October 01, 2015 | SteveElliott
A marijuana gas station opens in Colorado, tourists can finally buy Cannabis in Las Vegas + more news highlights from across the country in October 2015
Study Shows Patients Replace Pharmaceuticals with Marijuana
Patients with legal access to medical marijuana use fewer conventional pharmaceuticals, according to a demographic review of patient characteristics published online in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.
Investigators with the Medical Marijuana Research Institute in Mesa, Ariz. looked at responses from 367 state-qualified medicinal Cannabis patients recruited from four dispensaries in Arizona, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
Respondents were most likely to be male, in their mid-40s, and daily users of Cannabis. Respondents most often reported using marijuana for pain, muscle spasms, nausea, anxiety, depression, arthritis, headaches, insomnia and stress.
They typically said Cannabis provides “a lot of relief” or “almost complete relief” of their symptoms, and that it is more effective than conventional pharmaceuticals. Patients also understandably reported reducing their use of pharmaceuticals.
More than 70 percent of those responding said they used other medications “a little less frequently” or “much less frequently” for 24 of the 42 conditions specified. More than 90 percent of those who used marijuana for nausea, headache, muscle spasms, fibromyalgia, bowel discomfort and chronic pain said they used pharmaceuticals less frequently once they started Cannabis therapy.
Gas and Grass Opens in Colorado
The advent of recreational marijuana in Colorado has led to some interesting business models. Now, a hybrid that combines a traditional filling station with a Cannabis dispensary is set to open two locations in Colorado Springs.
Gas and Grass, operated by Denver-based Native Roots, will open its first two locations in Colorado Springs next month, one at West Uintah and 17th Street, the other at Academy and Galley, reports Andy Koen at KOAA.
“It’s really just kind of pairing the convenience in one specific stop,” said spokesperson Tia Mattson. The dispensary will have its own separate entrance and must follow all the same rules that apply to other medical marijuana stores in Colorado, Mattson said.
The gas station will be open to the public. “I believe we’ll have lottery tickets, beverages, cigarettes and similar things that you would pick up in a convenience store,” Mattson said.
Native Roots’ 11 dispensaries and retail marijuana stores operate all over Colorado. The stores have a uniform look with merchandise and pricing structures in common, like almost any other retail chain. The stores also sell marijuana-themed shirts, hats and souvenirs. The gas station idea simply expands the other-than-Cannabis business concept, Mattson said.
Tourists Can Now Buy Medical Marijuana in Las Vegas
Fifteen years after Nevada voters approved the legalization of medical marijuana, the first dispensary opened its doors on Aug. 24 in Clark County.
The southwest Las Vegas shop is allowed under state law to serve tourists who are registered medical marijuana patients in their home states, as well as Nevada residents. “We’ve been so busy, there are lines around the corner at some times of the day,” said Darlene Purdy, managing director at Euphoria Wellness, reports Sarah Feldberg at Travel Weekly.
Purdy said the dispensary has seen more than 100 patients a day. “Patients are so happy,” she said. “Some people have been waiting 15 years for this.”
As long as out-of-state visitors are registered medical marijuana patients at home with a valid authorization and government-issued ID, they are welcome to buy medical marijuana during their Vegas vacation.
Nevada has set up the “gold standard” of medical marijuana programs, according to state Sen. Tick Segerblom, who sponsored the bill that led to legalization of dispensaries. He said the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. “I haven’t heard of anything negative,” Segerblom said. “It took 15 years to get here, but there hasn’t been one peep of ‘the sky is falling.’ Everybody is on board with this thing.”
Well, with a couple of exceptions. In May 2014, the Gaming Control Board sent a note to its licensees saying, “unless the federal law is changed, the Board does not believe investment or any other involvement in a medical marijuana facility or establishment by a person who has received a gaming approval or has applied for a gaming approval is consistent with the effective regulation of gaming.”
Despite the Gaming Board’s advice for casinos to steer clear of medical Cannabis, Segerblom has high hopes for the Cannabis industry in Nevada, including the legalization of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older, which will appear on the ballot next year.
“It’s going to be great for our industry, which is tourism,” Segerblom said. “We have 40 million people a year. If 10 percent of those people went to a dispensary, watch out. Let’s regulate it, tax it. We’re known as the place you go to do things that you can’t do elsewhere, so why not smoke a little pot, too?”
NEW DEA CHIEF SAYS MARIJUANA SHOULD STAY ON SCHEDULE I
New federal Drug Enforcement Administration head Chuck Rosenberg in a TV interview last month called marijuana “dangerous” and added, “if we come up with a medical use for it, that would be wonderful. But we haven’t.”
The woefully misinformed DEA chief also said that federal drug agents in the field won’t be discouraged from working on big marijuana cases, despite directives from the Obama administration to not waste resources pursuing state-compliant providers, reports James Rosen at Fox News.
“I’ve been very clear to my agents in charge,” Rosenberg said. “If you have a big marijuana case, if that in your jurisdiction is one of your biggest problems, then bring it.”
That, of course, leaves the door open for pot-hating federal prosecutors to continue their war on marijuana, same as it ever was.
Fox News asked Rosenberg about the continued inclusion of Cannabis in Schedule I, the federal government’s harshest and most dangerous category of narcotics. “Marijuana is dangerous,” Rosenberg replied. “It’s certainly not as dangerous as other Schedule I controlled substances; it’s not as dangerous as heroin, clearly, but it’s still dangerous,” Rosenberg claimed. “It’s not good for you. I wouldn’t want my children smoking it. I wouldn’t recommend that anyone do it. So, I frankly don’t see a reason to remove it.”
PARLIAMENT TO DEBATE CANNABIS LEGALIZATION
In what looks to be a first for the United Kingdom, Parliament will debate the legalization of Cannabis this month, House of Commons authorities announced. Members of Parliament (MP) on Oct. 12 will consider a proposal to make the “production, sale and use of Cannabis legal,” reports Jon Stone at The Independent.
The debate will be held in response to an official petition on Parliament’s website, which received more than 213,000 signatures by Sept. 9. The debate will take place in Westminster Hall and led by Labour MP Paul Flynn of the Parliament’s petitions committee.
Flynn previously called for the legalization of marijuana for medical use, introducing a bill to do so in 1999 and supporting another along with Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake in 2008. The debate is unlikely to lead to any change in the law, according to political observers, but it could put additional pressure on the government to act on what is clearly changing public opinion.
The government’s official response to the petition was quite negative. “Substantial scientific evidence shows Cannabis is a harmful drug that can damage human health,” the response reads. “There are no plans to legalise Cannabis as it would not address the harm to individuals and communities. employment, housing and parental rights.”
Kansas Veteran Denied Pain Pills After Testing Positive For Marijuana
A national argument between the Veterans Administration and groups protecting veterans’ rights emerged Sept. 8 in Kansas.The issue — whether veterans should be denied prescription medications because they use marijuana for physical or emotional pain, even in states that allow marijuana use — arose when a Vietnam veteran was denied his pain pills because he tested positive for pot, according to KSNT News.
“I went in to get a refill on my pain medication and they refused to let me have it because I have marijuana in my blood,” said disabled Vietnam veteran Gary Dixon, 65. While in Vietnam, Dixon was exposed to Agent Orange.
“I hurt, and I hurt from something I got fighting for my country,” Dixon said. He now has stage four lung cancer, doesn’t have much time left to live and readily admits to smoking marijuana.
Dixon and his wife Debbie on Sept. 8 drove to Topeka from Fort Scott like they customarily do for Dixon’s stroke group therapy and to pick up his pain medicine. But this time, he had to take a urine test and sign an opiate consent form.
“I said, if she was wanting to see if I still smoke marijuana, I said I do,” said Dixon, who added that he has used Cannabis since 1972.
He takes 10 to 15 presription pills per day, but on the afternoon of Sept. 8, he walked out of the VA hospital empty-handed.
Steve Elliott is the editor behind tokesignals.com, an independent blog of Cannabis news and opinion