West Virginia Governor Signs Limited Medical Marijuana Measure Into Law

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice (D) signs Senate Bill 386, the Medical Cannabis Act, on April 19, 2017. The Governor was joined for the bill signing by two of the initiative’s primary supporters, Senator Richard Ojeda (D-Logan) and Delegate Mike Pushkin (D-Kanawha), as well as Senator Mike Woelfel (D-Cabell) and Dr. Rahul Gupta the State Health Officer and Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau for Public Health. (image/Office of the Governor)

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Colorado Lawmakers Pass Bill to Allow Medical Marijuana for PTSD

Approximately 8 million adults suffer from PTSD, including many military veterans. (WikiMedia Commons/USMC)

DENVER, CO — Lawmakers in the Colorado legislature have passed a measure to add post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, to the list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana in the state.

The measure, Senate Bill 17, will now be sent to the desk of Gov. John Hickenlooper for final approval.  It was approved

Previous attempts to add PTSD to the conditions that qualify a…

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Texas Medical Marijuana Supporters Push for Hearings on Critical Legislation

Medical marijuana supporters outside the Texas capitol on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 (Heather Fazio)

AUSTIN, TX — A group of patients, caregivers, and medical professionals gathered at the Texas State Capitol on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to allow hearings on critical medical marijuana legislation.

The group called on House Public Health Committee Chairman Four Price and Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Charles Schwertner to schedule hearings on HB 2107…

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Medical Marijuana Patient Registry Opens in Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, MD — After lengthy delays, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has opened up the patient and caregiver registry for the state supervised medical marijuana program.

Starting Monday April 24, open enrollment for all patients and caregivers is available on the agency’s website.

The registry was opened in a three-phase roll-out earlier this month. Previously, patients and caregivers with last names starting A through L could only register in the week beginning…

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Just Say “No” to Taxpayer Funded Medical Marijuana Raids

Since 2014, the Department of Justice has been prohibited from using taxpayers’ funds to enforce federal anti-marijuana laws in states that regulate its medical use.

But that could all change this week as Congress decides how to fund the federal government for the remainder of this fiscal year. 

At issue is a provision known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which maintains that federal funds can not be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state…

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Study: Medical Marijuana Legalization Linked to Lower Medicaid Costs

(Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance)

Patients use fewer prescription drugs in states where access to medical cannabis is legally regulated, according to data published in the journal Health Affairs.

Investigators at the University of Georgia assessed the association between medical cannabis regulations and the average number of prescriptions filled by Medicaid beneficiaries between the years 2007 and 2014.

Researchers reported, “[T]he use of prescription drugs in…

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Governor Signs Bill Making West Virginia the 29th Medical Marijuana State

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice (D) signs Senate Bill 386, the Medical Cannabis Act, on April 19, 2017. The Governor was joined for the bill signing by two of the initiative’s primary supporters, Senator Richard Ojeda (D-Logan) and Delegate Mike Pushkin (D-Kanawha), as well as Senator Mike Woelfel (D-Cabell) and Dr. Rahul Gupta the State Health Officer and Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau for Public Health. (image/Office of the Governor)

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North Dakota Governor Signs Bill Amending Voter-Approved Medical Marijuana Initiative

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum (North Dakota Office of the Governor)

BISMARK, ND — North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum (R) signed legislation on Tuesday amending provisions of the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act – a voter-initiated measure approved by 65 percent of voters last November.

Senate Bill 2344 makes several significant changes to the law. Specifically, it removes provisions permitting patients the option to home cultivate their own cannabis if they do not…

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Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced in Iowa

The Iowa Senate Appropriations Committee has introduced a bill to establish a comprehensive medical cannabis program in the state. The bill already received unanimous support by a subcommittee at a hearing last week, and may receive a full Senate vote as early as this week.

The bill would allow patients suffering from cancer, PTSD, intractable pain, and a host of other aliments access to this life-saving treatment option if their doctors certify them for the program.

The…

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West Virginia Lawmakers Approve Amended Medical Marijuana Measure

“Welcome to West Virginia” sign along westbound U.S. Route 48 and West Virginia Route 55 east of Wardensville in Hardy County, West Virginia (Wikimedia/Famartin)

CHARLESTON, WV — Lawmakers in both chambers of the West Virginia legislature have approved a significantly amended version of Senate Bill 386, which seeks to establish a state-regulated medical cannabis program.

The measure now awaits action from Democrat Gov. Jim Justice, who has previously expressed support for…

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Arizona Appellate Court Strikes Medical Marijuana Campus Ban

PHOENIX, AZ — An Arizona appellate court has ruled that a 2012 law amending the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) to prohibit the use of medical cannabis on college campuses is unconstitutional.

“By enacting A.R.S. § 15-108(A), the Legislature modified the AMMA to re-criminalize cardholders’ marijuana possession on college and university campuses,” the Court opined. “The statute does not further the purposes of the AMMA; to the contrary, it eliminates some of its…

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Study: Medical Cannabis Patients Report Decreased Use of Opioids, Anti-Anxiety Medicines

SCRANTON, PA — Patients with legal access to medical cannabis decrease their use of opioids, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and other medications, according to self-report data published online ahead of print in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

A team of investigators from five states surveyed the medical history of over 1,500 patient-members of state-licensed dispensaries located throughout the northeast.

Authors reported that 77 percent of respondents…

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Arizona Appellate Court Strikes Down Law Banning Medical Marijuana on Campus

PHOENIX, AZ — An Arizona appellate court has ruled that a 2012 state law prohibiting the use of medical cannabis on college campuses is unconstitutional.

Arizona voters in 2010 narrowly approved a statewide initiative, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), permitting qualified patients to possess and use medicinal cannabis. The Court determined that the legislature’s decision to later amend the law in order to restrict medical marijuana use on college…

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New Mexico Governor Vetoes Medical Marijuana Changes

SANTA FE, NM — New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has vetoed House Bill 527, a measure that would have made improvements to the state’s medical cannabis program.

The most significant provision in the legislation would have allowed New Mexicans diagnosed with opioid use disorder by a licensed practitioner to be eligible for the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program. Nationally, in 2015, more people died from opioid overdoses than died from HIV/AIDS when that epidemic peaked…

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West Virginia to Become 29th Medical Marijuana State: Legislature Sends SB 386 to Governor

“Welcome to West Virginia” sign along westbound U.S. Route 48 and West Virginia Route 55 east of Wardensville in Hardy County, West Virginia (Wikimedia/Famartin)

CHARLESTON, WV — A medical marijuana bill received final approval in the West Virginia Legislature on Thursday and is headed to the desk of Gov. Jim Justice. He has publicly expressed support for legal access to medical marijuana and is expected to sign the bill into law, making West Virginia the 29th state to…

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California Gov. Moves to Align Medical and Recreational Marijuana Regulation

California Governor Jerry Brown

SACRAMENTO, CA — Late Tuesday afternoon, Governor Jerry Brown released his proposal to align medical marijuana regulations passed by the Legislature in 2015 and the 2016 Adult Use of Marijuana Act, both of which call for commercial licensing and regulation to begin in January 2018.

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, Proposition 64, was passed by California voters in 2016 with more than 57 percent of the vote, legalizing marijuana for adults 21…

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West Virginia House of Delegates Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

“Welcome to West Virginia” sign along westbound U.S. Route 48 and West Virginia Route 55 east of Wardensville in Hardy County, West Virginia (Wikimedia/Famartin)

CHARLESTON, WV — A bill that would allow patients with certain debilitating conditions to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it was approved by the West Virginia House of Delegates on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 386 passed 76-24 on third reading after being revised on second reading, and now returns to…

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West Virginia Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

“Welcome to West Virginia” sign along westbound U.S. Route 48 and West Virginia Route 55 east of Wardensville in Hardy County, West Virginia (Wikimedia/Famartin)

CHARLESTON, WV — The state Senate approved legislation Wednesday evening (28-6) that would allow patients with certain debilitating conditions to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

SB 386, the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, is sponsored by Sen. Richard Ojeda (D-Logan).

It would establish an independent 16-member West Virginia Medical Cannabis Commission,…

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New York: New Regulatory Changes To Expand Medical Marijuana Access

ALBANY, NY — Newly enacted regulatory changes to the state’s medical cannabis program are expected to result in increased patient access.

As of this week, patients suffering from chronic pain conditions are now eligible to qualify for cannabis therapy.

In January, a National Academies review of over 10,000 scientific abstracts acknowledged that “conclusive” evidence exists to support the use of cannabis in pain treatment.

Another change in the program allows physician…

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Patients With Access to Medical Marijuana Reduce Their Use of Opioids, Study Finds

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Patients registered to use medical cannabis decrease their use of opioids, according to data compiled by researchers at the University of New Mexico.

Investigators assessed the use of prescription opioids over an 18-month period among patients enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program compared to similar patients who were not.

They reported that subjects with access to medical cannabis reduced their use of opioids by 31 percent while…

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Here Are the 23 States That Allow Medical Marijuana for PTSD

Approximately 8 million adults suffer from PTSD, including many military veterans. (WikiMedia Commons/USMC)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is not rare. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, about eight million adults suffer from it in any given year, including tens of thousands of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans. Somewhere between 11% and 20% of those vets will suffer from it each year.

PTSD isn’t limited to vets, though—trauma comes in many forms—and 7% to 8%…

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Study: CBD-Dominant Cannabis Extracts Reduce Seizure Frequency

FALMOUTH, ME —  The administration of whole-plant cannabis extracts rich in the cannabinoid cannabidol (CBD) is associated with reduced seizure frequency in patients with refractory epilepsy, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior.

Researchers performed a retrospective chart review of the clinical records of 272 patients who were taking whole-plant CBD extracts.

Eighty-six percent of those treated observed some clinical benefit…

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Medical Marijuana Legalization Associated with Fewer Opioid-Related Hospitalizations

SAN DIEGO, CA — The enactment of statewide legislation permitting medical cannabis access by qualified patients is associated with a reduction in opioid-related hospitalization, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

A researcher from the University of California at San Diego assessed the association between medical cannabis laws and hospitalizations related to opioid pain relievers. The author reported both immediate…

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Bipartisan Vote Carries Medical Marijuana Research Bill to Passage in New Mexico House

SANTA FE, NM — The New Mexico State House voted 41-26 Saturday afternoon to pass House Bill 155, co-sponsored by Rep. D. Armstrong (D-Albuquerque) and Rep. McCamley (D-Las Cruces) to establish a fund in the state treasury for research related to the production, uses, effects, and efficacy of medical marijuana.

The bill had bi-partisan support with six Republicans voting in favor, including the minority leader, Nate Gentry, R-Abq. Other Republicans who voted in favor of…

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Germany’s Medical Marijuana Access Program to Begin in March

BERLIN — Qualifying patients in Germany will likely be able to obtain medical cannabis as early as next month, as a result of legislation recently approved by the German government.

Under the new program, regulators will license cannabis cultivation for the purpose of providing it to select patients.

Individual patients will not be permitted under the law to grow their own supplies of medicinal marijuana.

Health insurance providers will cover patients’ marijuana-related…

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Medical Marijuana Legalization Does Not Lead to Crime Increase

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND — The enactment of US laws regulating the sale and use of cannabis for medical purposes is not associated with any uptick in the rate of violent crime or property crime, according to data compiled by researchers at the University of Victoria and the Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Institute in New Zealand.

Investigators analyzed FBI crime data from the years 1988 to 2013 to assess the potential impact of medical marijuana…

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Record Numbers of Voters Support Marijuana Law Reform

HAMDEN, CT — Record numbers of voters support regulating the marijuana market and oppose federal efforts to interfere or undermine state laws permitting the plant’s use or sale, according to nationwide polling data released Thursday by Quinnipiac University.

Ninety-three percent of voters — including 96 percent of Democrats and 85 percent of Republicans — support “allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes,” the highest total ever reported…

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Study: Medical Marijuana Patients Reduce Their Use of Opioids

VICTORIA, BC — Patients with legal access to medical cannabis reduce their use of opioids, benzodiazepines, and other prescription drugs, according to data published online ahead of print in The International Journal of Drug Policy.

Researchers at the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia assessed the use of medical cannabis and prescription drugs in a cohort of 277 patients registered in the Canadian government’s medical marijuana…

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The ‘Respect State Marijuana Laws Act’ Reintroduced In Congress

WASHINGTON, DC — United States Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), along with six other Republicans and six Democrats, has reintroduced bipartisan legislation, ‘The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,’ to prevent the federal government from criminally prosecuting individuals and/or businesses who are engaging in state-sanctioned activities specific to the possession, use, production, and distribution of marijuana.

House Resolution 975 amends the federal Controlled Substances Act…

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Guam Health Officials to Begin Licensing Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

MANGILAO, GUAM —  Health Department officials in Guam are accepting applications from those seeking to become licensed medical cannabis cultivators or providers.

Voters in the US territory decided in the 2014 general election to establish regulations governing the licensed production and distribution of medicinal cannabis to qualified patients.

Lawmakers codified those regulations last December.

Under the law, known as the Joaquin “KC” Concepcion II…

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In the Time of Trump, Can Congress Take the Lead on Marijuana Policy?

While the marijuana community — consumers, industry, and advocates alike — eyes with trepidation the reign of avowed anti-pot Republican Jeff Sessions at the Justice Department, the Trump executive branch isn’t the only game in town when it comes to making marijuana policy. Congress is back in session, and after last November’s legalization and medical marijuana victories at the polls, the pot state delegation is larger than ever.

And at least some of those senators and…

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Arkansas Governor Signs Law Delaying Enactment of Voter-Approved Medical Marijuana Initiative

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (arkansas.gov)

LITTLE ROCK, AR — Lawmakers passed legislation this week to delay the enactment of the state’s voter-initiated medical cannabis program.

The bill was signed into law Monday by Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson

House Bill 1026, now Act 4, postpones the implementation of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment by 60 days.

Under the new timeline, regulators have until July 1, 2017 to begin accepting applications from those…

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Clinical Trial: THCV Lowers Blood Sugar Levels In Type 2 Diabetics

DERBY, UK — The administration of THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin), a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, is positively associated with glycemic control in type 2 diabetics, according to the randomized, placebo-controlled data published in the journal Diabetes Care.

Investigators from the University of Nottingham, School of Medicine assessed the twice daily administration of various cannabinoids (CBD or THCV or CBD and THCV in combination) versus placebo over a…

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Florida Health Regulators’ Proposed Medical Marijuana Rules Undercut Voter-Approved Amendment

TALLAHASSEE, FL — Proposed rules by the Florida Department of Health to regulate the dispensing of medical cannabis are contrary to the intent of Amendment 2, the ballot initiative approved by 71 percent of voters on Election Day.

Specifically, the draft rules would not permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to patients with chronic pain – instead limiting patients to those with one of ten qualifying conditions.

As approved by voters, the Amendment provides…

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Illinois State Treasurer Urges Trump to Let Banks Work with Marijuana Industry

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs on Monday sent a letter to President Trump asking for “clear guidance” in allowing banks to do business with the marijuana industry.

Illinois is one of 28 states that allows medical marijuana under a state-supervised program.

Federal law currently prohibits banks from processing money from customers working in the legal marijuana industry, making it difficult for marijuana related businesses to do…

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Indiana: American Legion Calls on Lawmakers to Permit Medical Marijuana Access

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — The American Legion of Indiana passed a resolution on Sunday calling on state lawmakers to permit veterans’ access to marijuana as a therapeutic remedy.

The resolution acknowledges that legalizing cannabis access will reduce opioid addiction and overdose deaths, and urges members of the Indiana General Assembly to “amend state legislation to remove restrictions from marijuana and reclassify it in a category that, at a minimum, will recognize…

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Public Forums Announced to Debate Proposed Florida Medical Marijuana Rules

Floridians voted overwhelmingly in favor of Amendment 2 on Election Day, passing the measure intended to regulate the production and dispensing of medical cannabis to any patient who is diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition by their doctor.

However, newly proposed rule by the Department of Health seek to significantly amend this legislation in a manner that is contrary to patients’ needs.

Specifically, the rules would limit those patients who may qualify for cannabis…

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Lawmakers Try to Delay Enactment of Voter Approved Marijuana Laws

Legislators in a number of states are pushing forward measures to delay the enactment of several voter-initiated marijuana laws.

In Arkansas, House lawmakers are moving forward with legislation, House Bill 1026, to postpone the deadline for establishing the state’s new medical marijuana program by 60 days. Fifty-three percent of voters approved Issue 6 on Election Day, which called on lawmakers to regulate the production and dispensing of medical cannabis within 120 days.

In…

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100,000+ Demand DEA Stop Spreading Lies About Medical Marijuana

WASHINGTON, DC Over 100,000 people have signed an Americans for Safe Access petition on Change.org demanding that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) stop disseminating false information about medical cannabis immediately and ensure that all of their future information on medical cannabis treatment reflect medically-accurate, up-to-date facts.

View and sign the petition here.

Last year, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a national nonprofit organization…

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North Dakota Senate Unanimously Approves Medical Marijuana Delay

Lawmakers in the North Dakota Senate voted 45-0 on Tuesday to approve a measure that will delay the implementation of a voter-approved law to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

North Dakota was one of four states to authorize medical marijuana during the November elections, when over 63% of voters approved Question 5.

Senate Bill 2154 would prevent the state department of health from issuing any applications or licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries until…

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North Dakota Bill Would Delay Medical Marijuana Implementation

North Dakota was one of four states to authorize medical marijuana during the November elections, when over 63% of voters approved Question 5.

Now, a bill introduced in the state legislature seeks to delay the law’s implementation.

Senate Bill 2154 would prevent the state department of health from issuing any applications or licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries until July.

Read the full story at Medical Jane.

Tags: 2016 Election, 2017…

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National Academy of Sciences Releases Report on Marijuana Confirming Medical Benefits; Dispelling Myths

WASHINGTON, DC — The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a report on the health impacts of marijuana Thursday, confirming the existence of medical benefits and dispelling some long-held myths about the substance.

The review of more than 10,000 scientific abstracts found, “There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective” for the treatment of chronic pain in adults, chemotherapy-induced nausea…

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National Academy of Sciences: Marijuana is an Effective Medicine

WASHINGTON, DC — The National Academy of Sciences on Thursday released a groundbreaking report, “The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research.”

The report states that there is conclusive evidence that marijuana can be used as a medicine.

The report did not find clinical evidence for all conditions marijuana treatment is often associated with, but it recognizes its efficacy for treating many medical…

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NORML Responds to National Academy of Sciences’ Marijuana Report

WASHINGTON, DC — The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a comprehensive report Thursday acknowledging that “conclusive or substantial evidence” exists for cannabis’ efficacy in patients suffering from chronic pain, and sharply criticized longstanding federal regulatory barriers to marijuana research – in particular “the classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance” under federal law.

Authors of the report also addressed…

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New Mexico Bill Would Expand Medical Marijuana Program

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 8, to amend the state’s medical cannabis program in a manner that would better serve patients’ needs.

Specifically, the measure would amend patient possession limits so that qualified persons may possess up to five ounces of herbal cannabis per month, and it would mandate the Health Department to issue identification cards in an expedited manner.

It would also extend the term of state-issued identification cards from one-year to three…

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Most Police Want Marijuana Laws Reformed, Poll Finds

In a national poll of police officers conducted on a wide variety of topics, less than one third of those surveyed said marijuana should remain illegal.

According to the Behind the Badge survey of nearly 8,000 police officers conducted by the National Police Research Platform (NPRP), 68% of police support legalizing medical marijuana.

While 32 percent of police surveyed supported full legalization of marijuana for adults, the number is still lower than the national…

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Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Bill Coming to South Carolina

COLUMBIA, SC — A bipartisan group of state lawmakers are introducing comprehensive medical cannabis legislation Tuesday in both chambers of the South Carolina General Assembly.

The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act will allow patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions to access medical cannabis if their doctors recommend it.

“This legislation will establish a comprehensive and tightly regulated medical cannabis program,” said Sen. Tom Davis,…

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Thousands of Medical Marijuana Applications Leaked in Nevada

Personal data from thousands of people vying to work in Nevada‘s medical marijuana industry were leaked due to a glitch in the state’s website, which has now been taken offline until security can be restored.

The bug exposed the full 8-page application from nearly 12,000 applicants to anyone with the right web address, according to ZDnet, a tech blog run by CBS news.

The applications included the person’s full name, social security number, home address,…

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Reminder: Oregon Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Return to Patients Only Jan 1

As of January 1, 2017, Oregon’s medical marijuana dispensaries will no longer be able to sell to adults 21 or older without a valid medical marijuana card as the state’s early recreational marijuana sales end.

Adults 21 or older wishing to purchase marijuana for recreational use will only be able to do so from retail marijuana shops licensed by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.  Currently, there are about 100 recreational pot shops licensed statewide.

Limited…

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Two Medical Marijuana Bills Filed in Missouri

Two lawmakers in Missouri have filed proposals for the upcoming 2017 legislation to legalize medical marijuana and create a comprehensive statewide medical cannabis program.

The two bills, Senate Bill 56, sponsored by Jason Holsman (D-Kansas City), and Senate Bill 153, sponsored by Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph), were pre-filed earlier this month.  With Republicans holding a super-majority in the state Senate, SB 153 could have the upper hand, however.

Passage of either of these…

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