National Institute on Drug Abuse Updates Website, Now has “Marijuana as Medicine” Page

Bills that would legalize medical cannabis have been filed in West Virginia’s House of Delegates and Senate.

March 06, 2017

Delegate Mike Pushkin (D) filed House Bill 2677, and Senator Richard Ojeda (D) filed Senate Bill 386. Both would legalize medical cannabis, albeit in different manners. HB 2688 has no cosponsors, whereas SB 386 is cosponsored by a bipartisan coalition of nine senators.

HB 2677 would legalize the possession of up to six ounces of cannabis, and the cultivation of up to 12 plants, for those with a qualifying condition who receive a recommendation from a physician. Qualifying conditions include:

(A) Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, addiction to opiates or amphetamines or the treatment of these conditions;

(B) A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: Cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe or chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including, but not limited to, those characteristic of multiple sclerosis; or

(C) Any other medical condition or its treatment added by the department, as provided in section six of this article.

The proposal would established a system of licensed and regulated cannabis dispensaries, as a means of safe access to the medicine.

SB 386 would also legalize medical cannabis – including license dispensaries – but in a more limited way. Qualifying conditions include:

(A) A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that results in a patient being admitted into hospice or receiving palliative care; or

(B) A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment of a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that produces:

(i) Cachexia, anorexia, or wasting syndrome;

(ii) Severe or chronic pain that does not find effective relief through standard pain medication;

(iii) Severe nausea;

(iv) Seizures; or

(v) Severe or persistent muscle spasms.

 

HB 2677 has been assigned to the House Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse Committee. SB 386 has been assigned to the Senate Health and Human Resources.

Marijuana industry, angered by White House reversal, speaks out “It just defies logic”

The cannabis industry was rattled Thursday after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said he expects the Department of Justice to increase enforcement of federal laws prohibiting recreational pot, even in states where it’s already legal.

Along with the District of Columbia, eight states have legalized recreational use among adults, including California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada just this past November. That means one in five American adults can smoke, vape, drink, or eat cannabis as they please under state law.

Meanwhile, over half of the nation’s states have legalized medical marijuana despite federal laws prohibiting its sale. The industry is estimated to be worth north of $6 billion and will hit $50 billion by 2026, according to Cowen & Co.

“Today’s news coming out of the administration regarding the adult use of cannabis is, of course, disappointing,” Derek Peterson, CEO of marijuana cultivator Terra Tech Corp., said Thursday in a statement. “We have hoped and still hope that the federal government will respect states’ rights in the same manner they have on several other issues.”

Spicer sought to distinguish the prospect of federal enforcement for medical, versus recreational, cannabis use, saying “there’s still a federal law that we need to abide by when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature.”

Spicer’s statements reanimated industry concern that first arose when Republican President Donald Trump’s short-list of potential attorney general nominees emerged. The final pick, former senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a Republican, has long opposed cannabis use, but is a major proponent of state’s rights.

In his mid-January confirmation hearing, Sessions said he wouldn’t “commit to never enforcing federal law” but added that “absolutely it’s a problem of resources for the federal government.” He said that if Congress felt marijuana possession should no longer be illegal, it “should pass a law.” Trump has similarly gone back and forth on the issue of legalization.

Read the rest of the article at the Source:  Marijuana industry, angered by White House reversal, speaks out “It just defies logic”

New Hampshire’s House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee has passed a bill to decriminalize cannabis and hash possession.

New Hampshire’s House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee has passed a bill to decriminalize cannabis and hash possession.

House Bill 640 was approved with an overwhelming 14 to 2 vote. The measure would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, and up to five grams of hash, for those 21 and older.

If police do catch someone possessing cannabis or hash within those limits, it would be “a fine of $100 for a first offense under this paragraph, a fine of $200 for a second offense within three years of the first offense, or a fine of $350 for a third or subsequent offense within 3 years of 2 other offenses.” Under current law the possession of even a minuscule amount of cannabis is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

House Bill 640 is sponsored by a bipartisan, bicameral coalition of a dozen lawmakers including Representatives Robert Cushing (D), Keith Murphy (R), Frank Sapareto (R), William Pearson (D), Carol McGuire (R), Chuck Grassie (D), Daniel Eaton (D), Patricia Lovejoy (D), as well as Senators Martha Clark, John Reagan, Daniel Innis.

Last year New Hampshire’s full House of Representatives passed a similar bill with a 289 to 58 vote, but it failed to pass the Senate.

According to a WMUR Granite State Poll released July of last year, 61% of New Hampshire voters support legalizing cannabis.

The full text of House Bill 640 can be found by clicking here.

Source:  New Hampshire Committee Passes Bill to Decriminalize Cannabis and Hash appeared first on TheJointBlog.com.

Congressmen to launch Cannabis Caucus in 2017

It’s a joint political effort to pass marijuana reform

Two members of Congress from both sides of the political aisle are joining forces to create the Cannabis Caucus.

Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., are creating a caucus in hopes of improving the odds to passing federal marijuana reform bills.

“There needs to be more strategy between us, those of us who are engaged in this. More of a long-term strategy,” Rohrabacher told DecodeDC . “[And] we need to have a vehicle in which people on the outside will be able to work through and sort of have a team effort from the inside and the outside.”

Rohrabacher says Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., is likely to emerge as the spokesman for the caucus, which he said will begin meeting in January.

The caucus will be made up of members of Congress who see marijuana reform as an important issue and it will focus on a bipartisan effort to pass bills, Rohrabacher said. He did not name lawmakers he expects to join.

“We want to make the states’ rights issue the core of what we are doing,” Rohrabacher said, referring to the argument that states should be able to choose for how to regulate and classify marijuana. “Republicans don’t see this as something that their constituents want and they may not be positive towards legalization of marijuana. But with the states’ rights issue, that’s how we’ve won the necessary votes from the Republican side in order to win the battle.”

Rohrabacher and Blumenauer have been vocal champions for years of marijuana decriminalization and a state’s right to choose how to regulate the drug.

Rohrabacher has admitted in the past that he used marijuana to help with arthritis pain. He introduced the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2015.

Blumenauer also visited many states this year, campaigning for ballot measures that would legalize medical marijuana or recreational marijuana for adults.

The congressman introduced the Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2016, a bi-partisan bill that aimed to “cut through the red tape” that currently makes it very hard for scientific researchers to obtain marijuana for clinical trials. Additionally, he co-sponsored the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015, which would have allowed marijuana businesses to stop functioning in all-cash.

According to Blumenauer, the two biggest issues currently facing the marijuana industry are that companies aren’t fairly taxed because federal law won’t allow them to fully deduct their business taxes — and that cannabis businesses can’t work with banks. Currently marijuana companies have to be all-cash businesses largely thanks to marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I drug, which puts it in the same category as heroin.

“We’ve had the movement crest,” Blumenauer told DecodeDC. “Two hundred and fifty million people have access to medical marijuana, a quarter of the population has access to adult use. We’re watching an industry now where 60 percent believe marijuana should be legalized, and public opinion mirrors what happened at the ballot box.”

Marijuana currently is legal for adult recreational use in eight states and medical marijuana is legal in 28 states and Washington, D.C.

Blumenauer says he has hope that marijuana reform will become a stronger bi-partisan effort on Capitol Hill in 2017.

“People who have been ambivalent about this before, all of a sudden just inherited constituents who care deeply about it,” he said. “Florida just passed an initiative for medical marijuana which makes it the second largest marijuana market in the United States. All of a sudden there are lots of legislators who just had their constituents vote more strongly for marijuana than they did for them.”

Source:  Decode DC: Congressmen to launch Cannabis Caucus in 2017

Study: Marijuana Extract Associated With Improved Survival Rates In Glioma Patients

By NORML

Brain tumor patients treated with marijuana extracts have increased survival rates compared to those who go untreated; this is according to newly released research.

Twenty-one patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme and who were undergoing conventional anti-cancer treatment participated in the study. Patients received either a proprietary cannabis extract containing a combination of THC and CBD or a placebo.

“[P]atients with documented recurrent GBM treated with THC:CBD had an 83 percent one year survival rate compared with 53 percent for patients in the placebo cohort,” the company summarized in a press release. “Median survival for the THC:CBD group was greater than 550 days compared with 369 days in the placebo group.”

The study’s findings replicate preclinical data demonstrating that the adjunctive use of cannabinoids with temozolomide may be associated with greater anti-cancer activity than the use of conventional therapy alone.

Glioblastoma multiforme is an especially aggressive form of cancer; only 28 percent of patients survive after one year and fewer than four percent surviving five years.