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Category Archives: Marijuana Legalization

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Does Malpractice Insurance Cover Medical Marijuana Prescriptions?

When it comes to medical marijuana, healthcare providers and law enforcement are in an awkward position.

On the one hand, certain state laws allow them to treat marijuana like any other medication (albeit a non-FDA-approved one). On the other hand, federal law says it’s 100% hands down illegal.

So this begs the question: if you had a medical malpractice case and wanted your malpractice insurance to cover medical marijuana, would they cover it? Here’s what you need to know.

The Tension Between State and Federal Law

Since California first legalized marijuana for medical use in 1996, the acceptance of marijuana in a medical context has steadily grown.

But while we’ve made huge strides, marijuana still isn’t fully legal, despite the fact that 62% of Americans support legalizing it.

Currently, 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, while 11 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana across the board.

At the federal level, marijuana remains illegal and is listed as a Schedule 1 drug by the DEA. This means that, at the federal level, marijuana is viewed as a drug with no medically accepted use and a high potential for abuse.

The biggest problem, for doctors and law enforcement alike, is whether to follow state laws which may allow medical marijuana or to follow federal law, which bans marijuana completely.

Rohrabacher-Farr, Ogden and Cole

Two things have helped to clarify how doctors, lawyers, and law enforcement should proceed:

  1. The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment
  2. The Ogden and Cole Memoranda

In December 2014, Congress passed the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment as part of the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

This amendment prohibits the Department of Justice (DOJ) from using federal funds to prevent states that have legalized marijuana from implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, cultivation, distribution, and purchase of medical marijuana.

The amendment was renewed in December 2015, December 2016 and again in May 2017. It was last renewed in February 2019 as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment.

In addition to Rohrabacher, the DOJ has released four memoranda clarifying their stance on the issue, collectively known as the Ogden and Cole Memoranda (the 2009 Ogden memo and the Cole memos of 2011, 2013, and 2014).

In these memos, the DOJ guided U.S. attorneys to focus their marijuana enforcement efforts on the following federal priorities:

  • Preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors
  • Preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal to other states where it is not legal
  • Preventing revenue of marijuana sales from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels
  • Preventing state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity
  • Preventing drugged driving and other adverse public health effects
  • Preventing violence and the use of firearms in marijuana cultivation
  • Preventing the cultivation of marijuana on public land
  • Preventing marijuana possession on federal property

Otherwise, U.S. attorneys were to defer to state and local laws governing the use of medical and recreational marijuana.

Physician Liability

To come back to our original question, how does this affect physical liability and malpractice insurance?

On one hand, doctors and law enforcement do have guidelines that would permit the prescription of medical marijuana if you live in a state that has legalized the use of medical marijuana. And while it is federally illegal, enforcement of the federal ban usually is not strong.

There are no current medical malpractice cases involving marijuana. It’s difficult to see how such a case would succeed if the patient asked for a medical marijuana recommendation and was provided one.

In fact, physician liability is rather limited since doctors can’t actually prescribe or dispense marijuana. All a doctor does is verify that a patient has a qualifying condition and that they think the potential benefits of medical marijuana outweigh the potential risks.

That said, plaintiff attorneys can get rather creative. If such a lawsuit were filed, attorneys would most likely pursue it as they would pursue a lawsuit for inappropriate prescription of opioids. Still, the malpractice aspect will be esoteric at best.

So, does malpractice insurance cover medical marijuana?

The short answer? Probably not. Most traditional malpractice insurers will not cover cases where physicians recommend medication that has not been FDA-approved.

The long answer? You can argue it in court, but the answer is probably still no. If you’d like to find out how such a case might be argued, talk to a malpractice attorney.

Figuring Out Malpractice Insurance?

If you’re trying to make heads or tails of medical malpractice and malpractice insurance, it pays to do your homework.

Check out our blog for more useful posts like this one to get your case in order.

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8 Things You Should Know About the Legality of Hemp-Derived CBD Oil

We know that cannabis is legal in almost half of all states now. But what does that tell you about hemp-derived CBD oil?

Cannabidiol, or CBD as it’s more commonly known, is the purported “non-psychoactive” component of cannabis and the counterpart to THC, aka the stuff that gets you high. As more research is done on CBD, professionals have found a litany of health benefits ranging from pain relief to help with anxiety and depression.

Despite these amazing findings, many are still skeptical of what cannabis-derived CBD oil does to the user. As of right now, even though it doesn’t get you high, cannabis-derived CBD is subject to the same state laws as any other form of cannabis.

Luckily, there is another kind of CBD. Hemp-derived CBD oil is here and it’s federally legal, so you can get it anywhere and use it anywhere. In this post, we’re going to tell you 8 things that you should know about the legality of hemp-derived CBD oil before you try it.

There’s nothing to be afraid of, but like anything, you should know all the facts before you dive into hemp-derived CBD head first. Let’s get started.

1. The 2018 Farm Bill

In 2018, something called the Farm Bill was passed and it changed everything for hemp products, including hemp-derived CBD. It effectively removed and hemp products from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), making it a part of agriculture, unlike marijuana.

This is huge because now hemp-derived CBD oil can be grown, made, and sold federally. It’s not quite that simple, as we’ll find out. There are still going to be heavy regulations by the FDA, but it’s a huge window for the CBD oil industry to start developing more products.

2. Hemp-Derived CBD Is DEA OK

What seemed like seconds after the Farm Bill was ratified, the DEA clarified that it would not be regulating any hemp products, notably hemp-derived CBD.

Basically, DEA staff and field agents are under guidance to find and eradicate illicit substances from our communities. With the passing of the Farm Bill, the DEA further clarified that cannabinoids themselves are not illegal and it is dependent on the source of the cannabinoid, either cannabis or hemp.

Since hemp was removed from the CSA, the DEA has withdrawn.

3. The Dividing Line

The dividing line determining what is or isn’t an illicit source has always been a bit of a source of confusion. The magic number for this dividing line has now been set at 0.3%.

That is, 0.3% THC. If the substance’s THC level is below 0.3%, then it is completely legal. Hemp products fall under this number, so they’re in the clear. Cannabis plants vary wildly, but most contain higher than 0.3%, so they remain federally illegal according to the CSA.

4. There’s Always Been a Gray Area

Pre-Farm Bill, there was a sort of gray area when it came to zero THC CBD products. Hemp-derived CBD had more of an image issue than was it actually illegal. Because of that, different states had different regulations on CBD oil and other products.

There were extremely friendly states, friendly states, not-so-friendly states, and gray area states. The friendliest states had explicit laws allowing the sale of industrial hemp-derived products. The least friendly states had no explicit laws against it, but previous actions denounced the sale of hemp products.

As you can plainly see, the grey areas lay in the fact that most states didn’t really have any regulations in place for hemp-derived products like CBD oil. These gray area states didn’t have any real prohibitions, but there were exemptions in the law to argue against the legality of hemp-derived CBD oils, etc.

This is why the Farm Bill was and is so important. It cleared up all of the uncertainty that state law had with hemp products and removed it from their hands altogether.

5. The FDA’s Involvement

The US Food and Drug Administration has a bit of a problematic stance on CBD oil and products like it post-Farm Bill. Their stance is that CBD cannot be marketed as or within foods or dietary supplements. There’s a rather lengthy backstory to this stance.

Basically, they stated that because a product containing CBD was approved as a drug and public clinical trials were conducted on CBD as a drug prior to the Farm Bill, nothing containing CBD can be marketed as a food or supplement.

6. Hemp Is Now an Agricultural Commodity

Since hemp is federally legal, it is now recognized as an agricultural commodity like apples, wheat, or corn. As such, it will be subject to government regulations like any other crop, but farmers are rejoicing at this new opportunity.

Specifically, Kentucky-based farmers looking for a tobacco replacement are starting to see hemp and CBD-oil as a potential saving grace.

The ability to grow and harvest hemp and distribute it to companies that extract the CBD oils from it to make new CBD products is surely going to be great for local economies. Companies like Highland Pharms and Bluebird Botanicals are at the top of the hemp-derived CBD oil market.

7. World Health Organization

The WHO has been a great proponent of hemp-derived CBD. In a statement released in a November 2017 report, the WHO deemed CBD to have “no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.”

They also went on to say that “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile” and “there is no evidence of recreation use of CBD or any public health-related problems.”

There’s been too much evidence of good for CBD to be outlawed any longer. Countless studies have shown that it supports the body’s overall wellness, promotes cognitive health, reduces inflammation, and promotes better sleep.

8. Cannabis-Derived CBD May Be Next

As we begin to see the widespread production and distribution of hemp-derived CBD and the continued state legalization of cannabis, it’s hard to imagine that more varieties of CBD oil won’t be available in the coming years.

For now, however, since cannabis contains higher than 0.3% THC levels, cannabis-derived CBD will remain federally outlawed. There is hope for the future though.

Try Out Hemp-Derived CBD Oil for Yourself

If you suffer from anxiety, depression, muscle cramps, or lack of sleep, try out hemp-derived CBD today and see how it can help you. The Farm Bill has made it available to us country-wide and the WHO has deemed it to have a good safety profile.

Now that the gray area is gone, you can use hemp-derived CBD oil to your heart’s content.

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On benefits and prescribed medical cannabis? You should hire a SSA Attorney today!

Across the US, an increasing number of states are legalizing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC ). As of June 2019, 11 states have legalized THC for recreational purposes and a further 31 have legalized it for medical use.

Despite this, cannabis remains a Schedule I controlled narcotic under Federal law. This essentially means it is still illegal nationally regardless of the state you’re living in.

In spite of it being illegal on a country-wide level, doctors in states pro-medical cannabis states are continuing to prescribe cannabis for a variety of mental and physical illnesses.

Medical cannabis can have serious implications for those who suffer from severe disabilities. This is because the use of cannabis, even if prescribed by a doctor, can make one ineligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

What is medical cannabis?

Medical cannabis is a broad term for any medicines that contain compounds from the Cannabis-Sativa plant. It is believed to have several therapeutic applications.

Medical cannabis comes in many forms such as tinctures, drop and oils. It is also common for a doctor to approve a medical device such as a cannabis vaporizer that has been approved for medical use.

The Cannabis Sativa plant contains over 100 different cannabinoids that each have their own individual effect on the human body. THC is possibly the most infamous.  It is this compound that makes users feel ‘high’ and is the cannabinoid responsible for the entire plant being illegal. however, other compounds such as CBD have no psychoactive effects and an increasing amount of research suggests it can treat a variety of ailments including :

  •       Alzheimer’s disease
  •       Appetite loss
  •       Cancer
  •       Crohn’s disease
  •       Eating disorders such as anorexia
  •       Epilepsy
  •       Glaucoma
  •       Mental health conditions like schizophrenia and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  •       Multiple sclerosis
  •       Muscle spasms
  •       Nausea
  •       Pain
  •       Wasting syndrome (cachexia)

In 2016, medical cannabis has featured regularly in the news due to a specially formulated version of the drug being used successfully to treat children with a severe form of epilepsy.

Since then, the drug, better known as Epidiolex, has been approved by both the US and UK governments for people with hard to treat epilepsy.

How can medical cannabis affect my SSDI benefits?

As a general rule, the (SSA) Social Security Administration can deny benefits to applicants who abuse drugs or alcohol.

The SSA is a federal agency and acts according to federal law so has to consider medical cannabis an illegal drug, even if you live in a state where it is legal and it is prescribed by a doctor.

Typically the SSA will deny any benefit claims if they have reason to believe that the use of the drug or alcohol is a detriment to your well-being.

It is also worth noting that the SSA will deny any applicant who uses cannabis recreationally as this is deemed illegal activity and therefore falls under abuse.

As a result, it is imperative that anyone with a prescription for medical cannabis consult with an attorney before applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

A lawyer well versed in the Social Security Administration is the best place to calculate the risks of being denied an SSDI claim and can work with your doctor to ensure that you can successfully build a case that your cannabis use aids your disability and general well-being.

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How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog? A Complete Guide

You look at the forecast and see thunder. Your mind immediately goes to a sleepless night, comforting your anxious-meltdown pooch into the wee hours of the morning. Not again.

But did you know there’s an alternative? CBD is the new shining star in alternative therapies for humans, but your furry friends can reap just as much of the same benefits!

That’s right: your anxiety-stricken dog can benefit greatly from CBD. Not only that, dogs dealing with pain from an injury, cancer treatment, or old age have been found to benefit from regular dosing of CDB as well.

Sound good? You might be wondering, “Ok, but how much CBD oil should I give my dog?”.

Before you grab that expensive bottle of CBD and start dumping it into your dog’s food, make sure to do your research on proper dosage so that your pup can reap the most benefit, and you’re using it most efficiently.

Here’s a guide on CBD dosing for pets!

How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog?

First, it’s important to understand the exact dosage for your dog because one CBD pet product might have a vastly different amount from another. Don’t rely on a product package and just guess!

CBD is typically measured in milligrams (mg) and the amount you need to give your dog with depending on your dog’s weight, age, and their personal sensitivity to it. It will take some trial and error before you hit the jackpot. Some pets have more of fewer receptors for CBD than others, so even the same breed of dogs at the same weight might need different doses.

“This sounds way too complicated”, you might be thinking. The good news is that overdosing your dog on CBD is very hard to do, especially since CBD oil contains no THC so your dog will not experience a “high”. Therefore, it’s a low-risk thing to experiment with for a few weeks.

At most, too high a dose of CBD will likely cause lethargy and potentially mild diarrhea. If you notice these symptoms, it’s best to back off on the dose and start small, gradually upping the dose until you notice the most benefit.

As a general rule of thumb, the number of milligrams your dog will need can fall into a weight category. For a 15 lb dog, for example, it’s recommended to dose at 4-5 mg of CBD a day, given 2-4 times daily.

Try this CDB dosage for dogs calculator if you need some more help figuring out the perfect dose for your dog!

Final Thoughts

Now that we’ve answered the basic, nagging question “how much CBD oil should I give my dog?”, you can be on the path to peace of mind for both you and your furry friend.

Finding the perfect dose for your dog’s ailment might take some time and trial and error, but the benefits that he/she might gain from CBD will make all the effort worth it.

Try CBD for your pet today!

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Is cannabis legal in Canada?

More and more countries are adopting cannabis. Some of them only regionally, others are actively focused on a fully, national adoption. But what about Canada? Since in the US we see a lot of states trying to focus on a full cannabis adoption, you might imagine that Canada wants to do something similar. And that’s exactly what they are doing.

Right now, only a few regions in Canada have adopted pot. And Ontario is the latest one. But what landlords need to know about cannabis legalization in Ontario is that this is still being implemented. There’s no real danger or issue to think about at this time.

However, it’s a very good thing for a lot of people. Since plenty of persons were using cannabis anyway, having this type of approach is very interesting and convenient. It really is unlike any other product out there. That’s mainly due to the legal status that is questionable at best.

But as you know, cannabis can also be used for a variety of situations, mostly for recreational purposes. Plenty of people want to check it out because it’s super easy to enjoy cannabis on your own and at your own pace. But this does mean you have to know how to use it and when to enjoy it actually. Which might not be a problem anymore, at least if you live in Ontario.

For most people cannabis stills seems to be very dangerous. But things are not the way they were decades ago. The situation is a lot better and people are more responsible when it comes to smoking and using cannabis. Which is a very good thing, because it gives more control in your hands. It does enhance that sense of responsibility and in the end it just makes the entire process a lot more convenient and unique in its own right.

Buying pot is finally legal in Ontario, and that means you can easily go to a local store and get the weed you want at your own pace. This is the dream that a lot of people in Canada had for a very long time. And even if it’s not 100% realized for all Canadians, every little victory counts in this perspective, you can rest assured of that.

Even if the cannabis legality has always been questionable, every little success like this deserves some sort of celebration. That’s what really makes it so unique and powerful, the fact that there are so many benefits and outstanding results. It might take a lot of time to achieve great results in this industry, but a step by step approach is bound to pay off really well. We do encourage you to give it a shot if you can and it will be more than impressive in the end. That’s because it’s an unique, wonderful opportunity to try out new stuff and rewarding benefits. Just check it out if you can, and you will enjoy it. Plus, since it’s legal, there are no consequences as long as you live in Ontario!

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The History of Marijuana Legalization in California

The Poison and Pharmacy Act of 1907 made it illegal to peddle opium, cocaine, and morphine.  An addendum to the act in 1913 added marijuana to the list.  That made California the first state in the union to prohibit the sale of marijuana.  

In 1972 people in the state of California changed their minds and tried to pass Proposition 19.  Prop 19 hoped to decriminalize the sale and possession of weed, however, according to the powers that be “Does the state really want to run the risk of greatly increasing the smoking of marijuana? That, we fear, is what Proposition 19 would do.”  The bill failed with a 66.5% no vote. However, some districts did pass the bill.

George Moscone, the mayor of San Francisco introduced Senate Bill 95 which would downgrade marijuana possession to a misdemeanor.  This was an attempt to lower arrests and the costs of them. The arrest costs were taking its toll on the city and Moscone wanted to fix the problem.

California ended up as the first state in America to legalize medical marijuana in 1996 by passing Proposition 215.  This was a big win for California residents.  We pride ourselves on being leaders when it comes to weed.  However some cannabis activists feel the U.S. public dropped the ball on recreational cannabis feeling like it has been a non-priority with passing a law making it legal for recreational use.

Some far right leaning politicians seem to be unhappy with the new trend of legalizing marijuana recreationally.  However, there have been documented instances of drug enforcement officers finding a way to profit from the cannabis industry after sending countless low level offenders to prison.

On the other side of the coin, it seems if left leaning politicians get their way the whole country will decriminalize marijuana.  “The time to decriminalize marijuana is now,” Chuck Schumer said while introducing a bill that would do just that. “The new Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act is about giving states the freedom to be the laboratories that they should be and give Americans, especially women and minority business owners as well as those convicted of simple possession of marijuana intended for personal use, the opportunity to succeed in today’s economy.  “Schumer also called on his colleagues in the Senate to put politics aside and support the bill simply because it’s “the right thing to do, and I am hopeful that the balanced approach it takes can earn bipartisan support in Congress and across the country.”

Whichever side you might come down on the issue, cities like Denver and Portland are successful examples of cities that have thrived from the legalization of marijuana.  In addition, the FDA recently approved the first cannabis based CBD Oil for public consumption on June 26th 2018, further legitimizing THC and the safety of cannabis, in comparison to other more harmful and extremely physically addictive drugs in the wake of the devastating opioid epidemic.

31 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico now allow for public cannabis and medical marijuana programs.  15 states allow the use of “low THC, high cannabidiol (CBD)” products for medical reasons in limited situations or as a legal defense.

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