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Graphic: Veterans Today
In a historic decision, the V.A. has announced veterans will no longer be endangering their pain prescriptions by using medical marijuana in states where it is legal.

​In a historic decision, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will now formally allow patients treated at its hospitals and clinics to use medical marijuana in states where it is legal.

It’s a day to remember, according to Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project. “We now have a branch of the federal government accepting marijuana as a legal medicine,” Fox said.
The policy clarification has been sought by veterans and advocates for years, reports Dan Frosch at The New York Times.
A department directive, expected to take effect next week, resolves the conflict in V.A. hospitals between federal law, which outlaws marijuana for any purpose, and medical marijuana laws in the 14 states that allow medicinal use of cannabis.
Like the decision by Obama’s Justice Department to back off on marijuana dispensary raids in states that have legalized medical pot, the new V.A. policy essentially means the federal government is deferring to state medical marijuana laws.

Graphic: Medical Marijuana & Hemp Expo

​A three-day expo which starts Friday in Toronto is being called the first convention ever held in Canada to promote the use of medical marijuana. Organizers said they expect as many as 30,000 attendees from around the world.

The Medical Marijuana and Hemp Show is being held at the Metro Convention Centre, the same downtown location where G20 leaders met three weeks ago, reports Linda Nguyen at The Vancouver Sun.
The event will feature exhibitors from around the planet, educational seminars with doctors and a hemp fashion and cooking show.

Graphic: Senior Zen

​A 70-year-old eastern Kentucky man has been indicted on federal charges of growing marijuana with intent to distribute and illegally possessing firearms.

Federal prosecutors claim that Charles Edward Polly was growing at least 100 marijuana plants. They said he also had eight firearms, including four shotguns, reports Carl Keith Greene of the Corbin Times-Tribune.
Polly was also charged with intending to distribute “a mixture containing a detectable amount of marijuana,” whatever the hell that means.
The 70-year-old wasn’t supposed to have guns, and he had previously “been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.” Polly had weapons including two 12-gauge shotguns, one 20-gauge shotgun, one .410-gauge shotgun, two .22-caliber rifles, a .22-caliber revolver, and a .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol.
Polly, along with Ann Marie Smith, 40, of London, Ky., were also charged Wednesday with misrepresenting qualifications for Supplemental Social Security income.

Photo: Daily Mail
British MS patients have waited 11 years for Sativex, a cannabis-based oral spray. Now many of them still won’t get it.

​Doctors in southern England have been told not to prescribe a new cannabis-based drug developed for multiple sclerosis patients, reports the BBC.

Sativex, an oral spray which had taken 11 years to develop, was licensed for medical use in the United Kingdom last week.
But unaccountably, 10 primary care trusts have told physicians not to give the treatment, which is designed to reduce pain, claiming it is not effective.
The MS Society charity called the decision “arbitrary and disappointing” and said it would fight against it. It said the decision could affect hundreds of patients.

Photo: KOAT-TV

​A medical marijuana shortage in New Mexico — which, for the second year in a row, is seeing its state-licensed dispensary system struggling to supply patients with cannabis — means those who use it might not be able to get the relief they need, reports KOAT-TV in Albuquerque.

According to a man who runs Peace Medical Marijuana Consultants, a nonprofit group counseling medical marijuana patients, there are around five dispensaries in New Mexico, with almost 2,000 patients.


​Are you interested in serving on a medical marijuana registry advisory committee? Do you live in Colorado? The Department of Public Health is seeking applications for nine positions open to members of the public. Applications will be accepted until June 30.

The committee will advise the department’s executive director on devising rules required by two medical marijuana bills recently passed by the Colorado Legislature, SB10-109 and HB10-1284, reports Loretta Sword at The Pueblo Chieftain.
Recommendations by the committee on implementation of the laws will be considered by the department’s executive director and the Colorado Board of Health.
Members of the public will hold nine spots on the 11-member advisory committee. The other two positions will be from the Department of Public Health and Environment.
The department’s two committee members will be the director of the state’s medical marijuana registry and the state’s chief medical officer (or his designee).

Photo: The Maple Three

​A Canadian crackdown on compassion clubs in Quebec has backfired, according to some doctors and medical marijuana patients. Many have been forced to turn to the black market to get their cannabis after police last week in Montreal and Quebec City raided and shut down five compassion clubs and arrested 35 people.

Canada’s federal government offers only one strain of medical marijuana, and the only legal way to purchase government pot is through Health Canada, reports CBC News.
Not only is government cannabis of questionable quality; the process is complicated and the wait is often lengthy, according to some patients.
As a result, more and more Canadian medical marijuana patients are now buying their cannabis illegally.

Graphic: Salem News

The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday published an editorial by two law professors arguing that the federal government should change to a less restrictive status for marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.

Marijuana’s current Schedule I status, according to the professors, stops researchers from studying the medical benefits and health risks of cannabinoid-based medicine, even though state laws in 14 states allow doctors to recommend the drug, reports Lauren Cox at ABC News.
“Although state laws represent a political response to patients seeking relief from debilitating symptoms, they are inadequate to advance effective treatment,” the professors argue. “Medical experts emphasize the need to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug to facilitate rigorous scientific evaluation of the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids and to determine the optimal dose and delivery route for conditions in which efficacy is established.”

Jodie Emery exposes the truth in public places.

​A new poll shows the majority of Canadians support legalizing marijuana, but not other drugs. As was the case two years ago, a majority of Canadians (53 percent) support the legalization of cannabis.

Support for legalization is highest in British Columbia, where more than six in 10 people say it’s time to stop jailing people for cannabis. Support is nearly as high in Alberta (59 percent) and Ontario (57 percent).

The Angus Reid poll, released Thursday, also shows many Canadians believe the country has a serious nationwide drug abuse problem, and 70 percent want mandatory minimum prison sentences and fines for drug dealers and, in a curious twist, marijuana grow operators, reports Jeff Lee of The Vancouver Sun.
The poll supports other Reid polls in the past that show most Canadians believe decriminalization of marijuana possession is a good idea, but that other illegal drugs should continue to be prohibited.
The online survey of 1,110 Canadians, conducted April 8-9, showed negligible support for legalizing hard drugs. The figure supporting hard drug legalization has actually dropped since the Reid survey in 2008. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percent.

Photo: CHRONIC nº 3

​​Medical marijuana advocates are praising a landmark Nova Scotia court ruling, hoping it will lead to taxpayer-funded cannabis for low-income patients across Canada.

Last week the Nova Scotia Supreme Court ordered the provincial government to pay for the medical marijuana used by Sally Campbell, a chronically ill woman on welfare, reports Richard Foot of The Montreal Gazette.
Some provinces already pay for the marijuana prescribed to patients under workers’ compensation claims. Since 2008, Canada’s federal government has also paid for the marijuana used by a few military veterans receiving disability benefits.
This, however, is the first time a province has covered the cost of doctor-prescribed marijuana for people on governmental assistance, according to a Canada-wide survey by Nova Scotia government officials.
“This is a new and developing area of law,” said Kirk Tousaw, a Vancouver Island lawyer representing people seeking federal medical marijuana licenses. “I’m not aware of any precedent in this area.”
According to Tousaw, the Nova Scotia ruling may not immediately affect the law in other provinces. But “it does represent a court saying that this particular drug deserves to be financially covered in certain circumstances,” Tousaw said. “I think it’s a very positive development.”
“It would be fantastic if this case opened the door in other provinces, if it helped needy patients get affordable access to marijuana,” said Chad Clelland, director of community relations for, a national coalition of doctors, patients, and growers that has spent years finding affordable pot for low-income Canadians.
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