Archive for April, 2011

Tualatin marijuana apothecary expands

April 30th, 2011

PORTLAND — Medical Marijuana has been legal in Oregon for 13 years, but since dispensaries are not legal in the state patients say finding it can be difficult and intimidating.

A non-profit organization in Tualatin called Human Collective started a new way of growing and distributing legal medicinal marijuana.

“This is an ounce,” said Lucas Littlefield who holds up a bag of large marijuana buds. Like a pharmacy, patients order at a counter while Littlefield prepares the correct strain and dose of medical marijuana for the condition being treated.

He says some strains help people sleep, others ease pain and others increase appetite.

The Human Collective works much like a dispensary. However, those are illegal in Oregon.

Executive director Sarah Bennett said the human collective is a group of 350 member-patients helping each other within the complicated boundaries of Oregon law.

A $365 annual fee pays for all the co-op’s expenses and everyone is a volunteer. 

“Patients and caregivers can reimburse the grower for the cost of supplies and utilities so there is no profit. We are ‘community helping community,'” said Bennett, who is a licensed grower but does not use marijuana herself.

The group educates members on growing techniques and the latest medical research in a confidential setting that does not allow patients to use marijuana on site.

Donald Morse volunteers at Human Collective. He believes strongly in medicinal marijuana, but has never used it himself. He said it’s helped his wife deal with a painful chronic disease and freed her from the grip of pain killers

Article source: http://www.nwcn.com/home/?fId=121034634&fPath=/news/local&fDomain=10202

OUR OPINION: Strict controls needed on medical marijuana

April 29th, 2011

Posted: 12:00 AM

OUR OPINION: Strict controls needed on medical marijuana

Marijuana is treated differently from any other medication because it is different.

It is not approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration, so it is not subject to the controls placed over narcotics and other drugs that are distributed by doctors, hospitals and pharmacies under the watchful eye of law enforcement.

With medical marijuana use allowed in Maine, the distributor could be an established dispensary or a licensed caregiver who grows it in his basement, which would be difficult to distinguish from a criminal operation.

The state has had to develop a completely different regulatory system for medical marijuana, which was approved by the voters. The state has to be in a position to make sure that marijuana intended for medical treatment is sold only to those who need treatment and is not diverted to the black market.

It also has to give law enforcement a clear idea about who is legitimately using the drug and who is breaking state law by possessing it.

That requires some record-keeping that would not be necessary if the drug were distributed through regular channels.

Requiring medical marijuana users to register has drawn criticism from patients who say they are reluctant to sign up because they are afraid

Article source: http://www.kjonline.com/opinion/strict-controls-needed-on-medical-marijuana_2011-04-28.html

Preparing for Pot

April 28th, 2011

Given the ease with which Mainers can get new laws proposed via the referendum process, it’s just a matter of time before the state debates and then votes on a proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use by adults.

If the vote were taken this year or next, it’s a safe bet that legalization would be defeated. Exhibit A in that prediction is the defeat last year in California of a ballot measure that would have legalized the drug. But with each passing year, there are more voting age adults who see marijuana as a relatively harmless substance. Someday in the near future, that will translate into a voting majority.

Problems could come, then, if a citizen initiative gets on the ballot with an attached law that is laced with unsavory details. That was the case in California, according to Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, who has proposed legalizing marijuana for recreational use by adults here in Maine. Rep. Russell’s bill, LD 1453, also would tax the sale of marijuana at 7 percent.

Specifically, LD 1453 would legalize “the personal use and cultivation of marijuana, legalizing and licensing certain commercial marijuana-related activities, while providing provisions to protect minors, employers and schools, and removing the registry system from the Maine Medical Marijuana Act.”

The proposal is likely to be quickly dispatched as an “ought not to pass” at the committee level, but Rep. Russell’s idea might initiate a grown-up discussion about a plant that, by some estimates, is the state’s biggest cash

Article source: http://new.bangordailynews.com/2011/04/27/opinion/preparing-for-pot/?ref=mostReadBox

Medical marijuana user stages one-man rally

April 27th, 2011

Drivers honked their horns, police cars drifted pass, and Seamus Maguire of Portland lit a pipe on Franklin Street and puffed out what he said was marijuana smoke.

“It really blows their mind when they find out it’s legal,” he said of passersby to Maguire’s one-man rally.

Maguire kept his pipe nearby, partly as a prop. Armed with a bullhorn, he hoisted signs and made his case through a bullhorn, campaigning for LD 1453, Rep. Diane Russell’s bill to legalize pot in Maine.

“Legalize it and tax it, folks! It’s on the table,” Seamus bellowed to motorists. Tuesday’s push for legalization of marijuana in Maine caused many drivers to honk their approval; others just stared.

One driver who was idling at a red light on Somerset Street shouted to Maguire, letting him know that police were in the area. Maguire, puffing on his pipe, yelled back to the driver that he had medical approval to use marijuana.

“I’m legal,” Maguire said.

“I wish I were,” the driver retorted.

Maguire said he’s been a medical user of marijuana for 10 years in his treatment for lymphoma.

“I’ll be here, I’ll be at the State House, I’m a cancer survivor and this is my passion,” he said.

Maguire began waving signs in the traffic island on Franklin Street Tuesday morning and promised to continue his campaign while Russell’s bill moves through the Maine Legislature. The bill is scheduled for a May 10 committee hearing in Augusta.

“I am a firm believer that it is time for it to be legalized and taxed,

Article source: http://portlanddailysun.me/node/24757/

Our View: State should not give up controls over medical pot

April 27th, 2011

Posted: 12:00 AM

Our View: State should not give up controls over medical pot

Marijuana could be too easily diverted if growers and users are not carefully tracked.

Marijuana is treated differently than any other medication because it is different. It is not approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration, so it is not subject to the controls placed over narcotics and other drugs that are distributed by doctors, hospitals and pharmacies under the watchful eye of law enforcement.

With medical marijuana in Maine, the distributor could be an established dispensary or a licensed caregiver who grows it in his basement, which is difficult to distinguish from a criminal operation.

The state has had to develop a completely different regulatory system for medical marijuana, which was approved by the voters. The state has to be in a position to make sure that marijuana intended for medical treatment is sold only to those who need treatment and is not diverted to the black market.

It also has to give law enforcement a clear idea of who is legitimately using the drug and who is breaking state law by possessing it.

That requires some record-keeping that would not be necessary if the drug were distributed through regular channels.

Requiring medical marijuana users to register has drawn criticism

Article source: http://www.pressherald.com/opinion/state-should-not-give-up-controls-over-medical-pot_2011-04-27.html

Legalizing marijuana must be nationwide decision

April 26th, 2011

Just last week, State Rep. Diane Russell introduced LD 1453, a bill that would legalize marijuana. This bill will undoubtedly stir heated debate among those who feel that marijuana does not belong in the same class as heroin or crack cocaine, and those who would prefer to see it remain illegal.

We believe legalization of marijuana is a federal issue that needs to be dealt with at the federal level.

If this state bill were to pass, Maine would be at odds with the law of the land. For law enforcement, the mixed message could present a quandry. According to Maine State Police spokesman Steve McCausland, a decision on which law police would enforce in Maine would have to be “hammered out in the court system.”

It is for this reason that we cannot support legalization at this time. Americans have a mix of federal and local control. We must address national issues, such as drug policy, at the federal level rather than creating laws that conflict depending on which border you’ve crossed. Those who support legalization should bring this issue before their representatives and senators at the federal level so that regulation of marijuana might be reconsidered nationwide.

We admit, however, the Maine bill is tempting. It would create an entirely new industry of taxable, regulated and safe marijuana for recreational use, feeding an estimated $8.5 million annually in sales tax into the state’s economy. The drug would be sold and distributed at the new medical marijuana facilities throughout the state, which have

Article source: http://www.journaltribune.com/articles/2011/04/26/editorial/doc4db6dd0d83542832307901.txt

Bills would mandate drug testing for MaineCare enrollees

April 26th, 2011

AUGUSTA, Maine — Republican lawmakers Monday introduced two proposals that would impose mandatory — and possibly unconstitutional — drug testing on Maine residents who are enrolled in MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program for low-income and disabled residents.

The first bill, sponsored by Sen. Thomas Saviello, R-Wilton, would require the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to randomly test MaineCare recipients and suspend all benefits for those who test positive for illegal drugs. Benefits would be reinstated if subsequent testing is negative for illegal drugs.

The second bill would require the department to develop a program for testing MaineCare recipients who have prescriptions for certain scheduled drugs to be tested periodically “to ensure they are taking the prescribed scheduled drugs.”

Scheduled drugs include most painkillers, antidepressants and antipsychotic medications. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Richard Cebra, R-Naples.

Neither lawmaker returned calls Monday seeking details or clarification of their intent.

The bills were presented in public hearings before the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee.

Both measures drew strong opposition from a broad group of treatment and advocacy organizations, including the Maine Medical Association, the Maine Primary Care Association, Maine Equal Justice Partners and the Maine chapter of the American Association of Social Workers.

“MaineCare patients should not be singled out,” said Maine Medical Association executive vice president Gordon Smith, speaking specifically to the proposal to randomly test for illegal drugs. “Addiction is an illness and we treat it as an illness. It is difficult for people and I don’t think

Article source: http://new.bangordailynews.com/2011/04/25/health/bills-would-mandate-drug-testing-for-mainecare-enrollees/?ref=latest

Maine medical pot rules too strict, panel is told

April 26th, 2011

April 26

Maine medical pot rules too strict, panel is told

Some call the regulations an obstacle to treatment, but others insist they are in place for good reasons.

By John Richardson jrichardson@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — Medical marijuana dispensaries are opening around Maine as part of a voter-approved program to expand legal access to the drug.

FOLLOW THE BILL’S PROGRESS

Link to the Legislature’s website to read L.D. 1296 and follow action on it. Just type in the bill number in the search box at the site.

 

But advocates and lawmakers from both parties said Monday that rules for obtaining cannabis are so restrictive and intrusive that many patients are still buying it on the black market, or continuing to suffer without it.

“This is a step backwards for patient access,” said Jacob McClure, a small-scale grower and the leader of Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine. “The state is much more interested in making (the rules) convenient for themselves or for law enforcement” than for patients.

The Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee is considering three proposals to change the law passed by voters in 2009 and implemented by the http://www.pressherald.com/news/medical-pot-rules-too-strict-panel-told_2011-04-26.html

Changes proposed to medical marijuana law – WLBZ

April 25th, 2011

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Maine’s new medical marijuana law is still being implemented, but already there is a move to change it.

Representative Deb Sanderson (R – Chelsea) says current law is much more restrictive than voters intended it to be. The new medical marijuana law requires patients and caregivers to register with the state and receive an identification card to prove they have a lawful prescription.

Registration costs $100, and Sanderson says not only is it expensive, it infringes on the rights of Mainers to make private decisions with their doctors.

Sanderson would like to make registration optional, and allow a doctors’ prescription to be all a patient needs to prove their marijuana is legal.

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Article source: http://www.wlbz2.com/news/article/157092/3/Changes-proposed-to-medical-marijuana-law

Arkansas medical marijuana advocates begin petition

April 25th, 2011

By Suzi Parker

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (Reuters) – Proponents of legalizing medical marijuana in Arkansas are hoping that 2012 is their lucky year.

After failed attempts to get the issue certified as a ballot initiative, a new group, Arkansans for Compassionate Care, has succeeded in clearing the first hurdle – getting Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel to certify the proposal’s ballot language.

The next step starts on Tuesday when the group begins to collect the required minimum of 62,507 signatures from registered voters. The group has until July 6, 2012 to submit them to the attorney general’s office in order to qualify the proposal for the November 2012 general election ballot.

“We want to ensure that sick and dying patients in Arkansas have the ability to get the medicine they need and that is sometimes medical marijuana,” said Ryan Denham, campaign director for Arkansans for Compassionate Care.

But Jerry Cox, president of the Arkansas Family Council, a conservative group based in Little Rock, said that legalizing marijuana for medical use makes the drug more available for recreational use.

“Any individual who can acquire, grow or own his own marijuana is one step away from sharing with his friends who may not have any medical issues,” Cox said.

California was the first state to allow marijuana for medical use in 1996, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Since then, 15 states and the District of Columbia have passed similar laws.

In Arkansas, a medical marijuana initiative has never appeared on the statewide election ballot. A group tried

Article source: http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wxel/news.newsmain/article/0/0/1793793/National/Arkansas.medical.marijuana.advocates.begin.petition