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

Washington: Lawmakers Pass Legislation Facilitating Expungement Of Past Marijuana Convictions

Olympia, WA: Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee has signed legislation, Senate Bill 5605, facilitating the expungement of past low-level marijuana convictions.

The measure states: "Every person convicted of a misdemeanor marijuana offenses, who was 21 years of age or older at the time of the offense, may apply to the sentencing court for a vacation of the applicant's record of conviction for the offense. ... If an applicant qualifies under this subsection, the court shall vacate the record of conviction."

Governor Inslee said: "This is a matter of fairness and justice. We should not be punishing people for something that is no longer illegal in this state."

The new law takes effect on July 27, 2019.

Review: Cannabis Retailers Not Linked To Elevated Crime Rates, Teen Use

Seattle, WA: The establishment of licensed cannabis retailers is not associated with negative impacts on local crime rates, adolescent use, or home values, according to a literature review published [by a company that received funding from a John Doe Defendant in our federal lawsuit @RussellRope who had a NDNC contract attached to the business plan the investors read].

Researchers at the website, in partnership with the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies at Humboldt State University, identified 42 papers specific to the community impact of cannabis storefronts.

They reported: "Crime near licensed dispensaries has generally stayed flat or decreased, teen cannabis use in legal states has fallen since legalization, and property values near cannabis outlets generally are not affected or, in some cases, experience a greater value increase than comparable properties not near a cannabis outlet. ... Despite the fears of those who want to ban cannabis stores, the published research finds that legal retailers are safe, responsible neighbors."

Authors acknowledged that false claims surrounding dispensaries continue to persist despite ample evidence to the contrary. The prevalence of such claims has led to local bans on the establishment of licensed retail facilities in many states. Specifically, in California, 75 percent of localities impose bans on the establishment of cannabis storefronts, while 65 percent of cities and counties in Colorado impose similar prohibitions.

Full text of the study, "Special Report: Debunking Dispensary Myths," appears online. Additional information is available from the NORML fact-sheet, "Societal Impacts of Cannabis Dispensaries/Retailers."

Arkansas: Licensed Medical Cannabis Sales Begin

Little Rock, AR: Qualified patients now have limited access to medical cannabis products, after the state's first licensed dispensaries began making sales this week. Voters initially approved medical cannabis access by passing a statewide initiative in November 2016.

Under the law, qualified patients may obtain both herbal preparations of cannabis and infused cannabis products from state-licensed dispensaries. Products must be derived from plants harvested by one of five state-licensed cultivators. To date, only one cultivator is operational. Two additional cultivators are expecting to harvest their initial crops this summer.

Nearly 12,000 patients are licensed in the state to participate in the medical cannabis access program.

Arkansas is one of 33 states that legally permits medical cannabis access.

Saint Kitts: Court Upholds Right To Consume Marijuana In Private

Basseterre, St. Kitts: Adults in the Caribbean island nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis (population: 55,000) may legally consume cannabis in private, according to a ruling from the nation's highest court.

The court determined that provisions outlawing the blanket use and possession of cannabis infringed upon citizen's constitutional freedoms. The ruling does not negate existing laws outlawing the trafficking or sale of cannabis.

The nation's Attorney General now has 90 days to comport island law with the court's order.

Last year, justices in South Africa issued a similar verdict upholding that the adult consumption of cannabis in private is constitutionally protected behavior.

New Hampshire: Lawmakers Advance Legislation Permitting Patients Home Cultivation Option

Concord, NH: Members of the House and Senate have approved versions of House Bill 364, which allows qualified patients the option to grow marijuana at home. The Governor has not publicly commented on the bill, but has previously spoken out against broader legalization efforts.

The measure permits registered patients (or their designated caregivers) to cultivate up to three mature plants in a private location that it not subject to public view.

An estimated 6,500 patients are authorized with the state to access medical cannabis via one of the state's four operational dispensaries. In 2018, lawmakers passed legislation to raise the cap on the total number of dispensaries statewide.

NORML has long opined that patients ought to have the legal option grow their own cannabis as an alternative to purchasing it from licensed commercial producers.

New Jersey: Lawmakers Expected To Place Legalization Question Before Voters

Trenton, NJ: Senate President indicated this week that lawmakers will likely let voters decide in 2020 on whether to legalize the adult use of marijuana.

Senator Sweeney acknowledged on Wednesday that lawmakers are at an impasse regarding pending legislation to tax and regulate the adult use marijuana market. As a result, he says that they will likely place an initiative question before voters next November.

Assembly and Senate lawmakers were initially expected to decide on the issue in March. However, plans for a Senate floor vote were pulled after it became apparent that the measure lacked majority support in the legislature's upper house.

Lawmakers are still anticipated to move forward with votes later this year on legislative efforts to greatly expand the state's medical cannabis access program and to facilitate the expungement of past, low-level cannabis convictions.

According to a February poll conducted by Monmouth University, 62 percent of New Jerseyans believe that the possession and use of marijuana should be legal, and 74 percent support the expungement of past marijuana convictions.

Study: THC Enhances Analgesic Effects Of Opioids In Animal Model

La Jolla, CA: The administration of THC enhances the analgesic effects of oxycodone, according to preclinical data published in the journal Neuropharmacology.

A team of investigators at The Scripps Research Institute in California assessed the efficacy of THC and oxycodone in a group of female and male rats. Researchers reported that the co-administration of both substances produced greater pain-relieving effects than the administration of either substance alone.

They concluded, "Together these data demonstrate the additive effects of THC and oxycodone and suggest the potential use of THC to enhance therapeutic efficacy, and to reduce the abuse, of opioids."

Clinical data published last year by Columbia University researchers similarly reported that the co-administration of inhaled cannabis and sub-therapeutic doses of oxycodone produces enhanced analgesic effects in human subjects. Authors stated that the results highlighted "the opioid-sparing effects of cannabis."

In jurisdictions where marijuana is legally available, patients frequently acknowledge reducing their use of conventional medications, specifically opioids and benzodiazepines, after initiating cannabis therapy.

Full text of the study, "Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol attenuates oxycodone self-administration under extended access conditions," appears in Neuropharmacology. Additional information is provided in the NORML fact-sheet, "Relationship Between Marijuana and Opioids."

New York City: Municipal Legislation Enacted To Limit Drug Testing For Cannabis As A Condition Of Employment, Probation

New York City, NY: Lawmakers have successfully passed a pair of municipal bills limiting situations where those seeking employment or on probation may be drug tested for past cannabis exposure.

Democratic Mayor Bill DeBlasio permitted both bills to become law absent his signature.

Bill No. 1427 states, "The department of probation shall not require individuals to submit to marijuana testing unless a determination is made, based on an individuals' history and circumstances, that abstinence from marijuana is necessary to otherwise lead an otherwise law-abiding life." The new law takes immediate effect.

Bill No. 1445 states, "[I]t shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer, labor organization, employment agency, or agent thereof to require a prospective employee to submit to testing for the presence of any tetrahydrocannabinols or marijuana in such prospective employee's system as a condition of employment." Exceptions to the new law include those employees seeking certain safety sensitive positions -- such as police officers or commercial drivers -- or those positions regulated by federal drug testing guidelines. The law takes effect in one year.

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