US Medical Marijuana Market Huge and Growing, Investors Report Finds

USA: Medical Marijuana Market Huge and Growing, Investors Report Finds

The size of the US medical marijuana market is $1.7 billion, and that figure is likely to increase in coming years, according to a new report from See Change Strategy LLC, an independent financial firm.

US Medical Marijuana Market Huge and Growing, Investors Report Finds.

An executive summary of the report, The State of the Medical Marijuana Markets 2011, is available at "Hundreds of businesses exist around the country that cultivate and sell marijuana to customers," said report author Ted Rose in a statement. "Many of these businesses emerged in the wake of the Obama administration's decision to deprioritize federal prosecutions of individuals and business complying with state medical marijuana laws.

The State of the Medical Marijuana Markets 2011 shows which states represent the most active markets, who is making money, and how are they doing it." Although 15 states and the District of Columbia have medical marijuana laws, sales of medical marijuana through retail outlets are currently legal in only seven of them (and only arguably legal in some of those). But four more states and DC are expected to begin medical marijuana sales this year, the report said.

Between expansion of the number of locales where medical marijuana is sold, increases in the number of patients taking advantage of medical marijuana laws, and increasing regulatory clarity, the market is set for further growth, Rose said. "We predict that the current markets will double in the next five years," he said in a Wednesday conference call. He estimated that the size of the medical market will reach $8.9 billion by 2016. The report found that one in four Americans live in medical marijuana states and that nearly 25 million could currently qualify as medical marijuana patients. Only about 730,000 are currently doing so.

USA: Maryland Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill -

A bill that would provide Maryland medical marijuana patients with an affirmative defense to criminal marijuana possession charges passed the state Senate Thursday on a 41-6 vote.

It now heads to the House of Delegates for a floor vote. The bill, Senate Bill 308, builds on the 2003 Darrel Putnam Compassionate Use Act, which allowed for a medical necessity defense, but only to limit sentences. Under the 2003 law, qualified patients could still be found guilty and stuck with a misdemeanor conviction record, but could only be fined a maximum of $100. SB 308 amends the 2003 law so that patients with "clear and convincing evidence" that they need to use marijuana for medical reasons are no longer found guilty and fined $100, but "if the court finds that the person used or possessed marijuana because of medical necessity, the court shall enter a finding of not guilty."

Unlike other medical marijuana states, patients are not protected from arrest and prosecution, but must instead defend themselves in court. Nor are there any provisions for them to grow their own medicine or buy it in dispensaries. But SB 308 does contain a provision that calls for a study group to study more comprehensive legislation for next year.USA: National Cancer Institute acknowledges "potential benefits of medicinal cannabis for people living with cancer"

USA: National Cancer Institute acknowledges "potential benefits of
medicinal cannabis for people living with cancer"

In the section on "Complementary and Alternative Medicine" on its website the National Cancer Institute for the first time gives some information on cannabis and cannabinoids.

In the section "General Information" the text says: "The potential benefits of medicinal Cannabis for people living with cancer include antiemetic effects, appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep. In the practice of integrative oncology, the health care provider may recommend medicinal Cannabis not only for symptom management but also for its possible direct antitumor effect."

USA: Rhode Island and Hawaii

Currently roughly 3,271 patients registered with the health department in Rhode Island are allowed to use cannabis for medicinal
purposes. In Hawaii there are currently about 8,000 approved medical
cannabis users.

USA: Big differences between laws on the medical use of cannabis in
different states

Cannabis will be available for seriously people as early as this summer in New Jersey, where the most restrictive law governing the practice in the USA is regarded as a model for some people in other states.

Only patients in New Jersey suffering from specific ailments such as HIV, cancer and multiple sclerosis can be prescribed medical cannabis, and then only after other treatments have failed. The law also is the first to prohibit patients from growing their own cannabis at home.

Recently the New Jersey Department of Health gave contracts to six non-profit organizations to grow and distribute medical cannabis at six authorized locations. Some legislators in states such as Maryland and Pennsylvania, where the medical use of cannabis has been proposed, are looking to New Jersey's system, instead of more permissive systems in California and Montana, as a guiding framework.

California allows patients suffering from a wide range of ailments to grow their own cannabis or obtain it with a doctor's recommendation from a dispensary. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have laws permitting cannabis for medical uses. The District's law, approved last year, allows patients with certain ailments to obtain cannabis only from city-regulated dispensaries. Advocates of the medical use of cannabis worry the New Jersey law is a harbinger of models so strict that they fail to serve patients in need.

Europe: Mutual recognition procedure for the cannabis extract Sativex closes with recommendation for approval in six European countries -

In a press release the British company GW Pharmaceuticals and the Spanish company Almirall announced that national approvals for Sativex are expected in Germany, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Austria and the Czech Republic in 2011 or 2012 for the treatment of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis.

Launches in Germany, Denmark and Sweden are expected before end of 2011. Following initial approvals obtained in the UK and Spain during 2010, the objective of this Mutual Recognition Procedure for European countries was to expand the approval of Sativex to six additional European countries. This procedure has now closed successfully with the regulatory authorities in all six countries confirming that Sativex meets their requirements for approval.

The next step in the regulatory process involves separate national phases in each country to finalise local wording on product packaging and related documents and also to agree any other country-specific requirements. Following completion of the national step, GW Pharmaceuticals and Almirall expect each country to then issue a national marketing authorisation. They anticipate launch before the end of 2011 in Germany, Denmark and Sweden with the remaining countries expected in 2012. Sativex has been developed by GW Pharmaceuticals and Almirall holds the marketing rights to this medicine in Europe (except the United Kingdom).

March 29th 2011

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