Federal Report: “No Evidence-Based Methods to Detect Marijuana-Impaired Driving”

A federal report has determined that there is currently no evidence-based method of detecting marijuana-impaired driving, despite numerous states having laws in place that find someone guilty of a DUID if they test above a certain THC level.

“A number of states have set a THC limit in their laws indicating that if a suspect’s THC concentration is above that level (typically 5 ng/ml of blood), then the suspect is to be considered impaired,” states the report conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) . “This per se limit appears to have been based on something other than scientific evidence. Some recent studies demonstrate that such per se limits are not evidence-based.”

In addition the report also calls into question sweat, hair, saliva and urine testing, stating that “there are currently no evidence-based methods to detect marijuana-impaired driving”.

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Study: Marijuana Often Effective at Treating Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis

Marijuana is often effective in treating the symptoms of both Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, and can help those with these conditions reduce their use of prescription drugs.

This is according to a new study published by the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine, and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

“Cannabis has been used for medicinal purpose for thousands of years; however the positive and negative effects of cannabis use in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are mostly unknown”, begins the study’s abstract. “Our aim was to assess cannabis use in PD and MS and compare results of self-reported assessments of neurological disability between current cannabis users and non-users.”

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Jeff Sessions Shuts Down DEA Research of Marijuana

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his Justice Department has effectively shutdown a potential increase in the research of marijuana by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Sessions has effective stopped the DEA from taking action on more than two dozen requests to grow marijuana to use in research, according to a report by The Washington Post.

As noted by the Post, a year ago the DEA began accepting applications to grow more marijuana for research, and as of this month, had received 25 proposals to consider. However, the DEA says they need the Justice Department to sign-off on more research in order to move forward, and so far, the department hasn’t been willing to provide it.

“They’re sitting on it,” said one law enforcement official familiar with the matter. “They just will not act on these things.” As a result, “the Justice Department has effectively shut down this program to increase research registrations”, says a senior DEA official.

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Federal Bill to Protect State Marijuana Laws Reintroduced in Congress

Federal legislation that would protect state marijuana laws, and those following them, has been reintroduced in Congress.

Congressmember Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01) has reintroduced the State Marijuana And Regulatory Tolerance Enforcement ActH.R. 3534 – which prohibits marijuana consumers and businesses from being prosecuted by the federal government if they are following their state’s marijuana law. The measure is similar to the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment, a currently in place law that prevents the Departure of Justice from interfering with state laws that have legalized medical cannabis, but would takes this a step further by protecting those in the eight states that have legalized the plant for recreational use.

“My bill will fix the conflict between state and federal law by giving states effectively regulating marijuana themselves, such as Washington, a waiver from the Controlled Substances Act.” Congressmember DelBene said in a statement. “It also resolves the banking issues currently forcing dispensaries to operate on an unsafe, all-cash basis.”

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Study: Positive Marijuana Screening Associated with Decreased Mortality in Trauma Patients Admitted to ICU

Those hospitalized for trauma who test positive for marijuana are considerably less likely to die during their stay than those who don’t, according to a new study.

super silver haze

For the study, published by The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, and published online by the National Institute of Health, researchers conducted a “5-year (2008-2012) analysis of adult trauma patients (>18 y/o) in Arizona State Trauma Registry”. They included “patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with a positive toxicology screen for marijuana”,and excluded “patients with positive alcohol or other substance screening”. Outcome measures were “mortality, ventilator days, ICU [intensive care unit], and hospital Length of Stay (LOS)”. In total, 28,813 patients were included in the analysis.

Researchers determined that  “Patients with a positive marijuana screen had a lower mortality rate (5.3 percent versus 8.9 percent) compared to patients with a negative marijuana screen”. On sub analysis of patients who received mechanical ventilation, “marijuana positive had a higher number of ventilator days (2d vs. 1d, p=0.02) and a lower mortality rate (7.3% vs. 16.1%, p<0.001) than those who were marijuana negative.”

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Federal Judge Rules Medical Marijuana Patient Can Sue For Being Denied Job Over Failed Drug Test

Federal Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer ruled this week that a Connecticut medical marijuana patient can sue a company who denied her a job based on failing a drug test for marijuana.

In Katelin Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Company L.L.C., doing business as Bride Brook Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Ms. Noffsinger, a recreational therapist who uses medical marijuana legally to treat her post-traumatic stress disorder,contended that Bride Brook illegally denied her employment after initially hiring her, but then revoked the offer once she tested positive for marijuana in a drug test.

The defendant attempted to dismiss Ms. Noffsinger’s lawsuit over the fact that marijuana remains illegal under federal law. In the ruling by the United States District Court of Connecticut ruling, Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer stated that: “This lawsuit calls upon me to decide if federal law preempts Connecticut law. In particular, I must decide if federal law precludes enforcement of a Connecticut law that prohibits employers from firing or refusing to hire someone who uses marijuana for medicinal purposes. I conclude that the answer to that question is ‘no’ and that a plaintiff who uses marijuana for medicinal purposes in compliance with Connecticut law may maintain a cause of action against an employer who refuses to employ her for this reason.”

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Utah Medical Marijuana Advocates Given Approval to Begin Signature Gathering on Initiative

Advocates of a Utah initiative to legalize medical marijuana have been given approval to begin signature gathering.

Utah Patients Coalition have received approval from Lt. Governor Spencer Cox to begin collecting signatures in an attempt to place their medical marijuana legalization initiative on the November, 2018 ballot. The group must now collect 113,143 by January in order to put the measure to a vote of the people.

“We plan to gather the first signatures by next week and be finished prior to the 2018 legislative session in January,” said DJ Schanz, campaign co-director for Utah Patients Coalition, in a press release. “Our volunteers—many of them patients or caregivers themselves—have been ready and eagerly waiting; it feels good to know we will have scheduled events in the coming weeks for those who have waited years for this.”

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Study: Adolescent Cannabinoid Exposure Doesn’t Harm, Often Improves Adult Working Memory

A new study published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health, has found that cannabinoid exposure as an adolescent doesn’t harm, and often improves working memory as an adult.

“Marijuana is a prevalent illicit substance used by adolescents, and several studies have indicated that adolescent use can lead to long-term cognitive deficits including problems with attention and memory”, begins the study’s abstract. “However, preclinical animal studies that observe cognitive deficits after cannabinoid exposure during adolescence utilize experimenter administration of doses of cannabinoids that may exceed what an organism would choose to take, suggesting that contingency and dose are critical factors that need to be addressed in translational models of consequences of cannabinoid exposure.”

Researchers “recently developed an adolescent cannabinoid self-administration paradigm in male rats, and found that prior adolescent self-administration of the cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN55,212-2 (WIN) [meant to mimic the effects of cannabinoids] resulted in improved working memory performance in adulthood.”

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Oregon Raises Age for Tobacco Products and “Inhalant Delivery Systems” to 21

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has signed into law a measure that raises the minimum age for purchasing tobacco and “inhalant delivery systems” to 21.

Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 754 into law yesterday, roughly a month after it was approved by the Hour of Representatives with a 39 to 20 vote, and the Senate with a 19 to 11 vote. The bill was introduced by Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward along with 15 bipartisan cosponsors.

The new law “Increases from 18 to 21 years old the minimum age to purchase tobacco and nicotine products”, as well as “inhalant delivery systems” (such as e-cigarettes) and establishes “a set of fines ranging from $250-$1,000 for individuals or businesses that distribute or sell” these products to “persons under 21 years of age.”

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Over $1.3 Billion in Legal Marijuana Sold in Washington in FY 2017

In fiscal year 2017, there was over $1.3 billion in legal marijuana sold in Washington State.

In total there was $1,371,882,585.79 in legal marijuana sold in Washington State in fiscal year 2017, which began on July 1st, 2016, and ended on June 30th, 2017. The state garnered $314,838,969.21 in taxes from these sales. All of this is according to data released by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB).

For fiscal year 2016 there was $786 million worth of legal marijuana sold, resulting in $185 million in taxes. In fiscal year 2015, those in Washington State purchased $259 million in marijuana, garnering the state $64.8 million in taxes.

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