Mj news for 05/04/2015

7greeneyes

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http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...for-ptsd-other-conditions-20150504-story.html





(Illiois) State panel: PTSD, migraines OK for medical pot, but not anxiety, diabetes





Post-traumatic stress disorder, along with migraines and irritable bowel syndrome, have been recommended as additions to the list of conditions that can be treated by medical marijuana in Illinois.

Also receiving a recommendation for approval Monday were osteoarthritis and two forms of nerve damage, including diabetic neuropathy.

But diabetes itself, as well as anxiety, did not receive endorsements by a state panel in Chicago.

The Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board met on Monday to consider a number of new disorders to add to the list of conditions that qualify someone to get access to medical marijuana. Its recommendations will be passed on to the Illinois Department of Public Health, which will ultimately decide which conditions are added to the list.

Monday afternoon, the panel unanimously approved the use of medical marijuana for people with PTSD, after hearing from two military veterans and a young woman who said she suffered from the stress disorder after being in abusive relationships as a teen.

Daniel Jabs, a veterans peer support specialist who joined the military in 1999, said that other types of medications for PTSD can be deadly.

"I think it's about time we treat our veterans, rather than (as) criminals, as people with certain scars when they come back," he said.

One person who spoke against providing marijuana to treat PTSD said drug’s long-term effects on PTSD are unclear and could cause paranoia and psychosis. She added that those who suffer from PTSD are at a greater risk of abusing marijuana and have more difficulty recovering from marijuana addiction.

But the committee was clearly in favor of adding PTSD to the list.

"This one is very straightforward in my mind," said Dr. Eric Christoff, a general internist and HIV specialist at Northwestern Medicine who sits on the advisory board. "The risk of not correctly, in a patient-centered way, addressing PTSD is death or suicide, so the stakes are high."

Earlier Monday morning, the panel voted 8-2 against recommending to the Illinois Department of Public Health anxiety as a qualifying condition.

Critics of adding both anxiety and migraines to the list said they represented categories that were too broad, though the panel did ultimately recommend by an 8-2 vote that migraines be added to the list of qualifying conditions.

The panel voted unanimously to recommend cannabis for irritable bowel syndrome, stating that it is a more specific condition without many treatment options.

There are currently about three dozen conditions that allow qualifying patients to use medical marijuana. But after a series of delays in licensing cultivation centers and dispensaries, patients are still waiting to get the drug.

Diabetes was rejected on the basis that there is no evidence that marijuana has anti-glycemic properties and could raise blood sugar, panel members said.

The recommending board also voted against marijuana to treat the blood disorder essential thrombocythemia, which commonly causes headaches in sufferers. The panel said those who have the disorder would be better served under the migraine category.

The votes in favor of periphery polyneuropathy and diabetic neuropathy were unanimous.

Those conditions are difficult to treat, panelists said. Board member James Champion, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and has himself been approved to use medical pot, said he was shocked that the nerve-damage disorders were not part included in the original law.

"The feeling that your feet are frozen in a block of ice or like they're on fire is not a pleasant feeling at all," he said. "I know neuropathy is very painful, very, very painful."

The vote in favor of recommending osteoarthritis was 7-4.

Jared Taylor, who spoke in favor of the recommendation, said that other treatments like painkillers may reduce pain but not inflammation and may cause liver damage.

While the panel expressed concern that category, too, was too broad, others said that there needs to be trust in the medical professional who would be prescribing the drug.

"I don't think we need to be overly concerned about opening the floodgates," Christoff said.
 

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http://www.wogx.com/story/28972376/black-farmers-say-floridas-medical-marijuana-law-shuts-them-out





Black farmers say Florida’s medical marijuana law shuts them out





Black farmers in Florida say they are being shut out from the state's emerging medical marijuana trade, and are pushing for changes in the law that would let them break into the limited, legal pot market.

Though Sunshine State voters last fall rejected a broad medical marijuana ballot proposal, a more narrow measure (Senate Bill 1030) was signed by Gov. Rick Scott nearly a year ago. The "Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014" allows some nurseries to grow "low-THC" pot and distribute to "qualified patients" suffering from cancer, seizures and muscle spasms.

But for black growers in the state, "It's a bad thing," said Florida Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association President Howard Gunn Jr.

Gunn is referencing one line in the law that is creating controversy. It states farmers must have a license to cultivate "more than 400,000 plants" and must have operated "as a registered nursery in [Florida] for at least 30 continuous years."

According to Gunn, hardly any black farmers meet that criteria.

"There weren't that many black farmers 30 years ago in the nursery business," he said. "We say they weren't there because of the discriminatory practices set by the USDA."

Gunn is talking about a case called "Pigford v. Glickman," which started in the 1980s -- it led to one of the largest civil rights settlements in history, worth $1.3 billion. The USDA agreed to compensate thousands of black farmers who allegedly suffered racial discrimination from the USDA's farm loan program.

Gunn points to that history in explaining why few, if any, black farmers would meet the criteria today to legally grow medical marijuana.

"Because of that, we weren't able to produce as much or be as profitable as [other] farmers," he said. "If we found one [black] farmer growing that many plants, it would be surprising."

There's an effort afoot in the legislature to address these concerns, but it got off to a rocky start.

After an outcry from black farmers opposing the "unobtainable" requirement to grow pot, Sen. Oscar Braynon, a black Democrat from Miami, proposed an amendment to a separate bill to get rid of the 30-year, 400,000-plant requirement.

The underlying bill -- which would end legal challenges associated with the 2014 version -- was authored by Senate Regulated Industries Chairman Rob Bradley, a Republican who played a major role in passing the 2014 law. Bradley reportedly asked Braynon to withdraw the amendment -- promising he would work on changing the "discriminatory" language in the bill.

But that plan did not work out. The session ended prematurely, and neither the bill nor the amendment won approval.

"Unfortunately, the bill did not make it across the finish line," Bradley told FoxNews.com,

He said they will work to address the issue when lawmakers return. "I think [black farmers] have a legitimate issue and it's something that we will certainly continue to try and address when we're back in session next year," he said.

Meanwhile, the sponsor of the original 2014 bill, state Rep. Matt Caldwell, said he was not aware of the potential effects the requirements would have on black farmers.

"I thought the ones who've been here the longest should be the first in line," he told The News Service of Florida.

Florida isn't the only state working on changing marijuana laws. Georgia's governor recently signed a bill that will legalize low-THC cannabis oil for certain patients with illnesses.

Around the same time, the state of Washington -- where smoking pot is legal -- created a law that implements a voluntary registry of patients and cracks down on illegal pot gardens.
 

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http://www.chron.com/news/politics/...ijuana-like-pot-decriminalization-6240780.php





Medical marijuana, like pot decriminalization, nearly dead in Texas Legislature






AUSTIN -- The chair of the committee that controls the fate of medical marijuana legalization in Texas said Monday that "there are still a lot of questions to be answered" about the legislation, indicating it is unlikely to win approval before next week's deadline.

"The bills need a lot of time and attention," state Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, said in an interview outside a forum here about health issues in the Legislature.

The House Public Health Commitee chair's comments came after a discussion in which she said she had heard "compelling" testimony about possible benefits of marijuana for medical conditions but wanted to study how legalization has played out in states such as Colorado and California.

She would not declare the bill dead in the interview, but repeated the state was at the beginning of a "long process" toward legalization.

The deadline for House bills to make it out of committees is next Monday.

Three measures to legalize pot-related substances have been left pending in Crownover's committee since an emotional hearing last month.

Advocates are rallying around House Bill 3785, by El Paso Democrat Marisa Márquez, a broad measure to legalize medical marijuana. More realistic, some say, is House bill 892, by Fort Worth Republican Stephanie Klick, which would make it OK to use a small amount of cannabidiol oil to treat conditions such as seizures.

In being nearly dead, the medical marijuana bills join a growing pile of legislation that includes several proposals to reduce the penalties for pot possession generally.

The House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee last Friday narrowly rejected three such proposals, including one to decriminalize marijuana completely. The sponsor, El Paso Democrat Joe Moody, blamed the loss on the absence of some committee members and said it could be revived.

No bill to relax marijuana laws has ever made it out of a committee in the Texas Legislature, but supporters were hopeful of at least a symbolic committee victory this year following successes in other states.
 

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http://time.com/3845638/puerto-rico-medical-marijuana/






Puerto Rico Governor Signs Executive Order to Legalize Medical Marijuana






The order goes into immediate effect

The governor of Puerto Rico signed an executive order Sunday to permit the use of medical marijuana in the U.S. territory.

“We’re taking a significant step in the area of health that is fundamental to our development and quality of life,” Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said in a statement. “I am sure that many patients will receive appropriate treatment that will offer them new hope.”

Padilla noted that research supports the use of marijuana to relieve pain and symptoms from disorders that range from multiple sclerosis to glaucoma.

Puerto Rico’s health secretary has three months to release a report on how the executive order will be implemented in the territory and what its impact will be, the Associated Press reports. Medical marijuana is legal in 23 U.S. states.
 

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http://news.yahoo.com/justices-seek-u-governments-views-colorado-marijuana-law-145854521.html







Justices seek U.S. government's views on Colorado marijuana law




WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday asked President Barack Obama's administration for its views on a lawsuit filed by Nebraska and Oklahoma against Colorado over its voter-approved law legalizing recreational marijuana use by adults.

The Obama administration has allowed states to experiment with marijuana legalization even though the drug remains illegal under federal law.

The high court's action delays its decision on whether the nine justices will hear the case. There is no deadline for the U.S. Justice Department to respond to the court's request.

In their challenge to Colorado's law, Nebraska and Oklahoma said marijuana is being smuggled across their borders and that drugs threaten the health and safety of children.

Nebraska and Oklahoma noted that federal law still prohibits marijuana, arguing that Colorado has created "a dangerous gap" in the federal drug control system.

Colorado stands by its law and said the Supreme Court was not the correct place to resolve the case. Oklahoma and Nebraska's lawsuit was filed under the court's rarely used "original jurisdiction" in which the justices hear disputes between states that are not first reviewed by lower courts.

Colorado voters legalized recreational marijuana use in 2012. Washington state also voted the same year to legalize recreational marijuana use by adults, while Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia followed suit last fall.
 

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...d-marijuana-in-oregon-unemployed-police-dogs/






A byproduct of legalized marijuana in Oregon: Unemployed police dogs






In their heyday, Narc and Cody, two drug-sniffing pooches employed by the Medford, Ore., Police Department, were valued weapons in the war against drugs.

Narc, a Belgian Malinois, is trained to sit when he smells a drug, while Cody, a Lab mix, freezes in place when he picks up on an illegal substance.

Sgt. D.J. Graham, who oversees the department’s drug-sniffing dog program, called both 5-year-old canines “model employees.”

“They’re both very friendly and both hard-working and have high energy,” he told The Washington Post. “They’re both very focused when it comes to their work and they work for cheap: food and play.”

When marijuana becomes legal on July 1, it seems, they’ll find themselves in the same position as a lot of skilled, middle-aged employees in a rapidly evolving economy: unemployed.

The reason, police said, is that drug-sniffing dogs are often used to alert authorities about the presence of drugs, providing them with the probable cause necessary to initiate a search. If, as the Seattle Times explains, a suspect is carrying a newly legal drug like marijuana and an illegal drug like heroin, a dog that provides probable cause after smelling the legal substance could invalidate any arrest for the illegal substance.

Medford police are hardly alone. Law enforcement agencies statewide will be forced to fire their suddenly irrelevant drug-sniffing dogs after voters approved Ballot Measure 91 — legalizing recreational marijuana legal for anyone 21 and older — in November, according to the Times.

“Statewide,” the newspaper reported, “there are 150 dogs working for various law enforcement agencies, according to the Oregon Police Canine Association. About 60 of the dogs are assigned to drug enforcement.”

“It’s kind of sad,” Deputy Chief Brett Johnson told the Times. “Nobody wants to see a dog lose its job.”

Why not teach an old dog new tricks? As it turns out, the old adage holds true. Retraining a dog is not as simple as teaching a baby boomer how to tweet, although it’s not entirely different either.

“It’s much harder to retrain a dog than it is to train them for the first time,” Graham told The Post, noting that each animal costs $12,000. “Their brains develop synapses the same way human brains do. In times of stress or confusion, it becomes harder to ignore those synapses.”

Medford police are already moving on. They’ve requested an additional $24,000 in the upcoming city budget for new pooches that will be trained to smell heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, but not marijuana, according to the Times.

Graham said police are still deciding what to do with Cody and Narc, meanwhile, both of whom have half a decade of work left in them. Police said there’s a chance one of the dogs will continue to work counterfeit cases, in which money can bear the scent of drugs or in cases where drugs have been carried across state lines.

Cody’s handler also told the Times that he’d be happy to adopt his co-worker. Police Chief Tim George promised the dogs will end up in good homes and not be euthanized.

“We don’t say they’re being fired,” Graham told The Post. “We prefer to call it early retirement.”
 

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http://www.westword.com/news/long-odds-for-reintroduced-marijuana-banking-bill-6674809







(Colorado) LONG ODDS FOR REINTRODUCED MARIJUANA BANKING BILL






A bill sponsored by a Colorado Congressman that would allow legal marijuana dispensaries access to the federal banking system has been re-introduced to the House of Representatives — but it faces long odds.

Representatives Ed Perlmutter of Colorado and Denny Heck back H.R. 2076 — the Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act of 2015.

Why does Perlmutter believe the legislation is necessary? Because marijuana is still illegal by federal law, many banks have refused to handle cash from marijuana business for fear of being charged with drug trafficking and money laundering by federal authorities. The Obama Administration announced it wouldn't prosecute banks that financed or serviced marijuana business, but due to pot's Schedule I status under the Drug Enforcement Administration, precious few have stepped forward.

"First and foremost, this is an issue of public safety," Perlmutter stresses in a press-release statement.

"Not only are the proprietors at risk, but the employees and customers are also at risk of serious and violent crimes. It is estimated that 40 percent of the marijuana-related businesses in Colorado are unbanked. This means hundreds of millions of dollars in cash are moving around the streets of Colorado. There are now some 213 million Americans who live in the 23 states plus the District of Columbia where the voters have allowed for some use of marijuana, and it is coming to a state near you soon.”

Colorado pot businesses have had hopes of banking their money before — a cannabis credit union continues to lobby for acceptance from the Federal Reserve Bank, and an Oregon bank promising to serve Colorado marijuana businesses dropped all of them after claiming to not have sufficient resources. But as Perlmutter mentions in his statement, the problem isn't exclusive to Colorado. Regulated cannabis businesses in states across the country have to deal with the frustrations of operating on a cash-only basis, The results include robbery threats and paying for heightened security.

“The federal government can’t keep an eye on business practices if they are forcing them offline and underground,” Heck said in a statement of his own. “Forcing businesses into cash-only territory is a dangerous step away from legitimacy, transparency, and regulation and a huge step towards crime, tax evasion, and access to minors. We’ve got to stop that trend, and with more states legalizing recreational or medical use of marijuana, no time is better than now to move forward with this change to the law.”

The bill originally received bi-partisan support, with the lone Republican cosponsor being Representative Mike Coffman of Colorado. Two other Colorado Representatives, Democrats Jared Polis and Diana DeGette, also cosponsored the legislation.

Cannabis business may want to temper their optimism, however. Govtrack.us, a website that's tracked bills and voting records in Congress for over ten years, predicts that it has a 5 percent chance of getting past the House Judiciary and Financial Services Committees and a 1 percent chance of being enacted.

Because bills take a few days to post on the Congress website, H.R. 2076 is not online at this writing. For updates, click here.
 

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http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2015/05/04/haslam-signs-cannabis-oil-bill/26866905/






(Tennessee) Haslam signs cannabis oil bill






It's now legal to use cannabis oil for limited medical purposes in Tennessee.

As expected, Gov. Bill Haslam signed a law that legalized the controversial medical measure Monday. The bill allows patients who suffer from seizures or epilepsy and received a recommendation from a doctor to use cannabis oil.

"I'm going to trust people like John Dreyzehner, our commissioner (of the Tennessee Department of Health), in terms of the fears that he has around medical marijuana and some of the issues there versus cannabis oil, which he feels like can help some people in very specific situations," Haslam told reporters in Franklin, after confirming he signed the bill Monday morning.

Advocates point to studies and patients in other states who have responded positively from the use of cannabis oil. The product has helped some patients suffering from hundreds of seizures a day where other medications have failed.

Stacie Mathes is one of the supporters who is confident the oil will help her 1-year-old daughter, Josie. Josie suffers from infantile seizures and has not responded to other medications the Matheses have used in the past.

The cannabis oil bill Haslam signed takes effect immediately. The bill doesn't allow people to purchase the oil made in Tennessee, but the Matheses are ready: In the days since lawmakers approved the bill, they've hurried to prepare to buy the oil for Josie as soon as they legally may.

Haslam and other supporters argue the bill is not the first step toward legalizing marijuana for recreation use, but there is certainly a push in Tennessee toward a broader legalization of medical marijuana.

GOP state Sen. Steve Dickerson of Nashville and GOP state Rep. Ryan Williams of Cookeville introduced a bill late in the legislative session this year that would have allowed the usage of medical marijuana in more cases. The bill established a process for growing, processing, distributing and regulating marijuana for some medicinal purposes in Tennessee.

There were limitations to the bill — it didn't allow smoking marijuana for any reason — and medical marijuana advocates said in some parts the bill went too far — anyone who wanted to use medicinal marijuana had to surrender his or her driver's license. But this year the bill was discussed more than the Democrats' perennial push for medical marijuana and is set for at least some further discussion among lawmakers over the summer.

There's no established timeline on when the lawmakers might discuss the broader medical marijuana bill.
 

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https://www.yahoo.com/tech/venture-funders-talk-up-cannabis-startups-118146211354.html







Venture Funders Talk Up Cannabis Startups






The impending de-criminalization of cannabis means money. And where there’s money, there’s venture capital: private funds that invest in startups, hoping to magnify their investments many times over when their companies “exit” (go public or get acquired). And at the TechCrunch Disrupt startup conference in New York this week, two VCs took the stage to somberly discuss the opportunities in this emerging market.

The funders: Brendan Kennedy, from Privateer Holdings, a private equity firm focused on the emerging cannabis market. Privateer is backed by the famous New York venture firm, Founders Fund, represented by Geoff Lewis at the conference.

The two pot-friendly funders are clear that the tide is turning for the legalization of cannabis. Kennedy quoted the figure that more than 50% of Americans think it should be legal for all adults, while 84% think it should be legal for medical applications. As Kennedy said, “The war has already been lost by the government. It’s just a matter of when it ends.“

At the moment, Privateer has three investments in the cannabis market:

Leafly. This is a four-year-old startup that helps consumers and patients learn about individual strains of marijuana. From people looking for a nice clean high on a Friday night, to medical patients looking for pain relief, the database has about 1,200 strains of cannabis and can point its customers to 2,400 dispensaries. “It’s a search engine for pot,” Kennedy admitted.

Tilray is an actual cannabis grower. It’s Canadian, though, and can’t dispense outside Canada. Kennedy said the company ships directly from its own 60,000 square-foot facility, which he called, “mind-blowing” for its sophistication.

Marley Natural is gearing up to sell cannabis products (the herb itself as well as lotions) when doing so becomes legal. It will also sell accessories. And yes, Privateer has been dealing with Bob Marley’s family in getting this company running.

The venture community tends to move in a herd: Where one VC gets traction, others follow. There’s not a flood yet of VC funding in cannabis, but as the regulations lift around the country, expect to see more private money come to give this industry a push. As if it needs it.
 

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