Washington State: Medical marijuana dispensaries open

Written by Janet

Medical marijuana can now be dispensed in Washington, legally, so dispensaries are opening in Spokane to provide it.  Regardless of whether such stores are what Washington voters and legislators envisioned when they allowed medical marijuana, it may only be a matter of time before the businesses are commonplace: Medical marijuana has been approved in more than a dozen states.

The legal status remains hazy.  For Judy, a medical marijuana customer who asked that her last name be withheld, the drug has been a blessing.  She credits it for alleviating the pain from a severe brain trauma and other injuries sustained 12 years ago when a suicidal man rammed his pickup into her car.

After years of buying marijuana illegally, Judy now has a doctor’s note that says marijuana is a proper medication to ease her pain.

She buys her supply from a shop called Change. It opened two months ago and is run by Christopher Stevens, Noah Zarate and Scott Shupe.

Washington voters passed Initiative 692 — the Medical Use of Marijuana Act — in 1998. The Legislature sought to clarify the law in 2007, asking the Department of Health to define a legal and appropriate supply of marijuana. The Health Department determined that a medically authorized person could possess a 60-day supply, or 1 1/2 pounds of marijuana or 15 plants.

Display ads tout the benefits of marijuana in this week’s issue of the Nickel Nik, under classified listings for puppies, manufactured homes, cemetery plots and yard sales.

An ad by CBR Medical Inc., with clinics across the state including one at 3115 E. Mission Ave., claims marijuana can alleviate pain associated with many conditions, including epilepsy, AIDS and fibromyalgia.

Stevens said the next move for medical marijuana will be a push to force insurers — including the government’s Medicare and Medicaid programs — to pay much like they do for prescription drug coverage. 

After years of buying marijuana illegally, Judy now has a doctor’s note that says marijuana is a proper medication to ease her pain. She buys her supply from a shop called Change. It opened two months ago and is run by Christopher Stevens, Noah Zarate and Scott Shupe.

At the Northwest Boulevard store, people smoke and buy marijuana, and police know about it. The owners wrote a letter to Spokane police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick about their business; her reply stated that her officers are committed to enforcing local, state and federal laws.

Washington voters passed Initiative 692 — the Medical Use of Marijuana Act — in 1998. The Legislature sought to clarify the law in 2007, asking the Department of Health to define a legal and appropriate supply of marijuana. The Health Department determined that a medically authorized person could possess a 60-day supply, or 1 1/2 pounds of marijuana or 15 plants.

Donn Moyer, a Health Department spokesman, said that enforcement of the laws is left to local, state and federal police.  One question: “Is medical marijuana legal in Washington?”

The answer: “Marijuana possession is illegal in Washington.” The agency describes the state’s medical marijuana law as a legal mechanism that “provides an affirmative defense for qualified patients and designated caregivers.”

Regardless of state laws, marijuana is outlawed by the federal government, which does not accept that marijuana has medical benefits.

The owners of Change interpret the state law differently. They contend they have the right to buy marijuana and resell it to people who have written authorization from their doctors. Stevens said he obtains a wholesale supply of marijuana from local farmers with surplus crops and sells it sales tax included at retail prices.

Now back to Judy – she smokes marijuana at least 3 times a day.  She does not work, lives on disability payments and said she has discontinued other pain medications now that marijuana is easier to obtain.  Display ads tout the benefits of marijuana in this week’s issue of the Nickel Nik, under classified listings for puppies, manufactured homes, cemetery plots and yard sales.

An ad by CBR Medical Inc., with clinics across the state including one at 3115 E. Mission Ave., claims marijuana can alleviate pain associated with many conditions, including epilepsy, AIDS and fibromyalgia.

Stevens said the next move for medical marijuana will be a push to force insurers — including the government’s Medicare and Medicaid programs — to pay much like they do for prescription drug coverage. ( I can’t see the latter happening.  Insurance premiums are high enough and they pay out as it is.  If they want it, they then should pay for it themselves.)





  1. Aaron

    I would like to open up one of these shops myself. This should be a great money making venture. Does anyone know where I can go to find out more info on how to get one started? I have no background with the stuff myself and I live in western WA. To think that prohibition on pot is going to continue over the next five years is just plain silly. The writing is on the wall an one might as well be at the forefront of a new industry.

  2. Gretchen

    No, sorry can’t help you….but maybe contact your state legislators and see if they have any idea

  3. newsdeskinternational

    Student’s Essay: ‘Legalize Marijuana’
    Here is the essay that a student presented at Peninsula High School in Purdy on Tuesday morning. While presenting it, the student took out a marijuana joint, lit it, and began smoking it, police said.


  4. Matt

    Don’t knock it. If someone wants to smoke marijuana, so be it. Don’t punish them for doing the drug, punish them for doing something stupid while on the drug; just like any thing else in real life. If you want to worry about a drug, worry about alcohol or cigarettes. They are dangerous drugs and they’re legal. And, people still can use it responsibly and irresponsibly. How is marijuana any different? The writing IS on the wall!!! This is America, let freedom ring baby!

  5. Cannabinoids and brain injury: therapeutic implications.
    Mechoulam R, Panikashvili D, Shohami E.

    Dept of Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products, Medical Faculty, Hebrew University, Jerusalem 91120, Israel. mechou@cc.huji.ac.il

    Mounting in vitro and in vivo data suggest that the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol, as well as some plant and synthetic cannabinoids, have neuroprotective effects following brain injury. Cannabinoid receptor agonists inhibit glutamatergic synaptic transmission and reduce the production of tumour necrosis factor-alpha and reactive oxygen intermediates, which are factors in causing neuronal damage. The formation of the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol is strongly enhanced after brain injury, and there is evidence that these compounds reduce the secondary damage incurred. Some plant and synthetic cannabinoids, which do not bind to the cannabinoid receptors, have also been shown to be neuroprotective, possibly through their direct effect on the excitatory glutamate system and/or as antioxidants.

    This is just one study of over 15,000 related articles. It is beginning to look like cannabis cures a host of ailments including brain cancer. Not TREAT symptoms like the modern medics do, CURE cancers of all kinds. This is going to be a real nightmare for big pharma as they will lose billions on the fake treatments they dispense to the ignorant public reflected as like the majority of posters on this board.

  6. Sande

    I do not see the unity in any of this I just see people tryin to do something that only benefits themselves out of this. Not at all really concerned to help the sick and suffering. Just with the MONEY.

  7. newsdeskinternational

    What you need to know to be a marijuana patient in Washington State>>>>

    Marijuana possession is illegal in Washington. The medical marijuana law, Chapter 69.51A RCW, provides an affirmative defense for qualified patients and designated caregivers. People who qualify have a valid reason to possess a 60-day supply of marijuana. They may use that reason to defend against a legal action taken under Washington law. However, medical marijuana is not legal under federal law. There is no affirmative defense for people who are arrested or charged under federal law.

    To qualify, you need to talk to your doctor, to see if you qualify for any of the following conditions:


    You don’t need to register or have a card if you meet the above requirements. All you need is a written recommendation from your doctor.

    There are groups or clinics in Washington that may charge a fee for you to see a doctor, but you are not required to visit a certain clinic or join an organization to get a medical marijuana recommendation from a doctor.

    The written recommendation from your doctor will only expire if your doctor says so on the paper. If you change doctors, you may have to get a new written recommendation.

    The law allows a qualifying patient or designated provider to grow medical marijuana. It is not legal to buy or sell it.

    The law does not allow dispensaries. The law only allows qualifying patients and designated providers to possess medical marijuana.

    A qualifying patient or designated provider may have a 60-day supply of medical marijuana. A 60-day supply is defined as 24 ounces and 15 plants (WAC 246-75-010). The law says that a patient may exceed these limits if he or she can prove medical need.

    A designated provider must be at least 18 years old and must be designated in writing by the qualifying patient. A designated provider can only be a provider for one patient at any one time.

    The law does not say that a patient may or may not also be a designated provider. It does say that a designated provider may not consume a qualifying patient’s medical marijuana.

    Some states may allow you to use your recommendation from Washington when traveling. You must comply with the laws in the other state. Doctor recommendations, ID cards, and other documentation from other states are not legal in Washington.


  8. bitching about haveing to pay for medicine health insureance and all that is pointless. tax payers are still paying for wellfare and lazy women who just wont work. you pay for that so cut it out. your not going to leave the country for that so dont trip off this. you will pay what the goverment wants you to pay so stop crying. none of you can provide any evidence of someone on weed shooting people or robbing stores to get high. but every other drug you can even perscription pills. tell the truth because most of you used to smoke and theres nothing wrong with you now.

  9. newsdeskinternational

    Prolific Seattle marijuana grower gets 7 1/2 years

    A Seattle man who ran marijuana growing operations in five Snohomish County houses has been sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison.

    Three employees of 36-year-old Jerry R. Berkey were sentenced to lesser terms Thursday in U.S. District Court.

    According to court filings, more than 4,000 pot plants were grown in the houses in Everett, Lynnwood and Edmonds over the past five years.

    Berkey pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana.

    At sentencing, Judge Marsha J. Pechman said he took advantage of people who “had addictions or were down on their luck.”

    She went on to scold him, “You haven’t earned a decent living legally in years. What did you tell your kids when you came home? `Daddy’s had a tough day at the grow?'”

  10. Eric

    Drugs = crime, there’s no way around it….there’s no way once it’s legal to regulate it….there’s not enough man power to do so…police would have to give up investigating more serious crimes to police the marijuana….

    And just mention allowing it medically, and those healthy want in on the deal…..give me a break….find a new way to unwind…

  11. newsdeskinternational

    The medical marijuana statutes of Washington State are much more specific than in California. Most areas of California offer extraordinary outdoor growing conditions, and legal limits for the medical use of marijuana are fixed accordingly. It is important to remember that comparing cannabis cultivation in The Golden State with cannabis cultivation in The Evergreen State is very much like comparing oranges and apples. Not only is the weather generally less hospitable, Washington’s Medical Use of Marijuana Act specifically prohibits “public display”, a provision that clearly limits medical marijuana cultivation in WA to the privacy of indoor gardens. The 60 day supply clause of Washington’s medical marijuana law is another major distinction.

  12. newsdeskinternational

    Law enforcement’s view:

    The biggest roadblock for medical marijuana, legally speaking, is the federal government’s classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance. A major problem in Washington state is the conflict with federal law when it comes to enforcement. Different rules apply to drug task force cases that involve federal agents.

    Seattle and King County are considered the state’s havens for medical marijuana rights. King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg is viewed by some local patients as a prominent public official on their side.

    As the state’s largest urban area, King County has more experience with medical marijuana compared to other counties. That experience has an an influence on the internal standards and procedures of law enforcement.

  13. newsdeskinternational

    And an update from the state of Colorado on their marijuana law change they are considering.

    Colorado health officials are considering whether to make medical marijuana rules more restrictive.

    The state health board has opened a hearing Monday on a proposal to limit marijuana providers to five patients each. The move is aimed at dispensaries that have sprouted to serve a growing number of patients across Colorado.

    Hundreds of people have packed a hearing room on the Auraria Campus in downtown Denver. Colorado voters allowed the use of medical marijuana in 2000 by passing Amendment 20. The board voted to limit caregivers to five patients in 2004, but a Denver judge threw that out three years later because the limit was enacted without a hearing.

  14. newsdeskinternational

    Looking to Score Legal Marijuana? Check Your iPhone

    Smoking marijuana is known to have an adverse effect on memory and concentration, but now, thanks to a new iPhone application, even the foggiest of users should be able to locate their connection — make that medicinal marijuana provider — with relative ease.

    Launched by AJNAG (Activists Justifying the Natural Agriculture of Ganja), a Web-based community advocating for medical marijuana, the Cannabis app takes those seeking medicinal marijuana through the entire process of obtaining it. The app is downloadable from Apple’s store for $2.99.

    “Our goal is to put the power of cannabis change in your pocket while you enjoy the most sticky and potent iPhone application available!” the founders say in a statement on their Web site.

    Here’s how it works. The application displays an interactive map dotted with doctors who can prescribe medicinal marijuana treatment for their patients.

    It also shows — after, presumably, users have procured prescriptions — the medicinal marijuana suppliers within the users’ vicinity. And, what’s more, the application includes a database of lawyers who specialize in marijuana-related cases, in should users encounter skeptical local authorities.

  15. gerald

    It is amazing how many people are so quick to speak against what others choose to do or medically need to do without first finding out all the facts. Many of these people sit back enjoying a beer, just for the taste I’m sure, and then tell others they are wrong for smoking marijuana. I guess it is better to be strung out on pain killers and nerve pills than use something natural that has been proven by the scientific community to be very beneficial in relieving pain, nausea, glaucoma, and a whole book of ailments. Has any of you naysayers read any of the proven science on how marijuana stops the growth of some forms of cancer; including lung and brain cancer. Have you ever considered alcohol prohibition and what damage it caused. The ill effects of that are still felt today. When you make something illegal, it becomes very valuable on the black market. You do not see farmers killing each other over tobacco. Tobacco is one of the worst substances you can put in your body; yet it is legal. What gives anyone the right to condemn anyone else for their choice of medication. If marijuana stops someone from feeling sick or will save their eyesight, who are you to tell them they are criminals. If any one of you who speak out against cannabis were to be ill and in pain and found out marijuana would stop your suffering and help you lead a somewhat normal life, I can bet you would change your tune quickly. Yes, marijuana has its bad points. People can abuse it. Children can be exposed to it. However, check your medicine cabinets and then think about your kids. Do you think they are more in danger from marijuana or the medicines, alcohol, tobacco, or any other “legal” substance in your own home. Do the research. More children die each year from medications they stole from their parents or were stolen from a parent than marijuana. Oh wait, no child has ever died as a result of ingesting marijuana…. I was wounded several times. I had half of my stomach removed, a large portion of intestine, part of my pancreas, one of my kidneys, and a lot of other damage I find difficult to discuss. I took every pill and potion the doctors could come up with to help with pain and the constant nausea. I suffered for years until I had the good fortune to meet a disabled person while in Holland. She told me I should try marijuana. I did and within five minutes, the pain and nausea started to go away. Needless to say, I took almost no medication while in Holland. When I returned home, my doctor wrote me a prescription for Marinol. You see, the government will give patients synthetic marijuana for illness prescribed by a doctor. The problem is it costs almost $400 dollars and insurance does not cover it. I find it strange that the federal government has been giving marijuana to patients for years and will prescribe synthetic marijuana(marinol). Enough said. You either get it or you do not. All I can say is we waste billions of dollars to arrest and try people for marijuana every year. We spend billions of dollars to house people for no violent drug “crimes”. Some people get life sentences for marijuana while rapists and murderers get out in seven to ten???? Should I go on. All of you people speaking out against marijuana need to grow up and look at your own lives. Clean up your own houses before you try to tell me how to clean mine.

  16. gerald

    One more comment… I do agree that people are using the medical marijuana umbrella to rake in the cash. They are the ones making it difficult for the people who truly can benefit from marijuana. I hate the fact that these people do this and I hate what it is doing to the struggle to get medical marijuana federally legalized. The Federal government has been growing and shipping marijuana to a select few people for years. How can they allow this for a few and not for all. Drugs are a social and medical issue. You can not have one state with one set of rules and one with another. There needs to be a clear cut method for people to obtain marijuana. It needs to be structured so people can not “cash in” on the issue. One more thing… grow up people. Every person under the sun has their skeletons in their closets. We have all run that red light or cut someone off in traffic. All of us do things that are illegal and none of us are perfect. It is painful to read these threads and see the ignorance and hate people harbor in their harts and minds. I guess you are all perfect and have the right to tell those that use marijuana that they are pot heads and whatever other garbage you have spouted. I am sure the alcohol or prescription drugs you have all taken has done no damage to your body what so ever. Just look at the commercials for some of the most popular medications on the market. Listen to all the ill effects. Take this for depression but you may have suicidal thoughts. Take this for bladder control but your nose and eyes will not stop running. Take this for leg pain but you may develop a fatal heart defect. Should I go on? Even water can kill you if you drink to much of it; look it up. There is a few countries that have found out that you can not control man’s desires. No matter how illegal you make something, if man wants it, he will get it. It should be about education and harm reduction. In fact, Abraham Lincoln spoke out against prohibition in front of the Illinois House. Look it up… He simply said that you can not regulate man’s appetites by law.

  17. newsdeskinternational

    Colorado Medical Marijuana Supporters Defeat Effort to Restrict Caregivers, Dispensaries

    Colorado’s rapidly increasing number of medical marijuana patients and burgeoning medical marijuana industry won a major victory against state regulators trying to cramp their style — and fiddle with a medical marijuana law written into the state constitution by voter initiative nine years ago. After a marathon public hearing packed with nearly 400 medical marijuana supporters, the Colorado Board of Health rejected a controversial proposal from the state Department of Public Health and Environment that would have tightened up the definition of a caregiver and would have limited caregivers to providing for no more than five patients.


  18. newsdeskinternational

    Should Employers Provide Reimbursement for Medical Marijuana Costs?

    An interesting article from Workforce Management:


    Now that more states are legalizing the sale of the marijuana used solely as a medicine, the next hurdle for reformers who say the drug is more cost-effective than pharmaceuticals is getting those who pay for health care—insurers and employers—to reimburse patients for its use.

    Reimbursing patients who use it could push them away from otherwise costly drugs that some advocates say are not as effective. Employers, as payers of health care, should champion the legalization of medical marijuana as a potential cost-saving tool, advocates say.

    It’s certainly the case that many patients can effectively treat specific conditions with marijuana at a lower cost than the pharmaceutical alternatives. For starters, marijuana is vastly cheaper than Marinol, which contains the same main ingredient. It would be interesting to see some research into how medical costs for marijuana patients compare overall to those of patients treating the same conditions with other drugs. While you’re at it, it would worth investigating which group is happier with their medicine.

    To whatever extent medical marijuana offers savings on health care costs, it’s another example of the massive often-invisible expenses created by the insane federal prohibition of medical marijuana. It’s presently illegal under federal law for health care providers to cover marijuana-related expenses, which just goes to show how DEA raids were just one dimension of the government’s continuing war on medical marijuana.

  19. newsdeskinternational

    Colorado Medical marijuana and young men on list

    If you are male, and under 30, on the medical marijuana registry, chances are Colorado health officials may look at you with a skeptical eye. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said Thursday the number of male medical marijuana registrants under age 30 has risen sharply in the last year, and state officials suspect some doctors prescribing the drug may be doing so improperly.

    Especially in Larimer County, which is 5th in Colorado for medical marijuana patients — has seen a dramatic rise in medical marijuana registrants of all ages, more than doubling from 312 registrants at the end of July 2008 to 864 by the end of June 2009, according to registry statistics.

    Most of the younger men in the registry are being prescribed marijuana for chronic or severe pain. The problem, said Colorado Chief Medical Officer Ned Calonge, is that few men under 30 should be experiencing such pain. In the year from July 2008 through June 2009, the state added 1,792 men under 30 to the registry, 89 percent of whom had been diagnosed with severe pain, Calonge said in a statement. Those men represent 22 percent of all registry applicants during that year.

    During the last six months of 2008, the state received an average of 70 applications per month for men under 30 with severe pain. In May 2009, the state received 264 applications and in June it received 364 applications.

  20. newsdeskinternational

    An Orlando-based group is trying to get a constitutional amendment on Florida ballots in 2010 that would legalize medical marijuana, but so far no petitions have been filed, according to the Florida Division of Elections.


  21. newsdeskinternational

    The highs & lows of medical marijuana

    Good reading…it explains how the law is interpreted..


  22. newsdeskinternational

    Washington State:

    Medical marijuana can not be used in public. It is a misdemeanor “to use or display medical marijuana in a manner or place which is open to the view of the general public.”

    In many cases, doctors will not recommend medical marijuana. They often fear the federal government, which has in the past threatened doctors who recommend medical marijuana. However, a federal appeals court ruled in October of 2002 that the government cannot penalize doctors who recommend medical marijuana to their patients.

    Does this mean physicians may prescribe marijuana?

    No, physicians must not prescribe marijuana. It is prohibited under federal law to knowingly or intentionally distribute, dispense or possess marijuana. The terms “distribute” and “dispense” have been broadly interpreted, and physicians may be found in violation of federal law for writing a prescription for a substance, such as marijuana, for which federal law has no recognized medical use. Violation of federal laws can bring significant penalties, including imprisonment and fines. In addition, violating federal law (or aid and abet in its violation) may result in other federal sanctions, such as a revocation of a physician’s DEA registration.

  23. newsdeskinternational

    I have questions that the Department of Health cannot answer. For example: Can I rent my house to a medical marijuana patient? Do I have rights as a tenant? What about using medical marijuana around children? Can I be fired from my job if I use medical marijuana? How do I get help finding the answers?

    There may be other laws that apply to some situations. We suggest obtaining legal advice if you are not sure what the law says. You may also consult groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Human Rights Commission. All state laws are on the Washington State Legislative Web page (www.leg.wa.gov).

  24. newsdeskinternational

    Czar Kerlikowske: I see no benefit to pot legalization

    Less than three months into his job as the nation’s Drug Czar, and former Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske found himself under fire, quoted as saying “marijuana is dangerous and has no medicinal benefit.”

    Back in Seattle for a roundtable discussion on drug policy, Kerlikowske sat down with KOMO News and addressed the comment. “I certainly said that legalization is not in the president’s vocabulary nor is it in mine,” Kerlikowske said. “But the other question was in reference to smoked marijuana. And as we know, the FDA has not determined that smoked marijuana has a value, and this is clearly a medical question and that’s where I’ve been leaving it.”

    Asked if he regretted what he said, Kerlikowske said, “Sometimes you make a mistake and you work very hard to correct it. That happens. I should’ve clearly said ‘smoked’ marijuana and then gone on to say that this is clearly a question that should be answered by the medical community.”

    Kerlikowske’s stand on legalizing marijuana for everyone is more clear-cut.

    The Office of National Drug Control Policy, by law, actively works against legalizing drugs.

    And Kerlikowske sees an even bigger problem with prescription drug abuse.

    “Young people look at all this and say, ‘Gee, I’m not buying it from behind a convenience store, it’s not in a piece of tin foil.’ They’re pharmaceuticals. Well, these pharmaceuticals can be just as deadly,” Kerlikowske said.

    Kerlikowske calls Michael Jackson’s death a wake-up call. The toxicology report is expected to show the music icon died of a prescription drug overdose.

    And the former cop knows, more people die from drug overdose than from gunshot wounds.

    “I think people can do something about it,” he said. “One, we need a law about how to dispose of drugs safely.”

    As Seattle’s top cop, Kerlikowske was known for his 70-hour work weeks.

    That hasn’t changed.

    “There hasn’t been a lot of breaks so far,” he said. “But you know, the job is challenging, it’s exciting and the responsibilities of trying to address this issue in a much more balanced way is what keeps me energized.”

    And keeps him busy.

    Kerlikowske is travelling the world, shaping the president’s national drug control strategy, to be rolled out after the first of the year.

    His roundtable this weekend includes U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, as well as law enforcement and health care providers.

    He’ll attend a total of eight roundtables across the country. His job also takes him to Mexico next month and Afghanistan in the fall.

    To view the video>>>


  25. Just Draggin'

    Interesting to know that each state has its own set of laws when it comes to medical marijuana….one point though….those who use it medically say it numbs the pain. To do that, it must affect the brain, so how can people say you can smoke it and not be affected? I see a contradiction here….if it deadens pain then, good, but what I have been reading are those not ill wanting to light up….there’s a big difference between using a drug medicinally and recreationally….

  26. newsdeskinternational

    Medical marijuana: Has it gone too far?

    It’s a problem that local law enforcement say is steam-rolling our community. The abuse of medical marijuana.

    A major bust last night shows how drastically laws have changed, when it comes to people growing marijuana. In a mobile home, in Black Forest, detectives found almost 200 marijuana plants growing. Brent Cunningham, the owner, had another hundred plants growing at another home.


  27. PuddinHead

    I for one, don’t believe in medical marijuana…there are other ways to numb the pain….what happens when the marijuana no longer works? You keep needing more and more?

    It does effect the brain, no matter how you look at it….if it was so safe, it wouldn’t be illegal would it?

  28. newsdeskinternational

    Medical marijuana seller busted during buying trip
    Oregon doesn’t recognize pot permits from other states

    Since marijuana in medical use becoming legal, more than a thousand medical marijuana patients have purchased the drug at a small dispensary on Northwest Boulevard in Spokane in the nearly five months it’s been open. Business is booming, and Scott Q. Shupe, co-owner of the dispensary, intended to keep it that way when he set out for Oregon with thousands of dollars and a lead on several pounds of marijuana.

    Shupe, 54, was driving back from Bend, Ore., on Friday afternoon when an Oregon State Police trooper pulled him over for crossing the centerline. That trooper found 4 pounds of marijuana and more than $18,000 in Shupe’s 1993 Chevrolet Cavalier station wagon – supplies destined for his dispensary, he said. Shupe’s status as a medical marijuana patient in Washington didn’t matter. Oregon doesn’t recognize medical marijuana permits from other states.

    Even if it did, patients and caregivers are limited to 1.5 pounds at time. Shupe is back in Spokane after posting $7,500 bond. His arrest underscores the dichotomy between medical marijuana patients and police and prosecutors charged with enforcing drug laws.

    Washington’s medical marijuana law, approved by voters in 1998 and adjusted later by the Legislature, doesn’t specify how card-carrying medical marijuana users can obtain fresh bud or how caretakers can legally obtain seeds to grow their own. The law also doesn’t address how dispensaries such as Shupe’s can obtain their supplies.

    Spokane County prosecutors have said they believe dispensaries such as Change, which Shupe owns with Christopher Stevens, violate the medical marijuana laws because they provide marijuana to more than one person.

    But how they’ll address that remains to be seen.

    Federal law prohibits marijuana use, even for medicinal purposes, but U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said he won’t target medical marijuana users.

    Locally, police and prosecutors work together to decide who to target and how.

    Darren McCrea, founder of the medical-marijuana advocacy group SpoCannabis, was charged Aug. 4 in an investigation that began in October 2007 and culminated with a police raid in June 2008 on his north Spokane home, where detectives found more than 5 pounds of marijuana, according to a probable cause affidavit.

    McCrea faces charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, manufacture of a controlled substance and five counts of distribution of a controlled substance.

    McCrea’s situation is similar to Shupe’s. Court papers show police heard McCrea was “selling marijuana to anyone with a medical permit.” The shelves at Change were nearly empty Tuesday. Two jars of fresh marijuana sat where Shupe said at least six usually do. Shupe is hopeful he’ll get his marijuana and money returned, but Wasco County (Ore.) District Attorney Eric Nisley said the law isn’t in his favor.

  29. newsdeskinternational
  30. newsdeskinternational

    New York Woman, 62, Charged With Growing Pot on Porch

    A 62-year-old western New York woman faces misdemeanor charges of growing and possessing marijuana after police found a 7-foot-tall pot plant growing on her front porch.

    Captain Charles Danzi of the town of Evans police says Barbara Ober was charged after the porch plant and six others growing around the house were seized by officers on Wednesday.

    The woman told police she needs it to treat her arthritis and glaucoma.

    Her husband, John Ober, told WKBW in Buffalo that she doesn’t smoke a lot, but it does help ease her pain.

    Thirteen states allow marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes, but not New York. There’s currently a bill under consideration in Albany that would allow it.

    John Ober says it’s time New York legalized medical marijuana and reaped the benefits of taxing it.

  31. newsdeskinternational

    Iowa board of pharmacy considering medical marijuana

    The Iowa Board of Pharmacy is now one step closer to making its recommendation to the state’s legislature regarding the use of medical marijuana in the state.
    On Sept. 2 the board held the second open hearing in what it expects to be a series of four dedicated to receiving public comment, said Terry Witkowski, executive officer of the Iowa Board of Pharmacy.

    Witkowski said about 30 attendees spoke during the meeting, with two speakers providing testimony against making medical marijuana legal in the state. There has been some pressure from state legislatures, members of the public, and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) to make marijuana legal for medical purposes

    The board will give its recommendation to the state legislature on or by Jan. 1.

    It’s possible that pharmacists in the state could be greatly affected by a decision to allow use of the drug for medical purposes, but exactly what their role might be cannot be determined until the board’s decision is made and the law is enacted.

  32. newsdeskinternational

    Richland medical marijuana site requested

    RICHLAND, Wash. —
    A medical marijuana group has asked the city of Richland to set aside a place for a grow operation.

    KONA reports the Three Rivers Collective wants a local supply. One member told the city council Tuesday that patients growing their own drug have been targeted or forced to go outside the area for marijuana.

    City Attorney Tom Lampson says state law would not allow for a nonprofit collective to grow medical marijuana and group should take its request to the Legislature.

  33. newsdeskinternational

    Ariz. court rejects religious defense for pot use

    The Arizona Supreme Court says a man isn’t entitled to use a state religious-freedom law to overturn his conviction for possessing marijuana while driving. The state high court’s unanimous ruling Tuesday rejects Danny Ray Hardesty’s argument that he’s entitled to use the same defense allowed for peyote use in Native American sacramental rights.

    The justices said it’s already been established that concerns about public safety and health give the government a compelling interest in restricting marijuana use. The court concluded that Hardesty’s claims that he has a right to use marijuana whenever he pleases, including while driving, means nothing less restrictive than a ban would suffice.

  34. Keep it Sane

    what the heck does smoking marijuana have to do with religious freedom? The man is nuts….

  35. newsdeskinternational

    Medical Marijuana Store Shut Down, Owners Arrested

    Thursday, police in Spokane raided a medical marijuana store, shutting it down, arresting the owners and warning similar operations to close, too. Police said it was the first time in the state that medical marijuana distributors had been arrested on a charge of delivery of a controlled substance.

    A store called the Change was raided along with four private residences. Change opened earlier this year. Arrested were co-owners Scott Q. Shupe, 54, and Christopher P. Stevens, 36. the business was selling marijuana to more than 1,000 customers. The dispensary was closed, and police warned other medical marijuana dispensaries in Spokane to close their businesses as well.

    State law allows caretakers to purchase marijuana for medical marijuana cardholders, but Spokane police contend it remains illegal for anyone to provide it to more than one patient at a time.

    Washington voters passed Initiative 692 — the Medical Use of Marijuana Act — in 1998. The Legislature in 2007 asked the Department of Health to define a legal supply of marijuana. The agency determined that an authorized person could possess a 60-day supply, or 1 1/2 pounds of marijuana or 15 plants. Qualifying patients have to grow their own, as marijuana is not legal to buy or sell, the agency said.

    Regardless of state laws, marijuana is outlawed by the federal government, which does not accept that marijuana has medical benefits.

  36. tricia

    The Spokane pigs raided and shut down both MJ stores in Spokane yesterday. Don’t bust meth labs!!!!!!!!!!! Go for the people who are doing something good. Meth is more dangerous and is the number one reason jails are so full. Spokane shame on you!!!!!!!!!

  37. newsdeskinternational

    New Jersey considers a medical marijuana law

    It appears another state is ready to join the medical marijuana list. Years of powerful prescription drugs have left Michael Oliveri, 25, of Oradell, permanently nauseous, but there is one medication he says helps relieve his pain and gives him an appetite. The only problem is that it’s a federally banned substance — marijuana. Oliveri and other patients suffering from debilitating diseases like multiple sclerosis or AIDS wasting syndrome have been fighting for a medical marijuana law in New Jersey. State lawmakers are widely expected to vote on the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act before the end of the year and Gov. Jon Corzine has indicated he would sign the bill. If enacted, New Jersey would become the 14th state to legalize marijuana for medical use. Opponents of the bill point to abuse of the law in California, the first state to legalize medical marijuana, as a precursor of what’s to come in New Jersey.

    New Jersey considers a medical marijuana law

  38. Carl Parker

    Come on, first we are told it kills the pain, now it gives you an appetite? What next will they find as an excuse? I say keep it illegal since it has been proven to affect the brain, or impair judgment….

    Those for it sure try to push off excuses…why pills make you addictive, what the hell do you think marijuana does?

  39. newsdeskinternational

    Interesting follow up to the Change Raid::::

    The investigation into the medical marijuana dispensary Change began when a detective saw a TV news article about the business in May, court documents show.


  40. Wild Rose

    You will never get those who use the drug to understand reason…as with ALL drugs, they are addictive….if used incorrectly….some more than others….and it has been stated by those who use it medically, it numbs the pain…so then as the pain worsens, your dependency on the drug increases….it stands to reason that is so….

    Now you recreational users, you think just because it’s legal partially for the terminally ill, you fit the category to be allowed to smoke it too….wrong….you are supposedly healthy, therefore don’t need drugs…

  41. Otto

    Sure, those states may have legalized it medically, but the laws are poorly written….it doesn’t state where or how the dispensaries may obtain the marijuana….before it came to the voters, the wording should have been corrected…as is, police will still be able to do their raids.

  42. newsdeskinternational

    Most folks go their entire lives without having a police officer hand them pounds of pot. Matthew Zugsberger isn’t one of those folks. On Wednesday, Zugsberger saw the first portion of the 11-plus pounds of marijuana seized from him in February returned by Kent Police. Included in the bunch, he said, was a quarter pound of hashish of which Zugsberger remains quite fond.

    A Californian with a prescription for medical marijuana, Zugsberger was arrested with his girlfriend at a Kent pharmacy after a police canine found the pot and a scale in the trunk of his car. In a claim not supported by police statements, Zugsberger says investigators accused him of hoping to import pot from Canada.

    “They kept saying that I came to Washington to buy pot out of Canada,” Zugsberger said. “Why the hell would I buy pot from Canada if I have a field of it in my backyard?”

    Felony drug charges were filed, a deal was struck and Zugsberger ultimately pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession. Zugsberger was freed on three-months probation.

    His marijuana, though, remained in custody.

    At issue, attorneys for both sides allowed, was the variance in medical marijuana laws between the two states. While California and Washington both allow the medical use of marijuana, Washington allows patients to possess 1 ½-pounds pot while California permits them five pounds.

    Late last month, Zugsberger’s defense attorney Aaron Pelley filed a petition with King County Superior Court demanding that the pot be returned to Zugsberger. In a compromise, Pelley said, the judge ruled that Zugsberger would be returned his marijuana in 1 ½-pound portions at seven-day increments.

    “To my knowledge, it was the first time anyone has asked for their marijuana back,” said Pelley, who is active with the marijuana-law reform organization Cannabis Defense Coalition. “It’s the weirdest case I’ve ever dealt.”

    Ian Goodhew, deputy chief of staff to King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, said prosecutors argued against he immediate return of Zugsberger’s full load of pot in part because doing so would violate state law.

    “Although Mr. Zugsberger had valid documentation from the state of California, he had far more marijuana than what state law allows,” Goodhew said. “When he asked for his marijuana back, our department asked the court to follow Washington state law and the department of health guidelines.”

    Goodhew said the plea agreement recognized both those circumstances — that Zugsberger had both a legal right to possess marijuana, and that he arguably had 10 times the amount allowed under state law.

  43. newsdeskinternational

    Medical marijuana law creates confusion in Wash.

    Here in Washington, a 62-year-old rheumatoid arthritis patient could face more than eight years in prison for growing marijuana for himself and three others. In Seattle, meanwhile, a collection of grow operations serves 2,000 people with little interference from police.

    This confusion is typical since voters approved Washington’s medical marijuana law more than a decade ago. Nor have things improved much since the state clarified how much pot patients can have last year. One difference from other states is that Washington requires patients to grow marijuana themselves or designate a caregiver to grow it for them. For many, that’s unrealistic: They’re too sick to grow cannabis themselves and don’t have the thousands of dollars it can cost for a caregiver to set up a proper growing operation.

    So they’ve devised their own schemes, claiming to meet the letter of the law in establishing collective grows or storefront dispensaries – methods that are making police and prosecutors increasingly uncomfortable.

    “The spirit of the law would recognize the necessity of having small cooperative ventures,” said Dan Satterberg, the prosecutor in King County, where Seattle is. “But if they get past a certain size, become a magnet for neighborhood violence, or you get other people showing up to buy marijuana who are not permitted to under the law, then there’s tension.”

    One of the problems is no one can decide just how many plants can be grown legally. Some activists and the ACLU of Washington recently began discussions with Seattle police over whether to limit the size of cooperative grows.
    The law, which voters approved in 1998, allows doctors to recommend cannabis as a treatment for a series of debilitating or terminal conditions – a smaller range of illnesses than California’s law. A year ago, the state issued guidelines to give police and patients alike an idea of how much pot was OK: Up to 15 plants and 24 ounces of dried marijuana per patient. People can have more if they demonstrate need.

    Police in some jurisdictions have applied the guidelines strictly, arresting people simply for having more than 15 plants, even if they possessed no usable marijuana. According to the Washington law, a caregiver can only provide marijuana to one patient at any one time. In Spokane this year, medical marijuana activists focused on that language in setting up a for-profit dispensary called Change.

    Lawyer Frank Cikutovich said the business met legal requirements: A lone patient would enter the store, sign a document designating the shop as his or her caregiver, and buy marijuana. The agreement expired when the patient left and the next customer came in.

    The business, raided on Sept. 10, rendered the “one patient, one caregiver” rule meaningless, Spokane police spokeswoman Jennifer DeRuwe said. She said there was peripheral crime associated with the dispensary, including robberies at grow sites and street sales from people who had purchased pot there.

    In Western Washington, patients have instead opted for cooperatives. Those are closed membership groups. Patients pay dues or otherwise contribute on a sliding financial scale for their medicine, and some people work full time and even draw salaries under the table.

    Members of one Seattle collective say it serves 2,000 patients and is primarily supplied by about a dozen grow sites, which range from a handful of mature plants to about 70 – a few hundred plants in all, compared to the 30,000 that the patients would be allowed under the 15-plant guideline.

    One of the grows is in the basement of a Seattle home surrounded by blackberries and condominiums. Dozens of starter plants fill one cramped room, while in the next a bumper crop of 15 plants is just days from yielding around 16 pounds of pot.

    Setting up the grow operation with custom-built transformers, ventilation and lighting systems cost more than $50,000 – even though union electricians donated their time. The marijuana is brought to a clinic in an industrial South Seattle neighborhood for trimming and distribution.

  44. newsdeskinternational


    The U.S. government considers marijuana to be a Schedule 1 substance, along with heroin and LSD. This outlaws its use by physicians, as Schedule 1 drugs are believed to have a high potential for abuse and no medical value. This has not always been the case. Cannabis has a long and storied past in the medicinal world.


  45. newsdeskinternational

    Advice from a Colorado Attorney to dispensaries….

    Legal tips for keeping a medical marijuana dispensary above board
    Keep meticulous records on clients, including copies of their state-issued medical marijuana ID cards

    Avoid repeated walk-in business

    Have patients sign “Appointment of Primary Caregiver” form to give dispensary that specific role

    Know the patient’s doctor and the patient’s diagnosis

    Keep on the premises only the number of marijuana plants and amount of harvested cannabis permitted under law on a per patient basis

    Designate plants or marijuana to a particular patient

    Pay your sales taxes

  46. newsdeskinternational

    Sheboygan prosecutors have charged a young woman with trying to eat marijuana as police pulled over the car in which she was riding. Jamie L. Salonen, 18, was charged Friday with misdemeanor marijuana possession and felony bail jumping. The criminal complaint said a trooper stopped her car after seeing the occupants weren’t wearing seatbelts. It said the trooper saw Salonen move around suspiciously.

    Prosecutors said the trooper found her with green material around her mouth and lips, and marijuana strewn about her side of the car.

    The complaint said she was surprised she was being arrested, saying, “I only ate some weed, officer.”

    A number listed for Salonen was disconnected. Online court records didn’t list a defense attorney Saturday.

  47. newsdeskinternational

    Homegrown Pot Threatens Mexican Cartels

    Stiff competition from thousands of mom-and-pop marijuana farmers in the United States threatens the bottom line for powerful Mexican drug organizations in a way that decades of arrests and seizures have not, according to law enforcement officials and pot growers in the United States and Mexico.

    Illicit pot production in the United States has been increasing steadily for decades. But recent changes in state laws that allow the use and cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes are giving U.S. growers a competitive advantage, challenging the traditional dominance of the Mexican traffickers, who once made brands such as Acapulco Gold the standard for quality.


  48. newsdeskinternational

    Just a recap for medical marijuana in Washington State~~~

    The law does not protect medical marijuana users from prosecution, but it offers what is known as an “affirmative defense” — meaning they can offer their illness as a good excuse. There is no affirmative defense for people arrested or charged under federal law.

    The law lists illnesses that qualify patients to use marijuana medically. They include AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, glaucoma and “some forms of intractable pain.”

    Patients in Washington need only a written recommendation from their doctor. They do not need to register with the state, which does not track the number of people authorized to use marijuana medically.

    The law allows patients or designated providers to grow medical marijuana. It is not legal to buy or sell it. The law does not allow dispensaries to operate in the state.

  49. newsdeskinternational

    The co-owner of an Everett house where a big marijuana growing operation was found has won a 50 percent reduction of his sentence.

    Thuy Thi Ngoc Nguyen was resentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour (COO’-now-er) in Seattle to 2 1/2 years for conspiracy to manufacture marijuana. Nguyen originally was sentenced by Coughenour in March 2008 to five years.

    Reasons for the resentencing were not detailed in online court filings. Motions and other documents related to the reduced sentence were sealed.

    Nguyen and John Hien Nguyen were originally charged with manufacturing marijuana as well as conspiracy. They owned a house in Everett where 400 marijuana plants were found growing in 2007. John Nguyen was sentenced earlier to three years and 10 months in prison.

    Both men were linked to a marijuana-growing house in Everett where two people were found slain in 2007.

  50. newsdeskinternational

    Attorney General Announces Formal Medical Marijuana Guidelines

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Attorney General Eric Holder
    today announced formal guidelines for federal prosecutors in states that have
    enacted laws authorizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The
    guidelines make clear that the focus of federal resources should not be on
    individuals whose actions are in compliance with existing state laws, while
    underscoring that the Department will continue to prosecute people whose
    claims of compliance with state and local law conceal operations inconsistent
    with the terms, conditions, or purposes of those laws.

    “It will not be a priority to use federal resources to prosecute patients with
    serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on
    medical marijuana, but we will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind
    claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly
    illegal,” Holder said. “This balanced policy formalizes a sensible approach
    that the Department has been following since January: effectively focus our
    resources on serious drug traffickers while taking into account state and
    local laws.”

    The guidelines set forth examples of conduct that would show when individuals
    are not in clear and unambiguous compliance with applicable state law and may
    indicate illegal drug trafficking activity of potential federal interest,
    including unlawful use of firearms, violence, sales to minors, money
    laundering, amounts of marijuana inconsistent with purported compliance with
    state or local law, marketing or excessive financial gains similarly
    inconsistent with state or local law, illegal possession or sale of other
    controlled substances, and ties to criminal enterprises.

    Fourteen states have enacted laws in some form addressing the use of marijuana
    for medical purposes. A copy of the guidelines, in a memo from Deputy
    Attorney General David W. Ogden to United States Attorneys, can be found here:



  51. newsdeskinternational

    Pot advocates: Looser guidelines leave questions

    A new Obama administration policy loosening guidelines on federal prosecution of medical marijuana on Monday signaled to users that they had less to fear from federal agents but still left their suppliers to contend with a tangled mesh of state laws and regulations.

    The Justice Department told federal prosecutors that targeting people who use or provide medical marijuana in strict compliance with state laws was not a good use of their time.

    Marijuana advocates and patients called the memo an encouraging step forward from the strict anti-pot policies of the Bush administration. But many worried that the web of laws in the 14 states that allow medical marijuana use could still leave medical marijuana providers vulnerable to prosecution.

    The state stands out for the inconsistent enforcement of medical marijuana laws. There are as many as 800 storefront pot shops in Los Angeles just as some dispensary owners are starting decades-long sentences in federal prison. Some cities are trying to clamp down on medical marijuana, while others offer permits and collect taxes on dispensaries just like any other small business.

    The confusion makes some medical marijuana backers skeptical that anyone can feel secure they are clearly in compliance with state law and safe from federal prosecution.

    On Monday, for example, a state judge temporarily barred Los Angeles from enforcing a ban on medical marijuana clinics, ruling that the City Council failed to follow state law.

    California also stands alone for the widespread presence of storefront dispensaries, but places to legally obtain pot are starting to sprout in other states. Colorado also has dispensaries, and Rhode Island and New Mexico are in the process of licensing providers.

    Marijuana is effective in treating chronic pain and nausea, among other ailments, advocates say. In the past, federal agents have focused on busting dispensaries they said were using medical marijuana as a front for traditional drug-dealing and earning millions in the process. The Justice Department’s latest memo suggests that approach will continue.

    The Justice Department memo emphasizes that prosecutors have wide discretion in choosing which cases to pursue. In particular, the memo urges prosecutors to pursue marijuana cases which involve violence, the illegal use of firearms, selling pot to minors, money laundering or involvement in other crimes.

    The states that allow some use of marijuana for medical purposes are Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, by the government’s count.

    But who exactly determines what compliance at the state level means is still a contentious question. California, for example, does not have an agency similar to its department of Alcoholic Beverage Control that focuses on marijuana. As a result, it has been up to the courts, city governments and local law enforcement to determine who is following the state law and who is not.

    Just last week, attorneys for the city of Fresno, Calif. obtained a restraining order to force the closure of nine pot clubs for violating zoning laws that require them to comply with both state and federal laws, an essentially impossible requirement since the U.S. government classifies pot as an illegal narcotic.

    In Colorado, where voters allowed the use of small amounts of marijuana for medical reasons, there are no statewide rules regulating the increasing numbers of dispensaries and cities have taken to regulating them on their own. For the new federal policy to have any effect, lawmakers need to create the regulations, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said.

    Patrons at a dispensary in San Francisco said they hoped the new policy would lift the stigma surrounding pot.

    But they refused to give their names, saying they would not trust the federal government until marijuana was made completely legal.

  52. newsdeskinternational

    Colorado newspaper hiring marijuana critic

    A Denver alternative newspaper recently posted an ad for what some consider the sweetest job in journalism — a reviewer of the state’s marijuana dispensaries and their products.

    Medical marijuana users can also look to dozens of review Web sites, even mainstream rating sites such as Yelp or Citysearch, to find their high. At least five iPhone applications allow weed fans to find the closest place to legally buy bud in the 14 states that allow some sort of medical marijuana.

    The Denver paper, Westword, has already has gotten more than 120 applicants, many of them offering to do the reviews for free. When the newspaper settles on a permanent critic for its new “Mile Highs and Lows” column, industry watchers say, it will be the first professional newspaper critic of medical marijuana in the country.

    There’s one condition: The critic has to have a medical ailment that allows them to legally enter a dispensary, and buy and use marijuana.

  53. newsdeskinternational

  54. newsdeskinternational

    Medical marijuana: An excuse to get high

    If we are truly concerned about using marijuana for medicinal purposes, we would send it to the Food & Drug Administration to be tested and if approved they would decide on the best way to make the drug available. This is how we handle any all potential new drugs in this country, and if approved, we get our prescriptions filled at a licensed pharmacy.


  55. newsdeskinternational

    A federal misstep with medical marijuana?

    Here’s Obama’s reasoning why the rules are lax now for medical marijuana….

    The federal government has limited resources to fight drugs, and funds should not be wasted on prosecuting users and providers of medical marijuana who comply with state laws, the Obama administration said this week.
    While this argument may indeed seem a sensible prioritizing of federal effort and dollars, the White House and the public should realize it comes with a cost.

    That cost is Washington’s tacit approval of state-sanctioned medical marijuana, which the drug’s proponents will take as a green light to push even harder for their ultimate goal: full legalization of marijuana use and distribution.

    Backers would like to see the buying and selling of pot regulated and taxed much like alcohol and tobacco. Their patient and well-funded route to this goal is through the states, with one avenue being state legalization of medical marijuana.

    Since 1996, 13 states have allowed such use – in defiance of a federal statute that outlaws marijuana as a controlled substance. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration does not approve of marijuana as safe or effective for any medicinal use, and the drug has never gone through the FDA’s rigorous approval process. Yet several more states are considering medical marijuana laws at the urging of pro-pot and patients-rights groups.

    Their stated reason is compassion. They argue that marijuana alleviates suffering for certain illnesses. No one wants to deny compassion for the sick, but Americans need to be aware of the larger context in this debate.

    To begin with, state medical marijuana laws have opened the door to distribution beyond those who are ill. California shines glaringly as Exhibit A – just like the green neon signs that advertise so many of its medical marijuana dispensaries.

    The Golden State was the first to legalize marijuana for medical purposes and its law is notoriously loose. All it takes to buy pot is a doctor’s permission – and some doctors are willing to fill prescriptions on the thinnest of pretenses. With hundreds of marijuana storefronts in Los Angeles, the city put a moratorium on new dispensaries in 2007. A Superior Court judge ruled this week that an extension of the moratorium is invalid, a move that is likely to spur the opening of even more pot shops.

    The federal regulation question gets at another fundamental issue – the safe use of marijuana as a medicine. The FDA is not alone in its refusal to sanctify marijuana for medical purposes. Neither does the American Medical Association approve of it – though it has encouraged its study. And questions linger about dosage, purity, and unpredictability.

    Generally, marijuana is not nearly as harmless as its proponents make it out to be. While pot cannot directly kill the way that alcohol or, say, an overdose of heroin can, heavy use can lead to dependence. About 1 in 10 people who have used marijuana become dependent at some time, according to Kevin Sabet, in the 2006 book, “Pot Politics.” Mr. Sabet, a staunch opponent of legalizing marijuana, is now a policy adviser to the president’s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske.

    Heavy use can also lead to serious mental-health problems, especially in young people. Even casual use distorts perception, reduces motor skills, and affects alertness – a hazard in driving and other activities.

    Thankfully, the Obama administration does not support the legalization of marijuana. And this week’s Justice Department directive, which formalized a decision taken last March, by no means lets dispensaries off the hook. The feds will still go after misuse of state medical marijuana laws – prosecuting providers that serve minors, launder money, or illegally possess firearms.

    “We will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal,” Attorney General Eric Holder said.

    All well and good. The problem is, the line between legal and illegal regarding marijuana is fading year by year. The pro-pot groups would rub it out altogether. For the sake of a clear-thinking and healthy America, that must not be allowed to happen.

  56. newsdeskinternational

    Hawaii’s medical marijuana program to be reviewed

    Hawaii’s medical marijuana program will be the subject of a public meeting on Tuesday.

    The Medical Cannabis Working Group, which will host the event at the State Capitol, is composed of organizations, medical professionals, patients and caregivers.

    Current state law allows the use of medical cannabis. However, Gov. Linda Lingle has vetoed two measures to create a task force to study problems with the law.

    The Legislature overrode the most recent veto. But Lingle says the state cannot afford to fund a task force.

    Instead, medical marijuana advocates formed the unofficial working group.

    The Obama administration recently announced rules saying only people who use medical marijuana in ways that violate state law should be pursued by federal authorities.

  57. newsdeskinternational

    Here’s one thing no one considered when medical marijuana became legal…

    Growth of medical-marijuana demand fuels Colorado land rush

    Real estate brokers say that Colorado’s medical-marijuana law has sparked a land rush, as entrepreneurs lured by a growing number of licensed users search for properties for growing or selling pot.


  58. Leon

    There sure are a lot of opinions here! So I’m chuckin my 2 cents in too.
    I’ve been trying to catch up on the issues here. And no, I don’t smoke weed, just to clear that up.
    A. Pot is classified incorrectly by the feds.
    (It was initially banned to keep migrant workers in line and get rid of them.)
    B. Given the macro view of things I find severe differences in volatility between drinkers and smokers.
    (I’ve never heard of someone getting stoned and beating the heck out of their woman, crashing a car, getting liver damage etc.)
    C. I have to question people that think nothing of allowing legally prescribed medications for everything imaginable that inherently have dangerous physical consequences including death as a “side effect” and yet feel the need to ban the EVIL WEED lest someone eat cookies because they have the munchies.
    D. While I’m lucky enough to not have cancer today, I would hope that if that changes in my life I can support some drug cartel in another country? My government is far behind the times but full of righteous indignation. And now they don’t want to step back and say they were wrong back when they made it a class 1 felony given all we have learned since then. Let’s face it, it’s embarrassing! Change the law, tax the stuff, and move on already.
    E. I AM fed up with so many good people being jailed at MY expense over this damn plant.

  59. newsdeskinternational

    So now that it’s okay to have medical marijuana, we have a new dilemma, what ailments constitutes the need for medical marijuana.

    RE: Colorado>

    Thousands of young men in their early 20’s have applied to doctors and, , by complaining of severe or chronic pain, received cards to put in their wallets that allow them to legally buy high-quality marijuana. Marijuana is an itemized category of treatment for those symptoms under an amendment to the Colorado Constitution passed by voters in 2000.

    Figures from the department also show that issuing medical marijuana cards has become something of a medical specialty. Based on figures through mid-August, nearly three-fourths of the 10,003 marijuana permits issued in the state had come from just 15 doctors. One doctor alone was responsible for about one-quarter of the total.

    But for local officials, an effective strategy to deal with medical marijuana’s new terrain could be elusive. The city of Greeley, north of Denver, which banned medical marijuana dispensaries last week, took a stance that sounded pretty tough-minded on paper. But the dispensary that had prompted the ban, Generations Natural Medicine — which opened in Greeley in August and was shut down by the city about two weeks later — reopened its doors on Saturday about two miles south of Greeley in the adjoining community of Garden City, which enacted rules welcoming the new business.

    The shop’s owners, a father-and-son team — Casey Villas Sr., 57, a retired Postal Service letter carrier, and Casey Villas Jr., 36 — said marijuana has been a healing tradition in their family for many years. They sell everything from fertilizers to help clients start their own marijuana gardens to storage jars, advertised with a sign that says, “As seen on Weeds,” the television show about a pot-selling suburban housewife in southern California.

  60. newsdeskinternational

    Can municipalities get away with regulating medical marijuana?

    With the Justice Department’s announcement last week that it won’t be prosecuting medical marijuana cases in states where the practice is legal, the feds loudly and officially passed the buck on the subject. That leaves it up to medical-marijuana states and their municipalities to determine just how to handle all that weed. And there’s no other place in the country where the issue’s more pressing than Colorado, where vague medical marijuana laws entombed in the constitution have led to a pot gold-rush of mammoth proportions, with hundreds of people a day applying for state marijuana IDs and dispensaries popping up in nearly every storefront imaginable.


  61. newsdeskinternational

    HB 648: Medical Marijuana for New Hampshire?

    They all believe in a patients rights to use medical marijuana with a doctors recommendation. They are also prepared to put their collective personal reputations on the line by putting their heads above the parapet, as they speak out in favor of medical marijuana laws in New Hampshire.


  62. newsdeskinternational

    Alaska’s medical marijuana policy stays intact


  63. newsdeskinternational

    NH’s Senate lets medical marijuana bill die

    The Senate has shot down a bill that would have made New Hampshire the 14th state to legalize marijuana use by severely ill people.

    Earlier Wednesday, the House voted 240-115 to pass the bill, but the Senate’s 14-10 vote fell short of the two-thirds needed to put it into law.

    The bill would have established three nonprofit “compassion centers” to dispense 2 ounces of marijuana every 10 days to severely ill patients whose doctors approve the drug’s use. The state would have licensed the centers and issued identification cards to their staff, approved patients and their caregivers.

    Gov. John Lynch vetoed the bill last spring, citing concerns over distribution and cultivation.

  64. newsdeskinternational

    Medical marijuana bill fails in New Hampshire

    New Hampshire fell two votes short yesterday of becoming the 14th state to legalize marijuana use by severely ill people after the state Senate failed to override Governor John Lynch’s veto.

    The Senate’s 14-10 vote did not reach the two-thirds needed for passage. Earlier in the day the House voted 240-115 to pass the bill over Lynch’s objections.

    Lynch cited concerns over cultivation, distribution, and the potential for abuse. He also said the bill did not clearly restrict marijuana use to people with severe pain, seizures, or nausea.

    The bill would have established three nonprofit “compassion centers’’ to dispense 2 ounces of marijuana every 10 days to severely ill patients whose doctors approve the drug’s use. The state would have licensed the centers and issued identification cards to their staff, approved patients, and care- givers.

    Supporters said that the bill would provide relief to people with chronic or terminal illnesses.

    “This is a bill about compassion. It is about using a drug that is relatively safe,’’ said Senator Peggy Gilmour, Democrat of Hollis. “It is up to 16 of us to look at those who suffer and say, ‘I understand and I will help.’ ’’

    Opponents said the bill would invite abuse.

    “This is a terrible message to send to our children,’’ said Senator Robert Letourneau, Republican of Derry.

    Critics in the House contended that a provision prohibiting workplace discrimination against users created a public safety issue for firefighters, police, and others.

    “We should err on the side of caution,’’ said Representative Shawn Jasper, Republican of Hudson.

    After the vote, the bill’s prime sponsor, Representative Evalyn Merrick, said she will refile the bill for the 2011 legislative session after next year’s election, which will change the makeup of both chambers.

    Merrick, a Lancaster Democrat, said she did not expect to make major changes.

    “We addressed all the concerns in the governor’s veto message already,’’ she said.

    Lynch, who is expected to run for reelection, reiterated his opposition last week after US Attorney John Kacavas said he would not prosecute people using small amounts for pain or to improve their appetite. Kacavas said his office would focus on drug dealers.

  65. newsdeskinternational

    Coloradan loses medical marijuana appeal

    A Colorado court ruled Thursday that a medical marijuana provider must have personal contact with her patients to be considered a primary caregiver.

    The decision upholds the conviction against Stacy Clendenin, a Longmont woman found guilty of marijuana cultivation and possession with intent to distribute. She was sentenced in February 2008 to one year of unsupervised probation and 48 hours of community service.

    Clendenin argued she was responsible for clients she never met.


  66. newsdeskinternational

    Colorado Town to Vote on Legalizing Marijuana

    Voters in the Rocky Mountain town of Breckenridge will decide next week whether to legalize pot for all adults at a time when the movement to allow medical marijuana is gaining steam.

    A measure before Breckenridge voters in Tuesday’s municipal election would legalize possession of smoking paraphernalia and up to 1 ounce of marijuana. Pot possession would still be a state crime, but town police officers would have to take users to the county sheriff’s department to be cited.

    Prospects look good for the measure. In 2006, a statewide ballot measure to make marijuana possession legal failed 59 percent to 49 percent. But among Breckenridge voters, that measure won almost 3-to-1.

  67. Evelyn

    You people are unbelievably harsh and judgmental. I have more than one chronic and severe illness, including fibromyalgia, a neurological condition related to Parkinsons’s, as well as several herniated discs in my neck and multiple bone-spurs, all of which are inoperable.

    I just did some research on fibromyalgia and marijuana is one of the only approved treatments, and is the most successful treatment. If you don’t know what fibromyalgia is, do some research before stating that those of us who find relief from marijuana are “just looking for an excuse to do drugs”. Excuse me, but most of us would rather be cured that have to deal with debilitating symptoms. As for actual prescription drugs that treat fibromyalgia, most of them I’m either unable to take or they’ve offered minimal relief. There aren’t a lot of them. I take the one that has been the most successful, Gabapentin, but it is only mildly successful.

    I used to be extremely active, doing ballet, fencing and field hockey 5-6 days a week for several hours each day in addition to work. There is no way I would have done drugs, and didn’t. It is ony after being in pain for nine years now that I have finally grown desperate enough to try marijuana. It helps me considerably, but I’d still rather be cured.

  68. newsdeskinternational


    Pueblo Considers Hold On Medical Pot Dispensaries

    A moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries is up for debate in Pueblo.

    Residents are set to tell the city council on Monday night what they think about a proposed 90-day freeze on licensing medical marijuana dispensaries while Pueblo officials determine how to regulate them.

    Other municipalities across Colorado have implemented moratoriums on having dispensaries while they decide on rules. Last week, the town of Silverthorne decided to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate as long as they’re not near schools, residential neighborhoods and public places.

    Colorado voters approved the use of marijuana for medical reasons in 2000 but local governments can set regulations for dispensaries.

  69. ian

    I have a green card,here in washington, I am also unemployed(union),I would love to open a dispensary! I would be helping my fellow green card holders, and helping the job market, by employing at least 12 people that otherwise wouldn’t have a job, pay he taxes associated with the business, but make it a non-profit organization, with what profits there are can be put back into the org. Then we haven’t even looked at the industrial benefits of cannabis. Let’s look beyond the drug, and think about the hemp seed for oil(bio-fuels), string and rope, feed for livestock(after the oils have been removed), it grows faster than soy,and can be fed to livestock instead of corn or wheat products.

  70. newsdeskinternational

    Castlerock Colorado

    Medical marijuana businesses banned in Castle Rock

    Requests to open medical marijuana businesses in Castle Rock will be denied, Town Council decided Tuesday.

    Council voted 4-3 in support of a motion that said, “In light of the fact that the possession,
    use and sale of marijuana in all forms remains illegal under federal drug laws, notwithstanding Amendment 20 to the Colorado Constitution, I move to direct the Town manager to strictly enforce section 1.10.010 of the Castle Rock Municipal Code and all similar Code previsions with the express purpose of preventing commercial medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation to be opened or operated within the municipal limits of the Town of Castle Rock.”

    The referenced section of the Code says that “applicants seeking approval from the Town for development, building permit, variance or any other matter regulated by the Town are responsible for complying with all laws, including federal and state regulations.”

    As such, the Town will cease processing all medical marijuana business license applications that have been submitted, and applicants will receive notice of denial.

    Prior to Council’s action, two dispensaries had received business licenses from the Town. Those cases currently are under legal review.

    Colorado voters in 2000 approved Amendment 20 to the Colorado Constitution, which allows caregivers to provide medical marijuana to patients suffering from “debilitating medical conditions” who have state-issued registry cards. However, the dispensaries did not become common throughout the state until this year, when the federal government ended its enforcement of dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is allowed.

    Several other Colorado cities and towns, including Aurora, Broomfield, Centennial, Colorado Springs, Greeley, Greenwood Village, Parker and Superior, have chosen to prohibit medical marijuana businesses within their limits.

  71. tyler

    wow i cant believe cannabis is still illegal, and the mainstream culture is still against it.
    anyone 21+, should be aloud to go to a store and purchase cannabis for recreational use. just like alcohol.
    it would take this profit away from gangs and put the profit in the hands of legal retailers , farmers and the community. why not tax it and fund schools and government rehab programs.
    everyone whos tried smoking marijuana at least once knows that its not as intoxicating as alcohol.

  72. newsdeskinternational

    What I am trying to do here, is keep the updated laws and changes to the laws posted, for all the states who now have legalized marijuana…..

  73. newsdeskinternational

    A bigger fix for medical marijuana

    When voters chose to allow marijuana to be prescribed as a medical treatment, many likely thought the number of users would be small.

    After all, the campaign literature for Amendment 20, which passed in 2000, said the treatment would go for those with debilitating diseases such as cancer, glaucoma and AIDS for which no other treatment would seem to be effective. Imagine the surprise, then, when a large number of young adults complaining of “chronic pain” started showing up at medical marijuana dispensaries around the state. They seem to be looking at filling a need — chronic, but not pain.


  74. newsdeskinternational


    Denver judge tosses out state ruling on medical marijuana rules

    The Colorado State Board of Health acted “illegally” last week when it amended rules on medical marijuana providers, a Denver judge ruled Tuesday.


  75. newsdeskinternational

    New group formed to regulate medical marijuana

    Medical marijuana advocates have established a new business association designed to regulate Colorado’s growing medical marijuana industry.

    Organizers announced the formation of the Colorado Wellness Association Wednesday morning at Full Spectrum Laboratories in Denver.

    The group says it wants to give the state’s medical marijuana community a unified voice while working with local businesses, law enforcement and the general public to regulate medical marijuana.

    “We hope to create some labeling requirements; some quality control. This is going to be a self-regulating group. We’re going to police our own industry and we’re going to hope to police it well so the government doesn’t come in and do it for us,” Robert Corry, Jr., with the Colorado Wellness Association, said.

    The Colorado Wellness Association says it plans to outline a standard of ethical business practices for caregivers as well as establish a standard of care that patients can expect from their providers.

  76. newsdeskinternational

    AMA Reverses Stance on Medical Marijuana

    The American Medical Association has changed its policy on medical marijuana, urging the federal government to review the drug’s status as a top-tier controlled dangerous substance.


  77. newsdeskinternational

    First U.S. marijuana cafe opens in Portland

    The United States’ first marijuana cafe opened on Friday, posing an early test of the Obama administration’s move to relax policing of medical use of the drug.

    The Cannabis Cafe in Portland, Oregon, is the first to give certified medical marijuana users a place to get hold of the drug and smoke it — as long as they are out of public view — despite a federal ban.


  78. newsdeskinternational

    Two men are threatening to sue Mountlake Terrace after the city rejected their request to open a medical marijuana dispensary.

    Todd Madison and Aaron Panagos applied for a business license in September to open the for-profit Botanical Urban Dispensary Service. They say they’ve been using medically authorized marijuana to manage pain for years and have run their business out of their homes since the beginning of the year.

    The city maintains that Washington’s medical marijuana law doesn’t allow storefront dispensaries. The law says patients can grow their own or designate someone to grow it for them, but such providers can only supply to one patient at any one time – not the many customers who would be served by a dispensary.

  79. newsdeskinternational
  80. newsdeskinternational

    Colo. medical pot suppliers will have to pay taxes

    It won’t be long but the Governor of Colorado plans to make dispensaries pay taxes. Ritter’s move comes after Colorado Attorney John Suthers concluded in an opinion issued Monday that medical marijuana is considered personal property that can be taxed and shouldn’t be treated like prescription drugs, which are tax exempt.

    Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer says the administration will immediately tell dispensaries to get retail licenses and start paying sales tax.

    Colorado lawmakers estimate the state could collect up to $15 million a year on the sales.

    The decision comes just as Denver moves to impose sales tax on medical marijuana. Denver plans to notify dispensaries that it will start collecting municipal sales tax starting in December.

  81. newsdeskinternational

    DEA Removes AMA Marijuana Talking Points From Website

    On Tuesday night, the DEA updated it’s website and removed several comments from the AMA. The update removed several references to the AMA, including: “the American Medical Association recommends that marijuana remain a Schedule I controlled substance,” and “the American Medical Association has rejected pleas to endorse marijuana as medicine.” These changes came just over a week after the AMA released its new position on marijuana.

  82. newsdeskinternational

    Company Announces Marijuana Debit Card

    Good news for those in California and Colorado….a company has now come out with a medical marijuana debit card. Now bear in mind, these cards so far are only good in those two states.

    Fourteen states presently allow some use of marijuana for medical purposes: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. California is unique among those for the widespread presence of dispensaries–businesses that sell marijuana and even advertise their services. Colorado also has several dispensaries, and Rhode Island and New Mexico are in the process of licensing providers.

    The company declined to reveal what the card would be called or whether it will carry a Visa or MasterCard logo.
    There may be no greater sign of marijuana’s rising profile in the national economy than this: a company has announced medical marijuana will soon have its own pre-paid debit card.

    To begin with, the card may only be used in medical marijuana dispensaries in California and Colorado, explained Commerce Online, a merchant processing company that is launching the card, but the company expects to expand its range.

    “Fourteen states presently allow some use of marijuana for medical purposes: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. California is unique among those for the widespread presence of dispensaries–businesses that sell marijuana and even advertise their services. Colorado also has several dispensaries, and Rhode Island and New Mexico are in the process of licensing providers,” according to the Marijuana Policy Project, a group that promotes the decriminalization of marijuana use.

    “Being an established player within the merchant services sector and aligning ourselves with the strongest banking and technology partners within the space, we believe Commerce Online is uniquely positioned to offer the most reliable pre-paid debit and identification card to the medical marijuana industry, and roll out our pilot program immediately. Presently, most of these operations only accept cash, as well as pay cash to suppliers to the collectives, subjecting operators and collective members to theft, unregulated and potential criminal activity. There is no doubt that with new legislation for the operation of these facilities and potential legalization in select states, there will be tighter safeguards put into place by federal, state and local governments,” said Kyle Gotshalk, CEO of Commerce Online.

    The company declined to reveal what the card would be called or whether it will carry a Visa or MasterCard logo.

  83. newsdeskinternational

    Attorneys at the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office blasted a proposed city ordinance this week for running afoul of state laws that prohibit the sale of marijuana.


  84. newsdeskinternational

    Medical marijuana finds social outlet in Ore. cafe

    At the newly opened Cannabis Cafe, people sit around taking tokes from a “vaporizer” – a contraption with a big plastic bag that captures the potent vapors of heated marijuana. Glass jars hold donations of dried, milky-green weed, and the cafe serves up meals and snacks for the hungry.


  85. newsdeskinternational

    Medical Marijuana Cafe Opens in Portland, Could Seattle Be Very Far Behind?

    Since Portland is now home of the first marijuana cafe, many are now wondering if Seattle will be next. Sponsored by the Oregon chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Portland’s Cannabis Cafe is not a marijuana dispensary like one might find in Colorado and California where such businesses are legal. As reported in the Seattle Times , the cafe is a commercial space where medical marijuana patients can socialize with fellow travelers, have Socratic discussions on the efficacy of federal marijuana policy, and discuss proper bong maintenance–all while burning one down.


  86. newsdeskinternational

    Medical marijuana proposal comes before state legislature

    MADISON – Under a proposal to be debated at the state Capitol, Wisconsin residents would be allowed to possess up to three ounces of marijuana, or 12 plants, if their doctor recommends the drug be used for medicinal purposes.

    Legislative leaders seems inclined, this time, to allow the question to be debated.

    The bill specifically names the ailments which could qualify patients to legally use the drug. They include HIV, cancer, hepatitis-C, post-traumatic stress syndrome, Alzheimer’s and several others.

    After years of pushing for the exception to the law, backers say momentum is now on their side. Several states have legalized medical marijuana — including Michigan, last year.

  87. I need Help in opening a dispensory here in Vancouver Wa they have one in ne Portland Now we need on hear .

  88. newsdeskinternational


    How do I get medical marijuana? Can I buy it?

    The law allows a qualifying patient or designated provider to grow medical marijuana. It is not legal to buy or sell it.

    Are dispensaries legal?

    No. The law does not allow dispensaries. The law only allows qualifying patients and designated providers to possess medical marijuana.

    How much medical marijuana can I have?

    A qualifying patient or designated provider may have a 60-day supply of medical marijuana. A 60-day supply is defined as 24 ounces and 15 plants (WAC 246-75-010). The law says that a patient may exceed these limits if he or she can prove medical need.

    How do I become a designated provider?

    A designated provider must be at least 18 years old and must be designated in writing by the qualifying patient. A designated provider can only be a provider for one patient at any one time.

    Can I be a patient and a designated provider?

    The law does not say that a patient may or may not also be a designated provider. It does say that a designated provider may not consume a qualifying patient’s medical marijuana.

  89. newsdeskinternational

    Rocky Mountain high

    Inside the green neon sign, which is shaped like a marijuana leaf, is a red cross. The cross serves the fiction that most transactions in the store — which is what it really is — involve medicine.


  90. newsdeskinternational

    Cannabis Colleges Crop Up: New Institutions for ‘Higher’ Learning
    Thousands Learn How to Grow Legal Medical Marijuana

    Don’t expect to pull an all-nighter at Med Grow Cannabis College. Michigan’s first training center for medical marijuana education doesn’t ask students for their homework. There are no final exams.


  91. newsdeskinternational

    Expected Today: Lawsuit Challenging Centennial’s Medical-Marijuana Order


  92. newsdeskinternational

    Legalizing medical marijuana in N.J.: What life will be like in the marijuana Garden State

    The latest reports out of Trenton are that by the time the current governor leaves office, New Jersey is likely to have a law authorizing medical marijuana. So on a recent trip to California I decided to check out a marijuana clinic to see what the future will be like.


  93. newsdeskinternational

    This Wednesday, the public will be able to comment on a proposal to legalize medical marijuana in Wisconsin.

    The bill would allow a patient to obtain medical marijuana provided they have a doctor’s prescription and are suffering from one of a list of ailments listed in the bill.

    The state would keep a registry of those who can receive and dispense marijuana.

    For years, advocates have argued that for those suffering from diseases like cancer and AIDS, medical marijuana helps to ease their pain.

    The bill is the subject of a joint hearing before the senate and assembly health committees.

  94. newsdeskinternational

    Marijuana helps reduce MS symptoms

    Marijuana may reduce spasticity — involuntary muscle contractions — in multiple sclerosis patients, U.S. researchers said.

    The systematic review of six randomized, controlled trials, published in Neurology, found five of the trials reported a reduction in spasticity and an improvement in mobility.

    Researchers Shaheen Lakhan and Marie Rowland of the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation in Los Angeles said they looked for trials evaluating two marijuana extracts — delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol — THC — and cannabidiol — CBD.

    The researchers said reported incidence of marijuana side effects — such as intoxication — varied greatly depending on the amount of marijuana needed to effectively limit spasticity. However, the researchers noted side effects were also seen in the placebo groups.

  95. newsdeskinternational

    Council to consider marijuana measure

    A group advocating for relaxed enforcement of marijuana laws by Spokane police is set to appear before the Spokane City Council on Monday.

    Citizens for a Sensible Spokane seeks council approval of a ballot initiative to make marijuana offenses the “lowest law enforcement priority,” below all other felony or misdemeanor crimes. The aim, organizers said, is to make it easier for medical marijuana dispensaries to distribute the drug.

    “It doesn’t make marijuana legal,” said Ian Moody, spokesman for the grass-roots initiative. “But it does take the pressure off dispensaries so they are able to assist patients more freely.”

    Proposed initiatives are reviewed by the city attorney’s office, who assists in developing the language of the ballot title and summary, and offers a legal opinion to the council. The council is then asked to either put it on the ballot, or have the petition supporters gather signatures from the public.

    The marijuana initiative was filed with the Spokane city clerk on Nov. 4. Moody said he had just received the city attorney’s legal opinion Friday, and needed more time to make changes to the proposed initiative before a council vote.

    “I was under the impression that … we would have time to further revise the language,” and Citizens for a Sensible Spokane may ask for the council to reschedule the vote, Moody said.

    Council President Joe Shogan said if anything happens Monday, the council is likely to give the group its blessing to go out and collect signatures.

    “I really doubt we are going to pass it just on its own,” Shogan said.

    The initiative was created in response to the September raid of a medical marijuana dispensary on Northwest Boulevard called Change. It was the first such police action on medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington, one of 14 states in the nation with laws governing medical marijuana use.

    Prosecutors and police say medical marijuana dispensaries, which serve hundreds of people, are illegal. Washington voters approved medical marijuana in 1998, and the state Legislature set possession limits last year at a pound and a half per person or 15 plants. The state law allows a person to provide medical marijuana to one authorized patient “at any one time.”

    But how users who don’t grow can obtain marijuana legally hasn’t been addressed.

    Change owners Scott Shupe and Christopher Stevens were arrested for felony delivery of a controlled substance after a four-month police investigation that centered on them providing marijuana to more than one authorized patient, previous reports show. No charges have been filed with the courts.

    Moody said the cases are proof the system is flawed, and that “there’s a lot larger demand than the system is providing for.” The initiative says the current marijuana policies “needlessly harm medical marijuana patients,” and that “decades of arresting millions of marijuana users has failed to control use or reduce its availability.”

    It also states that law enforcement resources would be better spent “fighting serious and violent crimes,” and that Spokane should be in control of marijuana policies locally, not the federal government.

    “I appreciate the arguments that it ought to be this, or ought to be that, but federally marijuana is still a scheduled drug. Period,” said Jim McDevitt, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

    McDevitt said his office does not prosecute individual medical marijuana users, and never has, even before the Justice Department’s directive in October to end federal prosecution of state-authorized medical marijuana patients and dispensaries.

    “I don’t have the resources to go after grandpa or grandma who have a couple of joints of marijuana,” McDevitt said. He’s more concerned with larger grow and distribution operations, and organized crime resulting from it.

    “Marijuana is still the biggest cash drug for the Mexican drug cartels,” he said. And Washington ranks No. 2 in the nation for the number of outdoor marijuana grows.

    “Spokane can legislate all day long, it’s still a scheduled drug, and we will still target those who abuse the drug,” McDevitt said. “You can’t claim to be the Rite Aid of medical marijuana distribution; it’s not permitted under the law.”

  96. newsdeskinternational

    Washington State Bar endorses pot decriminalization proposal

    Reviewing a proposed change in law, the Washington State Bar Association has endorsed a proposal that would see marijuana possession by adults punishable only as a civil infraction similar to a speeding ticket.


  97. newsdeskinternational

    Medical Marijuana Debate Takes Off in Arizona

    The longstanding debate about the legality of medical marijuana is heating up. Proponents of medical marijuana suggest that cannabis can be used to relieve the severe pain and physical symptoms of people with cancer, AIDS and other seriously debilitating diseases. Opponents state that marijuana harms a person’s health, reduces short-term memory and does not provide additional benefits to medicine. Some 14 states nationwide have passed medical marijuana laws, usually through ballot initiatives.


  98. newsdeskinternational

    Colorado’s Green Rush: Medical marijuana

    Driving down Broadway, it’s easy to forget you are in the United States. Amid the antique stores, bars and fast-food joints occupying nearly every block are some of Denver’s newest businesses: medical marijuana dispensaries.


  99. newsdeskinternational

    Dude, they’re putting pot in more than brownies

    Any slacker living over his parents’ garage can make pot brownies. Gourmet chefs are taking the art of cooking with marijuana to a higher level.

    In Denver, a new medical-marijuana shop called Ganja Gourmet serves cannabis-infused specialties such as pizza, hummus and lasagna. Across town in the Mile-High City, a Caribbean restaurant plans to offer classes on how to make multi-course meals with pot in every dish. And in Southern California, a low-budget TV show called “Cannabis Planet” has won fans with a cooking segment showing viewers how to use weed in teriyaki chicken, shrimp capellini and steak sandwiches.


  100. newsdeskinternational

    New Regulations for Medical Marijuana Land Use

    County Commissioners make a hot topic decision Thursday on how to handle Medical Marijuana land use. The biggest fear for Medical Marijuana distributors was that County Commissioners would pass a Moratorium, banning all dispensaries.


  101. newsdeskinternational

    One Doctor Wrote 18 Percent Of All Colo. Medical Marijuana Authorizations

    One Colorado doctor wrote 18 percent, or approximately 2,850, of all authorizations for medical marijuana in Colorado, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Health and Environment said Friday.
    The doctor can’t be legally identified under the law that voters passed in 2000 that allowed the use by certain patients of marijuana for medicinal purposes, said Mark Salley, the spokesman. A total of 15,800 people were on the marijuana registry as of Wednesday; around 29,000 people have submitted applications.
    Salley did disclose that the top 10 doctors wrote 66 percent of all authorizations. On Thursday, the department revealed (in a press release, published below) that 15 doctors wrote 73 percent, or nearly three quarters, of all medical-marijuana authorizations.

  102. newsdeskinternational

    Medical pot dispensaries growing at a fast clip

    Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_14035186#ixzz0aFh8GdB5

  103. newsdeskinternational

    OREGON>>>>>Judge Says County Sheriff Must Return Medical Marijuana

    The Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled that the Douglas County Sheriff’s office was wrong not to return medical marijuana to three patients. Kristian Foden-Vencil reports.


  104. newsdeskinternational

    Cannabis patients caught in the middle of debate (Dec. 23)

    Few in the medical marijuana movement would deny the police assertion that some growers are abusing the medical marijuana law. The issue of greater importance is the legal status of an herb that many people are willing to pay outrageous prices for.


  105. newsdeskinternational

    3 accused of abusing Ore. medical marijuana law

    Police arrested three southern Oregon men accused of growing and distributing more pot than is legally allowed under the state’s medical marijuana program.

    Police say an undercover officer recently bought 65 pounds of marijuana from two people in a Grants Pass parking lot. Information gained from the buy allowed them to obtain three search warrants in Josephine and Jackson counties.

    Police seized a total 225 pounds of marijuana at homes in Williams and Jacksonville.

    The Oregon State Police says all three locations have ties to the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program.

    Arrested were 46-year-old Robert Bell, 49-year-old Pedro Gavaliz and 26-year-old Jacob Thompson.

  106. newsdeskinternational

    Colorado DA takes aim at medical marijuana

    The Arapahoe County district attorney says she plans to revoke the probation of anyone who smokes medical marijuana.

    Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers made her comments in an e-mail Dec. 14 to Chief Probation officer Robin Leaf.

    A voter-approved Colorado law allows the use of small amounts of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions, as long as the user is registered with the state. The drug is still illegal under federal law.

    Chambers said in her e-mail that people who use medical marijuana while on probation are violating federal law and must have probation revoked.

  107. newsdeskinternational

    Richland Washington>>>>>>

    Richlamd lawmakers want tighter rules on medical marijuana

    Two Richland lawmakers have their eyes on medical marijuana in the upcoming legislative session.

    Rep. Larry Haler and Sen. Jerome Delvin each are planning legislation that would tighten rules for when marijuana can be used as a medicine.

    With the start of the 2010 session about two weeks away, Haler already has prefiled a bill that would restrict when those charged with drug offenses can use medical marijuana as a defense.

    According to the state Department of Health, patients with a terminal or debilitating illness are allowed to possess a 60-day supply of marijuana with a written recommendation from a doctor.

    The current statute allows those patients to assert a medical marijuana defense when charged with possession of the drug if they can prove they’ve complied with the state’s medical marijuana laws.

    Haler’s bill would disallow the medical marijuana defense when the drug isn’t produced in compliance with state and federal product safety laws.

    He said the ultimate goal is to stop allowing medical marijuana patients to grow their own, and instead require them to obtain it through a prescription from a pharmacy.

    The bill doesn’t mention pharmacies, and the state health department has interpreted current state law to allow only qualifying patients or a designated provider to possess and grow medical marijuana.

    It remains illegal in Washington for anyone to buy or sell marijuana. The law also doesn’t allow dispensaries, according to the health department.

    Haler said if the bill as drafted doesn’t require dispensing medical marijuana through pharmacies, he’ll have it amended once he reaches Olympia in January.

    Delvin’s approach would be to require medical marijuana patients to carry a state-issued identification card declaring that they’re allowed to possess limited quantities of the drug.

    “It’s for patients to have something to show to (police) officers,” said Delvin, a former cop.

    He also would like to require that doctors prescribing marijuana have practices and be licensed in Washington, and to clarify the amounts that patients can possess and grow.

    Delvin hasn’t yet filed any marijuana legislation.

    Haler and Delvin are reacting to recent conflicts in Richland between police, city government and a group that wants to set up a collective where medical marijuana patients can combine their plants and grow them together.

    Police and members of the Three Rivers Collective have clashed over what constitutes a 60-day supply of the drug.

    The health department has said a presumptive 60-day supply equals 24 ounces of processed pot and no more than 15 plants, and Richland police have interpreted that to mean no more than 15 plants in one location.

    But members of the Three Rivers Collective said the law doesn’t prevent them from combining their plants and sharing their medicine.

    Haler said he’s concerned that allowing marijuana collectives opens the doors for drug dealers to move into town.

    Having marijuana regulated like any other prescription drug makes more sense, he said.

    “I think we’ve got to get common sense back into our laws governing controlled substances,” Haler said. “Marijuana is a gateway to harder drugs, and it does bring on the criminal element.”

    But all of Haler and Delvin’s plans may be rendered moot if a bill filed by Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, is passed and signed by the governor.

    Dickerson on Dec. 7 introduced House Bill 2401, which proposed to legalize marijuana and sell it in state liquor stores.

    The legislative session starts Jan. 11.

    For more information about medical marijuana, go to http://www.doh.wa.gov/hsqa/medical-marijuana.

  108. newsdeskinternational

    High expectations? States weigh marijuana reform

    Washington is one of four states where measures to legalize and regulate marijuana have been introduced, and about two dozen other states are considering bills ranging from medical marijuana to decriminalizing possession of small amounts of the herb.

    “In terms of state legislatures, this is far and away the most active year that we’ve ever seen,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance, which supports reforming marijuana laws.

    Nadelmann said that while legalization efforts are not likely to get much traction in state capitals anytime soon, the fact that there is such an increase of activity “is elevating the level of public discourse on this issue and legitimizing it.”

    “I would say that we are close to the tipping point,” he said. “At this point they are still seen as symbolic bills to get the conversation going, but at least the conversation can be a serious one.”

    Opponents of relaxing marijuana laws aren’t happy with any conversation on the topic, other than keeping the drug illegal.

    “There’s no upside to it in any manner other than for those people who want to smoke pot,” said Travis Kuykendall, head of the West Texas High Intensity Drug-Trafficking Area office in El Paso, Texas. “There’s nothing for society in it, there’s nothing good for the country in it, there’s nothing for the good of the economy in it.”

    Legalization bills were introduced in California and Massachusetts earlier this year, and this month, New Hampshire and Washington state prefiled bills in advance of their legislative sessions that begin in January. Marijuana is illegal under federal law, but guidelines have been loosened on federal prosecution of medical marijuana under the Obama administration.

    Even so, marijuana reform legislation remains a tough sell in some places. In the South, for example, only Mississippi and North Carolina have decriminalization laws on the books.

    “It’s a social and cultural thing,” said Bruce Mirken, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington, D.C.-based marijuana advocacy group. “There are some parts of the country where social attitudes are just a little more cautious and conservative.”

    Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, a Seattle Democrat who is sponsoring the legalization bill in Washington state, said that she “wanted to start a strong conversation about the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana.”

    Under her bill, marijuana would be sold in Washington state’s 160 state-run liquor stores, and customers, 21 and older, would pay a tax of 15 percent per gram. The measure would dedicate most of the money raised for substance abuse prevention and treatment, which is facing potential cuts in the state budget. Dickerson said the measure could eventually bring in as much to state coffers as alcohol does, more than $300 million a year.

    “Our state is facing a huge financial deficit and deficits are projected for a few more years,” Dickerson said, referring to the projected $2.6 billion hole lawmakers will need to fill next year. “We need to look at revenue and see what might be possible.”

    Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said that tough economic times across the country have lawmakers looking at everything, and may lead even more states to eventually consider the potential tax value of pot.

    “The bean counters are now reporting back to their elected officials how much money is being left off the table,” he said, adding that billions of dollars worth of pot is going untaxed.

    Ron Brooks, president of the National Narcotics Officers’ Associations’ Coalition, said that he feared that, if legalized, marijuana would contribute to more highway accidents and deaths, as well as a potential increase in health care costs for those who smoke it.

    State lawmakers, he said, need to ask themselves “if they believe we really will make all that revenue, and even if we did, will it be worth the suffering, the loss of opportunities, the chronic illness or death that would occur?”

    Legalization isn’t the only measure lawmakers across the country are weighing. About two dozen states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Wisconsin, are considering bills ranging from medical marijuana to decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, St. Pierre said. Washington state is among the states that are considering decriminalization, with a bill that would reclassify adult possession of marijuana from a crime with jail time to a civil infraction with a $100 penalty.

    Fourteen states, including Washington state, already have medical marijuana laws, and 13 have decriminalization laws on the books, St. Pierre said. About two dozen cities across the country, including Seattle, make marijuana offenses a low law-enforcement priority.

    Marijuana advocates said that while increased activity in the statehouse is heartening, change most likely will come at the ballot box through voter-driven initiatives.

    “Inevitably, the politicians are going to be behind the curve on this stuff,” Nadelmann said, noting that almost all of the medical marijuana laws came about by initiative.

    This month, a group campaigning to put a marijuana legalization measure before California voters said it had enough signatures to qualify for the 2010 ballot.

    That proposal would legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and older. Residents could cultivate marijuana gardens up to 25 square feet. City and county governments would determine whether to permit and tax marijuana sales within their boundaries. And in Nevada earlier this month, backers of a move to legalize marijuana there filed paperwork creating an advocacy group aimed at qualifying an initiative for the 2012 election.

  109. newsdeskinternational

    States Weigh Marijuana Reform

    Washington is one of four states where measures to legalize and regulate marijuana have been introduced, and about two dozen other states are considering bills ranging from medical marijuana to decriminalizing possession of small amounts of the herb.

    “In terms of state legislatures, this is far and away the most active year that we’ve ever seen,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance, which supports reforming marijuana laws.


  110. newsdeskinternational

    Calls For Regulation As Colorado Medical Marijuana Stores Spread

    The number of businesses that sell marijuana has jumped in Colorado, where use of pot for medical reasons has been allowed since 2000. National Public Radio reports that a mix of confusing regulations and court rulings had kept its distribution in check until this year. Now pot stores are showing up in many neighborhoods — and there are calls for more regulation.

    The Obama administration has said that busting medical marijuana operations will be low on its priority list. Nobody knows how many dispensaries there are in Colorado; the best guess is about 150. There have been efforts to regulate the state’s medical marijuana industry. The state health department wanted to limit the number of patients using medical pot that a vendor could supply. It planned to adopt a rule stating that a vendor must do more than just sell pot. The rule imagined them also performing caregiving services, like accompanying patients to the doctor. Nearly all of those efforts have been unsuccessful.

  111. newsdeskinternational

    Putting pot in every chicken

    In Denver, a new medical-marijuana shop called Ganja Gourmet serves cannabis-infused specialties such as pizza, hummus and lasagna. Across town in the Mile-High City, a Caribbean restaurant plans to offer classes on how to make multicourse meals with pot in every dish. And in California, a low-budget TV show called “Cannabis Planet” has won fans with a cooking segment showing viewers how to use weed in teriyaki chicken, shrimp capellini and steak sandwiches.

    The evolution of pot cooking was perhaps inevitable given the recent explosion of medical marijuana around the U.S. Many health-conscious patients would rather eat the drug than smoke it. And they would prefer to eat something other than sugary treats.

  112. newsdeskinternational

    Colo. judge: Pot shops have constitutional rights

    Medical marijuana patients have a constitutional right to buy pot, not just use it, according to ruling Wednesday by a judge.

    Arapahoe County District Court Judge Christopher Cross sided with the CannaMart dispensary, which sued the city of Centennial after it was shut down in October.

    Cross granted the dispensary’s request for an injunction, which will prevent the city from keeping the dispensary closed while CannaMart challenges the city’s argument that it can ban pot shops because they violated federal drug laws.

    Colorado in 2000 passed a constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana, which is now allowed in 14 states. Recent decisions by state health authorities, along with a signal this year from the U.S. attorney general that federal prosecutors won’t interfere with state pot rules, have led to an explosion of commercial marijuana stores across Colorado.

    In the oral ruling, the judge had sharp words for cities that say federal drug laws allow them to keep out any dispensaries. Cross said the city violated the rights of three medical marijuana patients who joined the lawsuit.

    “These are people who have a right to medical marijuana, the right to the caregiver of their choice. That has been taken away from them,” Cross said.

    CannaMart’s owner, Stan Zislis, said after the decision that he wasn’t sure if he would reopen the shop in Centennial. Zislis has opened a new CannaMart in the nearby suburb of Littleton.

    The judge’s decision left unresolved a zoning dispute between Centennial and CannaMart, which had about 600 clients at the time it was closed. The city also has passed a moratorium on new dispensaries, so CannaMart cannot move and reopen elsewhere in Centennial.

    Lauren Davis, a lawyer for CannaMart, said the judge’s words “should be a warning to towns across this state” that are considering whether to ban dispensaries. Another town south of Denver, Castle Rock, has also cited federal drug laws in forcing a dispensary there to stop selling marijuana.

    “They are violating the rights of sick patients and caregivers,” Davis said.

    One of the patients who sued, Eric Mosher, said CannaMart’s closure made it difficult for him to obtain medical marijuana recommended for a debilitating nerve ailment.

    “It’s hard enough to be in the situation I’m in,” Mosher said after the ruling.

    Centennial’s lawyer, Robert Widner, said it was too soon to say how city officials would proceed.

    The judge scheduled further legal discussion in the case for next year. He concluded by saying that cities wanting to get rid of all dispensaries could find themselves violating constitutional rights.

    Even though federal laws ban the sale of marijuana, Cross said, “The voters have spoken. It is not a criminal act in the state of Colorado.”

  113. newsdeskinternational

    Drug skeptics fear Colorado going to pot

    When Colorado voters passed an amendment in 2000 allowing medical marijuana use, it was not clear that they were giving the go-ahead to launch hundreds of over-the-counter pot shops across the state.

    Yet that’s the reality.


  114. newsdeskinternational

    Denver medical-marijuana rules get initial OK

    On Monday the Denver city counsel gave initial approval to new regulations on medical-marijuana sellers in the city, CBS4 News reports.

    Under the rules, Denver pot dispensaries would have to apply for special licenses and comply with restrictions on how close they can be to schools and other dispensaries.

    The city has gained national attention as medical-marijuana dispensaries have proliferated here and around Colorado.

    More than 300 dispensaries are now in operation in Denver alone, CBS4 reports. They have been paying city taxes since Dec. 1.

    The sale of marijauna for treatment of pain and other medical conditions was authorized in a constitutional amendment approved by Colorado voters in 2000. The number of local dispensaries began to explode after the U.S. Department of Justice said last year that users and providers of medical marijuana won’t be prosecuted if they comply with state law.

    A public hearing on the proposed Denver rules will be held at a two-hour City Council session Jan. 11 before final action on the regulations.

  115. newsdeskinternational

    Health Sciences Enters Into Negotiations for Colorado Medical Marijuana License

    Health Sciences Group, Inc. (PINKSHEETS: HESG) would like to announce that it has engaged in negotiations with The Healing Center to assist with the acquisition of a Medical Marijuana license in the State of Colorado. “We believe that we will obtain the same sort of licensing agreement with The Healing Center as we did in Montana,” said Health Sciences Group CEO Tom Gaffney.


  116. newsdeskinternational

    Marijuana Dispensary Thumbs Nose At City Moratorium, Plans To Sell Medical Pot Anyway

    Medimar Ministries isn’t waiting any longer to begin distributing medical marijuana out of their Pueblo store. The medical pot dispensary was granted a business license last year by the city, and had agreed to hold off on selling the medicine until an initial 90-day moratorium had ended.

    However, a December 28th city council decision to extend that moratorium has taxed the owners patience. “They need it, we have it, and we’re here to take care of them, and we’re going to do it according to the law,” says Richard Flores, General Manager of Medimar’s Pueblo dispensary. Now, armed with an Arapahoe County court decision they plan to move forward with their operation.


  117. newsdeskinternational


    Romer wants to license marijuana caregivers

    A state lawmaker wants Colorado regulators to consider licensing medical marijuana caregivers.

    Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, has been working on a bill that would require medical marijuana dispensaries and growers to be licensed and submit to criminal background checks. Now he says he wants the individuals who supply the marijuana to also be licensed.


  118. newsdeskinternational

    Oregon Medical Marijuana Initiative Would Establish Dispensaries

    New initiative to regulate medical marijuana will turn in signatures Monday January 11, 2010.

    Backers of a new medical marijuana initiative announced today that they have collected over 75,000 signatures on petitions to place Initiative #28 on the November 2010 ballot.

    The new initiative would add a regulated supply system of dispensaries and producers to the current medical marijuana law which requires patients to produce their own medicine.

    Backers need 82,769 valid signatures by July 2, 2010 to place the measure on the November ballot. New election laws requires all chief petitioners to turn in signatures collected by paid circulators monthly.

    All paid signatures collected so far must be turned in by January 15. Backers of I-28 will hold a press conference in the media room of the State Capitol at 11:00 a.m. Monday January 11 before chief petitioners turn the signatures in to the Secretary of State’s office at 11:30 a.m.

    These are the first signatures turned in under the new election law.

    “When we drafted the original Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, we didn’t include provisions for dispensaries because federal law prohibited that. But now that the Obama administration has indicated that they will allow states to regulate medical marijuana, Oregon needs to create a regulated system so every patient can access quality controlled medicine,” said John Sajo, Executive Director of the Voter Power Foundation, a group which advocates for medical marijuana patients.

    Current law allows patients to grow 6 mature marijuana plants or to designate a grower to do it for them. For many patients, producing their own medicine is a big headache. But it remains a felony for anyone to sell them marijuana.

    I-28 will allow nonprofit dispensaries to sell marijuana to registered patients. Licensed producers will grow the marijuana and sell it to dispensaries. Both dispensaries and producers will be subject to inspection and auditing by the health department. All employees will have to be over 21 years old and pass criminal background checks. Dispensaries can’t be located near schools or in residential areas and must submit security plans with their applications to DHS.

    “This initiative gives the Health Department the authority to create a tightly regulated system that will provide access to patients while minimizing abuse.”

    I-28 also creates a program administered by the health department which will provide medicine to indigent patients. “Some patients have no money and Medicare or insurance won’t help them get medical marijuana. We need a state program that helps the neediest patients,” said Geri Kulp, clinic director for Voter Power. “The current law is just too hard for the sickest patients.”

    The initiative also allows DHS to conduct research into the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana. Backers foresee a process where DHS does the research necessary to establish quality control standards for medical marijuana.

    “Right now patients really don’t know much about the medicine they are growing. Quality control standards will result in medicine labeled with the strength of the active ingredients as well as certified to be free of contaminants. This will allow doctors to advise patients about proper dosage,” said Sajo. “Research will also indicate how marijuana can be best used for various medical conditions.” I-28 does not change which medical conditions qualify a patient under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act.

    I-28 will be funded by license fees and taxes on dispensaries and producers. The law prohibits using general fund revenue for the program. Advocates say it won’t be necessary. Voter Power Foundation estimates indicate that I-28 will raise $10 million-$40 million the first year. Any revenue exceeding the costs to administer the program will be spent by DHS on other health programs.

    Initiative 28 is not the legalization of marijuana. There are several other marijuana initiatives filed. One would legalize marijuana. Another would repeal the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act and replace it with a program of taxpayer subsidized Marinol, a pharmaceutical form of synthetic THC.

    Polling commissioned by Voter Power showed that 59% of Oregon voters support the measure and 32% oppose it. Maine voters approved a similar measure on November 4 2009, by a 58%-42% margin.

    The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program currently has over 30,000 patients that have been registered by over 3000 different Oregon physicians.

    13 states have medical marijuana laws.

    California, Colorado, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Maine have medical marijuana laws that allow dispensaries. Arizona will have a dispensary initiative on the 2010 ballot.

  119. newsdeskinternational

    Medical Marijuana Up For Vote In NJ

    New Jersey could become the 14th state to allow chronically ill patients access to medical marijuana.

    A compromise bill scheduled for votes in the Senate and Assembly would allow patients with ailments like cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis to buy up to two ounces of marijuana a month at state-monitored dispensaries.

    Home growing would remain illegal under the measure, as would driving while high.

    Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, a bill co-sponsor, says New Jersey’s Compassionate Use Marijuana Act would be the nation’s strictest such law. He predicts it could serve as a model for other states looking to enact similar legislation.

    Safeguards were added to the bill after some expressed fear that teenagers and recreational users could gain access to the drug.

  120. newsdeskinternational

    Wash. activists file initiative to legalize pot

    And more marijuana news from the State of Washington >

    Five activists have filed a ballot initiative to legalize all adult marijuana possession in Washington state. Its sponsors include two Seattle lawyers as well as the director of Seattle’s annual Hempfest. The group, calling itself Sensible Washington, says state government is wasting money on police, court and jail costs for people who use or produce marijuana.

    Douglas Hiatt, a lawyer who represents medical marijuana patients, told The Associated Press after filing the initiative Monday that it would remove all state penalties for adult possession of pot. Criminal penalties for juvenile possession and for providing the drug to juveniles would remain in place. Marijuana would also remain illegal under federal law. Hiatt says volunteers are lining up to collect the signatures needed to get the issue on the November ballot.

  121. newsdeskinternational

    Garden State to get greener: NJ approves medical marijuana legalization bill

    On Monday the New Jersey legislature approved a bill that would legalize marijuana for medical reasons. This bill would make NJ the 14th state in the US to allow marijuana use for legal medical reasons. The bill would allow recipients to buy up to 2 ounces per month of the narcotic.

    Democratic Governor Jon Corzine, who leaves office in a week, supports the bill and would sign it into law if it reached his desk before making way for Republican Governor-elect Chris Christie.

    The 13 states that current permit medical marijuana are Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. I was surprised to learn it was that many already!

    The New Jersey State Senate approved the bill by a vote of 25-13. The earlier Assembly vote was 48-14.

    What do you think about this news for New Jersey and the rest of the nation? Will marijuana legalization continue to expand?

  122. newsdeskinternational

    Gov. Jon Corzine plans to sign medical marijuana, other bills

    New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine was spending his last full day in office mulling scores of bills that await his signature.

    Corzine today was working out of his Newark office while the governor’s Statehouse office in Trenton is readied for his successor. He will be signing bills privately throughout the day.

    He has no public schedule.

    Among the items on Corzine’s desk is legislation giving chronically ill patients legal access to marijuana. If Corzine signs the measure, New Jersey would become the 14th state to allow medical marijuana.

    He’s also considering several clemency requests.

    Gov.-elect Chris Christie is scheduled to be sworn in at noon Tuesday.

  123. newsdeskinternational
  124. newsdeskinternational

    Researchers Find Study of Medical Marijuana Discouraged

    Despite the Obama administration’s tacit support of more liberal state medical marijuana laws, the federal government still discourages research into the medicinal uses of smoked marijuana. That may be one reason that — even though some patients swear by it — there is no good scientific evidence that legalizing marijuana’s use provides any benefits over current therapies.


  125. newsdeskinternational

    Wash. House committee votes down marijuana bills

    Efforts to reform Washington state’s marijuana laws were voted down by a House committee Wednesday.

    The Public Safety Committee rejected a measure to legalize marijuana for those 21 and older, and another that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot for adults.

    Chairman Chris Hurst, D-Enumclaw, voted against both, saying he couldn’t vote for something that conflicted with federal law.

    He said that while there were powerful arguments for why marijuana regulation should be left to the states and not the federal government. Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Federal Way, said that the fact that marijuana is illegal doesn’t make its use any less prevalent. The legalization bill failed on a 6-2 vote, with two other Democrats crossing over and voting with Hurst and Republicans: Reps. Al O’Brien of Mountlake Terrace and Steve Kirby of Tacoma.

    Under the legalization bill, marijuana would be sold in Washington state’s 160 state-run liquor stores, and customers who are 21 and older, would pay a tax of 15 percent per gram. The measure would have dedicated most of the money raised for substance abuse prevention and treatment, which is facing potential cuts in the state budget as lawmakers seek to patch a $2.6 billion hole.

    The decriminalization bill would reclassify adult possession of marijuana from a crime with jail time to a civil infraction with a $100 penalty.

    It failed on a 5-3 vote, with Rep. O’Brien crossing back over and voting with Appleton and Goodman to pass it. A decriminalization measure is still alive in the Senate, although a public hearing hasn’t been scheduled for it.

    Don Skakie, who drove 50 miles to the hearing from Renton, said the fact that Washington has had a voter-approved medical marijuana law since 1998 should lessen the state’s apprehension toward making it available to the general public.

    “I do believe there is a lack of political courage,” he said.

    Skakie, a member of the Cannabis Defense Coalition in Seattle, said that he would be involved in trying to help get a marijuana ballot initiative on the November ballot.

    Last week, activists filed the initiative that would legalize all adult marijuana possession, manufacturing and sales.

    If the initiative qualifies for the ballot, it will ask voters to remove all state criminal penalties for adults who possess, grow and distribute pot – no matter how much. Criminal penalties for juveniles who possess marijuana and for those who provide the drug to minors would remain in place. Driving under the influence of the drug also would still be illegal.

    Supporters must gather more than 240,000 signatures by July 2 to qualify for the general election.

    The marijuana legalization measure is House Bill 2401. The decriminalization bill is House Bill 1177. The Senate decriminalization measure is Senate Bill 5615.

  126. newsdeskinternational

    HB 2401 – 2009-10 Legalizing Marijuana

    History of Bill
    as of Wednesday, January 20, 2010 7:17 PM

    Sponsors: Representatives Dickerson, Goodman, Upthegrove, Appleton, White, Roberts, Chase, Nelson, Pedersen, Moeller

    Dec 7 Prefiled for introduction.
    Jan 11 First reading, referred to Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness. (View Original Bill)
    Jan 13 Public hearing in the House Committee on Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness at 1:30 PM. (Committee Materials)
    Jan 20 Executive session scheduled, but no action was taken in the House Committee on Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness at 1:30 PM. (Committee Materials)

    Go to history…

    Available Documents

    Bill Documents Bill Digests Bill Reports
    Original Bill
    Bill Digest
    House Bill Analysis 2010

    Fiscal Note (Available)
    Get Fiscal Note

    Original bill>>>>>>>>>>>>>


  127. newsdeskinternational
  128. newsdeskinternational

    Wash. court: Doc’s pot OK doesn’t preclude search

    The Washington State Supreme Court says a doctor’s permission to use medical marijuana doesn’t preclude police from arresting a patient or searching a home.

    In a decision Thursday, the high court upheld the conviction of a Stevens County man busted in 2004. The justices said Washington’s law only allows patients to present a medical marijuana defense at trial, and does not protect them from arrest or searches.

    Five justices also ruled that generally, judges must allow a jury to decide whether someone is a qualifying patient under the law. In this case, a Stevens County judge ruled on his own that defendant Jason Fry was not a qualifying patient.

    But Fry’s conviction was upheld because a defense lawyer conceded that his severe anxiety and depression are not conditions covered by the law.

  129. newsdeskinternational

    Medical-marijuana users on uncertain ground in workplaces

    Last year, Dorian Beth Wenzel, a Manitou Springs, Colo., writer and arthritis sufferer, penned a letter to a local newspaper that disclosed her status as a medical-marijuana patient. The paper printed the letter, and soon afterward Wenzel found herself face-to-face with the human-resources director of the nonprofit organization she works for. Wenzel’s office, her HR director told her, is a drug-free workplace.


  130. newsdeskinternational

    Cruelty of Banning Medical Marijuana Patients from Transplant Lists

    Recently the Los Angeles City Council held hearings on the thorny issue of medical marijuana dispensary regulation. For years city officials have abrogated their duty to create sensible regulations for the dispensaries that have proliferated across the Los Angeles basin. The number of dispensaries has ballooned to over 500 (not the 1,000+ often claimed) following an ineffective moratorium on the retail medical marijuana outlets.


  131. newsdeskinternational

    Washington State>>

    Marijuana, and a Doctor’s Letter

    Last week the Washington Supreme Court ruled on a messy medical marijuana case. A few facts: on Dec. 20, 2004, two police officers knocked on the door of Jason and Tina Fry of Colville, Stevens County. Police had been told the Frys were growing marijuana, and as they approached they smelled marijuana smoke. At the door, Tina Fry presented a document from a physician authorizing Jason Fry to smoke it for medical reasons.

    The physician, Dr. Thomas Orvald, had written that Jason Fry had a scar behind his right ear and on his chin from injuries inflicted by a horse. Orvald wrote in the notes section of the document: “Severe anxiety!! Can’t function.” And he wrote, “Pt [patient] has found use of medical cannabis allows him to function [with] self control of anger, rage, & depression. Pt has been kicked in head 3 times by horse.”


  132. newsdeskinternational

    Health Tragedy: Patients Denied Life-Saving Transplants for Their “Abuse of Illicit Substances”

    Medical marijuana activists like to claim that cannabis has never killed anyone. While it is true that cannabis is remarkably non-toxic (“the safest therapeutically-active substance known to man,” according to a DEA judge), medical marijuana use has actually killed many people in the United States.


  133. newsdeskinternational

    Colorado man: Pot charge violates religious rights

    A Colorado man says marijuana is the main sacrament of his religion and a drug charge against him violates his First Amendment rights.

    Trevor Douglas of Avon says he belongs to the Hawaii-based THC Ministry but was cited with marijuana possession after a Colorado state trooper pulled him over for having an expired license plate. The 25-year-old allegedly had less than an ounce of marijuana and a pipe.

    Douglas told the Vail Daily newspaper that his religion is similar to Christianity and that the use of pot is sacred to him, just like wine and bread are sacred to Christians.

    “The court is basically trying me for my religious beliefs,” he told the newspaper.

    According to its Web site, THC Ministry has offices in Los Angeles; Bozeman, Mont.; and Boulder, Colo.

    “We use Cannabis religiously and you can, too,” the site says. “Cultivation and enjoyment of Cannabis sacrament is a fundamental human right provided by God and protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

    THC Ministry says it provides “defense to prosecution” to its members who are “sincere practitioners.” According to its Web site, a successful religious defense depends on five things, including sincerity; that marijuana be used in private, like in a church or home; and that the drug, or “sacrament,” not be sold.

    Douglas is due in court March 9.

    He maintains he is not a drug abuser.

    “If it’s part of your religion, you should get security from this prosecution of possession,” he said.

  134. newsdeskinternational

    Crawford begins work on regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries

    Approximately 35 residents attended the Crawford work session to consider possible regulations on medical marijuana dispensaries operating within town limits. The meeting was held on Wednesday, Jan. 20 in the community room at town hall.


  135. newsdeskinternational

    Medical marijuana bill passes first hurdle

    Medical marijuana patients and their doctors would face tighter restrictions under a bill approved Wednesday by a Colorado Senate committee that heard hours of emotional testimony from a standing-room-only crowd mostly opposed to the proposed rules.


  136. newsdeskinternational

    Marijuana advocates: Boycott Starbucks

    Proponents of legalized marijuana in Colorado are calling for a nationwide boycott of Starbucks because they say the Seattle-based coffee company supports an organization that is trying to thwart the use of pot for medical purposes in that state.


  137. newsdeskinternational

    New applications for medical-pot dispensaries to start Feb. 8

    Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_14303314#ixzz0eJ68OTyr

  138. newsdeskinternational

    Marijuana Goes To Vote In Canon City

    Canon City has been slow to let medical marijuana dispensaries open up shop since being legalized in Colorado in 2000.

    Tonight Canon City, City Council will hold their second reading regarding dispensaries at 7pm located at City Hall, they will be discussing a possible moratorium. If the moratorium were to pass it would put a 120-day hold on approving any medical marijuana dispensaries.

    John Havens is the City Attorney in Canon City and he explained it as a way to buy some time to let the State Lawmakers clarify some of the issues that surround the issue. “Council wants to see what the legislature will do and then if necessary do what it feels it must do.”

    A major concern for the City Council is regulation for the facilities.

    According to Havens, “the City Council seems to want to wait, to see what the Colorado General Assembly might do on related issues before it acts on what to do with medical marijuana dispensaries.”

    Some residents of Canon City have no worries about the regulations. Sandy Lupton is a retired nurse and thinks this could be a good thing. “I don’t see anything wrong with it, I think it’s going to be monitored closely. I think there is a need for marijuana to be okay for people who have terminal illness.”

    Not everyone shares this opinion; Jerauld VanRiper thinks without a doubt, “they shouldn’t allow stuff like that in Canon City.”

    For reasons like this the City Council will vote on the moratorium in order to freeze all applications for the time being and give the legislature a chance to clarify some of the issues before they move forward with anything.

    With the Senate passing Bill 109 Concerning Regulation of the Physician-Patient Relationship for Medical Marijuana Patients, Canon City will continue to watch the bill’s progress closely.

  139. newsdeskinternational

    Doctors Call for Limiting Kids Access to Medical Marijuana

    Psychiatrists and doctors who work with addicted teens today called on the Maine Legislature to amend the state’s medical marijuana law by imposing restrictions to access for kids under 18.

    Specifically, they want panels of doctors to review cases involving kids. The doctors say only kids who are terminally ill, who have parental permission and for whom traditional medication is not providing relief, should have access to pot.

    Otherwise, they say, the risk of damage to developing brains is just too great. In addition, providing access to a so-called gateway drug risks creating more addicts down the road.

  140. newsdeskinternational

    WA Senate allows more to OK medical marijuana

    More medical professionals will be allowed to authorize the use of medical marijuana for qualified patients under a measure approved by the Washington state Senate.

    On a 37-11 vote Friday, the Senate passed a bill that adds physician assistants, naturopaths and others to the list of those who can officially recommend marijuana for patients under the state’s medical marijuana law. Under current law, only physicians are allowed to write the recommendation.

    The measure now heads to the House for further consideration.

    The medical marijuana measure is Senate Bill 5798.

  141. newsdeskinternational

    Senate Bill 5798

    The state Senate today passed a bill 37-11 that adds physician assistants, advanced registered nurse practitioners and naturopaths to the list of people who can give medical marijuana patients documentation that they might benefit from the drug’s use as a medicine.

    Senate Bill 5798 was introduced by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, during the 2009 legislative session and was passed by the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee, but didn’t make it to a full vote of the Senate.

    Supporters testified at a committee hearing in February 2009 that expanding the list of health care providers who can give medical marijuana documentation will help rural patients who may only have access to a nurse practitioner. Current law requires that documentation be signed by a doctor.

    Mid-Columbia Sens. Jerome Delvin, R-Richland, and Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla, whose district includes Pasco and part of Kennewick, voted in favor of the bill.

    Sens. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, and Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, voted no. Sen. Janea Holmquist, R-Moses Lake, was excused from the vote.

    The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

    A bill introduced by Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, that would restrict when those charged with drug offenses can use medical marijuana as a defense never received a public hearing and appears to be dead for the 2010 session.

    The legislative session is scheduled to end March 11.

  142. newsdeskinternational
  143. newsdeskinternational

    Denver starts taking applications for medical marijuana dispensary licenses

    Medical marijuana dispensary owners in Denver are starting to apply for operations licenses.

    The city started accepting applications Monday.

    Any person who owns at least a 10 percent share of a dispensary must apply for the license in accordance with a City Council ordinance passed in January.

    The application includes a background check, fingerprinting and $2,000 fee, plus the cost of the background checks. There is also a $3,000 annual license fee. Dispensaries must submit applications by March 1 to continue legal operations.

  144. newsdeskinternational

    Medical pot exceeds law, but no charges

    Calling the law unclear, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said Tuesday his office will not file criminal charges against a former Seattle man who police said had more plants at his community medical-marijuana garden than allowed under state law.


  145. newsdeskinternational

    Medical Marijuana User Fired After Failing Drug Test

    A Colorado Springs man who can legally smoke marijuana is now jobless after he failed his company’s drug test. He says he was within company policy because he has a medical marijuana card and uses the drug for a medical condition.


  146. newsdeskinternational

    Owner who bragged of large medical-pot operation jailed in DEA raid

    Federal drug-enforcement agents Friday raided the home of a Highlands Ranch man who a day earlier bragged in a 9News report about the large and profitable medical-marijuana-growing operation in his basement.


  147. Uncle Sam

    The man was a fool…even though it’s legal in some states, it’s still against federal laws.

  148. newsdeskinternational
  149. newsdeskinternational

    Medical pot lawyer files complaint on Colo. raid

    A medical marijuana lawyer wants the U.S. Department of Justice to discipline agents who raided a the home of a marijuana grower in suburban Denver.

    Rob Corry filed a complaint against the Drug Enforcement Administration on Saturday.

    He says the Highlands Ranch raid Friday violated the agency’s new policy on enforcing drug laws in the 14 states that allow medical marijuana.

    The policy says authorities shouldn’t target those who are in clear compliance with their state laws.

    Denver DEA Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Sweetin says Colorado’s law doesn’t address the sale of marijuana, and the operation posed a safety concern because it was near a school. But he says he doesn’t plan to crack down on dispensaries that profit from selling medical marijuana in Colorado.

  150. newsdeskinternational

    Northern Colorado struggles with how to handle medical marijuana industry

    Conflicting local, state and federal regulations on marijuana – as well as divided public sentiment on its legal uses – have helped create an industry that in some ways still operates underground even as it struggles to reach the light of day.


  151. newsdeskinternational

    Olympia Mayor Pro Tem Joe Hyer arrested on suspicion of selling pot

    Olympia Mayor Pro Tem and incoming Thurston County Treasurer Joe Hyer was arrested Thursday evening at his Legion Way home on suspicion of marijuana trafficking, according to Thurston County Sheriff Dan Kimball.

    Kimball said the arrest is the culmination of a monthlong investigation by the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force. According to Kimball, a confidential informant has purchased marijuana from Hyer twice in the past two months during controlled buys.

    Narcotics detectives were searching Hyer’s home Thursday night, but Kimball had no information about whether any marijuana or other drugs had been found in the home. Kimball said Hyer was being booked in to the Thurston County Jail Thursday night.

    Marijuana trafficking is a felony, Kimball said.

    Kimball said the investigation started after a confidential informant informed him personally that Hyer might be involved in drugs. The investigation proceeded from there, he said.

    “No one is above the law,” Kimball said.

  152. newsdeskinternational

    Olympia’s mayor pro tem busted in pot probe

    Olympia Mayor Pro Tem Joe Hyer has been arrested for investigation of marijuana trafficking. Sheriff’s detectives said Hyer, 37, was arrested on Thursday following a month-long undercover investigation by the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force.

    A tip from a concerned citizen prompted the investigation, during which Hyer sold marijuana to a police informant on two separate occasions, investigators said.

    Hyer was booked into the Thurston County Jail under investigation of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful distribution of a controlled substance and unlawful use of a residence for drug purposes. He posted bail on Thursday night and was released.

    Hyer refused to comment on the allegations.

    Earlier this week, Hyer took over the position of former county treasurer Robin Hunt, who is vacating her post before the end of her four-year term. Hyer’s formal appointment as treasurer is scheduled for March 1.

    Hyer, an Olympia native, was appointed to the Olympia City Council in 2004 and elected the following year. He has served as a board member, as well as the president of the Olympia Downtown Association, and is the co-owner of Alpine Experience, an outdoor equipment retailer in downtown Olympia.

    He is also a graduate of Tumwater High School.

    Hyer does not have a criminal record.

  153. newsdeskinternational

    Marijuana petitioners clash with ACLU over legalization effort

    A grass-roots campaign is under way to legalize marijuana in Washington state. Sensible Washington is the political committee behind Initiative 1068, which seeks to remove criminal penalties involving adult use, possession and cultivation of marijuana. I-1068 needs 241,153 valid voter signatures by the July 2 deadline in order to appear on November’s election ballot.

    Despite a well-known stance for the reform of marijuana laws, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington has drawn criticism from activists for not supporting the initiative.

    ACLU of Washington issued a statement regarding its stance on I-1068, citing the absence of regulatory measures.

    “While a large majority of Washingtonians support reducing the penalty for adult possession of marijuana from a crime to a civil penalty, support for legalization is less solid,” according to the statement. “And those who do support full legalization understand that ‘legalization’ means treating marijuana similarly to alcohol – taxing and regulating it. Passing an initiative that does not provide for any regulation would be distinctly difficult.”

    An ACLU of Washington spokesman deferred all comments to the statement, which said a rejection of the initiative would be a setback for “our ongoing reform movement.”

    Philip Dawdy, campaign director and co-author of I-1068, is disappointed in the ACLU’s stance. He said a regulation mechanism in addition to the legalization proposal could have jeopardized the initiative by opening the door to a legal challenge for “single issue violation.”

    “They’ve got time and money and institutional prestige invested in legalization. We’re a challenge to them in terms of the ownership of this issue,” Dawdy said of the ACLU. “We didn’t set it up like that.”

    The recently failed marijuana decriminalization bill in the state Legislature is proof that the decision should go directly to Washington voters, Dawdy said.

    “People have just hit the wall with marijuana prohibition,” he said. “It’s time for the people to do this.”


    Federal Way resident Ray Arment will lead signature-gathering efforts in Federal Way, Fife, Milton and Des Moines. So far, a handful of volunteers have joined Arment, a medical marijuana patient himself.

    Four years ago, Arment injured his neck and back in a fall, eventually becoming hooked on pain medication until trying marijuana as medicine.

    “I’m completely off prescription drugs,” said Arment, 48. “I feel like I’m an example that it can work. It’s all about responsibility and accountability.”

    However, his involvement with I-1068 is aimed at another form of relief: Fear of arrest.

    “Of course I’m nervous. I got two kids and a house,” he said.


    CannaCare, a medical marijuana clinic based in Kirkland, led a press conference Feb. 24 on the Legislature steps in Olympia.

    In addition to supporting I-1068, speakers at the rally called on state legislators to provide more legal protection for medical marijuana patients.

    Steve Sarich, executive director of CannaCare, said legislators have outright failed to address the issue while tackling more trivial bills such as SB 6284, which recognizes “Leif Erickson Day,” or SB 5192, which allows dogs in bars.

    Sarich also criticized State v. Fry, the Jan. 21 State Supreme Court decision ruling regarding one patient whose marijuana supply was seized by police during a home search. The court upheld that police had probable cause to search the home after smelling marijuana, and that the patient exceeded the 60-day supply limit of 24 ounces and 15 plants.

    “It’s time to finally provide protection to arrest and prosecution of patients,” he said. “The State v. Fry case has now proven to us we have no constitutional rights in the state of Washington.”

    Sarich is among local marijuana activists at odds with the ACLU, citing a lack of communication between the organization and the citizens. Patient registries, $100 tickets under a decriminalization bill and similar regulation processes are a violation of privacy that could lead to arrest and more, he said.

    “That would be the ultimate shopping list,” Sarich said. “Let the ACLU know that we will picket outside their offices the first time they bring it up.”

    Renton resident Don Skakie, a South King County coordinator for Sensible Washington, noted that I-1068 will likely need revision by lawmakers.

    “We’re gonna give the Legislature something to deal with that they have to deal with. They won’t be able to duck us anymore,” he said. “We’re going to get people out of prison, we’re going to get money back into the economy and we’re going to put farmers in Eastern Washington to work.”

    One activist credits medical marijuana for saving his life. Ric Smith, a patient advocate for Green Cross and a Sensible Washington initiative co-sponsor, was dying of AIDS in the mid-1990s. Marijuana helped restore his appetite, and by eating more food, his body was able to tolerate doctor-prescribed steroids, which made his body strong enough to then tolerate medications.

    “Munchies save lives,” said Smith, 46, who hopes to someday see marijuana legalized and taxed. “As a taxpayer, let me pay for something I use.”


    In 1998, Washington state voters approved a law that removed criminal penalties and established a defense for qualified patients who possess or cultivate cannabis for medicinal use.

    In 2008, the “60-day” supply for patients was defined as 24 ounces and 15 plants; both numbers have attracted intense debate from medical marijuana advocates. The law allows patients to exceed these limits if the patient can prove medical need, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

    Technically, the cannabis clinics are illegal. Federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, in the same league as heroin. Washington’s medical marijuana laws help patients with a legal defense in local or state courts. Federal laws ultimately trump state laws, however, and do not recognize the medical use of marijuana.

  154. newsdeskinternational

  155. newsdeskinternational

    Colorado medical marijuana bill up for vote

    DENVER — Lawmakers who want to regulate the state’s growing medical marijuana industry are now willing to let dispensaries operate for profit. But they still want to make sure the state can keep tabs on where their pot is coming from.

    The modified proposed regulations are up for their first vote at the Capitol on Thursday. They were worked out in negotiations with dispensaries and patient advocates over the last month but no one is completely satisfied with them.

    Patient groups think the bill goes too far in limiting the rights of patients. They say a provision banning possession near schools could prevent people from using medical pot in their homes.

    Law enforcement interests oppose the bill because they say it gives legitimacy to dispensaries.

  156. newsdeskinternational

    Washington’s medical-pot measure would widen list of prescribers

    Patients who qualify for medical marijuana will be able to get prescriptions for it from a wider range of health-care professionals, under a bill that appears headed to the governor’s desk.

    Under Senate Bill 5798, it won’t just be doctors who can get sick people access to pot.

    The bill expands the list of licensed medical practitioners who can also recommend medical marijuana to physicians’ assistants, nurse practitioners and naturopathic physicians, said one of its sponsors, Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle.

    “The reason is that, especially in rural areas in the state and away from Puget Sound, because of long distances, many people do not see M.D.s. They see nurse practitioners and physicians assistants who have prescriptive authority,” Kohl-Welles said.

    A representative of Kohl-Welles said the bill passed through the House Wednesday night “with little debate.”

    The House did add two amendments related to how prescriptions should be written, so the bill will go back to the Senate for approval, then on to Gov. Chris Gregoire for approval. A governor’s spokesman said Thursday that it was too early to say what might happen because the revisions still need to be approved by the Senate.

    The final marijuana-related legislation active in the Legislature this year, it passed after some others were defeated — including one Kohl-Welles had sponsored that would have reduced pot possession for adults to a civil infraction, and one from Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, to legalize pot and sell it in state-run liquor stores to people 21 and older.

    Polls conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) show that the majority of Washington voters are dissatisfied with current marijuana laws and favor lowering penalties for possession.

    “The public is out ahead of elected officials,” said ACLU spokesman Doug Honig. “There’s a concern among some elected officials that they’ll be accused of being soft on drugs and soft on crime if they support something like this.”

    Kohl-Welles holds, who holds a Ph.D. in sociology of education and an M.A. in sociology, agreed: “The Legislature tends to lag behind social change. And secondly, we have a short legislative session, and it’s really hard to get to all the bills, especially if there’s an issue with some of them. And I think the issues regarding marijuana are still fairly traditional in our state Legislature. If ‘marijuana’ is on a bill they’re uncomfortable with the bill and maybe fear it may be used against them in an election campaign.”

  157. newsdeskinternational

    Youth factor heats up medical marijuana debate

    The divisions between the pro- and anti-marijuana crowds at the state House Judiciary Committee meeting were already clear last week when the young man who described himself as a recovering heroin addict approached the microphone.


  158. newsdeskinternational

    Dispense with the nonsense on medical pot dispensaries

    Some people in Colorado, including Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, want the state Legislature to stuff the medical marijuana genie back in the hookah.


  159. newsdeskinternational

    Outspoken Wash. medical pot activist shoots robber

    The Kirkland man who shot and seriously wounded a robber at his home is a well-known Washington medical marijuana activist named Steve Sarich.

    Sarich tells The Associated Press that it happened early Monday morning after his dogs barked and woke him up. He walked down a hallway with a .22-caliber handgun when he was confronted by a man with a shotgun, who raised it and fired. Pellets hit Sarich in the face and the leg, and he says the main blast nearly took his head off.

    Sarich also fired, but missed. He ran back to his bedroom after the pistol jammed, got another gun, and then fired three shots through his glass bedroom door, hitting another one of the robbers. That man was in intensive care at Harborview Medical Center on Monday.

    Sheriff’s officers say they arrested another suspect after he was seen trying to flag down a ride nearby, and four suspects in all are believed to have been involved.

  160. newsdeskinternational

    5 In Custody In Medical Marijuana Home Invasion

    Police have in custody five suspects in connection with a home-invasion robbery at the Kirkland home of a medical marijuana activist.

    The sheriff’s office on Tuesday morning said all five suspects sought in the case are in custody in the incident early Monday morning.

    Steve Sarich, a medical marijuana provider, was asleep inside when his dogs started barking at around 3:30 a.m. When he went outside to investigate he saw a man with a gun.

    “The guy pulled out a gun as if he was going to shoot me. I fired and shot at him,” Sarich said.

    Later in the day, narcotic agents served a search warrant and went into Sarich’s home, looking for drugs.

    Sarich told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News he thinks he may be arrested. He said that while he does provide medical marijuana to patients, he fears narcotic agents will take his plants.

    Sarich said there could be as many as 120 plants in his house, a number that exceeds the legal amount to be used for personal use.

  161. newsdeskinternational

    Charging documents on Kirkland Washington home invasion….

    Two of the five men — Jonathon Buell, 18, and Tyson Corcoran, 19 — obtained their medical-marijuana cards after attending a clinic on Sarich’s property.

    Corcoran and Andrew “Drew” J.J. Carrigan, 19, were both employed by Sarich at some point.

    Carrigan and Laughren “had hit the house before,” stealing “pounds of marijuana” and marijuana-laced snacks.

    The fifth suspect is Buell’s roommate, Hristo Tzenkov, 19. Tzenkov, who was shot in the ankle, leg and heart by Sarich, called 911 from Sarich’s backyard. He is being treated at a Seattle hospital for his injuries.

    Sarich said Corcoran and Carrigan — but not Buell — obtained medical-marijuana cards from a physician after attending a clinic on his property. Sarich operates CannaCare, an organization that provides marijuana plants to patients, out of his home.

    He explained that patients send their medical records to Sentry Medical Group, a Seattle-based medical clinic that specializes in medical-marijuana patients. A physician reviews the patients’ records to confirm they have conditions qualifying them for medical marijuana, Sarich said.

    During a later “clinic” hosted by Sarich, the doctor meets with individual patients and provides written authorizations that include the number of plants and amounts of processed marijuana each requires, Sarich said.

    Sarich confirmed that Carrigan once did odd jobs around his rental property, but said he does not remember Corcoran.

    Including Monday’s robbery attempt, Sarich said his home has been broken into eight times since May, but he says he reported only one of those previous incidents.

    According to the charging papers, the suspects were smoking marijuana in Buell and Tzenkov’s apartment in Bellevue early Monday. Around 2 a.m., they got into two cars and drove to Sarich’s neighborhood, with the intent of robbing him of pot and cash, the papers say.

    Laughren is accused of bringing along a shotgun, concealed in a guitar case, which “he bragged he had recently stolen,” the charging documents say.

    It is unclear how many of the five suspects entered Sarich’s house through a basement door, but the charging documents place both Laughren and Tzenkov inside.

    Sarich, 59, told police he was awakened by his dog barking and was confronted by two masked intruders when he walked out of his bedroom, the charging papers say. A suspect pointed a shotgun at him and Sarich fired his .22-caliber handgun; his gun jammed and he “retreated back into his bedroom just as the suspect … fired a round at him from the shotgun,” the papers say.

    Sarich then “armed himself with another .22-cal[iber] pistol and returned fire, firing multiple rounds,” according to charging papers.

    Sarich, who suffered minor wounds to his face and arm, told responding King County sheriff’s deputies that “he believed he had shot two suspects,” the papers say. However, only Tzenkov was shot by Sarich.

    According to King County Jail records, Corcoran posted $10,000 bail and was released just after 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Prosecutors had asked that he be held on $250,000 bail, but that request was denied by a judge, the charging papers say.

    Carrigan is being held on $250,000 bail while Laughren and Buell are each being held on $300,000 bail, jail records show. Bail was also set at $300,000 for Tzenkov, who will be booked once he is released from hospital.

    They are scheduled to be arraigned March 30 at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

  162. newsdeskinternational

    Medical marijuana violence — a problem in the law?

    He was the victim weeks ago, the first of three Western Washington men apparently authorized to receive medical marijuana to be attacked for their stash.


  163. jeff

    What a bunch of B.S…….registered Washington State voters should vote to legalize marijuana in 2010. go to sensiblewashington.org to find out more about Initiative-1068, the Marijuana Reform Act. we want to legalize marijuana for adults 18 years of age and older.

  164. newsdeskinternational

    Medical Marijuana Might Get A New Regulation

    Medical marijuana may be winding up in the wrong hands and one lawmaker wants to do something about it.


  165. newsdeskinternational

    No guns for Wash. pot activist after shootout

    A Washington state medical marijuana activist who nearly killed an intruder in his home this month has been barred from buying guns, even though he says he has no criminal record.

    Steve Sarich says he tried to buy a shotgun and a pistol a few days after the March 15 shootout to replace ones that were seized by investigators, but he failed the background check.

    The King County Sheriff’s Office sent him an e-mail Tuesday explaining the denial. It says Sarich showed investigators his paperwork as a medical marijuana patient, and those papers create a presumption that Sarich is an “unlawful user” of a controlled substance.

    The sheriff’s office says that under federal law, using a controlled substance disqualifies someone from passing a background check for gun purchases.

  166. Barb

    As a patient with a “qualifying condition” in Washington, I can attest to the fact that it is NOT easy to get approval for medical marijuana. The doctor makes the recommendation, but then you need to go through an organization who evaluates your medical records and you, before prescribing. I’ve been working toward it for 3 months now already. They also require annual review of eligibility.

    So to do it “legally”, there is no way a “kid can go to the doctor complaining of pain” and get a “dope prescription”.

    I have specific symptoms related to a neurological disease that are greatly relieved by marijuana. Some of you guys who saw “Reefer Madness” in grade school really need to take the time to read the positive research on this natural treatment.

    And no, I don’t think general legalization makes any more sense than making all prescription medications OTC. I am just say that there IS a place for marijuana in medicine, whether you like it or not.

  167. newsdeskinternational

    Washington state’s medical-marijuana law is too restrictive

    WASHINGTON’S medical-marijuana law was advertised as humane and tolerant in the 1990s, when this state legalized cannabis as medicine, along with California, Oregon, Alaska and Maine. Now most of the states in the West allow it — and Washington falls behind. Our law is unfairly restrictive.

    In January, the Washington Supreme Court ruled in State v. Fry that our law offers medical users no protection from search, seizure and arrest. The court said the immunity is from penalty only. The medical-marijuana user, the court said, has still “committed a criminal act, but pleads an excuse for doing so.”

    This needs to be changed. People with a doctor’s OK should be able to use marijuana without having their doors kicked in. They are patients, not criminals. This is the rule of tolerance Washington voters thought they were approving 12 years ago, and it has now become a civilized minimum.

    Washington’s law allows patients to grow marijuana for themselves or for one other person.

    In 2008, the Department of Health stated in a report that “home cultivation is not feasible for all patients.” That is clearly so. It is not reasonable to require every patient, or every other patient, to start and manage an indoor farm, but that is what the law effectively says.

    It also forbids selling processed marijuana or live plants. The raid on cannabis entrepreneur Steve Sarich shows what happens when the law is so restrictive. Somebody just does it.

    Sarich was apparently growing and selling small plants for $15 each. Police said he had 259 small plants started from cuttings, 80 medium plants and 36 large ones. The maximum allowed by the Department of Health is 15 plants.

    The public question is not whether one man broke the rules, but what the rules should be.

    Start with the idea in the Department of Health’s report that “there needs to be a safe, legal source for qualified patients.”

    That means dispensaries — places where people with authorization can buy plants or processed marijuana, in lawful, above-board and taxed transactions. California allows dispensaries. Washington should, also.

  168. newsdeskinternational

    High court to hear medical marijuana case

    The Washington Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of a medical marijuana patient who was fired for failing a drug test.

    The woman is identified as Jane Roe to protect her identity. When she applied for a job in Kitsap County with TeleTech Customer Care Management, she told the company she was an authorized marijuana patient.

    She was hired to answer e-mails and phone calls, but a week later, her pre-employment drug screen came back positive, and she was fired. She sued in 2006.

    An appeals court held that Washington’s medical marijuana law provides a defense to criminal prosecution but does not protect patients in employment situations.

    The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington urged the justices to review the ruling.

  169. newsdeskinternational

    RCW 69.51A.010

    *** CHANGE IN 2010 *** (SEE 5798-S.SL) ***

    The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.

    (1) “Designated provider” means a person who:

    (a) Is eighteen years of age or older;

    (b) Has been designated in writing by a patient to serve as a designated provider under this chapter;

    (c) Is prohibited from consuming marijuana obtained for the personal, medical use of the patient for whom the individual is acting as designated provider; and

    (d) Is the designated provider to only one patient at any one time.

    (2) “Medical use of marijuana” means the production, possession, or administration of marijuana, as defined in RCW 69.50.101(q), for the exclusive benefit of a qualifying patient in the treatment of his or her terminal or debilitating illness.

    (3) “Qualifying patient” means a person who:

    (a) Is a patient of a physician licensed under chapter 18.71 or 18.57 RCW;

    (b) Has been diagnosed by that physician as having a terminal or debilitating medical condition;

    (c) Is a resident of the state of Washington at the time of such diagnosis;

    (d) Has been advised by that physician about the risks and benefits of the medical use of marijuana; and

    (e) Has been advised by that physician that they may benefit from the medical use of marijuana.

    (4) “Terminal or debilitating medical condition” means:

    (a) Cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or other seizure disorder, or spasticity disorders; or

    (b) Intractable pain, limited for the purpose of this chapter to mean pain unrelieved by standard medical treatments and medications; or

    (c) Glaucoma, either acute or chronic, limited for the purpose of this chapter to mean increased intraocular pressure unrelieved by standard treatments and medications; or

    (d) Crohn’s disease with debilitating symptoms unrelieved by standard treatments or medications; or

    (e) Hepatitis C with debilitating nausea or intractable pain unrelieved by standard treatments or medications; or

    (f) Diseases, including anorexia, which result in nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity, when these symptoms are unrelieved by standard treatments or medications; or

    (g) Any other medical condition duly approved by the Washington state medical quality assurance commission in consultation with the board of osteopathic medicine and surgery as directed in this chapter.

    (5) “Valid documentation” means:

    (a) A statement signed by a qualifying patient’s physician, or a copy of the qualifying patient’s pertinent medical records, which states that, in the physician’s professional opinion, the patient may benefit from the medical use of marijuana;

    (b) Proof of identity such as a Washington state driver’s license or identicard, as defined in RCW 46.20.035; and

    (c) A copy of the physician statement described in (a) of this subsection shall have the same force and effect as the signed original.

    [2007 c 371 § 3; 1999 c 2 § 6 (Initiative Measure No. 692, approved November 3, 1998).]

    Intent — 2007 c 371: See note following RCW 69.51A.005.

  170. newsdeskinternational

    Court: Calif. Medical Marijuana Not Legal in Ore.

    The Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled that medical marijuana authorized in California should stay in California.

    Joel Berringer was convicted in Oregon of possessing of two pounds of marijuana. He was arrested during a traffic stop for speeding in 2006.

    He argued that his letter from a California doctor authorizing him to use medical marijuana should be good in Oregon. But the Oregon Court of Appeals said Wednesday that Oregon does not enforce California’s medical marijuana laws.

    Oregon has its own medical marijuana law, but it didn’t play a role in Berringer’s case.

  171. newsdeskinternational

    Medical pot business poised for huge growth

    After a recent shootout at the home of medical-marijuana activist Steve Sarich, police found 375 pot plants, $10,700 in cash and a stack of credit-card receipts showing Sarich’s business had collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from pot-related sales and services in just a few weeks.


  172. newsdeskinternational
  173. newsdeskinternational

    Lawsuit to target pending medical marijuana dispensary regulations

    DENVER – When the Colorado House of Representatives rubber-stamps the Senate’s changes to House Bill 1284, aimed at regulating the state’s booming medical marijuana industry, the controversial measure will be on its way to Gov. Bill Ritter’s desk for one quick signature that will make it law.


  174. newsdeskinternational

    Police bust Tacoma’s medical marijuana Club 420

    TACOMA, Wash. — A Tacoma-are police narcotics team has busted a medical marijuana organization called Club 420.

    The News Tribune of Tacoma reports officers arrested two men Tuesday in raids on an office and a home in Tacoma and a home in Olalla where officers found more than 70 marijuana plants.

    The West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team says the club apparently was making money by selling drugs to people who may not qualify for medical marijuana.

    The Club 420 website says it was established by a group of patients to provide safe and legal marijuana.

    Information from: The News Tribune

  175. newsdeskinternational

    The Seattle Channel is sponsoring a Town Hall discussion Wednesday night about marijuana and possible reform of pot laws.

    During last year’s legislative session, bills were introduced to decriminalize marijuana, but none was passed. Now people are gathering signatures for an initiative that would allow adult possession cultivation and use of marijuana.

    The Seattle Channel wants to know: Will you sign the initiative?

    The discussion, which starts at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., is free. Get tickets here.

    Host C.R. Douglas plans to have a real-time discussion with people in the audience and others using Twitter, Facebook and e-mail. To learn more about the Seattle Channel program, click here.

    Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has supported revamping of the state’s marijuana laws. John McKay, former U.S. attorney in Seattle, stopped short of that but said he supports revamping the law. King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said last year that Seattle didn’t seem too much worse off when simple marijuana possession was a civil infraction, instead of a misdemeanor.

    Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes discussed his policy of not filing charges for simple marijuana possession earlier this year on Douglas’ program City Inside/Out.

    Seattle is also home to Hempfest, one of the largest drug-policy reform rallies in the country, if not the world. More than 150,000 people typically attend the event, which this year is scheduled for Aug 20-22.

    A month after the 2003 Hempfest, Seattle voters passed an initiative making the investigation, arrest and prosecution of marijuana offenses, when the drug was intended for adult personal use, the lowest law enforcement priority.

    Medical marijuana has been legal in Washington since 1998.

    In 2008, the state Health Department has set a final rule defining a 60-day supply of medical marijuana at 24 ounces and up to 15 plants.

  176. newsdeskinternational

    Petitioners seek medical marijuana outlets

    Advocates of medical marijuana on Thursday submitted 110,000 signatures, more than the amount required, for a ballot measure to allow state-licensed pot dispensaries in Oregon.

    Read more: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20100521/NEWS/5210333/1001/news#ixzz0ofoPmSg4

  177. MATT

    2308 N ARGONNE SPOKANE WA 99212
    10 AM-6 PM MON-FRI
    CALL ANYTIME-509-218-8318
    BRING ID AND Authorization.

    great prices. 😉

  178. newsdeskinternational

    Marysville medical marijuana group denied license


  179. newsdeskinternational

    Medical pot can cost parents in custody disputes

    Nicholas Pouch runs an organic farm and a glassblowing studio on a 20-acre spread in southwest Washington’s timber country. Spicy mustard greens, tomatoes and corn sprout in humid greenhouses as chickens and sheep roam nearby.


  180. kristie431

    I think this is a little crazy considering all the things the world has gone through with it already being illegal for so long. This lady should have a tenant screening done to see if she has ever had charges put on her before so they know if its right or wrong for her to abuse this drug. If she has been charged for doing it illegally there should be no thought about giving it to her.

  181. eric keller

    I can not believe how misinformed most of the people who commented on this issue actual are. Law abbiding citizens,ciggerets and alcohol being less dangerous,people not showing control,are you kidding me.Cigeretts and alcohol kill more people every year,than all other ILLEGAL drugs combined. The facts are abbundent with regard to marijuana’s pain relieving qualities. When are we going to stop legislating morality? If you watch TV,which I’m sure most of those who responded do(this is where they get thier information from,think for yourself) this country is so over medicadted with synthetic drugs it’s unreal. Natural,get a clue,marijuana is as natural as it gets. Face it,it has and does improve the quality of life for those suffering from chronic conditions. I lost my father to cancer,a man who never used a drug in his life,but found relief of pain when he used marijuana for the first time before his death. Would you deny your loved ones of a substance that eased their suffering?,ask your self,hopefully you will never have that experience,but if you did,believe me you would give them what ever you could to make them more comfortable. Do you really know about that which you speak? or have you adopted the thoughts of others who deem medical marijuana as an excuse. This is a plant that has been used by many cultures over the course of thousands of years,the only thing new is this puritanical,uninformed,narrow minded opinions of those who condem the use of marijuana. I think you all will change your minds when you realize that this industry will single handly change the economic disaster we have been thrown into,it’s called tax revenue,it’s called new businesses,it’s called new jobs,it’s called marijuana. It’s here to stay,in fact it never went anywhere,so get over it or get left behind.

  182. newsdeskinternational

    Medical Marijuana To Be OK In Some VA Clinics

    Patients treated at Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics will be able to use medical marijuana in the 14 states where it’s legal, according to new federal guidelines.


  183. newsdeskinternational

    How Colorado Tracks Medical Marijuana “From Seed To Sale”

    Matt Cook is senior director of enforcement at Colorado’s Department of Revenue. Retail-style medical marijuana dispensaries began springing up in 2007 in his state, says the Washington Post. Officials believe more than 1,100 dispensaries are operating statewide. As the numbers grew, dispensaries offered ever more cannabis strains, marijuana-infused products, and delivery services. Cook has drawn up a stringent regulation scheme that aims to turn the industry into a legitimate — and respectable — enterprise.

    “We plan to track the entire commodity from seed to sale,” he said. “We will use a Web-based, 24-7 video surveillance system, and we will see virtually everything from the time a seed goes into the ground to the time the plants are harvested, cultivated, processed, packaged, stored.” The regime may be copied by the 13 other states that already have legalized medical marijuana and the 14 additional states that could soon allow its use. Cook’s counterparts in other states, as well as Washington, D.C., have been seeking advice.

    Link: : http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/24/AR2010072402559.html

    Filed under: Article, Drugs

  184. newsdeskinternational
  185. newsdeskinternational

    Cannabis Cafe finds a new home in Portland

    After searching more than two months for a new home, Oregon NORML will open its newest version of the Cannabis Cafe on Saturday.


  186. newsdeskinternational
  187. newsdeskinternational
  188. newsdeskinternational

    Rossi blasts use of stimulus dollars on pot study

    A day after sending out a press release making pot jokes when referring to a Washington State University study on marijuana’s effect on pain medication, Republican Dino Rossi’s U.S. Senate campaign insists he intended no disrespect to medical marijuana research.

    On Thursday, Rossi released a statement focusing on the two-year project by psychology professor Michael Morgan, whose study involves injecting synthetic cannabinoids along with opiates in rats to see how to improve treatment for people with chronic pain. Cannabinoids are the active ingredients in marijuana.

    Rossi criticized the $148,000 in federal stimulus dollars granted to Morgan last year, saying taxpayers “are tired of their money going up in smoke” and that instead of creating jobs, the money isn’t “going to stimulate anything other than sales of Cheetos.”

    Rossi is seeking to oust incumbent Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.

    Spokeswoman Jennifer Morris said Friday that “no judgment was made on the validity of the research,” though she refused to comment on the marijuana stereotypes used in the press release, including the headline “It’s 5:00 Somewhere, But It’s 4:20 At Washington State University.” The term “420” is used by some as a reference to marijuana.

    Medical marijuana is legal in Washington state, approved by voters by initiative in 1998.

    Morris said that Rossi’s criticism is of the $800 billion federal stimulus plan approved by national Democrats last year. Washington state was awarded about $8.6 billion for projects ranging from transportation to medical research and the Hanford nuclear reservation cleanup.

    “There are a number of folks who are questioning what their tax dollars went to and where all those promised jobs are,” Morris said in a statement.

    Morgan said the grant allows him to continue work through the summer, when he normally wouldn’t be paid, and also led to the hiring of students to help with the research that could help address costs associated with pain management.

    “Essentially, what he’s doing is trashing my career without any facts,” said Morgan, who is doing his research at the Vancouver branch of WSU. “To have Rossi come in and mock my work, that’s the part that riles me up.”


  189. newsdeskinternational

    medical marijuana dilemma hits tacoma

    Recent actions by Tacoma Police Department targeting the distribution of marijuana exemplify the uncertainty law enforcement, lawyers and elected officials face when dealing with the use of the substance for medical purposes.

    Washington voters passed an initiative in the late 1990s permitting medicinal marijuana. But that law never addressed how patients would obtain it, which recently has led to a growing cottage industry of marijuana dispensaries.

    On July 29 Tacoma police conducted a search of Tacoma Hemp Company, a medical marijuana dispensary in Stadium District.

    Lieutenant Shawn Stringer said police have been receiving complaints that it was selling marijuana to people without the proper medical authorization and that it was attracting criminal activity to the neighborhood.

    A warrant was served on the home of Justin Prince, owner of Tacoma Hemp Company. Stringer said a growing operation was discovered, which was in violation of the standards set by the state law.

    Another warrant was served at the home of Melissa Macourek, who is Prince’s landlord. A small amount of marijuana was found in her home, which is located near Jefferson Park.

    Macourek testified at the Aug. 10 Tacoma City Council meeting. She said her young daughter were not home when police arrived. She claims officers broke down her front door, broke handles on cabinets and did other damage.

    “I am very displeased my tax dollars were used for this show of unnecessary force,” she told the council.

    Stringer said Tacoma officers conduct such raids based on national standards.

    “We have specific training we use,” he said. “This is meant to keep officers as well as the public safe. When you deviate from your standard procedures is when people tend to be hurt.”

    The state law is considered by many people to be vague and open to many interpretations, especially when it comes to distribution of the medicine.

    Stringer admits this creates challenges for law enforcement. “It is cloudy in some areas.” He said local prosecutors have told police that operations like Tacoma Hemp Company are illegal, based on the law.

    Jay Berneberg is a criminal defense attorney in Tacoma who represented Prince for a while, but not currently. He has been a legal consultant to dispensaries. The Legislature has adjusted the original law but it is still far from ideal, in his view.

    They could have added language that stated a designated provider who supplies marijuana is committing a felony, but they did not. “It would have been the most stupid law ever,” he remarked. “So now TPD and county prosecutors are trying to write that in on their own.”

    The law is problematic on several levels, according to Berneberg. How it was implemented violates the will of the people. He also feels prosecutors and police are interpreting it in a way that blurs the division of the branches of government. “We have a genuine separation of power issue.”

    Regarding several recent raids on dispensaries, “not one charge I know of is for a transfer of medicine to a legitimate patient,” he said.

    Berneberg said in the case of Tacoma Hemp, undercover officers used forged medical authorizations to enter the facility, where they supposedly saw someone smoking marijuana. He said Prince is accused of providing marijuana to the officers.

    Berneberg said police would not have the nerve to conduct such actions if medical marijuana was provided by drug stores such as Bartell’s or Walgreen’s. “And they sell highly addictive narcotics.”

    If a pharmacist were suspected of illegally providing a prescription painkiller, law enforcement would take a different action. “They certainly would not come in with a SWAT team.”

    He said Macourek will not be prosecuted because she has authorization from a doctor to use marijuana. The amount found was about an eighth of an ounce, he noted.

    The police actions upset several people enough to testify before the council.

    One was Mary McDermott, who represented the group Grandmas for Ganja. She claimed marijuana is the safest, most effective medicine ever available to man. She condemned the raids. “This is not Nazi Germany. This is Washington.”

    Don Skakie represented Sensible Washington, a group that attempted to get a statewide initiative on the ballot for full legalization. He accused police and prosecutors of targeting middle-class marijuana users because they have assets to seize, “unlike meth heads in the trailer parks.”

    Catherine Jeter said she uses marijuana to treat her rheumatoid arthritis. She said she is a certified public accountant.

    “I believe I am an asset to the community. We are not the lowlifes out there being characterized by the media.”

    Dr. Scott Havsy said he treats patients who use medical marijuana. He said Tacoma should be a leader in setting policies that allow for proper distribution, such as licensing and regulation.

    In Berneberg’s view, much of the opposition to medical marijuana is from people who oppose any marijuana use. For them, the medical angle is just a step toward marijuana becoming legal in the manner of alcohol or cigarettes.

    “They consider it a slippery slope.”

    Local governments should be concerned about sick and dying people who turn to marijuana for relief, Berneberg said. “People are stepping up to fill that need. That is what this initiative was about. Some of them are business people. That is what capitalism is about. I want them to get it from legitimate business people.”


  190. newsdeskinternational


    Review panel narrowly favors expansion of medical marijuana

    Read more: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20100820/UPDATE/100820034/Review-panel-narrowly-favors-expansion-of-medical-marijuana#ixzz0xCvadeHW

  191. newsdeskinternational

    Marijuana-legalization supporters launching new campaign

    Sensible Washington, the group that sponsored a marijuana-legalization bill that didn’t make it on the ballot this election season, plans to launch its 2011 …


  192. newsdeskinternational

    Medical Use of Marijuana Costs Some a Paycheck

    Residents in 14 states and Washington can now appeal to their doctors for prescriptions for medical marijuana to help them with their pain.


  193. newsdeskinternational

    Medical marijuana users can be fired

    Only one of the 14 states that have legalized medical marijuana protects users from being fired if they fail a drug test, a lawyer says.

    Cynthia Estlund, who teaches labor law at New York University, told The New York Times employers are not required to dismiss marijuana users either. Part of the problem is that marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

    The Rhode Island law legalizing marijuana for medical reasons bans employers or landlords from penalizing users.

    “The current state of affairs puts employers in a very difficult situation,” Barbara L. Johnson, a Washington employment lawyer, said. “But the reality is that there are no federal guidelines like there are when dealing with other types of prescription medications.”

    Employers who have fired people who tested positive say the issue is safety. Joseph Casias, a cancer patient, was fired from his job at a Michigan Walmart last year.

    “This is obviously an unfortunate situation all around,” a company spokesman, Greg Rossiter, said. “But we have to consider the overall safety of our customers and our associates.”


  194. newsdeskinternational
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  196. newsdeskinternational

    Guest columnist Marijuana’s true potency and why the law should change

    So called “medical” marijuana reaches precious few patients and backdoor potheads mock legitimate medical use by glaucoma and chemotherapy patients. State …


  197. Rick in Seattle

    As a former board-certified PA in Family Practice I am the first to endorse any medication that is proven to be safer to use than long-term use of MS-Contin or Oxycontin and its derivitives. There is far more abuse potential with such prescriptive drugs and if cannabis can replace them then I support it. All the naysayers of medicinal cannabis are ignorant and have no empathy. What if you were a diabetic and some uninformed govt. or law enforcement worker so you cannot have insulin because it could kill you if improperly administered (i.e. accidental intravenous or too much) then what would you say? It is every patient’s inalienable right to have their medical problems treated with whatever treatments are available and shown to be effective and safe if used as directed. Anyone who is opposed to medical marijuana obviously does not suffer from intractable pain or they would nto be so narrow-minded and judgmental. It is a decision for the patient and their health provider – no one else. No one has the right to interfere with that care relationship – not police, not legislators, and certainly not ‘joe citizen’ who is ignorant of the benefits. To all those I say “walk in the shoes of a person with constant intractable pain” and has to take dangerous opioids before you criticize or pass judgment. Think of the hundreds of hundreds of millions of wasteful spending of tax dollars by law enforcement and the criminal justice system to enforce ridiculous and scientifically baseless laws that were promulgated back in the early 1900s when there was little science to support marijuana so the laws were based on politics in an era of prohibition. Ludicorus and tyrranical – that is what the marijuana laws are. If you want to heavily regulate something then start with alcohol – a toxic poison to the body that wreaks havoc in society. Until then let the patients have what they need for relief so they can stop the opioid overuse and abuse.

  198. newsdeskinternational
  199. newsdeskinternational
  200. newsdeskinternational

    Medical marijuana dispensary owner faces drug charges

    A Greenacres man who operated a medical marijuana dispensary about 100 feet from a Washington State Patrol office could face felony drug charges in the latest example of Spokane County’s tough stance on the confusing voter-approved law.


  201. newsdeskinternational

    Oregon To Vote On Medical Marijuana Dispensary Law

    Buying medical marijuana could become as routine as picking up a prescription for antibiotics at your nearby pharmacy under a proposition being decided next month by Oregon voters, The Oregonian reports. One percent of Oregonians – nearly 40,000 – hold medical marijuana cards. Backers of the growing movement say patients need a safer, more reliable and regulated way to get medical marijuana besides growing it themselves.

    Proponents say Measure 74 would bring accountability and dignity to the process of receiving and dispensing marijuana. Skeptics say it has too many loopholes, leaving room for abuse. Still others say it is a masked attempt to legalize marijuana rather than a genuine attempt to solve patient problems. John Sajo, director of Voter Power and co-author of the initiative, said thousands of patients who can’t grow their own marijuana stand in lines at organizations such as his to receive medical marijuana donated by other patients. But some seek the drug illegally, he said, encouraging a black market enterprise. California approved dispensaries but didn’t create a statewide system, depending on city and county government to build those laws. Some municipalities, such as San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, and Sonoma County, created laws limiting on how much marijuana patients and dispensaries may grow.


  202. newsdeskinternational

    Legal Drug Dealers Prepare to Set Up Shop in Oregon

    A measure on this November’s ballot would allow state residents to buy marijuana for medical purposes


  203. newsdeskinternational

    Tacoma Tells Co-Ops To Stop Dispensing Medical Marijuana

    The city of Tacoma has told eight co-ops to stop dispensing medical marijuana, based on the city’s interpretation of state law, KIRO 7 Eyewitness News has learned.


  204. newsdeskinternational

    City to wait for clarity on pot law
    TACOMA: It won’t act against dispensaries until lawmakers meet

    Seeking to head off a controversy over medical marijuana, the Tacoma City Council Tuesday agreed to a plan that would allow established medicinal pot dispensaries in the city to continue selling to patients until state lawmakers clarify the law.

    Read more: http://www.theolympian.com/2010/10/20/1410331/city-to-wait-for-clarity-on-pot.html#ixzz12xThfFMw

  205. newsdeskinternational

    Colorado waives medical marijuana fees for poor

    Poor medical marijuana patients in Colorado won’t have pay state marijuana registration fees or sales tax on the pot they buy.

    The Colorado Board of Health approved a plan Wednesday to waive the $90 registration fee for indigent medical marijuana patients, starting Dec. 1. Patients who want their fees waived will have to show that they meet other government standards for indigence, such as qualifying for food stamps.

    The Denver Post reports that poor pot patients also will have notations on their cards waiving sales taxes on the pot they buy.

    A new medical marijuana law passed by state lawmakers this year called for lower fees for indigent medical marijuana patients.

  206. newsdeskinternational

    Washington Legislature aims to clarify legality of medicinal pot

    Patients with terminal illnesses and chronic pain have battled the gray areas in the state’s medical marijuana laws since voters approved the initiative giving them access to the drug back in 1998.


  207. newsdeskinternational

    Proposed medical marijuana rules again face scrutiny from NJ lawmakers

    Click here

  208. newsdeskinternational

    Medical pot industry has new trade group in Wash.

    The shadowy medical marijuana industry in Washington state has a new trade organization.


  209. newsdeskinternational

    2 robbers raid medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle

    Salyards donates his time at Purple Cross Patient Care, a medical marijuana dispensary in Fremont. Despite five video cameras, one panic button, …


  210. newsdeskinternational

    If it didn’t work in California, it sure as hell won’t work here. Hello, it’s still against federal law….

    State undertakes effort to collect pot sales tax

    The Washington Department of Revenue has launched a statewide effort to collect sales tax from medical marijuana dispensaries.

    Spokesman Mike Gowrylow says the department mailed letters to 90 dispensaries and related organizations on Friday, insisting that medical marijuana is not exempt from state sales tax and dispensaries must collect that money and turn it over to the state.

    The letter also warned them that dispensaries must also pay the state business and occupation tax.


  211. newsdeskinternational

    Blame It on the Cancer Patients

    And his old stomping ground, Washington state, is apparently part of the problem. Kerlikowske blames the acceptance of medical marijuana in states like this …


  212. newsdeskinternational

    Medical marijuana collective opens Federal Way branch; owner welcomes state …

    Green Piece Alternative Medicine and Education (GAME) Collective may be Federal Way’s first storefront medical marijuana dispensary. …


  213. newsdeskinternational

    WA Denies Most Medical Pot Requests By Felons On Supervision

    The pressure on the DOC to permit felons to use medical marijuana is likely to intensify as the medical-pot industry flourishes and polls show public …


  214. newsdeskinternational

    Felons who want medical marijuana put state in awkward position

    Medical-marijuana user Kathy Parkins is under DOC supervision because she was arrested for possessing pot in Arizona, which does not …


  215. Janet

    Bills may clarify Washington medical marijuana law

    Two Washington state lawmakers have introduced legislation to clarify the state’s medical marijuana law.

    The bills announced Tuesday by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles of Seattle and Rep. Jim Moeller of Vancouver would require the state Agriculture Department to regulate growing medical marijuana and the state Health Department to license dispensaries.

    Voters legalized medical marijuana in 1998.

    The Olympian reports existing law doesn’t specifically allow dispensaries.

    My Northwest

  216. kay

    I find it interesting that there are skeptics as to the benefits of cannabis, yet here they are, researching the sites in Washington State to find dispensaries. MMM. I am especially fond of the gal who said she had a traumatic brain injury three months ago, and took no pain killer for her pain. I’ll bet her family and friends wish she had. Yea… she’s fun. But her high, (and I mean the pun) and mighty attitude can keep her company. That’s why she searches the dispensary sites. If you haven’t tried it, that is fine. A better quality of life is for every one to choose. But for those of us who were at our wit’s end, and who, in fact have experienced MMJ, we thank the good Lord himself for giving us the good sense to make an informed choice. MMJ is a life saver. We are no longer just surviving every day. We are living, and smiling, and our families are happy for us because we finally have some relief. Blessings and love to those of you who are compelled to judge others -you know not what you say. Now, just shut up and pass the tincture.

  217. Janet

    Impaired Driving Bill Draws Opposition From Medical Marijuana Users

    Supporters of House Bill 33 point out that under the bill’s proposed language, those using medical marijuana could have marijuana in their system months …


  218. Janet

    Legislature seeks clarity for medical marijuana users
    Legislature: Bills would add patient protections, remove legal gray area

    A dozen years after voters approved Washington’s medical marijuana system, state lawmakers are debating major changes that would give patients greater protection from arrest and bring the supply chain out of a legal gray area.


  219. Janet

    Just what we need, pot and booze sold together…

    Bill would sell pot in Washington liquor stores

    Washington state Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson of Seattle has introduced a bill that would allow the sale of marijuana in state liquor stores.


  220. Janet

    Snoqualmie case highlights holes in Washington state’s medical marijuana law

    A bill in the Washington State Senate is meant to clear up the muddy medical marijuana law. The bill, submitted by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, was approved by committee. It already has a slew of proposed amendments, some of which undercut the …


  221. Janet

    Marijuana dispensaries stay on hold

    While use of marijuana for medical purposes is legal in Washington, state laws about the legality of facilities from which it would be distributed have been interpreted differently by different cities. “It says that, if you are going to have a …

    Port Orchard Independent

  222. Janet

    WA Senate OKs changes to medical marijuana system

    Washington senators moved forward Wednesday night with establishing more regulation on the state’s medical marijuana system, approving a bill with changes that would give patients greater protection from arrest and bring the supply chain out of a legal …


  223. Janet

    Medical Marijuana’s Image Problem

    Stewart Jay, a Harvard grad and a UW faculty member for more than 30 years, specializes in constitutional law—particularly First Amendment issues—and has followed Washington’s various medical-marijuana laws closely for years. Writing to Seattle …


  224. Janet

    Marijuana providers fight for licensing
    FEDERAL WAY: They say city’s denial of permits not justified under law

    Ah but it is. If you go back and read the law that was passed, voters okayed medical marijuana, but the law doesn’t have provisions where it is legal to have dispensaries.


  225. Janet

    Governments move to control medical pot


  226. Janet

    Washington closes down medical pot outlets

    Cities in Washington have moved to shut down at least 35 medical-marijuana dispensaries, a move initiated in part by a little-noticed memo, authorities said.

    When dispensaries began applying to cities for business licenses last year, the municipalities approached the Washington Cities Insurance Authority with two questions: Are dispensaries legal, and do we have to issue licenses?


  227. Janet

    Dispensary owner slams medical marijuana lottery proposal

    A proposed law that would give additional legal protection to medical marijuana users and remove dispensaries from a legal gray area has found a critic in the owner of a dispensary in Port Angeles. …


  228. newsdeskinternational

    Sumner City Council Votes for Temporary Moratorium on Marijuana Dispensaries

    The Washington State Cities Insurance Authority released a report in December recommending that cities take a closer look at medical marijuana dispensaries to see if they are in compliance with state law. Many businesses and cities throughout …


  229. Janet

    Medical Marijuana Might Slow Thinking Among MS Patients‎

    As the debate over medical marijuana use continues, a new study among multiple sclerosis patients …


  230. Janet

    Spokane pot shops on federal notice

    “What a waste of energy in the very week that we think Washington law is going to change totally,” Stiley said. Guidelines sent to US attorneys by the US Department of Justice in October 2009 said prosecuting seriously ill medical marijuana patients …



    Washington Pot Dispensaries Close Up Shop


  231. Janet

    Washington Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Refuse To Close

    Voters approved medical marijuana use in Washington in 1998, and in 2008 lawmakers approved a law allowing patients a 60 day supply of no more than 24 ounces and no more than 15 plants. But the law doesn’t specifically allow for medical marijuana sales …


  232. Janet

    It’s time to update and improve state’s medical-marijuana law

    Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Jerome Delvin urge the Legislature to pass a medical-marijuana bill. By Jeanne Kohl-Welles And Jerome Delvin WASHINGTON easily adopted medical marijuana by initiative in 1998, with 59 percent of the vote. …


  233. Janet

    Hoquiam City Council to Vote on “Not Yet” Plan for Medical Marijuana

    Hoquiam, WA – The Hoquiam City Council will consider the adoption of a Medical Marijuana Dispensary Moratorium at tonight’s city council meeting. Hoquiam Mayor Jack Durney tells us if any proposed actions at the State-level were to allow the Dispensaries, cities have the right to impose a 6 month moratorium in order to address zoning issues and the legalities of the controversial Dispensaries. If Senate Bill 5073 does not pass in the House by tomorrow it will die, the bill would establish among other things, a framework for Dispensaries to operate under license by the departments of Agriculture and Health.


  234. Janet

    Hoquiam Stymies Medical Marijuana Dispensory

    The Hoquiam City Council has voted to adopt an emergency ordinance establishing a moratorium on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries. Mayor Jack Durney tells us if proposed actions at the State-level were to allow the Dispensaries, …


  235. Janet

    Oh come on, yes, there are some chronically ill, but not all. doctors are already abusing this by giving prescriptions for teenagers and young people. the law was passed for those terminally ill, and in constant pain…and still everyone tries to say it’s not addictive. Oh and suddenly the state is overwhelmed with seriously ill people….

    Hell now even some with depression are getting a doctor to write a prescription. And, this is still against federal law. It will be interesting to see what the DEA does next….

    All this idiot state sees, is $$$$$…..democrats at their best, once again.

    Marijuana could rival apples as state cash crop

    The House in Olympia has passed a measure to regulate what could be a billion dollar industry in Washington, medical marijuana.


  236. Janet

    Feds warn Washington about medical pot bill (Slog)

    The House and Senate have passed a bill that would establish a regulatory system for the medical marijuana business and seek to provide criminal liability protection for patients. On Thursday, the US Attorneys for Western and Eastern Washington …


  237. Janet

    Gregoire threatens to veto pot law
    Medical Marijuana: She warns of possible federal crackdown

    Gregoire threatens to veto pot law A veto threat by Gov. Chris Gregoire left lawmakers and activists scrambling Friday to figure out how to save a major overhaul of Washington’s medical marijuana law.


  238. Janet

    Well, the idiot ACLU is at it again…..

    ACLU urges senators to move medical marijuana bill

    The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington is urging state senators to ignore Gov. Chris Gregoire’s threat to veto a bill that would set up a regulated medical marijuana dispensary system.


  239. Janet

    For those keeping tabs on the dispensaries in Washington state, the following is a summary from the Daily World.

    About 2 months ago the former Oakville Variety store was just an empty store. Today, it is now Grays Harbor’s first street front medical marijuana dispensary. The opening of the store came as a surprise to the locals who live in the area. There’s nothing anyone can do about it as medical marijuana dispensary exists in the gray area of a state and federal law.

    The voters okayed medical marijuana in 1998, that legalized marijuana for “medical use only”.

    But on the other hand, possession and sale of marijuana is still a “federal drime.”

    Okay, now as for Oakville, it operates with just general business zoning and no business license is necessary. And questions have sprung up about opening up dispensaries in other areas. Only one business owner, Mr Phelps, who operates as anon profit group, says he pays taxes and L & I. Hmm, not for profit? Then why is he paying taxes?

    Phelps says he has a pharmacy license, and the marijuana is only dispensed by proper doctor prescriptions. And if you don’t have a marijuana card, you aren’t allowed on the premises. Phelps said his ultimate goal is to have a full time doctor’s office set up right next door to the dispensary as well. Occassionally, a doctor will drop by and write a prescription.

    And under Washington state law, that if someone has a chronic or debilitating illness, they qualify for a medical marijuana prescription and are limited to 15 plants and 24 ounces of useable marijuana.

    If you can’t grow your own pot, you can have a provider grow it for you. As someone enters the dispensary, they sign a paper saying the person in the dispensary is their provider.

    But law officials see it differently as when one walks out, and another enters the dispensary, you have a grow operation, which is illegal. That is then “felony possession.” Both the State Senate and House have come up with bills to define the law but so far it hasn’t been passed. And if one does, Governor Gregoire said she wouldn’t sign it, as last week the DOJ warned her in writing that her state employees could be held liable or charged for breaking the law.

    As it stands now, dispensaries are illegal in the state of Washington, but some cities have given the go ahead for them to operate. So as the two new bills are debated, attorneys say, they both okay growing operations which are against federal law.

  240. Janet

    Disputes over legalization of medical-marijuana dispensaries

    Those with mental illness will be at the greatest risk and their chances for recovery will be greatly diminished. Some of us have no idea how to get pot even if we wanted to take some. Medical marijuana is just a ploy to legalize a dangerous, …


  241. Janet

    Marijuana shops waiting to open in Kelso and Castle Rock

    Kelso and Castle Rock may get the first medical marijuana dispensaries in Cowlitz County, depending on the outcome of the Legislature’s battle with the governor about the state’s medical marijuana law. Gov. Chris Gregoire has threatened to veto a …


  242. Janet

    Agents raid Wash. medical marijuana dispensaries

    Medical marijuana activists across Washington state decried federal raids on at least two dispensaries in Spokane on Thursday, saying they underscored the need for a dispensary licensing system that the governor has threatened to veto.


  243. Janet

    Governor Gregoire could veto medical marijuana bill

    Facing conflicting legal opinion, Governor Chris Gregoire appears ready to veto all, or part, of a new medical marijuana bill. The Governor is scheduled to announce her decision Friday afternoon in Olympia.


  244. Janet

    Gregoire vetoes most of pot bill

    A medical marijuana patient exchanges a plant for a donation at the Conquering Lion in Tacoma in 2010. Gregoire vetoes most of pot bill Gov. Chris Gregoire on Friday officially rejected the Legislature’s …


  245. Janet

    Rework the vetoed medical-marijuana law

    Chris Gregoire bailed out on Washington citizens using medical marijuana to relieve the pain of various debilitating conditions and treatments. Her artful veto of the law must be taken up in the Legislature’s special session. Tweak it if you must, …


  246. Janet

    It looks like every state that has medical marijuana laws will eventually be warned by the feds.

    Arizona Federal Prosecutor Warns State About Medical Marijuana


  247. Janet

    Medical marijuana changes still being considered in Olympia


  248. Janet

    Medical marijuana bill suffers another setback

    A push to officially recognize medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington state suffered another setback Friday after lawmakers failed to get enough support to move a bare-bones proposal out of committee.


  249. Janet

    Doctor at Castle Rock medical marijuana clinic was censured by state in 2007

    The doctor at a new medical marijuana clinic in Castle Rock was reprimanded by the state in 2007 for prescription abuse — but he is cleared to treat patients again and the clinic owners say they’re not concerned about his past.


  250. Janet

    WA lawmaker abandons medical marijuana proposals

    A Democratic lawmaker who had been pushing for legal recognition of medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington state abandoned her efforts Tuesday and called the setback the greatest disappointment of her career in Olympia.


  251. Janet

    Pot law creates confusion for state dispensaries

    After Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed large chunks of a bill intended to clarify the state’s medical marijuana muddle, what remains of the law is in tatters, creating concerns and confusion for the state’s dispensaries.


  252. Janet

    WA court: Workers can be fired over medical pot

    Medical marijuana patients can be fired from their jobs in Washington state even if they only use the drug outside the workplace, the Washington Supreme Court ruled Thursday.


  253. Janet

    Montel Williams Working As Consultant For Marijuana Dispensary

    The former talk show host has announced plans to work as a consultant for a marijuana dispensary in Sacramento called the Albatin Wellness Cooperative. Montel is looking to provide medical marijuana patients with “safe access” to the drug. …


  254. Janet

    Oregon Senate approves medical marijuana fee hike

    The Oregon Senate has approved a bill that doubles the cost of a medical marijuana card. Senators approved the budget for the Oregon Health Authority on Tuesday. The budget relies on an additional $7 million from the medical marijuana program to subsidize other public health services. The plan doubles the price of a medical marijuana card to $200 per year. It also imposes a new annual of $200 on growers who are not currently cardholders, and it reduces the number of people eligible for reduced-price cards. Only patients who receive Supplemental Security Income will be eligible for a discounted $20 card. People on food stamps and the Oregon Health plan would be no-longer eligible for the discount. Medical marijuana advocates denounced the hike. The bill now heads to the House.


  255. Janet

    Will Washington State be the first state to legalize just-for-fun marijuana?

    Some states have decriminalized marijuana, or allowed medical marijuana, but Washington State could become the first state to legalize just-for-fun marijuana.


  256. Janet

    Police bust medical marijuana dispensaries in Kent

    Police served search warrants to four medical marijuana businesses in Kent on Wednesday.


  257. Janet

    Crackdown on medical marijuana ahead?

    Drug-policy reformers are worried about a new Obama administration memo instructing federal prosecutors on how to deal with the growing number of medical marijuana dispensaries.



  258. Janet

    Seattle considers licensing medical marijuana operations

    A city council committee is considering licensing medical marijuana dispensaries and co-ops. It would be the farthest any Washington city has gone to legitimize these operations. Oscar Velasco-Schmitz thinks it’s a good first step. …


  259. Janet

    Seattle Seeks To License Marijuana Dispensaries

    The Seattle City Council’s Health committee has approved a measure that would license medical marijuana businesses. Seattle’s approach is a striking contrast to surrounding cities, which are banning the dispensaries entirely. The Seattle City Council’s …


  260. Janet

    Tacoma City Council running out of time to address medical pot


    Grand jury indicts Spokane medical marijuana dispensers


  261. Janet

    New pot law brings uncertainty
    Starts today: Medical marijuana supporters complain of gray areas

    Gov. Chris Gregoire’s decision to veto key parts of a bill regulating medical marijuana in Washington has left the state with a patchwork system of oversight that is mystifying patients, providers and the cities in which they live.


  262. Janet

    Two Kent medical marijuana dispensaries reopen as collective gardens‎

    The medical marijuana issue took another turn on the tangled legal road it is following when two of the three Kent facilities …


  263. Janet

    Ellensburg ready to allow Medical Marijuana Collective Gardens‎

    The City of Ellensburg is the first city in our area to set up and address the issue of medical marijuana collective gardening. Last night the city council …


  264. Janet

    Ellensburg ready to allow Medical Marijuana Collective Gardens‎

    The City of Ellensburg is the first city in our area to set up and address the issue of medical marijuana collective gardening. Last night the city council …


  265. Janet

    What to do with medical marijuana?

    When Governor Christine Gregoire vetoed most of the medical marijuana bill passed by the legislature, she opened up a can of uncertainty that is rippling through every town in the state.


  266. Janet

    City Council opts to pass on medical marijuana garden decision

    After hearing from a series of passionate medical marijuana users, … Gregoire blocked the dispensaries, citing concerns about whether state workers might …


  267. Janet

    With few rules, pot dispensaries try policing themselves

    In the absence of government regulation, the local medical-marijuana industry … A group calling itself the Association of Medical Marijuana Producers and


  268. Janet

    Marijuana school in session in South Seattle

    It’s back to school time, but along with reading, writing and arithmetic, there’s a new “R,” for “reefer.”

    My Northwest

  269. Janet

    Vancouver Extends Moratorium, Holds Hearing on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

    Tonight the city of Vancouver holds a public meeting on how the city might regulate access to medical marijuana.


  270. Janet

    Medical pot OK in Seattle, in trouble in Spokane

    From the outside, the century-old Victorian home near Gonzaga University looks quaint, with lilies and pansies blooming in the front yard and lace curtains in the windows.

    Seattle Times

  271. Janet

    Marijuana users/patients, and gun ownership

    Okay, federal law states, it’s illegal for someone to possess a gun if he or she is “an unlawful user of, or addicted to” marijuana or other controlled substances. A Sept. 21 letter from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, issued in response to numerous inquiries from gun dealers, clarifies that medical marijuana patients are included in that definition….


  272. Janet

    Despite changing rules, medical marijuana field has exploded statewide

    Two years ago, before Washington’s medical marijuana industry went completely nuts, Scott Havsy was without question Tacoma’s top pot doc.

    News Tribune

  273. Janet

    17 arrested in raids on five Thurston County pot dispensaries

    The Thurston County Narcotics Task Force shut down five medicinal marijuana dispensaries Tuesday morning, and 17 people were arrested, according to a police spokesman.


  274. Janet

    Medical marijuana-growing school starts in Spokane

    Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/2012/01/16/1951046/medical-marijuana-growing-school.html#storylink=cpy

  275. Janet

    Lawmakers seek path to improve medical pot patients’ access

    Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/2012/01/18/1953944/state-lawmakers-seek-new-pathway.html#storylink=cpy

  276. Janet

    Marijuana centers tangle with the law

    Prosecutors and municipalities in Thurston County are trying to find their way through a maze of legal questions raised by the state’s medical marijuana law.

    Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/2012/01/28/1968542/unclear-state-legal-standards.html#storylink=cpy

  277. Janet

    Couple face 27 charges in south Thurston pot collective case

    Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/2012/02/01/1973175/spouses-who-run-pot-collective.html#storylink=cpy

  278. Janet

    Obama is fighting back at Republican criticism of his energy policies and his role in controlling gasoline prices. In his weekly radio address, Obama said “I’m going to keep doing everything I can to help you save money on gas, both right now and in the future,” Obama said. “I hope politicians from both sides of the aisle join me.”


  279. Janet

    Washington’s Medical-Marijuana Dispensaries Struggle at the Bank

    The booming medical-marijuana industry in Washington is struggling to gain business legitimacy. Already on shaky legal footing because of the conflict between state and federal law, dispensaries are bogged down by troubles with banking and federal taxes.

    Seattle Times

  280. Janet

    State’s marijuana dispensaries face trouble at the bank

    Conscious Care Cooperative has a solid footing in a growing industry, with three storefronts in Seattle and a loyal customer base. But for much of the last two years, the nonprofit medical-marijuana provider has lacked one business basic: steady access to a bank.

    Yakima Herald

  281. Janet

    I can’t believe the stupidity of these Democrat governors….

    Justice mum as governors plead for guidance on marijuana legalization

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/12/03/justice-mum-on-next-move-as-marijuana-becomes-legal-in-washington/#ixzz2E2wcuUiv

  282. Janet

    Looks like all won’t be fun and games over this….when it was just “medical” marijuana, all were thrilled but now with recreational marijuana legal, both types are now to be taxed. This has those using it for medicinal purposes upset. Hey, you can’t have it both ways. Also, the Obummer Administration is just waiting to see what comes of this….then it will be interesting to see if anyone is prosecuted. How are the morons going to keep it out of the hands of those under 21?

    Typical liberal thinking….all they see is tax money, with no idea on how to really enforce it let alone keep it out of the wrong hands and who is eligible to grow it…..I’ll keep you updated on the progress of the “idiot pot law”.

  283. Janet

    The pot raids have begun in Washington state, RE: medical marijuana. The DEA has raided several dispensaries up and down the I-5 corridor in the Puget Sound region.

    Marijuana possession remains illegal under federal law, even though sale of medicinal marijuana has been legal in Washington since 1998. Washington voters legalized use of recreational marijuana last November.

    Raids were reported at Seattle Cross, Tacoma Cross, and Bayside Collective in Olympia, according to Seattle attorney Douglas Hiatt.

    Earlier this year, Gov. Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson traveled to Washington, D.C. asking that the U.S. Justice Department clarify how it would respond to the state’s new marijuana law. I think they just found out what the feds were going to do….first the dispensaries, next once up and running, the recreational shops…

    Bayside employee Addy Norton said agents seized personal cell phones of dispensary workers and pot, but left computers and about $1,000 in cash. Agents told her the raid was part of a two-year investigation and she said she was ordered to appear before a federal grand jury in Seattle in September.

    Earlier this month, the Washington State Liquor Control Board approved proposed rules for the state’s marijuana industry, which if enacted, will help govern production, processing, and retail sales of recreational marijuana.

    The rules are scheduled to take effect Sept. 16 and marijuana sales should begin in early 2014, unless the Justice Department stops them.

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