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MJ News for 08/15/2014

7greeneyes

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http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.co...-florida-medical-marijuana-ballot-initiative/




Jeb Bush opposes Florida medical marijuana ballot initiative



Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced his opposition Thursday to an overwhelmingly popular proposal that would legalize medical marijuana in his state.

The Republican said "allowing large-scale, marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes, runs counter" to the state's efforts to boost tourism and a business-friendly environment.



Amendment 2 will appear as a ballot initiative this November and must garner 60% support to pass.

"I believe it is the right of states to decide this issue," Bush said in a statement. "And I strongly urge Floridians to vote against Amendment 2 this November.”

Bush joined a coalition against the measure along with the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida, and the Florida Trucking Association.

Bush is considering a presidential bid for 2016, and his opposition to the measure could be an in issue in his political future given the widespread support for medical marijuana, both in Florida and on a national scale.

According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, 88% of Florida voters back legalized medical marijuana, including 80% of Republicans. And more than half of voters favor the idea of allowing adults to have small amounts of pot for recreational use.

Medical marijuana also has strong backing nationwide. A CNN/ORC International Poll in January showed that nearly nine in 10 adults favored legalizing pot for medicinal reasons. As for recreational marijuana, a CBS News Poll in May indicated that 48% of adults think it should be legal, while 47% think it should be illegal.

Despite Amendment 2's broad support among Florida voters, many of the state's GOP elected officials are speaking out against the measure, including Gov. Rick Scott, Sen. Marco Rubio (another potential presidential contender) and much of the legislature's Republican leadership.

Republican mega donor Sheldon Adelson, who's heavily involved in presidential elections, has spent $2.5 million against the initiative, the Tampa Bay Times reported in June.

Political observers note that a medical marijuana ballot initiative could help increase Democratic turnout during a midterm election year.

Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United for Care, the group that pushed to get the measure on the ballot, said in a statement it’s “surprising” that Bush would “take a position so out of step with the voters who twice elected him to the highest office in the state."

Scott already signed a bill into law this year that allows a limited strain of marijuana for medicinal use and has support among Florida Republicans. The substance is low in THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) and aims to help some cancer patients, as well as those suffering from epilepsy, muscle spasms and seizures. He also signed a bill that protects the patients' identities.

Bush is campaigning with Scott Friday morning at an event in South Florida.
 

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http://www.statesmanjournal.com/sto...al-marijuana-dispensary-inspections/14074265/




(Oregon) State releases first marijuana dispensary inspections


Problems with labeling, testing and tracking inventory were common violations found by medical marijuana dispensary inspectors, according to data released Thursday by the Oregon Health Department.

"The problems we are seeing are not marijuana problems," said Tom Burns, director of pharmacy programs for OHA. "They are the problems we would expect to see from people who are new to running a business and don't yet understand the basics of how to manage inventory and follow the rules."

Regulations crafted by OHA to enforce Oregon's 2013 medical marijuana dispensary law require on-site inspection of each facility within six months of the date it receives a license, and an annual inspection thereafter.

The state's inspectors have visited 58 of Oregon's 158 licensed dispensaries — including nine of the 12 facilities in Salem.

On Thursday, OHA released the reports for 48 dispensaries.

In Salem, CannaMedicine was cited for the most violations with 30 correctable items, while Club Pitbull, Oregon Chronic Solutions and Cherry City Compassion were tied for the least with six violations each.

The most common problems found inside Salem dispensaries were not using approved scales, not using child-resistant containers and not keeping proper records.

Dispensaries have 10 business days from the date of their inspection to submit a plan to correct the problems or face penalties of up to $500 per day for each violation.

RELATED: What Oregon can learn from Washington's marijuana legalization

"The rules governing dispensaries are intended to protect patients and keep our communities safe," Burns said. "We take violations seriously and we will close down dispensaries that are operating outside the law."

The state found two facilities with violations that presented "a serious danger to public health and safety."

Portland Compassionate Caregivers had its license revoked because the facility wasn't testing its marijuana, checking the IDs of people entering, keeping records, labeling it marijuana products or using an inventory system. The inspector also found evidence that people were consuming marijuana on the premises.

Kush MMD in Eugene had its license revoked after an inspector found employees allowed customers entering without being verified, inconsistent and incomplete labeling on marijuana products, transferring plants and marijuana without valid patient authorization and a significant lack of record keeping.

The Eugene facility corrected its violations and had its license reinstated, but the Portland facility remains closed.

How Salem's medical marijuana dispensaries fared on their inspections:

Oregon Chronic Solutions, 1695 Fairgrounds Road NE:The dispensary had six items requiring correction. These included lack of electronic records, not being able to account for all inventory, and surveillance recordings not being kept for at least 30 days. Read the inspection report. Read the inspection report.

CannaMedicine, 1460 State St.:The dispensary had 30 items requiring correction. These included lack of electronic records, improper labeling, lack of evidence of testing, not having enough panic buttons, not checking every patient for OMP cards and lack of child-resistant packaging. Read the inspection report. Read the inspection report.

Herbal Grasslands, 1130 Royvonne Avenue SE: The dispensary had 10 deficiencies requiring correction. These included not keeping products and plants in a secure area, lacking cameras capable of capturing activity occurring within 15 feet of the entry, not using approved scales, lacking written procedures and not placing usable marijuana in child-resistant containers. Read the inspection report.

2nd Step Dispensary, 1295 Oxford Street SE: The dispensary had 26 deficiencies requiring correction. These included not prominently displaying its registration, not using approved scales, not properly labeling its products, not keeping copies of cardholders' IDs and not keeping surveillance recordings for at least 30 days. Read the inspection report.

Ancient Remedies, 2350 State Street: The dispensary had seven deficiencies requiring correction. These included not labeling the amount of CBD in all products, not labeling who preformed the testing, not maintaining all its records electronically and not keeping surveillance recordings for at least 30 days. Read the inspection report.

Cherry City Compassion, 3760 Market Street NE: The dispensary had six deficiencies requiring correction. These included not logging the date and time in and out of secure areas for testing, not labeling the metric units on containers dried flowers and not being able to account for all its inventory. Read the inspection report.

1st Choice Cannabis Farmacy, 4142 Liberty Road S: The dispensary had 11 deficiencies requiring correction. These included not placing marijuana in child-resistant containers, not having a camera outside the facility's rear door, lacking written procedures for security and having a broken lock on the door to the dispensing room. Read the inspection report.

Club Pitbull, 4088 State Street: The dispensary had six deficiencies requiring correction. These included not keeping copies of cardholders' IDs, not keeping a log of non-patients who entered restricted access areas and keeping marijuana products in a refrigerator rather than a safe when the facility was closed. Read the inspection report.

The Holistic Choice, 1045 Commercial Street SE: The dispensary had 19 deficiencies requiring correction. These included having plants larger than 12 inches in height and diameter on the premises, not keeping surveillance footage for at least 30 days, not using approved scales and not being able to account for all its inventory. Read the inspection report.

Read the rest of the inspection reports.
 

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http://www.statesmanjournal.com/sto...-fife-washingtons-marijuana-lawsuit/14101297/




Lessons from Fife, Washington’s marijuana lawsuit


The small city of Fife, Washington, sits about 30 miles south of Seattle. It’s a Tacoma suburb that boasts a population a hair shy of 10,000 people.

Its proximity to the Port of Tacoma and Interstate 5 has lured freight-forwarding companies, warehousing facilities, motels, fast-food restaurants and other highway-side businesses.

But now a shop selling recreational marijuana wants to open in Fife.

“The city claims that the state law is invalid because it conflicts with federal law,” according to a press release from Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “If a court accepts that argument and it is upheld on appeal, it would mean the end of the state system for legal marijuana sales in Washington.”

A Pierce County Superior Court Judge is scheduled to hear arguments in the case Aug. 29.

Decisions made in state courts don’t set precedent for other states, but a win for Fife could create a legal framework used by Oregon cities to overturn any legalization law.

Peter Zuckerman, the spokesman for New Approach Oregon, doesn’t think that’s likely to happen.

“The federal government has had the opportunity for two years to interfere with legal marijuana laws in two states and has not done so,” Zuckerman said. “Instead, the U.S. Department of Justice has made it clear under the 2013 Cole Memo that states that have passed legalization can comply with federal priorities.”

Fife wants to ban recreational sales within its city limits, so it’s possible a judge could grant them that right while rejecting the city’s federal arguments.

For Washington, that could change the state’s marijuana revenue projections because the law doesn’t have an opt-out provision.

Supporters of legalization say local bans help the black market thrive.

For Oregon, the impacts of a partial Fife victory could be felt more directly on the state’s medical marijuana system.

Proposition 91 would allow cities and counties to ban recreational marijuana sales with the understanding that they wouldn’t see any of the money generated by the new system.

Oregon’s medical marijuana dispensary law has no such provision.

The 2014 Legislature gave cities and counties the option to delay the dispensary law until May 1, 2015.

But the Association of Oregon Counties along with police advocacy groups plan to sue for the right to permanently ban facilities if the Legislature doesn’t extend the moratorium.

“We are going to have to fight under federal law for the right to regulate or ban these facilities,” Rob Bovett, legal counsel for the Association of Oregon Counties, told lawmakers during the 2014 session. “We know we are going to have those lawsuits, and we believe we are going to win those lawsuits.”
 

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http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/ne...-marijuana-in-colombia-gets-president-santos/





Proposal To Legalize Medical Marijuana In Colombia Gets President Santos' Approval


President Juan Manuel Santos on Thursday endorsed newly introduced legislation that would legalize marijuana for medicinal and therapeutic use in this drug war-afflicted Andean nation.

Santos, a proponent of rethinking prohibitionist drug policies, made the announcement at a drug policy forum Thursday in Colombia's capital, Bogotá. It was his first major drug policy statement since he won re-election in June.

The bill introduced last month by a governing coalition senator is "a practical, compassionate measure to reduce the pain (and) anxiety of patients with terminal illnesses, but also a way of beginning to strip from the hands of criminals the role of intermediary between the patient and the substance that allows them to relieve their suffering," Santos said.

In the Americas, Uruguay has approved legal pot and Jamaica's justice minister announced in June plans to legalize the drug for religious and medical purposes and decriminalize the possession of amounts up to 2 ounces (57 grams).

Possession of no more than 20 grams of marijuana for personal use is currently legal in Colombia.

The medicinal-use bill was introduced by Sen. Juan Manuel Galan, whose father was assassinated in 1989 by cocaine traffickers. He told The Associated Press that other countries in the region considering similar measures include Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

Galan said his hope is to have his bill, which would put the distribution of medical marijuana under government control, gain final legislative approval next June.

Ethan Nadelmann, director of the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance, said some U.S. states as well as countries including Israel and Canada are well advanced in offering government-administered legal medical marijuana, while a bill was introduced last week in the Central American nation of Costa Rica.

In Colombia, marijuana plantations help enrich leftist rebels and right-wing paramilitary bands alike, although cocaine is a bigger business for them.

The commander of Colombia's counterdrug police, Gen. Ricardo Restrepo, told the AP that the country currently has about 1.5 square miles (390 hectares) of marijuana fields and that a pound costs about $230.

Colombia is the world's No. 2 cocaine-producing country after Peru, according to the United Nations and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. It was the global leader until 2012.

A two-decade U.S.-backed crackdown on Colombia's drug cartels and extensive aerial eradication of coca crops has somewhat diminished and compartmentalized the trade. Critics say the campaign has simply shifted trafficking to countries with less effective law enforcement and legal systems.

The human cost of the fight against illegal drugs has been terrible for Colombia and other supply and transit countries, Santos told the forum.

"We have spent billions of dollars on an ineffective war that has claimed more than 60,000 lives in Mexico alone in the last six years," he said.
 

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http://denver.cbslocal.com/2014/08/...ients-squeezed-out-of-product-safety-testing/




(Colorado) Medical Marijuana Patients Squeezed Out Of Product Safety Testing


DENVER (CBS4) - New rules for Colorado’s recreational marijuana industry are prohibiting state-licensed labs from testing medical marijuana patients’ products, including pot, edibles and infusions. Retail marijuana testing facilities are banned from accepting samples from patients, caregivers, consumer protection groups or anyone else outside of the licensed marijuana industry.

The rule changes have put the Wilson family in a tough spot. After striking out with traditional treatments for their daughter’s seizures, the Wilson family packed up and left New Jersey for Colorado in March for access to medical marijuana and lab testing.

Vivian Wilson, 3, was diagnosed as a baby with Dravet Syndrome, a condition that caused 50 to 200 seizures a day.

“It’s nerve-racking, frustrating and saddening because I see the suffering she’s going through,” says Vivian’s father, Brian.

Now Vivian’s parents treat her with cannabis oil four times a day. She’s given a low-THC strain called Charlotte’s Web, which is lab-tested, and a homemade remedy — made from plants purchased at a dispensary and modified by her parents. Through experimentation, the Wilsons had found a regimen that was working, and Vivian’s seizures reduced dramatically.

“On a good day she has none,” says Wilson. “We are never really in that bad zone anymore.”

But then the Wilsons found out they were no longer allowed to bring their homemade medicine to a licensed testing facility. Without access to testing, providing Vivian with an accurate dose is a crapshoot.

“It’s trial and error, guess and check,” says Wilson, who added they had to start from scratch to find the correct dose once his tested medicine ran out. “We’re just going up little by little, watching and observing and questioning and doubting everything that we are doing.”

The change in dosage worsened Vivian’s condition, until they could find the right level again.

“They completely cut out patients,” said Wilson. “I just can’t fathom why they would be putting people through this. The impact at the end of the day for us is my daughter suffering.”

Genifer Murray used to test Vivian’s marijuana at CannLabs but was told she was no longer allowed to accept samples directly from patients.

“It’s silly. Everyone should be able to test,” said Murray. “We want every consumer to have safe and effective medicine or products.”

She was only made aware of the rule after a competitor, Steep Hill Labs, inadvertently broke protocol by accepting samples of marijuana-infused candy bars, after consumers complained about a lack of potency. The lab found only a trace of THC in the candy bars, far less than potency than was indicated on the packaging. Instead of being praised for bringing this to the attention of regulators, Steep Hill was warned not to accept samples that were improperly tracked. (Read the warning letter.)

According to Marijuana Enforcement Division Director Lewis Koski, the lab-testing rules were created to help track marijuana from “seed to sale” through the regulated cannabis industry. “They intended that to be business to business and did not contemplate people being able to bring things outside the regulated environment,” said Koski.

Roger Martin, the founder of a marijuana non-profit, Grow4Vets, thinks there was a connection between Steep Hill’s findings and the crackdown on third-party testing.

“I think they were embarrassed by that,” said Martin. “People want to know, ‘Why weren’t you watching out for our safety? Why weren’t you watching out for the integrity of these products if you are the ones regulating the ones that are making them?’ ”

Now Grow4Vets, which made a name for itself giving away free marijuana to veterans, is taking up the testing issue. A veteran donated lab testing equipment and the group plans to operate an unlicensed lab, providing testing for veterans and families with sick children who couldn’t otherwise test.
Martin says everything Grow4vets gives away at its events is tested: “I’m pretty confident in the science guys that we have.”

Brian Wilson, Vivian’s dad, thinks regulators have their priorities backward, relegating some of the most vulnerable patients to unregulated labs.

“I’m trying to protect my daughter,” said Wilson. “I’m trying to do the right thing, I’m trying to treat this as medicine and be very serious about it and the state is not letting me.”
 

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http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-28810407



Wales NHS to offer MS cannabis drug Sativex


The NHS in Wales will be the first in the UK to fund a cannabis-based medicine for people with multiple sclerosis.

Sativex is taken as an oral spray and has been approved by the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG).

It will be available on prescription to treat muscle spasms for MS patients who have not responded to other medicine.

The MS Society said Wales was leading the way in the treatment.

Its programme director for policy, Sally Hughes ,added: "Muscle spasms and stiffness in MS can be painful and distressing and so the availability of a treatment that can potentially alleviate these symptoms is good news.

"We particularly welcome this decision considering the draft NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) clinical guideline, published in April, rejected this treatment for use on the NHS in Wales and England based on a flawed assessment of the drug's cost effectiveness.

'Ease suffering'

"For some time we've been aware of people in Wales paying privately for this licensed treatment; this decision should make life a lot easier for them."

Sativex is the first cannabis-based medicine to be licensed in the UK.

Wales Health Minister Mark Drakeford said: "Following the appraisal of Sativex by the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group, I am pleased to announce we will be making the medicine available on the Welsh NHS to those who need it.

"I hope this decision will help ease the suffering of some of those who have to live with the reality of MS everyday."

Director of service development at the Multiple Sclerosis Trust, Amy Bowen, said: "We are extremely pleased that people with MS in Wales will finally have better access to Sativex.

"As a charity we have campaigned over a long period for Sativex to be widely available because of the significant impact that MS spasticity can have on daily activities.

"We just hope that this recommendation will now lead to Sativex being more easily accessible in the rest of the UK."
 

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http://www.marketwatch.com/story/me...-stores-in-the-state-of-washington-2014-08-15




Med-Cannabis Pharma, Inc. Announces Planned Expansion Into New Mexico, Grand Opening of Two Stores in the State of Washington


PORT TOWNSEND, WA, Aug 15, 2014 (Marketwired via COMTEX) -- Med-Cannabis Pharma, Inc. (otcqb:MCPI), a Nevada company specializing in medical cannabis sales, announces that it has obtained a letter of intent to lease a storefront in the Highland neighborhood of Albuquerque, New Mexico, a statutory prerequisite for applying for a permit to open a dispensary under the state's Medical Cannabis Program (MCP). In addition, the Company has scheduled grand openings for its Port Townsend and Hood Canal Collective dispensaries on Monday, August 16th, and Wednesday, August 18th, respectively. The dispensaries will be operated under the Company's subsidiary, Cannabis Hemporium.

The Albuquerque location will become the fourth medical cannabis dispensary in that city, and its opening signals the Company's intent to serve the New Mexico market.

In the USA, 23 States and Washington, D.C. have enacted laws that legalize medical marijuana. The Company recognizes that its product is believed to improve the quality of life of individuals suffering from certain medical conditions. It also recognizes that the industry in the United States is still in its early days, undergoing constant scrutiny from a variety of regulators and tax bodies, and that many legislators are ambivalent on the topic, owing to pressure from constituents. As a public company, Med-Cannabis Pharma intends to maintain its high degree of transparency to those who rightfully monitor and inspect its operations and performance, operating with a degree of control and compliance more similar to the gaming industry than to a chain drugstore. Management believes that this sharp focus will preserve its assets, foster growth, and reduce collisions with those whose duty is to regulate medical marijuana.

Forward Looking Statements

This Press Release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Act of 1934. A statement containing words such as "anticipate," "seek," intend," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "project," "plan," or similar phrases may be deemed "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Some or all of the events or results anticipated by these forward-looking statements may not occur. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include the future U.S. and global economies, the impact of competition, and the Company's reliance on existing regulations regarding the use and development of cannabis-based drugs. The Company does not undertake any duty nor does it intend to update the results of these forward-looking statements.
 

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