Colorado Allows Schools to Administer MMJ, So Why Won’t They?

When House Bill 1286 passed last year, advocates thought it would mark the beginning of a new era for children who use medical marijuana. So far, though, they’re still waiting.

The bill expanded on a 2016 law that allowed child patients to take their MMJ medication at school. That law required that the medication be administered by a child’s MMJ caregiver, usually the parents. The newer measure — known as Quintin’s amendment, in honor of nine-year-old epilepsy patient Quintin Lovato in Eagle County — allows school personnel to also administer medication, to help patients faster and ease the burden on parents. The proposal passed through the state legislature by relatively wide margins.

However, of the 178 school districts in Colorado, we found just one district that has implemented the policy so far, and it allows school personnel to administer only CBD medication. That district is Eagle County Schools, the district Lovato attends.

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“Unfortunately, that Eagle County rule is not an example that we want to use in the state. It contradicts itself in nature. In the end, it says the school personnel can administer CBD only,” says Amber Wann, the mother of a young MMJ patient who pushed for the bill. “That’s an issue for the majority of students who need multiple cannabinoids.”

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Some children may have to take medication with THC in it one day, like Wann’s teenage son, who has a genetic mutation that results in seizures. Although he currently relies on a hemp-based CBD product, Wann says an emergency could require him to use nasal spray to combat seizures, which can severely harm his health and learning development when left untreated.

Wann’s son currently attends classes in the Douglas County School District, one of the many that don’t allow school personnel to administer marijuana or hemp medication of any kind. While caregivers of child MMJ patients can come to campus and administer the medication, as approved by the 2016 law, if the 2018 update were adopted in Douglas County, school personnel could do it, too.

“If my son has a seizure at school and I had the THC nasal spray, do you know how long it’d take them to call me to get over there, find him and administer it?” Wann asks. “By then, the seizure might be over. School personnel could get it to him in a timely manner and save an emergency situation, but they’re not allowed to.”

Why aren’t school districts allowing school nurses or teachers to give children marijuana medication? The 2018 proposal didn’t make this a requirement, but instead authorized each district’s school board to opt in or out. Nearly nine months after the measure was signed into law, it continues to be a struggle to persuade school boards to opt in, according to Representative Dylan Roberts, the sponsor of Quintin’s amendment.

Roberts, who represents Eagle County, worked with the Lovato family, Wann and other parents of MMJ patients to draft the law in 2018. The opt-in language was always part of the measure, he says, and was included to raise the chances of the bill passing through a legislature wary of forcing schools to break federal laws.

“We knew this was a possibility by making it permissive rather than mandatory, but we made it permissive in good faith,” Roberts says. “I think people like Amber and other moms who were really a key part in getting the bill passed, they were doing that to get their kids the help they needed. They probably foresaw this happening, and it’s unfortunate that it’s coming to pass. But sometimes you pass legislation looking for long-term gains, and I think more districts will jump on board.”

But first, one big domino might have to fall. Nearly all of Colorado’s school districts are members of the Colorado Association of School Boards, a state and federal lobbying organization that advised schools not to opt in to Quintin’s amendment. “Since medical marijuana continues to be considered an illegal controlled substance under federal law, CASB makes sure districts know they’re faced with risks when school personnel administer medical marijuana to a student,” explains CASB communications director Susan Meek.

According to Meek, CASB is waiting for the federal government to amend the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, a law that bans any schools receiving federal funding from allowing “the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees on its property or as part of any of its activities.” She notes that CASB sent a memo to Congress asking lawmakers to amend the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act to include an exception for MMJ patients who take non-psychoactive cannabinoids — but not THC.

Wann and parents of MMJ patients enrolled in the Castle Rock and Cherry Creek school districts don’t want to wait for Congress, though, and argue that THC should be treated the same as CBD medication in Colorado regardless of its federal status. They’ve even started an advocacy crusade with Colorado for Safe Access, dubbed “The Green Crayon Campaign.”

The campaign encourages parents, caregivers and advocates of young MMJ patients to send green crayons to their respective school’s superintendents and school boards with letters urging them to adopt the law and allow school personnel to administer MMJ.

“These kids don’t need their peers asking about why their mommy is here every day,” Wann says. “This current attitude isn’t surrounded around compassion.”

Toke of the Town

Slightly Less Lame Kansas Now Allows Sale of New Belgium Hemp Beer

It took long enough, but the country is finally starting to come around to hemp. Kansas is just taking a little longer than the rest of us.

The non-psycoactive cannabis plant and the oils, fibers and cannabinoids derived from it have seen a huge boom in consumer interest over the past few years and grew 16 percent in sales from 2016 to 2017, according to a recent analysis from Hemp Industry Daily. Hemp has even become an ingredient in beer, with Fort Collins-based New Belgium Brewing Company (the fourth-largest craft brewery in the country) releasing a pale ale in March that is brewed with hemp seeds to extract cannabis-like flavor and aromas.

Mixing beer and cannabis — even a harmless hemp seed with no THC or CBD — was sure to raise some uneducated eyebrows, but most of the country was pretty cool with Hemperor HPA (hemp pale ale), despite initial apprehension from a few states, according to New Belgium CEO Steve Fechheimer. In fact, 49 states allowed it to be sold within their borders shortly after the beer’s release. The only state that didn’t? Kansas.

According to New Belgium, the beer was rejected earlier this year by the Kansas Alcoholic Beverage Control agency, which cited hemp as a banned ingredient in any alcoholic beverages. The state agency changed its mind in September, however, after New Belgium requested a review of the decision and Kansas state laws regarding industrial hemp. (The Kansas ABC didn’t respond to requests for comment.)

Although not quite as square as the attorneys general of Oklahoma and Nebraska, both of whom sued the State of Colorado in federal court in 2014 for legalizing cannabis, Kansas AG Derek Schmidt still isn’t as woke as pot advocates would like. Before reversing himself in June, he’d deemed all hemp-derived CBD products illegal within the state, and once said this about Colorado to the Kansas City Star: “But doggone it, they have done something that federal law says they may not do, and it’s Kansans who are paying a price for that.”

I’ve met many fine people from Kansas, and I’m sure there’s more to the state than endless flatlands and dozens of billboards praising Donald Trump, Jesus and University of Kansas basketball. But the people running that state need to get real. You can buy hemp seeds at King Soopers for your morning yogurt, and my girlfriend’s mom uses hemp-seed oil for her poodle’s skin condition. This was an easy 2+2 equation, yet somehow state regulators turned it into algebra.

New Belgium appears to be happy and lighthearted about the news. “We’d like to think Kansans could no longer bear living life without experiencing the Hemperor’s game-changing union of hops and hemp,” spokesman Jesse Claeys says. “It could also be that Kansas, like many other states in our glorious union, finally got a whiff of how versatile and sustainable of a crop industrial hemp can be, and how it could play a much bigger role in our economy.”

Cheers to hemp and cannabis, Kansans — even if you still can’t smoke it.


Toke of the Town

FDA Allows Sales of First Self-Fitting Hearing Aid

Oct. 5, 2018 — The FDA on Friday approved the sale of the first hearing aid that users can buy, fit, and use themselves, without the sometimes expensive expert help.

The Bose Hearing Aid is for anyone 18 and older with mild to moderate hearing loss.

“Today’s marketing authorization provides certain patients with access to a new hearing aid that provides them with direct control over the fit and functionality of the device,” says Malvina Eydelman, MD, director of the Division of Ophthalmic, and Ear, Nose and Throat Devices at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “The FDA is committed to ensuring that individuals with hearing loss have options for taking an active role in their health care.”

More than 37 million adults have some level of hearing loss.

The wireless Bose Hearing Aid is what’s known as an “air conduction” hearing aid. These devices capture sound vibrations through one or more microphones. The signal is then processed, amplified, and played back through an earphone placed in the ear canal. Patients can adjust the hearing aid through an app on their phone. This technology lets users choose the hearing aid settings themselves.

In a statement, Bose says the FDA approval “validates that Bose technologies can be applied to help people with mild to moderate hearing impairment take control of their hearing. We look forward to bringing affordable, accessible and great sounding solutions to the millions of people who could benefit from hearing aids, but don’t use them.”

Some state laws may still require the hearing aid to be purchased from a licensed dealer.

The FDA’s decision is part of a move toward greater consumer freedom when it comes to hearing aids. The FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017 requires the agency to write new regulations for over-the-counter hearing aids.

The FDA says it reviewed data from clinical studies of 125 patients that showed the Bose device is comparable to a professionally fitted hearing aid.

Sources

FDA.gov: “FDA allows marketing of first self-fitting hearing aid controlled by the user,” Oct. 5, 2018.

© 2018 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Ohio Attorney General Allows Signature Collection to Legalize Marijuana

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s attorney general has certified a petition for another proposed ballot initiative to legalize recreational cannabis. The initiative would allow Ohioans age 21 or older to possess, grow, use, sell and share cannabis in the state. The petition language certified by Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine on Thursday, May 10, 2018, […]
Marijuana

AG Letter to WA State Officials: Cole Memorandum Allows DOJ Enforcement

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has some rather sobering concerns with the implementation of recreational marijuana in Washington State. Washington State legalized adult-use marijuana by passing Initiative 502 during the 2012 general election. Now, almost five years after the fact, the country’s attorney general has officially put the state’s policymakers on notice. Sessions, in a letter […]
Marijuana

Nightlife in Berlin Smells Sweeter Than The Law Allows

Germany’s capital is regarded as the European underground for creative people, and unfortunately, it’s also a drug hotspot for those seeking self-destruction. Examples of artistic destruction have been seen in Lou Reed’s Berlin LP, David Bowie’s wild time in the once divided city, the bestselling book “Christiane F. – We Children from Bahnhof Zoo” Nick […]
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Court Ruling Allows D.C. to Pass Marijuana Regulation Bill

On Friday, the District of Columbia Superior Court upheld the Local Budget Autonomy Act of 2012, which 82% of D.C. voters approved in spring of 2013. Then, on Tuesday, D.C.’s Attorney General and Chief Financial Officer said they would not appeal.Flag_Map_of_Washington_DC

Now, instead of having to wait for Congress to appropriate funds to D.C., the budget will simply be reviewed in the same way as every other law passed by the D.C. Council. So, the appropriations rider that has blocked the council from making any improvements to D.C.’s marijuana policies will expire on September 30, 2016. This means that the council can move forward to determine how to tax and regulate marijuana and pass a law to do so this fall.

While Congress could still block a tax and regulate bill or a D.C. budget that includes funds for the regulation of marijuana sales, it would have to do so by passing a joint resolution in both houses that would be subject to presidential veto. Thanks to congressional gridlock and President Obama’s support for D.C. choosing its own marijuana policy, this would be much more difficult than simply adding a rider to a lengthy appropriations bill funding the federal government.

The post Court Ruling Allows D.C. to Pass Marijuana Regulation Bill appeared first on MPP Blog.


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Court Ruling Allows D.C. to Pass Marijuana Regulation Bill

On Friday, the District of Columbia Superior Court upheld the Local Budget Autonomy Act of 2012, which 82% of D.C. voters approved in spring of 2013. Then, on Tuesday, D.C.’s Attorney General and Chief Financial Officer said they would not appeal.Flag_Map_of_Washington_DC

Now, instead of having to wait for Congress to appropriate funds to D.C., the budget will simply be reviewed in the same way as every other law passed by the D.C. Council. So, the appropriations rider that has blocked the council from making any improvements to D.C.’s marijuana policies will expire on September 30, 2016. This means that the council can move forward to determine how to tax and regulate marijuana and pass a law to do so this fall.

While Congress could still block a tax and regulate bill or a D.C. budget that includes funds for the regulation of marijuana sales, it would have to do so by passing a joint resolution in both houses that would be subject to presidential veto. Thanks to congressional gridlock and President Obama’s support for D.C. choosing its own marijuana policy, this would be much more difficult than simply adding a rider to a lengthy appropriations bill funding the federal government.

The post Court Ruling Allows D.C. to Pass Marijuana Regulation Bill appeared first on MPP Blog.


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New Vermont Law Allows Expungement of Misdemeanor Marijuana Records

JBenning
Sen. Joe Benning

In addition to Vermont‘s substantial progress on marijuana regulation this year, state legislators quietly passed a bill that will make a big difference in the lives of people who have been convicted of misdemeanors for marijuana possession. Sponsored by Senator Joe Benning (R-Lyndonville), S. 115 allows Vermonters who have been convicted of crimes for “conduct [that] is no longer prohibited by law or designated as a criminal offense” to have their records expunged after one year (in most cases).

Gov. Peter Shumlin signed S. 115 into law May 26. It took effect upon passage. As a result, individuals who were convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession before Vermont’s decriminalization law passed in 2013 may now petition the court to have their record expunged.

Please share this excellent news with your friends and family, or with anybody you know who has been convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession.

The post New Vermont Law Allows Expungement of Misdemeanor Marijuana Records appeared first on MPP Blog.


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Germany allows seriously ill patients to grow their own cannabis

File photo of a marijuana home grower working on a marijuana flower in Montevideo March 7, 2014.  REUTERS/Andres Stapff/Files

(Reuters) – A German court ruled on Tuesday that some people suffering from chronic pain should be able to cultivate their own cannabis “for therapeutic purposes”.

Five people suffering from chronic pain brought the complaint to a court in Cologne after Germany’s Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) refused them permission to grow the plant at home.

The court said the BfArM had to reconsider three of the requests that it had rejected.

While the plaintiffs all had permits to buy and consume cannabis for therapeutic purposes, they wanted to cultivate their own because they could not afford to purchase the drug and their health insurance did not cover it.

The court said three of the plaintiffs met the requirements to produce the drug because it was “sufficiently certain” that third parties would not be able to access the plants and products.

“Until now it has not been legal for anyone to grow cannabis at home but these seriously ill people will now be allowed to,” court spokeswoman Stefanie Seifert said, adding that it nonetheless remained illegal for others to grow it.

“This is not a carte blanche for everyone to start growing cannabis at home – they have to be seriously ill people for whom nothing else works other than cannabis.”

The complaints brought by the other two plaintiffs were rejected – the first because the court was not satisfied that unauthorized persons could be prevented from accessing the plants and the second because the court did not think the plaintiff had exhausted all other treatment options.

The court stressed that it was necessary to assess whether individuals met the requirements to grow their own cannabis on an case-by-case basis.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)


Reuters: Oddly Enough

U.S. board allows gynecologists to treat more men

(Reuters) – A U.S. professional group that certifies obstetricians and gynecologists has loosened a decades-old restriction on its board-certified members treating male patients, after mounting pressure from doctors and researchers.

The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) had previously said members could not treat male patients except in specific circumstances, such as circumcising babies, treating transgendered patients, and helping couples overcome infertility.

However, opposition had mounted from gynecologists and others who said the policy interfered with medical research and prevented them treating male patients with chronic pelvic pain.

Some obstetricians and gynecologists had also been treating men for cancer, problems such as low testosterone, and cosmetic procedures including liposuction.

“This change recognizes that in a few rare instances board certified diplomats were being called upon to treat men for certain conditions and to participate in research,” Dr. Larry Gilstrap, ABOG’s executive director, said in a statement Thursday.

“This issue became a distraction from our mission to ensure that women receive high quality and safe health care.”

SAFETY

The Dallas-based board eliminated requirements that said certified members treat only women and must devote at least 75 percent of their practice to obstetrics and gynecology, saying instead a majority would suffice.

The policy change matters because board certification, while not legally mandated, is viewed as a paragon of safety by many hospitals, patients, and insurers.

It was intended to protect patients when some gynecologists who were board-certified by the group were practicing in areas outside the board’s expertise, such as plastic surgery, ABOG spokesman David Margulies said.

First adopted in the 1930s, the policy had been ignored or opposed by doctors in some corners over the years, and the board had built a list of complicated exceptions over the past months, Margulies said.

“The whole thing became a distraction from the idea that we are here to certify people, to make sure that they have the training they need,” Margulies said.

ABOG says on its website it is an independent, non-profit organization that certifies obstetricians and gynecologists in the United States.

It examines and certifies more than 1,700 obstetricians and gynecologists and sub-specialists in maternal-fetal medicine, reproductive endocrinology and infertility, gynecologic oncology and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery each year.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Sophie Hares)


Reuters: Oddly Enough

Colorado Court Allows Employers to Discriminate Against Patients

On Thursday, a Colorado Court of Appeals panel ruled that a quadriplegic medical marijuana patient fired for off-the-job marijuana use had no expectation of job security, creating a disquieting legal situation in the state.

Brandon Coats

Brandon Coats

Despite lacking evidence that he was impaired on the job, the Dish Network fired telephone operator Brandon Coats after he tested positive for marijuana. Coats took his employers to court, arguing that his termination violated Colorado’s Lawful Off-Duty Activities Statute, which states employees cannot be fired for engaging in legal activities when off-the-clock.

Unfortunately for Coats and the thousands of patients like him, a trial court ruled against him, citing a previous case that declared Colorado’s medical marijuana law only exempts patients from prosecution.

The decision makes it clear: Colorado’s Lawful Off-Duty Activities Statute does not cover legal state activities that conflict with federal law. Meaning, employees may smoke tobacco, drink alcohol, and risk developing a myriad of ailments, but if those employees opt to use a safer substance by following a doctor-recommended course of treatment, they must do so with the knowledge that their voter-approved choice could mean losing their source of income.

Employers are prevented from discriminating against employees based on medical conditions or treatments. Medical marijuana patients should be treated equally, not worse than people who use dangerous narcotics at the direction of their physicians.


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