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ASA Medical Marijuana in the News for the Week of 4/27

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
ASA ACTION: Challenging Butte County Ban

California state law says access to medical marijuana is a right, and cities and counties cannot just opt out. ASA is going to court to make sure that local officials do not infringe on the rights of patients to organize as collectives, suing on behalf of a seven-patient collective that was forced to destroy two dozen plants just before harvest.

Butte's medical marijuana growing and distribution policy is challenged
by Terry Vau Dell , Oroville Mercury-Register
A legal showdown is looming in Butte County over whether people who grow medical marijuana can be prosecuted for providing the herb to others too sick or otherwise unable to grow it themselves. Joseph Elford, San Francisco attorney for Americans for Safe Access — a pro-medical marijuana organization, has sued the Butte County Sheriff's Office, on behalf of an Oroville man, David Williams.

FEDERAL: Public Health Official Fighting Forfeiture

Bernie Ellis has devoted his professional life to helping others, but the federal government decided to make an example of him anyway. But the judge, recognizing the esteem in which he’s held in the community, sentenced Ellis to a halfway house instead of jail. So the government is trying to seize his farm. Ellis and friends organized a fundraiser, featuring music and a slideshow of ASA’s Patients in the Crossfire, a publication that describes the injustice of prosecuting patients and includes a profile of Ellis ( ASA*:*Patients in the Crossfire) .

Marijuana Martyr
by Jeff Woods , Nashville Scene Magazine
Life came unglued for Bernie Ellis on the day drug agents raided his farm like it was the fortified villa of a South American ******* kingpin. It was a major operation to strike a righteous blow against the devil weed. It must have been a real disappointment. Ellis, a public health epidemiologist, readily acknowledged that he was growing a small amount of medical marijuana to cope with a degenerative condition in his hips and spine.

Bernie Ellis stands to lose his farm in the war on drugs
by Bill Larson , Clarksville Online
Good morning, all. It is now five days to the “Save Bernie’s Farm” benefit at the Belcourt (April 25) and 19 days until his release date (May 10). He hopes to see many of you at the Belcourt (though he has not yet received permission yet from the “house” director to attend the benefit). It is shaping up to be a fantastic evening of music and mobilization for medical marijuana in Tennessee.

Pot grower who may lose farm says his only crime was caring
by Leon Alligood , Tennessean
Bernie Ellis is an unrepentant soul. When lawmen raided his farm in August 2002, this man of medicine — a professional public health consultant who has worked for anti-substance abuse programs across the country — told officers he was growing marijuana for medical reasons. He also gave it to friends and acquaintances suffering from AIDS, cancer or chronic diseases.

AUSTRALIA: Lawmaker to Introduce Medical Measure

The state of South Australia may remove criminal penalties for the medical use of marijuana, if a local member of parliament has her way.

South Australian Democrat Supports Medical Use Of Marijuana
by Richard Bowden , All Headline News
South Australian Democrats MP Sandra Kanck has said she will introduce legislation to allow South Australians the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Ms Kanck said she will introduce a bill into the S.A Parliament which will remove fines for the possession of marijuana, if the person has a valid medical reason.

RHODE ISLAND: Legislature to Vote Soon

Thanks in part to the Rhode Island Campaign for Safe Access, which has worked hard educating the public, patients and medical community, the state legislature there may soon vote to make their state law permanent. Enacted a year ago, it has a sunset provision that causes it to expire. The governor has voiced concern over a lack of distribution mechanisms, but the injustice of prosecuting patients for following their doctors’ advice may convince him to sign the bill.

R.I. lawmakers delay vote on medical marijuana
Associated Press
Rhode Island lawmakers delay a vote on extending the state's medical marijuana program. Under the law, residents suffering from illnesses including cancer and AIDS can apply for cards from the Department of Health allowing them to legally use marijuana.

MAINE: State Law May be Expanded

In 1998 Maine enacted a law that removed criminal penalties for medical marijuana but failed to establish a system for getting it to patients. Lawmakers there are trying to solve that problem establishing a state program to provide it.

Maine Measure Seeks Medical Marijuana Distribution System
Associated Press
A state-regulated system to grow and distribute marijuana for medical purposes would be created if a bill in the Maine Legislature passes.

MINNESOTA: Twin Medical Marijuana Bills Advancing

One of the many states considering enacting medical marijuana legislation, Minnesota is tackling it with bi-partisan bills in both houses. Lawmakers are talking openly of how family and friends with cancer have had to break the law to ease their suffering and stick with their chemotherapy.

Medical marijuana bills curling through Legislature
by T.W. Budig , ECM Newspapers (MN)
Medical marijuana bills are curling through the Legislature, a Senate bill last week clearing yet another committee.

RESEARCH: Marijuana Varieties Have Different Effects

Analysis shows that different varieties of cannabis have different concentrations of active chemicals. Research and patient experience shows that the ratios of those cannabinoids makes a difference in how a strain affects people. An advantage of dispensaries is the selection they offer and the help knowledgeable staff can provide.

Connoisseurs of Cannabis
by Katherine Seligman , San Francisco Chronicle Magazine
As the quality and variety of marijuana products in pot clubs have grown, so too has an emerging marijuana connoisseurship or, as some call it, "cannasseurship." In medical marijuana circles, the treatment potential of a certain strain, whether it produces a "body high" or a "head high" that dulls pain or stimulates appetite, treats pain, nausea, sleeplessness or other ailments, is paramount.

CALIFORNIA: ID Card Process Reveals More

The writer of this article was interested first and foremost in describing the process of getting a medical marijuana ID card, but the story ends up touching on a more important point: Cannabis is such a broad spectrum drug that it can effectively treat a remarkably wide variety of chronic conditions. In this case, the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis make it a good treatment option for repetitive stress injuries.

Getting carded
by David Rubien , San Francisco Chronicle Magazine
I'm not sure why it didn't occur to me sooner to treat my condition with medical marijuana. I have the journalist's disease -- repetitive strain injury, which results from excessive or nonergonomic typing and mouse use. When the RSI acts up, my fingers tingle and an electrical sensation radiates up my arms, causing nagging pain in the rotator cuff area, prompting me to compulsively poke at the spot.

HISTORY: Therapeutic Cannabis Over the Ages

As a companion piece to the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine’s cover story on medical marijuana, the writer also considered some of the history of therapeutic use, the record of which extends two thousand years.

History of medical cannabis
by David Rubien , San Francisco Chronicle Magazine
The medical benefits of cannabis have been described as far back as the beginning of the A.D. calendar, when a Chinese pharmacopoeia called the Shen-Nung Pen-Tshao Ching listed more than 100 ailments for which marijuana was a treatment, including rheumatism, digestive disorders and malaria. In 19th century Britain and the United States, marijuana was in common use for a variety of ailments, and recognized as an effective anesthesia for surgeries.

FEDERAL: Ailing Defendant Shown Mercy

In an unusual show of mercy, a federal prosecutor has agreed to allow a seriously ill medical marijuana grower to serve a sentence of probation rather than the usual five years in prison. Unfortunately, most medical marijuana defendants are charged and sentenced as if they were drug kingpins, not patients or humanitarians.

Seriously ill man gets probation in pot growing case
by Henry K. Lee , San Francisco Chronicle
A Walnut Creek man who pleaded guilty to growing a large amount of what he said was purely medical marijuana was sentenced today to five years' probation after a judge agreed with a federal prosecutor that the defendant's medical condition would make a prison term inappropriate.

DISPENSARIES: SoCal City Looks to State, SF Works on Permits

For many local officials, the implementation of California’s medical marijuana law has been a matter of waiting for more direction. But ten years after voters approved it, the legislature has provided only a limited amount of help, leaving cities and counties to act on behalf of patients in their communities. ASA’s study of those that have enacted regulatory ordinances have found that dispensaries work well for patients and the community alike. See ASA’s study at ASA*:*Medical Cannabis Dispensing Collectives and Local Regulation

S.F. deluged with pot club permit requests
by Joshua Sabatini , The Examiner
A deadline extension for medical pot clubs to obtain a permit to comply with a new city law is being considered as city departments struggle to process the permit requests, according to Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier.

Clearlake City Council sitting out medical marijuana debate ... for now
by Denise Rockenstein , Record-Bee
The Clearlake City Council continues to take a backseat in the state's medical marijuana movement. The council voted, April 12, to extend its moratorium on the issuance of new business licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries within the city, while it waits for decisions to be made at the state level.
Find out more about ASA at ASA*:*Advancing Legal Medical Marijuana Therapeutics and Research. More medical marijuana news summaries can be seen at ASA*:*Medical Marijuana News Summaries.
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