Minnesota has hired a director to lead its newly created Office of Medical Cannabis.
The Legislature legalized the limited use of medical marijuana this year and on Wednesday the Minnesota Department of Health named Michelle Larson to oversee the program.
The new Office of Medical Cannabis has one year to set up a statewide system that can produce, distribute and regulate the use of medical marijuana. Larson comes to the job after serving as deputy director of the health department's Office of Statewide Health Improvement, which tackled hot-button issues like tobacco, obesity and nutrition.
Larson's to-do list for the next few months will include screening and selecting the manufacturers who will produce medical marijuana, developing rules to govern the operation of the dispensary system and building a patient registry.
Minnesota has one of the most restrictive medical marijuana laws among the 23 states that have legalized the drug for medical use. Starting in July 15, patients with certain doctor-certified conditions like cancer, seizure disorders, glaucoma or terminal illnesses, will be able to legally buy marijuana in liquid, pill or other non-smokable forms. The federal government still considers marijuana an illegal substance with no recognized medical use.
In a recent court ruling, certain German residents will now be permitted to grow their own marijuana to alleviate chronic pain. While this is a step forward, it still requires a "thorough and individual examination" of each case.
“The court says the three demonstrated they could not combat their pain any other way and could not afford to purchase medical marijuana, which is permitted in Germany but not usually covered by the country's health insurance system.”
In recent news, Oregon voters will now have the opportunitiy to vote to legalise marijuana later this year. Lead by the Oregon Secretary of State, the New Approach Oregon has lead enough signatures to put the Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act on the ballot.
"This is our moment to be part of history and lead a movement," said Dominique Lopez, metro regional organizer for New Approach Oregon. "Treating marijuana use as a crime has failed, but together we can win a more sensible approach and better the lives of Oregonians."
The Denver Department of Environmental Health recalled thousands of edibles after it was revealed that At home Baked used a dirty washing machine while making the edibles. While comopany employees claim that using such equipment is standard, the health department was more concerned with the quality of the machines and the presence of mold in the machines.
Marijuana infused products are regulated just as any traditional food product under Denver's food safety code," Director of Public Health Inspections Bob McDonald said. McDonald said inspectors noticed the washing machine had a buildup of corrosion and mold. "It's a piece of equipment that shouldn't be used in that condition to manufacture anything that's edible," he said.
The D.C. city council has passed legislation that decriminalizes posession of less than one ounce of marijuana. Introduced by City Council member Tommy Wells, the bill will now fine D.C. residents $25 for a simple possession ticket. While some see this as a positive step forward, others consider this to complicate issues, being that marijuana posessesion is still a federal crime, especially at the center of the federal government.
The real road to full legalization remains thorny. Maryland Rep. Andy Harris recently amended a House budget bill to stop the district from utilizing taxpayer funds to enforce the decriminalization law, though it is unlikely to pass the Senate and has been publicly denounced by President Barack Obama, who cautioned Congress to not interfere with the city's laws.
A series of ammendments to the Illinois law permitting usage of medical marijuana for children and adults suffering from epilepsy was just signed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. This was among other changes as the state puts on the final touches before the full program begins early 2015.
"This new law will help alleviate the suffering of many adults and children across the state," Quinn said in statement. "Epilepsy is a debilitating condition, and this much-needed relief will help to reduce some of its symptoms for those who endure seizures."