Tag: Medical

State of the Leaf: Turkey Legalizes Cannabis Production for Medicine, Research

U.S. News Updates

Arkansas

Cannabis opponents behind the lawsuits targeting this year’s medical marijuana initiatives have taken their pushback to the airwaves with a new anti-legalization campaign ad. The group Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana created the advertisement against Issue 6 and Issue 7 with the support of Arkansas Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe. The video discredits cannabis as medicine almost instantly, describing medical cannabis consumption as “drug abuse.” Bledsoe acknowledges some medicinal properties of cannabis but only in the context of seizure disorders. David Couch, the sponsor of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, called the ad deceptive, adding, “It was very disappointing at the same time that while acknowledging there are medical benefits, they chose to show potheads smoking pot instead of actual patients.” The group spent about $50,000 on the 30-second spot, which will be aired statewide.

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Alaska

There’s another round of hurdles facing would-be cannabis businesses in Alaska. Parking and landscaping requirements are creating headaches for many in Anchorage, where rules require a sizeable parking lot, streetlights, as well as the inexplicably specific requirement of “3 trees and 18 shrubs.” One new business owner spent $35,000 to follow the code. The mandate is the latest obstacle to would-be operators, and it compounds an existing delay: Shops can’t open until testing laboratories are up and running, but the labs are facing the same onerous requirements. One tester, CannTest already reported a delay due to landscaping issues.

Maryland

It’s been nearly 2 1/2 years since Gov. Martin O’Malley signed the law to create the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission, but patients are still awaiting access to medical cannabis. A state commission has pre-approved 15 cultivators and 15 processors, but lawsuits have stalled further progress. A component of the law stipulated that a portion of the licenses must be issued to minority business owners, but the commission allegedly overlooked that detail in selecting applicants. As a result, dispensaries that were slated to open by next summer may face more delays, leaving patients without access. Three states passed medical marijuana legislation in 2014. Maryland is the only one where patients still lack legal access.

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Massachusetts Miracle? A Wicked-Close Race Breaks Wide Open

Montana

An anti-cannabis group broke state law by spending money on multiple initiatives, Montana’s commissioner of political practices found. Safe Montana had proposed a ballot measure to repeal the state’s medical marijuana law, but the group was unable to gather enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. Instead, the group focused its efforts (and funding) on billboards opposing the measure that did earn a spot on the ballot: Initiative 182, which would expand the the state MMJ program and remove the current limit of three patients per dispensary. Ballot committees can only participate in one issue, the commissioner noted, and spending funds to support one measure and oppose another is a violation of state law.

Oregon

The upcoming election could be crucial to the success or failure of some Oregon cannabis businesses. After voters approved adult-use cannabis in 2014, about 100 towns and counties voted to impose a moratorium on cannabis businesses. Many of those communities are now rethinking that position. The election could overturn bans in 50 towns and counties, changes that could significantly impact the local economy as well as tax revenues.

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For Candidates in Utah, Medical Marijuana Issue Looms Large

Utah

Mike Weinholtz, Utah’s Democratic candidate for governor, made an emotional plea for the state to legalize medical marijuana just hours after his wife pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges related to the possession of two pounds of cannabis. Donna Weinholtz has arthritis and a degenerative spinal condition that caused her extreme pain. Rather than turn to highly addictive opiates, the couple said, she chose to treat her pain with cannabis. “I, like many Utahns, made a deliberate and conscious decision to use cannabis knowing full well that it is against the law,” she said in response to the charges. She pled guilty to possession of cannabis and paraphernalia, and will serve one year of probation and pay a $3,800 fine.

International News Updates

Canada

The minimum age to purchase cannabis in in Canada’s legal market could be set at 25. That’s the recommendation of Ottawa’s public health agency ahead of the country’s adult-use legalization set for next spring. The Canadian Medical Association made the same recommendation, and the report was compiled with the assistance of more than two dozen health agencies. The age limit is clearly aimed at reducing consumption by Canada’s youth due to concerns over brain development. Canadians between the ages of 15 and 24 consume twice as much cannabis as the general population of Canada, however, and critics worry that setting the age limit too high will only drive consumers to the black market.

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Turkey

Turkey has legalized the production of cannabis in 19 provinces in an attempt to undercut illegal cannabis growing operations. The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock released the “Hemp Cultivation and Control of Regulations” late last month to allow for strictly controlled cannabis production for medicinal and scientific purposes. With the permission of the government, growers may cultivate cannabis for a three-year period. Ministry officials will check the fields each month before the start of harvest season, and growers must discard all parts of the cannabis plant after the harvest period in an effort to avoid it being sold illegally for consumption.


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.

Utah Republicans Laying Groundwork to Expand Medical Marijuana

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah state legislators began laying the groundwork Wednesday to make another run at legalizing medical marijuana for people with certain conditions.

During a committee hearing, four Republican lawmakers presented outlines of measures they’re planning to introduce at the next legislation session that they hope can work in concert. The measures would expand legal uses of medical marijuana, create a regulatory framework to manage a program from growth to distribution, and allow for more local research to study marijuana’s impacts for different medical conditions.

Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Salt Lake City, urged his colleagues to take action next session, saying veterans with PTSD and cancer patients are two groups that may benefit.

“Our patients out there are desperate. . . They are desperate to have an alternative to opioids in terms of pain relief,” said Shiozawa, an emergency room doctor. “There are thousands of patients in this state alone who may benefit from cannabis is some form. What we don’t know is how and in what doses.”

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Shiozawa and Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, are crafting proposals that would allow more local research to study the drug’s impacts for different conditions. Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, is sponsoring a bill that would provide regulatory framework that would kick in as medical marijuana expansion passes. Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville, is handling a proposal to expand the legal uses.

Utah already allows a marijuana extract, called cannabidiol, to be used by those with severe epilepsy, as long as they obtain it from other states. But two proposals to expand access died at the state legislature this year.

Utah Medical Association CEO Michelle McOmber said her group supports research but she said the organization opposes legalizing it without more research. She pulled out a bag full of items including sunscreen, nasal spray and cosmetics to make a point that all of them first had to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Neither the legislature or the public should determine what is medicine,” said McOmber. “Anecdotal stories do not medicine make.”

Two researchers from the University of Utah applauded the proposal to allow their teams to do more research on cannabis. Dr. Glen Hanson, director of the Utah Addiction Center, said sound, scientific research will guide policy that legislators won’t regret.

The health and human services committee didn’t vote or take action, just hearing presentations on the proposals and from proponents and opponents.

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The hearing came a day after Mike Weinholtz, a Democratic candidate for governor, called for the legalization of medical marijuana after his wife pleaded guilty to misdemeanor cannabis-possession charges. Weinholtz was in the audience to hear about the proposals but didn’t speak during the hearing.

He said afterward he’s not hopeful the state legislature will take action next year based on the tone of the committee and emphasis on listening to the Utah Medical Association’s opinion. Weinholtz, a heavy underdog to incumbent Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, said he’ll stay involved in the issue no matter the result on election night.

Shiozawa said legislators need to accept that marijuana use is already prevalent, which is why the state should adopt a practical approach to help people who need it for medical reasons. He said he’s talked to his emergency doctor colleagues in Colorado and found out how Utah can make it’s law better.

“People can acquire cannabis wherever they want,” he said. “What I’m trying to do is put in some science that might come up with an efficient method to treat people.”


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 Happens if Both Arkansas MMJ Measures Pass?

Nine states have legalization initiatives on the ballot this November, but only one state has two legalization initiatives. That would be Arkansas.

Both campaigns recently fought—and won—a legal challenge by a staunch anti-legalization coalition, Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana. One of the two measures, the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, remains tied up in a lawsuit challenging the campaign’s signature gathering process.

Let’s assume both measures survive to go before the state’s voters. What happens if both measures pass?

Arkansas law is clear on one point: All things being equal, the ballot measure that receives the higher number of votes will become law. But here’s the thing. All things are not equal. One ballot measure (Issue 7) is an initiative, the other (Issue 6) is a state constitutional amendment.

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In that case, it’s unclear whether the higher-vote-total rule takes effect, or whether the constitutional amendment takes precedence over a statewide initiative. If both measures gain favor with a majority of voters, it’s highly likely that a lawsuit could decide the ultimate outcome.

Now, let’s look at the chances of both measures passing.

In 2012, Arkansans for Compassionate Care had a medical cannabis measure on the ballot. It was narrowly defeated, with 48 percent in favor and 51 percent opposed.

In the years since, support for medical cannabis has followed distinctive upward trend. In 2012, a poll from Talk Business–Hendrix College showed just 38 percent of 868 likely voters supported the medical cannabis measure.

In 2014, the same poll showed that 45 percent of 1,000 likely Arkansas voters supported medical cannabis. The most recent poll conducted in June of this year found that 58 percent of 751 likely Arkansas voters said they would vote to support a measure to legalize medical marijuana. So statewide support for medical cannabis legalization has increased by 20 percent in just four years.

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The same pollsters at Talk Business – Hendrix College also examined the divide in voters faced with the two competing measures. In September, the group polled 831 likely Arkansas voters and discovered that although the two measures are nearly identical (save for a clause allowing home cultivation), 49 percent of voters were in favor of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, while 36 percent were in favor of the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act.

Gov. Hutchison doesn’t hold veto power over a voter-approved ballot measure, however. So he may oppose it, but he can’t stop it if the voters approve the initiative. Or the amendment. Or both.

Television station KARK recently aired a 30-minute special titled “Medicine or Menace? A Medical Marijuana Forum” and hosted by Drew Petrimoulx. 


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.

For Candidates in Utah, Medical Marijuana Issue Looms Large

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Hours after his wife pleaded guilty to misdemeanor cannabis possession charges connected with two pounds of the plant found at their house, Utah’s Democratic candidate for governor is expected to talk about the need for a broader legalization of medical marijuana to address the health issues his wife and others face.

The plea deal calls for a fine and probation rather than jail time for Donna Weinholtz, who was charged after postal workers found a small amount of cannabis she tried to mail to the couple’s home in California earlier this year.

Mike Weinholtz revealed the investigation during his party’s convention in April shortly after it began and said then he would push to legalize in Utah the medical marijuana his wife uses for chronic pain.

With the criminal charges resolved, Mike Weinholtz said in a statement he can now speak freely about the case and be more vocal about the issue and its connections to the epidemic of prescription drug abuse. Conservative Utah has passed a very limited medical marijuana law allowing those with severe epilepsy to use cannabis extract oil that doesn’t contain psychoactive properties.

Donna Weinholtz suffers from arthritis and degenerative spinal conditions, and she turned to cannabis instead of opiate painkillers or other invasive treatments, he has said.

The couple is scheduled to talk about the case at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

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Medical marijuana has become a polarizing issue in the generally conservative state as the election season heats up, but many agree the state’s current hard-line approach is due for reform. On Monday, U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop and his Democratic opponent Dr. Peter Clemens clashed during a debate on cannabis, climate change, and the Republican’s continued support for Donald Trump.

Bishop said he didn’t think the federal government should be involved in the issue at all, saying that “the state should have the right to legislate and regulate as they wish.” He acknowledged there could be some justification for medical, though not recreational, cannabis consumption.

Clemens, by contrast, said cannabis could be a viable alternative to addictive opioid painkiller drugs, and federal authorities should have an important role in regulating it so each state doesn’t have to set up its own Food & Drug Administration.

“Doctors need other tools in their toolbox to help take care of chronic pain. I agree with 65 percent of Utahns that it’s time we took a really serious look at medical cannabis,” he said.

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Donna Weinholtz pleaded guilty to two counts, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. She agreed to serve one year of probation and pay a $3,800 fine in the plea deal that also calls for her record to be cleared if she stays out of trouble for the next year.

Tooele County Chief Deputy Attorney Gary Searle has said it appears she had the drug for personal use, and there’s no evidence her husband was aware of it. His office got the case after federal prosecutors declined to file charges and the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office bowed out for political reasons.

Donna Weinholtz had faced up to six months in jail if convicted.

She was also one of 13 people arrested in 2014 as part of a protest over the Republican-dominated Legislature’s refusal to hold a hearing on an anti-discrimination law that included sexual and gender orientation protections. It passed the following year.

In that case, she got probation and paid a $100 fine after she and other protesters blocked the doors to a committee meeting room.

Mike Weinholtz is a wealthy businessman facing an uphill battle this year to try to unseat Republican Gov. Gary Herbert in an overwhelmingly GOP state.

Herbert campaign manager Marty Carpenter declined to comment Tuesday.

Lead Image: Rick Bowmer/AP


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.

Australian Research Initiative Will Put Medical Cannabis Claims to the Test

Imagine you’ve lived a full life, had a very successful career, and are just beginning to relax and spend time with your grandchildren. But one of those grandchildren is sick. She has Dravet Syndrome, a rare and difficult to treat form of epilepsy. What would you do?

If you were Barry and Joy Lambert, you might donate $33.7 million to Sydney University to research cannabis—a treatment that’s shown potential to transform lives of patients with epilepsy. The unprecedented private donation last year established the Lambert Initiative, which aims to break new ground as to the medical benefits of cannabis, as well as any side effects.

“We believe this investment in the future of Australian science and medicine will provide the much-needed evidence to rapidly advance the use of medicinal cannabinoids in the treatment of childhood epilepsy and other serious illnesses,” Lambert said in a statement about the donation.

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The comment is a nod to the feeling among many in the cannabis community that the medicinal benefits of cannabis are already apparent but simply haven’t been verified in the lab. Australian has been hesitant to accept evidence from overseas studies. The Lambert Initiative, which is closely partnered with the New South Wales (NSW) government’s clinical trials through the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation, should help address those concerns by providing world-leading Australian research into medicinal cannabis.

Which illnesses will the research focus on? Headed by Professor Iain McGregor, who conducted the first-ever study using NSW-grown cannabis plants, the initiative will focus on how cannabis might be used to treat pediatric epilepsy, cancer, chronic pain, obesity, anorexia, dementia, addiction, and other mental health disorders.

While THC and CBD have long been the focus of research, the Lambert Initiative will also look at some of the less studied cannabinoids in order to determine possible uses in medical treatment.

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The initiative’s focus on pediatric epilepsy is evident. Last month it announced the Pediatric Epilepsy Lambert Initiative Cannabinoid Analysis, or PELICAN, which is reaching out to parents who currently treat their children’s epilepsy with cannabis.

Parents treating kids with cannabis is a legally and morally complex area. The frustration of families living with pediatric epilepsy is easy to understand, and available pharmaceutical options aren’t effective for some patients. But dosing cannabis can be difficult without safe access to pharmaceutical-grade products and the guidance of a medical professional—and few parents are willing to say publicly that they use cannabis to treat their young children.

By engaging those parents directly and offering them information about the contents of the cannabis oils and extracts they are using, the initiative will build an understanding of what these substances are and how well they work. At the same time, parents will get accurate and timely information about their treatment plans without having to wait years for the results of a clinical trial.

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As well as its research arm, one of the Lambert Initiative’s stated objectives is to change the public perception of cannabis. Although polls suggest 91 percent of Australians support the legalisation medical purposes, rhetoric from prohibitionist groups like Drug Free Australia contributes to a sometimes fiery public debate around the issue.

Meticulous, well-funded research into new areas—as well as larger replications of smaller studies that show promise—is an important step for legitimizing cannabis across the country. PELICAN is a promising example of what might be achieved when large-scale research is linked to the people it affects.


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.

Germany’s First Legal, Homegrown Cannabis Is Being Sown Now

Sixteen years after he first sought permission to cultivate cannabis, the German medical cannabis patient known as Michael F. has finally received authorization to grow his own. On Sept. 28, the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) granted him a temporary permit to cultivate up to 130 plants per year for personal use.

The move made Michael F. the first cannabis patient to receive government permission to cultivate cannabis. He may also be one of the last. The federal government and the Bundestag are preparing for a law that would force insurance companies in some circumstances to reimburse the cost of medical cannabis. It’s set to take effect early next year, though reimbursements wouldn’t begin until 2019.

The new law would undercut the argument Michael F. used to secure permission to grow at home. In April, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ordered the BfArM to grant him authorization to cultivate cannabis after finding he didn’t have the money to purchase it from a pharmacy. His authorization is only temporary, set to expire after June 30, 2017, and a provision says that once medical cannabis is covered by health insurance, the permit will immediately expire.

By the same reasoning, expanded health care coverage would also allow the government to avoid the need to accommodate home cultivation. Some patients have even begun referring to the measure as the “Prevention of Private Cultivation Law.”

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The ruling in Michael F.’s case inspired a number of other patients to apply for authorization on the same grounds. According to a BfArM spokesperson, more than 130 applications were submitted between mid-March and the end of May by medical patients seeking permission for home cultivation. “In no case permission was granted,” the spokesperson said.

Despite the fact other German patients may be in similar situations, the ruling applies only to Michael F. According to a BfArM statement, “the self-cultivation of cannabis can also be allowed in individual cases only in the future.” While the agency said Michael’s case “would be taken into account,” authorizations will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

It remains to be seen whether the applications will be successful without the years of legal proceedings that Michael F. endured. The BfArM doesn’t make available the status of pending applications.

Similar to Canada’s national medical marijuana program, the German government doesn’t consider home cultivation to be suitable for patients because, in its view, quality and potency can’t be adequately assessed. Until the decision in Michael F.’s case, the country had managed to prevent legal home cultivation completely.

Canada, too, was hit by similar complaints, and in February a federal appeals court ruled home growing legal.

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In Germany, cultivation rules are complicated even if patient manages to win authorization—at least if Michael F. is any indication. His authorization sets a maximum of 130 plants per year, each of which must be documented from the seed to the smoked joint. According to his wife, Michael F. plans to grow 20 plants per cycle. The remaining allowance will serve as a safety buffer in case plants die or fail to produce. In addition, Michael must install additional safety devices in his first-floor apartment as well as bars on the window of the grow room.


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.

Maryland Patients Still Waiting on Medical Marijuana

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — With Maryland on pace to have one of the slowest rollouts of medical marijuana in the country, patients across the state must skirt the law if they want to treat themselves.

It has been more than 900 days since former Gov. Martin O’Malley signed the bill legalizing medical marijuana in the state.

Dispensaries are anticipated to open by next summer, but legal fights with the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission over licenses to grow the plant has many concerned that access will keep patients waiting longer.

One company that applied for a growing license but was denied has filed suit against the commission, with two others planning to do so, all saying the licensing process was unfair and improper.

And the Legislative Black Caucus, concerned about a lack of minority ownership among preliminary licensees, plans to introduce emergency legislation in the next General Assembly session calling for the commission to restart the process.

“I looked at myself one day and I realized I was going to turn into a junkie if I didn’t find something else to manage my pain.”

Rachel Perry-Crook, executive director, Maryland NORML

While state officials grapple with who should grow, process and sell the drug, some Maryland patients are suffering — or medicating themselves outside the law.

“I was 26 years old before I tried pot for the first time, and it was strictly as pain management,” said Rachel Perry-Crook, executive director of Maryland NORML, an organization that promotes marijuana legalization.

Perry-Crook, now 30, said she has used marijuana for four years to help alleviate pain from a number of different ailments, including undergoing four back surgeries and a spinal fusion. She has a connective tissue disorder known as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, she said, that causes hypermobility, leaving her body in constant pain.

She said she turned to marijuana after years of taking a prescription opioid medication meant to treat severe pain.

“I was taking Dilaudid for years — very high dosages of Dilaudid to the point where it would put a lot of people in a coma,” Perry-Crook told the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service. “I looked at myself one day and I realized I was going to turn into a junkie if I didn’t find something else to manage my pain.”

Pushback against the commission

The state granted pre-approval to 15 processors and 15 growers in August.

Medical cannabis producer Green Thumb Industries-Maryland, based in Prince George’s County, filed a lawsuit against the commission on Sept. 19. The company said it was on the list of 15 pre-approved growers in July, then subsequently and unfairly removed when the ranking process was changed to factor in the geographic diversity of the applicants.

“The path we’re pursuing now is a last resort; we feel like we’ve exhausted all other remedies,” Pete Kadens, CEO of GTI-Maryland, said during a press conference late last month. “The last thing we want to do is further distress sick patients.”

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A little more than a week later, another rejected grower, Maryland Cultivation and Processing, petitioned to join the lawsuit, which was filed in the Baltimore City Circuit Court.

Additionally, members of the state’s Legislative Black Caucus, among others, have also taken issue with the lack of racial diversity among the 30 pre-approved processors and growers.

“We are not going to let anybody get licenses under the scenario that exists now,” state Delegate Cheryl Glenn, D-Baltimore said during a Legislative Black Caucus meeting on Oct. 6.

Alternative Medicine Maryland, which is majority African-American owned, was also denied a license by the commission. The group will file a lawsuit in the coming weeks demanding the commission stop the licensing process and mandate racial diversity, according to John Pica, an attorney for the group.

“Sometimes I wonder if our application was even reviewed,” Pica said. “African-American companies have been stiff-armed in this industry.”

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Some industry advocates are concerned that the legal battles, though valid, will mean sick patients are left waiting for even longer.

“We are very concerned with the lack of diversity that is in the current pre-approvals,” said Kate Bell, legislative counsel with the Marijuana Policy Project, a cannabis advocacy group. “But we have to remember that — fundamentally — this is about protecting sick patients.”

Where Maryland stands

On April 14, 2014, Maryland joined the 25 states and Washington, D.C., to legalize medical marijuana. Of the three states that passed the legislation in 2014, Maryland is the only one where patients do not yet have legal access to cannabis.

The commission plans to administer patient cards six months prior to the anticipated opening of dispensaries, according to its website.

Mike Liszewski, government affairs director for Americans for Safe Access, said Maryland is taking longer than most states to bring medical marijuana to its patients. While he predicts patients will be able to receive legal medicine by mid to late 2017, he said additional lawsuits and injunctions could push that back further.

Hawaii’s June 2000 medical marijuana law allowed patients to use and cultivate the plant with a doctor’s prescription. The state approved an amendment in July 2015 that allowed dispensaries to open in July 2016 — only one year later, according to the Hawaii Department of Health’s website.

States such as Nevada and Vermont also did not have dispensaries available from the onset but did allow patients with registry cards to legally grow marijuana for treatment.

“If patients were allowed to cultivate their own medicine (in Maryland), you wouldn’t have patients waiting and suffering,” Liszewski said. “Our organization is trying to get to a solution that has the dispensaries opening up as soon as possible.”

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A 2011 amendment to Vermont’s 2004 medical marijuana legislation established dispensaries that are permitted to both cultivate and distribute the drug. In Maryland, growers and dispensaries must be separate businesses, an extra layer of bureaucracy.

The 30 pre-approved growers and processors are in the second stage of the licensing process where they must undergo background checks, inspections and prove financial competency.

Preliminary, or stage one, approval of dispensaries is forthcoming, according to the commission.

Liszewski said removing statutory and regulatory caps that restrict the number of growers and processors permitted under law could alleviate the grievances regarding geographic diversity and promote greater competition within the industry.

Perry-Crook says the legislature needs to diversify the pool of applicants and review county-level zoning provisions that do not allow growing, processing or vending in commercial areas. She said these provisions restrict patients’ access to marijuana since they may have to travel farther receive it.

“The supply is not going to meet the demand with how things are laid out right now,” Perry-Crook said.


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.

State of the Leaf: Delaware Lawmakers Will Vote on Legalization Next Year

US News Updates

Delaware

State Sen. Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington), the author of Delaware’s medical marijuana law, has announced she will introduce legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis in Delaware once the General Assembly reconvenes in January. The bill would legalize possession and consumption of cannabis by adults 21 or older, and it would establish a regulated market for sales. The specifics of the bill are still being drafted. Henry said she is consulting lawyers and will work to muster support in the Senate. “It’s going to be an uphill battle,” she said during a meeting of the state’s Medical Marijuana Act Oversight Committee. “But it’s time, quite frankly.”

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Massachusetts

Cannabis supporters are pushing back against a state Senate report, claiming that its “misconstrued statistics and unfounded speculation” have misinformed voters about legalization in the lead-up to November’s election. The report was the result of a trip to Colorado taken by members of the Special Senate Committee on Marijuana to see the legal cannabis industry for themselves. After roughly a year of work, the committee released a report that was highly critical of the state’s legalization ballot measure, Question 4. The leader of the Senate committee, Sen. Jason Lewis (D-Winthrop) has gone on to join the steering committee of the measure’s opposition campaign. The Yes on 4 campaign said voters “should base their decisions on facts and sound policy arguments rather than the misconstrued statistics and unfounded speculation of misinformed public officials.” During a visit to Boston this week, PBS host Rick Steves told voters that “Your legislators don’t have the courage to learn about [cannabis].”

Michigan

A new East Lansing ordinance decriminalizes the possession and consumption of less than an ounce of cannabis. Ordinance No. 1393 amends provisions regarding the use and possession of cannabis to allow adults 21 and older to use and possess on private property up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use. Rather than charging a violator with a misdemeanor, the penalty for the possession of less than an ounce of cannabis in public will be a civil infraction of a fine of no more than $25, community service, and/or substance screening.

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Ohio

Ohio’s new medical marijuana advisory committee members have only just been appointed, and they’re already causing controversy. That’s because two outspoken legalization opponents were given seats on the 14-member panel. Republican House Speaker Cliff Rosenberg made the appointments, tapping Marcie Seidel, executive director of the Drug Free Action Alliance, and Tony Coder, assistant director of the Drug Free Action Alliance. Rosenberg defended his appointments by saying that Seidel and Coder are meant to represent professionals in mental health and addiction treatment, but cannabis advocates are concerned it’s an effort to obstruct medical marijuana.

Oregon

Oregon cannabis producers are in an uproar about the state’s latest testing rules, which could keep products such as edibles, concentrates, and extracts from the marketplace. The state requires a lengthy list of tests to be conducted on products, but so far there are only 18 accredited labs—and just four labs are approved to handle pesticide testing. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission held a meeting this week to discuss the latest concerns, and officials expect it will be early next year before the industry can fully adapt to the new rules.

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13 Things You Might Not Know About California’s Prop. 64

Utah

The Utah Association for Responsible Cannabis Legislation formed to launch an Oct. 12 summit, titled “Medical Cannabis: The Science. The Truth,” to examine the latest scientific research on medical cannabis. The summit, organized in conjunction with United Patients Group, Sacred Roots of Healing, and Republican state Rep. Gage Froerer, was invitation-only and included business leaders, lawmakers, health care professionals, and law enforcement officials in Salt Lake City. The event is ultimately designed to lead to comprehensive medical marijuana legislation with sufficiently strict regulation that the generally conservative state may adopt it.

International News Updates

Australia

Queensland’s Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2016, passed by lawmakers on Wednesday, will provide patients legal access to medicinal cannabis products to treat a range of qualifying conditions. The law grants specialists such as oncologists, pediatric neurologists, and palliative care specialists the first rights to begin prescribing medical cannabis as early as March of next year, while other doctors can apply through Queensland Health for the permission to prescribe cannabis. The bill will take effect March 2017 and will be reviewed after two years.

Canada

As Canada prepares to legalize cannabis for adult use, Ottawa’s public health agency is suggesting an unusual definition of “adult.” In a report that contains 33 recommendations on how to regulate the coming market, the agency recommends that the minimum age for buying legal cannabis should be set at 25. The minimum age of 25 matches a recommendation already put forth by the Canadian Medical Association. The Ottawa Board of Health (OBH) is set to consider the recommendations next week.


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.

CBD Is Booming in Central Europe. That’s Not Necessarily a Good Thing.

Until recently, cannabis has been predominantly associated with THC, the plant’s famously psychoactive and most abundant ingredient. Now the focus is shifting to the second-most abundant and, perhaps most importantly, non-psychoactive cannabinoid: cannabidiol, or CBD.

As more and more researchers discover the molecule’s therapeutic effects, cultivation of CBD-rich strains has ballooned, and CBD products are now flooding the market in countries such as the Czech Republic. The explosion stands to benefit both patients and everyday consumers, but it also exposes a need for legal reform and regulation.

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It would’ve been impossible for regular visitors to Prague’s Cannafest, one of Europe’s most popular cannabis trade fairs, to have missed the major change the event saw between the 2014 and 2015. Two years ago, only a handful of companies were selling CBD products, mainly unprocessed hemp buds and leaves in sold as “tea.” By last year, though, the exhibition halls boasted dozens of high-tech companies offering a wide array of drops, oils, tinctures, capsules, balms, and more—all reputedly containing high amounts of CBD and virtually no THC.

“It seems like everyone is into CBD now,” said Jiří Novák, CEO of cannabis marketing company Canna b2b and head of Cannafest’s production team. “There were producers not only from Czechia, but also from Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Holland, and Denmark.”

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Unlike THC, CBD is legal in Europe (with the exception of Slovakia), and its therapeutic effects have been demonstrated by scientists around the world in recent years. As such, many farmers saw an opportunity to make considerably more money through CBD than by growing hemp only for seeds and fiber. They eventually started to look abroad for export possibilities.

The US Food and Drug Agency, however, wasn’t having it. Regulators issued warning letters in February “to firms that market unapproved new drugs that allegedly contain cannabidiol.” The move scared off most potential American importers of European CBD—and caused headaches for Czech farmers who had already taken pre-orders from across the pond.

Patient advocates, meanwhile, complain that under current rules, legal CBD products must contain only that cannabinoid and no others, similar to CBD-only medical marijuana laws in some US states. Available evidence, however, suggests synergy between cannabis’s components is crucial to obtaining best therapeutic effects. As a result, many patients are dissatisfied with available CBD products, and they often go back to illegal homemade remedies that also contain THC and a range of other cannabinoids.

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In 2015, Czech authorities approved CBD products as “food supplements” made from whole-plant extracts provided they contain less than 0.15 percent THC. “Many CBD-infused products on the market mimic food supplements by retail format when usually sold in drop-dispensing bottles,” said Boris Baňas, board member of the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA), in a recent lecture about CBD laws in Europe. “However, THC content, product labeling and declarations are very often outside of the food industry rules.”

Current marketing strategies by some CBD companies can mislead consumers, too. For example, a product on the Czech market called Phoenix Drops is clearly intended as a reference to Phoenix Tears—the name used in to refer to a high-THC extract created by medical marijuana advocate Rick Simpson. Legally, however, the drops contain only a minute amount of THC. Patients who buy Phoenix Drops may think they’re obtaining whole-plant extract with loads of THC, but what they’re really getting is a very expensive bottle containing a little CBD and even lower levels of other cannabinoids.

With storehouses full of dried hemp flowers waiting to be extracted and purified, and with obstacles to selling it, it’s possible the CBD bubble could eventually burst for Central European farmers unless circumstances change.


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.

Cannabis Summit Suggests Shift in Utah’s Stance on Medical Marijuana

Utah is one of only a few Western states that hasn’t yet recognized the medical benefits of cannabis, and a newly formed group wants to change that. The Utah Association for Responsible Cannabis Legislation will bring together business leaders, lawmakers, health care professionals, and law enforcement for an ambitious, invitation-only summit titled “Medical Cannabis: The Science. The Truth.

The association, along with United Patients Group, Sacred Roots of Healing, and Republican state Rep. Gage Froerer, will review the available science around medical cannabis. The group will then work together to craft comprehensive legislation that “addresses the regulation to ascertain that patients will have access to a safe, tested product that cannot be exploited for recreational purposes,” Froerer said.

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Polls in Utah over the past several months have returned decidedly mixed results, making it difficult to pin down how residents feel. A Dan Jones & Associates poll conducted during February and March of this year found that only 43 percent of respondents believed legalizing medical marijuana would have a positive impact on society. A separate poll, however, conducted by Utah Policy in April, found that an overwhelming 66 percent of state residents support legalization for medical use. Yet another poll, released this month by Dan Jones & Associates in conjunction with Utah Policy, found 63 percent support.

Medical cannabis has been a polarizing topic in the traditionally conservative state for a number of reasons. Among them, Utah has a higher percentage of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints than any state in the nation. More than 60 percent of Utah residents identify as part of the Mormon church.

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How does the church view legalization? It’s complicated. While the church has no official position on medical marijuana, recently leaked videos known as the “Mormon Leaks” reveal senior LDS leaders discussing various social issues, including, in one video, the rising popularity of cannabis and the possibility of legalization. In the video, Boyd K. Packer, the president of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, calls the Drug Policy Alliance a “sheep in wolf’s clothing,” and warns that public opinion is being swayed in favor of legalization.

The spreading legalization movement has put pressure on the church to take a position on the issue. In 2010, during a priesthood leadership conference in Colorado Springs, the church was asked for its official stance on medical marijuana for the first time ever. “What answer did you give them?” asks one elder in the leaked video.

Jay Jensen, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, indicated that an Israeli Bishop of the church may be able to counsel an ill individual, but that any medical decisions are between the patient, the bishop, and God. The church, after all, has no official position.

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When two pieces of medical marijuana legislation were being discussed this year, the church issued a statement in which they opposed the more comprehensive Senate Bill 73, but “raised no objection to Senate Bill 89,” the more restrictive measure. “These two competing pieces of legislation take very different approaches when it comes to issues like access, distribution, control and the potential harm of the hallucinogenic compound, THC,” the statement said.

Neither measure ultimately became law, but the church’s apparent softening of its stance indicates that medical cannabis may, in fact, have a fighting chance in Utah.

The Utah Association for Responsible Cannabis Legislation will be holding the invitation-only summit, “Medical Cannabis: The Science. The Truth,” in Salt Lake City on Oct. 12.


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.