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AZ: Phoenix Police Bust Unlicensed Medical Marijuana Dispensary

July 20th

PHOENIX, AZ — Police in Phoenix, Arizona say they arrested three men for pretending to operate a medical marijuana dispensary Friday.

Phoenix Police Sgt. Tommy Thompson issued a statement saying officers served a search warrant Friday evening at what appears to be an unlicensed, illegal medical dispensary.

According to the statement, operators did not have a valid business license or a state-issued medical marijuana dispensary permit.

Police say they seized marijuana and marijuana edibles including brownies, muffins and candies.  Several weapons were also seized, according to police.

The three men arrested were Kenneth Winans, 52, Hernan Vega, 40, and Jeremy Skidmore, 34.  All three were booked at the Maricopa County Jail.

All three men will face charges for illegally controlling an enterprise and possession of marijuana for sale.  Vega and Skidmore also face additional charges of being in possession of a firearm during a drug offense.

Under Arizona’s 2010 voter approved medical marijuana law, non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries must be licensed by the Arizona Department of Public Health. Patients and caregivers may not grow their own medical marijuana unless they live more than 25 miles from a registered dispensary.

AZ: Phoenix Police Bust Unlicensed Medical Marijuana Dispensary was written b. . . . . READ MORE

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New Mexico Corrections Officer Fired for Medicating Legally with Cannabis

July 20th

As it has with thousands of PTSD patients nationwide, cannabis gave 32-year-old Augustine Stanley his life back. Already a decorated veteran, already the youngest Lieutenant at New Mexico’s Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center, he could survive IEDs in Iraq and prison gang member sequestration cells in Albuquerque. But it looks iffy whether his promising, unblemished career will survive a urine test.

Stanley led the team of corrections officers that handles the highest risk inmates in the Albuquerque area – not just violent criminals, but people at risk to themselves. “I was interviewing for promotion to Captain,” he told me. “I don’t even have a disciplinary file. Then last September I failed a urine test.”

This is, sadly and temporarily, not a unique case of what happens in the final days of cannabis prohibition when a patient who works in a “drug”-tested position and his family choose his well-being over even his livelihood and obligation to support, in Stanley’s case, his four kids. And when you talk to this local boy, he makes no bones about one truth: cannabis was and is a life-or-death necessity for him. Otherwise he would never have threatened a career that had logged 13 years toward a lucrative 20-year retirement plan.

In a steady, non-emotional voice, Stanley told me, “The Xanax (alprazolam anti-anxiety pharmaceutical) I was prescribed (after a traumatic tour in Iraq in 2005) just deepened my depression. I was. . . . . READ MORE

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California E-Cigarette Bill Would Restrict Use of Medical Marijuana Vaporizers

July 20th

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Assembly is considering a bill that would ban the use of e-cigarettes and similar smokeless vaporizers in areas where tobacco smoking is banned.

Though the bill, Senate Bill 648, was approved by the Senate in May as a bill against tobacco e-cigarettes, it would adversely impact use of vaporizers by medical marijuana patents.

Current state law defines e-cigarettes as “device[s] that can provide an inhalable dose of nicotine by delivering a vaporized solution.”  This includes a wide range of vaporization devices now widely used for medical marijuana and other herbs, as well as tobacco and nicotine.

California NORML is urging the Assembly to reject SB 648 on the grounds that vaporizers offer a proven, beneficial “harm reduction” substitute for medical marijuana users by reducing exposure to harmful smoke toxins while at the same time posing no second-hand smoke hazard to the public.

Vaporizers are designed to eliminate the respiratory hazards of smoking by eliminating the combustion that produces the smoke. Regular pipes and cigarettes produce carcinogenic tars, particulates and other smoke toxins that are a byproduct of burning leaves.

Vaporizers don’t produce these toxins because they don’t burn anything, bu. . . . . READ MORE

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AZ: New Tuscon Area Medical Marijuana Dispensary Hosting Open House Today

July 20th

MARANA, AZ — Arizona’s newest medical marijuana dispensary, Nature Med, located just North of Tuscon in Marana, will be welcoming new patients with an open house Saturday, July 20, from 10 am until 5 pm.

Nature Med 2The event is open to all current Arizona medical marijuana card holders, as well as non-patients who are interested in learning how to obtain medical marijuana certification.  Snacks and refreshments will be provided, and staff will be on hand to answer any questions from current and future medical marijuana patients.

Located less than a mile west of Interstate 10, Nature Med is a non-profit, state licensed medical marijuana dispensary operated by a father and son team with a medical background.

“My father is a registered nurse, and has been in the healthcare field for over 30 years,”  says dispensary general manager Jacob Schmidt. “He has seen great suffering and pain in patients who are most often prescribed pharmaceutical pain medication.  While these may work for many people, others find the negative benefits of these opiates to outweigh the positive.”

“We believe in a natural approach to physical and mental relief,” Schmidt added.  ”The cannabis plant is a great alternati. . . . . READ MORE

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New Hampshire Patients Still Waiting for Gov. to Sign Medical Marijuana Bill

July 18th

CONCORD, NH — New Hampshire residents anxiously awaiting the legalization of medical marijuana in the Granite State will have to keep waiting, at least for a little while longer.

The New Hampshire Legislature passed House Bill 573 in June, which will allow state residents with serious illnesses obtain up to two ounces of  medical marijuana from state licensed dispensaries, but the bill — and about three dozen others — have yet to reach the desk of Governor Maggie Hassan.

According to reports by the Associated Press, House Speaker Terie Norelli has the bill on her desk and is expected to sign it sometime this week before sending it to Senate President Peter Bragdon for his signature.  Only then will it be sent to the desk of Gov. Hassan, who has expressed support for medical marijuana in New Hampshire and is expected to sign the bill.

Gov. Maggie Hassan

Once received by the Governor, Hassan will have five days to act on the bill.  The House Speaker and Senate President, however, ar. . . . . READ MORE

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ASA Appeals Marijuana’s Federal Status as a ‘Dangerous Drug with No Medical Value’ to U.S. Supreme Court

July 15th

WASHINGTON, DC — Medical marijuana patient advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) filed a petition for writ of certiorari today with the U.S. Supreme Court to appeal a January Circuit Court decision that maintained marijuana’s current federal status as one of the most dangerous drugs with no medical value. In the widely watched case ASA v. Drug Enforcement Administration, petitioners are challenging an unreasonable and unprecedented standard set by the District of Columbia Circuit, which also creates a federal appellate split on what constitutes proof of medical efficacy.

“To deny that sufficient evidence is lacking on the medical efficacy of marijuana is to ignore a mountain of well-documented studies that conclude otherwise,” said ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford, who argued the appeal before the D.C. Circuit in October of last year. “The Court has unreasonably raised the bar for what qualifies as an ‘adequate and well-controlled’ study, thereby continuing the government’s game of ‘Gotcha.’”

On January 22nd, the D.C. Circuit granted plaintiffs standing — the right to sue the federal government to reclassify marijuana — but, in a READ MORE

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Arizona Supreme Court to Police: Give Medical Marijuana Back to Patients

July 10th

PHOENIX —  Medical marijuana patients who have their medicine confiscated by police are legally entitled to get it back, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Monday, rejecting arguments by prosecutors.

The justices declined to review a challenge to a January ruling by The Arizona Court of Appeals, who ruled that the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office must return marijuana confiscated from a California medical marijuana patient in 2011.  By refusing to review the case, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling of the lower court without comment.

Valerie Okun, a California resident permitted to use medical marijuana, was cited for violating Arizona drug laws in 2011, when authorities confiscated marijuana from her at a border checkpoint near Yuma. Those charges were later dismissed after she provided her California medical marijuana authorization to court officials.

Arizona’s 2010 voter approved medical marijuana law allows reciprocity to patients from other medical marijuana states, honoring their medical marijuana cards and allowing medical marijuana patients visiting Arizona to possess up to two and a half ounces of cannabis.

After Okun’s charges were dropped, she asked the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office to return her medicine, a request that was granted by the court. The Yuma County Sheriff, however, argued th. . . . . READ MORE

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Freedom to Choose: New Mexico Veterans Push for Improved Access to Medical Marijuana

July 9th

SANTA FE, NM — The Drug Policy Alliance, veterans’ groups, elected officials and others are introducing a campaign to protect New Mexico’s military veterans’ legal access to medical marijuana. The Campaign is asking New Mexico to stand with veterans and their families to ask our state lawmakers, employers, and medical professionals to support efforts to ensure that when veterans come home they will have access to the medicine that works for them.

New Mexico’s medical marijuana program is considered a nationwide model – in 2007 New Mexico became the first state to develop and implement a state-licensed medical marijuana production and distribution system, and in 2009 it became the first medical marijuana state to specifically include post-traumatic stress disorder as a qualifying condition.

“This campaign has national implications, as hundreds of thousands of veterans return home from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD,” said Jessica Gelay of the Drug Policy Alliance. “We hope that this campaign will encourage other states to ensure that their veterans receive the best care possible.”

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, a former prosecutor, has vowed to veto any mariju. . . . . <a href=READ MORE

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Oregon Medical Marijuana Dispensary Regulation Bill Heads to Governor

July 7th

SALEM, OR —  A bill that would expand the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to include licencing and regulating medical marijuana dispensaries is heading to the desk of Governor John Kitzhaber (D) after House members concurred Saturday with Senate amendments to the bill.

The Oregon Senate voted Wednesday to approve House Bill 3460, which was approved by the House in June.  Because of some changes made to the bill by a Senate committee, the House met Saturday to approve those changes.

The bill will now be sent to Gov. Kitzhaber, who is expected to sign the legislation into law.  Earlier last week, Gov. Kitzhaber gave final approval to two bills that reduce marijuana penalties for in the state.

Medical marijuana dispensaries already exist in Oregon, but are operating in a legal grey area.  The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) allows patients to grow their own medicine or have someone else to i. . . . . READ MORE

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Maine Medical Cannabis Program Expanded to Include PTSD, Other Debilitating Conditions

July 4th

AUGUSTA, ME – Patients diagnosed with post-traumatic stress, Crohn’s disease, and other debilitating disorders will soon be eligible for cannabis therapy under legislation approved last week absent the Governor’s signature.

The new law expands the list of qualifying conditions for which a Maine physician may legally recommend cannabis to include “post-traumatic stress disorder,” “inflammatory bowel disease” (such as Crohn’s and/or ulcerative colitis), and “dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders and other diseases causing severe and persistent muscle spasms” (such as Parkinson’s disease and/or Huntington’s disease). It is the second time that Maine legislators have acted to expand the pool of patients who may have access to medicinal cannabis.

The law takes effect in approximately 90 days.

Four states — Connecticut, Delaware, New Mexico, and Oregon — explicitly allow for the use of cannabis to treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

Clinical trial data published in the May issue of the journal Molecular Psychiatry theorized that cannabinoid-based therapies would likely comprise. . . . . READ MORE

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