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Harborside Health Center

Medical Marijuana Industry News October 12, 2012

melissa etheridge

Melissa Etheridge Becomes Newest Celeb to Endorse Marijuana Legalization…

Melissa Etheridge, has provided inspiration to many people through her music and her successful fight against breast cancer.  The singer of popular songs such as “Come to My Window” has now come out in support of Colorado’s Amendment 64.  She appears on an advertisement and says she supports the legalization initiative “because a few years ago I was going through cancer chemotherapy and I was suffering.”  She also goes on to say “Prescription drugs were not helping. The only thing that allowed me to function and regain my strength was marijuana and I’m grateful for the relief it provided me. You know before I needed to use marijuana I just accepted the laws that treated marijuana users as criminals. But it’s funny how a serious illness can give you a new outlook on life.  I now see that it’s wrong to arrest adults for using marijuana and it’s even more wrong to allow gangs and cartels to profit from selling marijuana. Instead we should allow adults to possess limited amounts of marijuana and we should regulate marijuana sales in order to generate tax revenues for public schools construction and other community needs. To me, regulating marijuana is simply the right thing to do. Please vote yes on Amendment 64.”  Residents will have the opportunity to vote on passing the marijuana legalization law.  If they do so, marijuana will be treated in a similar way to alcohol with those 21 and over being to purchase it in a controlled, regulated, and taxed manor.


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Study Shows Missouri Could Make $149 Million off of Marijuana Legalization…

Last night America watched the two vice presidential candidates argue over taxes and the economy.  We did not hear any fresh ideas, but thankfully, a study in Missouri will provide us with information as to how we can jumpstart the economy.  Three states will have their residents vote on whether or not to legalize, regulate, and tax recreational marijuana.  In the above story we already mentioned Colorado, but Oregon and Washington State will also be putting similar measures to the people.  Missouri may join these states in the future as a study released by the groups National Cannabis Coalition and Show-Me Cannabis with the help of Harvard University economist Dr. Jeffrey Miron.  According to the groups Missouri would generate over $149 million if the state legalized marijuana.  This statistic includes $90 million saved by reducing funds associated with incarcerations, arrests, and prosecutions of marijuana offenders.  The additional $59 million would come through taxes placed on marijuana sales.  Dr. Miron said “The main thing I hope people think about is, ‘Why should the government be intervening with individuals using marijuana?”


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City Of Oakland Stands Up For Patients and Local Collectives….

Federal agents have been targeting the world’s largest medical marijuana dispensary, Harborside Health Center, for some time now.  Harborside is known to serve many patients and has gained even more attention as they were the focus of a Discovery Channel show, Weed Wars.  The Feds are attempting to seize the property that Harborside Health occupies, however, in what may be an unprecedented move, the City of Oakland is not sitting idle.  They have filed a lawsuit contending the federal government’s right to do so.  City Attorney Barbara Parker said “This lawsuit is about protecting the rights of legitimate medical patients. “I am deeply dismayed that the federal government would seek to deny these rights and deprive thousands of seriously ill Californians of access to safe, affordable and effective medicine.”   Harborside’s famous Executive Director, Steve DeAngelo said  “It is heartening to see the city stand up and support us.”  Oakland is notoriously struggling financially and many analysts are wondering how big the impact would be if Harborside was closed.  The dispensary paid $3.5 million in taxes with over $1 million going directly to the city of Oakland.


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British Discovery May Explain Why Boy With Epilepsy Benefits From Marijuana

epilepsy in the brain

Earlier this week we at were pleased to report findings on the newest marijuana initiative polls.  The polls have been mostly favorable and show the public is ready to drastically change America’s approach to marijuana law.  However, for those tired of numbers, the election, and Mitt Romney’s view on moochers and 47% of the country, we have some exciting news on a medical cannabis breakthrough.

Patient testimonials have shown for some time that marijuana can be an effective remedy for epileptic seizures.  A recent L.A. Times article describes the findings researchers at Britain’s University of Reading.  They found that a cannabinoid named cannabidivarin (CBDV) “strongly suppressed seizures” without causing the commonly associated side effects such as uncontrollable shaking during a test on lab rats.  Dr. Ben Whalley, who was the lead researcher of the study was pleased to find a potential new path to combating epilepsy.  He recently said “There is a pressing need for better treatments for epilepsy.  It’s a chronic condition with no cure and currently, in around one third of cases, the currently available treatments do not work, cause serious side-effects and increase fatalities.”

The research findings, published this week in British Journal of Pharmacology may shed light on why  California father, Jason David, has found that marijuana is the only effective treatment in trying to provide relief for his ailing son Jayden.  Think Progress has posted an article describing Jason’s moving words regarding his son’s situation.  In short, Jason stated that his son has uncontrollable seizures that so far were only treated with ineffective prescription drugs.  Jason asked his physician if medical marijuana would be worth trying, and his doctor informed him that anything would be worth a try as doing nothing would likely result in Jayden’s death.  The seizures were taking a toll on Jayden’s body and it became clear that something had to be done immediately, even if controversial.  Jason turned to marijuana, but instead of smoking Jayden actually is given a solution comprised of mostly cannabidiol (CBD).  Jayden’s condition was improved almost immediately.  Jason described what happened when they started the treatment by saying “That was the first day, thank god, Jayden ever went seizure-free in his life. The prescription drugs, I feel like they made my son a zombie. Every time I take off another pill, the better he gets.”

Both the findings at the University of Reading and the situation.  As authorities still try to assert that marijuana ‘has no acceptable medical uses” research is obliterating this outdated argument.  More research and regulation may even be able to provide Jayden with tailored medicine to combat his epilepsy with even greater results.  While Jason David is pleased to see his son doing better, he is now confronted with the possibility that his son’s medication may be compromised by federal authorities targeting the world’s largest marijuana dispensary, Harborside Health Center.  Poll numbers and politics have a habit of melting in the true faces that policy impacts.  Perhaps the feds should try to explain their platform on medical marijuana to young Jayden.

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Medical Marijuana Industry News August 3, 2012

federal raids

Federal Crackdown on Dispensaries Continues in San Francisco…

There does not appear to be any end in sight for federal raids targeting marijuana dispensaries.  Attorney General Eric Holder has reiterated that they will not use federal resources to go after law abiding collectives, however that statement no longer appears true.  Without any evidence of wrongdoing, federal authorities announced their intention to shut down the iconic and world’s largest marijuana dispensary, Harborside Health Center.  This week we learned that two prominent San Francisco collectives, Vapor Room and Hope Net would also be forced to shut their doors.  HopeNet Co-founder Catherine Smith said, “The Justice Department sent our landlord one of those nasty letters.  So this is our D-Day, we have to leave.”  Ray Chico who operates the popular jar company Doob Tubes, said the dispensary closings are hurting more than just patients and collective employees.  He noticed his business also take a turn for the worse and has been forced to let go of staff.


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Michigan Court of Appeals Rules Cities Cannot Ban Marijuana Dispensaries…

Recently California’s 2nd Circuit of Appeals ruled that cities cannot outlaw marijuana dispensaries.  The Los Angeles City Council seemed undeterred by this and went forward with what may be considered an illegal ban on dispensaries.  Michigan courts have now issued a similar ruling.  In the city of Wyoming Michigan an ordinance was passed that outlawed collectives.   John Ter Beek of Wyoming Michigan filed a suit in 2010 challenging the ban, and the ACLU also joined the suit. Michigan’s appellate court ruled that a local ordinace does not overrule a state law.  In this case since medical marijuana is protected on a state level, local municipalities cannot enact laws that conflict with state laws and outlaw dispensaries.  Dan Korobkin of the ACLU was pleased with the ruling and said “In 2008, people across the state overwhelmingly voted to protect patients who use marijuana to treat their medical conditions from punishment and penalty.”


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Arizona Asked to Expand Medical Marijuana Program…

Arizona’s medical marijuana program got off to a rocky start and was delayed by two years after being passed by a vote of the people.  There are still calls by opponents of medical marijuana for Governor Jan Brewer to end the program.  Ms. Brewer did not have her most triumphant political moment in court and was chided by a federal judge for the way they handled the situation.  However, as the Governor has received a great deal of criticism by marijuana advocates, they may be praising her today.  Thirteen county attorney’s in Arizona drafted a letter formally requesting that Governor Brewer halt the medical marijuana program.  She has rejected the request and wrote a response letter where she said “I am duty-bound to implement the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, and my agency will do so unless and until I am instructed otherwise.”  Patients will be pleased to hear this as the it ultimately is the responsibility of elected officials to carry out the will of the people, even if they do not agree with a situation on a personal level.


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Activists Urging Costa Mesa Voters to Lift Medical Marijuana Ban…

Advocates of medical marijuana submitted close to 6,800 signatures in an effort to get an initiative on the ballot to legalize non-profit medical marijuana collectives.  Dispensary owner Robert Martinez said “It’s imperative to provide safe access for veterans and cancer patients.  I’m super stoked to bring these signatures.”  The number of signatures is 1,000 more than the 5,812 required signatures which represents 10% of the Costa Mesa population.  However, often many signatures are invalidated during ballot initiatives and if the effort requires more signatures activists will only have until August 10 if they wish to have the issue placed before voters this November.

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Developing Stories in California

la city councilFrom a national standpoint, marijuana reform efforts have been achieving a great deal of success as of late.  Voters in Washington, Colorado, and Oregon will actually have the opportunity to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana use this November.  Even though the situation is not as upbeat in California, the state remains the epicenter for American …continue reading

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Medical Marijuana Industry News July 13, 2012

weed wars

Harborside Health Center the Target of Recent Federal Raid…

Harborside Health Center is one of the most widely known marijuana dispensaries in the world.  It serves as the setting for the Discovery Channel’s popular series “Weed Wars”.  The charismatic Steve DeAngelo runs the facility and has learned from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag that she is threatening to shut down Harborside and its affiliated dispensary in San Jose.  Analysts have questioned the government’s stated reasons for the recent wave of federal raids.  Federal officials claim they are not targeting anyone who abides by state law.  Many feel that shops abiding by California law have been targeted regardless.  Ms. Haag stated “The larger the operation, the greater the likelihood that there will be abuse of the state’s medical marijuana laws, and marijuana in the hands of individuals who do not have a demonstrated medical need.”  Though she did not outright accuse Harborside of any illegal (on state level) activity.  The federal government appears to be trying to make a statement by going after the most well known facilitites.  Earlier this year, raids on the famous Oaksterdam University were carried out by federal officials.


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Alcohol is more of a gateway than marijuana according to Study…

For decades marijuana has often been accused as a gateway drug even as no empirical data has been present to support such claims.  Alcohol, with its physically addictive properties seems to elusively sidestep these conversations because its status as “legal” seems to pacify many.  New research shows that alcohol is more likely to be a “gateway drug” than marijuana.  A study that will appear in August issue of the Journal of School Health shows that teens are exposed to alcohol more frequently and earlier in life.  The study found that the percentage of high school seniors who at least tried alcohol once.  Of the 14,577 students questioned, 72.2% had tried alcohol at least once while 45% tried tobacco products and 43.3% had smoked marijuana.  Researchers concluded that alcohol is much easier for teens to access.  One researcher from The Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan where the study was conducted said “By recognizing the important predictive role of alcohol and delaying initiation of alcohol use, school officials and public health leaders can positively impact the progression of substance use.”  He went to also say “I am confident in our findings and the clear implications they have for school-based prevention programs. By delaying and/or preventing the use of alcohol, these programs can indirectly reduce the rate of use of other substances.


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Backers of Second Legalization Ballot Initiative in Oregon File Lawsuit…

Earlier this week reported that Oregon voters may get their chance to legalize marijuana this November.  The ballot initiative is called “The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act” and would create a government regulatory system that would see marijuana regulated like alcohol.  The issue has a great deal of support in the state as another ballot initiative also collected many signatures.  However, Robert Wolfe has filed a lawsuit against Oregon’s Secretary of State, Kate Brown, on the grounds that she illegally invalidated many of the submitted signatures.  Mr. Wolfe and his group submitted approximately 170,000 signatures which is over 50,000 more than required.  Currently there are not enough signatures for the issue to make the ballot and Mr. Wolfe will have to be successful in court in order to get his efforts to the voters.  However, it still appears Oregon voters will have the chance to at least vote on one legalization measure.


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