Pot charges dropped against N.J. patient
David Barnes is finally off the legal hook in the New Jersey town where he was busted for marijuana possession last year.
His case has become a rallying point for medical marijuana advocates here. New Jersey legalized marijuana for patients with certain conditions last year, but implementation has been delayed as the state labors over regulatory details.
In the meantime, Barnes had drug charges filed against him, and then, last week, dropped.
If the program had been up and running, probably no one would have considered the 50-year-old former internal auditor a criminal.
Barnes has cyclic vomiting syndrome. He says that with little warning, he'll get painful, persistent vomiting attacks that last from one to three days. He regularly throws up so much that he loses 10 percent of his body weight.
Back in the late 1990s, he said, a doctor recommended he use pot -- which is illegal -- to soothe the symptoms. He said that while cannabis doesn't prevent the attacks, it makes them milder.
His was the type of case that persuaded New Jersey lawmakers in January 2010 to make the state the 14th to legalize marijuana for people with certain medical conditions. People with seizure disorders like Barnes would be allowed to use the drug. Patients say marijuana reduces pain and nausea.
A month after the law was signed, the resident of Tewksbury, a rural community 45 miles west of New York City, borrowed a neighbor's plow and headed out after a snowstorm to dig out a vacationing friend's home in Readington.
The plow got stuck. He says he asked neighbors of the friend's for help, but that they summoned police. Officers said he smelled like marijuana -- and found a small amount of the drug and a pipe on him.
He was charged with possession and carrying paraphernalia, offenses that could have landed him in jail for up to a year.
Barnes said took his doctor with him to meet with the municipal prosecutor and reached a deal. As soon as he could present his state-issued card authorizing him to access pot legally, the charges would be dismissed. Prosecutor Robert Ballard did not immediately return a call about the deal.
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Marijuana Growing Emporium Opens In Sacramento, CA
On Saturday a 10,000 square foot cannabis-growing emporium will open its doors in Sacramento, CA, with merchandise and experts on hand; everything a medical marijuana grower would need to get started. The company behind the weGrow Hydroponics store in California’s capitol plans on opening stores in Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, and Oregon; they were also behind the iGrow cannabis outlet opened in Oakland last year.
Medical marijuana growing stores are a huge business opportunity as more states legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes. Not only is there potential for tens of thousands of new jobs, but potential for huge tax receipts for the government; local, state, and federal. Whether some like it or not, legal marijuana medicinal or otherwise is a big business, and it’s only going to get bigger as time goes on. If you are one of those that likes to “get in on the ground floor” of things, now is the time when it comes to cannabis.
Appetite Of Terminal Cancer Patients Restored By Marijuana
The active ingredient in marijuana can restore the appetite of terminal cancer patients who have lost their taste for food, according to new Canadian research. The study involved 21 patients. Some of them were given pills containing THC – or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive cannabis compound that makes people feel “high.” The rest were given look-a-like dummy pills. (The dosing was timed so that the psychoactive effects peeked while the volunteers were asleep, minimizing the chances they would be able to guess if they had been given the real thing.)
After 18 days of treatment, 73 per cent of those who got the THC reported a greater overall appreciation of food, compared to only 30 per cent who felt that way among those given the placebos. The lead researcher, Wendy Wismer of the University of Alberta, said it’s no secret that healthy people who use cannabis get the “munchies” – what essentially amounts to a boost in their appetite. “But we are investigating this action in a population of individuals who really don’t experience any appetite,” she said in explaining the significance of the research. The study, published in Annals of Oncology, showed that those given the THC still consumed the same number of calories as the placebo group.
However, “it improved the taste of the food they did eat,” Dr. Wismer said. And the consumed more protein. The benefit of THC amounts to “enjoying the life that is remaining.” The THC-treated patients also reported a better quality of sleep and felt more relaxed than the placebo group.
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State to collect sales tax on medical marijuana
California's tax collectors want their share of the burgeoning medical marijuana business.
The state Board of Equalization announced Thursday that medical marijuana dispensaries are not exempt from paying sales tax.
The decision reaffirms current policy that the selling of medical marijuana involves taxable tangible property, the board said.
The decision, reached in a vote Wednesday, involved the Berkeley Patients Group Inc., a Northern California dispensary, which maintained that marijuana should have the same exemption from sales tax as other medicines prescribed by doctors. Audits conducted for the period of July 1, 2004, through June 30, 2007, found that the Berkeley Patients Group owed the state in excess of $6.4 million in taxes and interest.
The decision underscores the need to regulate and tax marijuana distribution and sales, said board Chairman Jerome Horton, who represents Los Angeles County.
"The time is overdue for the state to provide leadership for this industry regarding the manufacturing and sale of marijuana similar to what we did for cigarettes and liquor," Horton said. "Such proposed controls will have the same effect of regulating and controlling sales and capturing appropriate sales tax."
Horton said he was proposing legislation that would put the board in charge of administering a statewide licensing program for marijuana growers, importers, wholesalers and retailers.
California tax authorities estimate that the state currently collects $58 million to $105 million in sales taxes on $700 to $1.3 billion in annual retail sales of medical marijuana, said Anita Gore, a board spokeswoman.
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