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Medical Marijuana Update

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500,000 people may be eligible for Florida's medical marijuana

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By: The News Service of Florida

Posted: Dec 14 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A Senate panel Tuesday began exploring issues surrounding medical marijuana as lawmakers prepare to carry out a constitutional amendment overwhelmingly approved by voters in November.

The Senate Health Policy Committee heard from a cannabis vendor, patient advocates, doctors and opponents of Amendment 2, which legalized medical marijuana for a broad swath of patients and set Florida in position to become one of the largest pot markets in the nation.

"The voters have spoken. It is our duty as their elected representatives to implement this amendment appropriately," committee Chairwoman Dana Young, R-Tampa, said at the onset of the two-hour meeting.

One of the biggest issues facing the Legislature is whether to expand the number of businesses authorized by the state to grow, process and distribute marijuana to an estimated 500,000 patients who would be eligible for the treatment when the amendment goes into effect in January.

Florida lawmakers first approved non-euphoric medical marijuana for a limited number of patients in 2014 and expanded the law to include full-strength pot for terminally ill patients early this year.

The Florida Department of Health has issued licenses to six "dispensing organizations" and could issue three more, once the number of patients in a statewide registry reaches 250,000. The Legislature added the provision for the additional licenses during the spring session in anticipation that the constitutional amendment would pass.

But Ben Pollara, campaign manager for the "United for Care" political committee that backed the initiative, told the Senate panel on Tuesday that the current number of licenses would not meet the expectations of voters or the language of the amendment, which requires health officials to issue "reasonable" regulations regarding medical marijuana.

Since the initiative received more than 70 percent approval in November, "it is more than a fair assessment to say that a vote for Amendment 2 was a vote to expand the market here," Pollara said.

The six dispensing organizations now authorized to sell medical marijuana were supposed to provide products to an estimated 100,000 patients, Pollara said.

To expect those businesses to serve a consumer base five times greater than anticipated "simply doesn't make sense," he added.

But Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers, the head of the first company to start distributing medical marijuana in Florida, told the committee that her organization now has the capacity to serve 72,000 patients and would soon be able to provide products to 650,000 patients.

About 1,300 patients eligible for medical marijuana under the laws passed in 2014 and early this year are registered in a statewide database, and 240 doctors have received the training required to order the treatment, state Office of Compassionate Use Director Christian Bax said Tuesday.

Those numbers are expected to escalate after the amendment goes into effect next month, Bax predicted.

"As a state, we will be watched to ensure we have a robust regulatory system," he said.

Law enforcement officials and opponents of the amendment asked lawmakers to consider imposing restrictions on the kinds of products that can be sold, including candy, and want local governments to have the discretion to regulate issues such as zoning and signage.

"We are not here to be obstructionists. We are here to be honest brokers in dealing with this matter, trying to provide a law enforcement perspective that is a value add to this. The people have spoken. It is clear," Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson, Jr., said.

Others urged lawmakers to tread carefully with what some opponents deem a "gateway" to more hardcore drugs.

"If we don't aggressively seek to limit the use and sale of marijuana, our country and state as we know it will never be the same. Florida will be trading our beautiful white, sandy beaches filled with vacationing families for a hazy, skunk-smelling coastline laden with unemployable, unmotivated homeless people," said Teresa Miller, a drug prevention activist and founder of the "no2pot.org" website.

As the committee mulls imposing restrictions, some people in the pot business are asking legislators to loosen provisions in the current laws they contend are a barrier to treatment.

Rivers and Mark Hashim, a pain management physician, asked the Legislature to consider doing away with the requirement that doctor treats patient for at least three months before being able to order medical marijuana for them.

Hashim said he recently encountered a terminally ill patient who likely had less than two months to live, but he could not assist her because he had not treated her for 90 days. The patient was unable to access the marijuana treatment because her other doctors were not authorized to order it, Hashim said.

"I have to look her in the face and say, I have something that might help you but I can't give it to you," he said.

fox35orlando

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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

December 15, 2016

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Montana's dispensaries are coming back to life, Michigan's medical marijuana fees have been funding aggressive anti-marijuana law enforcement, and more.

Arkansas

On Monday, members of the state's new medical marijuana commission were sworn in. In the first meeting of a commission established to create a state medical marijuana system after voters approved a constitutional amendment last month, five commissioners were sworn in. The members of the state Medical Marijuana Commission are Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman of Little Rock, lobbyist James Miller of Bryant, Dr. Carlos Roman of Little Rock, pharmacy executive Stephen Carroll of Benton and attorney Travis Story of Fayetteville. Henry-Tillman was unanimously elected Monday afternoon as the commission's chairman.

Kentucky

On Tuesday, a medical marijuana bill was filed. State Sen. Perry Clark (D-Louisville) has filed the Cannabis Compassion Act of 2017 (BR 409), which would allow patients with a specified list of diseases and medical conditions access to their medicine. The bill would allow patients to possess up to three ounces and grow up to 12 plants and envisions a system of regulated cultivators and "compassion centers.

Michigan

On Tuesday, news came that medical marijuana fees are funding the state's war on drugs. Medical marijuana fees have fattened the Michigan Medical Marijuana Fund, and state law enforcement has been tapping into that fund to aggressively go after marijuana. Local sheriffs in the Detroit area have spent more than $600,000 raiding dispensaries in the past year, and there's more where that came from since the fund has raised $30 million. "I really don't think it's appropriate to fund law enforcement on the backs of medical marijuana patients," medical marijuana attorney Matt Abel told the Detroit News. "… It's really a hidden tax on patients."

Montana

Last Wednesday, a state judge cleared dispensaries to reopen. A district court judge in Helena has ruled that a wording error in last month's successful medical marijuana initiative should not keep sick patients from having access to the plant now. The initiative undid a 2011 law that largely undid the original 2004 initiative allowing medical marijuana, but late changes to the initiative resulted in new sections being added, which in turn resulted in a change in section numbering that unintentionally pushed back the date dispensaries could open. "The folks that are maybe the most in need are the least able to provide, to grow their own," the judge said in making his ruling. "I think speed is more important than niceties."

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

stopthedrugwar

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Israel, a Medical Marijuana Pioneer, Is Eager to Capitalize

By ISABEL KERSHNER

DEC. 17, 2016

ISRAELPOT-master768.jpg

Tending cannabis plants at a medical marijuana farm near Safed, Israel.

Credit Baz Ratner/Reuters

JERUSALEM — Israeli scientists began their pioneering research to isolate the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana with a 10-pound stash seized by the Tel Aviv police. That effort, in the 1960s, helped propel Israel to the vanguard of research into the plant’s medicinal properties and lay the foundations for a medical marijuana industry.

Now the nation’s burgeoning pot business, backed by an unlikely coalition of farmers, lawyers, scientists, entrepreneurs and the country’s ultra-Orthodox health minister, is going mainstream — and eyeing markets abroad.

Marijuana, or cannabis, is still classified as a dangerous drug in Israel and remains illegal for recreational purposes. But the government is also at the forefront of efforts to develop and expand the fast-growing medical marijuana industry and make Israel a major center for it.

Recent government efforts to regulate medical marijuana will make it more accessible and available by prescription at pharmacies. The government has also appointed a committee to examine the possibility of Israel becoming one of the few countries to allow exports, although the destination for products remains unclear.

The Volcani Center, the Ministry of Agriculture’s research organization, is building a national institute for medical marijuana research. The chief scientist’s office of the Ministry of Economy has infused millions of shekels into innovative marijuana companies, much as government investment helped fuel the Israeli tech boom in the 1990s. The government is also setting standards for the cultivation, storage and use of medical marijuana.

“It is almost unprecedented,” said Tamir Gedo, the chief executive of Breath of Life Pharma, an Israeli company permitted to grow medical cannabis and make and distribute products. “It seems the government is working faster than the private industry.”

The reforms spearheaded by the Health Ministry, which is led by Yaakov Litzman of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism Party, open up licensing for an unlimited number of growers, up from eight farms. The list of doctors trained and authorized to prescribe marijuana is to be expanded and research encouraged. The reforms, which were approved by the government in the summer, were formulated in cooperation with the Ministries of Agriculture, Justice, Internal Security and Finance.

“I cannot say that I am in favor of cannabis,” Mr. Litzman said at a business conference last month, reflecting concerns that medical marijuana could trickle into the recreational market. But Mr. Litzman said he would even support the idea of export so long as revenues went to the Health Ministry, adding, “There is a lot of pressure on me.”

Some of Israel’s more traditional medical institutions and associations are still averse to joining the party, a wariness that marijuana advocates put down to a lack of knowledge. The police worry about leakage into the recreational black market, and some Israelis are concerned that export, if allowed, would stigmatize the country as one that dealt primarily in arms and drugs.

About 25,000 Israelis, in a population of 8.5 million, hold permits to use medical marijuana to ease symptoms of cancer, epilepsy and other diseases, but that number is expected to grow rapidly. So far, medical marijuana has been distributed by the growers through special dispensaries or by home delivery.

The Health Ministry’s written protocols on the matter, known as the Green Book, have generated international interest.

“We wrote this because we couldn’t find it in other countries,” said Dr. Michael Dor, a family physician and senior adviser to the Health Ministry’s medical cannabis unit. “Now everybody is asking about it.”

The ministry has approved dozens of clinical trials, Dr. Dor said, adding, “If we don’t do it right here, the specialists will go abroad with their knowledge, and we have wonderful knowledge here.”

Raphael Mechoulam, now a professor of medicinal chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and his colleague Yechiel Gaoni first isolated the main compounds, including the psychoactive ingredient — tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — with the marijuana supplied by the Tel Aviv police. When administrators at the Weizmann Institute of Science, where Professor Mechoulam was conducting his research, first called the police with the request, he recalled in an interview, “they asked if I was trustworthy.”

Professor Mechoulam, 86, has continued his research in his current post, focusing on the compounds in the brain that make the active components of marijuana work. He is also a consultant for the Ministry of Health and collaborates with research groups around the world.

“Medicinal cannabis has to follow medical lines of thought and development and modern medical routes” in order to produce proper drugs, he said. Pointing to an international paucity of clinical trials, he said, “Israel has more than the United States at the moment, which is ridiculous.” In the United States, medical marijuana programs exist in many states but remain illegal under federal law.

Professor Mechoulam is also a member of the advisory board of Breath of Life, whose products, according to Mr. Gedo, the chief executive, are made according to pharmaceutical best-practice protocols.

“We are working as a pharmaceutical company, not a cannabis company,” Mr. Gedo said. Breath of Life is participating in a dozen clinical trials, including one based on cannabinoids, the chemical compounds in marijuana, for autism in children with the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

According to Mr. Gedo, several American companies are conducting trials in Israel based on Breath of Life’s active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Teva Israel, a subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., recently announced a distribution and cooperation agreement with Syqe Medical, a Tel Aviv company that developed an inhaler for administering marijuana in precise doses. The dose can be tailored to each patient like a standard medical treatment, which experts say should reduce or eliminate the objections of reluctant physicians.

Two international medical marijuana conferences have taken place in Israel this year. At the Cann10 conference in Tel Aviv in September, speakers discussed science, medicine, technology and commerce. Purveyors, some in white lab coats, displayed their wares. A grower called PharmoCann displayed rows of sealed plastic vials containing strains of flowers undergoing testing with names like Blue, Train Wreck and Voodoo Child.

Israelis have been producing products with varying degrees of THC for years. Another company at the Cann10 conference, Cannabliss, makes medical marijuana oil and other nonsmoking products, works with a professor of immunotherapy and bone marrow at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem and supplies the hospital’s medical marijuana dispensary.

“We hope the market will open up in the world as soon as possible,” Moshe Ihea, Cannabliss’s founder and chief executive, said. “First we have to open up the people.” He added that he had discovered the medicinal benefits after he suffered a leg injury during an army exercise.

Saul Kaye, a pharmacist and the chief executive of iCan: Israel-Cannabis, a venture fund and technology incubator for start-ups driving the global medical marijuana industry, said this “could be another incredible economy for Israel.”

He added, “There’s a national consciousness for cannabis that you cannot ignore.”

NYTimes

A version of this article appears in print on December 18, 2016, on Page A8 of the New York edition with the headline: Israel, a Medical Marijuana Pioneer, Is Eager to Capitalize

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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

December 21, 2016

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The DEA has clarified that it still considers CBD to be illegal, Arkansas moves forward on implementation of its new program, Michigan gets legal dispensaries and a favorable court ruling, and more.

National

Last Wednesday, DEA clarified that, yes, it still considers CBD to be illegal. The DEA added a new code for marijuana extracts, including low-THC CBD cannabis oils, in the Federal Register. The code defines marijuana extracts as "an extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis, other than the separated resin (whether crude or purified) obtained from the plant." That means that marijuana extracts, even those derived from low-THC industrial hemp, are considered marijuana and are placed under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

On Monday, imprisoned California dispensary operators were seeking a presidential commutation. Luke Scarmazzo and Ricardo Montes operated a medical marijuana dispensary in Modesto, California, until their arrest by federal drug agents 10 years ago. They were prosecuted and convicted of federal drug crimes for their efforts and sentenced to 21 years 10 months and 20 years, respectively. Now, they are formally seeking sentence commutations from President Obama, who has cut the sentences of more than a thousand other federal drug prisoners so far this year. The pair point out that they would not have been prosecuted under current federal policies largely turning a blind eye to marijuana in states where it is legal, whether recreationally or merely for medical purposes.

Arizona

On Tuesday, a state appeals court ruled that local officials can't use federal law to harass dispensaries. In a unanimous decision, the state Court of Appeals ruled that local officials can't use the federal ban on marijuana to refuse to provide zoning for dispensaries. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery ® had no legal basis to claim that federal law trumps the state's voter-approved medical marijuana, the court held.

Arkansas

On Tuesday, state regulators set the number of commercial grows at five. The state Medical Marijuana Commission voted Tuesday to allow up to five commercial cultivation centers in the state. The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, approved by voters last month, specified that there could be between four and eight centers; the commission opted to start on the low end. Grows won't start, however, until rules about growing, processing, and distribution are finalized.

Maine

Last Thursday, the governor said the state should "get rid of" medical marijuana after legalization. Tea Party Republican Gov. Paul LePage called for an end to the state's medical marijuana program: "If you've got recreational marijuana, it's over the counter," he said. "Why do we need medical marijuana?" But initiative backers said the intent of the legalization initiative was to respect medical marijuana and have "dual programs running side by side."

Michigan

On Tuesday, the state's new medical marijuana laws went into effect. New state laws that will explicitly allow for dispensaries, regulate growing and processing facilities, and allow patients to use non-smokable forms of the drug are in effect as of Tuesday. "This new law will help Michiganders of all ages and with varying medical conditions access safe products to relieve their suffering," Gov. Rick Snyder ® said after signing the bills back in September. "We can finally implement a solid framework that gives patients a safe source from which to purchase and utilize medical marijuana."

Also on Tuesday, the state appeals court ruled that the medical marijuana law protects people transporting it. The state Court of Appeals ruled that the state's medical marijuana law extends to people accused of illegally transporting it. A state law written after voters approved medical marijuana, requires that it be stored in the trunk or other inaccessible part of the vehicle, but the court held that law is invalid because it imposes additional requirements on medical marijuana users.

Ohio

Last Thursday, the state Pharmacy Board issued draft rules for dispensaries. The board has issued proposed rules governing medical marijuana distribution in the state. The rules envision up to 40 dispensaries operating, with applicants having to show they have at least $250,000 in liquid assets. Applicants would have to pay a $5,000 non-refundable application fee, and if approved, would have to pay an $80,000 annual fee. Dispensaries would also have to pay a $100 fee for each advertisement, which would have to be approved by the board. The rules are open for comment until January 13. The Board of Pharmacy is one of three state agencies tasked with regulating the nascent industry. The State Medical Board has already released rules for doctors, and the Commerce Department is charged with regulating growers and processors.

Tennessee

Last Wednesday, Republicans rolled out a medical marijuana bill. State Sen. Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) and state Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) held a press conference Wednesday to introduce their "conservative proposal" to allow for the use of medical marijuana. Their draft bill would set a limit of 50 grow houses statewide, with each allowed to operate one on-site and two storefront dispensaries. It appears to make no provision for patient or caregiver grows. And it limits medical marijuana eligibility to a small list of specified conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, PTSD, and Alzheimer's.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

December 28, 2016

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A study finds medical marijuana associated with a decline in traffic fatalities, the Arizona courts stick up for medical marijuana, changes in state law will have impacts in Colorado and Oregon, and more.

National

On Monday, a study found that states with medical marijuana laws see a decline in traffic deaths. A new study from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health finds that states that have passed medical marijuana laws have seen an 11% reduction in traffic fatalities since those laws went into effect. And those states have seen a 26% reduction in traffic fatalities compared to states where marijuana remains illegal.

Arizona

Last Wednesday, a prosecutor said he will appeal a ruling telling him not to obstruct medical marijuana businesses. Maricopa County (Phoenix) Attorney Bill Montgomery said he will ask the state Supreme Court to review a ruling a day earlier from the Court of Appeals that rejected his argument that federal law preempts the state's medical marijuana and approve zoning for a medical marijuana dispensary in Sun City. He said the ruling against him undermines federalism and the "fundamental principle of the rule of law."

Last Thursday, the appeals court ruled that the state must prove patients were actually impaired before convicting them of DUID. Medical marijuana users can't be convicted of DUID solely for having marijuana in their systems absent proof they were actually impaired, the court ruled. Arizona is a zero-tolerance DUID state, and that's a problem, the judges said. "According to evidence here, there is no scientific consensus about the concentration of THC that generally is sufficient to impair a human being,'' appellate Judge Diane Johnsen wrote. The court also clarified that it is up to the state to prove impairment, not up to the defendant to disprove it. The ruling comes just two days after another division of the appellate court blocked Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery in his bid to cite federal prohibition as a reason to refuse zoning requests for dispensaries.

Colorado

As of next Sunday, caregiver plant limits will drop dramatically. Beginning January 1, the maximum number of plants medical marijuana caregivers can grow will drop from 495 to 99. The change, adopted by the legislature, is being hailed by law enforcement, which sees it as a move against black market marijuana supplies, but marijuana advocates worry that patients are at risk of losing a vital source of medicine.

Kansas

On Tuesday, a federal judge threw out a medical marijuana mom's lawsuit. A federal judge has thrown out the lawsuit from Shona Banda, the Garden City mother who lost custody of her son and was arrested over her use of cannabis oil. Garden City police raided her home in March 2015 after he son spoke up about her cannabis use at school, and child welfare authorities took custody of her son. In her lawsuit, Banda argued that she had a "fundamental right" to use medical marijuana and asked the court to restore custody of her son. But the judge ruled that Banda had not responded to filings from plaintiffs and dismissed the case. She still faces state criminal charges.

Oregon

As of this coming Sunday, dispensaries will go back to selling only to patients. As of January 1, dispensaries will revert to selling only to card-carrying patients. The state had allowed dispensaries to sell to any adult while it set up a licensing scheme for retail pot shops, but that now ends, and that means Oregon pot consumers who are not patients will have fewer places to legally buy pot. There are some 300 dispensaries in the state, but only a hundred retail pot shops. Some dispensaries are moving to be licensed as retail shops.

Pennsylvania

Last Wednesday, regulators announced an initial round of planned dispensary permits. The state will authorize up to 27 dispensary permits during a process that begins with applications opening in mid-January and able to be submitted between February 20 and March 20. Each dispensary is allowed two secondary locations, meaning up to 81 medical marijuana shops could open in this first phase. The state medical marijuana law allows for up to 50 dispensary permits to be issued. State officials said they expected dispensaries to be open for business by mid-2018.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

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Year in weed: The five most important medical marijuana research studies of 2016

Science is proving how cannabis helps with epilepsy, migraines and more

By Ricardo Baca, The Cannabist Staff

Updated: Dec 31, 2016

In legalization-speak, 2016 will always be remembered as the year cannabis broke wide open.

While pot prohibition officially ended in 2012, when voters in Colorado and Washington said yes to legalizing and regulating recreational marijuana, that was only the beginning. Adult-use cannabis’ steady trickle continued in the 2014 election, when Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C. all joined the 420-friendly ranks.

But this year the legalization gates sprang open as eight of the nine states with marijuana measures on their ballots voted to legalize it — four on the retail side, four on the medical side.

As these states begin to write and implement their marijuana regulations, and as their predecessors continue to sell billions of dollars of heavily taxed legal cannabis annually, they’re doing so in something of a public health vacuum. What does legal marijuana mean for the long-term health of our communities?

We still don’t know.

In these still-early days, there’s still more we don’t know about cannabis and its components’ complicated relationship with our bodies and minds than what we do know. With other recreational substances, alcohol and tobacco included, we have reams of top-level public health research — studies that dissected the habits of tens of thousands of Americans, giving scientists an accurate, big-picture focus on those drugs’ impacts on our health.

With weed, that research has yet to be conducted. In fact, not a lot of research has been done to determine the medical efficacy of cannabis — primarily because of federal prohibition.

But that’s starting to change.

In 2016, we saw some important cannabis research published in top medical journals — research that flips the script on previously held beliefs and research that backs up what we’ve already seen anecdotally with medical cannabis.

And so here are some of the year’s most important scientific studies on cannabis.

Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Prescription Medication Use In Medicare Part D, published in Health Affairs

As Kaiser Health News reported:

New research found that states that legalized medical marijuana — which is sometimes recommended for symptoms like chronic pain, anxiety or depression — saw declines in the number of Medicare prescriptions for drugs used to treat those conditions and a dip in spending by Medicare Part D, which covers the cost on prescription medications …

The researchers found that in states with medical marijuana laws on the books, the number of drug prescriptions dropped for treating anxiety, depression, nausea, pain, psychosis, seizures, sleep disorders and spasticity. Those are all conditions for which marijuana is sometimes recommended. Prescriptions for other drugs treating other conditions, meanwhile, did not decline.

Check out actual the research.

Pot-Smokers Harm Gums; Other Physical Effects Slight, published in Duke Today

As The Washington Post reported:

Long-term marijuana use is not associated with a raft of physical health problems, according to a new study, with one surprising exception: gum disease.

Researchers led by Madeline Meier of Arizona State University tracked the marijuana habits of 1,037 New Zealanders from birth to middle age to see what effect those habits have on some common measures of physical health, including lung function, systemic inflammation, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, body weight, blood sugar and dental health.

What they found was surprising: After controlling for other factors known to affect health, especially tobacco use and socioeconomic status, marijuana use had no negative effect on any measure of health, except for dental health. People who smoked more weed had a higher incidence of gum disease.

Check out the actual research.

Effects of Medical Marijuana on Migraine Headache Frequency in an Adult Population, published in Pharmacotherapy

As 7News reported:

Migraines can really hamper productivity when they strike but for the first time, Colorado researchers have proof that medical marijuana can help ease that dreadful pain.

“We were not expecting the decrease in frequency in migraine that we saw. It was pretty dramatic,” said Dr. Sarah Anderson with Skaggs School of Pharmacy at CU Anschutz.

Researchers at CU Anschutz looked at dozens of charts from patients treated at “Gedde Whole Health,” a private Colorado clinic that prescribes medical marijuana for a variety of ailments.

Of the 121 patients studied, 103 reported a decrease in their monthly migraines. To put it another way, the frequency of migraines dropped from about ten per month to less than five.

Check out the actual research.

Subjective Aggression During Alcohol and Cannabis Intoxication Before and After Aggression Exposure, published in Psychopharmacology

As The Washington Post reported:

What about a link between marijuana use and aggression? Most pot smokers will tell you that marijuana helps them relax. The popular stereotype of a heavy marijuana user is the guy stoned out of his mind on the couch, eating Funyuns and watching cartoons.

But surprisingly, research on the link between marijuana and aggression has been mixed. Marijuana seems to make most people relaxed, but it can also cause anxiety and paranoia, conditions which can occasionally manifest themselves in violent ways. There are occasional reports out of Colorado of marijuana users causing harm to themselves or to others.

So a recent study from the Netherlands, published in the journal Psychopharmacology, attempts to put this question to bed using the gold standard of scientific research: a random controlled trial. They recruited a group of 20 heavy alcohol users (3+ drinks a day for men, 2+ for women), 21 heavy marijuana users who smoked at least 3 times a week, and 20 controls who didn’t use either drug heavily at all.

They then got the alcohol users drunk until their BAC measured 0.8, the standard threshold for impairment. They got the marijuana users high, by dosing them with 300 micrograms of THC per kilogram of bodyweight delivered via a vaporizer. The control group didn’t get to do any of this fun stuff, because they were controls.

Then they made all three groups complete a number of tests designed to get people riled up. The first, known as the “single category implicit association test,” had people match positive and negative words to photos depicting aggressive and violent behavior — punching, kicking, etc. In the second test, respondents played a computer game in which they were told they could win money by pressing buttons. They were pitted against an adversary who could undermine the players by taking money from them. The players were unaware that the “adversary” was actually controlled by the computer.

The researchers measured aggression, before and after the respondents took the test, by asking them how aggressive they felt on a 100-point scale. For good measure, they had the marijuana and alcohol users go through the whole thing again one week later, this time without getting high or drunk, as a kind of separate control.

They found, first of all, that “alcohol intoxication increased subjective aggression in the alcohol group.” The alcohol users, in other words, acted more aggressive when they were drunk than they did when they were sober. By contrast, the smokers became less aggressive when they were high.

Check out the actual research.

GW Pharmaceuticals Announces Second Positive Phase 3 Pivotal Trial for Epidiolex (cannabidiol) in the Treatment of Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, not published

As The Cannabist reported:

Experimental marijuana-based drug Epidiolex significantly reduced convulsive seizures among epilepsy patients in a recent clinical trial, according to GW Pharmaceuticals, the U.K. company that makes the drug.

Among the drug’s primary ingredients is cannabidiol, better known as CBD, a non-psychoactive marijuana derivative that is anecdotally known for helping some patients suffering from epilepsy, Crohn’s and other diseases. There is little scientific evidence backing up patients’ experiences with CBD, which is one of the reasons GW Pharmaceuticals’ first-of-its-kind study is so important.

Epidiolex is being studied to treat Dravet syndrome, a rare type of epilepsy for which there are currently no treatments approved in the U.S. GW Pharmaceuticals is currently in talks with federal regulators, hoping that Epidiolex will be introduced to the U.S. market — which would make it the first prescription drug in America that is extracted from cannabis.

“The results of this Epidiolex pivotal trial are important and exciting as they represent the first placebo-controlled evidence to support the safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical cannabidiol in children with Dravet syndrome, one of the most severe and difficult-to-treat types of epilepsy,” Orrin Devinsky, M.D., of New York University Langone Medical Center’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center and the trial’s principal investigator, said in a statement. “These data demonstrate that Epidiolex delivers clinically important reductions in seizure frequency together with an acceptable safety and tolerability profile, providing the epilepsy community with the prospect of an appropriately standardized and tested pharmaceutical formulation of cannabidiol being made available by prescription in the future.”

Check out the actual research.

thecannabist

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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,
January 04, 2017

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Arkansas and Florida start moving toward voter-approved medical marijuana systems, Massachusetts activists push for greater patient access, and more.


Arkansas

Last Friday, a lawmaker filed medical marijuana implementation bills. State Rep. Douglas House (R-North Little Rock) has filed a pair of bills aimed at the state's new medical marijuana law. House Bill 1057 would add national and state criminal background check requirements, while House Bill 1058 would amend the definition of written certification to clarify that it is not a medical record. The bills are not yet available on the legislative web site.


Florida

As of Tuesday, Florida is now a medical marijuana state. The constitutional amendment approved by voters in November to legalize medical marijuana went into effect Tuesday. But the state doesn't have a distribution system up and running yet. Lawmakers and the state Department of Health will have to craft rules, with an implementation target date of September 9.


Massachusetts

On Tuesday, a public hearing heard calls for eased patient access. At a public hearing in Boston Tuesday, advocates called for changes in the state's medical marijuana law to allow hospices and nursing homes to provide the medicine for patients. "Hospice patients are literally out of time," said Elizabeth Dost, clinical director for the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, which represents medical marijuana patients. "The patient's average length of stay (in hospice) in Massachusetts is 35 to 45 days. By the time they access cannabis, they are often deceased." Another public hearing is set for Thursday morning in Holyoke.


New Hampshire

Last Friday, a new bill being drafted would let patients grow their own. A bill currently in draft form would allow patients living at least 30 miles from a dispensary to grow their medicine. New Hampshire and Connecticut are the only New England states that don't allow patients to grow, and state Rep. Renny Cushing (D-Hampton) wants to change that. He said he is open to altering the bill's language, including the 30-mile provision.


Puerto Rico

Last Friday, the territory got its first dispensaries. Medical marijuana dispensaries have begun operating in the US territory, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said Friday. He said two dispensaries are now open. The move comes nearly two years after his administration adopted a regulation to allow for medical marijuana.


[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,
January 11, 2017

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Medical marijuana bills are popping up all over the place, a federal bill to protect medical marijuana businesses from asset forfeiture has been filed, and more.


National

Last Thursday, a federal bill to protect medical marijuana businesses from asset forfeiture was filed. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) filed House Resolution 331, which would shield medical marijuana-related conduct authorized by state law from federal asset forfeiture attempts. The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary and Energy and Commerce committees.


Connecticut

On Wednesday, a medical marijuana expansion hearing was scheduled. A panel of eight physician specialists will hear public testimony on expanding medical conditions covered by the state's medical marijuana law Wednesday. Patients are expected to ask the panel to expand the law to include conditions such as eczema, arthritis, and fibromyalgia. The panel will make a recommendation to the Consumer Protection Commissioner, who can then propose the change to a legislative oversight committee, which would make a final decision. The whole process could take a year or more.


Indiana

Last Friday, a medical marijuana bill was filed. State Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Indianapolis) has filed Senate Bill 255, which would allow patients with a specified list of conditions or "any persistent or chronic illness or condition" to use medical marijuana with a physician's recommendation. The measure would also create a statewide medical marijuana program. Tallian has introduced similar bills in past years that have gone nowhere.


Minnesota

On Monday, a key legislator filed a bill to block any new qualifying conditions. Longtime medical marijuana skeptic and former House Majority Leader Rep. Matt Dan (R-Dellwood) has filed a measure, House File 120, that would block the state health commissioner from adding new qualifying conditions to the state's medical marijuana law. It's a power that has been used sparingly -- "intractable pain" was added after a year's wait -- but Dean wants it used not at all. His bill would accomplish that by striking out the phrase "or any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the commissioner."


Mississippi

Last Friday, a medical marijuana bill was filed. Rep. Joel Bomgar (R-Madison) has filed House Bill 179, which would ensure that any "qualifying patient who possesses a valid registry identification card is not subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner." The bill specifies a list of qualifying conditions, allow for caregivers for patients who can't grow their own, and allow for dispensaries. Patients could possess up to 2. 5 ounces of marijuana.


Nebraska

Last Friday, a state senator said she would file a medical marijuana bill this session. State Sen. Anna Wishart (D-Lincoln) says she will introduce a comprehensive medical marijuana bill this session. A similar measure came within three votes of advancing last year, but the measure would still face an uphill battle in the legislature and a probable veto from Gov. Pete Ricketts (R).


New Mexico

Last Friday, a medical marijuana expansion bill was filed. State Sen. Cisco McSorly (D-Albuquerque) has filed Senate Bill 8, which would more than double the amount of medical marijuana licensed producers can grow in the state and expand the amount of marijuana that patients could possess. "This bill will guarantee there is an adequate supply of marijuana for our patients," McSorley said.


South Carolina

On Tuesday, a medical marijuana bill was filed. State Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) and state Rep. Peter McCoy (R-Charleston) Tuesday filed identical versions of the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act (Senate Bill 212) at the statehouse. The bill would allow qualifying patients with debilitating medical conditions and a recommendation from their doctor to use medical cannabis.


Wisconsin

Last Thursday, prospects for passage of a CBD bill brightened after a key legislator waived objections. Legislation to allow the use of CBD cannabis oil could pass this year after key opponents last year said they would get out of the way this year. The Assembly passed a CBD bill last year, only to see it derailed in the Senate by opposition from three Senate Republicans, Leah Vukmir, Duey Stroebel, and Mary Lazich. Vukmir now says she will support a CBD bill, Stroebel is staying silent, and Lazich is gone. The bill is expected to be introduced later this month.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,
January 19, 2017,

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The Hemp Industries Association takes on the DEA over its new coding rule for CBDs, state legislators are busily messing with successful medical marijuana initiatives, and more.


National

Last Friday, the HIA sued the DEA over CBD. The Hemp Industries Association filed a judicial review action against the DEA last Friday over the agency's new rule establishing coding for marijuana derivatives such as CBD cannabis oil. The DEA overstepped its bounds and put at risk a booming cannabis and hemp industry, the suit alleges.


Arkansas

Arkansas House Approves Medical Marijuana Delay. The House voted Tuesday to approve a proposal that would delay implementation of the state's new medical marijuana law. The measure is House Bill 1026. The bill bumps back a 120-deadline from Election Day for the state to issue dispensary and cultivation licenses to 180 days.


Florida

Florida Regulators Issue Draft Medical Marijuana Rules; Initiative Backers Cry Foul. On Tuesday, regulators issued draft medical marijuana rules that had initiative sponsors crying foul. State health officials released draft rules for the state's voter-approved medical marijuana program, but that draft largely leaves current vendors with a stranglehold on the state's industry by applying current laws to the constitutional amendment approved in November, and that isn't sitting well with the people who sponsored the Amendment 2 initiative. "The rule is basically ignoring the text of the constitutional amendment at almost every point of the way," said Ben Pollara, campaign manager of the political committee backing the amendment. The health department will hold public hearings to take input on the rule during the second week of February, with meetings in Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando and Tallahassee.


Georgia

Georgia House Forms Medical Marijuana Study Committee. House Speaker David Ralson (R-Blue Ridge) announced Wednesday that a medical marijuana study committee had been formed with Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) as its chair. Peake is the author of the state's current limited medical marijuana law and has already announced plans for legislation this year.


North Dakota

North Dakota Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Delay Bill. The state Senate voted 45-0 Tuesday to approve Senate Bill 2154, which would delay some provisions of the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law. Senate leaders said the delay is necessary to develop rules and regulations for the program. The bill now goes to the House.


Wisconsin

As of Monday, Democrats were working on a medical marijuana bill. State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D) and Rep. Chris Taylor (D) are circulating a medical marijuana after Republican Assembly Speak Robin Vos said he would be open to the idea. Republicans control both houses of the state legislature, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is not in favor. The Democratic pair have until January 26 to come up with cosponsors and file the bill.


[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]


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Cannabis and Epilepsy Treatment

Jeremiah Wilhelm
January 23, 2017

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Since medicinal cannabis has become a more commonplace alternative for a well-established list of ailments, patients are finding a place for it next to their Advil and Tums. But unlike many other chronic illnesses that can be managed with over-the-counter supplements, epilepsy requires a specific cocktail of chemicals not readily available at the local corner store.

This is why cannabis – specifically its chemical constituent CBD (cannabidiol) – has become so important for families struggling to treat their epileptic loved ones. Cannabis has demonstrated so much promise in the treatment of epilepsy that FDA-approved clinical trials are underway. But why is it that cannabis in particular is so effective at treating seizures, and why is it critical that clinical investigations continue?

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Epilepsy is characterized by recurring seizures of variable intensity and effect. These seizures are usually caused by disturbances in specific regions of the brain’s circuitry that create storms of extra electrical activity. Approximately 1 in every 26 Americans will develop epilepsy in their lifetime, and two-thirds of those diagnosed will have no specific origin for the disorder. But perhaps the most harrowing fact is that 34% of childhood deaths are due to epilepsy or accidents that occur during seizures. These figures illustrate the “hiding in plain sight” commonality of epilepsy and the incredible unmet need for the development of novel drugs to treat seizures.

While a seizure disorder can be a massive disruption to someone’s way of life and can even be deadly, most patients manage to acquire treatment and medicine while others simply grow out of it – though this is not always the case. Seizures and seizure disorders are as unique as the person afflicted by them, which can make seizures difficult to treat. Recently, epilepsy and cannabis have been highlighted in the news, especially success stories focusing on children with epilepsy who are trying medicinal cannabis. A few notable examples include Charlotte Figi and the high CBD Charlotte’s Web cannabis strain named after her, as well as Renee and Brandon Petro.

These cases and others have shone a spotlight on the medicinal uses of cannabis, regardless of its classification as a Schedule I narcotic (having no medicinal use in the eyes of the Federal government) and the generally accepted legal age of consumption for mind-altering substances (save caffeine and sugar).

The Current State of Cannabis and Epilepsy Research

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cannabis and epilepsy clinical trial stages

These inspiring stories help illuminate the efficacy of medical cannabis while defining its range of treatment from the elderly to the young. While the capabilities of CBD and medical cannabis use seems to be self-evident, the DEA has only recently allowed academic institutions to explore the effects, side effects, and usefulness of cannabis as a medicinal plant. This seemingly innocuous change of face is an enormous leap forward for researchers, pharmaceutical companies, breeders, and the cannabis community at large as more scientific capital is put toward understanding this populous plant.

“Based on these preclinical studies, one would be excited about the potential therapeutic potential of the cannabinoids,” wrote Dr. Francis M. Filloux in the journal Translational Pediatrics. “However, it is undeniable that the complex regulation that surrounds these Schedule I substances has impeded scientific investigation of their therapeutic potential.”

There has been no other drug in history that has been as widely consumed and applied for medicinal use without the institutional blessing symbolized by clinical human trials. But patients around the country currently have access to the “generic” versions of life-saving, CBD-rich cannabis products that are thriving beyond the regulatory reach of the FDA. So by conducting clinical trials with pure CBD, as GW Pharmaceuticals is with Epidiolex, concrete, tested scientific evidence can lay the first bricks in the road toward a variety of CBD/THC ratio products as well as synergistic cannabis cocktails targeted at other specific maladies.

Clinical trials become more rigorous and far reaching as they progress through each stage. Currently GW Pharmaceuticals is undergoing Stage 3 clinical trials on Epidiolex, a nearly pure CBD preparation (98%+), to confirm the therapeutic value of this cannabinoid. This is also an astounding leap forward for cannabis and medicine, because, as noted by Dr. Filloux:

“Until the last few years, the published data was minimal and included [fewer] than 70 subjects. Very few of these were children. Furthermore, none of these studies would meet criteria as Class I-III clinical trials (50-53). However, this state of affairs is rapidly changing given the current climate.”

While this scientific success story isn’t a tear-jerker like Brandon’s or Charlotte’s, it does explain a necessary step toward proving the efficacy of cannabis-based therapies and its more egalitarian medicinal prescription.

Why Does Cannabis Work for Epilepsy and Seizures?

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medical cannabis for epilepsy and seizures

The endogenous cannabinoid system is ubiquitous in our bodies, and is heavily regulated by cannabinoids found in cannabis.  With such potent biological usefulness throughout the human body, it’s obvious that the more scientific study that goes into the cannabis industry and the plurality of products it has created, the more the consumer will benefit. Time will be a better judge, but the future of medicinal cannabis as a treatment for disorders like epilepsy is here. Catherine Jacobson, Director of Clinical Research at Canadian licensed producer Tilray (note: Tilray is owned by Privateer Holdings, Leafly’s parent company), weighs in on the future of medicinal cannabis and the scientific progress that needs to be made:

“A pure CBD formula was the safest way to begin trials on epilepsy patients because of its lack of psychoactivity. The trouble with developing a single pure CBD formula is that epilepsy has never been a one-size fits all disorder. Of the 200,000 children living with treatment-resistant epilepsy, only a fraction has access to clinical trials investigating CBD. This leaves most parents and patients to acquire their own CBD-rich cannabis, which always contains some percentage of THC. It’s important to learn from these cases to understand which types of epilepsies might respond to a combination product, and to inform future clinical trials. Early results from clinical studies on GW’s Epidiolex clearly show a beneficial effect of CBD on some types of seizures, but more research is needed to fully understand whether a combination THC/CBD product can reduce the seizure burden in those patients who don’t respond to CBD alone.”

This statement aligns well with conclusions drawn by Dr. Edward Maa, Chief of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Denver Health and Hospitals. “It is possible that CBD and [THC] work synergistically to suppress seizures,” Dr. Maa write in Epilepsia. “In fact Ethan Russo, senior medical advisor to GW Pharma, recently reviewed the evidence for the ‘entourage effect’ of the phytocannabinoids and terpenoids, and he makes a strong case for their synergistic effects in a variety of disease states.”

Epilepsy is surprisingly common, exceptionally disruptive, and potentially deadly. But the uncertainty behind the effectiveness of cannabis and CBD in regards to epilepsy treatment is fading. This “controlled substance” is finally receiving its due diligence from the scientific community, and Dr. Jacobson is at the forefront of much of the forthcoming research.

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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,
January 25, 2017

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The Illinois treasurer asks Trump for clarity on banking for the medical marijuana industry, North Dakota legislators work to ensure workers' compensation won't pay for medical marijuana for injured employees, and more.


Arkansas

On Monday, the legislature approved changes to the state's new medical marijuana law. With the state Senate's approval Monday, House Bill 1058 now goes to the governor. It passed the House last week. The bill removes a requirement that doctors declare the benefits of medical marijuana outweigh the risk to the patient. It also specifies that patient information submitted to qualify for medical marijuana is "confidential," but would not be considered "medical records" subject to the Health Information Privacy Protection Act.

On Tuesday, the governor signed a pair of medical marijuana "fix" bills. Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) signed into law two bills aimed at modifying the state's new, voter-approved medical marijuana law. House Bill 1026 will extend the deadline for rulemaking from 120 days to 180 days, and House Bill 1058 removes the requirement that doctors certify in writing that the help benefits of marijuana would outweigh the risks to the patient.


Illinois

On Monday, the state treasurer asked Trump for clarity on banking for the medical marijuana industry. State Treasurer Michael Frerichs sent a letter to President Trump urging him to give clear guidance to the banking industry on marijuana. Frerichs said currently federal law makes it difficult for legal businesses to get loans and restricts customers to cash-only transactions.


North Dakota

On Monday, the House approved a bill preventing workers' comp from paying for medical marijuana. The House overwhelmingly approved House Bill 1156. Passed in response to voters' approval of a medical marijuana initiative in November, the bill prevents the state Workforce Safety and Insurance agency from paying for medical marijuana to treat a workplace injury. Legislators said marijuana remains illegal under federal law.


[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]


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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,
February 02, 2017

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Arkansas legislators are trying to ban medical marijuana smoking and edibles, a new Florida bill seeks to revamp that state's medical marijuana system, and more.


Arkansas

Last Friday,a lawmaker filed a bill to ignore the voters' will until federal law changes. State Sen. Jason Rapert (R-District 18)  filed a bill that would delay the voter-approved medical marijuana law until marijuana is legal under federal law. The measure is Senate Bill 238, which has been referred to the Senate Committee on Public Health, Welfare, and Labor.

On Monday, legislators filed three more bills to restrict the voter-approved initiative. Republicans in Little Rock have filed three more bills that would tighten up the state's new law. One would ban the smoking of medical marijuana (House Bill 1400), one would ban edibles (House Bill 1392), and would require previous local zoning to be in place before licenses for dispensaries or grows are issued (House Bill 1391). HB1391 and HB1392 have been sent to Committee on House Rules while HB1400 has only been filed.


Colorado

On Monday, a bill to add PTSD as a qualifying condition advanced. The Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 17-017. The measure would add post-traumatic stress disorder as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. The bill is now on the Senate's "consent calendar," meaning it should move through the Senate with little debate. Then it's on to the House.
 

Florida

On Wednesday, a bill to overhaul the state's restrictive medical marijuana system was filed. State Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) filed Senate Bill 614. The bill would scrap the state's existing system and replace it with a new set of rules. The move is supported by the people behind the successful Amendment 2 initiative. "Sen. Brandes’ bill does an excellent job of establishing acomprehensive, tightly regulated medical marijuana system in Florida," said United For Care campaign manager Ben Pollara on Wednesday. "The two most essential pieces of implementation are maintaining the primacy of the doctor-patient relationship, and expanding the marketplace to serve patient access. SB 614 does both in a well-regulated, well thought out manner."


New Hampshire

On Wednesday, legislators heard tetstimony on adding new qualifying conditions. The House Human Services, Health, and Elderly Affairs committee heard testimony on a series of bills that would add chronic pain, opioid addiction, fibromyalgia and post-traumatic stress disorder qualifying conditions to receive medical marijuana. The bills are sponsored by Rep. Joseph Lachance (R-Manchester), a medical marijuana card holder since 2015 who says "cannabis saved my life."


Utah

Last Friday, lawwmakers said they were scaling back plans for a medical marijuana bill. Legislators said last Friday they were retreating from plans to expand the state's CBD-only medical marijuana law and will instead call for more research. They also said they wanted to see what the Trump administration was going to do before they moved forward with a broader medical marijuana bill.

On Monday, a medical marijuana study bill advanced. The House Health and Human Services Committee unanimously approved House Bill 130 Monday. The measure would allow universities in the state to study medical marijuana. The bill is supported by the Utah Medical Association, which has opposed medical marijuana bills saying more study is needed. It now heads for a House floor vote.


[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,
February 07, 2017,

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This article has been updated with additional cases, due to a change in our publishing schedule this week. Material appearing in the original version of this article is unchanged.

Arkansas legislators are trying to ban medical marijuana smoking and edibles, a new Florida bill seeks to revamp that state's medical marijuana system, and more.


Arkansas

On January 25, a lawmaker filed a bill to ignore the voters' will until federal law changes. State Sen. Jason Rapert (R-District 18) filed a bill that would delay the voter-approved medical marijuana law until marijuana is legal under federal law. The measure is Senate Bill 238, which has been referred to the Senate Committee on Public Health, Welfare, and Labor.

Last Monday, legislators filed three more bills to restrict the voter-approved initiative. Republicans in Little Rock have filed three more bills that would tighten up the state's new law. One would ban the smoking of medical marijuana (House Bill 1400), one would ban edibles (House Bill 1392), and would require previous local zoning to be in place before licenses for dispensaries or grows are issued (House Bill 1391). HB1391 and HB1392 have been sent to Committee on House Rules while HB1400 has only been filed.


Colorado

Last Monday, a bill to add PTSD as a qualifying condition advanced. The Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 17-017. The measure would add post-traumatic stress disorder as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. The bill is now on the Senate's "consent calendar," meaning it should move through the Senate with little debate. Then it's on to the House.


Florida

Last Wednesday, a bill to overhaul the state's restrictive medical marijuana system was filed. State Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) filed Senate Bill 614. The bill would scrap the state's existing system and replace it with a new set of rules. The move is supported by the people behind the successful Amendment 2 initiative. "Sen. Brandes' bill does an excellent job of establishing a comprehensive, tightly regulated medical marijuana system in Florida," said United For Care campaign manager Ben Pollara on Wednesday. "The two most essential pieces of implementation are maintaining the primacy of the doctor-patient relationship, and expanding the marketplace to serve patient access. SB 614 does both in a well-regulated, well thought out manner."


New Hampshire

Last Wednesday, legislators heard testimony on adding new qualifying conditions. The House Human Services, Health, and Elderly Affairs committee heard testimony on a series of bills that would add chronic pain, opioid addiction, fibromyalgia and post-traumatic stress disorder qualifying conditions to receive medical marijuana. The bills are sponsored by Rep. Joseph Lachance (R-Manchester), a medical marijuana card holder since 2015 who says "cannabis saved my life."


Oklahoma

On Monday, a medical marijuana bill was filed. State Rep. Eric Proctor (D-Tulsa) introduced House Bill 1877. It would allow patients suffering from a specified list of conditions to use medical marijuana without fear of arrest or other penalty as long as they comply with the rules and regulations of the envisioned medical marijuana program. Patients could grow their own or have caregivers grow it for them, and state-licensed dispensaries and grow operations would be allowed.


Utah

On January 25, lawmakers said they were scaling back plans for a medical marijuana bill. Legislators said last Friday they were retreating from plans to expand the state's CBD-only medical marijuana law and will instead call for more research. They also said they wanted to see what the Trump administration was going to do before they moved forward with a broader medical marijuana bill.

Last Monday, a medical marijuana study bill advanced. The House Health and Human Services Committee unanimously approved House Bill 130 Monday. The measure would allow universities in the state to study medical marijuana. The bill is supported by the Utah Medical Association, which has opposed medical marijuana bills saying more study is needed. It now heads for a House floor vote.


Washington

Last Friday, a bill to allow medical marijuana use at school won a committee vote. The House Health Care and Wellness Committee approved "Ducky's Bill," House Bill 1060, on a 13-3 vote. The bill is named after an elementary school student who can only attend half-days of class because of intractable epileptic seizures. It would require school districts to allow students to use medical marijuana on school grounds, on a school bus, or while attending a school-sponsored event. A companion measure has been filed in the Senate, but has not moved yet.


Wisconsin

On Monday, a pair of medical marijuana bills were filed. State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) and Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) have filed a pair of bills aimed at legalizing medical marijuana in the state. The first bill, the Compassionate Cannabis Care Act, would legalize medical marijuana, while the second bill would authorize a statewide referendum allowing citizens to vote on whether they support medical marijuana. The bills are not yet available on the legislative web site.


[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]


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Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,
February 15, 2017

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It's all red state medical marijuana news this week, reflecting the slow spread of acceptance to even the most conservative corners of the country.

 

Arkansas

Last Wednesday, a batch of medical marijuana "fix" bills were moving. Six medical marijuana-related bills moved out of committees to face floor votes in their respective chambers. The House Rules Committee advanced five bills, while the Senate Education Committee advanced one bill. More bills are still in committee. Many of the bills deal with technical "fixes," but some of them would alter the way the program is intended to work. Click on the link for a complete rundown on the bills.

On Monday, two of the bills passed the House. The House voted to approve two bills authored by Rep. Doug House (R-North Little Rock). They are House Bill 1371, which requires that Arkansans hold 60% ownership interest in pot businesses in the state, and House Bill 1298, which requires that persons, not corporations, hold the licenses. The bills now head to the Senate.

Kansas

Last Wednesday, a medical marijuana bill was filed. State Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City) has filed Senate Bill 155, which would allow patients with specified diseases or conditions to grow and possess medical marijuana, or have a caregiver grow it for them. The bill also envisions the creation of state regulated and taxed "compassion centers" or dispensaries.

Oklahoma

Last Friday, a medical marijuana bill was filed. State Rep. Eric Proctor (D-Tulsa) has filed a medical marijuana measure, House Bill 1877. The bill would allow the use of medical marijuana for a list of specified illnesses and conditions and is modeled on the successful medical marijuana ,initiative passed next door in Arkansas in November.

South Dakota

On Tuesday, a CBD bill advanced. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve Senate Bill 95, which would reschedule CBD as a Class 4 drug in the state and remove it from the definition of marijuana under state law. The bill would legalize the possession and use of CBD, but only upon approval by the FDA. That requirement was added in committee.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

 

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Medical Marijuana Update

 
by psmith,
February 22, 2017

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Medical marijuana is keeping Arkansas legislators and regulators busy, Kentucky and West Virginia see full-fledged medical marijuana bills filed, a CBD cannabis oil bill heads to the governor's desk in Indiana, and more.


Arkansas

Last Thursday, the House approved a bill banning military members from becoming registered caregivers. The body approved House Bill 1451. Bill sponsor Rep. Douglas House (R-North Little Rock) said federal law prevents military members from acting in that capacity. The measure now goes to the Senate.

Also last Thursday, a bill that would ban smoking medical marijuana was introduced. State Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) filed Senate Bill 357, which would make it illegal to consume medical marijuana by smoking it. The bill also removes a provision in the current law that bars landlords from prohibiting the use of non-smoked medical marijuana, leaving renters wondering if landlords will just bar any use of medical marijuana.

On Sunday, a new poll found support for smoking medical marijuana and not waiting for the feds. A new Talk Business and Politics/Hendrix College poll had 50% in support of allowing medical marijuana to be consumed by smoking, with only 41.5% opposed. A bill to bar the use of smoked medical marijuana is before the legislature. Similarly, 51.5% opposed waiting for the federal government to legalizes medical marijuana, while 42% were in favor.

On Tuesday, a state panel approved new medical marijuana rules. The state Medical Marijuana Commission approved final rules governing how the state's medical marijuana system will be regulated. Next comes a public hearing set for March 31, and then the rules must be approved by the state legislature, which must happen before May 8. After that, the commission will use the rules to determine who gets licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana.


Indiana

On Tuesday, a CBD cannabis oil bill was headed for the governor's desk. The House passed Senate Bill 15 on a 98-0 vote. The Senate had approved the bill last week, so it now goes to the desk of Gov. Eric Holcomb (R). The bill would allow people with epilepsy to use CBD cannabis oil.


Iowa

On Monday, a CBD expansion bill was filed. The state currently allows the possession of CBD cannabis oil for the treatment of epilepsy, but it's illegal to manufacture or distribute it there, rendering the current law unworkable. A bill filed by Public Safety Committee Chair Rep. Clel Baudler (R-Greenfield), House Study Bill 132 seeks to begin to break that impasse by allowing the University of Iowa's Carver School of Medicine to recommend which conditions would qualify for use of CBD cannabis oil. But Baudler said another bill would be necessary to expand access.


Kentucky

Last Friday, a medical marijuana bill was filed. Freshman Rep. John Sims (D-Fleminsburg) has filed a medical marijuana bill, House Bill 411, which would give doctors the ability to recommend medical marijuana for patients. Sims said he saw the bill as a tool for reducing opioid addiction in his state.


North Dakota

On Monday, a funding measure for the medical marijuana system won a Senate committee vote. The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a funding measure that allocates a little over $1 million to oversee implementation of the state's new voter-approved medical marijuana law. The Health Department told legislators it does not expect any revenue from the program this year, but it should generate $1.3 million in revenues over the next two years and be self-supporting at that point.


South Carolina

On Tuesday, a medical marijuana bill advanced. A House panel voted 3-0 Tuesday to advance House Bill 3128, a full-fledged medical marijuana bill that includes provisions for dispensaries. The bill now goes to the full Medical Military and Municipal Affairs Committee.


West Virginia

On Tuesday, a medical marijuana bill was filed. Sen. Richard Ojeda (D-Logan) and a handful of cosponsors introduced Senate Bill 386. The measure would set up a commission to license medical marijuana growers and regulate distribution of the medicine through dispensaries. It's been sent to the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee.


Wyoming

Last Tuesday, a medical marijuana initiative signature gathering campaign petered out. Medical marijuana will not be on the ballot next year. Organizers of a signature-gathering campaign failed to hand in signatures to the secretary of state's office by the Valentine's Day deadline. Organizers said they will continue to fight to bring medical marijuana to the Cowboy State.


[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]


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i see the trump admin press sec has said for legal states to not get comfy with the laws passed in those states ..we'll see what happens next to these states ..any new info on this eddie ..you are our true link to our way of life ..thank you for all that you do ..

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