Over $122 Million in Legal Marijuana Sold in Colorado in May

Those in Colorado purchased over $122 million worth of  marijuana and marijuana products in May, according to new data released by the state’s Department of Revenue.

All together there was $122,868,216 worth of marijuana and marijuana products purchased legally in Colorado in May. This is a slight decrease from the $124 million sold in April.

Of the $122 million in marijuana sold in May, around $26.2 million came from the sale of medical marijuana, while the other $96.6 million came from those 21 and older purchasing marijuana for recreational purchases. From these sales, Colorado garnered nearly $20 million in tax revenue.

The new data brings the state’s total marijuana sales for 2018 to around $610 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, and slightly higher than the $1.3 billion sold in 2016.

Marijuana was legalized in Colorado in 2012, with marijuana retail outlets opening for business in 2014.  Marijuana is taxed at 15% (plus the standard 2.9% statewide sales tax), with the revenue going towards schools, hospitals and roads.

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Study: States Decriminalizing Marijuana Doesn’t Increase Youth Usage Rates, Decreases Drug-Related Arrests by 75%

In a study of five states that have decriminalized marijuana, it was found that decriminalization did not increase usage rates among children in any state, and it led to a massive decrease in drug arrests.

“A number of public health professional organizations support the decriminalization of cannabis due to adverse effects of cannabis-related arrests and legal consequences, particularly on youth”, begins the abstract of the study, published by the  International Journal of Drug Policy. “We sought to examine the associations between cannabis decriminalization and both arrests and youth cannabis use in five states that passed decriminalization measures between the years 2008 and 2014: Massachusetts (decriminalized in 2008), Connecticut (2011), Rhode Island (2013), Vermont (2013), and Maryland (2014).”

Data on cannabis possession arrests were obtained from federal crime statistics; data on cannabis use were obtained from state Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) surveys, years 2007-2015. Using a “difference in difference” regression framework, researchers “contrasted trends in decriminalization states with those from states that did not adopt major policy changes during the observation period.”

According to the study, decriminalization was associated with a 75% reduction in the rate of drug-related arrests for youth with similar effects observed for adult arrests. Decriminalization was “not associated with any increase in the past-30 day prevalence of cannabis use overall or in any of the individual decriminalization states.”

The study concludes by stating that; “Decriminalization of cannabis in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Maryland resulted in large decreases in cannabis possession arrests for both youth and adults, suggesting that the policy change had its intended consequence. Our analysis did not find any increase in the prevalence of youth cannabis use during the observation period.”

The full study, conducted by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine, The Ohio State University, the University of Illinois and Eastern Virginia Medical School, can be found by clicking here.

North Dakota May Have Recreational Legalization on the November Ballot

Michigan and Utah already have marijuana-law reform initiatives on the ballot in November. North Dakota may just join them.

On July 9, Legalize ND submitted 18,000 signatures (4,500 more than required) to get the North Dakota Marijuana Legalization Initiative on the ballot.

The measure is purposefully vague; it doesn’t call for specific amounts that would be legal or how to create a commercial market for cultivation, processing, testing and sales. That’ll be up to the legislature, says Legalize ND’s Cole Haymond:

“This bill is by far the most progressive yet most conservative marijuana legalization bill that will be on any ballot across the country. We leave our bill wide open so the legislature can do their job—regulations, taxes, zoning, whatever.”

There’s a precedent for such an initiative in North Dakota: In 2016, voters passed Measure 5, which legalized medical marijuana by a 64% margin. That bodes well for recreational legalization in the Peace Garden State.

Possession is currently a misdemeanor punishable by maximums of 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine. All other marijuana offenses are felonies. In addition to …

Oregon Garners $9 Million in Marijuana Taxes in May

Oregon garnered $9 million in marijuana taxes in May.

According to the state’s Department of Revenue, Oregon garnered $8,868,932 in marijuana sales taxes in May.  Only one time in the state’s history has more marijuana tax revenue been garnered in a single month (January of this year with $9.3 million).

Of the $9 million in taxes garnered in May, $7.8 million came from a 17% statewide sales tax, with the remaining $1.2 million coming from citywide taxes (which under law can be as high as 3%).

Oregon is currently on tract to garner roughly $100 million in marijuana taxes for all of 2018. This would mark a 47% increase from the $68 million in taxes the state brought in from legal marijuana sales in 2017.

In Oregon the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana is legal for those 21 and older, thanks to a citizen’s initiative passed in 2014. The state has a licenses and regulated system of marijuana businesses, including retail outlets.

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Study: Cannabis May Help Treat Sickle Cell Disease

Cannabis may be a potential treatment option for those with sickle cell disease, according to a new study published on the website of the National Institute of Health.

(Photo: KidsHealth.org).

“Legal access to marijuana, most frequently as “medical marijuana,” is becoming more common in the United States, but most states do not specify sickle cell disease as a qualifying condition”, states the study. “We were aware that some of our patients living with sickle cell disease used illicit marijuana, and we sought more information about this.” Sickle cell disease, according to Mayo Clinic, is “A group of disorders that cause red blood cells to become misshapen and break down.”

For the study, researchers “practice at an urban, academic medical center and provide primary, secondary, and tertiary care for ∼130 adults living with sickle cell disease. We surveyed our patients with a brief, anonymous, paper-and-pen instrument.” They “reviewed institutional records for clinically driven urine drug testing” and “tracked patient requests for certification for medical marijuana.”

Among 58 patients surveyed, 42% reported marijuana use within the past 2 years. Among users, “most endorsed five medicinal indications; a minority reported recreational use.” Among 57 patients who had at least one urine drug test, 18% tested positive for cannabinoids only, 12% tested positive for cocaine and/or phencyclidine only, and 5% tested positive for both cannabinoids and cocaine/phencyclidine.

“Our findings and those of others create a rationale for research into the possible therapeutic effects of marijuana or cannabinoids, the presumed active constituents of marijuana, in sickle cell disease”, states researchers. “Explicit inclusion of sickle cell disease as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana might reduce illicit marijuana use and related risks and costs to both persons living with sickle cell disease and society.”

More information on this study, including its full text, can be found by clicking here.

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Oklahoma AG Says Board of Health Doesn’t Have Authority to Ban Smoking Medical Marijuana

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter sent out a press release today stating that the Board of Health’s recent ban on smoking medical marijuana was beyond their authority.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter.

“The current rules contain provisions that are inconsistent with the plain language of State Question 788 and the State Board of Health acted outside of its authority when it voted to implement them,” Hunter said in a Wednesday press release, referencing the Board’s recent vote to alter the voter-approved initiative to ban smoking  medical marijuana despite the initiative clearly allowing  it.

“Although I didn’t support State Question 788, the people of the state have spoken and I have a legal duty to honor the decision made by the electorate”, says Hunter. “My advice today is made pursuant to that responsibility as attorney general.”

Hunter has called on the Board of Health to convene a special meeting in order to amend the rules to be in line with the will of State Question 788.

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Will France’s Post-World Cup Economic Boon Come from Hemp?

Since 1970, the winners of the World Cup have seen economic growth after their country’s victory. France’s boon could include CBD, if the government would allow it.

France, who defeated Croatia in the championship match on July 15, was the third-largest producer of hemp in the world in 2017 with 40,000 acres in cultivation, just after Canada (138,000 acres) and China (116,000 acres). In the US, acreage reached 25,000, doubling 2016’s output.

Industrial hemp is grown in France for its seeds and fibrous stems. Only a few strains of the plant, listed in article R.5132.86 of France’s Public Health Code for cannabis, are allowed for cultivation provided they contain less than 0.2% THC.

“France produces the lion’s share of Europe’s pulp and paper,” according to zenpype.com. “It’s the most important hemp market in the EU, accounting for over 50% of fiber applications. French hemp cultivars are suited for grain and fiber production, the specific varieties that industry trends demand.”

France has the highest rates of cannabis consumption in Europe. Among France’s 67 million people, there are 800,000 regular cannabis users and

New Jersey announces it’s doubling the number of medical marijuana businesses

Good news! Today, the New Jersey Department of Health announced that it will begin accepting applications for six additional businesses that can grow, process, and sell medical cannabis in the state. The winning businesses are supposed to be announced on November 1. Unfortunately, there is no provision yet for equity applicants, although applicants may be awarded up to 50 (out of 1,000) points for diversity.

With the tiny number of existing businesses, patients have experienced supply shortages and high prices due to a lack of competition. Today’s expansion should help begin to address these problems, although more will need to be done. Separating the licenses for growing, processing, and selling cannabis will help make many more types of products available to patients, and the health department plans to consider additional applications for these licenses beginning in the fall.

In other news, while the June 30 budget deadline came and went without legislative action on any of the pending marijuana bills, Senate President Steve Sweeny has said he believes there could be a vote on legalizing and regulating this summer.

If you are a New Jersey resident, click here to ask for your lawmakers’ support.

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Study: CBD May Be Useful In Treating Breast Cancer

CBD may be a useful treatment for various breast cancer subtypes, according to a new study published by the journal The Breast.

“Studies have emphasized an antineoplastic effect of the non-psychoactive, phyto-cannabinoid, Cannabidiol (CBD)”, begins the study’s abstract, which was epublished ahead of print by the National Institute of Health. “However, the molecular mechanism underlying its antitumor activity is not fully elucidated. Herein, we have examined the effect of CBD on two different human breast cancer cell lines”.

In both cell lines, “CBD inhibited cell survival and induced apoptosis in a dose dependent manner as observed by MTT assay, morphological changes, DNA fragmentation and ELISA apoptosis assay.”

The results “suggest that CBD treatment induces an interplay among PPARγ, mTOR and cyclin D1 in favor of apoptosis induction in both ER-positive and triple negative breast cancer cells, proposing CBD as a useful treatment for different breast cancer subtypes.”

The full study, conducted by researchers at Alexandria University in Egypt, can be found by clicking here.

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Task Force Recommends Regulating Recreational Cannabis in New York

Bordered by several states (Massachusetts, Vermont) and one country (Canada) that have legalized marijuana, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in January, requested that a task force look into doing the same in the Empire State. That task force, under the auspices of the state’s Department of Health, issued its report on July 13. The findings are stunning:

“The positive effects of a regulated marijuana market in New York State outweigh the potential negative impacts.”

• “Areas that may be a cause for concern can be mitigated with regulation and proper use of public education that is tailored to address key populations. Incorporating proper metrics and indicators will ensure rigorous and ongoing evaluation.”

• “Numerous New York State agencies and subject matter experts in the fields of public health, mental health, substance use, public safety, transportation and economics worked in developing this assessment.”

“No insurmountable obstacles to regulation of marijuana were raised.”

• “Regulation of marijuana benefits public health by enabling government oversight of the production, testing, labeling, distribution, and sale of marijuana. The creation of a regulated marijuana program would enable New York State to better control licensing, ensure quality control and consumer protection, and set age and quantity restrictions.”

Study: Eating Raw Cannabis Associated With Significant Improvements in Insomnia Patients

Consuming “raw, natural medical cannabis flower” is associated with “significant improvements” in insomnia patients, finds a new study published by the open access journal Medicines.

For the study 409 people with a specified condition of insomnia completed 1056 medical cannabis administration sessions using the Releaf AppTM educational software during which they recorded real-time ratings of “self-perceived insomnia severity levels prior to and following consumption, experienced side effects, and product characteristics, including combustion method, cannabis subtypes, and/or major cannabinoid contents of cannabis consumed.” Within-user effects of different flower characteristics were modeled using “a fixed effects panel regression approach with standard errors clustered at the user level.”

Researchers found that “Releaf AppTM users showed an average symptom severity reduction of -4.5 points on a 0⁻10 point visual analogue scale.” Use of pipes and vaporizers was associated with “greater symptom relief and more positive and context-specific side effects as compared to the use of joints, while vaporization was also associated with lower negative effects.” Cannabidiol (CBD) “was associated with greater statistically significant symptom relief than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but the cannabinoid levels generally were not associated with differential side effects.”

The study concludes; “Consumption of medical Cannabis flower is associated with significant improvements in perceived insomnia with differential effectiveness and side effect profiles, depending on the product characteristics.”

For the full study, click here.

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Study: Cannabis Causes Death of Colon Cancer Cells

According to a new study published by the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health, cannabis can cause the death of colon cancer cells, implying that it may be a potential treatment option for the disease.

“Colorectal cancer remains the third most common cancer diagnosis and fourth leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide”, begins the abstract of the study. “Purified cannabinoids have been reported to prevent proliferation, metastasis, and induce apoptosis in a variety of cancer cell types. However, the active compounds from Cannabis sativa flowers and their interactions remain elusive.” This study was “aimed to specify the cytotoxic effect of C. sativa-derived extracts on colon cancer cells and adenomatous polyps by identification of active compound(s) and characterization of their interaction.”

For the study, ethanol extracts of C. sativa were “analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography and gas chromatograph/mass spectrometry and their cytotoxic activity was determined using alamarBlue-based assay (Resazurin) and tetrazolium dye-based assay (XTT) on cancer and normal colon cell lines and on dysplastic adenomatous polyp cells.”

Researchers found that “The unheated cannabis extracts (C2F), fraction 7 (F7), and fraction 3 (F3) had cytotoxic activity on colon cancer cells”. Moreover, the extracts induced cell death of polyp cells.”

The study concludes by stating that “C. sativa compounds interact synergistically for cytotoxic activity against colon cancer cells and induce cell cycle arrest, apoptotic cell death, and distinct gene expression”. The study’s results suggest “possible future therapeutic value.”

The full study can be found by clicking here.

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New York Health Department Enacts Emergency Rules Allowing Medical Marijuana as a Replacement for Opioids

The New York State Department of Health announced today the filing of emergency regulations adding any condition for which an opioid could be prescribed as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.

Effective immediately, registered practitioners may certify patients to use medical marijuana as a replacement for opioids, provided that the precise underlying condition for which an opioid would otherwise be prescribed is stated on the patient’s certification. This allows patients with severe pain that doesn’t meet the definition of chronic pain to use medical marijuana as a replacement for opioids, states a press release from the Health Department.

In addition, the regulation adds opioid use disorder as an associated condition. This allows patients with opioid use disorder who are enrolled in a certified treatment program to use medical marijuana as an opioid replacement.

Plans to add opioid replacement as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana were first announced last month.

“Medical marijuana has been shown to be an effective treatment for pain that may also reduce the chance of opioid dependence,” said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “Adding opioid replacement as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana offers providers another treatment option, which is a critical step in combatting the deadly opioid epidemic affecting people across the state.”

Opioid replacement joins the following 12 qualifying conditions under the state’s Medical Marijuana Program: cancer; HIV infection or AIDS; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); Parkinson’s disease; multiple sclerosis; spinal cord injury with spasticity; epilepsy; inflammatory bowel disease; neuropathy; Huntington’s disease; post-traumatic stress disorder; and chronic pain.

These emergency regulations went into effect on a temporary basis on July 12, 2018. The Department also filed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on July 12, 2018, commencing the process of permanently adopting the regulations. The permanent regulations will be published in the New York State Register on August 1, 2018, and will be subject to a 60-day public comment period.

In addition, within …

Maine Legislature Overrides Governor’s Veto of Medical Cannabis Expansion Bill

Maine’s Legislature has voted to override Governor Paul LePage’s veto of legislation allowing doctors to recommend medical cannabis for any condition they deem appropriate.

Recently Maine’s Legislature voted overwhelmingly to pass LD 1539, which removes the state’s list of qualifying medical cannabis conditions, instead allowing doctors to recommend the medicine to anyone they feel could benefit of it. The measure makes several other changes, including increasing the number of dispensaries allowed in the state from eight to 14.

Despite passing by a combined vote of 144 to 31 in the House and Senate, Governor LePage  – a staunch opponent of marijuana and efforts to liberalize the laws surrounding it – vetoed the measure.  Thankfully the bill had well more than the 2/3rds support it needed in the legislature for them to override the veto, which they have now officially done.

The full text of LD 1539 can be found by clicking here.

In Maine, medical marijuana has been legal since 1999. The state legalized cannabis for recreational purposes in 2013.

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Oklahoma Board of Health restricts voters’ marijuana law

On June 26, 57% of Oklahoma voters approved SQ 788 — a broad medical marijuana initiative that required swift implementation.

The Department of Health had been working for three months on regulations in case the initiative passed and swiftly released draft emergency regulations. MPP and many other advocates and patients submitted comments raising concerns, flagging several regulations that included onerous restrictions inconsistent with SQ 788.

Unfortunately, yesterday the Board of Health met to consider those regulations and approved almost all of the regulations we expressed concern about. They also added new restrictions — such as prohibiting the sale of smokeable cannabis.

The rules:

• Prohibit cannabis from being sold with more than 12% THC in infused products and prohibit plants from exceeding 20% THC.
• Prohibit dispensaries from selling smokeable, flower cannabis, and edible cannabis.
• Require each dispensary to have a pharmacist on staff.
• Require physicians to register before making recommendations, complete medical cannabis-specific training, and screen patients for substance abuse, mental health issues, and whether the patient presents a risk for diversion.
• Require physicians to perform a pregnancy test on “females of childbearing years” before recommending cannabis.

These restrictions will deprive some patients of the medicine that works best for them, while driving up costs and driving down doctor participation.

Advocates are considering next steps, including possible litigation. Stay tuned for updates. Also, we want to express our hearty congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to pass SQ 788!

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Study Finds Medical Marijuana Associated With 30% Reduction in Schedule III Opioid Prescriptions, 29% Reduction in Medicaid Spending

Newly released research, published on the website for the U.S. National Library of Medicine, shows that the legalization of medical marijuana is associated with a large reduction in prescriptions and dosages of schedule III opioids.

Noting “29 states and Washington DC have legalized cannabis for medical use”, the study “examined whether statewide medical cannabis legalization was associated with reduction in opioids received by Medicaid enrollees.”

Using a variety of scientifically designed methodologies (specifics can be found by clicking here), researchers found that for Schedule III opioid prescriptions, “medical cannabis legalization was associated with a 29.6% reduction in number of prescriptions, 29.9% reduction in dosage, and 28.8% reduction in related Medicaid spending.”

However, no evidence was found to support the associations between medical cannabis legalization and Schedule II opioid prescriptions.

The study concludes by stating: “Statewide medical cannabis legalization appears to have been associated with reductions in both prescriptions and dosages of Schedule III (but not Schedule II) opioids received by Medicaid enrollees in the US.”

For more information on this study, click here.

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Study: Cannabigerol May Treat Neuroinflammation and Oxidative Stress

According to a new study published by the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, the cannabis compound cannabigerol “may be a potential treatment against neuroinflammation and oxidative stress.”

“Inflammation and oxidative stress play main roles in neurodegeneration”, states the study’s abstract. “Interestingly, different natural compounds may be able to exert neuroprotective actions against inflammation and oxidative stress, protecting from neuronal cell loss. Among these natural sources, Cannabissativa represents a reservoir of compounds exerting beneficial properties, including cannabigerol (CBG), whose antioxidant properties have already been demonstrated in macrophages.”

With this in mind, researches “aimed to evaluate the ability of CBG to protect motor neurons against the toxicity induced from the medium of LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages.”

Using MTT assay (a colorimetric assay for assessing cell metabolic activity), they “observed that CBG pre-treatment was able to reduce the loss of cell viability induced by the medium of LPS-stimulated macrophages in NSC-34 cells”, among other positive changes.

Researchers conclude by stating that “All together, these results indicated the neuroprotective effects of CBG, that may be a potential treatment against neuroinflammation and oxidative stress.”

The full study can be found by clicking here.

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Autism Spectrum Disorder and Obstructive Sleep Apnea Are Now Qualifying Medical Cannabis Conditions in Minnesota

Those in Minnesota with autism spectrum disorder or obstructive sleep apnea can now become legal medical cannabis patients if they receive a physician recommendation.

Approved by Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger in November, the addition of autism and sleep apnea to the state’s medical cannabis program officially took effect on July 1. They join 11 other qualifying conditions including HIV/AIDS, glaucoma and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

[T]here is increasing evidence for potential benefits of medical cannabis for those with severe autism and obstructive sleep apnea”, Dr. Ehlinger said in November when announcing the two additions. Unfortunately Dr. Ehlinger rejected adding several other conditions including dementia, liver disease and anxiety disorders.

Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by sustained social impairments in communication and interactions, and repetitive behaviors, interests or activities. Autism patients wanting to become medical cannabis consumers must meet the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 5th edition) for autism.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder involving repeated episodes of reduced airflow caused by a complete or partial collapse of the upper airway during sleep.

Although those with autism and sleep apnea can enroll in the Minnesota medical cannabis program as of July 1, they must wait until August 1 to purchase the medicine from a dispensary.

More information on becoming a medical cannabis patient in Minnesota can be found by clicking here.

Other qualifying conditions include:

  • Cancer associated with severe/chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, or cachexia or severe wasting
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
  • Terminal illness, with a probable life expectancy of less than one year
  • Intractable pain
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Minnesota patients with autism and sleep apnea now qualify for medical cannabis

Last November, the Minnesota Department of Health approved adding autism spectrum disorders and obstructive sleep apnea as qualifying conditions for the state’s medical cannabis program. Under state law, the additions take effect the following summer.

Starting on July 1, 2018, patients with a doctor’s certification and either of those conditions could begin registering for the program. They can start accessing medical cannabis no sooner than August 1. Our allies at Sensible Minnesota offer one-on-one assistance to patients who need help navigating the process. Learn more here.

Congratulations to Sensible Minnesota and to all the advocates and health professionals who were involved in petitioning to expand the program!

Sensible Minnesota is now working on petitions to expand the program to include opioid use disorder, hepatitis C, Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury, and insomnia.

If you are a Minnesota medical professional who might be willing to add your voice to the petition, contact Sensible Minnesota at 952-529-4420 or by email.

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At High Sobriety, Addicts Kick Opioids and Alcohol with Cannabis

With medical and, increasingly, recreational marijuana available in more than 30 states, the healing herb’s qualities have now spread to the field of addiction recovery, helping opioid users ease their way through the debilitating effects—nausea, stomach cramps, muscle spasms, irritability, insomnia and anxiety—of withdrawal.

High Sobriety, a 24-bed in-patient facility in Culver City, Calif., provides cannabis as both a reward and way to kick the physical cravings that come from opioids and alcohol and charges upwards of $40,000 for a month-long stay. Founded last year by three former colleagues at Malibu, Calif.’s famous Promises rehab facility—the recently departed Joe Schrank, Cassidy Cousins and Michael Welch—High Sobriety is now being run by Dr. Sherry Yafai, a trained emergency medicine physician who practiced at the Releaf Institute before starting her own practice.

“I’d been working in the emergency department for over a decade in Los Angeles and had grown frustrated watching kids overdose time and time again,” Dr. Yafai tells Freedom Leaf. “There had to be a better way to help patients achieve and maintain their sobriety. Last year, I opened my own cannabis-based office for pain management last year. I found that I could reduce their narcotic load dramatically while at the same time improve their pain management with cannabis alone.

Dr. Yafai

“It was around that time that I spoke with Joe Schrank from High Sobriety,” she continues. “It was speaking with Joe that changed my perspective on using cannabis as a part of treatment in addiction. I took this post with the intention of modifying the patients’ treatment plan and creating more of a bridge therapy for adults who’ve never known adulthood without the haze of intoxication. I believe that we can continue to do this better.”

Queer in Cannabis: Inclusion Is the Solution

As a queer woman from New York who’s been involved in the cannabis industry for more than three years, I’ve met dozens of LGBTQ people, ranging from millennials to baby-boomers and activists to executives. As a new industry, cannabis benefits from growing in a time where there’s more awareness of the value of diversity.

“The medical part of this industry has deep roots [in the AIDS crisis] that has been forgotten about over the decades,” says Josh Drayton, Communications and Outreach Director for the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA). Drayton, who started his cannabis career in Humboldt County more than a decade ago as an out gay man, helped launch CCIA’s Diversity and Inclusion program, which focuses on mentorship for underrepresented communities. He’s also worked on the launch of Sprout, an LGBT-inclusive space for the Bay Area cannabis industry.

“I started to get concerned about the lack of LGBT representation when I went to some of the Cannabis Cups,” Drayton explains, “because of the extreme white male presence and advertising geared toward heterosexual men.”

While many legal-cannabis companies have begun to focus on advertising that appeals across genders, the key to change is diverse leadership and a willingness to call out bad behavior.

Michigan Adds 11 New Medical Cannabis Conditions, Including Autism

Michigan has officially added 11 new conditions that qualify an individual to become a medical cannabis patient.

Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director Shelly Edgerton approved adding the new conditions to the state’s medical cannabis program, based on recommendations from the Medical Marihuana Review Panel. The move doubles the number of medical cannabis conditions from 11 to 22.

The 11 new conditions include:

  • Arthritis;
  • Autism;
  • Chronic pain;
  • Colitis;
  • Inflammatory bowel Disease;
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder;
  • Parkinson’s;
  • Rheumatoid arthritis’
  • Spinal cord injury;
  • Tourette’s syndrome;
  • Ulcerative colitis.

 

The qualifying conditions prior to the new move include:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder;
  • Cancer;
  • Glaucoma;
  • Positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus;
  • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome;
  • Hepatitis C;
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis;
  • Crohn’s Disease;
  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Nail Patella, or the treatment of these conditions;
  • A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that  results in wasting syndrome; severe and chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures, and  severe and persistent muscle spasms.

 

In November, an initiative to legalize marijuana for all uses will be on the ballot, which polling shows is supported by 61% of voters.

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Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Passed by Israel Health Committee

A key Israeli committee has given approval to legislation to decriminalize the personal possession of marijuana, reports Israel National News.

The Knesset’s Labor, Welfare and Health Committee voted unanimously today to approve the measure through its second and third votes. The bill makes possessing and using cannabis for personal consumption no longer a criminal offense for a person’s first three offenses within a five year period (after five years it resets). The bill will not apply to minors, soldiers and prisoners, as well as to those who committed another crime.

Under the proposed law, which now moves to the full  Knesset, a person caught possessing marijuana for the first time in five years would receive a maximum ticket of 1,000 shekels, or  around $275. A second offense would be 2,000 shekels, and a third offense would be either a higher fine or the requirement of community service.

The measure is proposed as a temporary order lasting three years, at which point lawmakers would have to decide to renew the law or allow it to expire.

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To Smoke or Not to Smoke: That’s the Cannabis Question in Florida

When voters passed Amendment 2 in Florida in 2016 by a whopping 71%-29% margin, they approved the use and possession of medical marijuana. But since the election, there’s been a debate over whether the law should allow patients to smoke their medicine.

In June 2017, the Florida legislature passed a bill that prohibits combusting marijuana with a flame. John Morgan, who led the Amendment 2 effort, promptly sued the state, writing:

“Inhalation is  a medically effective and efficient way to deliver THC and other cannabiniods to the bloodstream. By redefining the constitutionally defined term ‘medical use’ to exclude smoking, the Legislature substitutes its medical judgment for that of ‘a licensed Florida physician’ and is in direct conflict with the specifically articulated Constitutional process.”

Amendment 2 amended the Florida constitution.

This past May 25, Circuit Court Judge Karen Grievers ruled in Morgan and the Amendment’s favor that the state ban on smoking medical marijuana is unconstitutional. She determined that “smoking in private” is allowed by the Amendment.

Illustration by Andy Marlette for News Journal

However, on July 5, the 1st District Court of …