Hawaii Marijuana Veto Isn’t a Total Disappointment; Michigan Expands Medical Conditions List

Hawaii’s governor announced some noteworthy improvements — and one major disappointment — for the state’s  medical marijuana program, Michigan cultivates new conditions for prospective patients, and New York regulators rush to replace opioids with medicinal cannabis.

And while the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) spent the week of July 14, 2018 updating its list of slang terminology for marijuana, a study published during the week should add one more  new moniker for DEA consideration – The exit drug.

Hawaiian Program Embraces State Reciprocity, Rejects Opioids

Hawaii’s Democratic Gov. David Ige deferred to regulators over lawmakers for establishing new qualifying conditions for the state’s medical marijuana program and vetoed legislation to allow medical cannabis for opioid addiction. On the plus side, the governor’s office also issued a statement on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 announcing two important changes for the state’s medical marijuana program: three-year medicinal cannabis certifications, and out-of-state marijuana patient reciprocity.

“Patients aged 18 or older who are registered in another state for the medical use of cannabis for qualifying health conditions also legally permitted in Hawaii, may be able to apply for a registration in our state,” Ige’s office wrote in a press release. Under Hawaii’s expanded medicinal cannabis program, the Department of Health (DOH) is obligated to review these out-of-state applications. State reciprocity cards will cost approximately $50 and will be valid for six months from the date of issuance.

As for Hawaii’s local medical marijuana patients, life just got less complicated. No longer forced to renew their DOH certification on an annual basis, qualified patients will be issued valid cards that last for up to three years. Reducing bureaucracy and improving efficiency, the DOH will allow bona fide doctor-patient relationships to continue via telehealth after an initial in-person office visit. That’s good news for many patients, who can renew their medicinal cannabis certifications online with their doctors every three years.

Michigan Expands List of Qualifying Conditions

For those in Michigan suffering from arthritis, autism, chronic pain, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, obsessive compulsive disorder, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injury, Tourette syndrome, and ulcerative colitis: Life is about to get a little less painful.

With the changes in state law to include marihuana-infused products, and the advancement of marihuana research, and upon the recommendation of the panel members, I’ve added these eleven conditions to the approved list,” said the Director for the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), Shelly Edgerton in a July 9, 2018, statement. But, as usual, with the good news comes some bad. While Edgerton accepted 11 new qualifying conditions, the director of LARA also rejected 11 other ailments.

Approved Conditions

  • Arthritis
  • Autism
  • Chronic pain
  • Colitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis

Denied Conditions

  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Brain injury
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Gastric ulcer
  • Non-severe and non-chronic pain
  • Organ transplant
  • Panic attacks
  • Schizophrenia
  • Social anxiety disorder

New York

New York regulators on Thursday, July 12, 2018, enacted emergency rules allowing medical cannabis for any condition that might ordinarily be prescribed opioids. Announced by the State Department of Health, the change is effective immediately.

“Adding opioid replacement as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana offers providers another treatment option, which is a critical step in combating the deadly opioid epidemic affecting people across the state,” New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a press release.

In addition to adding opioid replacement to the state’s list of qualifying conditions, officials noted that within the next week, “certified patients and designated caregivers will be able to print temporary registering ID cards.”

A matter of ease and access, these temporary cards will allow New York’s patients to purchase medical marijuana products “more quickly,” according to the state.

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