medical marijuana

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   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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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.

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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.

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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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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.

WAMC

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.

State budget negotiations are continuing in Albany this week in the run-up to the self-imposed March 21st deadline set by state legislators and Governor Andrew Cuomo.

New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, Democrat of Manhattan’s 75th district, spoke with WAMC's Patrick Donges for an update on budget negotiations and the prospects for medical marijuana in the Empire State, a cause he has long championed.

WAMC

The clock is ticking for health officials in Massachusetts to write regulations for medical marijuana. More than 50 people spoke at a public hearing in Holyoke on Wednesday.

People with diseases and disabilities spoke passionately about the use of medical marijuana and called for rules addressing the proper type, dosage and availability of the medicine.  Charles Papsadori has multiple sclerosis and says medical marijuana relieves the muscle spasms in his legs, but does not leave him groggy the way painkillers do.

Pittsfield Mayor Dan Bianchi and his administration have developed a set of guidelines related to the permitting of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

Currently, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is working to meet a May 1st deadline to finalize medical marijuana regulations in the state. Mayor Bianchi said he’d like to see the City of Pittsfield begin working on their own framework in the meantime.

Mass. to seek public input on medical marijuana

Feb 13, 2013
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WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Massachusetts public health officials are set to begin a series of "listening sessions" to get input from the public as they develop regulations for medical marijuana. 

The first session will be held Wednesday in Worcester, followed by another session Thursday in Boston and a third session Feb. 27 in Holyoke.

Public hearings on the future regulation of medical marijuana in Massachusetts will be held this month, but as a deadline approaches, some are concerned that the state’s final regulations may come later than expected.

Beginning Wednesday evening, state officials from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health will hold a series of public listening sessions before the implementation of medical marijuana regulations.

Advocates of Connecticut's new medical marijuana law say a new business alliance of medical marijuana entrepreneurs could help educate patients, doctors and the public about the drug and combat the stigma of pot.

About a dozen people, including some state Capitol lobbyists, turned out on Tuesday for an organizational meeting of the proposed Connecticut Medical Cannabis Business Alliance.

Last week, the states of Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize the possession and use of marijuana for recreational use.

In our region, Massachusetts voters widely supported a referendum legalizing the prescription of marijuana for medicinal use.

For more on what these developments mean for the future of marijuana policy in New York State and across the country, WAMC’s Patrick Donges spoke with Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies at the Marijuana Policy Project.

On election day in Massachusetts, voters by a wide margin approved a controversial measure to legalize medical marijuana in the Commonwealth. Now, groups for and against the ballot question are reacting to the voters’ decision. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

Massachusetts voters approved a  ballot measure that would legalize medical marijuana on Tuesday. Question 3 was approved by an almost 2-1 margin; 63% voting yes, with 37% voting no.

In addition to the US Senate seat, Massachusetts voters faced three important ballot questions this election and hours after the polls closed, only two of the three were able to be called. WAMC’s Jake Sorgen reports…

Recent polling reveals some new information on how Massachusetts voters feel about some of the ballot questions to be decided on election day. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports that many are still divided on the issues…

A statewide survey recently conducted by the Polling institute at Western New England Voters reveals two things. One, a majority of voters appear to support legalizing medical marijuana, and Two, voters are at almost an even split over the so-called “Death with Dignity” question.

Opponents of a state ballot question that would allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes are urging Massachusetts voters to reject the proposed law. They say it's poorly drafted and could be easily exploited.

Legislators and law enforcement officials were among those who spoke Monday at an event held by the Vote No on Question 3 Committee.

The ballot question would allow patients with conditions such as cancer, AIDS and glaucoma to register to obtain marijuana at 35 dispensaries in Massachusetts.

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