medical marijuana

Unclear Future For Medical Marijuana In New York

May 30, 2014

The fate of a medical marijuana bill remains up in the air in New York State. The State Assembly has approved a version that would allow patients to obtain the drug for medical treatment, while a similar measure remains hung up in the State Senate.

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A state senator wants to impose Massachusetts' 6.25 percent sales tax on medical marijuana purchases and assess soon-to-be opened dispensaries a 4 percent surcharge on their revenues.

Sen. Brian Joyce, a Democrat from Milton, proposes money generated from the marijuana taxes be designated to a new state fund for substance abuse treatment programs. The amendments are among hundreds filed by senators in advance of Wednesday's start of debate in the Senate on a House-approved $36 billion state budget.

WAMC composite image by Dave Lucas

New York is inching toward legalizing some form of medical marijuana as support grows in the state Legislature and is likely to become one of a handful of issues taken up when lawmakers return later this month.

It remains unclear where the drug for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's limited research program or broader, legalized use under the "Compassionate Care Act" would come from.

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Now that the New York State budget is done, the focus at the Capitol shifts to some other priorities, including whether to allow medical marijuana. Advocates came to the Capitol to lobby lawmakers, but the bill is getting bogged down over political skirmishes.

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New statistics show medical marijuana is booming in Vermont.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

Laws regarding the sale and use of marijuana vary across the country. The issue of the drug’s use among teens was the topic of a talk in Lenox, Massachusetts Wednesday.

While Colorado and Washington allow the recreational use of marijuana and states like Massachusetts have legalized the drug for medicinal purposes, the federal government considers it a Schedule I drug. That puts it in the same category as drugs like heroin. The legal uncertainty creates confusion for teens according to a countywide study cited by Lenox Public Schools superintendent Edward Costa.

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A state lawmaker reviewing the selection of operators of medical marijuana dispensaries says the state agency overseeing the process should reconsider some highly-rated proposals that were not approved for provisional licenses.

Sean Philpott: Reefer Madness

Mar 13, 2014

While I was on the phone with a colleague from Denver last week, our conversation turned inevitably to the topic of marijuana. Colorado legalized recreational use of drug via popular referendum in 2012, creating the world's first fully regulated recreational marijuana market. The first commercial sales occurred this past January, with $15 million in sales reported in the first month alone.

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Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick says he does not believe the process of selecting medical marijuana dispensaries should start again from scratch.

Patrick told reporters on Monday that none of the 20 applicants approved so far have been granted licenses to operate dispensaries and won't be until they verify all the information they provided in their applications.

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Massachusetts health officials have granted 20 licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.

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WEST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut officials have selected the first producers of medical marijuana, saying the move will benefit seriously ill patients while safeguards will prevent abuses.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and other officials announced the selection Tuesday of four producers who will operate facilities in West Haven, Portland, Simsbury and Watertown.

Picture of marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

 

   Patients with serious health conditions, including children with a severe seizure disorder, came to the Capitol to urge passage of a bill to more fully allow access to medical  marijuana in New York.

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North Country Congressman Democrat Bill Owens says he has no objection to Governor Cuomo’s plan to allow some hospitals in New York to dispense medical marijuana. 

WAMC composite image by Dave Lucas

New York is in line to become the next state to legalize medical marijuana.   Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to use the occasion of his 4th "State of the State" address to announce his intentions to add New York to the list of states currently allowing medical marijuana.

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to add New York to the 20 states allowing medical marijuana use.

Cuomo would use administrative powers rather than legislative action to allow a limited number of

hospitals to use marijuana to treat certain ailments. The plan was first reported by The New York Times.

Marijuana remains illegal in New York, though possession of small amounts has been reduced to a low-level violation subject to a fine.

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As 2014 nears, medical marijuana is closer to a reality in Massachusetts.

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Wikipedia Commons

As New York debates legalizing recreational marijuana, groups in Massachusetts are proposing location sites after voters in the state opened the door for medical use of the drug in 2012. So far at least two groups are looking to site a dispensary in the county’s largest city, Pittsfield.

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Massachusetts health officials have released a list of the 100 applicants that are seeking licenses to open marijuana dispensaries for medical use.

The applications were posted Friday on the web site of the Department of Public Health, along with the cities and towns where the applicants hope to locate the facilities.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

The city of Pittsfield, Massachusetts is making a letter of non-opposition available to any medical marijuana dispensary looking to settle within city limits.

Picture of marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Voters in Massachusetts overwhelmingly approved legalizing medical marijuana in 2012. But many local communities are putting temporary bans in place as the deadline for final applications for state licensed marijuana treatment centers approaches.

About a third of the state’s 351 cities and towns have put in place moratoriums on medical marijuana treatment centers, according to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. Springfield is the largest city in the state to adopt a moratorium. It was approved by the city council Monday night.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

Residents in Pittsfield, Massachusetts have heard from members of an organization looking to open a medical marijuana dispensary in the city.

Nial DeMena is the Director of Operations for Manna Wellness.

“We’re looking to be the first LEED-certified registered marijuana dispensary in the country,” said DeMena.

Picture of marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Vermont legalized medical marijuana in 2004, and the first medical marijuana dispensaries opened this summer. But a proposed ordinance in the Vermont town of Weathersfield would ban medical marijuana dispensaries from operating, as well as businesses that sell tobacco-related paraphernalia.

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Under the ballot measure approved by Massachusetts voters legalizing medical marijuana last year, up to 35 licenses for dispensaries could be opened across the state. The state Department of Public Health revealed its final regulations for the distribution of the drug in May, and Pittsfield has been one of many localities working to change zoning regulations to accommodate the arrival of the dispensaries.

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One-third of Americans now reside in a state where medical marijuana is legal. Lawmakers in Albany are considering a bill that would create a state-regulated medical marijuana program allowing seriously ill patients to have access to the drug under the supervision of a healthcare practicioner. Mental health and treatment professionals participated in a conference call to discuss the issue today.

Advocates say more than 600 doctors from across the state have pledged support to end criminalizing patients who use medical marijuana under professional supervision.

NH Senate Considering Legalizing Medical Marijuana

May 23, 2013
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The Senate is voting whether New Hampshire should join 18 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing seriously ill people to use marijuana to treat their conditions.

The Senate votes Thursday on a House bill that would legalize marijuana use and possession by patients with conditions such as Crohn's disease and cancer. A Senate committee is recommending making changes to the House version that include eliminating the option for patients to grow the drug at home as well as obtain it at a dispensary.

Picture of marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

On Wednesday, public health officials in Massachusetts approved a set of final regulations for the use of medical marijuana, and before the first dispensaries are expected to open, some communities are taking action to accommodate them.

The state’s Public Health Council approved the draft regulations on medical marijuana drawn up by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Under the law approved by voters last November, up to 35 dispensaries will open in communities across the state, but not for the next several months.

Dave Lucas/WAMC

Westchester County assemblyman Steve Katz was to have been in an upstate court this morning to address charges of marijuana and speeding violations dating back to mid-morning on March 14 when his car was stopped by a state trooper along a stretch of the Thruway in the Southern Albany County town of Coeymans.

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The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is holding three simultaneous public hearings Friday on proposed medical marijuana regulations.

   The draft regulations do not specify what diseases or conditions may be treated with marijuana. Dr. Karen Munkaci, a physician and breast  cancer survivor said a physician is best able to determine if a patient might be helped by marijuana

This could be the year that New York joins the 18 other states including Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont, that already have medical marijuana laws on the  books.  

On Tuesday, New York State Senator Diane Savino and Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried, along with 68 other co-sponsors, introduced a bill to allow seriously ill patients in the Empire State to use medical marijuana legally with a doctor’s recommendation. Gottfried argues passage of the law is long past overdue.
 

The Massachusetts Attorney General says towns can not impose a total ban on marijuana treatment centers.

   The attorney general’s office said an outright ban conflicts with the medical marijuana law approved by Massachusetts voters last year.  Communities can adopt zoning-by-laws to regulate the location of the dispensaries, and temporary moratoriums are ok to allow for time to put the zoning in place. Michael Cutler is an attorney in Northampton, who represents several clients looking to open marijuana treatment centers.

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