Pages tagged "cannabis"

  • California Weekly Roundup: November 13, 2014

    Contents:

    • Message from the CA Director: Do you know what's at stake in November?
    • State & Local News: California, Fresno County, San Jose, Shasta County, Calaveras County, Monterey, Anaheim
    • Public Meetings & Events: San Francisco, Redding, Grass Valley, Lincoln, Nevada City, San Diego, Fresno, Porterville and more 
    • Court Support: Sacramento, Redding, and more
    • Take Action Now: Register to Vote, Support the Medical Marijuana Organ Transplant Act, and more
    • ASA Website Spotlight: Vote Medical Marijuana 2014
    • Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: Nevada County ASA, Lake County ASA, and Sacramento NORML

    Be sure to join me online for the next live Google Hangout on Thursday, October 16, at 7:00 PM to talk about local ballot measures and what’s at stake for medical cannabis in the November 4 elections. Voters will decide on twelve measures related to medical cannabis in ten different cities and counties this year. There are important legislative races that will help to define next year’s political landscape and an interesting development in the race for Attorney General (see the News section for more details on that).

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  • State Regulations Moving Forward

    Contents:

    • Message from the CA Director: State Regulations Moving Forward
    • California & National News
    • Public Meetings & Events
    • Court Support
    • Take Action Now
    • ASA Website Spotlight: ASA Condition-based Booklets
    • ASA Chapter & Affiliate Meetings

      

    Assembly Member Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) has joined as a principal co-author to Senator Lou Correa’s (D-Santa Ana) SB 1262. That bill will better regulate doctors who recommend medical cannabis and commercial medical cannabis activity in California. The bill has been substantially amended since it passed the California Senate by a vote of 31-0 in May.  ASA and other advocates have managed to get most of the objectionable provisions in early drafts removed, and the bill now includes large portions on Assembly Member Ammiano’s AB 1894. Assembly Member Ammiano is our biggest champion in the legislature, but AB 1894 was defeated in the Assembly earlier this year.

    I know many of you were surprised to see ASA supporting a bill originally authored by a moderate Democrat from Orange County and sponsored by lobbyists representing cities and law enforcement. Those are not our traditional allies, but early on, ASA recognized the value of a compromise bill that might finally get through the legislature and be signed by the Governor. That is why we decided to get behind SB 1262 and make it the best bill possible. That strategy is working.

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  • AZ Supreme Court gets it right. Are other states listening?

    The Arizona Supreme Court overturned a law this week that made it a crime to drive with any detectable amount of an illegal drug in your blood, including medical cannabis. This is an important victory for patients in Arizona, and we hope, the beginning of a more rational national conversation about medical cannabis and driving while impaired. Patients are at risk when lawmakers ignore the science of medical cannabis use and criminalize those who are obeying state medical cannabis laws.

    Regular medical cannabis users will almost always have metabolites for cannabis in their blood or urine. Metabolites are simple compounds that remain in the body after we digest and otherwise process food, drugs, or other substances. Cannabis use is usually detected in a blood or urine test by screening the sample for metabolites of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the active compounds in cannabis. These metabolites can remain in blood or urine for days to weeks depending on numerous factors. That means a regular medical cannabis user will test positive for metabolites long after he or she is potentially impaired to a degree that could affect driving.

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  • Activist Spotlight: Bunny Hethcox, Columbus, Wisconsin



    Bunny Hethcox is a 54-year-old mother of two and grandmother of six. A real estate broker for 17 years, Bunny taught her kids drugs were bad. But Bunny also suffers from fibromyalgia, PTSD, depression and anxiety, and one day while driving with her son, she had a bad panic attack and was unable to find her xanax. After pulling over, sweating and shaking, her son pulled a joint from his pocket and said “I think you need this more than I do.” It took her a minute to decide whether to yell at him or try it, but once she did, she discovered that cannabis calmed her considerably.

    Hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine, Demerol and various other drugs had failed to ease the pain of her fibromyalgia, but after using medical cannabis for several months for her anxiety, she found that the pain lifted and her intense PTSD symptoms became tolerable. That got her doing some research on cannabis and the history of its prohibition.



    Last January, she got involved with politics for the first time, doing a lobby day at the Wisconsin state capitol. After a disappointing visit with her representative, she decided to find help changing the law. She came across the ASA website only ten minutes before the deadline for scholarship applications to ASA’s National Conference in Washington D.C., but got it in on time.  She got the scholarship, and off she went to DC for the first time, worried about flying alone and what she’d find at the conference.

    After meeting doctors, scientists, lawyers and leaders of medical research from the Netherlands, Canada and Israel she knew she needed to do what she could to help people get safe and legal access. She asked how to start an ASA chapter in Wisconsin, and on April 13, Bunny held the first meeting.

    “We are now on our way to help Wisconsin become a legal State,” she says. “I have two choices, live in pain and suffer with anxiety and depression by keeping the law or break the law by medicating myself with cannabis to live a normal life. I choose cannabis.”

  • Maine Moves to Protect Private Patient Records

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    There has been much concern lately in the medical cannabis community related to the issue of patient privacy.  As Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raids occurred in Michigan, Montana, and Washington, federal agents have seized hundreds of patient records.  Most recently, U.S. Magistrate Judge Brenneman, Jr. ruled that the Michigan Department of Community Health must turn over several patient records to the DEA for further investigation of "possible drug crimes," despite that state’s patient privacy law.  The notion that federal investigations should give the government unfettered access to protected patient information is extremely problematic and a violation of federal and state rights to privacy. Despite this overt invasion of privacy, Americans for Safe Access intends to appeal Brenneman’s ruling in order to protect patient privacy in Michigan.

     

    Some positive progress is also being made in other states. On June 24, 2011, Maine Governor Paul LePage signed into law LD 1296, which eliminates the requirement of doctors to disclose personal, medical or other identifying information about medical cannabis patients to the state.  This law provides legal protection to medical cannabis patients and keeps their information private.  This law also limits the ability of police to take property from patients, requiring them to return any unlawfully seized property within seven days.  "LD 1296 was a huge success in a Republican era and brought our law back to its initial intent of patient privacy and voluntary registration.   The Maine Civil Liberties Union's presence was incredible," stated Charles Wynott, of Maine's Medical Marijuana Patients Center.

    Patient privacy is an important ethical and public health issue of our time, regardless of whether patients benefits from the use of medical cannabis. We must not lose sight of upholding those rights for all patients, but because cannabis is still illegal  under federal law we must especially preserve those rights when medical cannabis patients are involved.  At a time when many states are taking steps backwards with regard to medical cannabis laws, Maine has set a wonderful precedent by stepping forward in spite of federal pressure to do otherwise.