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Feds Favor Anti-Pot Research

April 8th

As the nation’s only truly legal supplier of marijuana, the U.  S.  government keeps tight control of its stash, which is grown in a 12-acre fenced garden on the campus of the University of Mississippi in Oxford.

From there, part of the crop is shipped to Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina, where it’s rolled into cigarettes, all at taxpayer expense.

Even though Congress has long banned marijuana, the operation is legitimate.  It’s run by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the U.  S.  Department of Health and Human Services, which doles out the pot for federally approved research projects.

While U.  S.  officials defend their monopoly, critics say the government is hogging all the pot and giving it mainly to researchers who want to find harms linked to the drug.

U.  S.  officials say the federal government must be the sole supplier of legal marijuana in order to comply with a 1961 international drug- control treaty.  But they admit they’ve done relatively little to fund pot research projects looking for marijuana’s benefits, following their mandate to focus on abuse and addiction.

“We’ve been st. . . . . READ MORE

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PTSD Sufferers Qualify for Medical Marijuana

October 15th

A new state law allowing veterans and others suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder to be prescribed medical marijuana will help them live a normal life, advocates and veterans say.

Under the law that went into effect Wednesday, PTSD joins cancer, glaucoma, hepatitis C and others on the list of conditions patients must have to qualify for medical marijuana use in Maine.

Hundreds of Maine veterans already use marijuana to treat PTSD, but they weren’t previously able to get it from their doctors, said Paul McCarrier, legislative liaison for the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine.

“This unties the hands of doctors to allow them to treat their patients,” he said.

Retired Marine Corps Sgt. Ryan Begin is one of those veterans already using the drug. Begin lost 4 inches of his right arm, including his elbow, from an IED explosion during his second tour in Iraq in 2004. He started using medical marijuana to deal with the pain, but it has also helped manage his PTSD, which caused flashbacks . . . . . READ MORE

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Fans of Legal Marijuana Cheer

September 10th

The pros and cons of marijuana will take center stage Tuesday in Washington, D.C., when the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a landmark hearing on legalization.

Requested by committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the hearing was triggered by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement last month that federal authorities no longer will interfere as states adopt laws to allow medical marijuana or to legalize the drug entirely.

The hearing is on conflicts between state and federal marijuana laws. In calling for it, Leahy questioned whether, at a time of severe budget cutting, federal prosecutions of marijuana users are the best use of taxpayer dollars.

Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the nonprofit lobby group Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C., said he hopes for a breakthrough in the hearing that would lead to changes in federal banking laws, allowing marijuana sellers to accept credit cards and checks, not just cash.

That would do a lot to legitimize the nation’s marijuana industry, safeguard. . . . . READ MORE

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Pro-Pot Ad Debuts At NASCAR Race

July 27th

Spectators streaming into the NASCAR Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway starting on Friday might notice something a little different about one of the advertisements on screens nearby. The 30-second spot, seen above, might look and sound a lot like a typical beer ad, but it’s actually promoting an alternative: legal marijuana.

The ad, titled “New Beer,” is from the Marijuana Policy Project — the nation’s largest pro-marijuana legalization advocacy group — and will air dozens of times beginning Friday. It marks the first time a pro-pot ad has been shown at a major sporting event, though technically it is being shown outside the stadium’s grounds.

The spot notes that marijuana is different from beer, which will likely be flowing generously at the weekend NASCAR race, frequently regarded as one of the year’s biggest. Pot has no calories, does not cause hangovers and does not contribute to violent or reckless behavior, the ad says. It concludes with the tagline, “Marijuana: Less harmful than alcohol and time to treat it that way,” which is laid over stock footage of some people who look like they’re high and happy on a beach.

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D.C. Council Bill Seeks To Decriminalize MJ

July 11th

Marijuana advocates in the District have a few friends on the D.C. Council. D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) unveiled a bill Wednesday morning that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, according to WUSA9.

Under the bill, anyone caught with less than one ounce of marijuana would face a civil penalty of a $100 fine. Under current law, possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense; first-time offenders face up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.

At a press conference, Wells said that the purpose of decriminalization is to save youths caught with marijuana from losing employment opportunities in the future.

“Once you have a marijuana charge on your record, you cannot participate in certainly the construction boom that is happening all over the city, and it works to stigmatize people … and it disadvantages them from jobs,” Wells said, according to The Washington Post.

A report by the American Civil Liberties Union in June found that D.C. leads the nation in marijuana possession arrests per capita, with a rate more than three times higher than the national average. The ACLU also found that nationally . . . . . READ MORE

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Medical Cannabis Legalized in New Hampshire

June 26th

With just one day left to pass it this session, the New Hampshire Legislature has given final approval to a measure aimed at legalizing medical marijuana – including state licensed dispensaries.

After much back anmedical-marijuana-symbold forth between the House and Senate, HB 573 has finally made it through – Governor Maggie Hassan will sign the legislation at any time, stating prior to its passage that: “I encourage the full legislature to pass this compromise so I can sign this legislation into law”.

“This legislation has been a long time coming and is a much-needed victory for those with serious illnesses who find significant relief in medical marijuana,” said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project.

Once signed, the law will go into effect immediately, and a commission will begin the process of establishing a dispensary system. Patients will be allowed to possess up to 2 ounces, and dispensaries will be allowed up to 80 ounces and 80 plants (with 160 seedlings), plus an additional three plants, 12 seedlings and 6 ounces for every patient who designates the dispensary as their primary access point.

The measure mandates that at least . . . . . READ MORE

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Some Dispensaries Not Too Thrilled By Legal Pot

May 8th

Medical marijuana groups are wary of a bill that would legalize and tax marijuana in Maine.

Estimates nationwide suggest if marijuana were legal, much of the profit gained by medical retailers and black-market criminals would disappear.

That worries Glenn Peterson, the owner of Canuvo, a Biddeford medical-marijuana dispensary.  He also serves as president of the Maine Association of Dispensary Operators, a trade group made up of five Maine dispensary owners.

Peterson said his group is concerned that the bill could “eliminate the medical marijuana industry” in Maine.

“I tend to be libertarian,” he said.  “On the other hand, I am quite protective of my dispensary.”

Paul McCarrier, a lobbyist for Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, an advocacy group for state-licensed caregivers who grow marijuana for small groups of medical patients, said his group is opposing the bill.  McCarrier said it would favor dispensaries through licensing requirements, which could regulate small-time growers out of existence.

“The scope of protections for the individual to cultivate for themselves is too limited,” he said.

The head of a national group that has supported the. . . . . READ MORE

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N.H. Senate Panel Removes Home-Grow Option

May 8th

A Senate committee yesterday endorsed medical marijuana legislation that passed the House earlier this year, but removed a provision opposed by Gov. Maggie Hassan that would have allowed patients to grow their own cannabis.

Sen. Nancy Stiles, a Hampton Republican and chairwoman of the Senate Health, Education and Human Services Committee, said she met Monday with Hassan’s legal counsel, Lucy Hodder, and eliminated elements of the bill Hassan won’t support.

“I think the important thing in this process is to get legislation moved forward so that we can begin to help our citizens that are critically ill, and start out with a small process that can be expanded later on if we find that it’s not meeting all of the needs,” Stiles said.

After an hour of discussion, the committee voted, 5-0, to recommend the full Senate pass the amended bill, which would allow seriously ill or terminal patients with cancer and other specified conditions to acquire marijuana from special dispensaries to treat symptoms including pain and weight loss.

The bill next heads to the Senate floor for a vote.

Medical marijuana advocates are . . . . . READ MORE

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