Archive for January, 2011

Pot dispensaries sprouting statewide

January 30th, 2011

When Wes Abney and David Jablinske decided to open their own shop, they incorporated with the help of a lawyer, got city and state business licenses and insurance for their inventory and leased a former sports bar in North Seattle.

Then they invited the cops in for a visit. Their shop, after all, is a medical-marijuana dispensary called West Coast Wellness.

“We want to do everything out in the open, above board,” said Jablinske, a needle-thin 20-year-old. Abney, 22, nodded, saying, “The police can come in anytime.”

Depending on how you view the state’s 12-year-old medical-marijuana law, Abney and Jablinske are innovative pioneers or numskulls looking to get arrested.

Either way, they’re clearly not alone.

Washington’s new “potrepreneurs” are suddenly serious about catching up with California and Colorado in the medical-marijuana dispensary industry.

In the past seven months, dispensaries have sprouted across the state, exploiting a loophole in the state medical-marijuana law that neither explicitly allows nor prohibits them. State tax officials estimate at least 120 are open, mostly in the Puget Sound area. Dozens more likely remain underground.

The options are dizzying. Pot in many connoisseur strains or cannabis-infused food, from lollipops to pasta primavera? Home delivery or strip-mall storefronts aspiring for a pharmacy look?

And there are

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Proposed patient registry working in Oregon

January 30th, 2011

PORTLAND — To enter “The Happiest Place on Earth,” you descend beneath a southeast Portland strip mall, down a stairway ripe with marijuana smoke.

At the door at the bottom, you flash a small plastic card that certifies the holder as a member of Oregon’s medical-marijuana patient registry. Behind the door is the nation’s first open Cannabis Cafe, affectionately known as a very “happy” place.

There is no such card or registry in Washington, but the Legislature is considering following Oregon’s lead as part of a sweeping overhaul package pending in Olympia.

Patients in Washington are anxious about the proposed registry, seeing it as an invasion of privacy and a tempting tool for police, who strongly favor it. Reflecting those fears, the current proposal calls for a voluntary registry.

But Oregon’s 11-year experience with a mandatory registry is telling. A consensus of patient advocates, police, attorneys and health-care professionals describe it as a the least controversial part of the Oregon law.

“I’ve been preaching this to my colleagues in Washington: A registry can protect you,” said Madeline Martinez, executive director of Oregon NORML, which owns the Cannabis Cafe. “Every state should have one.”

In Oregon, a patient whose doctor recommends medical marijuana must enroll and pay the $100 yearly registry fee to gain protection from arrest or unwarranted searches of a grow site.

Membership has almost doubled from 23,114 in 2008 to 41,407 in 2010. Nearly a quarter of Oregon’s doctors have a patient on the registry.

Lt. Ted Phillips of the Oregon State Patrol’s narcotics section said

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Rep. Beth O’Connor appointed to post on Health and Human Services Committee

January 29th, 2011

AUGUSTA, Maine — State Rep. Beth O’Connor has been appointed to the high-profile Health and Human Services Committee (HHS), an unusual assignment for a first-term legislator. The position gives her an influential voice in shaping legislation on issues ranging from MaineCare and medical marijuana to homelessness.

“I’m honored that leadership has seen fit to appoint me to a committee whose work touches so many individuals in our communities,” said O’Connor (R-Berwick). “I look forward to working hard to ensure that Maine’s neediest citizens receive the services they require in the most effective, efficient and dignified manner possible.

“I also want to help make sure,” she added, “that the system gives individuals the resources and motivation they need to succeed and become productive and self-reliant members of our society to the greatest extent possible.”

The Health and Human Services Committee has one of the broadest jurisdictional charters in the Legislature. It oversees the huge Department of Health and Human Services; MaineCare, Medicaid, and Medicare Part D; and children’s welfare and mental health services. It also handles disease control; prescription drugs; social and rehabilitation services; substance abuse; mental health; disabilities; poverty, homelessness and public assistance.

The committee’s purview also extends to home and community-based long-term care; aging, elderly and disability issues; medical use of marijuana; maternal and infant health; and nursing facilities and residential care.

The Maine Legislature has 16 bipartisan policy committees that handle bills and issues that fall within their areas of jurisdiction. Each committee has 13 members — three senators and 10

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A law enforcement perspective on marijuana

January 28th, 2011

I was asked by my friends at ACCESS Health and CASA to write about marijuana use in young people from a law enforcement perspective. I was hesitant to do so and I struggled with what to say about marijuana that hasn’t already been argued.

In November 2009, Maine voters approved Question 5, which enacted the citizen-initiated bill, “An act to establish the Maine Medical Marijuana Act” (LD 975, IB 2).  The Maine voters decided that marijuana should be allowed for medicinal purposes. I think most clear-thinking people would be agreeable to a cancer patient whose appetite has been suppressed by chemotherapy treatments to have access to marijuana, so long as it is regulated properly. Regulated properly … that’s where the problems begin.

Quick history lesson: When the FDA initially approved the new drug Oxycontin in 1995, it did so with the understanding it would be for extreme cases, like cancer patients struggling with pain.  Fast forward 15 years to 2010: I have seen this highly addictive drug prescribed to patients for mysterious back pain or knee pain.  As a police detective, I have seen up close and personal how this drug has affected our community. I have been in a police-involved shooting, worked drug-trafficking cases and armed-robbery cases, all having to do with addicts seeking this powerful and addicting drug; oxycontin. This small pill is wreaking havoc on our community as well as many others.

As a law enforcement perspective, I fear that marijuana use will follow suit with the oxycontin epidemic in

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Veazie to weigh medical pot rules

January 28th, 2011

VEAZIE, Maine — Town councilors will consider scheduling a public hearing regarding another moratorium for medical marijuana dispensaries and growing facilities during a meeting at 7 p.m. Monday.

Maine voters first approved the use of medical marijuana in 1999, and in November 2009 resoundingly supported expanding the law to include more medical conditions and the creation of nonprofit, government-sanctioned clinics and marijuana cultivation centers.

Last summer, Veazie was among numerous Maine communities that enacted six-month moratoriums after the state began accepting applications for such operations. The moratoriums were intended to give local officials time to develop guidelines and restrictions.

In his agenda notes for Monday’s meeting, Veazie Town Manager Bill Reed wrote that the town attorney indicated that the planning board needs more time to complete its recommendations, hold a public hearing and present proposed rules to the council for its review, public hearing and adoption process.

As it stands, there is no application pending for medical pot facilities in Veazie.

Northeast Patients Group, a recently formed corporation with ties to California-based Berkeley Patients Group, won approval last July from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to run four of the state’s eight clinics in or around Augusta, Bangor, Portland and Thomaston.

Northeast Patients Group also has been talking with Hermon town officials about developing a marijuana cultivation facility in a Dysart’s warehouse near the interstate.

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Department of Health and Human Services’ MaineCare proposal criticized

January 26th, 2011

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Department of Health and Human Services is proposing to change the way disabled Mainers apply for MaineCare, the state’s name for Medicaid, in Gov. Paul LePage’s supplemental budget. On Tuesday, the plan drew fire from several groups saying it not only is unfair, but also may be illegal.

“We are very concerned about this and don’t think it will save a lot of money. In fact, we think it may be costly,” said Kim Moody, director of the Disability Rights Center. The proposal would affect only those Mainers who apply for MaineCare and have not had their eligibility determined in 45 days.

“These are among some of our most vulnerable citizens,” she said.

The proposal would allow the state more time to process MaineCare applications before it would have to provide benefits to those who also have pending applications for disability benefits from the federal Social Security Administration. Acting DHHS Commissioner Russell Begin said the proposal would move the 45-day trigger for coverage to 90 days and was designed to save the state an estimated $3 million.

But the change also could cost local welfare programs, opponents  said.

“The proposed change would be very harmful to municipalities and would have a significant impact on general assistance expenditures and the state general fund,” said Shawn Yardley, Bangor welfare director. He said close to half of the 2,700 adults and children on the city caseload would be affected by the proposed change.

“This proposal just doesn’t seem to make sense, either

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Initiative would legalize marijuana in Oregon

January 21st, 2011

More like this

Salmon-parks measure headed for Ore. ballot

Oregon voters reject medical marijuana proposal

Ore. citizens panel looks at sentencing measure

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Bucksport sets medical pot dispensary rules

January 21st, 2011

BUCKSPORT, Maine — Town councilors have adopted rules to regulate the siting of medical marijuana facilities.

After a public hearing last week, the council unanimously adopted amendments to the town’s land use ordinance that stipulate where medical marijuana dispensaries and growing facilities are allowed in Bucksport.

“This establishes where we will allow this type of facility in our community,” Town Manager Roger Raymond said during a public hearing on the ordinance amendment.

The ordinance incorporates state requirements for the operation of a dispensary or growing facility.

The state has approved just eight tightly regulated medical marijuana facilities where qualified patients or their caregivers can legally purchase marijuana for treatment of certain ailments or medical conditions. Maine Organic Therapy, the nonprofit company the state has approved to operate a dispensary in the local district that includes Washington and Hancock counties, has indicated it plans to develop a dispensary in Ellsworth.

State regulations consider a dispensary and growing facility as one, but the town separated them for the purpose of the ordinance, according to Code Enforcement Officer Jeff Hammond. A dispensary, he said, would be allowed in the downtown and the downtown shoreland districts, with some restrictions.

The downtown districts run from the mill to the Verona Island bridge and from the river to Franklin Street.

“A large part of Franklin Street is primarily a residential area,” Hammond said. “A dispensary would not be allowed in that area. Basically, it would have to be out on Main Street.”

The ordinance also requires that a dispensary be located

Article source:,164496 – a world of medical marijuana information

January 20th, 2011

The history of marijuana dates back thousands of years. On every continent, personal and medical usage of marijuana has helped billions of people alleviate a wide range of medical conditions. In the US, there have been numerous studies proving the medical benefits of marijuana. Today, the US States that legally permit the use of medical marijuana include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Washington, DC. With the use of medical marijuana increasing throughout the country, a reliable resource is needed to educate consumers about the benefits of marijuana for treating medical conditions as well as issues surrounding the use of marijuana. has been created to provide consumers with a comprehensive resource on marijuana.

The internet is an effective tool to finding helpful medical marijuana resources. On the internet you will find many websites dedicated to providing practical and well-researched information about medical marijuana. The most effective sites are those that just don’t list the different strains of marijuana, but provide information about how medical marijuana alleviates and even treats specific health conditions. is a helpful and knowledgeable medical marijuana resource that explains how marijuana helps such conditions as; AIDS, Alzheimer, Anorexia, Cancer, Arthritis, Chronic Pain, Nausea, Multiple Sclerosis, Seizures, and much more.

As a professional medical marijuana resource information site, provides visitors with in-depth information on such topics and issues as the long history of the use of

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Marijuana patient disputes validity of search warrant

January 18th, 2011

SKOWHEGAN, Maine — A medical marijuana patient whose home was raided by drug agents last March claimed in Somerset County Superior Court on Tuesday that investigators ignored crucial information when they obtained a search warrant.

James P. Fowler, 45, of Pittsfield said his medical marijuana recommendation from his doctor is posted on his Facebook website in the same place as a photo of Fowler that is in his court file as evidence against him. The two pictures are part of a three-photo group in Fowler’s “wall photos” and appear to viewers of the site just inches apart. Time stamps indicate the photos were posted in February 2009, a month before the March 19 search of Fowler’s home.

Elsewhere on Fowler’s Facebook site are photos of marijuana plants growing in his home, which are what attracted law enforcement attention in the first place. A police officer in Florida, who shares a mutual friend with Fowler on Facebook, saw the photos and reported Fowler to the Pittsfield Police Department and Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, according to the defendant’s court-appointed attorney, John Martin of Skowhegan. Martin said during Tuesday’s court hearing that Somerset County sheriff’s Detective Mathew Cunningham used the photos as evidence to obtain a search warrant of Fowler’s property.

Assistant District Attorney Brent Davis argued that the mere presence of Fowler’s medical marijuana card on a website doesn’t prove that

Article source:,164312