• Utah Governor to oppose Medical Marijuana Ballot initiative

    April 01, 2018

    Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has announced he will actively oppose the ballot initiative seeking to broadly legalize the medical use of marijuana in the state expected to be before voters in November.

    In a statement released Thursday, the Republican governor praised the legislature for passing House Bill 197, orders the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to grow marijuana for terminally ill patients. A companion bill granted people with less than six months to live a "right to try" cannabis.

    Herbert says that the law he recently signed allowing farmers to grow marijuana for use by researchers and patients with less than six months to live is a careful step to allow more research on marijuana’s medical effects.

    Turning to the initiative, however, the governor pointed out it has significant flaws and “will do more harm than good.”

    "It lacks important safeguards regarding its production and utilization and would potentially open the door to recreational use," Herbert said. "We need to be cautious as we test and introduce cannabis into our formulary. I believe the consequences of this initiative, even if they are unintended, will do more harm than good.”

    The governor ended his statement saying he will actively oppose the medical marijuana ballot initiative.

    However, the marijuana advocates say those living with chronic conditions need access to the drug and are preparing to ask Utah voters this November to allow broader use of marijuana, along with state-regulated growing and dispensing.

    The Utah Patients Coalition said it has approximately 160,000 signatures collected statewide, more than enough to qualify for the November ballot. Those signatures are being validated by county clerks and the Lt. Governor's Office.

  • Louisiana to allow Medical Marijuana for Autistic Children

    April 01, 2018

    Persons with certain types of autism will soon to get medical marijuana under a measure that passed its first legislative test Wednesday.

    A committee composed of members of the Louisiana House of Representatives approved an expansion to Senate Bill 271 that will make autistic children and adults eligible for medical marijuana treatment.

    The House committee voted 9 to 4 in favor of the bill. Next, the entire Louisiana House of Representatives will vote on whether to make it law for expanding the original medical marijuana legislation.

    Medical marijuana is legal in Louisiana, but only for certain illnesses with serious conditions such as epilepsy, cancer, Crohn’s disease and other illnesses. This list did not originally include autism treatment for children or adults.

    If passed into law, this bill would add autism, with aggressive, destructive or self-injuring behavior, to that list of medical marijuana.

    However, not everyone with autism will automatically qualify for medical marijuana. A physician will need to approve and observe any child with autism on medical marijuana.

    Autism spectrum disorder is a spectrum, and for kids in the more severe category they need help," said John Vanchierre, M.D., who heads up the Louisiana chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

    Many people with debilitating illness turn to cannabis for more side-effect free treatment. The parents who have used marijuana to treat their children with autism often report its immediate beneficial effects.

  • Smoking Marijuana may lead Non-Smokers to Cigarettes

    March 31, 2018

    A new study suggests that smoking marijuana may increase chances of smoking cigarettes too. The researchers say pot use is associated with an increased initiation of cigarette smoking among non-cigarette smokers.

    While there is a heavy decline in the number of cigarette smokers, marijuana users are rising every passing day. Similarly, marijuana users also smoke cigarettes, the researcher said.

    "Understanding the potential links between cannabis use and cigarette initiation in youth is needed given that recent data suggest that cannabis use is more common among adolescents than cigarette use," said co-author Renee Goodwin from the Mailman School of Public Health.

    The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. They were based on data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions in 2001-2002 and 2004-2005, and responses from 34,639 individuals.
  • Marijuana-friendly States seek meeting with US Attorney General

    March 31, 2018

    California, Oregon and other marijuana-friendly states in the United States have written a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeking a meeting that could resolve the conflict between federal and state laws relating to marijuana.

    While marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, 29 states have legalized it in the same form. Representatives from California, Oregon, Illinois and Pennsylvania have urged Sessions to ensure clarity for businesses and banks on how federal law enforcement would respond to the legalization of marijuana in states.

    The Trump administration recently lifted an Obama-era policy that kept federal authorities from cracking down on the marijuana trade in states where the drug is legal.

    In California, banks fear to deal with marijuana money, as they are not clear how federal government would respond to it. The clarity is missing. Even though legal pot sales for adults kicked off in the state on January 1, the industry has been badly hit as the confusion prevails.

    The letter made it clear that financial institutions need “some comfort that they will not be prosecuted, or lose access to customer assets, simply for banking this industry.”
  • Glen “Big Baby” Davis arrested on Marijuana charges

    March 25, 2018

    Former NBA player Glen "Big Baby" Davis, who won a title with the Boston Celtics in 2008, was arrested in a Maryland hotel last month on drug possession and distribution charges.

    WMAR-TV in Baltimore reports that Davis was arrested at a Hampton Inn in Aberdeen on February 7.

    According to court records, the hotel owner smelled marijuana coming from Davis' room.

    Aberdeen police Lt. William Reiber told WMAR that police found 126 grams of marijuana and a briefcase containing $92,000 in cash inside Davis' room.

    The police also found a ledger from his possession that contained language which is consistent with someone involved in the sale and distribution of narcotics.

    The ledger consisted of names of people who owed money along with small plastic bags for packaging a quarter pound of marijuana.

    Davis was arrested and later indicted on seven counts of drug possession and distribution. His attorney told WMAR that Davis looks forward to his day in court to clear his name.

    The former NBA star told police he was in Harford County, Maryland visiting family.

    "There was a statement that was made about the purpose of the trip but at the end of the day we don't know exactly,” said Aberdeen Police Lieutenant Lt. Reiber. “There was an investigation, it is still on-going. It is still making its way through the justice system.”

    Davis, a star player at LSU, went on to play for the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic and LA Clippers.

    The 32-year-old Davis most recently played for the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2014-15 season. He put his basketball career “on hold” in 2016 to venture into film production.

    Davis is due back in court on April 2, according to WMAR.

  • California considers cut in Marijuana Taxes

    March 25, 2018

    As California cannabis businesses rush to get in line with new rules, state lawmakers have proposed a measure that would cut the tax rate on marijuana purchases in the state.

    The new proposal would drop the state excise tax on cannabis to 11% from the current 15% and suspend all cultivation taxes on marijuana, until June 2021.

    The bill was introduced on Thursday by Assembly members Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, and Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, along with three Democratic co-authors, with a view to reduce the price gap between licensed cannabis businesses and black market sources.

    The Democratic Assembly members who supported the y Bill 3157 include Ken Cooley, D-Sacramento; Reggie Jones-Sawyer Sr., D-Los Angeles; and Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg.

    In a statement, Lackey highlighted the pressure that legal businesses faced compared to their off-the-books competition.

    “Criminals do not pay taxes, ensure customers are 21 and over, obtain licenses or follow product safety regulations," he said. "We need to give legal businesses some temporary tax relief so they do not continue to be undercut by the black market.”

    Assemblyman Bonta said that the new bill would reduce “the tax burden on the licensed cannabis market during this transition period, keeping customers at licensed stores and helping ensure the regulated market survives and thrives.”

    Currently, California imposes a 15 % tax on marijuana sales, and local governments are allowed to add on their own rates as well. The state also imposes a separate tax on cannabis cultivators based on the amount they produce. All of these taxes add up to greatly increase the price of marijuana, which is turning customers away. 

    California legalizes the possession and purchase of up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational purpose and allows individuals to grow up to six plants for personal use.

  • Virginia expands Medical Marijuana Law

    March 16, 2018

    Physicians in Virginia will now be able to recommend CBD and THC oils for any medical ailment, if they decide it’s the best course of treatment for patients.

    Previously, medical cannabis was only available to Virginia residents suffering from epilepsy.

    Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday signed the measures expanding the state’s cannabis oil program. 

    The Virginia Senate and House both passed House Bill 1251, also known as #LetDoctorsDecide,  in late February aiming to take effect immediately upon a signature by the governor, whereas most bills do not take effect until July.

    “The passage of HB 1251 is an important next step to improving the lives of so many Virginians and sets an important precedent for laws like this across the country,” the legislation’s chief co-patron Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn told Virginia’s News Leader last month, before Governor Northam signed HB 1251 into law.

    "Those who suffer from intractable epilepsy have already seen the benefits of cannabidiol oil and how it can improve their quality of life. These bills will allow more Virginians to benefit from cannabidiol oil as well,” she claimed.

    According to the new measures, the oils must contain at least 15 percent CBD or THC-A, but can't contain more than five percent THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

    The supply of CBD oil or THC-A oil can now be dispensed by a pharmaceutical processor from a 30-day supply to a 90-day supply in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    The new law would also provide patients with a signed certificate if they were stopped by law enforcement – to defend their possession of the oil.