Colorado Defends Marijuana Legalization Law; Asks SCOTUS to Drop Suit

Colorado Defends Marijuana Legalization Law; Asks SCOTUS to Drop Suit

DENVER, CO — States are free to legalize marijuana, Colorado argued Friday in a filing to the U.S. Supreme Court in response to a lawsuit from neighboring states that have asked the nation’s highest court to shut down Colorado’s pot law.

The filing marks the first time Colorado has defended legal marijuana in writing. The federal government did not sue to block the state’s 2012 vote to legalize pot for all adults over 21.

Colorado said that Nebraska and Oklahoma should sue the federal government for not enforcing the Controlled Substances Act, not other states. Colorado said the states’ “quarrel is not with Colorado but with the federal government’s” approach to letting states experiment with pot law.

“Nebraska and Oklahoma filed this case in an attempt to reach across…

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Researcher Closer to Starting Medical Marijuana PTSD Study in Arizona

Researcher Closer to Starting Medical Marijuana PTSD Study in Arizona

PHOENIX, AZ — An Arizona researcher is one step closer to starting research on the effect of medical marijuana in treating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Dr. Sue Sisley, the researcher who was fired last year from the University of Arizona College of Medicine for reasons she believed to be linked to her high-profile work in medical marijuana research, aims to study the impact of four marijuana strains on veterans suffering from PTSD.

Dr. Sue Sisley

Dr. Sue Sisley

Dr. Sisley said this week she plans to conduct independent research in…

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Why Georgia Won’t Become the 24th Medical Marijuana State

Why Georgia Won’t Become the 24th Medical Marijuana State

With the passage of House Bill 1 in Georgia this week, the state will become the 36th state with some form of medical marijuana protection for patients, but the law falls short of making the state the 24th “medical marijuana state,” in spite of stories to the contrary. The act was approved by both the Georgia House and Senate earlier this week and now moves to the desk of Gov. Nathan Deal where it is expected to be signed soon.

While definitions on what is and is not a medical marijuana state are clearly subjective, the newly passed…

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Best Practices Advocated for Labeling, Manufacturing Marijuana and Hemp Products

Best Practices Advocated for Labeling, Manufacturing Marijuana and Hemp Products

Groups convene in Washington, DC for third annual national medical cannabis conference March 27-31

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) Cannabis Committee, in coordination with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), and the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), announces the release of a joint statement advocating for implementation of best practices for the regulation of consumable, topical, and inhalant cannabis and hemp-derived products to ensure quality and consumer safety.

These best practices were developed with the input of numerous industry experts and establish common language and defined terms for the transparent and accurate labeling of these products to support responsible commerce and informed use of the cannabis plant.

AHPA, ASA and HIA will be promoting…

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Georgia Governor to Sign Limited Medical Marijuana Bill

Georgia Governor to Sign Limited Medical Marijuana Bill

ATLANTA, GA — A spokesperson for Georgia Governor Nathan Deal said the Republican will sign legislation that will allow access to low-THC cannabis oil for patients suffering from some conditions.

Gov. Deal will sign the bill after the legislative session ends next week, spokesman Brian Robinson said Thursday.  The Governor is also expected to issue an executive order directing state agencies to begin preparing to enact the legislation on Friday.

The restrictive bill, which advocates say does not quallify Georgia to be considered a…

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Study: Cannabis Use Linked With Lower Diabetes Risk In HIV/HCV Patients

Study: Cannabis Use Linked With Lower Diabetes Risk In HIV/HCV Patients

MARSEILLE, FRANCE — A history of cannabis use is positively associated with a lower risk of insulin resistance (IR) in HIV/Hepatitis C co-infected patients, according to a longitudinal analysis published online ahead of print in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. Insulin resistance is a leading cause of type 2 diabetes.

French investigators evaluated the association between cannabis use and IR in a nationwide cohort of HIV/HCV co-infected patients over a 60-month period. Researchers reported that patients with a history of cannabis…

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Georgia Lawmakers Give Final Approval to Limited Medical Marijuana Bill

Georgia Lawmakers Give Final Approval to Limited Medical Marijuana Bill

ATLANTA, GA — Lawmakers in Georgia’s House voted 160-1 on Wednesday to give final approval to a bill that will allow access to low-THC cannabis oil for patients suffering from some conditions.

Titled the Haleigh’s Hope Act, House Bill 1, was approved earlier this week by the Senate 48-6.  The House had previously approved the bill by a 158-2 vote in February, but changes in the Senate required a new floor vote in the House.

The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Nathan Deal, who is expected to sign the bill into law as early as…

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Idaho Senate Passes Limited Cannabis Oil Bill

Idaho Senate Passes Limited Cannabis Oil Bill

BOISE, ID — The Idaho Senate has approved a bill to allow the use of some oils extracted from cannabis plants to treat children with severe forms epilepsy.  The bill now moves to the House for consideration.

Senators voted 22-12 on Tuesday to approve Senate Bill 1146, which if enacted would decriminalize cannabidiol oil (CBD), a non-psychotropic extract of marijuana. Proponents of cannabidiol oil argue that it reduces the amount and length of seizures in children with intractable forms of epilepsy.

Originally, the bill didn’t legalize…

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PA Medical Society: “Too Few” Studies on Medical Marijuana

Removing cannabis from our pharmacopeia 7 decades ago may have resulted in thousands of opioid deaths:

From a pharmacological perspective, cannabinoids are considerably safer than opioids and have broad applicability in palliative care. Had cannabis not been removed from our pharmacopeia 7 decades ago and remained available to treat chronic pain, potentially thousands of lives that have been lost to opioid toxicity could have been prevented.
The medicinal cannabis user should not be considered a criminal in any state and the DEA and…

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Delaware Approves Minor Changes to Medical Marijuana Regulations

Delaware Approves Minor Changes to Medical Marijuana Regulations

DOVER, DE — Lawmakers in the Delaware House have given final approval to a bill updating regulations regarding Delaware’s long-delayed medical marijuana program.

Senate Bill 7 passed the House unanimously on a 40-0 vote with no floor debate Tuesday, and now goes to the Governor for his signature.

The bill does little to change Delaware’s fledgling medical marijuana program, essentially defining the membership of a nine-member oversight committee that will evaluate and make recommendations regarding implementation of the program,…

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Georgia Senate Approves Limited Medical Marijuana Bill

Georgia Senate Approves Limited Medical Marijuana Bill

ATLANTA, GA —  The Georgia Senate has overwhelmingly passed a limited medical marijuana bill that would allow access to low-THC cannabis oil for patients suffering from some conditions.

Titled the Haleigh’s Hope Act, House Bill 1, which has already been approved by the House, was amended in the Senate and now returns to the lower chamber for some tweaking.

The original bill’s author, Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) said that he feels confident that the House will approve the substitute bill from the Senate Health and Human Services…

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Medical Marijuana Advocates to Host 3rd Annual National Conference in Washington DC

Medical Marijuana Advocates to Host 3rd Annual National Conference in Washington DC

Scientists, patients, doctors, advocates, lawyers, policymakers unite to further advance public health policy reforms

WASHINGTON, DC — Medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) will hold its third annual national Unity Conference, “Wellness is Winning,” in Washington, D.C. on March 27-31, 2015.

The conference will highlight medical and legal experts, policymakers, and a wide array of workshops and panels focusing on scientific research, strategic planning, and skills building. On Tuesday, March 31st, ASA will host…

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House Version of Federal Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced

House Version of Federal Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced

Support for Letting States Set Their Own Marijuana Policies without Federal Interference Growing Rapidly in Congress

WASHINGTON, DC—Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK) have introduced the House companion to a groundbreaking bill legalizing marijuana for medical use that was introduced in the Senate two weeks ago by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) co-sponsored the bill soon after.

“Reforming our nation’s failed drug policies…

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Legalizing marijuana and the new science of weed

More than a year into Colorado’s experiment legalizing marijuana, labs testing the plants are able for the first time to take stock of the drug’s potency and contaminants – and openly paint a picture of what’s in today’s weed. Now, one such lab will present trends — and some surprises — that its preliminary testing has revealed about the marijuana now on the market. Scientists are studying potency, amounts of a substance called CBD and contaminants in the products.

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Cannabis, Science, and the Media

Cannabis, Science, and the Media

Prohibitionists keep circulating scare stories about marijuana, and people keep believing them.

Lurid tales of insanity and murder were quite effective in the 1930s. Seen now as ridiculous; yet nonetheless, modern tales, equally ridiculous, are widely accepted.

If marijuana actually caused some trouble — health problems, madness, violence, mental deficit, lasting effects after the immediate intoxication — ask yourself: Wouldn’t it be obvious? Tens of millions of people in this country partake of it. The vast majority use it in…

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Study: Elevated THC/Blood Levels Persist in Habitual Cannabis Consumers

Study: Elevated THC/Blood Levels Persist in Habitual Cannabis Consumers

VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA — The presence of THC may persist in the blood of habitual cannabis consumers for multiple days at concentrations above 5ng/ml, according clinical data recently published in the journal Forensic Science International.

Australian researchers assessed daily concentrations of THC in the blood of 21 subjects over a period of 7 days of monitored abstinence. Subjects reported having engaging in the “heavy” use of cannabis during the months leading up to the study.

Of the 11 participants who completed the entire 7-day…

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Schools using out-of-school suspension drug policy show increased likelihood of marijuana use

Schools where administrators report using out-of-school suspension to enforce drug policy and where students report low policy enforcement, regardless of the type of drug policy adopted, show an increased likelihood of marijuana use, according to new research. Schools that used abstinence-based prevention and those that counseled students about the dangers of marijuana use showed a lower likelihood of marijuana use.

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Past Marijuana Convictions in Connecticut Can Be Erased, Supreme Court Says

Past Marijuana Convictions in Connecticut Can Be Erased, Supreme Court Says

HARTFORD, CT — People busted in Connecticut for possessing small amounts of marijuana have the right to get their convictions erased because the state decriminalized misdemeanor possession of pot in 2011, the state Supreme Court ruled on Monday.

The 7-0 ruling came in the case of former Manchester and Bolton resident Nicholas Menditto. A state prosecutor and Menditto’s lawyer said the decision affects thousands of people who have misdemeanor marijuana convictions in Connecticut.

“It’s a topic multiple states will have to be facing,” said Aaron Romano, Menditto’s attorney. “Because marijuana is being decriminalized across the United States, this issue needs to be addressed.”

In 2011, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and legislators changed possession of less than a half…

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How cannabis use affects people with Bipolar Disorder

The first study to examine the use of cannabis in the context of daily life among people with Bipolar Disorder has shown how the drug is linked to increases in both manic and depressive symptoms. 

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RI: Most Medical Marijuana Patients Substitute Cannabis for Prescription Drugs

RI: Most Medical Marijuana Patients Substitute Cannabis for Prescription Drugs

PROVIDENCE, RI — The majority of qualified patients in Rhode Island who obtain cannabis from a state-licensed dispensary report having used it as an alternative to conventional prescription drugs, according to a demographic review of patient characteristics published in The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

Investigators Brown University in Providence and the University of Arkansas reported that over two-thirds of respondents (69 percent) used cannabis to treat chronic pain and that the majority (56 percent) indicated that they had used…

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Study: Perceived Risk of Marijuana Use Influenced by Gender, Age, Household Income

Study: Perceived Risk of Marijuana Use Influenced by Gender, Age, Household Income

BALTIMORE, MD — Females are nearly twice as likely as males to perceive the regular use of marijuana as risky behavior, according to findings published online ahead of print in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Investigators at John Hopkins University and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health analyzed data from 614,579 participants in the 2002-2012 National Survey on Drug Use and correlated demographic characteristics with subjects’ beliefs regarding marijuana’s perceived risks.

Researchers reported that female…

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Federal Judge Rejects DOJ Effort to Imprison Kettle Falls Five Defendants Pending Sentencing

Federal Judge Rejects DOJ Effort to Imprison Kettle Falls Five Defendants Pending Sentencing

DOJ continues to waste tax dollars trying to lock up family of medical marijuana patients, despite acquittal of almost all charges

SPOKANE, WA — Just one week after three medical marijuana patients were acquitted by a federal jury of all but one charge stemming from the widely watched Kettle Falls Five trial, US District Court Judge Thomas Rice rejected attemptsby the Justice Department (DOJ) to imprison the defendants pending sentencing on June 10th.

Judge Rice’s ruling comes just a day after defense attorneys filed their opposition to the government’s pre-sentencing detention effort.

The DOJ remains aggressive in its attempts to lock up the three family members, filing an emergency request for detention just one day after the jury reached its verdict. Apparently unsatisfied with a…

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Teen cannabis users have poor long-term memory in adulthood

Teens who were heavy marijuana users — smoking it daily for about three years — had an abnormally shaped hippocampus and performed poorly on long-term memory tasks, reports a new study. The hippocampus is important to long-term memory, which is the ability to remember life events. The brain abnormalities and memory problems were observed during the individuals’ early twenties, two years after they stopped smoking marijuana.

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Report: $620 Million in Hemp Products Sold in the U.S. in 2014

Report: $620 Million in Hemp Products Sold in the U.S. in 2014

Hemp Foods and Body Care Retail Market in U.S. Achieves 21.2% Growth in 2014

WASHINGTON, DC — The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), a non-profit trade association consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses, has released final estimates of the size of the 2014 U.S. retail market for hemp products.

Data from market research supports an estimate of total retail sales of hemp food and body care products in the United States at $200 million.  Sales of popular hemp items like non-dairy milk, shelled seed, soaps and lotions have continued to skyrocket against the backdrop of the new hemp research provision in the Farm Bill, and increasing grassroots pressure to allow hemp to be grown domestically on a commercial scale once again for U.S. processors and manufacturers. The HIA has also…

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Teens, adults hazy on Washington marijuana law, study shows

Only 57 percent of Washington parents surveyed knew the legal age for recreational marijuana use and just 63 percent knew that homegrown marijuana is illegal under the law, a new study demonstrates.

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FDA Issues Warnings to Makers of ‘Legal’ CBD Hemp Oil Products

FDA Issues Warnings to Makers of ‘Legal’ CBD Hemp Oil Products

Consumers should beware purchasing and using any such products, the FDA says

WASHINGTON, DC — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent letters to several makers of cannabidiol (CBD) oils derived from hemp, telling them to stop making medical claims about their products’ ability to treat disease.

Many sellers of hemp-based cannabidiol products, who advertise their products as “legal in all 50 states” because they are derived from industrial hemp, have been making claims that their products are rich in cannabidiol (CBD) and can be used for “the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of diseases,” according to the FDA.

The FDA, which considers CBD an “unapproved new drug,” says these companies are mis-branding the products and issuing false claims to…

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Washington Town Opens First Government Run Marijuana Store

Washington Town Opens First Government Run Marijuana Store

Cannabis Corner in North Bonneville, home to about 1,000 people on the Columbia River Gorge, will sell a range of marijuana products with all profits going back to the local community

NORTH BONNEVILLE, WA — A small town in southern Washington on Saturday opened the state’s first recreational marijuana store that is both owned and operated by the local government, officials said.

Cannabis Corner in North Bonneville, home to about 1,000 people on the Columbia River Gorge, will sell a range of marijuana products with all profits going back to the local community, city leaders said.

“It’s a really great solution for these small, rural communities that need to raise a little bit of revenue,” said Robyn Legun, general manager of Cannabis Corner.

“I think it’s a really viable option…

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Colorado’s Marijuana Legalization Laws Under Attack in Federal Court

Colorado’s Marijuana Legalization Laws Under Attack in Federal Court

DENVER, CO – A group of 11 sheriffs and county attorneys from Colorado and neighboring Plains states filed a federal complaint against Colorado’s Gov. John Hickenlooper to stop the sale of recreational marijuana in that state.

The complaint challenges Colorado’s Amendment 64 under the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the federal Controlled Substances Act, saying it places an unfair burden on the law-enforcement offices to corral the overflow of recreational marijuana now spilling into areas where possession remains illegal.

“The nation’s anti-drug laws reflect a well-established balance of national law enforcement, foreign relations, and societal priorities,” the complaint states. “If allowed to continue in effect, Amendment 64’s legalization and…

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Mary’s Nutritionals, a Line of Supplements with CBD, Launches

DENVER, CO — Mary’s Medicinals announced Friday that it has combined its experience crafting award-winning offerings for the legal-cannabis community with the latest nutritional science to create Mary’s Nutritionals, a nationally available nutritional supplement line enriched with Cannabidiol (CBD) and other plant-based nutrients.

“Patients around the world are looking for accurately dosed, cleanly delivered CBD treatments. Due to prohibition in most areas, we can’t ship our cannabis products out of Colorado. It’s always broken my heart to have to say ‘no’ to those patients in need,” said Nicole Smith, Mary’s Medicinals CEO. “However, by sourcing a unique strain of industrial hemp that is rich in CBD, we are able to create new products with the benefits of whole…

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Drug to control appetite could also fight anxiety

Did you know that our body produces its own marijuana-like compound to protect us against anxiety? A study reveals a new biological pathway that regulates this system and suggests that a drug currently in clinical trials to treat obesity might also provide an attractive way to combat anxiety disorders.

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Sheriffs Sue Colorado Over Marijuana Legalization

Sheriffs Sue Colorado Over Marijuana Legalization

DENVER, CO — In another attempt to thwart the will of Colorado voters, sheriffs from Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska filed a lawsuit Thursday claiming that the state’s law legalizing marijuana creates a “crisis of conscience” and puts an economic burden on other states.

Larimer County (Colorado) Sheriff Justin Smith is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, which asks a federal court in Denver to strike down the 2012 voter-approved Amendment 64, and to order the state’s licensed marijuana stores — over 330 at last count — to close.

Sheriff Smith claims that every day he must decide whether to violate the Colorado Constitution, under which marijuana is legal, or the United States Constitution.  Marijuana is prohibited at the federal level.

Smith is joined by sheriffs in…

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An alternative to medical marijuana for pain?

Medical marijuana is proliferating across the country due to the ability of cannabis ingestion to treat important clinical problems such as chronic pain. However, negative side effects and the development of tolerance limit the widespread therapeutic use of THC, the major psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. THC’s side effects are produced via its actions at cannabinoid CB1 receptors in the brain. Thus, scientists theorized that an agent with similar mechanistic actions, but that activate CB2 receptors instead, may eliminate the unwanted…

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Remaining ‘Kettle Falls Five’ Defendants Acquitted on 4 of 5 Charges

Remaining ‘Kettle Falls Five’ Defendants Acquitted on 4 of 5 Charges

Three remaining Kettle Falls Five defendants found guilty of manufacturing less than 100 plants, likely to appeal

SPOKANE, WA — In an unexpected verdict Tuesday, the jury in a widely watched federal medical marijuana case from eastern Washington State, known as the Kettle Falls Five, acquitted the three remaining defendants of all but one charge of manufacturing less than 100 marijuana plants.

The charge carries no mandatory minimum sentence and defendants Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 56, her son Rolland Gregg, 33, and daughter-in-law Michelle Gregg, 36, remain free until sentencing on June 10th at 10am.

In a prosecution and week-long trial that cost roughly $2 million tax dollars, the Obama Administration aggressively pursued marijuana trafficking charges against a family of patients who…

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Jury Acquits 50-Year Old Florida Medical Marijuana Patient

Jury Acquits 50-Year Old Florida Medical Marijuana Patient

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — A Florida man has been acquitted by a jury after contending that dozens of marijuana plants he was growing were used for his own medicinal purposes.

The Broward County jury on Monday found 50-year-old Jesse Teplicki of Hollywood not guilty of criminal charges.

Teplicki testified that the 46 plants seized by authorities two years ago were not for distribution but for his own use, to fight chronic symptoms related to the eating disorder anorexia.

Teplicki’s attorney Michael Minardi says the case was the first of its kind in Florida decided by a jury rather than a judge.

Minardi also said the Legislature’s plan to debate medical marijuana this year is an indication that more people see medical value in the substance.

Teplicki faced a five-year prison sentence if…

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Study identifies teens at-risk for synthetic marijuana use

One of the first American national studies to examine risk factors for use of synthetic marijuana among a large, nationally representative sample of teens. Popular among teens, in 2011, synthetic marijuana was used by more than one out of ten (11.4%) high school seniors in the US, making it the most commonly used drug after real marijuana.

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