Category Archives: Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana

Delaware Opens First Medical Marijuana Dispensary

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A long line of clients and patients eagerly awaited the opening of the first medical marijuana dispensary in Delaware on Friday, June 26. The facility is called The First State Compassion Center located at 37 Germay Drive and offers marijuana under the supervision of the Department of Health and Social Services. More than 50 cardholders stood in line to wait for the doors to open at 11:00 in the morning.

The cannabis dispensary is allowed to provide marijuana for approved individuals — about 340 people residing in Delaware — who were given a medical marijuana card by the state’s health department. The shop can grow up to 150 marijuana plants and keep up to 1,500 ounces of the drug extracted from cannabis. The building is guarded by two security personnel who will allow only cardholders to enter the dispensary, according to a news release.

Medical marijuana was approved in the state in 2011, which allows one clinic for each of the state’s three counties of Kent, New Castle, and Sussex.

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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

Marijuana Legalization Increases Risk of Child Exposure To Cannabis

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Medical marijuana may be considered by many as the wonder drug of the century, but as more states approve the sale and distribution of marijuana, more children below the age of five are at higher risk of exposure.

This was revealed by a team of researchers from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, after conducting a study to review data from the National Poison Database System on child cases related to marijuana exposure. Results of the study showed that the number of cases of child exposure to marijuana rose by 147.5 percent in the U.S. between 2006 and 2013. The figure is more startling in states that have legalized medical marijuana: an increase of close to 610 percent for the same period.

The research team from the hospital’s Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Central Ohio Poison Center also discovered that more than 75 percent of the cases involved kids below 3 years old, most of whom were reported to have ingested marijuana in food-based form. “Very young children explore their environments by putting items in their mouths, and foods such as brownies and cookies are attractive,” said study co-author Henry Spiller in a news release. “The high percentage of ingestions may be related to the popularity of marijuana brownies, cookies and other foods.”

Study senior author Gary Smith added that marijuana legislation must always consider the welfare of kids in the discussions. “Any state considering marijuana legalization needs to include child protections in its laws from the very beginning,” Smith added.

The study was published in the online journal Clinical Pediatrics.

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Medical Marijuana

New Rules For Marijuana Dispensaries Released In Massachusetts

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Procedures for issuing licenses to marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts have recently been overhauled by the Department of Public Health.

The program update released on May 15 states that “the Application Process for Registered Marijuana Dispensaries has been revised.” The new set of rules were posted on the state government website:

Effective February 1, 2015, paper certifications from physicians will no longer be sufficient for compliance with registration requirements under DPH Marijuana Regulations. All patients, including those currently holding a paper certification, must obtain an electronic certification from their physician and be registered with the Medical Use of Marijuana Program to possess marijuana for medical use.

Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel emphasized the reason behind the revision. “This change creates a more streamlined, efficient and transparent process that allows the commonwealth to maintain the highest standards of both public safety and accessibility,” Bharel said in a news statement. The state will start accepting new applications to follow the updated dispensary rules on June 29.

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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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Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

German Study Highlights Dangerous Effects of Recreational Marijuana

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The U.S. may be experiencing the dawn of marijuana use today, but a recent study from Germany reminds the general public about the harmful effects of using cannabis for recreational purposes.

Eva Hoch and fellow researchers revealed in a news article that recreational pot use causes short-term and even long-term side effects such as impairment of bodily coordination, panic attacks, nausea, and more. Side effects may vary depending on many factors, which include how old the user is, how much marijuana was taken, and how frequent the marijuana use is.

Addiction to marijuana requires early intervention and treatment, although most are performed in outpatient care. The study proponents suggest behavioral therapy to address cognitive impairment, combined with emotional support.

The complete details of the study were published in the German journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt International.

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Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana License Applications Opened in New York

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The debate on medical marijuana use in line with workplace drug testing is heating up, but this hasn’t stopped the state of New York from opening its table to new applications for dispensaries and growth centers.

Starting this week, interested parties may submit their applications to the Department of Health Services (DOH) until May 5. Application fee costs $10,000, while registration will require $200,000. Although this bit of news sounds promising for companies who want to become the official dispensaries in the state, the DOH has strict rules in terms of approval. For starters, only five applicants will be granted licenses to dispense and cultivate marijuana. Each approved party can put up a maximum of four dispensaries which must be scattered throughout the state in different counties.

As the state preps for the medical marijuana program on January 5, 2016, many applicants are finding the approval and buildup process too rigorous and tight to complete in time. “If you go about it the right way, a town in New York may be receptive,” said Advance Grow Labs managing director David Lipton in a news release. “A lot of people will apply in New York and there’s lot of money, but it’s hard to do.”

Each approved licensee can dispense up to five brands of medical pot, with DOH having full control and authority over pricing. “The Commissioner must set the price per dose for each form of medical marijuana sold by any registered organization, and must take into account the fixed and variable costs of producing the form of marijuana in approving such price,” according to the health department.

DOH has not yet opened the market to patients who want to avail of medical marijuana within the state.

Medical Marijuana

Ohio Marijuana Legalization Supported By Cincinnati State President

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The state of Ohio is currently in discussions about legalizing marijuana, with the head of one of the state’s foremost educational institutions supporting the legalization.

Dr. O’Dell Owens, who works as president of the Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, said in a news report that he is endorsing marijuana use in Ohio, but within the strict bounds of medical practice. As a former coroner in Hamilton County, Owens said that patients have the right to choose their preferred treatment. “It is imperative that we allow patients to work directly with their doctors to use the treatments that work best for them, including medical marijuana if recommended,” Owens said.

The state school president understands the public criticism behind the drug, but said that this may be due to lack of information. “As the president of a community college, I have seen marijuana convictions for personal use prevent students from receiving financial aid, putting college even further out of reach, or have kept people from getting jobs. Ohio desperately needs reform,” Owens stated. He even expressed further that those involved in marijuana cases without a history of violence deserve a clean slate in state records. “It is critical that we expunge the records of those who have non-violent criminal records related to marijuana.”

Supporters of marijuana in Ohio are still about halfway into the target number of signatures required for lobbying an amendment to the constitution aimed at a November 5 vote.

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Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

Workplace Drug Testing Rules Create Confusion in Marijuana-Friendly States

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With more U.S. states welcoming medical marijuana into the fold, it’s not surprising that employers are confused in terms of implementing workplace drug testing procedures.

A news report revealed how marijuana legalization has changed people’s mindsets about the drug, while employers are scratching their heads as to how the legislation fits into their company rules and regulations. According to Society for Human Resource Management spokesperson Kate Kennedy, workplace drug testing “becoming of increasing interest [to companies], mostly because of changing state legislation on medical and recreational marijuana use.”

Quest Diagnostics, a drug testing company with headquarters in Madison, NJ, recently released a report that shows an increase in positive results for marijuana in the workplace by 6.2 percent in 2013. States that have legalized recreational marijuana were found to have higher increases: Colorado at 20 percent, and Washington at 23 percent.

Although marijuana legislation specifically states that it does not include jurisdiction on existing employment laws, the situation has nevertheless created a dilemma for many employers, whether to enforce stricter workplace policies to ensure zero marijuana-using employees or to accommodate them to a certain degree in order to keep their employees. Some might favor more stringent measures based on a previous report by the U.S. Department of Labor about a loss of roughly $82 billion because of decreased productivity in businesses.

The impact of marijuana use in the business sector is still under assessment, and is still “a changing arena,” said Quest Diagnostics science and technology director Barry Sample.

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