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Medical Marijuana

When Will Illinois Issue Medical Marijuana Business Licenses?

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, January, 13th 2015 by THCFinder
illinois-mmj-business-licenese
Illinois has had a medical marijuana law on the books for about a year now. Thousands of people have applied to become patients, and numerous entities and individuals have applied for a cultivation and/or distribution license. Illinois does not allow patients to grow marijuana for themselves, so the only way a patient can legally obtain medical marijuana is buy purchasing some at a licensed dispensary who obtained it from a licensed grower. The problem with that process is that there are no business licenses issued yet, and it doesn’t sound like there will be any issued anytime soon, as outgoing Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has refused to issue any and has apparently left that task to his predecessor.
 
Rather than work on issuing business licenses, Governor Quinn instead passed a bill yesterday making changes to Illinois’ medical marijuana program. Those changes are detailed below, via Illinois Senate President John Cullerton’s site:
 
A series of updates to Illinois’ medical marijuana program were signed into law Monday. State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) sponsored this follow-up law and the 2013 law that created the program.
 
“A program as big and new as medical marijuana needs to be fine-tuned to ensure that it is safe, effective and free of any kind of abuses. As the program is being implemented, we are learning what adjustments are needed,” Haine said.
 
The new law allows the state regulators to impose additional penalties, including fines, for violation of the existing law. Originally, agencies could only revoke a violator’s license.
 
The law also revises criminal background checks for patients, caregivers and anyone involved in cultivation centers and dispensaries: owners, investors and employees. It ensures that applicants’ fingerprints are checked against both state and federal databases.
 
The updates also included a guarantee that patients charged with driving under the influence of medical cannabis will have their patient card revoked and their license suspended just as if they were charged with a DUI.
 
The Illinois State Police, Secretary of State, Department of Agriculture, Department of Public Health and the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation developed and supported these updates based on their work implementing the program.
 
The delay in issuing medical marijuana business licenses drew swift criticism from the original bill’s sponsor Representative Lou Lang. Per Chicago Sun Times:
 
“The failure is not from the state agencies. State agencies worked their butts off to make this happen. The failure needs to go where the buck stops, at the governor’s office,” Lang said. “I have been a big supporter of Gov. Quinn and this is a failure.”
 
Lang said he plans to work with the Bruce Rauner administration to move the issue forward.
 
“This is a real bad blow for patients and very sick people who have waited a long time through a lot of legislation, rule-making, applications, waiting on these licenses to be issues and the product to be grown. For their health care purposes,” he said.
 
Incoming Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has criticized the selection process for medical marijuana business licences. Applications for business licenses have been sitting since last September. Incoming Governor Rauner has stated publicly that the selection process is secretive, and has even gone as far as suggesting that licenses are being auctioned off to the highest bidders behind closed doors. So far, Illinois has collected millions of dollars in nonrefundable fees from applicants, which will no doubt lead to lawsuits regardless of who is awarded licenses.
 
So when will medical marijuana business licenses be issued in Illinois? There’s simply no way to know at this point. I think we will see them issued in 2015, but likely towards the middle or end of the year. Even after licenses are issued, companies will have to construct grow facilities, grow a crop, harvest it, and get it to stores. That process will obviously take several months, meaning that it may be until 2016 before medical marijuana hits shelves. Meanwhile patients are left without any safe, legal way to get medicine. Shame on Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. Patients shouldn’t have to suffer because of his politically motivated cowardice.
 

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Can medical marijuana curb the heroin epidemic?

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, January, 13th 2015 by THCFinder
mmj-curb-the-heroin-epidemicIn the 1930s, Harry J. Anslinger, the first head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, embarked on a fierce anti-marijuana campaign. Highlighted by the 1936 anti-marijuana film Reefer Madness – where marijuana is depicted as a dangerous narcotic that makes good kids become sex-crazed killers – his propaganda efforts also maliciously linked marijuana use to African Americans and ethnic minorities.
 
By 1970, legislation codified cannabis as one of the nation’s most dangerous drugs: the Controlled Substance Act classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it possessed high potential for abuse and had no acceptable medical use. Over 40 years later, the classification remains.
 
But research has shown that marijuana, while still criminalized at the federal level, can be effective as a substitute for treating opioid addicts and preventing overdoses. Massachusetts, which recently legalized medical marijuana – and where heroin overdoses have soared – could be a fertile testing ground for this potentially controversial treatment.
 
The medical case for marijuana
 
Before being criminalized, marijuana was used in the US to cure depression and a variety of other mental health ailments. Many studies have supported the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids, along with the ability of marijuana’s psychoactive ingredients to treat nausea, help with weight loss, alleviate chronic pain, and mitigate symptoms of neurological diseases.
 
Other research, however, contradicts claims regarding the benefits of cannabidiol treatment. Some say marijuana actually poses a risk for psychosis and schizophrenia. Although the FDA has approved some synthetic cannabinoids for medical treatment, federal agencies do not support marijuana as a legitimate medicine until more clinical studies have been conducted.
 
The scientific debate over the harms and benefits of marijuana has impeded federal lawmakers from moving forward on marijuana legislation reform. As a result, in 23 states, medical marijuana has become legalized by popular vote.
 
Marijuana policy dilemma
 
With each state crafting unique medical marijuana regulations, we find ourselves at a crucial turning point in drug policy. Public health professionals claim the road map used by “big tobacco” will be copied with legal marijuana, and addiction rates for marijuana will increase to those we see for tobacco. Others warn that if medical marijuana is used indiscriminately and without focused education on the uses and forms of medical marijuana, a prescription pain pill-like crisis could occur.
 
Among drug treatment specialists, marijuana remains controversial. Although some research has shown marijuana to be an alternative treatment for more serious drug addiction, addiction treatment specialists still view marijuana as highly addictive and dangerous. These views handicap policy reform, but despite its status as a Schedule 1 drug, recent research shows marijuana could be part of the solution to the most deadly drug epidemic our country has seen in decades.
 

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Demand For Medical Marijuana Plummets In Colorado

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, January, 12th 2015 by THCFinder
medical-marijuana-demand-dropsMedical marijuana has been available at dispensaries in Colorado for awhile now. Until recently, there has been a fairly steady growing demand for medical marijuana. However, in November demand plummeted in Colorado. Sales for recreational marijuana held steady during the same time. Recreational sales have been allowed for a little over a year in Colorado. Per The Cannabist:
 
Colorado’s legal cannabis industry experienced an unusual autumn in 2014 — one that saw recreational pot sales reach a plateau of sorts as demand for medical marijuana took a nosedive.
 
Medical marijuana sales in Colorado tanked in November as they dropped nearly 17 percent from the previous month, according to just-released data from the Department of Revenue. Medical dispensaries sold $27.5 million of cannabis in November, a big downturn from October’s $33.1 million in medical revenues. Meanwhile the state’s recreational weed sales are holding strong — with $31.2 million in November and $31.6 million in both October and September.
 
It’s tough to say what caused the dip in medical marijuana sales. I’m sure people will be quick to point to recreational marijuana as the cause. However, if recreational sales remained steady during the same time, obviously people didn’t switch from buying at dispensaries to recreational stores. Patients simply didn’t buy as much marijuana from dispensaries during that time. Did they go back to the blackmarket, where prices are much cheaper? Did they just not buy any marijuana at all?
 

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List Of Qualifying Conditions For Illinois Medical Marijuana Program Could Expand

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, January, 8th 2015 by THCFinder
list-of-qualifying-mmj-conditions-to-expandA medical marijuana program’s success is directly tied to the amount and type of qualifying conditions the program accepts. My home state (Oregon) has a fairly expansive list, which is why we have such a large patient base per capita. Compare that to New Jersey, which has a very short list of qualifying conditions, and as a result, doesn’t have a program that serves as many patients as it should.
 
Illinois is another very restrictive state, and up until recently, didn’t have a process in place to let citizens petition to have conditions added to the program. That has changed recently, as the State of Illinois is now asking for suggestions on what conditions to add to the program next. Per CBS Local:
 
The Illinois Department of Public Health is accepting petitions through the end of February and an advisory board will review them and hold public hearings. A blank petition, posted on the state’s medical cannabis website, encourages petitioners to attach supporting medical evidence. Petitions will be accepted twice a year. The next petition period will be in July.
 
Gov. Pat Quinn hasn’t appointed the advisory board that will review petitions and hold hearings. If Quinn is going to make appointments, he will need to do so before Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner takes office Monday. Melaney Arnold, a spokeswoman for the health department, said Tuesday she had no update on the timing of advisory board appointments.
 
Below is the current list of conditions allowed to become a medical marijuana patient in Illinois, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health:
 
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Arnold-Chiari malformation and Syringomelia
Cachexia/wasting syndrom
Cancer
Causalgia
Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
Crohn’s disease
CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type II)
Dystonia
Fibromyalgia (severe)
Fibrous dysplasia
Glaucoma
Hepatitis C
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Hydrocephalus
Interstitial Cystitis
Lupus
Multiple Sclerosis
Muscular dystrophy
Myasthenia Gravis
Myoclonus
Nail-patella syndrome
Neurofibromatosis
Parkinson’s disease
Post-concussion syndrome
RSD (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type I)
Residual limb pain
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy (Starting January 1, 2015)
Sjogren’s syndrome
Spinal cord disease, including, but not limited to, arachnoiditis, Tarlov cysts, hydromyelia, syringomyelia
Spinal cord injury
Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)
Tourette’s syndrome
Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
 

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Poll: Overwhelming Support For Medical Marijuana In Virginia

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, January, 7th 2015 by THCFinder
virginia-mmj-support-overwhelmingA new poll was released yesterday by Public Policy Polling. The poll asked Virginia residents a total of nine questions relating to marijuana reform. Below are some of the questions asked, along with the results. As you can see, there is strong support for reform in Virginia right now:
 
1. Do you support or oppose changing the law in Virginia to allow seriously and terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana for a limited number of conditions if their doctors
recommend it? Yes – 74%, No – 21%
 
2. Would you be more or less likely to vote for your state legislator in the next election if he/she voted to allow seriously and terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana if their
doctors recommend it? Yes – 64%, No – 22%
 
3. Under current Virginia law, it is a criminal offense for a person to possess a small amount of marijuana, for which he or she can be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail and fined up
to $500. Would you support or oppose a change in the law to make it a civil, not criminal, offense to possess an ounce or less of marijuana for personal use, punishable by a fine of up to $100, but without jail time? Yes – 60%, No 32%
 
4. The voters in four states have changed their laws to allow marijuana to be regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol for adults aged 21 and older. Would you support or oppose changing Virginia law to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol, where stores would be licensed to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older? Yes 49%, No 44%
 
Hopefully Virginia politicians are looking at the poll results and see that the time is right for reform, especially for medical marijuana in Virginia. Is there any other issue in Virginia that is supported by 74% of citizens?
 

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Oncologists In India: Lift Ban On Medical Marijuana

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, January, 6th 2015 by THCFinder
lift-ban-mmjMarijuana is medicine, whether it be in the United States, India, or any other part of the world. That’s a fact that has been backed up by a mountain of scientific evidence and countless personal testimonies by suffering patients. Anyone who claims that marijuana is not medicine needs to have their head checked. More and more states in America are realizing that marijuana is an effect for of medicine, and many other nations are starting to realize it to. One of those nations is India, where leading oncologists are lobbying the government to allow medical marijuana. Per the Times of India:
 
Marijuana or ganja may be frowned upon as a banned recreational drug, but could offer an effective cure for cancer, say top oncologists of Bengaluru. They have now decided to lobby with the Centre to lift the ban on cannabis to allow them to explore the medicinal uses of the plant.
 
They point out that the US allows its use for medicinal purposes, following several validations of the plant’s derivatives giving a healing touch to cancer patients.
 
Their interest in cannabis research was stirred up during recent debates on tobacco farming. “We are encouraging cultivation of tobacco that causes various types of cancer. At the other end, we are ignoring the medicinal properties of a plant that can help cancer patients. We are not even able to take up research as procurement of the plant is illegal in India, whereas oncologists in 21 states of the US are prescribing derivatives of cannabis for cancer treatment,” Dr Vishal Rao, surgical oncologist, HCG, told TOI.
 
I always feel that banning medical marijuana research is proof in itself that marijuana is medicine. If opponents truly felt that the opposite was true, they would allow research to be conducted in order to debunk claims by supporters. However, they know that research will unlock the truth, and that the only debunking that will occur is the debunking of reefer madness. Fortunately, there is more than enough research already out there which creates enough momentum that medical marijuana research is inevitable whether opponents like it or not.
 

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