Legislation to Legalize Hemp Given Approval by Missouri Senate Committee

Sprouting hemp plants.

Sprouting hemp plants.

Missouri’s Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee has given approval to House Bill 2038, a proposal to legalize the cultivation and production of industrial hemp.

The measure, introduced by Representative Paul Curtman, would remove hemp as a controlled substance, instead designating it as an agricultural crop. The bill was given approval earlier this month by the state’s House of Representatives with an overwhelming 123 to 29 vote.

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Connecticut House of Representatives Passes Measure to Legalize Medical Cannabis for Children

medcanConnecticut’s House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to expand the state’s medical-cannabis program – established in 2012 – to include those under the age of 18.

Under the proposed law, which now heads to the Senate for consideration, it would allow children with seizure disorders such as epilepsy and other severe neurological conditions and terminal illnesses to use non-smokeable forms of cannabis such as tinctures for medical use, given their child receives a recommendation from their physician and a specialist (such as a neurologist), and has approval from their parents or legal guardians.

The measure was passed overwhelmingly, 129 to 13.

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Bill That Would Remove Criminal Penalties for Cannabis Possession Passed by New Hampshire Committee

newhampshireNew Hampshire’s House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 12 to 7 on Tuesday to approve an amended version of Senate Bill 498, a sentencing discretion bill that was amended to also decriminalize the possession of up to a quarter ounce of cannabis.

Under the approved amendment, the possession of up to 7 grams of cannabis would be punishable by a civil infraction, with no possibility of arrest or a criminal charge. Under current law the possession of even a gram of cannabis is punishable by a misdemeanor and up to a year in jail.

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Study: Opioid Abuse Rates Lower In Medical Cannabis States

By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

Los Angeles City Council Votes To Ban Medical Marijuana DispensariesRates of prescription opioid abuse are significantly lower in jurisdictions that permit medical marijuana access, according to data reported by Castlight Health, an employee health benefits platform provider.

Investigators assessed anonymous prescription reporting data from over one million employees between the years 2011 and 2015.

In states that did not permit medical marijuana access, 5.4 percent of individuals with an opioid prescription qualified as abusers of the drug. (The study’s authors defined “abuse” as opioid use by an individual who was not receiving palliative care, who received greater than a 90-day cumulative supply of opioids, and received an opioid prescription from four or more providers.) By contrast, only 2.8 percent of individuals with an opioid prescription living in medical marijuana states met the criteria.

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Initiative to Legalize Cannabis Placed on November Ballot in Maine

maineMaine officials on Wednesday announced that an initiative to legalize recreational cannabis for everyone 21 and older has officially qualified for this year’s general election ballot, meaning it will be voted on this November.

“This November, Maine voters will have the opportunity to adopt a more sensible marijuana policy”, says David Boyer, Campaign Manager for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “It is time to replace the underground market with a regulated system of licensed marijuana businesses. It is time to redirect our state’s limited law enforcement resources toward addressing serious crimes instead of enforcing failed prohibition policies. And it is time to stop punishing adults for using a substance that is significantly less harmful than alcohol.”

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U.S. Senate Committee Passes Amendment to Prevent Federal Interference with State Hemp Laws

hemphemphooooorahThe United States Senate Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Committee has given approval to an amendment that would prevent the federal government from interfering with state laws that allow for the legal cultivation and production of hemp. The amendment, championed by Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wydnen, was added to a larger appropriations bill.

“It’s ridiculous that the federal government is still standing in the way of states that have made the decision to allow industrial hemp farming,” says Senator Merkley. “Industrial hemp has the potential to create jobs and research opportunities here in Oregon and it’s time for the federal government to get out of the way.”

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DEA Approves Study of Cannabis in Treating PTSD

ptsdThe Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has given approval to a study examining the benefits of cannabis in treating post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

According to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), who will be conducting the study, the DEA has given them approval to purchase whole-plant cannabis from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the only federal agency that can distribute cannabis for research purposes. Now that MAPS has this approval, they’ll now begin the process of recruiting and enrolling study participants.

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Study: Cannabinoids May Prevent Cartilage Breakdown in those with Osteoarthritis

cannabisA new study published in this month’s issue of the journal Molecular Medicine Reports, and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health, has found that cannabinoids may prevent cartilage breakdown in those with osteoarthritis.

According to researchers; “A central feature of osteoarthritis (OA) is the loss of articular cartilage, which is primarily attributed to cartilage breakdown.” The current study explored the effects of a synthetic cannabinoid meant to mimic the effects of cannabis-based cannabinoids on preventing this breakdown.

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Study: Cannabinoids Limit Neuroblastoma Cancer Cells

purplecannabisBoth THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) limit neuroblastoma cell proliferation, according to a new study published in the journal Current Oncology, and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health. Neuroblastoma is an aggressive cancer often found in the small glands on top of the kidneys, though it can also develop in the chest, pelvis, neck, stomach, and bones. Children ages five and younger are most commonly affected.

For the study researchers found that although both THC and CBD helped fight off neuroblastoma cells, CBD was more effective in doing so.

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President Obama to Meet with Group that Legalized Cannabis in D.C., Held Public Smoke-Out in Front of White House

white houseIn a surprise move,the White House has extended an invitation to meet with the leadership of the DC Cannabis Campaign (DCMJ), the organization that legalized cannabis in Washington D.C. in 2014 through a citizens initiative.

The meeting, set for Monday, April 25, comes in the wake of DCMJ’s peaceful Reschedule 420 demonstration and smoke-out in front of the White House that featured a 51-foot inflatable joint and drew thousands of activists and supporters calling on President Obama to remove cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, which puts it alongside drugs such as heroin.

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Free Cannabis Give-Away for Veterans Being Held on April 24th in Portland

On Sunday, April 24th starting at 2:00pm PDT and ending at 5:00pm, the organization Grow for Vets will be holding a cannabis give-away that’s entirely free for military veterans. The group will be giving cannabis away to its membersgrow, as well as veterans who aren’t members but register online for the event at GrowforVetsOregon.org. Non-veterans are also welcome to attend with a $20 donation.

The give-away is just the latest in a series of national events organized by Grow For Vets that are meant “to draw attention to the dilemma of America’s military Veterans”. According to the group; “Many of those Veterans are returning home with a variety of physical and emotional injuries suffered during their military service; and a growing number of vets are demanding they be allowed access to cannabis as part of their treatment.”

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Illinois’ Full Senate Approves Bill to Decriminalize Cannabis

jillyIllinois’ full Senate gave approval today to a bill that would replace criminal penalties with a civil fine for the possession of small amounts of cannabis. The vote was 40 to 14.

Senate Bill 2228, which was introduced by Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago), would make the possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis a civil violation punishable by a fine of no more than $200. Under current Illinois law, the possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis is punishable by a misdemeanor and up to 6 months in jail (if it’s under 2.5 grams the penalty is up to 30 days in jail)

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Hawaii Bill to Study Drug Decriminalization Unanimously Approved by Senate Committee

hawaiiA month after being approved 37 to 7 by the full Hawaii House of Representatives, a bill to establish a study on the decriminalization of all drugs has been approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

HCR 127 directs the state’s Legislative Research Bureau to “conduct a study on the feasibility and advisability of decriminalizing the illegal possession of drugs for personal use in Hawaii” so that it would “constitute an administrative or civil violation rather than a criminal offense.” Researchers will examine Portugal’s model of drug decriminalization, with the study to be finished and presented to the legislature by the end of the year.

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Orlando, Florida Lawmakers Pass Cannabis Decriminalization Ordinance

orlandoCommissioners in Orlando, Florida have given approval to an ordinance that establishes a ticket for those caught possessing up to 20 grams of cannabis – rather than mandatory arrest – similar to laws passed recently in Miami-Dade, Florida’s largest county, as well as Broward County, Palm Beach County, Volusia County, Key West, West Palm Beach, Hallandale Beach and Tampa. The vote was 4 to 3, with the city’s Mayor Buddy Dyer voting in favor.

Under the proposed law – which will receive one final vote from city commissioner on May 9 – law enforcement will have the option of issuing a $50 civil citation to someone caught with 20 grams or less of cannabis rather than being legally forced to issue a misdemeanor (punishable by up to a year in prison) as the current law stands.

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Doctors Launch Organization in Support of Legalizing Cannabis

Former Surgeon General Among Physicians Teaming Up to Launch Nation’s First Organization of Doctors in Support of Cannabis Legalization

doctorsFormer U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jocelyn Elders, integrative medicine pioneer Dr. Andrew Weil, and professors from some of the country’s top medical schools are teaming up to launch the nation’s first organization of doctors formed to advocate for the legalization and regulation of cannabis for adult use.

Doctors for Cannabis Regulation will hold a teleconference TODAY at 2 p.m. ET to discuss the organization’s plans and answer questions from the media. RSVP to bmuraresku@dfcr.org to receive instructions for participating.

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