April 20, 2015

NJ Medical Marijuana Program Director Resigns

According to a recent article from NJ.com, the director of New Jersey's medical marijuana program has resigned his position. This occurred approximately three-and-a-half years after he was hired with much official and popular support. His resignation was handled much more quietly and was confirmed in a health department release.

cannabisflower1.jpgThe now former program director was a 26-year veteran of the state police and is said to be relocating with his family following his resignation. The medical marijuana program's second in charge has been placed in the position of acting director until a suitable replacement can be found.

During his tenure with the state's medical marijuana program, his agency faced opposition and constant attack from various groups. On some occasions, it was patients who were upset with the program. In other instances, it was dispensary owners who felt they could not function with the state's burdensome laws and regulations. He even faced a lawsuit from a physician and patient on grounds the state was initially dragging out implementation of medical marijuana laws since they were created in 2010.

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April 18, 2015

Dr. Sanjay Gupta Calls for Medical Marijuana Revolution

Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been a long-time contributor to CNN. He has become a household name, and America has come to value his opinion on medical issues. According to a recent article, Gupta says it is time in this country for a medical marijuana revolution.

rollingajoint.jpgGupta begins with a review of current trends on state ballots, media reports, and surveys which show more than three quarters of American voters support legalization of marijuana for any purpose and more than half favor legalization of medical marijuana. This is in stark contrast to surveys conducted in the late 1960s, when just over ten percent of respondents favored legalization of marijuana, and the concept of medical marijuana was not yet realized.

Obviously there is a growing trend in support of young people to legalize marijuana, but they are not alone. Gupta discusses how police officers, parents, and even grandparents are increasingly support legalization of marijuana. One young patient whose parents were interviewed for this story was seeing a neurologist for a serious seizure disorder. She was reportedly having as many as 300 seizures each week, and after taking medical marijuana, the number of seizures she exhibits is down to one to two each month. This was after neurologists had expended all feasible traditional methods of controlling her seizure disorder.

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April 15, 2015

Doctor Sentenced for Dispensing Marijuana to Patients Without Exams

A doctor who prescribed marijuana to patients for whom he never actually examined was not acting out of greed, but rather compassion, his attorney said following his sentencing hearing.
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The 58-year-old Michigan physician conceded he knew he was breaking the law, when he prescribed the drug on the advice of his office staff, whom he said took advantage of his willingness to help patients he believed had limited access. His practice focused primarily on those with HIV and AIDS.

He would sometimes meet groups of patients at nearby restaurants, but he didn't always meet with patients in person. He also allowed marijuana to be grown at his home.

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April 13, 2015

Industry Guidelines for Hemp Regulation, Labeling and Manufacturing Released

As a number of states have opened the doors to the cultivation, manufacture and distribution of hemp and related products, a number of industry advocates have released a series of guidelines for best practices in order to ensure both quality of the product and consumer safety. hempfarm.jpg

The recommendations were made as part of a collaboration between the Hemp Industries Association, Americans for Safe Access, the Cannabis Committee and the American Herbal Products Association. The guidelines were submitted after input from a number of industry experts, and were presented at the National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference last month in Washington, D.C.

According to a February 2015 "_blank">report by the Congressional Research Service, noted that while precise data is not available for the size of the hemp-based product market in the U.S., it's estimated to be somewhere around $580 million. It's a commodity that's cultivated for use in a wide range of products, which includes food and beverages, cosmetics, personal care products, nutritional supplements, textiles and fabrics, insulation and construction materials and other manufactured goods.

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April 12, 2015

Medical Marijuana Advocates Fear Full Legalization's Effect

Those who rely on medicinal marijuana for treatment of severe illnesses and medical conditions fear that the expansion of recreational marijuana may harm their chances for safe access. handsholding.jpg

An example of this was recently outlined by the Cincinnati Enquirer, which is chronicling the process of marijuana legalization in Ohio.

There are currently 23 states that allow marijuana as medicine, and another four states that have granted permission for recreational use and sales. States that are weighing which path they want to take have been given little direction by the federal government on the issue, other than the necessity of a strong legal framework of checks and balances to ensure the drugs aren't sold on the black market or to children.

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April 11, 2015

Marijuana and the Workplace: The 411 on 420 for Employers

Marijuana as medicine has been legal in California since the 1990s, and in other states, it's available in various forms for different purposes under a patchwork of restrictions. The drug has been largely de-criminalized and in some places even legal for recreational consumption, but it remains barred under federal law.
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We have 23 states plus Washington, D.C. where there are millions card-carrying marijuana users and four other states where recreational use is allowed.

All of this has made for a confusing situation for employers. Many workforces consider themselves Zero Tolerance, and for years have subscribed to the idea that marijuana consumption of any kind should be strictly forbidden by workers. But now, those same copmanies may be opening themselves up to employment litigation for targeting workers who use marijuana on their off-time or even on the job as medicine.

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April 9, 2015

Industrial Hemp Legalized in North Dakota by Lawmakers

Farmers and distributors in North Dakota will soon be able to grow, produce and sell industrial hemp.hempjuice.jpg

This is yet another victory for those who have been pushing for an entry for local production in the U.S. market. Last year, the Hemp Industries Association estimated the plant, which has a host of valuable purposes, ranging from baby care to foods to auto parts to building materials to clothing. The hemp market nationwide was estimated to be around $620 million in 2014.

Even though hemp has no intoxicating properties, it's been heavily restricted by federal authorities in the same manner as cannabis. That changed when President Barack Obama signed the 2014 Farm Bill, which contained an amendment that allowed for the legalization of hemp cultivation and production for research purposes. The measure also allowed states that had legalized the crop to continue growing it within the parameters set forth by the state's agriculture department and local research institutions.

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April 7, 2015

Clearing Record of Prior Marijuana Arrests, Convictions

With an increasing number of states de-criminalizing or even legalizing possession and sale of marijuana for personal use, a number of courts have been asked to decide whether prior convictions for these offenses can be erased.
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Most recently, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled 7-0 that people convicted of possessing small amounts of the drug have the right to request erasure of those convictions. The court pointed to the state's decriminalization of misdemeanor possession of the drug in 2011 as the underlying legal base for the decision.

The law reduced punishment for possession of less than a half ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor - with the possibility of time behind bars - to a simple violation warranting a fine of between $150 to $500, depending on the number of prior offenses.

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April 5, 2015

San Diego's First Legal Marijuana Dispensary Opens Doors

It's been nearly two decades since California voters approved the use of medical marijuana. Yet many cities quickly or over the course of the years enacted local bans on cultivation and dispensing, opening those with legitimate need and good motives to the possibility of criminal prosecution, eviction and civil forfeiture.
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San Diego was one of those. But now, the city has allowed its first permitted medical marijuana dispensary, in a strip mall situated near the internal border. The lines were modest, though those who waited expressed relief they could finally purchase their medication from an approved shop in the city for the very first time. Customers said with other locations, there was always the concern the facility would be raided.

The new measure that permits medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits requires the facilities to be non-profit operations. They must allow testing of their products, and there needs to be adherence to strict zoning requirements and tight security rules. The process allows a path to legitimacy for the existing underground operations. About 50 other cities in the state have gone the same route.

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April 3, 2015

Four Competing California Marijuana Legalization Proposals

California voters may have declined a single proposal of marijuana reform in 2010, but next year, it seems likely they will have their pick of four alternatives for legalization of recreational use and sale.
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Last year, the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act of 2014 failed to generate enough signatures to make it onto the ballot. However, the same group that introduced that measure is seeking public feedback on a proposal it wants to initiate next year. The advocates have granted open access to a Google Document in an effort to generate input.

That announcement follows the efforts of another group, the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative, to introduce a new measure that would legalize up to 12 pounds of marijuana for personal use. That group also attempted to promote ballot measures in 2010, 2012 and 2014, but, like the other group, was unable to garner enough signatures to get the measure on the ballot. The group's latest effort involves appearing in several spots on HashBar TV.

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April 1, 2015

Alaska Police Raid Ex-TV Anchor's Cannabis Club

Authorities in Alaska launched a raid on the Alaska Cannabis Club, owned and operated by a former television anchor who resigned on air after announcing she would be devoting herself to marijuana legalization advocacy.
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A search warrant produced by authorities prior to the raid indicated they were looking for evidence to support assertions that illegal marijuana sales were taking place on site. The warrant indicated officers were there to search the property and vehicles for cannabis and THC derivatives like edibles, hasish and resins. They were also looking for any forms or electronic statements that might indicate trafficking in controlled substances.

Officers tore through bags and bins on site, uprooted several plants and confiscated computers and paraphernalia. They also impounded two of the vehicles. No arrests were made or charges filed.

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March 30, 2015

Spittler and Farnham v. City of Clearlake - Medical Marijuana Cultivation Ban Challenged

Marijuana advocates are fighting back in court against a ban on medical marijuana cultivation in Clearlake. balance2.jpg

Plaintiffs in Spittler and Farnham v. City of Clearlake, before the Superior Court of California for Lake County, allege the ban is illegal under California law, which legalized the drug for medicinal use.

The litigation is supported by Cal NORML, which is the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Although the lawsuit contains three plaintiffs, it was filed on behalf of all the city's medical marijuana patients.

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March 27, 2015

"Historic" Marijuana Bill Introduced by U.S. Senators

The marijuana reform bill introduced by a trio of high-profile U.S. senators is being called "historic" for the way in which it would pave a path toward the drug's legitimacy nationwide.
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It's a first for the Senate, and advocates are praising it for the fact that it is comprehensive. Even the Drug Policy Alliance was one of several groups consulted prior to drafting. The bill is being unveiled as a joint effort by Democrats Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand and Republican Rand Paul. It wouldn't legalize marijuana nationwide, but it would save patients from the threat of federal prosecution in states where the drug is legal.

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March 25, 2015

California Lawmakers Lay Off Marijuana DUI - For Now

California state lawmakers will be mulling a myriad of issues related to marijuana in the coming months. In all, there are approximately 20 bills that address the drug in some form or another. driving3.jpg

Those measures were all filed before the deadline for the introduction of new laws in February. They include a new attempt at tighter regulations of the current medical marijuana industry, restrictions on how synthetic marijuana is branded and packaged and the quantity of marijuana that authorities can destroy following a raid.

But for the first time in three legislative sessions, what is not up for consideration is a measure that would impose criminal penalties for motorists with marijuana in their system. The bill had been flatly shot down twice before, and it seems this session, lawmakers decided to spend their energy elsewhere.

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March 23, 2015

Lawsuits Seek to Open Doors to Costa Mesa Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Two lawsuits against the City of Costa Mesa, filed in Orange County Superior Court, alleges the city blocked a special election on a medical marijuana initiative for purely political reasons, violating state election law. City officials counter they were guided in their actions by the California Constitution, which would supersede election statutes.
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Although access to medical marijuana was approved by California voters in the late 1990s, individual municipalities throughout the state have enacted ordinances that bar shops from opening in their districts. Costa Mesa was one of those.

The dispute centers on two different medical marijuana initiatives that were certified by the city clerk in October. Certification meant the two proposals had garnered enough signatures from registered voters - at least 15 percent. It also required the city to either approve and adopt the measures, or to initiate a special election to give voters the opportunity to decide. A special election, per local ordinance, would have to be held within 103 days of the decision, which would mean it should have been held sometime this month.

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Recent Entries

April 20, 2015 NJ Medical Marijuana Program Director Resigns According to a recent article from NJ.com, the director of New Jersey's medical marijuana program...

April 18, 2015 Dr. Sanjay Gupta Calls for Medical Marijuana Revolution Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been a long-time contributor to CNN. He has become a household...

April 15, 2015 Doctor Sentenced for Dispensing Marijuana to Patients Without Exams A doctor who prescribed marijuana to patients for whom he never actually examined was not...

April 13, 2015 Industry Guidelines for Hemp Regulation, Labeling and Manufacturing Released As a number of states have opened the doors to the cultivation, manufacture and distribution...

April 12, 2015 Medical Marijuana Advocates Fear Full Legalization's Effect Those who rely on medicinal marijuana for treatment of severe illnesses and medical conditions fear...

April 11, 2015 Marijuana and the Workplace: The 411 on 420 for Employers Marijuana as medicine has been legal in California since the 1990s, and in other states,...