Legal Marijuana Sales Now Underway in Uruguay Pharmacies

Legal marijuana sales are underway in Uruguay, the first country to officially legalize the plant for retail sale.

As of today (June 19) in Uruguay, marijuana is being sold in pharmacies throughout the country. As part of the country’s marijuana laws, those 18 and older are authorized to purchase up to 40 grams of marijuana for personal use. In order to combat the black-market, cannabis is being sold tax-free at roughly $1.50 a gram, exponentially cheaper than the price of marijuana in the eight U.S. states that have legalized the plant (where prices range from $10 to $18 a gram).

As part of the new law, first approved in 2013, marijuana clubs where up to 45 members can collectively produce up to 99 plants are also allowed. In addition, anyone 18 and older is authorized to grow up to six cannabis plants at a private residence, for personal use. Regulation for the new industry are overseen by the Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis.

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Colorado has Garnered Over Half a Billion Dollars in New Revenue Since Start of Marijuana Legalization

Colorado has garnered over half a billion dollars in marijuana-related revenue since legal sales began in 2014, according to a new analysis of state data released Wednesday by Denver-based VS Strategies.

The report — which can be found by clicking here — details the sources of the revenue and provides a snapshot of how it is being distributed.

“Legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana for adult use has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue for Colorado,” says Mason Tvert of VS Strategies (Tvert previously worked for the Marijuana Policy Project). “Marijuana tax money has been used to improve a wide range of programs and services. It is funding everything from school construction to substance abuse treatment to fighting homelessness. While it might not fix every school or help every person who needs it, it is having a significant and positive impact on our community.”

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New Hampshire Governor Signs Bill Decriminalizing Marijuana and Hash

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed a bill into law Tuesday that decriminalizes the possession of marijuana and hash.

The new law – which decriminalizes the possession of up to three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana, and ip to five grams of hash – officially goes into effect in 60 days, making New Hampshire the 22nd state in the nation to eliminate the possibility of jail time for simple marijuana possession.

“The governor deserves credit for his steadfast support of this commonsense reform,” said Matt Simon, the Manchester-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Unlike his predecessors, who opposed similar proposals, Gov. Sununu appears to understand that ‘Live Free or Die’ is more than just a motto on a license plate.

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Alaska Officials Vote to Allow On-Site Consumption of Marijuana at Retail Outlets

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board’s has voted 3 to 2 to establish rules allowing marijuana to be consumed on-site at licensed retail outlets.

The approved proposal includes a specific set of rules and guidelines that would make Alaska the first state where on-site consumption of recreational marijuana is allowed at retail outlets. These include requiring ventilation, and limiting the amount of marijuana can be consumed. Approval of the rules will open up a 60-day public comment period.

At the meeting board member Brandon Emmett cited news stories about tourists coming to the state, purchasing marijuana and then having nowhere to legally consume it; this is because smoking in public remains illegal, and many hotels don’t allow it. He also brought up the Anchorage Assembly’s passage of a resolution that urges the board to allow consumption of cannabis in pot shops.

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MA Supreme Court Rules Women Fired for Medical Marijuana can Sue for Discrimination

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has unanimously ruled in favor of a woman fired for medical marijuana.

Cannabis Becomes Legal TonightThe ruling, according to Reuters, allows the woman to sue the company for handicap discrimination based on her firing.

In their ruling, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected the former employer’s argument that she could not sue it for handicap discrimination because possessing marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Lawyers for the former employee, Christina Barbuto, said the ruling represents a major win for employees in the state and sets precedent that will likely have an effect on medical marijuana states.

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Legal Marijuana Sales Begin this Week in Uruguay

This week Uruguay will officially begin legal sales of marijuana for those 18 and older, over three and a half years after the law legalizing the plant was initially approved by lawmakers.

The legalization of marijuana was first proposed by former-President José Mujica in 2012 as part of a comprehensive package of proposals aimed at improving public safety. Uruguay’s parliament gave final approval to the measure in December 2013, making Uruguay the first country in the world to fully legalize cannabis for retail distribution. This week – over 3.5 years later – legal sales will finally begin.

“This is a historic moment,” says Hannah Hetzer, Senior International Policy Manager at the Drug Policy Alliance. “In recent years, Latin American leaders have decried the staggering human, environmental and financial costs of the War on Drugs in their region. Uruguay is boldly demonstrating that concrete alternatives to failed prohibitionist policies are possible.”

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Colorado Court Rules Smell of Marijuana Not Enough to Search Vehicle

Drug-sniffing police dogs in Colorado may need new training if they can detect marijuana, after a ruling last week by the Colorado Court of Appeals that sets a new precedent for drug cases.

A three-judge panel agreed that if a drug-sniffing dog is trained to alert officers to marijuana and other drugs, cops need more cause to search a vehicle without permission.

The decision came out of a 2015 case in Moffat County, where a drug-sniffing dog named Kilo alerted officers to the presence of an illegal drug in a truck driven by Craig resident Kevin McKnight, The Grand Junction Sentinel reported.

But because Kilo could not tell officers whether he smelled cannabis or other drugs, the search was illegal, judges wrote. The dog was trained to identify to detect cocaine, heroin, Esctasy, methamphetamine and marijuana. Marijuana possession by adults over 21 is legal in Colorado.

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California Assembly Committee Votes Unanimously to Urge Federal Rescheduling of Marijuana

A joint resolution asking Congress to reschedule marijuana on the federal level has been passed unanimously by the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

Senate Joint Resolution 5 was passed by the Assembly Public Safety Committee yesterday with a 7 to 0 vote. In April the resolution was given approval by the state’s full Senate with an overwhelming – though not quite unanimous – vote of 34 to 2.

The resolution “formally requests the United States Congress to pass a law to reschedule cannabis, marijuana, and its derivatives from a Schedule I drug, and for the President of the United States to sign such legislation”.

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U.S. Senate Committee Approves Allowing Medical Marijuana for Veterans

The United States Senate Appropriations Committee has approved an amendment that allows Veterans Affairs (VA) physicians to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in states where the medicine has been legalized.

The amendment was approved with a bipartisan 24 to 7 vote (with even a majority of Republicans voting in favor, 9 to 7); it’s attached to a larger spending bill that funds the VA. The amendment allows VA doctors to recommend medical cannabis to patients in states where its legal, changing current policy which prohibits “V.A. providers from completing forms seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a Veteran’s participation in a State marijuana program.”

Last year a similar amendment was passed by a 20 to 10 vote, following by a 233 to 189 vote in the House. However, the amendment was eventually removed from the larger bill it was attached to before becoming law.
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Study: THC May Help Prevent HIV from Becoming AIDS

According to a new study being published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS), and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health, Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may help prevent the progression from HIV infection to the development of AIDS.

“Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) play a crucial role in host antiviral immune response through secretion of type I interferon”, states the study’s abstract. “[P]rolonged pDC activity has been linked with progression from HIV infection to the development of AIDS.”

The study states that; “Patients with HIV in the United States routinely use cannabinoid-based therapies to combat the side effects of HIV infection and antiretroviral therapy. However, cannabinoids, including Δ-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), are well-characterized immunosuppressants.” In this study, researchers report that “THC suppressed secretion of IFNα by pDC from both healthy and HIV+ donors through a mechanism involving impaired phosphorylation of interferon regulatory factor 7.” These results suggest that “THC can suppress pDC function during the early host antiviral response by dampening pDC activation.”

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