Alaska’s Ballot Measure 2 would allow any person, 21 and over, to posses up to 1 ounce of marijuana, while making an allowance for each person to grow no more than 6 plants. The measure would also allow for the production and sale of marijuana, which the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board would regulate until such time as a Marijuana Control Board could be established. And it would be taxed $50 per ounce at the point of sale. Although Alaska was one of the first states to decriminalize marijuana in 1975, while further legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes in 1998, the Alaskan legislators have not been in favor of these judicial and electoral decisions, and maintain strict enforcement of laws that keep marijuana illegal outside the confines of anyones home. As such there is no dispensary system in the state, leaving patients with no place to safely access their medication, despite the fact that its been prescribed to them by their physician. “We have thousands of cardholders in the state who have no safe way to access their medicine. They’re forced to criminalize themselves and engage in the black market in order to gain access to the medicine that they have been prescribed by their doctor,” said Taylor Bickford, a spokesperson for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska. As a result, a big part of the initiative behind Ballot Measure 2 is reinforcing Alaska’s existing laws for decriminalization and medical marijuana, in itself adding momentum to the measure.
The ballot initiative in Oregon, Measure 91, would allow any person 21 and over, to posses up to 8 ounces, and grow no more than 4 plants. The initiate, to be regulated by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, would also legalize production and sales, while taxing marijuana $35 per ounce at the point of sale, with a percentage of revenue allocated to enforcement and educational programs. Although the campaign in Oregon has drawn a lot of attention over accusations that federal taxpayer money was being used to fund anti-legalization efforts, the controversy highlights the federal governments problem in playing a key role as the chief enforcer of marijuana prohibition, while also acting as a major source of funding for anti-drug education campaigns. As a result, a big part of the initiative is proving to the voters that marijuana’s legal classification as a schedule 1 substance, which places marijuana in the same category as heroin, is inaccurate, unsubstantiated, and unfounded. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) who publicly supports marijuana legalization said, “Marijuana is big business right now. Its a multi-million dollar, huge industry in the United States. The problem is its illegal, so its not regulated, its not taxed, and there aren’t consumer protections.”
In Washington, DC, the ballot measure Initiative 71, would allow any person 21 and over to posses up to 2 ounces of marijuana, grow up to 6 plants, and also give marijuana to other adults 21 and older. But because voter initiatives in DC aren’t allowed to have a direct impact on the local budget, the initiative would not legalize, regulate, or tax sales. However with consistently strong support in the polls, it seems that DC’s legalization initiative holds the most promise of passing. Still the initiative faces some obstacles of its own, because Washington, DC, is the nation’s capital and a federal jurisdiction, proponents are concerned that the federal government will try to block the measure from becoming law, the same way they blocked local government from setting up dispensaries, nearly 12 years after the DC voters approved legalization of medical marijuana. Adam Eidinger, chair of the marijuana legalization campaign, expects Congress to respect the decision of the DC voters, however if they try to interfere with the initiative, he plans to lead a march on the Capital, “I expect them first and foremost to respect the initiative. If [the government’s actions] violate the spirit of the initiate in any way, thats what Im going to be focused on.”
Voters in Florida through Amendment 2, aim to legalize marijuana to treat “debilitating medical conditions”, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, hepatitis C, HIV, AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or any other conditions for which a physician believes that medical marijuana use would likely out weigh the potential healths risks to the patient. However, because the measure is constitutional amendment, Florida law requires that it get at least 60% of the vote, a challenge in a midterm election year when turnout among young voters is lower. Ben Pollara, director of the United for Care, the organization behind the medical marijuana initiative, said, “The people of Florida have been begging for a medical marijuana law for years.” But political scientist at the University of South Florida, Susan MacManus, stresses that young voter turnout is critical.
When interviewed on the subject, Jason Draizin, CEO of MarijuanDotors.Com, said that, “With 23 states currently allowing for medical marijuana, 2 states recreationally legal, and another 3 states considering following suite, it is overtly apparent that the tide has turned, and that the idea of marijuana legalization is no longer a pipe dream, but is becoming ever more of a reality as it continues to build mainstream momentum. To quote the new documentary from the makers of The Union, “Culture High“, ‘We have to break out of the fog… Its not rational or logical, its financial.’” Reference]]>
“I was shocked it came so fast, I’m very excited,” Said the 48-year old Champion. Mr. Champion who is a resident of Somonauk, led a group of more than 2,000 seriously ill Illinoisans who applied to join the program in the first few days that it was accepting applications. Individuals who have been admitted into the state’s pilot program will receive registration cards which will be required to buy medical marijuana at a state approved dispensary. At this current time no dispensaries are open in the state.
State residents who have a qualifying condition and whose last name begins with the letters A through L can submit their applications up until October 31st. Patients whose last names begin with the letters M through Z can send in their information beginning November 1st until the end of the year.
Of the 158 applications received from entrepreneurs wishing to operate cultivation centers only 22 licenses will be awarded. The state netted almost $5 million in non-refundable application fees from all of the potential business owners.]]>
Mrs. Greene was initially reporting on the Alaska Cannabis Club for a piece during Sunday night’s broadcast, without yet revealing her connection to the organization. At the end of her recorded segment, during a live on air shot, she revealed she was in fact the club’s owner and would be quitting. She went on to say “Now everything you’ve heard is why I, the actual owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, will be dedicating all of my energy toward fighting for freedom and fairness, which begins with legalizing marijuana here in Alaska, and as for this job, well, not that I have a choice but, fuck it, I quit.”
And with that resounding statement she simply walked off camera.
When reached later after the broadcast Greene told reporters that’s KTVA had no prior knowledge that she was going to quit or that she was affiliated to the Alaska Cannabis Club. When questions as to why she chose to quit in such a dramatic fashion she said, “Because I wanted to draw attention to this issue. And the issue is medical marijuana. Ballot Measure 2 is a way to make medical marijuana real…most patients didn’t know the state didn’t set up the framework to get patients their medicine.”
“If I offended anyone, I apologize, but I’m not sorry for the choice that I made.”
In a statement posted on its FaceBook page, KTVA news director Bert Rudman said, “We sincerely apologize for the inappropriate language used by a KTVA reporter during her live presentation on the air tonight. The employee has been terminated.”
Originally created this past April, the Alaska Cannabis Club connects medical marijuana patients with other card holders who are growing marijuana. Growers are then offered donations as reimbursement for the costs to cover the cannabis grow ops. In an interview conducted in August, the club said it hopes to increase access to medical marijuana patients despite operating in a unstable legal territory. Alaska voters will decide on November 4th if they wish to legalize the recreational use of marijuana similar to how states like Colorado and Washington have done. Those wishing to see the YouTube clip of Greene quitting live on-air can click the link below.]]>
Sadly several weeks later Mr. Boyer was fired from both of his full-time positions due to the interview he gave KREM. According to Boyer life since the firings has been difficult. “I was number, I still have that title, I don’t really regret it,” Boyer told reporters. Thankfully Boyer has since managed to gain one of his positions back but has not worked any hours since his return. “I can’t get a job. Everywhere I go, the employer goes ‘you’re the weed guy. We saw you on the news.’” Boyer lamented.
According to Bayer he has made it through several first-round interviews but has ultimately been rejected because he refused to take a drug test. He originally hoped in finding a job in the cannabis industry but has yet to hear back from any places he has applied to. “I just wish someone in the marijuana movement would pick me up.”
Thankfully Boyer’s luck took a positive turn when he managed to obtain a part-time job as a landscaper in North Spokane. He says his new employer has prohibited him from using marijuana while at work and forbidden him from speaking about drug use with his other employees.
“It’s never been a problem in the past,” Boyer was quick to point out. He added he hopes to prove that he can be a valuable employee. “I just need the opportunity to prove myself, Don’t judge a book by its cover.”]]>
The state government has established a functioning group which has been tasked with setting up the trail. Parts of its focus will include analyzing and addressing means by which to supply and distribute the medical marijuana to be studied. Additionally state legislators have begun to create and established law enforcement guidelines so that individuals who are found to possess personal user amounts of marijuana will not be prosecuted if their names appear on a state maintained list of terminally sick patients. New South Wales Premier Mike Baird told the nation’s parliament that he was personally impacted and moved upon hearing the story of terminally ill Daniel Haslam of Tamworth.
“Why not take a stance to say to the rest of the country, this matters. It’s time we did something about it,” Baird told the press. “So I say at the same time, we want to give the terminally and those around them, their carers, their family, a greater piece of mind. We also want to ensure that carers aren’t forced to watch their loved ones suffer when their pain can be alleviated.”
Sadly Daniel Haslam was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of bowel cancer at just 24-years old. He found that using cannabis helped deal with some of the ravaging effects of his chemotherapy. Mrs. Haslam, Daniel’s mother said she was ecstatic when the Primer informed her of the government’s decision. “I think I gave him a big hug and a kiss. He’s a very kind, caring man, you know he’s a dad,” said Mrs. Haslam in regards to the Premier who had worked so hard to help families like hers. She went on to elaborate “I think he probably knows as any parent the horrible feeling of watching your child suffer and feeling powerless. He can empathize with that I think.”
Mr. Baird went on to explain that New South Wales hopes to lead the way on a unique issue that should make it to the national agenda.]]>
“I will push for taxation and regulation of marijuana,” Kreuger said at an unrelated campaign event for state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. At that same event Kreuger went on to say “I continue to work with experts around the country and to evaluate laws and regulations being put into place now. “
Ironically Senator Krueger has made a similar attempt to get such a bill passed last legislative session. Back then it seemed like an impossible liberal dream in what was back then a conservatively controlled state senate that had not even considered medical marijuana. Krueger admits that she has made appropriate amendments to her bill since the last time she submitted it. She says that observing things that worked or did not work in other states allowed her to make the necessary changes. “I knew we needed to move medical marijuana into law before people would focus on the bigger question – tax and regulation,” Kreuger said.
Mr. DeZarn who served a year in Iraq in 2005 suffers from PTSD and decided to email University President Christopher Eisgruber regarding his decision to use medical cannabis. Following his heartfelt e-mail to President Eisgruber and a meeting with several university officials from the Office of Human Resources, the University has agreed to consider DeZarn’s request to use medical marijuana on the school’s campus.
In the e-mail to Eisbruger dated August 22nd, DeZarn says “I apologize for contacting you regarding the current situation I find myself in, but I’m really not sure where else to turn because I have been told that I am no longer allowed to work at Princeton because I am a medical marijuana patient.”
Princeton officials ultimately decided to allow DeZarn’s request to medicate pending the submission of the appropriate documentation and more discussion by Human Resources officials. DeZarn recently obtained a medical marijuana card from the state after going through a grueling two year process. He firmly asserts that using medical marijuana has allowed him to stop taking his previously used prescription medication. He says he is thankfully no longer in pain and smokes marijuana anytime he has a spasm. The groundbreaking meeting comes weeks after DeZarn was told by a public safety official that he may no longer work at Princeton while using medical marijuana, he claimed that the Department of Public safety believed he posed a threat to the security of the campus environment.
In his e-mail to President Eisbruber, DeZarn writes that the DPS official in question told him to “just stay home and get high with my friends.”
The Granville City Council voted 6-1 to close the loophole by changing the laws wording to have it align with Ohio state law. Simply three lines of legislation in the village’s code meant the difference between a pain free life and chronic debilitating pain for some, such as Mr. James Malick. “It feels like somebody hits you in the face all day long is the way I feel then. About five, ten times a day it feels like somebody comes up and hits you in the face with a brick and you just drop to your knees,” Mr. Malick said when describing his chronic pain.
Mr. Malick states that his symptoms are a result of nerve damage that he has spent the past several years unsuccessfully trying to manage. He says his doctors feel the only permanent relief would involve an extremely risky brain surgery that may leave him in even worse condition. “They said coma, paralyzed, or seizures for the rest of my life,” Malick told a local NBC affiliate.
“I’m a patient I know how it can help patients, said LeAnne Barbee, a local advocate for medical marijuana.
Ironically it was an article written by Mr. Dennis Cauchon in which he notified patients of the loophole that also drew the ire and concern of Granville Village Law Director Mike King. Upon becoming privy to the loophole in the towns code he suggested that the village council adopt a new revised ordinance that fell more in alignment with the Ohio Revised Code. According to Mr. King “Prior written recommendation from a doctor is not the same as a lawful prescription,” because there is currently no such thing as a lawful prescription for marijuana in Ohio.]]>
The newly proposed rules would limit the number of patients a medical marijuana caregiver may service to 10, at this current time caregivers may serve more than 5 patients if they file and are granted an exemption waiver. Of the 2,896 licensed caregivers across Colorado only four service more than 10 patients at a time. A Boulder County resident, Jason Cranford, claims he is the caregiver in Colorado who serves the largest amount of patients, almost 90 by his own figures.
Most of Cranford’s patients are minors, children who are suffering from severe and debilitating seizure disorders. According to Cranford he provides them and their parents with non-psychoactive form of cannabis oil that is rich in the cannabinoid CBD. He processes the oil from his own plants which he has named Haleigh’s Hope, after one of his original patients whose family credits Cranford’s oil with saving her young daughter’s life. If the new rules are approved Cranford will be forced to disengage himself from dozens upon dozens of patients. “I pray that she’d be in that 10, But I just don’t know. How can you choose between kids? These are kids’ lives.” said Janea Cox, Haleigh Cox’s mother.
The state Board of Health plans to hold an open public hearing on the new proposed rules on September 16th, Cox said she expects dozens of families to attend the meeting and protest.
According to the state health department, the new rules are needed in order to fight against abuses in the caregiver system which according to officials has been a source for illegal cannabis on the black market. A recent state audit found oversight of caregivers to be lacking and that in many cases caregivers may be running as “small scale businesses but are not being regulated as such.”
Dr. Larry Wolk, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said the large marijuana grows associated with plus-sized caregivers could pose health and safety risks, especially if they are in residential areas.”We want to try to create a reasonable ceiling for what can be considered a caregiver operation,” Wolk said. “…at some point, it does need to be called a commercial operation.”
According to Colorado’s constitutional amendment regarding medical marijuana, a caregiver is defined as someone who “has significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a patient.” While caregivers are allowed to grow marijuana on behalf of patients a subsequent court decision ruled that caregivers must do more than provide medical marijuana to their patients.
The department’s proposed rules would set a hard cap of 10 patients per caregiver but would keep the current waiver in place should a caregiver wish to service more than the regularly allowed 5. According to the Denver Post “Twenty caregivers — 0.7 percent of the total — currently serve more than five patients. More than 75 percent of caregivers serve only one patient, according to state figures. Caregivers serve about 3.8 percent of the state’s total medical marijuana patient population.”
Some CBD providers in the state, such as the well known Realm of Caring sell the oil concentrate through a state regulated dispensary, Crandford chooses to provide the oil to his patients as a caregiver because he is able to keep the costs down further for his patients. “In my situation, it’s obviously for the patients,” Cranford said. “What I’m growing can’t even get you high. I’m getting caught in the crossfire.”
Patients who are forced to give up their caregivers still may obtain their medicine from other safe access providers in the state. “They may be able to obtain these products from another caregiver or a dispensary,” said Wolk.
Mr. Yates, who suffers from tongue cancer, claims that his throat has been irreparably damaged by the radiation treatment he has been undergoing. He says marijuana is the only effective tool he has found to relieve his pain. Previously caught in 2011 for growing marijuana, he continued the process until he was once again caught at his home in Brockworth, Gloucester and ultimately arrested in April.
Yates has pleaded guilty at Gloucester crown court to growing three dozen cannabis plants in his home and supplying some of his growing’s to his tenant. Amazingly, after hearing of Mr. Yates medical ailments Judge William Hart refused to send him to jail, he in fact refused to pass a suspended sentence! “You know that ordinarily a custodial sentence would be considered and might even be inevitable for this sort of offence but I would not be able to live with myself if I sent you to prison,” said Judge Hart. He went on to elaborate “That would express no humanity or compassion and it would be a sad day if these courts lost sight of humanity and compassion when it is appropriate.”
Yates, a property listing manager, was given a one year conditional discharge. Mr. Yates who is a father of two and a grandfather of four spoke with a husky, weak voice due to his illness, but described Judge Hart as a “fabulous man”.
According to Prosecutor Janine Woods, local police raided Yates’ home on April 9th of this year and found three dozen marijuana plants growing in a spare bedroom. The street value of the cannabis was estimated to be between 10 and 30 thousand British Pounds. Upon questioning Yates admitted that the plants were for his own personal use and that the only other individual who knew of or used the illegal plants were his tenant Anthony Young.
In July of 2012 Yates received a similar 6 month conditional discharge for his initial offense for illegally growing marijuana. Mr.Yates’ defense attorney, Joe Maloney, told the court that his client was “very, very ill indeed,” and that the “only thing he has found which ameliorates his pain is cannabis.”
When passing down his sentence Judge Hart told Yates “You have been suffering for some time now with a very serious cancer and you have undergone treatment which has been, I am sure, very unpleasant and very distressing. The prognosis for you is bleak. You find some comfort in the consumption of cannabis. You drink whisky and you also find comfort in that. The pain relief provided by doctors does not provide you with what you need. Someone in your position is very different to the usual defendant who comes before this court charge with this offence.”
Ultimately Judge Hart ordered that all of Yates’ drug paraphernalia and growing equipment be destroyed. The judge was kind enough to allow Mr. Yates to keep the box in which the equipment was kept after Yates told the court that it held much sentimental value to him because it had previously belonged to his father.
Following his sentencing Mr. Yates said he would have been utterly ashamed if he had been sent to prison because it would result in him feeling as if he was letting down his 20-year old University student daughter, who had been of the utmost help to him during his time of illness. Mr. Yates gave the following statement; “Obviously I know that cannabis is illegal in this country at the moment, But you don’t have to look far around the world to find places where it is legal – 11 States in America, South Africa, Brazil, some parts of Australia, Holland, Turkey. They all allow growing of cannabis for its medicinal qualities.”
He said his radiation treatment in 2011 had reduced the tumour so that he is now in remission but it had left him without a sense of taste or smell and without the ability to produce saliva. He constantly has to drink water and use an artificial saliva spray.Neither is he able to chew or swallow food and is fed through a tube directly into his stomach.It is the pain in his throat at the base of his tongue that a nightly smoke of 3-4 joints of cannabis relieves so effectively he said.