Apr 242015

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign into law an overhaul of Washington’s medical marijuana market that seeks to eliminate unregulated dispensary sales now that the state’s recreational market is in place. Among the provisions of the measure Inslee was to sign Friday afternoon is the creation of a voluntary database of patients. Unregistered patients would only be allowed to possess the same amount of marijuana legalized for all adults in public, but they would be allowed to cultivate up to four marijuana plants and possess six ounces, unlike non-patients. Those who join the voluntary registry would get to possess three times the adult-use limits and cultivate fifteen marijuana plants and possess sixteen ounces, or four patients could cooperatively cultivate 60 plants. The passage of Initiative 502 in 2012 allowed the sale of marijuana to adults for recreational use. Recreational businesses have complained that they’re being squeezed by medical dispensaries that have proliferated in many parts of the state.

Colorado lawmakers started work Wednesday on a proposal to ask voters to keep some $58 million in marijuana tax collections. Colorado voters already approved the taxes on recreational pot sales in 2013. But because that ballot measure didn’t account for a quirk in state law related to new taxes, the money will have to be refunded unless voters again approve the 10 percent sales and 15 percent excise taxes. Colorado made a total of about $76 million from marijuana last year, but the refund is required only for the new sales and excise tax collections, which totaled $58 million. The measure approved by the House Appropriations Committee does more than just ask voters to keep the money, though. For example, the new pot tax measure would set aside $300,000 for the Colorado State Fair. It would also set up a new $2 million “school bullying prevention” fund. Other new items include $1 million for poison control centers.

Medical marijuana legislation won a small victory in an Alabama Senate panel on Wednesday, but long-time senator and chairman of the committee that sets the calendar for the floor says the bill is dead. Sen. Jabo Waggoner, Rules Committee chairman, said Alabama isn’t ready for legislation that would allow patients with some chronic medical issues to purchase medical marijuana. Waggoner, who has served in the Alabama Legislature for 49 years, said he will look at the legislation next year and the year after, but he doesn’t think anything would change his mind on it this year. Sen. Bobby Singleton’s medical marijuana legislation received a favorable report with a 4-3 vote from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday afternoon. Only Democrats voted in favor, and the measure likely only passed because three Republican members failed to attend and another abstained from voting.

Max Lorincz is a father from Spring Lake, Michigan, who is fighting for his right to use medical marijuana, and get his son back. He’s a card-carrying patient, but was charged with a felony, after a single smear of oil was found in his home. Like many card-carrying medical marijuana patients across the state, Lorincz is caught between his doctor’s orders and a judge. Now his five-year-old son is taken away, and he is left with only supervised visits. All of this because Lorincz called 911 in September for a family medical emergency. The deputy who responded to the call found a smear of butane hash oil in his home. It’s a substance Lorincz ingests for what he called “deep pain relief,” and is something he obtained with his medical marijuana card. Because Lorincz is charged with having a schedule 1 drug, and not specifically marijuana, it is difficult to protect Lorincz under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.

Patients with severe epilepsy who took a liquid form of a marijuana extract saw the number of seizures decline by half, while few suffered side effects, according to the early results of a study led by a renowned neurologist at Trenton, New Jersey’s Saint Barnabas Medical Center. The study involved 213 people ranging in age from 2 to 26 who are diagnosed with debilitating seizure disorders and for whom other forms of treatment had failed. Out of that group, 137 patients took a daily dose for 12 weeks to see if cannabidiol reduced the frequency of their seizures. The number of seizures decreased by an average of 54 percent after 12 weeks. A total of 12 people stopped taking the drug due to side effects, which included drowsiness, diarrhea, and decreased appetite.