A Well-Crafted Medical Marijuana Law
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A Well-Crafted Medical Marijuana Law
Posted by CN Staff on May 09, 2012 at 04:54:07 PT
Source: The Day
Connecticut -- For years, advocates for the legalization of medical marijuana - many of them individuals suffering from various health problems - have appeared before legislative committees. Their stories were the same - only the use of marijuana provided relief from their debilitating conditions without the unbearable side effects of prescribed drugs. It is good to see a majority of lawmakers have listened to them, approving a bill that will make Connecticut the 17th state to legalize marijuana as a palliative for the chronically ill. Unlike his predecessor, Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who vetoed a medical marijuana bill in 2007, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy plans to sign the measure into law.
We recognize the measure remains controversial. The Connecticut State Medical Society opposes legalization for medical use. This naturally-growing plant lacks the research and federal approval that pharmaceutical-company drugs receive only after extensive clinical trials to determine efficacy and side effects. Marijuana does not have, in medical verbiage, "a reliable and reproducible dose."Yet this and prior legislatures have listened to compelling and consistent testimony about the relief marijuana provides for many. Compassion dictates providing marijuana as an option to relieve suffering.As Sen. Tony Guglielmo, R-Stafford, noted: "Who am I to deny relief for someone from that discomfort?"The state has learned well from the mistakes made by prior states that approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes. This is no California law, a provision with so few restrictions that the drug can be prescribed for seemingly anything, and now easily obtained in a near de facto legalization. As we have said before, whether it makes sense to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana for recreational use is a reasonable policy debate to have at some point, but backdoor legalization should not come in the form of medical marijuana. The Connecticut legislature has not done that.Under the Connecticut law, a person will be able to use marijuana for medical reasons only after receiving a certification of need from a physician. The bill spells out the permitted medical uses, including for the side effects of cancer treatment, and for glaucoma, HIV or AIDS, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, post-traumatic and nervous system disorders, and epilepsy.The marijuana would be grown indoors by growers licensed by the Department of Consumer Protection and distributed by licensed dispensaries, overseen by the same state agency. The legislation permits up to 10 growers and 10 dispensaries.There is the discomforting reality that use of marijuana remains a federal crime. President Obama has said his administration is not interested in cracking down on legitimate medical use approved by states. But federal drug busts at some California dispensaries shows that his assurance is hardly ironclad.Preferably, Congress would approve a law specifically leaving the medical marijuana decision up to states. One would think Republicans, the party of state rights, could get on board with such a proposal. But as we have seen with gay marriage, Republicans can get a little fuzzy on their advoacy of state rights when it comes to measures that make the culturally conservative wing of the party uncomfortable. For now, an understanding between the federal government and the states on this issue must suffice. Source: Day, The (CT)Published: May 9, 2012Copyright: 2012 The Day Publishing Co.Contact: editor theday.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on May 09, 2012 at 11:35:50 PT
Medical Marijuana Law No Defense in Federal Court
Medical Marijuana Law No Defense in Federal Court, Prosecutor in Grand Rapids SaysBy John AgarMay 9, 2012Grand Rapids, , MI -- If anyone thought the state medical marijuana law provided protection against federal charges, a recent filing in U.S. District Court should dispel any such notion, as far as federal prosecutors are concerned.The government, in a case where at least one of the four defendants claims to have grown marijuana for medicinal purposes, filed an 18-page motion to prohibit defense attorneys from suggesting marijuana has medicinal value, arguing that defendants believed their conduct to be lawful, or that they acted on advice of legal counsel.The government also wants to preclude testimony, evidence or questions that could lead to “jury nullification,” in which jurors acquit based on compassion or compromise.A federal prosecutor said the typical medical marijuana patient, if following state law, isn’t going to attract the attention of the federal government. Federal prosecutors last year dismissed a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession against a Cadillac man, arrested on tribal lands, who later proved he was a licensed medical marijuana patient.“We don’t go after people who are just following the medical marijuana law,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Courtade said Tuesday.While proponents of Michigan’s medical marijuana law think the Obama Administration has gone back on its stance of not prosecuting those legally using medical marijuana, Courtade said nothing has changed: The feds go after the big cases, where amounts exceed what would be legal under state law.Complete Article:
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Comment #6 posted by runruff on May 09, 2012 at 09:45:39 PT
Newsletter. Might behoove us to pass around,no?
Dear jerry,
The U.S. House of Representatives will be voting soon -- possibly today -- on an amendment that could finally end the federal assault on medical marijuana! We have no time to waste -- urge your representatives to end the attack on medical marijuana today.
This amendment would prohibit the Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Justice from spending taxpayer money to undermine state medical marijuana laws that allow patients to safely access their medicine. This promising legislation has a real chance of passing. That’s why we’re teaming up with our allies and launching a campaign to put pressure on Congress. We need as many people as possible to do the same in these final days leading up to the vote! Medical marijuana patients are counting on you to help protect them from these cruel federal attacks.
Tell your representatives to support this amendment that will ban the federal government from using taxpayer money to shut down voter-approved medical marijuana programs! Over the past two years, federal prosecutors and police agencies have dramatically escalated their assault on medical marijuana. Legal medical marijuana dispensaries are being raided and threatened. Medical marijuana patients are needlessly suffering without their medicine. State laws are being trampled by the federal government. But now we have a real opportunity to stop the ruthless federal attacks on medical marijuana. If this legislation passes, it will hopefully end the medical marijuana raids and ensure that patients have safe access to their medicine. Join us and demand your representatives to end the federal assault on medical marijuana now.
Bill Piper
Director, Office of National Affairs
Drug Policy Alliance 
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Comment #5 posted by Sam Adams on May 09, 2012 at 09:32:31 PT
"well crafted"
I'd like remind people that this law is anything but well-crafted for patients.Just the requirement to annually pay to see a doctor and then pay to register with the DPH with preclude 95% of patients from signing up.Take the list of ailments in the law and add up the number of patients with those ailments in CT.  The resulting number will likely be in the hundreds of thousand or even millions. But, if other northeast states are any indication, only a few thousand will use the program.I would say the bill is well-crafted at making medical cannabis unbelievably expensive and difficult to obtain.With a law like California, with no requirement to register with the state, and the ability to grow your own or have a family member/friend grow it, there are several hundred thousand patients using the law and being protected by it.Remember that this is not Oklahoma - the six New England states are already flooded with cannabis; most police don't even care when they see it. It's not that hard to find, even for old people.
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Comment #4 posted by ekim on May 09, 2012 at 07:33:55 PT
any mmj states allready allowing outdoor grows?
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on May 09, 2012 at 06:29:55 PT
If we are a country governed by laws...
...why are our laws written in a language we don't understand? A dead language at that.I say you can't be serious, telling us what we can and can't do in a tongue we can't understand!WE are judged by nine people, in black robes, self declared enemies of over half the population, chosen by a president who was never dully elected and is currently a world criminal wanted in several countries for crimes against humanity, so far removed from reality they don't know sheep dip from Shinola!I am suppose to respect this dark, body of judicial denizens who openly scoff at the misery and degradation of a county with once great potential.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on May 09, 2012 at 06:00:54 PT
Medical Marijuana Vote Set for Today
Members of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare today are expected to vote on legislation that would allow medical marijuana compassion centers to open Rhode Island.
 The House bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Scott Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence) and the Senate version is sponsored by Sen. Rhoda Perry (D-Dist. 3, Providence). The bills amend “The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act.” The General Assembly first approved legislation to create compassion centers in 2009, but Governor Chafee ordered a temporary halt to the licensing process last year when the federal government suggested it might begin targeting the centers or patients using their services.
 But as a result of an agreement reached earlier this year between legislative leaders and the governor, Slater and Perry were given the green light to continue to move compassion centers forward. The bill would clear the way to allow three compassion centers to open while protecting them from being shut down or raided by federal agents. 
Chafee Will Sign Bill 
Governor Chafee, who faced criticism from those in the medical marijuana community for deferring to the federal government, has indicated he will sign Slater and Perry's legislation into law if it is approved by the General Assembly.
 “Since the Rhode Island medical marijuana law invited federal action, I have been working with advocates on a remedy,” Chafee said earlier this year. “I applaud Senator Perry and Representative Slater for their work and I look forward to passage of a bill that will avoid federal intervention and bring needed medicinal relief to those who stand to benefit.”
 Bill Regulates Limits on Growing Amount 
The legislation will allow the Department of Health to regulate limits on the amount of marijuana that a compassion center may grow and possess, since the magnitude of the marijuana and the resulting income it generates for privately run compassion centers appears to be a key element of concern for federal officials. It also allows registered patients or caregivers who grow up to their allotted maximums, but do not need the entire amount for themselves or their patients, to sell the excess to a compassion center, as long as the limits of the grower and the purchasing center are not exceeded. That provision is designed to address concerns about the illegal sale of excess marijuana.
 “This is a good compromise that strengthens the safety of compassion centers," Slater said earlier this year "We just want patients to get some relief, soon. While we believe the existing law is good, this change will make it better by making our centers less of an issue for the federal government. Nobody in Rhode Island would want to see patients get caught up in some federal raid or lose access to their medicine, and if these changes further minimize that issue, they are positive for patients." 
The three centers that were already approved by the Department of Health after a public bidding process to be licensed will be able to operate under the new limits, so it is expected the centers will be able to open quickly upon passage and enactment of the legislation.
 “Our main concern is getting compassion centers up and running for the many suffering patients who still have no legal way to obtain their prescription medicine,” said Senator Perry. “It’s been three years now since we approved compassion centers. That’s a long time for patients to wait for relief from pain and illness. We already have three legitimate organizations that have been approved and are ready and willing to serve Rhode Island’s patients and the quicker we move on these amendments, the less time Rhode Island’s sick and dying will spend suffering.”
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 09, 2012 at 05:00:13 PT
25 Colorado Medical-Marijuana Dispensaries Close 
May 9, 2012All 25 of the medical-marijuana stores in Colorado that received warning letters for being within 1,000 feet of schools have heeded the threat from the U.S. Attorney's Office and closed.The letters were sent out on March 23 and gave the businesses 45 days to close down before facing potential civil and criminal action.Federal criminal law supports the action, which provides increased criminal penalities for those selling drugs within 1,000 feet of schools. Complete Article:
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