By Steve Elliott
The ultra-respectable BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) on Monday gave serious coverage to the wave of reports on the effectiveness of cannabis oil in fighting cancer and other serious diseases.
Chemotheraphy doesn't work for many cancer patients, and once the doctors say there's nothing more they can do, patients often turn to cannabis oil as a last resort, as a chance at life.
"Left with no options, everybody speaks about cannabis oil," said Sarah Amento, a California cancer patient. "I want to live. I have to live."
Cannabis has been used for centuries as a medicine; Britain's leading cancer research group is interested, according to spokeswoman Kat Arney. "Turning that into treatments is a long road, and certainly it's not going to be 'the one cure' for cancer, because nothing is," Arney said.
"The cannabis works," said Stefanie Larue, a cancer patient who used cannabis oil -- and only cannabis oil -- to fight her disease. "No chemo, and I only used cannabis. The tumors are gone, and the scans I have are evidence and proof of that. It's kind of like, what more do you need?"
By Steve Elliott
In what's starting to look uncomfortably like a replay of how legalization played out in next door neighbor Washington state, Oregon lawmakers are moving to put new strict limits on medical marijuana growers after voters approved recreational legalization last November.
Legislators want to shift large medical growers to the strictly regulated recreational cannabis market Oregon plans to develop, reports Jeff Mapes at The Oregonian.
"We have to show we're doing everything we can to close off the black market," claimed Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland). "It's no secret that medical marijuana [from Oregon] is appearing all over the U.S. in the illegal market."
It's amazing how quickly both the Washington and Oregon medical marijuana communities -- both of which have existed with no major problems for almost 17 years now, since voters in both states approved medical marijuana in 1998 -- became a "problem" due to their "unregulated" nature after recreational legalization was approved.
Rob Patridge, chairman of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, actually claimed that as much as 75 percent of the medical marijuana in the state winds up going to the black market. Patridge offered no evidence for his wild claims.
He said he hoped the "growing legislative consensus" on how to regulate medical growers will produce "a model system for the U.S." showing how to curtail illegal sales.
By Steve Elliott
Tennessee's weirdly Puritan attitude towards cannabis is being highlighted this week by a medical marijuana bill being drawn up by Republican state lawmakers.
Those drafting the legislation said the measure would allow the cannabis to be eaten or applied externally through topical oil, but not smoked, reports Chris Bundgaard at WKRN.
"It would likely be the most conservative medical marijuana bill in the country, and if passed, the nation's most carefully controlled law," bragged Capitol Hill lobbyist David McMahan, who failed to explain what's so damned attractive about "the most conservative medical marijuana bill" rather than "the medical marijuana bill most helpful to patients." McMahan's lobbying firm has been hired to help guide the bill through the GOP-dominated Tennessee Legislature.
McMahan told News 2 he has been hired by a group called Tenncangrow, which is listed as a Murfreesboro LLC and headed by estate planning lawyer David B. Laroche.
The two GOP bill sponsors, Rep. Ryan Williams of Putnam County and Sen. Steve Dickerson, MD of Nashville, said the bill would be "limited" in scope.
McMahan called it a "carefully controlled measure with a limited delivery method." It really is starting to sound as if these folks believe that the fewer patients helped, the better a medical marijuana bill is.
By Steve Elliott
Popular TV physician Dr. Oz on Friday ran a positive story on medicinal cannabis. "Cannabis is a natural medicine which is less addictive and ultimately safer than opiates that are currently the standard of treatment," said Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is a cardiothoracic surgeon. "And as a physician, I'd opt for the safer choice, given that option."
Those with severe chronic pain have learned that our choices are limited, reports Devi E. Nampiaparampil, MD on DoctorOz.com. Medical marijuana is increasingly seen as an alternative to harsh, addictive pharmaceutical opioids which carry the threat of overdose.
Another problem with opioid painkillers is the phenomenon of tolerance, wherein the drugs become less effective over time, making larger doses necessary -- and, once again, bringing up the danger of overdose, since taking too large a dose of opioids can depress the portion of the brain which controls breathing.
Cannabis, on the other hand, has never caused any lethal drug overdoses -- and the number of opioid deaths appears to have decreased in states with laws allowing medical marijuana. It may be that the addition of cannabis is effectively replacing opioids for some people, and according to some studies it might also be boosting the pain relief patients get from the same dose of painkillers.
By Steve Elliott
It's funny what a difference a week makes. Last Tuesday, when a federal medical marijuana bill was introduced by three Senators, many political observers dismissed its chances out of hand. But now the push to legalize medicinal cannabis at the federal level is gaining momentum in the Senate, drawing co-sponsors from both parties.
The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act, introduced by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) would reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug, provide access to banking services for cannabis businesses, and potentially fuel more medical research into the herb, reports Jake Miller at CBS News.
"The time has come for the federal government to stop impeding the doctor-patient relationship in states that have decided their own medical marijuana policies," said Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nevada), as he signed onto the proposal last week.
"This bipartisan legislation puts Americans who are suffering first by allowing Nevada's medical marijuana patients, providers, and businesses that are in compliance with state law, to no longer be in violation of federal law and vulnerable to federal prosecution," Sen. Heller said.
By Steve Elliott
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's cold-hearted refusal to allow sick children in his state safe access to medical marijuana was the subject of a blistering editorial inMonday's Star-Ledger.
"The issue of edible marijuana in New Jersey comes down to an irrefutable premise: The governor of this state has had numerous chances to liberate children from suffering over the last 18 months, yet he has chosen not to do it," wrote the Star-Ledger Editorial Board.
"Chris Christie seems content to live with this disgrace," the board wrote. "At one time, he summoned the audacity by looking into the faces of inconsolable parents and chirping the dim-bulb refrain, 'It's complicated,' and now he merely dismisses a law that he signed himself and hopes that nobody notices."
The op-ed unsparingly points out that two years after Vivian Wilson's parents were forced to move to Colorado for the sake of their toddler's health, there is still no workable edible marijuana program for New Jersey's needlessly suffering children -- "because Christie's administration doesn't prioritize compassion."
By Steve Elliott
A Nevada lawmaker on Tuesday proposed a bill in the Legislature that would grant ailing pets legal access to medical marijuana.
The bill, put forward by Democrat Tick Segerblom, would let pet owners obtain cannabis for their animals if a veterinarian confirmed it "may mitigate the symptoms or effects" of a chronic or debilitating medical condition, reports Curtis Skinner at Reuters.
Contrary to scare stories and misinformation in the mainstream press, cannabis is non-toxic to pets, and in fact to all mammals.
The bill also includes new rules for human patients, including regulations for medicla marijuana dispensaries. It also drops penalties for motorists found driving with marijuana in their system.
Photo: Dallas Observer
Mary's Medicinals on Tuesday announced that its entire product line is now available through medical cannabis dispensaries in Northern California.
To meet the growing need for accurately dosed, discreet medical cannabis options, Mary's offers a variety of isolated and blended cannabinoids that have been reported to treat a number of conditions.
"The power of cannabis as a treatment for many conditions has been clearly established," said Nicole Smith, CEO of Mary's Medicinals. "But, many patients are hesitant to use the traditional cannabis products on the market today. Not everyone wants to smoke joints or associate their medication with lollipops and gummy bears.
"With Mary's clinical grade extractions and accurate dosing mechanisms, patients are finding relief that is more effective, more reliable and more targeted than anything else available," Smith said. "We're thrilled to have found an amazing team of professionals with expertise in both chemistry and patient care to bring our products to California."
Mary's Medicinals has already established itself as one of the most trusted and innovative producers of canna-based products in Colorado and Washington. Mary's was first to offer THCa and CBN products; discovered harvesting techniques for the isolation of CBC, and continues to develop cutting edge approaches for isolating, manufacturing and delivering medicinal cannabis.
State Rep. Marisa Márquez (D-El Paso) and other Texas legislators will hold a news conference Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. CT in the Speaker’s Committee Room to discuss HB 3785 and SB 1839. They will be joined by Fort Worth cancer patient Barbara Humphries and other seriously ill Texans.
HB 3785, introduced by Rep. Márquez in the House, and SB 1839, introduced by Sen. José Menéndez (D-San Antonio) in the Senate, would allow patients with cancer, seizure disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other debilitating conditions to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. It would also allow the Department of State Health Services to establish a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana cultivators, processors, and dispensaries.
The bills differ from previously introduced legislation that would allow access to CBD oils with little or no THC. Many patients have found that THC and other components of whole marijuana are needed in addition to CBD in order to effectively treat their conditions. Some have relocated to states with more comprehensive medical marijuana laws so that they can access whole marijuana and oils that include a more balanced ratio of CBD and THC.
“Thousands of Texas veterans use medical cannabis to treat PTSD, chronic pain, and other service-related disabilities,” said retired U.S. Army Major David Bass. “Veterans should not have to flee the state or depend on the criminal market to access the medication that best fits their needs. Now is the time for Texas to approve safe and legal access to therapeutic cannabis.”
By Steve Elliott
There are encouraging signs of actual marijuana law reform in Texas this week. One of the happiest indicators is that the introduction of limited "CBD-only" cannabis oil bills doesn't necessarily keep better medical marijuana legislation from being introduced.
You see, soon after state Sen. Kevin Eltile and state Rep. Stephanie Klick -- both Republicans -- introduced their plan to make a very limited subset of CBD oil available to an even smaller subset of patients who would benefit, the push-back started, reports Stephen Young at the Dallas Observer.
The law was misguided, said Shaun McAlister, executive director of the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (DFW NORML). McAlister pointed out that it failed to account for the complexity that makes cannabis an effective treatment for so many conditions.
Dean Bortell, the father of 9-year-old Alexis Bortell, who has intractable epilepsy, said the bill didn't go far enough, despite it being specifically targeted at his daughter's condition. The Bortells now live in Colorado after leaving Texas to find an effective cannabis-based treatment for Alexis, but they continue to fight for medical marijuana reform in the Lone Star State.
Families with Children & Loved Ones in Need of Treatment Join Senators to Discuss Landmark Proposal to Let States Legalize Medical Marijuana
Leading National Epilepsy Organization Backs Bipartisan Medical Marijuana Bill
Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) on Sunday joined New York and New Jersey families who would benefit from the new bipartisan bill to allow patients in states that have legalized medical marijuana to access the treatment without fear of federal prosecution.
The Senators also announced the support of the Epilepsy Foundation, which has endorsed the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act that Booker and Gillibrand, along with Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced last week. The CARERS Act respects states’ ability that set their own medical marijuana programs and prevents federal law enforcement from prosecuting patients, doctors and caregivers in states that have legalized medical marijuana. Both New York and New Jersey have legalized use of medical marijuana.
By Steve Elliott
The Georgia Senate on Friday passed a medical marijuana bill that would establish a five-year study involving minors under 18 with seizure disorders.
The bill, by Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), was approved on a 54-1 vote after a debate lasting more than an hour, reports the Associated Press.
Senate Health and Human Services committee chairwoman Renee Unterman (R-Buford) said she plans to work with Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) to add additional medical conditions listed in a House bill to the Senate's version of the legislation.
House members overwhelmingly approved Peake's bill in that chamber. That proposal would legalize cannabis oil for people with seizure disorders, cancer and seven other conditions.
Sen. Unterman praised the House bill and said a hearing will be held by March 19 to attempt merging the two bills into a combined measure.
Graphic: Herald Tribune
SUNDAY: Gillibrand & Booker to Meet with NY, NJ Families About New Bipartisan Medical Marijuana Bill to Allow Patients to Access Necessary Care without Fear of Federal Prosecution
Five Local Families with Children & Loved Ones in Need of Treatment Will Join Senators to Discuss Landmark Proposal to Let States Legalize Medical Marijuana
Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) on Sunday, March 15, will join five New York and New Jersey families who would benefit from the new bipartisan bill to allow patients in states that have legalized medical marijuana to access the treatment without fear of federal prosecution.
Both New York and New Jersey have legalized use of medical marijuana.
Earlier this week, Senators Gillibrand and Booker with Rand Paul (R-KY) and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act would respect the states that set their own medical marijuana programs and prevent federal law enforcement from prosecuting patients, doctors and caregivers in those states.
The families who will meet with Gillibrand and Booker would be able to access treatment for conditions medical marijuana has been shown to help control, like epilepsy and seizures.
The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and Epilepsy Foundation will also join the families and Senators.
Date: Sunday, March 15, 2015
Time: 2:00 PM
Measures introduced in the House and Senate on Friday would allow patients with debilitating conditions — including veterans with PTSD — to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it
Texas state lawmakers on Friday introduced legislation that would allow patients with cancer, seizure disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other debilitating conditions to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.
HB 3785, introduced by Rep. Marisa Márquez (D-El Paso) in the House, and a companion bill that will be introduced later Friday by Sen. José Menéndez (D-San Antonio) in the Senate, would create a program through which individuals with qualifying medical conditions would receive licenses allowing them to possess limited amounts of medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. It would also direct the Department of State Health Services to establish a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana cultivators, processors, and dispensaries.
“The law currently does not reflect marijuana’s legitimate medical use and denies access to patients, such as veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, citizens suffering with cancer, and severe aliments of the aging,” Rep. Márquez said. “By continuing to deny access to patients, we limit the rights of families to seek the best possible treatment for conditions that do not respond to other drugs or therapies.
While U.S. marijuana laws change and society retracts itself from previous prohibitionist attitudes, the Baby Boomer generation is consuming cannabis at a higher rate than ever before. As of 2013, 44 percent of adults between ages 50 and 64 reported using marijuana, up from 9 percent in 1985, according to the Gallup Poll.
Weedy.com, a new dispensary discovery website, on Wednesday announced it is following these trends, and is specifically catering to the medical marijuana needs of the baby-boomer generation.
Weedy is the first platform released by Green Web Services, Inc., located in Silicon Valley, founded by Ryan Hunt, Charlyn McNamara, Trang Nguyen and Noosphere Ventures. Focused on consumer education, Weedy allows users to search for doctors, strains, and dispensaries for medical marijuana from any geographic location.
Medical marijuana has previously been stigmatized in the United States, especially amongst Baby Boomers. Weedy was deliberately created to fill the void in the lack of education within the medical marijuana space, and to counter that stigma with information—and an abundance of it. The education-based platform connects patients to dispensaries and provides in-depth information regarding which strains and methods aid various health problems.