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More than 65% of Medical Marijuana Users
Have Experienced an Overdose
 
At a briefing covered by the Christian Science Monitor this week, Dr. Scott Novak warned that more than 65 percent of people who use marijuana for medical reasons have experienced an overdose. Dr. Novak is senior developmental epidemiologist at RTI International, a nonprofit research institute based in North Carolina. Among its many projects, RTI conducts the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
 
Safety regulations lag far behind the legalization of the drug for medical use as states pass such measures under differing standards, leading to problems with consistency, quality control, and consumer safety.
 
Patients experience side effects ranging from nausea to hallucinations and end up in hospitals where staff may not recognize the source of the problem and therefore may not provide proper treatment.
 
Product labels recommend doses that range from 1 to 2 milligrams of THC to over 1,000 milligrams.
 
“These are issues Americans usually expect pharmacies, manufacturers, and government regulators to have answered” before a medicine is sold, notes the Monitor, “including how much to take, when, and how.” But with marijuana, it’s a question of do-it-yourself medicine, as people tinker with different cannabinoid preparations, adding a lot of one to a little of another.
 
Say one Colorado vendor, “There’s no research. There’s no guidelines. There’s nothing.”
 
The Monitor calls for standard regulations.
 
Read story here.
 
Montana Initiative Seeks to
Repeal Medical Marijuana
 
SafeMontana is gathering signatures for Initiative 176 to repeal the state’s medical marijuana law. It has collected about one-third of the 24,175 signatures needed by June 17 to place the initiative on the ballot.
 
“We believe the delivery process right now in the state of Montana is terrible,” says Steve Zabawa, director of the SafeMontana campaign. “There’s no testing, there’s no measuring, there’s no prescribing, there’s no monitoring, there’s no registering. “We just want normal pain medication protocol. And that’s not being done in this state.”
 
The marijuana industry grew in the late 2000’s, but federal raids and legislative restrictions reduced the number of cardholders from 30,000 to 7,000. However, most of the restrictions have been suspended and the number of cardholders is on the rise again.
 
Businesses that sell marijuana for medical use are not happy about I-176. They accuse the campaign of acting unethically and have filed a complaint with the state office of political practices.
 
Read story here.
 
New Jersey Man Sees
Future in Marijuana Testing
 
In this era of do-it-yourself marijuana medicine, can do-it-yourself forensic science be far behind?
 
David Cunic, a “physical therapist and entrepreneur” of Morris County, New Jersey, has decided to get into the marijuana testing business.
 
He co-founded DMC Athletics and Rehabilitation in three New Jersey cities.
 
Then he sold his interest in that business two years ago to found Pazoo.com, “which launched as an online health and wellness portal for people and their pets,” providing news articles on mental, physical, and spiritual health.
 
An angel investor in Pazoo connected it with testing labs in Nevada looking to expand to other states. (Nevada passed legislation last year allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to open. A handful have thus far.) Pazoo invested in the Nevada outfits, Harris Lee LLC and MA & Associates LLC, and then bought them.
 
The former has a contract with Steep Hill which Cunic says is known as the top marijuana testing lab in the country. “They are a bunch of scientists and researchers who have licensed out their procedures and their methodology, and we have the first right of refusal to open up a testing lab anywhere in the U.S. except California,” he says.
 
Pazoo is a publicly traded corporation whose stock trades for less than a penny on the Over-The-Counter Bulletin Board.
 
Cunic may be on to something. New Jersey, like most medical marijuana states, does not require drug testing. “There could be pesticides, heavy metals, we even find dog feces” in medical marijuana. “Excuse my terminology, but there could be a lot of crap in there.”
 
He says he plans to expand nationwide because “hedge fund managers and other traditional investment firms” now recognize marijuana testing as a growth sector.
 
“It’s a modern day gold rush,” he says.
 
Read story here.
The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter produced by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). Subscribe to The Marijuana Report and visit our website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.

About National Families in Action (NFIA)
NFIA consists of families, scientists, business leaders, physicians, addiction specialists, policymakers, and others committed to protecting children from addictive drugs. Our vision is:
  • Healthy, drug-free kids
  • Nurturing, addiction-free families
  • Scientifically accurate information and education
  • A nation free of Big Marijuana
  • Smart, safe, FDA-approved medicines developed from the cannabis plant (and other plants) 
  • Expanded access to medicines in FDA clinical trials for children with epilepsy

About SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) 

SAM is a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens who want to move beyond simplistic discussions of "incarceration versus legalization" when discussing marijuana use and instead focus on practical changes in marijuana policy that neither demonizes users nor legalizes the drug. SAM supports a treatment, health-first marijuana policy. 

SAM has four main goals: 
  • To inform public policy with the science of today's marijuana.
  • To reduce the unintended consequences of current marijuana policies, such as lifelong stigma due to arrest.
  • To prevent the establishment of "Big Marijuana" - and a 21st-Century tobacco industry that would market marijuana to children.
  • To promote research of marijuana's medical properties and produce, non-smoked, non-psychoactive pharmacy-attainable medications.
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