Dispensaries Task Force is Kicking into High Gear

taskforceMany of you likely know about the dispensaries task force resolution that was passed during the 2014 legislative session. This task force will propose legislation to create a system of dispensaries that suits the needs of Hawaii’s medical cannabis patients. The task force just had its first meeting, and this has spawned a slew of positive mentions in the media.

Here is an excellent segment highlighting the need for dispensaries from KITV.

Here is a segment from HPR2, featuring Peter Whiticar from the Department of Health explaining how the current system works and why a dispensary system is urgently needed and long overdue.

Finally, this story from the Star Advertiser features interviews with several members of the task force including Peter Whiticar and patient Karl Malivuk.

It is excellent to watch, hear, and read stories that place the need for marijuana dispensaries in a context of compassion and open-mindedness. I hope that the recommendations of the task force will be greeted with the same level of discourse that the task force itself has been.

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Senate About to Vote on Defunding DEA Raids on Medical Cannabis

wpid-wp-1402331519077.jpegRead the story from the Daily Chronic, or sinply click here to use NORML’s tool that will help you instantly write to your senators.

The amendment that recently passed the House of Representatives, called the Rohrabacher-Farr ammendment, will now be introduced to the Senate. Please take a moment, if you haven’t yet, to support this enormous step toward ending federal interference with progressive state medical cannabis programs!

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New Mexico Court of Appeals Rules That Cannabis is Covered by Insurance

Read the full story here.

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Until now, supporters of medical cannabis have not been quick to push for insurance coverage for medical cannabis. The health insurance system is regulated nationally, and Hawaii’s near miss with SB2574/HB2092 SD1 showed just how much the Medical Cannabis program has to fear from being incorporated into the quagmire of health insurance.

Still, there are many good reasons for wanting it to be a covered medical treatment, not the least of which will be cost savings.

Medical Marijuana is currently at something of a crossroads between being accepted and used as Western medicine, with all of the benefits and limitations of that label, and being a part of alternative medicine. Until now, the illegality of medical cannabis and the stigma attached to using cannabis as medicine have forced it into the category of alternative medicine. Perhaps this is a decision that we need to make.

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Executive Director Mike Attocknie Speaks on HPR’s The Conversation

Listen to the clip at our sister organization’s website!

Mike Attocknie, the Executive Director of The Drug Policy Action Group and The Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii gave an excellent 8 minute interview to the HPR radio Show The Conversation. Click the link above to listen to him speak about the failure of the drug war and the need for progressive policies on marijuana and other drugs.

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DEA Accused of Blackmailing Doctors in Massachusetts

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Read the full story at the Huffington post
Pressure on the DEA to finally accept medical marijuana has been intensifying in recent years. The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment seems increasingly likely to pass, abs high level personnel in the DEA and the ONDCP have been repeatedly grilled by Congress on the rationale behind its focus on marijuana. 
Perhaps this pressure is why the DEA was allegedly visiting doctors who sat on the boards of medical marijuana dispensaries at their homes and forcing them to resign. Hopefully, this abuse of the doctors who should be in control of the system is just one more nail in the coffin of the law enforcement approach to marijuana.

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Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment Needs Your Help in the Senate

timthumb.phpI have already written on this site about my support for the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment that would prevent the DEA from interfering with medical marijuana programs in states where it is legal. This is an important piece of legislation both because of the signal it sends nationally, and because of its potential impact here, where it will ease some fears about establishing a dispensary system in contravention of federal law.

As I said, this amendment has passed the house, but it still needs to pass through the senate. Please show your support for this amendment by following this link!

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Ethan Nadelmann and Grover Norquist Write an Op-Ed on Ending Federal Interference with Medical Marijuana

Grover Norquist and Ethan Nadelmann, from their biography at dailycaller.com. This is an unlikely alliance that may prove very powerful.

Grover Norquist and Ethan Nadelmann, from their biography at dailycaller.com. This is an unlikely alliance that may prove very powerful.

You can read the remarkable Op-Ed here.

As I mentioned previously, the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment has passed its biggest hurdle, the house of representatives. In this Op-ed, Grover Norquist and Drug Policy Alliance executive director Ethan Nadelmann highlight one of the key points of agreement between the left and the right: we shouldn’t be spending money to prosecute the sick and those that care for them. The Rohrbacher-Farr amendment is key because it will help to both roll-back a piece of federal over-reach that is hated by the far right, and help to expand compassionate care and safe access to medical marijuana. If this alliance can prove fruitful in future drug policy struggles, this will be a powerful force for change.

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