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Marijuana Industry News April 12, 2013

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Maryland Senate Passes Medicinal Marijuana Bill, Fate As much as Governor….

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Maryland has among the oddest medicinal marijuana laws and regulations within the U . s . States. It’s not outright allowed, however, an affirmative defense is permitted. People can avoid conviction of the possession charge should they have a debilitating condition for example MS or cancer. Furthermore, if someone doesn’t have a “debilitating” condition, but could still prove medical necessity the sentence could be reduced to $100 fine. There’s been serious discussion to completely legalize medicinal marijuana during the last many years in Maryland, however, Governor Martin O’ Malley continues to be up against the idea, particularly stating fears of federal government bodies defending Maryland condition employees. The Maryland Condition Senate has passed another bill that legalize medicinal marijuana and also the Governor has had a rather much softer stance. It’s not known without a doubt if he’ll sign the balance now that it’s on his desk however, many expect the governor to enact what the law states. The Governor lately known as the balance a yellow light. It might signal an enormous victory for activists as Mr. O’Malley is really a close connect of Leader Obama.


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Federal Government Grows Prohibit on Chemicals to produce Synthetic Marijuana…

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Synthetic marijuana has turned into a problem that nearly appeared to increase from nowhere. Items for example “K2” and “Spice” made an appearance in supermarkets and increased in recognition rapidly. This Year there have been over 11,000 er visits credited to synthetic marijuana. Of individuals accepted in to the er 75% were age range 12-29. The items are frequently offered at supermarkets and don’t have age limitations. Developing teen metabolisms appear to become influenced probably the most seriously. Congress already outlawed certain compounds accustomed to create synthetic cannabis, including jwh-018. However, it is extremely hard for what the law states to maintain synthetic makers, as they possibly can use a variety of compounds to produce new items. The Whitened Home is thinking about trying to outlaw a couple of new substances including UR-144, AKB48,and XLR11. Many experts have credited the increase in market interest in synthetics as a result of the marijuana prohibition.


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Marijuana Policy Project Replaces Vandalized Billboard…

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Vandals happen to be focusing on advertisements for any very long time, however, it is just lately where they’ve had the opportunity to target marijuana ads. In Tigard Or a commercial that implied marijuana was safer than alcohol appeared to upset a minumum of one person. For only being up for 2 days it had been torn lower. A brand new sign is rising, due mainly towards the group Marijuana Policy Project. This time around, in mention of first billboard, the saying “The Truth can’t be destroyed” continues to be added. Marijuana Policy Project is certainly the most effective and common marijuana reform organizations across the nation.


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Teen Highlights the Failure of Prohibition

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Banning the sale and consumption of alcohol did not exactly create the moral utopia some expected in the 1920s and 30s.  In fact, it created bootlegging and organized crime which still presents major problems almost a century later.  Banning and ignoring marijuana has also created an unregulated black market, however our government does not seem to be learning a quick lesson this time around.

Many experts also believe that banned substances can become in vogue.  While marijuana happens to be a banned substance with little to no side effects, its chemical copies offer far more devastating consequences.  Synthetic marijuana or cannabinoids, can mimic many of the effects of marijuana, but also carry the potential for massive health complications.  These include high risk for strokes, heart problems, stomach/intestinal issues, and mental problems.  Despite this, synthetic marijuana has become very popular with teens as it can be purchased at local convenience stores.   Last year, a federal ban was enacted to stop the sales of products that include these lab created compounds such as JWH-018.

A teen from Cypress, Texas, knows all too well of just how serious the side effects of synthetic marijuana can be.  Emily Bauer spent two weeks in an ICU after purchasing and using synthetic marijuana.  Two weeks before her ICU stay, she was experiencing persistent migraines.  Her symptoms grew worse as her mental state deteriorated.  She became violent and when her parents decided to have paramedics take her to the hospital, she fought vigorously and bit guardrails and anybody who attempted to help her.  Her symptoms were so severe that it appeared she would not recover.  Bauer survived but has endured a traumatic experience.  She finds herself part of the group that is most at risk to wind up in the hospital for synthetic marijuana use, those between the ages of 12-17.

Unfortunately, the propaganda and exaggeration machine has eroded the trust between teens and government officials.  Teens have heard and found firsthand that marijuana is not nearly the villain that films such as reefer madness have made it out to be.  The problem now has become trying to earn this trust back.  People are willing to try out dangerous products such as K2 and Spice despite health warnings.  Additionally, the bans may never be fully effective as labs can create new synthetic cannabinoids with relative ease.  The government has a tremendous credibility issue and has to engage in a realistic conversation on marijuana.  It is here, it is not going away, and with proper regulation will be far less harmful than prescription drugs, homemade drugs, alcohol, and synthetics.

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Medical Marijuana Industry News October 5, 2012

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Los Angeles Patients and Activists Score Huge Victory as they Force City Council To Repeal Dispensary Ban…

The decision by the Los Angeles City Council to drop their current efforts in banning marijuana dispensaries is a huge lift for many concerned patients.  While we at  marijuana.net have posted the story already on our page, we thought it was important to bring more focus to the issue.  The city wanted the ban as they have proved unable to come up with an adequate system of regulation.  Instead of rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty, they decided the work would be too difficult and tried to brush the issue under the rug.  A dispensary ban would have likely lead to a resurgence of unregulated gang related marijuana sales on the street level.  This week’s victory shows how the voice of the people still matters and how great things can be accomplished.  Americans for Safe Access was able to collect the over 27,000 signatures needed to block the ban.  After the signatures were collected the City Council had the option of repealing the ban themselves or putting the vote to the people.  Many analysts expected the issue to go to a vote.  While we have been hard on how the City Council has handled the situation, we would like to applaud them in this decision.  As it was becoming more clear that there was enough voter support to repeal the ban in the City Council decided not to drag out the inevitable.

 

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Synthetic Marijuana Linked to Kidney Failure in Oregon Residents…

Over the course of the past year fears have grown over synthetic marijuana use.  Most state governments and the federal government have outlawed its production.  Many health complications have been linked to synthetic cannabis use with kidney failure now emerging as the newest problem.  In Oregon, 6 cases of kidney failure have been linked to use of popular products such as “Spice” and “K2”. 
State Public Health Division Director Mel Kohn, M.D., M.P.H, said “People need to know that synthetic or designer drugs like ‘spice’ or ‘synthetic amphetamines’ are chemicals that are not safe, can contain dangerous contaminants, and may cause serious harm to users – even death, If you become ill after taking a designer drug, seek medical attention immediately and bring the drug in so it can be tested.”


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Republican Senate Candidate in Washington State Endorses Marijuana Legalization Initiative…

Bi-partisan has become a dirty word in Washington D.C. as neither party seems willing to give the other credit.  Hopefully in Washington State this can be corrected.  Many people may associate marijuana reform with Democrats, but many Republicans, especially those who favor state rights seem to moving toward supporting marijuana.  This is the case in Washington State as Republican Senate hopeful, Michael Baumgartner, has endorsed Initiative-502.  This ballot initiative will be voted on by residents of the state and would create a system of regulating, taxing, and distributing marijuana in a similar way that alcohol is handled.  In actuality, the marijuana industry will be handled by the states Liquor Control Board.  Mr. Baumgartner explained his support of Initiative 502 by saying “It’s taking a different approach to a very expensive drug war, and potentially a better approach.  They’ve checked all the boxes as far as what you would want to see happen in terms of provisions to keep it away from children and limiting access in the public space. I’ve just been impressed with the initiative and the people running it.”  While he may be a longshot to unseat U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, he may be successful in motivating the already high support for the bill.

 

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Medical Marijuana Industry News July 27, 2012

green cross_fullActivists Vow to Fight Back Against Los Angeles Dispensary Ban… The decision by the Los Angeles City Council to ban marijuana dispensaries shocked many throughout the nation.  Safe patient access has been now become an even greater concern.  Patients are concerned that they will have to resort to illegal means of obtaining marijuana.  It appears …continue reading

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Medical Marijuana Industry News June 29, 2012

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New Billboard Featuring Father and Son for Marijuana Regulation put up in Colorado…

Supporters of Colorado’s Amendment 64 are starting to add up.  Amendment 64 will be voted on by the people of Colorado in November and would see marijuana regulated and taxed.  The group Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol was instrumental in getting the signatures required to get the issue to the ballots.  A new campaign that focuses on families was recently launched.  The group has placed a billboard close to the stadium that is home to the Denver Broncos.  Opponents were predictably critical and asserted that legalized marijuana will find its way into the hands of children.  Recent studies have shown this not to be the case in Sacramento for medical marijuana.  The group feels this is not the case and their billboard actually depicts a father and a son with the slogan “Please, Card My Son.”  Under that it says “Regulate the sale of marijuana and keep it out of his hands.”

 

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Chicago Passes Law to Ticket Small Level Marijuana Offenders…

Media outlets have been reporting on a plan to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in the city of Chicago.  Aldermen (term used for Chicago City Legislators) had a long debate on the issue the other day but in the end overwhelmingly approved the measure, 43-3.  The law was supported by President Obama’s former Chief of Staff, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  In response to dissenters who claimed the law sent a poor message to children, the Mayor actually stated that no action would send a far more devastating signal.  Chicago has seen a tremendous rise in homicides, up 38% from this time last year.  Many are concerned with police resources being tied up combating low level marijuana cases instead of more serious crimes.  Alderman Will Burns said “The calls I get at 2 o’clock in the morning are not about marijuana possession, they’re about someone who’s been shot in my ward, I want those calls to cease and the way we do that is to make sure our police are fighting violent crime.”  Residents of Chicago are also concerned, like New York City, about the disproportionate amount of marijuana arrests for Black and Hispanics, compared with Whites who actually smoke more marijuana.

 

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New Jersey Assembly Approves Marijuana Decriminalization Bill…

New Jersey Lawmakers have been discussing a bill that would decriminalize marijuana for about a month.  Earlier this week they passed it as many residents feel their tax dollars are being wasted on low level marijuana possession arrests.  The New Jersey State Assembly passed measure A1465 by a margin of 44-30.  Unfortunately for marijuana advocates, New Jersey Mayor Chris Christie has already indicated that he will veto the measure.  Judging by the governor’s opposition to a medical marijuana program that was already passed before he came to office, New Jersey residents may be in store for a bitter battle over a sensible decriminalization debate.  Check back with us as we will be covering the Governor’s response and possible veto in further detail to the decriminalization bill.

 

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President Obama to Sign Bill Banning Synthetic Marijuana…

Momentum for outlawing synthetic marijuana has been building for over a year.  Many states have their own laws against products such as “K2” and “Spice” but now it appears a federal ban will be signed by President Barack Obama soon.  Recently a bill (led by NY Senator Charles Schumer) passed in the United States Senate and will make its way to the president’s desk soon.  Dangerous side effects, especially for teens have been reported.  Many feel a tightly regulated marijuana industry would have prevented the synthetic black market.  The bill comes at a time when advocates are desperate for the White House to engage in a serious marijuana reform conversation.  Many were offended when DEA officials refused to acknowledge that heroin and crack were more harmful than marijuana.

 

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Medical Marijuana Laboratory’s Quest for Safer Medicine goes National

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As politicians still take a wait and see approach on the “research” associated with marijuana, they ironically often avoid speaking to those who have been in the field gathering piles of data on the subject.  As this industry shows it is here to stay, we must accept that patients need safe and tailored medicine which can only be ensured by quality lab testing after proper cultivation.

Unlike a pharmaceutical pill which takes hundreds of millions of dollars to get to the market and cannot easily be altered, marijuana strains can be cultivated in a way that addresses the specific concerns of the patient.  We are happy to see that Jeffrey Raber Ph.D and The Werc Shop are being well received across the country.  Getting past the typical talking points and eye rolls can be tough, but Jeff has started to notice a change in this trend.  Authorities are also starting to realize that medical marijuana is here to stay and it is going to need regulation.

Recently Jeff took The Werc Shop’s message across the country as he traveled from California to New Jersey.   At the New Jersey Association for Forensic Scientists (NJAFS) annual conference, Jeff was asked to address the attendees.  He made a great presentation and described many of the cutting edge techniques they are utilizing for terpene profiling, microbiological screening, and cannabinoid profiling.  With years of experience, Jeff may be able to help the east coast states get up to speed on the sophistication of the testing done out west.  While New Jersey government officials may have delayed their medical marijuana program from starting, Jeff feels the members of the NJAFS are ready and willing to do a thorough job once the program starts serving patients.  One impressed crime lab chemist told him that he tests cannabis  everyday but has never looked at it quite the way Jeff does.  They were also amazed at how benign marijuana cannabinoids are in comparison to the synthetics found in recently outlawed products such as “K2” and “Spice”.  Overall, it seemed that those who took part in the conference were very receptive to Jeff’s presentation and are looking to increase their scientific knowledge of the cannabis plant.

Jeff was excited to finally get to speak to audiences about utilizing terpene data to identify phenotypes and accurate strain names.  As many of us know, “The Marijuana Name Game”, while fun, has been a bit of a roadblock for this industry to gain total mainstream support.  A silly name such as “Purple Urkle” does not exactly tell patients if the medication is suited to their needs.  Marijuana.net and The Werc Shop are both working hard to bring uniform definitions to strains.  Jeff’s excitement was shared and he was immediately approached to give a similar presentation at Rutgers University.  Jeff agreed and again noticed an engaged audience.

For those who question a lack of research in medical marijuana, they need only look to labs like The Werc Shop.    The benefits of medical marijuana are constantly becoming more widely known.  When conventional treatments fail, it is not realistic to assume patients are not going to seek alternatives, especially when these alternatives can relieve pain and produce little side effects.  Medical marijuana is here and the future of this industry needs to rely on regulation and testing to endure the best and safest medicine gets out to patients.

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Medical Marijuana Industry News May 25, 2012

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Andy Caffrey Plans to Smoke Marijuana in front of U.S. Capitol if he wins election…

A marijuana patient and activist is seeking to win the congressional seat for California’s 2nd district which includes much of the northern region of the state.  Andy Caffrey has been known to light up a joint during his campaign stops.  If elected he has vowed to continue the tradition on the steps of the United States Capitol building.  The district has been occupied by long time law maker Wally Herger (R-CA) since 1987.  Earlier this year, Mr. Herger announced that he would not be seeking re-election in November.  Caffrey is hoping that he can win the soon to be vacant seat by advocating for major changes in marijuana law and voiced his frustration with both Republicans and Democrats.  The race will be interesting as many hats have been thrown into the race with almost all of them supporting legalized or medical marijuana.  Caffrey has spent previous time working with the environmental group Earth First.

 

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Appeals Court Rejects Medical Marijuana Suit by Disabled Plaintiffs…

Struggling patients were not granted the compassion they were seeking by federal courts.  A lawsuit was filed against California (Marla James vs. the City of Costa Mesa) cities for cracking down on marijuana dispensaries.  The plaintiffs claimed the actions of city municipalities were in direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The plaintiffs who are legal marijuana card holders say that other treatments have failed to reduce pain.  The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination in providing public services.  The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seemed to sympathize with the plaintiffs but felt they could not offer protection because the Americans with Disabilities Act recognizes federal law instead of state legislation.

 

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US Judge says GPS Use in Marijuana Bust Illegal…

The Drug Enforcement Agency followed Robert Dale Lee by installing a GPS device on his truck.  In September of last year, Kentucky State Troopers pulled over Lee already having vital info provided by the GPS.  Lee arrived in Kentucky with over 150 pounds of marijuana in his truck from Chicago.  A US judge is throwing out the case because the DEA failed to get a warrant before installing the GPS.  In January, the United States Supreme court ruled against the DEA having permission to use GPS locators without a warrant.

 

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United States Senate Officially Outlaws Synthetic Cannabis…

While the outlawing of synthetic cannabis pretty much was handled several months ago by the US Senate, it is now official.  Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) previously objected to the legislation but now the Senate is finally able to move forward.  A bill was also passed by the house toward the end of 2011.  Both bills will likely be combined and then be presented to the president for his signature.   Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has led the federal charge against synthetic cannabis.  Synthetic marijuana products such as “K2” and “Spice” have come under fire as they have been linked with serious side effects and emergency room visits, especially by teenagers.

 

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Medical Marijuana Industry News March 30, 2012

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Rhode Island Lawmakers Consider Legalizing Marijuana For Recreational Use…

 

Rhode Island has been full of marijuana updates lately.  Earlier in the week it was reported that RI is considering three new medical marijuana facilities.  Currently, medical marijuana is permitted if patients meet certain criteria.  They are allowed to possess 2.5 ounces and 12 plants but there are no dispensaries.  In a newer development, it was revealed that legislators in Rhode Island are now even considering legalizing marijuana for recreational use.  The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear both sides of the debate on Tuesday.  Decriminalizing cannabis will also be discussed at Tuesday’s hearing.

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Initiatives to Make Marijuana Enforcement Lowest Priority are Underway in 6 Washington State Cities…

Washington State has already considered serious marijuana reform by the actions of New Approach Washington.  The group was able to collect enough signatures for marijuana legalization (Initiative 502) to make it to the ballot and face a vote by the people.  In the meantime however, it looks as if residents in Washington will attempt other ways in which to reform marijuana law.  Sensible Washington is making a huge effort to push the decriminalization initiatives in Spokane, Olympia, Kent, Bellingham, Everett, and Bremerton.  Seattle and Tacoma have already passed similar legislation making marijuana enforcement for personal adult use the lowest priority by authorities.

 

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New York State Bans the Sale of Synthetic Marijuana…

Lawmakers in New York State have been pushing for a ban on synthetic marijuana for the past several months.  They have finalized the ban preventing convenience store and tobacco shops from selling the popular products such as “K2” and “Spice”.  Many have been concerned with recent health reports on the products.  Teenagers seem especially vulnerable as there have been many emergency room visits reported that have been linked to use of synthetic marijuana.  Many of these instances involve teens not being able to speak or acknowledge their surroundings.  The National Poison Control Center has received 8,000 calls involving synthetic cannabis since 2011.  The rise in the numbers is staggering as New York had 4 such instances in 2009 and 2010.  New York State Senator Charles Schumer has led the charge for both a national ban and New York’s ban on synthetic cannabis.  He has met opposition on a federal by those who feel any ban should be left up to individual states.  Most states have already enacted similar bans.

 

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Doctor believes that symptoms of Synthetic Cannabis Use not always Recognized

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Prohibition paves a golden road to the black market.  The mafia flourished during America’s alcohol prohibition and marijuana.net has recently covered many stories that highlight the Mexican Cartel’s profits during the current war on cannabis.  The alternate and unregulated drug market has witnessed new products that are striking fear in parents and health care workers.

Complications from synthetic marijuana are being reported regularly these days.  The problem seems much more pronounced in teenagers, with emergency room visits on the rise.  Most of the news outlets refer to all synthetic marijuana, ingredients, and effects as if they fit into one category.  A recent article entitled “Side effects of synthetic pot-aka Spice- may be missed by ER Docs” has appeared on MSNBC’s website.  This article mentions major problems in diagnosing and treating teens who suffer from side effects of synthetics.

Dr. Joanna Cohen is a pediatric emergency physician and told MSNBC that “These drugs are unregulated…symptoms can be unpredictable because the drug is mixed with other types of chemicals and substances.” The problem is also complicated by the fact that there is no standard in the synthetic marijuana market.  With 39 states and a federal ban on JWH-018, synthetic creators have used many other compounds.  This can make detection of use by teens difficult as there is not necessarily consistency to the side effects.  The article also specifically describes several cases where teens were unable to speak, move, or respond to touch after being rushed to the emergency room after use of synthetic cannabinoids.  The side effects are different, unpredictable, and impossible to determine as many unknown chemicals can be found in the products used by teens.

While rogue chemists may have replaced the iconic prohibition kings such as Al Capone, the situation remains similar.  The black market in 2012 may not have the identifiable faces that made bootleggers so famous, but the effects of this market may be far worse.  Synthetic products such as “K2” and “Spice” can be purchased at convenience stores and will likely just appear in different packaging if outlawed.  These stories only highlight the need for a regulated and safe marijuana market, where the demand for products that can result in emergency room visits will fade away.

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Medical Marijuana Industry News March 2, 2012

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California Courts Rule against using Nuisance Ordinance to Shut Down Collectives

 

As the legal debate continues in California over medical marijuana, there were several new twists in the situation this week.  The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that municipalities cannot use nuisance ordinance to shut down marijuana dispensaries.  This would seem to be a victory for advocates as municipalities have shut down medical marijuana collectives through use of the nuisance ordinance  before.  The court also included in its decision that dispensaries can only dispense marijuana from where it is grown and cannot be imported from any outside source.  The state supreme court is expected to review California’s medical marijuana laws later this year.  Another court case that was decided this week involved a lawsuit against the Obama administration.  The suit claimed that the White House was disingenuous and claimed they would not conduct any raids on dispensaries.  The case was thrown out.

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Marijuana Advocates From all parts of the Community Gather in Michigan

 

 

Residents of Michigan have been very active in pursuing marijuana reform.  Last year, Kalamazoo residents voted to make marijuana law enforcement the lowest priority for police officers.  A ballot initiative is underway to get a marijuana legalization bill to the voters in November.  This week marijuana advocates from all walks of life joined came together to pursue changes in cannabis laws.  Patients, caregivers, and advocacy groups all met at the Clarion Hotel in Ann Arbor in an effort to coordinate their legal efforts and testimony.

 

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New Jersey Joins other states in Synthetic Marijuana Ban

 

New Jersey has joined the nationwide crackdown on synthetic marijuana.  On Wednesday New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that the state has outlawed synthetic cannabis.  Across the country many have been worried about the potential side effects of products such as “K2” and “Spice” which have been linked to seizures and heart attacks especially in teens.  The substance will now be held in the same regards as heroin and cocaine can result in a $25,000 fine and 3 to 5 years in prison if convicted of possession.  New Jersey is now a part of an overwhelming 39 states that have outlawed synthetic marijuana products.

 

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