New Jersey Committees Pass Legislation to Legalize Marijuana

New Jersey’s Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees approved legislation today that would make marijuana legal for everyone at least 21 years old.

By a vote of seven to two, with four members abstaining, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved Senate Bill 2703 today, which is sponsored by Senator Nicholas Scutari. Also today, the Assembly Appropriations Committee approved Assembly Bill 4497, sponsored by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, by a vote of six to one, with two members abstaining. The measures will now go to the full chambers for a vote; passage in both chambers would send the legisaltion to Governor Murphy, who made legalization one of his top platforms during his successful election campaign last year.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, the legislation:

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Oregon Made Over $8 Million in Taxes From Legal Marijuana Sales in September

In September those in Oregon purchased enough marijuana legally for the state to earn over $8 million in tax revenue.

More precisely, Oregon made $8,054,422 in marijuana taxes in September, according to new data released by the Oregon Department of Revenue. Although this is lower than the record setting $10.1 million made in August, it represents a an 8% increase from the $7.4 million garnered in September, 2017.

Of the $8 million in marijuana taxes made in September, roughly $6.9 million came from the statewide marijuana tax (17%), with the remaining $1.1 million coming from local taxes (up to 3% per locality).

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Study: Medical Marijuana Associated With Reduced Opioid Use in Fibromyalgia Patients

Fibromyalgia patients suffering from lower back pain respond favorably to medical cannabis as a treatment, according to a new study published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology, and epublished by the National Institute of Health.

For the study, researchers assessed the analgesic efficacy of both opioids and medical cannabis in 31 fibromyalgia (FM) patients with lower back pain. Participants were treated with inhaled cannabis containing less than 5% THC for a six month period

According to a press release from NORML, patients reported greater pain improvement with medical cannabis as opposed to the use of opioids alone. Patients demonstrated increased range of motion following cannabis treatment, but did not show any similar improvement with opioids. While undergoing cannabis treatment, the majority of patients elected to “decrease or discontinue pharmaceutical analgesic consumption”.

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MA: Over $440,000 in Legal Marijuana Purchased in First Day of Legal Sales With Just Two Outlets Open

With just two outlets open, there was over $440,000 worth of marijuana and marijuana products purchased legally in Massachusetts on Tuesday, the first day of legal sales.

According to the state’s Cannabis Control Commission, over 10,000 individual marijuana-related items (whether it be dried flower, tincture or some other product) were sold during the first day of legal sales. The total value of these products is over $440,000, resulting in over $88,000 in tax revenue for the state (which taxes marijuana at 20%).

These sales came from just two marijuana outlets, located in Leicester and Northampton. Additional outlets are expected to open in the coming weeks and months.

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Connecticut: Incoming Governor Says Marijuana Legalization Will be a Priority Next Year

Connecticut’s incoming Governor Ned Lamont (D) said on Monday that he plans to make marijuana legalization a top priority in 2019.

“It’s going to be one of the priorities we got,” said Lamont when asked about marijuana legalization. “It’s something I would support, and I don’t want the black market controlling marijuana distribution in our state. I think that’s a lousy way to go. Canada, Massachusetts, others are doing it”.

Lamont noted that “That’s going to lead to some enforcement things. In the meantime, we enforce Connecticut laws.”

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New Jersey Governor Signs Hemp Bill Into Law

New Jersey legislation to create a hemp pilot program has been signed into law by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.

Assembly Bill 1330, signed into law today by Governor Murphy, “directs the Department of Agriculture to create an industrial hemp agricultural pilot program that promotes the study and cultivation of hemp to the maximum extent permitted by federal law.” The measure was passed by the Assembly in June, unanimously (67 to 0), and was passed by the Senate in September, 33 to 2.

The law states that “The department may partner with any qualified institution of higher education to administer the program; however, any person participating in the program must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Secretary of Agriculture that the person has complied with all federal requirements related to the cultivation of industrial hemp.”

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Poll: 81% of Indiana Adults Support Legalizing Medical Marijuana

According to new polling, the vast majority of Indiana adults support legalizing medical marijuana.

The poll, conducted at Ball State University, found that 81% of adults in Indiana are in favor of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. Only 16% are opposed to the move.

Earlier this year Indiana passed legislation legalizing the medical use of CBD oil. However, the extremely restrictive nature of the law has led to medical marijuana proponents to continue advocating for an expanded law that allows for the medical use of all marijuana, not just CBD oil, while expanding the list of conditions that qualify individuals to use the medicine. This new poll gives them quite a bit of ammo in their effort.

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Study: Marijuana Use Associated With Decreased Incidence of Liver Cirrhosis in Those With Hepatitis C

Marijuana use is associated with decreased incidence of liver cirrhosis in those with the Hepatitis C Virus, according to a new study published by the Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

A cirrhosis word cloud.

“The effect of cannabis use on chronic liver disease (CLD) from Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection, the most common cause of CLD, has been controversial”, states the study’s abstract. “Here, we investigated the impact of cannabis use on the prevalence of CLD among HCV infected individuals.”

For the study researchers “analyzed hospital discharge records of adults (age ≥ 18 years) with a positive HCV diagnosis”, evaluating “records from 2007 to 2014 of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS)” while excluding “records with other causes of chronic liver diseases (alcohol, hemochromatosis, NAFLD, PBC, HBV, etc.).”

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Massachusetts’ First Legal Recreational Marijuana Sales to Occur on November 20

The first legal recreational marijuana sales in Massachusetts will take place on Tuesday, November 20.

Cannabis Becomes Legal TonightTwo marijuana retail outlets were given the green light today to begin selling recreational marijuana next week. New England Treatment Access in Northampton and Cultivate Holdings in Leicester will become the first outlets to sale marijuana as part of the state’s legalization initiative (passed by voters in 2016).

Both stores, which were given the go-ahead to open in three days by the Cannabis Control Commission, say they will open their door to recreational marijuana customers the morning of November 20. New England Treatment Access plans to open at 8 a.m., while Cultivate Holdings will open at 10 a.m.

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New Jersey Lawmakers to Vote on Marijuana Legalization This Month Says Senate President and Assembly Speaker

New Jersey lawmakers will vote later this month to advance legislation that would legalize marijuana, says Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Senate President Steve Sweeney.

On Wednesday at the state League of Municipalities’ annual conference in Atlantic City Coughlin said he has enough in committee to pass a measure that would legalize marijuana for everyone 21 and older. Speaking after Coughlin, Sweeney said he agrees with Coughlin’s timeline, but noted that he needs help from Governor Murphy to lobby votes; Murphy made legalizing marijuana one of his primary platforms in his successful run for governor last year, evening going as far as vowing to legalize marijuana in his first 100 days (a timeline which has passed, though most people don’t hold it against him as he’s continued to make it a key issue).

“The only way something like this gets passed legislatively is if all three of us work together,” said Sweeney. “If [the governor is] not going to lobby any votes for us then it won’t get done.”

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