Browsing: Medical

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Graphic: Jim Wheeler
Safe access to marijuana remains a distant dream to many patients — even in states which have legalized medical use

​One by one, the lights are winking out. In city after city, town after town, in states where medical marijuana is now legal, patients who had dared hope they would at last have safe access to the medicine recommended by their doctors are having those hopes dashed.

The problem? Political cowardice and the panicked reaction of the status quo.

Every week brings more news of freaked out city councils and county boards of supervisors who desperately want to appear to be “doing something” — anything — about the proliferation of marijuana dispensaries.

This phenomenon is so far mostly confined to California and to a lesser extent Colorado, but it’s unfortunately also starting to happen in Michigan and Montana.
Rather than showing true leadership by showing genuine concern for patients and communities, too many local government officials are going for the easy, knee-jerk reaction. The level of disregard for the intentions of the voters — who clearly expressed their will by legalizing medical marijuana — is breathtaking.

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Painting: James Montgomery Flagg
Hey, Congress: I want YOU to respect the will of the people

​In a historic move, Congress is poised to end a decade-long ban on implementation of the medical marijuana law passed with a 69 percent majority by voters in the District of Columbia in 1998.

Known as the Barr Amendment, after its author, then-Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), the provision — a rider attached to appropriations for D.C. — has forbidden the District from extending legal protection to qualified medical marijuana patients.
The Barr Amendment has been derided by advocates for years as an unconscionable intrusion by the federal government into the democratically expressed will of the District’s people.
The omnibus spending bill that Democratic leaders will be bringing to a vote in the House later this week removes this onerous provision. Once both chambers of Congress approve the final language and the President signs it, the Barr Amendment will no longer block medical marijuana in the District of Columbia.

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Photo: Coaster420
Medical marijuana: Will Pennsylvania become the Keystoned State? Oh, yeah… Stereotypes bad.

​ The good news, according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News, is that Pennsylvania is finally having a discussion about medical marijuana.

The bad news? “In our socially conservative state this is likely as far as the debate will go on the issue,” the editorial says.
Pennsylvania’s House Health and Human Services Committee last week heard from patients, doctors, and medical marijuana advocates who said the state should legalize the herb for those suffering debilitating medical conditions.

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Graphic: Reality Catcher
The State of Maine will be selling marijuana by spring.

​A 14-member task force assigned by Gov. John E. Baldacci is trying to iron out the kinks in Maine’s new medical marijuana law so it can be implemented by its deadline at the beginning of April, 2010.

The committee, made up of state officials, police, medical professionals and others, meets today to address potential problems in the law voters approved in November.
The new law allows for state-run medical marijuana dispensaries, and also expands the conditions for which medical marijuana can be legally used in Maine.
Medical marijuana has been legal in the state since the Maine Medical Marijuana Act of 1998. This year’s voter initiative was designed to solve the conundrum of where those patients, legal for 11 years now, are supposed to buy their medicine.

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Photo: Laurie Avocado
Whenever City Council’s in session, look out.

​San Diego’s task force on medical marijuana will present its land-use recommendations to the city council today.

According to the task force, any businesses that dispense medical marijuana in San Diego should be required to apply for a land use permit, and should only be allowed in industrial or commercial zones, Tom Fudge reports at KPBS.
The task force also recommends that dispensaries shouldn’t be located within 1,000 feet of a school, or within 500 feet of another dispensary.

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Photo: Damon D’Amato, WAMC
Medical marijuana supporters march on L.A. City Hall in 2007

​Medical marijuana advocacy organization Americans for Safe Access (ASA) will hold a press conference in front of Los Angeles City Hall at 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8, in advance of the expected vote on regulating dispensaries in L.A.

The City Council has indicated they might meet in closed session to make final deliberations on an ordinance that would regulate how and where medical marijuana dispensaries can operate in the city.
According to the agenda for Tuesday’s council meeting, the possible closed session is due to “threats of litigation publicly made regarding the adoption of the proposed ordinance. Last month, ASA had threatened to sue the city if it banned the “sale” of medical marijuana.
Tuesday’s meeting will likely be the culmination of a two-year struggle between pro- and anti-medical marijuana forces for dominance in the City of Angels, where City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and like-minded Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley have grabbed headlines by making inflammatory statements like “approximately zero” of the dispensaries in the county are operating legally.

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Photo: Hendrike
The color of money.

​A town planning committee in Michigan on Tuesday will present a plan to officials that would amend the city’s zoning ordinance to treat medical marijuana growers as businesses, forcing dispensaries to operate from general business districts rather than homes, reports Jonathan Oosting of MLive.com.

The scheme, from the Royal Oak Plan Commission, would allow dispensaries in general business districts as a special land use, according to Catherine Kavanaugh at The Macomb Daily.
In Royal Oak, these districts are on Woodward Avenue, Main Street north of downtown, and some parts of Coolidge Highway and 14 Mile Road.
Dispensaries would be banned within 1,000 feet of schools, libraries, parks, playgrounds, day cares, places of worship, or other dispensaries. Hours of operation would be limited to 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.

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10News.com
Dispensary manager Jovan Jackson faces sentencing today for ecstasy and Xanax.

​The manager of a San Diego medical marijuana dispensary will be sentenced today for illegal possession of prescription drug Xanax and the street drug Ecstasy.

Although 31-year-old Jovan Jackson was acquitted of marijuana possession and sale, he still possibly faces more than three years in prison because of the Xanax and ecstasy. However, he’ll probably only get probation, said Deputy District Attorney Chris Lindberg, according to San Diego’s 10News.com.
Jackson’s case was the first to go to trial after law enforcement raids in September resulted in 31 arrests and 14 medical marijuana collectives being shut down in San Diego. His arrest had an earlier genesis, though, resulting from raids last year at Answerdam Alternative Care Collective in Kearny Mesa.

Photo: Aaron Thackeray, Westword
Herbal Connections dispensary, located at 2209 W. 32nd Avenue in Denver, offers a variety of strains including Pineapple Kush.

​​Colorado’s medical marijuana community got a bit of editorial support today from a very influential source — leading newspaper The Denver Post.

In an Dec. 5 Op-Ed piece with the headline “Cities shouldn’t ban dispensaries,” the Post comes down firmly on the side of supporting the will of the Rocky Mountain State’s people as expressed in the 2000 voter initiative which legalized medical pot.
“Far too many muncipalities — including Greeley, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs and Broomfield — are just outright banning the dispensaries, citing the fact that the sale of marijuana is still illegal under federal law,” the Post editorial said.
“We think cities have a role in regulating businesses in a manner that reflects local needs and values,” the Post said, “but some seem to have reacted in haste or simply hope to pass the regulatory buck to other authorities.”
“It is wrong for cities to issue blanket bans,” the Post said. “The Colorado Constitution grants residents with debilitating medical conditions the right to acquire and possess medical marijuana.”

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C3 Collective
A sample of the wares at Walnut Creek’s C3 Collective.

​Five hundred bucks a day adds up fast. Brian Hyman, director of the only medical marijuana dispensary in Walnut Creek, California, can tell you that.

Hyman’s dispensary, the C3 Collective, has been fined $500 a day by Walnut Creek since shortly after opening in June.
As people discover all the time, once you’re in city government’s crosshairs, they can find something to for which to harass you. In C3’s case, the official reasons have been things like violation of a general nuisance clause in the city code that prohibits any organization that violates federal law.
Sounds reasonable enough, until you remember that federal law recognizes no such thing as medical marijuana. Seems even if the Obama Administration is reluctant to enforce federal marijuana laws, Walnut Creek isn’t willing to back down.