Voters using the Democratic ballot for yesterday’s South Carolina’s primary voted in support of medical marijuana by a whopping vote of 82-18%. This is an incredibly strong showing, and clearly voters are ready for this change. No doubt lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are taking notice.
Several candidates who support medical marijuana also did well. Congressional GOP candidate Katie Arrington, who supported this year’s medical cannabis bill as a House member, won her party’s primary with 51% of the vote, defeating incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford. Meanwhile, Democrat James Smith, a strong advocate for patients while serving in the House, won the primary contest for Democratic gubernatorial candidate with 62% of the vote.
In the state House races, supportive Republican lawmaker Rep. Jonathan Hill prevailed over his challenger. And challenger and supporter William Bailey won his contest against incumbent Rep. Greg Duckworth. On the Democrat side of the aisle, incumbent Reps. Leon Howard, Jerry Govan, Jr., and Cezar McKnight each prevailed against challengers.
Medical cannabis did well yesterday, as did many candidates who are supportive of change. For comprehensive election results, click here.
In the past 24 hours, there have been two significant advances toward modernizing Delaware’s marijuana laws. Yesterday, Rep. Helene Keeley put forth amendments to her marijuana legalization and regulation bill, HB 110, which address concerns and reduce the number of votes needed for passage. Then, this morning, the Senate unanimously approved a limited but important marijuana expungement bill!
Let them know it’s past time to end Delaware’s failed experiment with marijuana prohibition. Our software makes the process quick and easy. Just type in your contact info and your lawmakers’ names and phone numbers will appear — one at a time — along with some suggested talking points.
With the legislative session ending on June 30, there’s no time to waste. So, make a couple of calls to help make history! Then, spread the word on social media or by email, to ask other thoughtful Delawareans to speak out for sensible marijuana policies.
A detailed, peer-reviewed study published this week by the National Institute of Health found “no association between cannabis use and suicidal behavior in men or women with psychiatric disorders”.
The purpose of the study, which was also published by the journal Biology of Sex Differences, was to ” investigate the association between cannabis use and suicide attempts in men and women with psychiatric disorders.” To do so researchers “employed a multivariable logistic regression to assess the association between cannabis use and suicide attempts in men and women with psychiatric disorders.”
Researchers analyzed data from 465 men and 444 women. Amongst these, 112 men and 158 women had attempted suicide. The average age of our participants was 40 years.
“We found no significant association between suicide attempts and cannabis use in men or women”, states the study. “Our findings indicate that there is no association between cannabis use and suicidal behavior in men or women with psychiatric disorders”.
The study concludes by noting that “The impact of cannabis use in psychiatric disorders needs ongoing examination in light of its common use, impending legalization with expected increased access and the uncertainty about cannabis‘ effects on prognosis of psychiatric disorders. In addition, research should continue to investigate modifiable risk factors of SB in this population of which cannabis is not a significant factor based on this study.”
Oregon made nearly $9 million in taxes from legal marijuana sales in April.
According to Oregon’s Department of Revenue, the state garnered $8,868,932 in marijuana sales taxes in April of this year. This marks an over 70% increase from April, 2017, when the state brought in a little over $5 million in marijuana taxes.
Of the $8.8 million in taxes garnered in April, the vast majority – $7.6 million – came from Oregon’s 17% state tax on marijuana. The remaining $1.2 million came from local taxes, which can be up to 3%.
Based in the new figures for April, Oregon is on tract to garner around $100 million in marijuana taxes for 2018, which would be a large increase from the $68.6 million the state made in 2017.
In Oregon the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana is legal for those 21 and older, who can buy the plant and products made from it at licensed marijuana retail outlets.
In a historic vote, a committee of the U.S. Senate has passed legislation that would legalize industrial hemp across the nation.
The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry voted 20 to 1 earlier today to pass the 2018 Farm Bill, which includes a provision that would explicitly legalize industrial hemp across the United States. The provision was included by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R).
“I think it’s time we took this step,” McConnell said before the committee’s vote. “I think everybody has now figured it out that this is not the other plant”. McConnell noted that “It’s a landmark piece of legislation that will benefit farmers and communities throughout our country.”
It’s unclear if the full Senate will pass the Farm Bill with the hemp legalization provision included, but there’s a better chance than ever now that it has bipartisan support including being supported by both the Senate majority and Senate minority leaders.
Since 2012, nine states and the District of Columbia have reformed their cannabis laws to allow adults to possess a personal amount of marijuana. In most of those places, adults can also cultivate a personal crop and purchase pot products in a manner similar to alcohol. Voter initiatives in eight states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Oregon and Washington) brought about these long-sought nation-changing political reforms, and Vermont’s legislature legalized cannabis possession earlier this year. In November, voters can make Michigan the 10th state with legal marijuana. Here’s an overview of what’s happening in the states that now allow recreational use by adults.
High prices (as much as $500 an ounce for flower) and a low tax rate have prevented consumers and the state from fully benefitting from commercial sales.
Ballot initiative: 2014
Possession maximum: one ounce in public and up to four ounces in a residence
Home-growing: six plants, three of which can be flowering (up to 25 in a residence)
Purchase maximum: one ounce
Taxes: $50 wholesale per oz. on flower and $15 per oz. on leaf and clones
Public use: not allowed
Home delivery: not allowed
By allowing public use and home delivery (and already possessing a massive variety and inventory of high-quality cannabis products), California is currently the most cannabis consumer-friendly state in the country and perhaps the world. Commercial sales began in January.
Ballot initiative: 2016
Possession maximum: up to one ounce of flower, eight grams of concentrate and all cannabis produced by personal cultivation
Home-growing: six plants, three of which can be flowering
Purchase maximum: one ounce and eight grams of concentrate in edibles
Taxes: 15% excise, $9.25 wholesale per oz. on flower and $2.75 per oz. on leaf, and 7.25% sales tax
Public use: allowed (subject to local approval)
Home delivery: allowed
Equity program for minorities: only in Oakland
With a windfall of tax revenue since sales began …
In case you missed it, last week Sens. Cory Gardner and Elizabeth Warren introduced bipartisan legislation to end the federal war on marijuana and protect states that establish their own marijuana laws. There’s huge momentum behind this important bill.
Legislation to provide mandatory expungement eligibility to those convicted of certain marijuana offenses has been passed by Delaware’s full Senate.
Senate Bill 197 was passed yesterday by Delaware’s Senate in a unanimous 20 to 0 vote, with one member abstaining. According to the measure’s synopsis, “This Act provides mandatory expungement eligibility to individuals who were convicted of the possession, use or consumption of marijuana prior to Delaware’s decriminalization of these offenses.” To be eligible for the mandatory expungement, “the marijuana conviction must be the applicant’s only criminal conviction.”
The legislation was introduced by Senate Minority Whip Greg Lavelle (R), and House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst (D). It will now go to the House of Represenatives, where passage would send it to John Carney for consideration.
According to date collected by the Delaware Criminal Justice Information System, Senate Bill 197 would effect around 1,200 individuals charges with possession of up to an ounce of marijuana prior to 2015 when it was decriminalized.
According to new data released by the Colorado Department of Revenue, there was over $124 million in marijuana and marijuana products sold in April.
The $124.31 million in legal marijuana sold in April is a slight increase over the total for April, 2017, which was $124.27 million. April’s totals are down from March, which was a record-setting month with $135,183,956 in marijuana and marijuana products sold. Of the $124 million sold in April, less than $30 million came from medical cannabis sales, with the remainder coming from the sale of recreational marijuana.
The new data brings the state’s total marijuana sales for 2018 to around $490 million. This puts Colorado on track to sell around $1.5 billion in legal marijuana for 2018, which would be on par with the $1.5 billion sold in 2017 (there was $1.3 billion sold the year prior).
In Colorado, licensed marijuana retail outlets are authorized to sell up to an ounce of marijuana to anyone 21 and older. These outlets are also allowed to sell marijuana products such as edibles and topicals, as well as marijuana plants and seeds. The first outlet opened in 2014.
In March, an unsuccessful applicant sued the state, claiming that the Medical Marijuana Commission’s scoring process was flawed and that two of the commission’s members had conflicts of interest. The judge sided with the unsuccessful applicant, and the state’s rollout of the medical marijuana program was put on pause.
No matter who wins this case, it’s Arkansas patients who are losing out. We hope that these legal matters will be concluded in a timely matter so that patients may have access to the medicine they need.
Cannabinoids may alleviate neuroinflammation and protect the blood-brain barrier following an intracerebral hemorrhage, according to a new study published by the journal Brain Research.
“The blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption and the following development of brain edema, is the most life-threatening secondary injury after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH)”, states the study’s abstract. “This study is to investigate a potential role and mechanism of JWH133, a selected cannabinoid receptor type2 (CB2R) agonist [meant to mimic the effects of natural cannabinoids], on protecting blood-brain barrier integrity after ICH.”
According to StrokeCenter.org, intracerebral hemorrhage “occurs when a diseased blood vessel within the brain bursts, allowing blood to leak inside the brain.”
For the study, 192 adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into multiple groups who received either varying levels of the CB2 agonist, or none. They found that the agonist “ameliorated brain edema, neurological deficits and blood-brain barrier damage, as well as microglia activation”, in addition to other positive changes.
The study concludes by stating that “CB2R agonist alleviated neuroinflammation and protected blood-brain barrier permeability in a rat ICH model.”
The legalization of hemp has officially been included in the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill, which is expected to be voted on soon by the Senate.
“Securing the Hemp Farming Act as part of the 2018 Farm Bill has been a top priority of mine,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a recent press release. The Hemp Farming Act would explicitly legalize hemp across the U.S. by removing it as a controlled substance.
“As a result of the hemp pilot program, which I secured in the 2014 Farm Bill, Kentucky’s farmers, processors, and manufacturers have begun to show the potential for this versatile crop”, says McConnell. “Today’s announcement will build upon that progress to help the Commonwealth enhance its standing at the forefront of hemp’s return to American agriculture. I look forward to continuing to work with my Senate colleagues and my partners in Kentucky – including Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles — to grow hemp’s bright future.”
The inclusion of hemp legalization in the 2018 Farm Bill comes just days after the Senate unanimously passed a resolution recognizing the “growing economic potential of industrial hemp”, as well as acknowledging its “historical relevance”.
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu (R) has signed into law legislation that expands the number of medical cannabis dispensaries allowed to operate in the state.
In New Hampshire, the state’s first medical cannabis dispensary opened in April, 2016, with three others opening shortly after. Despite the state having a population of over 1.3 million, New Hampshire’s strict medical cannabis law doesn’t allow for more than these four dispensaries. Senate Bill 388, signed by Governor Sununu last week, allows for up to four additional dispensaries (which is still far from ideal, but a step in the right direction nevertheless).
According to the official text of the measure; “If the department determines that having additional locations for the dispensing of therapeutic cannabis is necessary to adequately and effectively meet the needs of qualifying patients and designated caregivers, the department may authorize the alternative treatment center allowed to operate in the geographic area that includes Carroll, Coos, and Grafton counties, not including the town of Hanover and the city of Lebanon in Grafton county, to establish a second dispensary location within that same geographic area.”
In addition, “the department may authorize the alternative treatment center allowed to operate in the geographic area that includes Cheshire and Sullivan counties and the town of Hanover and the city of Lebanon in Grafton county to establish a second dispensary location within that same geographic area. A second dispensary location shall only be established in a geographic location approved by the department, shall be limited solely to the dispensing of cannabis and educational efforts, and shall not be used for cultivation or other activities relative to the production of cannabis.”
The new law takes effect 60 days after being signed (which happened on June 4).
Canada moved another step closer to ending its prohibition of marijuana on Thursday when the Senate approved legislation to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use. Bill C-45 will now head back to the House of Commons, which has already approved a previous version.
Once approved in the House, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is expected to move quickly to implement the legislation, with legal adult sales beginning as soon as August. Canada will be just the second country — and the first G7 nation — to legalize marijuana for adults at the national level. The first was Uruguay, where legislation was signed into law in December 2013 and a limited number of pharmacies began selling marijuana to adults in July 2017.
“Canada is demonstrating extraordinary leadership on marijuana policy,” said Mason Tvert, spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project. “It is setting an example not only for the U.S., where reform is already progressing at the federal level, but for countries around the world where there has been little to no debate on the subject.”
The Canadian legislation creates an overarching national regulatory framework and enables each province to establish its own system of licensing and regulating marijuana businesses. Adults will be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana, and all products will be sold in plain packaging with clearly marked labels. Home cultivation is allowed at the federal level, but it can be banned at the provincial level.
“This legislation will allow adults in Canada to start purchasing marijuana safely and legally from licensed businesses rather than tracking it down through illegal and potentially dangerous channels,” Tvert said. “Products will be tested, packaged, and labeled to ensure they are not contaminated and that consumers know what they’re getting. This newly regulated market will also create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in tax revenue.”
Nine U.S. states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws making …
Earlier today, Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced bipartisan legislation to end the federal government’s war on marijuana and protect states’ rights to enact their own marijuana policies.
The STATES Act is the most significant piece of marijuana-related legislation ever introduced in Congress. With its bipartisan backing in the Senate, it symbolically signals the eventual end of marijuana prohibition at the federal level.
This legislation reflects the position the president took on marijuana policy during his campaign, and it comes shortly on the heels of the positive comments he made to Sen. Gardner. The president has a unique opportunity to get behind historic legislation that enjoys solid support on both sides of the political spectrum. Read more about the bill.
New York’s Assembly has passed legislation that would allow for hundreds of thousands of people to have their marijuana conviction sealed from their record.
Assembly Bill 2142would seal the conviction of those arrested for the simple possession of marijuana in public view. This would make such charges not appear on criminal background checks. This would effect over 800,000 people charged over the past 20 years.
A companion measure in the Senate (SB 03809) recently passed the Codes Committee and is currently in the Judiciary Committee. If the Senate approves the companion measure, it will be sent to the Assembly. If the Senate passes the Assembly-approved measure, it will be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo for consideration. Cuomo would then have the option of signing it into law, allowing it to become law without a signature, or veto it.
A bill to legalize marijuana, proposed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has been passed by the Senate through its third and final reading.
The legislation – C-45 – has already been passed by the House of Commons, and will now be sent to the Governor General for Royal Assent (final approval).
Once the law takes effect, the possession and cultivation of personal amounts of marijuana will be legal for those 18 and older. The law authorizes licensed marijuana businesses to sell marijuana and marijuana products, and also allows online sales (which will be handled similarly to how the country currently allows online medical marijuana sales).
Passage of the law makes Canada the second country, following Uruguay (2013), to officially legalize marijuana. Uruguay also has their age limit set at 18.
A C.D. Howe Institute report released last year found that legal marijuana will bring Canada around $675 million in annual tax revenue.
Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
A states’ rights bill that would allow each state to determine its own marijuana policy without interference from the federal government was introduced June 7 in the Congress. The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act has been sponsored by two Senators, Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and two Representatives, Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and David Joyce (R-Ohio). It also protects Washington, D.C.; U.S. territories; and federally-recognized tribes.
What the Bill Does
• Amends the Controlled Substances Act CSA) so that—as long as states and tribes comply with a few basic protections—its provisions no longer apply to any person acting in compliance with state or tribal laws relating to the manufacture, production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration or delivery of marijuana.
• Amends the definition of “marihuana” under the CSA to exclude industrial hemp.
• It does not alter CSA Section 417 (prohibition on endangering human life while manufacturing a controlled substance) and maintains the prohibition on employing persons under age 18 in marijuana operations, two federal requirements with which states, territories and tribes must continue to comply.
After lawmakers opted not to take legislative action, the initiative to regulate marijuana officially moved to the November ballot. Michigan is poised to become the 10th state to legalize marijuana for adult use.
According to recent polls, six out of 10 voters in Michigan support the proposal to end marijuana prohibition. But these campaigns are never easy, and opponents are expected to put up a tough fight.
Michigan represents an opportunity to continue the national momentum we have built in recent years. Another huge victory in 2018 will position us to make even bigger gains in 2019 and 2020. Also, Michigan would become the second most populous state in the country with legal marijuana and the first outside the Northeast and the West.
There’s a lot at stake in Michigan, because keeping up the pressure at the state level is the key to ending federal prohibition. We can’t allow prohibitionists and fear tactics to slow us down.
South Carolina’s Primary Election Day is next Tuesday, June 12, and voters’ choices could have a huge impact on the future of cannabis policy in the state. Lawmakers will again consider legislation next year that would establish a compassionate medical cannabis program. South Carolinians should take a close look at whether candidates will stand up for patients.
We’ve done some of the work for you. We sent out a short questionnaire for candidates running for seats in the South Carolina House of Representatives and the governor’s office, and we’ve posted their responses here. Our voter guide also includes public comments from the gubernatorial candidates. For incumbent representatives, it also includes committee votes on medical cannabis (where applicable) and if they co-sponsored the bill.
The deadline to register to vote in the primary passed on May 13. For those who are registered, you can find more about Primary Day here, including where you can cast your ballot and when voting locations will be open.
If you are a resident of South Carolina, please forward this message to your networks so your family and friends can also make informed decisions, and be sure to vote! Let’s spread the word that South Carolina can join the dozens of states that have already adopted sensible, comprehensive, and compassionate medical cannabis programs.
The findings of a new study published in the journal Molecular Neurobiology “support a promising therapeutic profile for CBD as a new fast-acting antidepressant drug.”
“Currently available antidepressants have a substantial time lag to induce therapeutic response and a relatively low efficacy”, states the study’s researchers, noting that “The development of drugs that addresses these limitations is critical to improving public health.”
Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychotomimetic component of Cannabis sativa, “is a promising compound since it shows large-spectrum therapeutic potential in preclinical models and humans.” However, “its antidepressant properties have not been completely investigated.” Therefore, the aims of this study “were to investigate in male rodents (i) whether CBD could induce rapid and sustained antidepressant-like effects after a single administration and (ii) whether such effects could be related to changes in synaptic proteins/function.”
Results showed that “a single dose of CBD dose-dependently induced antidepressant-like effect” in Swiss mice, 30 min (acute) or 7 days (sustained) following treatment. Similar effects were observed using different rat tests.
“These results indicate that CBD induces fast and sustained antidepressant-like effect in distinct animal models relevant for depression”, researchers claim. They conclude by stating that “The data support a promising therapeutic profile for CBD as a new fast-acting antidepressant drug.”
For the full study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of São Paulo in Brazil and Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, click here.
An initiative to legalize marijuana in Michigan has been officially placed on this November’s general election ballot.
After proponents of the initiative submitted well more than the required number of signatures, the legislature was given the option of passing it into law, or placing it on the November ballot. Lawmakers today officially chose the latter option, cementing the opportunity for voters to make their state the 10th to legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
If passed into law, the initiative would legalize the possession and personal cultivation of marijuana for those 21 and older, while establishing a system of licensed marijuana retail outlets. The possession limit would be set at 2.5 ounces, or 10 ounces at a private residence; the cultivation limit would be 12 plants.
The initiative would tax marijuana at 10% (excise tax) and 6% (sales tax). Tax revenue would go towards funding schools, local governments and road repairs.
The U.S. Senate has given approval to a resolution acknowledging the “growing economic potential of industrial hemp”.
The resolution was passed in commemoration of Hemp History Week, which is the largest national grassroots effort to restore strong support for industrial hemp farming in the United States.
“Despite the legitimate uses of hemp, many agricultural producers of the United States are prohibited under current law from growing hemp,” states the resolution. “Because most hemp cannot be grown legally in the United States, raw hemp material and hemp products are imported for sale in the United States.” The resolution makes notes of the “historical relevance” of hemp, as well as its “growing economic potential”.
The resolution’s passage comes just a couple months after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) introduced the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. The bipartisan supported measure would remove hemp from the federal list of controlled substances, effectively legalizing it across the country.
This is the third straight year that the U.S. Senate has passed a resolution acknowledging the potential of industrial hemp.
While we are disappointed that the General Assembly did not allow Marylanders to vote on cannabis legalization this fall, Marylanders will be able to vote on them — all members of the legislature are up for election this year. We want to make sure that voters are informed about the candidates’ views on cannabis policy, so we published this voter guide.
If your candidate of choice hasn’t responded to our survey, please ask them to do so! Their contact information will be listed in the guide, and late responses will also be published. Remember, you can only vote in the primary of the party you belong to (you can check your registration here). If you are a Democrat, please check out the Marijuana Policy Project’s Voter Guide for the Gubernatorial Primary as well.