Decision a Blow to Legalization but May Spur Research
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration has decided marijuana will
remain on the list of most-dangerous drugs, fully rebuffing growing
support across the country for broad legalization, but said it will
allow more research into its medical uses.
The decision to expand research into marijuana's medical potential
could pave the way for the drug to be moved to a lesser category.
Heroin, peyote and marijuana, among others, are considered Schedule I
drugs because they have no medical application; cocaine and opiates,
for example, have medical uses and, while still illegal for
recreational use, are designated Schedule II drugs.
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Editor: Medical marijuana has now been legalized in 24 states, with
about 51 percent of the U.S. population. Its use it well-known for
treating patients suffering from a range of serious conditions,
including cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and other disorders.
In light of the effectiveness of medical marijuana, I urge our
representatives in Washington, including U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright
and Sens. Pat Toomey and Bob Casey, to take the initiative and
sponsor a bill that would remove marijuana from its present
classification as a Schedule I substance that has no medical use.
That classification is outdated and clearly false.
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Epilepsy Drug May Undercut Medical Marijuana Activists
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - An experimental epilepsy drug made from
cannabis plants grown in England is complicating the medical
marijuana debate in hospitals and statehouses.
Epidiolex is a nearly pure extract of cannabidiol, or CBD, with
little of the tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, that gets traditional pot
users high. CBD products are the current rage in medicinal pot
products, and activists fear that if the maker of Epidiolex manages
to get FDA approval it could undercut the political momentum of the
medical marijuana movement.
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Local Cannabis Activists Say They Have More Work to Do.
A state law signed by the governor Sunday allowing the plant to be
used to treat 17 medical conditions is a great start, those at the
NEPA Cannabis Rally said, adding that they hope to see all its uses legalized.
It was coincidence that Gov. Tom Wolf signed the law, which opens up
cannabis plants for research and treatment of symptoms of multiple
sclerosis, epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder, on the same
day Jeff Zick and his team held an annual rally in Scranton's Nay Aug Park.
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Official: 2 Years to Implement Law
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania now needs to create a new state-regulated
industry over the next two years with the governor's signing Sunday
of a law legalizing use of medical marijuana for patients and
This landmark law envisions a role for hospitals, universities and
academic medical centers researching the best use of medical
marijuana to treat diseases. The state Department of Health under the
helm of Secretary Karen Murphy, R.N., Ph.D., a Scranton native, takes
the lead role in regulating medical marijuana.
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Pennsylvania lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf have helped to ease some
medical patients' suffering by legalizing the use of prescribed
medical marijuana. Now, their task is to see if the same rare
bipartisan cooperation that led to the new law can ease the
commonwealth's pain from polarized, unproductive governance.
The bill, which also promotes further research into the medicinal
value of marijuana, is a healthy departure from the political
paralysis that has produced such debacles as the longest budget
impasse in Pennsylvania history.
Ultimately, the bill became law because enough lawmakers focused on
Pennsylvanians' needs rather than on politics alone.
The same approach by lawmakers, rather than digging in their heels on
ideological grounds, might produce similar results on other important
but stalled initiatives.
New State Law Allows Cannabis Companies to Turn a Profit.
ADELANTO, Calif. - After decades of thriving in legally hazy
backyards and basements, California's most notorious crop, marijuana,
is emerging from the underground into a decidedly capitalist era.
Under a new state law, marijuana businesses will be allowed to turn a
profit - which has been forbidden since 1996, when California became
the first state to legalize medical cannabis - and limits on the
number of plants farmers can grow will be eliminated.
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Editor: I read with disbelief the March 25 article, "Cops: Teacher
smoking pot at St. Pat's parade."
I had to reread it. On a day when the beer taps are open from early
morning hours and revelers of various states of inebriation are in
the streets, the police arrested a Pittston Area teacher and her
friend for smoking marijuana at a picnic table away from the crowd.
She was not only arrested, she was suspended by the Pittston Area
School Board. The suspect, Tia Biscotti, was engaged in an activity
that is illegal in Pennsylvania, but legal in Colorado, Washington,
Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia. It did not occur while
she was teaching and she was not on school property.
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HARRISBURG (AP) - Some key Senate backers of medical marijuana
legalization are expressing concern about a marijuana bill passed by
the House last week, raising the possibility of a delay in getting
the drug into the hands of Pennsylvania patients suffering from
conditions such as cancer and epilepsy.
Senate staff and lawyers found what they say are numerous flaws in
the legislation passed by the House last week.
Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, who sponsored the initial bill that
overwhelmingly passed the Senate last year, might press for changes
and another vote by both chambers instead of agreeing to the House
version and sending it to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature.
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The biggest news in Pennsylvania involving marijuana is the new law
authorizing its use as medicine, which was long overdue. But a bill
also is pending in the Legislature that would authorize something
involving the plant that is even more overdue. It would allow farmers
to grow industrial hemp.
The plant is a form of marijuana that does not contain THC, the
chemical that makes pot either high-inducing or therapeutic.
But hemp is incredibly versatile otherwise. Around the world, it is
grown in more than 30 countries and used in more than 25,000
products. According to the Congressional Research Service, the United
States imported about $600 million worth of hemp in 2013.
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Amid a long and dispiriting budget battle, Republican state lawmakers
and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf found common ground last week on an
important bill to expand the arsenal of safe drugs used to combat pain.
The House passed a bill to legalize the use of marijuana for
medicinal purposes, 149-43. In the process, representatives rejected
a series of poison-pill amendments by misguided law-and-order
advocates that would have made the bill impossible to implement in practice.
Sen. Mike Folmer, a conservative Republican from Lebanon who helped
shepherd a similar bill to passage in the Senate last year, expected
that the House and Senate bills will be reconciled and sent to Mr.
Wolf, who plans to sign it.
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With Region in Grips of Drug, Alcohol Habits, Hearing Looks for Solutions.
The amount wasn't much.
In Florida, Bobby Long's doctor wrote him a prescription in the
winter of 2013 to take 5 milligrams of oxycodone four times a day to
curb his sudden neck and arm pain. The patient didn't want to, and
the doctor didn't want him to. Both knew Mr. Long was seven years
sober from alcohol and cocaine addiction, but tramadol wasn't
touching the pain.
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PA. Would Allow Medical Treatment, Research Uses
HARRISBURG - Both patients and academic researchers would have access
to marijuana for medical purposes under milestone legislation to
place Pennsylvania among the ranks of states with legal cannabis programs.
The measure approved by House l awmakers Wednesday envisions a
research role for hospitals, universities and academic medical
centers into the use of medical marijuana to treat diseases.
The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton sees a potential avenue
for getting involved with medical marijuana research in the future.
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HARRISBURG (AP) - The Pennsylvania House of Representatives took up a
proposal Monday to permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes,
a potential breakthrough for supporters who have worked for several
years to get legalization through the Republican-controlled Legislature.
The debate began with passage of an elaborate amendment, crafted by a
bipartisan task force, laying out rules for how the program would
work, including eligibility and regulations. It was approved by a
152-38 vote, but the measure still requires a final House vote.
[continues 217 words]
This legislative session has been a difficult one, with a drawn-out
and contentious debate about the budget and slow progress on an issue
that is vital to thousands of Pennsylvanians who face devastating
illnesses - medical cannabis.
The Legislature has been considering some form of a medical cannabis
bill since 2009 and every two years the session ends before anything
is done to help suffering patients.
Last May, the Senate overwhelmingly approved Senate Bill 3, the
latest incarnation of this much-needed bill. During the summer, I
served on a working group appointed by House Majority Leader Dave
Reed to examine the issue.
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In New Approach, City Plans to Treat Addiction As Public Health Issue.
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The mayor of Ithaca wants his city in upstate New
York to host the nation's first supervised injection facility,
enabling heroin users to shoot illegal drugs into their bodies under
the care of a nurse without getting arrested by police.
The son of an addict who abandoned his family, Ithaca Mayor Svante
Myrick is only 28 years old, but knows intimately how destructive
drugs can be. As he worked his way from a homeless shelter into the
Ivy League at Cornell University and then became Ithaca's youngest
mayor four years ago, Mr. Myrick encountered countless people who
never got the help they needed.
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WASHINGTON - Pot is very much on the minds of voters, with millions
poised to decide whether to legalize it. That raises a tantalizing
question for presidential candidates: Is there political opportunity
in the wind?
Some are beginning to believe there is.
The latest sign was the fullthroated call last week by Sen. Bernie
Sanders to end federal prohibition. With that one move, the candidate
for the Democratic presidential nomination plunged into uncharted
territory - and, arguably, so did the presidential race.
Never before has a contender with so much to lose so unequivocally
suggested that smoking a joint should be viewed the same as drinking
a beer, at least in the eyes of the law.
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Scranton Rep Cosponsors Bill to Grow Crop in State.
State Rep. Marty Flynn has read a lot about hemp, the name for
cannabis plant varieties grown for industrial uses, such as fiber.
During his research, he kept thinking about the legal status of the plant.
"To me it seemed like there was no reason for it to be illegal," he said.
Mr. Flynn, D-Scranton, became a key cosponsor of House Bill 967,
which creates a pilot program for growing hemp in Pennsylvania. The
House Agriculture Committee just voted 24-0, with three members not
voting, to move the bill out of the committee.
[continues 170 words]
State House Working Group Sifts Through Claims.
The papers and opinions on medical marijuana kept coming across Rep.
Aaron Kaufer's desk. Advocates and opponents wanted their chance to
convince him. ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE Young marijuana plants stand
under grow lamps at the Pioneer Production and Processing marijuana
growing facility in Washington state. A total of 23 states and the
District of Columbia allow medical marijuana programs, according to
the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Mr. Kaufer, R-Kingston, was a member of a bi-partisan working group
in the state House of Representatives looking at the issue of medical
marijuana. After months of research and meetings, the group sent its
conclusions to House Majority Leader Dave Reed in September. The
conclusions gave guidelines for how a potential medical marijuana
program could be implemented.
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Law Prohibits Businesses From Accepting Checks, Credit Cards, So They
Deal Only in Cash.
At the Cannabis Club Collective in Tacoma, Washington, Brian Caldwell
has installed a top-of-the-line alarm system, motion sensors and a
safe, hoping to protect the cash he collects from the 200-plus
customers who buy marijuana at his store on an average day.
"We pretty much had to make a bank within our walls," he said.
And at Auntie Dolores, a marijuana edibles shop in Oakland,
California, Julianna Carella uses pouches to bag her cash at the end
of the day, then sticks it in her trunk, feeling nervous as she drives away.
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