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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
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- Tue, 23 Jan 2018 04:20:21 PST

New Marijuana Law Reform Measures Proposed In Congress

Washington, DC: Members of the US House of Representatives have introduced new legislation to protect states that have legalized the adult use of cannabis from federal interference.

On Friday, Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Don Young (R-AK) introduced legislation, HR 4779, barring federal funding for any efforts that seek to "detain, prosecute, sentence, or initiate civil proceedings against any individual, business or property that is involved in the cultivation, distribution, possession, dispensation, or the use of cannabis in accordance with the law or regulation of the state or unit of local government in which the individual is located." Separate legislation to restrict the government's ability to utilize civil asset forfeiture as a tool to target state-compliant marijuana businesses, The Stop Civil Asset Forfeiture Funding for Marijuana Suppression Act, was also reintroduced in the House this week.

On Wednesday, Reps. Lee and over a dozen co-sponsors introduced companion legislation to Senate Bill 1689, The Marijuana Justice Act. The Act removes cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act and would provide relief to those currently incarcerated for violating federal marijuana laws.

Also late last week, 69 members of the House signed on to a letter to Congressional leadership seeking to amend the forthcoming appropriations bill in a manner that would restrict the federal government from taking action against entities compliant with their state's marijuana laws. An existing budgetary provision, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, only protects those involved in statewide medical programs - not adult use laws. That provision is set to expire on Friday, January 19, absent reauthorization by Congress.

For more information, visit: NORML.org/act

Bipartisan Coalition Of Attorneys General Demand Congress Move Forward On Banking Reforms

Washington, DC: A bipartisan coalition of state Attorneys General have issued a letter to Congressional leadership urging them to "advance legislation" to permit state-licensed marijuana businesses greater access to banking and other financial services. The letter is undersigned by the Attorneys General of Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington, as well as from the District of Columbia and the US territory of Guam.

The letter states: "Prior Department of Justice guidance outlined how financial institutions could provide services to state-licensed marijuana businesses consistent with their obligations under federal law and created some space for the banking industry to work with those businesses, though challenges remained in many areas. The recent rescission of that guidance has made the need for Congressional action to get the cash generated by this industry into a regulated banking sector even more urgent."

It concludes: "Our banking system must be flexible enough to address the needs of businesses in the various states, with state input, while protecting the interests of the federal government. This includes a banking system for marijuana-related businesses that is both responsive and effective in meeting the demands of our economy."

According to data published recently by the US Treasury Department, there are only an estimated 400 financial institutions nationwide actively engaged with legal cannabis businesses. That total could decline following the administration's decision to rescind various Obama-era memos specific to the federal enforcement of marijuana laws.

Currently, legislation is pending in both the US House and Senate (The SAFE Banking Act) to explicitly allow state-licensed marijuana-related businesses to partner with banks, credit unions, and other financial service providers.

Study: Marijuana Regulation Reduces Organized Crime Activity

Bergen, Norway: The regulation of marijuana for medical purposes is associated in a decrease in violent crimes committed by Mexican drug trafficking organizations, according to data published in The Economic Journal.

A team of researchers from Norway and the United States assessed the relationship between medical marijuana regulation and criminal activity (homicides, assaults, and robberies) in Mexican border states. Researchers reported that medicalization reduced violent crime rates by as much as 12.5 percent, and theorized that broader adult use regulation would "have an even larger impact" on reducing criminal activity. Jurisdictions closest to the border experienced the most significant drop in violent criminal activity.

Authors concluded, "Our results are consistent with the theory that decriminalization of the production and distribution of marijuana leads to a reduction in violent crime in markets that are traditionally controlled by Mexican drug trafficking organizations."

Prior reports by National Public Radio and others have similarly concluded that statewide cannabis legalization has significantly undercut domestic demand for Mexican-grown marijuana.

Full text of the study, "Is legal pot crippling Mexican drug trafficking organizations? The effect of medical marijuana laws on crime," appears in The Economic Journal.

Study: Cannabis Use Associated With Reductions In Alcohol-Induced Inflammation

Boulder, CO: Cannabis consumption is associated with a reduction in the presence of alcohol-induced inflammatory molecules (cytokines), according to clinical data published online ahead of print in the journal Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research. The excessive production of inflammatory cytokines has been linked to the development of various diseases, including heart disease and cancer.

Investigators at the University of Colorado at Boulder assessed the relationship between self-reported cannabis use and circulating levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in 66 subjects who regularly drank alcohol. They reported that cannabis use was negatively associated with the presence of specific cytokines in the blood.

"Cannabinoid compounds may serve to mitigate inflammation associated with alcohol use," authors concluded.

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, "Investigating the relationships between alcohol consumption, cannabis use and circulating cytokines: A preliminary analysis," appears in Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research.

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