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In the United States, stress is one of the most common mental health problems. In 2017, more than 77 percent of American citizens reported feeling stressed on a regular basis, and a third said they were living with extreme stress every day. Unfortunately, the future outlook isn’t much better, nearly half the nation said they believed their stress had increased significantly over the last five years.
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An Alaska credit union has joined the growing ranks of state-chartered financial institutions to announce plans to serve the legal cannabis industry.
Credit Union 1 – a 66-year-old, Anchorage-based business – announced Thursday it is kicking off a pilot program to provide financial services to the state’s approved marijuana-related businesses – otherwise dubbed MRBs.
“Since 2014, when marijuana was legalized in Alaska, the lack of financial services for MRBs has flooded local streets with cash, resulting in a community safety issue,” the credit union explained in a news release.
Only legally operating MRBs will be served, the credit union noted – adding that those firms’ accounts “will be under constant, comprehensive monitoring by our compliance team to ensure all aspects of their businesses stay legal.”“Credit Union 1 hopes to help relieve this is issue by providing financial services to MRBs.”
Earlier this week, Ohio-based Wright Patt Credit Union announced plans to offer limited financial services to licensed medical marijuana operators in the Buckeye State.
The first FDA-approved, cannabinoid-based pharmaceutical drug is now for sale in the U.S.
After clearing all regulatory requirements, GW Pharmaceuticals’ CBD-based drug Epidiolex is now available in all 50 states. Although the U.S. government is now allowing this drug to be sold, the federal government still classifies actual cannabis as a Schedule I illegal substance.
Epidiolex Available by Prescription
Epidiolex is a seizure medication derived from cannabinoids that are naturally occurring in the cannabis plant. In particular, the drug is designed for patients 2-years-old and up. It is meant to treat two specific types of epilepsy: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Now that Epidiolex has received all necessary approvals, it is essentially treated as any other pharmaceutical drug. That means that patients with a prescription will be able to buy it. And GW Pharmaceuticals expects the drug to be covered by most insurance plans.
Notably, the drug will now be available to all patients regardless if they live in a medical marijuana state.
This is not the first time Epidiolex has made headlines. In fact, the drug’s move through the regulatory process has attracted a decent amount of attention.
For starters, an advisory committee recommended Epidiolex for approval back in April. That approval came relatively quickly when the FDA approved it in June.
Then, Epidiolex cleared the last remaining roadblocks in September. That month, the U.S. Department of Justice and the DEA both gave the drug the approvals needed to move it into the market.
Interestingly, while Epidiolex was given Schedule V status, actual marijuana–from which Epidiolex is derived—remains a Schedule I drug. That category is reserved for “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”
Raising Questions in Medical Marijuana Community
For many in the medical marijuana community, Epidiolex’s relatively quick move into the market is not necessarily a thing to be celebrated. For starters, there are a lot of questions about why this pharmaceutical drug is approved as legal while actual cannabis—including THCand CBD—remains illegal.
Similarly, many have concerns over the price of the new drug. According to CNN, Epidiolex will cost $32,500 a year. And while GW Pharmaceuticals insists that price is in keeping with other anti-seizure medications, many are concerned by the high price point especially compared to regular medical marijuana.
In particular, Epidiolex has become a moment to question why marijuana—which can be grown and produced for much cheaper than an expensive pharmaceutical drug—is still illegal.
For some, the government’s willingness to approve a much more expensive pharmaceutical drug has the appearance of corporate favoritism.
And this is not the first time that there has been tension between pharmaceutical companies and the marijuana legalization movement.
Last year, Insys Therapeutics received DEA approval to develop its own synthetic marijuana drug. The part that really rubbed the medical marijuana community the wrong way is that Insys was also one of the largest single donors to a campaign to keep marijuana illegal in Arizona.
In both of these cases, there are suspicions about the seeming collusion between government agencies and “big pharma.” Simply put: the government seems much more willing to let large pharmaceutical companies like these push their marijuana-based drugs onto the market instead of simply allowing patients to access medical marijuana directly.
Researchers have discovered that a compound found in certain species of moss-like plants called liverworts has properties similar to THC from cannabis. Jürg Gertsch of the University of Bern in Switzerland and a team of researchers recently published their findings in the journal Scientific Advances.
Some species in the liverwort genus Radula produce a substance known as perrottetinene, or PET, a chemical first discovered in 1994. Gertsch and his team have determined that PET is very similar in both structure and effect to THC.
‘Legal High’ Available Online
In their report on the study, the researchers noted that one species of the plant native to New Zealand and Tasmania, R. marginata, was being collected in the wild and dried for sale on the internet as a legal high. The team was able to obtain samples of the plant for their research from incense sellers, Gertsch reported.
Daniele Piomelli is a professor of anatomy and neurobiology at the University of California, Irvine, who was not involved in the study. He applauded the team’s work in an interview with Scientific American.
“Curiosity-driven research can lead to interesting results,” said Piomelli. “This is solid work, very credible, showing that this type of liverwort contains compounds that are akin both in structure and pharmaceutical activity to psychoactive cannabinoids in the cannabis plant.”
To conduct their study, the scientists synthesized PET based on the samples they had obtained. They then compared the action of PET to THC and found it bound to the same receptor sites in brain cell membranes. It was also found that both THC and PET were inactive at other specific receptor sites.
Lab Mice Stoned on PET
The researchers also discovered that PET and THC had similar effects when administered to lab mice, although PET was less potent. The mice moved more slowly and had a lower body temperature when under the effects of both substances.
But the team of scientists also noted a difference in how the two chemicals affect prostaglandins, molecules associated with inflammation. PET lowered levels of prostaglandins, while THC did not. Michael Schafroth, a postdoctoral researcher at The Scripps Research Institute and one of the study’s co-authors, said that these chemicals are involved in several biological processes.
Potential Medicinal Value
“These prostaglandins are involved in many processes (such as) memory loss, neuroinflammation, hair loss, and vasoconstriction,” Schafroth said. That makes PET “highly interesting for medicinal applications, as we can expect fewer adverse effects while still having pharmacologically important effects.”
Because of its lower potency and the increasing availability of legal cannabis, Radula probably is not a viable product for recreational uses. But mosses and similar plants, collectively known as bryophytes, might offer undiscovered pharmacological opportunities. Further research into the properties of PET could lead to treatments for inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis, according to Gertsch.
“To date, bryophytes are a bit neglected in terms of bio-prospecting,” said Gertsch. “I think this is a great example that liverworts can generate natural products of relevance to humans.”
However, because bryophytes do not reproduce from seeds, “the cultivation and reproduction of Radula species containing the cannabinoid might be challenging,” Gertsch said.
Cannabis legalization goes before the voters in a number of states on Nov. 6. This year’s highlights:
Michigan and North Dakota will decide statewide measures on the legalization of adult-use cannabis.
Utah and Missouri will consider medical marijuana legalization initiatives.
Other states will consider smaller reforms or advisory measures, including Ohio and Wisconsin.
Leafly’s political staff will continually update this page with the latest poll numbers, financial contributions, and election data. Follow our campaign features and expanded coverage at Leafly Politics.
16 Counties Will Vote On Cannabis Policy. Some On Medical, Some On Adult Use. All Will Be Non-Binding, Advisory Votes Only.
Statewide Ballot Measures
Proposal 18-1, Adult Use
Prop 18-1 would legalize cannabis for adults 21 or older. The measure would allow flower, concentrates, and cannabis-infused edibles, as well as homegrow (up to 12 plants) for personal consumption. Possession limits: 10 ounces of cannabis flower. Local opt-out would be allowed, giving local municipalities the ability to ban or severely restrict cannabis businesses. A 10% cannabis tax would be imposed on retail sales. That revenue would be devoted to regulatory costs, clinical research, schools, roads, and municipalities where cannabis businesses are located.
Who’s backing the initiative: The MI Legalize 2018 campaign includes buy-in from the Coalition To Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, Michigan NORML, the ACLU, the Drug Policy Alliance, the Marijuana Policy Project, the marijuana law section of the State Bar Association, and other groups. That amount of unity is unusual for a legalization campaign–and indicative of the organizational power behind the movement in Michigan.
Amendment2,Medical (New Approach Missouri) Amendment 3, Medical (Ben Bradshaw) Proposition C, Medical (Travis Brown)
Yes, Missouri has three competing measures on the same ballot. That’s the bad news. The good news: It’s pretty easy to differentiate between them. Amendment 2 is the grassroots standard MMJ measure. Amendment 3 and Proposition C are one-off attempts by individuals to pass measures that may or may not benefit them personally.
The latest: The wild cards in this race are, of course, Brad Bradshaw and Travis H. Brown, authors of the two off-brand initiatives. Bradshaw, a physician and personal injury lawyer based in Springfield, is essentially running a one-man “Ohio ’15” campaign, whereby he would control all the tax revenue generated by the state’s MMJ system. After getting his measure on the ballot, he then sued to knock the competing measures off the ballot. The courts tossed the case in early September.
Brown, a public affairs lobbyist, is keeping a lower profile, but St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Tony Messenger has accused Brown of being a stalking horse for a group of silent financial partners tied to St. Louis County Executive Steve Senger. According to Messenger, Prop C’s language grants local municipal authorities like Senger wide zoning and regulatory power to determine who gets the licenses to grow and sell medical cannabis.
Mo. Gov Mike Parson on medical marijuana questions on November ballot: “I think it has a good chance of passing”. Says might be tough for voters to pick between the 3 MedPot Questions. Says he has not focused on it personally. #MikeParson#Missourimedicalmarijuana#kmbc
The odds: “I think it has a good chance of passing,” Gov. Mike Parson said of medical cannabis legalization, in an interview with KMBC’s Micheal Mahoney on Sept. 5. Of course, Parson didn’t say which version of legalization he believes will carry the day.
With Measure 3, it feels like the state’s legalization advocates decided to roll the dice on a tomato-plant initiative,* the kind of measure envisioned by the cannabis pioneer Jack Herer. Measure 3 would remove “hashish, marijuana, and tetrahydrocannabinols” from the state’s list of Schedule I substances, and prohibit prosecution of anyone over 21 for any non-violent cannabis related activity (including growing, processing, selling, or testing), except for the sale of cannabis to a person under 21. The measure would also require the automatic expungement of prior cannabis arrests and convictions.
What Measure 3 would not do is regulate cannabis in any way. There’s no mention of licensing. There are no limits on possession. North Dakotans could stack it like hay bales in the barn. North Dakotans could see that as a feature or a bug, hard to say.
Who’s backing the measure: Legalize ND, the local advocacy group, is flying solo here. There’s no financial help or drafting language from Drug Policy Alliance or the Marijuana Policy Project. “We leave our bill wide open so the legislature can do their job — regulations, taxes, zoning, whatever,” Cole Haymond, an adviser to the Legalize ND campaign, told the Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham. “This bill is by far the most progressive yet most conservative marijuana legalization bill that will be on any ballot across the country.”
* A tomato-plant initiative is a measure that treats the cannabis plant like a tomato plant, free for all to grow, consume and distribute as any person sees fit, without any state or local regulation whatsoever.
Proposition 2, Medical
Utah’s Prop 2 would establish a state-controlled process that allows persons with qualifying medical conditions (cancer, HIV, epilepsy, chronic pain, ALS, Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s disease, MS, PTSD, autism) to acquire and use medical cannabis.
Leafly’s David Downs has an informative FAQ on what Prop 2 would and wouldn’t do, available here.
In certain limited circumstances, patients would be allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants for personal medical use. Prop. 2 would authorize the establishment of facilities that grow, process, test, or sell medical cannabis and require those facilities to be licensed by the state; and establish state controls on those licensed facilities, including: seed-to-sale inventory tracking, as well as limits on packaging, advertising, and the types of products allowed.
Medical marijuana enjoys widespread support throughout the state. It was polling at 75% earlier this year, but recently that support dropped to 64% following the Mormon church’s official statement opposing Prop 2.
At the top of the ticket, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is seen as a shoo-in to replace Gov. Jerry Brown, which would increase cannabis’ support in the governor’s mansion. Gov. Brown has repeatedly denigrated cannabis users as lazy and unfocused. By contrast, former San Francisco Mayor Newsom embraced cannabis law reforms early, similar to his leadership on same-sex marriage.
Polls suggest California Sen. Diane Feinstein (D) will skate into re-election in the mid-terms, fending off an insurgency on her progressive flank. After decades as a drug war hawk, Feinstein has been forced into evolving on supporting states’ rights to set cannabis policy. This September, the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee member also signed on as a co-sponsor of a cannabis descheduling bill.
Also of note in California, incumbent Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R – Huntington Beach)—cannabis’ most staunch ally in the House of Representatives—faces a formidable Republican challenger for his seat. After 2016’s election interference by Russia, Rep. Rohrabacher’s pro-Russia statements and positions have dogged him.
Municipal Cannabis Measures
At the local city and county level, California is awash in dozens if not more than 100 ballot initiatives to set local cannabis taxes and/or decide on allowing local dispensaries or farms. Voters also hold the power to approve of local stores and cannabis businesses through the election of hundreds of local city council members or county supervisors, many of whom are taking key positions on local store bans.
The race between Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) is a battle between an unabashed advocate of legalized regulation (Gillum) and an old-school prohibitionist (DeSantis). Whoever replaces outgoing Gov. Rick Scott will have a lot of say over the state’s emerging medical marijuana system, and over any possible adult-use legalization campaign. Leafly Deputy Editor Bruce Barcott wrote about the race here.
Statewide State Issue 1, an omnibus drug policy reform measure, would reduce many cannabis possession and paraphernalia felonies to misdemeanors.
City of Dayton Dayton voters will consider an advisory measure to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis. If voters pass the measure, the city council would still have to vote to confirm it. The measure calls on the council to eliminate the current $150 fine for minor misdemeanor marijuana and hashish possession offenses.
In an unusual campaign, cannabis activists in the Badger State have waged county-by-county combat to put legalization advisory measures on the ballot in November.
Because Wisconsin has no statewide initiative process, any full-state legalization measure would have to be approved by the state legislature.
These county ballots are expected to show legislators how popular cannabis reform is, and put added pressure on them to pass statewide medical or adult-use legalization in 2019.
Medical cannabis, also known as medical marijuana is a medicine made from cannabis and cannabinoids which are provided by doctors for medical purposes such as pain relief and to subdue and control different disorders in the human body.
It’s legitimacy is increasing as more countries legalise cannabis and marijuana for medical and recreational purposes.
As a result of its increased popularity and first hand positive results from users, it is creating more possibilities for medical cannabis resources to be used on a daily basis for medical purposes. Below we have detailed 7 reasons to use medical cannabis on a daily basis.
Five central Maine men were indicted earlier this month on federal firearms charges. Four have pleaded not guilty to the charges and are free on unsecured bail pending their next hearing in U.S. District Court in Bangor.
The fifth, Donald “Donny” Henderson, 33, of Winthrop, is set for arraignment May 4. He was issued a summons to appear in court and is represented by attorney James Nixon.
Henderson’s indictment says he made false statements on Feb. 28, 2017, while buying a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380-caliber pistol from Audette’s Inc., located in Winthrop. It alleges he checked a box indicating he was not an unlawful user of marijuana when, in fact, he was. The allegation is repeated in the second count, which says Henderson purchased an SCCY model CPX-1, 9 mm pistol on March 2, 2017, also from Audette’s.