medical marijuana

Oregon: National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics Set For May 8-10 In Portland

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The eighth annual National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, sponsored by the nonprofit Patients Out of Time (POT) in conjunction with the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, is set for May 8-10 in Portland, Oregon.

The conference, entitled "The Endocannabinoid System and Age Related Illness," is accredited to provide continuing education credits for healthcare providers.

This Patients Out of Time clinical cannabis educational series began back in 2000. Through its conferences and ongoing educational initiatives, the organization has led the way in the field of medical cannabis education, helping patients and medical professionals understand why marijuana use continues to be a viable medical option for multiple conditions and diseases.

The upcoming conference will be held at the Portland University Place Hotel and Natural College of Natural Medicine beginning on May 8. It has in past years attracted top experts in the medical cannabis field, from the arenas of both research and clinical use.

Topics will be wide-ranging, but will focus on the human endocannabinoid system and the role that cannabis and/or cannabinoids may play in age-related illnesses, since the Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age.

Patients Out of Time is "a compassionate, science-based education forum for the restoration of medical cannabis knowledge." It is made up entirely of volunteers: patients, clinicians and scientists who are involved in the medical cannabis field.

Connecticut: Medical Marijuana Legal For Two Years, But Still None For Sale

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Connecticut's law allowing the sale of marijuana for medical purposes was passed two years ago, but there is still no medicinal cannabis legally for sale in the state.

Prospective owners have found it challenging to locate dispensary locations without raising the ire of towns and cities, reports Joseph Berger at The New York Times. Fairfield and West Haven have zoned such businesses out of existence; other towns, including Madison, New Canaan and Westport, have moratoriums in place while their zoning rules are reviewed. This month, the Bridgeport zoning board turned down a licensee.

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed the law in May 2012; it requires that pharmacists dispense medical marijuana, and limits the list of qualifying ailments. Four growers and six dispensaries have been licensed so far.

But those who want to open dispensaries are running into uninformed opposition from superstitious residents who think having a marijuana dispensary nearby would somehow "hurt their children," invite black markets (as if they aren't already there), or lower property values (which is certainly a backwards way of looking at potential conomic growth, if you ask us).

Florida: Governor Says He Would Sign CBD-Only Bill Allowing Marijuana Derivative

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Florida Governor Rick Scott, running for reelection in November, on Thursday said he would sign legislation allowing a non-psychoactive medical marijuana extract low in THC but high in CBD to treat children and other patients suffering from seizures.

Despite his firm opposition to an actual medical marijuana law, Gov. Scott said he would sign the so-called Charlotte's Web bill, which passed the Republican-controlled House with bipartisan support on Thursday, reports Andrew Perez at The Huffington Post.

Charlotte's Web is one of many high-CBD strains of marijuana, but in a development that undoubtedly makes the Stanley Brothers of Colorado very happy (and quite rich), it seems to be the one that gets all the media attention. Ill-informed state lawmakers such as those in Florida who want to appear to care about patients, and of course want to therefore get a lot of votes, know just enough about medical marijuana to have maybe watched Dr. Sanjay Gupta's "Weed" specials, and they learned from it, or from second-hand accounts of the show, that "Charlotte's Web" doesn't get kids stoned and helps quell seizures.

So then they pass restrictive legislation, sometimes even requiring the specific strain, Charlotte's Web, which enriches the Stanley Brothers while leaving out in the cold other high-CBD strains such as Cannatonic and Harlequin.

Pennsylvania: Gov. Corbett Backs Marijuana-Derived CBD Oil For Children With Seizures

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Up for reelection this fall, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has reversed his position on the use of marijuana-derived cannabidiol oil (CBD oil), when used to quell seizure disorders in children.

Gov. Corbett said on Thursday he would support a "medically responsible proposal" for a treatment program using CBD, a non-psychoactive derivative of cannabis that many report is effective in controlling seizures, report Amy Worden and Marie McCullough of The Inquirer of Philadelphia.

The governor claimed he had "considered the issue extensively" in recent months. Corbett also met on Thursday with parents of children with severe seizure disorders. "I have heard the concerns and heartbreaking stories of these families, and I want to help," he said.

It was not clear how many children would be helped. The decision was an abrupt reversal months before Corbett will be running for a second term as governor.

Corbett, a career prosecutor, had long rejected all forms of medical marijuana. A spokeswoman on Thursday said the Governor remains opposed to the actual use of marijuana to treat medical conditions. In a lame attempt to explain his opposition to the non-toxic herb, Corbett said he "had a responsibility to protect the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians," which translated probably means "Big Pharma makes better campaign contributions than medical marijuana does."

Minnesota: Law Enforcement 'Compromise' Wouldn't Provide ANY Patients With Access To Marijuana

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Unworkable proposal backed by law enforcement industry would require state agency, researchers, and doctors to violate federal laws in a manner never before seen in states with effective medical marijuana laws

Even if program could be implemented, countless Minnesotans with debilitating conditions would not qualify; it would also require many patients to travel to their doctors' offices and be supervised every time they use their medicine

A medical marijuana "compromise" proposed on Thursday in the Minnesota House of Representatives would not actually provide anyone with access to medical marijuana.

The unworkable proposal, which of course is being backed by the law enforcement industry -- they just love it! -- would require a state agency, researchers, and doctors to violate federal laws in a manner never before seen in states with effective medical marijuana laws.

Specifically, it would be preempted by federal law because it would require the state Department of Health to contract with a marijuana manufacturer to obtain marijuana for clinical trials. The proposal would also require researchers and doctors to provide marijuana to patients.

"This proposal and testimony from law enforcement officials this week demonstrate just how unqualified they are on this subject," said Heather Azzi, political director for Minnesotans for Compassionate Care.

Florida: Investors and Entrepreneurs Line Up For Medical Marijuana Green Rush

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Interest in Florida medical marijuana is so high, March's Meet the Experts conference in West Palm Beach was sold out and dozens were turned away. The organizer told Hemp News he has had to move their next conference to a larger South Florida venue.

Businessmen, investors, doctors, lawyers, would-be dispensary owners, future medical marijuana growers and caterers flocked to the last seminar in West Palm Beach. Conference promoter and Silver Tour founder, Robert Platshorn, is hosting Meet the Experts II, on May 17, at the Emerald Hills Country Club, near Fort Lauderdale Airport.

"I felt bad at the last event, cramming in over a hundred and twenty people," Platshorn said. "But many who showed up ticketless, were stuffing hundred dollar bills in my pockets and pleading just to be able to stand in the back for 10 hours."

No surprise! Platshorn's lineup of speakers is a list of superstars of the marijuana industry. Discovery Channel's Mike Boutin, featured on "Weed Country," has grown medical marijuana for more than 30 years. Keynote speaker Ean Seeb is Chairman of the National Cannabis Industry Association. Along with his partner Kayvan Khalatbari they founded Denver Relief and Consulting, featured on 60 Minutes and considered the model dispensary for America. The partners are helping entrepreneurs in several states obtain licenses and establish successful businesses practices.

U.S.: Nearly 200 Members of Congress Tell V.A. To Let Doctors Recommend Medical Marijuana

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Amendment would have prohibited VA from spending federal funds to prevent its doctors from recommending medical marijuana to veterans suffering from debilitating conditions

Nearly 200 members of Congress, including 22 Republicans, on Wednesday voted in favor of an amendment intended to allow physicians within the Veterans Affairs system to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in states that allow it. The bipartisan-sponsored amendment failed 195-222.

H.R. 4486, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, would have prohibited the VA from spending federal funds implementing a directive that prevents doctors from recommending medical marijuana to veterans suffering from debilitating conditions, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A Veterans Health Administration directive issued in 2011 forbids VA medical providers from signing forms that would allow veterans to obtain marijuana in accordance with state medical marijuana programs.

The amendment, sponsored by Congressmen Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Sam Farr (D-CA), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and Jared Polis (D-CO), was the first of its kind to be introduced on the House floor.

Minnesota: Medical Marijuana Compromise Bill Continues To Advance In State Senate

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Senate Committee on Judiciary refers SF 1641 to Senate Committee on Finance; measure would allow people with specific debilitating medical conditions to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it

A bill that would provide legal access to medical marijuana for people with specific debilitating medical conditions continued to advance on Wednesday in the Minnesota Senate. The Senate Committee on Judiciary referred the measure to the Senate Finance Committee, where it is expected to receive a hearing and a vote.

The Senate Committee on State and Local Government approved the bill Tuesday, and the Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Housing approved it last week.

“This week has been a breath of fresh air for seriously ill Minnesotans who would benefit from legal access to medical marijuana,” said Heather Azzi, political director for Minnesotans for Compassionate Care. “We knew this legislation would enjoy broad support once it received the consideration it deserves. The rate at which it is advancing finally reflects its urgency.”

SF 1641, sponsored by Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis), would allow people suffering from conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, glaucoma, and severe, debilitating pain to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The Minnesota Department of Health would issue medical marijuana ID cards to patients and establish a tightly regulated system of alternative treatment centers and quality control labs.

Vermont: Senate Approves Marijuana Dispensary Improvement Bill; Measure Going To Governor's Desk

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S. 247 will expand access to medical marijuana for qualified patients and initiate a study on the potential impact of making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it similarly to alcohol

The Vermont Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill that will expand access to medical marijuana for qualified patients. It will now be sent to Gov. Peter Shumlin, who has expressed support for the measure.

S. 247, sponsored by Sen. Jeanette White (D-Windham), will eliminate the cap on the number of patients who are allowed to access medical marijuana dispensaries. Currently, only 1,000 total patients in the state are able to access dispensaries.

The measure will also increase possession limits for dispensaries, allow them to deliver medical marijuana to patients, and permit naturopaths to certify patients for the program. The bill was amended by the House to initiate two studies: one to explore the possibility of adding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition for the state's medical marijuana program, and one to evaluate the potential impact of making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it similarly to alcohol.

"The House and Senate should be commended for taking action to ensure seriously ill Vermonters have legal access to medical marijuana," said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).

New York: Advocates Say Medical Marijuana Could Be Legalized This Spring

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It's been a tough fight in New York for medical marijuana. Time after time, advocates and patients believed they were on the brink of victory, only to be disappointed. But medicinal cannabis may finally be a dream that is coming true in the Empire State, and the change may come soon, according to advocates.

Pointing to favorable opinion polls and an evolving position from the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, proponents believe a new medical marijuana bill will be approved in Albany this spring, making New York the 22nd medical marijuana state, reports Glenn Blain at the New York Daily News.

"We're closer to this than we have ever been before," said gabriel sayegh of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).

Advocates have revised the bill to more tightly control how marijuana can be used, and who gets to use it. The new version, introduced on Friday, removed language that gave doctors the freedom to authorize medical marijuana for a wide array of symptoms.

The new version limits pot's use to about 20 serious conditions, including cancer, traumatic brain injury, AIDS, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and post-traumatic stress disorder. It also prevents anyone under 21 from being able to smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes, though they could be authorized to use other forms of cannabis, such as tincture or capsules.

U.S.: Sativex Gets Fast Track Designation From FDA For Cancer Pain

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Big Pharma continues its moves to take over the medical marijuana industry. GW Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company based in the United Kingdom, on Monday announced the the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Fast Track designation to Sativex, an oral spray containing THC and CBD in a 50:50 ratio, for the treatment of pain in patients with advanced cancer.

Sativex is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials for this indication, according to a press release from GW Pharmaceuticals.

The FDA's Fast Track program facilitates the developmental process for drugs intended to treat serious or life-threatening conditions and that have the potential to address "unmet medical needs." A drug program with Fast Track status is given greater access to the FDA for the purpose of speeding up the drug's development, review and potential approval.

"The award of Fast Track designation for Sativex represents important recognition by the FDA of the potential of this medicine to address significant unmet needs in the treatment of cancer pain," said Justin Gover, CEO at GW Pharmaceuticals. "Sativex is the only non-opioid treatment currently in Phase 3 development for patients who do not respond to, or experience negative side effects with opioid medications.

"We are fully committed to delivering the first FDA-approved cannabinoid medicine for these patients who currently have nowhere else to turn," Gover said.

GW is developing Sativex in the U.S. in collaboration with Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Minnesota: Senate Committee Approves Medical Marijuana Compromise Bill

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Senate Committee on State and Local Government approves SF 1641, which would allow people with specific debilitating medical conditions to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it

The Minnesota Senate Committee on State and Local Government on Tuesday approved a bill that would provide legal access to medical marijuana for people with specific debilitating medical conditions. The legislation was referred to Judiciary, which will hear testimony on Wednesday, April 30.

“We’re pleased to see this important legislation is moving forward so quickly in the Senate,” said Heather Azzi, political director for Minnesotans for Compassionate Care. “Legal access to medical marijuana cannot come soon enough for seriously ill Minnesotans and their families.”

SF 1641, sponsored by Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis), would allow people suffering from conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, glaucoma, and severe, debilitating pain to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The Minnesota Department of Health would issue medical marijuana ID cards to patients and establish a tightly regulated system of alternative treatment centers and quality control labs.

“States and localities around the country have proven that regulating medical marijuana works,” Azzi said. “People suffering from debilitating conditions like cancer, AIDS, and epilepsy deserve safe and legal access to medical marijuana. That is what this legislation would provide.”

Colorado: Veterans Suffering From PTSD Absurdly Denied Legal Marjuana

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Veterans With PTSD Who Use Legal Marijuana in Colorado Can Lose VA Medical Care and Benefits

Legislation to Add PTSD As Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana Rejected By Colorado Legislature

A bill on Monday failed to pass the Colorado House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committee that would have added post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of ‘debilitating medical conditions’ that qualify for a medical marijuana recommendation.

This timely bill (HB14-1364) would have addressed a major gap in access to medical marijuana in Colorado for veterans and all those suffering from PTSD. The bill sought to ensure that veterans won’t lose their VA benefits for following their physician’s recommendation to use medical marijuana.

On average a veteran commits suicide every hour in the United States -– and medical marijuana has been proven to reduce suicide. But Colorado veterans who use marijuana to manage their symptoms of PTSD risk losing their Veterans Administration (VA) benefits. VA policy permits veterans in compliance with their state medical marijuana law to continue to receive all their benefits and remain eligible for care in the VA medical system.

California: Accident Statistics Show No Evidence Of Marijuana DUI Crisis

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Drug DUI Bill Set for Hearings before Assembly Public Safety Committee Tuesday, April 29

The growing popularity of marijuana has raised public worries about the risk of an increase in driving accidents due to marijuana DUIs. Fortunately, the most recent federal highway safety statistics show no evidence of a MJ/drug driving epidemic.

According to data from NHTSA's Fatal Accident Recording System (FARS), the number of fatal highway accidents in California declined from 3,148 to 2,632 between 1999 and 2012; in the same period, the number of accident victims testing positive for marijuana increased from 105 to 402.

In short, highway safety actually improved while marijuana use increased in the past decade (this is true not only in California, but also nationwide). CA DUI arrests have likewise declined in the same period.

A closer examination of the data shows that marijuana use jumped suddenly around 2003-5, but has held steady ever since. Soon thereafter, accidents dropped substantially in 2006-2010 and are now 20 percent below their levels in the early 2000s.

Parallel trends have occurred nationwide. In the latest poll, a 54 percent-39 percent majority of Colorado voters say driving hasn't become more dangerous because of legal marijuana. "In short, there is no evidence of a pot DUI crisis - increased marijuana use is evidently compatible with improved driving safety," said Dale Gieringer, Ph.D., director of California NORML.

Minnesota: Medical Marijuana Bill To Receive Hearing And Vote Tuesday In Senate Committee

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Senate Committee on State and Local Government will consider SF 1641, which would allow people with specific debilitating medical conditions to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it

The Minnesota Senate Committee on State and Local Government will hold a Tuesday hearing and vote on a bill that would provide legal access to medical marijuana for people with specific debilitating medical conditions. The hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. CT in Room 123 of the Minnesota State Capitol.

SF 1641, sponsored by Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis), would allow people suffering from conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, glaucoma, and severe, debilitating pain to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

The Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Housing approved the measure last week. A companion bill in the Minnesota House of Representatives, HF 1818, received approval in March from the Health and Human Services Policy Committee.

Both bills have the maximum number of sponsors allowed — five in the Senate, including two committee chairs, and 35 in the House, including 12 committee chairs. Six additional House members have signed copies of the bill in order to demonstrate their support.

“This is a sensible law supported by a strong majority of Minnesota voters,” said Heather Azzi, political director for Minnesotans for Compassionate Care. “Seriously ill Minnesotans deserve safe and legal access to medical marijuana. There’s no reason to keep them waiting any longer.”

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