Saturday, April 10, 2010

Humboldt County afraid of being uprooted from pot perch

A statewide initiative in November would allow cities to regulate pot possession and cultivation. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) has proposed a broader legalization. Neither is certain to pass.

Yet as medical marijuana has spread and city and state budgets are being slashed, legalized marijuana is becoming more possible than ever. That has some people here thinking twice.

Wholesale prices have dropped in the last five years -- from $4,000 a pound to below $3,000 for the best cannabis -- as medical-marijuana dispensaries have attracted a slew of new growers statewide, Humboldt growers say.


Rev. Doug Van Dyke for Medical Marijuana Inc. Educational Expo

BBC Horizon: A Look At Medicinal Cannabis & Sativex UK (720p)

Non-psychoactive cannabis and medically efficacious cannabinoids now available

Lab tested California strains of non-psychoactive cannabis with CBD (Cannabidol) will be unveiled at the 6th Annual National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics on Friday, April 16th at 12PM Noon at The Crown Plaza Hotel, 801 Greenwich Avenue, Warwick, Rhode Island.

Recent research has demonstrated that CBD is effective in slowing or reversing a number of different types of cancer; as well as other serious illnesses.

Only within the past year have CBD-rich cannabis varieties been identified, thanks to an analytical chemistry lab that Steve DeAngelo helped launch. He is the owner of Harborside Heath Center.

Ultimately, there will be greater demand for CBD-rich cannabis, than there is for cannabis that just gets you high," predicts DeAngelo. "Only a small percentage of people enjoy the psycho activity of cannabis, but almost everybody can benefit from its medical properties.


MD Senate Debates Legalizing Medical Marijuana

Annapolis, MD — Legislation to permit marijuana use by people with severe chronic pain sparked heated Senate debate Thursday between a two-time cancer survivor who supports the bill and a physician who fears doctors would “over-prescribe” the illegal drug.

Sen. David R. Brinkley, who survived Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1989 and melanoma in 1995, said marijuana provides the best and safest relief for people living with constant pain. But Sen. Andrew P. Harris, an anesthesiologist, expressed deep concern that the legislation could be abused by treating physicians or lead unethical doctors to exploit the law by starting a side business of growing marijuana for medicinal use.

The Senate is scheduled to continue its consideration of the measure Friday morning.


Hawaii kills medical marijuana dispensary measure

HONOLULU (AP) -- A proposal to create medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii has gone up in smoke.

The idea is dead because the House Judiciary Committee refused to consider the measure before a legislative deadline Thursday.

Committee Chairman Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu says he was worried that marijuana dispensaries would fuel illegal sales of the drug. He's also concerned about the state running up against federal drug laws.

Medical marijuana patients argue that Hawaii needs to reform its decade-old law allowing them to smoke and even grow the drug, but prohibiting them from buying it.

The bill passed the Senate and two House committees before stalling.

Medical marijuana dispensaries will likely be considered again during next year's legislative session.

Oakland Voters Support Medical Marijuana Tax (Drug Policy Alliance Interviewed)

Maryland Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

Measure to Provide Patients With Safe Access Now Moves to House.

(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) - With no discussion or objections, the Maryland Senate voted 35-12 to pass SB 627, a bill that would allow qualified patients to be recommended medical marijuana by their doctor and receive safe access to their medicine through state-licensed distribution centers. The bill now moves to the House. The General Assembly’s session ends Monday night.

“I’m very proud of my Senate colleagues today for voting to provide some of our most vulnerable residents with the compassion and care that they deserve,” said Sen. David Brinkley (R-Frederick), the bill’s sponsor and a two-time cancer survivor. “Anyone who has watched a loved one suffer from a debilitating illness would agree that we should not stand between doctors and patients, or deprive seriously ill people safe access to a legitimate medicine if it can help them cope with their illness.”

“We think this bill offers the most carefully crafted medical marijuana law in the country,” said Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Silver Spring), one of the bill’s co-sponsors. “It offers legal protection and safe medical access to patients who are desperately in need and takes every possible measure to prevent abuse. I’m hopeful that our colleagues in the House will give this proposal serious consideration, and make Maryland’s medical marijuana law a national model for how to promote medical privacy, social compassion, and security in administration.”

Fourteen other states, including New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Maine, have effective medical marijuana laws. This year, more than a dozen other states, including New York, Illinois, Delaware, South Dakota, Arizona, and Kansas, are considering medical marijuana laws. The District Council of Washington, D.C. is working on a medical marijuana law expected to be implemented by the end of this year.

Under current Maryland law, medical marijuana patients are provided with a limited affirmative defense in court, no protection from arrest, and no safe means of access to their medicine. Patients can still be given a $100 fine that results in a criminal conviction.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Medical Marijuana Is Already Legal in Illinois

Medical Marijuana Is Already Legal in Illinois
And it has been for three decades. But it'll take the passage of another law to make it available to patients.

Marijuana can be used for medicinal purposes under the laws of 14 U.S. states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. New Jersey's measure became law January 18.

Here's a little known fact: technically it's legal in Illinois too—and has been for 32 years.

In 1978 the Illinois legislature passed a Cannabis Control Act to try to bring common sense to the state's drug laws. Though the drug causes "physical, psychological and sociological damage," the act asserted, it nevertheless "occupies the unusual position of being widely used and pervasive" in Illinois, and so it was time to establish a "reasonable penalty system" that focused on "commercial traffickers and large-scale purveyors." Even then cannabis was being championed for its medical benefits, so in the name of "research," the act gave the Illinois Department of Human Services permission to "authorize" licensed physicians to use it to treat "glaucoma, the side effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy in cancer patients or such other procedure certified to be medically necessary."

But there were two catches. The first was that Human Services was merely allowed to give doctors this authority—not required to. The second was that it could act only "with the written approval of the Department of State Police."


Medical Marijuana: Maine Legislature Approves Dispensaries

A bill to set up a medical marijuana dispensary and distribution system in Maine passed both houses of the legislature this week and is expected to be signed by the governor. The measure passed the House 126-17 Monday and the Senate 32-3 later the same day.

Maine enacted a medical marijuana law in 1998, but it failed to provide a way for patients to legally obtain their medicine. Once this measure, SP 0719, is enacted, patients will be able to go to dispensaries or grow their own.

Last November, Maine voters approved a referendum directing the legislature to set up a dispensary system. Now it has. The measure envisions up to eight dispensaries and creates a process to set fees for patients, caregivers, and dispensaries.

"Today, Maine becomes the latest state in the country to set up a legal distribution system for medical marijuana, and is now a leader in providing patients with a legal and dignified way to obtain their medicine," said Jill Harris, managing director of public policy at the Drug Policy Alliance, which supported the referendum and the legislation. "The legislature has followed the will of the voters in Maine who overwhelmingly voted for such a system last November."

Maine now joins New Mexico and New Jersey as states with state-authorized dispensary systems. California and Colorado also have dispensary systems, but those are more loosely regulated. An initiative trying to make the November ballot in Oregon would bring a dispensary system there if passed.