Report: Drug Legalization Would Add $100 Billion to U.S. Budget

Ending the drug war would result in an additional $100 billion annually for the U.S. budget, according to a new report conducted by The Cato Institute.

“Drawing on the most recent available data, this bulletin estimates the fiscal windfall that would be achieved through drug legalization”, states the report. “All told, drug legalization could generate up to $106.7 billion in annual budgetary gains for federal, state, and local governments.” Those gains would come from two primary sources: decreases in drug enforcement spending and increases in tax revenue.

The report estimates that “state and local governments spend $29 billion on drug prohibition annually, while the federal government spends an additional $18 billion.” Meanwhile, “full drug legalization would yield $19 billion in state and local tax revenue and $39 billion in federal tax revenue.

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Illinois Governor Signs Bill Allowing Medical Cannabis to be Consumed at Schools

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has signed into law a bill allowing students who are medical cannabis patients to use their medicine on school premises.

Governor Rauner’s signing of House Bill 4870 comes roughly two and a half months after the legislature passed the measure by a vote of 149 to 3.

The legislation is known as Ashley’s Law, named after 12-year-old Ashley Surin who uses medical marijuana to treat the epilepsy she developed during chemotherapy. The  bill amends the Illinois School Code to require “a school district, public school, charter school, or nonpublic school to authorize a parent or guardian of a student who is a qualifying patient to administer a medical cannabis infused product to the student on school premises or a school bus if both the student (as a qualifying patient) and the parent or guardian (as a designated caregiver) have been issued registry identification cards under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act.”

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Study: THC May Treat Agitation In Alzheimer’s Patients

The administration of nabilone, a synthetic compound meant to mimic the effects of  natural THC, reduces agitation and other behavioral symptoms in Alzheimer’s patients, according to new research.

“Results of a randomized, double-blind clinical trial suggest that nabilone — a synthetic cannabinoid — may be effective in treating agitation in people with Alzheimer’s disease”, states a press release for the study, which was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC2018.

“Agitation, including verbal or physical outbursts, general emotional distress, restlessness, pacing, is one of the most common behavioral changes associated with Alzheimer’s as it progresses, and can be a significant cause of caregiver stress,” said Krista L. Lanctôt, PhD, Senior Scientist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology/Toxicology at the University of Toronto.

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Alaska Garnered Over $11 Million in Taxes from Legal Marijuana Sales in FY 2018

According to data released by the Alaska Department of Revenue, the state earned over $11 million in taxes from the sale of marijuana and marijuana products in FY 2018.

In total, Alaska made $11,094,808 in tax revenue from marijuana sales during FY (fiscal year) 2018. This surpasses the Department of Revenue’s predictions for the year by around $2 million.

The highest earning month for FY 2018, which began on July 1, 2017 with the final day being June 31 of this year, was June with $1,257,513 in marijuana taxes brought  in. The lowest month was July at $577,901.

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Study: 75% of Physicians in New York Have Patients Who Use Medical Cannabis, Neuropathy the Most Common Qualifying Condition

According to a new study more than seven out of every 10 physicians in New York have patients who use medical cannabis, with the most common qualifying condition being neuropathy.

The study of practicing physicians, MDs or DOs, in New York found that “More than 75% reported having patients who used cannabis for symptom control, and 50% reported having patients who inquired about MMJ [medical marijuana] within the past year”. The majority (71%) agreed that “MMJ should be an option available to patients”.

The study found that the most common qualifying medical condition among medical cannabis patients to be neuropathy, followed closely by cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

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Poll: 85% of Americans Support Legalizing Medical Marijuana, 57% Support Recreational Legalization

According to a new HealthDay/Harris Poll, an overwhelming majority of adults in America support legalizing medical marijuana, with a strong majority also in support of legalizing the plant for recreational purposes.

The survey found that 85% of Americans believe that marijuana “should be legalized for medical use”, while 57% support legalizing and regulating the plant for anyone 21 and older, for any use. Among younger respondents (those ages 18 to 44), 68% agree that cannabis should be legal.

“Voters believe that ending America’s failed marijuana prohibition laws is a common-sense issue, not a partisan one,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano told HealthDay, which commissioned the poll. “It’s time for their elected officials to take a similar posture, and to move expeditiously to amend federal law in a manner that comports with public and scientific consensus, as well as with marijuana’s rapidly changing cultural and legal status.”

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Oklahoma: Enough Signatures Gathered to Put Recreational Marijuana Initiative on November Ballot

A nonprofit organization aiming to put a marijuana legalization initiative on the November ballot in Oklahoma announced Sunday that it has collected enough signatures to do just that.

Green The Vote says it has collected 132,527 for State Question 797, which would legalize marijuana for everyone 21 and older. This is over the 124,000 signatures required to put the initiative to a vote of the people this November 6. However, the group will be continuing to collect signatures in order to reach their goal of 150,000 in order to ensure that enough of the signatures are valid (from registered Oklahoma voters).

If the proposal is put on the ballot, and subsequently passed into law by voters, the possession of up to four ounces of marijuana, and the cultivation of up to eight seedlings and four mature marijuana plants, would be legal for those 21+. The possession of up to two ounces of marijuana concentrates and up to 72 ounces of marijuana-infused products would also be legal, with a system of licensed marijuana retail outlets authorized to sell the plant.

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Study: Cannabis Use Associated With Increased Survival Rates in Heart Attack Patients

Those with a history of marijuana use who suffer a heart attack are less likely to die during hospitalization than those who don’t have marijuana in their system, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS One, and epublished by the National Institute of Health.

For the study researchers analyzed the hospital records of over 3,854 heart-attack patients who acknowledged that they’ve recently consumed cannabis or had tested positive for it, and compared the data with 1,273,897 individuals who were similarly matched but hadn’t recently consumed marijuana. Researchers found that cannabis use was not associated with adverse short-term health outcomes; this was found after they controlled for potential confounders such as tobacco use.

In addition, “marijuana-using patients were significantly less likely to die, experience shock, or require an IABP (intra-aortic balloon pump) post AMI (acute myocardial infarction) than patients with no reported marijuana use”, states the study. “These results suggest that, contrary to our hypothesis, marijuana use was not associated with increased risk of adverse short-term outcomes following AMI.”

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Rhode Island Governor Signs Marijuana Expungement Bill Into Law

Legislation allowing those with past marijuana convictions to have the charges expunged (removed) from their criminal record has been signed into law by Governor Gina Raimondo (D).

House Bill 8355 and companion measure Senate Bill 2447 allows those with past convictions for crimes involving the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana to petition the court for an order of expungement. It states, “[W]here the court has determined that all conditions of the original criminal sentence have been completed, … the court [will] order the expungement without cost to the petitioner.” The law took effect immediately upon passage,

In Rhode Island, the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana has been decriminalized since 2013.

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Over $122 Million in Legal Marijuana Sold in Colorado in May

Those in Colorado purchased over $122 million worth of  marijuana and marijuana products in May, according to new data released by the state’s Department of Revenue.

All together there was $122,868,216 worth of marijuana and marijuana products purchased legally in Colorado in May. This is a slight decrease from the $124 million sold in April.

Of the $122 million in marijuana sold in May, around $26.2 million came from the sale of medical marijuana, while the other $96.6 million came from those 21 and older purchasing marijuana for recreational purchases. From these sales, Colorado garnered nearly $20 million in tax revenue.

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