CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta Urges Jeff Sessions to Support Medical Marijuana, Especially to Combat Opiod Epidemic

CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is publicly urging United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reconsider his opposition to medical cannabis, particularly as a way to fight the opioid epidemic.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta (Photo by Michael Kovac/WireImage)

Gupta wrote a public letter to Sessions, saying that he had changed his mind on the use of medical cannabis, “and I am certain you can, as well”, reports the Associated Press.

Gupta says he made his plea to Sessions after he declined to be interviewed for his special on the topic, Weed 4, which aired on CNN on Sunday, April 29, 2018. The special followed football player Mike James and others who say that medical marijuana has both eased the pain of injuries and weaned them from addiction to opioids. A spokesperson for Sessions declined to comment.

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California Committee Approves Measure to Make Employers Treat Medical Marijuana Like Prescription Drugs

California’s Assembly Labor and Employment Committee has given approval to Assembly Bill 2069, which is designed to end employer discrimination against medical marijuana patients.

The legislative proposal – titled the Medical Cannabis Worker Protections Act – would force employers to treat medical marijuana the same way they do legal prescription drugs such as (but not limited  to) opioids. Employers would be required to give “reasonable accommodation” to medical marijuana patients under the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.

The legislation, filed by Asemblymember Rob Bonta (D) along with Asemblymember Bill Quick (D), was passed last week by the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee in a 5 to 1 vote.

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Bill Allowing School Nurses to Administer Medical Marijuana Given Approval by Colorado Senate, Already Passed House

School nurses would be legally authorized to administer medical marijuana to patients under legislation passed through its second reading today in the Colorado Senate.

Under current law, a primary caregiver may possess and administer medical marijuana in a nonsmokeable form to a student while the student is at school. According to the official summary of House Bill 1286, which the Senate passed today through its second of three readings; “The bill allows a school nurse or the school nurse’s designee, who may or may not be an employee of the school, to also possess and administer medical marijuana to a student at school.”

The bill “provides a school nurse or the school nurse’s designee protection from criminal prosecution if he or she possesses and administers medical marijuana to a student at school.”

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Study: Just 1 in 7 California Cities Allow Marijuana Stores

According to a newly-released study conducted by The Mercury News, just one out of every seven cities in California allow marijuana retail outlets, despite voters approving of legalization nearly a year and a half ago.

In 2016 California voters, with a 57% majority, gave approval to Proposition 64. The initiative legalized the possession and personal cultivation of marijuana, while establishing a system of licensed marijuana retail outlets. Despite the entire state passing the law, numerous cities – through ordinances passed by their city council – have establishes bans on all marijuana stores, requiring  marijuana consumers to either travel long distances to purchase the plant legally, or rely on the black market.

“Our study is the most comprehensive look to date at how the industry is taking shape”, states The Mercury News. “Some towns — among them San Jose and Oakland — are cannabis friendly, allowing a wide range of businesses to cultivate or peddle a product that residents are free to use. Other cities — including many smaller jurisdictions across the Bay Area — are less enthusiastic, with some blocking virtually every type of marijuana-related enterprise and, in some cases, passing ordinances that seem aimed at regulating personal use as much as possible, despite the voters’ will.”

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Colorado House and Senate Votes to Add Autism Spectrum Disorders as Qualifying Medical Cannabis Conditions

A proposal that would add autism spectrum disorders to Colorado’s medical cannabis program has been passed through its second reading in the Senate, having already been approved by the full House of Representatives.

House Bill 1263 was filed by State Representative Edith Hooton (D) along with a bipartisan group of three additional lawmakers. The measure was passed by the House on April 12 in a 53 to 11 vote, and today it was approved through its second reading in the Senate. It will now need to receive one final vote in the Senate before it can be sent to Governor John Hickenlooper for consideration.

According to its official summary, “The bill adds autism spectrum disorders to the list of disabling medical conditions that authorize a person to use medical marijuana for his or her condition.”

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Illinois House Committee Votes to Allow Expungement of Past Marijuana and Paraphernalia Convictions

Illinois legislation that would allow for individuals to have marijuana (and marijuana paraphernalia) possession charges expunged (removed) from their records has been advanced in the state’s legislature.

Since the passage of a law decriminalizing marijuana in 2016, the possession of up to 10 grams is no longer a criminal offense in Illinois. House Bill 2367, filed by State Representative La Shawn Ford, would allow those who received a charge for possessing up to 10 grams of marijuana (or for possessing paraphernalia) prior to this law taking effect to petition their circuit court to have the conviction expunged from their criminal record. This would mean it would no longer show up on a background check. In order for the individual to apply, three or more years must have passed since the petitioner had their sentence completed.

According to La Shawn Ford, “law enforcement would have a right to object to it”, which he calls fair. “You have to go before a judge, the judge will look at it, and ultimately grant a ‘yes’ or a ‘no'”, says Ford.

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California Committee Approves Bill to Establish Marijuana Banks and Credit Unions

Legislation that would allow for the creation of a special class of state-chartered banks and credit unions that could service California’s legal marijuana industry has been passed by a key Senate committee.

Filed by Senator Robert Hertzberg (D), Senate Bill 930 was passed recently by the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee in a 6 to 1 vote, sending it to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Passage in the Appropriations Committee would send it to the full Senate. If passed by the Senate, and then the House of Representatives, it would go to Governor Jerry Brown for final consideration.

The proposed law would allow for the creation of special state-chartered banks and credit unions that could legally process transactions by licensed marijuana businesses. These “marijuana banks” would be regulated by the Department of Business Oversight.

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Five Maine Men Indicted on Federal Firearms Charges for Saying They Don’t Use Marijuana

By Betty Adams, Portland Press Herald (republished with special permission)

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.

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Maine Governor Vetoes Bill to Establish Legal Marijuana System

Legislation that would have allowed for the implemenation of a marijuana legalization law passed by voters in 2016 has been vetoed by Maine Governor Paul LePage.

Maine Governor Paul LePage.

Governor LePage’s veto is the second time he’s vetoed legislation that would have established a regulated system for legal marijuana cultivation and sales.

In his veto letter for LD 1719 (published by Marijuana Business Daily), Governor LePage wrote that he “cannot in good conscience support a law that, on its face, violates federal law.” Fortunately the state’s legislature has enough votes to override the governor’s veto, given support doesn’t change among many legislators

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New Study Provides Proof of CBD’s Potential in Relapse Prevention

Results of a new study “provide proof of principle supporting potential of CBD in relapse prevention”.

The study was published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, and epublished ahead of print by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

“Cannabidiol (CBD), the major non-psychoactive constituent of Cannabis sativa, has received attention for therapeutic potential in treating neurologic and psychiatric disorders”, begins the study’s abstract. “Recently, CBD has also been explored for potential in treating drug addiction. Substance use disorders are chronically relapsing conditions and relapse risk persists for multiple reasons including craving induced by drug contexts, susceptibility to stress, elevated anxiety, and impaired impulse control.”

Here, researchers “evaluated the “anti-relapse” potential of a transdermal CBD preparation in animal models of drug seeking, anxiety and impulsivity.” For the study, rats with alcohol or cocaine self-administration histories “received transdermal CBD at 24 h intervals for 7 days and were tested for context and stress-induced reinstatement, as well as experimental anxiety on the elevated plus maze.” Effects on impulsive behavior were established using a delay-discounting task following recovery from a 7-day dependence-inducing alcohol intoxication regimen.

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