#NORML #News Source: @norml @WeedConnection Posted By: email@example.com media :: news - Tue, 26 Mar 2019 04:20:21 PST
Study: Persistent Cannabis Use Associated With Reduced Body Mass Index
East Lansing, MI: The use of cannabis over time is inversely related to obesity, according to data published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
A team of Michigan State University researchers assessed the relationship between cannabis use and body mass index (BMI) over time in a nationally representative sample of 33,000 subjects.
Investigators reported that cannabis-using subgroups exhibited "appreciably attenuated BMI gain" over the trial period as compared to non-users and quitters, "with the largest attenuation seen in the 'persistent use' group."
They concluded: "This new prospective study builds from anecdotes, pre-clinical studies and cross-sectional evidence on inverse associations linking cannabis use and obesity and shows an inverse cannabis–BMI increase association. Confirmatory studies with rigorous cannabis and BMI assays will be needed."
Several prior population-based studies, such as those here, here, and here, have similarly reported an inverse relationship between cannabis use and obesity.
Full text of the study, "Are cannabis users likely to gain weight? Results from a national 3-year prospective study," appears in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
New Mexico: Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Decriminalization Measure
Albuquerque, NM: House and Senate lawmakers have approved legislation, Senate Bill 323, decriminalizing minor marijuana possession offenses. The proposal now awaits action from Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
The bill reduces first-time penalties for the possession of up to one-half ounce of cannabis from a criminal misdemeanor -- punishable by up to 15 days in jail -- to a 'penalty assessment,' punishable by a $50 fine. Subsequent offenses, or in situations where the defendant possesses greater amounts of marijuana, will remain punishable by the possibility of jail time.
Police in New Mexico made over 3,600 marijuana possession arrests in 2016.
If signed into law, the reduced penalties take effect on July 1, 2019.
Twenty-one states have either legalized or decriminalized the adult possession and use of cannabis.
Broader legislation that sought to legalize the possession of marijuana by adults and regulate its commercial production and sale passed the House, but stalled in the Senate Finance Committee because the Chair failed to call the bill for a vote. Nonetheless, the Governor has announced that she will add the issue to the agenda of the 2020 legislative session.
Juneau, AK: Lawmakers and regulators have signed off on provisions explicitly permitting adults to consume cannabis at specially licensed retailers.
Under the new rules, which take effect April 11, licensed cannabis retailers may apply with state regulators for an additional "on-site consumption endorsement." Local governments may challenge the applications in certain instances, or initiate a municipal vote to limit on-site activities.
The soonest regulators could begin approving the new licenses is this summer.
While some local municipalities -- such as Denver, Colorado and West Hollywood, California -- already regulate on-site consumption sites, Alaska is the first adult use jurisdiction to establish such regulations statewide.
Oklahoma: Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Regulatory Measure
Oklahoma City, OK: Republican Gov. Ken Stitt has signed legislation, HB 2612, clarifying regulations and patient protections specific to the medical use of cannabis. A majority of voters last June approved a statewide initiative authorizing the plant's use, cultivation, and dispensing.
The new legislation codifies the regulatory bureau, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, within the State Department of Health, establishes a registry for qualified patients and their caregivers, and establishes a revolving fund to address oversight matters.
It strengthens patient protections by explicitly stipulating that registered cannabis consumers may not be denied public assistance, access to firearms, or employment solely based upon their patient status. It further states, "No employer may refuse to hire, discipline, discharge or otherwise penalize an applicant or employee solely on the basis of a positive test for marijuana components or metabolites."
The bill seeks to facilitate standards for banks who wish to partner with medical cannabis businesses, and prohibits local governments from enacting "guidelines which restrict or interfere with the rights of a licensed patient or caregiver to possess, purchase, cultivate or transport medical marijuana."
Members of the House voted 93 to 5 in favor of the legislation. Senate members voted in favor of the bill by a margin of 43 to 5. The new law takes effect 90 days following the adjournment of the 2019 legislative session.
An estimated 55,000 Oklahomans are registered with the state to access medical cannabis.
Florida: Medical Cannabis Smoking Ban Repealed
Tallahassee, FL: Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed legislation, Senate Bill 182, repealing the state's blanket ban on the inhalation of herbal forms of medical cannabis. Upon taking office, Gov. DeSantis demanded lawmakers rescind the ban, which he said was contrary to the provisions of the 2016 voter-initiated medical cannabis access law.
The new law took immediate effect.
Under the law, qualified patients are permitted to possess up to four ounces of herbal cannabis if a recommending physician opines "that the benefits of smoking marijuana for medical use outweigh the risks for the qualified patient.
Lawmakers had previously banned the act of smoking medical cannabis or possessing herbal cannabis flowers, except in instances where they are contained "in a sealed, tamper-proof receptacle for vaping" in 2017.
NORML has long argued against limitations on the inhalation of herbal cannabis, opining that inhalation provides patients with the ability to self-titrate their dose and is associated with the rapid and consistent onset of drug effect.
Minnesota: Attorney For State's Largest County To No Longer Criminally Prosecute Marijuana Possession Offenses
Minneapolis, MN: Minor marijuana possession offenders will no longer be criminally prosecuted in Hennepin County, Minnesota, according to a new policy announced last week by County Attorney Mike Freeman. An estimated 1.2 million people live in the county, which includes the city of Minneapolis.
Under the policy, prosecutors will not criminally charge anyone for marijuana offenses involving the possession of up to 100 grams of cannabis. Rather, defendants will be ordered to complete a diversion program or partake in community service. Under state law, marijuana possession offenses involving over 42.5 grams are classified as felony offenses – punishable by up to a five-year prison term and a $10,000 fine.
Under special circumstances, such as if the defendant possessed a firearm or is a habitual offender, prosecutors may still file criminal charges.
Freeman said the policy change was necessary because he believes that the state law is overly punitive and produces racial disparities in incarceration rates. "My job is to determine if people are charged and how to spend my resources," Freeman said. "Spending resources on these cases is just wrong."
The County Attorney for Ramsey County (population 500,000), which includes the city of St. Paul, enacted a similar policy earlier this year.
Similar actions have been taken in recent months by prosecutors in Baltimore, MD, St. Louis, MO, Philadelphia, PA, and Norfolk, VA, among other metropolitan areas.
New Mexico: Lawmakers Expand Protections For Medical Cannabis Patients
Albuquerque, NM: Lawmakers have approved a pair of bills amending the state's medical cannabis program to expand patients' access to the plant and to provide additional legal protections.
Senate Bill 406 expands the pool of patients eligible for cannabis therapy to include those diagnosed with post-traumatic stress, severe chronic pain, Crohn's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease, sleep apnea, and neuropathy, among other newly specified conditions. It also enacts explicit legal protections prohibiting employers, social service workers, and hospitals from arbitrarily discriminating against patients solely for their medical cannabis status and/or for their failure to pass a drug test. The measure prohibits regulators from placing limits on the percentage of THC or other cannabinoids in therapeutic products and it establishes reciprocity with other states' medical cannabis programs.
Separate legislation, Senate Bill 204 establishes regulations and procedures for the storage and administration of certain medical cannabis products to students in school settings.
The bills mark the first significant amendments to the state's medical cannabis law, which had been opposed by previous Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.
The measures await action from Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.