Study: Marijuana Use Linked to Lower Prevalence of Fatty Liver Disease

LOWELL, MA — Subjects who consume cannabis are significantly less likely to suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) as compared to those who do not, according to population-based case-control data published in the journal PLOS One.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most prevalent form of liver disease in humans, affecting an estimated 80 to 100 million people in the United States.

A team of researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School…

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Study: Cannabis Often Substituted for Prescription Medications

Adults often substitute cannabis for the use of prescription medications, according to data published in the Journal of Pain Research.

Investigators from the Bastyr University Research Institute assessed the frequency of drug substitution among a self-selected national sample of 2,774 self-identified marijuana consumers.

Just under half of respondents (46 percent) reported using cannabis in place of prescription medications. Respondents were most likely to use cannabis in lieu of…

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Can Decriminalizing Marijuana Lead to Higher Wages? Study Says Yes.

(Flickr/neetalparekh)

IRVINE, CA — Reducing criminal penalties for marijuana offenses is associated with greater overall employment and higher wages, according to data compiled by economists at the University of California.

Researchers at the Economic Self-Sufficiency Research Policy Institute at the University of California at Irvine assessed the relationship between statewide marijuana decriminalization laws and labor outcomes.

Authors reported that decriminalization is…

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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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Washington Lawmakers Send Marijuana Reform Bill to Governor

OLYMPIA, WA — Lawmakers in Washington state have sent a comprehensive marijuana reform bill to the desk of Governor Jay Inslee (D), making several changes to the state’s cannabis regulation policies.

The bi-partisan Senate Bill 5131 was sponsored by Sens. Anna Rivers [R] Steven Conway [D], and received overwhelming support in both chambers of the legislature.

Among the notable changes made by SB 5131 is a provision that makes it legal for adults 21 or older to share up marijuana…

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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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Vermont Moves Closer to Legalizing Recreational Marijuana for Adults

MONTPELIER, VT — The Vermont Senate approved a bill on Friday that would regulate the production and sale of marijuana and eliminate penalties for personal possession and cultivation by adults 21 and older.

The Senate amended H. 167, an unrelated House-approved bill, to replace it with a revised version of a marijuana regulation bill that passed last year in the Senate and failed in the House.

The Senate also amended H. 167 to include the same home cultivation…

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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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CBS Poll Finds Support for Legalizing Marijuana at Record High

More than six in ten Americans believe that the social use of marijuana should be legal for adults, according to nationwide polling data provided by CBS News.

The percentage marks a significant increase since 2013, when only 45 percent of respondents endorsed legalization, and it is among the highest levels of public support ever reported in a national poll. Only a majority of those respondents over the age of 65 did not support legalization.

Source: CBS…

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Homeland Security Chief: Marijuana Possession is Grounds for Deportation

United States Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly Speaks at George Washington University on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. (DHS handout)

In a speech Tuesday, United States Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly announced that the Trump Administration would use marijuana possession as a reason for deporting immigrants.

“ICE will continue to use marijuana possession, distribution and convictions as essential elements as they build their deportation removal apprehension…

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Oregon Governor Signs Legislation Protecting Cannabis Consumers’ Privacy

Oregon Governor Kate Brown

SALEM, OR — Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed legislation into law this week limiting the ability of government officials to obtain data identifying customers who purchase marijuana at state-licensed retail facilities.

Voters legalized the commercial production and retail sales of cannabis in November 2014. Retail sales of cannabis to those age 21 or older began in October 2015.

The new law, which took effect immediately upon signing, states “A…

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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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Tennessee Governor Signs Law Repealing Citywide Decriminalization Statutes

NASHVILLE, TN — Governor Bill Haslam signed legislation last week repealing municipal statutes in Memphis and Nashville that reduced local penalties for marijuana possession offenders.

House Bill 173 nullifies both cities’ decriminalization ordinances and preempts any other city from enacting similar reforms.

City council members in Nashville and Memphis both passed ordinances last fall providing local law enforcement the discretion to cite and fine minor marijuana…

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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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Tom Marino, Trump’s Reported Drug Czar Pick, is Drug War Extremist; Linked to Scandal

Republican Congressman Tom Marino, Pennsylvania 10th (Wikimedia Commons)

WASHINGTON, DC — President Trump is expected to soon nominate Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA/10th) to be Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (colloquially referred to as the “drug czar”). Marino, a former prosecutor with no background in health or treatment, supports a punitive, 1980’s style approach to drugs, including mass incarceration and coerced treatment, even for medical and…

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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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Trump Drug Czar Nominee: Tough on Colombian Peasants and US Marijuana Users

Republican Congressman Tom Marino, Pennsylvania 10th (Wikimedia Commons)

President Trump will name Pennsylvania Congressman Tom Marino (R) to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP — the drug czar’s office), CBS News reported Tuesday.

The White House gave no official comment, but sources told CBS that an official announcement would come soon.

Marino’s legacy of legislative achievements around drug policy offers little comfort to reformers looking for signs that…

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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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Illinois Marijuana Legalization Hearings Coming to Chicago Next Week

(Flickr/Kristen Wall)

CHICAGO, IL — Sponsors of a proposal to regulate and tax marijuana for adult use in Illinois announced Wednesday that lawmakers will hold the first hearing on the bill next week in Chicago.

The Senate and House Appropriations committees will hold a joint hearing on SB 316 and HB 2353 on Wednesday, April 19, in the Michael A. Bilandic Building, according to Senate Committee Chairwoman Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and Rep. Kelly Cassidy…

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Senators’ False Claims Pave Way for Dangerous Drug Bill

Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control Hearing on Dangerous Synthetic Drugs

The two octogenarian senior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are up to one of their favorite pastimes again this year. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have reintroduced a perennial bill that would increase penalties for drug dealers who sell products designed to entice children.

If the bill were to become law, anyone who knew or “had reasonable cause to believe”…

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Report: Congressman Tom Marino Will Be Named Next White House Drug Czar

Republican Congressman Tom Marino, Pennsylvania 10th (Wikimedia Commons)

WASHINGTON, DC — Congressman Tom Marino (R-PA) will be named the next director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), also known as the “drug czar,” according to multiple media reports.

As a member of Congress, Marino has consistently voted against marijuana policy reform legislation.

Robert Capecchi, director of federal policies for the Marijuana…

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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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Poll: Support for Marijuana Legalization Climbing

CHICAGO, IL — The percentage of Americans who “think the use of marijuana should be legal” has increased dramatically over the past ten years and now stands at a record high, according to polling data compiled by the University of Chicago’s General Social Survey.

The survey has tracked adults’ opinions on legalizing marijuana since the early 1970s.

The survey reports that 57 percent of adults support legalization, up from 32 percent in 2006. That is the highest…

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Marijuana Use Not Implicated in Injuries Requiring Hospitalization

The use of marijuana alone does not place subjects at a higher risk of experiencing injuries requiring hospitalization, according to case-control data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Investigators from the United States and Canada assessed the risk of injury in the hours immediately following subjects’ use of alcohol or other controlled substances.

Researchers determined that alcohol use within the past six hours significantly increased subjects’…

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Kansas City Municipal Decriminalization Measure Passes

Kansas City, MO (Flickr/Dean Hochman)

KANSAS CITY, MO — Kansas City voters approved a municipal ballot measure on Tuesday decriminalizing marijuana possession offenses within the city’s limits.

Nearly 75 percent of citywide voters decided ‘yes’ on Question 5, which reduces penalties for the possession of up to 35 grams of cannabis from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil violation punishable by a $25 fine. The ordinance also eliminates local penalties for the possession…

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Sessions’ DOJ Reviewing Marijuana Enforcement, Governors Fight Back

Jeff Sessions speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC. (Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

This week, Attorney General Jeff “Marijuana Consumers Aren’t Good People” Sessions issued a memo outlining a requested task force inquiry into a number of public safety issues, one of which being the enforcement of federal marijuana laws.

The memo was sent to 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and Department of Justice component heads to provide “an update on the Department¹s Task Force on…

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Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Proponents Victorious in Ballot Fight

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — The state Supreme Court of Oklahoma has ruled in favor of the proponents of a forthcoming statewide ballot measure to regulate medical cannabis access.

In a 7 to 1 ruling, justices rejected the state attorney general’s rewording of the initiative’s ballot title and ordered that the measure’s initial language be restored.

Initiative proponents, Oklahomans for Health, had argued that the revised title was purposely misleading because it did not…

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Virginia: Marijuana Arrest No Longer Leads to Automatic Driver’s License Suspension

RICHMOND, VA — Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has signed legislation into law amending the state’s mandatory driver’s suspension law.

Under existing law, defendants convicted of a marijuana violation lose their driving privileges for six months, even in instances where the offense was not driving related.

Under the new legislation, SB 1091, the mandatory suspension will no longer apply to adults convicted of simple marijuana possession offenses.

The new law takes…

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Federal Bill Would End Arbitrary License Suspensions for Minor Marijuana Possession

WASHINGTON, DC — Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) with Representatives Amash (R-MI), Jeffries (D-NY), Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Nadler (D-NY), and Love (R-UT) have introduced The Better Drive Act, legislation removing the federal mandate that demands states to suspend the driver’s license of individuals with a marijuana possession conviction.

Under current law, any drug conviction, regardless of whether or not a motor vehicle was involved, results in an automatic suspension of the…

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Bill to Repeal Federal Law Requiring States to Suspend Driver’s Licenses for Drug Offenses Introduced in Congress

The United States Capitol in Washington, DC (Wikimedia/David Maiolo)

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke (D-TX-16) has introduced bipartisan legislation with Representatives Justin Amash (R-MI-3), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY-8), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI-5), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10), and Mia Love (R-UT-4) that would repeal a 26-year-old federal law that mandates states to automatically suspend driver’s licenses for anyone convicted of a drug offense or risk losing…

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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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Voters in Kansas City, MO Decriminalize Marijuana in Blowout Victory

KANSAS CITY, MO — In a blowout victory for sensible criminal justice policy, the voters of Kansas City, Missouri have decided to approve Question 5 and decriminalize marijuana to direct their law enforcement officers to no longer target citizens for possession of the plant and would replace current criminal penalties with just a civil fine.

The measure will amend local laws regarding the possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana for adults age 21 and older from a criminal…

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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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Texas Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Advances to Floor Vote in House

AUSTIN, TX — A proposal to reduce penalties for marijuana possession in Texas received bipartisan approval from the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on Monday and will soon be scheduled for a full vote in the House.

The measure passed by a vote of 4-2, receiving support from two Democrats and two Republicans.

House Bill 81, authored by committee Chairman Joe Moody (D-El Paso) and Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) with 37 co-sponsors, would remove the threat of…

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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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Several Bills Filed in Congress to Create “Path to Marijuana Reform”

The United States Capitol in Washington, DC (Wikimedia/David Maiolo)

The Congressional Cannabis Caucus flexed its muscles Thursday as members of Congress filed a package of bills aimed at creating a “path to marijuana reform” at the federal level and protecting and preserving marijuana laws in states where it is legal.

Two Oregon politicians, Sen. Ron Wyden (D) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D) led the charge, announcing a bipartisan package of three bills, including a marijuana…

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Joint Legislation: Federal Bills Would End Marijuana Prohibition in the United States

WASHINGTON, DC — Senator Ron Wyden and Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Jared Polis have introduced legislation in the House and Senate — to permit states to establish their own marijuana regulatory policies free from federal interference.

In addition to removing marijuana from the United States Controlled Substances Act, this legislation also removes enforcement power from the US Drug Enforcement Administration in matter concerning marijuana possession, production, and sales —…

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DEA to Classify Liquid, Synthetic THC as a Schedule II Controlled Substance

WASHINGTON, DC — Officials from the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have recommended that Syndros, a liquid form of synthetic THC, be classified as a Schedule II controlled substance under federal law.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials determined last year that the drug formulation is safe and effective for use by patients with cancer and AIDS.

Two other synthetic forms of THC, dronabinol and nabilone, are also FDA approved. Dronabinol (aka Marinol) is a…

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Kansas City Voters to Vote on Decriminalizing Marijuana on April 4

KANSAS CITY, MO — After more than a year of negotiations with city officials, and countless hours cultivating support for a ballot measure aimed at decriminalizing certain amounts of marijuana, members of Kansas City NORML will finally have a chance to hear from voters on the issue.

Next Tuesday, April 4, 2017, Kansas City voters will weigh in on Question 5. If approved, the measure will amend local laws regarding the possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana for adults age 21 and older…

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Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Marijuana Decriminalization Measure Takes Effect

Harrisburg, the state capital of Pennsylvania, as seen from City Island in the Susquehanna River. (Flickr/Don Shall)

HARRISBURG, PA — Minor marijuana possession offenders are no longer subject to arrest in the city of Harrisburg under a new local ordinance that took effect last week.

The municipal measure, approved by members of the City Council in July, reduces local marijuana possession penalties for first-time and second-time offenders from a criminal misdemeanor to a…

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Illinois Poll Finds Two-Thirds of Voters Support Legalizing Marijuana

CARBONDALE, IL — Sixty-six percent of voters believe that the adult use and sale of marijuana ought to be treated like alcohol, according to statewide polling data compiled by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University.

Support for legalization is strongest among voters under 35 years of age (83 percent) and among Democrats (77 percent). However, majorities of respondents in every age demographic and of every political ideology endorse regulating…

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Legal Marijuana: The Sky is (Probably) Not Falling

Legal Marijuana: The Sky is (Probably) Not Falling | Phillip Smith

Barrels of ink have been spilled over the prospect that the Trump administration could attempt to turn back the clock when it comes to legal marijuana, but for all the wailing and gnashing of teeth out there, marijuana industry insiders, advocates, and activists don’t seem all that worried. “I don’t think there’s any more reason […]

Legal Marijuana: The Sky is (Probably) Not Falling | The Daily Chronic

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Legalizing Marijuana in Rhode Island Would Yield Nearly $50 Million in New Annual Revenue

PROVIDENCE, RI — Taxing and regulating the marijuana market in Rhode Island will generate nearly $50 million in new annual tax revenue, according to a report issued this week by the advocacy coalition Regulate Rhode Island.

According to the report, commercial sales of cannabis are estimated to reach $161 million by 2020.

Taxing this retail market at rates comparable to those in Colorado or Washington would yield $48.3 million per year.

Legislation (The Adult Use of Cannabis Act) is pending in the Rhode Island House and Senate to regulate…

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Washington: Marijuana Use By Young People Largely Unchanged Post-Legalization, Survey Says

OLYMPIA, WA — The percentage of young people consuming marijuana has not been adversely impacted by changes in state law regulating its adult use and distribution, according to 2016 data compiled by Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.

Results from the 2016 Healthy Youth Survey, which surveys over 230,000 students in grades 6 through 12, “rates of teen marijuana use have remained steady” post legalization. The Department issued similar findings…

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