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The Massachusetts Supreme Court has ruled that a company acted improperly when it fired medical marijuana patient Cristina Barbuto after she tested positive for pot. The Colorado Supreme Court reached the opposite conclusion in an analogous 2015 case, determining that DISH had the right to dismiss paralyzed MMJ patient Brandon Coats following his own positive test for cannabis. And while the Barbuto finding won’t directly impact the Colorado case, Coats’s lawyer sees a trend toward granting more patient protections here and in other medical marijuana states.

File photo by Shane Lopes/L.A. Weekly

New legislation would force the federal government to allow veterans to obtain medical marijuana in states, like California, where it’s legal.

The amendment to force the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to make cannabis available to veterans who need it was recently approved by the Senate’s Appropriations Committee 24 to 7. The department would be prohibited from interfering with a veteran’s ability to obtain weed, and from blocking healthcare providers from giving pot to veterans where it’s legal, according to language attached to a military appropriations bill.

“The amendment ensures that veterans have equal access to all of the medical options available in their local community, to include medical marijuana in states where it is legal,” according to a statement from the office of co-author Steve Daines, a Montana Republican.

William Breathes

The most prominent anti-marijuana group in the country is touting the absence of language in a key Congressional funding bill that has protected the medical marijuana industry in Colorado and beyond from federal prosecution in recent years. But a cannabis advocate dismisses the suggestion that this development could soon unleash a law-enforcement blitzkrieg against the MMJ biz.

In the words of Tom Angell, who leads the national organization Marijuana Majority, “This is a gigantic nothingburger.”

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Days after a letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions surfaced, asking congressional leaders to revoke federal protections for medical marijuana, senators have introduced a bill that would protect medical marijuana patients in states where it’s legal while also removing cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act and expanding research on marijuana.
Senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Al Franken (D-Minnesota) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Arkansas) introduced the Compassionate Access Research and Respect the States (CARERS) Act on June 15. The bill would protect medical marijuana users from federal prosecution, allow Department of Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical marijuana to veterans, and loosen multiple restrictions on cannabis research and medical compounds.

Mark

Most sensible Americans these days believe in ending the War on Drugs. The facts are clear that low-level drug arrests ruin lives and tear families apart. Some day, selling weed in Florida will no longer feed thousands of new prisoners into the state’s broken criminal justiceBus system.

But that day has not yet come, and until ganja is truly legal in the Sunshine State, it’s not a great idea to throw a gigantic, open-air “medical marijuana” celebration fueled by 50 pounds of weed. That’s exactly what a group of Miamians attempted to do this past weekend by throwing what sounds like among the greatest stoner sessions in human history — only to get busted in a house that sat a mere six blocks from Miami Police headquarters.
Kristin Bjornsen | Toke of the Town

Remember when 72 percent of Floridians voted to usher in a new era of open access to medical marijuana? That triumphant moment for medical weed was just in November, but for Florida patients this morning, it feels like a lifetime ago.

Late this past Friday, a bill to regulate the new weed industry imploded in Tallahassee. Then medical marijuana’s two biggest champions — über-lawyer John Morgan and United for Care campaign consultant Ben Pollara — viciously turned on each other in a spicy Twitter beef.

Now the fate of medical marijuana access lies in the hands of Gov. Rick Scott’s Department of Health, which has already signaled it will enact even more restrictive rules. The whole situation is likely to end up in court, meaning hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars will be wasted — and patients, in the meantime, still won’t have the easy access to marijuana that voters overwhelmingly backed in November.
Dank Depot

Three days after state lawmakers failed to pass a bill establishing rules for medical marijuana, Miami Springs Vice Mayor Bob Best shook his head at a council meeting Monday night as the city attorney explained it was time to extend the city’s moratorium on dispensaries.

“The purpose of the moratorium was for us to have something ready when that hit, and, apparently, based on the legislative session, nothing’s gonna happen,” Best complained.

Kristin Bjornsen | Toke of the Town

Up in Tallahassee, state legislators are doing everything they can to undermine medical marijuana in Florida. Voters backed medical pot by more than 70 percent in November, and yet lawmakers responded by inviting the same guy who spent millions trying to defeat the measure to help write the new rules.

But despite all those statehouse shenanigans, medical pot dispensaries are finally a reality in Miami-Dade. Miami’s first legal storefront dispensary opened last week near the airport, and across the bay, commissioners will vote Wednesday on where three dispensaries could open in Miami Beach.

“We have been delivering to the Miami area since July, but we’re very excited to have a brick-and-mortar storefront so patients can avoid delivery fees,” says Kim Rivers, a spokesperson for Trulieve, the North Florida-based firm behind Miami’s first dispensary.

For now, the Trulieve dispensary is operating under rules passed between 2014-15, allowing low-THC products for a limited number of ailments and full marijuana products for terminally ill patients. The shop has a variety of marijuana-based medicines — from vaporizers to pills to tinctures — for qualifying patients.

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Florida’s House of Representatives proved today there is nothing its grubby little hands can’t screw up. After more than 72 percent of voters statewide voted to legalize medicinal marijuana for people with “debilitating diseases,” a term that includes cancer, AIDS, and Alzheimer’s, the Florida House today passed its own series of rules regulating the state’s new medical weed industry.

And, this being Florida, the Republican-crafted bill bans smokable weed, creates a state-controlled cartel of legal cannabis farms, and pisses off medicinal marijuana advocates across the Sunshine State. On Tuesday, that terrible bill — HB 1397 — passed the House by a 105-9 margin.

Westword

Dear Stoner: I’m about to get on a flight, and I hear that TSA has changed its rules about allowing you to carry on marijuana. What’s up with that?
Flying High

Dear Flying High: You heard wrong, sadly. In an April 5 article on MassRoots, Tom Angell reported this: “It’s official: The federal government doesn’t care if you bring medical marijuana on airplanes.” Angell had noticed that the “What can I bring?” page on TSA’s website had changed the red “No” next to checked and carry-on baggage for medical marijuana to a green “Yes.” He quickly took a screen shot of the page and wrote an article, and just as quickly, TSA’s Twitter replied with this: “@cannaadvisors: We’re sorry for any confusion. A mistake was made in the database of our new ‘What can I bring?’ tool.” TSA’s web page also changed the “Yes” back to “No” under medical marijuana. Tom Angell’s credit, he updated the article as TSA corrected itself. But confusion remains.

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