• Ireland soon to legalize Marijuana for medicinal use

    December 07, 2016

    Ireland is set to legalize marijuana for the medicinal use after the government said on Thursday it would not block the first reading of a bill that is backed by all other parties. The marijuana Bill entitled with ‘The Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulations Bill 2016’ was passed in Ireland's lower house without a vote. It is also expected to pass through the Dail, Ireland’s principal house.

    If passed, the Bill will legalize and regulate marijuana products for those suffering serious illnesses like cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia, as well as people who are suffering from chronic pain. It has proposed to allow patients to buy oils, sprays and tablets made from the drug to alleviate their pain.

    TD Gino Kelly, who put the bill forward on behalf of the “People Before Profit Alliance (PBPA)” stated that he is hopeful the medical profession would soon support the drug's use. “If finalized, it would give doctors the power to decide if their patients would benefit from the drug, he said.

    "It's been overwhelming, not only in the Dail, but to see the people who have contacted us and who are trying to access medical marijuana for themselves or their children," Kenny, told national broadcaster RTE.

    Health Minister Simon Harris however said, he would seek some amendments at a later stage pending a review of scientific and clinical advice regarding the value of marijuana as a medicine that was commissioned earlier this month.

    Harris said he wanted to remove references from the bill that could have the effect of making it legal for anyone to possess marijuana in order to avoid accidentally making the drug legal for recreational use.

    The move would see Ireland join countries like Italy, the Czech Republic and Australia, which have all relaxed their laws to use marijuana on medical grounds.

  • Texas Senator José Menéndez to file Medical Marijuana Bill

    December 07, 2016

    Texas Senator José Menéndez is scheduled to file a comprehensive medical marijuana bill on Tuesday to legalize marijuana in the state for medical purposes. Several patients, who would benefit from the marijuana legislation, will join the Senator’s effort.

    If finalized, the bill would allow patients with debilitating and chronic medical conditions to receive marijuana under recommendation and consultation of their doctor, Menendez explained. Several diseases such as Cancer, PTSD, autism, HIV, severe pain and nausea, and Parkinson's are just a few of the ailments that would qualify for the marijuana program.

    "Twenty-eight states have recognized the medical benefit of cannabis, including conservative states like Arkansas, Montana, and North Dakota," Menéndez said. "It's time Texas steps up to the plate and provide real relief for our suffering patients."

    Dwight Clark, Legislative Director for Senator Menendez, says the bill does not specify the amount of marijuana patients can get and in what form because the senator believes doctors should make that call, not politicians.

    "Doctors, not politicians, should be determining what is best for Texas patients," Menéndez said. "This is legitimate medicine that can help a of variety people, from the grandmother suffering from cancer to the veteran coping with PTSD after returning home from war."

    In the last session of the Legislature, Menéndez filed the first comprehensive medical marijuana legislation in the history of Texas, Senate Bill 1839, which was referred to the Health and Human Services Committee.

    Menéndez was also the co-author of the landmark Senate Bill 339 which allowed for limited cannabis use for people with intractable epilepsy.

    If the marijuana bill confirmed, Texas would join 28 other states and the District of Columbia to legalize the use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

    Next Legislative session of the State will begin on January 10, 2017.

  • Warriors Coach Steve Kerr admits he used Marijuana for back pain

    December 07, 2016

    Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr on Friday revealed that he tried medical marijuana twice in the past eighteen months while dealing with chronic back pain, while talking to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's Warriors Insider Podcast with Monte Poole.

    “I've actually tried marijuana twice during the last year and a half, when I've been going through this chronic pain that I've been dealing with”, Kerr stated.

    Fifty-one year old Kerr said he has tried marijuana after complications from back surgery in July 2015 that led to chronic pain and caused him to miss nearly three months to start last season. He was sidelined and could not coach the Warriors for the first several months of the 2015-2016 season due to his health issues.

    However, Kerr clarified that he used marijuana when he was away from the team and not coaching. He also informed Poole that he was unaware if he was going to be drug tested, but that the marijuana "didn't help at all."

    Although Kerr did not benefit from the use of the drug, the Warriors coach believes at some point in the future all major sport leagues will allow players to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, as he believes it is better than pain killers like Vicodin.

    "Athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it’s Vitamin C, like it's no big deal. You're seeing that change in these laws that you're talking about in different states, including California. But I would just hope that sports leagues are able to look past the perception”, Kerr said.

    Notably, medical marijuana has been legal in California, but the NBA and the NFL continues to outlaw marijuana, as it remains listed as a trigger that would cause a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.

  • Donald Trump picks another Marijuana Opponent to his Cabinet

    November 30, 2016

    President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday named six term Republican Congressman Tom Price, (R-Ga.) as his pick for Health and Human Services secretary, a position to manage all of the federal government health agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

    Price, 62, an orthopedic surgeon, is considered as the most consistently anti-marijuana members of the Congress. He has been voting against a number of marijuana proposals before the House in recent years.

    Price had voted against a measure that would prevent the Justice Department from interfering with state recreational marijuana laws. He also voted six times against amendments preventing the Justice Department from interfering with state medical marijuana laws. And he also voted three times against a measure that would allow Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical marijuana to veterans who might benefit from it.

    However, Price has supported a limited measure preventing the Justice Department from interfering with states that allow the medical use of cannabidiol. He has also voted to ensure that federal funds aren't used to stymie research into industrial uses of hemp.

    During the campaign, Trump railed against the Affordable Care Act and vowed to repeal and replace it. He frequently pledged to respect state marijuana laws, saying that he personally knows people who benefit from medical marijuana.

    Marijuana advocates are now worried that Trump administration may not end up following through on those campaign promises by filling the Cabinet with people like Price and Sessions. It was recently revealed that Trump was putting on Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, another vicious opponent of marijuana legalization, to head up the Justice Department as U.S. Attorney General.

    Meanwhile, Trump adviser Newt Gingrich has tweeted his approval, calling Price “the right leader to help Congress replace Obamacare."

  • Maryland Medical Marijuana Panel to hire Diversity Consultant

    November 30, 2016

    The Maryland Cannabis Commission announced Monday it will hire a diversity consultant in order to take steps toward evaluating minority participation in the state’s nascent medical marijuana industry.

    The announcement follows the filing of a lawsuit alleging the commission improperly ignored race when evaluating applicants for licenses, and calls by African-American lawmakers to stop the licensing process until the alleged racial discrepancies can be sorted out.

    Meanwhile, the commission gave preliminary license approval to 102 dispensaries to open medical marijuana dispensaries across the state and near marijuana growing sites. However, it will release the names of the dispensaries given preliminary approval on Dec. 9.

    Critics point to the lack of minority-owned businesses among those named as finalists to grow and process medical marijuana.

    "The commission is in the process and plans to hire an expert consultant who specializes in minority business affairs to do a disparity evaluation and provide future guidance on minority business enterprise initiatives and make recommendations to the commission," said Patrick Jameson, executive director of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.

    The Maryland state attorney general cautioned against providing extra weight to minority applicants, suggesting preferences would be unconstitutional without a history of racial disparity to justify the move.

    The commission expects to award final licenses to grow, process and dispense medical marijuana in time for the entire program to be up and running this summer.

    However, it is still unclear whether the consultant would study Maryland's industry as it stands now, the medical marijuana industry in other states, or review data from other industries that could shed light on conditions for minorities trying to get into the medical marijuana business in Maryland.

  • Teva, Syqe Medical sign deal to distribute Medical Marijuana Inhaler in Israel

    November 30, 2016

    Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Tel Aviv-based Syqe Medical Ltd. have signed a distribution and cooperation agreement to market medical marijuana inhaler for pain management in the country, according to a joint statement announced on Monday.

    Under the agreement, Teva, the world’s largest generic medicines producer, will be the inhaler’s exclusive marketer and distributor of an inhaler in the country while the device for the delivery of medical marijuana will be developed and manufactured by Syqe Medical.

    In Israel, pain relief from medical marijuana has been delivered via edibles containing the plant; inhaling smoke; or through commercial inhalers until now. However, inhalation is considered the most efficient way of administering medical marijuana for pain relief.

     “Teva Israel is entering the field of medical marijuana out of a deep commitment to patients coping with pain, which is one of the company’s core therapeutic areas,” said Teva CEO Avinoam Sapir, who also serves as the company’s director for Africa and the Middle East.

    “State-of-the-art technology and groundbreaking medical devices such as those developed by Syqe Medical, and which generate tremendous therapeutic value for patients and medical staff alike integrate perfectly into the strategy of Teva Israel”, he added.

    The medical marijuana inhaler is designed to treat pain without getting patients high. The pocket-sized product will be available for home use next year to individuals approved by the Israeli Health Ministry. Nurses will provide training for both patients and medical professionals.

    The device will be marketed for Israel’s growing medical marijuana industry. Around 26,000 patients in the country are currently licensed to use medical marijuana, with that number expected to double by 2018, according to data provided by the companies.

  • Donald Trump’s Attorney General could hamper Marijuana Industry

    November 25, 2016

    The US President-elect Donald Trump has preferred Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for the post of Attorney General. The vibrant marijuana industry in the country could be hampered if Sessions were confirmed as the top law enforcement official in the Trump administration.

    Sessions, a Republican, is known for his racist remarks, anti-immigration reform stance and for his drug war-era rhetoric around drug policy. He has been a bitter critic of marijuana legalization. He has vehemently criticized the Obama administration’s approach to drug policy, including its tolerance of states where voters have approved the use of marijuana for either medical or recreational purposes, or for both.

    “Good people don't smoke marijuana", Sessions said during the Senate's Caucus on International Drug Control in April. He also pointed to the tenuous theory that marijuana is a gateway drug, and said, “you’ll see cocaine and heroin increase more than it would have."

    "We need grown ups in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it is in fact a very real danger," Sessions said at the hearing.

    Ironically, Trump has however stated that marijuana legalization should be decided "state-by-state”.

    Meanwhile marijuana advocates are opposing Sessions’ nomination to Attorney General, where he would have power over U.S. drug policy. As attorney general, Sessions would be responsible for directing U.S. federal prosecutors on federal priorities and overseeing the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    Aaron Herzberg, a California-based medical marijuana real estate company, believes Sessions will be bad for the industry. Likewise, Larry Cote, a partner with the law firm Quarles & Brady opined that he suspects Sessions will be a "strong opponent," within the Trump administration of "any efforts to legalize or re-schedule marijuana".