Synthetic CBD Administration Associated With Anti-Cancer Activity in Patients


LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM — Patients with advanced forms of cancer exhibit a clinical response to the long-term use of synthetic CBD, according to data published in the journal Anticancer Research.

British investigators assessed the effects of twice-daily CBD administration on 119 cancer patients over a four-year period. Synthetic CBD oil extracts were provided by the British biotechnology firm STI Pharmaceuticals. Subjects consumed the oil for a minimum period of six months.

Authors reported that over 90 percent of subjects exhibited a clinical response to CBD treatment, with some patients experiencing a reduction in tumor size and tumor cell proliferation.

Numerous prior studies have demonstrated cannabinoids, particularly CBD and THC, to possess anti-cancer activity in preclinical models. To date, however, this activity has not yet been replicated in controlled human trials.

Authors concluded: “The fact that we have been able to document improvement … strongly supports further studies of CBD-based products in cancer patients who have exhausted standard treatments.”

Full text of the study, “Report of objective clinical responses of cancer patients to pharmaceutical-grade synthetic cannabidiol,” appears here.

NORML’s literature review on cannabinoids and cancer is online.

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Statistics Show Canadian Weed Smoking Has Not Increased Post-Legalization


One of the most pervasive arguments against progressive drug policy reform is that legalization and decriminalization will inevitably lead to higher rates of drug consumption. Make a previously prohibited (and therefore risky) activity safer, more accessible and better regulated, so this line of reasoning goes, and more people are going to do it. It’s the same logic at work when people criticize needle exchange programs, or sex education or free access to birth control. But a new report from StatCan, a Canadian government agency tracking cannabis consumer data, shows how unfounded such assumptions are. According to the report, legalization hasn’t made more Canadians spark up.

About As Many People Are Smoking Weed After Legalization As Before

Tracking new trends in consumer behavior is crucial to understanding the rapidly growing cannabis market. New consumer groups are transforming the industry, and it’s important to know who they are. Thursday morning, Canada’s national statistics office, StatCan, released figures obtained from the fourth quarter of its National Cannabis Survey. The data set covers from mid-November, about a month into legalization, and mid-December.

Over that period, about 4.6 million Canadians aged 15 and older reported using cannabis within the previous three months. (The minimum legal age for cannabis consumption in Canada is 18, though some provinces have set it at 19.) That’s about 15 percent of all Canadians over 15. Canada has the highest use rate in the world. But legalization doesn’t seem to have affected use rates much, at least not yet. About 4.6 million Canadians reported cannabis use in the months leading up to legalization, too.

Things could soon change, however. According to the StatCan figures, 19 percent of Canadians over 15 said they think they will consume cannabis sometime in the next three months. This data could suggest that legalization’s impact on use rates is just beginning. But it also shows that people who never or rarely consume cannabis, and those who frequently do, aren’t going to change their habits in the next three months. Rather, former cannabis consumers and those who do so only occasionally were the most likely to report plans to increase their consumption.

Medical vs. Non-Medical Use Is Influencing Consumption Patterns More than Legalization

For now, however, the number of people who are consuming cannabis in Canada after legalization is about the same as it was before. But what’s having a much larger impact on consumption behavior is medical vs. “non-medical” cannabis use. (In this case, non-medical just means without official patient documentation.)

According to StatCan, medical cannabis consumers are much more likely to use cannabis daily or almost daily. They’re also less likely to smoke weed, opting for edible or other delivery methods. Furthermore, medical users were more likely to report spending on cannabis compared with those who consume for non-medical reasons.

Other interesting consumption patterns emerged when looked at along the medical vs. non-medical line. Nearly half of the 15 percent who reported cannabis use said they used it purely for recreational reasons. Only a quarter said their cannabis use was for medical reasons only (with or without official documentation). The other quarter used cannabis for both purposes.

And those with medical documentation are consuming cannabis the most. Or at least reporting their use the most. Other patterns reflect consumer trends across the legal industry in North America. Men still consume cannabis at higher rates and are less likely than women to do so for medical reasons. But some are different. In the U.S., Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers are spending the most on cannabis. But in Canada, 18-to-24-year-olds have had a highest prevalence of cannabis use over the last three months than any other group.





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Cannabis Strains Often Possess Similar Plant Chemistry


Cannabis flower on display at a California medical marijuana dispensary. (Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance)

KELOWNA, BC — Various ‘strains’ of cannabis possess nearly identical ratios of the primary cannabinoids THC and CBD, according to data published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia analyzed the cannabinoid composition of 33 separate cannabis strains, obtained from five licensed producers.

They reported that most strains, regardless of their origin, name, or whether they were classified as either indica or sativa, possessed nearly the same quantities of THC and CBD.

By contrast, many strains did differ from one another with regard to the abundance of other, less prevalent cannabinoids.

“A high abundance compound in a plant, such as THC or CBD, isn’t necessarily responsible for the unique medicinal effects of certain strains,” the study’s lead author opined in a press release. “Understanding the presence of the low abundance cannabinoids could provide valuable information to the medical cannabis community.”

The data is consistent with prior analyses finding that many so-called cannabis strains actually possess few significant genetic differences.

Full text of the study, “Chemometric analysis of cannabinoids: Chemotaxonomy and domestication syndrome,” appears in Scientific Reports.

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Weed the People Chronicles Families Searching For Cannabis Cancer Treatments


Sometimes the most powerful stories are the ones you stumble upon without even looking for in the first place. That was the case for Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, the filmmakers behind Weed the People, a new documentary about families navigating the cannabis world in an effort to treat their cancer-stricken children.

“This documentary came to life from a very organic and personal place,” Epstein tells High Times.

Lake was trying to help a sick 7-year-old girl who had become a superfan of hers after watching Lake on the TV show Dancing with the Stars. Lake researched a variety of integrative therapies to help the young girl get through her brutal chemotherapy regime. Ultimately, she discovered studies about the anti-tumoral properties of CBD and THC.

“Next thing I knew, Ricki called me and said she was taking the girl on a plane up to Mendocino, California, to meet a cannabis physician,” Epstein recalls.

Weed the People Chronicles Families Searching For Cannabis Cancer Treatments

Courtesy of Weed the People

Lake and Epstein had previously collaborated on The Business of Being Born, a critically acclaimed documentary about the American health care system and childbirth. This time around, there was no set plan— just a strong hunch that they could be on to something.

“We just started filming on instinct, having no idea where the story was heading,” Epstein says.

Now, more than six years later, they’ve produced Weed the People, which takes a deeply intimate look into the struggles families face as they seek treatment for some of the most vicious and unforgiving illnesses.

The documentary follows five families with their own distinct stories and life experiences. What unites them is their common quest for cannabis-related cancer treatments in an era when research and access are incredibly limited.

“At the time we started filming in 2013, it was quite a small, underground world,” Epstein explains. “We were extremely selective about the experts. There are a lot of pseudo-experts in the cannabis world, and we attended many conferences throughout the years to identify who were the most ethical and legitimate experts.”

One such expert was Bonni Goldstein, a pediatrician and cannabis clinician who is currently the medical director of Canna-Centers, a California-based medical practice that educates patients about using cannabis for serious and chronic medical conditions. Four out of the five children in Weed the People are Goldstein’s patients.

Weed the People Chronicles Families Searching For Cannabis Cancer Treatments

Courtesy of Weed the People

“Many children with cancer get better with conventional therapy,” Goldstein says. “However, the toll that it takes on their developing brains and bodies is tremendous. Cannabis may help protect them from unwanted side effects while assisting in killing cancer cells.”

Mara Gordon, co-founder of Aunt Zelda’s and Zelda Therapeutics, is another primary expert voice in the documentary. She specializes in the development of cannabis extract treatment protocols for seriously ill patients in California and has presented at many accredited medical conferences worldwide.

“We need more research, but in the meantime, people are dying who may be helped by this plant that has zero instances of overdose in recorded history,” Gordon says. “It is a human rights abuse on a global scale that people aren’t given access to such a simple option as cannabis.”

Gordon adds that “sufficient scientific evidence” exists to justify human trials, and that it’s time for lawmakers and the medical community to stop with prohibition and fear mongering.

“It’s important that parents and physicians know that cannabis is safe as long as it is third-party lab tested to show its purity,” Gordon says. “There is no evidence that children’s IQs are impacted. And let’s be clear, the caustic pharmaceuticals these kids are required to take in order to treat cancers and other diseases can have harmful and lasting side effects.”

One of Gordon’s patients was Sophie Ryan, whose journey is prominently featured in the documentary. In July 2013, Tracy and Josh Ryan learned that their 7-month-old daughter had an inoperable brain tumor. The doctors prescribed chemotherapy as the only course of treatment, but couldn’t guarantee that it would work. In Weed the People, viewers watch as her parents try cannabis oil as an alternative treatment and, ultimately, as a supplement to traditional western medicine.

“Sophie is doing absolutely amazing,” her mom, Tracy Ryan, tells High Times. “Her tumor has a 90 percent survival rate, but an 85 percent recurrence rate, so treatment can go on for years.”

Despite Sophie being on four chemotherapies that should cause hair thinning or loss, and in many cases extreme sickness, she is not experiencing those side effects.

“Sophie’s hair has gotten not only thicker, but a lot longer,” Ryan says. “She basically has no side effects. She might have nausea a couple times a month, but that’s it. Once again, [she’s] leaving her doctors surprised.”

These days, Sophie is just a typical kid, with a few notable exceptions.

“Sophie’s in kindergarten, thriving, and loving life,” says Ryan, who went on to establish CannaKids, which supplies medical cannabis oil tinctures and cannabis products to patients of all ages.

“Sophie speaks with me on stages at conferences across the country in front of sometimes 1,000 people plus, and loves it more than anything I have ever seen,” Ryan says. “We have about as normal a life as we could hope for, all while having a child with a very pesky brain tumor.”

Weed the People Chronicles Families Searching For Cannabis Cancer Treatments

Courtesy of Weed the People

Also featured in the film is AJ Kephart, who began his battle against Stage 4 Osteosarcoma when he was diagnosed at age 14. The cancer ultimately spread from his bones to his lungs, and his prognosis looked dire — until cannabis came into the picture.

“Before we started AJ on cannabis, we were told by his oncologist that he only had a few months to live and to start hospice,” AJ’s mom, Sheila Kephart, says. “My husband and I felt helpless. Then we were introduced to cannabis through Dr. Goldstein, and a miracle happened.”

Before starting cannabis treatment, AJ was in constant pain and on pain pills 24/7.

“We were giving him Oxycodone, Valium, Motrin, and morphine,” Kephart says. “He had lost 13 pounds in a week, and he was running a fever of 104.7 that we could not bring down. When we took him to Dr. Goldstein, she realized that he was in danger and put him on a high dose of cannabis.”

Within three days, AJ’s fever went away. Within a week, he began eating again and was down to taking just one Oxycodone a day. Today, he is cancer-free.

“It was truly a miracle,” Kephart says. “If it had not happened to us, I would never believe AJ’s story. But it did happen to us — I cannot deny the truth of it.”

AJ recently graduated high school and is currently attending Moorpark College in California, where he’s majoring in animation. He is also part of an ongoing study at UCLA.

“AJ has a really big heart, and is always ready to give whatever he has,” Kephart says. “He had to grow up very quickly and be an adult [because of] his illness. He realized at a very young age that material stuff is just stuff — it is friendships and family that are most important to him.”

Weed the People also tells the stories of three additional children battling cancer, one of whom tragically passed away before the film was completed.

The parents of the other two children, Chico Ryder and Cecilia von Harz, could not be reached for comment before this story was published.

“We have to take each situation case by case, but certainly cannabis should be considered as a part of treatment,” Goldstein says. “The film’s most important takeaway is that cannabis cannot continue to be a Schedule I drug — this prohibits desperately needed research. Additionally, we must stop believing the propaganda that it is dangerous. After 11 years of being a medical cannabis pediatrician, I can state without any hesitation that it is safe to use as medicine.”

 

Weed the People is available to rent or own on weedthepeoplemovie.com or digital platforms including Amazon and iTunes.





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Texas Marijuana Policy Voter Guide Released, Early Voting Begins October 22


Our allies at Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy released a voter guide for the upcoming election. Early voting starts today, so please check it out, spread the word, and head to the polls!

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy’s coalition partners surveyed state and federal candidates and provided their unedited responses. They also included voting records from the last two legislative sessions for state-level incumbents.

Find out where your candidates stand.

Early Voting: October 22 – November 2, 2018
Election Day: November 6, 2018

For more information on where, how, and when to vote, visit VoteTexas.Gov.

Unfortunately, Texas doesn’t allow voters to collect petitions to put initiatives on the ballot. Only state lawmakers can initiate changes to the state’s marijuana policies. Who gets elected in November will be key to deciding when and if Texas enacts a medical cannabis law and stops criminalizing cannabis consumers.

So, please get educated and get voting!

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The Findings From A Groundbreaking Study On Psychedelic Microdosing Are In


The concept of microdosing has been around for a while. Recently, it’s enjoyed an upsurge of renewed attention, both in mainstream media and among some academics.

In general, microdosing is the practice of taking tiny doses of psychedelic substances on a frequent basis, sometimes daily or every couple days. The idea is that each individual dose is too small to produce any serious effects, but still substantial enough to generate subtle changes.

This, proponents claim, leads to a number of benefits. Typically, fans of microdosing claim it helps them focus better, stay mentally alert, enjoy greater levels of happiness and creativity, and other similar benefits.

To put all this to test, a group of researchers recently completed a groundbreaking study. And the results of that study were just published in the journal PLOS One.

The Study

To conduct the study, researchers had to figure out a way to work around laws prohibiting the possession and use of psychedelic drugs.

They decided to work with people already microdosing. From there, researchers asked them a number of questions to gauge the effects of microdosing.

More specifically, participants answered a number of questions each day. Additionally, they answered a more intensive set of questions at the beginning and end of the specified study timeframe.

Finally, researchers gathered, aggregated, and analyzed all participant responses. They looked for any trends that could point to consistent outcomes from microdosing.

Positive Outcomes of Microdosing

According to researcher Vince Polito, who summarized the study at The Conversation, study participants reported mostly positive effects.

The most pronounced positive effects of microdosing include:

  • A general boost in things like creativity, focus, happiness, productivity, and other indicators on days that people microdosed. The study found less pronounced effects on days that people did not take a dose.
  • People tended to report lower levels of depression and stress when they microdosed. Polito noted that none of the participants had serious issues with depression or stress, so that could have skewed the data on this point.
  • Participants said they were more focused and imaginative when they were microdosing.

Negative Outcomes of Microdosing

Along with the positive experiences people had from microdosing, there were also some negative ones. Chief among these was a slight uptick in feelings of neuroticism.

According to researchers, some participants had such bad experiences when they first started microdosing that they stopped experimenting with it.

More generally, there was a slight increase in neurotic feelings after six weeks of steady microdosing. Based on this finding, researchers guess that it may be fairly common to begin feeling more and more negative emotions after the six-week mark.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Ultimately, this study is mostly laying the groundwork for more comprehensive investigations into both the practice of microdosing and the potential benefits of psychedelics.

In particular, Polito reminded readers that all data used in the study came from personal questionnaires, not more controlled experimentation. If laws about psychedelics become more lenient, it will likely become possible to carry out more scientifically rigorous tests.

Similarly, this study was fairly broad and general. As a result, it primarily provides general ideas about microdosing and psychedelics rather than well-proven trends and outcomes.

“There are promising indications of possible benefits of microdosing here,” Polito wrote. “But also indications of some potential negative impacts, which should be taken seriously.”

He added: “It’s early days for microdosing research and this work shows that we need to look more carefully at the effects of low dose psychedelics on mental health, attention, and neuroticism.”





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North Dakota Ready to Say Yes to Legalizing Marijuana, Latest Poll Finds


This November, Measure 3 will be on the ballot in North Dakota to prohibit the prosecution of any person over the age of 21 for any nonviolent, marijuana-related activity and seal the records of adults with past nonviolent marijuana charges.

The measure also would add penalties for individuals under the age of twenty-one in possession of, or attempting to distribute, marijuana; and provide penalties for individuals who distribute marijuana to anyone under the age of twenty-one.

The most recent poll finds voters in support of passage, 51-36 percent.

This poll distinguishes itself from earlier polling by questioning respondents using the language found on the Nov. 6 ballot. The poll was conducted by the Kitchens Group from Oct 11 through Oct 14, and cites a 4.9% margin of error.

“Despite a big-money funded misinformation campaign from the opposition, this poll reveals that most North Dakotans are ready to end the failed prohibition of marijuana in the state,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri.  “By voting ‘Yes’ on Measure 3, North Dakotans could save the state millions of taxpayer dollars currently being spent on arresting otherwise law-abiding adults for possession of a plant that is objectively less harmful than legal alcohol and tobacco, allow law enforcement to allocate their limited resources to focus on violent crime, and defend individual freedom. A majority of residents already support this sensible move and we expect more undecided voters will choose to join them on Election Day.”

“The message of ending marijuana arrests is resounding in North Dakota, and these results demonstrate that voters are hearing our call for action,” said Legalize ND campaign advisor Cole Haymond. “This is a dogfight, and LegalizeND will continue to set the record straight when it comes to adult-use Marijuana. The people of North Dakota believe in personal freedom and criminal justice reform. Marijuana prohibition has hurt this state and our nation as a whole, and North Dakotans believe it’s time to end that failed practice in the state once and for all.”

If Measure 3 is approved, North Dakota would join the nine states plus the District of Columbia and the Northern Mariana Islands who have legalized marijuana for personal use. Legalize ND argues the measure would have a strong positive impact across the state, highlighting potential benefits to law enforcement, the state agricultural industry, and the funding of education and infrastructure through tax revenue.

States that have legalized marijuana have seen significant reductions in opioid abuse and overdose fatalities, and Legalize ND is optimistic that legalization could have a similar impact in North Dakota.

Legalize ND is quick to point out that driving under the influence and distribution to minors will remain illegal and strengthened if Measure 3 is approved, and that current laws regarding smoking in public will apply to marijuana as well.

If approved by voters on November 6, the provisions of Measure 3 related to ending criminal penalties for marijuana would go into effect 30 days after the measure’s approval. Within 60 days of approval, the state must seal the records of individuals with previous non-violent marijuana charges.

YOU CAN HELP US WIN! CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO THE LEGALIZE ND CAMPAIGN TODAY!

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Household rules, conversations help guide teen use — ScienceDaily


When Washington voters legalized marijuana in 2012, many parents found themselves with a new teachable moment.

Though illegal for anyone under 21, the drug presented a dilemma similar to alcohol: Retailers sold it, people openly consumed it — sometimes to excess — and parents themselves struggled with how to talk to their kids about their own use, past or present.

Unlike with alcohol, research on the health and developmental effects of marijuana is still emerging. And the law’s complexity, along with the accessibility of marijuana products and stores, has left parents thinking more deliberately about how and why to set some ground rules.

Most parents agree that marijuana should be off-limits to children and teenagers, but they want information and advice from trustworthy sources, said Nicole Eisenberg, a research scientist with the University of Washington’s Social Development Research Group. Those findings come from a study published online Jan. 16 in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, by Eisenberg and a team of researchers.

“What I heard a lot of parents saying is, essentially, ‘I can tell my kids not to use it, but I just don’t know how to enforce and reinforce that message,'” Eisenberg said. “Parents are having a hard time reconciling societal norms with personal norms. Society has become more permissive, but at home, most parents don’t want their children to use marijuana. It’s a challenge that leaves them feeling like they don’t know what to do.”

To that end, parents said they want guidance, she added.

“Parents are eager to learn, and open to materials and programs that can help them. They’re open to factual, unbiased, scientific information, and they want to know how to talk to their kids,” Eisenberg said.

Based on focus group interviews with 54 adults, the study examined parents’ attitudes and challenges around marijuana use. Researchers grouped parents according to the ages of their children and by their own usage of marijuana during the past year (as measured by a prior confidential survey); those who had used during the past year, to any degree, were in one group, and those who had not were in another. That separation was designed to better identify differences in how these groups parent; participants were not told anything about other group members’ marijuana use.

Yet, in both groups, there were common themes that emerged which can be useful in delivering educational and prevention-oriented messages, Eisenberg said.

For parents, talking to kids about marijuana can mean many things: explaining its risks and effects, deciding on rules and consequences, and choosing whether to share their own history. Researchers didn’t offer answers — that wasn’t their role, or the purpose of the study — but parents appeared to appreciate hearing from each other, Eisenberg said.

Among the challenges parents discussed were adequate and appropriate consequences for breaking house rules, while a few parents of older kids, especially in the user-groups, described a harm-reduction approach, such as discussing with their teens how to use marijuana safely. Parents who chose this strategy said that while they didn’t want their children to use marijuana, they figured that if the children were going to try it anyway, they might as well educate them.

What makes the issue so thorny is the relatively rapid legal and cultural change around marijuana, said Rick Kosterman, a co-author of the study from the Social Development Research Group. While marijuana has become even more available since these interviews were conducted in 2014, parents’ questions are unlikely to have changed.

“In many ways, parenting around marijuana use is similar to that of alcohol use, since they’re both legal for adults,” Kosterman said. “A key difference is where I think parents and society in general have accepted that some people can become dependent on alcohol and it can ruin people’s lives if used in excess. Parents and kids aren’t so clear about risks of marijuana use — like the potential for misuse or effects on adolescent brains.

“We are still learning about the risks of teen marijuana use, as well as potential medical uses.”

The study’s conclusion points to how parents might seek answers, whether through community-oriented drug prevention programs or through information from health care providers, public health agencies or school programs.

“The fact that parents in this study openly asked for guidance highlights an opportunity for the prevention science community to work with medical professionals, schools and policymakers to fulfill this vital need at a critical time of policy transition in the United States,” the authors wrote.

Alongside this study of parenting practices is a companion study by the same research team, forthcoming in the Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, about parent perceptions of teens’ exposure to marijuana use following legalization in Washington state.

The parents who agreed to participate in both studies came from a longitudinal study the research group launched in the 1980s called the Seattle Social Development Project. The focus group sample was 39 percent white, 37 percent African American, 17 percent Asian American and 7 percent Native American. Of these groups, approximately 5 percent were Latino.

The study on parenting practices was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Additional authors were Tiffany Jones, a postdoctoral researcher at the UW School of Social Work and an affiliate at Colorado State University; Jennifer Bailey and Kevin Haggerty, of the Social Development Research Group; and Jungeun Olivia Lee of USC.



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Florida Senator Urges Free Medical Marijuana Cards For Veterans • High Times


The expansion of cannabis access is moving forward by fits and starts in Florida. But for one state senator, a key group of the state’s residents are still being underserved by current regulations. On Wednesday, Gary Farmer, a Broward County Democrat, pushed for the elimination of the $75 annual fee for medical marijuana identification cards for veterans.

In front of the state Senate’s health care appropriations committee, Farmer expressed his dismay that Florida’s 1.5 million vets “should have to pay for the right for the eligibility to get legal medical treatment,”  reports Orlando Weekly.

The state senator reminded the committee of the myriad costs that veterans must navigate in the state’s medical system, including fees for doctor visits and treatment costs.

“So many of our veterans are just struggling so much and I think many of them, frankly, aren’t even aware that this alternative treatment is there,” said Farmer.

His remarks come at a time when Florida officials are pushing to widen access to the state’s medical marijuana program, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters back in 2016. Governor Ron DeSantis has issued an ultimatum to legislators to remove a ban on smokable medical cannabis by March 15.

On Feb. 2, a Leon County circuit judge formally upbraided state health officials and legislators for a cap on cannabis dispensaries that she said, “erects barriers that needlessly increase patients’ costs, risks, and inconvenience, delay access to products, and reduce patients’ practical choice, information, privacy, and safety.”

Farmer’s recent remarks underline the fact that veteran access to cannabis is no inconsequential issue. Studies have confirmed that US veterans are far more likely than the general population to seek medical cannabis and support the widening of patient access to the federally restricted drug.

Veterans’ attraction to medical marijuana is not surprising, given that they are more likely to suffer from chronic pain and many of the other health conditions that have been proven to improve with cannabis usage. The US Department of Veterans Affairs has found that between 11 and 20 percent of Iraq War veterans suffer from PTSD, which studies have suggested may be alleviated by the use of cannabis.

Despite the fact that some veterans have literally been the first in line to buy marijuana when their state legalized the drug, cannabis access for many is fraught. In Missouri, veteran health officials recently clarified that given federal prohibition, veterans receiving VA care are at risk of losing their benefits entirely. In Washington, a bi-partisan duo of congresspeople sponsored legislation last year that would have supported vets seeking cannabis access.

Farmer also noted to the committee that, should veteran access to medical cannabis expand, vets may be less likely to seek opioid pain medications that have a high potential to be abused. The White House’s Secretary of Veteran Affairs Robert Wilkie has indicated that veterans are twice as likely to die from a drug overdose involving an opioid. The national military health system has devoted efforts in recent years to combat the issue.





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Maryland Lawmakers Introducing Legislation To End Cannabis Prohibition – Weed News


Barry Williams,Larry Hogan,Racial discrimination,Maryland

State lawmakers in both chambers filed legislation Wednesday that would end cannabis prohibition in Maryland.

SB0771, sponsored by Sen. William C. Smith, Jr., and HB0656, sponsored by Del. Eric Luedtke, would make cannabis legal for adults 21 and older and establish a system in which cannabis is regulated and taxed for adult use. Past convictions for cannabis possession and cultivation would be automatically expunged. A summary of the legislation is available at http://bit.ly/HB0656-SB0771.

Del. David Moon filed a constitutional amendment, HB0632, which would establish a similar system. If enacted, it would be placed on the ballot and decided by Maryland voters in November.

“A strong and steadily growing majority of Marylanders think it is time to end cannabis prohibition,” said Olivia Naugle, legislative coordinator for the Marijuana Policy Project. “One way or another, cannabis is going to become legal for adults in Maryland.

“These bills propose a sensible system in which cannabis is regulated, taxed, and treated similarly to alcohol,” Naugle said. “They would bring cannabis production and sales above ground so that they can be conducted by licensed, taxpaying businesses rather than criminal enterprises. Most importantly, this legislation would improve public health and safety, but it would also have the bonus of generating significant new tax revenue for the state.”

September 2018 Goucher Poll found 62 percent of state residents support making cannabis legal for adult use, up from 58 percent in 2017 and 54 percent in 2016. Only one-third of residents are opposed, according to the 2018 poll.

“States around the country are rolling back prohibition and finding that regulating cannabis works,” Naugle said. “Maryland has the opportunity to learn from other states, determine what has worked and what can be improved, and develop a system that can serve as an example for the rest of the country.”

Nine states have enacted laws regulating and taxing marijuana for adult use. In addition, Vermont and Washington, D.C. have enacted laws making marijuana possession and cultivation legal for adults, and their governments are now considering proposals to regulate commercial production and sales.

Source: Marijuana Policy Project



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