Medical Marijuana

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.



The Proposition 203 of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act Passed

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

Neal Robert Buell, 49, is under supervised probation on charges of attempted production of marijuana. He has been growing marijuana for giving medical benefits to friends, family and also for exporting it to Oregon.

During investigation, on Sept. 2, 2010, the Officials of Public Safety Department recovered 120 samplings of marijuana from Buell’s residence situated in south of Pima on Cluff Ranch Road.

After noticing a helicopter flying over his residence, Buell called at district office of DPS in Sierra Vista and urged him to talk to the officer.

Buell admitted that he had grown cannabis for his 94 years old father, for himself, for his friends and also for the exporting them to Oregon, where he has a license to grow the marijuana plants. He also claimed that for per pound of marijuana he is being paid $500 in Oregon. On the request of Graham County Attorney's office, the investigating officers destroyed all the plants keeping just few as the sample for evidence.

The Proposition 203, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, has been passed by the Arizona voters with just more than 50% votes on Nov. 2, 2010 thus allowing the patients, living more than 25 miles away from medical marijuanadispensary, to cultivate medical marijuana. It also facilitated the caregivers to grow cannabis maximum for 5 patients.

But Buell had grown the marijuana plants before two months from the data of approval and the act will be in effect after April 2011. Arizona Department of Health Services claimed that the patients have to pay $160 for receiving theMedical marijuana identification cards while caregivers



Proposal in Michigan Senate would prohibit clubs, bars tied to medical marijuana use

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, March, 4th 2011 by THCFinder

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A bill in the Michigan Senate would ban marijuana bars and clubs that have opened since voters approved use of the drug for medical purposes in 2008.

The Republican-led Senate Health Policy Committee passed the bill Thursday. The legislation advances to the Senate floor.

The bill defines the clubs and bars as places where medical marijuana is used for a fee. Violations would be punishable by up to 90 days in jail with fines of up to $500.

Republican Sen. Rick Jones of Grand Ledge sponsors the bill and says people using medical marijuana shouldn't be driving right after they use it.

Marijuana club owners say they provide a key service. There are pending court cases involving clubs that could set precedents for how they're allowed to operate.



WA Senate OKs changes to medical marijuana system

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, March, 3rd 2011 by THCFinder

OLYMPIA, Wash. —

Washington senators moved forward Wednesday night with establishing more regulation on the state's medical marijuana system, approving a bill with changes that would give patients greater protection from arrest and bring the supply chain out of a legal gray area.

After lengthy debate, senators approved the bill on a 29-20 vote. The measure now moves to the House.

The bill addresses a conundrum in Washington's system: It's technically legal for a patient to possess pot, but the proper ways of getting the drug can be unclear.

Current state law does not allow for marijuana sales, instead saying that patients must grow marijuana themselves or designate a caregiver to grow it for them. But growing marijuana can be expensive and difficult, particularly for very ill people.

That has prompted many patients to form groups that grow pot collectively, contributing dues to help cover costs. In the Seattle area, some collectives also have distribution sites - called dispensaries - that serve thousands of members.

Current state law is silent on such collectives, and prosecutors around the state have taken differing views of whether they're permissible. The state Health Department maintains they're not. At the same time, the state Revenue Department began seeking sales tax revenue last month from dispensaries around the state.

The measure further clarifies who can grow and sell the product by establishing licenses. Under this bill, the Department of Agriculture would license growers and the Department of Health will supervise dispensaries.

The bill also creates a registry accessible to law enforcement where authorized user can enroll.

"My intention is to ensure patients who are qualified have safe, secure reliable source for the medication that works for them," said Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, who shared that her best friend used marijuana illegally while coping with chemotherapy.

Senators approved several amendments to the bill that supporters didn't want, including banning advertisement of dispensaries in newspapers, shifting the power of approving locations to cities, and requiring dispensaries to be nonprofit entities.

Opponents, including some country prosecutors and police, say that the bill moves the state closer to legalizing marijuana use and makes enforcement of recreational use of marijuana more difficult.

"If our law enforcement says that's going to be very difficult to enforce this, then I think we should take another look at changing this bill so that it actually" provides enforcement, said Sen. James Hargrove, D-Hoquiam.




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