420 with CNW – Texas Governor Signs Bill to Expand Medical Marijuana Program

On Friday last week (June 14), Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill that is focused on increasing the number of qualifying conditions for which patients can be licensed to use medical marijuana in the state.

House Bill 3703 gives doctors permission to recommend any patient who suffers from seizure disorders (intractable epilepsy, for example), spasticity, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, autism and several other conditions to access medical marijuana whose THC content doesn’t exceed 0.5 percent from the dispensaries licensed by the state.

Joshua Raine, an Army veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, is one of the patients who pleaded with legislators to include PTSD among the qualifying conditions for which someone can use medical marijuana.

He told the lawmakers that he has lost more friends (who are veterans) to suicide induced by PTSD than the number of friends he lost during combat operations. He admitted that without medical marijuana, he too could have committed suicide.

Blake Novacek is another patient who is likely to benefit from the enactment of this law. He was attacked violently during a fraternity pledge and that attack caused him to develop seizures. In fact, while waiting to talk to legislators during the debate on the medical marijuana expansion bill, Novacek started convulsing violently as the gravity of his situation showed itself at the state Capitol.

His father (a former Dallas Cowboys player) and mother pleaded to be given a chance to access medical cannabis legally so that they can save the life of their son. In the past, cannabis has helped massively, they added.

Texas is one of the most conservative states in terms of marijuana policy reform. The marijuana program in this state is so restrictive that the only form of medical cannabis allowed is cannabis oil whose THC content is much lower than what advocates say is required for therapeutic purposes.

Nonetheless, advocates are glad that the state has taken this modest step to expand the list of qualifying conditions from the very narrow version which has existed since low-THC cannabis oil was legalized as a form of treatment. Activists hope that more incremental reforms will be enacted until Texas’ medical marijuana program is at par with programs in other states.

Many Texans keep wondering how companies like The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) and The Flowr Corporation (TSX.V: FLWR) (OTC: FLWPF) handle the frustration of thinking that a major decision was made without paying ample attention to the scientific information available but instead unfounded fears took the day.

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CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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420 with CNW – Cancer Patient Launches Legal Challenge to Michigan Cannabis Testing Rules

Sherry Hoover, a retired nurse suffering from stage 4 cancer, has taken Michigan to court to challenge its newly imposed medical marijuana testing rules. The lawsuit filed in a federal court seeks to obtain a temporary restraining order so that the plaintiff can continue accessing her marijuana-derived medicine which has since become hard to obtain due to the new testing rules imposed by the state regulator.

The 57-year old plaintiff was diagnosed with mastocytosis leukemia in 2011. She used several prescription drugs, such as fentanyl patches and Norco, with limited effect until she discovered that medical marijuana could improve her appetite, alleviate her pain and enable her to sleep better.

Before April 1 this year, LARA (Licensing and Regulatory Affairs) permitted untested medical marijuana products to be sold in medical marijuana dispensaries. However, those untested tinctures, oils and other medicinal products made by registered caregivers would no longer be sold without being tested once the April 1 deadline passed.

The testing rules have since taken effect, and Hoover is finding it hard to access the products which have been instrumental in giving her a better quality of life. The lawsuit she filed on Wednesday (June 5) seeks to compel the state to extend the commencement of enforcing the testing rules to December 31.

She argues that the current restrictions have resulted in stock-outs in the only two licensed medical marijuana dispensaries which carried the products she uses. Continuing to enforce the testing rules may therefore leave her with no choice but to resort to the black market for her medicine, a step she doesn’t want to take.

The suit states that the four licensed testing facilities cannot cope with the demand for testing services from licensed cultivators, manufacturers and caregivers. Additionally, the added steps, such as transporting the untested products to the testing facilities and then hiring transport firms permitted to carry tested products to medical marijuana dispensaries prolongs the duration needed to get tinctures and other medical marijuana products made by caregivers to the dispensing points where patients can buy them.

In short, Hoover argues in her suit that the state is violating her rights of access to medical marijuana products and yet she is licensed and duly authorized to use such products.

This isn’t the first time that Sherry Hoover is suing the state. Last year, she successfully sued LARA to compel it to extend deadline imposed for unlicensed dispensaries to get the necessary permits or close by December 31, 2018. Her lawsuit was successful and the deadline was extended to April 1 this year.

Sugarmade Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD) longs for the day when all the kinks in the way medical marijuana is regulated are fixed so that these seemingly endless deadline extensions and lawsuits in Michigan come to an end.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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420 with CNW – Iowa Poll Shows Widespread Support for Expanding Medical Cannabis Program

A recent poll sponsored by Mediacom and Des Moines Register has found that more than three-quarters (78 percent) of Iowans want to see the medical cannabis program expanded in order to ease access to this new program.

Iowan adults voiced their support for suggestions that more qualifying conditions should be included in the law that established the medical cannabis program. The proposed expansion would also include increasing the number of shops from which medical marijuana can be bought.

Iowa’s medical cannabis program was launched last year in December with just five dispensaries and one manufacturer allowed to operate within the state. The dispensaries sell cannabis oils, capsules and creams. So far, only 1,200 Iowa patients have received the nod to use medical cannabis in the state.

The Iowa Poll also showed a record level of support for the legalization of recreational cannabis. The poll conducted early this month found that there was an equal proportion of Iowans who wanted to see an end to prohibition and those who opposed it.

The figures stood at 48 percent in favor of legalization while another 48 percent didn’t want recreational cannabis allowed in the state. Four percent of the participants in the poll were not sure whether prohibition should be ended or not.

The Iowa Poll has been tracking the sentiments of Iowans about cannabis legalization since 2010. This year’s poll shows a huge jump in support from the 39 percent who expressed support for legalization last year to the 48 percent expressing the same sentiment this year.

This poll results have come out at a time when Iowa lawmakers are considering proposals to expand the medical cannabis program.

One of the changes that is being considered by the senate committee is a proposal to allow medical professionals to recommend the use of medical cannabis for any condition that they think can be alleviated or treated using marijuana. This would be a major change from the current position where the medical marijuana law provides a list of the conditions for which a patient can apply for a medical marijuana card.

Another change that is being considered is to allow nurse practitioners to certify patients as well. Under the current law, only physicians can certify patients who wish to join the medical cannabis program.

The sole manufacturer (MedPharm) has also been lobbying to have the legislators lift the three percent THC cap on medical cannabis products. This restriction may be harder to change since legislators are wary of “opening the door” to cannabis addiction and abuse if THC levels are allowed to get higher.

Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX.V: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) and others applaud the legislators in Iowa for being willing to modify the medical cannabis program so soon after its launch.

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