Opponents of marijuana have been jumping onto a recent study discussing the lack of evidence that the drug helps certain conditions it is often prescribed for (glaucoma, anxiety, or Parkinson's disease). The article doesn't say the drug doesn't help, just that there is lack of evidence as there often is with the lack of proper research. A positive note from the study found that marijuana IS effective against chronic pain. Painkillers are considered an epidemic by some, being highly addictive, and killing more than 16,000 people in 2013 alone. The availability of medical marijuana has been shown to significantly decrease the abuse of prescription pain killers and opiate overdose. They found that the presence of marijuana dispensaries was associated with a 15 to 35 percent decrease in substance abuse admissions. Opiate overdose deaths decreased by a similar amount. "Our findings suggest that providing broader access to medical marijuana may have the potential benefit of reducing abuse of highly addictive painkillers," the researchers conclude.
On Wednesday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported that only 100 more patients have been approved for medical marijuana in the state, bringing the running total to 2,600 patients. Around 22,000 patients have signed up, but requiring the submission of fingerprints has slowed down many of them leaving only 3,200 patients finishing the entire application. One industry consultant estimates a necessity of 100,000 patients to keep the state's medical marijuana industry afloat, but to do so state health officials must approve the addition of more illnesses that qualify for medical marijuana. After a series of delays, the product is now expected to be ready by October or November. Business owners say they are spending millions of dollars to build up to 21 cultivation centers and are getting ready to grow the first crop
Louisiana now has a medical marijuana program after the governor signed the bill into law making it the first southern US state to make marijuana available for patients. The governor also signed a new law reducing second-time marijuana possession from a felony to a misdemeanour. Though this is a huge step forward for the state and good drug policy, however medical marijuana may not be available for purchase for up to two years due to a long regulatory, licensing, and manufacturing process. "Louisiana's overdue for a major overhaul of its drug policies and this is a good first step," said Yolande Cadore of the Drug Policy Alliance. "It's a relief to see that smart policymakers are starting to recognise this political reality."
Last week, over 300 patients lined up outside hours before Delaware's first medical marijuana dispensary opened. The state's medical marijuana bill passed in 2011 but after years of adjusting the rules and regulations patients are finally allowed access to their medicine. Prices in Delaware are so far about $100 cheaper per ounce (about $350 per oz) than neighboring medical marijuana state New Jersey. In a months time, Delaware patients can purchase up to six ounces of marijuana buds. The law allows for buds and concentrates, but not edibles as many other states have chosen to block as well due to issues in proper portion and labeling. The bill allows for three dispensaries in the state, but Governor Markell has announced his plan to only allow one dispensary to open for at least the first year as a pilot program. On opening day, patients began lining up before 7 a.m., though the dispensary did not open until 10:30, Hyland said. "Having that many people wait in line sort of breaks my heart a little bit because we're not talking about a healthy population," he said, adding that some arrived in wheelchairs.
You may have heard that recently a major hurdle for non-federal marijuana research has been lifted, allowing private companies to have easier access to perform further research on the possibilities of the drug. Already companies are planning out research to do whats never been done before, like one company, PotBotics, who is trying to "create a reference database matching neurological illnesses with their appropriate medicinal cannabanoids at the molecular level." Another company is planning cannabis concentrates that would focus on things like menstrual symptoms, and libido enhancement. The possibilities are endless once the research is more available, allowing companies to design specified cannabis products. NIDA wasn’t set up to provide marijuana for medicinal research and so far hasn’t been able to supply everything researchers need, according to Burge. In an attempt to increase marijuana availability, his organization will soon be applying to the Drug Enforcement Agency to open an alternative farm for privately funded researchers. “We’ve been turned down before, but hope this signal from President Obama will change things,” he said.
Rules an regulations for Maryland's medical marijuana program were released last week, and are open for public comment until July 27th. The current draft of the bill allows for plant and liquid forms of marijuana, but not edibles. The state could start accepting applications for marijuana grow and dispensing licenses as early as September, and the programs may be ready for patients by the middle of next year. Maryland will be one of the only states requiring doctors to register to write referrals for marijuana, but will not require them to go through training to do so as some have suggested. Any doctor in good standing would be able to refer patients, but Morhaim expected the most interest from those who treat pain, cancer and other devastating diseases. As with any other drug, doctors would follow the latest research to ensure that marijuana is appropriate for each patient. Doctors would be able to certify patients to get the drug from a dispensary.
The first church of cannabis set in Indiana is scheduled to have it's first service tomorrow, but due to threats by local law enforcement the founder says there will be no smoking of marijuana during service as previously planned. Two state legislators proposed a medical marijuana bill for the state earlier this year but due to lack of support it never saw a vote, leaving marijuana illegal in any form in Indiana. Regardless, the founder of the church is using the state's freedom of religion bill recently passed to pursue his goal of spiritually legal cannabis, Levin promised Friday to still move forward with the service, though. His cannabis church could be a possible direct test case to Indiana's religious freedom law, which goes into effect July 1 and protects people from government intervention in the name of religious liberty.
Last week, Minnesota legislators approved the use of medical marijuana for patients with serious debilitating conditions such as cancer, HIV, and epilepsy in the form of CBD pills and oils. Joining many other states in the movement for patient healthcare, legislators chose to legalize only those forms of marijuana extracts while keeping the smoking of cannabis plant matter illegal. While legalization advocates hailed the new rules as a step forward, they argued that Minnesota’s approach was unusually restrictive, potentially excluding patients living in rural areas or on tight budgets from obtaining the drugs.
Washington State House and Senate have both passed legislature that would allow the changes to the recreational marijuana bill such as zoning rules and tax structure. The bill is on it's way to the governor's desk , and if he chooses to sign it the tax on marijuana sold in the state will be 37% for both recreational and medical. The House passed the measure Friday on a 59-38 vote. One of the main changes to the current system would be the elimination of the three-tier tax structure that would be replaced with a single excise tax of 37 percent at the point of sale. The excise tax is one that everyone would have to pay, both medical marijuana patients and recreational users.
This week Massschusetts' first medical marijuana dispensary opened up, and among those in line was a large population of elderly patients just looking for relief. 14 more dispensaries are working on gaining legal approval but only two more are expected to open their doors by this fall leaving patients only one option for now. Trips to the dispensary are strictly appointment only for now, and prices are still rather high, but patients are excited to be a part of this historical moment finally in their home state. Wendy Atwood was waiting in line, too. The 53-year-old said she has used marijuana to ease knee and back pain from arthritis, depression, and anxiety. She also said she has long used the drug recreationally. “I am a law-abiding citizen, a mom with two kids, and a day-care provider,” Atwood said. “It’s going to be very exciting” to walk into the dispensary, she added. “I’m happy that it’s not under wraps anymore.” But the process was hardly speedy. Waves of patients waited up to an hour in line, and then, in small groups, were ushered inside.
After being delayed multiple times, Massachusetts first medical marijuana dispensary will be opening it's doors on Wednesday, June 24th. The state's voters passed the medical marijuana bill almost 3 years ago and after a long wait will finally have safe access to the drug. The first despensary to open, Alternative Therapies Group, wants to remain as professional as possible, seeing patients by appointment only, and keeping the medication at a separate location. ATG is expected to serve thousands of patients in the coming weeks after opening. “Salem has long been a progressive, forward-thinking, and open-minded community, and we look forward to [Alternative Therapies] starting operation this week and providing yet another critical medical choice to patients for the entire North Shore,” the mayor said.
California has been known for it's large medical marijuana industry and last week, San Francisco hosted their first 'Get Baked Sale' featuring every type of medicated baked good you could imagine. Attendees only needed their state medical cards and $20 to get in and experience the one of a kind festival that had guest floating on cloud 9. Marijuana edibles have been the subject of controversy in the last few years because ingesting marijuana is much different and sometimes incredibly more intense than smoking. To feel the effects of medibles, your body needs 1-3 hours to digest while smoking is almost instantaneous. Many people have grown impatient waiting for the medible high to kick in that they eat much more than the necessary dose, leaving them much higher than anticipated. "The good thing about [consuming too much] weed is it can't kill you," says Kim Geraghty, cofounder of Madame Munchie, whose gourmet cannabis macarons won the 2014 San Francisco High Times Cannabis Cup. "But it can make you very uncomfortable."