Law keeps medical marijuana out of vets’ reach

Imagine living in fear of doing something that’s perfectly legal in Massachusetts.

This is the maddening “Catch-22” that our veterans face when they purchase cannabis at a medical marijuana dispensary to treat conditions like PTSD and chronic pain issues.

Our servicemen and women are looking over their shoulders, worried that they’ll lose their jobs, security clearances, GI Bill loan benefits, disability payments, Second Amendment rights and access to other medications if they publicly disclose their legal use of cannabis.

That’s because under federal law, which the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs is obligated to follow, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule One Controlled Substance — an illegal drug.


Medical marijuana patients can buy vape products in Mass. again, starting Tuesday

Medical marijuana users are on track to regain access to vaping products starting next week after the Cannabis Control Commission did not uphold the Baker administration's ban, though that permission could be short-lived amid ongoing legal challenges and potential future regulations from the commission.


Starting in November, medical marijuana patients in Mass. will no longer have to pay annual fees

Medical marijuana patients in Massachusetts will no longer have to pay annual registration or renewal fees starting in November, a long-sought change by patients who have called the fees a barrier to access.

The elimination of the $50 annual fee was unanimously approved by the state’s Cannabis Control Commission during its recent review of the medical use of marijuana regulations. The cannabis commissioners heard from patients about the impact of the fee — and also weighed whether the state could offset lost revenue from getting rid of it — before voting to kill the charge.


Massachusetts vaping sales ban can stand, but needs fixes: U.S. judge

A Massachusetts judge on Monday declined to immediately halt a ban on the sale of vaping products adopted after an outbreak of e-cigarette-related lung injuries, but he said the state must redo the ban and get public comment this time.

The ruling by Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins in Boston was a partial victory for Republican Governor Charlie Baker, who through an executive order last month adopted the toughest sales ban of any state in response to the outbreak.

But Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins said Baker likely overreached his authority in issuing the order and said he would bar the state from enforcing the ban on nicotine-vaping product sales unless several defects were addressed.


Efforts intensify to battle corruption involving local Government Officials and cannabis industry

Law enforcement authorities across the country, including the FBI, have cast a wide net in their efforts to root out corruption among local government officials overseeing the marijuana industry.

The crackdown has ensnared local government and cannabis industry officials in states such as California, Massachusetts and Michigan. Charges have included bribery and extortion.

While claims of licensing bias and flawed scoring are more common, an examination of the landscape suggests that there have been a number of blatant efforts over the years to improperly influence public officials into awarding highly coveted marijuana licenses.


New device tries to put the brakes on driving while high

Not seeing is believing when it comes to a new device for testing cannabis intoxication.

The Impairment Measurement Marijuana and Driving device — or IMMAD — uses a Samsung VR headset specifically designed to test a driver’s peripheral vision. Subjects are required to push a Bluetooth button every time they see a flashing stripe on the edges of their field of vision.


Banned in Boston: Without vaping, medical marijuana patients must adapt

In the first few days of the four-month ban on all vaping products in Massachusetts, Laura Lee Medeiros, a medical marijuana patient, began to worry.

An employee puts down an eighth of an ounce marijuana after letting a customer smell it outside the Magnolia cannabis lounge in Oakland, California, U.S. April 20, 2018.

The 32-year-old massage therapist has a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from childhood trauma. To temper her unpredictable panic attacks, she relied on a vape pen and cartridges filled with the marijuana derivatives THC and CBD from state dispensaries.


Vape shop owners sue Massachusetts over product sale ban

Several vape shop owners are suing the state of Massachusetts for implementing a four-month ban on sales of all vaping products and asked the court to deem it “unconstitutional.”

Massachusetts imposed a ban on sales of all e-cigarettes and supplies, both those used for tobacco and marijuana, which is legal in the state, citing a national public health emergency.

U.S. health officials are investigating a mysterious vaping-related respiratory illness that has so far caused 12 deaths and sickened 805 people.

The ban will impact customers, wholesalers and corporations, the plaintiffs said in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts on Sunday.


Dispensaries blame computer system as medical marijuana patient complaints persist

Medical marijuana patients have complained about difficulty buying a variety of medical products since recreational sales started almost a year ago. Some dispensaries are now placing the blame partly on state rules related to the computer system that tracks marijuana inventory.

“It became a bit more of a headache and a bit more of work process” to keep appropriate inventory on both the medical and recreational sides, said Luis Pedro, director of operations at INSA in Easthampton.


Annual fee eliminated for Massachusetts medical marijuana patients

Massachusetts medical marijuana patients will no longer have to a pay a $50 annual fee for a patient registration card.

The fee will be eliminated under new rules governing medical marijuana approved unanimously Tuesday by the Cannabis Control Commission. The rules will become officials as soon as they are promulgated by the Secretary of State. The commission will then update its procedures for patient renewals and inform patients.

The elimination of the fee has been a priority of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, an advocacy group for medical marijuana patients.

“It was an obstruction to health care,” said Nichole Snow, executive director of the MPAA. “No other medicine requires a $50 fee.”


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