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Updated: 7 weeks 2 days ago

Canada’s House of Commons Approves Bill to Legalize Cannabis

Tue, 11/28/2017 - 00:14
Legislation that would legalize cannabis for all adults in Canada has been approved by the nation’s House of Commons in a 200 to 82 vote.

Approval of Bill C-45 in the House of Commons sends it to the Canadian Senate for consideration. If approved by the Senate, it will be sent to the Governor General for Royal Assent (final approval). Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, a supporter of Bill C-45, calls the measure’s approval in the House an “important milestone” in the nation’s plans to reduce organized crime and keep cannabis away from children.

If the measure is passed by the Senate and signed into law, as expected, the possession and personal cultivation of cannabis would become legal for those 18 and older. The measure would establish a system of licensed brick-and-mortar cannabis retail outlets, while also allowing cannabis to be sold online.

According to a report released earlier this year by the C.D. Howe Institute, Canada is set to garner approximately $675 million ($500 million US) annually in tax revenue from legal marijuana sales.

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WA: Over $140 Million in Legal Marijuana Sold in October, Setting New Monthly Sales Record

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 11:48
In Washington State there was $142,045,620.27 worth of legal marijuana and marijuana products sold in October, easily breaking the previous monthly record set in August ($133 million).

The over $140 million in legal cannabis sold in October resulted in nearly $30 million in taxes for the state. So far for fiscal year (FY) 2018, which began on July 1st of this year, there has been $534 million in marijuana sold, resulting in over $120 million in taxes. For FY 2017, which began on July 1st, 2016, and ended on June 30th, 2017, there was $1,371,882,585.79 in legal marijuana sold in Washington State in fiscal year 2017; the state garnered $314,838,969.21 in taxes from these sales.

This data was obtained by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB). According to the WSLCB, 1,896 licenses have been issued throughout the state for marijuana producers, processors and retail outlets.

More information on Washington’s legal marijuana industry can be found at the WSLCB’s Marijuana Dashboard by clicking here.

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Youtuber Takes 100 Marijuana Hits in a Row to Prove you Can’t Overdose from Cannabis

Sun, 11/26/2017 - 20:04
In the following video Marijuana Mermaid, a Youtuber who’s had a recent surge in popularity, takes 100 marijuana hits in a row in an attempt to prove that you can’t overdose from the plant.

In the video Marijuana Mermaid spokes from a bong, a bubbler and joints. Rather than choosing low-THC strains to make the challenge easier, she used Stardog (a hybrid with 17.50% THC) and Blue City Diesel (also a hybrid with 17.30% THC).

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Florida: Convicted Murderer Granted Judicial Permission to Use Medical Marijuana

Sat, 11/25/2017 - 18:26
A schizophrenic man convicted of murder in 1999 has been granted permission from a judge to legally take part in Florida’s medical marijuana program.

Miguel Valdes

According to the Miami Herald, 34-year-old Miguel Valdes was previously convicted for a 1999 gang-related murder, and was released on probation in 2010. Despite Valdes’ murder conviction, a Miami judge has granted him permission to legally use medical marijuana, given he follows the rules and guidelines established by state law. The judge’s ruling came amid strong objections from prosecutors and the state’s attorney.

“It keeps me mellow,” says Valdes, who currently lives with his girlfriend and 6-year-old son. “I really need it for my sleeping. When I’m not taking it, I wasn’t sleeping and I’d wake up in a bad mood. I feel better now.”

“Probation is one of those areas in which a lot of states lacked foresight when they crafted these medical marijuana programs,” says David Mangone, a lawyer for the medical cannabis advocacy group Americans for Safe Access.

According to Valdes’ attorney, the state’s medical marijuana law explicitly allows his client to vaporize marijuana for medical use.

“If his doctor prescribes something that has for thousands of years of history, everyone agrees is safe, [he] should be allowed to take it,” Attorney Bruck said at the hearing.

 

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Study: Cannabinoids Have Potential Therapeutic Use in Alcohol-Related Problems

Fri, 11/24/2017 - 11:30
Cannabinoids hold potential therapeutic use in alcohol-related problems, according to a new study being published in the journal Alcohol, and epublished ahead of print by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

“Case reports and observational studies suggest that the use of Cannabis sp. mitigates problematic ethanol consumption in humans”, states the study’s abstract. “Here, we verified the effects of the two main phytocannabinoid compounds of Cannabis sp., cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in the expression of ethanol-induced locomotor sensitization in mice.”

For the study, male adult mice “were exposed to locomotor sensitization by daily intraperitoneal injections of ethanol (2.5 g/kg) for 12 days; control groups received saline.” After the acquisition phase, “animals were treated with cannabinoids: CBD (2.5 mg/kg); THC (2.5 mg/kg); CBD + THC (1:1 ratio), or vehicle for 4 days with no access to ethanol during this period.” One day after the last cannabinoid injection, “all animals were challenged with ethanol (2.0 g/kg) to evaluate the expression of the locomotor sensitization.”

According to researchers; “Mice treated with THC alone or THC + CBD showed reduced expression of locomotor sensitization, compared to the vehicle control group.”

The study concludes by stating; “Our findings showing that phytocannabinoid treatment prevents the expression of behavioral sensitization in mice provide insight into the potential therapeutic use of phytocannabinoids in alcohol-related problems.”

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Study: Cannabis Associated With Decreased In-Hospital Mortality In Heart Failure Patients

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 03:28
A history of cannabis use among patients with heart failure is associated with reduced odds of in-hospital mortality compared to similarly matched individuals who don’t use the plant, according to a new study published online by the journal Circulation.

For the study, researchers examined data from over six million heart failure patients over a seven-year period. They found that patients with a history of cannabis use were less likely to suffer from atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), experienced shorter hospital stays, and most importantly were less likely to die during hospitalization as compared to non-users.

“Our study showed that cannabis use lowered the odds of atrial fibrillation in patients with heart failure,” states researchers. “There was also reduced in-hospital mortality among patients admitted for the primary diagnosis of heart failure in DU (cannabis dependent users) and NDU (non-dependent cannabis users) which was not explained by comorbid conditions and demographic data. This study provides important opportunity to explore the preventive mechanism of cannabis on atrial fibrillation and its therapeutic potential in heart failure patients.”

The results of the study are similar to research published last year in the journal Cancer Medicine which found that the “Odds of in-hospital mortality were significantly reduced among marijuana users compared with non-users in all hospitalized patients as well as cancer patients.”

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Police Arrest Elderly Couple for Hibiscus Plant Mistaken for Marijuana, Couple Sues

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 09:46
A Pennsylvania couple is suing their local police department and Nationwide Insurance Co. after they were arrested when an insurance agent mistook their hibiscus plants for marijuana, reports the Associated Press.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday by 69-year-old Edward Cramer and his 66-year-old wife, Audrey, claims that an insurance agent showed up at their home in Buffalo Township on October 5th to investigate a fallen tree. According to the Cramers, the agent took photos of their flowering hibiscus plant and sent the images to police.

Two days later on October 7th police arrived up at their home brandishing assault rifles. Believing the hibiscus plant to be marijuana, police arrested the couple and held them for several hours inside a police cruiser. This is despite the Cramers telling the officers multiple times that the plants were hibiscus, not marjijuana.

According to the lawsuit the Cramers are seeking monetary and compensatory damages and court costs. Neither Buffalo Township police nor Nationwide provided comment.

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UK: CBD Use Doubles in One Year

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 09:32
According to a new report the number of people in the United Kingdom who use cannabidiol (CBD) oil has doubled since last year.

According to the report from the Cannabis Trades Association U.K. (CTAUK), 250,000 people currently use CBD oil to help treat a variety of medical conditions. These numbers are up from 125,000 last year, an 100% increase. According to CTAUK, there are approximately 1,000 new people each month who use CBD oil.

The increase comes after the U.K. government officially recognized CBD as medicine, stating that it has “restoring, correcting, or modifying” properties. The statement opened the door for companies to obtain licenses to distribute CBD oil.

According to CTAUK, 65% of those in the UK who use CBD oil are women, with some of the primary conditions its used to treat being epilepsy, anxiety and pain.

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Peru President Signs Medical Cannabis Bill Into Law

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 05:58

A bill legalizing medical cannabis oil has been signed into law by Peru President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

Peru’s flag.

President Kuczynski’s signing of the bill comes roughly a month after Peru’s Congress gave overwhelming approval to the measure with a vote of 68 to 5. The new law allows cannabis oil to be legally produced, imported and sold for throughout the South American country.

Passage of the new law comes with widespread support among Peru residents; a recent Ipsos poll found that 65% support legalizing cannabis for medical purposes. According to Alberty Belaunde, a lawmaker in the ruling party who supported the measure, regulations for producing and commercializing cannabis oil will be written within 60 days.

Peru now joins several of its Latin American neighbors who have also legalized cannabis for medical purposes, including Mexico, Chile and Colombia.

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Study: Alcohol 10 Times More Likely to Cause Fatal Accident than Cannabis

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 05:44

By Bruce Barcott, Leafly.com

Researchers who examined drug tests from drivers involved in more than 3,600 auto crashes have found that alcohol is about ten times more likely to cause a fatal crash than cannabis.

In a study published earlier this month in the journal PLOS-One, scientists at the University of Lyon looked at data from all fatal accidents that occurred in France during 2011. They estimated the heightened risk of driving under the influence of various substances and found that “drivers under the influence of alcohol are 17.8 times more likely to be responsible for a fatal accident,” when compared to completely sober drivers. Drivers under the influence of cannabis, by contrast, are 1.65 times more likely to be responsible for causing a fatal accident.

Those findings are in line with most recent studies of alcohol and cannabis and driving risk. Earlier this year David Bienenstock investigated the sciencebehind drugged driving estimates, and found that THC-positive drivers have a 5% greater crash risk than drivers with no drugs or alcohol in their system. That figure came from the largest domestic case-control study to date, which was published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a federal agency. That same study found that drivers with a blood alcohol level of .08, the legal limit in most states, were 293% more likely to be involved in a crash. Texting drivers were 310% more likely to crash. 

Past investigations “have shown a decreased capacity of drivers under the influence of cannabis, in particular a decrease in attention, increased reaction time and reduced ability to control direction,” the French researchers noted. Drivers under the influence of alcohol “tend to drive faster, which goes hand in hand with an over-estimation of their own capacities,” the researchers added, “whereas drivers under the influence of cannabis tend to drive more cautiously.”

For a deeper look at the most widely respected and cited studies on driving under the influence, check out David Bienenstock’s feature, “Taking Drugged Driving Seriously: What Does the Science Say?” published earlier this year by Leafly.

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Michigan: Enough Signatures Gathered to Put Marijuana Legalization to a Public Vote

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 23:15
Marijuana legalization advocates in Michigan have gathered enough signatures to place the issue to a vote of the people during the November, 2018 general election.

The Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol announced this week that it’s gathered over 360,000 signatures on their initiative to legalize marijuana for everyone 21 and older. This is well more than the 252,523 valid signatures required by state law to place a ballot initiative on the ballot. However, before the group can submit the signatures they must first pay $30,000 to professional signature gatherers in order to obtain the petitions, something spokesperson Josh Hovey says should be accomplished by Thanksgiving.

The proposed initiative would legalize the possession, cultivation and use of marijuana for those 21 and older, while establishing a system of licensed marijuana retail outlets. Cannabis would be taxed with a 10% excise tax and a 6% sales tax, with funding going towards schools, local governments and road repairs.

If the initiative is placed on the ballot (which will come after the state verifies the signatures) and is passed by voters, Michigan would become the 9th state to legalize marijuana for personal use.

The Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is a partnership between the Marijuana Policy Project, the ACLU of Michigan, the Drug Policy Alliance, the National Patients Rights AssociationMichigan NORMLMI Legalize, the Michigan Cannabis Coalition, and lawyers from the State Bar of Michigan Marijuana Law Section.

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Study Finds Cannabinoids May Effectively Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 02:25
Results of a new study “support the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in patients with OSA [obstructive sleep apnea]”.

For the study, published in the journal Sleep and epublished ahead of print by the National Institute of Health, “73 adults with moderate or severe OSA received either placebo (N=25), 2.5mg dronabinol (N=21) or 10mg dronabinol (N=27) daily, one hour before bedtime for up to 6 weeks.” Dronabinol, also called Marinol, is a synthetic THC meant to mimic the effects of natural, cannabis-based THC.

‘These findings support the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in patients with OSA” states the study’s abstract. “In comparison to placebo, dronabinol was associated with lower AHI [Apnea–hypopnea index], improved subjective sleepiness and greater overall treatment satisfaction. Larger scale clinical trials will be necessary to clarify the best potential approach(es) to cannabinoid therapy in OSA.”

The full study can be found by clicking here.

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Hemp Foods Now Legal in Australia

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 02:16
As of yesterday, November 12th, hemp food products are legal in Australia.

Toasted hemp seeds.

The new changes to the Food Standards Code were approved in April. The changes legalizes sale of low-THC hemp seed for use as food or to be placed in food products (such as cereals and baked goods). For hemp seed to be legally used as food, it  must contain less than 0.5% THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient found in the cannabis plant and found in minuscule amounts in hemp plants.

“Historically, hemp has been used as a source of fibre and oil”, states a press release from the Australian government. “Hemp seeds and oil are used in other countries, including in Europe, Canada and the United States of America, in a range of foods. Hemp seeds contain protein, vitamins, minerals and polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly omega-3 fatty acids.”

In Australia hemp has been legal for some time now for various uses including textiles and body care products. However, now is the first time hemp has been legal for consumption.

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Study: CBD a “Therapeutic Candidate for Stroke Prevention”

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 09:00
Cannabidiol (CBD) may help to prevent strokes, according to a new study published by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates functions throughout human physiology, including neuropsychiatric, cardiovascular, autonomic, metabolic, and inflammatory states”, begins the study’s abstract, which was published in-print by the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. “The complex cellular interactions regulated by the ECS suggest a potential for vascular disease and stroke prevention by augmenting central nervous and immune cell endocannabinoid signaling.”

Cannabidiol (CBD), a nonpsychoactive constituent of Cannabis, “is an immediate therapeutic candidate both for potentiating endocannabinoid signaling and for acting at multiple pharmacological targets.” According to reseachers, this “speculative synthesis explores the current state of knowledge of the ECS and suggests CBD as a therapeutic candidate for stroke prevention by exerting favorable augmentation of the homeostatic effects of the ECS and, in turn, improving the metabolic syndrome, while simultaneously stalling the development of atherosclerosis.”

The full study, conducted by researchers at Mayo Clinic’s Department of Neurology, can be found by clicking here.

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New York Governor Signs Bill Allowing Medical Cannabis for PTSD

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 20:21
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a bill that allows the medical use of cannabis for those with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The bipartisan legislation (A7006) adds PTSD to New York’s medical cannabis program, allowing those with the condition to become legal medical cannabis patients. As with other conditions that are part of the state’s medical cannabis program, those with PTSD will need to receive a recommendation from a physician and register with the state before they can legally purchase and use medical cannabis. Governor Cuomo signed the bill today, on Veterans Day.

A7006 received widespread, bipartisan support in New York’s Legislature. It was approved by the Assembly in May with a vote of 131 to 8, and was subsequential passed by the Senate 50 to 13. New York now becomes the 28th state to allow medical cannabis for PTSD.

“We thank Gov. Cuomo for his support of this compassionate bill. No one should have to leave the state to have access to a treatment that might help them have a better quality of life,” said Landon Dais, political director for the Marijuana Policy Project of New York.

Assembly Health Committee chair Richard N. Gottfried, sponsor of the bill, said, “Governor Cuomo’s action reflects growing recognition of the value of medical marijuana, and is another welcome step in the expanding and strengthening of New York’s medical marijuana program.”

“Gov. Cuomo should be applauded for helping thousands of New York veterans find relief with medical marijuana,” said Bob Becker, legislative director for the New York State Council of Veterans Organizations. “PTSD is a serious problem facing our state, and now we have one more tool available to alleviate suffering.”

Twenty-eight of the 29 states with medical marijuana programs will now allow patients with PTSD to qualify. In the only state that does not, Alaska, marijuana is legal and regulated for adults 21 and older. Bills to add PTSD to state medical marijuana programs were signed into law in Colorado, New Hampshire, and Vermont this year.

“Now, PTSD patients will have access to medical marijuana everywhere it is legally available,” Dais said. “Over the past two years, New York has made important strides toward having an inclusive, workable medical marijuana program. We urge legislators, Gov. Cuomo, and the Department of Health to continue improving the program. To better serve patients, the state should expand qualifying conditions, allow patients to use the type of cannabis products that work best for them, and reduce burdensome rules that drive up prices.”

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Cannabis May Treat Migraines, Finds New Study

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 06:59
Findings from a new study published in the journal European Journal of Pharmacology shows that cannabis may serve as an effective treatment for migraine headaches.

“Current anti-migraine treatments have limited efficacy and many side effects”, begins the abstract of the study. “Although anecdotal evidence suggests that marijuana is useful for migraine, this hypothesis has not been tested in a controlled experiment.” Thus, the present study “tested whether administration of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) produces anti-migraine effects in the female rat.”

The results from the study “suggest that: 1) THC reduces migraine-like pain when administered at the right dose (0.32mg/kg) and time; 2) THC’s anti-migraine effect is mediated by CB1 receptors. These findings “support anecdotal evidence for the use of cannabinoids as a treatment for migraine in humans and implicate the CB1 receptor as a therapeutic target for migraine.”

The full study, conducted by researchers at Washington State University and Washington State University Vancouver, can be found by clicking here.

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