Vermont House Votes to Allow Cops to Administer Saliva Tests for Drugs During Traffic Stops

Vermont’s full House of Representatives gave preliminary approval yesterday to House Bill 237, which would allow law enforcement to administer saliva tests for drugs during traffic stops.

The House gave approval to the measure in a voice vote yesterday after 2.5 hours of debate and after approving several rather inconsequential amendments. Representative David Potter (D), the bill’s primary sponsor, says that under his proposal the saliva tests alone can’t result in an arrest or conviction, though it can play a factor. The measure requires at least two peer-reviewed studies to verify the accuracy of the devices being deployed before they can be used.

According to Potter, overall impairment would still be determined by police who are trained as Drug Recognition Experts, and they would need to consider the “totality of the evidence.”

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WA Legislature Approves Measure Allowing Financial Institutions to Work With Marijuana Industry

Legislation allowing financial institutions to provide services to licensed marijuana businesses has been passed by Washington State’s full legislature.

Yesterday Washington’s House of Representatives voted 83 to 15 to pass Senate Bill 5928. The vote comes a little over two weeks after the Senate gave approval to the bill in a 38 to 9 vote. The proposal will now go to the desk of Governor Jay Inslee, who has the option of signing it into law, allowing it to become law without his signature, or veto it. Given Inslee’s previous support of the legal marijuana industry, it’s expected that he will sign it into law.

If the measure does become law, as expected, it would provide  “immunity from state criminal prosecution to a financial institution providing financial services to licensed marijuana businesses and qualifying patients, health care professionals, and providers under medical marijuana laws.”

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Baton Rouge Lawmakers Vote to Lower Marijuana Possession Penalties

An ordinance to make the possession of up to half an ounce of marijuana punishable by a fine rather than jail time has been approved by the Baton Rogue (Louisiana) Metropolitan Council.

The proposed law makes the first-time possession of up to 14 grams of marijuana a $40 fine. Second offenses would be a $60 fine, third offenses an $80 fine, and fourth and subsequent offenses an $100 fine. The ordinance now goes to Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome for consideration.

Broome says she  plans to “extensively review” the proposal, though she also says she has “no plans to veto” it. The measure could become law either through Broome’s signature, or her  inaction.

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Hawaii Resolution Urges NFL to Allow Injured Players To Use Cannabidiol In Lieu Of Opioids

A resolution urging the National Football League (NFL) to allow players to use cannabidiol for medical purposes has been filed in Hawaii’s Senate.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 34 was filed today in the Hawaii Senate by Senator William Espero (D) along with seven cosponsors. The resolution states; “BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-ninth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2018, the House of Representatives concurring, that the National Football League is urged to allow injured National Football League players to use cannabidiol in pill or liquid form, in lieu of opioids, to address the pain from work-related injuries”.

The resolution also states; “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Commissioner of the National Football League and the respective General Managers of each of the teams that compose the National Football League.”

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Marijuana Legalization Measure Approved by Full Illinois Senate

Legislation to place a marijuana legalization ballot measure on this November’s general election ballot has been passed by the Illinois Senate.

The Senate voted 37 to 13 today to approve Senate Bill 2275, sending it to the House of Representatives for consideration. The measure would ask voters; “Shall the State of Illinois legalize the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational use by adults 21 and older subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?”

Unfortunately the proposal is nonbinding, meaning its passage wouldn’t actually legalize marijuana. Instead, it’s meant to give state lawmakers a gauge of how voters in the state feel about legalization. If the measure is approved by voters, it’s likely to lead to lawmakers giving the issue serious consideration during the 2019 session.

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New Studies Show Legal Access to Marijuana is Consistently Linked With Reduced Opioid Use

Two recently published studies have reaffirmed the relationship between legal access to marijuana and a reduction in opioid use.

In the first study, published by the Minnesota Department of Health, researchers assessed the prescription drug use patterns of 2,245 intractable pain patients participating in the state’s medical marijuana program. Among the patients known to be taking opiates upon enrollment in the program, 63 percent “were able to reduce or eliminate opioid usage after six months.”

“The consensus of the available data indicates that cannabis may play a potentially valuable role in mitigating the opioid public health crisis”, says Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML.  “It is time to set aside canna-bigotry and to stop placing politics ahead of American lives.”

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New Hampshire Committee Approves Bill to Protect Medical Marijuana Patients’ Data From Federal Agencies

Legislation to protect medical marijuana patients from the release of information to federal agencies has been passed by New Hampshire’s House Judiciary Committee.

The committee voted 13 to 5 to pass the tripartisan measure (House Bill 1672) which was introduced by Representative Caleb Dyer (L), and is cosponsored by Representatives Dan Hynes (R), Timothy Josephson (D), James McConnell (R) and Joseph Stallcop (L).

The proposal would make it so that; “Requests by federal authorities for any information relative to users of therapeutic cannabis contained in the registry shall require a search warrant issued by a judge based on probable cause.” The full text of the 1-page bill can be found by clicking here.

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Study: Cannabis is a Safe, Effective Palliative Treatment for Cancer Patients

According to a study of nearly 3,000 people, cannabis seems to be a safe, effective and well tolerated palliative treatment for cancer.

The study was published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine, and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health. The aim of the study “is to characterize the epidemiology of cancer patients receiving medical cannabis treatment and describe the safety and efficacy of this therapy.”

To do so, researchers “analyzed the data routinely collected as part of the treatment program of 2970 cancer patients treated with medical cannabis between 2015 and 2017.” Among the patients, the “average age was 59.5 ± 16.3 years, 54.6% women and 26.7% of the patients reported previous experience with cannabis.” The most frequent types of cancer were: “breast (20.7%), lung (13.6%), pancreatic (8.1%) and colorectal (7.9%) with 51.2% being at stage 4. “The main symptoms requiring therapy were: “sleep problems (78.4%), pain (77.7%, median intensity 8/10), weakness (72.7%), nausea (64.6%) and lack of appetite (48.9%).”

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Oklahoma Committee Approves Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill

A fairly restrictive bill that would legalize the medical use of marijuana has been given approval by a key Senate committee in Oklahoma.

medical-marijuana-symbolOklahoma’s Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted 6 to 5 today to pass Senate Bill 1120, which was filed by Senator Ervin Yen (R). The proposal is far more restrictive than a medical marijuana initiative (State Question 788) which is up for a public vote this November.

Senate Bill 1120 would allow those with certain medical conditions (such as neuropathic pain, persistent muscle spasms due to multiple sclerosis or paraplegia and intractable nausea or vomiting due to chemotherapy) to possess and use marijuana and marijuana products for medical purposes. Unfortunately the measure doesn’t allow marijuana to be smoked, requiring patients to consume the medicine through other means such as tinctures, edibles and vaping.

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Hemp Legalization Bill Approved by Full Kansas Senate

Kansas’ full Senate has voted overwhelmingly to approve a measure that would allow hemp to be legally cultivated.

Senate Bill 263 was given approval Thursday by the Kansas Senate in a 36 to 3 vote. The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where passage would send it to Governor Jeff Colyer for consideration.

The proposed law – titled the Alternative Crop Research Act – would alter the definition of “marijuana” under the state’s controlled substances law to exclude “industrial hemp”. The measure would also allow the Kansas Department of Agriculture to cultivate and promote the research and development of industrial hemp. The Department would be given the choice of growing and researching the plant on their own accord, or they could coordinate with a college or university. Under supervision of the Department, individual farmers would also be allowed to grow hemp.

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