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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
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- Tue, 12 May 2015 04:20:21 PST

Puerto Rico: Governor Moves To Allow For Medical Use Of Marijuana

San Juan, PR: Puerto Rican Gov. Alejandro J. GarcĂ­a Padilla signed an executive order on Sunday to allow for the therapeutic use of cannabis and cannabinoids.

The Health Department now has 90 days to create regulations regarding how the new law will be implemented. Among the regulations to be debated will be whether or not to permit patients to access herbal cannabis. On Wednesday, Justice Department officials told the Associated Press that patients would most likely only have access to non-smoked preparations of cannabis, such as oils or pills.

Stated the Governor in a press release: "We're taking a significant step in the area of health that is fundamental to our development and quality of life. I am sure that many patients will receive appropriate treatment that will offer them new hope."

The Governor acknowledged that several US states have already legalized the plant for therapeutic purposes and that Puerto Rican patients would benefit from a similar change in law.

Congress: House Lawmakers Narrowly Defeat Measure To Allow Veterans Greater Access To Medical Marijuana

Washington, DC: Members of the US House of Representatives narrowly defeated a proposed amendment that sought to allow veterans greater access to cannabis therapy.

House members rejected the amendment by a vote of 210 to 213. One hundred and seventy-five Democrats voted for the measure, while eight voted against it. Thirty-five Republicans voted for the amendment, while 205 voted against it.

A similar measure was defeated in 2014 by a vote of 195 to 222.

The bipartisan amendment, introduced by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Joe Heck (R-NV), would have permitted physicians affiliated with the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to recommend cannabis therapy to veterans in states that allow for its therapeutic use. Under current federal law, VA doctors are not permitted to fill out written documentation forms authorizing their patients to participate in state-sanctioned medical cannabis programs.

Stand-alone legislation (HR 667) to permit VA physicians to recommend cannabis therapy is pending in the US House of Representatives, Committee on Veterans Affairs: Health Subcommittee. A similar provision is also included in Senate Bill 683/HR 1538, The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act.

Study: Baby Boomers Perceive Cannabis As Safer Substitute For Alcohol, Prescription Drugs

San Francisco, CA: Many baby boomers who use cannabis perceive the plant to be a safe substitute for prescription drugs and alcohol, according to survey data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review.

Investigators at the Institute for Scientific Analysis in San Francisco surveyed 97 current marijuana users in regard to their cannabis use histories. All of those included in the survey were born between the years 1946 and 1964.

Researchers reported: "Participants considered cannabis a safer alternative for alcohol, illicit drugs and pharmaceuticals because it had more manageable or less adverse side effects. Only ten percent of interviewees reported they experienced physical or mental health problems attributed to cannabis use. Many expressed pride in maintaining self-control with cannabis, characterized by normal social functioning and use regulation."

They concluded: "Participants' experiences suggest cannabis substitution can be an effective harm reduction method for those unable or unwilling to stop using drugs completely. ... These findings should be part of the discussion when formulating patient-centered, evidence-based treatment programs."

A previous study published in 2012 in the journal Addiction Research and Theory determined that three quarters of medical cannabis consumers report using it as a substitute for prescription drugs, alcohol, or some other illicit substance.

Full text of the study, "A safer alternative: Cannabis substitution as harm reduction," appears in Drug and Alcohol Review.

Congress: House Members Re-Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Prevent Federal Prosecutions Of State-Compliant Marijuana Activities

Washington, DC: California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, along with five other Republicans and six Democrats, has reintroduced legislation to prevent the federal government from criminally prosecuting individuals and/or businesses who engage in state-sanctioned activities specific to marijuana.

HR 1094 states, "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of this subchapter related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana."

Representative Rohrabacher sponsored a budgetary amendment last year to limit federal interference in states with marijuana regulation schemes. However, a spokesperson at the Department of Justice recently claimed that the law does not prevent the government sanctioning individuals or businesses in states where marijuana is legal.

"The American people ... have made it clear that federal enforcers should stay out of their personal lives," Rohrabacher said in a statement upon the bill's reintroduction. "It's time for restraint of the federal government's over-aggressive weed warriors."

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