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Raids emphasize need for coherent marijuana regulation

Category: News | Posted on Fri, November, 18th 2011 by THCFinder
RECENT federal raids of medical-marijuana dispensaries in the Puget Sound region highlight in bold relief our disjointed and out-of-touch federal and state rules on marijuana.
 
Few will argue that the U.S. government, which bans marijuana entirely, is off base for intervening in drug sales to a gang in Chicago, as one affidavit contends.
 
Obviously, law-enforcement officers have a duty to try to intervene in marijuana interstate importation and distribution. Medical-marijuana dispensaries have a purpose and, done right, should be legal. Federal law-enforcement authorities raided dispensaries they believe are acting as fronts for a variety pack of other illegal activities.
 
The raids underscore the mess of regulations and rules. It is time to legalize marijuana, tax it, clarify the rules and provide a reasonable regulatory scheme.
 
If sensible regulations were in place, medical-marijuana dispensaries would not be importing and exporting marijuana across state lines or allowing felons to sell marijuana or illegal narcotics.
 
There are many lines to draw and numerous safety issues to consider. Marijuana should not be legal for those under age 21. It should be legal for people who are not well and need marijuana to control their pain and suffering and for adults.
 
U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, who must enforce draconian federal law on marijuana, said: "The truly sick people, doctors, caregivers, we're not going to prosecute. They don't have to worry about our enforcement action. But people exploiting (medical marijuana) laws just to make a lot of money selling drugs, they do have a reason to worry."
 
Fine, go after alleged criminals abusing the privilege of a convoluted state law that allows certain kinds of medical-marijuana dispensaries.
 
Washington voters favor medical-marijuana use. They will likely have a chance to decide if they want to go further and legalize marijuana for adults, either if a new initiative gathers sufficient signatures and is passed by the Legislature, or by voters if the measure comes to them.
 
What is indisputable is the current system does not work. Millions of dollars and untold hours of law-enforcement time are wasted prosecuting bit players. Washington needs a more coherent and modern system.
 

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Cedars-Sinai Denying Transplant To Medical Marijuana Patient

Category: News | Posted on Thu, November, 17th 2011 by THCFinder
Los Angeles, CA --(ENEWSPF)--November 17, 2011.  Sixty-three year-old medical marijuana patient Norman B. Smith was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer in 2009 and sought treatment from the internationally lauded Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Smith's oncologist at Cedars-Sinai, Dr. Steven Miles, approved of his medical marijuana use as a means to deal with the effects of chemotherapy and pain from an unrelated back surgery. In September 2010, Smith became eligible for a liver transplant, but after testing positive for marijuana in February he was removed from the transplant list. Smith's cancer was in remission until just recently, but now he is scheduled to undergo radiation treatments in the next few days.
 
Medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) issued a letter today urging the Cedars-Sinai Transplant Department to promptly re-list Smith for a liver transplant. The letter also urges Cedars-Sinai to change its transplant eligibility policy. "Denying necessary transplants to medical marijuana patients is the worst kind of discrimination," said ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford, who also authored the letter to Cedars-Sinai. "Cedars-Sinai would not be breaking any laws, federal or otherwise, by granting Norman Smith a liver transplant, and it's certainly the ethical thing to do."
 
Smith is not the only medical marijuana patient in the U.S. being denied a transplant. At least one other Cedars-Sinai patient reported to ASA in 2008 that they had been kicked off the transplant list because of their legal medical marijuana use. Over the past four years, ASA has received numerous reports of patients being purged from transplant lists across California, as well as in other medical marijuana states like Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington. In 2008, Seattle resident and medical marijuana patient Timothy Garon died after being denied a liver transplant by the University of Washington Medical Center. A year later, in 2009, Big Island resident and medical marijuana patient Kimberly Reyes died at Hilo Hospital after being denied a liver transplant.
 
Cedars-Sinai is demanding that Smith not only abstain from marijuana use for at least six months, forcing him to undergo random toxicology tests, but he is also required to participate in weekly substance abuse counseling over the same period. Although Smith was within two months of receiving a transplant before he was de-listed, he will be put at the bottom of the list even after satisfying the policy requirements. "ASA seeks to change this harmful and uncompassionate policy not only for Smith's benefit, but also for the benefit of numerous other medical marijuana patients who are being made to suffer unnecessarily as a result of political ideology," said Elford.
 

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Local medical marijuana operations unaffected by DEA raids

Category: News | Posted on Wed, November, 16th 2011 by THCFinder

Drug Enforcement Administration agents and local law enforcement officers raided more than a dozen medical marijuana operations in Western Washington on Tuesday, but the sweep did not affect collectives in Issaquah and Preston.

The operation targeted at least 14 medical marijuana operations in King, Pierce and Thurston counties. Overall, authorities arrested more than a dozen people.

Officials said the operations targeted in the raids failed to meet state guidelines or used the state medical marijuana law as cover to make illegal sales.

“Our job is to enforce federal criminal laws. In doing so, we always prioritize and focus our resources,” U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said in a statement. ”As we have previously stated, we will not prosecute truly ill people or their doctors who determine that marijuana is an appropriate medical treatment.”

Representatives at The Kind Alternative Medical Collective, a nonprofit collective in Preston, and GreenLink Collective, a nonprofit collective in downtown Issaquah, said the raids did not affect the local operations.

Initiative 692, passed in 1998, allows people suffering from certain medical conditions to possess a 60-day supply of marijuana. Marijuana, for medical purposes or otherwise, remains illegal under federal law.

State law allows up to 10 qualifying patients to join together and form a collective garden of up to 45 plants, so long as the marijuana is not visible from public spaces.

“However, state laws of compassion were never intended to protect brash criminal conduct that masquerades as medical treatment,” Durkan said.

Issaquah is in the midst of a moratorium on the marijuana collective gardens as officials attempt to clarify rules for such operations.

Under direction from the City Council, the municipal Planning Department is developing a measure to determine what or if restrictions should apply to the collective gardens. Council Services & Safety Members discussed the proposed ordinance Monday.

The council enacted the moratorium in June. The following month, council members agreed to uphold the ban, but after hearing from medical marijuana users and advocates, directed planners to formulate a solution.

(Sourcehttp://www.issaquahpress.com


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Smoked out? Holland moves closer to pot ban for tourists

Category: News | Posted on Tue, November, 15th 2011 by THCFinder
A controversial bid to keep foreign visitors out of Holland's nearly 700 marijuana "coffee shops" is gaining momentum, despite some politicians' protests that a ban would be "tourism suicide."
 
Under a policy announced by the country's justice ministry last week, pot-selling shops will become members-only clubs restricted to Dutch residents over age 18. The new policy is being rolled out regionally, taking effect Jan. 1, 2012 in the southern border provinces of Limburg, North-Brabant and Zeeland and scheduled to extend nationwide - including Amsterdam - in 2013.
 
In a pilot program launched October 1 and aimed at reducing drug tourism from nearby France, cannabis cafes in the border city of Maastricht have been allowed to serve only Dutch, Belgian, and German customers. The Daily Telegraph says the move will cost the city about $41 million a year in revenue, the equivalent loss of 345 full-time jobs.
 
The city of Amsterdam, meanwhile, is fighting the measure because it says it discriminates against foreigners and could lead to a sale of soft drugs on the streets.
 
"The Dutch government has decided upon this for the whole of the Netherlands. Amsterdam doesn't want it," Machteld Ligtvoet, a spokeswoman from the Amsterdam tourism board told CNN this summer.
 

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High IQ linked to drug use

Category: News | Posted on Tue, November, 15th 2011 by THCFinder
The "Just Say No" generation was often told by parents and teachers that intelligent people didn't use drugs.   Turns out, the adults may have been wrong.
 
A new British study finds children with high IQs are more likely to use drugs as adults than people who score low on IQ tests as children.  The data come from the 1970 British Cohort Study, which has been following thousands of people over decades.  The kids' IQs were tested at the ages of 5, 10 and 16.  The study also asked about drug use and looked at education and other socioeconomic factors.  Then when participants turned 30, they were asked whether they had used drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin in the past year.
 
Researchers discovered men with high childhood IQs were up to two times more likely to use illegal drugs than their lower-scoring counterparts.  Girls with high IQs were up to three times more likely to use drugs as adults.  A high IQ is defined as a score between 107 and 158.  An average IQ is 100. The study appears in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
 
The lead researcher says he isn't surprised by the findings.  "Previous research found for the most part people with high IQs lead a healthy life, but that they are more likely to drink to excess as adults," says James White a psychologist at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom.
 
It's not clear why people with high childhood IQs are more likely to use illegal drugs.  "We suspect they may be more open to new experiences and are more sensation seeking," says White.  In the paper, White and his co-author also mention other studies that find high IQ kids may use drugs because they are bored or to cope with being different.
 
That seems to ring true for one of my childhood classmates. Tracey Helton Mitchell was one of the smartest kids in my middle school. But, by the time she was in her early 20's, Tracey was a heroin addict. I found out while flipping channels one sleepless night and stumbled upon the documentary "Black Tar Heroin."
 
"I was confident in my abilities but there was a dissonance," says Tracey, with whom I recently reconnected.  "No matter what I did, what I said, where I went, I was never comfortable with the shell I carried called myself."
 

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Medical Marijuana ok with TSA

Category: News | Posted on Mon, November, 14th 2011 by THCFinder
By Steve Elliott: Tokeofthetown.com
 
It's usually not a good idea to whip out your medical marijuana while going through a Transportation Security Administration airport checkpoint, but sometimes, in some airports, in some medical marijuana states, it turns out OK.
 
Case in point: Mike Schaef of Tacoma, Washington, who operates North End Club 420, a medical marijuana patient collective garden. 
 
When going through security at SeaTac airport just south of Seattle Friday morning at about 10:15, Mike put about two grams of cannabis in the scanner bowl in the TSA line.
 
‚Äč"They grabbed it," Mike's friend Todd Dearinger told Toke of the Town. "After a few minutes with the feds and locals they gave him back his meds and let him go on his way."
 
Schaef shared the photo on Facebook this morning, with the caption:
 
"This is what happens when u put your meds in the scanner bowl at seatac....they let me go and gave it back...said have a nice flight...."
 

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