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Photo: World of Work

​Starting Thursday, June 10, Washington residents with terminal or debilitating medical conditions will have better access to getting authorized to use medical marijuana, a prominent Democratic legislator has announced.

Washington’s newest improvement on the medical marijuana program expands the number of health care providers who are legally allowed to recommend medical marijuana to patients, according to its sponsor, state Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Seattle).
Until now, only medical doctors could legally authorize patients to use cannabis medicinally in Washington State. Senate Bill 5798, Kohl-Welles, now extends the ability to authorize the medical use of marijuana to other licensed health professionals who are authorized to prescribe controlled substances.
Professionals who may now authorize medical marijuana use include naturopathic doctors, advanced registered nurse practitioners, physician assistants and osteopathic physician assistants.

“Many patients rely on medical professionals other than MDs and ODs,” Kohl-Welles said. “To remain committed to Washington voters’ long commitment to medical marijuana for qualifying patients, we must allow additional medical professionals to recommend medical marijuana.”

Graphic: Miami Beach 411

​Never mind that an overwhelming 63 percent of residents voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2004. A prominent Montana Republican lawmaker wants to overturn the voter-passed law that legalized medicinal cannabis.

Senator Jim Shockley (R-Victor) on Monday requested a bill to be drafted for the 2011 Legislature to repeal the medical marijuana law, reports Jennifer McKee at the Helena Independent Record. Shockley claimed he believes marijuana has medical benefits and should remain legal, only in a “much more controlled way.”

Photo: Lara Brenckle/The Patriot-News
Supporters of the movement to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania rallied on the steps of the state Capitol in Harrisburg in July 2009.

​The debate over legalizing medical marijuana in Pennsylvania has heated up in recent weeks, but the issue is still not a priority in the Legislature, according to a spokesman for House Majority Leader Todd Eachus.

“He believes it’s an issue that deserves greater discussion, but now is not the time for that,” spokesman Bill Thomas said, reports Bob Kalinowski at Citizens Voice.
“This is an issue that deserves further discussion, but it is not a priority,” Thomas said.
A group supporting legalization of cannabis for medical use held a rally on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre on May 8. Then, on Wednesday of last week, area police and anti-drug activists held a press conference at Luzerne County Courthouse to urge lawmakers to reject any proposals to legalize medical marijuana.

Photo: WHYY

​State Senator Daylin Leach has announced the introduction of legislation to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

Under the bill, Pennsylvania would join 14 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing doctor-supervised medical marijuana for patients with debilitating medical conditions, reports Main Line Media News. Neighboring New Jersey passed its own medical marijuana law earlier this year.
“It’s long past time we move beyond the misinformation and ancient wives’ tales and allow people to have the medicine that will make them feel better,” Leach said. “Medical marijuana has been proven repeatedly to help people who are desperately ill. It is nothing more than gratuitous cruelty to deny it to them.”

​Colorado lawmakers are finally sending a measure regulating the state’s medical marijuana industry to the desk of Gov. Bill Ritter, and Ritter has indicated he’s inclined to sign it into law.

The State House voted 46-19 on Tuesday afternoon to approve House Bill 1284, report Jeffrey Wolf and Adam Schrager at 9 News. The bill mandates that dispensaries are licensed and monitored throughout the state, but in a very controversial provision, also gives local communities the ability to completely ban them.

Photo: A Greener Country

​A bill regulating Colorado’s medical marijuana dispensaries is almost ready for the governor’s desk after legislators Thursday decided to keep the location of licensed cannabis-growing operations confidential.

The change would require the addresses of growing facilities to be blacked out on copies of their licensing documents requested by the public, reports John Ingold of The Denver Post.
It would mean that Colorado residents couldn’t learn from public records if there are legal marijuana-growing operations in their neighborhoods.

Photo: Denver Westword
The name of Denver dispensary Patients Choice serves as an ironic reminder that patients had little input on the bill approved on a voice vote Wednesday by the Colorado Senate.

​The Colorado Senate Wednesday passed HB 1284, a medical marijuana dispensary regulation bill almost universally opposed in the patient community.

According to the bill’s main sponsor, Senator Chris Romer (D-Denver), the legislation will eliminate from 50 percent to 80 percent of the 1,100 dispensaries now in Colorado.
Dispensaries and producers of cannabis edibles will have to apply for state licenses if the bill becomes law, as appears likely. After July 2011, these providers must follow new state regulations in order to continue operating.
Local governments will be allowed to ban dispensaries. This damaging provision will make safe access to medicine difficult for innumerable patients across the state, according to Sensible Colorado. However, Sensible said its legal team is already planning local campaigns and lawsuits to overturn bans.
That provision caused heated debate Wednesday, with opponents calling it both unwise and unconstitutional. Sen. Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora) said the provision could be overturned in court, throwing all the regulations into jeopardy.
“We have no statutory authority to carve out new exceptions to what is a constitutionally granted right,” Carroll said, reports John Ingold at The Denver Post.

Photo: Colorado Statesman
Colorado State Sen. Chris Romer: “If you all don’t clean up your own house, we’re going to clean it up for you”

​Colorado State Sen. Chris Romer (D-Denver), one of the co-sponsors of HB 1284 and SB 109, bills in the Legislature which would effectively eliminate most medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, shocked audience members at a meeting April 15 when he used the phrase “auditors with guns” dozens of times when describing the regulatory regime he envisions.

Romer discussed the bills at a meeting of the Medical Marijuana Business Alliance on April 15 at Loews Hotel in Denver. Members of the Cannabis Therapy Institute (CTI) were in attendance, and on 4/20, the People’s Cannabis News released a video of the event with Romer’s speech (see the video below).
Romer started on a threatening note. “If you all don’t clean up your own house, we’re going to clean it up for you,” he told the medical marijuana advocates. “Certainly if we send in some auditors with guns, we’re gonna clean it up really fast.”

Graphic: Cannabis Therapy Institute

​Two law enforcement bills are now working their way through the Colorado Legislature that would, according to Cannabis Therapy Institute, seriously harm medical marijuana patients and their caregivers. According to CTI, both of these bills have seen strong support from legislators, both Democrats and Republicans. 
Law enforcement bill #1 (SB 109) would destroy the confidentiality of the Registry by allowing the government to use patient records to determine “suspicious” activity by physicians. It allocates more than $1 million of patient registration fees to prosecute these supposedly “suspicious” physicians.
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