South Africa: Court Ruling Upholds Private Use Of Marijuana
Johannesburg, South Africa: Federal provisions criminalizing the possession and use of cannabis in private have been determined to be unconstitutional.
The High Court decision determined that outlawing the private use of cannabis by adults is an unjustifiable infringement upon citizens' right to privacy and dignity.
The public use of cannabis, as well as any commercial activities related to the plant's purchase or sale, remain illegal.
The South African government first outlawed cannabis in 1908. Today, 13 percent of all arrests in the country are marijuana violations.
Uruguay: Retail Cannabis Sales To Begin This July
Montevideo, Uruguay: Pharmacies will begin selling cannabis in July to those age 18 or older, according to public statements made last week by government officials.
Sixteen pharmacies are already registered to participate in the forthcoming program, which will dispense cannabis provided by state-licensed producers. Retailers will sell cannabis to customers in five-gram increments. The initial price per gram will be fixed at $1.30 per gram.
Customers must be enrolled in a government registry in order to legally purchase cannabis. Sales to foreign tourists will not be permitted.
Government officials initially approved legislation in 2013 authorizing the licensed production and sale of marijuana, but have delayed the implementation of the law on various occasions since that time.
West Virginia: Lawmakers Approve Amended Medical Marijuana Measure
Charleston, West Virginia: House and Senate lawmakers have approved a significantly amended version of Senate Bill 386, which seeks to establish a state-regulated medical cannabis program. The measure now awaits action from Democrat Gov. Jim Justice, who has previously expressed support for permitting qualified patients to access cannabis therapy. If the governor fails to sign SB 386, it will become law without his signature.
West Virginia will become the 30th state to authorize by statute the physicians-recommended use of cannabis or cannabis-infused products.
Under the amended measure, qualified patients will be permitted to obtain cannabis-infused oils, pills, tinctures, or creams from a limited number of state-authorized dispensaries. Cannabis-based preparations will be produced by state-licensed growers and processors. Patients will not be permitted to grow their own cannabis, nor will they be able to legally access or smoke herbal formulations of the plant. Similar restrictive programs are presently in place in Minnesota and New York, and are awaiting implementation in Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
To participate in the proposed program, both patients and physicians would need to be registered with the state. The Bureau of Public Health is mandated under the legislation to begin issuing patient identification cards by July 1, 2019.
Study: Medical Cannabis Patients Report Decreased Use Of Opioids, Anti-Anxiety Medicines
Scranton, PA: Patients with legal access to medical cannabis decrease their use of opioids, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and other medications, according to self-report data published online ahead of print in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
A team of investigators from five states surveyed the medical history of over 1,500 patient-members of state-licensed dispensaries located throughout the northeast.
Authors reported that 77 percent of respondents acknowledged having reduced their use of opioids following cannabis therapy. A significant percentage of respondents also reported decreasing their consumption of anti-anxiety medications (72 percent), migraine-related medications (67 percent), sleep aids (65 percent), and anti-depressants (38 percent). Forty-two percent of respondents also reported reducing their alcohol intake.
The study's findings are consistent with those of others reporting that patients with legal cannabis access are less likely to use or abuse opioids, as well as various other prescription medications, including anti-anxiety medicines and anti-depressants.
Full text of the study, "Substitution of medical cannabis for pharmaceutical agents for pain, anxiety, and sleep," appears in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
Arizona: Appellate Court Strikes Medical Marijuana Campus Ban
Phoenix, AZ: An Arizona appellate court has ruled that a 2012 law amending the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) to prohibit the use of medical cannabis on college campuses is unconstitutional. Lifetime NORML Legal Committee member Tom Dean represented the patient-defendant in the case pro bono, and NORML Legal Committee attorney Tom Holtz filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of NORML.
"By enacting A.R.S. § 15-108(A), the Legislature modified the AMMA to re-criminalize cardholders' marijuana possession on college and university campuses," the Court opined. "The statute does not further the purposes of the AMMA; to the contrary, it eliminates some of its protections."
The Court argued that campuses and universities possess the authority to enact their own individual policies restricting medical cannabis use, but that lawmakers cannot do so.
The decision overturned a medical-marijuana cardholder's 2015 felony conviction for the possession of a small quantity of cannabis while attending Arizona State University.
The Arizona Attorney General's Office has not yet publicly stated whether they intend to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.
NORML Comments On Canada Marijuana Legalization Bills
Washington, DC - Today, the federal Liberal government of Canada released a slate of proposed bills that would legalize and regulate the commercial sale and adult use of marijuana in the country. The legislation would establish 18 as the minimum legal age to purchase marijuana and would create a legal framework for production, sale, and distribution. The bills were introduced in the House of Commons by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, Health Minister Jane Philpott and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freehand.
This sensible approach to marijuana stands in stark contrast to the direction and tone United States President Donald Trump and his administration have been taking on the issue.