The lesser known benefits of cannabis

By Stephen M.

Marijuana StudiesMarijuana consumption – a controversial topic that divides people into two categories, those that are pro and those that are against it. Although it still remains illegal in many countries and states around the globe, cannabis has been proven repeatedly to bring amazing benefits, health wise. If the topic is rather unfamiliar to you, learning a few insights might help you decide if smoking, vaping or utilizing cannabis in other ways is something that you should consider doing. Here are the benefits of cannabis that you might not be aware of:

Relives stress – combats anxiety and depression

Anxiety and depression mainly triggered by a high level of stress have become aggravating problems for people nowadays. If you are confronted with issues of this kind yourself, it can be difficult to find solutions that can actually provide you with effective and noticeable results. Well, cannabin’s hybrids, such as Gorilla Glue 4 cannabis strain can actually help you effectively fight against depression and anxiety, showing results even after the first usage. Because it gives you the chance to truly unwind and obtain a deeper relaxation, you can reduce your stress level considerably. The recreational use of marijuana might appeal to you, but being able to combat issues such as anxiety and depression, which are lowering your quality of lie, are certainly prospects that will make you think more about this possibility.

Fighting insomnia

Dealing with insomnia or unrestful sleep can affect your work performance and other sectors of your life. Finding the root of the problem is often difficult, and instead of resorting to certain medications that come with a long list of potential side effects, choosing the cannabis alternative is far safer. If you discuss with marijuana consumers, they will be able to tell you how much this weed has managed to help them in this department. Sleeping peacefully will no longer be a problem for you.…

Federal Spending Deal Keeps Medical Marijuana Protections in Place… For Another Few Weeks

After a government shutdown lasting only a few hours, Congress passed yet another temporary spending bill on Friday that will keep medical marijuana patients and providers safe for a little while longer. The bill includes the amendments that has been part of the spending budget since 2014, which prevents the Department of Justice from spending resources to prosecute people or businesses that are in compliance with state laws. This deal is set to expire on March 23.

Congress will need to pass another spending bill before then in order to continue keeping state medical marijuana programs safe. In the event of a government shutdown, there will be nothing to stop federal prosecutors from targeting medical marijuana programs around the country.

However, supportive lawmakers are using the temporary reprieves to push for even more comprehensive protections, including amendments that would extend protections to businesses in the adult-use market.

Please contact your lawmakers and ask them to support state marijuana protections in the final spending bill.

 

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Travel Guru Rick Steves Talks Up Legal Pot on Capitol Hill

When Rick Steves isn’t touring Europe or writing and producing travel guides, he’s trying to legalize marijuana. The PBS host and NORML board member visited Washington to speak with members of Congress on Feb. 13.

After a press conference attended by NORML’s Keith Stroup and the Marijuana Policy Project’s Don Murphy, Steves went to briefings with House and Senate reps. The Congressional Cannabis Caucus, a bipartisan organization founded in 2017 by Reps Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Don Young (R-Alaska), organized the House briefing.

His next stops were Maryland and Delaware, where he called on the state legislatures to regulate cannabis.

“I’m not for pot,” he told Freedom Leaf. “I’m for common sense. I’m anti-legislating morality and anti-incarceration.”

RELATED: Celebrities Bringing Cannabis Brands to the Market

Steves contributed $50,000 to Maine’s Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in 2016, and helped legalization efforts in his home state of Washington by donating $350,000 in support of Initiative 502 in 2012. He also supported the passage of Measure 91 in Oregon in 2014.

“What I do is a …

Review: Shira Adler’s ‘The ABC’s of CBD’

CBD is the unsung hero of the cannabis plant, while the psychoactive THC takes the spotlight. Shira Adler dispels myths about cannabidiol and highlights its many benefits in The ABC’s of CBD: The Essential Guide for Parents (And Regular Folks Too).

Author Shira Adler

Best-known for treating inflammation, CBD’s properties range from antibacterial to anti-nausea and anti-convulsive. Adler traces CBD to 8,000 BCE, when hemp was cultivated in East Asia, and then to the American Revolution, when George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were the country’s most famous hemp farmers.

Adler uses “cannabis” to denote the marijuana cultivar of the cannabis plant and distinguish it from hemp, and is quick to explain that “CBD can be derived from both cannabis and hemp plants. Hemp doesn’t flower and cannabis does.” She further delineates that “far less THC exists in the hemp plant” and, in a comical discussion about CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain, compares the body’s endocannabinoid system to the Oompa-Loompas and a set of bowling pins.

RELATED: FDA Warns Four CBD Companies About Making Medical Claims

Although there’s a heavy dose …

New Hampshire Committee Passes Legislation to Allow Annulment of Marijuana Convictions

Legislation that would allow for the annulment (invalidation of) of charges related to possession of up to 3/4 of an ounce of marijuana has been passed 14 to 4 by its initial committee. 

House Bill 1744, filed by Representative Robert Cushing along with 12 bipartisan cosponsors, was given approval today by the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. The proposal states that; “Any person who was arrested or convicted for knowingly or purposely obtaining, purchasing, transporting, or possessing, actually or constructively, or having under his or her control, 3/4 of an ounce of marijuana or less where the offense occurred before September 16, 2017 may, at any time, petition the court in which the person was convicted or arrested to annul the arrest record, court record, or both.” This is made possible by a law that took effect on September 16, 2017; which decriminalized the possession of up to 3/4 of an ounce of marijuana.

Going into specifics, the measure’s official text clarifies the process for annulling a marijuana conviction:

The petition shall state that the amount of marijuana was 3/4 of an ounce or less.  The petitioner shall furnish a copy of the petition to the prosecutor of the underlying offense.  The prosecutor may object within 15 days of receiving a copy of the petition and request a hearing.  If the prosecutor does not object within 15 days, the court shall grant the petition for annulment.  If the prosecutor timely objects, the court shall hold a hearing.  In a hearing on the petition for annulment, the prosecutor shall be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the petitioner knowingly or purposely obtained, purchased, transported, or possessed, actually or constructively, or had under his or her control, marijuana in an amount exceeding of 3/4 of an ounce.  At the close of the hearing, the court may grant or deny the petition.  If the petition is granted,

Sister Summit: Women Grow Meets Up in Denver

On February 1-2, more than 500 people gathered at the Westin Hotel in Denver for the fourth annual Women Grow Leadership Summit. The theme, “Change-Transition-Evolution,” addressed shifts in the cannabis industry.

Speakers included 12-year-old patient Alexis Bortell, who’s among the plaintiffs in a suit to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act; medical-marijuana pioneer Alice O’Leary; Michelle Dumay, a courageous mother who gave an emotional talk about being an African-American Muslim woman that treats her daughter’s seizures with cannabis; and Annie Nelson, wife of Willie Nelson and proprietor of Annie’s Edibles.

RELATED: Woman Grow and the New Rules of Diversity

TED-style “Lightning Talks” drew the likes of Hope Wiseman, the youngest African-American dispensary owner (Mary and Main in Capitol Heights, Md.) in the country; Caela Bintner, who discussed the #TimesUp movement and sexual harassment in the workplace; Dasheeda Dawson, who segued from her show-stopping hip-hop dance (a Summit first) to a discourse on facing adversity; Lynnette Shaw, one of California’s first dispensary owners; and Cannabis Cultural Association’s Jake Plowden, Nelson Guerrero and Joe Bondy.

One of the most popular breakout sessions, “Know …

Two Missouri Committees Approve Measure to Legalize Hemp

Legislation to legalize industrial hemp in Missouri has been given overwhelming approval by two House committees.

House Bill 2034, filed by Representative Paul Curtman (R), was approved last week by the Standing Committee on Agriculture Policy with a vote of 10 to 1. Today, the bill was passed by the Rules- Legislative Oversight Committee by an 8 to 1 vote. The proposal will now be up for a vote by the full House of Representatives, where passage would place it before the state’s Senate.

According to its official summary, “This bill exempts industrial hemp, which is defined as Cannabis sativa L. containing no greater than 0.3% THC, from the definition of marijuana and the list of controlled substances. In addition, it is legal for any person who has received an industrial hemp license to grow, harvest, cultivate, and process industrial hemp.”

The bill “creates an industrial hemp agricultural pilot program to be implemented by the Department of Agriculture and specifies the requirements for an applicant of an industrial hemp registration and agricultural hemp seed production permit”,and states that “The department must issue a license or permit to an applicant who meets the statutory requirements and upon satisfactory completion of a fingerprint criminal history background check. Upon issuance of a license or permit, information regarding all license and permit holders must be forwarded to the State Highway Patrol.”

An industrial hemp license or agricultural hemp seed production permit would be “nontransferable except to a spouse or child who otherwise meets the requirements for a license or permit; is valid for a three-year term unless revoked by the department; and may be renewed as determined by the department.”

More information on House Bill 2034, including a link to its full text, can

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Virginia Senate Passes Bill to Reduce Marijuana Possession Penalty, Allow Marijuana Expungements

Legislation that would reduce the penalty for, and allow for the expungement of, first time marijuana possession charges has been passed by Virginia’s full Senate.

marijuana terminologyThe Senate voted 38 to 2 today to pass Senate Bill 954, which was filed by Senator Tommy Norment (R). The measure “Reduces the penalties for possession of marijuana to a fine of not more than $500”, whereas currently such a charge can result in up to 30 days in jail. The bill also provides that a first offense for possession of marijuana is eligible for expungement, given the individual charged pays a $150 fee (which would  go to the Heroin and Prescription Opioid Epidemic Fund)

Senator Norment says that although the measure is far from perfect and isn’t as large of a law change as he’d prefer, it still “makes a substantial step forward.”

The proposal will now be sent to the House of Representatives. Passage in the House would send the bill to Governor Ralph Northam for final consideration. If signed into law by Governor Northam, or allowed to become law without his signature, the portion of the measure reducing the marijuana penalty would take effect July 1 of this year, while the remainder of the bill would take effect on January 1, 2019.

According to a Wason Center for Public Policy poll released this month, 76% of Virginia voters support decriminalizing marijuana possession.

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Trump Administration Names Jim Carroll as New Drug Czar

The Trump Administration has named White House deputy chief of staff Jim Carroll as the nation’s new drug czar.

Drug czar is the unofficial title for the director of the ONDCP.

Drug czar is the unofficial but often used term for director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). According to CNN, Carroll was named deputy director of the ONDCP on Friday, a position he will retain until confirmed by the Senate as director.

“We have full confidence in Jim to lead ONDCP to make significant strides in combating the opioids crisis, reducing drug use, and coordinating US drug policy,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a public statement. “Fighting the opioid crisis and drug addiction is a priority for this administration. We greatly appreciate Jim for his counsel and leadership during his tenure at the White House and look forward to the future contributions he will make in this new role.”

It’s unknown what Carroll’s personal opinion is on the legalization of marijuana, though it’s rather inconsequential given that the drug czar is legally required to oppose the legalization of any substance that’s currently outlawed.

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Over $1.5 Billion in Legal Marijuana Sold in Colorado in 2017

According to data released by Colorado’s Department of Revenue, there was $1.51 billion in legal marijuana and marijuana products sold in 2017.

The $1.51 billion sold is an increase over the $1.3 billion sold in 2016. In 2015 there was $995 million sold, and in 2014 – the first year of legal sales – $683 million in marijuana was sold.

According to the new data, which was released today, there was $1.09 billion in recreational marijuana sold in 2017. As for medical marijuana, licensed dispensaries sold $416 million worth. These sales resulted in roughly $250 million in new taxes for Colorado.

In Washington State – which legalized marijuana in the same election as Colorado – at least $1.2 billion in legal marijuana was sold in 2017, though data for November and December isn’t available yet. Based on current trends, the state will end with just shy of $1.5 billion sold for the year, closely mirroring Colorado’s total.

In both states those 21 and older can purchase up to an ounce of marijuana from a licensed marijuana retail outlet, while also being allowed to purchase marijuana products such as edibles and tinctures.

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Aaron Smith Rips Articles Critical of NCIA at Denver Expo

The National Cannabis Industry Association’s Seed-to-Sale Show at the Denver Convention Center on Feb. 7-8 attracted more than 3,000 registrants and hundreds of vendors to the Mile High City. In addition to the large turnout, the event was marked by debate over criticisms of the NCIA’s personnel policies and operations published by Cannabis Business Executive (CBE) in January that singled out executive director Aaron Smith (pictured above).

CBE’s first NCIA article, posted Jan. 9, focused on the resignation of NCIA board member Kayvan Khalatbari. The second article, posted Jan. 16, asked why the NCIA had fired chief of staff Genifer Murray.

Writer Rob Meagher—CBE’s founder, president and editor-in-chief—published leaked internal emails about employees and board members getting fired or resigning. These reports created an ominous cloud of uncertainty as the NCIA prepared for its expo.

Smith responded to CBE’s charges in an exclusive interview with Freedom Leaf during the Seed-to-Sale Show. “CBE is a third-rate event company that’s probably not too happy that we’re having this successful event right now,” he stated. “There is really no story here. CBE is editorializing on their blog. It’s a First Amendment right to express their opinion. It’s an opinion based on very biased and incomplete information that’s been taken out of context.”

Recreational Legalization in California: How’s It Going?

Weed sales have been legal in California since January 1. People can buy recreational cannabis in places that used to provide marijuana just for patients, so business is booming. Lines are long and spirits are high.

Jobs are being created. Cannabis businesses are hiring. Billboards are chock-full of pot-themed ads. Lawyers and consultants and marketers and packaging suppliers and all kinds of folks are making money on the new green industry.

RELATED: The Future of Weed Sales in California

During a recent visit to A Therapeutic Alternative on H Street in midtown Sacramento, the joint was jumping. Store owner Kim Cargile (pictured above) told me that while she was happy to have the extra customers, the new regulations have made doing business twice as expensive than it used to be, though it’s still worthwhile.

However, simply put, the taxes are too damn high. After the excise tax, the state tax, the city tax and whatever other random fees that get added on, cannabis taxes are in the area of 25%-30%. Exorbitant taxes will not make the black market go away.

Berkeley is …

Virginia Subcommittee Unanimously Passes Bill Allowing Anyone to Grow and Sale Hemp Without a License

A Virginia House subcommittee passed a bill Wednesday that would allow anyone to grow and distribute hemp without being required to first receive a license from the state.

A subcommittee of the House Commerce, Agriculture, Natural Resources & Technology Committee voted 8 to 0 to pass House Bill 532, which was filed by Delegate Nicholas Freitas (D).

Under current Virginia law hemp cultivation is legal for licensed growers participating in a hemp research program. House Bill 532 removes the restriction that hemp must be grown for research, and “Eliminates the licensure requirement for growing industrial hemp and allows any person to sell industrial hemp”. In other words, hemp would be treated like any other agricultural commodity, such as tomatoes or corn.

The proposal will now be up for a vote by the full Commerce, Agriculture, Natural Resources & Technology Committee. It must be passed by both the full House of Representatives and Senate before it can be sent to Governor Ralph Northam for consideration.

The full text of the proposed law can be found by clicking here.

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Study: Marijuana Crackdowns Are a Form of Structural Violence, Have Negative Effects on Health, Social and Economic Well-Being

Law enforcement crackdowns on marijuana are a form of “structural violence”, and have negative effects on health, social and economic well-being, according to a new study published by the International Journal of Drug Policy and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

“There is abundant literature on the impact of law enforcement on cannabis markets, but scant literature on the effects of law enforcement on cannabis users”, begins the abstract of the study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Uyo Post Office in Nigeria. “This study undertook a qualitative exploration of police crackdowns as a form of structural violence and examined their impact on the well-being of street cannabis users in a Nigerian city.”

The study was “qualitative and descriptive”, and was carried out in Uyo, southern Nigeria. 97 frequent cannabis users (78 males and 19 females) took part, aged between 21 and 34 years old. Data were collected through in-depth, individual interviews, conducted over six-months. Data analysis was thematic and data-driven, involving identifying themes, assigning codes, revising codes and verification by independent qualitative methodology experts.

“Police crackdowns are commonly experienced by street cannabis users”, states researchers. “These do not reduce cannabis use, but displace cannabis markets. Crackdowns are associated with police brutality, confiscation of funds, drugs and belongings, stigma and discrimination, arrest and incarceration, which impacts negatively on the health, livelihoods and well-being of cannabis users. Cannabis users try to escape arrest by running from police, disposing of cannabis, disguising themselves and, when caught, bribing officers to secure release.”

The study concludes by stating that; “Crackdowns constitute a form of structural violence in the everyday life of cannabis users, and have negative effects on their health and social and economic well-being. Cannabis use should be decriminalized de facto and arrested users directed to treatment and skills training programmes. Treatment and social services for users should be expanded and legal aid interventions should be …

Girl Scouts and Pot: Do Their Cookies Quell the Munchies?

The Girl Scouts can’t seem to get their story straight. Urbn Leaf, a medical and recreational dispensary in San Diego, posted a photo on Instagram on Feb. 2 of an industrious Girl Scout posing with an armful of cookie boxes outside its shop at 1028 Buenos Ave. “Get some Girl Scout Cookies with your GSC today until 4pm!” read the caption, encouraging customers to bring their friends.

The move was a smart one: The nine-year-old sold more than 300 boxes of cookies in a mere six hours outside the dispensary.

But it also set off controversy when some raised concerns about the photograph. Meanwhile, the Girl Scouts themselves offered contradicting comments to the media.

Mary Doyle, a spokesperson for Girl Scouts San Diego, said the organization is investigating whether the girl broke any rules, adding that selling cookies in a commercial area is not permitted and officials were trying to talk to the girl’s family.

But Alison Bushan, also from Girl Scouts San Diego, acknowledged that Scouts are allowed to sell cookies in those areas if they’re accompanied by a parent …

Washington House Approves Measure to Establish New Residency Requirements for Marijuana Business Owners

Legislation that would establish new residency requirements on marijuana business owners has been given approval by Washington’s full House of Representatives.

House Bill 1151 passed the House today by a vote of 70 to 28. Filed by Representative Sharon Wylie (D) and cosponsored by Representatives Brandon Bick (R) and Brian Blake (D), the measure must now be passed by the state’s Senate before it can be sent to Governor Jay Inslee for consideration.

The proposed law; “Requires that at least 75 percent of the interest in a licensed marijuana business owned by a business or nonprofit entity be held by one or more interest holders who have resided in Washington state for at least six months”, “Requires that all applicants residing out of state must be resident citizens of the United States”, and “Establishes that a manager or agent running a licensed marijuana business need not be a resident of Washington state.

In addition, the bill “Provides the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) with discretionary authority to deny a license if the LCB finds that it is unable to conduct an investigation of a nonresident interest holder in accordance with specified investigatory standards.”

The full text of the measure can be found by clicking here.

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U.S. Senate Agrees on 2-Year Budget Deal, Includes Protections for Medical Marijuana and Hemp

According to the Associated Press, Senate leaders announced Wednesday they have reached an agreement on a two-year budget deal.

The agreement comes just a day after the House of Representatives approved a much shorter-term budget deal, which extends government funding to March 23rd. Both the House approved bill, and the 2-year agreement reached by the Senate, includes and extension of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which prohibits the Department of Justice from using funds to enforce federal cannabis laws in states that have legalized the plant for medical use. The extension comes despite strong opposition from Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Both the House-approved extension, and the Senate agreement, also include extensions of an amendment that protects state laws allowing for the cultivation and research of hemp. President Trump says he supports the Senate’s 2-year deal.

Although these amendments don’t protect state laws allowing recreational marijuana, it does clarify that the Department of Justice – which includes the Drug Enforcement Administration – can not attack users, growers or distributors of medical marijuana in states where it’s legal. These protections have been in place since 2014.

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Fox News Poll: 59% of U.S. Voters Support Legalizing Marijuana

According to a new Fox News Poll, a large majority of voters in the United States favor legalizing marijuana.

The poll found that 59% of voters support marijuana legalization, up from 51% in 2015, and 46% in 2013. The polling shows that just 32% of voters oppose marijuana legalization, down from 49% in 2013. Millennials (72%) have the highest level of support, followed by Gen Xers (60%) and baby boomers (52%).

“This is a massive shift in opinion over a very short period. As more states legalize marijuana without the negative consequences opponents have warned about, support will likely continue to increase,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Daron Shaw, his Republican counterpart.

Two-thirds of Democrats (68%) and independents (67%) favor legalization. Republicans split 46% to 46% (in 2015, 59% of Republicans were against it).

Majorities of very conservative voters (61%) and white evangelical Christians (53%) oppose legalization. However, opposition among those groups is down 14 and 16 points, respectively, from five years ago.

“When you look at the growing percentage of people who say they support legalizing marijuana, especially among those under 30 years of age, it’s obvious why the Democrats are anxious to get pot initiatives on the ballot in statewide elections,” says Shaw.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,002 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from January 21-23, 2018. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.

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New Jersey’s Path to Marijuana Legalization

New Jersey’s newly elected Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy touted the economic and social-justice benefits of legalizing cannabis during his campaign last year. Now proponents are anticipating that such legislation will be enacted this year. Murphy marks a 180-degree turn from his anti-pot Republican predecessor, Chris Christie.

Two bills that would legalize recreational cannabis have been introduced in the state legislature in Trenton. While Assemblymember Reed Gusciora’s (D-Trenton) measure would allow home cultivation (12 plants per household), state Sen. Nicholas Scutari’s (D-Linden) wouldn’t. Gusciora’s plan would also tax pot at a lower rate (7% in the first year) than Scutari’s (25%). Both would allow regulated commercial cultivation and sales, but on different scales. Democrats control both chambers of the legislature.

“We’re going to look at the legislation and discuss how we segue into the adult-use market,” Scott Rudder, president of New Jersey Cannabusiness Association (NJCA), told 800 industry hopefuls on January 25 at the New Jersey Cannabis Symposium at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. “On adult use, we still have a long way to go. We’re targeting June to get something done. We’re working with the governor and the legislators. We need people to get involved.”

In one of his first moves in office, Gov. Murphy ordered a study of expanding the state’s largely ineffective medical-marijuana program, which should be completed by March. On the table are allowing home delivery and purchases of up two ounces a month by patients, a speedier application process, making edibles available and expanding the list of qualifying conditions. There are currently just five dispensaries and 10,000 patients in a state with nearly nine million residents.

A Look at Six States That Could Pass Marijuana Initiatives This Year

By Phillip Smith, StoptheDrugWar.org

While marijuana reform efforts continue at an excruciatingly slow pace in state legislatures — Vermont became the first state to free the weed at the statehouse just last month — the initiative and referendum process continues to serve as a direct popular vote alternative to the crap shoot that is trying to get a pot bill through two houses and signed by a governor.

There are at least six states with a serious shot at legalizing either recreational marijuana or medical marijuana via the initiative process this year. In one state, a medical marijuana initiative has already qualified for the ballot; in another, plentiful signatures have already been handed in for a legalization initiative; in three others, signature gathering campaigns are well underway; while in the last, a legalization initiative hasn’t been officially filed yet, but already has serious financial backing.

By the time we get past election day, we should be looking at a legalization victory in at least one more state and medical marijuana victories damned near anywhere an initiative manages to get on the ballot. In the last election cycle, marijuana reform initiatives won in eight out of nine contests.

Here are the 2018 contenders:

1. Michigan — Legalization

The Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has already completed a petition campaign and handed in more than 365,000 raw signatures in November for its legalization initiative. It hasn’t officially qualified for the ballot yet, but it only needs 250,000 valid voter signatures to do so, meaning it has a rather substantial cushion. If the measure makes the ballot, it should win. There is the little matter of actually campaigning to pass the initiative, which should require a million or two dollars for TV ad buys and other get-out-the-vote efforts, but with the Marijuana Policy Project on board and some deep-pocketed local interests as well, the money should be there. The voters …

Study: Medical Marijuana Legalization Associated With Few Opioid Deaths, But Only in States With Dispensaries

A new study conducted by the RAND Corporation and published by the Journal of Health Economics has found that although medical marijuana legalization is associated with a decrease in opioid deaths, this is only true in states that have legalized dispensaries.

“The association between medical marijuana and lower levels of opioid overdose deaths — identified previously in several studies — is more complex than previously described and appears to be changing as both medical marijuana laws and the opioid crisis evolve”, says the Rand Corporation, whose new study is “the most-detailed examination of medical marijuana and opioid deaths conducted to date”.

The report found that “legalizing medical marijuana was associated with lower levels of opioid deaths only in states that had provisions for dispensaries that made medical marijuana easily available to patients.” Opioid death rates were not lower in states that just provided legal protections to patients and caregivers, allowing them to grow their own marijuana.

“Our findings are consistent with previous studies showing an association between the legalization of medical marijuana and lower deaths from overdoses of opioids,” said Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, co-author of the study and co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center. “However, our findings show that the mechanism for this was loosely regulated medical marijuana dispensaries, and that the association between these laws and opioid mortality has declined over time as state laws have more tightly regulated medical dispensaries and the opioid crisis shifted from prescription opioids to heroin and fentanyl”.

The study was conducted before any any states had begun to allow retail sales of recreational marijuana.

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Federal Reserve Gives Approval to Marijuana Credit Union to Service Marijuana-Related Businesses

Colorado’s Fourth Corner Credit Union has been given permission by the Federal Reserve of Kansas City to provide financial services to marijuana-related businesses.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City granted conditional approval yesterday to Fourth Corner Credit Union to work with and provide financial services to marijuana-related businesses. The credit union’s approval comes over three years after they launched in Colorado, and over two and a half years after they filed a lawsuit against the Federal Reserve for initially denying their request to service the marijuana industry.

According to the Wall Street Journal report, Fourth Corner will not provide serves to marijuana dispensaries, as they initially planned, but will “focus on individuals and companies that support legalized marijuana.” This includes marijuana accountants, security companies and landlords, among others.

“I’m grateful that we’ve reached a settlement,” Fourth Corner Executive Vice President Mark Goldfogel told Leafly yesterday. “I’m glad that we can move the ball forward for the industry. And with every decision like this, the industry gets closer to regulated banking.”

Goldfogel says the Federal Reserve’s decision “validates the importance of the cannabis legalization movement, and the movement’s right to coalesce funds to solve this problem.”

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Review: ‘So Much Things to Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley’ 

While such esteemed authors as Stephen Davis and the late Timothy White penned terrific biographies of Robert Nesta Marley, no writer is more knowledgeable about the Reggae King than Roger Steffens. It took him many years, but he finally completed his book: So Much Things to Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley (W. W. Norton).

Steffens is curator of the world’s largest reggae archives, which bursts the seams of his modest Echo Park bungalow in Los Angeles. The Vietnam veteran and photographer/archivist/historian has been an obsessive fan since he was mesmerized by a 1973 Rolling Stone review of the Wailers’ Catch a Fire. The next day, he watched the seminal Jimmy Cliff film, The Harder They Come, which cemented his lifelong obsession with reggae.

The author has created a reggae Rashomon in telling Marley’s story through more than 75 different interviews that frequently contradict each another. You won’t learn too much about Marley’s personal life or his series of relationships, though there’s plenty of input from Cindy Breakspeare, the former Miss World and mother of Marley’s son Damian, who Bob famously holed up with in London after the attempt on his life in Kingston in 1976.

RELATED: Review of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Live! (Deluxe Edition)

Canada Senate to Hold Televised Hearing on Marijuana Legalization

Canada’s Senate will be holding a hearing soon to discuss the nation’s effort to legalize marijuana. The hearing will be televised, a rarity for the Senate.

According to CTV, Senate leadership has announced that they will soon be holding a televised hearing where they will question Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, and justice and health parliamentary secretary Bill Blair. The questions will be regaring C-45, a bill to legalize marijuana that recently passed the nation’s House of Commons. The measure would allow those 18 and older to posses and use marijuana, and would establish a system of licensed marijuana stores.

“This is an attempt to ensure that on an issue of such importance to the Senate, we hear from ministers early”, said Government Representative in the Senate, Senator Peter Harder. “It is also an opportunity for Canadians to see the Senate in action on such an important bill”.

C-45 is currently under debate in its second reading in the Senate. If approved by the Senate, as is expected, it will be sent to the Governor General for Royal Assent (final approval). Proponents of the bill hope to have it passed into law by July.

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