Colombia: First Medical Marijuana License Granted — Amid Dissent

PharmaCielo Colombia Holdings, local subsidiary of Canada-based PharmaCielo Ltd, announced June 28 that it has won a manufacturing license from Colombia’s Ministry of Health to process cannabis plants for medical and scientific purposes. This allows PharmaCielo to apply for a license to cultivate cannabis, primarily for production of oil extracts. The company is the first to be granted such license since President Juan Manuel Santos issued a decree in December establishing a legal framework for a medical marijuana program in Colombia. The operation will be based in Rionegro, Antioquia region.

The PharmaCielo press release stated: “There are many advantages to growing this industry in Colombia. In addition to its equatorial location and ideal microclimates, it is one of the most economically advantageous countries in the world for the production of large volumes of high-quality, low-cost cannabis due to its expertise in the flower industry, knowledgeable and skilled labor force and supportive government.”

This is quite a turn-around from just a few years ago, when Colombia’s government ran TV spots urging peasants not to grow cannabis, “the herb that kills.”

Jon Ruiz, CEO of PharmaCielo in an interview with Bogotá’s El Espectador emphasized Colombia’s year-round growing season, anticipating higher yields for a fraction of the cost in Colorado, where expensive and energy-intensive grow lamps are mandated.

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Jean Coutu open to selling medical marijuana, but won’t lobby federal government

VARENNES, Que. – The CEO of Jean Coutu, one of the country’s largest pharmacy chains, said Tuesday he is open to selling medical marijuana but won’t lobby the federal government to do so.

“We’re not going to actively pursue this,” François Coutu said following the company’s annual general meeting at its new headquarters and automated distribution centre in Varennes, Que.

Coutu said he doesn’t know how profitable the sale of medical marijuana would be for the company, which operates 417 stores in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick.

“I haven’t focused on that because it’s going to be a long way before this is happening,” he said.

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Ohio’s lawyers have ethics questions about medical marijuana

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) —Attorneys are asking whether Ohio’s new medical marijuana law that bars employers from disciplining professionals from working with marijuana businesses applies to them.

Lawyers have submitted at least two requests for formal opinions on the matter to the state Supreme Court’s Board of Professional Conduct. Only the state’s high court can discipline licensed attorneys.

Attorneys want to know whether lawyers can use medical marijuana, own or operate medical marijuana businesses and represent marijuana cultivators, processors, dispensaries, patients and caregivers. The new medical marijuana law bars professional license holders from being disciplined “solely for engaging in professional or occupational activities related to medical marijuana.”

The law also allows employers to fire workers who are medical marijuana patients if they violate drug-free policies put forth by their employer.

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Minnesota Celebrates First Medical Marijuana Anniversary

The Minnesota medical marijuana program completed one year on Friday. The authorities also expanded the eligibility for the use of the medical cannabis to a new group of patients.

Supporters of the medicinal form of marijuana celebrated the completion of one year and shared their success stories. Commenting on how the medical marijuana has helped her child, Beth Hundley from Golden Valley said, “It’s meant so much to our family because we literally have been able to see our daughter emerge before our eyes.” Her daughter Harlow who is four-years-old has Dravet Syndrome which is a serious form of epilepsy which causes regular seizures. Such seizures usually lead to developmental problems.

The parents of the child and Harlow became a known figure in the area after the parents endlessly lobbied at the legislature in support of legalized medical marijuana that could help their child lead a calmer life.

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Medical pot database could cause delays for mediacal marijuana users

The state’s medical marijuana database might not be ready by Friday, and that could pose a big problems for patients on the day many of the state’s dispensaries will transition to retail operations.

A Tacoma company is in charge of running the database. It’s not yet known what the problem is.

But medical marijuana patients should be allowed to walk into a store such as Urban Bud and use what’s called a medical marijuana recognition card.

That card would allow the cardholder to purchase products without sales tax and buy three times the amount of marijuana that recreational users can buy.

But until the database is up and running, medical marijuana patients won’t be able to use their cards anywhere in the state

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CHICAGO — Illinois must add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of diseases eligible for medical marijuana treatment, a Cook County judge ordered Tuesday in a sternly worded ruling that also said the state’s public health director engaged in a “private investigation” that was “constitutionally inappropriate.”

In a lawsuit filed by an Iraq war veteran, Judge Neil Cohen ordered Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah to add PTSD within 30 days. It’s the first decision among eight lawsuits filed by patients disappointed with across-the-board rejections by Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration of recommendations from an advisory board on medical marijuana.

The health department is reviewing the judge’s order, department spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said.

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Growing medical marijuana could mean big business in Maryland

The people lining up to profit from Maryland’s legal medical marijuana market include former sheriffs and state lawmakers, wealthy business executives and well-connected political donors, according to previously undisclosed public records obtained by The Washington Post.

Nearly 150 businesses are competing for up to 15 cultivation licenses that will be awarded starting this summer, the first footholds in an emerging industry that is already worth billions nationally.

Very few applicants have publicly discussed their plans. But through a public-records request and database searches, The Post identified more than 950 people working for or investing in prospective growing operations in Maryland. Among them: former Drug Enforcement Administration agents; the leader of a Maryland state police union; former heads of the Department of Natural Resources police; a former U.S. Capitol Police chief; and Eugene Monroe, the recently released tackle for the Baltimore Ravens who is the foremost advocate of medical marijuana in the National Football League.

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Medical Marijuana Dispensary May Open In Grandview

A medical marijuana dispensary is now one step closer to opening in Grandview. The village’s zoning board has recommended that the full board vote on the proposed site.

Some residents around Grandview, which is surrounded by Springfield, are surprised this vacant building could become a medical marijuana dispensary in just a few months.

Others say it could help bring more people to the village.

Empty parking spaces could fill up this fall if the Grandview Village Board approves zoning for Maribis’ proposed medical marijuana dispensary, where approved patients can buy the drug.

The zoning board will make a recommendation Thursday night. Some residents are intrigued.

“If it helps people with a medical problem I think it will be fine,” said Kay Scogin, who lives in Grandview.

“I definitely think it does put Grandview on the map,” said Issiah Thompson, also of Grandview.

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Backlog for New Mexico medical marijuana program worsens

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – Delays in renewing medical marijuana cards in New Mexico have grown so long that some seriously ill patients are resorting to purchasing marijuana on the black market, according to some patients and advocates.

The state Department of Health says the backlog was caused by a surge in demand from new applicants, reported The Santa Fe New Mexican ( . Although state law gives the department 30 days to approve or deny an application, spokesman Kenny Vigil said by email that the current wait is about 40 to 50 days.

Vigil didn’t respond to an interview request from the newspaper, but he said in a written statement that the department is working hard to get caught up. The agency purchased two new printers, hired two new employees and two temporary employees and is considering more hires. Employees also have had to work six days a week.

Vigil said the goal is to get caught up this summer.

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Efforts to make it easier to get medical marijuana in Nevada are lauded

Instead of waiting as long as three months for access to medical marijuana dispensaries, prospective Nevada patients can now be approved on the same day thanks to a new Las Vegas-based Division of Public and Behavioral Health office. For medical marijuana officials, that’s a step in the right direction to establishing a healthy and safe medical marijuana industry.

The office opened last week on 2300 W. Sahara Ave in partnership with the Nevada Dispensary Association — a group of over 60 dispensary owners in Nevada — and allows up to 25 patients to apply in-person for their medical marijuana cards daily instead of sending their applications to Carson City.

The administrative improvement transpired after about six months of conversation between the dispensary association and state officials, said Riana Durrett, the association’s executive director.

“We wondered why it was taking so long and what we could do to help with the industry,” Durrett said. “Patients should be able to get medicine, either at the office or online.”

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