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U.S. Recreational Marijuana On The Ballot In 5 States Election Day 2016

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Nine ballot measures for marijuana legalization on election day 2016 will amount to the largest number of voters in history casting a vote to determine marijuana laws.

Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington were the first four states to legalize recreational marijuana, and now they have the chance to be joined by five more states. Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada will vote on legalizing recreational pot on ballot measures this year on election day in November.

Four other states -- Arkansas, Florida, Montana and Missouri -- will be voting on laws to make medical marijuana legal.

"This is really a watershed year for marijuana legalization, so I'm hoping that we'll see some big changes in November," F. Aaron Smith, co-founder and executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, told CNN.

Georgia: 46 Correctional Officers Charged For Drug Trafficking

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The FBI arrested 46 current and former corrections officers in an early Thursday sting at nine prisons around Georgia as a result of a two-year undercover operation.

The indictments showed "staggering corruption within Georgia Department of Corrections institutions," said John Horn, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, report Pamela Brown and MaryLynn Ryan at CNN.

Among the arrestees were five members of a super-elite squad intended to bust up drug dealing in prison -- who were, you guessed it, dealing drugs in prison -- called the Cobra unit. Two civilians and one inmate were also rounded up in the bust.

Officers were charged with using their badges to facilitate drug deals both inside and outside the prison walls. The trafficking included multiple kilos of cocaine and methamphetamine in exchange for thousands of dollars in bribe money.

Prison guards and staff were smuggling contraband including liquor, tobacco and cell phones into the cell blocks for money. Inmates used the illegal cell phones they acquired to commit wire fraud, money laundering and identity theft.

"It makes a huge challenge for law enforcement," said Britt Johnson, special agent in charge of the Atlanta FBI office. "After you chase down, arrest and prosecute criminals and put them away for life, and they continue to direct crime on the streets from their jail cells."

Georgia: At Last: US Government Acknowledges Marijuana Kills Cancer Cells

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A research team commissioned by the United States government has unintentionally concluded that marijuana does indeed kill cancer cells. A team of scientists from St. George's University of London found that two major components of cannabis actually weakened cancer cells. In addition, it was determined that these components, tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), made cancer cells more susceptible to radiation treatment.

Lead researcher Dr. Wai Liu recently reported to The Washington Post, "We've shown that cannabinoids could play a role in treating one of the most aggressive cancers in adults. The results are promising... it could provide a way of breaking through glioma [tumors] and saving more lives."

CNN has surprisingly reported that several studies have concluded that cannabis is a viable treatment for cancer. CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta recently stated, "It's time for a medical marijuana revolution. There is now promising research into the use of marijuana that could impact tens of thousands children and adults, including treatment for cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s, to name a few. With regard to pain alone, marijuana could greatly reduce the demand for narcotics and simultaneously decrease the number of accidental painkiller overdoses, which are the greatest cause of preventable death in this country.”

Arizona: 28-Pound Brick of Marijuana Falls From The Sky, Smashes Doghouse

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In what would likely have been a "Thank you, God!" moment for many of us, a 28-pound brick of marijuana fell from the sky in Arizona, crashing through a family's carport and crushing an empty doghouse.

Maya Donnelly said she and her husband Bill were awakened by what sounded like thunder on September 8, reports Murphy Woodhouse at Nogales International. Maya wasn't so sure it was thunder, but both soon fell back asleep.

But after the couple's children headed off to work and school the next morning, Maya looked out of her kitchen window toward the carport and saw splintered wood. She thought Hulk, the family's German Shepherd, had been up to some mischief.

“I went out to investigate, and sure enough, I looked up to see the hole, and then my eyes trailed down and the big dog’s house was destroyed," Maya said. "It made a hole in that hard plastic doghouse and the bundle was inside...” Good thing Hulk wasn't in there!

The bundle, worth an estimated $10,000, according to Detective Robert Ferros, was likely dropped by an ultralight aircraft by accident, reports CNN. "Normally they don't land on houses," Ferros said.

Arizona: 'High Profits' Star Katherine Grimm To Appear At Southwest Cannabis Conference

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Katherine Grimm, breakout star of CNN’s popular docu-series "High Profits," will appear at the inaugural Southwest Cannabis Conference & Expo on October 27 and 28 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Grimm, who will attend a meet-and-greet with attendees and appear as a panelist, is the unlikely star of the CNN Original Series, produced by Bat Bridge Entertainment, that followed the saga of a Breckenridge, Colorado recreational marijuana dispensary. As the owner of Clever Gent Bud, Grimm stood out as the show’s intelligent, strategic cannabis entrepreneur.

Organizers also announced featured breakout session speakers including Scottsdale attorneys Laura Bianchi and Ryan Hurley of the Rose Law Group who will discuss the latest legislative issues related to cannabis in Arizona, and the country.

More than 300 exhibitors are expected at the two-day event that includes interactive workshops, leading industry guest speakers, a job fair, business-to-business networking and more. Thousands of attendees from across the Southwest are expected to attend.

The first annual Southwest Cannabis Conference & Expo is presented by the Southwest Expo Group, software developer MJ Freeway and New Times Phoenix. Tickets and convention information are available by calling the Southwest Event Group at 1-877-775-1568 or online at swccexpo.com. The Phoenix Convention Center is located at 100 N. 3rd Street. Doors will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m during the event.

U.S.: CNN's Weed 3 and Original Series High Profits Debut To Strong Ratings

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Weed 3 Outperforms the Combined Delivery of Fox News and MSNBC among Adults 25-54

High Profits Posts +1367% Advantage over Fox News and +94% Lead over MSNBC among Younger Viewers 18-34

According to Nielsen Fast National Data, the premiere of CNN’s Weed 3: The Marijuana Revolution, reported by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and the new CNN Original Series "High Profits" both debuted as the #1 programs in cable news in their time periods last night among the demo 25-54 and 18-34 ratings.

At 9pm, Weed 3 averaged 299k in the demo 25-54 rating, outperforming the combined delivery of Fox News and MSNBC. It easily topped Fox News’ 188k by +59% and MSNBC’s 98k by +205%.

Among younger viewers (18-34), CNN averaged 80k, MSNBC posted 63k and Fox News trailed way behind with 28k. Compared to the prior four Sundays, CNN was up the most in cable news in the hour among adults 25-54 -- increasing +32%, while Fox grew +29% and MSNBC was down -41%.

At 10 pm, the first episode of CNN’s new eight-part docu-series "High Profits," about a business-minded couple with a plan to franchise marijuana, also debuted at #1 across cable news Monday night. Among adults 25-54, "High Profits" averaged 284k, +39% more than Fox News’ 205k and +147% higher than MSNBC’s 115k.

U.S.: Americans for Safe Access To Host Advocate Discussion of CNN's Weed 3

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Sunday night continued his groundbreaking reporting on medical marijuana with "Weed 3," which continued to introduce Americans to new stories of patients benefiting from medical marijuana and document the challenges that continue to slow down progress in this critical area.

"Weed 3" included important moments like President Obama signaling his support for medical marijuana and documenting the political commitment of Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rand Paul (R-KY) to reform federal policy on medical marijuana with the CARERS Act. Patient profiles like that of U.S. veteran Sean Kiernan, who uses medical marijuana to treat PTSD symptoms again showed Americans that medical marijuana can have tremendous benefits in the lives of suffering patients.

“CNN’s 'Weed 3' showed how patient advocates are fighting for and winning the right to safe access to medical marijuana for themselves as well as researchers,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access. “Political leaders like President Obama, Senators Booker, Gillibrand and Paul are supporting medical marijuana reform because they understand the huge difference it can make in patient’s lives.”

"Weed 3" also highlighted the important veterans PTSD study that researchers Rick Doblin and Dr. Sue Sisley are moving forward with despite significant political obstacles that have delayed and threatened to prevent the study from being conducted.

U.S.: ASA To Host Advocate Discussion of CNN's Weed 3

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What’s Next for the Medical Marijuana Revolution?

Over the last two years Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s reporting has been truly groundbreaking in mainstreaming the benefits of medical marijuana. Dr. Gupta has brought stories of everyday Americans that obtain essential benefits from medical marijuana products into the living rooms of millions of Americans.

“Watching CNN’s 'Weed' was the first time many Americans saw everyday people benefiting from medical marijuana,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA). “Seeing how much good medical marijuana can do has lead to an outgrowth in activism that has helped create new laws at the state level and is laying the foundation for important federal legislation.”

On April 19, CNN will premiere the third installment of their documentary series on medical marijuana Weed 3, documenting the ongoing developments in what Dr. Gupta has declared a “medical marijuana revolution.” The following day -- on April 20, at 7 pm EST-- ASA will host a Google Hangout to discuss the documentary and the issues it examines.

What: Google Hangout on the medical marijuana revolution and issues raised in Sanjay Gupta's Weed 3.
Featuring: ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer, PA State Senator Mike Folmer (invited), Jahan Marcu Ph.D, Matt Kahl, U.S. combat veteran and activist with Grow for Vets and Weed 3 participant Dr. Sue Sisley.

U.S.: President Obama Declares Full Support For Medical Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

President Barack Obama will state his full support for medical marijuana in a CNN special to be aired on Sunday.

The TV special, "Weed 3," features CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon who changed his mind and began supporting medicinal cannabis after reviewing the evidence, reports Jonah Bennett at The Daily Caller.

The third installment of "Weed" has Dr. Gupta delving into the politics of medical marijuana research, including an interview with President Obama. In addition to supporting medicinal cannabis, the President advocates for alternative models of drug abuse treatment which don't involve imprisonment.

The President had previously predicted that more states will legalize recreational cannabis, and has confirmed that although marijuana is still illegal under federal law, the feds won't interfere as states implement legalization.

Gupta and Obama briefly discussed the recent bill on the Senate floor introduced by Democratic Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. The bill would reschedule cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II under federal law. Gupta asked if Obama supports Booker's bill.

U.S.: Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports - Weed 3: The Marijuana Revolution On April 19

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CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s two-year "Weed" investigation exposed the new faces and incredible potentials of medical marijuana to the American public, and also highlighted the growing frustration, and anger around gaining access to medical marijuana.

In the third installment of his award winning series, WEED: The Marijuana Revolution – Gupta reports on a watershed moment in medical marijuana research that could change everything we know about the plant and it’s effects.

At last count, nearly half of the United States has legalized medical marijuana, enabling millions of Americans to treat everything from pain to glaucoma to epilepsy to cancer with a hit of medicinal weed. Yet science has not proven conclusively whether it’s safe and effective.

With marijuana still illegal federally, the roadblocks to research have been impenetrable - until now. Scientists around the U.S. are finally breaking down the walls put up by the government. Gupta gains exclusive access to their history-making research and their patients, as they try to unravel the mystery of marijuana.

WEED: The Marijuana Revolution will air on CNN Sunday, April 19th at 9 pm ET/PT.

Immediately following WEED 3,, the CNN Original Series High Profits will premiere at 10 p.m. ET/PT. High Profits follows two business-minded visionaries with a plan to franchise marijuana. The eight-part series grants viewers exclusive access to a couple poised to be the first ever “moguls of marijuana.”

Washington: Trial Postponed, New Judge Assigned In Kettle Falls 5 Federal Marijuana Case

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U.S. Senate expected to take up measure restricting Justice Department funding for such prosecutions later this week

A new judge assigned to hear the widely watched federal medical marijuana case of the Kettle Falls Five has continued the federal trial scheduled to begin today in Spokane, Washington. Senior Judge Fred Van Sickle has been replaced by Judge Thomas O. Rice, who set a new trial date of February 23, 2015.

The change in trial date comes as the U.S. Senate plans to consider a measure later this week that would prohibit Department of Justice (DOJ) funds from being spent on medical marijuana enforcement in states where it's legal. Advocates say that federal prosecutions like the Kettle Falls Five, as well as pending asset forfeiture cases in California, would be impacted by the passage of such a measure.

After the House made its historic 219-189 vote in May to curb DOJ funding for medical marijuana enforcement, U.S. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) filed a similar budget amendment in the Senate. The bipartisan amendment filed in June is expected to be voted on in a House-Senate conference committee as early as Wednesday.

U.S.: Willie Nelson Says Obama 'May Be Happy' About DC Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

President Obama "may be happy" that D.C. voters legalized marijuana in the nation's capital, according to country music legend and stalwart cannabis supporter Willie Nelson.

Nelson, who performed Thursday night at the White House for veterans, says he once smoked a joint on top of the presidential mansion after an appearance there during President Jimmy Carter's administration, reports Aaron C. Davis at The Washington Post.

The country music icon, a close personal friend of Paul Stanford and the Campaign to Restore and Regulate Hemp (CRRH), has given ringing endorsements to the political initiative work of CRRH.

Nelson said in an interview with CNN that he probably wouldn't bring up the topic of marijuana to Obama on Thursday night, but thinks the President is probably sympathetic to the cause.

"I think I realize how he feels about it and I've read some of his books and things about when he was a kid, how he may have delved into that matter a little bit," Nelson said. "I'm sure he's very understanding of what is going on and he may be happy to see it happening."

Rhode Island: Unlikely Trio Asks For Life-Or-Death Medical Marijuana Reform

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Anne Armstrong, Rhode Island’s Compassion Party’s write-in Gubernatorial candidate, seems almost like a normal Rhode Island mother, bustling about her living room, readying for a French TV News interview.

She speaks and dresses with unpretentious New England charm; you wouldn’t know just by looking at her that just last month, she was a viral video star, covered by CNN, AP, broadcast networks and Huffington Post. It’s hard to imagine that the woman gently mixing tiny doses of cannabis oil into a baking dish with coconut oil has an international cult following.

Armstrong on Tuesday gave hope to many of her followers who are in desperate life-or-death need of medical cannabis, by filing and serving a Constitutional complaint against Rhode Island’s cannabis ban and medical exemption restrictions. The candidate says those restrictions are catching the most gravely ill patients in chokepoints that threaten human life directly, while not even achieving any real purpose.

Ask Armstrong’s media outreach coordinator why he volunteers for her, and he points to the tiny dose of cannabis oil on the counter.

“See that stuff? Anne saved my friend’s life with that oil,” said activist Alan Gordon, who is also a plaintiff in the legal action along with unnamed female cancer patient "Jane Doe," who relies upon the cannabis oil to live. Gordon said Rhode Island law bans him from growing medical cannabis for patients in life-or-death need because he was once felonized for cultivation in Georgia.

U.S.: Medical Marijuana States Have Fewer Painkiller Overdoses

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

States which have legalized medical marijuana for chronic pain have significantly fewer overdose deaths from prescription painkillers, according to a new study published on Monday in the JAMA Internal Medicine, the journal of the American Medical Association.

Scientists looked at medicinal cannabis laws and death certificate data in all 50 states between 1999 and 2010, reports Saundra Young at CNN. During that period, 13 states had medical marijuana laws in place.

"We found there was about a 25 percent lower rate of prescription painkiller overdose deaths on average after implementation of a medical marijuana law," said lead study author Dr. Marcus Bachhuber.

In 2010 alone, marijuana saved 1,700 lives in states which permit its medicinal use, based on the number of overdose deaths that would have been expected before such laws were passed, according to the study.

"It can be challenging for people to control chronic pain, so I think the more options we have, the better," Bachhuber, who has treated many chronic pain patients as a primary care doctor at Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, said. "But I think it's important, of course, to weigh the risks and benefits of medical marijuana."

U.S.: Hillary Clinton Supports Medical Marijuana In New Interview

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Hillary Clinton supports the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes "under appropriate circumstances" and thinks medical marijuana should be researched, she said in a Tuesday interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour. Clinton said she's taking a "wait and see" approach to recreational use.

"At the risk of committing radical candor, I have to say I think we need to be very clear about the benefits of marijuana use for medicinal purposes," Clinton said on CNN. "I don't think we've done enough research yet, although I think for people who are in extreme medical conditions and who have anecdotal evidence that it works, there should be availability under appropriate circumstances."

"But I do think we need more research because we don't know how it interacts with our drugs," she said. (Actually, we know quite a bit about how cannabis reacts with other drugs, as it's one of the most studied substances in history.)

"On recreational, states are the laboratories of democracy," Clinton said. "We have at least two states that are experimenting with that right now. I want to wait and see what the evidence is."

Clinton said she'd never personally tried marijuana, nor did she plan to. "Absolutely not," she said. "I didn't do it when I was young; I'm not going to start now."

Washington: 'Vote Medical Marijuana' TV Ads Spotlight Members of Congress

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Patient advocates produce new ads in an effort to educate public, hold federal policymakers accountable

The medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is running two new 30-second TV advertisements on MSNBC, CNN, and HLN in eastern Washington state every day this week. The ads draw attention to the Kettle Falls 5 case -- a federal prosecution against patients lawfully growing for their own personal use -- and spotlight how Members of Congress voted last month on a House measure to curb this type of federal medical marijuana enforcement.

One of the ads focuses on Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who grew up in Kettle Falls and now represents the same district where defendant Larry Harvey lives. On May 30, Rep. McMorris Rodgers voted against a bipartisan measure that would protect her constituents by restricting Department of Justice (DOJ) spending on enforcement in states that have legalized medical marijuana.

Despite Washington's 16-year-old medical marijuana law and the questionable enforcement practices occurring in her own district, McMorris Rodgers has consistently opposed medical marijuana reform in Congress.

U.S.: Neurologists Report Medical Marijuana May Ease Symptoms of MS

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana may be the most effective complementary or alternative medicine to ease the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, according to new guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology released on Monday.

The category of "complementary and alternative medicines" (CAM) includes nontraditional therapies often used in addition to, and sometimes instead of, doctor recommended treatments, reports Saundra Young at CNN.

The guidelines are based on recommendations from a committee of nine doctors chosen by the AAN, each of whom is an expert on complementary and alternative medicines. The panel reviewed 291 studies covering medical literature from the past 43 years. Of those, 115 studies made the cut.

"This is the first-ever review, evidence-based recommendation, on the treatment of MS with CAM therapies," said lead author Dr. Vijayshree Yadav, clinical director of Oregon Health and Science University's Multiple Sclerosis Center. "There were 29 different therapies included in the guidelines. Nineteen studies looked at cannabis."

The new guidelines are intended to assist doctors decide if CAM therapies can help reduce specific symptoms or further disability; make the disease worse or cause serious side effects; or interfere with other MS treatments.

U.S.: New Review of Epilepsy and Medical Marijuana Provides Scientific Evidence

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"Cannabis in the Treatment of Epilepsy" comes as demand grows for using the plant to treat intractable seizure disorders

The medical research group American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) has issued a new scientific review entitled "Cannabis in the Treatment of Epilepsy," which it is offering for free to the public. The review compiles much of the leading and historical research on epilepsy and cannabis (medical marijuana) for use by scientists, physicians, patients, and parents, as well as those producing and manufacturing it for treatment.

This newly compiled scientific information on epilepsy and medical marijuana comes as CNN correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta aired a follow-up documentary to last year's "Weed," both of which feature children whose parents use cannabis to help treat rare and sever forms of epilepsy unresponsive to medication. "Weed 2" highlights the plight of Vivian Wilson, a two-year-old who suffered 75 seizures a day, while Dr. Gupta's first documentary featured Charlotte Figi, a seven-year-old whose use of cannabis reduced her seizures from 300 per week to three or four a month.

"This review of cannabis and epilepsy provides scientific foundation for the claims being made by CNN correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta," said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. "This material provides us with the tools to increase our knowledge and build on the research that already exists."

Colorado: $2 Million In Marijuana Sales Taxes - In First Month

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Legalization is raking in the cash for Colorado, where state coffers are $2 million fatter from taxes on recreational marijuana from January, the very first month it was legal to sell non-medicinal cannabis in the Rocky Mountain State.

State officials said the numbers are about what they expected, reports Katie Lobosco at CNN Money. Colorado on New Year's Day became the first state to allow the sale of recreational marijuana to adults 21 or older; it's considered the first place in the world where cannabis will be tracked and regulated "from seed to sale."

The state gets a 15 percent excise tax, a 10 percent "special" sales tax and a 2.9 percent sales tax on recreational cannabis, as well as application and license fees. Just the 2.9 percent sales tax, and the license and application fees, apply to medical marijuana, which Colorado voters legalized back in 2000.

Recreational and medical marijuana, considered together, brought in about $3.5 million in taxes for Colorado in January, reports Carla Mozée at Wall Street Journal Market Watch.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper expects the state to get about $134 million in taxes from the cannabis industry in the next fiscal year. He wants much of the marijuana tax money will be used in programs aimed to keep kids from using cannabis.

U.S.: Dr. Gupta Doubling Down On Medical Marijuana With Another Documentary

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Dr. Sanjay Gupta changed the landscape of the medical marijuana debate last year with his groundbreaking CNN documentary, "Weed," which drew attention everywhere from parents to the halls of Congress. At 10 p.m. on Tuesday, March 11, Dr. Gupta returns with a second, hour-long documentary on the health benefits of cannabis.

Dr. Gupta will narrate the show, which will include sick children and their parents struggling for safe access to medical marijuana despite legal barriers caused by state and federal laws. The show will also discuss how cannabis can ease the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, arthritis, cancer, epilepsy and other diseases.

"We think it'll be another big deal across our country, and hopefully even in other parts of the world where they are thinking about changing their laws," said Heidi Parikh of Romulus, Michigan, founder of the Michigan Compassion education groups, reports Bill Laitner at the Detroit Free Press.

"If you want to understand the science, this is something you'll want to watch," Dr. Gupta told the Free Press on Monday. "The drug continues to be unfairly rejected by most of the American medical establishment and by government drug regulators."

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