Indiana GOP Lawmakers Seek to Override Relaxed Marijuana Laws in Indianapolis

Indiana GOP Lawmakers Seek to Override Relaxed Marijuana Laws in Indianapolis

Original Post: High Times: Indiana GOP Lawmakers Seek to Override Relaxed Marijuana Laws in Indianapolis

[Canniseur: I lived in Indiana for a number of years. I smoked a lot of weed in Indiana. The people who are getting elected in Indiana are getting stranger and stranger about many issues. Pence comes from Indiana, but so did a lot of good people as well. The place is just goofy. Illinois now has adult-use cannabis. So does Michigan. Ohio is leaning that way. And guess who is buying a lot of the cannabis in Michigan and Illinois? Hoosiers, that’s who. And Indiana is just missing out on the revenue.]

If local officials no longer want to enforce anti-marijuana laws, Indiana Republicans want the state to step in.

That is the gist of the legislation that was approved Tuesday by a panel in the state senate. The bill would allow the Indiana attorney general’s office to intervene if a county prosecutor were to not enforce a particular law—a direct response to a policy announced last year by the prosecutor of Marion County, where the capital and largest city Indianapolis is located, to no longer pursue simple marijuana possession cases.

The bill, introduced by Indianapolis GOP state Sen. Michael Young, was endorsed by a 6-3 vote by a state Senate committee.

“It’s because of the social justice prosecution phenomena that’s going on throughout the country,” Young said, as quoted by the Associated Press. “I wanted to try to head it off in Indiana.”

Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears, a Democrat, announced in September that his office would “no longer prosecute possession of marijuana cases involving approximately one ounce or less of marijuana when the charge is the only or most serious charge against an adult.”

“I have come to this decision as a veteran prosecutor. I have seen the resources devoted to these prosecutions and believe those resources can be used more effectively to promote public safety, ensure justice for victims, and reduce recidivism,” Mears said at the time. “When faced with the choice between prosecuting this and prosecuting acts of violence, my priority is clear.”

“Too often, an arrest for marijuana possession puts individuals into the system who otherwise would not be. That is not a win for our community,” Mears added. “The enforcement of marijuana policy has disproportionately impacted people of color, and this is a first step to addressing that.”

But Indiana Republicans—from the state’s governor to the attorney general to legislators like Young — are not on board with legalization, which has arrived in neighboring states, most recently Illinois.

Pot as a Partisan Issue

Young’s proposal is yet another example of the partisan divide on the issue in the Hoosier State. Just last month, one of his Young’s Democratic colleagues in the state Senate, Karen Tallian, filed legislation to decriminalize pot. 

On Tuesday, Mears told the IndyStar that Republicans like Young were avoiding addressing the issue head on.

“I would like to think that the constituents of those elected representatives want to know where their elected officials stand on the issue of marijuana and whether or not medical marijuana is appropriate, or decriminalization is appropriate,” Mears told the newspaper. “Especially given what our neighboring states are doing as it relates to the regulation of marijuana.”

Indiana GOP Lawmakers Seek to Override Relaxed Marijuana Laws in Indianapolis was posted on High Times.

New Mexico Could Expand Medical Marijuana Program To Include Dogs

New Mexico Could Expand Medical Marijuana Program To Include Dogs

Original Post: High Times: New Mexico Could Expand Medical Marijuana Program To Include Dogs

[Canniseur: A dog walks into a dispensary… … There are lots of jokes that could come out of this, but I think there might be a real reason for it. And as I think about it, why should dogs not be able to get their own cannabis products. Cannabis infused bull pizzle might be interesting for your pet pooch.]

Pot for pooches? It could happen in New Mexico, where activists are lobbying to expand the state’s medical marijuana program to cover ailing dogs.

The Associated Press is reporting that the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board will take up a pair of petitions at its meeting next month to expand the qualifying medical conditions for medical cannabis. One petition is conventional: it calls for the program to extend to people with attention deficit disorder.

But the other one is where things get a bit more exotic. Citing veterinary studies in support of cannabis use for animals suffering from seizures, the petition calls for the state’s medical marijuana program to apply to dogs with epilepsy. 

The New Mexico Department of Health withheld the names of petition sponsors, according to the Associated Press.

Potential Problems With The Petition

It is unclear which studies the petitioner cited advocating for cannabis for canines. The American Veterinary Medical Association has said that “although cannabinoids such as CBD appear to hold therapeutic promise in areas such as the treatment of epilepsy and the management of pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, the available scientific evidence pertaining to their use in animals is currently limited.”

“While findings from a few well-controlled studies have been published, much of what we know is related to anecdotal or case reports or has been gleaned from studies related to use in humans, including the study of animal models for that purpose,” the AVMA says in a primer available on its website. “The AVMA continues to encourage well-controlled clinical research and pursuit of FDA approval by manufacturers of cannabis-derived products so that high-quality products of known safety and efficacy can be made available for veterinarians and their patients.”

In a letter sent to the Food and Drug Administration in July, Janet D. Donlin, the CEO of AVMA, called for more regulatory clarity regarding the labeling, safety, and use of cannabis-derived and cannabis-related products.

“Veterinarians have a strong interest in and enthusiastically support exploring the therapeutic potential of cannabis-derived and cannabis-related products, but we want to be sure we can have continued confidence in the efficacy, quality, and safety of products used to treat our patients,” Donlin wrote. “We are aware of several research institutions with both completed and ongoing investigations into the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids for companion animals, with results that appear promising in some areas (e.g., osteoarthritis, epilepsy, pain management, oncology).”

Donlin said that the AVMA has received many reports from its members “that animal owners are actively purchasing these products and administering them to their pets and horses to treat medical conditions, often in the absence of veterinary consultation, and without the assurance that comes with FDA review and approval of therapeutic claims being made by their manufacturers and distributors.”

New Mexico Could Expand Medical Marijuana Program To Include Dogs was posted on High Times.

Group of Irish Doctors Publish Letter Outlining Health Concerns About Cannabis

Group of Irish Doctors Publish Letter Outlining Health Concerns About Cannabis

Original Post: High Times: Group of Irish Doctors Publish Letter Outlining Health Concerns About Cannabis

[Canniseur: It seems the Irish are conflating their concerns. Their concerns appear centered around youth and cannabis use. However, legal recreational cannabis is for adults, same as alcohol is for adults. Medical use of cannabis for youth is between a doctor and patient. If cannabis controls someone’s seizures, then it is all good.]

The “Cannabis Risk Alliance” is less than enthused about Ireland’s progressing views on the herb.

More than 20 doctors have sounded the alarm on Ireland’s march toward marijuana legalization, lamenting what they called a “one-sided discussion about cannabis.”

The group of doctors, calling themselves the “Cannabis Risk Alliance,” voiced their concerns in a letter published Monday in the Irish Times; the signatories include Dr. Ray Walley, the former president of the Irish Medical Organisation.

“We are extremely concerned about the increasing health-related problems caused by cannabis across Ireland,” they wrote, citing “growing scientific data that indicates that cannabis use in young people is related to impairments to memory and thinking, which can endure long after cannabis use has ceased.”

Moreover, they wrote that cannabis use, particularly among young people, “is associated with increased risk of development of severe mental disorders particularly psychosis.”

Such warnings represent an increasingly fringe sentiment these days, with public polling around the world showing growing acceptance of recreational pot use and rising opposition to laws criminalizing the drug. In both the United States and Europe, efforts to roll back marijuana prohibition have been gaining steam.

The members of the Cannabis Risk Alliance acknowledged that the discussion surrounding cannabis use was driven by two separate concerns — “the argument in favour of legalising cannabis for medicinal use” and “the argument criticising the use of criminal sanctions to deter people from using cannabis.”

“Most of the people taking part in these discussions are sincere and well-intentioned,” they wrote in the letter. “However, as doctors, we are concerned that Ireland is being led down the path of cannabis legalisation. We are opposed to such a move as we strongly feel that it would be bad for Ireland, especially for the mental and physical health of our young people.”

Recreational marijuana use remains illegal in Ireland, but medicinal pot is available to select patients in the country. The Irish government is set to consider proposals to regular medical marijuana there, and an Irish supplier is expected to be made available imminently, both of which will broaden its access in the country. In February, the European Union overwhelmingly passed a resolution urging its members to remove barriers to medical marijuana.

But in their letter to the Irish Times, the Cannabis Risk Alliance raised an ominous warning about such efforts.

“While there is limited evidence that some products containing cannabinoids have medical benefit in a very small number of conditions, this has, in our view, been grossly distorted to imply that the cannabis plant in its entirety can be considered a ‘medicine,’” the doctors wrote. “Decriminalisation and “medical cannabis” campaigns have proven to be effective “Trojan horse” strategies on the road to full legalisation and commercialisation elsewhere such as the United States and Canada.”

Although attitudes surrounding marijuana have shifted dramatically this century, as many longstanding arguments against its use have shriveled under scrutiny, there remains a dearth of credible research on cannabis. That gap is what inspired Charles R. Broderick to make a $9 million donation to both Harvard and MIT last month to, as he put it, “fill the research void that currently exists in the science of cannabis.”

In that same vein, the members of the Cannabis Risk Alliance are “calling for an urgent and unbiased examination of the evidence about cannabis use and cannabis-related health harms in Ireland and a comprehensive public education campaign.”

Group of Irish Doctors Publish Letter Outlining Health Concerns About Cannabis was posted on High Times.

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