Study: Strong Majority of Hospice Professionals Support Medical Marijuana

A large majority of hospice  professionals support medical marijuana, according to a new study published in The Journal of Palliative Medicine and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

For the study – titled A survey of hospice professional regarding medical cannabis practices – researchers surveyed a nationally representative sample of 310 hospice professionals (primarily nurses) from 40 states. 91% of respondents said that they endorse medical marijuana for hospice patients. In addition, 90% stated that they have fielded questions from patients regarding medical marijuana, and 73% said that they’ve had a patient who has used it.

The study states that “[R]egardless of legal status, hospice staff overwhelmingly support patient access to MC (medical cannabis). Those who practice in states where MC is not yet legal wish that it was.”

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New Mexico Adds Opioid Use Disorder and Other Ailments as Qualifying Medical Marijuana Condition

New Mexico health officials on Thursday expanded the list of qualifying conditions for the state’s medical cannabis program to include opioid use disorder and several others, reports the Associated Press.

In addition to adding opioid use disorder, officials added Alzheimer’s disease, autism spectrum disorder and three degenerative neurological disorders.

First-year Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), a former state health secretary, campaigned on a pledge to open up the medical marijuana program to people struggling with opioid use and addiction after the previous administration rejected petitions for the change.

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Presence Of THC In Blood is Not Associated With Crash Culpability, Finds Study

According to a new study, drivers who test positive for THC do not possess a significantly increased risk of being responsible for a non-fatal motor vehicle accident.

For the study, researchers at the University of British Columbia compared the likelihood of crash responsibility in drivers testing positive for THC and/or other substances as compared to drug-free drivers over a six-year period (2010 to 2016).

As reported on by NORML, the state found that, “In this multi-site observational study of non-fatally injured drivers, we found no increase in crash risk, after adjustment for age, sex, and use of other impairing substances, in drivers with THC<5ng/ml. For drivers with THC>5ngml there may be an increased risk of crash responsibility, but this result was statistically non-significant and further study is required. … Our findings … suggest that the impact of cannabis on road safety is relatively small at present time.”

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Study: Medical Marijuana Legalization Associated With Lower Opioid Prescription Rates

According to a new study published by the journal Preventive Medicine, medical marijuana legalization is associated with reduced opioid prescription rates.

The study, titled “Association between cannabis laws and opioid prescriptions among privately insured adults in the US,” analyzed how different cannabis laws influenced the rate of opioid prescriptions among adults from different age groups in 2016.

According to High Times, who first reported on the study, researchers examined the relationships between a few different variables. First, age, breaking it up into five groups, 18-25, 26-35, 36-45, 46-55, and 56-64 years. Second, changes in state cannabis law, whether decriminalization, medical legalization, or adult-use legalization. And third, the pattern and rate of opioid prescriptions, broken down into greater than 30-day and greater than 90-day prescriptions.

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Illinois Senate Approves Bill to Legalize Marijuana

Legislation to legalize marijuana for everyone 21 and older has been passed in an overwhelming vote by the Illinois Senate.

The Illinois Senate voted Wednesday to pass the bill, sending it to the House for consideration with just a couple days left in the legislative session. The vote was 38 to 17, with just two Republicans voting in favor, reports the Associated Press.

“This bill is going to set the model, I believe, the gold standard for how to approach social equity issues, relating (to) cannabis legalization,” Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, the bill’s chief sponsor, said in her closing statement on the Senate floor.

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Over 150 Athletes Sign Letter to World Anti-Doping Agency Asking for Removal of Marijuana from Prohibited List

Over 150 current and former athletes have signed a letter that’s been sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency, asking them to remove marijuana from its list of prohibited substances.

Mike Tyson (Photo: Biography.com).

Retired NFL players Jake Plummer and Ricky Williams, famed boxer Mike Tyson and cyclist Floyd Landis are among the athletes who submitted the letter through Athletes for CARE, a nonprofit organization that advocates for marijuana research to treat a variety of ailments.

“Athletes for CARE is proud to have such a strong network of respected athletes campaigning for the removal of cannabis from the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited substance list,” Anna Symonds, a rugby player and Athletes for CARE representative, said in a statement. “We’re also calling on fans to show their support online via our Change.org petition.”

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California is Moving Forward With a Plan to Establish Marijuana Banks

The Associated Press is reporting that California is quickly moving forward with a plan to establish a system of banks to work with the marijuana industry which is legal under state law, but illegal under federal law.

Given that legal marijuana businesses are shut out of the traditional banking system by federal laws, proponents of the new push argue that they would benefit if the state approves a measure creating a special class of banks to handle pot money.

The state Senate voted 35 to 1 on Tuesday to pass a bill that would allow people to start banks and credit unions that could accept cash deposits from marijuana retailers.

Vermont and New Hampshire May Delay Votes on Marijuana Proposals

Marijuana legalization measures in both Vermont and New Hampshire have hit a roadblock, reports the Associated Press.

In Vermont, marijuana has been legal since July 1, 2018, when a lawmaker-approved measure took effect. However, the law established no legal means of actually purchasing marijuana (they are the only state to legalize marijuana without allowing marijuana retail outlets).

The Vermont Senate passed a tax and regulate proposal earlier this session, as noted by the AP, but it won’t be acted upon in the House before January. Meanwhile, a legalization bill in New Hampshire could end up similarly delayed.

Arkansas First Ever Medical Marijuana Dispensary Now Open

The first legal medical marijuana dispensary in state history is now open in Arkansas.

It took 2.5 years after voters legalized the medicine, but Arkansas’ first medical marijuana dispensary opened its doors on Saturday, reports the Associated Press.

Doctor’s Orders RX in Hot Springs was the first dispensary to be officially licensed by the state, and it is currently the only one operating. It sold marijuana to a patient Friday to test its software and officially opened Saturday.

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