Massachusetts medical marijuana law scrutinized
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, November, 22nd 2012 by THCFinder
The medical marijuana referendum was overwhelmingly passed by voters on Nov. 4, but city and state officials will have the final say on how the marijuana is dispensed in communities across the state.
State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, who represents the 4th Berkshire District, said the Leg islature will likely "tighten" language in the law to ensure that proper safeguards are attached to the state initiative.
Many say the medical marijuana referendum, as written, leaves the door open to exploitation of pot.
"I think it's poorly written, but that is the will of the voters," Pignatelli said.
Lawmakers "now have the obligation and the responsibility to implement restrictions for law enforcement and the medical field and make sure [marijuana] does not go to people who will put the drugs in the wrong hands," he said.
The Pittsfield Police Department is awaiting important details from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the agency charged with addressing registration and administrative fees associated with opening medical marijuana treatment centers. These dispensaries would be allowed to grow, process and provide marijuana to patients or their caregivers.
These details include how much marijuana a patient could be provided for a 60-day medical supply; the administrative process and fees for registering a treatment center; and the regulatory framework for which patients with a verified financial hardship -- or other permissable reason -- will be allowed to grow a 60-day supply of medical marijuana on their property.
In Pittsfield, Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi and City Council President Kevin Sherman said that there will be discussion with the city solicitor on whether the zoning ordinance regulates where a medical marijuana treatment center can be placed.
Bianchi -- who said the city has been approached with inquiries about a center within city limits -- said that it was too early to know if it would be an agenda item on a council meeting, but he said that the health and zoning committees are likely to discuss the new law.
Read more: http://www.berkshireeagle.com
Inspection OKs Tucson medical marijuana dispensary
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, November, 21st 2012 by THCFinder
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A facility that would be Tucson's first medical marijuana dispensary has passed its state inspection, but it's not yet known when it will open.
Harmony Duport heads the state Department of Health Service's inspections office. She says the dispensary operators now have permission to open their doors but so far haven't set a date to do so.
State officials are allowed under the medical marijuana law to identify the dispensary only to cardholders.
Duport says once the facility opens, that will trigger the law's provision to phase out grow-your-own authorizations for cardholders within 25 miles of a dispensary. That would apply to nearly all of the Tucson area.
The provision would apply immediately to people obtaining new cards and to current holders as their cards come up for renewal annually.
UFC welterweight Matt Riddle and the medical marijuana dilemma
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, November, 20th 2012 by THCFinder
The sport of mixed martial arts still isn't sure what to do about the pot smokers in its midst, which is bad news for them. It means they continue to get tested for a drug that remains in their systems far past the point of being active. If they get caught they're subject to punishments that don't fit the crime, all while the issue at the heart of the debate goes unexamined.
Just ask Matt Riddle if you don't believe me. He's a medical marijuana patient at home in Nevada, but when he got popped by a drug test in Calgary, where he beat Chris Clements with a finish that was dubbed "Submission of the Night" at UFC 149, he had the win erased from his record. He still considers himself 8-3 rather than 7-3 with one no contest, he told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) after a decision victory over John Maguire at UFC 154, but his record will never reflect it.
"I dropped him with a liver kick, hit him with a standing arm triangle, and it was a very dominant performance," Riddle said. "The unfortunate part is that, in this world, people are OK if you take Xanax and testosterone and all these other drugs as long as a doctor prescribes them, but if you're prescribed medical marijuana because of your issues, it's not acceptable and they really frown upon it."
And herein lies an important distinction, especially if you're one of those people who hears the words "medical marijuana" and immediately thinks "loophole." According to Riddle, he's got real issues that are really solved (or at least greatly improved) by using marijuana. Issues like ADHD, which he was diagnosed with as a child, and which led to him being prescribed an assortment of drugs. First there was Adderall, which killed his appetite since "it's basically speed," Riddle said. Then there was Prevacid to deal with stomach issues, since he wasn't eating well and was reduced to "skin and bones."
As a teenager, he started smoking marijuana for non-medicinal reasons, as many teenagers do. But he eventually found that it allowed him to ditch the prescriptions, and now, according to Riddle, "I don't take anything else."
He doesn't need to. Marijuana helps transform him from a high-strung basket case to someone who other people actually like, he said.
"You can ask anybody who hangs out with me, when I'm not on my medicine, it's not that I'm hard to be around, but I'm very intense," Riddle said shortly after his win over Maguire. "... I like to slow it down. I like to be normal, like a normal person. Right now, I'm on edge. If I didn't just get out of the cage, I'd want to beat the s--- out of somebody, just for no reason. That's just how I'm wired, and I don't like it. I like being a nice guy. When I use, I'm a very nice guy and everybody around me loves me more. I'm a much more pleasant guy to be around."
Conn. medical marijuana advocates looking to start business group
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, November, 20th 2012 by THCFinder
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Advocates of Connecticut's new medical marijuana law are reaching out to entrepreneurs interested in growing, dispensing and starting related businesses, gauging the interest level for starting a new medical marijuana business organization.
About a dozen people, including some state Capitol lobbyists, turned out Tuesday at the Legislative Office Building for an organizational meeting of the proposed Connecticut Medical Cannabis Business Alliance, a concept modeled after a similar group in Colorado.
Eileen Konieczny, a registered nurse and medical marijuana consultant from Stamford, said she believes an alliance of medical marijuana businesses can help to educate Connecticut patients, doctors and the public about the benefits of the drug and the different forms of marijuana that can be used, ultimately combatting the stigma of pot smoking.
"The hardest thing I find now is, nobody wants to talk about it here on the East! Coast. Everybody is afraid of it," she said. "I've talked to more than one person who didn't even know what cannabis was until I said marijuana, and then you get the giggles and the snickers. Meanwhile, this is very serious to me. It's a really safe alternative to so many different things."
2 medical marijuana bills head to Iowa Legislature
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, November, 19th 2012 by THCFinder
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Bills that would decriminalize marijuana and approve its medical use may be headed for the Iowa Legislature after voters in Colorado and Washington decided that adults should be allowed to possess small amounts of taxed and regulated pot for recreational use.
Iowa state Rep. Bruce Hunter, D-Des Moines, is preparing a bill that would decriminalize pot possession as long as those caught with it weren't selling it, he told The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/TMiixN ).
Hunter also said he'll reintroduce a medical marijuana bill and state Sen. Joe Bolkcom told the newspaper he'll be seeking co-sponsors for his medical marijuana measure.
Both measures likely will face tough opposition in the next session, which begins in January.
An aide to House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, Josie Albrecht, said that "as with past efforts to legalize marijuana, House Republicans are unlikely to support the measure and do not believe it is a priority."
Gov. Terry Branstad has said he'll veto any bill that would legalize marijuana in any capacity.
Nonetheless, Steve Morrow, president of the Iowa chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said the success of the Colorado and Washington measures is "helping the cause."
Legislators who risk voters' wrath for advocating reform of pot laws now have the new Colorado and Washington laws to wield in defense, Morrow said.
They could use the help, said Bolkcom, D-Iowa City.
"They're nervous about a vote somehow being used against them when they run for re-election," Bolkcom said. "I think Iowans are ahead of their elected officials on this issue."
Iowa has been tough on marijuana users. Possession of any amount is a misdemeanor that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
Hunter said he'd like to legalize marijuana completely and relieve its burden on the state's justice system.
"We've got a prison population that is made up of a lot of people that haven't really committed a violent crime, other than smoking some marijuana," Hunter said. "It doesn't do anybody any good. We're not fixing a drug problem by sending people to jail with a bunch of other drug problems."
But Peter Komendowski, president of Partnership for a Drug-Free Iowa, said decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana makes it tougher to protect children from the dangers of drug use.
"What we're doing is sending a mixed message to our kids that some drugs are OK and some aren't OK," Komendowski said. "If you know kids, it's extremely confusing to them if you're not on message."
Medical marijuana grows economy, advocates say in Portland
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, November, 13th 2012 by THCFinder
PORTLAND — For Paul McCarrier, organizer of the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine trade show on Saturday, it’s all about the economy.
Gesturing to the large conference room floor where several dozen exhibitors were selling their wares and services, McCarrier said the legalized use of marijuana to treat various ailments created an entrepreneurial bloom.
Almost all were small-business operators. Many were artisans, crafting glass pipes and T-shirts. Others were experts in the cultivation of the plant, providing advice and equipment such as grow lights, compost and greenhouses.
And, of course, there were the marijuana growers, who were well represented among the 150 or so who wandered through the trade show. Three years after a citizens initiative was passed and the state tweaked a law to create dispensaries and licenses for growers, there are 768 people cultivating the plant, six plants per patient for no more than five patients.
McCarrier compared the cottage industries that have grown around legalized medical marijuana in Maine to the many businesses that supply car manufacturers with specialized parts.
“It’s the economy of it,” he said. McCarrier noted that he had to leave his home in Belfast to find work in Portland, but thanks to being able to provide medical marijuana for patients, he was able to return and buy land and a home.
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