Smokeable Medical Marijuana Bill Passed by Florida Senate

Florida’s full Senate on Thursday passed a bill to repeal the state’s ban on smokeable medical marijuana.

The Senate passed Senate Bill 182 by a vote of 34 to 4, reports the Orlando Sentinel. The measure would allow medical marijuana patients to smoke marijuana, which was legalized by voters before being prohibited by lawmakers.

“Marijuana is now medicine in the state of Florida and how that medicine is administered should be between their doctor and that patient,” said Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Lighthouse Point.

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Report: Over 200,000 Full-Time Jobs Created by State-Legal Marijuana Businesses

Marijuana businesses that are legal under their state’s law hired 64,000 new employees in 2018, and now employs over 200,000 full-time workers, according to data compiled by Whitney Economics and Leafly.com.

The report, entitled Cannabis Jobs Count, identifies some 211,000 full-time jobs in the legal cannabis sector. This total increases to 296,000 jobs when ancillary employers are also included.

By comparison, 112,000 Americans are estimated to currently work in the textile industry, while only about 52,000 people are employed by the coal mining industry.

“[T]he legal cannabis industry remains a substantial and unrecognized engine of grassroots job creation,” authors concluded. “In fact, cannabis job growth is proceeding at double digit rates in many states despite being overtaxed locally and heavily penalized at the federal level.”

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Legislation to Regulate and Tax Marijuana in Vermont Passes Senate With Veto-proof Majority

A legislative proposal to tax and regulate marijuana for adult use in Vermont third and final reading in the Vermont Senate Friday with a veto-proof majority; the vote was 23 to 5.

The measure now moves to the Vermont House of Representatives for consideration. Passage in the House would send it to Governor Phill Scott for consideration.

Senate Bill 54, sponsored by 15 of the state’s 30 senators, would create a system of regulated marijuana production and sales for adult use in Vermont, reports the Marijuana Policy Project in a press release. Retail sales would be subject to a 10 percent tax, and municipalities could establish a 1 percent local option tax if they host a retailer. Under the proposal, oversight of the medical cannabis program would be shifted from the Department of Safety to a new independent commission beginning January 1, 2021. It would also change the word “marijuana” to “cannabis” throughout state statutes. A detailed summary of S. 54 is available at http://bit.ly/Vermont-S54.

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Study: Cannabinoids May Be An Effective Adjunct Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer

Cannabinoids “may be an effective adjunct for the treatment of pancreatic cancer”, according to a new study.

The study, titled Potential Use of Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer, was published by the Journal of Pancreatic Cancer, and has been epublished by the National Institute of Health.

“Cannabinoid extracts may have anticancer properties, which can improve cancer treatment outcomes”, begins the study’s abstract. “The aim of this review is to determine the potentially utility of cannabinoids in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.”

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New Hampshire House Committee Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill

A key committee in New Hampshire’s House of Representatives has given approval to legislation that would legalize marijuana for those 21 and older.

House Bill 481 was passed last week by the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee by a vote of 10 to 9. The measure now moves towards a vote by the full House of Representatives. It will need to pass the House, and then the Senate, before it can be sent to Governor Chris Sununu for consideration.

Under the proposed law, those 21 and older would be allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use. They could also grow up to six marijuana plants (or 12 per household if there’s more than one resident).

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Marijuana Banking Bill Passed by West Virginia House of Delegates

Legislation that would protect banks who provide services to medical marijuana businesses has been passed by the full West Virginia House of Delegates.

House Bill 2538 was overwhelmingly approved by the House, with 89 members voting in favor and just seven voting in opposition. The measure, which was introduced by Delegate Eric Nelson (R), now moves to the Senate. Passage in the Senate would put it before Governor Jim Justice for consideration.

“The Legislature finds and declares that the inability to provide banking services needed to collect and remit the fees, penalties, and taxes authorized under the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act has delayed the implementation and is precluding access by the patients and investment by the persons and entities interested in providing services under the Act”, states the bill’s official text. “The purpose of this section is to provide a solution to the banking problems encountered by the state in connection with the Act.”

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World Health Organization Expert Committee Calls For Changes In Cannabis’ International Classification

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence have proposed amending the classification of cannabis under international law.

According to reporting in the British Medical Journal, the WHO policy reversal “takes account of the growing evidence for the medical applications of the drug,” and marks the first time that the agency has reviewed its stance on cannabis in nearly 60 years.

The recommended changes, outlined in a letter by WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and reported on by NORML, call for cannabis to be removed from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Schedule IV is the most restrictive classification under the treaty. Instead, the committee advises that whole-plant cannabis and THC be designated as Schedule I controlled substances under international law.

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Legislation to Legalize Marijuana Passed by New Mexico Committee

Legislation that would legalize marijuana for everyone 21 and older has been passed by a key House committee in New Mexico.

The House Health and Human Services Committee passed House Bill 356 by a vote of 5 to 2, with all of the “Yes” votes coming from Democrats.

“Prohibition simply does not work, and the country is coming to the realization of that”, said Representative Antonio Maestas, one of the bill’s sponsors.

The measure would allow those 21 and older to possess and grow personal amounts of marijuana. They would be authorized to purchase the plant from a licensed retail outlet.

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Hawaii Committee Unanimously Approves Bill to Legalize Marijuana

Legislation to legalize marijuana for everyone 21 and older has been unanimously passed by its initial committee in Hawaii’s Legislature.

Hawaii Senate Bill 686 was introduced by Senator Kalani English (D) along with 11 cosponsors.  According to its official summary, the measure “Legalizes the personal use, possession, and sale of marijuana in a specified quantity” and “Requires licensing to operate marijuana establishments”.

The measure sets the possession limit at one ounce. It would also allow for the personal cultivation of six marijuana plants, up to three of which can be mature. In addition, the measure establishes a licensed and regulated system of marijuana businesses.

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Study: Marijuana Consumption Linked to Increased Sperm Count

Men who have consumed marijuana have higher sperm counts than those who have never used it, according to a new study published in the February 6th issue of the journal Human Reproduction.

This longitudinal study “included 662 subfertile men enrolled at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center between 2000 and 2017.” The men “provided a total of 1143 semen samples; 317 men also provided blood samples in which we measured reproductive hormones.”

Researchers found that “Men who had ever smoked marijuana had higher sperm concentration and count and lower serum FSH [follicle stimulating hormone] concentrations than men who had never smoked marijuana; no differences were observed between current and past marijuana smokers.”

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