Tag: medical marijuana

Colorado Lawmakers Pass Bill to Allow Medical Marijuana for PTSD

Approximately 8 million adults suffer from PTSD, including many military veterans. (WikiMedia Commons/USMC)

DENVER, CO — Lawmakers in the Colorado legislature have passed a measure to add post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, to the list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana in the state.

The measure, Senate Bill 17, will now be sent to the desk of Gov. John Hickenlooper for final approval.  It was approved

Previous attempts to add PTSD to the conditions that qualify a patient for medical marijuana in Colorado, most recently in 2015.

The Colorado Board of Health, which oversees the state medical marijuana program, has not added any new qualifying conditions since the program began in 2001.  Colorado voters approved medical marijuana in 2000,

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that is estimated to affect eight million Americans annually, including many military veterans returning from combat, as well as victims and witnesses of violent crimes, such as sexual assault.

Although adults 21 or older can purchase and possess up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use in Colorado, allowing those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder access to the state’s medical marijuana program is beneficial for several reasons, including significantly lower taxes on medical marijuana versus recreational marijuana.

Medical marijuana patients can also possess up to two ounces of marijuana, double that of recreational users.

The bill will allow medical marijuana patients under 21 who suffer from PTSD legal access to marijuana for the first time.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Study: Medical Marijuana Legalization Linked to Lower Medicaid Costs

(Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance)

Patients use fewer prescription drugs in states where access to medical cannabis is legally regulated, according to data published in the journal Health Affairs.

Investigators at the University of Georgia assessed the association between medical cannabis regulations and the average number of prescriptions filled by Medicaid beneficiaries between the years 2007 and 2014.

Researchers reported, “[T]he use of prescription drugs in fee-for-service Medicaid was lower in states with medical marijuana laws than in states without such laws in five of the nine broad clinical areas we studied.”

They added, “If all states had had a medical marijuana law in 2014, we estimated that total savings for fee-for-service Medicaid could have been $1.01 billion.”

The findings are similar to those previously published by the team which reported that medical cannabis access was associated with significantly reduced spending by patients on Medicare Part D approved prescription drugs.

Separate studies have reported that patients with legal access to medical marijuana reduce their intake of opioids, benzodiazepines, anti-depressants, migraine-related medications, and sleep aids, among other substances.

An abstract of the study, “Medical marijuana laws may be associated with a decline in the number of prescriptions for medicaid enrollees,” appears here.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Nebraska Lawmakers Consider Allowing Medical Marijuana

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska lawmakers should approve a measure allowing and regulating medical marijuana before voters bypass them, senators who support the bill said Wednesday.

Legislators debated the bill for two hours without voting and are unlikely to return to the issue this year unless supporters prove they have the 33 votes necessary to end a filibuster. Senators who oppose the measure should work on making it better because they may be running out of time to regulate medical marijuana, said Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln.

Voters are now circulating two petitions for cannabis-related initiatives that could appear on the 2018 ballot. One would amend the state’s constitution to give residents the right to use, buy and sell marijuana and prohibit any laws restricting it, while the other would decriminalize possession of one ounce or less of the drug.

“This is going to come, and it’s not going to come in the form of a bill we can repeal or amend,” Morfeld said.

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The bill would allow people with conditions including cancer, glaucoma and epilepsy to use marijuana in liquid, pill, vapor or topical cream form. It would not permit smoking or consuming edible marijuana, and it would make the state Department of Health and Human Services responsible for enrolling patients and regulating manufacturers and dispensaries.

Access to medical marijuana won’t turn people into “weed smokers,” but it will help cancer patients, said Sen. Joni Craighead of Omaha. Her husband, Mike, died 10 years ago from cancer caused by exposure to Agent Orange as a soldier in Vietnam.

“If I would have had an opportunity to get medical cannabis for him, I think the quality of his life at the end would have been much better,” she said.

The Food and Drug Administration needs to do more research and approve the drug before states can legalize it, said Sen. Mike Hilgers of Lincoln. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia now allow marijuana for medical purposes, and those state laws are a mix of voter propositions and legislative bills.

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“We are not equipped to make this medical decision,” Hilgers said.

Sen. Anna Wishart of Lincoln, who sponsored and prioritized the bill, said cannabis is far safer than the opioid painkillers doctors now prescribe.

Missing proof that marijuana can lead to death doesn’t prove the drug is safe, said Sen. John Kuehn of Heartwell. He said lawmakers must learn from the history of thalidomide, a German drug prescribed for morning sickness that resulted in serious, often fatal, birth defects.

“We have to be careful about making claims that something is safe without clinical testing,” Kuehn said. “You can drink yourself to death, and your cause of death might be listed as cirrhosis of the liver or a car accident.”


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

West Virginia Gov’s Defense of Medical Marijuana Has Us All Verklempt

Before making West Virginia the 29th legal MMJ state, Gov. Jim Justice made a surprisingly moving speech about the value of compassion.

The post West Virginia Gov’s Defense of Medical Marijuana Has Us All Verklempt appeared first on Leafly.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

New Jersey Man (Kind of) Wins Medical Marijuana Insurance Coverage

Health insurance coverage has long been a source of exasperation for medical marijuana patients in the United States. For more than 20 years, mainstream insurance companies have refused to cover anything having to do with cannabis medicine. In Canada, some of the nation’s biggest companies are now moving to include medical marijuana in their employee health care plans. South of the border, though, signs of progress have been few.

So imagine my surprise when I read this recent headline:

Judge: Insurance company must pay for medical marijuana for injured N.J. worker

Insurance coverage for medical cannabis would be a massive step forward, especially for low income patients who struggle to cover the cash-only, out-of-pocket costs of medical cannabis.

Insurance coverage would be a massive step forward. In New Jersey, an ounce of medical marijuana costs around $400.

In New Jersey, an ounce of medical cannabis sets you back roughly $400 plus tax. Which is why that headline was such bombshell. It almost sounded too good to be true.

Was this the long-awaited breakthrough? Would health insurers finally offer medical cannabis coverage?

Not exactly. But the case does represent a half-step of progress.

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The case in question was a workers compensation matter. Andrew Watson, a 39-year-old worker at the 84 Lumber outlet in Manahawkin, injured his left hand while using a power saw at the building supply warehouse in 2008. Watson suffered lingering neuropathic pain in the hand long after the incident. After years of opioid use for the pain, Watson enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program in 2014. The cannabis allowed him to cut down his opioid use and treat the pain more safely.

Watson submitted invoices and receipts for the medical cannabis to his employer’s insurance provider for reimbursement. Those requests were denied. Watson took the dispute to court.

And he won.

“While the court is sensitive to the controversy surrounding the medicinal use of marijuana,” Judge Ingrid L. French concluded in her ruling, “whether or not it should be prescribed for a patient in a state where it is legal to prescribe it, is a medical decision that is within the boundaries of the laws in the State of New Jersey. In this case, there is no dispute that all of the credible evidence presented confirms that this Petitioner is an appropriate candidate for New Jersey’s medical marijuana program.”

Precedent? Not a legal one, sorry

So is this a “precedent-setting case,” as  some have suggested? Leafly reached out to Phil Faccenda, who represented Watson in the case.

Because the respondent (i.e., the insurance company) chose not to appeal the judge’s decision, “this particular case won’t set a legal precedent,” he said.

“It would have been better if they challenged the ruling,” Faccenda told Leafly. “Until a case is appealed there is no legal precedent. So this ruling is not legally binding, but it is very persuasive.”

Medical cannabis users can take some comfort from Watson’s symbolic verdict. Faccenda said he believes a similar case will eventually be appealed, wind its way through the system, and set a binding legal precedent.

Dispensaries watching the fallout closely

Medical cannabis businesses in New Jersey are watching closely to see how the issue ultimately shakes out. George Schidlovsky is Executive Director  of Compassionate Sciences ATC, the state’s largest dispensary by volume. He was quick to highlight why insurance companies might benefit from this progress too.

“It is only a matter of time before insurance companies recognize medicinal cannabis like any other medicine they reimburse for,” Schidlovsky told Leafly. “Medicinal cannabis is showing significant benefits as an alternative to mainstream pharmaceutical medicines that cost significantly more, have addictive features and in some cases lead to unforeseen deaths due to abuse.”

State-licensed medical cannabis dispensaries like his own, Shidlovsky said, “are prepared to work with insurance companies on reimbursement and co-pay processes” that benefit both patients and their insurers.

It’s worth noting the number of trade publications–insurance, workers compensation, and legal journals–that have covered this case. That’s perhaps the best barometer to gauge the significance of the case and its potential impact on future medical marijuana coverage in New Jersey and across the nation.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

With Bill Passage, West Virginia Set to Become 29th MMJ State

There are now 28 American states where you can legally be a medicinal cannabis patient, and there may soon be 29. In West Virginia, SB 386, which legalizes the production, sale, and use of medical cannabis, received final approval in the West Virginia legislature on Thursday. The measure now heads to the desk of Gov. Jim Justice.

Gov. Justice has publicly expressed support for legal access to medicinal marijuana, and is expected to sign the bill into law.

SB 386 was introduced by Sen. Richard Ojeda (D-Logan), and received initial approval from the state Senate last week by a vote of 28-6. The House substantially amended the bill before approving it on Tuesday (76-24).

A new version of the bill was then passed by the Senate on Wednesday afternoon (28-6). The House signed off on the final version today, 74-24.

Though it’s a step in the right direction, the West Virginia law does leave a few things to be desired. The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act charges the state Bureau of Public Health with regulating medical cannabis growers, processors, and dispensaries.

Patients that have specifically listed qualifying conditions will be allowed to use cannabis extracts, tinctures, and other preparations of marijuana, but not cannabis in flower or leaf form. So no, you will not be able to smoke medical cannabis in the Mountaineer state.

“Some of the House amendments to the bill are concerning, but it still has the potential to provide relief to thousands of seriously ill West Virginians,” said Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). Simon is a West Virginia native and graduate of West Virginia University. “We commend the Legislature for passing this compassionate and much-needed legislation, and we encourage Gov. Justice to sign it into law.”

Simon noted that West Virginia is the third state in a row to pass a medicinal cannabis bill through a Republican-controlled state legislature.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Colorado Will Allow Medical Cannabis Use While Awaiting Trial

DENVER (AP) — People awaiting trial won’t be prohibited from using medical cannabis. That’s according to a new law signed Thursday.

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a measure forbidding a court from saying that criminal defendants who are medicinal marijuana patients must abstain from pot as a condition of bond.

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Colorado has already decided that cannabis use shouldn’t be off-limits for people on probation.

A fiscal analysis prepared for lawmakers says the bond measure won’t cost any money. That’s because cannabis abstention isn’t usually a condition of bond in this state.

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Supporters call the bond change a policy statement. The protection for marijuana use applies only to people with certain medical conditions, not recreational cannabis consumers.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Canadian Companies Add Cannabis Coverage to Health Insurance

After injuring his back while working as an elevator mechanic, Wayne Skinner suffered from chronic back pain for more than six years. After he found relief through prescribed medical marijuana, he asked his union, through its trust fund, to cover the costs. Skinner fought for what he saw as his rightful coverage, but was turned down three times.

Some believe it’s only a matter of time until medical cannabis coverage becomes a normal part of health insurance in Canada.

Skinner’s odyssey finally ended earlier this year when a human rights board in his home province of Nova Scotia determined that the fund should cover his costs. In January, the board ruled that denial of his request for coverage amounted to a prima facie case of discrimination.

Skinner, 50, was elated. “Hopefully this will help other people in similar situations and eliminate the fight that myself and my family have had to endure, and the hardship that this has resulted in,” he told the CBC.

A number of medical marijuana advocates see the ruling as a bellwether. They believe it’s only a matter of time until broad-ranging coverage of medical cannabis becomes a normal part of every health insurance policy in Canada.

Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 1.23.57 PMCovering now, dispensing soon?

In fact, an enormously symbolic change occurred just last week. Loblaw Companies, which owns the supermarket chain Loblaws and the drug store chain Shoppers Drug Mart, announced that employee benefit plans would include coverage for medical marijuana. Loblaw Co. and its various subsidiaries employ nearly 200,000 Canadians. The announcement represents the largest corporate acceptance of medical cannabis in North America.

The announcement by Loblaws was a major policy change but it wasn’t completely surprising. Galen G. Weston, Loblaws president and executive chairman, said last year that he could envision his company’s retail outlets dispensing medical marijuana in the near future. “We’re an industry that is extremely effective at managing controlled substances,” Weston said after the company’s general meeting in May, 2016.

Canada’s publicly funded health care system provides individuals with preventative care and medical treatment from primary care physicians along with access to hospitals and important medical services. In some cases, coverage for prescription medication is available through public programs. But the vast majority of Canadians must pay for it out of pocket or through private health insurance. About two-thirds of Canadians have some form of private health insurance.

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Waiting for a DIN for Canadian cannabis

Health Canada allows certain companies (known as licensed producers) to grow medical marijuana and distribute it to individuals who have prescriptions from their doctors. But the agency hasn’t given cannabis a Drug Identification Number (DIN), which means it isn’t considered a fully approved medicine, and isn’t automatically included in drug formularies. The DIN functions as the  government’s seal of approval, and without it a drug is not regarded as legitimate by insurers.

Insurance companies already provide some coverage of medical marijuana through Health Care Spending Accounts — accounts in which a set amount of money is provided to an employee for coverage of medical and dental expenses. But only a small minority of the population maintains those accounts.

The majority of Canadians can’t get reimbursed for the cost of medical marijuana because insurance companies don’t cover it as standard practice.

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Growing interest and receptiveness

Advocates are making inroads, however. As evidence of marijuana’s medicinal value mounts, a growing number of patients see it as a viable alternative to traditional medication and, consequently, an increasing number of plan sponsors and insurance companies are looking into it.

Some of them have been considering medical marijuana claims on a case-by-case basis in recent years, and a handful of individuals have been granted coverage.

Jonathan Zaid, a student at the University of Waterloo, made national headlines in 2015 when he persuaded his student union, which sponsored his health insurance plan, to ask insurance underwriter to change its position and cover the cost of the cannabis he had been using to treat a neurological condition that causes constant headaches. Sun Life Financial ultimately agreed to reimburse him $3,000 to cover the costs of the prescribed cannabis and a vaporizer.

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Zaid’s experience led him to become a medical marijuana advocate. He launched the non-profit organization Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana, and he took a seat on the patient advisory board of a licensed producer.

“My case was one of the first [in which an insurance provider agreed to cover medical marijuana]. After that we started to see more openness to it,” he told Leafly. “Mr. Skinner’s case was a human rights issue. That speaks to how seriously employers and other plan sponsors need to consider covering medical marijuana.”

Zaid takes the Loblaws/Shoppers Drug Mart announcement as a sign of that seriousness. “Seeing a large, respected employer take proactive steps to include medical cannabis on the employee benefits plan further demonstrates how medical cannabis can be covered and speaks to the legitimacy of its use as a medicine,” he said.

‘Smooth system’ ahead

Deepak Anand, executive director of the Canadian National Medical Marijuana Association (CNMMA) says that at least a dozen individuals have reached out to his organization in the past three months. The CNMMA has provided them with information about regulations and, in some instances, has spoken to their employers.

The CNMAA has also provided information to about two dozen employers in the past three months, seeking input on matters related to marijuana coverage.

Joan Weir, director of health and disability policy at Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA), says her organization is now providing members with a steady stream of information about medical marijuana. “All our members are interested in examining the subject,” she says. “They are expecting more of their sponsors to request that medical marijuana coverage be included in their plans.”

Anand, Weir and others close to the subject believe it’s only a matter of time before Canadians commonly secure coverage of medical marijuana through insurance providers. As researchers learn more about cannabis, and more clinical trials indicate that it has medicinal value, more physicians and government officials will get onboard — and Health Canada will give medical marijuana a DIN. When that happens, advocates say, Canadian insurers will add some formulation to their drug benefit plans.

“I see a fairly smooth system of supply and demand five or ten years down the road,” says Weir. “I suspect that will lead to medical marijuana being added to plans as a standard benefit.”

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

What Is a Medical Marijuana Card?

What Is a Medical Marijuana Card and How Do You Obtain One?

A medical marijuana card (also known as “MMID” or “cannabis card”) is an identification card used by patients to enter medical dispensaries (or “cannabis clubs”) and purchase the plant to treat their corresponding health ailment or symptoms. It also allows for the patient to grow at home and use medical cannabis delivery services.

The cards are issued by the state, but the patient must first get a signed recommendation from a licensed physician to qualify. The patient and doctor need to agree that cannabis would be an effective treatment option, and the patient’s condition must be an approved condition by the state. With the doctor’s recommendation, the patient then needs to apply through the state and pay a fee, which will also vary depending on the state. Doctors can’t simply prescribe cannabis to patients due to the plant’s federally illegal status.

The technicalities of how to get an MMID and what it provides you will vary depending on the specific state’s laws and policies. As cannabis legalization expands, the process for patients continues to evolve, especially with more states legalizing recreational (adult-use) cannabis.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Patients With Access to Medical Marijuana Reduce Their Use of Opioids, Study Finds

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Patients registered to use medical cannabis decrease their use of opioids, according to data compiled by researchers at the University of New Mexico.

Investigators assessed the use of prescription opioids over an 18-month period among patients enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program compared to similar patients who were not.

They reported that subjects with access to medical cannabis reduced their use of opioids by 31 percent while those not in the program experienced a slight increase in opioid use over this same time period.

The findings are consistent with those of other studies reporting that patients with cannabis access reduce their use of prescription medications.

Separate studies further report lower rates of opioid misuse and mortality in jurisdictions where medical marijuana is legally permitted.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.