South Carolina Senate Passes Resolution Urging Feds to Remove Barriers to Medical Marijuana Research

Legislation urging federal lawmakers to pass legislation removing barriers to medical marijuana research has been passed by South Carolina’s full Senate.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 169 was filed by Senator Greg Hembree (R) along with two cosponsors. It states that “the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina hereby urges the United States Attorney General and Congress to take immediate and additional steps to promote and actively pursue scientific research and testing into the potential use of cannabis to treat other medical conditions and illnesses by removing the federal statutory and regulatory barriers that prevent these scientific endeavors.”

The resolution must now be passed by the House of Representatives before it can be “transmitted to the President of the United States, the United States Attorney General, the President and President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, and the Speaker and Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and that copies of this resolution also be transmitted to the members of the United States Congress from this State.”

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Study Finds High-CBD Cannabis Oil is Safe And Effective for Autistic Patients

The administration of cannabis extracts is effective and well-tolerated in patients diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), according to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports and published online by the National Institute of Health.

The aim of the study, which included 188 participants,  was to “characterize the epidemiology of ASD patients receiving medical cannabis treatment and to describe its safety and efficacy.” To do this researchers examined the daily administration of high-CBD cannabis oil. which consisted of 30% CBD and 1.5% THC.

Among the patients who used the cannabis oil for at least six months, over 90% reported some level of symptomatic improvement; this included reductions in seizures, rage attacks and restlessness. In addition, roughly a third of reported a reduction in other medications.

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Bipartisan Legislation to Fully Repeal Marijuana Prohibition Passed Through First Reading in Hawaii Senate

Hawaii’s Senate has passed through its first reading a measure that would fully repeal marijuana prohibition.

Senate Bill 702 was filed by Senator Kalani English along with six bipartisan cosponsors. The measure was introduced on January 18, and was passed through its first reading yesterday. The measure must be passed through two more readings, and by the House of Representatives, before it can go to David Ige for consideration.

The legislation “Repeals criminal prohibitions and penalties pertaining to marijuana”, effectively legalizing it throughout the state and ending the decades-long prohibition on the plant. The full text of the measure can be found by clicking here.

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Kentucky Bill Would Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

Legislation to decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana – and up to five grams of resin – has been filed in Kentucky’s Senate.

Senate Bill 82 was filed by State Senator Jimmy Higdon (R). It was initially assigned to the State and Local Government Committee, but was reassigned today to the Economic Development, Tourism, and Labor Committee. The measure would decriminalize “personal use quantity” of marijuana, which is defined by being less than an ounce of bud or less than five grams of resin. Those caught possessing within these limits could not face jail time or a criminal charge, but could be given a fine.

The legislation would also exempt “personal use marijuana accessories” from the state’s drug paraphernalia law, allowing for the possession of smoking devices such as pipes and bongs.

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Bipartisan Bill to Legalize Marijuana Deliveries Filed in Washington State

Legislation that would legalize the delivery of marijuana to those 21 and older has been filed in Washington’s House of Representatives.

House Bill 1358 was filed by State Representative Steve Kirby (D) and is cosponsored by Representatives Brandon Vick (R) and Brian Blake (D). Filed today, the measure has been referred to the House Commerce and Gaming Committee.

Specifically, the measure would add a new section to chapter 69.50 of the RCW stating that “A marijuana delivery endorsement to a marijuana retailer license is established to permit a qualifying marijuana retailer to deliver marijuana for personal use to any individual twenty-one years of age or older.”

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Wisconsin Governor Announces Support for Legalizing Marijuana

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has announced that he now supports legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (photo: Steve Appsa/Wisconsin State Journal/Associated Press).

Attorney General Josh Kaul also said on Wednesday that he would make the case across Wisconsin for legalizing medical marijuana as an alternative to prescribing more opioids to combat pain, reports the Associated Press.

“At the end of the day do I favor legalization? Yes,” Evers said at a meeting of the Wisconsin Technology Council on Tuesday. “I want it to be done correctly so we will likely have in our budget a first step around medical marijuana.”

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Medical Marijuana Bill Signed Into Law by U.S. Virgin Islands Governor

U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan Jr. signed the Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act into law Tuesday.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Positive T.A. Nelson, received final approval from the Legislature on December 28.  The measure legalizes medical marijuana for those who receive a recommendation from a physician.

Comprehensive medical marijuana laws have been adopted in 32 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Seventeen other states have adopted medical marijuana laws that are ineffective because they are either unworkable or exceptionally restrictive. Idaho is the only state and American Samoa is the only U.S. territory without any form of medical marijuana law.

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Legislation Filed in Virginia to Legalize Marijuana

A legislative proposal that would legalize marijuana for those 21 and older, while decriminalizing it for those under 21, has been filed in Virginia’s House of Representatives.

House Bill 2371 was filed by Delegate Steve Heretick (D) along with four cosponsors. The measure would remove all criminal penalties for the personal possession of marijuana for those 21 and older, while legalizing marijuana retail outlets. These outlets would be taxed at 9.7% in addition to the state’s current sales tax. Around 2/3rds of the tax revenue would go to the general fund, with the remainder going to public education.

According to the bill’s official summary, it “also decriminalizes marijuana possession for persons under 21 years of age and provides a civil penalty of no more than $50 for a first violation, $100 for a second violation, and $250 for a third or subsequent violation.”

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U.S. Attorney General Nominee Says He Would Respect State Marijuana Laws

U.S. attorney general nominee William Barr said during a Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday that he would not target marijuana businesses that are operating in compliance with state laws that allow them, whether for medical or recreational purposes.

William Barr.

If confirmed, Barr said his “approach to this would be not to upset settled expectations and the reliant interests that have arisen as a result of the Cole memorandum.” He later added that he “is not going to go after companies that have relied on the Cole memorandum.”

The Cole memorandum was issued in 2013 by then-Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole and provided marijuana enforcement guidance to U.S. attorneys. It stated that the Justice Department would not enforce federal marijuana prohibition laws in states that have legalized marijuana for adult or medical use as long as certain federal priorities are addressed, such as preventing interstate trafficking and sales to minors.

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Federal Legislation Introduced To Protect State-Level Marijuana Legalization Laws

Representative Lou Correa (D-CA) has introduced House Resolution 493: The Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act, which would codify the protections that were outlined in the now-rescinded Cole Memo.

As reported by NORML, The Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act essentially would give peace of mind to lawmakers, regulators, 149,000+ workers, and the millions of patients and consumers who are dependent on the normalization of lawful marijuana markets. The most essential component in creating a stable business environment to meet consumer demand is certainty, and that is what states and businesses would have with Congressman Correa’s legislation to protect state-lawful programs from potential rouge US Attorneys under a Department of Justice likely to be led by known drug warrior William Barr.

To date, these statewide regulatory programs are operating largely as voters and politicians intended. The enactment of these policies have not negatively impacted workplace safetycrime ratestraffic safety, or youth use patterns. They have stimulated economic development and created hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue.

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