The 2014 Monitoring the Future study, conducted by the University of Michigan and the National Institute on Drug Abuse , was released Tuesday morning. The annual survey of 40,000 8th-graders, 10th-graders and 12th-graders found that, despite increasing efforts to legalize the substance, teen cannabis use is on the decline. According to the study, teens reporting lifetime use of cannabis dropped in 2014 by 1.4 percent, teens reporting monthly use of cannabis dropped by 1.2 percent, and teens reporting daily cannabis use dropped by .7%. Overall, the survey found that roughly 30% of teens have used cannabis in their lifetimes, with...Read more

By Paul Armentano, NORML House and Senate lawmakers have approved spending legislation that contains a historic provision restricting the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state-sanctioned medical cannabis and/or hemp programs. Members of the Senate approved the House version of the bill Saturday night. President Barack Obama indicated Monday that he intends to sign the measure imminently. Specifically, an amendment sponsored by California Reps. Dana Rohrbacher and Sam Farr to the $1.1 trillion spending bill states, “None of the funds made available in this act to the Department of Justice may be used … to prevent … states...Read more

President Obama signed into law Wednesday morning a massive national spending bill which includes a provision to prevent the federal government from interfering with state-sanctioned medical cannabis and hemp research programs. The proposal was approved Saturday by the U.S. Senate, a day after the measure was passed by the House of Representatives. The proposal defunds medical cannabis raids by prohibiting the Department of Justice from spending any resources enforcing federal cannabis laws in states that have legalized the plant for medical purposes. A separate provision in the spending bill prohibits the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA ) from interfering with state-authorized...Read more

By Robert Capecchi, Deputy Director of State Policies, Marijuana Policy Project When the Virginia Legislature convenes in January, a bill to stop criminalizing those who simply possess marijuana will be awaiting consideration. Today, an individual convicted of marijuana possession in Virginia can be thrown in jail for up to thirty days, fined up to $500, or both! This overly punitive approach can destroy dreams — a criminal conviction makes it harder to get a job, housing, and education. Criminalizing marijuana possession also wastes vast amounts of resources. In 2012, there were more than 20,000 arrests made in Virginia for marijuana possession....Read more

The Colorado Board of Health has given approval to over $8 million in state-funded research on the benefits of medical cannabis. The studies will examine whether cannabis can treat a variety of conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and pediatric brain tumors. “This is new and uncharted territory,” says Dr. Larry Wolk, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment . Dr. Suzanne Sisley, a psychiatrist who will help run one of the approved studies which will focus on the possibility of cannabis treating PTSD, agrees; “This is the first time we’ve had...Read more

By Drug Policy Alliance Hearing Follows Historic Votes to Legalize Marijuana in Alaska, Oregon and D.C. Statement by the Drug Policy Alliance: It’s Time to Fix New York’s Broken Marijuana Policies New York’s State Seal. New York — Today, Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblyperson Crystal Peoples-Stokes sponsored a public forum about the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act , a bill that would tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. Under the proposal, those over 21 would be able to purchase small amounts of marijuana from a state-regulated store. The bill would rectify the many problems associated with...Read more

Missouri State Representative Brandon Ellington has prefiled House Joint Resolution 15, to be discussed in the upcoming legislative session which begins on January 7th. The proposal, which is a constitutional amendment modeled after Colorado’s successful Amendment 64 , would legalize the possession, private cultivation and state-licensed sales of cannabis for those 21 and older. If approved into law, those 21 and older would be authorized to possess and purchase up to an ounce of cannabis, as well as cultivate up to six plants. Ellington introduced a similar proposal last year; though it unfortunately stalled in committee, Ellington expresses confidence that...Read more

Cannabis tincture. The University of Alabama has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) to begin cultivating, administering and studying the impact of low-THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), high-CBD (cannabidiol) cannabis extracts on childhood and adult seizure disorders. In April, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed into law Senate Bill 174 which authorizes the Un iversity of Alabama’s Department of Neurology to prescribe, produce and distribute low-THC cannabis extracts – such as cannabis oil and tinctures – to those with seizure disorders. The oil must be primarily CBD, and can contain no more than 3% THC. The bill, named  Carly’s...Read more

The U.S. House of Representatives late last night gave approval to a massive national spending bill which includes a provision that would prevent the Justice Department or any other U.S. entity from enforcing federal cannabis laws in states that have legalized the plant for medical purposes. The spending bill, which was approved with a 219 to 206 vote, also includes a provision to prohibit the Drug Enforcement Administration ( DEA ) from interfering with state-sanctioned hemp research programs. The measure is now up for a Senate vote, which is expected to occur as soon as today. The proposal unfortunately includes...Read more

By Drug Policy Alliance Family’s Pleas for Relief for Little Donella Nocera Went Unheeded; Families, Advocates Call Upon Governor Cuomo to Immediately Help Suffering New Yorkers Donella Nocera. NIAGRA FALLS, NY — Yesterday, 8 year old Donella Nocera of Niagra Falls passed away while waiting for emergency access to medical marijuana to ease her end-of-life suffering. Donella was fighting stage 4 brain cancer. Her father, Nate, joined Compassionate Care NY from Donella’s bedside, fighting for emergency access for his daughter and pleading with Governor Cuomo to take action. “More than five months after Governor Cuomo signed a bill into law...Read more

By Paul Armentano, NORML WASHINGTON, DC — Available science fails to support the imposition of driving under the influence (DUI) impairment thresholds for cannabis in a manner that is analogous to the per se limits already in place for alcohol, according to the conclusions of a November 2014 publication  published by the United States Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Per se traffic safety laws criminalize those who operate a vehicle with trace or specific levels of a controlled substance in their bodily fluids, even in the absence of any further evidence indicating that the subject was...Read more

The United States Senate passed a national spending bill Saturday that includes a provision to defund medical cannabis raids. The House of Representatives approved the bill Friday , meaning the proposal now heads to President Obama, who says he will quickly sign it into law once it reaches his desk. The provision in the spending bill which defunds medical cannabis raids prohibits the Department of Justice from spending any resources enforcing federal cannabis laws in states that have legalized the plant for medical purposes. A separate provision in the spending bill prohibits the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA ) from interfering...Read more

Texas State Representative Joe Moody introduced House Bill 507 Monday morning, a proposal to decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis for those 21 and older, making the offense a simply $100 ticket. “Our current marijuana policy in Texas just isn’t working,” says Representative Moody. “We need a new approach that allows us to more effectively utilize our limited criminal justice resources. This legislation is a much-needed step in the right direction.” Texas District Court Judge John Delaney, Heather Fazio of the Marijuana Policy Project, Matt Simpson of the ACLU of Texas , and Ann Lee of Republicans...Read more

The California Medical Association ( CMA ) has voted to approve a resolution urging clinics in the state against removing patients from organ transplant lists based on their use of medical cannabis. Resolution 116-14 was approved with a unanimous vote, which took place during the CMA House of Delegates’ annual meeting this weekend in San Diego. The resolution opposes “utilization of marijuana use and positive cannabis toxicology tests as a contraindication for potential organ transplant recipients,” and calls on the use of “evidence-based medical findings to guide any alterations in this CMA policy.” The approval of the resolution comes as...Read more

A judge in British Columbia has given an absolute discharge to a man charged with trafficking cannabis after police raided his home and found 414 cannabis plants, around half of which were seedlings. The man, Michael Santos – an audio engineer with no criminal record – pleaded guilty to possessing around 6.5 pounds of cannabis for distribution Provincial Court Judge Joanne Challenger was told that Santos used the cannabis for medical purposes, despite never seeking an official medical exemption to grow the plant. Santos asked the judge to not make his medical condition public record, which the judge agreed to,...Read more

Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller has certified an initiative to legalize cannabis, officially placing it on the November, 2016 ballot. State Senator Richard Segerblom and Joe Brezny of the Nevada Cannabis Industry Association  submitted roughly 200,000 signatures for the initiative in November , nearly double the 102,000 required. Now that the state has verified that enough of the signatures were from registered Nevada voters, the issue will be officially put to a vote of the people. If approved into law, the proposal would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, while also authorizing state-licensed cannabis retail...Read more

By Drug Policy Alliance WASHINGTON, DC — The final “must pass” federal spending bill that Congress will consider this week, also known as the “cromnibus,”and released by senior appropriators last night includes an amendment that prohibits the U.S. Justice Department from spending any money to undermine state medical marijuana laws. The spending bill also includes a bipartisan amendment that prohibits the DEA from blocking implementation of a federal law passed last year by Congress that allows hemp cultivation for academic and agricultural research purposes in states that allow it. It also contains an amendment blocking marijuana law reform in Washington,...Read more

A large majority of those residing in Wyoming, one of the nation’s most conservative states, are in support of legalizing medical cannabis and decriminalizing cannabis possession, according to new polling conducted by the University of Wyoming . According to the poll, 72% of residents in Wyoming support the use of medical cannabis if recommended by a physician, with just 25% opposed. The survey also found a majority – 62% – to be in support of removing the possibility of jail-time for those caught in possession of cannabis. Support for legalizing cannabis for recreational use was considerably lower, at 35%; however,...Read more

Oregon’s Emergency Board approved a loan of $583,000 yesterday to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission so that it can begin implementation of an initiative approved by voters in November which legalizes the possession, private cultivation and state-licensed sales of recreational cannabis. The money will help the Oregon Liquor Control Commission – the entity tasked with regulating the new industry – with hiring new staff, procuring legal advice and beginning outreach efforts. The goal is to have the Commission pay back the money to the state by the end of the 2015-17 budget cycle. In November, voters approved Measure 91 with...Read more

The U.S. Justice Department is releasing a memorandum today to U.S. attorneys requesting that they allow Native Americans to grow and sell cannabis on their own sovereign lands, even in states that don’t allow it, so long as they follow certain guidelines such as not distributing to minors. The announcement, which comes just a year after the Justice Department’s decision to stop federal cannabis prosecutions in states that have legalized the substance, opens the doors to a potential new industry for Native Americans across the country. However, tribes wishing to allow sales of cannabis must still have “robust and effective...Read more

Over 5 million people have PTSD in any given year, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. A new study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology has found that cannabis may provide a treatment option for those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-induced nightmares. For the study; “Canadian male military personnel with PTSD, who despite standard treatment continued to experience trauma-related nightmares, received double-blind treatment with 0.5mg nabilone [a synthetic cannabinoid meant to mimic the effects of cannabis] or placebo (PBO), and then titrated to the effective dose (nightmare suppression) or reaching a maximum of 3.0mg.” Subjects were “followed for...Read more

Michigan’s Senate Agriculture Committee yesterday approved two hemp-related proposals, including one to legalize cultivation of the plant. House Bill 5439 and House Bill 5440 were both approved with unanimous votes. House Bill 5439 would authorize universities in the state and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to participate in hemp research programs. House Bill 5440 would legalize hemp cultivation, so long as the THC concentration doesn’t surpass 0.3%. House bill 5439 was approved unanimously by the state’s House of Representatives in May, with House Bill 5440 being approved with an 108 to 1 vote. Both proposals now head towards...Read more

Cannabinoids have strong antitumor capabilities according to a new study being published in the upcoming issue of the journal Histology and Histopathology , and e-published ahead of print by the National Institute of Health . “Cannabinoids are a class of chemical compounds with a wide spectrum of pharmacological effects, mediated by two specific plasma membrane receptors (CB1 and CB2)”, says researchers. “Recently, CB1 and CB2 expression levels have been detected in human tumors, including those of brain.” According to the study; “Cannabinoids -endocannabinoids exert anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, anti-invasive, anti-metastatic and pro-apoptotic effects in different cancer types, both in vitro and in...Read more