Posts Tagged ‘Possession Of Marijuana’

Sticky Fingered Ex-Deputy Pleads Not Guilty In Pot Theft

​A former deputy in southern Illinois is facing three felony charges after authorities claimed he stole marijuana and money from an evidence room, and transferred the pot to a third party to sell.Caleb Craft was a deputy for the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department before becoming an inmate at the county jail. He is charged with theft over $ 500, unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, and official misconduct, reports Andy Waterman at WSIL.Craft stole more than $ 5,000 and more than four ounces of marijuana from the Southern Illinois Enforcement Group’s evidence room in Carbondale, according to court documents.

Continue reading “Sticky Fingered Ex-Deputy Pleads Not Guilty In Pot Theft” >

Toke of the Town

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

9 comments - What do you think?  Posted by bosmolskate - September 16, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Categories: Marijuana, Medical Marijuana   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sticky Fingered Ex-Deputy Pleads Not Guilty In Pot Theft

​A former deputy in southern Illinois is facing three felony charges after authorities claimed he stole marijuana and money from an evidence room, and transferred the pot to a third party to sell.Caleb Craft was a deputy for the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department before becoming an inmate at the county jail. He is charged with theft over $ 500, unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, and official misconduct, reports Andy Waterman at WSIL.Craft stole more than $ 5,000 and more than four ounces of marijuana from the Southern Illinois Enforcement Group’s evidence room in Carbondale, according to court documents.

Continue reading “Sticky Fingered Ex-Deputy Pleads Not Guilty In Pot Theft” >

Toke of the Town

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

1,725 comments - What do you think?  Posted by bosmolskate - at 6:04 pm

Categories: Marijuana, Medical Marijuana   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Missouri Governor’s Son Cited For Marijuana Possession

​​The son of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon was issued a citation for possession of marijuana early on Saturday.Police officers claimed Willson Nixon, 21, tried to hide the weed after they were sent to a loud party at Brookside Apartments in Columbia, Missouri. Upon entering the complex, police claimed they detected an “overwhelming smell of marijuana in the hallway.” They also found multiple apartments with open doors.”This is a private matter that will be handled through the municipal process,” the governor said, reports Mark Slavit at KCRG. “My son is a fine young man, and we will be working through this issue as a family.”What would be even cooler, Governor, is if you “worked through this issue” as a STATE, and got Missouri’s nonsensical pot laws off the books.”We’ve been getting calls about loud parties at this complex every weekend,” claimed Jill Wieneke, spokeswoman for the Columbia Police Department.

Continue reading “Missouri Governor's Son Cited For Marijuana Possession” >

Toke of the Town

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

650 comments - What do you think?  Posted by bosmolskate - September 14, 2011 at 6:04 am

Categories: Marijuana, Medical Marijuana   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Medical Marijuana Arizona Law Update May 2010

MEDICAL MARIJUANA

LAW ARIZONA

UPDATE MAY 2010

Fines and Penalties for medical Marijuana use in Arizona

Phoenix Marijuana (Pot) Defense Attorney

Under current Federal Law, the use, sale or possession of marijuana (pot), paraphernalia, whether medically prescribed or not, it is still unlawful and carries significant criminal penalties in Arizona. This may change after Arizona voters go to the polls in November 2, 2010 to vote on a popular Medical Marijuana initiative.  In the mean-time, criminal charges related to medical marijuana remain a serious offense in Arizona. Currently, there is no distinction in penalties for using medical Marijuana v Marijuana for non-medical or recreational use. As is with DUI charges, Arizona has some of the toughest laws against Marijuana in the Country, even for simple possession.

For now, below are the penalties for Marijuana Possessionin Arizona whether for medical use non-medical use. The Arizona Drug charge classification for a marijuana offense depends mostly on how much of the substance is found in your possession.   

If the amount of marijuana is: Then the potential sentence is:
Less than 2 pounds (not for sale)                         1 year in prison (Class 6 felony)

Between 2 and 4 pounds (not for sale)                1 ½ years in prison (Class 5 felony)

More than 4 pounds (not for sale)                        2 ½ years in prison (Class 4 felony)

Less than 2 pounds (intent to sell)                        2 ½ years in prison (Class 4 felony)

Between 2 and 4 pounds (intent to sell)               3 ½ years in prison (Class 3 felony)

More than 4 pounds (intent to sell)                       5 years in prison (Class 2 felony) 

Less than 2 pounds (that you produced)               1 ½ years in prison (Class 5 felony)

2-4 pounds (that you produced)                            2 ½ years in prison (Class 4 felony)

More than 4 pounds (that you produced)              3 ½ years in prison (Class 3 felony)

Less than 2 pounds (transporting into AZ)           3 ½ years in prison (Class 3 felony)

More than 2 pounds (transporting into AZ)          5 years in prison (Class 2 felony

In addition to prison time to your Arizona Marijuana drug sentencing, you will face large fines for your marijuana conviction. The minimum fine you will pay is 0. However, if the value of the marijuana you were caught with exceeds 0, your fine will equal 3 times that amount, not exceeding 0,000.

Due to the fact that Marijuana is legal with restrictions and limitations in 14 other states, many people either view medical marijuana charges as possibly legal or in the least minor criminal charges. However, Arizona law and its prosecution do not view it this way. You may be facing a life changing incarceration and high dollar fines depending on how much was found in your possession.  So for now, in Arizona, if you wish to use medical Marijuana or non-medical Marijuana, you have at these three options:

1)      Use medical Marijuana if you have no other medicinal alternative. But at least understand   the extreme risks and harsh penalties, fines and incarceration that still exist in Arizona as a consequence as of this date.

 

2)      Consult your Physician about the possibility of using alternative treatments or medications for relief of your medical symptoms, at least temporarily; wait until after November 2, 2010, when Arizona Voters go to the polls.  Perhaps new Medical Marijuana Laws will be passed in favor of qualified use of medical Marijuana to help relieve the symptoms of your medical condition or illness.

 

3)      Move to any of the following 14 States who have laws either broad or limited legalization of medical Marijuana:

Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, NewJersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington. All 14 states do require proof of residency in their respective state as a qualifying factor to use medical Marijuana.

The most important thing you can do if you face of Marijuana possession, use, or sale charges or any other type of drug charges in Arizonais to contact an Experienced Arizona Drug Defense Attorney who will defend Arizona Marijuana drug charges and protect your constitutional rights.

Arizona DUI & Criminal Defense Attorney. Owner of Law Office of James E. Novak. I practice Criminal Defense, with 80% of my cases being DUI. I am a Former Criminal & DUI Prosecutor in Maricopa County.


Article from articlesbase.com

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

1,080 comments - What do you think?  Posted by bosmolskate - September 2, 2011 at 4:07 am

Categories: Marijuana, Medical Marijuana   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Medical Marijuana Arizona Law Update May 2010

MEDICAL MARIJUANA

LAW ARIZONA

UPDATE MAY 2010

Fines and Penalties for medical Marijuana use in Arizona

Phoenix Marijuana (Pot) Defense Attorney

Under current Federal Law, the use, sale or possession of marijuana (pot), paraphernalia, whether medically prescribed or not, it is still unlawful and carries significant criminal penalties in Arizona. This may change after Arizona voters go to the polls in November 2, 2010 to vote on a popular Medical Marijuana initiative.  In the mean-time, criminal charges related to medical marijuana remain a serious offense in Arizona. Currently, there is no distinction in penalties for using medical Marijuana v Marijuana for non-medical or recreational use. As is with DUI charges, Arizona has some of the toughest laws against Marijuana in the Country, even for simple possession.

For now, below are the penalties for Marijuana Possessionin Arizona whether for medical use non-medical use. The Arizona Drug charge classification for a marijuana offense depends mostly on how much of the substance is found in your possession.   

If the amount of marijuana is: Then the potential sentence is:
Less than 2 pounds (not for sale)                         1 year in prison (Class 6 felony)

Between 2 and 4 pounds (not for sale)                1 ½ years in prison (Class 5 felony)

More than 4 pounds (not for sale)                        2 ½ years in prison (Class 4 felony)

Less than 2 pounds (intent to sell)                        2 ½ years in prison (Class 4 felony)

Between 2 and 4 pounds (intent to sell)               3 ½ years in prison (Class 3 felony)

More than 4 pounds (intent to sell)                       5 years in prison (Class 2 felony) 

Less than 2 pounds (that you produced)               1 ½ years in prison (Class 5 felony)

2-4 pounds (that you produced)                            2 ½ years in prison (Class 4 felony)

More than 4 pounds (that you produced)              3 ½ years in prison (Class 3 felony)

Less than 2 pounds (transporting into AZ)           3 ½ years in prison (Class 3 felony)

More than 2 pounds (transporting into AZ)          5 years in prison (Class 2 felony

In addition to prison time to your Arizona Marijuana drug sentencing, you will face large fines for your marijuana conviction. The minimum fine you will pay is 0. However, if the value of the marijuana you were caught with exceeds 0, your fine will equal 3 times that amount, not exceeding 0,000.

Due to the fact that Marijuana is legal with restrictions and limitations in 14 other states, many people either view medical marijuana charges as possibly legal or in the least minor criminal charges. However, Arizona law and its prosecution do not view it this way. You may be facing a life changing incarceration and high dollar fines depending on how much was found in your possession.  So for now, in Arizona, if you wish to use medical Marijuana or non-medical Marijuana, you have at these three options:

1)      Use medical Marijuana if you have no other medicinal alternative. But at least understand   the extreme risks and harsh penalties, fines and incarceration that still exist in Arizona as a consequence as of this date.

 

2)      Consult your Physician about the possibility of using alternative treatments or medications for relief of your medical symptoms, at least temporarily; wait until after November 2, 2010, when Arizona Voters go to the polls.  Perhaps new Medical Marijuana Laws will be passed in favor of qualified use of medical Marijuana to help relieve the symptoms of your medical condition or illness.

 

3)      Move to any of the following 14 States who have laws either broad or limited legalization of medical Marijuana:

Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, NewJersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington. All 14 states do require proof of residency in their respective state as a qualifying factor to use medical Marijuana.

The most important thing you can do if you face of Marijuana possession, use, or sale charges or any other type of drug charges in Arizonais to contact an Experienced Arizona Drug Defense Attorney who will defend Arizona Marijuana drug charges and protect your constitutional rights.

Arizona DUI & Criminal Defense Attorney. Owner of Law Office of James E. Novak. I practice Criminal Defense, with 80% of my cases being DUI. I am a Former Criminal & DUI Prosecutor in Maricopa County.


Article from articlesbase.com

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

2,008 comments - What do you think?  Posted by bosmolskate - at 4:07 am

Categories: Marijuana, Medical Marijuana   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Missouri: Two Initiatives Filed to ask voters to “Show-Me Cannabis”

By Erica Warren, Columbia Crime Examiner

There is a truth that must be heard! Two ballot initiatives were filed with the Secretary of State in the state of Missouri on July 6, 2011, two days after Independence Day, that would legalize possession of marijuana by adults, allow for medical marijuana use, and create an agricultural hemp industry for this Midwest state. This ambitious endeavor has been undertaken by a group that calls themselves “Show-Me Cannabis”, playing on Missouri’s motto as the “Show-Me State”. Their website can be found at www.show-mecannabis.com.

One of the initiatives would amend the state’s Constitution, while the other would revise the state’s statutes. Once the Secretary of State’s office approves the language of one, or both, initiatives the next step to get them on the November 2012 ballot would be signature gathering. The constitutional amendment would require the gathering of around 160,000 signatures by May of 2012 to be put on the ballot, while the initiative to revise state statutes would only need around 100,000 signatures by May of next year to make it to the ballot.

read more

Hemp News

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

2,523 comments - What do you think?  Posted by bosmolskate - August 4, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Categories: Marijuana, Medical Marijuana   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Virginia Marijuana Possession Intent Distribute Smell Traffic Driving Fairfax County Richmond Beach Prince William Loudoun Lynchburg Fredericksburg

Ervin v. Commonwealth, Va. Ct. App. June 22, 2010

The officers stopped a vehicle being driven by appellant after the officers observed a traffic violation. There were no other occupants in the car. As the officers approached the driver’s side of the vehicle, they smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from the car. There was no evidence that the odor detected by the officers was coming from appellant’s person. Based on the smell of marijuana emanating from the vehicle, the officers took appellant into custody and searched the vehicle for evidence of marijuana and for the vehicle’s registration. Officer Rad removed the vehicle’s ignition key and used the key to unlock the glove compartment. In the glove compartment, the officers immediately observed two Ziploc bags containing what was later determined to be marijuana. One of the bags held ten small, knotted plastic bag corners of fresh marijuana. The other bag contained thirteen knotted plastic bag corners of fresh marijuana. The officers did not recover any smoking devices or other drug paraphernalia from appellant or the vehicle. After denying appellant’s motions to strike the evidence as insufficient, the trial court found appellant guilty of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and driving on a suspended license.

To sustain a conviction for possession of marijuana, “[t]he Commonwealth was required to prove that [appellant] ‘intentionally and consciously possessed’ the [marijuana], either actually or constructively, with knowledge of its nature and character.” Proof of constructive possession necessarily rests on circumstantial evidence; thus, ‘all necessary circumstances proved must be consistent with guilt and inconsistent with innocence and exclude every reasonable hypothesis of innocence. ‘The law is well established that possession of the means to exercise dominion [and] control over an item gives the possessor dominion [and] control over the item [itself.]‘” Wright v. Commonwealth, 53 Va. App. 266, 274, 670 S.E.2d 772, 776 (2009) (quoting Bell v. Commonwealth, 21 Va. App. 693, 698-99, 467 S.E.2d 289, 291-92 (1996)). Thus, evidence of appellant’s possession of the key that controlled access to the interior of the glove compartment supports the trial court’s conclusion that the marijuana baggies, which were immediately visible upon opening the glove compartment, were subject to appellant’s dominion and control. However, the Commonwealth was required to prove both that appellant exercised dominion and control over the item, as shown by his possession of the keys to the locked glove compartment, and that he was aware of the presence and character of the marijuana.

“[W]hile proximity is a factor to be considered along with other evidence, mere proximity [to marijuana] is not sufficient to prove possession.” The evidence established that when the officers approached the driver’s side of the vehicle, they smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from the car. There was no evidence that the odor detected by the officers was coming from appellant’s person, that appellant appeared intoxicated, that appellant showed any physical signs of having recently used marijuana, or that appellant possessed any drugs or drug paraphernalia on his person. The record does not establish whether the officers smelled fresh marijuana or burnt marijuana. However, the trial judge interpreted the evidence as suggesting the odor was that of burnt marijuana: “The only testimony is [appellant] used the car and he was in the car when marijuana was being used, at least I think you can infer that from the evidence . . . .” (Emphasis  added). 5 There is no indication that the odor was that of fresh marijuana, which might indicate that appellant had at least reason to suspect the vehicle contained fresh marijuana. Instead, the trial court found that the odor coming from the vehicle was that of burnt marijuana, suggesting someone was smoking marijuana before the officers approached. In reaching its conclusion, the trial court more particularly stated, “Perhaps other people were in the car, perhaps other people knew about the marijuana, [but] that doesn’t provide a defense for this odor.” In fact, appellant was under no obligation to provide a defense for this odor. Rather, the Commonwealth was required to prove constructive possession of the marijuana in its case-in-chief. As more fully discussed herein, there was no direct evidence of appellant’s constructive possession of the marijuana in the glove compartment, and the circumstantial evidence was simply insufficient as a matter of law. Evidence of the smell of burnt marijuana simply does not provide a nexus from which the trial court could conclude appellant knew of the fresh marijuana in the glove compartment. The Commonwealth of Virginia notes that appellant was the sole person with means to access the glove compartment containing the marijuana. While this establishes appellant’s dominion and control over the vehicle and the items located therein. In this case, the key that unlocked the glove compartment was the same key that was necessary to operate the vehicle. Put simply, the fact that appellant possessed that key does not logically lead to the inference that appellant knew of the glove compartment’s contents.

Given the factual determinations made by the trial court, the evidence is at best in equipoise. Even assuming the trial judge determined appellant was familiar with the smell of marijuana, based on appellant’s equivocal testimony regarding that fact, there was no evidence presented by the Commonwealth suggesting appellant’s familiarity with that smell proved that he had smoked marijuana  in the vehicle, or knew the vehicle contained fresh marijuana at the time he was driving the vehicle. Further, the record contains no other facts or circumstances to support a finding of guilt. As appellant correctly asserts, the Commonwealth presented no evidence to suggest appellant made any motion toward the glove compartment as police stopped the vehicle, or that appellant engaged in any other behavior that would indicate he knew there were drugs in the car. There was no evidence that appellant appeared nervous, and in fact, the officers testified that appellant was entirely cooperative throughout the traffic stop.

Disclaimer:

These summaries are provided by the SRIS Law Group.  They represent the firm’s unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions.  The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.

The SRIS Law Group drug crimes defense lawyers defend clients charged with drug offenses throughout Virginia.  The SRIS Law Group Virginia criminal defense lawyers have offices in Fairfax, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Loudoun, Prince William County, Fredericksburg & Lynchburg.


Article from articlesbase.com

More Marijuana Articles

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

2,101 comments - What do you think?  Posted by bosmolskate - July 30, 2011 at 12:07 am

Categories: Marijuana, Medical Marijuana   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Virginia Marijuana Possession Intent Distribute Smell Traffic Driving Fairfax County Richmond Beach Prince William Loudoun Lynchburg Fredericksburg

Ervin v. Commonwealth, Va. Ct. App. June 22, 2010

The officers stopped a vehicle being driven by appellant after the officers observed a traffic violation. There were no other occupants in the car. As the officers approached the driver’s side of the vehicle, they smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from the car. There was no evidence that the odor detected by the officers was coming from appellant’s person. Based on the smell of marijuana emanating from the vehicle, the officers took appellant into custody and searched the vehicle for evidence of marijuana and for the vehicle’s registration. Officer Rad removed the vehicle’s ignition key and used the key to unlock the glove compartment. In the glove compartment, the officers immediately observed two Ziploc bags containing what was later determined to be marijuana. One of the bags held ten small, knotted plastic bag corners of fresh marijuana. The other bag contained thirteen knotted plastic bag corners of fresh marijuana. The officers did not recover any smoking devices or other drug paraphernalia from appellant or the vehicle. After denying appellant’s motions to strike the evidence as insufficient, the trial court found appellant guilty of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and driving on a suspended license.

To sustain a conviction for possession of marijuana, “[t]he Commonwealth was required to prove that [appellant] ‘intentionally and consciously possessed’ the [marijuana], either actually or constructively, with knowledge of its nature and character.” Proof of constructive possession necessarily rests on circumstantial evidence; thus, ‘all necessary circumstances proved must be consistent with guilt and inconsistent with innocence and exclude every reasonable hypothesis of innocence. ‘The law is well established that possession of the means to exercise dominion [and] control over an item gives the possessor dominion [and] control over the item [itself.]‘” Wright v. Commonwealth, 53 Va. App. 266, 274, 670 S.E.2d 772, 776 (2009) (quoting Bell v. Commonwealth, 21 Va. App. 693, 698-99, 467 S.E.2d 289, 291-92 (1996)). Thus, evidence of appellant’s possession of the key that controlled access to the interior of the glove compartment supports the trial court’s conclusion that the marijuana baggies, which were immediately visible upon opening the glove compartment, were subject to appellant’s dominion and control. However, the Commonwealth was required to prove both that appellant exercised dominion and control over the item, as shown by his possession of the keys to the locked glove compartment, and that he was aware of the presence and character of the marijuana.

“[W]hile proximity is a factor to be considered along with other evidence, mere proximity [to marijuana] is not sufficient to prove possession.” The evidence established that when the officers approached the driver’s side of the vehicle, they smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from the car. There was no evidence that the odor detected by the officers was coming from appellant’s person, that appellant appeared intoxicated, that appellant showed any physical signs of having recently used marijuana, or that appellant possessed any drugs or drug paraphernalia on his person. The record does not establish whether the officers smelled fresh marijuana or burnt marijuana. However, the trial judge interpreted the evidence as suggesting the odor was that of burnt marijuana: “The only testimony is [appellant] used the car and he was in the car when marijuana was being used, at least I think you can infer that from the evidence . . . .” (Emphasis  added). 5 There is no indication that the odor was that of fresh marijuana, which might indicate that appellant had at least reason to suspect the vehicle contained fresh marijuana. Instead, the trial court found that the odor coming from the vehicle was that of burnt marijuana, suggesting someone was smoking marijuana before the officers approached. In reaching its conclusion, the trial court more particularly stated, “Perhaps other people were in the car, perhaps other people knew about the marijuana, [but] that doesn’t provide a defense for this odor.” In fact, appellant was under no obligation to provide a defense for this odor. Rather, the Commonwealth was required to prove constructive possession of the marijuana in its case-in-chief. As more fully discussed herein, there was no direct evidence of appellant’s constructive possession of the marijuana in the glove compartment, and the circumstantial evidence was simply insufficient as a matter of law. Evidence of the smell of burnt marijuana simply does not provide a nexus from which the trial court could conclude appellant knew of the fresh marijuana in the glove compartment. The Commonwealth of Virginia notes that appellant was the sole person with means to access the glove compartment containing the marijuana. While this establishes appellant’s dominion and control over the vehicle and the items located therein. In this case, the key that unlocked the glove compartment was the same key that was necessary to operate the vehicle. Put simply, the fact that appellant possessed that key does not logically lead to the inference that appellant knew of the glove compartment’s contents.

Given the factual determinations made by the trial court, the evidence is at best in equipoise. Even assuming the trial judge determined appellant was familiar with the smell of marijuana, based on appellant’s equivocal testimony regarding that fact, there was no evidence presented by the Commonwealth suggesting appellant’s familiarity with that smell proved that he had smoked marijuana  in the vehicle, or knew the vehicle contained fresh marijuana at the time he was driving the vehicle. Further, the record contains no other facts or circumstances to support a finding of guilt. As appellant correctly asserts, the Commonwealth presented no evidence to suggest appellant made any motion toward the glove compartment as police stopped the vehicle, or that appellant engaged in any other behavior that would indicate he knew there were drugs in the car. There was no evidence that appellant appeared nervous, and in fact, the officers testified that appellant was entirely cooperative throughout the traffic stop.

Disclaimer:

These summaries are provided by the SRIS Law Group.  They represent the firm’s unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions.  The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.

The SRIS Law Group drug crimes defense lawyers defend clients charged with drug offenses throughout Virginia.  The SRIS Law Group Virginia criminal defense lawyers have offices in Fairfax, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Loudoun, Prince William County, Fredericksburg & Lynchburg.


Article from articlesbase.com

More Marijuana Articles

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

1,261 comments - What do you think?  Posted by bosmolskate - at 12:07 am

Categories: Marijuana, Medical Marijuana   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Medical Marijuana: The Debate Rages On

Marijuana is also known as pot, grass and weed but its formal name is actually cannabis. It comes from the leaves and flowers of the plant Cannabis sativa. It is considered an illegal substance in the US and many countries and possession of marijuana is a crime punishable by law. The FDA classifies marijuana as Schedule I, substances which have a very high potential for abuse and have no proven medical use. Over the years several studies claim that some substances found in marijuana have medicinal use, especially in terminal diseases such as cancer and AIDS. This started a fierce debate over the pros and cons of the use of medical marijuana. To settle this debate, the Institute of Medicine published the famous 1999 IOM report entitled Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. The report was comprehensive but did not give a clear cut yes or no answer. The opposite camps of the medical marijuana issue often cite part of the report in their advocacy arguments. However, although the report clarified many things, it never settled the controversy once and for all.

Let’s look at the issues that support why medical marijuana should be legalized.

(1) Marijuana is a naturally occurring herb and has been used from South America to Asia as an herbal medicine for millennia. In this day and age when the all natural and organic are important health buzzwords, a naturally occurring herb like marijuana might be more appealing to and safer for consumers than synthetic drugs.

(2) Marijuana has strong therapeutic potential. Several studies, as summarized in the IOM report, have observed that cannabis can be used as analgesic, e.g. to treat pain. A few studies showed that THC, a marijuana component is effective in treating chronic pain experienced by cancer patients. However, studies on acute pain such as those experienced during surgery and trauma have inconclusive reports. A few studies, also summarized in the IOM report, have demonstrated that some marijuana components have antiemetic properties and are, therefore, effective against nausea and vomiting, which are common side effects of cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Some researchers are convinced that cannabis has some therapeutic potential against neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Specific compounds extracted from marijuana have strong therapeutic potential. Cannobidiol (CBD), a major component of marijuana, has been shown to have antipsychotic, anticancer and antioxidant properties. Other cannabinoids have been shown to prevent high intraocular pressure (IOP), a major risk factor for glaucoma. Drugs that contain active ingredients present in marijuana but have been synthetically produced in the laboratory have been approved by the US FDA. One example is Marinol, an antiemetic agent indicated for nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. Its active ingredient is dronabinol, a synthetic delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

(3) One of the major proponents of medical marijuana is the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a US-based organization. Many medical professional societies and organizations have expressed their support. As an example, The American College of Physicians, recommended a re-evaluation of the Schedule I classification of marijuana in their 2008 position paper. ACP also expresses its strong support for research into the therapeutic role of marijuana as well as exemption from federal criminal prosecution; civil liability; or professional sanctioning for physicians who prescribe or dispense medical marijuana in accordance with state law. Similarly, protection from criminal or civil penalties for patients who use medical marijuana as permitted under state laws.

(4) Medical marijuana is legally used in many developed countries The argument of if they can do it, why not us? is another strong point. Some countries, including Canada, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain, Israel, and Finland have legalized the therapeutic use of marijuana under strict prescription control. Some states in the US are also allowing exemptions.

Now here are the arguments against medical marijuana.

(1) Lack of data on safety and efficacy. Drug regulation is based on safety first. The safety of marijuana and its components still has to first be established. Efficacy only comes second. Even if marijuana has some beneficial health effects, the benefits should outweigh the risks for it to be considered for medical use. Unless marijuana is proven to be better (safer and more effective) than drugs currently available in the market, its approval for medical use may be a long shot. According to the testimony of Robert J. Meyer of the Department of Health and Human Services having access to a drug or medical treatment, without knowing how to use it or even if it is effective, does not benefit anyone. Simply having access, without having safety, efficacy, and adequate use information does not help patients.

(2) Unknown chemical components. Medical marijuana can only be easily accessible and affordable in herbal form. Like other herbs, marijuana falls under the category of botanical products. Unpurified botanical products, however, face many problems including lot-to-lot consistency, dosage determination, potency, shelf-life, and toxicity. According to the IOM report if there is any future of marijuana as a medicine, it lies in its isolated components, the cannabinoids and their synthetic derivatives. To fully characterize the different components of marijuana would cost so much time and money that the costs of the medications that will come out of it would be too high. Currently, no pharmaceutical company seems interested in investing money to isolate more therapeutic components from marijuana beyond what is already available in the market.

(3) Potential for abuse. Marijuana or cannabis is addictive. It may not be as addictive as hard drugs such as cocaine; nevertheless it cannot be denied that there is a potential for substance abuse associated with marijuana. This has been demonstrated by a few studies as summarized in the IOM report.

(4) Lack of a safe delivery system. The most common form of delivery of marijuana is through smoking. Considering the current trends in anti-smoking legislations, this form of delivery will never be approved by health authorities. Reliable and safe delivery systems in the form of vaporizers, nebulizers, or inhalers are still at the testing stage.

(5) Symptom alleviation, not cure. Even if marijuana has therapeutic effects, it is only addressing the symptoms of certain diseases. It does not treat or cure these illnesses. Given that it is effective against these symptoms, there are already medications available which work just as well or even better, without the side effects and risk of abuse associated with marijuana.

The 1999 IOM report could not settle the debate about medical marijuana with scientific evidence available at that time. The report definitely discouraged the use of smoked marijuana but gave a nod towards marijuana use through a medical inhaler or vaporizer. In addition, the report also recommended the compassionate use of marijuana under strict medical supervision. Furthermore, it urged more funding in the research of the safety and efficacy of cannabinoids.

So what stands in the way of clarifying the questions brought up by the IOM report? The health authorities do not seem to be interested in having another review. There is limited data available and whatever is available is biased towards safety issues on the adverse effects of smoked marijuana. Data available on efficacy mainly come from studies on synthetic cannabinoids (e.g. THC). This disparity in data makes an objective risk-benefit assessment difficult.

Clinical studies on marijuana are few and difficult to conduct due to limited funding and strict regulations. Because of the complicated legalities involved, very few pharmaceutical companies are investing in cannabinoid research. In many cases, it is not clear how to define medical marijuana as advocated and opposed by many groups. Does it only refer to the use of the botanical product marijuana or does it include synthetic cannabinoid components (e.g. THC and derivatives) as well? Synthetic cannabinoids (e.g. Marinol) available in the market are extremely expensive, pushing people towards the more affordable cannabinoid in the form of marijuana. Of course, the issue is further clouded by conspiracy theories involving the pharmaceutical industry and drug regulators.

In conclusion, the future of medical marijuana and the settlement of the debate would depend on more comprehensive and comparable scientific research. An update of the IOM report anytime soon is well-needed.

The HWN team provides original edgy content for Health WorldNet – Informed People, Healthier World.
http://healthworldnet.com


Article from articlesbase.com

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

25 comments - What do you think?  Posted by bosmolskate - July 15, 2011 at 10:07 am

Categories: Marijuana, Medical Marijuana   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Medical Marijuana: The Debate Rages On

Marijuana is also known as pot, grass and weed but its formal name is actually cannabis. It comes from the leaves and flowers of the plant Cannabis sativa. It is considered an illegal substance in the US and many countries and possession of marijuana is a crime punishable by law. The FDA classifies marijuana as Schedule I, substances which have a very high potential for abuse and have no proven medical use. Over the years several studies claim that some substances found in marijuana have medicinal use, especially in terminal diseases such as cancer and AIDS. This started a fierce debate over the pros and cons of the use of medical marijuana. To settle this debate, the Institute of Medicine published the famous 1999 IOM report entitled Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. The report was comprehensive but did not give a clear cut yes or no answer. The opposite camps of the medical marijuana issue often cite part of the report in their advocacy arguments. However, although the report clarified many things, it never settled the controversy once and for all.

Let’s look at the issues that support why medical marijuana should be legalized.

(1) Marijuana is a naturally occurring herb and has been used from South America to Asia as an herbal medicine for millennia. In this day and age when the all natural and organic are important health buzzwords, a naturally occurring herb like marijuana might be more appealing to and safer for consumers than synthetic drugs.

(2) Marijuana has strong therapeutic potential. Several studies, as summarized in the IOM report, have observed that cannabis can be used as analgesic, e.g. to treat pain. A few studies showed that THC, a marijuana component is effective in treating chronic pain experienced by cancer patients. However, studies on acute pain such as those experienced during surgery and trauma have inconclusive reports. A few studies, also summarized in the IOM report, have demonstrated that some marijuana components have antiemetic properties and are, therefore, effective against nausea and vomiting, which are common side effects of cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Some researchers are convinced that cannabis has some therapeutic potential against neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Specific compounds extracted from marijuana have strong therapeutic potential. Cannobidiol (CBD), a major component of marijuana, has been shown to have antipsychotic, anticancer and antioxidant properties. Other cannabinoids have been shown to prevent high intraocular pressure (IOP), a major risk factor for glaucoma. Drugs that contain active ingredients present in marijuana but have been synthetically produced in the laboratory have been approved by the US FDA. One example is Marinol, an antiemetic agent indicated for nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. Its active ingredient is dronabinol, a synthetic delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

(3) One of the major proponents of medical marijuana is the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a US-based organization. Many medical professional societies and organizations have expressed their support. As an example, The American College of Physicians, recommended a re-evaluation of the Schedule I classification of marijuana in their 2008 position paper. ACP also expresses its strong support for research into the therapeutic role of marijuana as well as exemption from federal criminal prosecution; civil liability; or professional sanctioning for physicians who prescribe or dispense medical marijuana in accordance with state law. Similarly, protection from criminal or civil penalties for patients who use medical marijuana as permitted under state laws.

(4) Medical marijuana is legally used in many developed countries The argument of if they can do it, why not us? is another strong point. Some countries, including Canada, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain, Israel, and Finland have legalized the therapeutic use of marijuana under strict prescription control. Some states in the US are also allowing exemptions.

Now here are the arguments against medical marijuana.

(1) Lack of data on safety and efficacy. Drug regulation is based on safety first. The safety of marijuana and its components still has to first be established. Efficacy only comes second. Even if marijuana has some beneficial health effects, the benefits should outweigh the risks for it to be considered for medical use. Unless marijuana is proven to be better (safer and more effective) than drugs currently available in the market, its approval for medical use may be a long shot. According to the testimony of Robert J. Meyer of the Department of Health and Human Services having access to a drug or medical treatment, without knowing how to use it or even if it is effective, does not benefit anyone. Simply having access, without having safety, efficacy, and adequate use information does not help patients.

(2) Unknown chemical components. Medical marijuana can only be easily accessible and affordable in herbal form. Like other herbs, marijuana falls under the category of botanical products. Unpurified botanical products, however, face many problems including lot-to-lot consistency, dosage determination, potency, shelf-life, and toxicity. According to the IOM report if there is any future of marijuana as a medicine, it lies in its isolated components, the cannabinoids and their synthetic derivatives. To fully characterize the different components of marijuana would cost so much time and money that the costs of the medications that will come out of it would be too high. Currently, no pharmaceutical company seems interested in investing money to isolate more therapeutic components from marijuana beyond what is already available in the market.

(3) Potential for abuse. Marijuana or cannabis is addictive. It may not be as addictive as hard drugs such as cocaine; nevertheless it cannot be denied that there is a potential for substance abuse associated with marijuana. This has been demonstrated by a few studies as summarized in the IOM report.

(4) Lack of a safe delivery system. The most common form of delivery of marijuana is through smoking. Considering the current trends in anti-smoking legislations, this form of delivery will never be approved by health authorities. Reliable and safe delivery systems in the form of vaporizers, nebulizers, or inhalers are still at the testing stage.

(5) Symptom alleviation, not cure. Even if marijuana has therapeutic effects, it is only addressing the symptoms of certain diseases. It does not treat or cure these illnesses. Given that it is effective against these symptoms, there are already medications available which work just as well or even better, without the side effects and risk of abuse associated with marijuana.

The 1999 IOM report could not settle the debate about medical marijuana with scientific evidence available at that time. The report definitely discouraged the use of smoked marijuana but gave a nod towards marijuana use through a medical inhaler or vaporizer. In addition, the report also recommended the compassionate use of marijuana under strict medical supervision. Furthermore, it urged more funding in the research of the safety and efficacy of cannabinoids.

So what stands in the way of clarifying the questions brought up by the IOM report? The health authorities do not seem to be interested in having another review. There is limited data available and whatever is available is biased towards safety issues on the adverse effects of smoked marijuana. Data available on efficacy mainly come from studies on synthetic cannabinoids (e.g. THC). This disparity in data makes an objective risk-benefit assessment difficult.

Clinical studies on marijuana are few and difficult to conduct due to limited funding and strict regulations. Because of the complicated legalities involved, very few pharmaceutical companies are investing in cannabinoid research. In many cases, it is not clear how to define medical marijuana as advocated and opposed by many groups. Does it only refer to the use of the botanical product marijuana or does it include synthetic cannabinoid components (e.g. THC and derivatives) as well? Synthetic cannabinoids (e.g. Marinol) available in the market are extremely expensive, pushing people towards the more affordable cannabinoid in the form of marijuana. Of course, the issue is further clouded by conspiracy theories involving the pharmaceutical industry and drug regulators.

In conclusion, the future of medical marijuana and the settlement of the debate would depend on more comprehensive and comparable scientific research. An update of the IOM report anytime soon is well-needed.

The HWN team provides original edgy content for Health WorldNet – Informed People, Healthier World.
http://healthworldnet.com


Article from articlesbase.com

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

3,760 comments - What do you think?  Posted by bosmolskate - at 10:07 am

Categories: Marijuana, Medical Marijuana   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Next Page »