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Can Marijuana Treat Alzheimer’s?

July 26th, 2016 3 Comments » Rory McPeak

 

A recent study conducted at Salk Institute for Biological Studies showed that medical marijuana might be a potentially effective treatment for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. According to the study, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) “stimulates the removal of toxic plaque in the brain, a common

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feature of the disease” and treats inflammation, preventing neuron damage in the brain.

While Keith Fargo of the Alzheimer’s Association has expressed optimism about the study, referring to marijuana as a “legitimate avenue of research,” other researchers advise caution. Dr. Donovan Maust, who has studied marijuana’s effects on dementia, has said that there are still too many unknowns to start treating Alzheimer’s patients with medical marijuana.

These results correspond with earlier findings, such as a 2014 Dutch study showing that THC can treat symptoms of dementia, and a 2016 study that found “THC helped decrease symptoms of delusions, agitation or aggression, irritability, apathy and sleep in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.”

While these fascinating discoveries hold a great deal of exciting potential, medical marijuana researchers continue to face enormous obstacles due to federal restrictions that come with marijuana’s Schedule I status.

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Medical Marijuana

First Dispensaries to Open in Florida, but Most Patients Still Left Behind

July 25th, 2016 2 Comments » Kate Bell

The first dispensary in Florida to offer low-THC medical marijuana products is expected to open in Tallahassee on Tuesday. Unfortunately, there are still huge flaws in Florida’s law. Dispensaries may be opening up, but for most patients, the doors are still shut.YesOn2Florida

First, only low-THC marijuana will be available, and only patients with cancer, seizures, or severe and persistent muscle spasms will qualify, leaving many patients behind. Although cannabis with more THC will eventually be available, it will only be for terminally ill patients.

Second, doctors are required to “order” a specific amount of cannabis, which is perilously close to prescribing it. This puts doctors at risk of violating federal law, and we expect that it will be very difficult for patients to find doctors willing to take this risk, which is why MPP does not classify Florida as a true medical marijuana state.

The best way to fix these problems is to support United for Care’s efforts to pass Amendment 2, which would create an effective medical program for Florida.

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New Study: Alcohol Increases Aggression, Marijuana Doesn’t

July 20th, 2016 3 Comments » Rory McPeak

The results of a recent study in the Netherlands confirmed the long-held claim by supporters of marijuana policy reform that marijuana is much safer than alcohol, specifically as itNMBarScene relates to violent behavior. According to the findings, alcohol users demonstrated more aggressive tendencies while intoxicated than while sober, while marijuana users became less aggressive while under the influence.

The Washington Post reports:

They found, first of all, that “alcohol intoxication increased subjective aggression in the alcohol group.” The alcohol users, in other words, acted more aggressive when they were drunk than they did when they were sober. By contrast, the smokers became less aggressive when they were high.

These findings held through both the self-assessments — alcohol users rated themselves as more aggressive when drunk — and through the responses to the tests: The drinkers tried harder to undermine their computer opponents when they were drunk. But the smokers actually acted less aggressive toward their computer opponents when they were high.

“The results in the present study support the hypothesis that acute alcohol intoxication increases feelings of aggression and that acute cannabis intoxication reduces feelings of aggression,” the researchers conclude.

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Poll: Majority of NH Voters Support Regulating Marijuana

July 20th, 2016 No Comments Rory McPeak

Seal_of_New_Hampshire.svgThe findings of the latest WMUR Granite State Poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center show that a majority of likely New Hampshire voters support making marijuana legal and regulated for adults. According to the survey, “61% support legalizing marijuana for recreational use (39% strongly and 22% somewhat), 32% oppose (22% strongly and 10% somewhat), and 7% are neutral or unsure.” If marijuana were legalized in New Hampshire, 69% said they would support taxing and regulating it like alcohol, while 26% said they would oppose, 2% are neutral, and 2% are unsure. When asked what type of legislation they would prefer regarding marijuana, 48% said they want marijuana legalized and taxed like alcohol, 24% supported decriminalization, 24% supported maintaining current marijuana laws, and 3% were unsure.

Recent attempts to decriminalize marijuana or regulate it like alcohol have stalled in the legislature. Advocates are hopeful that lawmakers will heed the voices of their constituents and move forward with sensible marijuana policy reforms in the next session.

UPDATE: MPP’s New Hampshire primary election voter guide is now available. Find out where lawmakers stand on marijuana policy issues and how you can help us achieve sensible reforms in the legislature next session!

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Medical Marijuana

Kentucky Nurses Association Supports Medical Marijuana

July 13th, 2016 3 Comments » Matt Simon

On July , the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations held a public hearing to consider testimony on the medical use of marijuana. At a press conference prior to the hearing, patients received a strong endorsement from the Kentucky Nurses Association, which announced its support for the proposed reform.Kentucky_Nurses_Association_Logo

“I hope that folks are going to see that when registered nurses say this is an important access to care issue, that folks are going to look at it as the medical and patient care issue that it is and not as a social issue,” said Maureen Keenan, executive director of the KNA.

It is apparent that some Kentucky legislators are evolving on the issue and becoming supporters of allowing medical marijuana. However, others remain vigorously opposed, and many still seem reluctant to discuss the issue in public. If you are a Kentucky resident, please take a moment to send your elected officials a message in support of medical marijuana legislation.

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Marijuana Question Officially on Massachusetts Ballot

July 12th, 2016 2 Comments » Rory McPeak

On Monday July 11, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin announced the four measures that have qualified for the November ballot, including the initiative entitled “Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana,” which will appear as Question 4 on the ballot.

The initiative would allow persons aged 21 and older to purchase, possess, use, and transfer marijuana and products containing marijuana concentrates, including edible products.  It would also allow a taxed and regulated marijuana market in the state.

This is exciting news for proponents of legalized marijuana in Massachusetts, as it was only last week that, after the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted enough signatures to qualify, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of allowing the marijuana question on the ballot after it had been challenged by opponents.

If you are a Massachusetts resident, go here to find out how you can help Question 4 win this November!

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Medical Marijuana

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot

July 7th, 2016 11 Comments » Maggie Ellinger-Locke

On July 7, the Arkansas Secretary of State announced that Arkansans for Compassionate Care’s (ACC’s) medical marijuana initiative qualified for this November’s ballot. The measure, the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, would allow seriously ill patients who have a certification from their doctor to obtain medical cannabis from nonprofit compassion centers. In addition, patients – or their licensed caregivers – could cultivate up to 10 cannabis plants at home provided they take steps to ensure it is secure. For a complete summary, please click here.ARCompassion logo

However, the measure is facing competition from a second initiative, and polling suggests that if both initiatives make the ballot, it’s almost certain that both will fail. Therefore, ACC is urging the competing campaign to end their signature drive and unite behind the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act.

If you wish to volunteer to help work towards reform, you can visit ACC’s webpage to sign up and get involved in this important effort. With your support, 2016 may be the year that voters approve medical marijuana in the Natural State.

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General, Prohibition, Research

Marijuana Rescheduling No-Decision Met With Challenge From Congress

July 1st, 2016 7 Comments » Rory McPeak

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Earlier this year, the DEA had announced that they hope to have a decision regarding the rescheduling of marijuana within the first half of 2016. That time has now come and gone with the DEA failing to deliver.

A bipartisan coalition of Senators and Representatives has signed a letter to head of the DEA, Chuck Rosenberg, urging the federal agency to remove marijuana and THC from Schedule I, its current status under the Controlled Substances Act.  Schedule I is the most restrictive drug classification that, according to the DEA, is reserved for substances that have a high potential for abuse and no known medical benefits.

“We ask that you clarify this policy immediately, and issue a public statement informing the research community that the DEA, in compliance with international obligations, will accept new applications to bulk manufacture cannabis for medical and scientific purposes, to be approved on merit-based criteria,” the lawmakers wrote.

The letter, drafted by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), also calls for the DEA to loosen restrictions surrounding medical marijuana research and to grant more licenses for the production of research-grade marijuana.  Currently, the only federally approved source of marijuana is the University of Mississippi, whose supply is notoriously difficult for researchers to obtain and frequently alleged to be of sub-research grade quality.

The letter was signed by Sen. Gillibrand as well as Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR); and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).

Read here for more information.

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Uncategorized

Initiative to End Marijuana Prohibition in Arizona Poised to Appear on November Ballot

June 30th, 2016 5 Comments » Rory McPeak

11244927_391839010995824_4059922082424127714_nAt 10:30 AM on Thursday June 30 in Phoenix, Arizona, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) submitted petitions with 258,582 signatures to state officials in order to place an initiative to tax and regulate marijuana on the November ballot.  Their total submission far exceeded the required number of 150,642 signatures.

The ballot initiative would “allow adults 21 and older to possess limited amounts of marijuana; establish a system in which marijuana is regulated similarly to alcohol; and enact a 15 percent tax on retail marijuana sales, from which a majority of the revenue would be directed to Arizona schools and public education programs.”

The submission took place during a news conference at the campaign’s temporary office hosted by CRMLA chairman J.P. Holyoak and Parents for Responsible Marijuana Regulation co-chair Kathy Inman.  The conference was attended by representatives of the Arizona Secretary of State’s office who accepted the signatures for review.

“We are very encouraged by the strong levels of support and enthusiasm we found among voters during the petition drive,” said CRMLA Chairman J.P. Holyoak. “Arizonans are ready to end the antiquated policy of marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. We look forward to continuing the public conversation about the initiative, and we think most will agree it is a sensible step forward for our state.”

The submission comes a day after the Joint Legislative Budget Committee announced their findings that the initiative would generate around $82 million a year in tax revenue, at least $55 million of which will go to K-12 education, including full-time Kindergarten.

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Initiative to End Marijuana Prohibition in California Qualifies for November Ballot

June 29th, 2016 9 Comments » Mason Tvert

13051785_1561302290867287_3261976781645789533_nCalifornia voters will soon have the opportunity to vote on an initiative that would end marijuana prohibition in the state and replace it with a system in which marijuana is legal and regulated for adult use.

The Los Angeles Times reported this morning:

The Secretary of State’s Office certified that a random sample showed sufficient signatures among the 600,000 turned in to qualify the measure. The initiative is backed by a coalition that includes former Facebook President Sean Parker and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“Today marks a fresh start for California as we prepare to replace the costly, harmful and ineffective system of prohibition with a safe, legal and responsible adult-use marijuana system that gets it right and completely pays for itself,” said Jason Kinney, a spokesman for California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

The initiative is being supported by a broad and quickly growing coalition of activists, community leaders, and organizations, including the Marijuana Policy Project, which has formed a committee to contribute directly to the campaign. 

“We think voters in California are ready to end marijuana prohibition and replace it with a more sensible system,” said Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, which has about 200,000 supporters nationwide.

Tvert is confident this year’s measure will do better than past attempts.

He expects activists from all over the country will get involved in the California campaign, either through campaign contributions or working phone banks to get out the vote.

“We are moving to mobilize our supporters,” Tvert said. “There are folks throughout the country who recognize the importance of making marijuana legal in the largest state in the nation. There are a lot of folks who recognize that passage of these laws in other states will make it easier for their state to move forward.”

Click here to join the campaign and learn more about the initiative.

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