By Steve Elliott
Students who smoke only marijuana do better at school than classmates who smoke only tobacco, or who smoke both tobacco and marijuana, according to a new study which tracked substance use among teens over a 30-year period.
Scientists at the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health looked at data from a survey given to nearly 39,000 Ontario students between 1981 and 2011, reports Andrea Janus at CTV News. Students in Grades 7, 9 and 11 were asked by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health about their tobacco and marijuana use, and about their academic performance.
Cannabis-only users did better at school than their peers who smoked only tobacco or who smoked both tobacco and cannabis. The findings reflect the fact that fewer students smoke tobacco now than was the case 30 years ago, and those who do make up a "marginalized, vulnerable" population, according to the study's lead author, Michael Chaiton, assistant professor of epidemiology and public health policy.
Almost all the tobacco users -- 92 percent -- also use cannabis, according to the study. However, only one in four marijuana smokers (25 percent) also used tobacco.
"It's better relatively," Chaiton said of marijuana smokers' academic performance. However, marijuana users didn't outperform non-users, Chaiton said -- but neither did non-users outperform marijuana users.
By Steve Elliott
More than seven in 10 Washington state residents support a legal marijuana business opening in their neighborhood, according to the results of a new survey, with the level of support in Colorado is almost as high.
The survey of nearly 2,200 consumers from Washington and Colorado revealed what residents of both states think about the legalization of recreational cannabis, according to Avvo, Inc., an online legal Q&A forum.
Seventy-one percent of Washington residents, and 67 percent of Colorado residents, support cannabis businesses opening in their neighborhoods, according to the survey.
Forty-three percent said they plan to make a marijuana purchase in the future, and 70 percent of them believe that bringing cannabis to a dinner party will become as routine as bringing a bottle of wine in the not-too-distant future.
While residents of both legal states are welcoming marijuana businesses, they do have concerns: 43 percent are worried about kids having greater access to marijuana (but they already did, of course, under prohibition, and legal marijuana stores won't sell to them under legalization), and 42 percent are concerned about increased numbers of people driving under the influence of marijuana (but statistics show that traffic fatalities have fallen in medical marijuana states).
By Steve Elliott
Canadian medical marijuana patients who are currently licensed to grow their own cannabis will be allowed to continue doing so, despite new regulations banning homegrown which start on April 1, a Federal Court judge ruled last Friday.
Judge Michael Manson granted an injunction to a group of medical marijuana patients who asked the judge to block the rule, preserving the status quo until a constitutional challenge of the new system can be heard, reports The Canadian Press.
The decision is a blow to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government's attempt to shift control of the country's medical marijuana system from the roughly 37,000 enrolled patients to the government. The Conservatives claim the current system has problems ranging from unsafe grow operations to infiltration by criminals.
Under the new rules, only commercial growers would be allowed to cultivate cannabis. Friday's injunction doesn't affect the new licensing system.
Health Canada had ordered patients who are licensed to grow marijuana under the old rules to confirm they had destroyed their plants, or they would be reported to the police.
The patients acting as plaintiffs in the lawsuit argued the growing ban violates their right to access important medicine, because cannabis is expected to be more expensive under the new system. They also say they won't have much control over which strains of marijuana are available.
Legislation would allow patients with certain serious conditions to use medical marijuana; regulations to be established by existing medical marijuana commission
The Maryland Senate on Thursday approved a bill 45-1 after its third reading that would allow seriously ill Marylanders to use medical marijuana with recommendations from their doctors. The amended bill will now go to the House for consideration, where a similar bill has already been approved.
SB 923, introduced by Sen. Jamie Raskin and co-sponsored by 12 other senators, would allow seriously ill residents suffering from certain qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. Possession limits and regulations governing cultivation and dispensary facilities would be determined by the state prior to implementation.
A companion bill, HB 881, was co-sponsored by 80 delegates and approved overwhelmingly by the House earlier this year and is waiting for consideration by the Senate.
Yet More Proof Fears of Legalization Remain Unfounded in Science
Researchers at the University of Texas Dallas on Wednesday published an article in PLOS ONE that indicates that despite opponents’ fears, legalizing medical marijuana does not increase crime and may actually lower some types of violent crime.
The study examined FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics on murder, rape, assault, robbery, burglary, larceny and auto theft from all 50 states, including 11 states that legalized medical marijuana during the course of the study, over a 17 year period from 1990-2006. Controlling for confounding factors, they found no increases in any category of offense and even saw a slight decrease in homicides and assaults.
The study is reminiscent of a University of Chicago study that came out last year showing that, despite opponents’ warnings about increases in unsafe driving behaviors, legalizing medical marijuana was associated with a drop in traffic fatalities.
By Steve Elliott
Medical marijuana may be the most effective complementary or alternative medicine to ease the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, according to new guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology released on Monday.
The category of "complementary and alternative medicines" (CAM) includes nontraditional therapies often used in addition to, and sometimes instead of, doctor recommended treatments, reports Saundra Young at CNN.
The guidelines are based on recommendations from a committee of nine doctors chosen by the AAN, each of whom is an expert on complementary and alternative medicines. The panel reviewed 291 studies covering medical literature from the past 43 years. Of those, 115 studies made the cut.
"This is the first-ever review, evidence-based recommendation, on the treatment of MS with CAM therapies," said lead author Dr. Vijayshree Yadav, clinical director of Oregon Health and Science University's Multiple Sclerosis Center. "There were 29 different therapies included in the guidelines. Nineteen studies looked at cannabis."
The new guidelines are intended to assist doctors decide if CAM therapies can help reduce specific symptoms or further disability; make the disease worse or cause serious side effects; or interfere with other MS treatments.
By Steve Elliott
Until this year, extremely conservative states like Utah and Alabama didn't pass medical marijuana laws. Now both of them have something sort of like one. What changed? The advent of "CBD-only" legislation has changed the landscape for medicinal cannabis advocates, especially in conservative locales where lawmakers normally wouldn't touch marijuana with a 10-foot pole.
Cannabidiol, or CBD as it's more popularly known, is the new darling of lawmakers in conservative states who sense the rising tide of popular support for medical marijuana -- and would love to appear to be "doing something" -- but lack the political courage or will to advocate for an actual medical marijuana law.
CBD is politically safe because, as a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, it doesn't get anyone high, and better yet, it helps to quell seizures of the kind often found in pediatric epilepsy.
New York: Faith Leaders Join Patients, Families Calling On Legislature To Pass Medical Marijuana BillSubmitted by steveelliott on Wed, 03/26/2014 - 20:05
Dozens of Patients, Caregivers, Providers and Faith Leaders Travel from Across the State to Demand Passage of Compassionate Care Act
Advocates Call on New York Senate Leaders to Stop Delays and Allow a Vote to Stop the Needless Suffering of Sick New Yorkers
Dozens of patients, caregivers and healthcare providers on Wednesday travelled from all corners of New York -– including Buffalo, Long Island, Syracuse, Hudson Valley, and New York City -– to call on the Senate to pass the comprehensive medical marijuana proposal known as Compassionate Care Act. The Compassionate Care Act would allow seriously ill New Yorkers access to medical marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider.
The bill has passed the Assembly four times, was included in the Assembly’s budget proposal, and has strong bipartisan support in the Senate. But New York Senate leaders have refused to let the bill come up for a vote.
Patients and caregivers were joined by faith leaders who called on senate to stop delaying to show the sick suffering some compassion and mercy.
“As a Bishop and spiritual caregiver in New York City, I have met and spoken with hundreds of New Yorkers who are suffering with chronic illnesses,” said Bishop Dr. Michael Clark, Pastor at Redeemers Tabernacle and President of the NYPD 83rd Precinct Clergy Council. “It is my responsibility to them, and all New Yorkers to advocate for the passage of the Compassionate Care Act.
By Steve Elliott
The Yakama Nation tribe of Native Americans is fighting the implementation of Washington state marijuana legalization law I-502 on ancestral land.
If the tribe has its way a large chunk of Washington will reject the new state law, reports RT.com.
The 10,000-member tribe has already said cannabis will remain illegal on about 1.2 million acres of reservation in central Washington, but the tribe is now considering "a bold move that could test the limits of tribal sovereignty" by trying to keep marijuana illegal on another 10.8 million acres of tribal land, Jonathan Kaminsky of Reuters reports.
The tribe ceded the latter lands under an 1855 treaty with the U.S. government, but retained hunting, food-gathering and fishing rights there.
"Marijuana is the biggest problem for our people up to age 40," claimed an amazingly clueless George Colby, who unfortunately seems to have talked the Yakama Nation into allowing him to (badly) represent them as an attorney. "It's a bigger problem than alcohol," he claimed, absolutely proving himself to be a bullshitting blowhard.
At least six local governments in the state are also trying to keep out marijuana businesses, even under legalization. Two of those lie on the Yakama's ceded lands, so they'll have allies in the tribe in their quixotic anti-pot fight.
In an effort to appease law enforcement, Gov. Mark Dayton proposed an unworkable alternative to an effective medical marijuana bill supported by parents of children with epilepsy; the Governor then blamed the parents — who told him his proposal would not help their kids — for obstructing the passage of medical marijuana legislation that 'would help hundreds of kids that are suffering from epilepsy'
Children suffering from seizure disorders will join their parents and advocates at a news conference WEDNESDAY (3/26) at 12:45 p.m. CT in the State Capitol
Parents and their children suffering from epilepsy will hold a news conference Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. CT in Room 125 of the Minnesota State Capitol, at which they will slam Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton for using them as political cover to block widely supported medical marijuana legislation.
In an effort to appease law enforcement interests, Gov. Dayton proposed an unworkable alternative to HF 1818, a bill that would effectively allow people with specific conditions, such as epilepsy, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis, to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The Governor's proposal would direct funding to research into the anti-epileptic properties of a specific strain of marijuana, but would not provide a mechanism for patients or their caregivers to obtain medical marijuana.
By Steve Elliott
Residents of Colorado who were convicted of marijuana possession before recreational legalization measure Amendment 64 was passed may be eligible to have those convictions overturned, the Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled.
Under Amendment 64, as of January 1, adults 21 and older are allowed to buy up to an ounce of cannabis. But with more than 9,000 marijuana possession cases being prosecuted each year until then, thousands of state residents are now wondering how legalization impacts their previous convictions, reports RT.com.
A three-judge state appeals court panel on March 13 ruled that part of an earlier decision in a case against a Colorado woman sentenced in 2011 for marijuana possession should be vacated.
If "there has been a significant change in the law," there can be post-conviction relief, the appellate court wrote.
"Amendment 64, by decriminalizing the personal use or possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, meets the statutory requirement for 'a significant change in the law' and eliminates and thus mitigates the penalties for persons convicted of engaging in such conduct," the judges wrote.
A majority support making marijuana legal for adults, and regulating and taxing it like alcohol; only 41 percent opposed
More than two-thirds of Delaware voters -- 68 percent -- support removing criminal penalties for marijuana possession and making it a civil offense, punishable by a fine of up to $100 with no possibility of jail time, according to a Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday by the Marijuana Policy Project. Only 26 percent said they were opposed.
Under current Delaware law, it is a criminal offense for a person to possess a small amount of marijuana, and he or she can be sentenced to up to six months in jail and fined up to $1,150.
"The era of criminalizing people for marijuana possession is over," said Robert Capecchi, deputy director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "Nobody should face life-altering criminal penalties and time in jail simply for possessing a small amount of a substance that is less harmful than alcohol. We hope legislators will listen to their constituents and move quickly to end this draconian policy."
The poll also found a majority of Delaware voters (51 percent) support making marijuana legal for adults, and regulating and taxing it like alcohol. Only 41 percent said they were opposed.
"Most Delaware voters agree it is time to move beyond the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and start taking a more sensible approach," Capecchi said.
Mexican Marijuana Decriminalization and Medical Marijuana Legislation Recently Introduced
Unprecedented Momentum for Drug Policy Reform Continues to Spread Throughout Latin America
This week, legislators from the Mexican Congress and the Mexico City Assembly will be in DC and NY to discuss the bills they introduced to decriminalize the consumption and purchase of marijuana for personal use in Mexico City and to legalize medical marijuana countrywide.
Mexico City Senator Mario Delgado and Mexico City Assembly member Vidal Llerenas, both from the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), will be in DC on March 24 and 25 and in NY on March 26 to discuss the aims of the marijuana reform proposals in Mexico.
The central aim of these initiatives is to provide the groundwork for alternative policies to the current punitive approach, which results in widespread criminalization and incarceration of people who use drugs in Mexico. Since Mexico’s Drug War escalated in 2006, at least 80,000 people have been killed in prohibition-related violence.
The bills build on the spirit of progressive reforms passed in Mexico City in recent years, which broaden the rights and freedoms of Mexico City’s citizens (which include the legalization of abortion, the recognition of same-sex marriages, same-sex adoptions, strict tobacco control laws, and universal pension for elder citizens, among others).
Illinois: Lawmakers To Hold Public Hearing On Allowing Medical Marijuana For People With Seizure DisordersSubmitted by steveelliott on Tue, 03/25/2014 - 00:41
State Lawmakers to Hold Public Hearing Tuesday On Proposal to Allow Access to Medical Marijuana for People With Seizure Disorders, Including Minors
The president of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago, a family physician, and parents of children with seizure disorders will testify in support of SB 2636
The Illinois Senate Public Health Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing Tuesday at 1 p.m. CT on a bill that would allow access to medical marijuana for people suffering from seizure disorders, including minors. The hearing will be held in Room 409 of the Illinois State Capitol.
The president of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago, Kurt W. Florian, Jr.; a Moline-based family practitioner, Dr. Margy Millar; and parents of two children suffering from seizure disorders are scheduled to testify in support of the measure.
SB 2636, sponsored by Sen. Iris Martinez, would add seizure disorders to the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act that was approved last year by the Illinois State Legislature.
"Medical marijuana has been found to produce significant benefits for patients suffering from frequent and severe seizures," said Chris Lindsey, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "These patients deserve the same right to relief as those suffering from other conditions that qualify under Illinois's medical marijuana law. We hope the committee members will agree this is a commonsense proposal."
Oregon: 15th Annual Global Cannabis March in Portland on May 3rd, Thousands Expected to Rally to End Marijuana ProhibitionSubmitted by restore on Mon, 03/24/2014 - 18:53
Cannabis proponents agree; the war on the cannabis plant is a farce, the drug war is taking its last gasp. No political movement in America has made it this far without eventually winning, and it's just a matter of time before marijuana prohibition crumbles.
By Michael Bachara, Oregon NORML/CRRH
Portland, Oregon – On Saturday, May 3, 2014, nearly three hundred cities worldwide, including Portland, will participate in the fifteenth annual Global Cannabis March on Saturday, May 3, 2014. Portland participants will gather in Pioneer Courthouse Square to march at high noon through downtown Portland, accompanied by a police escort. Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) and Oregon NORML are sponsors of this event.
Portland participants will gather in Pioneer Courthouse Square to march at high noon through downtown Portland, accompanied by a police escort. Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) and Oregon NORML are sponsors of this event.