February 11, 2018
Virginia would soon expand the use of marijuana for qualified patients in the state after the Senate passed the legislation with unanimous support on Monday, three days after its companion bill was approved by the House of Delegates.
SB 726, which was passed 38-0 on Monday, would allow doctors to recommend cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A) oils to treat the symptoms of diagnosed conditions or diseases determined by the physicians. HB 1251 was approved 98-0 on last Friday.
The chief sponsors of SB 726 were Republican Sens. Siobhan Dunnavant of Henrico and Jill Holtzman Vogel of Fauquier and Democratic Sen. David Marsden of Fairfax.
“This culminates four years of effort that has evolved from an effort to make it lawful for kids who have intractable epilepsy to possess non-psychoactive cannabis oils to the creation of a new industry in the Commonwealth that doctors can recommend these oils for treating any condition where they might be helpful,” said Senator Dave Marsden, chief co-sponsor for the Senate bill.
“This is a big deal for people who suffer from a number of disorders and I am proud to have gotten this ball rolling years ago,” he added.
The bill now heads to Governor Ralph Northam's desk, a Democrat and physician, who earlier said he would sign such a measure into law.
If the bill approved, Virginia would become the 29th state to allow medical marijuana. Three U.S. territories also have a similar policy.
In 2017, former Governor Terry McAuliffe signed legislation for patients with severe forms of epilepsy to use cannabis oil to alleviate symptoms.
February 10, 2018
A 6-year-old girl in Central Texas became the first patient in the state to receive marijuana-derived medicine legally to treat her epileptic seizures.
The child, whose name is being withheld to protect her privacy, received a shipment of low-THC, high-CBD oil from a dispensary called Knox Medical, one of three companies licensed by the state to dispense cannabidiol to patients suffering from intractable epilepsy in Texas.
“For Texans suffering from intractable epilepsy, the wait for medical cannabis is finally over,” said José Hidalgo, founder and CEO of Knox Medical, in a press release. “This is a historic day for Texas and we will work tirelessly to uphold the trust and responsibility the state has placed in Knox Medical.”
“Patients deserve medical relief and Knox Medical is proud to work with physicians and caregivers, and in close coordination with the Texas Department of Public Safety, to provide this medicine that exceeds the most rigorous standards for quality and consistency,” he stated.
Knox Medical, which was granted by the state on September 1, 2017, operates under the license Cansortium Texas.The Florida-based company is already operating in Florida, Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico.
Two other companies- Compassionate Cultivation and Surterra Texas-have also been licensed under the 2015 Texas Compassionate Use Act to produce and sell cannabidiol, known as CBD.
In 2015, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law the Texas Compassionate Use Act. The law required the Texas Department of Public Safety to create a secure registry of physicians who treat epilepsy for the purpose of prescribing medical marijuana to people who are diagnosed with intractable epilepsy.
Patients eligible for the marijuana program must have a prescription approved by two neurologists on the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT).
February 01, 2018
The first ever medical marijuana dispensary of the State is set to open in Manchaca, a suburb of Austin, in next month, which will allow Texan patients to purchase their low-THC cannabis products.
Beginning February 8, Compassionate Cultivation will allow qualified patients of the State and their caregivers access to low-THC medical marijuana products and state-regulated CBD oil from a shop at 12701 Lowden Lane in Manchaca.
“We are thrilled to offer the highest quality medical cannabis products, with plants grown and refined by our cultivation and engineering experts at our state-of-the-art facility," said Compassionate Cultivation CEO Morris Denton in a release.
The Texas Department of Public Safety granted the first three medical marijuana licenses to Compassionate Cultivation, Cansortium Texasand Surterra Texasunder the state’s Compassionate Use Act, signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott.
However, Cansortium Texas and Surterra Texas have not announced when they will begin operating their dispensaries.
The three companies will be responsible for cultivation, processing and dispensing to patients who qualify for the medical marijuana program under Texas law.
In 2015, the Texas Compassionate Use Act was passed. It legalized oils containing CBD, a non-euphoric component of marijuana known to treat epilepsy and other chronic medical conditions.
Texas is among 29 states in the US that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, as well as 15 that have legalized medical CBD.However marijuana use is still illegal under federal law in the US.
February 01, 2018
In an unprecedented move, San Francisco will retroactively apply California's new marijuana legalization laws to marijuana convictions -- expunging or reducing misdemeanors and felonies since 1975, the District Attorney's office announced Wednesday.
Around 5,000 felony marijuana convictions will be reviewed, recalled and re-sentenced, and more than 3,000 misdemeanors that were sentenced prior to Proposition 64's passage will be dismissed and sealed,District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement.
The move will affect thousands of people whose marijuana convictions brand them with criminal histories that can be barriers for finding employment and obtaining various government benefits.
While drug policy on the federal level is going backwards, San Francisco is once again taking the lead to undo the damage that this country's disastrous, failed drug war has had on our nation and on communities of color in particular,Gascón added.
Proposition 64, which became law in 2016 and allowed for legal pot sales from January 1 this year, legalizes the possession and purchase of up to an ounce of marijuana and allows individuals to grow up to six plants for personal use. The measure also allowed those convicted of marijuana offenses to petition their cases for dismissal or reduction to a lesser offense.
In a statement, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom said San Francisco's move provides new hope and opportunities to Californians, primarily people of color, whose lives were long ago derailed by a costly, broken and racially discriminatory system of marijuana criminalization.
February 01, 2018
Two measures that would allow terminally ill people to access medicinal marijuana and farmers to grow it for research purposes were passed by the House Health and Human Services Committee in Utah on Wednesday.
The House Bill 195 and House Bill 197, both sponsored by Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, were favorably recommended to the House floor despite criticism from medical marijuana advocates and law enforcement for different reasons.
HB195 allows terminally ill patients the ability to get a physician's recommendation for medical cannabis, while HB197 authorizes the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to allow marijuana grow for research and distribution to those patients.
Rep. Daw acknowledged the proposals would help dying people to try a potentially helpful alternative and provide a way for researchers to get marijuana locally.
"Chemo just isn’t a lot of fun," Daw told the committee. "You know, some patient may just say, 'I don’t want to do chemo.' They may do something else."
Organizers have collected 105,000 signatures as of Wednesday, sources said.They need 113,000 by April to qualify for the November ballot.
However, advocate Christine Stenquist stated that the state needs comprehensive medical marijuana legalization so everyone with chronic pain can get relief, not just people whose doctors say they are dying.
The Utah Medical Association said it support the concept of the legislation, but cautioned that the so-called "right-to-try" bill isn't "quite ready."
The Utah Chiefs of Police Association and Sheriffs Association opposes both legislative measures saying "We are opposed to this principle, this fundamental principle of violating federal law".
February 01, 2018
The majority of North Andover residents decided against recreational marijuana businesses in town, including a proposal for a massive growing and research facility.
Opponents voted 1,155 to 1,430 for the proposed $100 million “Massachusetts Innovation Works” project in the town. They not only denied the cannabis research and cultivation facility but also prevented other potential commercial marijuana businesses looking to set up shop in North Andover.
A local doctor wanted to build the facility at the site of the former Lucent Technologies plant on Osgood Street. He also offered the town $5 million a year for the facility.
The voting was held at the high school’s Fieldhouse. It lasted close to three hours and included passionate statements from voters on both sides.
“I’m going to wake up tomorrow with a smile,” said former town moderator Charles Salisbury, who spearheaded opposition to the proposal.
“The real question was, would the proponents be able to field an audience large enough to overwhelm the silent majority in town? But the town turned out in huge numbers, ’’ Charles added.
However, some residents are fully backing up the decision to allow the marijuana business to establish itself in the town.
Resident Chet Woods says the idea of the facility sounds good to him. "The medical research benefits from it," said Woods. "I'm an ER tech, I see so many patients every day that easily could be treated with marijuana that just isn't available."
Residents in favor of the ban also brought up the uncertainty around potential federal prosecution, in light of recent statements made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that indicate the potential for crackdowns under federal law, where marijuana remains illegal.
Meanwhile, North Andover joins surrounding cities Lawrence and Methuen to ban in establishing commercial cannabis.
February 01, 2018
California is considering setting up a state-owned bank for its newly legalized marijuana industry, which it says has to operate mainly in cash due to federal regulations blocking access to traditional banking.
State Treasurer and Democratic candidate for Governor John Chiang on Tuesday announced his office will study whether California should create a state bank to serve California’s newly legalized marijuana industry.
“We are contending with the emergence of a multi-billion dollar cannabis industry that needs banking services,” Chiang said. “We all know the lack of banking services affects government taxes and forces the cannabis industry to operate in cash.”
“The state of California estimated $1 billion of tax revenues. We don't want to create a shadow economy, we don't want violence in local communities," he claimed.
However, Chiang’s Democratic rivals in the Governor’s race, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom took a dig at him soon after the announcement.
Newsom’s campaign manager Addisu Demissie criticized Chiang for not endorsing Proposition 64, which voters approved in 2016 to legalize recreational marijuana.
“John Chiang went out of his way to avoid endorsing Prop. 64 and virtually every other criminal justice reform ballot initiative since he's been a statewide office holder," Demissie said in a statement.
Currently, the Bank of North Dakota is the only deposit-holding, publicly owned financial institution in the US. It was created in 1919 to provide loans to farmers.
On January 1, California legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. Adults aged over 21 can now possess up to one ounce of pot and grow up to six plants at home in the State.
January 30, 2018
A first of its kind report from Statistics Canada estimates that Canadian adults spent Can$5.7 billion (US$4.6 billion) on marijuana in 2017 – the majority of it for recreational purposes.
According to Statistics Canada released Thursday, about 4.9 million Canadians between the ages of 15 and 64 said they use cannabis. The largest buyers of cannabis in 2017 remained 25 to 44-year-olds.
An estimated 90 per cent of those billions of dollars spent last year were for recreational use, while only 10 per cent were backed by a doctor's prescription for medical reasons, the data said.
The nearly Can$6 billion spent on marijuana in the country is quite less compared to the Can$22 billion that Canadians spent on alcohol in 2017, and Can$16 billion they spent on tobacco products during the year.
The federal statistics agency’s report says the overall average Canadians are paying per gram is Can$7.48. In British Columbia, the average is $6.98 per gram; in Ontario it’s Can $7.33 per gram.
Most of the cannabis consumed was produced in Canada, with only about Can$300 million worth of illegal marijuana smuggled into the country. Illegal sales of Canadian cannabis abroad were estimated to be worth around Can$1.2 billion, according to the data agency.
However, Statistics Canada warns that because so much of the current marijuana market operates outside the law, some of the findings in the report are based on assumptions, models and sparse data.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has touted recreational marijuana legalization as a means to reduce access to young people and to displace the illegal market.
Canada is expected to legalize marijuana for recreational purpose effective from July 1 this year, while medical marijuana was legalized in the country nearly two decades ago.
In the US, nine states have legalized marijuana for recreational purpose, but it remains illegal at the federal level.
January 30, 2018
Teller County Sheriff's Office deputies conducted three raids on illegal marijuana grow operations Wednesday and seized more than a million dollars' worth of pot in a rural area in Colorado.The first two raids were conducted near Divide, and the last in Woodland Park.
Inside the first house near Divide, a basement was transformed into a marijuana grow room, while the second house also near Divide had a garage transformed into what looked like a greenhouse.
Deputies found dozens of plants all catered to by a water system installed in the house.
Authorities say more than 100 plants and 80 pounds of processed marijuana were seizednear Divide. They also found several pounds of hash oil in a THC extraction lab on the property. THC is the active ingredient of cannabis.
In Woodland Park, over 60 plants and dozens of pounds of processed marijuana were sized.
Authorities claim these labs are potentially dangerous as hash oil explosions cause a number of deaths each year in the state.
The effort to crack down on illegal marijuana growers is part of the Sheriff's initiative to drive organized crime out of the region, said authorities.
The sheriff’s office however informed that no arrests were made in this connection, but the investigation is on to nab the marijuana growers and operators.
The executive director of the Southern Colorado Cannabis Council (SCCC), Jason Warf , believes that many of the grow operations considered illegal by authorities actually are producing plants for patients and caregivers, and he said the busts violate grow rights guaranteed by voter approval of Amendment 64, KRDO NewsChannel reported.
"If we continue down this path, it is extremely likely that voters will work to overturn all regulation that we have put in place," Warf said.
January 30, 2018
Vermont became the ninth U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana and the first to end marijuana prohibition through an act of lawmakers rather than by use of a ballot measure.
Republican Governor Phil Scott signed H. 511 into law "with mixed emotions" Monday night, allowing for the possession of recreational marijuana.
The new law will come into effect on July 1 this year.
"I personally believe that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children," Scott said in a statement following the bill signing.
"While this legislation decriminalizes, for adults 21 and older, personal possession of no more than 1 ounce, and cultivation of two mature plants on their private property, marijuana remains a controlled substance in Vermont and its sale is prohibited," he added.
Among other restrictions, consumption of marijuana in public places is prohibited according to the new law. Consumption of marijuana by operators and passengers in a motor vehicle is also prohibited.Besides, schools, employers, municipalities and landlords are also empowered to adopt policies and ordinances further restricting the cultivation and use.
Moreover, Vermont marijuana users will have to face the same hurdles as residents in the District of Columbia due to the prohibition of commercial marijuana sales.
All eight other states that had previously legalized recreational marijuana did so through voter-approved ballot initiatives.
Vermont had legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2004. It is among the 29 states that allow marijuana to be prescribed for medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among others, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
January 29, 2018
In a major development, New Jersey Governor Philip D Murphy has signed an executive order expanding access to medical marijuana for patients who qualify for it under state law.
The Democrat, who took office last week, signed the executive order on Tuesday.
“The Department of Health and the Board of Medical Examiners shall undertake a review of all aspects of New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, with a focus on ways to expand access to marijuana for medical purposes,” the order stated. “This review shall conclude within 60 days of this Order.”
Murphy pointed out the fault of the administration of former Republican Gov. Chris Christie for making it difficult for residents to use the state’s marijuana program.
“The roadblocks put in place by the past administration mean that the law's spirit has been stifled," the Governor said in a signing ceremony in Trenton.
“Our law is eight years old,” Murphy added. “Since it took effect, significant medical research has been conducted. Our goal is to modernize the program in New Jersey, bring it up to current standards, and put patients first.”
Out of nine million residents in New Jersey, only 15,000 are currently participating in the State’s medical marijuana program, though it was enacted in 2010.
New Jersey is among the 29 states that allow marijuana to be prescribed for medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis among others, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
January 29, 2018
Dennis Peron, known as the father of medical marijuana in the US, died in a San Francisco hospital on Saturday after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 72.
Peron’s brother, Jeffrey Peron, confirmed the news on his Facebook page. “A man that changed the world,” he wrote on Facebook. “It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my brother Dennis Peron.”
Pic Source: https://www.tokeofthetown.com
Peron was a driving force behind a San Francisco ordinance allowing medical marijuana- a move that later aided the 1996 passage of Proposition 215 that legalized medical use of marijuana in California, the nation’s first state-wide medical marijuana legalization law.
However, Peron opposed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64), a voter initiative passed in 2016 that legalized the recreational use of marijuana for those aged 21 years and above in the state.
Significantly, Peron was among the first people to argue about the benefits of marijuana for AIDS affected persons in the late 1980s.
In 1991, Peron founded the first public cannabis dispensary, the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club, in the country during the height of the U.S. drug war. He and a friend distributed pot to AIDS patients, got busted several times and was shot in the leg by a police officer, The Chronicle reported.
The pot club served 9,000 clients before it was closed by a judge.
Born in New York, he was drafted in the late 1960s to serve in Vietnam, where he first encountered cannabis, his brother posted on Facebook.
The Vietnam War veteran spent some of his last years on a farm in Lake County, growing and giving away medical marijuana.
January 29, 2018
A fifth-grade student mistakenly shared a box of THC-laced candy with fellow students at her school in New Mexico. Later the 9-year-old girl has been suspended and her parents are now under investigation in this regard.
The dean of elementary students at Albuquerque School of Excellence, Kristi Del Curto told a Journal that the fifth-grader brought the box of gummies she found at home and shared with friends at the school cafeteria one morning.
The student later felt dizzy during class and was sent to the school nurse. Five other students, who had shared the gummies, also fell sick and complained of dizziness. However, paramedics monitored the students until the effects wore off, the dean informed.
"She thought she was sharing candy, and if you saw the picture on the box, it did look like candy," Del Curto said. “Though the fifth grader had no idea of the gummies laced with THC, the child was suspended for a week regardless.”
THC gummies can be two to 100 times stronger than traditional marijuana, KRQE reports.
School representatives posted a reminder for students and parents on Facebook last week.
“We would like our community to be alert with drugs and any edibles that may or could be in different formats,” the post reads. “We kindly ask our parents and community members not to talk explicitly about drugs/medicine when students are present (unintentionally to tempt or encourage students to use drugs).”
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have legally allowed the use of marijuana for medical purposes. New Mexico became the 12th state to legalize medical marijuana in 2007. However, recreational use of marijuana is still illegal in New Mexico.
January 29, 2018
The federal administration of Canada has announced $1.4 million for research projects on the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in the country.
Member of Parliament Bill Blair made the announcement at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health on Wednesday, saying the research findings will help the government to understand the impact of the country's new marijuana laws.
“Armed with the results of this research we will be able to better based future decisions on solid science. The foundation of knowledge that we lay today will inform the policies, programs and interventions of tomorrow,” the Liberal MP said.
Blair, who has spearheaded the government’s efforts to legalize and regulate cannabis, unveiled 14 projects that would each receive $100,000 from the Canadian Institute of Health Research over one year. Each of the 14 research projects are based out of hospitals and universities across the country.
Some of the projects will look at how the use of recreational marijuana affects Indigenous communities, pregnant women and teenagers, and others will examine how marijuana use changes once it's legalized and will evaluate the provincial governments' regulatory models for marijuana policies.
The government has been criticized for not conducting such research before deciding to legalize recreational marijuana.
Canada plans to legalize recreational marijuana before July this year. It will be the second country to legalize recreational marijuana after Uruguay.
Last year, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to "legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana" in order to reduce access to young people and to displace the illegal market.
In the US, nine states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but it remains illegal at the federal level.
January 19, 2018
Two Republican lawmakers Thursday introduced legislation to make medical marijuana legal for patients with certain health conditions in Tennessee.
Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, and Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, introduced the measure that would only allow oil-based manufactured products, such as pills or lotions, while the sale of marijuana cigarettes as well as raw marijuana such as dried plant and edibles would remain illegal.
The backers of medical marijuana call it the Medical Cannabis Only Act. The two Republicans hope the bill will win over their reluctant colleagues. They also estimated at least 65,000 Tennesseans would benefit from the legislation.
“Makers of oil-based marijuana can isolate the substances that make cannabises effective and label dosages,” Faison said. “Marijuana oil products are much harder to abuse than the dried plant.”
Supporters say medical marijuana can relieve pain, anxiety and the nausea associated with some intensive treatments. Diseases for which marijuana could potentially be used include Cancer, HIV and AIDS, Hepatitis C, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Arthritis, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Tourette’s syndrome among others.
However, Republican lawmakers are split over the marijuana legalization in the State. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, said he remained opposed to any form of marijuana in Tennessee, whether recreational or medical.
As many as 29 states and the District of Columbia currently allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. Eight states permit recreational marijuana. However, marijuana use is still illegal under federal law in the U.S.