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Medical Marijuana Update

Congress sees a pair of medical marijuana bills filed, the New York legislature has voted to approve medical marijuana for PTSD, Kentucky residents sue the state over the medical marijuana ban, and more.

National

Last Thursday, the CARERS Act was reintroduced in the Senate. US Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Corey Booker (D-NJ), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) reintroduced a bill that would end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana. Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) also signed on to the legislation as original cosponsors. The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (or CARERS) Act of 2017 would allow individuals and entities to possess, produce, and distribute medical marijuana if they are in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. It would also open up avenues to medical marijuana research and allow physicians employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in states where it is legal. The bill also proposes excluding cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana, from the federal government's definition of "marijuana."

Last Thursday, Corey Booker and Steve Cohen filed identical medical marijuana protection bills. Tennessee Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen has filed House Resolution 2920, "to extend the principle of federalism to drug policy, provide access to medical marijuana, and enable research into the medicinal properties of marijuana." New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker has filed a companion bill, Senate Bill 1374, in the upper chamber.

Arkansas

Last Friday, medical marijuana regulations took another key step. The Legislative Council, which serves as the legislature's governing body between sessions, approved draft rules from the Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the Department of Health, and the Medical Marijuana Commission aimed at regulating the state's nascent medical marijuana system. The state will begin accepting applications for licenses to operate marijuana cultivation centers and dispensaries June 30.

Kentucky

Last Wednesday, a lawsuit challenging the state's medical marijuana ban was filed. Three Kentuckians who say they have used marijuana to ease health problems have filed a lawsuit in state court charging that banning medical marijuana violates their constitutional privacy rights. The suit names as defendants Gov. Matt Bevin (R) and Attorney General Steve Beshear (D).

Michigan

Last Thursday, lawmakers filed bills to ban medical marijuana billboard ads. State Sen. Rick Jones (R) and Rep. Andy Schor (D) have filed identical bills that would effectively ban billboard for medical marijuana businesses. The bills are Senate Bill 463 and House Bill 4767. They are not yet available on the state legislative web site.

New Mexico

Last Friday, the state nixed medical marijuana for opioid addiction and Alzheimer's. Rejecting the recommendation of the state Medical Marijuana Advisory Board, Secretary of Health Lynn Gallagher declined to add opioid use disorder and Alzheimer's as qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.

New York

On Tuesday, the Senate approved medical marijuana for PTSD. The state Senate voted to approve Senate Bill 6092, which allows medical marijuana to be used to treat PTSD. The Assembly passed an identical measure earlier this year, so the bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).

Pennsylvania

Last Thursday, the governor warned Attorney General Sessions not to interfere with medical marijuana. In a sharply worded letter, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) warned Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to interfere with medical marijuana in the state. "For a lot of patients, this is the only medicine that works. So for him to go after medical cannabis is kind of flying in the face of science and the facts," said a spokesman for the governor.

On Tuesday, the state issued the first medical marijuana permits. The Department of Health on Tuesday announced 12 medical marijuana grower permits, with the permits going to two companies in each of the six permitting regions the department established as part of the implementation of the state's medical marijuana law. The department will announce the allocation of 27 dispensary permits before the month ends, it said.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Veterans Improved Care

I watched as the President put into affect the new law to improve healthcare for veterans. Just a few days later I was told I needed to call and make an appointment with the Neurology Department and so I called. The gentleman first ask me to hold several times and then after ten minutes he came on the line and apologized and ask if he might call me back and I agreed. When the call was returned he once again apo,logized first and then informed me that the quickest they could see me would be the month of September 2017. The problem which I have been concerned about for maybe 16 months was that both of my feet are always numb,hurt and feel freezing and yet are warm to the touch, almost like they are always just starting to wake up but never complete. Before I go further I need to say I did not ask for help until they had been doing this for 12 months and my reason was that I at first tried to attribute the problem to a damaged nerve from from one of my three cervical surgeries. They at that time had to install a titanium plate and screws in my neck to hopefully protect it from further damage. However after researching for several months I realized that my nerve that had been damaged was on my left side and has caused me very severe pain ever since surgery. It had though always it seemed to be on the left top to bottom. The problem I was now experiencing was affecting both my feet equally.My Primary care doctor and I had discussed the possibility of it being related to blood flow of which with some of my other problems might explain them as welll. I at that time remembered a civilian hospital taking pictures of my heart and showing me an ingrown artery as well as athe formation of a bridge in the hearts attempt to compensate.I now had become very concerned but must wait almost three months to see someone that may be able to interpret symptoms and determine what is happening, I do however have a choice card but I have never used.Since becoming a VA patient I have chosen to see only the VA to keep everything straight. I just have to hope as they worsen it does not become irreversable or lead to another problem developing somewhere else. I have a long list of problems some very serious that have been determined over the last 14 yearsand have caused me to suffer from severe constant pain on the scale between six and ten. I have insisted over the last three or four years that we try to lower the amount that I am able to endure for I take many medications including opioids which is the primary one I have reduced. I am now at a point where I will not be able to reduce further and have followed the forming of policies on medical marijuana for the last few years and I pray that this will become available for chronic pain for all. If so and for this ailment as well as multiple others is not available to veterans this would become a travesty in which veterans are singled out and are hurt. I choose at this time to believe President Trump in that he wants to insure quality and timely care for veterans. This along with many items I am sure we are not afforded is just wrong. When stiving to improve the care given to veterans I plead with all involved to know and understand an important part of improved care must always keep one issue front and center if the goal is to improve veteran care. The very important role I refer to is "Quality of Life", This I pray all involved will always keep in mind as this process that I am counting on moves forward.

Thank You [email protected]  

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