Voting against Claitor’s motion was Mills and Sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb, D-Baton Rouge. Mills opened the pitch for his bill by listing harmful and uncomfortable side effects like loss of vision and bloody urine of drugs like Viagra, birth control and opiates that the Federal Drug Administration has approved.
Passed in 1998, the law does not actually provide any arrest protections for medical marijuana patients. Unlike any medical marijuana state but California, there is no statewide registry of medical marijuana patients. There are no Washington State medical marijuana cards, only doctors recommendations typed on tamper-proof paper.
Washington State defines a fairly standard set of conditions to qualify for the recommendation, but it remains only an affirmative defense in court to charges of possession and/or cultivation — patients can still be arrested. Initially, Washington didn’t even define how much marijuana a patient could possess and cultivate, referring only to a 60-day supply. That supply turned out to be fairly generous in western areas like Seattle and mighty low in eastern areas like Kennewick, depending on the attitude of law enforcement toward medical marijuana.
Eventually, that 60-day supply got defined as 24 ounces (a pound and a half!) and 15 plants — the greatest statewide limits in the country. But there still remained the problem of where to buy marijuana if you couldn’t or wouldn’t grow it. That’s where entrepreneurs stepped in with a creative interpretation of the designated provider (caregiver) portions of the law and the activists were more than happy to help . A caregiver, who could only serve one patient at a time, was legally allowed to assist their patient with the use of medical marijuana. So, entrepreneurs opened storefront dispensaries.
More than 100 families have moved to Colorado Springs in recent months to obtain the oil, and mothers have launched lobbying efforts in many states to legalize medical marijuana for conditions such as epilepsy. Many of them have connected with Realm of Caring, a group started by a family who developed the “Charlotte’s Web” low-THC plant and the oil, which is rich in cannabidiol, or CBD, according to Heather Barnes-Jackson, the group’s executive director.
The plant is named for Charlotte Figi, who began taking the CBD oil (also called “Realm Oil”) at 5 as a last resort and saw a drastic reduction in her violent grand mal seizures. Research has showed that CBD has anti-inflammatory, neuro-protectant and antioxidant properties through its interactions with the brain and the body, Barnes-Jackson said.
Meanwhile, other families watch with envy, unable to uproot their families but hopeful that their states will consider a change in marijuana laws, at least for this oil — which has marijuana’s intoxicating ingredient, THC, removed — and this condition. A British company, GW Pharmaceuticals, has been approved for a study in the United States using a cannabis extract for patients with Dravet syndrome, a particularly severe form of epilepsy.
Parents who have endured years of epilepsy’s consequences — particularly those who have children with Dravet syndrome, which can be fatal at any time — feel that they don’t have time to wait. The Food and Drug Administration, which must approve any legal use of medical marijuana, says it “requires carefully conducted studies in large numbers of patients (hundreds to thousands) to accurately assess the benefits and risks of a potential medication.” It recently gave approval to GW Pharmaceuticals for testing of the CBD-based drug Epidiolex for both Dravet and Lennox-Gastraut syndromes, two severe forms of epilepsy, and the company hopes to work with doctors and patients to perform clinical trials in the United States this year.
Officials with the FDA, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Office of National Drug Control Policy all declined to discuss the government’s position on CBD oil or relaxing restrictions on marijuana for research purposes.
But even in the epilepsy community there is a debate about whether using the extract is appropriate. In February, the Epilepsy Foundation released a position paper calling for an end to DEA restrictions on clinical trials and research and asking the agency to allow greater access to medical marijuana oil.
Researchers didn’t find enough evidence to show that medical marijuana is helpful in treating movement problems in people with Huntington’s disease, tics in those with Tourette syndrome or seizures in people with epilepsy. The drug also didn’t appear to provide relief to patients with cervical dystonia, which is a rare disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions in the neck.
For people with Parkinson’s disease , the researchers concluded that medical marijuana is probably ineffective in treating abnormal movements that can develop in the late stages of the disease. These abnormal movements appear as a side effect of the drug levodopa, which is the main drug used to treat Parkinson’s disease.
Marijuana contains about 60 active compounds called cannabinoids. The most well-known marijuana compound is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is associated with the “high” effect of smoking marijuana and can cause psychosis and anxiety. Another compound is cannabidiol (CBD), which is not psychoactive and appears to have opposite effects. However, more research is needed to know all the effects of marijuana compounds, experts say.
“Cannabinoids should be studied as other drugs are, to determine their efficacy and, when evidence is available, should be prescribed as other drugs are,” the researchers wrote in their study. The ratio of THC to CBD compounds in marijuana samples varies, and medical marijuana tends to have a lower relative amount of THC.
And now there is pending legislation, authored by conservative Republican state Sen. Mike Folmer. Once a critic of marijuana legalization, Folmer had a considerable change of heart after he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2012. For the first time, a medical marijuana bill in Pennsylvania has growing bipartisan support.
That bill, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, would enable adults to possess and use small amounts of marijuana, prescribed by a doctor, to treat a range of illnesses and disorders, including cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder and glaucoma, among others. Children, too, could be treated with the drug with a guardian’s consent, most typically (but not exclusively) to alleviate the ill effects of severe seizure disorders, an application which has been life-changing for many in states that have already legalized medical marijuana usage.
So why is Corbett content to stand astride the overwhelming will of the people? His public stance is that changes in drug laws should be undertaken at the federal level. He would have us believe that he is unaware that medical marijuana is legal in 21 states and Washington, D.C. Instead, he deflects attention toward the president, saying this month: We all know he’s admitted to smoking pot in the past. He’s had the opportunity to go and tell the FDA (to legalize the drug).
Gov. Deval Patrick (D) is being pressured to speed up access to medical marijuana. Advocates for medical marijuana rallied outside the Massachusetts statehouse Thursday as lawmakers held a hearing on a bill that would legalize marijuana in the state, according to the AP.
The group describes themselves as a registered student organization at Central Michigan University that allows students with an interest in a marijuana-legalization movement to get involved. SAMRC is an active part of the CMU community; on Tuesday, April 22 the group held a Weed is In Tents event. Not surprisingly the event involved a tent pitched on the campus, some music and free information.
Group leader Ian Elliott has been active in actions beyond the campus borders, including interviews on the Planet Green Trees Internet Radio Show and a speaking appearance at this years Hash Bash celebration. SAMRCs Tell the Truth event was designed to give students interested in marijuana policy reform the opportunity to hear from, and interact with, those on the front lines of the movement, said Elliott.
While many students agree with reform, most don’t understand the facts behind the arguments being given from various perspectives of society. Understanding how medical, commercial and legal influences effect marijuana policies is important in understanding the movement itself. SAMRC has brought all of these vital components into one educational event. The discussion features notable panelists, including: Matthew Abel, attorney with the Detroit firm of Cannabis Counsel, PLLC and the Executive Director of the Michigan chapter of NORML Adam Brook, entrepreneur and longtime emcee of Michigans annual marijuana festival Hash Bash & Heidi Parikh, President of the Michigan-based nonprofit organization My Compassion Anticipation has built for the panel discussion.
I look forward to participating tonight at CMU, as I get to share what I saw in Denver first hand, both sides of the coin for cannabis, medical and recreational, said Heidi Parikh. The educated youth will end the drug war as they get older and assume power,Adam Brook told The Compassion Chronicles. I savor the opportunity to mold the future minds of America.
To read more, visit http://www.theweedblog.com/tell-the-truth-about-medical-marijuana/
Researchers at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University assessed the impact of medical cannabis laws by examining trends in reported drug use by high-schoolers in a cohort of states before and after legalization. Researchers compared these trends to geographically matched states that had not adopted medical marijuana laws. Authors reported overall no statistically significant differences in marijuana use before and after policy change for any state pairing, and acknowledged that some states that had adopted medical cannabis laws experienced a decrease in adolescents self-reported use of the plant.
In the regression analysis, we did not find an overall increased probability of marijuana use related to the policy change, they stated. Investigators concluded, This study did not find increases in adolescent marijuana use related to legalization of medical marijuana. This suggests that concerns about sending the wrong message may have been overblown. Our study may provide some reassurance to policy makers who wish to balance compassion for individuals who have been unable to find relief from conventional medical therapies with the safety and well-being of youth.
A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Public Health similarly concluded that the passage of medical marijuana laws in various states has had no statistically significant effect on the prevalence of either lifetime or 30-day marijuana use by adolescents residing in those states. A 2012 study by researchers at McGill University in Montreal reported: Passing MMLs (medical marijuana laws) decreased past-month use among adolescents and had no discernible effect on the perceived riskiness of monthly use. These estimates suggest that reported adolescent marijuana use may actually decrease following the passing of medical marijuana laws. Read the abstract of this latest study, The Impact of State Medical Marijuana Legislation on Adolescent Marijuana Use, online here .
Parents of ailing children, doctors and clergy are intensifying their push to persuade legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton to legalize medical marijuana this year. Our leaders here in Minnesota have the opportunity to heal the sick and bind up the injured, said the Rev. Catherine Schuyler, of Duluth. They have the opportunity to make good medicine available to those who are in pain.
Minnesotans for Compassionate Care, the group leading their effort, held a news conference at the Capitol on Tuesday to announce that 100 doctors and religious leaders from around the state support the measure, although no doctors attended the event. The proposal would allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients with a certain ailments, including children with seizure disorders.
Federal regulators do not consider marijuana to have a medical benefit, so doctors are barred from prescribing it. Dayton has resisted legalization, citing the strong objections of law enforcement and health officials, who say that legal access would make marijuana more readily available to underage and recreational users.
The governor has tried to seek a compromise, offering to have the state pay for a Mayo Clinic study that would allow at least 200 children with seizures to be part of trials, to determine whether marijuana has proved medical benefits. The study could provide new and potentially groundbreaking medical research in what has become a very political issue in Minnesota and around the country. Medical marijuana advocates have rejected the study proposal, saying there is no guarantee that Mayo Clinic could legally obtain marijuana for the trial.
To read more, visit http://www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/256279081.html
There are emerging implications for plan sponsors that should be considered proactively. Health Canada has repealed the Marijuana Medical Access Program (MMAP) in favour of the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) whereby patients using medical marijuana will have to access their supply from one of 12 licensed growers (as of April 1, 2014) in Canada and can go through their own doctor for approval as opposed to having to apply to Health Canada.
The situation has been complicated by a March 21 injunction that was imposed by a federal court judge in British Columbia that will allow patients currently approved to grow their own supply at home to continue to do so. Recent estimates have suggested that up to 24,000 Canadians have licenses to grow their own medical marijuana supply. There has been a significant backlash to the new regulations from existing patients who grow their own supply who fear that they will no longer be able to afford the new commercial prices that are expected to range between $4 and $12 per gram. Its been estimated that patients growing for themselves can spend between $1 and $3 per gram to produce.
The use of medical marijuana in Canada has exploded since 2001 when Canadians were first able to legally acquire marijuana for HIV/AIDS and a handful of other conditions. As of 2014, the number of Canadians using medical marijuana has grown to approximately 40,000. according to Health Canada, and, according to the government, that number is expected to increase as much as tenfold in the next decade alone.