February 21, 2020 at 6:13 am PST | by Staff reports
Cannabis Culture
marijuana decriminalization, gay news, Washington Blade

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is on record supporting the decriminalization legislation. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Va. passes pot decriminalization bills

RICHMOND, Va. — House and Senate lawmakers have passed legislation decriminalizing minor marijuana possession offenses.

House Bill 972, which passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 64 to 34, reduces penalties for offenses involving the possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana to a civil violation – punishable by a maximum $25 fine, no arrest, and no criminal record. Senate Bill 2, which passed the Senate by a vote of 27 to 13, reduces penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to a $50 fine. It is anticipated that the two competing bills will be reconciled in conference committee.

Under current law, minor marijuana possession offenses are classified as criminal misdemeanors, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a criminal record, and the possible loss of driving privileges.

According to data from the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission, more than 15,000 people were convicted for a first or second marijuana possession offense from July 2018 to June 2019.

Both the Governor and the Attorney General are on record in favor of decriminalization.

Senate lawmakers also passed separate legislation this week, SB 1015, by a unanimous vote. The measure states that no person may be arrested, prosecuted, or denied any right or privilege for participating in the state’s medical cannabis oil program. The program is expected to be operational and dispensing cannabis products to authorized patients by mid-year.

Cessation of CBD not linked to withdrawal symptoms

LONDON — The abrupt cessation of CBD (cannabidiol) is not associated with physical withdrawal symptoms in healthy volunteers, according to clinical trial data published in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior.

A team of investigators from the United Kingdom and the United States assessed the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms induced by the abrupt cessation of CBD. Subjects in the trial were healthy volunteers who ingested 750mg of plant-derived CBD twice daily for a period of four weeks. Study participants either continued to receive CBD or received a placebo during weeks five and six.

Researchers reported no serious adverse events resulting from the discontinuation of CBD.

They concluded, “In healthy volunteers, no evidence of withdrawal syndrome was found with abrupt discontinuation of short-term treatment with CBD.”

In 2018, federal regulators classified Epidiolex – an FDA-approved formulation of plant-derived CBD – as a Schedule V substance, the lowest restriction classification available under federal law.

Cannabis associated with reduced use of ADHD meds

HAIFA, Israel — The use of medical cannabis is associated with a reduction in the use of ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) medications in patients diagnosed with the syndrome, according to data published in the Israeli medical journal Rambam Maimonides.

Israeli investigators surveyed 59 patients with ADHD who possessed a license from the Ministry of Health to access medical cannabis products. They reported that the use of medical cannabis, and in particular products dominant in the cannabinoid CBN (cannabinol), was associated with medication-sparing effects.

The findings suggest that some ADHD patients may consume cannabis as a “substitute treatment” for more conventional medications, authors concluded. They added, “These results, although not causal, might shed light on the potential beneficial effects of MC on ADHD symptom severity and motivate future prospective studies in order to validate our results and perhaps even consider making ADHD an approved indication for MC license in Israel in future.”

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

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