Monthly Archives: May 2016

House Passes $81.6 Billion Veterans Affairs Bill: Includes Allowing Medical Marijuana

7 Indest-2008-4By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On May 19, 2016, a new bill was passed that would allow U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients. As part of the $81.6 billion budget and policy bill for military construction and the department of Veterans Affairs, this new measure would allow VA doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to their patients in states where medical marijuana is currently legal.

Treatment For Veterans.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, first brought about this new measure citing heightened rates of depression, suicide, and opioid use and abuse among veterans. Blumenauer urged the House to allow VA doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to their patients, despite a similar version of the amendment failed to pass on last year’s VA bill.

“It is essential that veterans be allowed to have access to this treatment if it is legal in their state,” Blumenauer said.

The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill, which the House voted 295-129 to pass, includes about $81.6 billion for U.S. Department of Defense construction projects, military housing, and VA administrative costs, benefits and health care. Overall, the bill adds $1.8 billion to the amount funded last year.

This is not the first time that medical marijuana has been brought up for the treatment of veterans. To read one of our previous blogs on treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with medical marijuana, click here.

While this appears to be great news, where are veterans going to be able to fill such prescriptions? Is the pharmacy in the VA Hospital or VA Clinic going to carry the medical marijuana? This has not been made clear. Being able to obtain a prescription when there is no place to fill it seems to just be a useless drill.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical Marijuana Concerns.

The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.

To contact the Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Source:

Macagnone, Michael. “$81.6B VA Bill Passes House, Includes Medical Marijuana OK.” Law360. (May 19, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Medical marijuana, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), prescribing medical marijuana to patients, medical marijuana for treatment of veterans, legal representation for veterans, legal representation for medical marijuana, defense attorney, health care attorney, health law, The Health Law Firm
The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved

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Ohio House Passes Historic Plan to Legalize Medical Marijuana

8 Indest-2008-5By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On May 10, 2016, the Ohio House passed a historic plan to legalize medical marijuana in Ohio after a lengthy debate. After years of opposition to such a plan, it passed with a vote of 71-26. The bill’s GOP sponsor Rep. Stephen Huffman, an emergency room physician, said this new law is what is best for patients

Why Did it Pass Now?

According to a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, residents of Ohio are much more interested in legalizing medical marijuana than the recreational drug. To read more on the poll, click here .

The bill’s GOP sponsor Dr. Stephen Huffman, said that the law which was passed is what’s best for patients in Ohio since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has failed to take similar action. “I am absolutely convinced that there is therapeutic value in medical marijuana,” said Dr. Huffman, after reciting a portion of the Hippocratic Oath. “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind.”

Others believe that the legalization of medical marijuana is needed as an alternative to opiates for patients with chronic pain.

Ohio Lawmakers Are Not Ready For All Forms of Medical Marijuana.

Despite the passing of this bill, Ohio’s legislature does not appear to be ready to legalize all forms of medical marijuana, there are restrictions. The strict bill which was passed, would not allow patients to grow marijuana at home or smoke it. Additionally an employers could fire an employee for having marijuana in his or her system, even if it is recommended by a physician.

The proposal is now headed to the Ohio Senate, where minor changes are expected. The bill could be on Gov. John Kasich’s desk by the end of the month. To read one of my prior blogs on the legalization of medical marijuana, click here .

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical Marijuana Concerns.

The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Source:

Balmert, Jessie. “House passes medical marijuana plan in historic vote.” Cincinnati Enquirer. (May 11, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Legalization of medical marijuana, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), medical marijuana as an alternative for opiates, treating chronic pain, legal representation for medical marijuana, medical marijuana defense attorney, medical marijuana lawyer, health law, The Health Law Firm

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Canada to Legalize Recreational Marijuana in 2017: Spring Breakers to Go North Next Year

6 Indest-2008-3By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On April 20, 2016, Canada’s Health Minister announced that the Canadian government will introduce a new law in the Spring of 2017 to legalize recreational marijuana and regulate sales. This law fulfills Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s election pledge and follows the footsteps of several U.S. states that are attempting to decriminalize and permit easy access to the drug.

The Details.

Canada’s Health Minister Jane Philpott, who recently spoke at a special session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, said the Canadian law will ensure marijuana is kept away from children and keep criminals from profiting from its sales. “We will work with law enforcement partners to encourage appropriate and proportionate criminal justice measures,” she said. “We know it is impossible to arrest our way out of them problem.”

Since many major Canadian cities are located within 100 miles of the U.S. border, Canada’s legalization could spur border states to enact their own legislation to prevent the exodus of tourism dollars.

Medical and Recreational Marijuana: Separate Issues.

The use of medical marijuana is a separate issue from recreational marijuana in Canada and is already legal. Canada’s medical marijuana growers say the rise in illegal marijuana dispensaries is costing them valuable customers and money.

Toronto’s former chief of police Bill Blair, has emphasized current laws banning marijuana remain in effect, but illegal dispensaries have multiplied since Justin Trudeau, who became prime minister after his Liberal Party came into power. To read more on his pledge to legalize and regulate marijuana, click here.

The Canadian government has not yet provided details on the production and distribution plans.

To read one of my prior blogs on the use of recreational marijuana, click here.

Spring Breakers To Go North?

In light of Canada’s marihoochee initiative, and the misplaced efforts of Florida vacation cities to ban alcohol, it may very well be that many spring breakers will decide to go north, instead of south next year. A recent article on Panama City Beach advised that its businesses have suffered their worst year in recent history, driven primarily by reduced revenues during spring break. This was allegedly caused by a strong crackdown on public alcohol consumption by anyone. Gee, who would have ever guessed that this might negatively affect tourism dollars and business income in a resort beach community? Click here to read the article in full.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical Marijuana Concerns.

The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.
To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:
Kovac, Adam. “Canada aims for pot legalization in 2017.” USA Today. (April 26, 2016). Web.

Freeman, Alan. “Canada to introduce legislation in 2017 to legalize the sale of maijuana.” The Washington Post. (April 20, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Marijuana legislation, decriminalization of marijuana, recreational marijuana legislation in Canada, regulating sales of marijuana, marijuana growers, marijuana distributors, Canada’s 2017 legislation to legalize marijuana, health care attorney, defense lawyer, health law defense attorney, medical marijuana, Florida medical cannabis, medical marijuana defense attorney, health law, The Health Law Firm

The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved

Could Marijuana Be a Successful Treatment For Opioid Addiction? Lawmakers Are Considering This Alternative Treatment

7 Indest-2008-4By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

Recently, a growing number of patients and doctors have claimed that medical marijuana may help treat addiction to painkillers and heroin. These claims have intrigued lawmakers and advocates who are pushing for marijuana as a treatment for the abuse of opioids and narcotics like heroin, as well as an alternative to painkillers.

One Problem: Very Little Supporting Research.

As there has been a growing problem with addiction to painkillers and heroin, this seems like a promising treatment. There is one problem however.  There is very little research showing that marijuana works effectively as a treatment for the addiction.

According to advocates, a growing amount of scientific literature supports the idea and a study in the Journal of Pain published in 2016, found that chronic pain sufferers significantly reduced their opioid use when taking medical marijuana.

The supporting research also falls short of concluding marijuana actually helps wean people off painkillers and illegal narcotics like heroin. Many health care professionals say it’s not enough for them to confidently prescribe marijuana as a treatment for addiction.

Is Marijuana a Safe Alternative?

Even though some patients and doctors have claimed the treatment is successful, not everyone is convinced. Cannabis could have limited benefits as a treatment alternative, said Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Kevin Hill, authored the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) study that found benefits in using medical marijuana to treat chronic pain. But he also urged caution.

“If you are thinking about using cannabis as opposed to using opioids for chronic pain, then I do think the evidence does support it,” he said. “However, I think one place where sometimes cannabis advocates go too far is when they talk about using cannabis to treat opioid addiction.”

Additionally, some substance abuse experts argue that there are already approved medications to treat addiction. They also claim that it would be wrong to portray marijuana as completely safe because it can also be addictive.

To read one of my prior blogs on medical marijuana and the list of recommended uses, click here.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical Marijuana Concerns.

The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Casey, Michael. “Could Marijuana Help Treat Painkiller and Heroin Addiction?” Associated Press. (April 26,2016). Web.

“Could Marijuana Help Treat Painkiller and Heroin Addiction?” CBS News. (April 26, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Marijuana treatment for opioid addiction, alternative addiction treatment, alternative for painkillers, Florida medical marijuana, medical marijuana legislation, medical marijuana laws, medical cannabis, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Journal of Pain, medical marijuana stores, medical marijuana license, medical marijuana legalization, medical marijuana lawyer, defense attorney, health lawyer, The Health Law Firm

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.