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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
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- Tue, 26 Feb 2019 04:20:21 PST2

Study: Marijuana Liberalization Policies Not Associated With Significant Upticks In Youth Use

Boston, MA: State laws liberalizing marijuana's criminal status are not associated over the long-term with any significant uptick in youth use, according to data published in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

A team of researchers from Boston College assessed marijuana use data in a cohort of 860,000 adolescents from 45 states over a period of 16 years (1999 to 2015).

They reported that states which enacted medical cannabis access laws experienced overall reductions in teen use compared to non-legal states, and that this decrease grew stronger over time. "We found that for every group of 100 adolescents, one fewer will be a current user of marijuana following the enactment of medical marijuana laws," the study's lead researcher said in a press release.

Investigators also reported that state laws decriminalizing marijuana penalties for recreational use did not experience "significant shifts in use for the sample as a whole," though they acknowledged a minor uptick in self-reported use among whites and a small decline in consumption among Hispanics and those 14 years of age.

They added, "Neither policy was significantly associated with heavy marijuana use or the frequency of use, suggesting that heavy users may be impervious to such policy signals."

Authors concluded, "[These] results assuage concerns over potential detrimental effects of more liberal marijuana policies on youth use."

The findings are consistent with those of dozens of prior studies concluding that neither liberalizing marijuana penalties nor regulating retail cannabis access is typically associated with increases in young people's use of cannabis or its availability.

Full text of the study, "A quasi-experimental evaluation of marijuana policies and youth marijuana use," appears in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

Study: Children with Autism Possess Decreased Endocannabinoid Levels

Jerusalem, Israel: Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) possess lower levels of endogenous cannabinoids than do matched controls, according to data published in the journal Molecular Autism.

Israeli researchers compared endocannabinoid serum levels in 93 patients with ASD versus controls. They reported "substantially lower" serum levels of the primary endocannabinoid anandamide, as well as its related compounds, in children with ASD.

In recent months, several clinical trials -- such as those here, here, here, and here -- have demonstrated that the supplemental administration of plant-derived CBD-dominant cannabis extracts is associated with symptom mitigation in patients with autism spectrum disorder.

Full text of the study, "Lower circulating endocannabinoid levels in children with autism spectrum disorder," appears in Molecular Autism.

Wisconsin: Governor Calls For Overhaul Of State's Marijuana Policies

Madison, WI: Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has publicly announced his support for amending the state's marijuana laws in a manner that would permit its medical access and decriminalize its recreational use.

Speaking Monday at a press conference outlining the state's budget, the Governor said that Wisconsin should join the other 33 states that regulate medical cannabis access. He also called for decriminalizing marijuana possession offenses (involving up to 25 grams) and expunging past marijuana-related convictions. The Governor opined that police often make marijuana arrests in a racially disproportionate manner. Historically, African Americans are arrested for marijuana possession crimes in Wisconsin at approximately six-times the rates of whites.

Under existing state law, the possession of marijuana is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to six-months in jail, a $1,000 fine, and a criminal record.

Arizona: Medical Cannabis Patient's Firing Violated State Law, Federal Judge Rules

Phoenix, AZ: A private employer acted improperly when it fired a state-registered medical cannabis patient for failing a urinalysis drug screen, a federal judge ruled last week.

United States District Judge James A. Teilborg opined that Walmart violated Arizona law by terminating an employee solely for testing positive for the presence of THC metabolites in her urine. The carboxy-THC metabolite is an inert breakdown product of THC which may remain present in urine for weeks or even months following cannabis exposure.

Under Arizona's voter-initiated medical cannabis access law, an employer may not discriminate in hiring or firing based solely upon a patient's "positive drug test for marijuana components or metabolites, unless the patient used, possessed or was impaired by marijuana on the premises of the place of employment or during the hours of employment."

According to the US Department of Justice, urinalysis tests "detect drug use but not drug impairment. A positive test result ... does not indicate abuse or addiction, recency, frequency, or amount of use, or impairment."

In recent years, judges have similarly upheld patient protections in other jurisdictions, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

The case is Whitmire v. Walmart Stores Incorporated.

New York: Buffalo Mayor Calls A Halt To Low-Level Marijuana Arrests

Buffalo, NY: The mayor of Buffalo has requested the city's police department to cease making low-level marijuana arrests.

The policy change is similar to those in other major cities around the country, including Baltimore, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Norfolk, Virginia.

Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo offered no objection to the change, stating that "legalization appears to be on the horizon." In December, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that enacting legislation to legalize and regulate adult marijuana use is among his administration's top priorities.

New Jersey: Governor Reportedly Reaches Agreement With Leadership Regarding Marijuana Legalization Measure

Trenton, NJ: Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has reportedly reached an agreement with leaders in the state Senate and Assembly to move forward with legislation to regulate the adult use and retail sale of marijuana.

In November, state lawmakers moved a pair of legalization bills to the floor. However, the Governor and legislative leaders differed on how best to tax retails sales. According to sources familiar with the negotiations, leaders have agreed to impose a $42 per ounce tax on retail cannabis sales.

Governor Murphy has long expressed support for regulating marijuana, stating: "Legalization will allow us to reinvest directly in our communities -- especially the urban neighborhoods hardest hit by the misguided War on Drugs -- in their economic development, in health care and housing, child care and after-school programs, and other critical areas. These investments will pay dividends far greater than the cost of mass incarceration."

Virginia: Lawmakers Pass Bills Expanding Medical Access To Cannabis Products

Richmond, VA: Legislation is heading to the Governor's desk to expand patients' access to medical cannabis products.

Senate Bill 1557 expands the pool of health professionals who can approve cannabis therapy to include nurse practitioners and physician assistants. It also permits qualifying patients access to a broader spectrum of products containing both plant-derived CBD and THC. Lawmakers in both chambers unanimously passed the bill.

Senate Bill 1719 facilitates greater patient access to cannabis products by permitting "registered agents" or caregivers to pick up or receive deliveries. The measure also passed unanimously in both chambers.

Under the state's access law, medical professionals may recommend plant-derived cannabis extracts to those patients for whom they believe will benefit from them.

"Virginia patients need safe access to full therapeutic-strength medical cannabis products," said Jenn Michelle Pedini, Executive Director of Virginia NORML, which lobbied on behalf of the bills. "These common-sense clarifications to the regulations will make for a smoother system, and better outcomes for patients, providers, and the community at large."S

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