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Medical Marijuana

San Francisco Food Truck Scene Hosts Medical Marijuana Edibles Sale

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Supporters of medical marijuana in California will be in for a huge treat Saturday, June 13, as they can get the chance to take pot in edible form.

San Francisco will play host to “Get Baked Sale”, a one-of-a-kind outdoor food fair that puts the spotlight on medical marijuana edible makers. Jared Stratton, who spearheaded the event, put up the cannabis food festival to show how medical marijuana can also be fun. “It’s going to be legal next year, so if we integrate it now, people can come see what it’s like and have fun, that it’s not what they think and it’s definitely going mainstream,” Stratton said in a news article.

The food fair is open to all visitors, but only those with a prescription for medical marijuana will be allowed to purchase marijuana edibles during the event. The special marijuana products will be sold in pancake form during the event’s breakfast session, as well as in forms of various snack items throughout the festivities. Non-users can also enjoy activities during the food event, such as carnival games, music and other food offerings.

Police visibility during the sale will be minimal, according to San Francisco Police Department officer Grace Gatpandan. “We just want people to have a good time and if there are families that go there, to keep it cool,” the officer said.

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Medical Marijuana Real Drug Stories

Exploring Marijuana Legalization: The Pros and Cons

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With more and more states at least considering legalizing marijuana — either medically or recreationally — the polarizing subject continues to pick up supporters on both sides of the issue. Those who want it fully legalized and those who want to keep it illegal have entrenched themselves for a potentially long and arduous battle.

From marijuana advocates to lawyers and law enforcement officials, everyone seems to have a strong opinion about marijuana and whether it should be and will be legalized.

Pros & Cons

Kris Krane, for one, who is the principal and managing partner at 4Front Advisors, a medical cannabis dispensary consulting firm, says he sees great benefit to legalizing marijuana fully.

“The pros of legalization are nearly endless,” he said in an interview with TestCountry.

As long as it is regulated like alcohol, Krane says, legalizing it should:

  • eliminate the criminal black market for it;
  • reduce violence in American cities and in Mexico;
  • deny drug cartels of a key revenue source;
  • free up police resources to focus on violent and dangerous crimes, rather than non-violent marijuana consumers;
  • generate billions in tax revenue for cash strapped governments; and
  • generate millions of new jobs for the economy.

Freeing up police resources to tackle more violent and pressing crime and generating tax revenue is a common theme with people who advocate for the legalization of marijuana.

The court system would likely benefit, too, with fewer cases to try and the overburdened jail system would also benefit from fewer people needing to be placed in prison, Dallas criminal defense attorney Paul Saputo Jr. said.

“I think the biggest impact will be to remove a number of high-turnaround people, reducing some stress on deputies and jail systems, and to clear jails of poor people who would otherwise be able to bail themselves out quickly if they were not poor,” the defense lawyer said.

More stringent regulation of marijuana is also a common pro listed in favor of legalization.

“Marijuana could be better regulated if it was legal,” observed Arkady Bukh, a criminal defense lawyer in New York and a member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). “Stores and marijuana dispensaries can card kids and prevent young people from getting marijuana, while people who illegally sell marijuana don’t do that.”

But, with all the talk of the pros of marijuana legalization, plenty of people still see potential cons. Kirby Lavallee, a private investigator with Sharpline Investigations and a former DUI investigator and drug recognition expert, said some cons he can foresee are:

  • a possible increase in burglaries or robberies of business selling marijuana, due to the large quantity of marijuana and cash on hand
  • an increased number of impaired drivers on the roadway due to marijuana impairment
  • an increase in calls to emergency services due to people possibly having negative reactions

Lavallee said in his opinion he believes legalizing it would actually make it more readily available to younger people, possibly having some negative impacts on education and causing possible health issues.

He also doesn’t see it as the innocuous drug that many marijuana legalization activists do.

“I truly believe that this would be a huge issue for Law Enforcement Officers nationwide,” Lavallee said. “Most people say marijuana isn’t a harsh drug and believe that it doesn’t cause any issues. I can say in my experience as a Deputy Sheriff most of the street level violence is drug related, more specifically marijuana because it tends to be more readily available.”

Another downside to legalizing marijuana is that it will take away the police’s ability to search a vehicle or a person when they smell the odor of marijuana, which is legitimate grounds for searching a vehicle or a person as long as it’s illegal. Legalizing it would take this tactic away, Lavallee said.

“I believe that law enforcement will have some hurdles to cross with catching criminals with other illegal drugs which cannot be detected by smell, along with firearms and other illegal items normally found while conducting searches,” the private investigator said.

Lavallee also called marijuana a gateway drug that leads people to experiment with harder drugs. He also said he believes incidents of personal injury would rise, as more people would be under the influence at work or while driving, potentially causing more accidents in the workplace, on the roadways and out in public places. As personal injuries increase, Lavallee said, he believes more people will be receiving medical benefits and insurance companies will have lawsuit settlements to deal with as a result.

Opinions differ in regards to the potential for more impaired driving cases, though. Bukh called the evidence that says marijuana impairs a person’s driving to the point of being dangerous “inconclusive.”

Legalization and Medical Marijuana

Whether legalization for recreational purposes would affect its standing medically — as medication is not generally deemed to be a recreational substance — Krane said he believed legalizing it would actually be a boon to the advancement of medical marijuana, as its current standing as a schedule 1 drug means researchers cannot conduct studies on its health benefits. Full legalization would pave the way for research to be done on its health benefits and would likely lead to a wave of new cannabinoid medications, he says.

Similarly, Bukh said its legalization for recreational use may even lead to more research and development.

“Legalization for recreational purposes can also lead to more growth and development of different strains of cannabis plants that could have different medicinal benefits,” he noted.

Nationwide Legalization

As its legalization continues to be spotty, with states legalizing it either medically or recreationally one at a time and the federal government opting not to, whether it will eventually be fully legal across the country also saw disagreement.

Krane, Saputo and Lavallee all said its legalization across the country seemed like an inevitability. But, Bukh saw more of an issue with its potential for nationwide legalization.

“I believe it will be difficult for marijuana to be legalized nationwide,” he said.

Bukh pointed to progressive states like New York being slow to move forward with legalization efforts even for medical marijuana.

The courts are not going to legalize marijuana because there’s no constitutional right to the drug, the defense attorney pointed out,  and because it’s so politically polarizing, the federal government doesn’t want to really touch it at this point.

Bukh also said that not all states make policy decisions based on factual evidence. Some of them, he noted, make policy decisions based on ideology, so even if the states that have legalized it recreationally show more positive effects than negative effects, it will likely be a long time before every state legalizes it and there’s no guarantee that will happen.

Obstacles to Legalization

Standing in the way of legalization across the country is that same political polarization that Bukh pointed to before. As it is being treated as a partisan issue, people tend to get entrenched in their party’s position rather than looking at the issue from a factual perspective. To counteract this will take a grassroots movement, he said.

“There is a libertarian, conservative, liberal and progressive argument to be made for legalization and all of these arguments should be made at the grassroots level to drive support and convince party leadership of all major political parties to get on board,” he stated.

Krane agreed that the federal government largely remains the biggest obstacle to full legalization, as it has largely opposed it at every step while state lawmakers seem to be well behind the public in terms of their support for legalization.

The best way to get around this obstacle, he says, is to continue to let the voters decide on whether they want it legalized or not.

“We have been able to get around these obstacles by taking the issue directly to the voters.  Every time we have done so, in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and DC, voters have overwhelmingly supported legalization,” he said.

As it continues its slow march toward acceptance and legalization throughout many different states, marijuana will likely continue to also polarize people as they fall into either the pro-legalization or anti-legalization camps.

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Medical Marijuana

Colorado House Bill Allows Medical Marijuana For Persons On Parole

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People on parole or probation have various limitations but not when it comes to medical marijuana use, based on a recent ruling by the state of Colorado.

Gov. John Hickenlooper recently signed into law House Bill 1267, which “makes an exception to the probation conditions for the possession and use of medical marijuana pursuant to the state constitution.” However, the new bill is not applicable to persons “convicted of an offense related to medical marijuana.”

The medical marijuana bill for people on probation or parole was sponsored by House representatives led by Rep. Joe Salazar (D-Thornton) and state senator Aguilar Guzman.

Previous rules on probation or parole prohibits possession and use of marijuana, but the new ruling allows cannabis for medical purposes.

Read the full details of House Bill 1267 here.

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Health & Wellness Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana For Pets Pushed By New Nevada Bill

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Amidst continuing debates over the merits of medical marijuana use in the U.S., a new legislation aims to provide the same treatment to animals.

According to a news item, a new measure sponsored by Democratic Sen. Tick Segerblom provides pet owners access to medical marijuana to be administered to their pets diagnosed with diseases curable by the drug. A prescription must be obtained from the veterinarian, who will certify that the pet has a sickness that medical marijuana is known to alleviate. The measure forms part of a comprehensive bill to update existing medical marijuana bill in Nevada.

Despite this bit of good news for marijuana advocates and pet lovers, Segerblom said that no studies have proven that medical marijuana is safe for animals. In fact, while many veterinarians around the country have administered marijuana to sick pets, using the drug as a painkiller is not yet scientifically proven.

The proposal doesn’t come without criticism. Fellow Democrat Sen. Mark Manendo is worried about the safety of marijuana on pet health, stating further that animals are sensitive to many things that humans can ingest normally. “Alcohol is bad, chocolate is bad for dogs,” said Manendo.

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Medical Marijuana

Medical Experts View Marijuana As The Future of Therapeutics

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Medical marijuana has become the answer to illnesses and ailments of many Americans, but debates are still ongoing as to its benefits and hazards.

McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) recently hosted a symposium featuring medical experts in the U.S. the U.K. to delve into the rise in popularity of medical marijuana and how it has changed the world’s perspective on treatment. The gathering was in line with this year’s American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting in California, according to a news release.

A number of doctors may not be able to guarantee the effectiveness of cannabis to treat illnesses, but they say that patients must be informed about their choices. “I don’t think that every physician should prescribe medical cannabis, or that every patient can benefit but it’s time to enhance our scientific knowledge base and have informed discussions with patients,” according to Dr. Mark Ware, who heads the health center’s Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit clinical research.

Ware believes that now is the perfect time to be open-minded about medical marijuana, although he admits that more studies need to be conducted to understand the drug further. “We need to advance our understanding of the role of cannabinoids in health and disease through research and education for patients, physicians and policy-makers,” Ware added.

Dr. Igor Grant, who serves as director of the University of California’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR), sees the potential of medical marijuana to advance neurological treatment. “Despite a commonly held view that cannabis use results in brain damage, meta analyses of extensive neurocognitive studies fail to demonstrate meaningful cognitive declines among recreational users… Bain imaging has produced variable results, with the best designed studies showing null findings,” Grant said.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active potent ingredient of marijuana, is approved as a drug for pharmaceutical purposes in several U.S. states as well as selected countries around the world.

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Real Drug Stories

Top Doc in the US Says Marijuana May Have Medical Uses

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US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recently said “marijuana can be helpful” for some medical conditions and symptoms.

“We have to see what the science tells us about the efficacy of marijuana,” Vivek told CBS News. “We have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms, that marijuana can be helpful. I think that we have to use that data to drive policy-making. I’m very interested to see where that data takes us.”

Marijuana legalization and medical marijuana advocates were quick to jump on the Surgeon General’s comments.

“Dr. Murthy’s comments add to a growing consensus in the medical community that marijuana can help people suffering from  painful conditions,” said Tom Angell, head of the pro-legalization Marijuana Majority. “It’s crazy that federal law still considers marijuana a schedule 1 drug, a category that’s supposed to be reserved for substances with no medical value. In light of these comments from his top medical adviser, the president should direct the attorney general to immediately begin the process of rescheduling marijuana.”

However, rescheduling marijuana is a bit of a catch-22 situation. In order for it to be rescheduled, it must have large-scale clinical trials to back up the claims that it is medically useful. But, because it’s currently a schedule 1 drug — the same as heroin — the Drug Enforcement Administration limits the supply of marijuana for research. To obtain it for studies, researchers must get their studies approved by the Department of Health and Human Services, FDA, and DEA.

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Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Law For Veterans Lobbied in Congress

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Medical marijuana was a hot topic during the vote earlier this month, and it seems that some members of the government are planning to push for wider coverage.

marijuana legalizationHouse representatives Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and Earl Blumenaur, D-Ore. are pushing the Veterans Equal Access bill, a legislation that gives medical professionals in the Veterans Affairs Department the opportunity to prescribe medical cannabis to their patients. At present, the department has disallowed its doctors from giving marijuana prescriptions to retired military personnel.

Rep. Rohrabacher believes that veterans must be given equal rights as other U.S. citizens. “Our antiquated drug laws must catch up with the real suffering of so many of our veterans… This is now a moral cause and a matter of supreme urgency,” Rohrabacher said in a news release.

Meanwhile, Rep. Blumenaur emphasized the dire need of veterans to a wide variety of medical options. “We should be allowing these wounded warriors access to the medicine that will help them survive and thrive, including medical marijuana, not treating them like criminals and forcing them into the shadows,” the Oregon lawmaker said.

Many of the war veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is supposedly a qualifying condition for issuing medical marijuana in selected U.S. states. According to VA records, roughly one-sixth of the veterans are diagnosed with PTSD, with some of them assigned to war-stricken areas such as Afghanistan and Iran in the past.

Medical Marijuana

Smartphone App Developed For Alcohol and Marijuana Home Deliveries

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An iPhone app to send marijuana directly to your doorstep?

nestdrop smartphone app alcohol marijuana delivery

The clamor for marijuana in California continues to rise as a new smartphone app offers medical marijuana deliveries. Nestdrop, the company behind the alcohol delivery service in California using a mobile app, has now pushed its software further by selling medical marijuana and sending it to a California address.

According to the company, Nestdrop is the first app of its kind. Other delivery service apps require other online stores to process the sale and delivery, but Nestdrop is a purely app-based service.

Ordering medical marijuana through the mobile app requires the users to upload a snapshot of their medical marijuana card or a doctor’s prescription along with their ID card. The users then select their desired pot variant and enter the amount that they want to purchase. Within one hour, the product is delivered to the address specified in the order. The source of the marijuana will depend on the collective the buyer belongs to.

Service coverage for Nestdrop is currently confined within a section of Los Angeles, but the company is planning to expand depending on the demand. Michael Pycher, co-owner of Nestdrop, explained the company’s drive to move towards the medical marijuana business. “After our initial success with alcohol deliveries, we decided to expand when we saw how this platform could be used to bring difficult-to-obtain products to people who really need them,” Pycher said in a news release.

The current iteration of Nestdrop is available in iPhones and Android devices, with the iOS app pending approval by Apple.

Real Drug Stories

Majority of Seniors Support Medical Marijuana Legalization in Florida: Report

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The senior population in Florida is overwhelmingly in favor of legalizing medical marijuana, according to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted this past spring.cape_florida

About 84% of Florida voters who support the initiative are older than 65, the survey found. Among all voters, support was at 88%. Among voters 50- to 64-years-old, 62% admitted smoking marijuana, which was more than any other demographic.

“What we’re hearing from older voters is not a lot different from the electorate as a whole,” said Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United For Care, which landed the issue on the ballot. “For the most part, it’s not a controversial topic…If their doctor recommends a particular treatment plan, whether it’s a medication regimen, a new diet, exercise, yoga or medical marijuana, they should be able to follow their doctor’s orders without being treated like a criminal,” he said.

However, older voters who believe marijuana can act as a painkiller are just as misinformed as the rest of the population who believe that, said John Anderson, 87, of Cocoa Beach. Anderson is a former chairman of the Brevard GOP and a retired nurse anesthetist who does not support the initiative.

“There are many people who think marijuana relieves pain. Marijuana is not an analgesic. You can get more pain relief from aspirin than marijuana, if you’re talking about it in that sense,” he said.

Floridians will vote in November on whether to legalize medical marijuana.

 

Medical Marijuana

Illinois House Approves Medical Marijuana for Minors with Epilepsy

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The Illinois house has passed, by a vote of 98-18, a bill allowing minors with epilepsy to use medical marijuana to reduce seizures.

It even solicited the support of several Republicans, such as Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove), who initially voted against the marijuana law.

medical marijuanaThe bill, sponsored by Democratic state representative Lou Lang (D-Skokie),  expands the state’s medical marijuana law to include epileptic children and specifically stipulates that it may not be smoked. “These people are not interested in getting high. These are folks that are interested in alleviating their seizures,” Rep. Lou Lang told the Chicago Sun-Times.

In the 1970s, federal law classified marijuana as an illegal drug with no medical value. In recent times, however, more and more states are passing laws legalizing medical marijuana, and some even for recreational use, such as in Colorado and Washington.

Parents with children suffering from different forms of epilepsy and other debilitating medical conditions continue to exert political pressure to help push medical marijuana laws that would allow children access to a form of marijuana with proper doses of its constituent cannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin also allow medical marijuana for children with seizure disorders.