Montana Cannabis Legalization Initiative Gains Approval from State

montanaMontana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch has given approval to the cannabis legalization measure Initiative 178, giving advocates the green light to begin gathering signatures in an attempt to put the initiative to a vote of the people.

Supporters must now collect signatures from at least 5% of registered voters in each of the state’s 34 House districts; these equals a minimum of 24,175 signatures, which would place the initiative on the 2016 general election ballot.

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Legislation to Legalize Hemp Passes New Jersey Committee

hempTwo bills to legalize the cultivation and distribution of hemp, while establishing a hemp grower’s license, have been passed out of New Jersey’s Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee. Assemblymember Anthony Bucco (R-25) was the sole no vote.

“More than 20 industrial hemp-producing countries worldwide each generate millions of dollars in revenue selling everything from fabrics to personal care products made from one of the world’s oldest crops,” said Assemblymember Reed Guscoria (D-15), who sponsored the two bills. “We cannot continue to allow misconceptions about the hemp industry to govern decision-making when an opportunity to create good jobs and expand our economy is on the line.”

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In Three Weeks, First-Time Cannabis Possession Will be Decriminalized in Texas’ Most Populous County

Harris County is the most populous county in Texas, and the third most populous county in the entire United States. Beginning on January 1st – three weeks from tomorrow most populous county– those in the county caught possessing up to two ounces of cannabis for the first time will no longer be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor that could land them in prison for up to 6 months; instead, they’ll be given a citation and mandated to attend a diversion program (which is still annoying, but clearly much better than prison).

The new policy – called the First Chance Intervention Program – is being put in place by Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, who is moving forth with the change despite widespread criticism from his colleagues in law enforcement.

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Largest Study Ever on Cannabis and Epilepsy Finds it Can Help Treat the Condition

epilepsy
A bottle of cannabis tincture.

The largest study ever conducted on cannabis and epilepsy was presented this week at the American Epilepsy Society’s annual meeting in Philadelphia.

For the study, 313 children from 16 different epilepsy centers around the United States were put on a regimen of the cannabis compound cannabidiol. After a three-month period, 261 of these children had the amount of convulsive seizures (also called grand mal or tonic-clonic seizures) they experience reduced by an average of nearly half, while experiencing little to no side effects.

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Government Study Finds Majority in Treatment for Cannabis Were Forced Into it

jointA new government-funded study conducted and released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has found that a majority of those in treatment for cannabis were forced into it by the criminal justice system, rather than being voluntarily admitted.

According to the data, less than one in five who are in treatment centers for cannabis were admitted voluntarily or were referred by someone else, while 52% were referred by the criminal justice system. Among these referrals, 44.1% were referred by parole or probation officers, 16.2% were referred by courts, and 2.2% were referred by prisons.

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