Archive for July, 2011

The Cannabis Cure

July 28th, 2011

When Portsmouth resident Nancy Grossman was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma 12 years ago, she considered herself lucky. As cancers go, she had developed one of the most treatable forms. All you have to do, she said, is listen to your doctor. But that didn’t prove to be as easy as it sounds.

“The main thing was to eat, but immediately, as soon as I started chemotherapy, I lost all interest in food,” Grossman said. “But, being a child of the ’60s, I knew what to do.”

Rapidly thinning, Grossman went looking for marijuana, and it didn’t take her long to find some. Smoking the dried flowers made her cough, so she instead baked it into cookies. The drug helped alleviate her nausea and restore her appetite.

Grossman said her doctor did not recommend any alternative drugs. Had it not been for cannabis, she believes she never would have made it through chemo.

“I could not eat. I could not keep things down. I didn’t have any appetite in the first place, and I could not lose any more weight. So I self-medicated,” she said. “It got me through that whole period. I couldn’t have eaten otherwise.”

Grossman is one of many people on the Seacoast and around the country who have used marijuana to treat symptoms of various ailments. And yet, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency recently ruled that marijuana has no medicinal value. In a report issued July 8, the DEA concluded that marijuana “has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical

Article source:

NY and CT Move Closer to Jersey-style Medical Marijuana

July 27th, 2011

7/26/2011 – Medical marijuana legislation is nothing new to New York or Connecticut. A serious push was seen in Hartford earlier this year and Albany has considered bills for over a decade. Despite considerable public support and a growing choir of patient voices, neither state has passed a law. Now, statements from New Jersey’s conservative Governor Chris Christie have elected officials in NY and CT looking at their future cannabis options.

Rhode Island, Maine and Vermont  have working medical cannabis programs and even some open dispensaries. But Gov. Christie was a federal prosecutor for seven years prior to being elected governor. During a July 19th press conference about medical marijuana he offered an insightful discussion of the various “intersections” between state and federal laws.

It is important to note that NY and CT are considering very narrow and limited bills, modeled after New Jersey.

The Hartford Advocate reported on 7/25

A bill to legalize medical marijuana in Connecticut kind of withered away in the 2011 General Assembly, never reaching a vote in the state House or Senate. The bill’s supporters say the intense focus on state budget problems and concerns about how to grow and regulate medical pot created roadblocks for a bill similar to one that passed and was vetoed by Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell several years ago.

Gov. Dannel Malloy supports legalizing medical marijuana in Connecticut. His top criminal justice adviser, Michael Lawlor, says he expects new legislation modeled on

Article source:

Medical Marijuana "Cafe"

July 26th, 2011

Kristi Runyon

16 states have passed laws that allow certain seriously ill patients to use marijuana for medical purposes. The “World Famous Cannabis Café” helps Oregon residents seeking help or information on the medical use of marijuana.

Illicit Use of Marijuana
Marijuana is a drug derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. It is typically dried and shredded, then rolled into a small cigarette and smoked. The plant product may also be brewed like a tea, mixed with food or concentrated into an oil or resinous slab, called hashish (hash).

A marijuana plant contains over 400 different chemicals. The chemical associated with the drug’s effects is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). When marijuana is smoked, the THC is taken into the lungs, where it enters the bloodstream and rapidly spreads through the body. The drug acts on cannabinoid receptor sites in the brain to produce the characteristic “high.” THC also increases heart rate and pulse and can cause bloodshot eyes and dryness in the mouth and throat. Other side effects include temporary short-term memory impairment, loss of sense of time and problems with coordination, concentration and reaction time.

Research shows marijuana has been used to treat pain for more than 5,000 years. Today, it’s the third most popular recreational drug (after alcohol and tobacco). The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws reports more than 20 million Americans have smoked marijuana in the past year. A survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found 42 percent of

Article source:

Pot dispensary rules set for review in Windham

July 26th, 2011

Posted: July 26
Updated: Today at 1:12 AM

Pot dispensary rules set for review in Windham

Councilors will look at a plan to allow one facility in town and limit its operating hours.

By Leslie Bridgers
Staff Writer

As Windham’s ban on medical marijuana dispensaries expires this week, the Town Council is considering allowing no more than one dispensary to open there.

Tonight, the council will review a set of regulations developed during the past several months by the town’s Land Use Ordinance Committee. The council is expected to refer the matter to the Planning Board for a recommendation before deciding whether to adopt the rules, said Town Manager Tony Plante.

The state law on medical marijuana dispensaries, which took effect last year, allows eight clinics in the state, with one in Cumberland County. Northeast Patients Group has a license to open that clinic, but has yet to secure a site for it. The group has said it would like the dispensary to be in Portland.

Windham councilors in January enacted a six-month moratorium on dispensaries. The ban could be extended for another six months, Plante said.

Windham officials have said adopting regulations for dispensaries is meant to be a proactive measure.

“We wanted to make sure, if it

Article source:

Brewer Housing Authority bans medical marijuana

July 26th, 2011

BREWER, Maine — Those prescribed medical marijuana will not be allowed to treat themselves on any property owned or operated by Brewer Housing Authority — including Section 8 housing — the board decided Monday.

“No resident can use medical marijuana in our projects [and] if they do they will be evicted,” Executive Director Gordon Stitham said.

The ban covers both public housing units and privately owned properties that fall under the federally funded Section 8 housing program, he said.

“Any landlord or any tenant receiving public assistance under the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program will not be able to use medical marijuana in their units,” Stitham said.

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.

Registered patients who suffer from certain ailments, such as cancer, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis, are allowed to possess up to 2½ ounces of the drug and to grow up to six plants.

“You can have it, but you’re not going to bring it into our projects,” Stitham said, adding that applications for housing from medical marijuana patients will automatically be rejected.

“We’re not going to be able to serve you because of the medical marijuana,” he said.

Housing authority commissioners first discussed the proposed rules in March and contacted the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to get an opinion.

HUD basically said federal laws trump state laws, but added

Article source:

For wounded veteran, medical marijuana’s been a godsend

July 24th, 2011

Posted: 12:00 AM
Updated: 9:31 PM

For wounded veteran, medical marijuana’s been a godsend

‘My mood’s stable now,’ says Ryan Begin of Jackman, who fought in Iraq

By Michael Shepherd
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — Ryan Begin was checking a report of an improvised explosive device in Iskandariya, Iraq, on Aug. 1, 2004.

TREATMENT: Ryan Begin, of Jackman, uses marijuana for medicinal purposes. He buys his medicine in the form of buds and a liquid tincture from a caregiver.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Then the U.S. Marine Corps corporal saw one. It detonated, blowing apart his right arm.

More than 30 surgeries later, Begin said he has regained some use of his arm. But the psychological damage has taken a harsher toll, including drug addiction and violence.

Begin told doctors in federal health centers high-grade medical marijuana was his only hope for tamping down the innumerable nightmares, flashbacks and fears that followed him from the battlefield.

“My mood’s stable now — no peaks and valleys, just stable ups and downs,” he said.

His mother, Anna — “a little bit apprehensive” about medical marijuana at first — is a believer.

“When he started the marijuana, it was like having my son back,” she said.

Doctors in the federal veterans’ health care system aren’t

Article source:

Police: Cambridge man killed by son last night

July 23rd, 2011

Posted: 8:13 AM
Updated: 8:59 PM

Police: son fatally beat father

From staff, wire reports

Updated 5:41 p.m.

Angelo Licata

A Maine State Police affidavit indicates officers who discovered a man’s body outside his home in the town of Cambridge believe he was beaten to death.

Police charged 33-year-old Angelo Licata of Detroit early Friday with murdering his father. He was returned to the Somerset County Jail after a brief court appearance.

The affidavit indicates the wife of 63-year-old Alfred Licata called police after hearing yelling downstairs and then seeing blood “all over their kitchen.” Police found Licata dead shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday, and police soon tracked down Licata’s son, who allegedly told a friend he’d killed his father.

The affidavit indicates the victim appeared to have suffered blunt trauma to the head. An autopsy was conducted Friday, but the medical examiner’s office declined to release details.

8:13 a.m.

A Detroit man was arrested early this morning in connection with the killing of his father last night in the Somerset County town of Cambridge, police said.

Angelo V. Licata, 33, was charged with murder after he was questioned by detectives at the Waterville Police Department, according to Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Department

Article source:

Chafee should take cue from NJ on medical marijuana, says advocate

July 21st, 2011


PROVIDENCE — Advocates of the state’s medical-marijuana program are hoping that Governor Chafee is paying close attention to New Jersey.

On Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Christopher J. Christie gave the green light to open six marijuana dispensaries to licensed patients suffering from ailments such as cancer, chronic pain, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis. The surprise announcement came after months of delays over concerns that federal authorities might prosecute state employees affiliated with the medical-marijuana program for drug violations.

Christie, a Republican, who served as U.S. Attorney for New Jersey from 2002 through 2008, said he sought, but never received assurances from the Justice Department that those working in the marijuana programs would be exempt from federal prosecution.

“It’s a risk that I’m taking as governor,” said Christie at an afternoon news conference. “But I’m taking that risk because I believe the need to provide compassionate pain relief to these citizens of our state outweighs the risk that we are taking in moving forward with the program as it is set up.”

JoAnne Leppanen, executive director of the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition, said that Chafee should take a cue from Christie and issue licenses to the three marijuana dispensaries in Rhode Island. Chafee and his staff have repeatedly said that they are uncomfortable issuing the licenses until they get some assurance that state employees who work with the marijuana program will not be prosecuted.

Peter F. Neronha, the U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island, has failed to give Chafee that assurance.

Michael F.

Article source:

Personnel Profile: Eric Friberg

July 21st, 2011

Eric Friberg is one of the founders of Kirsten’s Compassion, a medical marijuana collective in Maine named for his late sister. Kirsten Friberg was living in San Francisco when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which metastasized and killed her at age 32—a story he later told in Maine while campaigning for more liberal medical marijuana laws there. Editor’s note: Kirsten Friberg was a college friend of the author.


Tell us some of your story.
My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in California. We thought she was gonna be able to come home, and get better here or pass away with family around here. That didn’t end up happening because her cancer metastasized and spread everywhere, eating her spine, and she was unable to travel.

More importantly, she was unable to get cannabis. It took her two or three months of bureaucratic red tape and time to be able to get her card in the first place. Instead of being able to keep her medicine down and more importantly food down to help nourish her body, she was throwing all that up. It’s my firm belief that if she would have had cannabis, she would have been able to beat the cancer.

Here in Maine, we had a referendum in ’99 to help people that want to take care of sick people, a limit of five people. There were very few people who took advantage of that system, of care-giving for patients. We were some of the first in

Article source:

Dion resigns from medical pot nonprofit

July 21st, 2011

Posted: July 21
Updated: Today at 11:57 PM

Dion resigns from medical pot nonprofit

Rep. Mark Dion, formerly with the Northeast Patients Group, cites tensions over medical marijuana laws.

By MICHAEL SHEPHERD Kennebec Journal


First-term Rep. Mark Dion, seen in 2009 when he was Cumberland County Sheriff, also runs a law office in Portland.

2009 Press Herald file

A state representative and former Cumberland County sheriff has quit the board of Maine’s largest medical-marijuana nonprofit organization.

Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, resigned from the board of Northeast Patients Group on June 8, citing tension between state and federal law regarding medical marijuana, as well as his workload as a first-term legislator and his opening of a law office in Portland.

A year ago, in a Portland Press Herald profile before his first board meeting, Dion said he found it important “to instill public confidence and immediately open a line of communication” with sheriffs and police chiefs who opposed medical marijuana.

Asked Wednesday if his goals were realized, Dion said no. “To say otherwise would not be candid,” he said.

Dion’s other goals as a board member included helping Northeast engineer “a security plan, not just for protecting the product, but also for screening prospective staffers,” the article said.

Those conversations happened, he said, but were never finalized.


Article source: