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United States

$1 billion in marijuana taxes is addictive to state governors

4/11/17--According to a new report from New Frontier Data, states with legalized marijuana are on track to generate approximately $655 million in state taxes on retail sales in 2017. Within that tax figure, $559 million will come just from cannabis taxes. Many states view the cannabis industry as a vice and tax it at a high rate. The industry accepts it as a cost of doing business, and seemingly it has paid off handsomely for the states that have legalized marijuana. Read

Clergy for a New Drug Policy

4/12/17--Clergy for a New Drug Policy calls for an end to the War on Drugs which the United States has waged, at home and abroad, for over 40 years. The group believes this War has failed to achieve its stated objectives; deepened divisions between rich and poor, black, white, and brown; squandered over one trillion dollars; and turned the United States into a “prisoner” nation. Read

Trump’s apparent drug czar pick has strong “no” vote record on marijuana, including CBD oil

4/12/17--Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., will be President Trump’s drug czar, according to a report from CBS News. Marino’s congressional voting record is that of a hard-liner on marijuana issues, and he recently said that he’d like to put nonviolent drug offenders in some sort of “hospital-slash-prison.” As drug czar, Marino would oversee the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a branch of the White House that advises the president on drug policy issues. Read

Study shows marijuana use interrupts adolescent brain development

4/11/17--Regular marijuana use by teens can stop the brain from maturing, according to a new study by scientists at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, IL. The study is the first to establish a causal link between repeated cannabinoid exposure during adolescence and an interruption of the normal maturation processes in the prefrontal cortex, a region in the brain's frontal lobe, which regulates decision ­making and working memory and undergoes critical development during adolescence. Read

How Jeff Sessions wants to bring back the war on drugs

4/8/17--Sessions has yet to announce specific policy changes, but law enforcement officials say that Sessions and one of his top lieutenants, Steven H. Cook, are preparing a plan to prosecute more drug and gun cases and pursue mandatory minimum sentences. The two men are eager to bring back the national crime strategy of the 1980s and ’90s from the peak of the drug war, an approach that had fallen out of favor in recent years as minority communities grappled with the effects of mass incarceration. Read

Florida Congressmen introduce bill to make pot easier to get

4/9/17--Two Florida Congressmen, Matt Gaetz (R) and Darren Soto (D), introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would reclassify marijuana as a Schedule III drug. If the bill were to become law, the new classification would make it easier for people to obtain medical marijuana and easier for researchers to obtain cannabis for further study. Read

Legal marijuana advocates are uneasy with Sessions’ stance

4/6/17--Supporters of marijuana legalization are worried because new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been making tough comments about the drug, and there's a lot of uncertainty about how the Trump administration will enforce federal law. Marijuana legalization advocates say if the Trump Justice Department makes big changes, it will be in for a fight. Read

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones reportedly wants NFL to stop banning marijuana

4/2/17--According to an editorial by Forbes contributing writer Bruce Y. Lee, during the recent National Football League (NFL) owners-only meeting in Arizona, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones suggested a stop to banning marijuana use among NFL players. Any change would be part of the next collective bargaining process, which means that current policies are probably in place until at least 2020. But the players may now have an ally in Jones. Read

Lawmakers want weed federally regulated like every other industry

4/3/17--The inability to apply for tax breaks, and the lack of banking options for weed workers could change if a group of lawmakers can get a package of newly introduced bills passed, which would require the federal government to regulate the marijuana industry in the same manner as the alcohol and tobacco industries. Under the Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act, the measures would prevent marijuana businesses from being punished for federal crimes and penalties regarding sale of the plant in legal states. Read

The DEA just gave a big boost to a cannabis-based seizure drug

4/4/17--A growing body of research suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce seizures in individuals with epileptic disorders, reducing the damage caused by these diseases as well as improving quality of life. The DEA is creating a separate classification for scheduling cannabis extracts, and specifically mentioned CBD as a potential example. The resulting legal framework would seem to allow CBD-derived medications to move to a less restrictive schedule while leaving marijuana on Schedule I. Read

Governors from 4 marijuana states ask feds to leave them alone

4/3/17--Governors from the first four states to legalize recreational marijuana (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington) are asking the Trump administration to let the pot experiments continue. They say that marijuana legalization has expanded their economies. The governors also say that legal weed can be regulated to protect public safety, and that legalization reduces “inequitable incarceration,” or people of color being disproportionately jailed for pot crimes. Read

Proliferation of marijuana ads alarms addiction researchers

3/28/17--In a new study, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report that more than half of young pot users they surveyed have seen marijuana ads — either online or in more traditional forms of advertising such as billboards and print media. Although the survey group only included people who said they used pot and was not a nationally representative sample, the study’s first author, Melissa J. Krauss, called it alarming that so many people had seen ads for pot, even in places where such ads are supposed to be prohibited. Read

John Oliver goes off on America’s most absurd marijuana laws

4/3/17--John Oliver exposes America’s most counter-productive and antiquated marijuana laws. In addition to detailing how the U.S. tax code jeopardizes marijuana businesses that operate legally within their states, Oliver showed how federal regulations put individuals who were complying with state laws at risk. Read

7 marijuana-related bills introduced in US Congress

4/2/17--A total of seven bills that would support the marijuana industry were introduced in Congress last Thursday, three in the Senate and four in the House. The new bills seek similar, but not identical, changes to U.S. laws related to the cannabis industry. Read

Veterans groups fight for marijuana access to curb opioid abuse

4/1/17--States with medical marijuana programs are beginning to open access to the drug for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, under mounting pressure from veterans groups advocating marijuana as an alternative to opioids. Many are unable to get relief from painkillers or traditional treatments allowed under current federal law, leaving them at the mercy of their particular state’s policy. Read

Maher, Roger Stone share marijuana cake on TV

4/1/17--HBO host Bill Maher and former Donald Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone shared a marijuana cake on “Real Time” on Friday night after finding common ground on marijuana policy. Maher later noted that it was the 420th episode of "Real Time" and asked Stone to bring out what he referred to earlier as a "420 cake." Read

“Path to Marijuana Reform” bills introduced

3/30/17--Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, announced the “Path to Marijuana Reform,” a bipartisan package of three related bills aimed at protecting and preserving existing state-based programs while creating a framework for the federal regulation of cannabis. Included in the package is the reintroduction of legislation from Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colorado, to regulate marijuana like alcohol. Read

Legalized marijuana could help curb the opioid epidemic, study finds

3/27/17--According to a new study, hospitalization rates for opioid painkiller dependence and abuse dropped on average 23 percent in states after marijuana was permitted for medicinal purposes. Hospitalization rates for opioid overdoses dropped 13 percent on average. Yet, at the same time, fears that legalization of medical marijuana would lead to an uptick in cannabis-related hospitalizations proved unfounded, according to the report in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Read

More marijuana sales taxes are coming

3/26/17--Marijuana advisory firm GreenWave Advisors estimates marijuana sales taxes added $1.6 billion to state tax receipts last year, and further estimates indicate that by 2021, marijuana sales taxes could total more than $4 billion. Pro-pot advocates have used state tax revenue from marijuana sales as a major selling point to win support, and so far, their claims of billions of additional dollars in tax revenue appear to be spot on. Read

Addiction specialists ponder a potential aid: pot

3/27/17--The new clinic, High Society, is experimenting with a concept made possible by the growing legalization of marijuana: that pot, rather than being a gateway into drugs, could be a gateway out. A small but growing number of pain doctors and addiction specialists are overseeing the use of marijuana as a substitute for more potent and dangerous drugs. Read

Pot is bad news — no ifs, ands or butts

3/17/17--A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry looked at the rising rates of marijuana use in the general population, the increasing number of states allowing recreational marijuana use, and the authorization of medical marijuana programs. The three-year study of nearly 35,000 participants found that within the general population, cannabis use is associated with an increased risk of several substance use disorders, including alcohol and drug use disorders as well as nicotine dependence. Read

DEA approves Syndros, a pharma cannabis solution, for Schedule II status

3/24/17--The Drug Enforcement Administration has awarded a Schedule II classification for the cannabis solution Syndros, an oral remedy containing THC. Syndros is approved to treat nausea and vomiting, which many cancer patients suffer during chemotherapy. Read

Pacific Northwest marijuana investment network set to launch

3/21/17--The newly launching Cannabis Investment Network (CIN) aims to connect marijuana firms with financial backers. The organization is hoping to serve smaller-scale firms that are looking to raise from $500,000 to $3 million. The self-described “angel group” will function more as a conduit to connect investors with potential investments, instead of raising and deploying capital itself. Read

New cannabis advocacy group aims to sway federal government

3/21/17--A group of cannabis companies has banded together under the name of New Federalism Fund (NFF) to form a nonprofit political advocacy group designed to protect the legal marijuana trade. The NFF plans to work with Congress and the Trump administration to achieve its goals. Read 

Underage teen busted for seven 30-packs of natural light beer, weed, and fake ID

3/20/17--University of Alabama student Alden Whiteside was pulled over for reckless driving and speeding, and he was charged with possession of marijuana and alcohol by someone under the age of 21. He's also accused of possession of a driver's license with an altered date of birth. The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office posted a photo on Facebook of the traffic stop in hopes of teaching other people a lesson. Read

Marijuana poisoning poses serious risk for dogs

3/20/17--A 2012 study involving Colorado State University researchers found that marijuana toxicity cases in dogs increased as the number of medical marijuana licenses increased in Colorado. Dogs metabolize marijuana differently from humans, and the impacts of consumption play out differently on their smaller frames. In rare cases, a dog can undergo gradual paralysis and die. Read

Good science on marijuana is so hard to find

3/15/17--According to a published editorial by The Washington Post contributor Robert Gebelhoff, conducting a randomized controlled trial on marijuana use is essentially impossible. Therefore, scientists must rely heavily on self-reporting from patients, making it extremely difficult to know how much, how often, or through what means subjects use marijuana — let alone what type of chemicals they’re ingesting alongside the drug. Regardless of the outcome of any marijuana study, scientists who tackle the issue do so knowing they will probably receive criticism. Read

Marijuana use may raise stroke, heart failure risk

3/10/17--New research warns of the harms of marijuana use after finding that the drug may have negative implications for cardiovascular health. From an analysis of more than 20 million health records across the U.S., researchers have uncovered a link between marijuana use and an increased risk of stroke and heart failure. Read

Depression, alcohol, and marijuana linked to later use of synthetic marijuana

3/13/17--In the first prospective study of synthetic cannabinoids or SCs -- the group of chemicals that mimic the effects of marijuana -- researchers have found that symptoms of depression, drinking alcohol, or using marijuana was linked to an increased risk of SC use one year later. Read

‘Synthetic pot’ tied to risky sex, violence, and drug abuse in teens

3/13/17--Teens who use synthetic pot are at a heightened risk for violent behavior, risky sex, and abuse of other drugs, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study revealed. Synthetic pot -- sometimes called fake weed -- covers a variety of drugs sold under hundreds of brand names. These drugs are often marketed as natural and safe. But, they have unpredictable, and in some cases, life-threatening effects, according to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Read

New marijuana industry jobs to eclipse new manufacturing jobs by 2020

3/3/17--A new report from New Frontier Data suggests some big changes are in store when it comes to job growth in the legal marijuana industry. Projections indicate that the legal marijuana market will create more than 250,000 jobs by 2020. Researchers didn’t assume any changes to marijuana laws when calculating these projections — or changes to enforcement of existing federal law. They’re based on estimates for growth in states that have already passed some form of legalized marijuana. Read

Marijuana stocks are doomed if Trump reneges on his pot pledge

3/4/17-- The possibility of more stringent federal enforcement on recreational pot could be irreparably damaging to most marijuana stocks, especially those involved in the retail side of the equation. A potential crackdown on recreational pot by the federal government could take away the fastest growth channel for marijuana and investors. Without this growth, marijuana stocks would almost certainly be worth avoiding. Read

Elizabeth Warren demands Jeff Sessions respect state marijuana law

3/3/17--A bipartisan group of senators, led by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions urging him not to undo a 2013 policy permitting states to set their own recreational marijuana regulations. The push is a response to recent mixed messages from the Trump administration on whether it will enforce federal law, which still bars recreational marijuana use, or leave the decision to implement the federal policy to the states. Read

Pediatricians warn against pot use: not your dad’s marijuana

2/27/17--An influential doctors group is beefing up warnings about marijuana's potential harms for teens amid increasingly lax laws and attitudes on pot use. The group opposes medical and recreational marijuana use for kids. It says emphasizing that message is important because most states have legalized medical use for adults, and many have decriminalized or legalized adults' recreational use. Read

Why marijuana remains a Schedule I drug, the highest classification in federal law

2/21/17--Despite Congress initially passing The Controlled Substances Act, the classification of substances are determined only by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration. When it comes to the legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes, the DEA has ruled that marijuana is a Schedule I drug, the highest classification possible, because the FDA has determined there is no current accepted medical use for marijuana in the U.S. Read

DEA removes marijuana misinformation from website

2/13/17--After months of public pressure, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has removed factually inaccurate information from its website. The change comes after Americans for Safe Access, a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring safe and legal access to medical cannabis for therapeutic use and research, filed a legal request with the Department of Justice last year demanding that the DEA immediately update and remove factually inaccurate information about cannabis from their website and materials. Read

Drug catapult, 47 pounds of marijuana found at US-Mexico border

2/15/17--Last week, Mexican authorities dismantled a catapult used to launch drugs from Mexico to the United States after they found the contraption and marijuana during a patrol in Arizona. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, they found the catapult attached to the south side of the border fence and two bundles of marijuana with a combined weight above 47 pounds. Read

Pro-pot lawmakers launch a Congressional Cannabis Caucus

2/16/17--Republican congressmen Dana Rohrabacher (California) and Don Young (Alaska) joined Democrats Earl Blumenauer (Oregon) and Jared Polis (Colorado) to launch the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. They are dedicated to developing policy reforms that can bridge the gap that exists between federal laws banning marijuana and the laws in an ever-growing number of states that have legalized it for medical or recreational purposes. Read

Government has apparently dropped ‘gateway’ theory

2/16/17--Recently the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) quietly removed a report from its website, suggesting that it is finally giving up the false theories that cannabis is a “gateway drug,” or that it causes permanent brain damage or psychosis. These myths have been at the heart of positions held by marijuana prohibitionists and often served as their platform when voting against medical cannabis legislation. Read

How can marijuana policy protect the adolescent brain?

2/6/17--According to study authors Staci A. Gruber and Kelly A. Sagar of McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School, as more states begin to legalize the use of marijuana, more young people may believe that it's safe to experiment with the drug. Gruber and Sagar believe it is imperative to determine safe guidelines regarding its impact on the brain, particularly during critical periods of neurodevelopment. Read

Cannabis for epilepsy: is there enough evidence of efficacy?

1/10/17--Some parents of children with treatment-resistant epilepsy are turning to cannabis to try to reduce seizure frequency. With clinical trials of cannabidiol-based drugs under way, evidence for this treatment option may soon be forthcoming. However, even as CBD’s effectiveness may soon be established in rigorous clinical trials, experts see it as one of many new additions to the arsenal of epilepsy medicines, rather than a panacea. Read

Death rates for young, white Americans increased from 1999 to 2014

2/2/17--A report based on data collected from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics shows an increase in the death rates from 1999 to 2014 for young, white people due to a surge in suicides and accidents, with the latter being largely a result of drug overdoses. This is consistent with another recent report showing the death rate from heroin overdoses has quadrupled from 2010 to 2015 among Millennials aged 25 to 34. Read

Review of the science and implications for developmental behavioral pediatric practice

1/30/17--This review examines the epidemiology of cannabis use among children and adolescents, including those with developmental and behavioral diagnoses. Throughout, the review outlines gaps in current knowledge and highlights directions for future research. Read

Emerging products liability threats to growing marijuana industry

1/19/2017--As the marijuana industry continues to expand, so too do the legal issues facing the industry. One of these emerging legal issues is the threat of products liability exposure for marijuana manufacturers and distributors. Although the marijuana industry continues to evolve, marijuana manufacturers and distributors face serious products liability risks given the nature of their products they . Read

Cannabis use disorder and suicide attempts in Iraq/Afghanistan-era veterans.

1/5/2017--The objective of the present research was to examine the association between lifetime cannabis use disorder (CUD), current suicidal ideation, and lifetime history of suicide attempts in a large and diverse sample of Iraq/Afghanistan-era veterans using a battery of well-validated instruments. Read

Just 2 groups of people now oppose legalizing marijuana

1/29/17--Gallup's national poll highlights two groups of people that still oppose the legalization of marijuana: those affiliated with the Republican Party, and seniors aged 55 and up. According to Gallup's 2016 survey, just 42% of adults who identified as Republican want to see marijuana legalized. By a similar token, just 45% of seniors aged 55 and up support the idea of nationwide legalization of cannabis. Read

Are ganjapreneurs going after healthy living as a new marijuana marketing tactic?

1/26/17--In a classic consumer-marketing move, a new breed of ganjapreneurs are using a new marijuana marketing strategy. They’re  replacing stoner slang with supermarket-friendly names that purport to help customers live better. In essence, these marketers want to transform the image of marijuana so that it competes with scores of products already in liquor stores, markets, and pharmacies. Read

‘I know I’m on my last chance’: Martavis Bryant opens up about his suspension

1/13/17--Since being banned from the NFL for at least one season due to multiple violations of the league’s recreational drug policy, 25-year-old Martavis Bryant has sought to reinvent himself, and he has learned to live without marijuana. Bryant sat down with Sports Illustrated to clear the air about his past transgressions and lay a road map for the future. Read

Beer sales don’t take a hit from marijuana legalization, study finds

1/13/16--According to new research, the legalization of marijuana in several US states has not curbed beer sales. Americans managed to find room for both. In states where medical marijuana is legal, beer consumption was down 0.6% on average in the three years leading up to legalization, but rose 0.1% in the three years after. Read

The good, bad, and unknown about marijuana’s health effects

1/12/17--It can almost certainly ease chronic pain and might help some people sleep, but it's also likely to raise the risk of getting schizophrenia and might trigger heart attacks. Those are among the conclusions about marijuana reached by a federal advisory panel. The experts also called for a national effort to learn more about marijuana and its chemical cousins. Read

Marijuana users risk schizophrenia, but the drug helps pain

1/12/17--Although marijuana can help ease chronic pain, it can also raise the risk of severe mental illness, including schizophrenia, a comprehensive new report found. A team of top experts looked at all the studies that have been done on the use of cannabis — marijuana and products made from marijuana — and its impact on health. Ultimately, the committee came to 100 conclusions about cannabis. Read

More older Americans using cannabis, underscoring need for research

1/11/17--Cannabis use among older adults in the US is on the rise, yet there is currently a lack of biomedical, clinical, and public health research to inform policy related to this trend, according to a new article. Read

Legal or not, marijuana can increase the risk of developing alcohol use disorders

1/10/17--Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) develop with time and in stages. Following the initiation of drinking, some people progress to problem drinking, and then develop a “cluster” of specific problems to comprise an AUD. This report examines high-risk families to understand underlying influences across multiple stages of AUD development. Read

Air Force expands medical waivers, no questions on prior marijuana use

1/10/16--The Air Force is looking to expand its ranks in part by boosting the number of medical waivers for potential recruits, the service announced Tuesday. Prospective airmen routinely disqualified from serving because of eczema, asthma, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, will now be given a second chance on a case-by-case basis. Read

NSDUH breaks down last year’s national marijuana usage

1/9/17--The latest data presented by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows that states with recreational and medical legalization have higher rates of cannabis use, while states without legislation do not. While some aspects of the data may not be surprising, it does provide insight into what a difference a state line can make. Read

Marijuana brands can trademark almost anything, except marijuana

1/7/17--Though cannabis is legal for recreational or medicinal use in 28 states, it remains illegal under federal law. As a result, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will not register trademarks for marijuana retailers or for products that contain cannabis. One popular strategy for cannabis companies that can’t trademark their core products is to seek protection for a host of ancillary products and services. Read

Marijuana advocates mobilizing in advance of Sessions confirmation hearing

1/6/17--Marijuana legalization activists are organizing a national “Day of Action” on Monday to protest the potential confirmation of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as the nation’s attorney general. Day of Action participants will be “flooding” senators’ phone lines to demand that Sessions not be confirmed if he does not respect state marijuana laws, NORML officials said. Read

Pain relief without the high

1/4/17--Researchers at Leiden University led by Mario van der Stelt (Leiden Institute for Chemistry) have set ‘gold standards’ for developing new painkillers based on the medicinal effects of cannabis, but without some of its side effects. Read

Mysterious marijuana-related illness popping up in emergency rooms

1/2/17--A mysterious marijuana-related illness, now known as cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, is popping up with increasing frequency in hospital emergency rooms, particularly in states where cannabis is now legal. The symptoms are severe abdominal pain and violent vomiting — and most doctors are initially stumped when they encounter patients with the problem. The illness is linked to heavy, long-term use of marijuana, according to experts. Read

States with medical marijuana laws have fewer traffic fatalities

12/31/16--States that passed medical marijuana laws have seen an 11% reduction in traffic fatalities on average, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health. The most likely takeaway from this study is that medical marijuana laws are helping to decrease alcohol-related traffic fatalities among the age groups at highest risk, but other parts of this study don’t neatly line up behind any single conclusion. Read