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6 states without ballot initiatives where voters' choices will greatly affect marijuana legalization

We’re four weeks away from the November midterm elections, and obviously a lot in the political landscape could change on that day. Democrats could retake Congress, governor’s mansions could flip to a new party and so much more, writes Joseph Misulonas.


Minnesota: No more undercover arrests for selling small amounts of marijuana

The Minneapolis Police Department is ending undercover enforcement of laws against low-level marijuana sales. Mayor Jacob Frey directed the department to end the sting operations over concerns that black men were being disproportionately targeted.

The Minneapolis Police Department said violent crime in a targeted two-block stretch of downtown has dropped by nearly a third compared to the same time last year.

But at a news conference Thursday, Chief Medaria Arradondo acknowledged that his undercover officers also had arrested dozens of African-American men just for selling small amounts of marijuana.


Minnesota medical marijuana users struggle with cost, finding doctors to prescribe

Almost three years after marijuana was legalized for some medical purposes in Minnesota, some providers, patients and patients' loved ones say the program is frustrating, and the medicine, for many, is unaffordable.

"I just think it's so sad why we can't set up a program that someone would find easier than (it is)," said Pat Mullen of Duluth. "They've got to find a way to inform people."

When Mullen's fiancee, the late Linnea Stephan, was fighting brain cancer, they sought a prescription for medical marijuana to counter the nausea caused by chemotherapy, he said. But they couldn't find any oncologist at either Essentia Health or St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth willing to certify her for that condition.


Minnesota study adds to growing evidence medical marijuana reduces opioid use

Could at least a partial solution to the opioid crisis be sitting on the shelves at the local medical marijuana dispensary? A new report out of Minnesota, and one earlier this year from Israel, both found that marijuana is beneficial to people with chronic pain conditions and those suffering from cancer.

More than half the participants in the Minnesota study found that cannabis offered a high level of benefit in treating chronic pain.

In addition to alleviating pain and anxiety and improving sleep, the use of medical marijuana also led many in the studies to either reduce or eliminate the use of prescription pain medication.


Medical Marijuana treatment slowly gains traction in workers’ comp

Though states and the federal government remain at odds on marijuana legalization, the drug is gaining traction as a viable treatment in workers’ comp claims. In a recent discussion with Claims Journal, Brian Allen, vice president of government affairs for Mitchell, and Mark Pew, senior vice president of PRIUM, a division of Genex Services LLC, provided insight on pending workers’ compensation cases involving medical marijuana reimbursement and on the federal government’s recent announcement regarding marijuana enforcement.


Minnesota OKs medical marijuana for autism, apnea

Starting in July, autism spectrum disorders and obstructive sleep apnea will qualify as conditions eligible to be treated in Minnesota with medical cannabis, the state Health Department said Thursday.

The two conditions were chosen as part of the department's regular review of requests to expand the use of medical cannabis. Petitioners sought authority for 10 conditions this year, including anxiety disorders, dementia, liver disease, Parkinson's disease, apnea and autism.


Cannabis interruption alarms Minnesota patients

A distribution glitch at one of Minnesota’s two medical marijuana providers has left some patients with little or no supply left for treatment of conditions such as chronic pain, epileptic seizures and Tourette syndrome.

One patient, Katie Kennedy, said she called LeafLine Labs on Monday because she had no cannabis left for the management of her chronic pain and only a two-day supply left for the management of her son’s Tourette and autism. She said a LeafLine representative replied that it had none available until Friday, though it later provided a small quantity to get her son through the week.

“I will be in great pain by the end of the week,” said Kennedy, who suffers from fibromyalgia and chronic back problems.


Medical marijuana patients alarmed by shortages

Several Minnesotans say they are struggling to get their prescribed medicine that they consider life-changing.

LeafLine Labs is one of two medical marijuana companies in the state. Some of its patients have to wait nearly a week to get their prescriptions filled.

Kellie Germin uses medical marijuana to treat her post traumatic stress disorder.

“As hard as it is for me to go without it, you know, I think about the patients who are far worse than me,” Germin said. “It means being functional, active, being able to be part of social groups, sleeping, eating.”

Her prescription is through LeafLine Labs. She said when she calls to get a refill she typically picks it up on the same day.


Best and worst places to start a cannabis business

With Cannabis growing in popularity and employing hundreds of thousands of people, any perceptive investor would notice that this industry is not going away anytime soon. For many people, the cannabis industry is the next “Dot Com” boom, and they wouldn’t be wrong. The industry currently is worth close to $7 Billion annually and expected to grow to $50 billion by 2026.

With figures like this, it is no surprise that many people want to get a “slice” of the proverbial pie. However, the cannabis industry is not like opening up a gym or even a bar. There are many regulations in place and banking is still a nightmare, irrespective of the state you are thinking of opening up a business.


Reefer Riches: What Minnesota could learn about recreational marijuana

It was November 2012, and the good people of Colorado were about to buck their leaders. A grand total of two Colorado legislators supported a constitutional amendment to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

The people paid the detractors no mind. The vote wasn’t even close.

Soon, Washington voters passed a similar measure, with Alaska and Oregon poised to follow.

The usual suspects harrumphed and wailed, promising chaos, crime, and social decay.

Children’s brains would be arrested by fog—if they didn’t die first by fiery car crash. 

Business groups warned that workers would lose all will to produce, then sue for being fired.


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