#NORML #News
Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
media :: news
- Tue, 09 Jan 2018 04:20:21 PST

US Attorney General Rescinds Obama-Era Marijuana Guidelines

Washington, DC: United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Justice Department has rescinded, effective immediately, Obama administration guidelines - known as the Cole memorandum - which directed US attorneys to not interfere with those compliant with state cannabis laws. The decision was immediately criticized by Congress members from both parties.

While the Attorney General's actions are not totally unexpected given his long history of opposition to marijuana policy reform, they do clash with pledges previously made by President Donald Trump, as well as with comments made by Sessions during his Senate confirmation process. At that time, Sessions acknowledged that the guidelines laid out in the memorandum were "appropriate."

NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri condemned the policy reversal, stating, "This move by the administration runs contrary to the wishes of the overwhelming majority of US voters, including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents - who support the regulation of adult cannabis use and also believe that determining marijuana policy ought to be a state issue, not a federal one."

He added, "Today, one in five Americans resides in a jurisdiction where the adult use of cannabis is legal under state statute, and the majority of citizens reside someplace where the medical use of cannabis is legally authorized. It is time for Congressional representatives in these districts to step up and defend the rights of their constituents - many of whom rely on these policies for their health and welfare."

California Begins Retail Marijuana Sales

Sacramento, CA: Select retailers began engaging in adult use marijuana sales on January 1. California joins Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington in permitting cannabis sales to those over the age of 21.

Two additional states - Maine and Massachusetts - permit adults to legally possess and grow cannabis, but have yet to enact regulations permitting the plant's commercial cultivation and sale.

Under California law, retailers must possess a state license and also be compliant with local regulations. Numerous municipalities, including Berkeley, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, San Jose, and Los Angeles, have approved local regulations to permit marijuana retailers. Existing medical cannabis dispensaries are allowed to engage in adult use sales if they possess dual licensing.

Separate regulations governing the production, testing, packaging, and sale of medical cannabis also went into effect on January 1. The regulations are the first broad set of rules governing medical cannabis production in California since voters approved of the practice in 1996.

According to state's Bureau of Cannabis Control, regulators issued over 400 licenses to marijuana-related proprietors ahead of the January 1 mandate.

More information @ https://www.canorml.org

Study: Marijuana Use Not Linked With Reduced Motivation In Adolescents

Miami, FL: Neither the occasional nor the heavy use of marijuana by adolescents is associated with decreased motivation, according to clinical data published online ahead of print in the journal Substance Use & Misuse.

A team of Florida International University researchers assessed the relationship between cannabis use and motivation in 79 adolescent subjects. Participants consisted of both long-term regular consumers and occasional users. Investigators assessed subjects' motivational tendencies through the use of two validated tools, the Apathy Evaluation Scale and the Motivation and Engagement Scale.

Authors reported: "After controlling for confounds, no significant differences were observed between regular and light users on any motivation index. Similarly, no associations between motivation and lifetime or past 30-day cannabis use amount were observed."

They concluded, "Our findings do not support a link between reduced motivation and CU (cannabis use) among adolescents after controlling for relevant confounds."

Full text of the study, "Is cannabis use associated with various indices of motivation among adolescents?", appears in Substance Abuse & Misuse.

Study: Medical Dispensaries Not Linked To Neighborhood Crime, Violence

Riverside, CA: Retail stores that sell primarily alcohol and tobacco are associated with an increased prevalence of neighborhood crime, but medical cannabis dispensaries are not, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Preventative Medicine.

A team of researchers from the University of California, San Jose State University, and the University of Kansas assessed the geographical relationship between retailers and crime in south Los Angeles.

Authors concluded: "Results indicated that mean property and violent crime rates within 100-foot buffers of tobacco shops and alcohol outlets - but not MMDs (medical marijuana dispensaries) - substantially exceeded community-wide mean crime rates and rates around grocery/convenience stores. ... Thus, study findings provide the first empirical evidence that tobacco shops may constitute public health threats that associate with crime and violence in US low-income urban communities of color."

A 2017 study of dispensary operations in Los Angeles previously reported that "Open dispensaries provide over $30,000 per year in social benefit in terms of larcenies prevented."

Full text of the study, "The geography of crime and violence surrounding tobacco shops, medical marijuana dispensaries, and off-sale alcohol outlets in a large, urban low-income community of color," appears in Preventive Medicine.

Hawaii: Health Regulators Expand Medical Cannabis Program

Honolulu, HI: Regulators at the Hawaii Department of Health have agreed to expand the state's medical cannabis program so that patients diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (aka Lou Gehrig's disease) may be eligible to access medicinal cannabis.

Citizens petitioned regulators to add both ALS and generalized anxiety disorder to the list of conditions eligible for cannabis therapy. Department officials concluded that there exists a lack of evidence to support the latter recommendation.

Preclinical models indicate that cannabinoids can alter ALS progression. However, controlled clinical trials evaluating the use of cannabis in patients with ALS have not yet been conducted.

New Jersey: Governor Signs Expungement Law

Trenton, NJ: Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed a package of bills (S. 3306, S. 3307, and S. 3308) expanding the crimes eligible for expungement.

Among other changes, the measures prevent employers from inquiring about a job candidate's criminal record and permit those convicted of certain marijuana sales offenses to seek an expungement of their criminal record.

"We want to give those overcoming incarceration or the disease of addiction, young offenders, and all who have earned and deserve it, a second chance at life," the Governor said in a press statement.

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