Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Nevada County Marijuana News

Nevada City council to review smoking ban, solar farm

By Michelle Rindels
Staff Writer

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

(Brett adds - You can read the ordinance and all supporting documents at
- http://nevadacityca .gov/content/ agenda-packets- city-council)

Nevada City council members will review wording for ordinances banning
medical marijuana dispensaries and smoking in parks at a meeting today.

Smoking in parks was banned for a six-month trial period after council
approval in 2007. A new ordinance would make the ban permanent.

A separate ordinance will ban medical marijuana dispensaries within city
limits. The council voted the dispensaries down in September and will
review a draft of the ordinance at the meeting.

The council will also review a solar farm project at the old Nevada City
Airport. Chevron Energy, a division of Chevron Corp., conducted a
preliminary feasibility study this month and determined the system would
have virtually no negative environmental impact and would not be visible
from surrounding residences.

The proposed project would generate about 1,000 kilowatts of energy
during most of the year and cost $6.5 million, according to Nevada City
Engineer William Falconi. Eventually, the system will provide revenue
for the city.

If the council chooses to proceed, Chevron would draw up plans for the
system for $16,000.

The meeting is set for today at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 317 Broad St.

To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail mrindels@theunion. com
or call (530) 477-4247.

http://www.theunion .com/article/ 20091118/ NEWS/911179983/ 1053/rss

Santa Barbara Medical Marijuana News

City pushes for nonprofit medical marijuana cooperatives

By ERIC LINDBERG — Nov. 18, 2009

Santa Barbara city leaders took a big step toward outlawing for-profit
medical marijuana shops yesterday evening by expressing support for new
regulations that would only allow nonprofit patient collectives that
conform to state guidelines.

After three and a half hours of impassioned discussion, the city council
voted unanimously to have a committee tackle the difficult task of
crafting laws that jibe with recently released guidelines from the
attorney general's office outlining exactly what should be
considered a legal medical marijuana operation.

City officials had a bit more difficulty when discussing a proposed
moratorium on new and pending applications for dispensaries, but
ultimately agreed on a 4-1 vote to consider the concept at a future

"We've sort of let the cart go before the horse," City
Councilmember Iya Falcone said in expressing her strong support for such
a moratorium. "We've been playing catch-up ever since. It's
time to stop. It's just time to stop right now and take a

A shift toward the nonprofit collective model appears to be largely in
step with state guidelines, a fact that nobody on the council disputed.
How to reach that model is a more difficult task, particularly given the
constantly changing legal landscape surrounding medical marijuana and
the difficulty of spelling out the precise definition of a collective.

JoAnna LaForce, a local resident and clinical pharmacist who operates a
collective in Los Angeles, said the collective model could include a
storefront operation. In fact, she argued that most patients want that
open, pharmacy-like atmosphere.

"They don't want to meet and grow their own cannabis, they
don't want to make their own brownies," she said.

Other speakers, such as Santa Barbara School Districts Superintendent
Brian Sarvis, said storefront dispensaries are too much of a risk,
particularly when they are located near schools or areas where children

"It sends the wrong message to our kids," he said. "Too many
of our kids show up high or with marijuana to sell. And yes, they tell
us they get it at the dispensary."

Local leaders have been struggling with how to ensure legitimate
patients receive medical marijuana while still protecting neighborhoods
from negative impacts for several years. A set of regulations went into
effect last year, but city officials continued to receive complaints
about the proliferation of new dispensaries.

Currently, the city is aware of one permitted dispensary that is open,
eight that are in the approval pipeline, four that opened before the
city established regulations and are considered nonconforming, and three
illegal shops that are facing enforcement.

After a round of painstaking ordinance committee hearings in recent
months, city officials devised a set of 10 recommendations to tighten up
current regulations, including a citywide cap of seven on the number of
pot shops.

And even as the council discussed a fundamental change in how pot shops
are viewed under the law yesterday evening, city leaders also agreed
that those stricter regulations should move forward as quickly as
possible in the interim.

"We might as well finish the improvements we've made to regulate
the existing approved [dispensaries] ," Councilmember Dale Francisco
said. "I don't see a problem with that."

Those proposed regulations will come before the ordinance committee next
Tuesday for a final look before proceeding to the planning commission
and on to the full council for approval.

Councilmember Das Williams said those stricter regulations should
address a significant number of community concerns about medical
marijuana operations — through enhanced security requirements, a
limit of one shop in each of seven designated geographical areas, and a
shortened timeframe for nonconforming dispensaries to come into
compliance or shut down.

"I would submit to you that the one dispensary permitted under our
ordinance is probably not the lion's share of the problems that
we've heard about tonight," he said.

After dealing with the proposed changes to the current regulations,
ordinance committee would then take on the job of creating regulations
that would result in a nonprofit collective being the only accepted form
of medical marijuana distribution in the city.

http://www.thedaily News/111809medic almarijuana

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hawaii Medical Marijuana Patients Multiply

Number Of Medical Marijuana Patients Soars

Reported by: Andrew Pereira
Email: apereira@khon2. com
Last Update: 12:39 am

Since Hawaii's medical marijuana law was passed nine years ago the
number of registered patients has skyrocketed.

According to figures released by the Department of Public Safety, 255
patients were registered to legally use medical marijuana in fiscal year
2001. But by fiscal year 2009 that number had grown to 5,190.

As of June 30 the Big Island had the most medical marijuana patients
with 3,160 people registered. Maui came in second with 1,092, followed
by Oahu with 691.

Kauai had 208 registered patients while Molokai had 34 and Lanai only 4.

Supporters of the medical marijuana law believe the number of registered
patients would be even high if access to the drug were made easier.

Unlike California which allows medical marijuana dispensaries, Hawaii
patients are forced to grow their own or buy it illegally.

"What's missing in the Hawaiian law is where do we go to get
it," said Joe Rattner, an HIV patient who smokes marijuana to
increase his appetite.

Under the Hawaii statute registered patients are allowed to have three
mature marijuana plants on their property, four immature plants and
three ounces of usable marijuana.

Rattner was having some success growing his own plants until his
backyard was broken into and the would-be thief or thieves tore out his
landscaping. Rattner's mother is now forced to buy the drug

"You send people like me to the streets to try to find marijuana
because it's saving my son's life," said Lila Rattner. "And I
will do what I have to do to keep him alive."

Joe Rattner is part of a legislatively approved working group hoping to
create non-profit marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii. Rattner has the
support of a key lawmaker.

"Whether something like that could be implemented immediately or
would have to take a couple of years we'll have to wait and see,"
said Sen. Will Espero, chair of the Public Safety Committee.

A bill which would have allowed the Department of Health to create
marijuana dispensaries was shelved during the last legislative session,
but could be revived during the upcoming session in January.

"Whether we have any of the votes to make it happen I cannot say at
the moment," said Espero.

Have a news tip? Contact Andrew Pereira at 368-7273.

http://www.khon2. com/news/ local/story/ Number-Of- Medical-Marijuan a-Patien\
ts-Soars/EH6hygiK3k q01QGyaI09oA. cspx

Oregon Employers Confused On How To Enforce WorkPlace Drug Laws With Marijuana Patients

Employers cautious under Medical marijuana law

There's ambiguity on how to enforce drug, alcohol policies

By Greg Stiles
For the Tidings
November 14, 2009 2:00 AM

Conflicting state and federal laws have made it increasingly difficult
for employers to spell out and enforce workplace alcohol and drug

"We have this great confusion in the law because of the differing
federal and state laws on the medical marijuana issue," attorney Paula
Barran told a gathering of The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County Monday
afternoon at Rogue Valley Country Club.

"The law is, frankly, the biggest mess that I've ever seen," Barran
said. "Employers like you don't know what to do or how to handle drug
issues, and we have a lot of issues."

Forced to deal with increasing drug use in the work force, employers
frequently don't know which steps to take, she said.

"We live in a state where a lot of employers have this sense that 'I
really shouldn't be telling people how to live their lives,' " Barran

She countered that notion with elements of federal law.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards include a
general duty clause requiring employers to provide a safe workplace.

"That should be the first motivator," Barran said, adding employers
could run into legal trouble if they hired or kept an employee who was
unfit for duty and caused injury to others.

She said employers should be clear with workers what the rules are, how
they are enforced and what the consequences are for violating them.

Barran said drug use is problematic in Oregon, and the legalization of
medical marijuana has created additional strains.

Adult marijuana use is 50 percent higher than the national average,
Oregon ranked No. 7 in per-capita abuse of methamphetamine and,
according to the state Human Services Department, 302,000 people —
10 percent of the population — need treatment.

Barran said medical marijuana was presented to voters as a palliative
measure for critically ill patients but that's rarely the profile of the
typical medical marijuana card holder.

"The morning after was the real problem for us," she said. "Because all
of the sudden, it turned out that medical marijuana was not being doled
out to people with serious debilitating diseases or in the last stages
of some fatal illnesses."

Of the nearly 25,000 medical marijuana card issued in Oregon, just more
than 21,000 cards were for "severe pain," while slightly more than 1,000
were for cancer patients, Barran said. In the past 12 months, she noted,
there have been more than 13,000 new applicants and almost 12,000
applications for renewal; 851 applications were denied.

The growing number of medical marijuana cards has given employers pause
and made Oregon an attractive place for drug users.

"Those of us who live in this state and love this state have to be
saddened by the thought that we may become a magnet for people who are
not coming to contribute to the life we have, but to possibly engage in
activities that are destructive of that life."

She said 77 percent of Oregon employers report substance abuse is a
concern, with more than 5 percent of people tested for illegal drug use
failing. In parts of Oregon, pre-hiring drug test failure is 60 percent,
which is 50 percent higher than the national average.

"If you look at people in the unemployment ranks," she said, "about a
third of them are really functionally unemployable because they have
some sort of serious drug abuse problem."

A pending case before the state Supreme Court involving Emerald Steel
will unravel some of the issues, she said.

In that case, the state Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by the state
Bureau of Labor and Industries that the steel fabrication company in
Eugene violated state laws barring discrimination against the disabled
by discharging an employee who used medical marijuana. A key issue was
the fact the employee never used marijuana in the workplace.

The case is on appeal to the Supreme Court and Barran said its ruling
could affect many employers in the state.

"You need to pay attention to that one," she said.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail

Employers should have an alcohol and drug policy that spells out:

• • What is expected.

• • What is prohibited.

• • How it will be enforced.

• • What are the consequences for a violation.

The employers should communicate the policy and enforce it evenhandedly.

http://www.dailytid apps/pbcs. dll/article? AID=/20091114/ NEWS03/9\
11140304/-1/ NEWSMAP

Florida Doctors Want Marijuana Rescheduled

New futures for cannabis-based medicines

By Gregory L. Gerdeman and Juan Sanchez-Ramos, Special to the Times

[Last modified: Nov 15, 2009 09:31 PM]
In Print: Monday, November 16, 2009

Medicinal use of cannabis is being discussed more actively than ever.
Although prior to its prohibition in 1937 cannabis was used widely in
pharmacies, there was little debate about its usefulness to treat
various symptoms such as inflammatory pain. Cannabis remedies were well
known, publicly advertised and widely prescribed.

"Marijuana," on the other hand, was virtually unknown Mexican jargon
before becoming the "assassin of youth" in propaganda films. Such
depictions led to an unceremonious vote by Congress to effectively
criminalize Cannabis sativa in all of its forms. The strongest
opposition came not from the public (which did not equate the new
"scourge" with cannabis remedies) but from the American Medical
Association, whose congressional liaison decried the legislation as
speciously motivated by "indirect hearsay evidence."

Over the next 72 years, the image of the American cannabis user morphed
from the immigrant madman and criminal deviant of the '40s, to the
counter-culture crowd of the '60s to the unmotivated slacker of the
'80s. In the '90s, a "new" image arose: the medical marijuana patient,
who is driven not to get high but to get well. It is linguistically
ironic that "medical marijuana" may usher in a new chapter in the
ancient relationship between human society and the cannabis plant.

Now the American Medical Association has turned heads by again weighing
in on cannabis policy. After extensive review of scientific and clinical
evidence regarding the harms and benefits of cannabinoids (molecules
found in cannabis) as well as recent legal precedence regarding medical
marijuana, the AMA announced that the federal Schedule I status of
marijuana (most prohibited) should be reconsidered in order to advance
clinical research with botanical cannabinoid medicines. The AMA report
furthermore expresses that "physicians who comply with their ethical
obligations to 'first do no harm' and to 'relieve pain and suffering'
should be protected in their endeavors, including advising and
counseling their patients on the use of cannabis for therapeutic

The emphasis on research is important. There is a future for botanical
cannabis-based medicines, but patients and physicians should be
empowered to base health care decisions on real evidence rather than
hyperbolic claims of marijuana's dangers or virtues. Not surprisingly,
the AMA does not support legalizing medical marijuana through state
ballot initiatives, such as the one Floridians could vote on next year
if a petition by the group People United for Medical Marijuana gains
traction. Cannabis is a plant and modern standards for purity, packaging
and delivery of drugs play an important part in assuring reliable
predictability. Also at play is the arena of pharmaceutical development
— new drugs are being pioneered to enhance the body's THC-like
"endocannabinoid system," intended to achieve therapeutic effect with
improved specificity and minimal psychoactivity. Research is clearly
needed to ensure efficacy and safety of these new drugs.

Nonetheless, the perceived promise of such drugs highlights a need for
greater maturity in social discussion of medical use for cannabis and/or
its constituent molecules. Whatever else might be said about the
apparent sea change of public opinion about cannabis, the oft-repeated
claims by federal drug czars that medical marijuana is a "smoke screen"
or lacks even a "shred of evidence" must be laid to rest as a relic of
socially juvenile, 20th century reefer madness. Public policy should be
based on sound scientific evidence — not a roadblock to it. Cannabis
has been used safely as a folkloric remedy for thousands of years, but
in modern America inappropriate Schedule I listing of marijuana has
obstructed research to find promising therapies for debilitating human
conditions. This is a paramount reason why the scheduling should be

Gregory L. Gerdeman, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of biology at
Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. Juan Sanchez-Ramos, Ph.D./M.D., is the
Helen Ellis Professor of Neurology and chair for Parkinson's Disease
Research at the University of South Florida College of Medicine in

Sanchez-Ramos was a physician involved in the "Compassionate Use
Protocol for Marijuana" sponsored by the National Institute on Drug
Abuse and approved by the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug
Enforcement Administration. In this study, marijuana was prepared and
shipped by NIDA to patients with various medical conditions. His patient
suffered from muscle spasms and pain caused by a rare disease,
successfully treated with cannabis.

http://www.tampabay .com/opinion/ columns/new- futures-for- cannabis- based-m\

Baby Boomers Love Marijuana: Not Just a Pastime for Youths

Boomers see views relaxing on marijuana

Health, law enforcement officials bemoan greater public tolerance of

By Steve Hendrix
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 16, 2009

Smoking pot isn't what it used to be for Joe Lee, a 62-year-old
vintage-record dealer in Rockville.

Back in the late 1960s, as an art student in Baltimore, he kept his
landlord in a constant state of suspicion, with clouds of marijuana
smoke poorly masked by clouds of incense.

These days, after four decades of regular use, cannabis is a smaller
deal. Lee takes a few hits every other day or so, when he wants to
listen to music or laugh with a few friends on the porch. And he's happy
to talk about it.

"There's gotten to be greater tolerance, that's for sure," said Lee, the
son of one-time acting Maryland governor Blair Lee III. "I know
literally hundreds of people my age who smoke. They are upright
citizens, good parents who are holding down jobs. You take two or three
puffs, and you're good to go. I'm not a Rastafarian; I don't treat this
as some holy sacrament. But pot is fun."

A federal survey of Americans' drug use shows that Lee and his friends
are not the only baby boomers approaching the age of retirement much as
they departed the Age of Aquarius -- with an occasional case of the
munchies. The government's most recent survey showed that the share of
marijuana users ages 50 to 59 increased from 5.1 percent in 2002 to
almost 10 percent in 2007.

Some of those users are empty-nesters, returning to the drug decades
after their pot habits gave way to raising children and building
careers. Others, like Lee, have kept using pot all along, researchers

"We're concerned by the public health impact of this," said Peter
Delany, who heads the office in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration that conducts the survey. Marijuana could
present special problems for older users, he said, including unknown
interactions with prescription drugs. "Doctors need to be more sensitive
to it," he said. "They may ask older patients about alcohol now but not
think to ask about illicit drug use."

But some older marijuana users say they are living evidence that smoking
pot does not preclude a normal life, and more older smokers seem more
comfortable than at any point since their teen years with going public
-- a tribute, they say, to a big boost in public tolerance of marijuana

Mainstreaming marijuana

In parts of California, licensed medical marijuana dispensaries have
become as common as In-N-Out Burger stands. At least 13 other states
allow some form of pot use for medicinal purposes, and the Obama
administration announced last month that federal prosecutors would no
longer go after medical users in those states, a policy shift that
activists hailed as a watershed.

Last week, in a reversal, the American Medical Association called for a
review of marijuana's status as a Schedule 1 hard drug alongside LSD and
PCP and for more study of its medicinal potential.

In May, California's Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, said it
was "time for a debate" on the merits of legalizing and taxing the drug.
Nationally, support for legalization has jumped to its highest level in
40 years, up in a Gallup poll from 31 percent in 2000 to 44 percent last

In much of American pop culture, the taboo against smoking pot lies
largely in ashes -- in ubiquitous references in hip-hop music and in TV
programs such as Showtime's "Weeds." Even iconic potheads Cheech Marin
and Tommy Chong are in vogue again, back on the road with their 22-city
"Light Up America" comedy tour.

All of which adds up to what some commentators see as marijuana's steady
march into the mainstream. Conservative pundit George Will recently
declared the drug "essentially legalized" in California and predicted
that the rest of the nation would follow suit.

That shift in atmosphere has encouraged more older users to take their
pot habits public.

"I don't think more people in their 50s are smoking marijuana. I think
we are just more comfortable talking about it," said Rick Steves, who
writes travel guidebooks and hosts a public TV series on travel. At 54,
the clean-cut guru of mass-market European tourism has begun to present
himself as the hard-working, successful face of the longtime smoker.

"Even my pastor knows I smoke pot," said Steves, who was recently named
Lutheran activist of the year for his work on international poverty

"It's just not that big a deal anymore. It's another recreational drug,
like alcohol."

For Steves, the starkest sign of pot's growing acceptance is the annual
Hempfest, which draws tens of thousands of marijuana enthusiasts each
summer to a park in his home town of Seattle. But he said he has
detected a change in more straitlaced cities, including the District,
which he visited last week to see his daughter at Georgetown University.

"When I stepped out of my daughter's apartment, a couple of guys were
passing a bong on the front stoop," Steves said. "They weren't
self-conscious at all."

Although young users generally go to some lengths to keep their pot use
under wraps, those of a certain age -- especially those not in danger of
being kicked out of school or subjected to workplace drug tests -- seem
more likely to talk about their usage.

"It seems the stereotype of the marijuana user as a goofy teenage boy
has begun to change," said Shelby Sadler, 48, a freelance editor from
Rockville. She described a wide circle of professional friends in the
Washington area, many of them women, who use the drug socially. "They
are less inclined to hide it now. The kids are gone, and they no longer
have to worry about losing their jobs because they're the ones doing the

Sadler, who was journalist Hunter S. Thompson's longtime editor and
works on books with historian Douglas Brinkley, said she smokes a few
times a month, usually with friends. The only difference now, compared
with when she started at Cornell University, is the clothing.

"Then, it was Crazy Horse crewneck sweaters and oxford shirts," said
Sadler, who is editing a history of pot by Keith Stroup, founder of the
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "Now I dress
like Hillary Clinton."

Police, others disagree

Drug counselors bemoan the softening views on marijuana, saying that it
complicates their efforts to steer addicts away from illicit substances.

"It's more of a struggle for us when the parents just see heroin or
cocaine as the dangerous drugs and sort of turn their heads with
marijuana," said Carol Porto, who runs an inpatient drug treatment
center in Calvert County.

Most Washington area police departments enforce the laws that make
marijuana illegal, officials said. A Montgomery County police spokesman
would not comment other than to say that the department has seen no
spike in marijuana use by older residents and is not targeting those

One older smoker who doesn't mind outing herself is Florence Siegel, an
88-year-old artist from New York who has been smoking regularly since
her early 50s. That's when the family's pediatrician suggested they try
marijuana together to see "what the kids were so excited about." The
pediatrician didn't feel a thing. Siegel said she never stopped.

Now her routine is to sit in her favorite chair each evening, listen to
Bach and take a few hits from one of her many pipes. Marijuana boosts
her creativity and helps with joint pain that has come with aging, she

Siegel smokes occasionally with her daughter Loren Siegel, 64, a
recently retired lawyer. But does her 93-year-old husband ever join her?

"Oh, no," she said. "Well, only very rarely."

http://www.washingt wp-dyn/content/ article/2009/ 11/15/AR200911\

Rhode Island Begins Researching Lega;ized Marijuana Funds

State panel to begin research on legalized marijuana funds

01:00 AM EST on Monday, November 16, 2009

By Katie Mulvaney
Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE — The commission charged with exploring how much money
the state could reap if it legalizes marijuana and taxes its sales will
meet for the first time Wednesday.

Lawmakers voted to create the nine-member panel in July, the day before
the General Assembly began its summer recess. Its first meeting is
slated for 3:30 p.m. in Room 212 of the State House.

The group intends to study issues surrounding the state's position
on marijuana, including money the state might make if it legalized it
and enacted a $35 "sin tax" for purchases of an ounce or more.

Other topics to be explored are the effects and costs of Rhode
Island's prohibition of the drug, except to sick people; whether
adult use has increased since it was banned in 1918; whether its sales
are financing drug cartels and fomenting violence; and its current
availability to young people. The group will also look at how states and
countries that have decriminalized the drug have fared.

One of the first subjects the panel will examine is Massachusetts'
experience since voters there overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure
in November 2008 that decriminalized possessing small amounts of
marijuana. People caught with less than an ounce face a $100 civil fine,
but not criminal charges.

The group will gauge the effectiveness of that state's policy and
its impact on law enforcement and prison resources, said Sen. Joshua
Miller, D-Cranston, one of five sponsors of the bill that created the

The panel also hopes to assess how marijuana use compares with alcohol,
in terms of costs to society, he said. Miller, a restaurant and bar
owner, has said he does not use illegal drugs and rarely drinks alcohol.

The state's stance on marijuana has evolved in recent years. The
General Assembly gave final passage to a law in 2006 allows patients
with debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, HIV and multiple
sclerosis, to possess up to 12 marijuana plants or the equivalent of 2.5
ounces of marijuana at any one time.

In May, legislators overwhelmingly passed a bill that allowed
state-regulated marijuana dispensaries, known as compassion centers, so
patients wouldn't be forced to grow or buy marijuana on the street.

However, a bill that would have decriminalized marijuana possession in
Rhode Island by imposing a civil fine on anyone caught with an ounce or
less failed. Submitted by Leo R. Blais, R-Coventry, another sponsor of
creating the study commission, never made it out of the Senate Judiciary

Miller will be joined on the commission by: Glenn C. Loury, an economics
professor at Brown University; Nick Horton, of OPENDOORS, formerly the
Rhode Island Family Life Center; Donna Ploicastro, executive director of
the Rhode Island Nurses Association; Dr. David C. Lewis, of Brown's
Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies; and Jeffrey Alan Miron, who
teaches economics at Harvard University.

It was unclear Sunday who the other three members are, but the group is
supposed to include local police as well as advocates or patients of the
state's medical-marijuana program.

The commission will meet at least three times before it is due to submit
a report on Jan. 31, Miller said.

kmulvane@projo. com

http://www.projo. com/news/ content/MARIJUAN A_MEETING_ 11-16-09_ 4BGFB3A_v6. \

Texas MS Patient Wants Safe Marijuana Accessbility

Man with MS pushes for legalization of medical marijuana

09:51 PM CST on Sunday, November 15, 2009

GARLAND - For 22 years, Tim Timmons has fought the pain of multiple

Prescribed medicine couldn't stop the spasms or help him sleep, he said.
Ultimately, Timmons said, relief came in the form of illegal marijuana,
which is why he is now pushing for the drug to be legalized.

While 13 states have legalized medical marijuana, Texas isn't one of
them. Timmons said he wants that to change since he feels like he's been
forced to support organized crime.

"What I do is I have to support black market crime, but they're the ones
forcing me to do it," he said. "I don't want to support organized crime
more than anyone would."

Studies have shown that marijuana can ease muscle spasms and numb pain.

The Texas legislature voted down the last three medical marijuana bills
that would have given doctors the authority to prescribe the drug.

In the past, lawmakers defended the ban on medical marijuana by citing
the American Medical Associations' position on the topic. But, after 72
years, that position may be changing. The AMA announced last Tuesday
that it's reversing its policy of classifying the drug as a Schedule 1
narcotic, stating that the issue needs to be reviewed. The announcement
was in response to a new medical report by the AMA's Council on Science
and Public Health, which detailed various medical benefits.

Many pharmacists and doctors argue that those benefits can be obtained
through legalized drugs that contain the active ingredient in marijuana,

"What they fail to understand is there is THC available in a legal dose
called Marinol," said Donna Barsky, a Plano pharmacist. "It's a
prescription item. All a doctor has to do is write a prescription for

Opponents of medical marijuana say it's healthier because smoking the
drug can pull unhealthy substances into the lungs.

"Marinol just plain doesn't work, or causes worse situations than you
had starting off," Timmons said.

Another medical marijuana bill is expected to be filled in the Texas
legislature in 2011.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa. com

http://www.wfaa. com/sharedconten t/dws/news/ localnews/ tv/stories/ wfaa0911\
15_mo_medicalmariju ana.2be3bc884. html

Wisconsin Wants Marijuana!

Wisconsin Democrats support medical marijuana

By SCOTT BAUER Associated Press Writer

3:15 p.m. CST, November 16, 2009

MADISON, Wis. - Legalizing medical marijuana will ease the cancer
patients' pain and help others who are suffering, supporters of
legalization argued Monday.

Two Democratic state lawmakers, advocates and those fighting chronic
diseases said at a news conference there is momentum nationwide to
decriminalize the use of marijuana for medical reasons.

They pointed to Gov. Jim Doyle's comments last month in support of
legalizing medical marijuana for people who have a doctor's
prescription. Also, the American Medical Association called last week
for a federal review of marijuana's status as a controlled substance to
make it easier to do research that could lead to development of
marijuana-based medicines.

Everyone knows someone who would benefit if the law were changed, said
Jacki Rickert, founder of "Is My Medicine Legal Yet?" She suffers from
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and reflexive sympathetic dystrophy, bone and
joint diseases that limit movement and lead to painful muscle spasms.
Marijuana eases the pain, she said.

Rickert, 58, has lobbied more than a decade to legalize medical
marijuana in Wisconsin. She was arrested in 2000 when Mondovi police
raided her home and confiscated marijuana. The district attorney later
declined to press charges.

"We're not criminals, we're just people trying to get on with our
lives," said Gary Storck, who said he starting using marijuana in 1972
to treat his glaucoma and arthritis.

A similar bill was introduced in the Legislature in 2002 but did not

Under the measure co-sponsored by Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, and Sen.
Jon Erpenbach, D-Waunakee, a person would need a prescription from a
doctor to receive marijuana, which could either be grown at home or
obtained through a licensed nonprofit dispensary. The state would keep a
registry of both those who can receive and dispense marijuana.

The Department of Health Services could not estimate how many people
would qualify for marijuana prescriptions, according to the fiscal
estimate for the bill. Seventeen of 132 lawmakers have signed on in

"This law needs to be changed," Rickert said. "We can't wait any

Thirteen states have legalized medical marijuana, according to the
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The Wisconsin
bill is up for a hearing Dec. 15, and Erpenbach said the goal was to
have it voted on sometime in January.

The governor said last month that he had no problem with the use of
marijuana to treat severe pain and other medical conditions, if it's
prescribed by a doctor. Restricting the use of medical marijuana makes
no sense when doctors can already prescribe more dangerous drugs, such
as morphine, he said.

Doyle's comments come after a decision by the Obama administration not
to prosecute users and suppliers of medical marijuana in the states
where it's been legalized. The decision is a clear break from the
policies of the Bush administration and another sign pointed to by
backers of Wisconsin's bill that the attitude toward medical marijuana
is changing.

http://www.chicagot news/chi- ap-wi-xgr- medicalmariju, 0,5709926\

Marijuana Groups May Sue LA if Ban is Passed

Medical marijuana groups threaten to sue if L.A. bans sales

November 16, 2009 | 8:53 am

Two medical marijuana groups are threatening to sue the city of Los
Angeles if the City Council passes an ordinance that bans the sale of
medical marijuana. Two council committees are meeting today to try to
finish drafting an ordinance that contains the controversial provision.

Dispensary operators have consistently said they are uncertain they
could stay open with such a restriction. Most collectives, which are
required to be not-for-profit, sell marijuana to their members, but they
consider it a donation to reimburse their costs.

The prohibition on sales was written by the city attorney's office.
In a lengthy analysis of state law and court decisions, City Atty.
Carmen Trutanich concluded that over-the-counter sales of medical
marijuana are not allowed. Instead, he said, collectives are shielded
from prosecution only when they are growing it.

Both medical marijuana organizations, the Union of Medical Marijuana
Patients and Americans for Safe Access, take issue with Trutanich's
view, saying he has misinterpreted the law and the court decisions.

The Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, a Los Angeles-based group,
released its own 23-page analysis over the weekend.

"We show that Trutanich's entire case against sales is severely
flawed, based on an extremely strained interpretation of the law and the
plain meaning of the statute, and backed up by cherry-picked case
law," said James Shaw, the organization' s director.

Americans for Safe Access, a national organization that has been
involved in many major medical marijuana legal cases, also threatened to

"The city attorney has consistently argued that medical marijuana
sales are illegal," said Joe Elford, the group's chief counsel.
"Neither the Los Angeles city attorney nor the City Council has the
right to ban activity that is protected under state law."

-- John Hoeffel

http://latimesblogs .latimes. com/lanow/ 2009/11/medical- marijuana. html

Long Beach Pro Marijuana Editorial

Medical Marijuana: The Bigger Picture

by John Greet
Our Liberty

On November 10 the City Council took up the question of medical
marijuana once again. Like so many other communities in California, Long
Beach has necessarily been struggling with the minutiae of this
challenge… trying to balance the medical needs of legitimate
patients as defined by Prop 215 – as well as other legislation and
case law – with the legitimate concerns of the rest of the community
while trying to remain within the confines of other relevant laws
concerning marijuana cultivation, possession, transfer and use.

If you have the patience, and about 3 1/2 hours, I encourage our readers
to view the Council's most recent deliberations and related public
comment here, (scroll down to and click on Agenda Item 10, which
commences at time stamp: 00:40:10 on the video).

Our Council and many others, including yours truly, have been debating,
both here and elsewhere, everything from what a legitimate (in full
compliance with all applicable laws) medical marijuana operation should
be called to how many feet they should be located from schools,
residential areas and even from one another.

We've talked about the appropriate amount of medicine such
operations should keep on-hand and whether it should be grown only
on-site or can be cultivated elsewhere for use by the members of the

There are many details to consider… many individual preferences to
be balanced, one against the other. It's so very easy to get, if
you'll pardon the expression, "lost in the weeds" of this
particular public policy challenge.

In this column, however, I'd like to try to take a step or two back
and try to focus a little bit more on the bigger picture… that of an
individual's right to choose his or her own destiny and to pursue
happiness, however one might define that, while remaining, as we
certainly must, answerable and responsible to the rule of law… the
primary means by which a society asserts its collective values and

Many involved in this debate ask why anyone should care one way or
another whether anyone else chooses to use marijuana, for any reason.
They can cite for us study after study from organizations and credible
research institutions with which they agree and that play up the
blessings of marijuana while playing down its curses.

These arguments, while seemingly sterile and academic, often fall far
short of being fully convincing because other studies by other
organizations and institutions, equally credible, reach different,
though equally academic, conclusions.

The lack of definitive clinical consensus either way only serves to fuel
the fires of debate on, and from, both sides of the issue.

To a certain degree I am in full agreement with marijuana advocates.
Not, like so many of them, because I use marijuana, like it and want to
be able to do so without fear of criminal sanction but, rather, because
I believe adults should be considered to be the owners of their own
bodies and, as such, should be able to do whatever they like with them
so long as it doesn't harm or adversely effect others. For the same
reason that adults should be permitted to commit suicide if that is
truly their wish, adults should be permitted to ingest whatever
substance they like so long as they are willing to accept the full and
personal consequences of doing so and are not harming or otherwise
adversely impacting others.

This is the essence of personal liberty, after all; that a free people
in a well ordered and civil society should have both the right to make
personal choices about their own lives and the responsibility to accept
and deal with the consequences of their choices.

The adage: "Your right to swing your fist stops at someone
else's nose" is applicable here. Because: "Your right to
smoke marijuana, medical or otherwise, should stop when someone else is
harmed or adversely impacted by your doing so". Even our State's
own "Compassionate Use Act", or CUA, agrees on that score.

Unfortunately many in our society are very long on "rights" and
very short on "responsibilities" , hence our system of criminal
and civil laws, that are intended to provide incentive for some to be
responsible – to others if not to themselves – where they
otherwise cannot seem to be and to punish them when they fail of that

Marijuana advocates rightly argue that alcohol can be far more damaging
to a person or to a society, yet it is legal to produce, possess, use,
transport, buy and sell. Beyond being lawful, alcohol is a legitimate
multi-billion dollar annual industry. Many people support themselves and
their families working in the alcohol industry and many nations, states,
counties and cities rely heavily upon the taxes and fees received from
the production, sale and even the consumption of alcohol.

So why the difference?

Simple: Marijuana still exists on the federal drug "Schedule 1"
wherein all drugs reside that Congress has deemed have no legitimate
medicinal value or application. Alcohol, of course, does not exist on
"Schedule 1" nor, indeed, on any federal drug Schedule.

We can argue all day, all night and into tomorrow about why this is and
why marijuana perhaps should not be on Schedule 1 but unless and until
Congress approves transferring marijuana to any other drug schedule,
marijuana will never be able to be prescribed by physicians like many,
many other drugs that seem, at least to me, far more dangerous and prone
to abuse.

It's precisely for this reason that the true and best solution to
this public policy challenge lies at the federal level, rather than at
the State and local levels where places like California pass laws like
the CUA that, in truth, can only "encourage" where the Fed is
concerned; and places like Long Beach where we struggle so as we
currently are on this issue.

In summary, then: People have a right to pursue happiness, however they
might define it, so long as they are not harming or adversely affecting
others in doing so and are otherwise following the law.

In my opinion, smoking marijuana is no more potentially harmful than
drinking alcohol. Although they are different types of drugs both are,
indeed, psychoactive, if in different ways and, in any case, the true
concern is – or should be – abuse, and public impairment, not
use. So perhaps we should be concerning ourselves more with those than
with some of the minutiae previously mentioned.

However, in a well-ordered and civil society we must also endeavor,
always, to follow the law, else our laws become entirely meaningless.
When our laws prove no longer reflective of our values and principles we
must amend or abolish them. Either that or do away with laws altogether
and descend into complete and total anarchy.

But selective enforcement of our federal drug laws, as is the practice
by the Justice Department under our current Chief Executive, is I
believe, inappropriate and undermines the very laws we, as a nation,
once saw fit to enact on this matter. Turning a blind eye to these laws
on a selective basis is, in my opinion, tantamount to public policy
cowardice. I would much prefer our elected and appointed federal
officials demonstrate the courage of their alleged convictions and work
to change these federal laws so that they might be administered in all
states equally, as is right and proper.

In the meantime, however, Long Beach must navigate its way through this
maze of federal, state and case law and establish local regulations for
legitimate medical marijuana operations in our city that the majority of
the electorate can, if not be fully pleased with, at least be able to
live and work with.

I've shared my thoughts with our Council on how this might best be
done. I hope you will also!

John B. Greet is a native resident and employee of the City of Long
Beach. His views and opinions are his own and in no way reflect the
official positions or policies of the City of Long Beach or any of its
Departments, nor are they intended to. John is married with 4 children
and 2 pets; is a military veteran; a community volunteer; and an avid
reader, researcher and freshwater fisherman.

http://www.lbpost. com/john/ 7410

LA City Council To Vote on Marijuana Ordiance Wednesday!

Proposed pot ban is rejected

Decision: City attorney asked to revise ordinance.

By Rick Orlov, Staff Writer
Updated: 11/16/2009 08:26:22 PM PST

Likely delaying passage of a new medical marijuana ordinance, two City
Council committees on Monday rejected the city attorney's call for an
outright ban on over-the- counter cannibis sales.

Members of the council's Public Safety and Planning and Land Use
committees - clearly frustrated by the process - asked City Attorney
Carmen Trutanich to review ordinances in other cities and come back with
a revised ordinance when the full City Council meets Wednesday.

"What I have seen is we are going in circles and are not accomplishing a
damned thing," Councilman Dennis Zine complained during the four-hour

"How can cities like West Hollywood and San Francisco and Oakland have
guidelines for location and security and we can't? It seems like we are
on a merry-go-round. "

If the council does adopt an ordinance Wednesday, it would be the sixth
version in four years.

Previous ordinances have failed to stop the proliferation of
dispensaries - now estimated at 800 or more. Some are located near
schools and residential neighborhoods and have become magnets for crime.

Councilman Bill Rosendahl said the city could drastically reduce the
number of clinics if it follows the ordinance governing clinics in West
Hollywood. That city allows a maximum of four clinics to serve its
population of 39,000. With a population of 4 million and spread out over
498 square miles, Los Angeles would have about 400 under the same model.

"I'm not playing politics with this, nor should our city," Rosendahl
said. "We should be responsible and get something on the books."

The draft ordinance presented Monday by the City Attorney's Office
banned the cash sale of marijuana, a provision that would force many of
city's dispensaries to close down immediately. Instead, the law would
allow cooperatives that would supply medical marijuana to members, who
would contribute services or work to become members.

The two committees amended that version to allow "transactions" among
members, so that some could be paid for cultivating the drug for others.

The latest version still would prohibit the sale of marijuana for profit
but would allow dispensaries to recoup "out-of-pocket costs of their
collective cultivation. "

Zine and Councilman Ed Reyes proposed that "cash contributions,
reimbursements and compensations" be allowed, provided they comply with
state law.

The committees heard from more than 70 people, nearly all opposing the
city attorney's plan.

Don Duncan of Americans for Safe Access said the proposal was too
limiting and went against the recommendations of an advisory group.

"We urge you to take more time and do this right," Duncan said, saying
the city should not try to rush a revised ordinance through on
Wednesday. "Taking one more week to get it right is not asking too

Voters approved Proposition 215 in 1996 to legalize medical marijuana,
but there has been little agreement since about how to regulate
dispensaries. Initially, only individuals were allowed to grow pot, but
the law was amended in 2003 to allow collectives to grow the plants.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown has said medical marijuana
outlets are supposed to operate as nonprofit groups, but few do.

Trutanich and District Attorney Steve Cooley have said most of the pot
shops in the Los Angeles area are in violation of state law.

City News Service contributed to this story.

http://www.dailynew ci_13796824

San Diego Deputy DA Is a Medical Marijuana Patient!!!

Deputy DA May Be Defense Witness In Medical Pot Trial

POSTED: 7:26 pm PST November 16, 2009
UPDATED: 7:41 pm PST November 16, 2009

Watch story video (2:04) -
http://mfile. 12922/wmv/ vod.ibsys. com/2009/ 1117/21634821. 200k.\

SAN DIEGO -- Prosecutors said a San Diego man sold marijuana he obtained
from a medical marijuana collective, 10News reported.

However, for San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, the
prosecution of Jovan Jackson is not just any medical marijuana case.
10News has learned that along with Jackson, a deputy district attorney
was a patient at the collective where Jackson got his medical marijuana.

While the deputy district attorney is not being identified yet, 10News
learned he or she could be called as a defense witness in the case
against Jackson.

"If this lawyer chose one collective over another collective, that
information would, in my opinion, be relevant to a case of this nature,"
said Jackson's attorney, Lance Rogers.

Jackson's trial began Monday in San Diego Superior Court, and medical
marijuana advocate Eugene Davidovich said legitimate medical marijuana
users like Jackson are under siege by the district attorney.

"Patients feel harassed. Patients feel that their rights are not being
respected," said Davidovich.

"He is charged with possession of marijuana for sale … these are
felony offenses," said Rogers.

Jackson, a Navy veteran, could land in prison for several years if found
guilty of the charges.

Jackson, who suffers from chronic jaw pain, was arrested in 2008 after a
series of raids on cannabis collectives in San Diego County. The
collective where he got his medicine has been shut down.

The clinic, where Jackson and more than 1,600 other patients got their
medicine, was located in a Kearny Mesa office complex until September
when it was raided. All that is left is a locked door and a note telling
patients where to call for refills.

A spokesman for the district attorney's office said the office never
comments on cases while they are being tried.

The name of the deputy district attorney who may be called as a witness
is expected to be released Tuesday.

http://www.10news. com/news/ 21634752/ detail.html

Medicann Signs Near OC High School Coming Down

Medical marijuana billboards near school coming down


November 16, 2009 5:15 PM

ANAHEIM - Three billboards located within a block of Magnolia High
school for a network of medical marijuana dispensaries will be removed
and replaced by public service announcements, officials with a billboard
company said today.

The billboards were erected within the past few weeks for MediCann, a
San Francisco-based network of clinics aimed at providing marijuana to
patients suffering from chronic illnesses.

The billboards, located near the corner of Ball Road and Gilbert Street,
originally depicted a man described as a plumber who was able to return
to work after suffering from back pain because he used marijuana. The ad
described the man as "A Typical Stoner," and also said "Marijuana

Those billboard signs were replaced last week by others that just
displayed MediCann, with the company Web site and toll free phone

A MediCann dispensary sits about four miles away on Ball Road and
Anaheim Street.

Mike Cossota, a sales manager with Lamar Advertising, the company that
owns the billboards, said advertisements for MediCann should have never
gone up so close to a school.

MediCann officials did not immediately return phone calls.

Cossota said his company inherited the billboards after Lamar
Advertising took over Vista Media, the billboard company that originally
contracted with MediCann.

"Our company policy is not to have any adult-themed billboards next to
schools or churches," he said. "We are going to take them down within
the next 48 hours."

Cossota said Lamar Advertising, which operates thousands of billboards
across the country, has a policy against placing any advertisements for
alcohol, medical marijuana, or other content not suitable for children
within 1,000 feet of schools or churches.

Lamar Advertising was unaware the billboards it inherited from Vista
Media for MediCann were adjacent to the school, Cossota said.

Linda Padilla, a grandparent of a student at nearby Savanna High School,
said she saw the billboards while driving by and was "outraged."

"My concern was that this advertisement was so close to the school," she
said. "We're trying to send a message to our children that drugs are
bad, but then they see signs like these ones."

Staff writer Mark Eades contributed to this report.

http://www.ocregist billboards- 219682-medicann- school.html

Children With Autism Benefit With Marijuana Treatment

Sam's Story: Medical Marijuana and Autism

November 16, 2009

'Sam' is a 10 year-old boy who lives with his Dad, his Mom, and his
sister Lucy in Northern California. Sam has autism. From age two till
eight, Sam's disorder made him violent and aggressive. His parents Steve
and Angela were truly living a nightmare, every day.

"He got to the point where he was hurting other children, when he was in
school, or in public places, Angela explains to KTLA News. "We'd be in
line at the store, and he'd just bolt and hit another child in the face
without any warning at all."

Sam's Dad remembers all the tough days. "One time he pulled down a TV,
he knocked over furniture. I had to put him in a hold for a whole hour.
His body was just spasming, so I lay there just crying, and holding

Sam's parents worked with expert doctors, who recommended a succession
of conventional prescription medications -- like Risperdal and a host of
others. But Sam just gained 20 pounds... and he became even more

"His behavior was getting worse," Angela recalls. "And we were scared.
He was getting bigger, stronger, now that he was 20 pounds heavier from
the Risperdal."

"It was the saddest thing," Steve says. "The child we'd grown to love
was gone. When you talked to him, looked at him, he'd just disappeared. "

Finally, at their wit's end, and faced with the very real prospect of
needing to institutionalize their son, Sam's parents decided to try
something unconventional. ..and controversial. Last year they began
treating Sam with medical marijuana.

"If you think about it, it's the perfect drug for that kind of behavior,
very calming," Angela says.

Steve and Angela got a recommendation from a medical cannabis doctor.
They told Sam's pediatrician about their plan. And Steve grew Sam's new
medicine in their back yard. From the marijuana flowers Steve grew, he
could make a concentrated form, what people refer to as 'hash.'

Steve showed us a ball of hash, roughly ¾ inch in diameter,
representing roughly four months of doses for Sam. Steve softens the
cannabis with heat, then takes what appears to be just a speck of pot,
Sam's 'dose' for the day.

And from the very start, the cannabis was a godsend for Sam's family.
"The first time we did it, we wanted to see if it would work at all,"
Steve recalls. "It was an amazing experience, I'll never forget it, as
we watched what happened, it was like 'He's back!' It was like all this
anguish, pent-up rage and aggressiveness went away -- it just calmed him

While KTLA visited the family, we watched Steve put Sam's daily dose in
a piece of melon and take it to him. Within roughly 20 minutes, the
effects were clear. Where earlier Sam had been animated and antsy, after
eating his speck of hash Sam became calm, relaxed, and social.

Could Sam's story help others? Respected LA-area pediatrician Chris
Tolcher says we don't know enough about cannabis for kids.

"I think for all the parents out there whose children may have autism,"
Tolcher says, "I think the message here is that this is intriguing
information that needs more research before we can confidently say that
marijuana is a safe and effective treatment for autism complications. "

But for one California family, medical marijuana has literally been an
answer to their prayers and a homecoming for their son. "It was a
medication with the result we'd been hoping for, for so long," Steve

Angela agrees. "He was happy again, smiling, laughing. There was the boy
we'd lost for so long, who we wondered if we'd ever see again.

"It just feels like I have more control to help my son," Steve says. "We
don't depend on doctors, who may have the best intentions, but they
don't know what Sam needs.. I want do what's best for my son. And I'll
do whatever I can for him."

http://www.ktla. com/news/ landing/ktla- sweeps-sams- story,0,1396115. story

Montana Wants to Make Marijuana More Legitimate

Helena facility hopes to make medical marijuana more legitimate

By Eliza Wiley
Independent Record

HELENA — Walking into the Montana Cannabis nursery is surreal, given
America's decades-old war on drugs that hearkens back to the 1936 movie
"Reefer Madness."

At one end of the company's brightly lit warehouse on the outskirts of
Helena, stand about a dozen 5- to 6-foot-tall "mother plants," their
bright green leaves emitting a light, yet distinct marijuana aroma.
Their different genetic strains — Wonder Woman, Diesel, Northern
Lights, Black Skunk, Holy Roller — are written on pieces of tape
attached to each planter.

"These are our thoroughbreds, " attorney Chris Lindsey, a former public
defender and one of four Montana Cannabis founding members, says

Farther down the aisle around 100 marijuana plants sit in pots on
pallets, with watering hoses hanging from the ceiling. These are
smaller, maybe 3 to

4 feet tall, and some are just days away from having their fuzzy buds
harvested, which are what most marijuana users smoke. The Wonder Woman
buds are literally the size of actress Lynda Carter's forearm, while
those on the Northern Lights plants are smaller, more delicate. The
Black Skunk buds are a dark purple and incredibly stinky. Holy Roller is
green with red highlights, emitting an earthy scent.

Around the corner is the on-site kitchen and living quarters, where
gourmet Chef Tim Williams is trying out recipes. All of them involve
marijuana in some form, like the focaccia with pesto, dried tomatoes and
herbs, drizzled with marijuana infused olive oil. Montana Cannabis also
offers marijuana butter that can be added to any favorite recipe, from
cookies to pancakes or used to top toast. Peppermint-flavored cannabis
lip or body balm can be rubbed on lips and muscles. Liquid cannabis
elixirs can be used directly or added to tea. "We're working on
gluten-free and diabetic lines," Williams said. "I'm also working on a
cookie recipe, trying to get them to stay fluffy at this altitude."

The tour ends in the walk-in safe, where six bins hold dozens of bags of
dried buds, vacuum-sealed in half-ounce and 1-ounce baggies that are
ready for sale to medical marijuana patients. Altogether, it's an
operation that many people never thought would see the light of day. And
even though voters overwhelmingly passed a law in Montana in 2004 that
made medical marijuana legal, it's still an under-the-radar business for
most providers.

"Everyone would like to be out in the open, but in the day-to-day
business we keep it pretty quiet," Lindsey notes. "It's an amazing
challenge. We feel like we're always re-engineering the plane in

The Montana Medical Marijuana Act says patients with certain specific,
debilitating medical conditions like cancer, glaucoma, multiple
sclerosis or Crohn's disease, or those who suffer from medical
conditions that cause them chronic pain, severe nausea or seizures, can
possess up to six marijuana plants and 1 ounce of the dried product.

It's common for people seeking medical marijuana to be trying to replace
a narcotic, notes Tom Daubert, another Montana Cannabis co-founder.

A person doesn't get a prescription from a doctor. Instead, the doctor
signs a recommendation and certifies in writing that the patient has a
debilitating medical condition and the benefits of using marijuana for
medical purposes probably outweigh the health risks. The patient then
registers with the state Department of Public Health and Human Services
and pays a $25 fee, with annual updates costing $10. Roy Kemp, in charge
of the registry for the DPHHS, said as of Oct. 22, 4,486 people were
registered as medical marijuana patients in Montana, and he has about
1,000 requests pending.

He added that Montana has 1,402 registered caregivers who can legally
provide medical marijuana to the registered patients.

In the past few weeks, he's gotten anywhere from 168 to 497 registry
requests each week.

"I just received 300 alone on Monday and Tuesday this week," he said on
Friday. "I don't know why, but I assume there's either greater access to
physicians or people are just more aware of the program."

It seems pretty straightforward. But it's not. While more than 220
physicians in Montana are registered with the state to participate in
the program, Lindsey noted that some physicians aren't comfortable
making recommendations. Ron Hull, a doctor at Helena's Pain Management
Clinic, falls into that category. "I'm trying to be open-minded about
it, but I tell people that in my heart, I'm not sure that's what they
should be doing," Hull said. "Everybody has the right to make their
choice, but I'm waiting for some kind of endorsement by national medical
societies that treat chronic pain."

But he will refer patients to physicians who are ready to make

Yet even after a person is recommended and registered, it can be
difficult to find medical marijuana. It's still considered a Schedule 1
drug by the federal government, so it's not like patients can pick it up
at a pharmacy. Marijuana doesn't grow naturally in Montana, either, so
someone, somewhere, had to bring it into the Treasure State —
potentially a federal offense by crossing state lines.

Patients who finally find plants face new challenges. Different stages
of growth need different amounts of light to produce buds. Stressing the
plants by too much or too little water or heat can cause the typically
female plants to sprout male flowers that produce seeds, and different
strains can inadvertently get mixed together. The wrong bugs, like
spider mites, can be deadly. And you have to know how to either grow
seeds or take cuttings to get new plants, since the final product is the
dried-out plant.

That's where organizations like Montana Cannabis come in. The law
provides for a caregiver to either provide plants to patients or sell
them up to an ounce.

But that doesn't mean it's easy for them either.

"It's like any type of farming; you get little setbacks, like for us,
the light changed sooner than we wanted this year and we had to make
some changes quickly," said Chris Williams, another company co-founder
and the operation's resident farmer. "We can't get crop insurance, apart
from fire damage."

It's not easy to find a landlord willing to house a marijuana nursery.
Montana Cannabis was rejected by one local bank that didn't want to be
associated with their industry. They can't take credit cards. And they
have to hand-deliver their marijuana to patients throughout Big Sky
Country — UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service won't touch their

They can have six plants for every patient for whom they are a
registered caregiver. But while every plant has an "owner" in a sense,
multiple people may be using buds from the same plant.

Those buds can only be harvested once the plant dies and is dried out,
so caregivers like Montana Cannabis need to have a steady source of
plants in various stages of growth.

Those thoroughbred "mother plants" fill the bill. Chris Williams takes
small cuttings and puts them in an "aeroponic" mini-greenhouse, where
they're misted until they grow roots. At that point, they're considered
one of the six plants a patient can own. They're eventually potted as

Because of the constant rotation, and the thin line between being seen
as a legal business and a black-market drug dealer, Montana Cannabis is
meticulous about its record keeping.

Chris Williams walks over to a wall filled with charts, and grabs one.

"We have every plant in the batch listed and the total number of plants.
Every time they're even watered we write it down. We know the nutrient
levels, the air temperatures. We can track our plant numbers directly to
a patient," he says, flipping through the pages. "I hope to use bar
codes in the future, so when an officer comes in we can pull up the
inventory on a computer screen.

"We want law enforcement to know that this is the 5 percent of the
market that is legitimate. I'm sure it's hard for them to walk in here
and not think they've hit the jackpot."

The group adds that they're adamant about security. They don't want
somebody breaking in to steal their product, so at least one person, and
often more, are on site 24/7. They also take additional precautions, but
don't want to delve into those.

Sarah Baugh in Billings is a Montana Cannabis patient who suffers from
epileptic seizures and wasn't getting much relief from pharmaceuticals.

"I was having grand mal seizures. They're very violent; you flip around,
go rigid, you drool ... it looks like you're dying," Baugh said. "I was
having up to 12 petit mal and grand mal seizures a day."

A friend recommended she try marijuana, and it seemed to help. So Baugh
asked several local physicians to give her a recommendation so she could
legally obtain medical marijuana.

"They weren't very willing, so I contacted Montana NORML — the
National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws — and let them know
what was going on," Baugh said. "They put me in touch with Montana

She says she hasn't had a violent seizure for months.

"I'm using their medical strains, and love Capital Granddad. It's good
all day," Baugh said. "That company has been really good to me, and
helped me change my life."

But she, like many other patients, doesn't openly smoke marijuana in
public because of the societal stigmas still attached to it —
stigmas they hope will someday fade. That stigma is one reason why
Montana Cannabis doesn't or advertise its wares have a sign at its

"You find yourselves wanting to be a legitimate business, but feel
sometimes like a black-market dealer," Chris Williams said. "Sometimes
you have to meet someone in a parking lot. People don't like placing
orders over the phone."

"I was with a new patient once, sitting in a restaurant and pulled out
the medicine, and the patient goes `What are you doing?' " Daubert
added, laughing. "The restaurant knew what I was doing there and didn't
care, but the patient was a little nervous."

http://www.mtstanda 2009/11/17/ state/hjjaiiicjh ejhd.txt

Ex US Attorney Wants To Change Marijuana Laws

Ex-U.S. attorney: Time to change pot laws


Last updated November 16, 2009 11:32 p.m. PT

Three years ago, former U.S. Attorney John McKay was somewhere near the
front lines of the nation's drug war.

Directing federal prosecutions in Western Washington before he was fired
in 2006 by the administration that appointed him, McKay's office sent
marijuana smugglers and farmers to prison on decade-long terms. It
indicted a loudmouth Canadian pro-pot activist for selling cannabis
seeds by mail order.

So the crowd at an Edmonds auditorium could have been forgiven its
surprise on Monday when McKay stood on stage with travel author and
decriminalization advocate Rick Steves and declared that, of course, he
is "against stupid laws."

"I think there has to be a shift in the paradigm," said McKay, now a
professor at Seattle University. "The correct policy change would be a
top-to-bottom review of the nation's drug laws."

McKay joined a panel as part of an effort by Steves and the American
Civil Liberties Union to, in their view, return rationality to
discussions about the nation's drug laws. They were joined there by Egil
"Bud" Krogh, a former official in the Nixon White House who gained
notoriety during the Watergate scandal, and state Rep. Mary Helen
Roberts, an Edmonds Democrat who joked Monday about being dubbed by her
colleagues the "Marijuana Queen of Northwest Washington" for her efforts
on medical marijuana law reform.

While the panelists did not agree on all points, each said they see the
need for substantive change in the way marijuana is regulated and
offenders are punished. They also each spoke about the fears, or lack of
courage, of elected officials in addressing issues surrounding the drug.

Steves and the ACLU launched the initiative last year partly as a
response to that fear. The effort, built around an infomercial
"Marijuana: It's Time for a Conversation, " is aimed at encouraging
citizens to discuss the issue openly.

"This is an issue that's scary for people," Steves said. "I have friends
who oppose what I do on this issue because they're worried about their
kids. What they don't understand is that so are we."

Addressing the audience, a group mixed in age and outward appearance,
Roberts argued that the law as it stands takes an unjust toll on
minority communities. In essence, she said, it leaves law enforcement
agencies to pursue people who are easiest to catch while their efforts
could be more productively spent elsewhere.

At the same time, she said, lawmakers -- even those who believe the laws
to be unjust with regard to marijuana -- are afraid of being branded
soft on crime.

"As a community and a society, we're afraid of crime," Roberts said.
"And if what you're doing is being referred to as 'soft on crime,' even
without details, legislators respond negatively to it."

Roberts also said the Legislature must revisit the state's medical
marijuana law, which, in her view, fails to adequately protect patients.

McKay, though, said such changes fail to address the larger problems
with marijuana laws in the country.

Even as the Obama administration has adopted medical marijuana rules
similar to those he advocated while U.S. Attorney -- specifically, that
federal agents not interfere with state medical marijuana regulations --
McKay said that simply having federal agencies ignore the laws enacted
by Congress does not go far enough.

"Federal law makes the possession of any amount of marijuana a crime,"
McKay said. "So, even if you've got a certificate from your doctor, a
federal officer could arrest you. That's just bad policy."

McKay faulted Congress for failing to take initiative on the issue. It
is not the place of federal prosecutors or law officers to make policy,
he said, nor should the White House go it alone.

In the end, he argued, marijuana should not be lumped in with cocaine,
methamphetamine and heroin as part of the war on drugs. Marijuana law,
McKay said, "should look a lot more like alcohol (regulations) and a lot
less like cocaine and methamphetamine (laws)."

Levi Pulkkinen can be reached at 206-448-8348 or
levipulkkinen@ seattlepi. com.

http://www.seattlep 412363_pot16. html

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Michigan's Cannabis College

Michigan's cannabis college is quite a joint

Andrea Billups
Wednesday, November 11, 2009

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. Nearly a year after voters in this economically
disadvantaged state overwhelmingly passed a ballot initiative approving
the consumption of medicinal marijuana, a new trade school has opened
its doors to educate aspiring growers.

Med Grow Cannabis College, located in the Detroit suburb of Southfield,
is set to graduate its first class of students later this month. Its
co-founder and president, Nick Tennant, the 24-year-old son of a General
Motors Corp. employee, said he sees a significant opportunity to teach
standards and safety in an industry that can eventually improve the
state's sagging business climate.

"This is profitable and poised for tremendous growth," Mr. Tennant said.

Although some might jokingly call him the dope dean, Mr. Tennant is
serious, even as his appearance is blond, hip and wholesome.

"A lot of people think you can pick up a book, put some seeds in the
soil, shine some lights and you'll have a crop," he said of the
information needed to grow pot well. "But there are so many variables,
and it's like a trade to grow it -- with skills like a master plumber or
electrician. "

So far, there doesn't seem to be any opposition to this trade school.

In a spacious facility featuring a lab, a classroom and growing rooms,
students take a six-week night course that covers botany, horticulture,
business, law, history -- even cooking with a trained chef who teaches
how pot can be included with such dishes as sushi -- all in an effort to
cultivate quality medical-grade marijuana.

Roger McDaniel, a disabled carpenter and former semitrailer mechanic,
and his wife, Valeri, from Taylor, Mich., are taking the classes. They
said the education is far more in-depth than they ever imagined.

Mr. McDaniel, 53, who was injured in a motorcycle accident, said
marijuana has helped ease his symptoms in a more natural way than
prescription medications. He and his wife enjoy gardening and said the
course work is an extension of their interests as well as a way to
improve their quality of life.

"Instead of living on all these pills, the Vicodins and Lortabs that
tear up your insides, this gives you the pain relief and you are not
damaging your body with all these chemicals," Mr. McDaniel said of his
medical marijuana use.

Most surprising about the classes? "The whole walk of folks we've come
across there," Mrs. McDaniel said. "It's just a real mesh of people -
from young folks to people our age."

Perry Belcher, who lives near Flint, Mich., teaches the History of
Cannabis class at Med Grow and said he's interested in providing facts
-- not talking politics -- even as the issue has divided the nation.

"As a patient, I can testify to the results of this," he said. "I want
to make sure that they get the best knowledge."

Mr. Belcher added that marijuana has been used medicinally since 6000
B.C. and by many cultures around the world. But he said only in the 20th
century did it become a prohibition issue and was demonized as harmful.
Now, he said, with more states enacting medical marijuana laws, the
culture around its importance medically is changing.

"The first part of my class is called the pros and cons," he said. "I
let people make the decision on their own on whether they feel this is
right or not."

Mr. Tennant, a native of Center Line, Mich., came up with the idea for
Med Grow in April with the intention to launch a school where aspiring
growers could learn the right way to cultivate clean, high-quality pot.
By May, he and partner Nathan Johnston, who serves as the school's
director of horticulture, had a business plan to go along with their
entrepreneurial drive.

After advertising in area publications and through social networking
sites, the first class of 30 students began on Sept. 14 in an office
that was transformed into a classroom, where students could train on
high-tech equipment. Courses are held on weeknights from 6 to 10 p.m.,
and the cost of the class is $475.

Among the members of Med Grow's first class are two reverends, including
one minister who works in an AIDS ministry and wanted to learn more
about how marijuana can ease symptoms of that disease.

Mr. Tennant said interest is high as more patients and caregivers
embrace the new Michigan law, which was passed 63 percent to 37 percent
by statewide ballot initiative in November 2008 and is being watched by
advocates in other Midwestern states. It allows patients who have
received a doctor's permission to legally possess 2.5 ounces of medical
marijuana and to keep 12 marijuana plants for their personal use. It
also allows residents to apply to be caregivers who can grow and
distribute marijuana for up to five people who have state permits to use

Through Oct. 1, more than 6,500 Michigan residents have received
state-issued permits to grow and use marijuana to help alleviate
symptoms of certain medical problems, according to the Michigan
Department of Community Health. Spokesman James McCurtis Jr. said his
agency is receiving 59 applications for permits per day and that number
is rising.

Med Grow is not the nation's first marijuana growing school.
California's Oaksterdam University was founded in 2007 and has campuses
in Oakland, Los Angeles and North Bay, where students are taught growing
techniques as well as the business of the marijuana industry.

Greg Francisco, executive director of the Michigan Medical Marijuana
Association, said that he, too, is involved with teaching courses as
part of a traveling seminar series from the North American Cultivator
College. He travels across the state to teach seminars with a
credentialed faculty much the same as those at Med Grow.

"Teaching is really important," Mr. Francisco said. "People really want
to know how they can grow this medicine and help patients."

http://www.washingt news/2009/ nov/11/michigans -cannabis- colle\
ge-is-quite- a-joint/

AMA Goes Pro-Pot!

Medical marijuana gets a boost from major doctors group

The American Medical Assn. changes its policy to promote clinical
research and development of cannabis-based medicines and alternative
delivery methods.

By John Hoeffel
November 11, 2009

The American Medical Assn. on Tuesday urged the federal government to
reconsider its classification of marijuana as a dangerous drug with no
accepted medical use, a significant shift that puts the prestigious
group behind calls for more research.

The nation's largest physicians organization, with about 250,000 member
doctors, the AMA has maintained since 1997 that marijuana should remain
a Schedule I controlled substance, the most restrictive category, which
also includes heroin and LSD.

In changing its policy, the group said its goal was to clear the way to
conduct clinical research, develop cannabis-based medicines and devise
alternative ways to deliver the drug.

"Despite more than 30 years of clinical research, only a small number of
randomized, controlled trials have been conducted on smoked cannabis,"
said Dr. Edward Langston, an AMA board member, noting that the limited
number of studies was "insufficient to satisfy the current standards for
a prescription drug product."

The decision by the organization' s delegates at a meeting in Houston
marks another step in the evolving view of marijuana, which an AMA
report notes was once linked by the federal government to homicidal
mania. Since California voters approved the use of medical marijuana in
1996, marijuana has moved steadily into the cultural mainstream spurred
by the growing awareness that it can have beneficial effects for some
chronically ill people.

This year, the Obama administration sped up that drift when it ordered
federal narcotics agents not to arrest medical-marijuana users and
providers who follow state laws. Polls show broadening support for
marijuana legalization.

Thirteen states allow the use of medical marijuana, and about a dozen
more have considered it this year.

The AMA, however, also adopted as part of its new policy a sentence that
admonishes: "This should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based
medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that
scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current
standards for a prescription drug product."

The association also rejected a proposal to issue a more forceful call
for marijuana to be rescheduled.

Nevertheless, marijuana advocates welcomed the development. "They're
clearly taking an open-minded stance and acknowledging that the evidence
warrants a review. That is very big," said Bruce Mirken, a spokesman for
the Marijuana Policy Project. "It's not surprising that they are moving
cautiously and one step at a time, but this is still a very significant

Advocates also noted that the AMA rejected an amendment that they said
would have undercut the medical marijuana movement. The measure would
have made it AMA's policy that "smoking is an inherently unsafe delivery
method for any therapeutic agent, and therefore smoked marijuana should
not be recommended for medical use."

Dr. Michael M. Miller, a psychiatrist who practices addiction medicine,
proposed the amendment. "Smoking is a bad delivery system because you're
combusting something and inhaling it," he said.

Reaction from the federal government was muted.

Dawn Dearden with the Drug Enforcement Administration said: "At this
point, it's still a Schedule I drug, and we're going to treat it as
such." The Food and Drug Administration declined to comment.

In a statement, the office of the White House drug czar reiterated the
administration' s opposition to legalization and said that it would defer
to "the FDA's judgment that the raw marijuana plant cannot meet the
standards for identity, strength, quality, purity, packaging and
labeling required of medicine."

The DEA classifies drugs into five schedules, with the fifth being the
least-restrictive. Schedule II drugs, such as cocaine and morphine, are
considered to have a high potential for abuse, but also to have accepted
medical uses.

Several petitions have been filed to reschedule marijuana. The first,
filed in 1972, bounced back and forth between the DEA and the courts
until it died in 1994. A petition filed in 2002 is under consideration.

Kris Hermes, a spokesman for Americans for Safe Access, said that
advocates hoped the petition would receive more attention. "Given the
change of heart by the AMA, there is every opportunity for the Obama
administration to do just that," he said.

In a report released with its new policy, the AMA notes that the
organization was "virtually alone" in opposing the first federal
restrictions on marijuana, which were adopted in 1937. Cannabis had been
used in various medicinal products for years, but fell into disuse in
the early 20th century.

Sunil Aggarwal, a medical student at the University of Washington,
helped spark the AMA's reconsideration after he researched marijuana's
effect on 186 chronically ill patients. "I had reason to believe that
there was medical good that could come from these products, and I wanted
to see AMA policy reflect that," he said.

The AMA is not the only major doctors organization to rethink marijuana.
Last year, the American College of Physicians, the second-largest
physician group, called for "rigorous scientific evaluation of the
potential therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana" and an
"evidence-based review of marijuana's status as a Schedule I controlled

Last month, the California Medical Assn. passed resolutions that
declared the criminalization of marijuana "a failed public health
policy" and called on the organization to take part in the debate on
changing current policy.


http://www.latimes. com/news/ nationworld/ nation/la- na-marijuana- ama11-200\
9nov11,0,3003312. story

UK Scientist Who Criticized Goverment Marijuana Policy Fired!!

Drug adviser sacking was "humiliation" , says colleague

The sacking of the Government's chief drugs adviser was an "unnecessary
humiliation" and shows that political expediency "rules the roost", a
leading scientist who quit over the affair has warned.

By Tom Whitehead, Home Affairs Editor
Published: 2:55PM GMT 11 Nov 2009

Dr Simon Campbell resigned from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of
Drugs on Tuesday after Professor David Nutt was forced to step down for
criticising Government policy, especially relating to cannabis.

He was one of three advisers to go this week taking the total of those
who have resigned in support of Prof Nutt to five.

Dr Campbell, a synthetic organic chemist, said: "I think that was a
clash of personalities. I don't agree with the manner in which he was
dismissed. I think such an abrupt dismissal was an unnecessary
humiliation for such a respected scientist."

Asked about the Government's attitude to science, he added: "I think the
Home Secretary will listen to what the council says but at the end of
the day I think political expediency rules the roost."

Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, dismissed Prof Nutt after accusing him
of "crossing a line" into politics, especially after he criticised the
decision to reclassify cannabis as class B, against ACMD advice.

Dr Campbell said: "When we made our recommendation on cannabis we saw no
reason to change the classification and yet the government has already
decided to move from Class C to Class B.

"That can only be because the government saw it as a votes-catching

Dr John Marsden and Dr Ian Ragan also resigned from the council this
week despite a crunch meeting with Mr Johnson.

The meeting had been called because members of the advisory body wanted
reassurances from the Home Secretary that they could continue in "good
conscience" and that their advice would be respected.

Mr Johnson has said a joint code between Government and scientists,
proposed by the Royal Society, was being considered by Prime Minister
Gordon Brown and the Government's chief scientific adviser.

http://www.telegrap newstopics/ politics/ lawandorder/ 6545069/\
Drug-adviser- sacking-was- humiliation- says-colleague. html

AMA Wants Federal Government to Review Marijuana Scheduling and Restrictions

AMA Calls for Feds to Review Marijuana Restrictions

Posted by Stephanie Condon
November 11, 2009 10:36 AM

(CBS) The American Medical Association on Tuesday adopted a resolution
calling for the government to review its classification of marijuana, in
order to ease the way for more research into the use of medical

While the AMA, the largest physician's organization in the U.S.,
explicitly states it does not endorse any current state-based medical
marijuana programs or the legalization of marijuana, the move is a
significant shift that continues a trend toward support for easing
restrictions against the drug.

"Our American Medical Association (AMA) urges that marijuana's status as
a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of
facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of
cannabinoid- based medicines," the AMA's statement (PDF) reads. "This
should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis
programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on
the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a
prescription drug product."

Marijuana is currently classified by the federal government as a
"Schedule I" controlled substance, the most restrictive of five
categories. Schedule I substances are considered to have a high
potential for abuse, no accepted medical use and a lack of accepted
safety for use of the drug. Other drugs in that category include heroin,
LSD and PCP. Less restrictive "Schedule II" substances include cocaine
and methamphetamine.

Previously, the AMA recommended marijuana remain a Schedule I controlled
substance, but it now believes the substance deserves more clinical

"Despite more than 30 years of clinical research, only a small number of
randomized, controlled trials have been conducted on smoked cannabis,"
Dr. Edward Langston, an AMA board member, told the Los Angeles Times.
Limited studies, he said, are "insufficient to satisfy the current
standards for a prescription drug product."

The White House drug czar's office gave a muted response to the AMA's
recommendation, the LA Times reports, saying it would defer to "the
FDA's judgment that the raw marijuana plant cannot meet the standards
for identity, strength, quality, purity, packaging and labeling required
of medicine."

While the Obama administration opposes legalization of marijuana, the
Justice Department last month announced it would no longer pursue
prosecution for state-sanctioned medical marijuana sales. As many as 13
states now allow the use of medical marijuana.

The debate over whether to legalize marijuana all together seems to be
gaining steam. A Gallup poll last month showed a record 44 percent of
Americans now support legalizing marijuana. Meanwhile, California
residents may get to vote on a 2010 ballot measure to legalize the drug
in the state.

http://www.cbsnews. com/blogs/ 2009/11/11/ politics/ politicalhotshee t/entry\