Patients approved to use medical marijuana in Mass would pay annual $50 fee
Dispensaries granted a license to sell marijuana for medical use in Massachusetts will be required to pay an $50,000 annual fee under proposed regulations unveiled Friday by the state Department of Public Health.
The regulations, which also include a $50 annual registration fee for patients to use marijuana, is intended to create a “fee structure for a self-financed medical marijuana industry that supports patient access without relying on taxpayer resources,” according to the state.
Patients with a “verified financial hardship” would be allowed to request a waiver of the registration fee, subject to review and approval by the state health department.
Massachusetts voters approved a referendum last fall legalizing marijuana for medical use, and state regulators finalized rules earlier this month to implement the law. Those rules went into effect Friday.
“The proposed patient registration fees are in line with other states and will be affordable,” acting state health commissioner Cheryl Bartlett said in a statement. “At the same time, dispensaries will be required to pay their fair share.”
The department said it will use the fees to hire staff and train inspectors to monitor the industry.
Read more: http://www.boston.com
Medical Cannabis Passes NH Senate
The Concord Patch has the story about the weak medical cannabis bill that has passed the NH Senate. The bill is very restrictive and in no way, “live free or die”. But, I guess it’s a baby step in the right direction. Ugh, politics sucks.
Medical marijuana is a step closer to reality for people suffering from serious diseases and health problems in New Hampshire. The state Senate voted 18-6 on Thursday to pass a medical marijuana bill.
The bill is an amended version of the House-passed bill. If the House doesn’t concur with the changes, leadership in each chamber will pick members to sit on a committee of conference to iron out differences in the legislation.
Sen. John Reagan (R-Deerfield), a sponsor of the bill, said the bill would bring New Hampshire in level with 17 other states, including neighboring Vermont and Maine, with similar laws.
The Senate version does not feature an allowance for a qualified patient to grow up to three mature marijuana plants – the removal of that language was, in part, to win over Gov. Maggie Hassan’s support for the legislation, senators said.
Read more: http://freekeene.com
Medical marijuana users can drive drugged, rule Michigan courts
In Michigan, you can smoke marijuana and still drive a car. That's what the Michigan Supreme Court ruled this Tuesday, albeit on a technicality. Though Michigan has a zero-tolerance policy for driving "under the influence" of marijuana, it also has a law on the books that exempts medical marijuana users from any sort of persecution for its use, and so the court had to decide which of the two laws it wanted to uphold.
Since Michigan doesn't actually specify an amount of marijuana in a user's system that impairs driving judgement enough to be considered "under the influence," simply outlawing drugged driving altogether went too far, argued the court. If the state could prove that a driver was under the influence, the court decided, then they could be legally convicted for driving after using the drug.
The easy way to do that, though, might simply be to revise the law. Washington, Nevada, Ohio, and Colorado have indeed set specific legal driving limits of a certain number of nanograms of THC in a driver's blood, and the court recommended that Michigan do the same before long.
Read more: http://www.theverge.com
Bill would help Scotch Plains toddler, other sick kids, get medical marijuana
TRENTON — Moved by the plight of a toddler with a seizure disorder, two Union County lawmakers announced today they have drafted legislation that would revise the state's medical marijuana law to make it easier for children who qualify for the program to benefit.
State Assemblywoman Linda Stender and state Sen. Nicholas Scutari, both Democrats from Union County, said they planned to introduce the bill next week in response to the situation involving Vivian Wilson, 2, of Scotch Plains, who the state Health Department approved for the medical marijuana program.
Vivian has Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy that conventional medicine cannot control. But before her parents, Meghan and Brian Wilson, may buy marijuana for her, state law says they need the approval of a psychiatrist, a pediatrician, and the doctor treating the child's illness if the pediatrician is not in charge.
The difficulty in finding a psychiatrist is one of several barriers preventing their daughter's access to the program, The Star-Ledger reported on Sunday.
One doctor, Anthony Anzalone of Rutherford, said state Health Department officials recently asked him to stop enrolling children until enough willing physicians were participating.
Read more: http://www.nj.com
Marijuana tied to better blood sugar control
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who had used marijuana in the past month had smaller waists and lower levels of insulin resistance - a diabetes precursor - than those who never tried the drug, in a new study.
The findings, based on surveys and blood tests of about 4,700 U.S. adults, aren't enough to prove marijuana keeps users thin or wards off disease. And among current pot smokers, higher amounts of marijuana use weren't linked to any added health benefits, researchers reported in The American Journal of Medicine.
"These are preliminary findings," said Dr. Murray Mittleman, who worked on the study at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
"It looks like there may be some favorable effects on blood sugar control, however a lot more needs to be done to have definitive answers on the risks and potential benefits of marijuana usage."
Although pot smoking is a well-known cause of "the munchies," some previous studies have found marijuana users tend to weigh less than other people, and one suggested they have a lower rate of diabetes. Trials in mice and rats hint that cannabis and cannabinoid receptors may influence metabolism.
The new study used data from a national health survey conducted in 2005-2010. Researchers asked people about drug and alcohol use, as well as other aspects of their health and lifestyle, and measured their insulin and blood sugar levels.
Just under 2,000 participants said they had used marijuana at some point, but not recently. Another 600 or so were current users - meaning they had smoked or otherwise consumed the drug in the past month.
Read more: http://news.yahoo.com
Marijuana May Help Cure PTSD
A Yale associate professor of psychiatry is giving American veterans with intractable post traumatic stress disorder the main active ingredient in marijuana as part of search for a better PTSD cure.
Former chief resident in neuropsychiatry at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine R. Andrew Sewell said PTSD and other anxiety disorders might hinge on a defect in brain cells that the marijuana molecule, “THC”, can help alleviate.
About 7.7 million Americans suffer from PTSD, and symptoms can include flashbacks, agitation, and anxiety triggered by a trauma-related thought, word, or object. Ultimately, THC could be combined with therapy to cure PTSD, Sewell said. He presented his ongoing study in Oakland this April at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) conference. I’ve reported on it this week for the East Bay Express.
In addition to being part of a potential cure, marijuana (aka cannabis) is already being used for PTSD symptom management by thousands of veterans, said MAPS scientist Dr. Sue Sisley.
Sewell said, “Veterans use cannabis for two reasons, one it makes them less irritable, which is really socially destructive and also it helps them sleep. Cannabis is excellent for sleep, it is much better than alcohol.”
Read more: http://blog.sfgate.com
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