Tags Posts tagged with "new york"

new york

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The recently passed state budget eliminates a cap on New York’s prospering industrial hemp industry. That will allow more farmers to be able to research, grow, and process a crop that could turn into a million dollar business. The industrial hemp industry’s first hurdle is also the biggest misconception most people have about.

SUNY Morrisville Researcher Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins stated, “It is related to marijuana is what most people think. But industrial hemp does not have any THC in it.” It’s THC that creates the marijuana plant’s high. However, the biological connection between marijuana and hemp continues to create a roadblock for growing a crop that farmers cultivated in New York state more than a century ago.

So while there are still major Drug Enforcement Administration regulations in place regarding acquiring seed and transporting industrial hemp, the New York’s loosening of rules around the industry opens up farmers to a crop that has earnings potential. Processed hemp is already sold locally, valued for its high protein content. Jenkins stated, “You can walk into your Wegmans and buy a bag of hemp seeds just like you can buy a bag of sunflower seeds. You can buy hemp oil, you can buy hemp meal to use in shakes and smoothies.”

However, most of the hemp products sold in New York right now come from Canada and China. Jenkins, who’s researching the best ways to fertilize hemp in the field, says New York isn’t the only state that sees potential in industrial hemp. That may be spurring New York state to move quickly. Jenkins said, “The state who get the grows happening faster are going to benefit more.” They’re going to be out ahead.” New York state will be holding a hemp summit later this year in the Southern Tier to highlight the challenges and opportunities to grow the industry.

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Legislators in New York are hoping that the recent legalization of cannabis in Maine and Massachusetts will motivate the state’s legislative forces to take similar action in the 2017 session. Two bills (A3506 and S3040) were introduced in the New York General Assembly recently, and in the Senate targeted constructing a system that would allow cannabis to be regulated and taxed across the state in a fashion like alcohol. The ideas would enact the “Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act.” This would give adults 18 and older the right to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and grow as many as six plants for personal use.

The proposal reads, “The intent of this act is to regulate, control, and tax marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol, generate millions of dollars in new revenue, prevent access to marijuana by those under the age of eighteen years, reduce the illegal drug market and reduce violent crime, reduce the racially disparate impact of existing marijuana laws, allow industrial hemp to be farmed in New York state, and create new industries and increase employment.” There are people who believe that the evolving cannabis laws in parts of New England might be enough to add pressure to state legislators in 2017 and get them to take the issue of marijuana reform a little more seriously than they have before.

It has been a year since the state put its medical cannabis program into play. However, the Cuomo administration seems to have opened its eyes to some of the issues surrounding the Compassionate Care Act. State health officials recently made some critical changes to the program, including adding chronic pain to its list of qualified conditions. Cuomo said last month that he intends to clarify the state’s decades old decriminalization law, a move intended to stop people from going to jail for simply holding a little marijuana. Cuomo stated, “The illegal sale of marijuana cannot and will not be tolerated in New York State, but data consistently show that recreational users of marijuana pose little to no threat to public safety.” However, it’s likely that the idea of fully legalizing cannabis in New York will make the state’s law enforcement agencies a little worried and maybe cause them to put up some resistance.

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Following the legalization of recreational marijuana in four states, there are at least eleven other states considering changing their policies this year.

1. Connecticut
Not only are lawmakers expecting to expand Connecticut’s five-year-old medical cannabis legislation, but Martin Looney, the state’s Democratic Senate President pro tem, introduced a bill recently that would legalize marijuana for recreational use.

2. Missouri
The Missouri Recreational Marijuana Legalization Initiative did not make the ballot in 2016, however the state did pass medical use. Missouri’s secretary of state, Jason Kander, has endorsed a petition behind the initiative pushing to legalize recreational use.

3. New Hampshire
Senate Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn said he would introduce recreational legislation this year, but first, a group of legislators introduced House Bill 215 on January 4, commissioning a study of the current cannabis laws in other states. Results of that research will be released on December 1, 2017.

4. New York
Governor Andrew Cuomo recently proposed a measure that would decriminalize cannabis, according to the Washington Times. In his 2017 legislative agenda, he wrote, “Data consistently show that recreational users of marijuana pose little to no threat to public safety.”

5. Rhode Island
For seven years, Rhode Island lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow the use of marijuana recreationally. It would impose a 23% tax.

6. South Carolina
South Carolina passed a bill in 2014 allowing cannabis oil for medical use, however lawmakers recently introduced the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, which would legalize cannabis for terminally ill individuals, as well as people with “debilitating medical conditions.”

7. Tennessee
Two cities in Tennessee have already decriminalized marijuana; recently, Representative Jeremy Faison told The Marijuana Times that he wants full medical use across the state and plans to introduce a bill in the 2017 legislative session to legalize medicinal use.

8. Texas
On the first day of the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers in TX filed multiple requests to decriminalize cannabis. Instead of being thrown in jail, anyone caught with minor amounts of marijuana would be charged with a civil infraction and a $250 fine.

9. Utah
House Speaker Greg Hughes told the Deseret News that medical cannabis could be the biggest issue of the session. However, word on the street is that most legislators in Utah think it is smart to wait for the federal government to act.

10. Virginia
Governor Terry McAuliffe stated he wishes to legalize medical cannabis this year, and legislators in Virginia are following through. They filed a bill this month to decriminalize cannabis and only fine for possession.

11. Wisconsin
Medical cannabis is only legal for people suffering from seizures in Wisconsin, but lawmakers hope to expand the current law to make medicinal marijuana legal for all.

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The state of New York is about to expand its medical marijuana program to help better meet the needs of all patients and improve accessibility. The state’s new regulations were endorsed by the Department of Health and will incorporate things like home delivery and doubling the amount of businesses that can provide medical marijuana. The New York Times documented that the amended policy is expected to be announced on Tuesday. Supporters of medical marijuana have previously scrutinized New York’s program for being too limited.

“We’ve always been interested in expanding the program,” Alphonso David, Governor Cuomo’s counsel, said to the Times.

Kassandra Frederique, the state director at the Drug Policy Alliance’s New York office, released information to the Times that patients have been asking for a lot of these changes for the past year and a half. Many of the new policies will make life a lot more subtle for patients who use medical marijuana. As of now, there are only five firms in the state of New York that are allowed to sell the marijuana legally. The state intends to expand that number to 10 so that patients hopefully will not have to travel a great distance to find a dispensary.

Home delivery will help those who have difficulty traveling at all. Nurse practitioners will now be allowed to certify patients for using medical marijuana. Some physicians are reluctant to recommend marijuana, or even refer a patient to someone who would be able to because marijuana is still a Schedule I drug in the eyes of the federal government.

Expanding the role of nurse practitioners will hopefully ease that problem. New York plans to add more conditions to the list of those that qualify a patient for medical marijuana use. The state is expected to expand its list of qualifying disabilities to include PTSD and similar mental health disorders, and conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

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While the medical marijuana law in New York is often understood as one of the most restrictive in the nation, the state could soon be persuaded to further the reach of the program based on recommendations outlined in a new detailed document from New Yorks leading health agency.

It insists the program is functioning better than other states with similar laws in place, at least in terms of the number of physicians and patients who are registered for participation. Since January 2016, the report says, the state has certified over 5,000 patients through the assistance of 600 doctors that have come forward to complete the state’s online marijuana training course that’s more registered physicians than other programs that have existed longer.

Despite the limited success of the program, the Health Department says there are a number of improvements that need to be made to strengthen its foundation, including the expansion of its list of qualified conditions.

We recommend “a review of evidence be conducted for the medical use of marijuana in patients suffering from chronic intractable pain,” the report reads. The Health Department feels that the first course of action should be to allow nurse practitioners the freedom to provide patients with medical marijuana recommendations.

This should be done in order to remain “Consistent with their current authority to prescribe controlled substances” which “Would allow them to properly treat patients suffering from severe, debilitating or life-threatening conditions, particularly in many rural counties where there are fewer physicians available.” The report goes on to suggest that the state should work toward providing cannabis access in schools and health care facilities, while also exploring alternative methods, including a home delivery system, to make it easier for patients to get their hands on this medicine.

Among other proposed changes-ranging from outreach to ease federal restrictions to extending the financial hardship waiver-the Health Department believes officials should consider getting more marijuana businesses involved with the program in order to bring a wider variety of brands and products to the market.

It also recommends the continued evaluation of scientific developments that could one day lead to patients consuming medical marijuana through delivery methods other than pills and vapors. There is hope that the Health Department’s report will be taken seriously over the next year and perhaps influence legislative changes.

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Alana Muller is twenty-seven and has suffered from Lyme disease and epilepsy for the last 12 years. She became sick of having to take so many medications to treat both of her conditions. Two months ago, Muller decided to try something new so that she wouldn’t need to load herself with pills. She decided to try medical marijuana.

“I was always in pain. I couldn’t focus. I was always tired. I also get migraines,” she stated. “Since starting medical marijuana I’ve been able to cut down my seizure medication. Instead of taking six pills a day, I only take three. It (medical marijuana) helps me focus, and alleviates my pain from neuropathy.”

Muller was not able to receive medical marijuana for Lyme disease since it isn’t approved by the state to receive medical marijuana. However, luckily for her, epilepsy is one of the drugs on the list. Here are some of the other diseases that the state has approved to receive medical marijuana: cancer, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Parkinson’s disease, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, cancer, HIV/AIDS, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies and Huntington’s disease.

Mueller is one of the many in New York who has been able to be relieved because of the Compassionate Care Act, which was signed into law in July 2014. However, it was not put into play until January of 2016. At first, the medical marijuana program was shaky because it was tough to approve doctors for the program. However, there are now six hundred physicians statewide who are registered in the program. The Health Department states that five months have passed, but 5,066 patients have already joined the program.

“The beneficial aspect that has been shown in literature is that it stimulates appetite so it’s for people with HIV or who are undergoing chemotherapy for cancer,” Dr. Azher Siddiqi, of the Dongan Hills-based Staten Island Medical Practice Associate, P.C, said. “It also helps people with recurrent seizures by reducing the amount of seizures. It helps people with multiple sclerosis to reduce spasticity and relieve pain.”

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You may have heard the common phrase “As goes New York, so goes the nation.” As one of the financial capitals of the world, New York has a lot of influence. This may include marijuana laws; therefore, the intense cutthroat cannabis industry that New York has created might just spread throughout the country. Unfortunately, that would make marijuana too expensive to be bought by a regular patient. In January, New York launched its medical marijuana program. However, there have been many concerns that the strict laws and such have made it too difficult for most people to get their hands on the medicine. A newer report from the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) indicated that most of those that are in the program have too many obstacles for anyone to even enter.
Take this for instance: the report states that the strict nature of the Compassionate Care program, which does not allow home growth or inhaled cannabis, has made marijuana products so expensive that almost eighty percent of those approved to use medical marijuana cannot afford it. In order to make things even worse, the DPA continues to suggest that most patients are set to fail even before they set out to hunt medical marijuana because less than one percent of doctors in the state have the opportunity to recommend marijuana to anyone with “severe, debilitating or life-threatening” conditions.
“More than half of patients and caregivers surveyed had not yet found a doctor to certify them, and among those, 3 out of 5 have been waiting for 3 to 4 months to locate a registered physician,” the report states.
However, even if a patient was lucky enough to find a doctor that would be able to recommend them cannabis, and the patient can afford it, it is still difficult to obtain medical marijuana.


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Jimmy Cournoyer might be the most notorious cannabis kingpin that New York has ever had to deal with. He began being looked into during January of 2007 but wasn’t given 27 years in federal prison until years later. Cournoyer’s ex-wife had gone to the DEA to complain about her ex and how he was a huge key in a cannabis trade. Then a seven-year investigation took place, but the case that came about is unseen.
“We never saw anything like this guy before,” federal prosecutor Steven L. Tiscione reported. “In terms of his longevity and scope, and the connections he had around the world, nothing, nobody, comes close.”
This man would handle shipments of cannabis across the New York-Quebec through both motorboats and snowmobile. He gained a massive income and ended up driving a Bugatti Veyron worth $2 million while dating a model. He even began attending parties that huge celebrities go to.
A year into investigating Cournoyer, the DEA caught him selling drugs and ended up finding out who his supplier was in Canada. It turned out the dealer started growing drugs when he was 18 and was in jail for it. Tiscione says that Cournoyer became “determined to never again be found in the compromising position of physically touching narcotics.” So he “began expanding his roster of associates and installing additional layers of subordinates between himself” and the marijuana.
He was extremely intense. When they got control of his phone, they saw texts suggesting that he had millions put away to murder anyone who tried to get in his way. Finally, after years of looking into Cournoyer, he was indicted on January 20, 2012. He tried to flee to Mexico but was caught by Mexican police. In the end, he was in jail. His lawyer claims that he was driven by one passion: money.

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The path to medical marijuana to Pennsylvania has been very difficult for all of the patients that have been fighting to convince the state to legalize the treatment option. However, Governor Tom Wolf decided to take the necessary steps over the weekend to stop prohibition, once and for all, by signing a medical marijuana program into law. As a result, Pennsylvania is the twenty-fourth state in the United States to legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes.

On Sunday, Wolf stood before a crowd of patients and proponents of medical marijuana at the State Capital. He called it a “great day for Pennsylvanians. When you have people who represent a cause as eloquently and in as heartfelt a way as the advocates for this have done, it shows that we can actually get something done that means something.”

The people of Pennsylvania that suffer from seventeen specific conditions, including cancer, Crohn’s disease, and severe chronic or intractable pain will now have the ability to go into any of Pennsylvania’s fifty licensed dispensers and buy full strength marijuana products. Alas, it could take a few years until the program is fully working. But for parents of children suffering from seizure disorders, there is a loophole written into the bill that gives them the freedom to have and utilize cannabis oil before the product is actually legal and distributed.

Very similar to the program that was launched at the beginning of this year by New York, patients with a note from a doctor shall not be allowed to use cannabis. The new law states that only various marijuana products will be ready, “including pill, oil, tinctures, and liquid forms that can be used in vaporizers.” In a push to make sure that nobody in Pennsylvania is using marijuana and calling it medicinal, people are not allowed to grow weed at home.

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At the moment, the United Nations has the best chance to advocate for others methods for the global drug policy in April when a special session will be held in New York. However, on Friday, a commission stated that there has not been much progress leading up to the meeting. The Global Commission on Drug Policy is composed of older presidents of Mexico and Brazil, as well as the old United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson. The reported that there has been a discussion for a long time about the drafting, but the outcome document is just too heavily based on retired approaches and is more focused on criminal justice and prohibition.

The group’s leader, Ilona Szabo de Carvalho, stated that the focus of the meeting should be in different ways to fight the drug problem. Some other approaches would be decriminalization, abolishing unfair punishments for drug-related offenses, such as capital punishments. Instead, there should be more of emphases on treatment. But according to Carvalho, the months leading up has been about drug trafficking and similar crimes. Carvalho asked for a large political debate on different approaches at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on April 19th. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Executive Director Yury Fedotov stated in practiced comments to give out on Monday that preparation for the special session actually has been looking at different methods, unlike what theories are saying. According to Fedotov, there has been a call for drugs for cases of HIV, hepatitis, and even overdose.

“Moreover, it has helped to put the spotlight on considering, inappropriate drug-related cases of a minor nature, including possession for personal consumption, alternatives to conviction or punishment, using such measures as education, aftercare, rehabilitation and social reintegration,” he adds.

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