A pair of Kent County corrections officers charged with marijuana crimes will not be allowed to avoid prosecution by claiming they possessed the marijuana under the guidelines of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. Todd VanDoorne and Michael Frederick have been charged with illegally possessing marijuana butter. The criminal charges have ended their careers and put their freedom in jeopardy. VanDoorne admitted in previous hearings that when narcotics officers came to his house, he had about one pound of marijuana butter and a batch of marijuana-butter brownies from a 13-inch-by-9-inch pan. Frederick testified he had more than four pounds at his house, involving two full small tubs of butter, one partial tub and a batch of brownies. VanDoorne’s attorney said the officers were doing their level best to follow what virtually everyone admits is a law that has been widely misused by both marijuana users and law enforcement.
A push to allow Virginia doctors to legally prescribe marijuana to their patients for certain medical conditions has won the support of two state lawmakers on opposite sides of the political divide: Democratic Del. Rich Anderson and Republican Sen. George Barker. During a joint town hall meeting Saturday, both Barker and Anderson said they are inclined to support bills that would allow marijuana – or the oils derived from the marijuana plant – to be made available to patients who need it for conditions such as epilepsy, glaucoma and cancer. While Anderson noted he could not support decriminalizing marijuana for recreation use, he said he’s been contacted by “a surprisingly large number” of Prince William families about the need for treatments derived from the marijuana plant. Barker said many of his colleagues are now thinking differently about marijuana’s usefulness as a medical treatment.
State Sen. Daylin Leach, a Democrat of Montgomery County, reintroduced a bill Tuesday that would permit the use of marijuana for medical treatment in Pennsylvania. Leach and Republican state Sen. Mike Folmer held a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda Tuesday morning to announce Senate Bill 3, which is a largely unchanged version of a bill introduced last year. That bill passed the senate 43-7 with bipartisan support before dying in the house near the end of the legislative session. The bill would allow for the use of marijuana in treating seizure disorders in children, as well an array of other afflictions. Patients would need a referral from their physician to obtain a permit to purchase the narcotic. The cannabis products available would include extracted oils, edible products, ointments and tinctures. The bill specifically bans the smoking of medical cannabis, and also prescribes limits on the amount of cannabis in a person’s system when they operate a vehicle or heavy machinery.
Connecticut will move forward with a change in regulation to expand the Medical Marijuana Program by adding three medical conditions to the original 11 that allow a person to buy and use marijuana in the state. Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan A. Harris, who oversees the program, announced Monday that he agrees with recommendations by the program’s Board of Physicians and that he would draft regulations to add the three conditions the board approved: Sickle cell disease; Severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis; Post-laminectomy syndrome with chronic radiculopathy — recurring back pain after surgery. On Jan. 14, the board of physicians recommended expanding the qualifying conditions to include those three ailments but both the board and Harris declined to add Tourette’s disorder to the list. One issue that has come up is support for the use of whole-buds. “Our Plant, Our Right,” an online petition, is seeking changes that would permit the sale of medical marijuana in its whole-bud form.
A longtime advocate for marijuana law reform in Massachusetts says legalization is coming to the Bay State by hook or by crook. “We will push for legislation on Beacon Hill, but that won’t stop us from also pursuing a ballot initiative in 2016,” said Richard M. Evans, a Northampton lawyer and chairman of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol in Massachusetts, a statewide referendum committee. The Special Senate Committee on Marijuana, named by Senate President Stanley Rosenberg on Jan. 22, will examine the state’s rocky medical marijuana rollout, look at the legalization experience in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, and make recommendations regarding legislation. The committee is chaired by Sen. Jason Lewis of Winchester. Governor Charlie Baker opposes legalizing marijuana, but more recently said he welcomes the investigation in the Senate.