week he kept trying to claim his second delivery of marijuana and marijuana-laced chocolates and Purolator told him to come back Monday. That’s when he was met with the RCMP officer.
 
Oakley said he was assured there’d be no problem. Then he got a call saying it was shipped illegally.
 
“They’re going against my civil rights as a human being. They are taking away my quality of life,” Oakley said, sifting through a stack of papers chronicling his diagnosis and access to treatment, including marijuana.
 
“I don’t want to cause any trouble. I just want to live my life.”
 
Oakley said he understood as long as the package doesn’t smell and doesn’t advertise its contents, it should be acceptable.
 
The marijuana eases his nausea from taking a cocktail of medicine, and relieves his pain.
 
He also has neuropathy, which freezes nerves in his feet. The marijuana also eases that so he can go for walks and keep the blood flowing.
 
Since his supply was taken, he hasn’t been able to endure his pills, said Oakley, a longtime volunteer AIDS activist in B.C.
 
“I’m getting sicker by the minute. I can’t take my medication without throwing up,” said Oakley, who has an authorization from Health Canada for medical marijuana.
 
“It took years and years to get the licence,” he said.
 
He warns if the disease takes over, it will cost the Newfoundland government a lot of money to take care of him.
 

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