California grandfather charged for medical marijuana in Texas


HOUSTON – A California man never imagined the world of trouble he could end up in for a prescription he’s had for years.

Phillip Blanton faces two felony drug charges after his prescribed medical marijuana and edible cookies were found in the trunk of his car during a traffic stop.

It happened as Blanton was driving from Newman, Calif., to the Houston area on Jan. 1.

He was making the trip to visit his 20-year-old granddaughter who has Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Blanton was stopped for speeding in Decatur, Texas, more than 1,500 miles into his journey.

“I said, ‘Officer, I don’t have any illegal drugs on me. Everything I have is a prescription from my doctor,’” Blanton said. “He goes, ‘If that dog finds anything, you’re going to jail.’”

He admitted to having a pipe in his car, which was enough probable cause to lead to a search of the vehicle.

A DPS trooper found four ounces of his prescribed marijuana and the edibles in his trunk.

“I said, ‘What? Are you kidding me? I’m a patient. I’m a grandfather — not a drug dealer,’” Blanton said. “I’m there in handcuffs feeling like a total loser…a second-class citizen.”

Blanton spent the night in the Wise County Jail and was released after posting the necessary portion of his $20,000 bond.

He’s been told it could take up to six months to get a court date.

“I’m not a recreational user. I’ve been a medical user for the past 10 years,” he said. “What’s going through my mind is terror. I’m a 67-year-old grandpa who loves his family very much and wants to see his granddaughter who’s battling for her life.”

By Drew Karedes – Continue Reading…

A writer’s challenge to politicians over medical cannabis


For almost 50 years now I’ve suffered from a debilitating, often crippling and painful condition called Still’s Disease, a form of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis which strikes children. I contracted the disease at 12 years of age. When I search for an image for the condition I imagine “a hard winter of the bones”.

Fifty years of experience with almost every kind of arthritis drug – steroids, gold, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), immunosuppressants, chemotherapy and most recently monoclonal antibodies, as well as many varieties of painkiller ranging from paracetamol to DF118 – has taught me that there are no free lunches. All drugs have side-effects, and some of them are pretty dramatic. One trendy item, for example, gave me a perforated bowel and three weeks on morphine and antibiotics in a London hospital. It almost killed me. Steroids cost me my hips – a side-effect known as steroid necrosis – at 27 years of age. I have more allergies to medication than I like to think about. One of them, Diclofenac, an arthritis drug used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain, causes my throat to close – a potentially fatal response.

By William Wall – Continue Reading…

Legal weed is hard to come by in Alaska


There’s no legal marijuana for sale in Fairbanks.

All three stores – Pakalolo Supply Co., Frozen Budz, and GoodSinse – have shut their doors as they wait for more cannabis to hit the wholesale market.

“We left Fairbanks dry,” said Destiny Neade, Frozen Budz co-owner.

Across Alaska, a shortage of commercial cannabis has caused stores to close temporarily or open only in short spurts as product becomes available and is quickly bought up.

In Fairbanks, Frozen Budz has been closed for about a month, and will likely stay shut until the end of January, Neade said.

GoodSinse opened on Dec. 11 and closed Dec. 30 after the store ran out of product, co-owner Daniel Peters said Tuesday. And Pakalolo is waiting until its own harvest is ready, likely mid-January, co-owner Keenan Hollister said.

The issue is simple supply and demand, Hollister said — like the state of Washington, which also faced shortages during the start of its recreational industry.

There hasn’t been enough cannabis harvest to cover the state’s retailers, Hollister said. Eleven are operating across Alaska.

By Laurel Andrews Continue Reading…

A ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for long-awaited medical marijuana program


Medical marijuana could finally become a reality next year in Maryland, one of the states slowest to make the drug available for purchase after legalizing sales.

In 2016, regulators awarded long-awaited licenses to grow, process and sell cannabis while grappling with fallout from those shut out of the potentially lucrative industry. Now selected businesses are racing to set up facilities and pass final inspections so the first seeds can be planted and flowers can hit the shelves by the end of 2017, four years after lawmakers legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes.

“For many of us who have been along this journey for a long time, that we have seen licenses issued is a light at the end of the tunnel for patient access,” said Darrell Carrington, a medical marijuana lobbyist who leads the Maryland Cannabis Industry Association.

But ongoing litigation from three companies denied growing licenses, and looming legislation to address the lack of minority-owned marijuana firms, could delay the program.

By Fenit Nirappil Continue Reading Here…