Medicinal Cannabis

California: Militarized Cops Seize Assets of Legal Medical Marijuana Company

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Police High Five Each Other as Cannabis Industry Leader’s Assets Frozen, $324,000 in Cash Taken, Family Bank Accounts Frozen

Med-West CEO Speaks Out for First Time Since Raid

“It was like a scene from a bad movie.”

That’s what James Slatic, the CEO of Med-West Distribution, LLC and a leader in the national effort to legalize medical cannabis products, remembers thinking when he first viewed the footage from his security cameras.

For the first time, Slatic is speaking out about the raid mounted by local law enforcement against his company, a legal medical cannabis company, on January 28, at 7:30 a.m.

His comments, contained in a video on the Indiegogo account he is using to raise money for his legal defense, raise serious issues about the role of local law enforcement in California, a state where a new law just went into effect regulating the medical cannabis industry and where a statewide ballot initiative will be held this November to legalize the adult use of recreational cannabis.

In the video, Slatic offers disturbing details from the raid: “Our two employees were put on the floor with guns to their heads. All of our assets were frozen, all of our bank accounts, all of my wife’s accounts, all of our daughters’ accounts have been frozen.”

Illinois: Medical Marijuana Panel Suggests 12 Health Conditions; Criticizes Governor

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Doctors, nurses and patients on a state panel that recommends whether to expand Illinois' medical marijuana test program on Monday suggested 12 additional health conditions for inclusion, and complained that their suggestions are routinely ignored by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

A doctor who leads the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board said she isn't optimistic about the chances of expanding the program based on previous decisions by the Rauner Administration, reports Celeste Bott at the Chicago Tribune.

Board Chair Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple said the advisory board is moving forward anyway. The board met on Monday in Springfield, and suggested that 10 previously recommended ailments receive approval, as well as two new ones, Type 1 diabetes and panic disorder.

Currently, 39 conditions and diseases can qualify patients to use medicinal cannabis in Illinois. The state's medical marijuana law allows people to suggest new diseses for the program twice a year.

Some at the hearing celebrated the diabetes recommendation, but board member and pediatrician Dr. Nestor Ramirez cautioned them to "wait for what the governor says."

Canada: WeedMD Gets LicenseTo Grow Medical Marijuana

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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 Thursday announced that Health Canada has officially licensed the company to cultivate medical cannabis for patients in 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 marihuana 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.

Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Informational Seminars Set For Philly, Pittsburgh

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The cannabis industry is the fastest growing industry in America. “If done well, Pennsylvania has the chance to become one of the best medical marijuana markets in the country,” according to Michael Patterson, CEO of US Cannabis Pharmaceutical Research and Development.

New York has 20 medical marijuana dispensaries in operation. New Jersey has just five. Pennsylvania has just recently passed a law to permit 175 licensed businesses.

US Cannabis will be hosting four, one-day informational seminars in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh offering information on all areas of medical marijuana business (licensure, legal, accounting/taxes, staffing, plant production, profitability, liability, etc). “Attendees can learn from our personal experience and research to decide if they would like to become involved with the medical marijuana industry,” Patterson said. They will get the facts to begin on the road to success.”

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana System: What you need to know

• Saturday June 4 Philadelphia Marriott Downtown
1201 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19107

• Sunday June 5 Philadelphia Marriott West
111 Crawford Avenue West Conshohocken, PA 19428

• Saturday June 11 Pittsburgh Marriott City Center
112 Washington Place Pittsburgh, PA 15219

• Sunday June 12 Pittsburgh Marriott North

U.S.: New Study Shows Natural Marijuana Superior To Synthetic Cannabinoids

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new study called “Comparison of Outcome Expectancies for Synthetic Cannabinoids and Botanical Marijuana,” in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, shows that negative effects are significantly lower for natural, botanical cannabis than for synthetic cannabinoids.

In the study, 186 adults who had previously used both the synthetic and natural forms of marijuana, as well as 181 who had previously used only natural (botanical) marijuana, were surveyed about their expected outcomes of using either type of cannabinoid. The results showed that the expected negative effects were significantly higher for synthetic marijuana than for natural marijuana across both categories of use history.

Despite the more commonly expected negative effects of synthetic cannabinoids, the most cited reasons for using these compounds were wider availability, avoiding a positive drug test for cannabis, curiosity, perceived legality, and cost. For instance, synthetic cannabinoids are popular among members of the armed services, and in other occupations where a positive test for marijuana might get you fired, but synthetic cannabinoids would remain undetected.

Michigan: Woman Who Ran 2 Marijuana Dispensaries Sentenced To Jail

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A woman arrested two separate times for running medical marijuana dispensaries in Kent County, Michigan, was sentenced to jail on Monday by a judge who lectured her, telling her "ignorance of the law is no excuse."

Eileen Dee Shaw, 52, said she did everything possible to operate within Michigan's Medical Marijuana Act while running the dispensaries, which were located in Cascade and Plainfield townships, reports John Hogan at WZZM.

“I made every effort to try to understand the law and comply with it," Shaw said. "I truly just wanted to help people,’’ she told Kent County Circuit Court Judge George Quist on Monday. “It was with every good intent that I approached this. I truly just wanted to help medical marijuana patients.’’

“Ignorance of the law is no excuse; you’ve probably heard that old adage and it’s true,’’ Judge Quist said.

The Michigan Supreme Court in February 2013 ruled that dispensaries are not protected under Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Act, although enforcement varies county to county. Kent County law enforcement in the last two years have conducted more than a dozen raids, including February and May 2014 raids at Eco Options dispensaries operated by Shaw.

U.S.: Study Shows Opioid Overdoses Fell With Medical Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Using state-level death certificate data from 1999 to 2010, a group of researchers discovered that the annual rate of opioid overdose deaths decreased substantially -- an average of 25 percent -- following the passage of medical marijuana laws, compared to states still under cannabis prohibition.

The increase of opioid prescriptions in the United States has had devastating public health consequences, including addiction, organ damage, and death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently urged physicians to be "very cautious" in prescribing these drugs, reports Colleen Barry in an op-ed at The New York Times.

Marijuana, as pointed out in the comments to Barry's article, "is infinitely safer than any prescription opioid, and it certainly should be available as an option ... if it can save one life from an overdose it is worth it, never mind a massive 25% reduction."

Ohio: Medical Marijuana Efforts Differ In Who Can Grow, Who Can Use

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Ohio looks likely approve medical marijuana, and would become the 25th state to do so if either a new state law clears the Legislature, or a constitutional amendment is approved by voters this November.

State lawmakers and two citizen advocacy groups are working simultaneously to bring medicinal cannabis to Ohioans who have qualifying medical conditions, reports Alan Johnson at The Columbus Dispatch.

Here are some key differences among House Bill 523 (which is the proposed legislation), the Marijuana Policy Project amendment, and the Medicinal Cannabis and Industrial Hemp amendment, according to the Dispatch.

Impact: HB 523, the legislation, would change only Ohio law. Both ballot proposals would amend the Ohio Constitution.

Marijuana in smokeable form: HB 523 does not specifically allow it but doesn’t rule it out. Both ballot issues would allow it.

Home-grown pot: The legislation would not allow growing marijuana at home; both ballot issues would allow it in limited quantities.

Growers: The Marijuana Policy Project amendment would allow 15 large growers and unlimited small growers. Neither the legislation nor the cannabis and hemp amendment specify grower numbers.

Colorado: Life Flower Medical Marijuana Recalled Due To Pesticides

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado marijuana regulators on Friday announced a big recall of medicinal cannabis grown with unapproved pesticides. The marijuana in question was sold by a dispensary with storefronts in Boulder and Glendale.

The recall is one of a series in which Guardian, a pesticide that had been sold as "all natural," was found to contain concentrations of a substance banned for use on cannabis, report David Migoya and Ricardo Baca at .

Colorado in January had removed Guardian from its list of approved pesticides for use on marijuana.

More than 92 lots of cannabis, with each lot containing up to dozens of plants, produced by Life Flower Dispensary at its grow on Arapahoe Road in Boulder and sold at its storefront on Leetsdale Drive in Glendale are subject to the latest recall, according to the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division.

"We were using Guardian in late September and early October, and there are a couple of those plants still in flower," said Neal Bigelow, general manager at Life Flower. "That's exactly what we're going through."

Colorado regulators found the presence of abermectin, which isn't allowed for growing cannabis.

Nevada: Medical Marijuana Dispensary To Hold Orientation For Parkinson's Patients

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The+Source, a medical marijuana dispensary in Las Vegas, Nevada, will offer an informational orientation and seminar about the use of medical marijuana for patients battling Parkinson’s disease at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 7.

Led by the dispensary’s director of Medical Education, Dr. William Trout, the orientation will provide patients with information about the use of medical marijuana for treating the effects of Parkinson’s disease, along with other qualifying conditions including epilepsy, glaucoma and seizures, among others.

In an effort to educate the Las Vegas Valley about the uses of medical cannabis, The+Source invites everyone, including new medical marijuana cardholders and non-cardholders, to learn more about the medical aspects of marijuana and ask questions in a safe, welcoming environment.

In addition, local organization Friends of Parkinson’s will also have an informational table at the event, and will be available to discuss the disease in more detail.

More information about the upcoming orientation can be found online at www.thesourcenv.com. The+Source is located at 2550 S. Rainbow Blvd., Las Vegas.

Graphic: Medical Jane

U.S.: Senate Committee Prevents DEA From Undermining Medical Marijuana Laws

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Vote Comes Just a Week After Committee Voted to Allow Veterans Administration Doctors to Recommend Marijuana to Veterans

Nationwide Bipartisan Momentum for Drug Policy Reform Grows Stronger

In yet another huge victory for marijuana reform, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday voted by 21 to 8 to approve an amendment offered by Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Maryland) to protect state medical marijuana laws from federal interference by the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration.

“Marijuana reforms are repeatedly winning votes in Congress,” said Bill Piper, senior director of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Letting states set their own marijuana policies is now a mainstream, bipartisan issue.”

After decades of inactivity on marijuana reform, Congress has moved at lightning pace to advance marijuana reform in recent years.

Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to allow Veterans Administration doctors to recommend marijuana. The Committee approved similar amendments last year as well as an amendment to allow state-legalized marijuana businesses to access banks and other financial services.

The Mikulski Amendment is expected to pass the full Senate as well as the House. Similar amendments were passed by Congress last year and the year before.

Washington: LCB Says Patients Can Grow 4 Plants Each, Up To 15 Per Household

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Multiple authorized medical cannabis patients living in the same residence in Washington state can grow up to four plants each, up to a total of 15 plants, without being on the patient registry, according to information received from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board on Thursday.

In answers to a Washington state medical marijuana patient advocate, Brian E. Smith of the WSLCB clarified the home growing rules for patients in the state. Only medicinal patients with a physician's authorization are allowed to cultivate cannabis in Washington without an I-502 cultivation license.

A qualifying patient not entered in the medical marijuana authorization database (Washington's euphemism for a patient registry) is allowed to grow up to four plants and possess up to six ounces of useable marijuana in his or her domicile, according to the LCB. This possession limit is per patient (RCW 69.51A.210) (3)).

Global: Medical Cannabis Institute Launches Online Curriculum For Nurses

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Medical Cannabis Institute (TMCI) on Thursday announced today that it has been rebranded as TMCI Global (TMCI). The change, according to the company, reflects the Institute’s mission to become the hub for international cannabinoid professional education reaching healthcare professional around the world.

“Our newly designed and branded website continues to serve the global healthcare community, but now we have expanded our content, functionality and deepened our author contributor and affiliate programs so that TMCI Global can provide the best online medical cannabis learning experience for healthcare professionals,” said Vicky Mossman, VP Partner Development at Scitent, the parent company for TMCI Global.

As part of the new website unveiling, TMCI launched Medical Cannabis Curriculum for Nurses, the first comprehensive online medical cannabis curriculum for nurses. The program, at $369, has 8 hours' credit available for Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) contact hours, according to TMCI.

Pennsylvania: Governor Says Medical Marijuana Doesn't Mean Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana is now legal in Pennsylvania, but Governor Tom Wolf has rushed to say that doesn't mean full legalization, or even a pathway there.

"This is not a gateway to anything other than ... reinforcing what we've always done and that is allow doctors, encourage doctors, to do what they can do to make the lives of their patients more comfortable," Gov. Wolf told KDKA Morning News.

Implementing the newly legal medicinal cannabis programs is expected to take from 18 to 24 months, but Gov. Wolf said patients should get relief long before that.

"People should be able to start using these medicines quickly," Gov. Wolf said. "If someone were to go to another state and buy it legally and bring it back for medicinal purposes, I kind of doubt that most prosecutors would pursue a case."

States that have effective medical marijuana laws have a 24.8 percent lower opioid overdose death rate, according to a 2014 study done by researchers at the Philadelphia VA. While Gateway Medical Director Neil Capretto called that study "tentative," he said he hopes it's true.

U.S.: Former Surgeon General Among Physicians Launching Doctors For Cannabis Regulation

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Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders, integrative medicine pioneer Dr. Andrew Weil, and professors from some of the country’s top medical schools are teaming up to launch the nation’s first organization of doctors formed to advocate for the legalization and regulation of cannabis for adult use.

"The potential for marijuana abuse is a serious issue, especially among our nation’s youth," said Dr. H. Wesley Clark, former director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. "And especially at a time when very powerful strains of cannabis and concentrates are available that simply didn’t exist in the past.

"But the consequences of being convicted under current marijuana laws are lifelong and severe, and it is beyond dispute that African Americans and Hispanics are disproportionately affected," Dr. Clark said. "Legalizing and regulating cannabis goes a long way towards addressing the incarceration epidemic in this country, as well as enabling research into the public health ramifications of this wide variety of cannabis."

Pennsylvania: Cannabis Business Conference Set For April 30

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Pennsylvania’s first business accelerator specific for ancillary startups in the cannabis and industrial hemp industries will host what's being called "Philadelphia’s first ever canna-business and medical research conference" at the Chemical Heritage Foundation on Saturday, April 30.

Innovation in the Cannabis Industry; Technology, Medical & Investment is a one-day conference that is taking place in Center City Philadelphia at the intimate Chemical Heritage Foundation. This daylong conference features panel discussions from 17 of the cannabis industry’s thought leaders on critical topics such as canna-technology, medicinal research, and investing in canna-businesses, with a specific focus on expected trends emerging on the East Coast.

U.S.: Blumenauer Applauds Passage of Senate VA Medical Marijuana Amendment

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U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon on Thursday applauded the Senate Committee on Appropriations for passing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Marijuana Amendment for the second consecutive year.

This amendment, offered by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT), would allow VA physicians to provide recommendations regarding the participation of a veteran in a state medical marijuana program.

“For the second time, the Senate has taken action to do what’s right for our veterans," Representative Blumenauer said. "I commend Senators Merkley and Daines for leading this fight in the Senate, and I look forward to pushing it across the finish line in the House.”

“All in all, today’s vote by the Senate Appropriations Committee is very encouraging as we advocate for passage of simple and commonsense measures to reform our marijuana laws,” Congressman Blumenauer said.

U.S.: DOJ Accepts Decision Saying It Can't Target State-Legal Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The U.S. Department of Justice has abandoned its appeal of a ruling that said federal prosecutors are breaking the law when they go after medical marijuana dispensaries who are in compliance with state law.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer issued the ruling last October, when he said that enforcing an injunction against a state-legal dispensary would violate a spending rider prohibiting the Justice Department from spending funds to interfere with state laws allowing medicinal use of cannabis, reports Jacob Sullum at Reason.

Breyer's ruling is left in force by the ruling in the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana (MAMM) casea, without establishing a circuit-wide precedent. The DOJ's request to abandon the appeal probably came about because it feared the 9th Circuit would agree with Breyer's reading of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which says the DOJ may not used funds to "prevent" states from "implementing" their medical marijuana laws.

The DOJ argued that prosecuting dispensaries, seizing their property, and shutting them down does not prevent implementation of laws which allow them. Judge Breyer rightly ruled that interpretation "defies language and logic."

California: VICTORY! Feds Drop North Bay Marijuana Dispensary Case

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

After a grueling 18-year court battle, federal authorities on Tuesday finally dropped their appeal of the Shaw Decision, clearing the way for the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, led by Lynnette Shaw, along with other dispensaries in the North Coast region, to sell medicinal cannabis.

"I WIN and WE ALL WIN," Shaw posted on Facebook Tuesday. "I am Fed Proof - wow - after 18 years of litigation. And I have the first-ever Federal orders that okay my selling medical pot!!"

Santa Rosa lawyer Greg Anton represented Fairfax-based MAMA, the state's first licensed dispensary after it was forced to close in 2011, reports Paul Payne at the The Press Democrat.

The spunky Shaw had sued in federal court, citing a new law authored by a Southern California Congressman which prohibits the feds from spending money to prosecute dispensaries which are operating in compliance with state law.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer last October sided with Shaw, issuing a scathing critique of the Department of Justice position, which he said "tortures the language of the law." Federal prosecutors appealed in December, to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

California: Chong's Choice Cannabis Collection Rolls Out In Dispensaries On 4/20

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Another celebrity-endorsed cannabis brand will hit 25 California medical marijuana dispensaries on 4/20.

Chong’s Choice, "a collection of high grade medical cannabis products hand-selected by the legendary comedian, activist and cannabis enthusiast Tommy Chong," will roll out on April 20, marking the official launch of the brand, which includes a full product assortment.

"Using the highest quality of standards, Tommy Chong meticulously chooses each product and strain offered at Chong’s Choice from premium farmers around California," we are told in a Wednesday media release. "This assortment includes traditional Flower Jars of locally grown, high grade Indica (Chong Daddy Purple), Sativa (My Friend Jack), and Hybrid (Choice OG Kush), along with Oil Cartridges with award-winning THC oil, convenient Disposable Vape Pens and 5-Pack Pre-Rolls, as well as edible THC-Infused Breath Strips."

Alsop included in the "Chong's Choice" line of products are 5-pack pre-rolls, oil cartridges "using award winning cannabis oil and state of the art CO2 extraction methods," and THC strips, available in single-strip mylar bags, as well as multi-strip cartridges.

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