Category Archives: Medical Marijuana

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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Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

Marijuana Still A Dangerous Drug, Says Federal Judge

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In a move that will probably delay the acceptance of pot in all U.S. states further, a federal judge did not grant the proposal to exempt marijuana from the Schedule 1 category of dangerous drugs.

According to AP News via Yahoo!, U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller refused the removal of marijuana in the category of dangerous drugs characterized as having “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” The federal judge acknowledges the fact that the drug categorization has not been updated for decades. “It has been 45 years since Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act,” Mueller said. She adds that the changes in society and culture has definitely brought up the need to revisit the classification set by the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) Scheduling.

Despite the circumstances behind a possible yes vote, Mueller said that “this is not the court and this is not the time” to change things in the drug scheduling act.

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws deputy director Paul Armentano expressed that had Mueller rejected the inclusion of marijuana into the Schedule 1 drug category, it “would have been significant because you would have had a federal judge acknowledging what a majority of the public has already concluded: That marijuana does not meet the three criteria of a Schedule 1 drug.”

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Medical Marijuana

Tennessee Medical Marijuana Bill Arrives In State House

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Another state is poised to be added to the roster of places where medical marijuana is legal.

The Jackson Sun recently reported that the House at Tennessee is gearing up to discuss a newly proposed bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state. Republican Sen. Steven Dickerson sponsored the bill, which is now in the House due for deliberation.

As with other states, not everyone is supportive of this latest proposal. Giles County Rep. Barry Doss, also a Republican, voted negative during discussions in the Health Committee. Meanwhile, many others have not yet come up with a concrete decision due to the need for further study. This sentiment was echoed by Speaker of the House Beth Harwell, who said that it may be impossible to have the medical marijuana legislation approved this year.

The bill, like similar ones from other states, allows medical marijuana to be prescribed to patients diagnosed with cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, seizures, and many others. Cannabis will be made available not as a product that can be smoked, but rather something that can be vaporized or applied topically. Patients need to obtain a recommendation from their physicians, as well as an access card issued by the state after approval by the health department.

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Health & Wellness Medical Marijuana

Marijuana in Colorado Found With Fungus and Foreign Materials

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Have you tried taking fungus with your pot? Marijuana users in Colorado may be in for a surprise.

Denver medical lab company Charas Scientific discovered traces of fungus, butane, and heavy metals in samples of recreational marijuana sold in Colorado. Andy LaFrate, who works as president and director of research at the lab facility, was surprised with the presence of foreign matter in cannabis samples. “You’ll see a marijuana bud that looks beautiful. And then we run it through a biological assay and we see that it’s covered in fungi,” LaFrate shared in a news report.

The findings were part of voluntary tests by lab facilities accredited by the state to conduct potency analysis on marijuana samples, with Charas Scientific one of those companies. Testing for contaminants has not been mandated by state law, although some lab firms have conducted their own tests. Charas business development chief Mary Meek said that the importance of product purity could bear a significant impact to the health of users. “Right now [the testing] is not in effect for marijuana, so you don’t really know how dirty or clean your product is right now,” Meek said. “The problem is it’s not been tracked. You may just think you’re getting a cold and it may look like allergies, when in reality it could be something else going on.”

The company, however, is quick to dismiss the notion that the revelation of this startling finding is meant to scare people from buying pot. “We want to label your marijuana like we would label your liquor or your beer. You want to know your items have been tested and they’re safe,” Meek added.

State law requires potency and consistency tests on recreational marijuana sold in retail shops.

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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 Real Drug Stories

Study Says Medical Marijuana Smokers Use it to Replace Prescription Opioids

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The majority of qualified patients in Rhode Island who get their medical marijuana from a state-licensed dispensary report that they use it instead of taking regular prescription drugs, particularly prescription opioids.

The revelation comes from a demographic review of patient characteristics published in The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents used cannabis to treat chronic pain and 56% said they had used marijuana as a substitute for pharmaceutical drugs, according to researchers at Brown University in Providence and the University of Arkansas.

Over 90% of respondents reported that marijuana was associated with fewer side effects than conventional pain medications.

Most respondents in the study possessed health insurance and had never received treatment for drug or alcohol use and they represented about half of the total number of licensed patients in Rhode Island.

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Medical Marijuana

Federal Medical Marijuana Bill Pushed By Bipartisan Senators

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Itching to get medical marijuana in your state? This new revelation seems to be the solution not only for the restricted U.S. states but also for supporters of either political party.

A new bill called the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act was pushed March 10 as a way to legalize medical marijuana in the federal level. The comprehensive (and controversial) legislation is authored by senators from the Democratic and Republican parties: Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker, and Republican Paul Rand.

This joint bipartisan bill aims to remove the ban on medical marijuana in the federal laws so as to provide states with the option to offer the drug to patients. “We need policies that empower states to legalize medical marijuana if they so choose — recognizing that there are Americans who can realize real medical benefits if this treatment option is brought out of the shadows,” Booker said in a news release.

In behalf of her co-authors, Gillibrand expressed the need to update existing federal laws and embrace the advantages that medical marijuana has to offer. “Current federal law turns its back on families in need of this medicine, which doctors want to prescribe to ease pain and suffering… The CARERS Act will no longer put politicians between doctors and patients. It will let doctors do their job and give parents every available option to comfort their children,” said Gillibrand.

The current classification of marijuana — medical or recreational — is a Schedule I Controlled Substance, in the same line as LSD, ecstasy and heroin. The CARERS act is designed to remove marijuana from the list so that the transport and availability of the substance becomes less restricted.

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Medical Marijuana

Georgia State Capitol Flooded By Rallyists For Medical Marijuana

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House Bill 1, the controversial Georgia bill designed to allow medical marijuana in the state, has reached the Senate. As families and supporters rallied to the state Capitol March 5, the legislature is urged to vote for the bill to be approved into law.

House Representative Allen Peake, R-Macon sponsored the bill, which seeks to amend “Chapter 34 of Title 43 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated,” according to the Georgia General Assembly website. The amendment aims to update specific provisions in relation to marijuana as treatment for debilitating diseases such as glaucoma, cancer, multiple sclerosis and seizures. The proposed bill requires patients to obtain a registration card from the Georgia Public Health Department, as well as a doctor’s prescription.

Rallyists behind the bill are threatening senators who won’t vote for the affirmative, saying that the public won’t vote for them in the next elections. “If they vote yea, they can stay. If they vote no, they have got to go,” Macon resident Lindsey Crosby said in a news release.

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Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

Alaska Legalizes Marijuana Use With More Lenient Rules Than Other States

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The state may be chilly, but the latest hot topic in Alaska is now burning up the presses.

A voter initiative in Alaska has pushed the legalization of marijuana in the state February 24, bringing years of convoluted laws surrounding the issue to a close. The approved plans allows use and safekeeping of cannabis, as well as bring it in transport, grow plants and distribute them. However, people caught using pot in public will be slapped with a fine of $100. This makes Alaska the third U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana, after Colorado and Washington.

Despite the affirmative vote for marijuana use, many citizens are concerned about what this might bring to the state, especially after the observed rise in other similar abuse issues on drugs and alcohol. Edward Nick of Manokotak, Alaska said that his village prohibits alcohol and drug use, whether in public or in the privacy of one’s home. “When they start depending on smoking marijuana, I don’t know how far they’d go to get the funds they need to support it, to support themselves,” Nick said in a news release.

Proponents of the marijuana voter initiative include “libertarians, rugged individualists and small-government Republicans,” according to AP. The initiative will allow communities such as Manokotak to regulate marijuana use in the confines of local law, just like they do in alcohol.

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Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

Debates For Marijuana Legislation Heating Up In Congress

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As more states are embracing legalized marijuana use and distribution, discussions on the controversial drug are now reaching the House.

Two congressmen — Colorado Rep. Jared Polis and Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer — introduced a new bill that aims to legalize cannabis across the entire federal jurisdiction. Polis revealed in a news statement that Colorado has benefited hugely from legalizing marijuana. “Over the past year, Colorado has demonstrated that regulating marijuana like alcohol takes money away from criminals and cartels, grows our economy, and keeps marijuana out of the hands of children,” Polis said. Colorado is one of the U.S. states that has legalized marijuana.

The proposed bill, tagged as “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act”, aims to treat cannabis just like the country does alcohol: remove it from the list of illegal drugs and transfer regulation to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Meanwhile, another proposal called “Marijuana Tax Revenue Act” focuses on imposing taxes on cannabis from a starting rate of 10 percent and gradually rising over the years.

This new move by members of the House is being pushed amidst numerous complaints against marijuana shops and dispensaries are “nuisances” to nearby communities and neighboring states.