Montana Governor Vetoes Medical Marijuana Repeal

Medical marijuana is still legal in Montana. Governor Brian Schweitzer has vetoed a Republican bill that would have repealed the state’s medical marijuana law, approved by an overwhelming 62 percent of state voters in 2004.

Schweitzer vetoed the bill on Wednesday, along with several others he called “frivolous, unconstitutional or in direct contradiction to the expressed will of the people of Montana, “reports The Associated Press.

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Arizona Gets 110 Medical Marijuana Applications On First Day

The Arizona Department of Health received 110 electronic applications — almost 60 percent of them for chronic pain — and authorized at least 44 people to use medical marijuana on Wednesday, the first day the program was active.

Their cards were mailed on Thursday, reports Mary K. Reinhart at AZCentral, allowing them to buy and possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks, and grow up to 12 plants.

Those who live closer than 25 miles to the nearest dispensary eventually won’t be allowed to grow their own, but until the dispensaries are up and running, all patients are allowed to grow.

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Medical Marijuana and Vaporizers

Did you know that in 2011 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will redesign tobacco health warnings so that they cover 50 percent of the front and rear of each pack of cigarettes?  Tobacco companies will begin including these updated warnings on their cigarette packaging and advertisements in 2012.  The fact is, smoking is injurious to health – not the tobacco itself but the burning of it.  The same applies to marijuana.  The plant is known to contain many health-enhancing compounds and to be helpful for a number of medical conditions, but burning it, particularly alongside tobacco, produces health-harming toxins.  This is why using a vaporizer for your weed is such a sound alternative.

When you use a vaporizer you are heating the cannabis to the temperature needed for the plant to release its essential oils – and no further.  No combustion takes place and you inhale a vapour, or mist, instead of smoke.  Plants release their active ingredients at a variety of temperatures, for cannabis the optimum temperature is 180°C to 200°C.  However there are at least 250 herbs and plants that release heath-enhancing compounds when heated, so vaporizers can be used for more than marijuana!

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Medical Marijuana Hits the Mainstream

Okay, we’re not in the business of promoting medical marijuana dispensaries that we don’t know, however,  an advertisement for medical marijuana broadcast on network television was, we thought,  such a ground breaking moment, we felt  it should be commemorated!

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Medical Marijuana: New Mexico Changes Planned

Currently, there are 2,500 licensed patients and 11 certified producers on the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program, yet the program has no allocated budget. The costs of funding come out at around $700,000 to $800,000, which is currently cobbled together from bits and pieces of funding from other programs. In order to sort out this anomaly, the State has a few changes up its collective sleeve, some of which might prove to be a little controversial. Planned changes include:

An increase in certification cost for medical cannabis producers from $100 to $1,000
Medical cannabis producers to pay 7% of their annual fee to the State
Specific auditing and testing powers for the Department of Health

Some of those present at yesterdays well attended public meeting (around 200 people showed up) expressed concern that increased fees for producers would be passed on as increased costs for patients, while others think that the program already has enough red-tape to negotiate and doesn’t need more.

Positive comments included praise for the program, the only program in the country that places full responsibility with the Department of Health. Perhaps, with this accolade in mind, it would have served the Department better had Health Secretary, Alfredo Vigil, burned up at the hearing – especially as the programs plans as they are right now seem to give him sole discretion over certain aspects. In his defense, Vigil told the New Mexican that these negative comments merely proved that the public lacks knowledge on the workings of state government…

Making the point that state cabinet secretaries rarely attend rule-making sessions, he said:

“There is nothing unusual in how this works. As far as I know, there are no areas where sole discretion is being created, only clarified. Whether those words are on the paper or not, I still am the only one with the ultimate discretion.”

New Mexico Cannabis Program Patients’ Thoughts

A number of medical marijuana patients registered with the program said they were unhappy with the amount of cannabis they are allowed to possess, which is set at:

Six ounces for those who buy from a producer
four mature plants and a dozen seedlings for those who grow their own

The growing season in New Mexico is short and these limits make it difficult to grow an entire year’s supply. Growing marijuana indoors works out expensive they said, what with the cost of light and heat. Department of Health spokesperson Deborah Busemeyer says staff will consider these concerns when the proposed rule changes are reviewed.

Another concern raised was the need for annual renewal of medical cannabis cards; Busemeyer responded that as the rule had been created by the Legislature, that is where it will have to be reviewed.

Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque, who is in favor of the program, wouldn’t make any specific promises but said he will support additional funding for medical marijuana research. He also requested an extended period for public comment. This was granted and The Department will accept petitions up to and including October 10, 2010 in the office of the Medical Cannabis program, Runnels Building Room S-1310, 1190 St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505.

Once the comment period has expired a final draft of the rules will be put before Vigil for approval and, if approved, they could take effect from mid-November.

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