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Fla. guv seeks to lift ban on smoked cannabis

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Gov. Ron DeSantis has told lawmakers to lift a legislatively imposed prohibition on the inhalation of medical cannabis.

Fla. guv seeks to lift ban on smoked cannabis

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has told lawmakers to lift a legislatively imposed prohibition on the inhalation of medical cannabis.

Lawmakers imposed the ban in 2017 in response to the passage of a voter-approved constitutional amendment legalizing the use and dispensing of medical cannabis. The ban prohibits registered patients from possessing marijuana “in a form for smoking” and bars the use of herbal cannabis except in instances where it is contained “in a sealed tamper-proof receptacle for vaping.” The 2016 constitutional amendment contained no such restrictions.

DeSantis said that he opposed the legislature’s changes because they amended the law in a manner that was “not in accordance with what the amendment envisioned.”

In May, a Florida Circuit Court judge ruled that the ban was unconstitutional. That decision was appealed by the administration of former Gov. Rick Scott. By contrast, Gov. DeSantis says that he will drop the appeal. Legislation was filed on Friday, SB 372, to permit patients to possess and inhale herbal cannabis preparations.

Cannabis extracts safe for autistic patients: study

JERUSALEM — The administration of plant-derived cannabis extracts is effective and well-tolerated in patients diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), according to data published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Israeli investigators assessed the safety and efficacy of the daily administration of CBD-enriched cannabis oil (consisting of 30 percent CBD and 1.5 percent THC) in a cohort of 188 patients with ASD. Of those patients who continued treatment for six months and provided feedback to researchers, over 90 percent reported some level of symptomatic improvement — including reductions in restlessness, seizures, and rage attacks. Approximately one-third of respondents reported a reduction in their intake of other medications.

Authors concluded: “Cannabis as a treatment for autism spectrum disorders patients appears to be well-tolerated, safe and seemingly effective option to relieve symptoms, mainly: seizures, tics, depression, restlessness and rage attacks. … [W]e believe that double blind placebo-controlled trials are crucial for a better understanding of the cannabis effect on ASD patients.”

The results are consistent with those of a prior Israeli study which concluded that the daily administration of CBD-dominant extracts was associated with “overall improvement in behavior, anxiety, and communication” in autism patients.

Vaporization ‘more efficient’ than smoking: study

BALTIMORE — Vaporizing cannabis, as opposed to smoking it, is associated with greater THC concentrations in blood, according to clinical trial data published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology.

A team of researchers from John Hopkins University in Maryland and the Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina assessed cannabinoid concentrations in blood and in oral fluid following either marijuana smoking or vaporization.

Authors concluded: “For whole blood, greater detection sensitivity for ELISA testing was observed in vaporized conditions. Conversely, for oral fluid, greater sensitivity was observed in smoked sessions. … Vaporization appears to be a more efficient method of delivery compared with smoking.”

Prior research by the same team published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that vaporized cannabis is associated with more dramatic changes in drug-induced effects than is smoked marijuana.

U.S. Virgin Islands enacts medical cannabis law

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. (Photo courtesy of the Bryan Campaign)

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, VIRGIN ISLANDS — Democratic Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. signed legislation into law last week establishing a regulated medical cannabis market in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act permits qualified patients to possess and access cannabis and cannabis-infused products from licensed dispensaries. Specified patients will also be permitted to cultivate their own marijuana.

Under the law, regulators must finalize rules governing the program within 180 days.

The Virgin Islands is the third U.S. territory to legalize medical cannabis access —joining Guam and Puerto Rico.

 

Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at [email protected].

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America’s largest cannabis gatherings, National Cannabis Festival and The Emerald Cup, combine forces for a coast-to-coast online 420 festival benefiting Coronavirus relief charities.

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Cannabis Culture

Cannabis Culture

Two-thirds of Latinos back legalizing marijuana

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Two-thirds of Latinos back legalizing marijuana

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — More than two in three U.S. Hispanic adults support legalizing marijuana, according to nationwide polling data compiled by the digital media firm H Code.

Pollsters surveyed a nationally representative sample of over 1,300 English- and Spanish-speaking U.S. Hispanic respondents. Sixty-eight percent of those polled said that they are favor of legalizing marijuana in the United States.

That percentage is consistent with other nationwide polls of U.S. adults, such as those here, here, and here, finding that two-thirds of respondents believe that the adult use of cannabis ought to be legal. By contrast, prior polls of Hispanic-only voters had often reported that Latinos were less likely than the general population to express support for legalizing cannabis.

Smoking cannabis is most popular method of ingestion

SEATTLE — Adults who consume cannabis are most likely to smoke it, according to data compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Researchers analyzed data from over 6,100 adult cannabis consumers in 12 states. Ninety-one percent of respondents acknowledging having smoked herbal cannabis, with 59 percent reporting that inhalation “was their only mode of marijuana use.” By contrast, only 25 percent of respondents reported having ever used cannabis-infused edible products, and only 20 percent reported ever having vaporized cannabis. Five percent of subjects reported exclusively consuming marijuana edibles, and two percent said that they only vaped cannabis.

The data is consistent with prior studies, such as those here and here, showing that the majority of people who self-report consuming cannabis do so by methods that involve smoking the substance.

Medical cannabis is Maine’s 3rd largest economic market

AUGUSTA, Maine — Patients purchased an estimated $112 million worth of medical cannabis-related products in 2019, according to newly released Maine tax data.

The annual revenues related to medical cannabis are more than the total revenues generated by the sales of blueberries, maple syrup, apples, herring, and oysters combined. Only the state’s lobster industry and potato industry bring in more annual revenue.

Some three-quarters of the revenue generated from medical cannabis (85.3 million) came from sales by caregivers to patients. Although the state’s medical cannabis access program has been operational for some two decades, Maine officials only began tracking caregiver-related tax revenue in February of 2019.

Licensed retail adult-use marijuana sales are anticipated to begin in June.

 

Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. Visit norml.org for more information.

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Cannabis Culture

Cannabis Culture

ABA calls for marijuana banking access

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SAFE Banking Act, gay news, Washington BladeABA calls for marijuana banking access

CHICAGO — The American Bar Association has adopted a resolution urging the passage of federal legislation facilitating banks and other financial institutions to legally interact with licensed cannabis businesses.

The resolution calls for the “enactment of [federal] laws to ensure that it shall not constitute a federal crime for banks and financial institutions to provide cannabis-related services.”

Under existing law, banks are discouraged from engaging with state-licensed marijuana businesses. In September, members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted 321 to 103 in favor of HR 1595: The SAFE Banking Act, amending federal law so that financial institutions may work directly with state-legal marijuana businesses without fear of federal repercussions. The bill now awaits action from the Senate Banking Committee. However, Committee Chair Mike Crapo (R-Ind.) has expressed opposition to the measure.

In 2019, the ABA adopted a separate resolution urging Congress “to enact legislation to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.” With over 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is among the largest voluntary organizations in the world.

More seniors turning to cannabis

NEW YORK — Cannabis use is increasing among those ages 65 and older, according to data published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers affiliated with the New York School of Medicine assessed trends in self-reported cannabis use among seniors. They reported that 4.2 percent of seniors acknowledged engaging in past-year cannabis consumption in 2018, up from 2.4 percent in 2015 and 0.4 percent in 2006.

The study’s findings are consistent with those of prior papers similarly reporting an uptick in marijuana use among older Americans. According to a 2019 study published in the journal Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine, marijuana use among seniors is associated with self-reported improvements in pain management, day-to-day functioning, and in their overall health and quality of life.

Employers’ attitudes shifting on drug tests

SUNNYVALE, Calif. — A growing number of companies are either abandoning marijuana-specific drug testing programs or reducing the frequency with which they test, according to nationwide survey data compiled by the online recruitment website Simply Hired Incorporated.

Fifty-five percent of hiring managers polled in the survey said that their companies do not test current employees for off-the-job marijuana use. Among those hiring managers who work for companies that do engage in testing, 40 percent said that “they do it less often than in the past.” Larger-sized companies (1,000+ employees) were far more likely to utilize pre-employment testing for cannabis than were smaller-sized companies.

Nearly 70 percent of hiring managers said that their company would be “okay” with an employee using cannabis while away from work “as long as the company remains unaware of it.” Among employees surveyed, 75 percent said testing positive for marijuana should not be grounds for automatic termination.

 

Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. Visit norml.org for more information.

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