Category Archives: Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana

Poll Reveals Where Floridians Stand on Medical Marijuana Amendment

According to a University of North Florida press release, a new statewide poll reveals that 67 percent of likely voters responded that they would vote “yes” for Amendment 2, which would allow the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating illnesses or diseases, if recommended by a licensed physician.

However, as reported by the Jacksonville Business Journal, Floridians are not yet ready to fully end marijuana prohibition. Although they are more open to allowing the use of medical marijuana, they are more or less opposed to allowing the recreational use of the substance. The poll demonstrates that the percentage of likely voters who are against allowing adults in Florida to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for recreational use is at 53 percent.

Below are the full results:

Amendment 2 on the statewide ballot in November is called “Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions.” This amendment allows the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician. If the election were held today, would you vote yes or no for this proposition?

Likely Voters N=  427
Yes 67%
No 28%
DK 5%

 

Do you support or oppose allowing adults in Florida to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for recreational use?

Likely Voters N=  423
Support 44%
Oppose 53%
DK 3%

Maryland’s Medical Marijuana Business Seminar

Myfoxdc.com reported on a business seminar sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project and the National Cannabis Industry Association yesterday to educate entrepreneurs about Maryland’s new medical marijuana law and growing industry.

The law allows state residents suffering from certain qualifying conditions to use marijuana, if recommended by a doctor. It also authorizes 15 licensed marijuana cultivators to operate in the state.

“For many patients we know that this is the best treatment for their conditions,” stated Rachelle Yeung, legislative analyst at the Marijuana Policy Project. “Since Maryland is only issuing 15 growing licenses, competition is fierce. This is a serious business,” she said.

Maryland has rules in place covering banking, product safety, and where dispensaries can be located. Put simply, the medical marijuana business industry will be well regulated and efficient. However, for those looking to operate, it will not be an inexpensive business venture. The overall price — including the $125,000 to get in the business, $40,000 to run a dispensary, and up to $6,000 in application fees — amounts to a little less than $200,000.

Jamie Raskin

According to Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin, the high cost helps determine who is serious about entering the medical marijuana industry and financially able to maintain the strictest professional standards. Such requirements were designed by lawmakers to ensure a safe and tightly controlled medical marijuana system, yet there are valid criticisms that they create barriers of entry for poor communities or people who have previously been victimized by the war on marijuana.

Medical marijuana applications for the 15 growing licenses are expected to be collected at the beginning of 2015, and the first patients could start receiving their medication by early 2016.

New Mexico’s State Licensed Medical Marijuana Producers’ Businesses and Bank Accounts in Jeopardy

According to a Drug Policy Alliance press release, just eight short months after the Federal Justice Department and Treasury Department announced new guidelines permitting banks to work with marijuana businesses, credit unions in New Mexico sent letters to nearly half of the state’s licensed medical marijuana producers stating that they will no longer accept their business and will proceed with closing their bank accounts.

The credit unions attest that they are unable to adhere to federal guidelines for servicing the medical marijuana business accounts. This move forces producers to operate on a cash-only payment system or leaves producers struggling to find another financial institution that is willing to accept their business.

Emily Kaltenbach

“It is disappointing to see that the banking industry in New Mexico is failing to protect medical patients and small businesses in light of the assurances the federal administration has provided and a robust and thriving medical marijuana industry in the state,” said Emily Kaltenbach, state director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “This abrupt move has all of us asking why they are unexpectedly ceasing to do business with the marijuana industry in New Mexico. We would like to know why they are unable to comply with the federal guidelines.”

Ultimately, these legitimate medical marijuana businesses are being denied the same financial services afforded to other industries in every state, despite generating large amounts of tax revenue, particularly in Colorado and Washington. In the meantime, beginning today, all medical marijuana business transactions in New Mexico will be cash-only.

New York Requests Federal Permission to Import Out-of-State Medical Marijuana

According to WSHU.org, New York’s health department is asking permission from the federal government to import out-of-state medical marijuana until its own program is able complete the regulatory process.

The program requires the health department to establish rules and license marijuana production companies. The health department, however, says that it will take until 2016 to get the program started.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Until then, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has requested the Department of Justice to permit importation of medical marijuana from states with existing functional programs.

Although the federal government could potentially grant such a waiver, or simply exercise prosecutorial discretion, patients in the Empire State should not hold their breath.

MPP’s Rachelle Yeung says the federal government has been slow to recognize the medical benefits of marijuana, and that Gov. Cuomo has been equally slow to implement medical marijuana.

“I don’t want to speculate as to his motivations, but as governor of the state of New York, there are ways to expedite the process without asking for special permission from the federal government.”

Furthermore, Yeung relays that it typically takes years for the federal government to allow researchers access to medical marijuana. To avoid this delay, she and other marijuana advocacy groups are urging Cuomo’s administration to accelerate the regulatory and production processes within the state.

Pennsylvania Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

The Associated Press reported that Pennsylvania state senators approved legislation yesterday that, if enacted, would make several forms of medical marijuana legal, including extracted oil, edible products, and ointments and tinctures, to patients with debilitating medical conditions.

According to the proposal, Pennsylvania residents would need an access card from the health department upon proving a practitioner-patient relationship and written confirmation of a qualifying medical condition.

However, even if the legislation does pass, it would exclude most patients and would not allow them to use marijuana in the way that best works for their preferences and conditions; both vaporizing and smoking marijuana would be forbidden. The list of approved conditions is also extremely narrow and does not include severe pain.

“It is cruel and heartless to deny people the best medicine that is available,” Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) said during the floor debate. “And it’s time to stop treating this irrationally and saying, ‘we’re not going to let you have this, we’re going to instead make you take far more dangerous and less effective drugs.’ That’s just not how we would want to be treated; it’s not how we want our families to be treated.”

Despite these limitations, passage of this legislation would still be a step in the right direction for the state. Citizens of Pennsylvania should encourage their representatives to enact a bill that will benefit vast numbers of suffering patients, as well as allow patients to use marijuana in the way that best suits their preferences and conditions. If you are a citizen of Pennsylvania, please pass this message on to family and friends and help spread awareness concerning the issue.