A week into Washington's experiment with recreational marijuana, two Vancouver retailers say business has been so brisk that they've experienced intermittent closures.
Demand for recreational marijuana has far outpaced supply, said New Vansterdam owner Brian Budz, whose shop is closed until Friday. The business opened Friday and had enough inventory to get through the weekend, but closed Sunday with only a couple grams on the shelves.
"We anticipated being in good shape for seven to 10 days," he said." It didn't last us three days. It was unbelievable how many people came through our store Friday, Saturday and Sunday."
Main Street Marijuana, also in Vancouver, opened last Wednesday but ran out of marijuana by the end of business Friday. More pot arrived late Monday so the shop opened Tuesday, said Ramsey Hamide, a shop manager. The shop's prices, which last week shot up to $30 a gram, now range from $15 to $20 a gram.
"We had a line of 150 people plus," he said of Tuesday's opening. "When I left 15 minutes ago, there were at least 100 people still in line. The demand is huge."
Main Street Marijuana and New Vansterdam were the among the first batch of marijuana retailers licensed by the state last week. Anyone 21 and older may possess as much as an ounce of marijuana under a law approved by Washington voters in 2012.
The launch of Washington’s recreational marijuana program has been dogged by low supply and high prices. Industry insiders think supply will improve as more licensed growers come on line. And, they say, more supply will lead to a drop in prices.
Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, did several stints in rehab after crashing his car into a barricade on Capitol Hill in 2006, a headline-making event that revealed the then–US congressman for Rhode Island had been abusing prescription drugs, including the painkiller OxyContin. Kennedy went on to make mental health—including substance abuse—a cornerstone of his political agenda, and he is reportedly at work on a memoir about his struggles with addiction and mental illness. In 2013, he also helped found an advocacy group, Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), which has barnstormed the country opposing the growing state and federal efforts to legalize pot.
Taking the stage to rousing applause last February, Kennedy joined more than 2,000 opponents of marijuana legalization a few miles south of Washington, DC, at the annual convention of the Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America (CADCA), one of the largest such organizations in the country.
“Let me tell you, there is nothing more inconsistent with trying to improve mental health and reduce substance-abuse disorders in this country than to legalize a third drug,” Kennedy boomed. The former congressman also praised his fellow speakers for standing up to the “extremist responses” from legalization advocates.
Given that CADCA is dedicated to protecting society from dangerous drugs, the event that day had a curious sponsor: Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxy-Contin, the highly addictive painkiller that nearly ruined Kennedy’s congressional career and has been linked to thousands of overdose deaths nationwide.
Prescription opioids, a line of pain-relieving medications derived from the opium poppy or produced synthetically, are the most dangerous drugs abused in America, with more than 16,000 deaths annually linked to opioid addiction and overdose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more Americans now die from painkillers than from heroin and cocaine combined. The recent uptick in heroin use around the country has been closely linked to the availability of prescription opioids, which give their users a similar high and can trigger a heroin craving in recovering addicts. (Notably, there are no known deaths related to marijuana, although there have been instances of impaired driving.)
Earlier this month, Berkeley’s City Council voted unanimously for an ordinance that would provide free medical marijuana to patients with low incomes. If the ordinance passes its second reading in August, marijuana dispensaries will have to set aside 2 percent of their product — which must be of equivalent quality to the marijuana they’re selling at market prices — and give it free to city residents with incomes below $32,000.
It makes a lot more sense than it sounds like at first.
In a way, Berkeley’s action is ordinary: The government provides free or cheap medical products to people with low incomes all the time, with a goal of ensuring that people do not go without needed medical care. The government requires hospitals to provide emergency care to patients in need regardless of ability to pay. It provides free health insurance to the poor through Medicaid, and subsidizes insurance for people with low and moderate incomes through the Affordable Care Act exchanges.
Those regular channels don’t work for medical marijuana users. Even though California authorizes medical marijuana, it’s illegal under federal law, and the Food and Drug Administration has not approved it. As a result, Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid, doesn’t cover it. If any private health insurance plans cover it, I couldn’t find them; Brendan Buck, a spokesman for the industry group America’s Health Insurance Plans, told me they’re not aware of any plans that cover marijuana, either.
Original article: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/12/upshot/dont-laugh-berkeley-plans-to-give-free-marijuana-to-the-poor.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Full%20Story&utm_campaign=7.12.14&_r=1
New York has become the 23rd state in the U.S. to authorize medical marijuana – though the state’s program is one of the nation’s most restrictive.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the measure into law Saturday and held a formal signing ceremony in New York City on Monday to highlight the new law.
When the program gets up and running in about 18 months, patients with diseases including AIDS, cancer and epilepsy will be able to obtain nonsmokeable versions of the drug.
Instead, the drug must be ingested or administered through a vaporizer or oil base.
Cuomo, a Democrat, says prohibiting smokeable marijuana will help keep the drug out of the wrong hands.
“It was almost oxymoronic that a health department would operate a program allowing smoking, which they spend a very significant amount of their time trying to stop people from smoking,” Cuomo told WCBS 880′s Ginny Kosola. “Second, you don’t need the smoking to get the benefits of the drugs.”
The compromise was one of the final measures passed by lawmakers before they adjourned last month.
“This new law takes an important step toward bringing relief to patients living with extraordinary pain and illness,” Cuomo said in a news release Monday. “The legislation I am signing today strikes the right balance between our desire to give those suffering from serious diseases access to treatment, and our obligation to guard against threats to public health and safety. I applaud the lawmakers and advocates whose efforts over the past years were crucial in making medical marijuana a reality in New York State.”
Under the law, the state will approve and regulate up to five businesses authorized to grow and distribute the drug. The operators could each have up to four dispensaries statewide.
“From this day forward New Yorkers will now have access to the same life-changing treatment that other patients across the country have had,” said state Sen. Diane Savino, D-Staten Island, who sponsored the legislation. “This is an historic victory for the countless health care professionals, physicians, advocates, families and patients who know that the safe and reliable use of medical marijuana is a sensible, compassionate course of treatment for debilitating illness and disease. I stand with the thousands of New Yorkers who now will no longer have to suffer needlessly through their courageous medical battles.”
Patients would get prescriptions from physicians approved by the state to participate in the program.
Patients who sell their prescribed marijuana could face a misdemeanor. Patients would be required to carry registration cards showing they are authorized to possess the drug and can be prescribed a maximum 30-day supply.
The governor could shut down theprogram if it does not work out.
Original article: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/07/07/new-york-becomes-23rd-state-to-allow-medical-marijuana/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Full%20Story&utm_campaign=Breaking%207.7.14
For years medical marijuana has been used to help treat certain conditions that can cause vision loss. The most common example of this is glaucoma, but it is not the only condition for which cannabis may be beneficial.
In fact, a group of researchers from Spain’s University of Alicante published a study earlier this month in the journal Experimental Eye Research that supports this claim. It suggests that cannabinoids may help slow vision loss in the case of retinitis pigmentosa.
Inherited from birth, retinitis pigmentosa is a condition that currently affects an estimated 100,000 people in the US. It causes photoreceptors in the retina to die over time, resulting in severe vision and blindness if left untreated. No cure exists for the disease, but vitamin A regiments have proven beneficial, postponing blindness by up to 10 years in some patients
Original article: http://www.medicaljane.com/2014/02/17/spanish-study-cannabis-may-help-delay-retinal-degeneration-vision-loss/?utm_campaign=DD%206.20&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=Full%20Story#
Albany, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The New York State Assembly approved a bill to legalize the administration of medical marijuana.
The State Senate will vote on the legislation Friday morning.
The Assembly passed the Compassionate Care Bill just before 3 a.m. Friday. The legislation will establish a medical marijuana program for New York State.
It includes provisions to ensure medical marijuana is reserved only for patients with serious conditions and is dispensed and administered in a manner that protects public health and safety.
"This legislation strikes the right balance," Governor Cuomo said. "Medical marijuana has the capacity to do a lot of good for a lot of people who are in pain and suffering, and are in desperate need of a treatment that will provide some relief. At the same time, medical marijuana is a difficult issue because there are risks to public health and safety that have to be averted. I believe this bill is the right balance, and I commend the members of the Legislature who worked so hard on this measure."
New York State Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D) is a co-sponsor of the bill.
"The assembly has passed this bill many many years in a row and now it looks like we're going to have the beginnings of the medical marijuana program in New York State," said Lupardo. "Not everything that those of us in assembly wanted but its certainly a huge step forward for people who wanted to have this option for treatment."
If passed by Senate and signed by the Governor, New York would become the 23rd state to legalize medical marijuana.
Find details of the bill below:
Medical Marijuana Reserved for Patients with Serious Conditions: