Medicinal Cannabis

Canada: WeedMD Gets License To Cultivate Medical Marijuana From Federal Government

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Medical cannabis to be produced at re-purposed Aylmer tobacco plant - with a focus on the Long Term Care Industry

WeedMD Rx Inc. on Wednesday announced that Health Canada has officially licensed the company to cultivate medical cannabis for patients across Canada.

The approval is in accordance with the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), a set of regulations enacted by parliament in July 2013 concerning the production, distribution and use of medical cannabis in Canada and also pursuant to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act of Canada.

The license will allow the Company to immediately begin cultivation of medical marijuana in its fully expandable 25,000 square foot facility located at the former Imperial Tobacco plant in Aylmer, Ontario

“The next phase is to establish a WeedMD standard in producing and selling the highest quality cannabis and also providing unparalleled customer service to all of our future patients," said Bruce Dawson-Scully, CEO of WeedMD. “In particular, we look forward to working with seniors in long-term care, palliative care, and respite care.

Nevada: The Source Medical Marijuana Dispensary Raises $1,000 For Friends of Parkinson's

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The+Source medical marijuana dispensary in Las Vegas on Tuesday celebrated raising $1,000 in support of Las Vegas-based organization, Friends of Parkinson’s with a big check presentation held at 4 p.m.

The+Source is one of Nevada’s first medical marijuana dispensaries, providing a variety of medicinal cannabis products to in and out-of-state patients. Nevada's medical marijuana law allows reciprocity, which means they honor medicinal cannabis authorizations from other states.

Friends of Parkinson’s is a non-profit organization that connects and creates local, nationwide, and international initiatives that support the neurological community and communities related to Parkinson‘s. Friends of Parkinson’s supports healing, care, and lifestyle management that applies to various forms of mental illnesses and the families, friends, and communities that support them.

U.S.: Baltimore Ravens Tackle Monroe Urges NFL To End Marijuana Ban, Reduce Opioid Use

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The National Football League should reduce the use of opioids and allow injured players to use medical marijuana, Baltimore Ravens tackle Eugene Monroe wrote in an essay published in The Players' Tribune on Monday.

"The NFL relies heavily on opioids to get players back on the field as soon as possible, but studies have shown medical marijuana to be a much better solution," Monroe wrote in an essay titled "Getting off the T Train," reports Pat McManamon at ESPN.

"[Medical marijuana] is safer, less addictive and can even reduce opioid dependence," Monroe wrote.

Both the NFL and the NFL Players Association officially ban any use of cannabis. Monroe said it's time for that policy to come to an end. He called for the league and union to:

• Remove marijuana from the banned substance list;
• Fund cannabis research, especially as it relates to the brain disease CTE; and
• Stop "overprescribing addictive and harmful opioids."

"I'm not asking the NFL to prescribe players cannabis," Monroe wrote. "I'm calling on the league to remove its testing protocols for cannabis. It just makes sense."

Canada: Vancouver Grants First Marijuana Dispensary License

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Vancouver last week became the first city in Canada to issue a marijuana dispensary license after creating a separate set of bylaws regulating the establishments.

The Wealth Shop, just outside the gates of the University of British Columbia in the Vancouver neighborhood of Point Grey, got the city's first license to operate a cannabis business, reports Katie Shapiro at The Cannabist.

The store, which hasn't yet opened for business, will be required to pay an annual licensing fee of $30,000 to the City of Vancouver. The majority of already existing pot shops operate as "compassion clubs," which require a $1,000 fee to get a license. Currently, both types of shops still operate outside the Canadian federal government's medicinal cannabis program.

U.S.: Veterans Group Weed For Warriors Praises House Passage of VA Marijuana Measure

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Decorated disabled Iraq War veteran Brandon Wyatt on Thursday applauded Congress for passing a measure today that will help veterans in states where medical marijuana is legal get the medicine they need to fight their battle with post traumatic stress disorder and other ailments.

“This is a significant step forward in our cause,” said Wyatt, a lawyer and activist, who staged a groundbreaking free cannabis giveaway last month outside the Veterans Administration clinic in Washington, D.C., for patients suffering from PTSD. “We appreciate the support and efforts of all involved.

"Nevertheless, the job is not finished, because this legislation does not allow all veterans to be provided with the quality healthcare they need in order to be free of the fear of having to self-medicate," Wyatt said. "Easier access doesn’t equate to equal access.”

The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, (D-Oregon), only applies to states where cannabis is legal; it doesn't allow for the distribution or use of cannabis at VA clinics or any federal facilities; and it doesn't allow for the VA to cover the costs.

U.S.: House Removes Restrictions Preventing Veterans Access To Medical Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed an amendment to the FY 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill led by Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon to make it easier for qualified veterans to access state-legal medical marijuana.

The amendment had bipartisan support and was co-sponsored by Representatives Joe Heck (R-NV), Sam Farr (D-CA), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Tom Reed (R-NY), Dina Titus (D-NV), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), and Jared Polis (D-CO). It passed by 233-189.

“One of the greatest tragedies of our time is our failure to adequately deal with the needs of our veterans returning home with wounds both visible and unseen," Representative Blumenauer said. "Giving them access to medical marijuana as an alternative treatment option to deal with chronic pain, PTSD, and other conditions is critical at a time when our veterans are dying with a suicide rate 50 percent higher than civilians and opiate overdoses at nearly double the national average.

Ohio: Patients Would Face New Hurdles Under Senate Medical Marijuana Bill

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The Ohio Senate’s State and Local Government Committee on Wednesday accepted a substitute version of House Bill 523, the narrow and restrictive medical marijuana legislation passed last week out of the Ohio House of Representatives.

“This latest version includes a series of high-cost requirements that will effectively keep many patients from being able to access medical marijuana,” said Aaron Marshall, spokesman for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana. “These mandates coupled with the legislature’s insistence that home grow be prohibited -- and the Senate’s elimination of a medical marijuana discount program for veterans and low-income Ohioans -- cements this bill as a deeply-flawed measure helping very few patients.”

Also changed on Wednesday in the Senate’s new version was language specifying that a patient’s pain must be “chronic, severe AND intractable” to qualify under a general pain provision. Intractable is often defined in medical dictionaries as “having no relief” or “resistant to cure, relief or control.”

“In essentially making the pain threshold intractable, lawmakers are cutting off access to thousands of Ohioans who have severe, debilitating, but not intractable, pain,” Marshall said.

California: SpeedWeed Responds To LA City Attorney's Injunction

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LA City Attorney Mike Feuer's office on Friday issued a statement that "SpeedWeed has ceased operations" because the company was allegedly in violation of zoning ordinance Measure D ("Proposition D"). "SpeedWeed is presently open and fully operational," the company responded on Tuesday, in a prepared statement.

"We have been working with the City Attorney on a 'wind down' period to pause operations within the City Limits," the statement reads. "Because of the City-imposed injunction, we are forced to put 40 good people out of work. With a heavy heart, we requested time to give our employees the chance to make new arrangements for work and do what is best for their families and to insure safe access for our members. The City agreed.

"SpeedWeed continues to operate and expand," according to the prepared statement from the company. "This is not end of SpeedWeed in the City of Los Angeles. This is only the first chapter. We intend to have our day in court. Win or lose, it is important that a judge, jury and the Los Angeles voters understand the insidious way Proposition D was drafted, passed and enforced. LA citizens are unaware of the unintended consequences of this unjust, obscure and very dangerous zoning rule.

U.S.: HelloMD Introduces Answers, Q&A Web Service On Medical Marijuana

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HelloMD, a digital healthcare platform for medical marijuana patients, on Tuesday announced the launch of Answers, a web-based service that allows cannabis users, or those considering using cannabis, to ask questions to the HelloMD expert community lead by doctors and physicians.

The company said it is the first to launch a service of this kind, providing qualified physicians to address America's questions on cannabis.

Legal marijuana is the fastest growing industry in the United States. According to a new report compiled by researchers from The ArcView Group, a cannabis industry investment and research firm based in Oakland, more than 1.5 million shoppers purchased legal marijuana from a dispensary, either medical or recreational, in 2014.

This year, the industry is expected to grow by 25 percent, capping at around $7.1 billion in sales. By 2020, the industry is expected to make a giant leap to $22.8 billion.

This type of compounding growth in a relatively new industry brings with it many questions.

According to HelloMD CEO and co-founder, Mark Hadfield, "We routinely receive high praise from our patients, but we also get consistent feedback that patients would like more time with our doctors. Many feel that they have more questions than answers as they begin their journey into the world of medical cannabis.

Pennsylvania: Marijuana Advocacy Group Partners For Business Seminars

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Pittsburgh NORML endorses US Cannabis’ seminars coming to Pittsburgh June 11 & 12

US Cannabis Pharmaceutical Research and Development has announced a "strategic partnership" with Pittsburgh NORML for sponsorship of the US Cannabis Medical Marijuana Business Seminar Series being held in Pittsburgh June 11 and 12.

"We only work with the best, and NORML sets the standard for professionalism and results," said Michael Patterson, CEO of US Cannabis. "They are the best marijuana advocacy group in the country. It's an honor to have them on our team.

"NORML has fought tirelessly for adults to have access to marijuana without persecution," Patterson said. "We want to implement their mission through educating Pennsylvania's best and brightest on the new Medical Marijuana law to facilitate successful marijuana commerce in the Keystone state."

"It's a win-win," said Pittsburgh NORML Chairman Isaac Holeva. "We want to give our supporters and all persons interested in this new legal industry the best chance to succeed.

"By attending this seminar, they will get expert advice and analysis from US Cannabis detailing both sides of the business: growing and producing marijuana and also medical regulation and compliance,” Holeva said.

Nevada: Experts, Leaders To Discuss Breaking Barriers To Medical Marijuana Research

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As the new medical marijuana industry takes shape in Nevada, the most often asked questions of patients are “Will cannabis help me?” and “Which strain works best for my illness?” Many regulatory barriers exist for the medical community to conduct the research needed to answer these questions.

Nationally recognized experts and state leaders will discuss the regulatory challenges, necessary reforms and the possibilities these changes will create for patients on Wednesday, May 25 in Las Vegas.

Panelists include John Hudak of The Brookings Institution, Sue Sisley, MD, The Grove Medical Director, Nevada State Senator Patricia Farley, and Eugene Monroe, Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle and Gridiron Cannabis Coalition. This event will be moderated by Nevada State Senator Tick Segerblom.

“More than 160 million Americans live in states with approved medical marijuana systems," said Hudak. "Each year, millions use marijuana with the hope of therapeutic and medicinal benefit. Yet, the federal government has constructed and continues to reinforce a series of barriers that prevent the scientific and medical community from studying the medical efficacy of marijuana.

"This event will explore those regulatory roadblocks and discuss solutions that reclaim the integrity of science and give sound answers to patients and doctors,” Hudak said.

U.S.: Blumenauer To Offer Veterans Equal Access Amendment For Medical Marijuana

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Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon this week will offer an amendment to make it easier for qualified veterans to access medical marijuana, when the U.S. House of Representatives considers the FY 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) specifically prohibits its medical providers from completing forms brought by their patients seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a veteran’s participation in a state medical marijuana program. This forces veterans out of the VA system to seek a simple recommendation for treatment for eligible conditions as granted to them by state laws.

Rep. Blumenauer’s amendment ensures that no funds made available to the VA can be used to implement this prohibition, which would, in effect, strike it down.

“It’s wrong and unfair to force our veterans outside of the VA system to simply seek a recommendation on whether or not medical marijuana is a good treatment option," said Congressman Blumenauer. "And, our VA physicians should not be denied the ability to offer such a recommendation if they think it may meet the needs of their patient.”

Washington: Study Says Licensed Grows Can Meet Recreational, Medical Marijuana Needs

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new study released on Thursday performed for the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board by the University of Washington supposedly shows that the amount of marijuana allowed to be grown by state-licensed I-502 producers in the state "is enough to satisfy both the medical and recreational marijuana markets," while ignoring the challenges of price, pesticides, and access which I-502 stores present for patients.

The study, "Estimating Canopy Size for the Washington Medical Marijuana Market," seems tailor-made to be used as political ammunition in the fight led by many I-502 recreational cannabis merchants to finish the shutting-down of Washington's medical marijuana community, which is already slated for extinction, at least as we know it, on July 1. After that date, any medical marijuana dispensaries which don't have an I-502 license will be required to shut down under penalty of law.

New York: Company Wants To Produce Marijuana's Cannabinoids In Tobacco Plants

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Wait, what? In another development on the fast-breaking front regarding the corporate takeover of cannabis, a New York-based company wants to produce cannabinoids in plants other than marijuana, particularly in tobacco.

22nd Century Group, Inc., a plant biotechnology company that calls itself "a leader in tobacco harm reduction and cannabis research," on Thursday announced that it is launching a major new initiative to produce medically important cannabinoids in plants other than cannabis – including tobacco plants.

In support of this initiative, the company also announced that has opened its own fully outfitted molecular biology laboratories in the Cleveland BioLabs building on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. 22nd Century said its new laboratories will host cutting-edge research in industrial hemp/cannabis and tobacco biotechnology.

Paul J. Rushton, Ph.D., the Company’s recently appointed Cambridge and Max Planck Institute-educated Vice President of Plant Biotechnology, will manage the Company’s research efforts at the new laboratories.

California: Medical Cannabis Conference Set For May 21-22 In San Rafael

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United Patients Group, a medical cannabis information and education website, will host its second annual medical cannabis conference, "Medical Cannabis: The Science. The Truth.," May 21–22 at Dominican University in San Rafael, California.

With the medical cannabis industry rapidly evolving, newly minted "experts" abound. The conference, striving to provide a "university like experience," will be void of exhibitor booths, "weed challenges" and other gimmicks that seem to plague the burgeoning industry, and instead provide attendees the opportunity to listen and learn from the best minds in the medical cannabis industry.

"As our industry matures, we strive to stay true to our mission of providing credible, unbiased information in an area of health and medicine that is still fraught with obstacles and half-truths," said founder John Malanca. "The singular goal of our conference is to further the potential for medical cannabis by providing healthcare providers, mental health professionals, nurses and the general public with information that is void of the hype."

UPG's conference is carefully curated and highly focused, and many of the weekend conference speaker sessions are approved for continuing medical education (CME) credits for healthcare professionals.

Ohio: Patients Lose Under House Medical Marijuana Vote

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With the Ohio House voting to approve legislation purporting to offer patients access to medical marijuana, Ohioans for Medical Marijuana on Tuesday released a statement rejecting the narrow measure.

“It’s a shame lawmakers couldn’t have made history with a vote on a substantive and meaningful medical marijuana bill,” said Aaron Marshall, spokesman for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana. “Today’s vote will only bring false hope and empty promises to Ohioans suffering from debilitating conditions who need medical marijuana.”

The House legislation suffers from numerous fundamental flaws that would restrict patient access and would take up to two years to be implemented, Marshall said. In addition, the House version leaves many critical decisions to an unelected board that could be stacked with persons openly hostile to medical marijuana.

In contrast, the Ohioans for Medical Marijuana amendment provides access to medical marijuana for thousands of Ohioans immediately upon passage through an affirmative defense and home grow clause and has clear language spelling out regulatory aspects of the plan, according to Marshall.

Canada: Patient Groups Call For Equitable Access To Medical Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM), a federal nonprofit, medical cannabis patient rights organization, on Monday issued a set of recommendations to guide federal decision-makers on the needs of medical cannabis patients.

CFAMM is joined by The Arthritis Society in urging federal policymakers to take action in five key areas:
(1) eliminate sales tax;
(2) facilitate insurance coverage;
(3) allow access to all forms of cannabis;
(4) expand regulated distribution options; and
(5) promote research.

The Canadian AIDS Society has also expressed their full support of these recommendations.

Policymakers, including MPs and Senators, have been invited to a reception on the Hill to discuss the recommendations, meet patients directly affected by medical cannabis policy, and talk with key experts in the field.

In support of the recommendations, MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith said, "Given that medical cannabis is regulated by Health Canada and used by thousands of Canadians under the supervision of a physician, it is long past time that the inequities many of these patients face be addressed."

Ohio: Patients Still Lose Under Latest Medical Marijuana Plan From Legislature

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As state lawmakers unveiled a revised version of HB 523, Ohioans for Medical Marijuana on Wednesday released a statement expressing disappointment with the narrow and restrictive substitute bill.

“The latest version fails to address the critical flaws in the bill that significantly restrict patient access,” said Aaron Marshall, spokesman for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana. “Very few doctors will be willing to enter into a system that doesn’t trust them to make decisions that are in the best interest of their patients and ties their hands with regulatory red tape. With so few doctors participating, patients will not have access to the medicine they need.”

Provisions in the revised legislation require doctors to recommend specific THC levels and strains of medical marijuana for patients. “These kinds of provisions risk putting doctors at odds with federal law, and have significantly hindered the two-year-old medical marijuana program in New York,” said Marshall.

Alabama: Governor Signs Leni's Law, Increasing Access To Medical Cannabis Oil

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Patients in Alabama will have greater access to medical cannabis oil after Governor Robert Bentley on Wednesday signed HB 61, also know as Leni's Law, as passed by the Alabama Legislature.

Gov. Bentley's signature decriminalizes possession of medical marijuana CBD oil with THC content of up to 3 percent. The bill is named for a four-year-old girl whose family moved to Oregon to legally access cannabidiol cannabis oil to treat her severe epilepsy, and was hailed as a victory by Leni's mother, Amy Young, reports Paul Gattis at Al.com.

"We are incredibly grateful to the state of Alabama for giving families like ours the opportunity to find relief from life altering and debilitating conditions, and hope for a better quality of life," Young told Hemp News Wednesday afternoon. "Access to medical treatment shouldn't be determined by your zip code."

"I've got this smile glued to my face," said Young, who revealed she'd already received calls from lawmakers in Iowa, South Dakota and Tennessee since the Leni's Law was signed.

California: Congresswoman Lee Applauds Federal Decision To End Case Against Harborside

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Congresswoman Barbara Lee on Tuesday praised the U.S. Attorney’s decision to drop its case against Harborside Health Center dispensary.

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Attorney is a victory for healthcare access," Congresswoman Lee said. "For decades, Harborside has helped ensure members of our community can access their medicine. It’s past time for the federal government to stop standing between these patients and their medicine.

"I am proud to have played a part in today’s victory by actively encouraging the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to end this unnecessary asset forfeiture case that would restrict my constituents’ access to their prescribed medicines," Rep. Lee said. "While today’s action is a victory for Harborside, other dispensaries, including one in my district, face harassment from the federal government for their state-legal businesses.

"As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to use my position to rein in this federal government overreach," Rep. Lee said. "I will keep working to open banking services to the industry and expand access to medical cannabis for veterans.

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