Tag Archives: marijuana

Florida Medical Marijuana Update

SOUTH FLORIDA WILL HAVE LOTS OF CERTIFIED DOCTORS WHO WILL BE ABLE TO PRESCRIBE MEDICAL MARIJUANA

Taken from Sun-Sentinel:

Hundreds of doctors in Florida are now certified since June 16th, who are able to  recommend medical marijuana for patients, and one of the biggest concentrations is in South Florida.

The state is moving forward to implement a constitutional amendment approved by voters; however, patients in some parts of the state have no access and insurance does not cover marijuana, so poorer patients could be priced out of the market.

  • State lawmakers eliminated the original 90 day waiting period to get medical marijuana;
  • There are now 957 doctors in Florida qualified to recommend medical marijuana, with 357 of them in South Florida;
  • Monroe county has the most certified doctors, with one for every 8,208 residents in the county;
  • Of Florida’s 30 largest cities, Boca Raton has the state’s highest per capita number of certified doctors;
  • Doctors “recommend” marijuana rather than “prescribe” it, because it is a federally-controlled substance.

HOW CAN I GET IT?

Patients must have a qualifying ailment.  Those include cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, ALS, Crohn’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or “other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class,” per the amendment’s language.

To find a local doctor, go to http://SunSentinel.com/marijuanadoctors

You can also go to Floridahealth.gov, or call the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use at 850-245-4657.

Patients can receive a 70-day supply at a time.  When that is exhausted, they must get another recommendation, which can be phoned in.  After 30 weeks, patients must once again see their doctor in person.

A typical in-person visit costs about $250.  Patients must also pay a $75 fee for their medical marijuana card; then, there’s the cost of the marijuana which ranges from about $100 to $200 for a 70-day supply.

At his Boca Raton clinic, one doctor treats about 50 patients.  He has used the law’s “other debilitating medical conditions” provission to prescribe (recommend) marijuana for auto-immune diseases similar to Crohn’s, severe arthritis and chronic pain from nervous system damage.

A photo ID is required on the card in order to be placed on the state registry, and there has been a steady increase in the volume of applications since Amendment 2 went into effect.

There are now 12 growers and there will be 5 more added in October.  They agree they have enough capacity to supply patient demand.

 

[ Header image from http://www.freewebheaders.com ]

[ Image from bingdotcom ]

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Assuring Quality and Standards in the Cannabis Laboratory

Question:  How can a medicinal marijuana patient or a recreational user have assurances that the cannabis product he/she is purchasing is safe and is actually the one prescribed or desired, no matter in which state the product is purchased?

Answer:  A cannabis chemistry committee was established last year and has now become a subdivision of the American Chemical Society (the largest chemical society in the world).  Of course, this will take work and time in order to establish central cannabis laboratory regulations,  creating precise standards which, hopefully, would eventually require adherence to by all laboratories.

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According to an article in Culture Magazine, there are no standardized procedures at the present time and this has created a safety concern throughout the cannabis industry as well as for the users of the cannabis products.  Standard methods of production and screening for pesticides is a great concern.  The formation of this subdivision, under the jurisdiction of the Chemical Health and Safety division, is a progressive step in the direction of safety for the cannabis industry.

 

New Jersey Has The Right Idea

 

Today, the State of New Jersey’s Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding its first hearing on the legalization of marijuana in the state.

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This progressive action could be a possible standard for all states who are starting to realize the reality of the use of marijuana by its citizens.  With this attitude, otherwise law-abiding citizens will not have their lives ruined by having to face arrest if caught using or carrying a small amount.

If this action by New Jersey comes to fruition (legalization of marijuana), they will be joining Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Alaska and the District of Columbia in the expanding circle of states who have come to the realization that the push for legalization of marijuana is a sensible, growing “grass” root movement.

The taxation will contribute to infrastructure repair and upgrades, drug and alcohol abuse programs, and regulation of marijuana could be handled the same as adult alcohol consumption.  It’s a “no-brain-er.”

The benefits to the average citizen’s life who uses marijuana, will mean:

  • no criminal record;
  • no legal discrimination;
  • no difficulty to secure employment or housing;
  • no difficulty to obtain student loans or drivers’ licenses;
  • no stigma or embarrassment;
  • no need to hire an attorney;
  • no lost hours from work or school and
  • no more 3 times more arrests of people of color for possession than for whites.

The benefits to the state with legalization of marijuana would be:

  • no more arrests for possession, saving the state over $100M a year;
  • police resources would be free to handle serious criminal issues;
  • an increase of the budget for important state issues without increasing or perhaps even lowering state taxes.

Making it legal in New Jersey will allow regulated, safe marijuana to be available, taking it off the black market where quality and safety is always in question.

The committee will be listening to testimony on taxation, legalization and regulation.  The testimonials will be given by experts who have been invited to the hearings.  The names of those people have not been disclosed at this time.

[Image and inspiration for this post is from “The Weed Blog.”]

Out Of The Mouth Of A Marijuana User

 

Cyd Maura, is a responsible woman, a marijuana user, well educated, and no one would ever think she was a “stoner.”

Her short video explains her experiences and beliefs:

 

Amid All The Issues Before Congress, Marijuana Has Made A Step Forward

 

Marijuana’s path toward a potential federal approval or decriminalization has not been easy and signs of further difficulties are apparent.  It could be years before researchers and drug companies feel comfortable with the results of their completed trials and experimentation and those in the future. As you might be aware, the cannabis these drug companies use for their experiments are provided by our Federal government which is grown in VERY SECRET farms.

One pharmaceutical company has discovered in excess of five dozen cannabinoids it hopes to use to help cure a number of chronic and/or serious diseases.

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Due to the fact that our Federal government lists marijuana as an illicit drug, and until that changes, the research by drug companies will basically slow down because of the legal stumbling blocks in their path, and more importantly, the costs.

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Surprisingly, Congress, just recently passed legislation that hopefully, will protect businesses that legally sell marijuana in states that have passed marijuana legislation, from any interference and/or prosecution by federal agencies.

Is there an important possible stumbling block to becoming law?  Yes.  The bill passed by Congress has to be signed into law by President Obama.

[images from bingdotcom]

 

 

 

 

 

At 12:01am Today, Marijuana Became Legal in Washington DC

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Our nation’s capital city has come over to the legalization of “pot.”  This is a “huge symbolic conquest” for decriminalizing the use of marijuana in the United States.  Please see article on ReverbPress.

Of course, there are limitations:

“Residents will be allowed to own three plants and possess up to 2 ounces of pot for use at home. Buying and selling, as well as using marijuana in public, will remain illegal.”

The legalization of marijuana in Washington DC came about through a voter-approved initiative.  Mayor Bowser and the city officials could face charges and prison time for pushing this initiative through.  Nearly two-thirds of the voters in DC approved it in November’s election.

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Congress, in its inevitable procrastination wisdom, tried to kill the initiative by trying to ban the funding for regulation of marijuana in the capital city.  But, Congress’ action was too late. The voters had already decided.

“There was a major reason behind the successful referendum to legalize marijuana in DC, and its imminent implementation.”

There is great significance in DC’s actions.  The prohibition and criminalization of marijuana possession affected citizens’ civil rights.  People of color were arrested three times more frequently than whites for possession.

The demand from the voters was so overwhelming, that in comparing the defunding vs the legalization of marijuana, the City Council  decided to not stand in the way of the voters’ wishes.

“Attorney General Eric Holder has presided over the first significant decline in the crime rate and the prison population in decades, and it is time for Washington to consider shutting down the ‘drug war’ machine that systematically ruins the lives of black people.”

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The District of Columbia is the first place east of the Mississippi River where recreational pot is legal. Alaska also legalized pot this week, joining Colorado and Washington state.

Congress still might sue the City and the Justice Department is threatening to prosecute the DC officials … and Congress continues to huff and puff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charlotte’s Web In Florida – Maybe Not So Quick

An article that appeared in Sunday’s Local section of the Sun-Sentinel is about an action that the Florida legislature has taken that I did not know about before.

The Florida Department of Health has been “mum” since a law was approved last spring, creating an Office of Compassionate Use.  This Office is charged with working out regulations for up to five Florida plant nurseries to grow and process “Charlotte’s Web” marijuana and then make it available to eligible patients.

Paige Figi, the mother of the child for whom Charlotte’s Web was named, testified before the Florida legislature:

Her daughter Charlotte, had her first seizure at 3 months.  It lasted four hours.  Doctors later diagnosed her with Dravet syndrome.  Racked by seizures, she was unable to eat, walk or talk.

Now, after nearly two years on “Charlotte’s Web,” she can talk, eat on her own and even ride a bike.  Her story was featured in a CNN special, “Weed,” by Dr. Sanjay Gupta last year.

“We are just asking for leniency to treat these children,” Figi said.  “Doctors are telling their patients to move to Colorado.  We don’t have time to wait 10 years for a pill to go to market.”

char web

Thanks to the advocacy of patients and their families, and of lobbyists, one of which is Louis Rotundo, who represents the Winter Park-based Florida Medical Cannabis Association, the Florida legislature made the decision to push through a law.

This law is in limbo now, due to the judicial consideration of regulations of the plant nurseries.  The law, which was approved last spring, under which the Department of Health was expected to have rules in place by Sept. 30th, has been placed on the back burner.

A judge, last month, ordered the Florida Department of Health to rewrite its regulations for an oil made from the non-euphoric cannabis, “Charlotte’s Web,” that can be “used to treat epilepsy and other neurological disorders and cancer.”

The Department of Health has kept this ruling under wraps, and the Department was given until Monday to appeal the judge’s order.

The delay occurred due to the challenging of several Florida nurseries about the requirement of one of Florida’s proposed rules:  licenses would be decided by a lottery.  This challenge sent the matter into court, and Administrative Law Judge W. David Watkins in Tallahassee, threw out the proposed regulations.

At the beginning of the year, Florida lawmakers were already considering legislating a law to allow medical marijuana in the state.

“We want to be on the right side of history and medicine,” said Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, after a hearing in Tallahassee held by the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice. “The work begins today to take into account the pleas of people all around the state to do something and do it quickly, to make sure these individuals can gain access to the safest treatment without playing politics or hiding behind antiquated arguments.”

Well, it looks like quick access is a dream for the parents of children suffering seizures, and for patients for whom the cannabis oil will make their lives better.  The rule for using a lottery to decide which nurseries will plant and grow the marijuana is holding up the relief of a growing number of patients with illnesses that could be helped with the oil.