New York patients will soon be able to visit their local dispensary now that the state Department of Health has started taking applications from businesses interested in the marijuana industry. Many patients are concerned the state isn't moving fast enough with regulating, but state representatives claim they're on time with the plan. This bill, if passed, would allow doctors to prescribe patients marijuana in non-smoking forms only, including pills, oils and vapors. "This represents an important step in implementing the medical marijuana program in New York State," said acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker in a statement. "We have laid out an ambitious timeline in getting the program up and running and we are meeting our goals. Once the applications are in, we can begin our review and move to the next step of selecting the registered organizations this summer."
In 2008 marjority of Michigan voters supported the legalization of medical marijuana to be prescribed by a doctor. Since then, medical marijuana has been legal in Michigan but regulations and proper dispensaries have been lacking. If the necessary legislation passes, marijuana will become a strictly doctor/patient private issue, safeguards will be set to ensure quality from planting to sale, and individuals in the businesses will be background checked and held accountable for any mishaps. These concepts provide a responsible blueprint for how Michigan can build a medical marijuana industry safely and responsibly. In addition to providing patients' relief, a responsible medical marijuana framework can also promote business development, encourage local job growth and generate tens of millions in tax revenues for our state that can support many services, from roads to schools. A clear set of rules can drive real competition and innovation, and help all businesses in the sector compete.
As with many polls recently, Fox News found that majority of registered voters in the US think marijuana should be legalized. Most polls this year put the percent of americans favoring legal marijuana just above 50%, which is much higher than the 26% of support from a poll in 2001. Democrats remain the strongest supporters at around 62%, while older republicans have a 59% that oppose legalization. Change may be on the horizon as young republicans are much more open to change in drug laws and polls show 63% of approval. The Fox poll is the latest survey to confirm what multiple recent polls have shown, that marijuana legalization finds its strongest supporters to be young, left-leaning male voters. Majorities of voters under age 35 and between the ages of 35 and 54 favor of legalization, while majorities of voters in the older demographics are increasingly opposed. Democrats lead the pack in support, at 62 percent, and independents trail them at 53 percent in favor. Republicans remain strongly opposed, at 59 percent.
This week Texans suffering from debilitating conditions, including veterans with PTSD and other injuries, had their chance to meet up and support legislation that would legalize medical marijuana and allow a licensing system for growers and dispensaries. There are other bills making their cases soon including one allowing for low-dose THC marijuana to be prescribed for patients with little success in other treatments. Efforts to legalize and reduce penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana have stalled in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. Chairman Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Robstown, has not said when or if he will take a vote on the bills. Despite some bipartisan support, conservative statewide leaders have said they are unwilling to change current drug laws.
Pharmacist/State Senator Fred Mills has a lot to say regarding medical marijuana. He says marijuana was approved as medicine in Louisiana in the 1970's and in 1991 they sought after establishing a means of producing, prescribing, and dispensing it with the Department of Health and Hospitals but no such thing ever happened. This new bill will establish guidelines for marijuana from growth all the way to patient sales. “Good cannabinoids are beneficial for different disease states,” said Mills, who was a practicing pharmacist for 15 years. Among illnesses that can benefit by medical marijuana, he said, are epilepsy, nausea, headaches and “brain situations.”
Pittsburgh NORML hosted a public forum this week featuing support from Pennsylvania House Rep. Ed Gainey where he shared his experiences. Following the state representative was Heather Shuker, a mother struggling to keep her 12 year old daughter healthy, hoping soon to try legal marijuana for her epilepsy. Heather's family planned to move to Colorado for salvation, but after her daughter said she was too weak and didn't want to leave family, Heather decided to push for legalization in her home state. “There is no question that it helps,” said Gainey. “I’ve seen the videos, I’ve talked to the parents. We have an opportunity to use this as compassion for people with seizures, cancer and various other medical conditions. We need to do everything we can to help people dealing with these situations.” Rep. Gainey says Senate Bill 3 has made its way through the State Senate and is now headed to the State House. The bill would make it legal for doctors in Pennsylvania to prescribe medical marijuana to patients.
Sen. Waggoner of Alabama recently received dozens of calls and emails from concerned medical marijuana advocates, convincing him that the topic should atleast be up for debate. Waggoner and other Senators do not inted to be swayed by any debate and continue to oppose marijuana. Some bring concerns that this medical marijuana bill is just too broad and would create recreational marijuana which many of the legislators highly oppose. "The bill that is before us opens the door way wider than just medical marijuana," the rules committee member told AL.com today. The 25 medical conditions outlined in the bill "are pretty broad in scope," he said, and would cause for misuse of the drug. Pittman said he came to that conclusion after speaking with physicians and with colleagues in the Senate.
One businessman who took advantage of the green rush in Colorado, is working to get marijuana legalized in his home state of Missouri. Recently he flew out state senators on his private plane to get an up-close look at the budding industry of legal marijuana and break the negative stigma that so many hold onto. Not unlike many other states bills to legalize medical marijuana, Missouri's is restrictive to certain conditions, but as Aaron Malin, director of research for Show-Me Cannabis, said, "“Any bill that provides medical cannabis to anybody, we see as a step in the right direction" “I really don’t care on the industry side,” he said. “The reality is, there are a lot of sick people who would like to use medical marijuana instead of the opiates and pain medications with terrible side effects that they’re using now.” The bill is so restrictive, Habbas said, because it was tailored to appeal to a conservative Missouri General Assembly. Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article19549947.html#storylink=cpy
Washington passed their medical marijuana law nearly two decades ago and in the time since have left citizens and police confused about what was legal, but this new bill will bring clarity and legality to the "collective gardens" providing marijuana for thousands. Licenses will be granted to businesses with good standing, and allow legal recreational and medical marijuana sales to adults over 21. The proliferation of medical dispensaries has long been a concern for the police and other officials who denounce them as a cover for black-market sales. Washington in 1998 became one of the first states to approve the use of marijuana for medical purposes, but the initiative passed by voters did not allow commercial sales. Medical marijuana growers repeatedly sought legislation that would validate their businesses, coming closest in 2011, when the Legislature approved a bill to create a licensing framework for medical dispensaries. But Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed much of the measure.
You may have heard that the head of the DEA, Michele Leonhart, is resigning, leaving a position available that could truly have a large impact on the war on drugs. Her replacement is still being evaluated, however the new US Attorney General has been confirmed to oppose marijuana. Though not much to say about the plant itself, the new Attorney General, Lorreta Lynch, does know that marijuana is still federally illegal. “Marijuana is still a criminal substance under federal law. And it is still a crime not only to possess, but to distribute under federal law,” Lynch said during a Senate confirmation hearing earlier this year. She went on to add that, as Attorney General, she would try to work with states where marijuana is legal in some form to continue enforcing federal marijuana laws in certain cases. They include child endangerment and trafficking across state lines — even when the drug is bought legally under state law.
Lawmakers allover the United States are talking about the marijuana legalization expiriment in Colorado because it's been over a year, and not only is tax revenue high, but the sky isn't falling. Nevada was first to legalize gambling and prostitution, but are being more cautious in considering marijuana while they take tours of Colorado's programs. Nevada is looking for more tax funds to help public education, but are worried too much tax on marijuana sales will keep buyers in the black market. With smiles, selfies and a few nervous chuckles, a group of Nevada legislators and policymakers got a first-hand look at Colorado's fast-growing legal marijuana industry this weekend, coming face-to-face with thousands of green growing plants.
Since many of us were young, you've heard how marijuana is a gateway drug, meaning it leads a path to harder drugs. Now that studies have proven otherwise, and very few marijuana users ever try other drugs, the only ones spouting the gateway myth is anti-marijuana media. While poverty, mental illness, and prohibition are proven to be real gateways to drug abuse, marijuana is actually proven to reduce hard drug use and treat withdrawal symptoms. Crime has not increased in states that have legalized marijuana; it’s actually gone down. Surprisingly, opiate overdose deaths have gone down as well. As I’ve written previously for The Conversation, anyone who actually talks with problem drug users (and doesn’t simply talk about them) knows that marijuana can help drug users prevent, control—even stop—hard drug use.