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CNN’s Gupta To Drop Another MMJ Bombshell Tonight?

March 11th

He rocked the medical-marijuana world last year and drew attention from Congress when he apologized for giving short shrift to medical marijuana. At 10 p.m. Tuesday, CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta will be at it again, airing “Weed 2,” his second, hour-long special on the health benefits of cannabis.

Michigan’s medical-pot advocates say it could be a second bombshell in the national debate on pot. “We think it’ll be another big deal across our country, and hopefully even in other parts of the world where they are thinking about changing their laws,” said Heidi Parikh of Romulus, founder of the Michigan Compassion education groups that meet in Royal Oak and Southgate.

Gupta, who grew up in Novi and graduated from the University of Michigan School of Medicine, will narrate the show, which will include sick youngsters and their parents struggling to obtain cannabis against legal barriers placed by state and federal authorities.

“If you want to understand the science, this is something you’ll want to watch,” Gupta told the Free Press on Monday. “The drug continues to be unfairly rejected by most of the Amer. . . . . READ MORE

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Med Marijuana Advocates Meet Florida Ballot Goal

January 26th

A petition campaign to legalize medical marijuana in Florida has gathered enough signatures to put the issue on November’s general election ballot. Just after noon Friday, county elections officials had validated 710,508 signatures — enough to force a vote on a proposed constitutional amendment to allow growth, sale and possession of marijuana for medical uses.

The Florida Supreme Court could still reject the ballot language — and any vote along with it — but organizers expressed jubilation Friday that an expensive, last minute push at least fulfilled the signature requirements for citizen initiated amendments.

“I’ve spent $4 million, hired the best legal minds in the state of Florida, rallied my army of angels and collected more than 1.1 million signatures in five or six months,” said Orlando trial attorney John Morgan, who took over a small, grass roots petition campaign last year and gave it the clout to get on the ballot.

By law, constitutional amendment campaigns for 2014 require signatures from 683,149 registered voters. Morgan’s group, United for Care, added more than 50,000 signatures Friday to exceed that mark.

Morgan, who has paid about three-quarters of United for Care’s expenses, said the petition drive cost twice as much as he planned, largely because signatures lagged by December and the campaign had to gear up.

By paying professional co. . . . . 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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Chris Christie Supports Allowing MMJ for Children

August 17th

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Friday asked for changes in a medical marijuana bill to to ease access to the drug for ill children.

Christie signaled that he would sign the bill if the Legislature changed it to stipulate that edible forms of marijuana would be available only to qualified minors, and that a pediatrician and psychiatrist had to approve a child’s prescription.

“Today, I am making common sense recommendations to this legislation to ensure sick children receive the treatment their parents prefer, while maintaining appropriate safeguards,” Christie said in a statement.

Christie agreed to allow sick children access to forms of pot that can be eaten. The move is supported by parents worried that the dry-leaf and lozenge forms of the drug pose health concerns.

He also supported removing a limit on the number of marijuana strains that state dispensaries can provide. That would give patients, adults and children, a variety of marijuana strains to choose from; advocates say different strains carry different medicinal properties.

Chri. . . . . READ MORE

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Fla. Medical Marijuana Petition Pushes For 2014

August 7th

Michael Derigo arrived home from a trip to the grocery store June 25 to find half a dozen police cars surrounding his mobile home in Gibsonton. A neighbor had complained about his marijuana plants.

Since he was diagnosed with AIDS in 2004 and started on drugs to suppress it, Derigo, 59, has grown marijuana plants and juiced the leaves to drink. Unlike smoking dried leaves, he said, it doesn’t get him high.

“I’ve been able to keep my weight on where I’ve seen others just shrivel up and die,” he said.

Derigo has pleaded not guilty to possessing and manufacturing marijuana. His lawyer, Michael Minardi of Stuart, who specializes in such cases, plans a medical necessity defense.

“The war on drugs is a war on the American people,” Derigo said. “People sometimes do less time for murder than for marijuana.”

Cases such as his have led to a new petition drive to put a proposal on the 2014 ballot to legalize medical use of marijuana in Florida.

Similar efforts have failed before, but this one is backed by a . . . . . READ MORE

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Quinn To Sign Medical Marijuana Bill Thursday

August 2nd

Gov. Pat Quinn will sign a bill into law Thursday legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes in Illinois at an event at the University of Chicago, two state government sources told the Tribune today. Supporters say the four-year trial program here will be the strictest law of its kind in the nation.

For years, the measure had failed to gain traction at the Capitol, particularly in the House. But sponsoring Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, was able to cobble together a simple majority in the spring to send the bill to the Senate, where a similar but less restrictive bill had passed in previous years.

As the legislation was gaining momentum, Quinn indicated that he would keep an “open mind” about the issue. Proponents took it as a positive sign from a governor who has displayed his liberal tendencies on issues ranging from abolishing the death penalty to supporting a gay marriage bill.

One reason Quinn said he was giving legalized pot more thought was that he was impressed by an injured military veteran who maintained marijuana provided him relief from war wounds.

Under the new law, which would t. . . . . READ MORE

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Recreational-Marijuana Merchants Rattled by Raids

July 26th

Federal raids of Washington state medical-marijuana dispensaries this week are raising concerns among state officials and entrepreneurs that recreational-marijuana may be similarly targeted when the market opens in the state early next year.

Drug Enforcement Administration spokeswoman Jodie Underwood said agents executed several search warrants involving “marijuana storefronts” Wednesday, but she declined to comment on why they were targeted or whether recreational pot shops might get the same treatment.

A person familiar with the raids said agents went after four medical-marijuana dispensaries related to a 2011 investigation into allegations of money laundering and illicit marijuana sales.

Residents in Colorado and Washington voted to legalize recreational marijuana last year. But federal authorities haven’t said how they will address these new state-regulated markets for marijuana, which remains illegal under federal law. Washington and other states allow medical marijuana, but this is also illegal under federal law, and federal authorities have raided dispensaries around the country.

. . . . . READ MORE

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N.H. Becomes 19th State to Legalize MMJ

July 24th

New Hampshire became the 19th state to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana yesterday, when Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a bill that passed the Legislature this year with bipartisan support.

“Allowing doctors to provide relief to patients through the use of appropriately regulated and dispensed medical marijuana is the compassionate and right policy for the state of New Hampshire, and this legislation ensures that we approach this policy in the right way with measures to prevent abuse,” Hassan said in a statement.

The law takes effect immediately, but it may be well over a year before the program is up and running. Patients must obtain a registry ID card from the state and buy their marijuana only at special nonprofit dispensaries, and administrative rules for those facilities could take up to 18 months to finalize.

Still, yesterday was a victory for medical marijuana advocates in the Granite State. Similar bills had passed the Legislature in 2009 and 2012, but both times were vetoed by then-Gov. John Lynch, a . . . . . READ MORE

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For Patients Like Me, Marijuana is a Necessity

July 8th

My breast cancer diagnosis at age 26 was an unwelcome and at times harrowing experience. What allowed me to endure the darkest days was the hope that my rigorous treatment — chemotherapy, surgeries and radiotherapy among them — would allow me to once again live a full and healthy life. It’s what propelled me to walk back into the hospital for more treatments.

But then came A/C: The “A” stands for Adriamycin, a drug neon red in color and injected via large syringes by oncology nurses; its apt nicknames are “red devil” and “red death.” That probably should have been the red flag that I wasn’t going to escape without being slightly worse for wear.

After each of my four biweekly infusions, I lay bedridden for four days, debilitated by severe nausea, heartburn and overall discomfort. I also suffered deep bone pain, a consequence of the Neulasta shot given to keep my white blood cell counts up. I acutely felt all of these side effects, despite being given an intravenous anti-nausea medication, taking anti-nausea tablets every few hours and heartburn medicine and a low-dose prescription narcotic fo. . . . . READ MORE

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Google Quietly Giving Aid To Marijuana Activists

June 27th

Cancer patients who Google the words “chemotherapy nausea” today get a host of advertisements for treatment, including pills, skin patches and folk remedies used to prevent vomiting. Next month, however, the same search will turn up an ad for something a bit more controversial: medical marijuana.

The change comes courtesy of the charitable unit of Google, which last week gifted a Michigan medical marijuana advocacy group $120,000 worth of its services. As part of the grant, the group, Michigan Compassion, will be able to promote medical marijuana use through Google’s popular AdWords platform — the plain-text advertisements that pop up to the right side of any given search result.

Michigan Compassion does not sell marijuana but connects patients and growers, and it says the ads will appear alongside searches likely to be made by chemotherapy patients.

“The goal is to link the negative effects of chemotherapy and the positive effects of cannabis,” Amish Parikh, vice-president of Michigan Compassion, told The Huffington Post.

The ads’ value is small in the s. . . . . READ MORE

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