Cannabis tincture. Virginia’s Legislature has given approval to House Bill 1445 , a proposal that legalizes the use of cannabis extracts (such as oils and tinctures) for the treatment of epilepsy. The measure was approved unanimously by the state’s House of Representatives, and 37 to 1 by the state’s Senate. The proposal will now go to Governor Terry McAuliffe for consideration. McAuliffe will have the option of either signing it into law, allowing it to become law without his signature, or vetoing. However, given there was such strong consensus in the Legislature, there would be more than enough support to...Read more

Hawaii’s Senate Health Committee has unanimously passed Senate Bill 596 , a measure to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis. If approved into law, Senate Bill 596 would remove criminal penlites for the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, reducing the charge to a simple $100 civil infraction. The measure would apply to everyone 18 and older. In 2013, Hawaii’s Senate voted unanimously to approve a similar decriminalization proposal, though that measure unfortunately didn’t advance further before the session ended. According to polling released last year, 77% of those in Hawaii support decriminalizing cannabis, while 66%...Read more

Legislation to defelonize the personal possession of illegal substances has been filed in Utah’s House of Representatives. New polling released today shows a strong majority of Utah voters support the move. House Bill 348 would reduce the penalty for the personal possession of illegal substances from a felony, to a class A misdemeanor. New polling conducted by Public Policy Polling , and commissioned by the American Civil Liberties Union , shows that 58% of Utah voters support reducing the penalty for drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor, with just 34% opposed. “Many people with drug problems have serious...Read more

North Dakota’s House Agriculture Committee has voted 13 to 0 to approve House Bill 1436 , a proposal to explicitly legalize the cultivation, production and distribution of hemp. A provision in the measure makes it clear that the state will not need to wait for federal approval to implement the law. House Bill 143 6, introduced by Representatives David Monson and Alan Fehr, would establish a regulatory and licensing framework for the cultivation and production of industrial hemp. According to the proposal; “A license required by this section is not conditioned on or subject to review or approval by the United...Read more

At post time , there are 31 states that currently have pending marijuana law reform legislation. These measures deal with a wide array of topics including decriminalization, record expungement, medical access, and full legalization. 2015 is shaping up to be one of the most active legislative sessions on record for the marijuana legalization movement, but these bills won’t pass themselves. It is absolutely crucial that you, the stakeholders and voters, get engaged in the process and apply pressure to your state lawmakers to urge them to support these measures. Reaching out to your state officials is as simple...Read more

By Press Release Washington, DC – Today, Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced two bills that together would legalize and tax marijuana at the federal level. Representative Blumenauer’s legislation, H.R. 1014, the Marijuana Tax Revenue Act of 2015 , creates a federal excise tax on non-medical marijuana sales and moves this quickly growing industry out of the shadows. Representative Polis’s legislation, H.R. 1013, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act , removes marijuana from the schedule set by the Controlled Substances Act; transitions marijuana oversight from the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Agency to the Bureau of Alcohol,...Read more

Cannabinoids show “great promise” as a treatment option for nausea, according to a new study published in the journal Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics , and published online by the National Institute of Health . “The sensation of nausea is one of the most debilitating human experiences”, according to the study’s researchers. “Current anti-emetic therapies are effective in reducing vomiting, but are less effective in reducing acute and delayed nausea and are completely ineffective in reducing anticipatory nausea.” They continue; “Recent pre-clinical evidence using a selective rat model of nausea (conditioned gaping reactions) has revealed that cannabinoids have great promise as...Read more

Starting tomorrow, February 24th in Alaska, it will be entirely legal under state law for those 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis, and to cultivate up to six cannabis plants. This is due to Ballot Measure 2 , approved by voters in 2014, becoming law. Ballot Measure 2 also legalized the distribution of cannabis through state-licensed cannabis retail outlets, which will be regulated by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, though these outlets aren’t expected to open until early to mid next year. Although possessing and cultivating cannabis in Alaska will be legal starting tomorrow, consuming...Read more

Nearly seven out of ten North Carolina voters support legalizing the doctor prescribed use of cannabis for medical purposes, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey . According to the poll, 69% of voters in North Carolina believe that “doctors should be allowed to prescribe marijuana for medical use”. Just 21% oppose the move, with the remaining 10% being undecided. Opposition to medical cannabis dropped 9%, down from 30%, since the question was last asked in the state by Public Policy Polling in 2014. The survey was conducted the weekend before House Bill 78 – the Enact Medical Cannabis...Read more

Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office offered to officialy change her position on medical cannabis and endorse an initiative to legalize the medicine in Florida if a major donor and former Obama fundraiser recanted his criticism of her, according to emails obtained by POLITICO . “The proposal to Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan was straightforward: retract critical statements he made to a reporter in return for Wasserman Schultz publicly backing his cannabis initiative that she had trashed just months earlier” says POLITICO’s Marc Caputo. “Morgan declined the offer with a sharp email reply sent to...Read more

Kansas’ House Bill 2282 has been passed by the House Committee on Health and Human Services , setting it up for a full House vote. House Bill 2282 would legalize the possession and use of low-THC cannabis extracts (such as tinctures, oils and lotions) for those who have seizure disorders and receive a recommendation from a physician. The cannabis extracts would be required to have no more than 3% THC, making CBD (cannabidiol) oil the most likely option for patients. House Bill 2282 would establish safe access points to distribute the medicine. Those in Kansas who support the legalization of...Read more

Starting Thursday , February 26th, Initiative 71 will take effect in Washington D.C., legalizing the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis, as well as the private cultivation of up to six cannabis plants. The measure will apply to those 21 and older, and smoking in public will remain illegal, though the penalty will be reduced to a simple ticket. Initiative 71 was approved with over 70% of the vote in November, 2014, going a step further than the D.C. Council’s recent decriminalization of up to an ounce of cannabis. Initiative 71 didn’t legalize cannabis sales, though legislation was...Read more

In Alaska , it’s now legal for those 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis, and to cultivate up to six cannabis plants. Ballot Measure 2 , which was approved by voters in 2014 and officially became law at 12:00AM on February 24th, also makes the distribution of cannabis legal through state-licensed cannabis retail outlets (regulated by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board) , though these outlets aren’t expected to open until spring to summer of next year. With Ballot Measure 2 becoming law, consuming cannabis in public remains illegal, though the penalty has been reduced to...Read more

By Nick Sheppard,
Before “Choom Gang” Obama or “I didn’t inhale” Clinton, the first president likely smoked pot. Presidential aspirants smoking pot, states growing hemp for industrial use—2015 sounds a lot like 1776. In fact, America’s first president may have been one of the nation’s original users of medicinal marijuana. George Washington’s rotting teeth and the dentures that replaced them—made of hippopotamus ivory, gold springs, and brass screws—caused enormous pain, which some believe he alleviated with weed as evidenced from a passage from one of the president’s letters: “Began to separate the male from female plants rather too late…Pulling...Read more

Virginia’s Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee has voted unanimously to approve the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 , a proposal to establish a hemp research program. The measure, which has already been approved unanimously by the state’s House of Delegates, will go to Governor Terry McAuliffe once passed by the full Senate. If approved into law, House Bill 1277 would direct the Virginia Department of Agriculture to establish an industrial hemp research program, including determining specific regulation. Universities in the state would be authorized to cultivate and study the plant. The full text of the measure can...Read more

Hawaii’s House Committee on Health , with a 6 to 1 vote, has given approval to House Bill 1455 , a proposal to improve the state’s medical cannabis program. If approved into law, House Bill 1455 would allow patients to legally transfer cannabis to other patients and caregivers, which is currently illegal. The measure would also increase the amount of cannabis a patient can possess from four ounces to eight, and would increase the amount of plants they can cultivate from seven to sixteen. The proposal would also increase the amount of patients a caregiver can be responsible for from...Read more

By Rachel Lutz,
A treatment that targets the CB2 cannabinoid receptor [example; cannabis] may be an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and synovitis, according to research published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders . A collaborative team of researchers from the United Kingdom investigated cannabinoid receptor isoform CB2 as a target for treatment for rheumatoid arthritis while reviewing current treatments available to patients. The researchers noted synovitis is a central component of rheumatoid arthritis while also contributing to osteoarthritis. While pain symptoms can be treated in these diseases with medications like NSAIDs or paracetamol, control of rheumatic pain is particularly difficult....Read more

On February 26th, barring federal interference, Initiative 71 will take effect in Washington D.C., legalizing the possession and private cultivation of cannabis for those 21 and older. Initiative 71 , which was approved with over 70% of the vote, will legalize the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis, in addition to the private cultivation of up to six plants. Although Initiative 71 didn’t legalize cannabis sales, legislation was filed last month in the D.C. Council to do just that. However, Congress has since passed a national spending bill which prohibits the district from spending federal or local funding...Read more

Companion bills to legalize the possession of cannabis for recreational purposes have been filed in Tennessee’s House and Senate. Representative Harold Love has filed House Bill 873 , and Senator Jeff Yarbro has filed Senate Bill 1211 . Both measures would legalize the possession of up to a half an ounce of cannabis, with individuals able to legally transfer the substance from one adult to the next as long as money isn’t involved. Both bills would also reduce the penalty for the personal possession of over half an ounce from a felony with a potential 1 to 6 year prison...Read more

Legislation to legalize the cultivation, production and distribution of industrial hemp has been filed in Texas. House Bill 1332 , sponsored by Representative Joe Farias, would legalize industrial hemp, which would be defined as having 0.3% THC or less. The measure would establish regulations for those wanting to cultivate the crop, which includes receiving a license from the Department of Agriculture that would need to be renewed on an annual basis. According to congressional research , the United States imports roughly half a billion dollars worth of hemp from other countries. The same research estimates the hemp market to consist...Read more

A new study published in the journal Obesity , and published online by the National Institute of Health , has found that cannabis use is associated with a lower body mass index (BMI), which results in lower insulin resistance. For the study, researchers set out to “ascertain the relationship between cannabis use, obesity , and insulin resistance” by analyzing “786 Inuit adults from the Nunavik Inuit Health Survey”. Information on cannabis use was obtained “from a self-completed, confidential questionnaire”, and “fasting blood glucose and insulin and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) served as surrogate markers of insulin resistance.”...Read more

Uruguay will soon be providing licenses to companies to produce and sell cannabis starting by the summer, National Drug Board Secretary General Julio Calzada said in a recent press conference. Although specific rules have yet to be established concerning the growth, packaging, and distribution of cannabis, Calzada told Reuters that “pharmacy sales will happen in the first quarter, or in the middle of the year”. Cannabis pharmacies will be required to sell up to 40 grams of cannabis per month to registered customers. Calzada says that 2,000 people are currently registered as part of the new legal cannabis system, which includes those...Read more

Washington State’s Senate Commerce and Labor Committee has given unanimous approval to Senate Bill 5519 , a proposal to legalize cannabis cultivation for everyone 21 and older, while shutting down dispensaries and reducing the amount of cannabis a patient can possess and cultivate. Senate Bill 5519 would combine the medical and recreational cannabis systems by phasing out collective gardens and dispensaries beginning summer, 2016. To accomodate these closures, the Liquor Control Board – which would be renamed the Liquor and Cannabis Board – would be directed to increase the number of licensed cannabis retail outlets, with these outlets given the...Read more