Medicinal Cannabis

Oregon: Medical Marijuana Patients Want Deadline Extension On New Rules

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Oregon Health Authority on Wednesday morning held a public hearing to hear testimony from patients and growers who want an extension on the deadline for new rules.

The rules, listed in a 100-page document, range from things like security requirements to plant growth requirements, reports Justin Matthews at News 10.

The changes are scheduled to take effect on March 1, but medicinal cannabis patients, growers and caretakers said that's not enough time to make changes in order to complyl.

"O.H.A. was given the guidelines by the Measure 91 committee to implement some new rules around medical marijuana and they have gone above and beyond with new restrictive regulations that are going to kill the program and affect thousands of sick Oregonians," said Brent Kenyon, director of Southern Oregon Alternative Medicine.

While many of the rules are realistic, requiring that they be put into effect by March 1 is not, according to Kenyon.

A number of those testifying asked OHA to extend the deadline to January 1, 2017.

Photo: News 10

U.S.: Medical Marijuana Users More Likely To Use Edibles, Vaporizers

Edibles[MDherb]

People who use marijuana for medical purposes are much more likely to vaporize or consume edible forms of the drug than recreational users, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

The study, which surveyed people from four western states that have legalized medical marijuana, also found that those who use marijuana for medicinal purposes are more likely to report daily or near-daily use and consume more as measured by grams per day.

In addition, those who only use marijuana for medicinal purposes do not report use of marijuana concurrently with alcohol, while those who report using recreationally consume marijuana with alcohol on nearly one in five occasions. Findings regarding the simultaneous use of alcohol and marijuana is important because past research shows such activity is more likely to result in health harm, including accidents.

The study, found that 41 percent of people reported having used marijuana recreationally at least once in their lifetime, while only about 7 percent of those surveyed reported using marijuana for medical purposes. More than half of those who said they used for medicinal purposes reported that they did not have a physician’s recommendation to do so.

Published online by the journal Addiction, the study provides some of the first evidence about patterns of marijuana use in states that have legalized medical marijuana. While past efforts have surveyed special populations such as those suffering from cancer pain, the RAND study draws on a sample of the general household population in these states.

U.S.: Members of Congress Tell VA To Allow Veterans Medical Marijuana

VeteransMarijuanaPatches[DisabledVeterans.org]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A broad group of legislators from both parties on Wednesday sent a letter to the Veterans’ Administration (VA) demanding a change in policy to allow veterans to access medical marijuana. Currently, veterans are prevented from having full conversations about medical marijuana with VA doctors, and the same VA physicians are prohibited from recommending medical marijuana, even in states where medical marijuana is legal.

“Vets have served their country, and the least we can do is give them the care they require,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “It is shameful that the VA prevents veterans from accessing a treatment for pain relief and PTSD.”

“Current VA policy is doing a disservice to veterans by preventing their doctors from exploring all possible treatment options," said Robert Capecchi, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "We trust VA physicians to prescribe painkillers and other prescription drugs that are far more addictive and infinitely more lethal. Why can’t we trust them to recommend medical marijuana to the patients who they believe could benefit from it?

Massachusetts: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Just four dispensaries sell medical marijuana in the state of Massachusetts. With 18,476 active patients, a 50 percent increase from last August, that has led to shortages, and those four shops are struggling to keep up with patient demand.

According to Kay Lazar of the Boston Globe, 14,079 ounces of medicinal cannabis were sold in Massachusetts in 2015. The four operating dispensaries are Alternative Therapies Group, the first to open, in Salem; Central Ave Compassion Care in Ayer, In Good Health, Inc., in Brockton; and New England Treatment Access in Northampton, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive.com.

His dispensary is struggling to keep up with the demand for marijuana, said In Good Health's David Noble. According to Noble, demand is running seven times what he expected when he opened the shop in early September. The dispensary has served 3,453 patients since opening, Noble said.

Noble said his dispensary is in the midst of "operational changes and is conducting longer-term strategic planning so that it can meet the higher demand for its products, and we thank those who depend on the dispensary for their patience."

Illinois: Medical Marijuana Program In Danger Of Failure

IllinoisMedicalMarijuana[RebootIllinois]

By Steve Elliott

Strict rules governing which patients qualify for the Illinois medical marijuana program, seen by some as the most restrictive such program in the nation, mean a low number of approved patients, and this could force some medicinal cannabis businesses to close just as the program is starting to get underway.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has approved only a small amount of illnesses meeting the requirements for using medical marijuana in the state, reports Debra Borchardt at Forbes. Despite the fact that the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board for the program had recommended that 11 additional conditions be added to the list, in September the IDPH refused to expand the list.

The advisory board came back in October with a list of eight conditions; if the new list is approved, it would lead to a much larger number of patients, and would ensure the success of the medical marijuana program and the viability of the businesses. Several chronic pain conditions, osteoarthritis, autism, irritable bowel syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are on the latest list the board has recommended.

U.S.: Cannabis Infused Vaginal Suppository Launched For Menstrual Relief

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Foria Follows Award-Winning Sex Lube with a Natural Herbal Pain Reliever

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Foria on Monday launched what it calls the world’s first cannabis-infused vaginal suppository, formulated as a natural herbal remedy to soothe monthly menstrual discomfort. “Foria Relief” contains both THC and CBD, but — unlike many other cannabis products — is non-psychoactive because of the delivery-format, according to the company.

Foria Relief suppositories are made from organic cocoa butter blended with CO2-extracted cannabis oil and a CBD isolate, according to a company press release. Each suppository delivers approximately 60 mg THC and 10 mg CBD.

CBD is a formerly-obscure cannabinoid that has been shown to diminish pain signaling and muscle cramping. CBD is exploding in popular awareness as both medical marijuana patients and Big Pharma companies discover numerous other benefits.

Foria Relief is the first vaginal suppository designed specifically for menstrual discomfort, according to the company. "Till now, women had few options to address menstrual discomfort, primarily systemic pain-relievers such as Ibuprofen or herbal teas (since the only other vaginal suppository products have been yeast medications or birth control)," reads a prepared statement from Foria.

Florida: Medical Cannabis Conference Set For October

FloridaMedicalCannabisConferenceAndExhibition2016

The Florida Medical Cannabis Conference & Exhibition (FMCCE 2016) will be held October 5-7, 2016, at the Saddlebrook Resort located just north of Tampa. This conference is a networking and educational forum on the subject of medical cannabis.

The event is designed for attendees who are actively engaged or interested in the medical cannabis industry and the opportunities and challenges it creates.

For medical professionals and entrepreneurs, the conference will cover a range of topics, all relevant to the medical cannabis industry, as it pertains to the state of Florida, including but not limited to:

• Government Regulation & Policies
• Anticipated Reform
• Cultivation
• Processing
• Dispensing
• Legal Concerns
• Emerging Topics
• Running a Medical Cannabis Business

For medical professionals, topics will include:

• Introduction to Cannabis as Medicine
• Research for Specific Medical Conditions
• Symptoms and Diagnosis
• Proper Dosage
• Contraindications & Drug Interactions

“Education is the key to raising awareness of the clinical uses for medical cannabis.” said Ron Watson, CEO of Watson Strategies. “This conference will provide a forum for industry leaders to expand their social capital, and healthcare professionals to expand their knowledge about medical benefits and applications.”

Those that should consider attending include:

• Advocacy Groups
• City and County Commissions
• Entrepreneurs
• Equipment Suppliers
• Insurance Providers
• Investment Bankers and Venture Capitalist
• Legal Experts
• Legislators
• Lobbyists

Ohio: Marijuana Policy Project Wants Medical Cannabis On November Ballot

OhioMedicalMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Marijuana Policy Project has set its sights on legalizing medicinal cannabis this November in Ohio.

Staff with MPP, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that was behind the successful recreational marijuana legalization drive in Colorado, said they can learn from ResponsibleOhio's failed $20 million campaign to legalize recreational and medicinal cannabis last fall, reports Jessie Balmert of Gannett Ohio. Nearly two-thirds of voters opposed that ballot initiative, which would have handed control of commercial cannabis cultivation to a few campaign investors.

"It's quite clear that voters do not support anything that could be perceived as a monopoly or oligopoly," MPP spokesman Mason Tvert said. Ohio voters in November also approved a proposal from lawmakers to ban monopolies in the state constitution, a response on the marijuana investors behind the ResponsibleOhio attempt to monopolize commercial cannabis cultivation in the state.

MPP didn't back or invest in ResponsibleOhio's failed campaign, but the national group didn't actively oppose it, either. Now, though, MPP seems eager to distance itself from the expensive, futile effort. MPP won't be working with ResponsibleOhio leader Ian James or his political consulting group, according to Tvert.

New Hampshire: Legislature Moves To Add PTSD To Medical Marijuana List

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill introduced on Thursday in the New Hampshire Assembly would add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of ailments eligible for medical marijuana authorizations. Medicinal cannabis was legalized in New Hampshire in 2013, but remains hard to get.

The proposed legislation comes as New Hampshire struggles with opioid and heroin addiction and an overdose crisis, reports Wilson Dizard at Al Jazeera. Medical marijuana advocates argue that safe access to cannabis would offer an alternative to people now using harsh narcotic painkillers or heroin.

Additionally, adding PTSD to the list of illnesses for which cannabis can be authorized could provide another option to those who haven't found relief with Big Pharma's anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications, according to advocates.

There's strong backing for both medical and recreational marijuana in the state, according to a University of New Hampshire poll last year.

Joe Lachance, the Republican Assemblyman who co-sponsored the PTSD bill, is one of just 62 medical marijuana cardholders in a state of 1.6 million people. A military veteran and former police officer, Lachance said he suffers from chronic pain and PTSD, which only marijuana has helped relieve. He said cannabis had also helped him kick an opiate habit.

Oregon: Ex-Portland Trail Blazer Cliff Robinson Is Now Blazing Weed

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Uncle Cliffy Becomes "Uncle Spliffy"

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Former Portland Trail Blazer Cliff Robinson is getting into the marijuana business, advocating the use of marijuana as a medical treatment for athletes.

Robinson, who just turned 49, is back in Portland, Oregon, and will be a featured speaker at the Cannabis Collaborative Conference next month, reports Ken Boddle at KOIN 6.

"I think I've always been an advocate for cannabis," Robinson said. "(It's) calming, calm my stomach, calm my nerves, so from that standpoint I see a lot of positives."

Robinson's 18-year NBA career lasted from 1989 through the 2006 season; he said he smoked marijuana while he was in the league, even though it was both illegal and against NBA rules.

"When I did it, it was wrong," Robinson said. "I paid the penalty. But now we're in a new time and we're trying to move forward."

Uncle Cliffy is getting into the marijuana business under the name Uncle Spliffy. He's urging team doctors to consider treating sports-related pain and other ailments with cannabis instead of harsh, dangerous pharmaceuticals.

"I think we definitely have to continue looking into cannabis and the benefits that it has, the health benefits that it has, because I think it's come leaps and bounds," Robinson said.

The Cannabis Collaborative Conference is scheduled for February 3-4 at the Expo Center in Portland. Cliff Robinson's keynote speech will be on Feb. 4.

Maryland: More Cultivation Licenses Could Avoid Medical Marijuana Shortage

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A cannabis consumer advocacy and watchdog organization with offices in Maryland has issued a report ahead of the state's anticipated summer rollout of their medical marijuana program, asking policymakers to increase the amount of cultivation licenses.

After reviewing and analyzing consumption data in states with legal marijuana programs, and comparing that data to the potential number of patients, the Cannabis Consumers Coalition (CCC) calculated a potential shortage of 41,066 pounds, even if plants are grown under ideal conditions.

Maryland expects 125,000 patients to register, about 15,000 more than are registered in Colorado, which has hundreds of cultivation facilities. Maryland has a higher population than Colorado, and allows for more medical conditions to qualify for medical marijuana authorizations. In addition, Maryland accepts out-of-state patients.

These factors could result in several thousand more people registering as medicinal cannabis patients. "In comparison to Colorado, which has about 600,000 less people than Maryland, 15 cultivation centers seems very low," according to the CCC.

The report assumes that the currently allowed 15 cultivation licenses will be for substantially sized cannabis grows that are consistently high-yielding. Maryland hasn't issued licenses, so there's no way of knowing the square footage of proposed cultivation centers.

Illinois: Change.org Petition Lauched To Add Conditions To Medical Marijuana Law

IllinoisMedicalMarijuana[RebootIllinois]

The medical marijuana program in Illinois just officially came online in November. Now a push to get the state to allow people with a growing number of medical conditions to legally qualify is picking up steam.

Late last year, the state Medical Cannabis Advisory Board recommended letting people suffering from PTSD, chronic pain and autism, among other conditions, legally use medical cannabis. The state Department of Public Health is expected to make a decision by the end of this month.

A change.org petition calling on state officials to approve the added conditions is gaining momentum, with nearly 10,000 signatures right now:

https://www.change.org/IllinoisCannabis

"As the nation's fifth most populous state, Illinois could see its medical marijuana program grow significantly by adding the new conditions (especially chronic pain), representing one of the most important developments for the cannabis industry this year so far," Tom Angell of the Marijuana Majority told Hemp News on Thursday.

Patients in Illinois who stand to benefit from the new conditions being added have added their voices to the debate on the Change.org petition page.

"I have osteoarthritis and suffer from the pain daily," said Debra R. of Round Lake. "I find it hard to even walk through a grocery store to pick up a few items for dinner and have to have help putting things away. Please approve the condition as I am only 55 and would like to have some pain free life of what I have left."

Ohio: Lawmakers Plan Town Hall Meetings On Medical Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two members of the Ohio Legislature will be holding a Thursday press conference to announce details regarding the creation of a bipartisan task force in charge of "addressing the issue" of medical marijuana.

Speaker of the Ohio house Clifford A. Rosenberg (R-Clarksville) and state Rep. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) will hold the press conference, reports Kevin Landers at 10TV.

Following the November defeat of Issue 3, which would have made cannabis legal in Ohio but would have awarded a growing monopoly to those who funded the campaign, lawmakers said they "learned there is growing support" among voters for medical marijuana. What has happened is that these dudes saw public opinion polls last year showing roughly 85 percent of Ohioans support medical marijuana, which makes it politically safe.

The idea behind the town hall meetings is to bring both sides of the issue together, and to include the public in the discussion.

Many patients who use cannabis say it offers better results than pharmaceutical pain pills. A patient named Aaron said he became addicted to opiates after back surgery, then switched to marijuana because it helps reduce his pain without the side effects of the pain pills.

Maine: School Board Allows Students Medical Marijuana On School Property

MaineSchollsMarijuana[TheHouseOfCobraa]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The school board in Auburn, Maine, this week voted to allow students to be administered medical marijuana while on school property.

Maine voters legalized medicinal cannabis back in 1999, reports Crystal Haynes at Fox 25.

Effective immediately, students in Pre-K through high school who are authorized to use medical marijuana can be administered cannabis on school property by a parent or caregiver. The policy prohibits smoking, most most children who are authorized to use cannabis use edible extracts or tinctures.

Auoburn Superintendent Katy Grondin said school districts must make sure medical marijuana doesn't interfere with education. "It's what the doctor and the family decides is in the best interest of the child," she said. "We're not getting involved in it medically."

Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) said laws that allow access to medical marijuana while in school are about providing kids with the medicine they need to be able to attend at all. "These kids, just because they're sick, shouldn't have their education interrupted," he said.

Michigan: Conviction of Medical Marijuana Caregiver Upheld By Appeals Court

AlennaMarieRocafort[JohnAgar-Mlive.com]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A three-judge Michigan appeals court, in a split decision, on Friday ruled that harvested marijuana being kept to dry constitutes "usable marijuana," upholding the conviction of a medicinal cannabis caregiver.

Alenna Marie Rocafort, 47, said she had planned to make hash oil out of the 5.6 pounds of marijuana she was drying, and that the weed wasn't yet usable, reports John Agar at Mlive.com.

Police seized the marijuana that was in the process of drying during a raid on September 15, 2012, in a house next to Rocafort's home in Kentwood, Mich.

She argued before a Kent County Circuit Court judge that the cannabis, which was more than the amount she could possess for her patients, wasn't usable because it was in the drying process.

"Usable" marijuana, according to the Michigan Legislature, includes "the dried leaves and flowers of the plant," but not the stalks, roots and seeds.

Michigan caregivers are allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana per patient; Rocafort would be allowed to possess 15 ounces for five patients and herself.

"There is no dispute that defendant was a caregiver under the (Michigan Medical Marihuana Act) and that she was registered to provide marijuana to five patients," the appeals panel said, in its decision issued Friday.

California: San Diego Rushes To Write Medical Marijuana Cultivation Rules

SanDiegoChargersMarijuanaLeaf[HempBeach.com]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new California law is spurring San Diego, for the first time, to regulate and allow cultivation of medical marijuana within city limits.

A memo issued by Deputy City Attorney Shannon Thomas last week describes ways the city could regulate the growing of medicinal cannabis, including zoning regulations or simply allowing cultivation in all areas zoned for agriculture, reports David Garrick at the Los Angeles Times.

The city might impose a "temporary" moratorium on cultivation while exploring new regulations, according to the memo.

California's new Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act aims to "legitimize" the nearly 20-year-old industry; state voters first approved the use of medical marijuana back in 1996. The new law also gets regulations in place in anticipation of Californians approving recreational use of marijuana in November.

The law requires mandatory product testing and gives reluctant cities new reasons to allow dispensaries and cultivation by allowing them in on the money action, collecting fees and levying taxes.

The law also says cities with no regulations in place by March 1 will permanently cede authority of medical marijuana cultivation to the state -- but the author claims that deadline was erroneously included.

New York To Launch Medical Marijuana Program Thursday

NewYorkMarijuana[HeraldTribune]

Advocates: Program Is Only a Success If and When Patients Can Access Medicine

Significant Concerns About the Program – Including Low Physician Enrollment – Remain

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday announced that New York’s medical marijuana program will officially open on Thursday, January 7.

While the state has authorized 20 dispensaries to open statewide, only eight will open on Thursday, with the rest slated to open later in January, leaving huge areas of the state without access to a dispensary.

This marks the first time that patients in New York can legally purchase medical marijuana, but significant concerns about the program remain. Since the law was passed in June 2014, advocates have warned that its narrowness and overly restrictive regulations would impede patient access.

“I’m disappointed that only eight dispensaries will open by the deadline,” said Missy Miller from Atlantic Beach. “There are none opening on Long Island, which leaves my son Oliver, who suffers from life-threatening seizures, out of luck.

"This only highlights concerns we have had all along that the state has licensed way too few producers and dispensaries to serve a state as populous and geographically large as New York," Miller said. "If we can’t access medicine, what good is the program? And what about expedited access for those like my son, who are most in need?

"We’ve not had one word about how to register for that," Miller said. "This has been repeated slaps in the face with no guidance at all and no relief for my son.”

New York: Patients Can Now Register For Medical Marijuana, But Good Luck Getting It

NewYorkMedicalMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New York's medical marijuana law passed in 2014, but it's still unclear when ailing patients might be able to actually obtain any cannabis.

State health department officials claim the program is on track to open this month, which is when the 2014 legislation stipulated, reports Glenn Blain at the New York Daily News. But officials have been silent on the exact launch date, and haven't indicated the number or locations of doctors certified to authorize medicinal cannabis.

"I have significant concerns about the implementation of the program and how successful it will be, especially from a patient access standpoint," said Julie Netherland of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).

According to Netherland, the New York Health Department waited until mid-October to offer the online certification course required for doctors who wish to prescribe medical marijuana, and didn't begin accepting registration requests from patients until late December. Those don't seem like actions of an agency that is particularly concerned about opening in January.

New York state law requires that patients seeking medical marijuana must first be certified by a state-approved physician, and then register with the Health Department and obtain a registry identification card before being allowed to purchase cannabis from one of five licensed growers operating in New York.

Vermont: Milton Medical Marijuana Grow Facility Up And Running

VermontTheGreenMountainState

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana patients in Chittenden County, Vermont, now have access to locally produced cannabis after a grow facility has opened in Milton.

It took some time, reports Terri Hallenbeck at Seven Days, but the Milton grow facility is up and running, accordindg to Shayne Lynn, executive director of the Champlain Valley Dispensary and Southern Vermont Wellness.

Lynn's company runs two of the state's four licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, in Burlington and Brattleboro, and is continuing to use its older growing and testing facility in South Burlington, he said.

State officials turned down Rutland County Organics' request to move their dispensary from Brandon to Williston, hoping to tap into the larger Chittenden County market. State officials were concerned that patients in the Rutland County area would be left without convenient access, according to Lindsey Wells, Vermont's marijuana program administrator.

State dispensaries recently got permission to start home delivery, provided the Department of Public Safety approves their procedures, including safety precautions. Patients have to pick, and stay with, one dispensary (what if they are dissatisfied with the one they pick?), but marijuana delivery services aren't limited by a patient's location in the state.

New York: Company Will Offer World's First Certified Kosher Marijuana

KosherCannabis[TheMarijuanaShow]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A New York company has announced it will soon offer the world's first certified kosher medical marijuana.

Vireo Health, based in Albany, said its non-smokable medicinal cannabis products have been certified as conforming to the Jewish dietary law by the Orthodox Union, reports Glenn Blain at the New York Daily News.

The Orthodox Union said it awarded kosher certification to the product after inspecting Vireo's facilities to ensure the cannabis was grown and processed according to kosher standards. The standards include that the plants be insect-free, for example.

Vireo, one of just five companies chosen by the state to grow and distribute medical marijuana, said it will be the first "medical cannabis company in the world" to have the "OU" symbol on its oils, vaporization cartridges and other products.

Vireo said the certification will help the company serve patients among New York's Jewish population, the largest in the U.S. Its program is scheduled to start next month, and will serve patients who qualify under New York's medical marijuana law.

“Being certified kosher by the OU will not only help us serve the dietary needs of the largest Jewish community in the United States, but also combat unfortunate stigmas associated with medical cannabis,” said Vireo CEO Ari Hoffnung.

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