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Heavy Doses

July 20, 2010

Jul 19 2010 2:56pm EDT

by Steve Rosenbush

Medical Marijuana Industry Fears Over-Regulation

On the subject of government regulation, entrepreneurs in the burgeoning field of medical marijuana sound pretty much like business owners in every other industry. They are calling on the government to get off their backs.

In Oakland, California, home of the neighborhood known as Oaksterdam, small operators in the legal pot market are “worried that regulations intended to bring order to the industry and new revenues to local governments could drive small ‘mom and pop’ growers out of business. They complain that industrial-scale gardens would harm the environment, reduce quality and leave consumers with fewer strains from which to choose.” The Oakland City Council is scheduled on Tuesday to consider a proposal that would create four production facilities where medical marijuana would be grown, packaged and processed into a range of products “from baked goods to body oil.”

In New Mexico, where the state has licensed only 11 growers to accommodate 2,000 patients, there’s a fear that regulations will drive legal sellers into the black market to augment supply and relieve a shortage of legal pot.

Purveyors of legal weed across the U.S. are upset that the U.S. Patent Office has ended a three-month-long recognition of a new category known as “Processed plant matter for medicinal purposes, namely medical marijuana.The Wall Street Journal said “some staked claims on rights to long-used names like Maui Wowie and Chronic. Others applied to trademark business names such as Budtrader and Pot-N. Two companies applied to trademark psychoactive sodas named Keef Cola and Canna Cola.”

Marijuana is now legal for medicinal use in 14 states, where it is used for a range of purposes such as relieving pain and stress. Not all the news on the medical front is good, though. AOL News reports today that marijuana contains styrene, one of five every day carcinogens highlighted in a new American Cancer Society report. Styrene is also found in cigarettes and foam food packaging.

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