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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
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- Tue, 14 Dec 2016 04:20:21 PST

Study: History Of Marijuana Use Inversely Associated With In-Hospital Mortality

Greeley, CO: Hospitalized patients who test positive for cannabis are less likely than non-users to suffer from heart failure or cardiac disease, and are less likely to die from cancer, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Cancer Medicine.

A team of researchers from the University of Northern Colorado, Colorado State University, and the University of Alabama assessed the relationship between marijuana use and health outcomes among a nationwide sample of 3.9 million hospitalized patients.

Researchers reported that marijuana-positive patients were more likely than non-users to seek hospitalization for stroke, but that they possessed lower odds of heart failure or cardiac disease, and that they possessed increased survival rates overall - especially among those patients with cancer. Authors concluded, "Odds of in-hospital mortality were significantly reduced among marijuana users compared with non-users in all hospitalized patients as well as cancer patients."

Separate data, presented in April at the 2016 meeting of the American College of Cardiology, reported that heart attack patients with a history of cannabis use are less likely than non-users to die during hospitalization. A 2014 UCLA study similarly reported greater survival rates in marijuana-positive patients hospitalized for Traumatic Brain Injury.

Full text of the study, "Marijuana use and inpatient outcomes among hospitalized patients: analysis of the nationwide inpatient sample database," appears in Cancer Medicine.

Obama Opines Marijuana Should Be Regulated Like Alcohol

President Obama Interview Marijuana

Washington, DC: President Barack Obama told Rolling Stone Magazine that he believes cannabis ought to be legally regulated and that lawmakers must ultimately address the disparity between state and federal law.

Said Obama: "I am not somebody who believes that legalization is a panacea. But I do believe that treating this as a public-health issue, the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol, is the much smarter way to deal with it."

Obama previously admitted in 2014 that he did "not think it (marijuana) is more dangerous than alcohol."

The outgoing President also reiterated his belief that the existing conflict between state and federal marijuana laws is "untenable" and that the time was now "ripe" for federal lawmakers to address the issue. Obama made similar comments to Bill Maher in November.

At a recent White House press briefing, spokesperson Josh Earnest said that the President's comments were not indicative of any forthcoming policy change. Earnest said: "I think what the President is suggesting is that it's increasingly difficult for federal law enforcement officials to be enforcing the law differently in a variety of states. ... So that's something that I think the next administration is going to have to grapple with. ... I don't think the President at this point was trying to signal any specific policy change."

In 2013, the Obama administration issued a memorandum directing US prosecutors not to interfere with statewide marijuana legalization efforts, provided those efforts did not undermine specific federal priorities - such as the diversion of cannabis to non-legal states. However, this directive is not binding to the next administration.

Although President-elect Donald Trump has voiced support for the sanctity of state-authorized marijuana programs, his nominee for US Attorney General, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, strongly opposes any liberalization in cannabis policy, stating in April, "[M]arijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized."

New York: Regulations Seek To Expand Medical Marijuana Access

Albany, NY: Health officials have announced changes to the state's medical marijuana program in an effort to increase patients' access to the cannabis-derived products.

Under the newly proposed rules, physician assistants will have the option to recommend cannabis therapy to qualified patients. A separate amendment to the law allowing nurse practitioners to issue recommendations took effect on November 30.

Another amendment seeks to add chronic pain as a state-approved qualifying condition. Patients suffering from debilitating or intractable pain are presently not eligible under state law to qualify for cannabis therapy.

Health officials have also recommended doubling the number of state-licensed marijuana cultivators and providers and permitting home delivery of cannabis products.

New York's nascent medical cannabis program permits qualified patients to obtain cannabis-infused products (e.g., oils, tinctures, extracts) from one of 20 state-licensed dispensaries. Nearly 11,000 patients are participating in the program.

Kansas City: NORML Chapter's Decrim Effort Qualifies For City Ballot

Kansas City, MO: Petitioners seeking to decriminalize municipal penalties specific to the possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana have gathered sufficient signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot.

The proposal, spearheaded by Kansas City NORML, would amend citywide penalties from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil fine, punishable by a $25 fine. Similar municipal measures are currently in place in St. Louis and in Columbia, Missouri.

Members of the city council now have 60 days to either act on the measure or to place it before voters this spring in a special election.

Under state law, the possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. On January 1, new sentencing provisions will take effect reclassifying the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana as a Class D misdemeanor, punishable by a fine but no jail.

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