By Kimberlee Kruesi
BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Ten-year-old Alexis Carey has a rare but intractable form of epilepsy, Dravet Syndrome. The genetic disease causes severe and multiple seizures, which often leave parents guessing if the terror of watching their child seize up will pass or turn fatal.
Her Boise, Idaho, family learned that oil extracted from marijuana had helped other children and wanted to see if it would help Alexis too.
"Parent to parent, when you're in a small community and 10 people that you know are all having success, that's no longer anecdotal," Clare Carey, her mother, said. "That's hope."
But Idaho's stringent marijuana laws do not allow for medicinal use. The family began lobbying lawmakers to decriminalize the oil almost two years ago. Now, they've got some legislative backers and an upcoming hearing, as Idaho joins a larger movement to loosen laws to allow the use of marijuana extract oil.
Twelve states have legalized the oil while still banning medical marijuana. Virginia legalized the oil Feb. 26. In Utah, lawmakers have given initial approval to let those with chronic and debilitating diseases consume edible marijuana products, while still banning smoking.
Marijuana extract oil first received attention when a Colorado family fought and won for access for their daughter who also had Dravet Syndrome. It is similar to hemp oil, which is legal in Idaho and can be bought in grocery stores.
With no known cure for Dravet Syndrome, children are often prescribed a cocktail of medications to counter the seizures. However, the heavy drugs often come with side-effects that can permanently damage a child's developing liver, kidneys and other organs.
Proponents of cannabidiol oil, a non-psychotropic extract of marijuana, argue that it reduces the amount and length of seizures in children.
Over time, Carey hopes that the oil would also reduce the number of medications her daughter relies on.
"Like any parent, you never give up hope that you can get complete seizure control," she said. "Children die from Dravet by any one of the seizures. Alexis could have a seizure that may not stop, we never really know."
Alexis began having seizures when she was two months old. But even in 2003, her mom says a lack of awareness of the disease led to many doctors not automatically suspecting it could be a rare, genetic disorder.
It wasn't until Alexis lost all speech and potty control when she was 2 that doctors determined she had Dravet Syndrome, Carey said.
Since then, Alexis' parents have put her on a variety of diets and medications to help reduce the seizures but the disease is tricky to manage. Dravet Syndrome often causes a variety of different kinds of seizures but medications typically target one particular type.
Alexis' seizures usually occur at night, which means one of her parents regularly sleep with her and monitor her sleep patterns. During the day, Alexis requires constant supervision. While most 10-year-olds freely run and jump around, Alexis walks- albeit sometimes unstably and with help going up and down stairs.
Carey says working with Idaho's Republican-controlled Legislature has been easier than anticipated.
Lawmakers who resisted the idea at first blush have warmed up to the idea, she said.
This year, the bill is endorsed by Republicans Sen. Curt McKenzie and Rep. Tom Leortscher. Both are chairs of the legislature's State Affairs Committees, panels that often get tossed controversial legislation and have a high bar for clearance.
The measure unanimously passed the Senate committee during its introduction hearing, which means it now goes on to a full hearing in front of the committee.
Yet the bill must survive a Statehouse that approved a resolution in 2013 vowing never to legalize marijuana for any purpose.
VIA High Times
People 21 and older can now legally possess recreational marijuana in Alaska, Colorado, D.C. and Washington.
All places prohibit public consumption of marijuana, but the laws differ on buying, selling, growing, testing and taxes.
Possession: For adults 21 and older, up to 1 ounce
Grow: Up to six plants per adult 21 and older allowed in home for personal use. Can give up to 1 ounce to other adults 21 and older.
Sell: No system of recreational retail sales yet; expected late 2015 or early 2016
Testing: Rules not yet developed. Industry will be regulated by the Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
Taxes: None yet.
Possession: Adults 21 and older, up to 1 ounce
Grow: Up to six plants for personal use. Can gift up to 1 ounce to other adults 21 and older.
Sell: Network of state-regulated but privately owned stores. Stores opened Jan. 1, 2014.
Buy: For residents 21 and older, up to 1 ounce at a time. Non-residents 21 and older may buy only 1/4 ounce at a time.
Testing: Mandatory potency testing for all products sold in stores.
Taxes: High at both wholesale and retail level, generating more than $70 million last year.
Possession: For adults 21 and older, up to 2 ounces.
Grow: Up to six plants per adult 21 and older allowed in home for personal use; 12 plants total per household. Can give an ounce to another person 21 and older.
Sell: Sales prohibited.
Buy: Buying prohibited.
Testing: No testing.
Taxes: No tax revenue because there's no system for selling marijuana.
Possession: For adults 21 and older, up to 1 ounce
Grow: No personal plants allowed.
Sell: Small number of state-regulated stores, which began opening July 8, 2014. Stores allowed only one sign.
Buy: Tourists and residents 21 and older can buy up to 1 ounce at a time.
Testing: Mandatory potency, contaminant testing
Taxes: State levies 25% excise tax at each sale: grower to processor, processor to retailer, retailer to customer.
Source: NORML; USA TODAY research
Changes to RI Med MJ Program
01 March 2015, Providence, RI
More changes proposed to the RI MMJ Program
H5766 introduced by Representatives Slater, and Serpa
S475 introduced by Senators Archambault, Miller, Satchell, Ciccone, and Goldin
Both bills were put together by a lobbyist representing B&B Consulting and Rhode Island Patients Association
Changes would include: -Addition of PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions
-Hospice patients and their caregivers would have their cards within 72 hours of RIDoH notice
Bills can be read here:
RICHMOND, Va. - Using medical marijuana oil for people who suffer from severe epilepsy is now legal in Virginia.
The legislation doesn't legalize the use of medical marijuana, or establish a distribution system, but it means that individuals with epilepsy won't face prosecution for possessing cannabis oil.
Beth Collins hugged her 15-year-old daughter Jennifer as Gov. McAuliffe prepared to sign the legislation.
Cannabis oil, supporters say, can help control seizures that don't respond to other medications. The families that lobbied for the new law say it will make a huge difference in the lives of many Virginians with epilepsy.
“It allows my daughter to stay home. And we don't have to go back to Colorado, where we've been for the past year. So she can get the medicine here and stay in a place where she belongs with her family,” said Beth Collins.
“I'll be able to get better test scores, do better in school, not have rages any more, be able to get off my meds and that's amazing,” explained Jennifer Collins. McAuliffe said no state should have laws that force its citizens to move to receive medical care.
“And sometimes I understand through the legislative process that sometimes it's not easy. But you never gave up, you persevered and you did it for your children,” said McAuliffe.
Virginia law allows possession of marijuana for patients with cancer and glaucoma, but it requires a prescription and that's currently illegal under federal law.
Reporters asked the governor if the new Virginia law would open the door to wider use of medical marijuana in the state. If the science shows there is a medical benefit that can improve people's lives, McAuliffe said he is open to considering it.
A law to legalize marijuana in the District will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, unless Congress steps in at the last minute.
As a result, D.C. police officers will begin carrying business card-sized summaries of the new rules, which were publicly explained Tuesday and will be part of a public education campaign.
The law -- which was approved by voters last fall -- will permit possession of small amounts of marijuana by those ages 21 or older, with consumption allowed only in private homes and space. The card includes the following points:
- Those ages 21 or older can possess up to two ounces of marijuana, grow up to six cannabis plants at home (with no more than three mature), or give away up to one ounce of marijuana to someone else (who also must be at least 21 years old).
- Those younger than 21 cannot possess any amount of marijuana. Any such marijuana can be seized by an officer.
- You can be arrested if you smoke or consume marijuana in public, have more than 2 ounces, or sell any amount of marijuana.
- Those who drive while impaired or under the influence of marijuana will be prosecuted.
- Under federal law, federal law enforcement officers may arrest anyone in the District for possession of any amount of marijuana, specifically on any federal property.
The last point is an important one.
Because the District includes both D.C. land and federal land, it's important to note that the new law is only a local one. The new law doesn't apply to possession on federal parkland, such as the National Mall, Rock Creek Park and traffic circles patrolled by U.S. Park Police.
And even on non-federal land, it will remain illegal to smoke or consume pot while in a public space.
The card's back side lists health risks of using marijuana, noting, "You shouldn't use marijuana just because local laws have changed."
The cards also note that if marijuana is seized because a person doesn't provide proof of age, that person can pick up his or her pot from the police station within three weeks if they provide ID.
An information sheet distributed by Mayor Muriel Bowser's office Tuesday morning is also spelling out exactly what would and wouldn't be legal. The new law legalizes possession and consumption of marijuana in a user's home, but does not legalize the sale of marijuana. No one would be permitted to smoke or consume pot anywhere in public.
There is still a great deal of confusion over how the District will deal with the new law.
"There are so many unanswered questions around it," said Council member Jack Evans on Monday. "If you're going to grow [marijuana], how do you get the seeds, because that's illegal."
Bowser held a meeting Tuesday with Council members to lay out how she's advising the public on the law before Thursday. But local leaders are still waiting to see whether Congress will move to block it.
Last November, D.C. voters approved Initiative 71, which legalized the possession of pot for recreational use. But the following month, Congress passed a federal spending bill that also sought to halt legalization, with a provision forbidding the city from spending federal or local funds to "enact" the law.
Republican leaders in the House insist that D.C. is barred from spending any money to enact the pot law. But the District says Congress acted too late to stop the legalization bill itself from going into effect.
It's unclear how the standoff will end.
Earlier this month, the D.C. Council attempted to craft legislation to regulate and tax marijuana, similar to what's done with the sale of alcohol. However, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine cautioned the Council to back away from those plans because due to Congress's restriction.
However, the District is still permitted to issue restrictions on marijuana. Bowser is expected to offer new legislation, possibly by next week, that would ban private clubs that would charge fees for attendees to smoke marijuana.
Medical marijuana is already legal in the District, and possession of small amounts of marijuana was decriminalized last year after Congress did not step in to block that law. Decriminalization made possession a citable offense similar to a parking ticket. However, since then, federal officers have arrested and charged about 30 people on federal land.
The closer I get to 30 the more wedding pictures pop up in my Facebook feed. For the most part they are all pretty similar, but an old college friend of mine and her new husband, Zoe Schreiber and Gregory Johnson, did something radically different — and they’re on to something. Wedding dabs might start burning up at weddings everywhere, and hopefully one near you.
Schreiber and I met while she served as president of the Mills College Chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP). Shortly after we graduated she met and fell in love with her now husband, Gregory, who is a designer and fabricator of wood and metal. He designs everything from furniture to large installations at Burning Man. Schreiber works for a cannabis attorney in Oakland as a project manager. She says they handle everything from cannabis dispensary and cultivation entity formation, permitting, litigation, policy and general counsel. She says the work is “a fascinating aspect of the culture of cannabis and the pathway to legalization.”
Zoe and Gregory were married in a beautiful chapel on the campus of our alma mater. While the couple took the obligatory cake-cutting and hand holding at the alter photos, the dab photos have been an instant hit. I asked the newlywed about the nuptials and how they decided to highlight the dabbing in their wedding photos.
Angela Bacca: How did you get this fantastic idea?
Zoe Schreiber: We came up with it on our own. One night we were sitting and looking at wedding blogs going over traditions and I noticed the champagne sipping one that people do at their receptions. We aren’t drinkers and are daily dabbers so it just seemed right. Instantly we were excited for the idea.
AB: Did you incorporate cannabis into your ceremony in other ways?
ZS: Unfortunately not, we took the time with our photographer while we were alone to get these pictures. Parts of our family are not tolerant of cannabis and we didn’t want to stir the pot. There was, however, plenty [of] vape pens being passed amongst our friends, even some family during the reception.
AB: How did you and your husband, Gregory, meet?
ZS: We initially made contact online but never had the opportunity to make plans. We ended up running into each other years ago at a burlesque show, keeping in contact but always in another relationship. Somehow the timing worked itself out and we finally started dating… and getting married.
AB: Are you making a political statement with the pictures?
ZS: Like I said before, couples all the time carry out this tradition with champagne, what makes any difference that we are doing it with our medicine?
After voting to legalize marijuana this past November, Alaska residents can finally bask in the smoke of decriminalized weed as the law allowing the "private use" of the drug was officially enacted on Tuesday. Under the new law, Alaskan residents will now be allowed to smoke weed in their own homes and grow up to six plants per residence. However, getting high in public is still illegal in the form of a strictly enforced $100 fine. Consequently, because of the public ban and threat of fines, a legal weed outdoor celebration party scheduled for Tuesday in Anchorage was canceled, USA Today writes.
Alaska has largely stayed out of pot issues since 1975, when the state Supreme Court legalized pot use inside the home as part of their unique and protective privacy laws. However, being in possession of marijuana was still a crime, creating a catch-22 that Alaska has grappled with for three decades until the November decision to decriminalize weed clarified the issue. "For the people of Alaska, it's a day where all of this 'Is it legal?' or 'Isn't it legal?' is straightened out," said Cynthia Franklin, the director of Alaska's liquor control board.
However, there are legitimate concerns about the effect legalized weed will have on Alaska, especially in a Native American community already rife with drug abuse, domestic violence and suicide. "When they start depending on smoking marijuana, I don't know how far they'd go to get the funds they need to support it, to support themselves," said Edward Nick, council member in Manokotak, told the Associated Press. Details about the sale of marijuana in Alaska are still being worked out.
In an effort to make sure Alaskan citizens don't descend into reefer madness, the state plans on lining buses with slogans like "Consume responsibly" and "With great marijuana laws comes great responsibility."
VIA Rolling Stone
Drug legalized despite blocking effort in Congress
By Andrea Noble
Marijuana will be legal to smoke privately but not to be bought or sold in the District starting Thursday, despite Congressional efforts to block a voter-approved measure that allows recreational use of the drug.
The city’s mayor and police chief, touting the motto “home grow, home use,” on Tuesday offered additional guidance for how the city will move forward with implementation of the new laws, which allow for home cultivation and possession of small amounts of marijuana but not sale of the drug.
To help curb the potential for a free-for-all environment due to the lack of a legal way to buy marijuana in the city, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said she will seek to restrict the operation of so-called “cannabis clubs” — private organizations that would facilitate the open exchange of marijuana through memberships.
The restriction would put the kibosh on pot entrepreneurs who have discussed the possibility of opening such clubs in the District, a practice popular in Spain, to skirt what are widely viewed as incomplete marijuana regulations.
“Existing law prevents the consumption of marijuana in any public space or anywhere that the public is invited, and that includes restaurants, bars and coffee shops,” Ms. Bowser said. “We believe that we’ll need to clarify that also includes private clubs — private clubs that don’t charge a daily admittance but may have membership fee. We’ll need to clarify that membership cannot include marijuana.”
Addressing D.C. Council members Tuesday, Ms. Bowser said she plans to submit emergency legislation to provide the clarification and asked members for a quick approval.
Initiative 71, a ballot measure approved by voters in November, is set to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday at the conclusion of a congressional review period required of all D.C. laws.
The District is following Alaska, Colorado and Washington to become the fourth jurisdiction to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Nearly 30 states and the district already have legalized the distribution of medicinal marijuana.
While some Republicans on Capitol Hill have taken the legal stance that federal legislation enacted in December blocks Initiative 71 from taking effect, D.C. lawmakers believe nothing will prevent it from becoming law.
“I don’t know what the Congress will do, but I do know what my job is at this point, and that’s to make sure that we have clear rules and guidelines for the people of the District of Columbia and the agencies of our government,” Ms. Bowser said.
It remains to be seen whether the matter will be challenged in court.
Initiative 71 will make it legal for people 21 and older to possess up to two ounces of marijuana for recreational use, grow up to six marijuana plants inside a D.C. residence, and to transfer up to an ounce of marijuana to others. Regulation of the sale of marijuana is a task left up to city lawmakers, who have thus far been unable to enact any legislation due to the prohibitions enacted by Congress.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said police officers are being trained to handle a variety of potential scenarios involving marijuana, but added the department will take a hard line against both public smoking of marijuana and driving while under the influence.
“It’s not as complicated as it seems,” Chief Lanier said.
The patchwork of federal and District-owned property in the city, including public-housing complexes, does create a tricky scenario for those looking to stay on the right side of the law. Possession or use of marijuana on federal property remains an arrestable offense. Federal law enforcement agencies are not required to recognize the District’s legalization and could still make arrests for possession of any quantity of marijuana, Chief Lanier said. Possession or use in public housing complexes would likely put tenants at risk of eviction or arrest, noted D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander, Ward 7 Democrat.
In private apartment complexes or under other rental agreements, landlords could enforce nonsmoking policies, officials said....
Adam Eidinger, head of the D.C. Cannabis Campaign that got Initiative 71 on the ballot, said that if D.C. officials wanted to provide a safe space for residents to use marijuana they should endorse the cannabis club concept rather pursue additional regulations to ban it.
“There is a public interest is allowing people to go and use marijuana in a social setting,” he said, noting that parents may not want to use marijuana around their children at home.
Without a setting to use marijuana other than in a private home, Mr. Eidinger believes people will just use marijuana discreetly in public.
“I think if you did give people a place to go, they would go there,” he said.
VIA Washington Times
By Ian Simpson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Marijuana advocates' hopes that the U.S. capital would easily follow in the footsteps of Denver or Seattle in clearing the way for lawful pot use are set to go up in smoke this week.
Voters in the District of Columbia last year passed a measure clearing the way for pot possession, but members of Congress have used their power over the city to prevent local officials from coming up with any plan to let the drug be sold legally for recreational purposes.
With the congressional review period for the new measure set to expire on Wednesday, District of Columbia pot users will be left in a murkier position than those in Colorado and Washington state, which fully legalized marijuana last year.
"What you're going to have on Feb. 26 is an anomaly. You can possess a small amount ... but you can only get it, I guess, illegally," said Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington's non-voting representative in Congress. "It's going to be an incomplete reform."
The uncertainty stems from Initiative 71, a referendum approved by 65 percent of District voters in November. A key argument by supporters was that marijuana laws unfairly victimized black people in Washington, who represent about half the city's population.
Initiative 71 allows possession of up to two ounces (56 grams) of marijuana and six pot plants, three of them mature. It allows the gift of up to one ounce (26 grams) of pot, but has no provision for sales.
District finance officials have estimated the local market, including medical marijuana, could be worth $130 million a year.
Initiative 71 ran into opposition in Congress, which has oversight over the heavily Democratic District of Columbia. Republicans inserted a provision in a spending bill in December that barred the District from using any funds to legalize pot.
Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser has contended that the District of Columbia can move forward with legalization because voters enacted the measure before Congress stepped in.
But Representative Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has vowed to block legalization, citing the December spending bill.
"I respect the people who live here and most everything passes through without a problem. But the idea that this is going to be a haven for pot smoking, I can't support that," Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, told CNN this month.
When District of Columbia Council committees debated a bill to regulate marijuana like alcohol, lawmakers downgraded the Feb. 9 hearing to an informal "roundtable discussion" to avoid raising objections from Congress.
Chaffetz responded last week by sending a letter to the council asking for an explanation of the hearing and documentation, including details on the salaries of any city employees who took part.
Asked what Bowser, the mayor, will do when Initiative 71 takes effect on Thursday, a spokeswoman said, "Right now, it's on a to-be-determined basis."
A spokesman for District Attorney General Karl Racine declined to give details about what advice he had offered officials about the new pot law.
But Racine, police and other officials "are very much committed to ensuring the transition to the regime enacted by Initiative 71 takes place in an orderly manner," he said in an email.
Dr. Malik Burnett, policy manager with the pro-legalization Drug Policy Alliance, said he expected District of Columbia officials would figure out how to regulate sales and taxes despite congressional opposition.
"This process will be worked out over the next couple of weeks or months. I'm pretty optimistic," he said.
Burnett said it was unlikely that users of medical marijuana from outside the District of Columbia could get pot in Washington since the city lacked reciprocity accords for medical marijuana use.
Despite marijuana's uncertain status, District of Columbia entrepreneurs are gearing up for legalization.
A convention in Washington the coming weekend sponsored by ComfyTree, a Michigan cannabis consultancy, has drawn at least 600 registered visitors and 40 exhibitors, said Tiffany Bowden, the company's co-founder.
"Definitely, the District of Columbia is the next frontier for legalization," she said.
The District of Columbia now has one of the lightest U.S. penalties for pot possession. Marijuana possession remains illegal under federal law, but the Obama administration's Justice Department has generally taken a hands-off approach in states where its sale is properly regulated.
VIA Yahoo! News
Professor Shad Ewart suggests pot as a viable career option.
This spring, the business management assistant professor at Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland is offering a course titled “Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Emerging Markets: Marijuana Legalization.”
“I like to compare business opportunities associated with marijuana legalization with the success of businesses that grew out of the Gold Rush,” he says in a statement on the college’s website. “It wasn’t the miners who panned for nuggets who got rich. It was the people who sold them the picks, the shovels, made the blue jeans, opened the banks.”
In an interview with The Daily Signal, Ewart says there are a multitude of “ancillary” business opportunities associated with the legalization of marijuana. He decided to teach a class on capitalizing on these opportunities because of student and cultural demand.
He says young entrepreneurs often have a hard time breaking into an established industry, but a new industry could hold potential for them. He argues that this new industry comes with ready-made clientele.
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws estimates that more than 14 million Americans use marijuana regularly “despite harsh laws against its use.”
As more states legalize pot, Ewart says there are business opportunities apart from actually selling it, such as accounting, law, financing and manufacturing jobs.
He cites a small business that operates in Colorado as a “petty cab service” that drives people to and from marijuana dispensaries so that their clientele does not drive under the influence.
Ewart stresses that his class “isn’t full of stoners.”
“My students are serious, very serious, there’s no Cheech and Chong factor here,” says Ewart.
Ewart says he is apathetic about the legalization of marijuana, but simply wishes to provide his students with the tools they need to excel in a new opportunity.
“I don’t really care [about the legalization of marijuana],” says Ewart. “I don’t think it matters. I’m in the dream business. My students want to succeed, I’m providing them an opportunity to fulfill this dream.”
Ewart shared the story of a former student who had a difficult journey in her education, who sent him a note years later saying, “I became an accountant because of you.”
“That ‘because of you’ moment, that’s my interest,” says Ewart.
Ewart just wants his students to succeed, no matter how cliché it sounds.
“If I wanted to cash in, I would,” he jokes. “I could write a business plan.”
Ewart says his course is popular, and he plans to offer it again in the upcoming summer and fall semesters. He also wants to make it available online.
Ewart adds that he teaches several other classes—ranging from small business management to personal finance—that are “also very interesting.”
Cully Stimson, manager of The Heritage Foundation’s National Security Law Program, said that the marijuana industry is “quickly becoming the next Big Tobacco.”
“This is about greed and money, not freedom and personal liberty,” said Stimson. “It is not surprising that a community college, or any college for that matter, is offering a business course on Big Marijuana.”
Kevin Sabet, the director of the Drug Policy Institute and an assistant professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine, also expressed concern that the burgeoning legal marijuana industry could become as harmful as Big Tobacco.
“I think it goes to show you that marijuana legalization is not about hippies in Woodstock anymore,” said Sabet. “It’s about creating massive business opportunities, a la Big Tobacco. The question is, will we learn from our past of being deceived by a massive industry, or will history repeat itself? I hope its the former, lest lives once again be needlessly ruined.”
VIA Daily Signal