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United States

Long-term opioid prescription use jumps threefold over 16-year period, study suggests

9/7/17--A new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that opioid prescription use increased significantly between 1999 and 2014, and that much of that increase stemmed from patients who'd been taking their medication for 90 days or longer. Read

House committee rejects medical marijuana protections

9/7/17--In a significant blow to medical marijuana advocates, patients, and cannabis companies around the nation, the House Rules Committee has blocked protections for MMJ patients and banks that want to serve state-legal cannabis businesses. The actions mean the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, a version of which has protected MMJ patients since 2014, will not proceed as part of the spending package to a vote by the full House. Read

How legalization caused the price of marijuana to collapse

9/5/17--All the diverse effects of legalizing recreational marijuana may not be clear for a number of years, but one consequence that has become clearly evident is pot has never been so cheap. Steven Davenport of the Pardee Rand Graduate School has analyzed marijuana retail prices in Washington state since legal recreational markets opened in July 2014. Remarkably, prices have fallen every single quarter since. Read

Anti-legalization group urges feds to “systematically shut down” cannabis industry

8/30/17--Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), a nonprofit group opposed to marijuana legalization, announced it had sent a report to Jeff Sessions and other lawmakers detailing how the first four states to legalize recreational marijuana have failed to live up to the responsibilities outlined. Based on its report, “The Cole Memo: 4 Years Later,” SAM recommended that Sessions “take measured action to successfully protect public health and safety. Limited federal resources should be used to target the big players in the marijuana industry who are circumventing (Department of Justice) guidance and state regulations.” Read

Big-name investors pour millions into marijuana — both medicinal and not

8/28/17--Wealthy investors are pouring tens of millions into the cannabis industry in a bid to capitalize on the gold rush that’s expected when California legalizes recreational marijuana on Jan. 1. They’re backing development of new medicinal products, such as cannabis-infused skin patches; new methods for vaporizing and inhaling; and “budtender” apps, which promises to scour 750 strains of cannabis and use lab research, including DNA analysis of each strain, to help customers find the perfect match. Read

Meet the 24-Year-Old entrepreneur who just launched a careers site for pot jobs

8/31/17--Karson Humiston, a Denver-based 24-year-old entrepreneur who founded Vangst Talent Network as a college student, has helped cannabis companies fill job openings for the last two years. Since then, her 20-person recruiting team has paired 3,000 people with pot jobs — and aims to fill another 10,000 by 2020. The job board, which is free for users who fill out profiles and $70 a month for companies, caters to a broader array of positions. Read

How to get a job in the marijuana industry

8/30/17--A recruiting agency for legal cannabis firms has launched a website that aims to serve as a one-stop shop for employers and job seekers. The site, Vangsters.com, allows hopefuls to apply to jobs and crate employee profiles, with a focus on marijuana-specific skills and software. Read

Amendment to cut funding of DEA’s cannabis eradication program

9/3/17--Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) has reintroduced an amendment to cut funds from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) cannabis eradication program through their Salaries and Expenses Account. In a 2015 statement, Rep. Lieu explained that this cannabis eradication program “is a ridiculous waste of precious federal resources, especially when multiple states and jurisdictions have already legalized marijuana…it is time for the federal government to stop making marijuana use or possession a federal crime.” Read

Scotts Miracle-Gro sells off international operations to focus on core business and hydroponics

8/31/17--Scotts Miracle-Gro has shed its Australia and European businesses in a deal that frees up the company to direct its attention on lawn-and-garden products and an ambition to become “the world’s most successful hydroponic gardening business.” The international deal comes a year after Scotts shuttled its LawnService business into a joint venture with TruGreen. Read

Las Vegas recreational marijuana retailer advertises with airline

9/1/17--Las Vegas recreational marijuana retailer Acres Cannabis completed a deal to advertise in Allegiant Air’s in-flight magazine, another sign of a growing movement by cannabis companies to expand their advertising reach through transportation outlets. Acres said it will begin running a full-page ad in Allegiant’s Sunseeker magazine on Sept. 1, the Las Vegas Sun reported, and the campaign will run through October. This appears to be the first time a cannabis company has run an ad in an in-flight magazine. Read

How 3 black visionaries are bringing the hood into the marijuana industry

8/30/17--The Hood Incubator, a collective founded by electoral organizer Lanese Martin, community organizer Biseat Horning, and Yale MBA Ebele Ifedigbo, is an organization aimed at helping blacks become entrepreneurs, investors, and employees in California’s cannabis industry. Their plan was to organize people in the San Francisco Bay Area’s underground marijuana trade, educate them, teach them how to get access to funding or invest their own, and create pathways to ownership legally. Read

Women in the marijuana business face a ‘grass ceiling’

8/31/17--Not long ago the marijuana business was way ahead of U.S. business overall in the leadership positions held by women. Yet, as the industry has become more mature and more mainstream, instead of building on that leadership, it’s going in reverse. Men are now edging out the women. The percentage of executives in U.S. marijuana-related companies who are women has collapsed to 27% from 36% in just one year, according to the latest anonymous survey by Marijuana Business Daily. Read

Veterinarians see spike in pets with marijuana poisoning

8/28/17--The veterinary community has long known that cannabis is toxic to pets. Dogs appear to be even more susceptible because they have more cannabinoid receptors. President of the California Veterinary Medical Association and veterinarian Kevin D. Lazarcheff says that vets are seeing an increase in the number and severity of cases coming into the emergency room, but not all of them involve pets that got into their owner’s stash. However, with all the risks associated with pets and cannabis, vets say its better to play it safe and keep it far away from your pets. Read

Colorado gov responds to Sessions marijuana letter questioning state’s regulatory regime

8/24/17--In a five-page missive obtained by The Cannabist, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman responded to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ July 24 letter that raised “serious questions” about the state’s ability to regulate legal marijuana and prevent illegal activities. Coffman and Hickenlooper express in their letter that Colorado’s marijuana regulatory system is a model for other states, and the fledgling program could become even more robust with the federal government’s support. Read

Netflix partners with dispensary to create marijuana strain collection

8/26/17--Netflix has partnered with a dispensary in California to create marijuana strains based on 10 of its original series, including “Orange is the New Black” and “Arrested Development.” According to a press release, each strain was cultivated with the specific shows in mind, designed to complement each title based on their tone. Read

133% leap in children admitted to ER for marijuana, study finds

8/14/17--The number of children who were admitted to emergency rooms for marijuana intoxication increased by 133% in France over an 11-year period, according to a new study. Marijuana intoxication can occur when a child accidentally ingests a marijuana product or inhales marijuana smoke. Symptoms can vary based on the child's age and size but often include sleepiness, difficulty breathing, seizures, or even coma. Effects usually last six to 24 hours. Read

Marijuana intoxication is sending more children to the hospital

8/14/17--Researchers believe more children are being hospitalized because there’s more access to cannabis products within the home, especially edibles which often look like candies or baked goods and have colorful packaging. As a result, they are concerned about accidental marijuana ingestion and “second-hand” effects on children. According to CNN, there’s been a 30 percent increase each year from 2005 to 2011 of reported pediatric marijuana intoxication cases to poison control centers in the United States in states where marijuana is legal. Read

American Legion adopts resolution supporting medical marijuana

8/24/17--The American Legion adopted a resolution urging the federal government to allow Department of Veterans Affairs doctors to discuss and recommend medical marijuana in states where it’s legal, adding to the group’s efforts to get cannabis in the hands of veterans it could help. The resolution was authored by American Legion member Rob Ryan who said he’s heard from veterans “over and over and over again” who use marijuana as an alternative to addictive opioids. Read

The Feds and the NFL forbid marijuana. Both are studying it as an alternative to opiods

8/24/17--Two new studies have been launched to determine how marijuana could possibly better treat pain. One study is from the federal government, which still lists marijuana as a Schedule I illegal drug, and the other is from the National Football League, which can still suspend players for marijuana use. A majority of Americans already think it should be legal for medicinal purposes, and 29 states already have legalized it, but federal law has kept the number of studies in this country limited. Read

Colorado defends its legal marijuana program in strong letter to Jeff Sessions

8/24/17--Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (R) mounted a vigorous defense of their state’s legalized and regulated marijuana program, replying to a critical letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions that was directed at states that have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. In a response letter, Hickenlooper and Coffman tell Sessions that their state’s numerous marijuana laws and regulations are “effective.” Read

Here’s what Jeff Sessions got wrong on marijuana, according to Washington state officials

8/24/17--Officials in Washington state think U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has it all wrong when it comes to the state’s legal marijuana market. Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee and State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, both Democrats, fired off a letter saying Sessions recently made “a number of allegations that are outdated, incorrect, or based on incomplete information.” Read

Federal anti-drug official seeks Mass. medical marijuana data

8/25/17--Dale Quigley, deputy coordinator of the National Marijuana Initiative, or NMI, has asked Massachusetts health officials for data on the age, gender, and medical condition of the state’s approximately 40,000 registered medical marijuana patients. Quigley is a former police officer in Colorado with a long history of speaking out against legalization. Read

Marijuana tech company Massroots is acquiring CannaRegs for $12 million

8/23/17--Massroots, a technology platform for cannabis consumers, is acquiring CannaRegs in a stock deal for $12 million. The acquisition allows MassRoots to become a one-stop shop for cannabis businesses, to connect with customers and ensure they're in compliance with all state and federal regulations, Massroots CEO Isaac Dietrich told Business Insider. The acquisition is part of a larger push to consolidate Massroots' business-to-business offerings. Read

Hemp cannabis product sales projected to hit $1 billion in 3 years

8/23/17--Hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) is projected to be a billion-dollar market in just three years, according to a new report by Brightfield Group. The data company estimates that hemp CBD sales have already hit $170 million in 2016 and a 55% compound annual growth rate over the next five years will cause the market to crack the billion-dollar mark. Read

Here are the next 6 states likely to legalize recreational use of marijuana

8/23/17--The recreational use of marijuana could occur as soon as 2018 in several states along the East Coast and in the Southwest if voters approve the referendums. While experts sometimes disagree on which states are likely to legalize recreational use, there are six states agreed upon that are most likely to end prohibition for adults 21 years and older. The states are Vermont, New Jersey, Arizona, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Read

Congress appears ready to buck Sessions on medical marijuana

8/23/17--Congress will likely renew protections next month for state medical marijuana laws, but pro-pot lawmakers and advocates are still watching nervously in case Attorney General Jeff Sessions launches a last-minute sabotage campaign. The amendment, offered by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), will soon expire unless Congress renews it. It appears likely lawmakers will include the language in a spending bill keeping the government open past Sept. 30, with one possible hiccup – intervention by Sessions, who’s famously known for his abhorrence to cannabis. Read

Department of Veterans Affairs’ PTSD, pot study called ‘worthless’

8/21/17--Researchers at the VA Portland Health Care System published two studies that reviewed previous analyses and evaluations of the effects of marijuana on treating chronic pain and PTSD. Cannabis advocates are criticizing the Department of Veterans Affairs for wasting time and resources on recently published research that produced inconclusive results on the effects of medical marijuana in treating pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. Read

The reaction to Booker’s marijuana bill that he doesn’t want to see

8/21/17--Two very different groups have launched efforts against U.S. Sen. Cory Booker's efforts to remove the federal ban on marijuana. While Booker said he was moved to act because law enforcement unfairly targeted members of minority communities for using the drug, the organizations said that legalization in the states that so far have voted for it has not made any difference. Read

State of Mexico begins purchasing Medical Marijuana Inc.’s products for its citizens

8/22/17--The State of Mexico is buying Medical Marijuana Inc.'s HempMeds® RSHO-X cannabidiol (CBD) oil for its citizens. With several U.S. states legalizing marijuana, Mexico has started to take a different approach under President Enrique Pena Nieto. The country has even become a pioneer of medical cannabis by first permitting the importation of cannabidiol ("CBD") oils and later legalizing medical cannabis on a broader level. Newly proposed measures would enable citizens to possess up to an ounce of cannabis without any repercussions. Read

Scientific community pushes back against V.A.’s latest “worthless” medical marijuana studies

8/22/17--Although recent studies from the Department of Veterans Affairs suggest that cannabis is ineffective in the treatment of PTSD and chronic pain, soldiers of the scientific community agree that this research is the same “worthless,” rehashed noise that the federal government has been trying to sell the general public for decades. Read

A government health agency is funding the first-ever study on medical marijuana’s impact on opioid abuse

8/12/17--The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding the first-ever, long-term study to research the impacts of medical marijuana on opioid use. The NIH has awarded a five-year, $3.8 million grant to researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System to study whether medical marijuana reduces opioid use among adults with chronic pain, including people with HIV. Read

Why the Marijuana Justice Act legalizes marijuana the right way

8/16/17--According to Jim Patterson, The Hill opinion contributor and CEO of Eaze, a cannabis technology that connects people to doctors and dispensaries for on-demand consultations and deliveries, the Marijuana Justice Act, introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), is a bold step forward in transforming the industry as we know it. Patterson says the bill will shine a light on how marijuana policies have negatively impacted targeted communities, specifically low-income communities of color. Furthermore, it seeks to undo some of the damage that Booker aptly describes as, “the unjust application of the law and economic bias.” Read

Alaska and Washington govs push back on Sessions’ marijuana enforcement letters

8/16/17--The governors of Alaska and Washington are questioning the data cited by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in recent letters he sent to their states regarding the efficacy of their respective marijuana regulatory regimes. Sessions referred to regional and state data depicting serious public health and safety issues arising from marijuana legalization. Both states note that the data Sessions utilized when discussing their state’s respective regulatory regimes is out of date and incomplete. Read

When it comes to marijuana foods, regulation drives innovation

8/16/17--Marijuana entrepreneurs working with edibles seem to have no trouble dreaming up creative treats and concoctions infused with psychoactive THC. However, being innovative is necessary since they must adhere to extensive health and safety regulations. Despite mandated regulations, politicians and public health officials have voiced sharp concerns about weed-infused edibles. They worry about their appeal to children and the perils of overconsumption. Read

Marijuana use amongst youth stable, but substance abuse admissions up

8/15/17--According to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, while marijuana use amongst youth remains stable, youth admission to substance abuse treatment facilities has increased. As to why numbers are up, Miesha Marzell, assistant professor of social work at Binghamton University, says that it could be that people are seeing any kind of use as high-risk and want to make sure that, from a prevention standpoint, that they stay on top of it. Read

The Effects of Cannabis Among Adults With Chronic Pain and an Overview of General Harms

9/5/17--A systematic review examines the benefits of plant-based cannabis preparations for treating chronic pain in adults, and the harms of cannabis use in chronic pain and general adult populations. Limited evidence suggests that cannabis may alleviate neuropathic pain in some patients, but insufficient evidence exists for other types of chronic pain. Among general populations, limited evidence suggests that cannabis is associated with an increased risk for adverse mental health effects. Read

Marijuana may help ease nerve pain, review finds

8/15/17--Marijuana may be slightly effective at reducing chronic nerve pain known as neuropathy. But there's little evidence on whether or not pot helps treat other types of pain or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a pair of new studies suggests. Read

Just say no to D.A.R.E — starting a better conversation about youth drug prevention

8/9/17--According to The Hill opinion contributor Andrew Freeman, D.A.R.E., the 1980s anti-drug campaign aimed at helping prevent and combat youth drug use, didn’t work. A number of academic studies have shown how D.A.R.E. was at best ineffectual and, at worst, more likely to convince kids to try drugs. Freeman believes a Youth Marijuana Prevention Council needs to be developed and implemented to effectively learn how best to prevent youth substance addiction. Read

Traumatic brain injuries in children and adolescents could lead to alcohol abuse in later life

8/14/17--Researchers have surveyed previous studies to investigate the relationship between traumatic brain injuries and alcohol abuse. They found evidence that traumatic brain injuries in children and adolescents could be a risk-factor for alcohol abuse in later life, and they advise that brain injury survivors should be given special attention to address potential substance abuse issues. Read

Short answers to hard questions about the opioid crisis

8/10/17--Given the death toll from drugs rising faster than ever, The New York Times has provided a refresher on the opioid crises as well as answers to 12 critical questions. The information provided are only recommendations provided by The New York Times and state that it’s up to the president and the various executive agencies to implement them. Experts know how to attack the problem. It’s just a matter of having the will to put those policies into practice. Read

Marijuana use holds three-fold blood pressure death risk: study

8/9/17--According to scientists, people who smoke marijuana have a three times greater risk of dying from hypertension, or high blood pressure, than those who have never used the drug. The risk grows with every year of use, they said. The findings, from a study of some 1,200 people, could have implications in the United States among other countries. Read

‘Start low and go slow’ – 3 steps to safely consume marijuana edibles

8/9/17--In the interest of consuming marijuana edibles safely, writers from The Sacramento Bee talked to experts and compiled three tips for anyone who wants to try edibles for the first time. Read

Seniors becoming fastest growing marijuana users

8/9/17--Seniors are becoming the fastest growing segment of the marijuana industry. According to a national survey, usage among adults 65 and older is up 250 percent, while adults 50-65 have also increased usage nearly 58 percent. Read

Marijuana associated with three-fold risk of death from hypertension

8/9/17--Marijuana use is associated with a three-fold risk of death from hypertension, according to new research. Compared to non-users, marijuana users had a 3.42-times higher risk of death from hypertension, and a 1.04 greater risk for each year of use. There was no association between marijuana use and death from heart disease or cerebrovascular disease. Read

Marijuana ‘may be worse than cigarettes for cardiovascular health’

8/9/17--People who use marijuana may be three times more likely to die from high blood pressure than non-users of the drug, a new study finds. The researchers say that their findings indicate that marijuana use is a greater risk factor for poor cardiovascular health than cigarette smoking. Read

Report reveals underground US haven for heroin, drug users

8/8/17--A report reveals that a safe haven where drug users inject themselves with heroin and other drugs has been quietly operating in the United States for the past three years. In the report, two researchers said they've been evaluating an underground safe place that opened in 2014. As a condition of their research, they didn't disclose the location of the facility — which is unsanctioned and potentially illegal — or the social service agency running it. Read

Legalizing pot is a bad way to promote racial equality

8/9/27--According to an article by Jason L. Riley of The Wall Street Journal, Senator Corey Booker believes drug legalization would address racial disparities. However, violent offenses, not drug offenses, drive incarceration rates. Data from 2015, the most recent available, show that about 53% of people in state prisons were imprisoned for violent crimes, 19% for property crimes, and 16% for drug crimes. Given that blacks are also overrepresented among those arrested for property and other nonviolent offenses, merely altering U.S. drug laws would effect little change in the racial makeup of people behind bars. Read

Oregon lawmakers to the federal government: de-schedule marijuana

8/8/17--A bipartisan group of Oregon lawmakers joined legislators from across the country on Monday in calling for the federal government to remove marijuana from the list of controlled drugs. If the federal government were to heed the request, it could ease restrictions on cannabis research and banking in states that have legalized the drug. Read

High tensions over legal marijuana

8/8/17--Despite the fact that marijuana is legal in 29 states, Attorney General Jeff Sessions fiercely dislikes the use of marijuana, and there is plenty of federal law at his side. Guests featured on WBUR's radio program, On Point, address what Jeff Session will do with legal pot. Read

Marijuana industry, far from green, is a power hog

8/5/17--One oft-cited study by New Frontier estimates that marijuana cultivation uses 1 percent of American electricity consumption. Another report by a company focusing on clean energy research finds that indoor grow labs have electricity use on par with data centers, or 50 to 200 times more than the average office complex. Read

Developing a statistical model to fill in the blanks on death certificates

8/7/17--A new study presents a correction procedure to refine data reporting opioid and heroin deaths per US state, which results in significant shifts in state-by-state mortality rates. This truer picture helps to remove an important barrier to formulating effective policies to address this serious drug epidemic. Read

Compound derived from marijuana interacts with antiepileptic drugs

8/7/17--New research suggests that an investigational neurological treatment derived from cannabis may alter the blood levels of commonly used antiepileptic drugs. Read

Compound derived from marijuana interacts with antiepileptic drugs

8/7/17--New research published in Epilepsia, a journal of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), suggests that an investigational neurological treatment derived from cannabis may alter the blood levels of commonly used antiepileptic drugs. Read

Why Jeff Sessions is going to lose his war against cannabis

8/1/17--On at least one front, Sessions’s new war on drugs is likely to fail. In taking on cannabis — particularly the medical uses of cannabis — he is staking out a position that is at odds with powerful interests and an overwhelming majority of Americans from nearly all walks of life. This tide is too strong to swim against. Nearly three-quarters of the U.S. population lives in states that have legalized medical cannabis, and states have powerful incentives to preserve their laws. There is almost universal popular opinion in favor of the availability of medical cannabis. Read

Many Americans are too drugged-out to work

7/30/17--A slew of reports finds a fresh reason for the chronic inability of American companies to fill skilled jobs: not a lack of skills, and hence a training-and-education crisis, but a surfeit of drug abuse, per the NYT's Nelson Schwartz. Simply put, prime-working age Americans without a college diploma are often too drugged-out to get the best jobs. Opioids remain at high levels, but the surge in drug use is now heroin and the powerful contaminant fentanyl. Read

Reviving the war on drugs isn’t the way to improve police/community relations

8/4/17--The United States has been waging a war on drugs for nearly 50 years. According to Dean A. Dabney, associate professor of justice and criminology at Georgia State University, a return to a "law and order" approach would undo recent gains in reducing crime rates as well as prison populations and would further strain tense police-community relations. Read

Task force on marijuana law offers little on new policies

8/5/17--The Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, a group of prosecutors and federal law enforcement officials, has come up with no new policy recommendations to advance the attorney general’s aggressively anti-marijuana views. The group’s report largely reiterates the current Justice Department policy on marijuana. It encourages officials to keep studying whether to change or rescind the Obama administration’s more hands-off approach to enforcement — a stance that has allowed the nation’s experiment with legal pot to flourish. Read

Rastafarian pot farm shootout sparks religious-use debate

8/3/17--The shooting of two California deputies responding to a disturbance at a Rastafarian marijuana farm has drawn attention to religious use of the drug, sparking debate over whether churches should be protected from drug prosecutions. Religious organizations throughout California have been growing marijuana for ceremonial purposes for years, and they have been losing in court for just as long because there is no religious exemption to state and federal marijuana bans, and there won't be any special treatment when California legalizes pot next year. Read

This 59-year-old mother of 2 is making millions selling legal marijuana gummies

7/31/17--Nancy Whiteman's marijuana confectionary company, Wana Brands, makes millions of dollars a year, but she considers herself an "accidental cannabis entrepreneur." She thought that edibles could be the next big thing in legal marijuana trends. Her confectionary concoctions include loaded sour fruit gummies, salted caramels, hot cocoa, and bright lozenge "jewels" infused with different levels of THC. By the end of 2017, she expects Wana Brands to bring in more than $12 million in revenue. Read

The harmfulness of marijuana use and the public policy approach to address the challenges

7/29/17--Auburn University is offering a course is to help increase the understanding of public policy makers, as well as other contributing members to society, concerning the harmful effects of marijuana use and the implications of those harmful effects for the mental and physical well-being of individuals of all ages in society; the implications of the harmful effects of marijuana use on the capacity of adults and ultimately, the rising generation to function as responsible citizens. Read