Congress Plans to Vote on Federal Cannabis Legalization This Week

Congress Plans to Vote on Federal Cannabis Legalization This Week

Original Post: Merry Jane: Congress Plans to Vote on Federal Cannabis Legalization This Week

[Canniseur: What a beautiful headline. Too bad its chances of passage in both houses is about 0. Mitch McConnell, who is one of the most obstructionist Senate Majority leaders in history, will stop it dead in its tracks. In an ironic situation, McConnell, ever the hypocrite is heavily invested in hemp production.]

This week, the House Judiciary Committee plans to vote on a comprehensive cannabis reform bill that would decriminalize cannabis and help address social damages caused by the failed War on Drugs.

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), would completely remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. The bill would also create a Cannabis Justice Office, a new division of the Department of Justice that would be tasked with providing restorative justice to communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition.

The Cannabis Justice Office would work to expunge the records of anyone with minor weed offenses and allow those who are currently behind bars for weed crimes to apply for resentencing. Federal agencies would be prevented from denying public benefits or security clearances to cannabis users, and immigration authorities would be prevented from deporting individuals over small-scale cannabis use.

The bill would impose a five percent federal tax on all state-legal cannabis sales. Revenue generated by this tax would be used to fund programs providing job training, small business loans, and legal aid for socially and economically disadvantaged Americans. Additionally, the bill would work to remove barriers hindering marginalized individuals from getting involved in the legal weed industry.

“Low-income communities and communities of color have disproportionately borne the brunt of the devastation brought on by marijuana prohibition,” said Queen Adesuyi, policy manager of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, Marijuana Moment reports. “The MORE Act is the most robust bipartisan legislation [effort] so far not only to end federal marijuana prohibition, but also to ensure that the communities that have been hardest hit by prohibition are not left behind.”

The proposal, which has been co-sponsored by 54 Democratic Representatives and one open-minded Republican, is scheduled to be “marked up” in the Judiciary Committee this Wednesday. During this process, members of the committee will be able to file amendments to the bill and then vote on whether to advance it to the full House for a floor vote.

“A supermajority of Americans, including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents, support regulating the use of marijuana by responsible adults,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal in a statement. “Thanks to the leadership of the House Judiciary chairman, never in history have we been closer to ending the failed policy of marijuana criminalization and providing pathways to opportunity for our brothers and sisters who have suffered under its oppressive reign.”

“Those who oppose this legislation moving forward are defenders of a failed status-quo that ruins the lives of otherwise law-abiding adults on a daily basis, [overwhelmingly] enforced against the poor and communities of color,” Strekal added.

Insiders predict that the MORE Act will be approved by the Judiciary Committee, but it is unclear whether the House will also pass this landmark bill. Even if the bill does pass, it is more likely to face stiff opposition in the Republican-dominated Senate. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has introduced a companion bill in Congress’ higher chamber, but GOP leaders have yet to schedule any action on the bill.

Original Post: Merry Jane: Congress Plans to Vote on Federal Cannabis Legalization This Week

The Feds Just Approved a “Groundbreaking” Medical Marijuana Study at Yale

The Feds Just Approved a “Groundbreaking” Medical Marijuana Study at Yale

Original Post: Merry Jane: The Feds Just Approved a "Groundbreaking" Medical Marijuana Study at Yale

[Canniseur: One thought comes to mind; How anyone might mistake a placebo with a weed high? Seriously though, this is such great news. While not the first cannabis study at Yale, I love hearing about scientific cannabis studies. In 3-5 years, we’ll see some results. Let the validations begin!]

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just given the Yale University School of Medicine approval to begin clinical trials that could pave the way for the first American-made cannabis-based treatment for pain and stress.

The new study, which was also approved by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, will research how different strains of medical cannabis could be used to alleviate chronic pain or stress. The study may also explore how and if pot can help treat other conditions like PTSD, or to help individuals wean themselves off of opioids. This is one of the first FDA-approved double-blind studies on medical marijuana to be conducted on humans.

Rather than relying on the low-quality “ditch weed” that the US government provides to researchers, Yale will be partnering with CT Pharmaceutical Solutions Inc., a medical cannabis producer based in Portland, Connecticut. CT Pharma has been working on this study in partnership with Yale’s Dr. Rajita Sinha since 2016, but it’s taken three years to receive all of the necessary regulatory approvals to begin the trial.

“With increasing levels of use of medical marijuana products in the US today, it is imperative that we understand the science of how these products are working to alleviate patient symptoms,” said Sinha in a press release, according to the Hartford Business Journal. The new study intends to explore “how medical marijuana may alleviate pain and stress symptoms and contribute to developing new cannabinoid based treatments.”

In the first phase of the trial, researchers will recruit recreational cannabis users between the ages of 21 and 45 who do not qualify for Connecticut’s medical marijuana program. In the second phase, the subject pool will include adults aged 21 to 60 who are suffering from chronic pain. Subjects in both phases of the trial will randomly receive either THC, CBD, or a placebo. In addition to observing the effects of these cannabinoids on pain and other conditions, researchers will monitor the subjects’ heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs.

Gallery — These Athletes Believe in the Power of Medical Cannabis

CT Pharma board chair Michael Fedele said that if these trials are successful, his company intends to bring this new cannabis medicine to market in the US. 

“Right now, a company in England has the only FDA-approved, plant-based medical marijuana product in our market,” said Fedele, according to the Connecticut Mirror. “That really shouldn’t be the case with respect to American companies.” 

The first cannabis drug to be approved by the FDA, the anti-epilepsy drug Epidiolex, is made by UK company GW Pharmaceuticals.

In order to approve the drug for the US market, the FDA would require another round of trials, which could take another 3 to 7 years. But if all of these trials succeed, doctors anywhere in the US would be legally able to prescribe this cannabis product to their patients, even in states that do not have medical marijuana programs.

Original Post: Merry Jane: The Feds Just Approved a "Groundbreaking" Medical Marijuana Study at Yale

Cannabis Is the Most Effective Treatment for Endometriosis, Study Finds

Cannabis Is the Most Effective Treatment for Endometriosis, Study Finds

Original Post: Merry Jane: Cannabis Is the Most Effective Treatment for Endometriosis, Study Finds

[Canniseur: An effective treatment for endometriosis is of interest to many, many women. Cannabis as an answer makes sense. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is one of the body’s primary regulatory systems. The female reproductive system includes a large number of cannabinoid receptors. These can be directly affected by the consumption of cannabinoids like THC or CBD.]

An Australian study found that women rate cannabis as the most effective treatment for endometriosis. But many have been forced to buy this medicine on the black market, thanks to strict marijuana laws.

Medical cannabis is one of the most effective treatments for symptoms of endometriosis, according to a new study recently published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada (JOGC).

This study surveyed 484 Australian women between the ages of 18 and 45 who have been surgically diagnosed with endometriosis — a chronic, inflammatory condition that affects about ten percent of all women of reproductive age. Endometriosis can cause pain, infertility, and gastrointestinal issues. Many women report that they still struggle with these symptoms even after having surgery or taking traditional medications.

The participants were asked whether they used self-management techniques to treat symptoms of their illness that are not utilized by traditional medication. Further questions investigated what kinds of self-management techniques were being used, how well these techniques worked, and if there were any negative side effects associated with self-management.

The study reports that 76 percent of all respondents said they used self-management techniques in the past six months. Most of the respondents (70 percent) used heat packs to treat their symptoms, but others turned to dietary changes (44 percent), exercise (42 percent), yoga and pilates (35 percent), or cannabis (13 percent). Yet although cannabis was the least popular self-management choice, women who used it rated it as the most effective technique.

“Women report good efficacy of cannabis in reducing pain and other symptoms, with few adverse effects reported,” the study authors wrote. Subjects who reported higher levels of pain were more likely to use cannabis than those suffering from milder symptoms. Women who used cannabis also reported a decrease in gastrointestinal problems, nausea, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. About ten percent of cannabis users did report minor side effects, including drowsiness, anxiety, and accelerated heart rate.

Researchers believe that cannabis may be able to reduce symptoms of endometriosis by way of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is one of the body’s primary regulatory systems, controlling metabolism, inflammation, immune function, and many other biological systems. It is known that the female reproductive system includes a large number of cannabinoid receptors, which can be directly affected by the consumption of cannabinoids like THC or CBD.

Australian doctors are currently able to prescribe medical cannabis via regulated pathways that allow limited use of unapproved medicines. But in 2017, when this survey was administered, this type of access did not exist, and women participating in the survey were likely using weed procured from black market sources to treat their symptoms. This limits the findings of the study, as researchers do not know what kinds of cannabis products the women were using, or their potency.  

“Australian law currently requires legal medicinal cannabis use to follow specific, regulated pathways that limit prescription by this method; however, self-reported illicit use of cannabis remains relatively common in Australian women with endometriosis,” the researchers concluded. “Further clinical research is warranted to determine the effectiveness of cannabis in managing endometriosis symptoms. In locations where medicinal cannabis is more accessible, there remains a paucity of evidence for its clinical efficacy with endometriosis-associated symptoms.”

One thing to keep in mind is that the illegality of cannabis in Australia at the time of the study likely impacted the figures in this report. As legalization in the West has shown, people are more comfortable being truthful about their marijuana consumption when it is legal. It’s possible (read: likely), then, that far more than 13 percent of Austrailian women with endometriosis medicate with cannabis to help cope with the pain and discomfort caused by the condition.

So, take these findings with a grain of weed.

Image via

Original Post: Merry Jane: Cannabis Is the Most Effective Treatment for Endometriosis, Study Finds

Kansas Couple Presses Charges Against Cops Who Mistook Tea for Weed

Kansas Couple Presses Charges Against Cops Who Mistook Tea for Weed

Original Post: Merry Jane: Kansas Couple Presses Charges Against Cops Who Mistook Tea for Weed

[Canniseur: Is it tea? Is it cannabis? Frequently the police in all parts of the country want to think they’re invincible. They’re not. The police are supposed to protect and serve. In this case, it appears they did neither. “Oops, sorry” is not enough of an apology from any police department to cover what these people were forced to go through. P.S. Hey police…loose leaf tea neither looks or smells like cannabis. There’s no comparison between the two.]

A federal circuit court is giving a Kansas couple the chance to pursue federal charges against cops who raided their house after confusing loose-leaf tea for marijuana.

On April 20, 2012, Kansas sheriff’s deputies raided the home of Adlynn and Robert Harte, hoping to bust a secret cannabis grow-operation and show the public how they were winning the War on Drugs. Deputies armed with assault rifles swarmed the family’s home, forcing the couple’s two young children to watch as they tore the house apart looking for weed.

The cops, however, were wrong. There was not a trace of cannabis at the Hartes’ home. The couple filed a federal lawsuit against the police, but lost the case after a jury trial in 2017. The couple appealed, and this month, the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled that they were wrongly denied the chance to pursue three separate claims against the police.

The story began in 2011, when a Missouri cop staking out a local garden store on a hunt for weed growers noticed Robert Harte shopping at the store. The cop decided this activity was highly suspicious, and notified Kansas police that Harte could be a potential weed kingpin. Kansas cops, hoping to launch a publicized series of raids against local weed growers on 4/20, decided to investigate the Hartes. After digging through the family’s trash, deputies turned up wet loose-leaf tea, which they mistook for marijuana.

“The deputies did not photograph any of the substances, nor did they send them to a crime lab for testing,” wrote Judge Joel Carson in the 10th Circuit court’s decision, Reason reports. “If the deputies would have sent the wet vegetation to a crime lab for testing, they would have discovered that the wet vegetation was not marijuana but instead was Addie’s loose-leaf tea. Rather than conducting further investigation, the deputies prepared a search warrant affidavit relying solely on the loose-leaf tea found in the garbage and Bob’s shopping trip to a garden store eight months earlier.”

Police used a field test on the tea leaves, which indicated that they were marijuana. However, the label on the test kit clearly stated that its results were not entirely accurate, and should be confirmed by a proper laboratory test. In the ruling, Judge Carlos Lucero cited a study that “found a 70% false positive rate using this field test, with positive results obtained from substances including vanilla, peppermint, ginger,” various teas and herbs, as well as “a strip of newspaper, and even air.”

The Hartes filed a federal lawsuit in 2013, but a judge dismissed all of their claims. The couple appealed, and in 2017, the 10th Circuit Court ruled that they were allowed to pursue one solitary federal claim. This claim, which hinged on whether or not the deputies lied about the field test, went to trial in 2017, but the jury found there was not enough evidence to prove that the cops deliberately lied.

This month, the 10th Circuit ruled that the earlier decision to limit the family to only one claim was made in error. The current decision allows the Hartes to pursue three separate charges: “(1) whether Defendants properly executed the warrant; (2) whether the deputies exceeded the scope of the warrant by searching for evidence of general criminal activity; and (3) whether the deputies prolonged Plaintiffs’ detention, thus subjecting them to an illegal arrest.”

“The defendants in this case caused an unjustified governmental intrusion into the Hartes’ home based on nothing more than junk science, an incompetent investigation, and a publicity stunt,” Lucero wrote in 2017. “There was no probable cause at any step of the investigation. Not at the garden shop, not at the gathering of the tea leaves, and certainly not at the analytical stage when the officers willfully ignored directions to submit any presumed results to a laboratory for analysis. Full stop.”

Original Post: Merry Jane: Kansas Couple Presses Charges Against Cops Who Mistook Tea for Weed

Using Medical Marijuana Is Linked to Decreased Alcohol Use and Improved Health

Using Medical Marijuana Is Linked to Decreased Alcohol Use and Improved Health

Original Post: Merry Jane: Using Medical Marijuana Is Linked to Decreased Alcohol Use and Improved Health

[Canniseur: Another study that shows a different sort of causation and correlation. But there appears to be more correlation to the actual events than the previous study we published. Many researchers begin a study with a desired outcome, which is the first step in bad research. Who you believe frequently is in your bias as well. This study seems better designed than others we’ve published.]

Researchers found that access to medical marijuana dispensaries improved physical and mental health for people of color, individuals suffering from debilitating pain, and other demographics.

A growing body of research has found that legal medical marijuana is associated with decreased alcohol and opioid use, alongside other public health and safety benefits. But according to a new research study, certain demographics may benefit more from medical marijuana than others.

This new study, published in the Forum for Health Economics & Policy journal, found that people living in states with legally-protected access to medical marijuana dispensaries experienced “improved self-reported health among several demographic groups, such as individuals with only a high school degree and non-whites, and especially among people with chronic pain,” Marijuana Moment reports.

In the study, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania explored data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System — a national survey given to around 300,000 people a year — collected between 1993 and 2016. In this survey, respondents were asked to rate their health over time, keeping track of how many days they were in poor mental or physical health, and days in which they suffered health-related functional limitations.

Researchers looked at self-reported health data from states that had passed medical marijuana laws (MMLs) before 2016 to states that had not. The study reports that “a MML alone increased the probability of reporting very good or better health by 1.7 percentage points and reduced the number of days with mental health problems by 0.114 days (or 3 percent), while dispensaries show little effect.”

Broken down by demographics, researchers found that certain groups experienced greater benefits from access to medical cannabis than others. The study reports “strong improvements in health among non-white individuals, those reporting chronic pain, and those with a high school degree, driven predominately by whether or not the state had active and legally protected dispensaries.”

“In several instances, the implementation of a MML alone led to improvements in health as well,” the authors wrote, according to Marijuana Moment. “For example, a medical marijuana law reduced the number of days with mental health issues and health related limitations among the married, while those with more than a high school degree, men, and those older than 54 saw reductions in days with mental health problems.”

The findings also confirmed previous research suggesting that legal medical marijuana is linked to decreased alcohol use. The study authors wrote that MMLs are “negatively related to alcohol consumption, reducing the probability of being a heavy drinker by 0.03 percentage points and the probability of being a risky drinker by 0.8 percentage points.”

In conclusion, the authors noted that state laws that actively protect access to medical cannabis dispensaries were associated with greater health increases than states that did not. “One insight of our study is that the effect of medical marijuana legislation depends on whether the state legally protected active marijuana dispensaries,” the authors wrote. “Distinguishing between both types of laws suggests that many of the observed health gains from a MML manifest through legally protected and active dispensaries.”

Original Post: Merry Jane: Using Medical Marijuana Is Linked to Decreased Alcohol Use and Improved Health

Cannabis News Highlights
Get Free Weekly News

Subscribe and get the best cannabis news of the week delivered directly to you.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.