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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Washington Senate Committee Passes Bill to Allow Patients to Buy Medical Marijuana Tax Free

Legislation in Washington State to allow qualified medical marijuana patients to purchase their medicine tax free has been passed by the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.

Senate Bill 5234 was filed by Senator Karen Keiser (D) along with a bipartisan group of three other lawmakers. It was passed by the Labor and Commerce Committee today, sending it towards a vote by the full Senate.

The measure states that “Qualifying patients or designated providers who have been issued a recognition card, are exempt from the 37 percent excise tax on purchases of marijuana concentrates, useable marijuana, or marijuana-infused products, if the products have been identified by DOH as beneficial for medical use and are purchased from a marijuana retailer with a medical marijuana endorsement.”

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Oregon Garnered Over $107 Million in Marijuana Taxes in 2018

Oregon brought in over $107 million in taxes from the legal sale of marijuana and marijuana products in 2018.

According to data released by the Oregon Department of Revenue, the state made $107,777, 721 in 2018 from marijuana taxes. This is significantly higher than the roughly $68 million made in 2017, and the $60 million garnered in 2016 (the first year of legal sales).

Of the $107 million in marijuana taxes Oregon earned in 2018,  $94,226,985 came from the statewide tax on marijuana (17%). The remaining $13,550,736 came from local taxes, which vary from city to city but can exceed 3%.

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For Sixth Straight Year, Super Bowl Features Team from a Legal Marijuana State

As the National Football League (NFL) continues its hard-line stance on marijuana, which includes punishing players even if they’re using medical marijuana legally under their state’s law, it’s worth noting that this is the sixth straight year where the Super Bowl has featured at least one team from a state where marijuana is legal for all purposes.

This year’s Super Bowl LIII features the New England Patriots playing against the Los Angeles Rams. Both teams are located in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use (Massachusetts and California). This is the sixth consecutive year – dating back to 2014 – where at least one of the Super Bowl teams are located within a legal marijuana state.

Let’s recap:

Last year’s Super Bowl featured the Philadelphia Eagles vs. the New England Patriots.  As just-mentioned the Patriots are from a legal marijuana state. 2017’s Super Bowl also included the Patriots (against the Atlanta Falcons).

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Washington Committee Passes Bill to Allow Medical Marijuana at Schools

Legislation to allow students to use medical marijuana on school groups (including school buses) has been passed by its initial committee in the Washington State House of Representatives.

Cannabis tincture.

House Bill 1095 was filed by Representative Brian Blake (D) and is cosponsored by Representatives Jim Walsh (R) and Laurie Jenkins (D). It was passed today by the House Committee on Health Care & Wellness, sending it to a vote by the full House.

The measire “Requires a school district to permit a student who meets certain requirements to consume marijuana concentrates for medical purposes on school grounds, aboard a school bus, or while attending a school-sponsored event.”

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Study: CBD May Help Treat Alcohol Use Disorder

Cannabidiol shows promise as a potential treatment option for alcohol use disorder, according to a new study published by the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, and epublished by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

“There is substantial interest in the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in plants of the genus Cannabis”, begins the abstract of the study. “The goal of the current systematic review was to characterize the existing literature on this topic and to evaluate the credibility of CBD as a candidate pharmacotherapy for alcohol use disorder (AUD).”

Using a comprehensive search strategy, “303 unique potential articles were identified and 12 ultimately met criteria for inclusion (8 using rodent models, 3 using healthy adult volunteers, and 1 using cell culture).” In both rodent and cell culture models, “CBD was found to exert a neuroprotective effect against adverse alcohol consequences on the hippocampus.” In rodent models, “CBD was found to attenuate alcohol-induced hepatotoxicity, specifically, alcohol-induced steatosis.”

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