#NORML #News
Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
media :: news
- Tue, 19 Mar 2019 04:20:21 PST

Congress: Over 25 Percent Of House Members Sign On To Marijuana Banking Act

Washington, DC: More than one-quarter of US House members have signed on to newly introduced legislation to facilitate greater access to banking for state-licensed cannabis operators.

The 2019 version of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act was introduced last Thursday and now has 113 co-sponsors -- the most ever for a marijuana law reform bill.

Under federal law, banks and other financial institutions are discouraged from entering into relationships with marijuana-specific businesses. This has led to the industry operating on a largely 'cash-only' basis.

Last month, members of the US House, Consumer Protection and Financial Institution Subcommittee heard testimony in favor of federal banking reform. NORML submitted testimony to the Committee, opining: "In short, no industry can operate safely, transparently, or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions and it is self-evident that this industry, and those consumers that are served by it, will remain severely hampered without better access to credit and financing. Ultimately, Congress must amend federal policy so that these growing numbers of state-compliant businesses, and those millions of Americans who patronize them, are no longer subject to policies that needlessly place them in harm's way."

The SAFE Banking Act is one of several marijuana-related bills introduced in Congress in recent days. Other legislation includes The Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2019, The Marijuana Justice Act, The Next Step Act, and The Marijuana Data Collection Act of 2019.

Study: Retail Cannabis Access Associated With Reductions In Opioid-Related Mortality

Easton, PA: Operational cannabis dispensaries are associated with a reduction in opioid-related mortality, according to data published in the journal Economics Bulletin.

Researchers with Lafayette University in Pennsylvania assessed the relationship between medical cannabis retail access and opioid-related deaths over a 16-year period (1999 to 2015).

Authors concluded: "Our results suggest that states with active legal dispensaries see a drop in opioid death rates over time. ... Overall, this research provides evidence that states with MMLs may see a decline in opioid overdose death rates if they enact legal dispensaries."

The paper's findings are similar to those of a 2015 study determining, "[S]tates permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not." A 2017 study also reported that neighborhoods with "dispensary openings experience a 20 percentage point relative decrease in painkiller treatment admissions over the first two years of dispensary operations." Another study, published earlier this year in the Journal of Health Economics, concluded, "[S]tates providing legal access to marijuana through dispensaries reduce deaths due to opioid overdoses."

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, "Medical marijuana laws and their effect on opioid-related mortality," appears in Economics Bulletin. Additional information on the relationship between cannabis and opioids is available in the NORML fact-sheets, "Relationship Between Marijuana and Opioids" and "Societal Impacts of Cannabis Dispensaries / Retailers."

Case Studies: Cannabinoids Associated With Anti-Cancer Activity

Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom: The administration of cannabidiol (CBD) is associated with anti-cancer responses in human subjects, according to a pair of recently published case studies.

In the first study, British investigators reported on the use of CBD in an 81-year-old lung cancer patient following his decision to decline chemotherapy treatment. Authors reported that the patients' tumor size was reduced following the use of CBD extracts.

They concluded: "[T]he data presented here indicate that CBD may have had a role in the striking response in a patient with histologically proven adenocarcinoma of the lung as a result of self-administration of CBD oil for a month and in the absence of any other identifiable lifestyle, drug or dietary changes. Further work is needed both in vitro and in vivo to better evaluate the various mechanisms of action of CBD on malignant cells, and its potential application in the treatment of not only lung cancer but also other malignancies."

In the second study, Brazilian investigators described the use of CBD in two 38-year-old patients with brain cancer. Their use of CBD in additional to traditional anti-cancer treatment was associated with a "significant improvement" in clinical outcomes and a lack of disease progression for two years. Authors concluded, "These observations are of particular interest because the pharmacology of cannabinoids appears to be distinct from existing oncology medications and may offer a unique and possibly synergistic option for future glioma treatment."

A 2017 study assessing the concurrent use of CBD and Temozolomide (TMZ) in 21 patients with glioma reported that subjects provided CBD lived, on average, 45 percent longer than those treated with TMZ only.

Although cannabinoids have well-established anti-cancer activity in preclinical models, scientists have generally failed to assess these properties in controlled, clinical trials.

Full text of the study, "Striking lung cancer response to self-administration to cannabidiol: A case report and literature review," appears in Medical Case Reports. Full text of the study, "Clinical outcome and image response of two patients with secondary high-grade glioma treated with chemoradiation, PCV, and cannabidiol," appears in Frontiers in Oncology. Additional information on cannabinoids and cancer appears online.

Report: Potency Of Commercially Marketed CBD Products Often Mislabeled

New York, NY: Independent testing of a random sampling of commercially marketed CBD-infused products finds that their potency is frequently mislabeled, according to a NBC 4 New York I-Team investigative report.

Investigators purchased CBD-infused products online and at local convenience stores and submitted the products to third-party independent testing. They reported, "Less than half the samples that were tested actually had the stated amount of THC inside the product." Some products contained no CBD at all.

Other products tested positive for elevated levels of lead and pesticides.

While CBD products manufactured as part of state-specific cannabis access programs are subject to lab testing, commercially available products are entirely unregulated.

The NBC New York findings are consistent with those of prior reports -- such as those here, here, here, here, here, and here -- which similarly determined that many commercially available CBD-infused products are of variable potency and may contain adulterants. In February, a separate investigation conducted by KCTV Channel 5 (CBS) in St. Louis reported that none of the CBD-infused products they purchased over the counter at local retailers contained the amount of CBD listed on their labels....

Study: Hair Tests Less Likely To Detect Cannabinoids Following Cosmetic Treatments

Dudelange, Luxembourg: Cosmetic hair treatments, such as bleaching or perming, interfere with the detection of cannabinoids and their metabolites in hair, according to data published in the journal Forensic Science International.

A pair of European researchers assessed the impact of various cosmetic treatments -- including bleaching, perming, and dyeing -- on 30 THC-positive hair samples.

They concluded: "We found that any type of cosmetic hair treatment has an effect on cannabinoid concentrations in hair. ... Bleaching and perming reduced all cannabinoids concentration in hair; THC was more affected than THC-COOH [the carboxy-THC metabolite], CBN [cannabinol] and CBD [cannabidol]. Bleaching caused strong chemical degradation on cannabinoids, while perming exerted more a leaching out effect. Permanent colorings in single applications had only little effects on cannabinoids."

Prior studies of hair follicle drug detection testing have reported that the tests are far more likely to identify those who engage in the daily use of cannabis as compared to those who consume it only occasionally.

Full text of the study, "Influence of cosmetic hair treatments on cannabinoids in hair; bleaching, perming, and permanent coloring," appears in Forensic Science International.

South Dakota: Governor Vetoes Hemp Licensing Legislation

Pierre, SD: Republican Gov. Kristi Noem has vetoed legislation, House Bill 1191, which sought to comport state law with newly enacted provisions of the 2018 Farm Act.

The measure sought to permit state regulators to license farmers to commercially cultivate industrial hemp and sought to regulate certain products derived from hemp, including CBD-infused extracts. In December, Congress enacted legislation descheduling hemp and hemp-derived cannabinoids from the federal Controlled Substances Act and making states the primary regulators of the plant.

Governor Noem stated in her veto: "Our state is not yet ready for industrial hemp. ... [T]his bill supports a national effort to legalize marijuana for recreational use."

Members of the House voted to successfully override the Governor's veto, but Senators failed to obtain the two-thirds majority necessary.

Governor Noem received an 'F' grade in NORML's 2019 Governors Scorecard.

New Hampshire: High Court Rules Medical Cannabis Costs Reimbursable

Concord, NH: Costs specific to the state sanctioned use of medical cannabis may be eligible to reimbursement under workers' compensation laws, according to a ruling by the Supreme Court of New Hampshire.

Justices ruled that the state Compensation Appeals Board erred in denying a reimbursement claim solely on the basis that cannabis is federally illegal. The Court failed to find any evidence to support the Board's claim that reimbursing the employer for the payment of medical marijuana would be "in express violation" of federal law.

"Because the board's order fails to sufficiently articulate the law that supports the board's legal conclusion and fails to provide an adequate explanation of its reasoning regarding federal law, it is impossible for us to discern the basis for the board's decision sufficient for us to conduct meaningful review," the Court opined. "Accordingly, we remand to the board for a determination of these issues."

The Associated Press reports that at least five states -- Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey and New Mexico -- have determined that medical marijuana treatment is reimbursable under their workers' compensation laws.

The Court's opinion is online here.

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