• Oregon collects over $25 million in Marijuana Tax in first 6 Months

    August 24, 2016

    Oregon has collected over $25.5 million in tax payments from recreational marijuana from January through the end of July as the expanded recreational marijuana menu appears to have sharply boosted marijuana sales in the state.

    The state’s Department of Revenue has released the tax figure on Monday, which includes the start of marijuana-infused edibles sales. The products include a wide variety of snacks, sweets and drinks and were available to anyone 21 and older starting in June. Likewise, medical marijuana stores have been allowed to sell a limited amount of marijuana to anyone 21 and older since last October.

    The agency, however, didn’t show how much tax money came from the sale of marijuana buds, and how much came from the expansion of legal recreational marijuana products.

    State-licensed dispensaries sold $42.4 million worth of recreational marijuana in June and July alone, after having sold $59.6 million worth from January through May, according to a release of the Department of Revenue. Medical marijuana dispensaries started collecting a 25 percent tax on their recreational marijuana sales in January.

     In all, sellers have paid the state a total of $25.5 million in recreational marijuana tax money from the start of January to the end of July, the Department of Revenue reported. State economists estimate that the state will collect about $44.4 million in marijuana taxes in 2016, the first year of the tax.

    Notably, recreational marijuana is illegal in as many as 46 states and under the federal law of the United States. However, Oregon legalized recreational marijuana in since 2014.

  • Marijuana provides greater pain relief to men than Women: Study

    August 24, 2016

    At a time when half of the states in the United States have legalized medical marijuana and several others states are on the verge of legalizing the drug through the November ballot, a new study revealed that marijuana provides greater pain relief to men than women.

    Earlier, some researchers had suspected that there might be a difference in how men's and women's bodies react to medical marijuana for pain, but now they have found that men receive greater relief than women.

    In the new study, researchers from the Columbia University Medical Center with the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Department of Psychiatry found that active marijuana in men significantly reduced pain, whereas active marijuana failed to decrease pain sensitivity in women, relative to inactive marijuana.

    The study, published online in the journal ‘Drug and Alcohol Dependence’, examined the effect of smoking marijuana on pain sensitivity and found that, when the 42 participants, 21 male and 21 female, smoked marijuana and then sat in a cold bath for as long as they could, men experienced more pain relief than women.

    The participants were required to smoke either active marijuana that contained THC, or a placebo form of the drug, which had no THC. Immediately after, they were asked to take part in a pain response test in which they submerged their hand into cold water around 4 degrees Celsius until they could no longer withstand the pain.

    The study's co-author Dr. Ziva Cooper, said in a press release that the study can help shed light on how marijuana can be applied for medical purposes on both male and female, determining the efficacy of marijuana use.

    “ This study underscores the importance of including both men and women in clinical trials aimed at understanding the potential therapeutic and negative effects of cannabis, particularly as more people use cannabinoid products for recreational or medical purposes”, Cooper said.

  • Maryland Marijuana Panel makes license decisions for Growers, Processors

    August 09, 2016

    Three years after Maryland first legalized medical marijuana, the state's Medical Cannabis Commission on Friday unanimously voted to give initial approval to 15 medical marijuana growers and 15 processors in the state, from 145 grower license applications and 124 processor applications.

    The field of hopefuls includes three companies such as Harvest of Maryland, GTI-Maryland and Peake ReLeaf — that have publicly proposed cultivation and processing of medical marijuana. However the Commission will release the names to the public on Aug. 15 after completing some administrative processes

    This is also just the first stage of the process. The 15 growers and 15 processors must pass comprehensive financial due diligence and background checks to receive a license, which will take next several months.

    "Pre-approval is not a license. This is just a step toward getting a license," said Patrick Jameson, executive director of the commission. "This is absolutely necessary to ensure the financial integrity, legal integrity and ethical integrity of the applicants and the program."

    The commission can award up to 15 grower licenses and an unlimited number of processor licenses, but the commission said it would initially award only 15 processor licenses. The panel made its choices based on a double-blind review of applications by Towson University's Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI).

    However, more than 800 applications to operate dispensaries are still under review by an independent panel of experts.

    Notably, the lawmakers of Maryland passed a legislation to allow marijuana for medical use in the state in 2014.

  • John J. Collins to become Pennsylvania’s 1st Director of Medical Marijuana Office

    August 06, 2016

    In a recent development, Pennsylvania has hired a public administrator with a private-sector background as the first director of its fledgling Office of Medical Marijuana.

    Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy on Thursday announced that John J. Collins has been named director of the Office of Medical Marijuana. Collins, who currently works in the Department of Health’s HIV Care Section, will assume his new position on Aug. 8, 2016. He'll be paid around $76,519 a year.

    “I am pleased to announce the department has identified a highly qualified and skilled individual from among our own staff to serve as the Director of the Office of Medical Marijuana,” said Murphy. “His experience, his knowledge of the program and his passion in his current role, it was very clear to us that he was the right leader for the program.”

    Collins is a certified allied health professional and worked as an executive in the private sector for many years. Before joining the Health Department, he served as chief operating officer for Triad Isotopes Inc., in Orlando, Florida. He will be involved in the drafting of policy and oversee the implementation of entire medical marijuana program in the state, which is expected to be complete by early 2018.

    “I am excited and eager to get to work on this medically-focused program that will help Pennsylvanians suffering from one of the 17 serious medical conditions outlined in Act 16”, said Collins.

     Among other things, the program’s roll out will include production and distribution of marijuana--licensing as many as 25 grower-processor operations and 150 dispensary locations across the state. Eligible Pennsylvania adults will have ready access to the medicinal marijuana products inside state after implementation of the program.

    Notably, the medical marijuana program in Pennsylvania was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on April 17, 2016.

  • Doctors in NSW can prescribe Marijuana from Aug 1

    August 06, 2016

    Doctors of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia can now legally prescribe medical marijuana for their patients, as the amendments of the state’s Poisons and Therapeutic Goods regulation, 2016 comes into effect on August 1.

    Medical marijuana were previously available to only patients, enrolled in clinical trials in NSW,  but Premier Mike Baird said that under the regulatory changes, the drugs could be prescribed for patients who have exhausted standard treatment options.

     “People who are seriously ill should be able to access these medicines if they are the most appropriate next step in their treatment,” Mr Baird said. “This change increases the options available for doctors as it means a broader range of marijuana medicines can be prescribed — while we continue our evidence-based research looking further into the role medicinal marijuana can play.”

    Patients wishing to investigate the use of marijuana medicines will need to talk with their doctor about suitability. However, concerned doctors are required to get approval from both the ¬Commonwealth Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and NSW Health before they can prescribe an unregistered marijuana-based product. If approved, the prescription drug may be purchased and imported from overseas at patient's cost.

    Medicinal marijuana could be taken orally, injected, smoked or used as oil. It has potential for treatment of arthritis, epilepsy, glaucoma, schizophrenia, sleep disorders etc. Under the new law, treatable conditions will also include multiple sclerosis, AIDS and for other chemotherapy-based therapies where standard pain management has failed.

    Notably, New South Wales becomes the first Australian state to provide license to grow and cultivate marijuana for medicinal purposes.

  • Boston's 1st Medical Marijuana Dispensary opens on Wednesday

    August 06, 2016

    The Patriot Care Corporation of “Columbia Care” on Wednesday opened the first medical marijuana dispensary in Boston for the qualifying patients. It is located downtown at 21 Milk Street and become the seventh medical marijuana facility in Massachusetts.

    "Being the first marijuana dispensary permitted to open in the City of Boston is a privilege for every member of our local and national organization.  Our mission of improving lives is at the core of everything we do," said Columbia Care CEO Nicholas Vita. "We are grateful for and humbled by the support we have received from patients, our neighbors, the City of Boston, the State of Massachusetts and stakeholders throughout the United States.”

    To access the newly opened dispensary facilities, patients must be deemed eligible by a certified physician and be registered with the State through the Department of Public Health. Registered patients can visit the dispensary from 10am to 6pm, Monday through Saturday, and 10am to 3pm on Sunday. A variety of marijuana formulations including cured leaf from numerous strains, infused edible products and concentrates will be available for the qualifying patients.

    Company officials say they are prepared to handle at least 150 customers each day at the location, while the state health statistics reveals that around 13,000 patients across the state have purchased medical marijuana in the month of June alone.

    “Boston police officers will be on detail outside the dispensary daily”, says the head of security George Agganis. “A security guard will screen people before they enter Patriot Care’s lobby, where they have to show their state ID for buying marijuana products”.

    Notably, the marijuana dispensary opens in the same week that the debate over legalizing recreational use of marijuana turned sharper, with the president of the Boston City Council and another councilor expressing their support for a November ballot.

  • Illinois Governor signs Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

    July 31, 2016

    Marijuana possession in small amounts will no longer be a serious crime in Illinois after Republican Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation on Friday, amending the state’s marijuana possession penalties. The Senate Bill 2228 became new law and came into effect immediately.

    The new law reduces the penalties for the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil offence, punishable with a fine of no more than $200; no arrest and no criminal record will be registered either. Individual municipalities could add to the fines and implement other penalties, such as requiring offenders to attend drug treatment. Citations would be automatically expunged twice a year, on Jan. 1 and July 1.

    Under previous Illinois law, possession of up to 2.5 grams of marijuana was a class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500; possession of 2.5-10 grams was a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500.

    The law would also loosen the state's zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of marijuana. The drivers won't be charged with DUI unless they have 5 nanograms or more of THC in their blood, or 10 nanograms or more of THC in their saliva.

    "We applaud Governor Rauner and the legislature for replacing Illinois's needlessly draconian marijuana possession law with a much more sensible policy," Chris Lindsey, senior legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project said in a statement.

    The governor's signature makes Illinois the 17th state and the third largest in the USA to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.