Sunday, July 22, 2012

Slick Medical Marijuana Marketing Hits Anchorage

OK, when we moved to Alaska 35 years ago, it was legal to possess a small amount for personal use though the law is less clear today.  It's technically illegal, but hasn't been challenged, and it doesn't get a lot of law enforcement attention in small amounts.
ADN Medical Marijuana Insert

What got my attention was a slick flier in the Anchorage Daily News on Wednesday announcing a three day clinic in Anchorage - July 18-20.
"Need your medical marijuana card? 
Get Legal Now!

After reading the flier - and having recently been reminded that 'real journalists' call people to find out more -  I contacted a doctor I know  and asked what he knew about this - like, could any doctor get someone a marijuana card?

He said that he understood that a licensed doctor could apply to the state to be licensed to prescribe medical marijuana, but that the head of his group had told the doctors that he would not approve any of the group doing so.  He has prescribed Marinol on occasion.

Then I called the number on the flier and got Mike Smith who said he owned this business.  He's very upbeat, but asked if I'd been to the website.  Damn, I'm calling.  But of course I should have checked the website first.  I will get this straight eventually.  But he was very nice about it.

Smith is from Seattle and was in Anchorage for the three day clinic along with two doctors.  One, Dr. John McGroarty (see comment below from Bill Fikes), who he brought up from Seattle with him and is licensed in Alaska, and a second doctor whose name wasn't being advertised.  I wasn't sure if the second doctor was a local or not.  He said most doctors don't want to be associated with marijuana, they're still using morphine and other drug company products.

He also referenced an Alaska Dispatch piece Jill Burke did last week.  There's a lot more in that piece and I'll limit myself to what I learned that I didn't see in the Dispatch article.  He did say the Dispatch article seemed to inflate their income from this because it didn't consider the costs.  The Dispatch wrote:
With 700 clients assisted so far this year, he's roughly pulled in $250,000. How much of that revenue ends up as profit isn't known.
I was curious where, once one got a medical marijuana card, one could then get the prescription filled.  It's illegal to sell marijuana in Alaska, according to Smith, but someone with a medical marijuana card can legally give away a clipping to someone else with a card.  He spoke of there being something like a coop among local medical marijuana card holders where people share what they have. 

Smith mentioned that the federal government has the patent (Patent No. US 6,630,507 B1)
for cannabis and that I could find it on their website.  He also said the government had given the patent to a New York firm.  After Googling around, it seems to be a little more complicated.  As I read the Patent abstract later, I noticed that it mentions  "nonpsychoactive cannabinoids." The patent is on the compounds that do not cause the buzz that recreational users are after.  And Wikipedia explains the patent and the licensing of the patent, probably better than the various, more promotional, medical marijuana sites:

U.S. Patent no. 6630507

On October 7, 2003, a U.S. patent number 6630507 entitled "Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants" was awarded to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, based on research done at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). This patent claims that cannabinoids are "useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases such as ischemia, age-related, inflammatory, and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and HIV dementia."[46][47]
On November 17, 2011, in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 209(c)(1) and 37 CFR part 404.7(a)(1)(i), the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, published in the Federal Register, that it is contemplating the grant of an exclusive patent license to practice the invention embodied in U.S. Patent 6,630,507, entitled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants” and PCT Application Serial No. PCT/US99/08769 and foreign equivalents thereof, entitled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants” [HHS Ref. No. E-287-1997/2] to KannaLife Sciences Inc., which has offices in New York, U.S. This patent and its foreign counterparts have been assigned to the Government of the United States of America. The prospective exclusive license territory may be worldwide, and the field of use may be limited to: The development and sale of cannabinoid(s) and cannabidiol(s) based therapeutics as antioxidants and neuroprotectants for use and delivery in humans, for the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy, as claimed in the Licensed Patent Rights.[48]
On June 12, 2012, KannaLife Sciences, Inc. signed an exclusive license agreement with National Institutes of Health – Office of Technology Transfer ("NIH-OTT") for the Commercialization of U.S. Patent 6,630,507, "Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants" (the "'507 Patent"). The '507 Patent includes among other things, claims directed to a method of treating diseases caused by oxidative stress by administering a therapeutically effective amount of a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that has substantially no binding to the NMDA receptor. Cannabinoids are any of a group of related compounds that include cannabinol and the active constituents of cannabis (marijuana).
I'd seen the commercialization of pot in LA, but this was the first time I've noticed it here. 

And Fairbanks, you buy your cards August 3 and 4 at Pike's Waterfront Lodge.  That's the one owned by former Republican legislator  and Lt. Governor candidate Jay Ramras, right?  Unlike in Anchorage where they had their clinic in a law firm that defends, among other folks, people on drug charges, I guess in Fairbanks they had to pay for space.   That might explain why prices in Fairbanks are $50 more for those with their medical records and $25 more for those without.  I guess the law firm where they had the clinics in Anchorage gave them a better deal. 


  1. Another generic comment, but the link is relevant to the post. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Many patients experience nausea due to certain diseases or treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiations. Michigan medical marihuana provides best treatment for their patients those suffering from all these diseases.

    michigan medical marihuana

  3. this mans a pschopath with an anger problem if you cross him

    1. This probably falls into the category of 'personal insults' which I warn I may delete. I'm guessing, based on your tone, this is your reaction to a personal encounter. Rather than just jumping to conclusions (he's a psychopath) or making unsupported negative claims, it would help if you could put this in context - how you know this, an example of behavior you've seen that leads you to this conclusion, etc.

    2. i had a run in with this guy too

  4. Mike Smith has called my home several times identifying himself as an "officer of the law" and his Dr has been forbidden to practice in Arizona for being "unsafe"

    2013-10-04T07:32:02 (6/10/2013)
    Action Taken: Practice Restriction
    Allegation of Complaint: Please reference the following Document
    State: Arizona
    Documentation: Download here (PDF)

  5. Bill, thanks for the link and the added info.

  6. Certified clinic to provide medical marijuana az card|$125 for evaluation process-Contact us to receive marijuana card within 10 business days|Submit your form. At Sun Valley MMJ Certification Clinic, we provide professional, compassionate, and private evaluations for patients seeking to legally obtain an Arizona Medical Marijuana Card. All of our physicians are licensed and in good standing with the Medical Board of Arizona. Medical Cannabis is not only a medical issue, but a legal one as well. We follow medical board guidelines and Arizona law so that your approval is legal, ethical and defensible in court. We make the process of obtaining your card as simple as possible. We serve mmj card az, az mmj, medical marijuana arizona, medical marijuana card az, medical marijuana card phoenix, medical marijuana card surprise, medical marijuana doctors phoenix, medical marijuana doctors surprise, medical marijuana certification and arizona medical marijuana card.

  7. Thanks.. Many people can get profit with this link.. This gonna help them to find right way to sell marijuana legally. Marijuana law firms denver


Comments will be reviewed, not for content (except ads), but for style. Comments with personal insults, rambling tirades, and significant repetition will be deleted. Ads disguised as comments, unless closely related to the post and of value to readers (my call) will be deleted. Click here to learn to put links in your comment.