Illinois Governor OKs Cannabis as Painkiller Substitute

On Aug. 29, Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill that allows patients to substitute opioid painkillers with cannabis. “We are creating an alternative to opioid addiction,” the governor stated. “It’s clear that medical marijuana treats pain effectively, and is less addictive and disruptive than opioids.”

The Illinois legislature passed a medical-marijuana bill in 2013. Rauner’s predecessor, Gov. Pat Quinn, signed it into law.

Painkillers have benefits and complications for those who need them. While they relieve pain, the side effects and addiction potential cause longterm damage to patients.

In 2017, 29,406 people died from overdoses of synthetic opioids (not including methadone). Cannabis reduces the use of opioids for pain relief by 64%.

Benefits of Cannabis for Pain

Cannabis use for pain has proven to be an effective alternative to opioids. It helps with the following types of pain:

• Central pain: Discomfort arising from dysfunction of the nervous system, like fibromyalgia.

• Nociceptive pain: Inflammatory pain from tissue damage distinguished by throbbing and sharp aches.

• Neuropathic pain: Different from nociceptive pain, this deals with damage to the body’s nervous …

Medical Cannabis for Pets Bill Passed by California Senate, Already Passed Assembly

California’s Assembly and Senate have both approved legislation that would explicitly allow and regulate the medical use of cannabis for pets.

Assembly Bill 2215 was given approval by the full Senate Tuesday in a 37 to 1 vote, roughly three months after the Assembly passed it 60 to 10.  Although it has already passed the Assembly it will need to go back for one final vote to concur with Senate changes before it can be sent to Governor Jerry Brown for consideration.

Assembly Bill 2215 would expand “the intent of the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) to control and regulate cannabis and cannabis products for medicinal use on pets.” It would define “cannabis products” to include products intended for medicinal use on a pet, and although it wouldn’t allow a veterinarian to administer medical cannabis, it  would “allow a veterinarian to discuss the use of cannabis on an animal for medicinal purposes without being disciplined or denied, revoked or suspended by the Veterinary Medical Board (VMB).”

The measure states that the VMB “would have until July 1, 2019 to promulgate guidelines for veterinarians to follow when discussing the use of cannabis”, and it “Provides that a cannabis product for use on a pet may only be sold to an adult 21 years or age or over by a licensee who has been issued a retailer license, as specified.”

The full text of Assembly Bill 2215 can be found by clicking here.

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Connecticut Adds Eight New Qualifying Medical Cannabis Conditions

Connecticut officials have added eight new conditions to the list that qualifies an individual to become a legal consumer of medical cannabis.

On Tuesday Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection announced an expansion of the state’s medical cannabis program which will significantly increase the number of people eligible to take part in it.  The move – which is expected to be made final by the Secretary of State’s office within a week – takes the state’s already expansive list of qualifying conditions and adds eight more (six for those 18+ and two for minors).

The Department added the following conditions for those 18 and older:

  • Spasticity — continuously contracting muscles — or neuropathic pain associated with fibromyalgia
  • Severe rheumatoid arthritis
  • Post herpetic neuralgia — a complication of shingles caused by chickenpox
  • Hydrocephalus, or water on the brain, with intractable headache
  • Intractable headache syndromes
  • Neuropathic facial pain

 

For those under 18, the following conditions were added:

  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta

 

“Now that these regulations have been accepted, more patients with severe medical conditions will have access to medical marijuana as a treatment option,” said Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull in a recent statement. “I want to thank our Board of Physicians and the committee for their thoughtful consideration of these conditions. I continue to be proud of the careful way that our program has expanded, and its commitment to a true medical model.”

Below is a list of the other conditions that qualify an individual to become a medical cannabis patient:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Positive Status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Damage to the Nervous Tissue of the Spinal Cord with Objective Neurological Indication of Intractable Spasticity
  • Epilepsy
  • Cachexia
  • Wasting Syndrome
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Post Laminectomy Syndrome with Chronic Radiculopathy
  • Severe Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Cystic

Tell Facebook to stop censoring organizations like ours

Sign the petition and urge Facebook to stop its discriminatory practices

In the age of social media, Facebook seems to be living in the past when it comes to its attitude towards marijuana. In addition to rejecting advertising from numerous legal marijuana businesses, the platform is unfairly suspending pages and “shadow banning” organizations like ours, making it difficult for supporters to find us and see our content.

Facebook should know better. Poll after poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose marijuana prohibition. And dozens of states have legalized marijuana in one form or another. By restricting legal marijuana businesses and advocacy organizations from fully utilizing their site, Facebook is siding with prohibitionists and tilting the social media landscape in their favor.

We are joining the National Cannabis Industry Association in urging our allies to call on Facebook to immediately change its policies. Sign the petition to end the discrimination against legal marijuana businesses and advocacy groups like ours.

Thank you for taking action. Please share this email and the petition with others. We will continue to fight back until Facebook changes its policies, so stay tuned for further updates.

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Senate Showdown 2018: 12 Important Races to Watch

With the Republicans’ 51-49 edge in the Senate, the Democrats need to gain at least two seats on November 6. Here are 12 critical races.

REPUBLICAN TO DEMOCRAT

Four Democrats hope to flip seats from Republican control:

Arizona Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema

Arizona: Representative Kyrsten Sinema (D) vs. Representative Martha McSally

Three-term Congresswoman and a former Arizona State Representative Sinema, who’s bisexual, is aiming to win the seat of outgoing Senator Jeff Flake (R). In the state’s Aug. 28 Democratic primary, she coasted with 80% support. Her Republican rival, Congresswoman McSally, won with 53% of the vote. As of June 30, Sinema ($9.5 million) had more than twice as much campaign donations as McSally ($4.2 million). The race is considered a toss-up.

Nevada Congresswoman Jacky Rosen

Nevada: Representative Jacky Rosen (D) vs. Senator Dean Heller (R)

One-term Congresswoman Rosen is challenging Senator Heller, who’s the incumbent. In the state’s June 12 primary, both candidates won by more than 70% margins. As of June 30, both campaigns had raised in excess of $8 million. While this is viewed as a seat the Democrats can win, the race is considered a toss-up.

Former Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen

Tennessee: Phil Bredesen (D) vs. Representative Marsha Blackburn (R)

Former governor Bredesen and eight-term Congresswoman Blackburn are locked in a tight battle to take outgoing Senator Bob Corker’s (R) seat. Both won the state’s Aug. 2 primary by large margins. As of July 15, both campaigns had raised approximately $2.5 million. The race is considered a toss-up.

That Cannabis Show makes mid-September debut in Springfield, Massachusetts

MPP’s Matt Simon will lead panel discussion Saturday, September 15 — premium tickets available at a discount for MPP supporters!

Join MPP at That Cannabis Show September 15 and 16 in Springfield, Massachusetts! On Saturday, September 15, at 1:30 p.m., MPP’s New England Political Director, Matt Simon, will host a panel discussion exploring the status of legalization and regulation efforts in the six New England states and New York. The panel, titled “The Laws: They Are A-Changing,” will feature state legislators and leading reform advocates from several states. See below for information on the event and how to register.

Show details:

What: That Cannabis Show
Where: The MassMutual Center, 1277 Main Street, Springfield, MA
When: September 15 and 16

What to expect:

A bustling tradeshow floor
Business-focused programming
Entrepreneurs’ resource row
Celebrity talent
CannaBliss film festival
Mainstage entertainment

Click here to purchase tickets, and use code MPP for a 50% discount on all premium tickets!

We hope to see you there!

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California Safe Injection Site Legislation Passed by Legislature

The California Legislature has voted in favor of a bill to allow San Francisco to move forward with a three-year pilot program allowing for the establishment of safe drug injection sites.

Assembly Bill 186, sponsored by Assembly member Susan Talamantes Eggman and co-sponsored by Senator Scott Wiener, passed the Senate last week by a vote of 21 to 16. In June it was given approval by the Assembly 41 go 33, and on Monday the Assembly concurred with changes made in the Senate, This means it will soon be sent to Governor Jerry Brown for final consideration.

According  to the bill’s official summary, it “Authorizes the City and County of San Francisco to approve entities to operate an overdose prevention program for adults supervised by healthcare professionals or other trained staff where people who use drugs can safely consume drugs and get access to referrals to addiction treatment.” The measure establishes a sunset date of January 1, 2022.

“Overdose prevention services are proven harm reduction services that are effective at linking people who use drugs to treatment and other services, reducing overdose deaths, preventing transmission of HIV and viral hepatitis, and reducing street-based drug use and syringe disposal”, states the Drug Policy Alliance in a recent press release. “Research has shown that people who access these programs are more likely to enter treatment and more likely to stop using drugs. Support is growing rapidly across the country for these services in the face of dramatic increases in drug overdose deaths.”

Similar legislation has been introduced in Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York, and New York, Philadelphia, and Seattle are in the process of opening sites.

The post California Safe Injection Site Legislation Passed by Legislature appeared first on TheJointBlog.

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Illinois governor signs opioid alternative bill, making huge improvements to medical cannabis program

Sweeping changes include medical cannabis access for opioid patients, streamlined process, and others

Illinois’s medical cannabis program took a major step forward today as Gov. Bruce Rauner signed bill SB 336, the Alternatives to Opioids Act, into law.

This historic change makes several key improvements:

Opioid patients now qualify. Patients who are — or could be — prescribed opioid drugs will be able to register to obtain medical cannabis as an alternative.

Shorter wait times. Patients will get provisional authorization to access medical cannabis as soon as their paperwork is submitted for registration — saving weeks of wait time.

No more fingerprint requirement! Patients and caregivers will no longer be required to submit fingerprints to register for the program, and those with felony convictions in their past will no longer be denied access to the program.

Many thanks go to bill sponsors Sen. Don Harmon and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, and the many medical cannabis patients and supporters who worked to pass this major improvement to state law. The full text of the measure is here.

In other news, if you are in the neighborhood, the public is invited to tonight’s town hall on cannabis legalization for adults in La Grange, Illinois.

When: Tuesday, August 28 7:00 p.m.

Where: La Grange Village Hall Auditorium, 53 S. La Grange Road, La Grange, Illinois

Who: Bill sponsor Sen. Heather Steans, Rep. Jim Durkin, and several other panelists

Another big win for medical cannabis patients today — please spread the word! And if you can, come to tonight’s town hall and support a sensible legalization law in Illinois!

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Legislation Allowing Medical Cannabis to Replace Opioids to be Signed Into Law by Illinois Governor

Legislation to allow those who have been or could be prescribed opioids to join the state’s medical cannabis program will be signed into law today by Governor Bruce Rauner.

Governor Rauner is scheduled to sign Senate Bill 336 today at the Chicago Recovery Alliance. Filed by Senator Don Harmon along with a bipartisan group of 47 other lawmakers, the measure was passed by the Senate in April in a 44 to 6 vote, and  in June was passed by the House of Representatives 77 to 38.

The proposed law “includes in the definition of “debilitating medical condition” any other medical condition for which an opioid has been or could be prescribed by a physician based on generally accepted standards of care.” It “Provides that within 30 days after the effective date of the amendatory Act, the Department of Public Health shall adopt emergency rules to expedite approval for individuals who submit an application as an alternative to opioid treatment.”

Senate Bill 336 also makes it so that patients will no longer need to be fingerprinted and undergo a criminal background check when applying to use medical marijuana. In addition, those with a doctor’s recommendation who finish the application process will be granted a provisional registration, allowing them to purchase medical cannabis while the state reviews their request.

The full text of Senate Bill 336 can be found here.

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The 7 Stages Of Being High

being high

There is nothing more relaxing, enjoyable, and glorious than sharing some quality weed amongst friends. It’s a great time to bond, unwind,  and relieve the stress of a long workday or workweek. And if you’ve made it to the end of a milestone (the end of a workday or workweek does count!), you deserve to get righteously stoned. Everyone knows that.

And when you think about it, celebrating, relaxing, bonding, <insert your favorite verb here>,  is so much better with weed. Certainly better than with alcohol. With weed, you never end up puking and you never end up with a hangover.

You can get as high as you want, sleep like a baby, and then get up for work the next day, refreshed and ready to focus.

On top of all that, alcohol is just empty calories that go straight to your thighs or your gut. Weed, on the other hand, revs up your metabolism and can actually help you burn calories. Oh weed, how we do love you so!

Really, what’s not to love about weed and getting high? Weed is a unique drug that takes you down a winding path. You start off in one place and are then transported through a psychedelic trip to a whole new world.

Oh, and let’s not forget about how weed increases your creativity. You always get your best ideas when you’re stoned. It literally broadens your mind, man! And who isn’t into broadening their horizons and thinking in new ways? No one I know.

In this article, the cannabis experts at Honest Marijuana take you on a guided tour through the seven stages of being high.

Whether you’ve been on this journey before or you’re planning on taking your first trip very soon, the descriptions on this list will give you new insight into the THC experience. From euphoria to deep thoughts, everyone can relate to these seven stages

Illinois Governor Signs Bill Legalizing Hemp

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has signed  into law legislation that legalizes hemp; the measure takes effect immediately.

Governor Rauner’s signature on Senate Bill 2298 comes roughly three months after it passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 106 to 3;  a month prior it was given unanimous approval by the Senate, 50 to 0.

Titled the Industrial Hemp Act and filed by Senator Toi Hutchinson, the legislation amends state law so that the legal definition of  cannabis doesn’t include industrial hemp. It “Provides that a person desiring to grow, cultivate, or process industrial hemp or industrial hemp products must be licensed by the Department of Agriculture.”

“Legalizing the farming of industrial hemp just makes good sense,” said Governor Rauner in a statement. “Roughly 38 states — including our neighbors in Wisconsin, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri and Tennessee — have allowed or are considering allowing cultivation of this crop for commercial, research or pilot programs. Our farmers should have this option as well.”

The full text of Senate Bill 2298 can be found by clicking here.

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Ohio Initiative to Defelonize Drug Possession Placed on November Ballot

An initiative to reduce penalties for non-violent drug crimes while allowing many current inmates to seek shorter sentences will be voted on this November in Ohio.

Issue 1 would reduce the penalty for purchasing, possessing or using a variety of illegal substances, including cocaine, heroin and LSD, from a felony to a misdemeanor offenses. In addition, jail time couldn’t be imposed until an individual’s third offense.

The constitutional amendment also allows reductions of up to 25% on the sentences of current inmates who participate in rehabilitation, work or educational programming. Only murderers, rapists and child molesters are ineligible.

Supporters of the initiative say that cost savings would leave more money for drug treatment and crime victim compensation, and say that a felony charge is too harsh for someone possession an illegal substance for personal use.

Laws surrounding the distribution of drugs would remain unaltered.

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FDA Approves Magic Mushrooms for Clinical Trial on Depression

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given approval to a clinical trial on psilocybin, the psychedelic ingredient found in magic mushrooms.

COMPASS Pathways, a life sciences company dedicated to accelerating patient access to evidence-based innovation in mental health, has received approval from the FDA for a clinical trial in psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression. Regulatory approvals for the trial have already been given in the UK, the Netherlands and Canada.

The trial is a phase IIb dose-ranging study with 216 patients taking part in 12 to 15 research sites across Europe and North America. It will begin in the UK later this month and sites in other countries will join the trial as further regulatory approvals are received.

Psilocybin therapy combines a dose of psilocybin (a psychoactive medicine and the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms”) with psychological support, and has shown promising signals of efficacy and safety as treatment for depression in academic studies in the UK and US. If the trial is successful, it will be followed by phase III studies.

George Goldsmith, Chairman and Co-founder of COMPASS Pathways, said, “We are excited to be starting this landmark trial which has the potential to transform lives. Depression is the leading cause of ill-health and disability worldwide, and treatment-resistant depression affects more than 100 million people. It is a huge unmet need and the trial will teach us more about how this new approach might address it.”

Ekaterina Malievskaia, Chief Medical Officer and Co-founder of COMPASS, said: “The design of this study has been a truly collaborative effort, with scientists, clinicians, patient representatives and regulators from Europe and North Americaworking together with the goal of helping patients suffering with treatment-resistant depression.”

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Alaska: Marijuana Control Board issues proposed on-site consumption rules

Board seeks public input, with written comments due by November 1

The Marijuana Control Board, which oversees the state’s regulatory system for cannabis, has released proposed rules governing on-site consumption of cannabis at approved locations. Members of the public are invited to review and provide written comments on the proposed rules by 4:30 p.m. on November 1.

A link to the state’s page announcing the proposed rules is available here, and a copy of the rules themselves is here.

Under the proposal, a retailer in a freestanding location could obtain an endorsement to sell adults 21 or over up to a gram of cannabis, which could be consumed at the premises. Products containing up to 10mg THC could also be available, although concentrates would be prohibited. Retailers could provide non-alcoholic drinks and non-cannabis foods. Significant security and access provisions apply, but these seem reasonable.

The proposal would close a significant gap. Currently, adult consumers have nowhere to consume cannabis except in private residences, presenting significant problems for tourists visiting Alaska, who often don’t have access.

Written public comments are due no later than November 1. The board will also hold a public hearing, currently scheduled for December 19 in Anchorage. Those who want to provide comments in person are invited to present them at that time.

If you are an Alaska resident, please consider adding your voice in support of sensible rules for consumers, and help spread the word and forward this message to others in your network!

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California Legislature Approves Marijuana Expungement Bill

Legislation that would allow for the expungement (removal from criminal record) of over 200,000 past marijuana-related convictions has been given approval by California’s full legislature.

The full California Legislature has passed Assembly Bill 1793, which was filed by Assemblymember Rob Bontag. The measure now goes to Governor Jerry Brown, who has the option of signing it into law, allowing it to become law without his signature, or veto it.

The legislation requires the California Department of Justice (DOJ) to compile a list of individuals that would either be eligible for a complete expungement  of their marijuana-related convictions, or for a reduction in sentencing. This would  apply to any marijuana charge that has since been legalized under Proposition 64; this includes possessing up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use.

According to the Winter Express, the state’s DOJ says there could be as many as 220,000 cases that are eligible for either a reduction or complete erasure of a conviction. The measure, if signed by the governor, would require the DOJ to compile the list by July of next year; prosecutors would then have an additional year to decide which cases they’d like to challenge because the case at issue either doesn’t meet eligibility requirements or centers on an individual who poses “an unreasonable risk to public safety.”

The public defender’s office in each county will also be notified of eligible cases, and the measure requires public defenders to notify individuals of their eligibility status.

The full text of Assembly Bill 1793 can be found by clicking here.

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Cannabis May Help Attenuate Brain Injury Following Intracerebral Hemorrhage, According to New Study

Cannabis may attenuate brain injury following intracerebral hemorrhage, according to a new study being published by the International Journal of Molecular Medicine, and epublished ahead of print by the National Institute of Health.

According to the Mayo Clinic, an intracerebral hemorrhage is “an emergency condition in which a ruptured blood vessel causes bleeding inside the brain.” Researchers from this new study state that “Blood‑brain barrier (BBB) disruption and consequent edema formation are the most common brain injuries following intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH).” Endocannabinoid receptors “can alter the permeability of various epithelial barriers and have potential neuroprotective effects. “

With that in mind, the present study “aimed to explore whether the selective cannabinoid receptor 2 (CNR2) agonist, JWH133 [meant to mimic the effects of cannabis-based cannabinoids], can ameliorate BBB integrity and behavioral outcome by activating Ras‑related C3 botulinum toxin substrate 1 (Rac1) following ICH.”

The results “demonstrated that JWH133 treatment improved neurofunctional deficits, reduced perihematomal brain edema and alleviated BBB damage at 24 and 72 h following ICH.” In addition, “JWH133 treatment increased the protein expression levels of guanosine‑5’‑triphosphate‑Rac1 and of the adherens junction proteins occludin, zonula occludens‑1 and claudin‑5.”

In conclusion, “the present findings revealed that JWH133 treatment attenuated brain injury in a rat model of ICH via activation of the Rac1 signaling pathway, thus preserving BBB integrity.”

The results of the study are similar to the findings of a study published earlier this year in the journal Brain Research. which found that cannabinoids may alleviate neuroinflammation and protect the blood-brain barrier following an intracerebral hemorrhage.

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Study: CBD Improves Frequency and Severity of Seizures and Reduces Adverse Events

The use of cannabidiol (CBD) “improves frequency and severity of seizures and reduces adverse events in an open-label add-on prospective study” published by the journal Epilepsy and Behavior.

The objective of this study “was to characterize the changes in adverse events, seizure severity, and frequency in response to a pharmaceutical formulation of highly purified cannabidiol (CBD; Epidiolex®) in a large, prospective, single-center, open-label study.”

Researchers initiated CBD in 72 children and 60 adults with treatment-resistant epilepsy (TRE) at 5 mg/kg/day and titrated it up to a maximum dosage of 50 mg/kg/day. At each visit, researchers “monitored treatment adverse events with the adverse events profile (AEP), seizure severity using the Chalfont Seizure Severity Scale (CSSS), and seizure frequency (SF) using seizure calendars.” They “analyzed data for the enrollment and visits at 12, 24, and 48 weeks”, and “recorded AEP, CSSS, and SF at each follow-up visit for the weeks preceding the visit (seizures were averaged over 2-week periods).”

Of the 139 study participants in this ongoing study, at the time of analysis, 132 had 12-week, 88 had 24-week, and 61 had 48-week data. Study retention was 77% at one year. There were no significant differences between participants who contributed all 4 data points and those who contributed 2 or 3 data points in baseline demographic and AEP/SF/CSSS measures.

“For all participants, AEP decreased between CBD initiation and the 12-week visit (40.8 vs. 33.2; p < 0.0001) with stable AEP scores thereafter (all p ≥ 0.14)”, states the study. “Chalfont Seizure Severity Scale scores were 80.7 at baseline, decreasing to 39.2 at 12 weeks (p < 0.0001) and stable CSSS thereafter (all p ≥ 0.19).” Bi-weekly SF decreased from a mean of 144.4 at entry to 52.2 at 12 weeks (p = 0.01) and remained stable thereafter (all p ≥ 0.65).”

Analyses of the pediatric and adult subgroups revealed similar patterns. Most patients were treated with dosages of CBD between 20 and …

Oklahoma medical cannabis applications can be submitted starting on Saturday

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) will begin accepting medical cannabis applications from patients and prospective businesses on Saturday at 10:00 a.m.! This will make it one of the quickest states to implement a medical marijuana law.

Application materials and FAQs are already available on the OMMA’s site, including for:

Adult patients and caregivers
Minor patients and their caregivers
• Visiting patients registered in other states (temporary applications); and
Businesses

OMMA has also opened a call center, which is open Monday through Friday, 8.30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The number is 405-522-6662.

In other news, as you may have seen, the Board of Health and Gov. Mary Fallin signed off on revised final regulations. The revised regs fix the major problems — including by nixing a THC cap and the ban on sales of flower and edible marijuana.

Meanwhile, a legislative working group is continuing to meet on the issue, and the Food Safety Standards Board has issued recommendations.

Unfortunately, some governmental bodies are moving to restrict patients’ rights: Oklahoma State and the University of Oklahoma are prohibiting medical cannabis on their campuses. And the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation updated the state’s Self-Defense Act license application to warn individuals who use medical marijuana that they should answer “yes” when asked if they unlawfully use a controlled substance, which may prevent them from being licensed.

Please spread the word, so that Oklahoma patients can get the protections and safe access they deserve!

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California key cannabis bills advance; public comment period continues on proposed rules

Two compassionate cannabis-related bills are advancing, and, if you’re a California resident, now is a good time to voice your support. Here’s a rundown:

AB 1793 would make expungement automatic for cannabis-related convictions that today are no longer considered crimes. It passed the Assembly in May, the Senate earlier today, and it’s now headed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk! If you live in California, let Gov. Brown know it’s time to repair the harm caused by outdated marijuana-war policy. Californians shouldn’t be branded with a scarlet letter for conduct that is now legal.

Meanwhile, SB 829 would waive cultivation fees for donations medical cannabis businesses make to low- or no-income patients. This bill passed the Senate on May 17 followed by three Assembly committees after that. Now it faces an Assembly floor vote. If you’re a Californian and you haven’t already, use this link to send a message to your Assemblymember in support.

Finally, it’s not too late to comment on proposed agency rules for cannabis businesses. For the proposed text, summaries, and contact info for submitting comments, visit the state’s website. Comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, August 27.

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Illinois students get relief, but opioid patients still waiting on governor

Students in Illinois who require access to medical cannabis during school hours were granted relief earlier in August, when Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Ashley’s Law into law. This marked a major step forward for patients, including the new law’s namesake, Ashley Surin, who sought access to help manage her seizure condition. Another bill, which would allow those prescribed opioids to qualify for the state program, is still awaiting the governor’s signature.

The governor only has until August 28 to sign, amend, or reject the bill.

The Opioid Alternative Pilot Program Act, which passed on May 31, not only allows those who could be prescribed opioid drugs to qualify for the medical cannabis program, it also dramatically improves current law by streamlining wait times and removing fingerprint requirements for patients. For a summary written by bill supporters — including key changes to background checks and shortened approval process — click here. The final bill draft language is here.

Gov. Rauner needs to hear from those who support this important change. If you are an Illinois resident, please click here to send an email message to his office.

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Frenemies Randy Credico and Roger Stone Heat Up Russian Investigation

The latest person to be subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign is New York public-radio host Randy Credico. People in the New York cannabis movement have known Credico over the years. He was regular at the Cures Not Wars office at 9 Bleecker St. and has run for New York State office three times. A standup comedian as well, Credico got his start in activism with the William Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice.

GOP dirty trickster Roger Stone, 65, claims Credico, 63, was the go-between with Julian Assange and Russian government hackers in releasing emails stolen by Wikileaks from Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Credico scoffs at the idea he was the connection in a scandal that may have brought Donald Trump to power.

Randy Credico (right in photo) tweeted in May 2017 about his “Kremlin connection,” Roger Stone.

Both Stone and Assange have appeared on Credico’s radio show on WBAI-FM in New York. Credico went to London to interview Assange in 2017. It’s generally believed Credico met Assange through his long association with the civil rights activist group, the Center for Constitutional Rights.

On July 13, Mueller’s grand jury indicted a mysterious Romanian hacker named Guccifer 2.0, who may have provided the emails to Wikileaks, as well as 12 Russian intelligence officers who’ve been charged with hacking Clinton’s campaign and the DNC during the US election. The indictment cryptically refers to “a person who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign.” Several officials have claimed the senior member is Stone, which he denies vehemently.

Study: Cannabis May Help Reduce Aggressive Behavior in Autism Patients

Cannabis may help reduce the aggressive behavior experienced by some autism patients, according to a study published by the journal Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience.

“Understanding neuronal mechanisms underlying aggression in patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) could lead to better treatments and prognosis”, begins the study’s abstract. “The Neuroligin-3 (NL3)R451C mouse model of ASD has a heightened aggressive phenotype, however the biological mechanisms underlying this behavior are unknown.”

Given that “[e]ndocannabinoids influence social interaction and aggressive behavior”, researchers “studied the effects of cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) agonist on NL3R451C mice.”

Following “non-sedating doses (0.3 and 1.0 mg/kg) of the CB1 receptor agonist WIN55,212-2 (WIN)”, which is meant to mimic the effects of natural, cannabis-based cannabinoids, researchers “observed a significant reduction in aggressive behavior in NL3R451C mice.”

These findings “demonstrate altered synaptic activity in the basolateral amygdala and suggest that the NL3R451C mouse model is a useful preclinical tool to understand the role of CB1 receptor function in aggressive behavior.”

More information on this study, conducted by researchers at RMIT University, Monash University, the University of Auckland and the University of Melbourne (all in Australia), can be found by clicking here.

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Marijuana Use Doesn’t Lead to Deficits Associated With Schizophrenia, Finds Study

Contrary to arguments oft-used by opponents of marijuana and marijuana law reform, “cannabis use does not significantly compound the gray matter deficits associated with schizophrenia”.

This is according to a study published by the journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, and conducted by researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee.

The study’s abstract starts by stating that; “Substance use may confound the study of brain structure in schizophrenia. We used voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to examine whether differences in regional gray matter volumes exist between schizophrenia patients with and without clinically significant cannabis and/or alcohol use histories compared to 88 healthy control subjects.”

Relative to controls, “patients with schizophrenia had reduced gray matter volume in the bilateral precentral gyrus, right medial frontal cortex, right visual cortex, right occipital pole, right thalamus, bilateral amygdala, and bilateral cerebellum regardless of substance use history.” Within these regions, researchers “found no volume differences between patients with schizophrenia and a history of cannabis and/or alcohol compared to patients with schizophrenia without a clinically significant substance use history.”

Researchers conclude; “Our data support the idea that a clinically meaningful history of alcohol or cannabis use does not significantly compound the gray matter deficits associated with schizophrenia.

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Study: Cannabis May Help Control Hospital and Community-Acquired MRSA

The “leaf extracts of cannabis sativa” has “potential for the control of both hospital- and community-acquired MRSA”, according  to a new study being published by the Journal of Integrative Medicine, and epublished ahead of print by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

“This study examined the antimicrobial activity of Cannabis sativa, Thuja orientalis and Psidium guajava against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)”, states the study’s abstract.

For the study, “In vitro antimicrobial activities of the ethanolic extracts of C. sativa, T. orientalis and P. guajava were tested against MRSA”, and the “presence of bioactive molecules in these three leaves was evaluated using biochemical assays and high-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC).”

Researchers state that “A profound synergism was observed when C. sativa was used in combination with T. orientalis (1:1) and when P. guajava was used in combination with T. orientalis (1:1)”. This synergism “was probably due to the combined inhibitory effect of phenolics present in the leaf extracts (i.e., quercetin and gallic acid) and catechin, as detected by HPTLC.”

The study concludes by stating that “The leaf extracts of C. sativa, T. orientalis and P. guajava had potential for the control of both hospital- and community-acquired MRSA. Moreover, the inhibitory effect was enhanced when extracts were used in combination.”

More information on this study can be found by clicking here.

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