Legislation Filed in Virginia to Legalize Marijuana

A legislative proposal that would legalize marijuana for those 21 and older, while decriminalizing it for those under 21, has been filed in Virginia’s House of Representatives.

House Bill 2371 was filed by Delegate Steve Heretick (D) along with four cosponsors. The measure would remove all criminal penalties for the personal possession of marijuana for those 21 and older, while legalizing marijuana retail outlets. These outlets would be taxed at 9.7% in addition to the state’s current sales tax. Around 2/3rds of the tax revenue would go to the general fund, with the remainder going to public education.

According to the bill’s official summary, it “also decriminalizes marijuana possession for persons under 21 years of age and provides a civil penalty of no more than $50 for a first violation, $100 for a second violation, and $250 for a third or subsequent violation.”

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U.S. Attorney General Nominee Says He Would Respect State Marijuana Laws

U.S. attorney general nominee William Barr said during a Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday that he would not target marijuana businesses that are operating in compliance with state laws that allow them, whether for medical or recreational purposes.

William Barr.

If confirmed, Barr said his “approach to this would be not to upset settled expectations and the reliant interests that have arisen as a result of the Cole memorandum.” He later added that he “is not going to go after companies that have relied on the Cole memorandum.”

The Cole memorandum was issued in 2013 by then-Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole and provided marijuana enforcement guidance to U.S. attorneys. It stated that the Justice Department would not enforce federal marijuana prohibition laws in states that have legalized marijuana for adult or medical use as long as certain federal priorities are addressed, such as preventing interstate trafficking and sales to minors.

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Federal Legislation Introduced To Protect State-Level Marijuana Legalization Laws

Representative Lou Correa (D-CA) has introduced House Resolution 493: The Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act, which would codify the protections that were outlined in the now-rescinded Cole Memo.

As reported by NORML, The Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act essentially would give peace of mind to lawmakers, regulators, 149,000+ workers, and the millions of patients and consumers who are dependent on the normalization of lawful marijuana markets. The most essential component in creating a stable business environment to meet consumer demand is certainty, and that is what states and businesses would have with Congressman Correa’s legislation to protect state-lawful programs from potential rouge US Attorneys under a Department of Justice likely to be led by known drug warrior William Barr.

To date, these statewide regulatory programs are operating largely as voters and politicians intended. The enactment of these policies have not negatively impacted workplace safetycrime ratestraffic safety, or youth use patterns. They have stimulated economic development and created hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue.

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Legislation to Legalize Personal Marijuana Cultivation Filed in Washington’s House and Senate

Companion bills that would legalize the personal cultivation of marijuana for those 21 and older has been filed in Washington State’s House of Representatives and Senate.

The legislation, which has bipartisan support in both chambers of the legislature, would allow anyone 21 and older to grow up to six marijuana plants at a private residence, for personal use. If three or more individuals 21+ are living in the same residence they could grow up to, but not more than (regardless of the number of residents), fifteen plants.

Despite the current marijuana possession limit in the state being one ounce, the bills would allow those growing marijuana to possess over this amount if their harvest is larger.

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Vermont Supreme Court Rules Burnt Marijuana Smell Not Probably Cause to Search Vehicle

In a ruling that sets immediate precedent across Vermont, the state’s supreme court has decided that the smell of burnt marijuana is not enough to justify law enforcement obtaining a warrant to search a vehicle.

The court ruled that the odor of burnt marijuana emanating from a vehicle is not strong enough evidence or sufficient probable cause to conduct legally search said vehicle. The ruling comes roughly six months after the possession and personal cultivation became legal in the state.

“The seizure, aimed at immobilizing the plaintiff’s vehicle while the officer sought a search warrant, was essentially based solely on the trooper’s initial detection of the faint odor of burnt marijuana, which did not, in and of itself, create fair probability that marijuana would be found in the vehicle”, states the ruling.

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Legislation to Legalize Medical Marijuana Filed in South Carolina

Legislation to legalize medical marijuana has been filed in South Carolina’s House of Representatives.

House Bill 3272 was filed by Representatives Todd Rutherford (D) and Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D), and has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. The measure would legalize the medical use and possession of marijuana by those with a qualifying medical condition who receive a recommendation from a physician. This includes legalizing a system of licensed dispensaries.

Under the proposed law, patients or their caregiver would be allowed to possess up to two ounces of marijuana, and could grow up to six plants (three of which can be mature).

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Enough Signatures Submitting in Denver to Put Magic Mushrooms Initiative on November Ballot

Proponents of an initiative to decriminalize the possession and use of magic mushrooms in Denver have submitted enough signatures to put the measure to a vote of the people.

The group Decriminalize Denver submitted over 8,000  signatures today for their initiative, well more than the 4,726 required to make the November general election ballot. However, the Denver Election Division must now verify that enough of the 8,000+ signatures are valid (from registered Denver voters) before the measure can be officially placed on the ballot; they have 25 days to do so.

The proposal would make psilocybin mushrooms (A.K.A “magic mushrooms” – psilocybin is the psychoactive ingredient found within them) the lowest law enforcement priority for those 21 and older, similar to what Seattle did for cannabis in 2009 (three years prior to cannabis being legalized). More importantly, the initiative would prohibit the city – including law enforcement – from using any funds to impose penalties on those who use and possess personal amounts of psilocybin.

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Study: CBD May Enhance Treatment Efficiacy in Glioblastoma Multiforme (Brain Tumor)

CBD may “act as an adjunct to enhance treatment efficacy” in glioblastoma multiforme, which is “the most common and aggressive form of primary malignant brain tumor in adults”, according to a study published by the journal Translational Oncology.

“Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and aggressive form of primary malignant brain tumor in adults, with poor prognosis”, states the study’s abstract. “Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are key-mediators for cellular communication through transfer of proteins and genetic material. Cancers, such as GBM, use EV release for drug-efflux, pro-oncogenic signaling, invasion and immunosuppression; thus the modulation of EV release and cargo is of considerable clinical relevance.”

As EV-inhibitors have been shown to increase sensitivity of cancer cells to chemotherapy, “and we recently showed that cannabidiol (CBD) is such an EV-modulator”, researchers “investigated whether CBD affects EV profile in GBM cells in the presence and absence of temozolomide (TMZ).” Compared to controls, “CBD-treated cells released EVs containing lower levels of pro-oncogenic miR21 and increased levels of anti-oncogenic miR126; these effects were greater than with TMZ alone. In addition, prohibitin (PHB), a multifunctional protein with mitochondrial protective properties and chemoresistant functions, was reduced in GBM cells following 1 h CBD treatment.”

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Washington State Governor to Pardon Marijuana Convictions, to Effect Around 3,500 People

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced today that he plans to allow for the pardon of thousands of people convicted of marijuana possession charges.

Governor Inslee made the announcement at a cannabis industry summit in SeaTac, saying that he was creating an expedited process that would allow about 3,500 people to apply for and receive a pardon without having to hire a lawyer or go to court.

“We have people who have this burden on their shoulders from a simple, one-time marijuana possession from maybe 20 years ago, and that’s impeding the ability of people to live their lives,” Inslee said in an interview. “It can damage their ability to get financing for a home; it can damage their ability to get financing for colleges, even simple things like going on a field trip with your kids.

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Study: Marijuana Use Associated With Lower BMI, Smaller Waist to Hip Ratio, and Better Cholesterol Levels

Long-term marijuana use is associated with lower BMI (body mass index) and cardiometabolic risk factors, according to a new study published by the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, and epublished by the National Institute of Health.

(Photo: Harvard.edu).

The study, titled Associations between cannabis use and cardiometabolic risk factors: A longitudinal study of men, “tested longitudinal associations between cannabis use and cardiometabolic risk factors that underlie the development of cardiovascular diseases.”

Participants were men from the youngest cohort of the Pittsburgh Youth Study who were followed prospectively from approximately age 7 to 32. Frequency of cannabis use was assessed yearly from ~ages 12-20 and again at ~ages 26, 29, and 32. The following cardiometabolic risk factors were assessed during a laboratory visit at age ~32: “BMI, WHR, HDL and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose, HOMA-IR, blood pressure, interleukin 6, and C-reactive protein.”

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