• Senator Hatch introduces MEDS Bill for easy research on marijuana

    September 14, 2017

    Senator Orrin Hatch introduced a bill to allow easy research on medical marijuana. The bill titled ‘Marijuana Effective Drug Study Act of 2017’ or MEDS Act was introduced to the Congress in Washington D.C. If approved by the House, the Bill is expected to accelerate research on medical pot. 

    “It’s high time to address research into medical marijuana,” Hatch made a pun-filled statement in the House. “Our country has experimented with a variety of state solutions without properly delving into the weeds on the effectiveness, safety, dosing, administration, and quality of medical marijuana. All the while, the federal government strains to enforce regulations that sometimes do more harm than good,” Hatch said.

    “To be blunt, we need to remove the administrative barriers preventing legitimate research into medical marijuana, which is why I’ve decided to roll out the MEDS Act.”

    Senator Hatch was joined by Senator Schatz and cosponsors Senators Chris Coons, Senator Cory Gardner and Senator Thom Tillis.

    “I urge my colleagues to join Senator Schatz and me in our joint effort to help thousands of Americans suffering from a wide-range of diseases and disorders. In a Washington at war with itself, I have high hopes that this bipartisan initiative can be a kumbaya moment for both parties,” he said.

    While Senator Hatch stressed the importance of medical marijuana, he made it clear that he didn’t support the use of recreational pot.
     
    The MEDS Act is expected to encourage research on the medical uses of marijuana by streamlining the research registration process and also make marijuana more available for legitimate scientific and medical research. Besides, the Bill focuses on codifying the administration’s decision to terminate the Public Health Service and its review of proposals for medical research on marijuana.

  • Hawaii aims to start cashless payment of medical pot from October

    September 13, 2017

    Hawaii State officials have planned to make it the first state to go cashless in marijuana sales. Starting October 1, all the eight dispensaries in the State have agreed to use cashless payment system. The decision has been taken to avoid crimes like robbery, dispensary attacks and also makes the finances transparent.

    For the cashless payment system, the patients will be asked to use a debit payment app ‘CanPay’ for purchasing medical cannabis. While CanPay uses a Colorado-based credit union to facilitate transactions, the dispensaries have been asked to open accounts with a credit union called Safe Harbor Private Banking. Customers purchasing medical pot through CanPay will be directed to Safe Habor for payment.

    Currently, this debit payment app is in use in a total of six states including California and Colorado. The app is free for customers to use. Other credit card companies like Visa and Mastercard had refused to allow customers to purchase cannabis using their credit cards.

    The cashless payment system can also be used by customers who don’t own smartphones. Those without smart phones, need to create an account on CanPay using their email id and personal identification number. Once created, the customers can pay through tablets available in the dispensaries by logging in to their respective accounts.

    However, the State lawmakers are yet to decide if customers preferring cash payment will be entitled to purchase or not.

    Though Hawaii had legalized medical marijuana way back in 2000, the medical marijuana licenses were granted only last year.

    Since the Federal Government regulates banking and bans marijuana, several cannabis business houses deal in cash for the fear of legal trouble from the US Government.

  • California rules out drone delivery of cannabis

    September 12, 2017

    Even as California is looking to legalize cannabis from next year, marijuana will not be allowed to be delivered using hi-tech facilities like drones. A rule book formulated by the Bureau of Cannabis Control in California has ruled out the option of delivery of marijuana using unmanned vehicles.

    “Cannabis goods will be required to be transported inside commercial vehicles or trailers. Transportation may not be done by aircraft, watercraft, rail, drones, human powered vehicles, or unmanned vehicles,” the report read adding that the vehicles needs overnight monitoring and can’t be left unattended.

    The report also cites the details of transporting marijuana (both medicinal and recreational) which needs to be transported in locked boxes and completely secured. The companies have to comply with all the necessary license requirements and shipping manifests for each delivery. Setting the eligibility criteria for the drivers, the report states that the drivers need to above 21 years of age to drive vehicles carrying cannabis. In addition, the vehicles transporting pot needs to have GPS-enabled tracking system and shouldn’t be parked in any residential area. 

    The decision is set to affect the plans of several pot start-ups to deliver medical pot using hi-tech technologies.  A number of start-ups including Eaze, MDelivers and Trees Delivery had been proposing to ship medical marijuana with the use of drones.

    In April this year, MDelivers had announced the launch of nation’s first fully-licensed drone delivery service. The company had planned to deliver marijuana plants, edibles and other materials in 30 minutes across the state. However, the new legislation is set to be a major roadblock to its future plans. California is the first state to legalize medicinal pot in 1996.

  • Iowa Agency asked to halt part of medical pot law

    September 11, 2017

    An Iowa agency which works with another state for transporting medical cannabis has been asked to not implement a small section in the Iowa’s new medical pot law. The decision has been taken amid legal concerns that it could invite scrutiny from the federal government.

    The Iowa Department of Public Health has been advised by the Iowa Attorney General’s office to not implement a small section of the State’s new medical marijuana law which requires the state to license up to two ‘out of state' dispensaries. The provision is mentioned in the second last page of the 20-page law.

    Those entities would have been expected to bring cannabis oil into Iowa for selling, which is considered illegal under federal law. The Federal Law classifies cannabis as a controlled substance and is hence prohibited from being transported across states.

    The Attorney General’s office has asked to put on hold the implementation until the Federal Government provides further guidance.

    Though the decision is unlikely to affect other provisions in the law which call for the establishment of an in-state production system of cannabis by the end of 2018, a few law makers have expressed dissatisfaction as the immediate access has been affected.

    Under the Federal Law, possessing, manufacturing and selling pot is illegal. While smoking marijuana is prohibited in Iowa, the cannabis oil supply would be supplied in the state by the end of 2018.

    The out-of-state dispensaries provision is tucked into the second-to-last page of a 20-page law, and is separate from requirements that Iowa license up to two cannabis oil manufacturers in Iowa and up to five dispensaries to sell it in-state. The oil would be supplied in Iowa by the end of 2018. Smoking marijuana remains prohibited.

  • Hocking College applies for Ohio pot testing lab

    September 09, 2017

    In a boost to medical marijuana plans in Ohio, the Hocking College has applied to play host to Ohio’s first pot testing laboratory. If approved by the Ohio Department of Commerce, the College will become the first Public University to open a pot testing laboratory.

    The decision by the Hocking College comes in the wake of concerns expressed by some policy makers that the public colleges would not come forward to set a laboratory due to threat of losing out on federal funding. The deadline to submit applications for medical cannabis testing lab is September 22.

    The Ohio Medical Marijuana Law calls for testing medical cannabis for potency, homogeneity and contamination in a Public University before it is shelved in dispensaries. Private laboratories can be licensed to operate only after one year.

    As per information, the technical college with around 3000 students has decided to apply for setting up a testing laboratory and is likely to collaborate with neuroscientist Jonathan Cachat to run the laboratory. Besides, the College is also planning to start laboratory research programs which will train the students in medical cannabis to become lab technicians.

    “The research and academic potential of serving as the lab testing site will support the kind of hands-on, high-tech training that is the hallmark of Hocking College,” Young said in a statement. 

    For setting up of a pot testing laboratory, each College is required to pay $2000 application fee and $18000 fee for obtaining a certificate for operation. However, the College is planning to not use public money to open the laboratory, and will instead focus on private funding to run the lab.

    The laboratory is also expected to churn new job opportunities for the State residents.

  • Legal medical marijuana plants growing in Maryland

    September 06, 2017

    Four years after the policy makers signed the law to legalize medical marijuana in Maryland, the first crop of legal marijuana has finally started to grow. Cultivators ForwardGro in Anne Arundel County and Curio Wellness in Baltimore County are growing medical pot.

    The legislation to grow medical cannabis was approved in 2013 following which the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission was formed. However, slow process in identifying cultivator and dispensary cost four years of benefit to the medical marijuana patients in the State. Since its inception, more than 10 companies have got the clearance to grow medical marijuana in Maryland while two have already begun cultivating pot. Medical cannabis are expected to flock the dispensary by early 2018.

    Confirming the launch, Executive Director of the Commission stated, “The market will determine this moves forward.”

    Once grown and harvested, the medicinal pot will be tested in a laboratory for quality, a process which could take up to one year.

    Though the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has finalized more than 10 cultivators, it has approved of only one dispensary so far. The Allegany Medical Marijuana Dispensary, the only approved dispensary in Maryland is situated in Cumberland and is expected to start by the end of this year. However, as per the existing law, one state can have up to fifteen cannabis dispensaries, which gives ample opportunities for legal marijuana to flourish. A few dispensaries are reportedly waiting for final approval.

    For patients to access medical pot, the Commission has prepared a list of 12 mandatory conditions. Multiple sclerosis, chronic pain and Alzheimer are among the conditions required to access medical cannabis. The Commission has also prepared guidelines for the physicians on prescribing medical marijuana to patients.

  • Smoking Marijuana may cause fertility issues, reveals Study

    September 06, 2017

    A recent study on the effects of marijuana has revealed that smoking cannabis could lead to fertility issues among men. As per the study, men who smoke marijuana feel ‘lazy’ and ‘chilled out,’ while affecting their sperm functions as well.

    While smoking pot regularly reduces the sperm count by almost a third, the study has revealed that it also impacts the sperm functions. As per the report, marijuana makes the sperm get ‘high’, causing it to ‘swim in circles.’

    Dr. Victor Chow of the University of British Columbia in Canada, who lead the research study said that the ‘weight of evidence is that marijuana probably has a negative impact not only on sperm counts but sperm function.’ Among men, it affects sperm count, while in women it subdues ovulation. However, the study does not reveal the exact manner in which the sperm function is affected.

    Besides, smoking marijuana regularly increases the heart rate and also the blood pressure. In pregnant women, it might lead to the baby being born smaller than expected.

    Earlier, a study had revealed the difference in walking patterns among cannabis and non-cannabis smokers. The study conducted by the University of South Australia reveals that the knees, elbows and shoulders of marijuana smokers are affected while movement.

    As per the report, the pot users have stiffer shoulders, flexible elbows and quicker knees, which enables them to walk faster in comparison to the non-smokers of marijuana. However, the study states no significant differences between neurological functions and balancing activities of cannabis users.

    With the ongoing debate on legalizing marijuana in the United States of America, the call of the hour is on more such research on the effects of marijuana on health of the people.