Category Archives: Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana

Rally for Medical Marijuana Bill Held at Pennsylvania Capitol

Pennsylvania lawmakers returned to the Capitol from their summer recess Monday, while medical marijuana supporters rallied for Senate Bill 1182, or the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act. This bill would allow doctors to recommend extracted oil, edible products, ointments, and other marijuana-based products to patients with debilitating medical conditions.

Sen. Daylin Leach

Senate Bill 1182 co-sponsors, Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) and Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware), said their bill could be sent to the floor next week.

“We are so close. We are closer than we have ever been,” stated Senator Leach. “If this runs in the Senate, we get more than 40 votes, and we are promised it will run next week in the Senate. We have counted in the House. There are 203 members. We have counted about 160 yes votes,” he said.

However, although they have gathered enough votes in the House, there is still concern from the Senate that House leadership may block the bill before reaching the floor.

According to Rachelle Yeung, legislative analyst at the Marijuana Policy Project, “We know that there is overwhelming support amongst Pennsylvania voters for medical cannabis, and it’s time for their legislators to step up and really represent the will of the people.”

Sen. Folmer thanked the crowd on the Capitol steps for their grassroots efforts and reassured that they were very close, and that things were looking good.

Following the rally, the group that organized it, Campaign for Compassion, continued their educational efforts by handing out informational packets on medical marijuana and talking to their representatives.

“Hopefully, they will learn this is something Pennsylvania needs and they will stand up and do what is right and put the political horse trading to the side,” said Christine Brann, a Campaign for Compassion ambassador.

 

 

 

 

Ohio Gubernatorial Candidate Supports Medical Marijuana

Eighty-seven percent of Ohio voters think that people should be able to use marijuana as medicine, although nearly all of the currently elected state officials, including Gov. John Kasich, disagree.

However, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, some of the candidates running in November’s election — Ed FitzGerald (D), David Pepper (D), Micah Kamrass (D), and Charlie Winburn (R) — believe marijuana use should be legal with a doctor’s recommendation.

Ed FitzGerald

“There are people that are suffering from conditions that medical marijuana can alleviate, especially those chronic pain types of conditions, “ FitzGerald, struggling Democratic candidate for governor, said in a telephone interview. “I just think that it would show a real lack of compassion if we would continue to deny them that access.” “As long as it’s done under the supervision of a doctor… I think the risks associated with medical marijuana are outweighed by the benefits,” he stated.

Other candidate’s stances seem to follow suit. Fellow Democrat David Pepper, the Anderson Township Democrat running for attorney general, also supports legal medical marijuana use. He views it as a way to curtail the extensive use of prescription painkillers, which can lead to fatal overdoses. In addition, Micah Kamrass, the Sycamore Township Democrat running for the 28th Ohio House District in northeast Hamilton County, supports legal medical marijuana use if it ensures that people get the care that they need when extremely ill. Charlie Winburn, the Republican Cincinnati city councilman running for the Ohio Senate’s 9th District, is leaning towards supporting the legal use of medical marijuana under a doctor’s care, especially to aid in relieving the pain and suffering caused by cancer or glaucoma.

Unfortunately, the prospect of a medical marijuana initiative getting passed this November is unlikely. Proponents of medical marijuana lack legislative support, though they have started circulating three separate ballot initiatives. The Ohio Rights Group, whose amendment has gained most momentum, has gathered only 100,000 of the required 385,000 signatures needed to secure the amendment on the November ballot. The group is now targeting the November 2015 ballot.

Workers’ Compensation to Cover Medical Marijuana in New Mexico

According to the Courthouse News Service, medical marijuana recommended by a physician for an injured patient’s pain must be paid for by the patient’s employer and insurer, the New Mexico Court of Appeals ruled.

Despite marijuana’s federal classification as a controlled substance, the court concluded that New Mexico law grants Gregory Vialpando reimbursement for medical marijuana to treat the high-intensity pain that followed failed spinal surgeries caused by a workplace back injury. As the ruling states, Vialpando met the required threshold for payments under New Mexico’s workers’ compensation laws when his physician diagnosed medical marijuana as reasonable and necessary for his treatment. The August 29 decision is based on a lower court finding that Vialpando’s participation in the New Mexico Department of Health’s Medical Cannabis Program constitutes reasonable and necessary medical care, the requirement set for reimbursement by the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act.

Vialpando’s employer at the time of the incident, Ben’s Automotive Services, and health care provider, Redwood Fire & Casualty, argued that medical marijuana should be treated as a prescription drug. If it were, it would require a pharmacist or health care provider to dispense, which New Mexico’s medical marijuana program does not have, and thus, could not be paid for by worker’s compensation.

However, the appeals court found that although “medical marijuana is not a prescription drug,” if it were, “our analysis would lead to the same conclusion.” “Indeed, medical marijuana is a controlled substance and is a drug. Instead of a written order from a health care provider, it requires the functional equivalent of a prescription – certification to the program. Although it is not dispensed by a licensed pharmacist or health care provider, it is dispensed by a licensed producer through a program authorized by the Department of Health,” the court wrote.

Vialpando’s employer and insurer also argued that reimbursements would force them to commit a federal crime, or at least violate federal public policy. The appeals court rejected that, as well.

“Although not dispositive, we note that the Department of Justice has recently offered what we view as equivocal statements about state laws allowing marijuana use for medical and even recreational purposes.”

In terms of the next steps for New Mexico’s medical marijuana policies, the state is heading in the right direction considering legalization.

 

MPP’s Mason Tvert Debates Bishop Ron Allen on ‘Fox & Friends’

On Thursday, MPP’s Mason Tvert appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss a law that was recently passed in Berkeley, California that directs medical marijuana dispensaries to donate a portion of their medicine to low-income patients. This idea did not sit well with noted prohibitionist Bishop Ron Allen:

Mason will be back on Fox & Friends this Saturday morning, where he will reportedly continue his discussion with Bishop Allen.