Tag: US News

Hartford City Council Unanimously Endorses Marijuana Legalization

Hartford, Connecticut

HARTFORD, CT — At a meeting Monday evening, the Hartford Court of Common Council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution in support of making cannabis legal and regulated for adults in Connecticut.

The resolution specifically recommends that the Hartford Delegation of elected representatives support the passage of state legislation to legalize and tax cannabis in 2018 and insist on measures to ensure racial equity in ownership and employment in the resulting cannabis industry.

It also directs the city to conduct an economic impact study for a potential cannabis industry in Hartford and hold public forums to hear from residents.

“By passing this resolution, we put ourselves in a position to ensure the implementation of marijuana regulation is grounded in racial and economic justice,” said Hartford City Councilwoman Wildaliz Bermudez, who sponsored the resolution.

“The city of Hartford should be commended for publicly endorsing legalization and joining the voices throughout the state that are calling for sensible marijuana policies,” said Sam Tracy, director of the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana. “The legislature should heed this growing chorus for change and make regulating marijuana for adults a priority in 2018.”

A Sacred Heart University poll released in October showed that 71% of Connecticut residents support legalizing and taxing marijuana for adults.

Marijuana is legal for adults in eight states, including Massachusetts and Maine, and the District of Columbia. At least 21 states are expected to have bills to regulate marijuana introduced in their 2018 legislative sessions.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

WHO Report: No Public Health Problems Attributable to CBD

The use of the naturally occurring cannabinoid CBD is safe, well tolerated, and is not associated with any significant adverse public health effects, according to the findings of a preliminary report compiled by the World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence.

Authors of the report declare that CBD is “not associated with abuse potential” and that it does not induce physical dependence. “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile,” they conclude.

Nonetheless, they acknowledge that CBD remains classified as a schedule I controlled substance under US federal law – a classification that defines it as possessing a “high potential for abuse.”

The WHO report also comments on CBD’s therapeutic efficacy, finding that the substance has “been demonstrated as an effective treatment for epilepsy,” and that there exists “preliminary evidence that CBD may be a useful treatment for a number of other medical conditions,” including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and psychosis.

While authors acknowledge that the “unsanctioned medical use of CBD” oils and extracts is relatively common, they affirm, “[T]here is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

The World Health Organization is in the process of considering whether to place CBD within the agency’s international drug scheduling code. In September, NORML submitted written testimony to the US Food and Drug Administration in opposition to the enactment of new international restrictions regarding CBD access. The FDA is one of a number of agencies advising WHO in their final review.

Full text of the preliminary report appears online here. The full text of NORML’s written testimony appears here.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Teen Marijuana Use Drops in Colorado, Now Lower Than Before Legalization

DENVER, CO — The federal government published survey data Monday that shows the rate of current marijuana use among Colorado teens decreased significantly last year and is now lower than it was prior to the state’s legalization of marijuana for adult use.

The rate of past-month marijuana use by individuals ages 12-17 dropped nearly 20% from 11.13% in 2014-2015 to 9.08% in 2015-2016, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) performed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It is now lower than it was in 2011-2012 (10.47%) and 2012-2013 (11.16%). Marijuana became legal for adults 21 and older in December 2012, and legal adult marijuana sales began in January 2014.

The rate of past-month marijuana use among 12-17-year-olds also dropped in Washington (from 9.17% in 2014-2015 to 7.93% in 2015-2016), and it is now lower than it was prior to legalization in 2012 (9.45% in 2011-2012 and 9.81% in 2012-2013).

Statement from Brian Vicente, partner at Vicente Sederberg LLC, who was one of the lead drafters of Amendment 64 and co-director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol:

“Colorado is effectively regulating marijuana for adult use,” said Brian Vicente, who was one of the lead authors of Amendment 64 and co-director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “Teen use appears to be dropping now that state and local authorities are overseeing the production and sale of marijuana. There are serious penalties for selling to minors, and regulated cannabis businesses are being vigilant in checking IDs. The days of arresting thousands of adults in order to prevent teens from using marijuana are over.

“These survey results should come as welcome news to anyone who worried teen marijuana use would increase following legalization. As a proponent of Amendment 64 and a parent of two young children, they certainly came as welcome news to me,” Vicente added.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Federal Medical Marijuana Protections Temporarily Extended

Congressional leadership voted to enact a two-week continuing resolution that maintains present federal spending levels and priorities through December 22, 2017. The resolution extends medical cannabis patient protections imposed by the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment until that date.

The amendment, which has been in place since 2014, maintains that federal funds cannot be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

“While we are pleased that these critical protections will continue, two weeks is not enough certainty for the millions of Americans who rely on medical marijuana for treatment and the businesses who serve them. As Congress works out a long-term funding bill, it must also include these protections. And ultimately, Congress must act to put an end to the cycle of uncertainty and permanently protect state medical marijuana programs—and adult use—from federal interference. The American people have spoken. It’s past time that Congress catch up.” – Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)

Reps Rohrabacher and Blumenauer are both co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

Congressional leadership must reauthorize this language as part of the forthcoming budget in order for the provisions to stay in effect. In July, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) offered identical language before the Senate Appropriations Committee, which approved it. However, House Rules Committee Chair Peter Sessions (R-TX) has refused to allow House members to vote on similar language. The provision will now be considered by House and Senate leadership when the two chambers’ appropriations bills are reconciled.

Send a message to your federal lawmakers in support of continuing these protections beyond December 22nd by clicking here. 

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Improving Medical Marijuana Programs Will Help Combat Opioid Crisis

WASHINGTON, DC — Americans for Safe Access has released “Medical Cannabis as a Tool to Combat Pain and the Opioid Crisis: A Blueprint for State Policy.

Released Thursday, the blueprint outlines legislative and regulatory solutions related to medical cannabis that states can utilize to combat the opioid epidemic.

Medical cannabis is a proven alternative to treat chronic pain. Medical professionals and researchers have released studies demonstrating its positive effects and overall benefits to public health. However, medical cannabis programs are serving just 2 percent of the population in most of the thirty states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam that have so far passed laws (another sixteen have passed more limited laws). One-third of the U.S. population is living with chronic pain, and they all deserve access to medical cannabis.

The blueprint lays out the specific barriers to access contributing to this disparity and provides lawmakers with the legislative means to reduce those barriers.

“I am excited to introduce this book to potential bill sponsors in my state,” said Jamie Lowell, a medical cannabis advocate and organizer in Michigan. “Medical cannabis allowed me to wean myself off of opiates, and I’m hopeful that by introducing this model legislation, we can reduce some of the barriers to medical cannabis and help even more Michigan patients.”

The report features model legislation, an emergency proclamation, and flow charts that help lawmakers identify barriers to access that medical cannabis patients in their states are facing. It also highlights the state of Michigan as a case study to illustrate how many individuals are potentially excluded from state medical cannabis programs. Michigan filed emergency regulations December 4th, which will improve product safety standards through testing and security. However, as the state develops legislation to manage the program for the longer term, it should look to the model legislation included in this blueprint to eliminate many of the current barriers to patient access.

“As many state legislatures are currently pre-filing bills for the 2018 legislative session, this report provides a critical toolkit for states to respond to the opioid crisis and be ready in their upcoming sessions to introduce legislation that will not only improve their state cannabis programs, but lower the instances of opioid addiction and overdose deaths. It has been nearly two months since President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. However, since this declaration, there has been no effort on the federal level to provide funds for this crisis,” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access. “It is clear that states will have to take healthcare outcomes into their own hands. This report gives them the framework and tools they need to make cannabis an option in their fight against the opioid epidemic.”

This report comes on the tail of the President’s Commission on Drug Abuse and Combating the Opioid Crisis report issued on November 1, 2017. The Commission’s report identified over fifty solutions to the crisis, but failed to include the utility of cannabis, even though states with medical cannabis programs have witnessed a 25 percent reduction of opioid overdose deaths. It’s time for every state to enact programs that will provide access to medical cannabis for all chronic pain patients, and the guidelines provided here will help new states and those with existing programs to better respond to the opioid crisis which the Centers for Disease Control have estimated cost 65,000 lives in 2016.

Councilman David Grosso has already introduced parts of the legislation in an effort to reduce opioid overdose deaths in Washington, D.C., and Americans for Safe Access anticipates other programs will welcome the ability to proactively work towards reducing opioid overdose deaths in their states.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Minnesota Officials Expand Medical Marijuana Program

ST. PAUL, MN — State health regulators in Minnesota have decided to expand the state’s medical cannabis program to include patients diagnosed with autism and sleep apnea.

Advocates petitioned health officials to add the two new qualifications, as well as several other diagnoses – such as anxiety – that regulators ultimately rejected.

Health officials also denied requests to expand the program to permit patients to access whole-plant cannabis or edibles. Under existing law, qualified patients may only access cannabis-infused oils.

Patients with autism and/or sleep apnea will be eligible to participate in the program beginning on July 1, 2018.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Wisconsin Hemp Pilot Program Signed Into Law

MADISON, WI —  Republican Gov. Scott Walker has signed legislation into law to establish a state-sponsored pilot program to “study the growth, cultivation, and marketing of industrial hemp” in Wisconsin.

Members of the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate had unanimously approved the measure earlier this year.

Senate Bill 119 defines cannabis with no more than .03 percent THC as industrial hemp. It calls on regulators to facilitate rules to permit “selling, transferring, importing, exporting, or taking possession of industrial hemp.”

Under a 2014 federal law, states may license hemp cultivation as part of a university sponsored pilot program. Thirty-two universities in nineteen states – Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia – have participated in hemp cultivation projects this year, according to data compiled by the advocacy organization Vote Hemp.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Florida Lawsuit Challenges Regulators’ Failure to Fully Implement Medical Marijuana Law

TALLAHASSEE, FL — Florida patients and growers have filed a lawsuit over regulators’ failure to meet deadlines associated with the state’s 2016 voter-approved medical cannabis law.

Plaintiffs argue that the state Department of Health has failed to issue licenses for additional dispensaries despite an October deadline.

“Florida law required the DOH to issue ten additional licenses by October 3, 2017,” the suit claims. “[Y]et the Department has failed to do so – an issue which patients say limits their access to lifesaving medicine.”

Regulators also have a backlog of patient applications from those seeking to participate in the state’s nascent medical cannabis access program.

Seventy-one percent of Florida voters approved Amendment 2 – a voter-initiated constitutional amendment permitting the regulated distribution of cannabis to qualified patients.

In July, plaintiffs Florida for Care filed suit challenging a legislative change to the amendment that prohibits the possession of cannabis “in a form for smoking.” That legal challenge remains ongoing.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Alcohol Sales Fall Following Marijuana Legalization, Study Finds

Sales of alcoholic beverages decline following the enactment of medical marijuana access laws, according to a working paper authored by a team of researchers from the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University.

Authors evaluated the relationship between medical marijuana laws and retail alcohol sales for more than 2,000 US counties for the years 2006 to 2015. Alcohol sales trends in medical cannabis states were compared to sales trends in states where cannabis remained illegal.

Researchers determined that counties located in medical cannabis states, on average, experienced a reduction in monthly alcohol sales of 15 percent.

Researchers concluded:

“We find that marijuana and alcohol are strong substitutes. … States legalizing medical marijuana use experience significant decreases in the aggregate sale of alcohol, beer and wine. Moreover, the effects are not short-lived, with significant reductions observed up to 24 months after the passage of the law.”

Consumer trend data from California reports that those with legal access to cannabis frequently reduce their alcohol intake. A 2016 analysis of beer sales in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington reported that retail sales “collectively underperformed” in the years following the enactment of adult use marijuana regulation.

Full text of the study, “Helping settle the marijuana and alcohol debate: Evidence from scanner data,” appears online here.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Michigan Legalization Coalition Turns In 360,000 Signatures To Place Issue On 2018 Ballot

LANSING, MI — Proponents of a voter initiative effort to legalize and regulate the personal use and retail sale of cannabis in Michigan have turned in more than 360,000 signatures in an effort to qualify the measure for the November 2018 ballot. Advocates must possess a total of 252,523 valid signatures from registered voters in order to place the initiative – the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act – on next year’s ballot.

The initiative permits those over the age of 21 to possess and grow personal use quantities of cannabis and related concentrates, while also licensing activities related to the commercial marijuana production and retail marijuana sales.

Proponents of the effort, The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, include members of the Marijuana Policy Project, the ACLU of Michigan, the Drug Policy Alliance, the National Patients Rights Association, Michigan NORML, MI Legalize, the Michigan Cannabis Coalition, and lawyers from the State Bar of Michigan Marijuana Law Section.

Advocates sought to place a similar measure on the Michigan ballot in 2016. That effort was ultimately turned back when lawmakers imposed and the courts upheld new rules limiting the time frame during which signatures could be collected.

Marijuana law reform advocates are presently gathering signatures for voter-initiated efforts in Missouri and Utah. Proponents of a medical marijuana initiative in South Dakota have turned in their signatures and are awaiting a review by the Secretary of State’s office.

A statewide initiative legalizing the use of medical marijuana in Oklahoma has already qualified for the 2018 electoral ballot.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.