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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
media :: news
- Thu, 02 May 2019 04:20:21 PST

Involvement With Marijuana Grounds For Denying Citizenship

Washington, DC: Those applying for US citizenship may be denied if they have personally used marijuana, or if they have been employed in the cannabis industry -- including in jurisdictions where such activities are legally authorized, according to a newly released guidance memo by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency.

The memo opines that any involvement with marijuana is indicative of a lack of "moral character." Moral character is a prerequisite for people seeking US citizenship.

"[The] violation of federal controlled substance law, including for marijuana, established by a conviction or admission, is generally a bar to establishing GMC (good moral character) for naturalization even where the conduct would not be a violation of state law," the updated language states. "This guidance ... is controlling and supersedes any prior guidance on the topic."

The USCIS is a branch of the US Department of Homeland Security.

Wrote this to USCIS upon discovery of the story above:

"I am infuriated to have published a story on one of my websites that says a memo was issued for denial of citizenship to legal cannabis affiliated immigrants because of good moral character. Who is the moron who wrote that memo and how can I challenge it? I legitimately use cannabis for medical reasons on the regular and have moral superiority over all. My character not only measures up to the standards of average citizens of the communities in which I have resided, but is on another level of goodness. Good moral character is not a fair or legal reason to deny citizenship to legal cannabis affiliated immigration seekers. Whoever wrote that memo has poor moral character and should have their citizenship or freedom revoked. Sincerely a concerned citizen who would rather have honest legal immigrants than people who have to lie to get into our country. @RussellRope"

Illinois: Cook County State's Attorney To Expunge Thousands Of Low-Level Cannabis Convictions

Chicago, IL: Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx has pledged that her office will begin expunging thousands of low-level marijuana convictions in the coming months. Cook County, which includes Chicago, is the second-most populous county in the United States.

Foxx's office is negotiating with the same non-profit group, Code for America, that assisted the San Francisco District Attorney's Office with automatically reviewing and vacating over 8,000 past marijuana-related convictions earlier this year.

Foxx also indicated that her office is reviewing policies regarding whether to suspend criminal prosecutions in cases involving marijuana sales. Under existing policy, the office typically does not prosecute low-level drug possession offenses, but does move forward with other drug-related violations.

Under state law, the possession of more than ten grams of cannabis but less than 30 grams is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. Possessing more than 30 grams is classified as a felony offense, punishable by up to six years in jail.

In recent months, prosecutors in a number of major cities -- including Baltimore, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and St. Louis -- have moved to limit low-level marijuana prosecutions, while officials in a number of other cities and counties, like Brooklyn, Denver, Sacramento, San Diego, and Seattle have moved to vacate former cannabis convictions.

Alabama: Jefferson County Police To Cite, Rather Than Prosecute, Minor Marijuana Violators

Birmingham, AL: A spokesperson for the Jefferson County (population: 658,000) Sheriff's Office on Monday announced that local law enforcement will begin citing, rather than arresting, low-level marijuana offenders.

Under the new policy, police will issue a summons to those who possess personal amounts of marijuana or cannabis-related paraphernalia. Offenders will no longer be arrested or booked. Those cited and released will still have to either pay a fine or appear in court at a later date. Those with prior cannabis violations will still be eligible to receive a summons.

Under state law, marijuana possession is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one-year in jail and a $6,000 fine.

Similar cite and release programs are in place in other cities and counties around the country, including in Palm Beach County, Florida and in Harris County (Houston), Texas.

Additional information is available from NORML's 'Local Decriminalization' report.

New Jersey: Patients Should Not Face Discrimination For Off-The-Job Cannabis Use, Appellate Court Rules

Trenton, NJ: Employers may not discriminate against medical cannabis patients who consume marijuana while away from the job, according to a state Appellate Court decision.

The Appellate Court's decision reverses a lower court opinion.

While the Court opined that employers are not required to accommodate the use of medical cannabis by patients "in any workplace," the justices also acknowledged that the plaintiff's marijuana use, in this case, took place solely during off-work hours. "[T]he Compassionate Use Act's refusal to require an employment accommodation for a user does not mean that the Compassionate Use Act has immunized employers from obligations already imposed elsewhere," the Court determined, explicitly citing New Jersey's laws against discrimination.

The case is Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings LLC.

Courts in a number of other medical cannabis access states, including Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, have recently issued similar rulings affording workplace protections for qualified patients.

Study: Multiple Sclerosis Patients Reduce Their Use Of Opioids, Benzodiazepines Following Initiation Of Cannabis Therapy

Amherst, NY: The use of cannabis is associated with symptom mitigation and the reduced consumption of prescription drugs in patients with multiple sclerosis, according to data published in the journal Neurology.

A team of investigators from the DENT Neurologic Institute in New York performed a retrospective chart review of 77 MS patients undergoing treatment with medical cannabis. The majority of subjects reported reductions in pain, and nearly half reported improvements in spasticity and sleep. "In addition, 34 percent of patients were able to decrease or discontinue other medications, including opioids, stimulants, and benzodiazepines, indicative of symptom improvement."

Authors concluded, "Patients with multiple sclerosis who initiated medical cannabis treatment experienced improved symptomology with good tolerability and were able to decrease or altogether discontinue opioids, stimulants and benzodiazepines."

Their findings are consistent with those of other studies reporting the reduced use of opioids and other prescription drugs following patients' initiation of cannabis therapy.

A marijuana plant-derived oral extract drug, Sativex, is approved for the treatment of MS-related spasticity in a number of countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom.

Full text of the study, "Multiple Sclerosis and use of medical cannabis: A retrospective review evaluating symptom outcomes," appears in Neurology. Additional information is available from the NORML fact-sheet, "Relationship between marijuana and opioids."

Report: CBD Content In Commercial Products Typically Less Than Advertised

Van Nuys, CA: Third-party lab testing of a variety of commercially available CBD products finds that many contain only trace quantities of cannabidiol, according to an analysis first reported by BusinessInsider.com.

Representatives from CannaSafe Laboratories, a California-based analytical testing company, assessed 20 CBD-infused products, including vape cartridges, beverages, edibles, and skin creams. Only three of the 20 products contained levels of CBD matching the percentages advertised on their label.

Authors of the report also identified the presence of ethylene oxide and other potentially harmful solvents in some products.

The results are consistent with those of previous reports -- such as those here, here, here, 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.

For more information, please see the NORML fact-sheet 'FAQs About Cannabidiol.'

North Dakota: Governor Signs Medical Cannabis Expansion Laws

Bismarck, ND: Republican Gov. Doug Burgum has signed legislation amending the state's nascent medical cannabis access program.

House Bill 1283 permits physician assistants to recommend cannabis to qualified patients. House Bill 1417 permits patients with cancer to possess enhanced amounts of cannabis flower (up to six ounces) when explicitly authorized by a recommending health care provider. House Bill 1519 significantly expands the pool of patients eligible for medical cannabis therapy to include those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, migraine, anorexia, and Tourette Syndrome, among other debilitating conditions.

Though approved by voters in November 2016, the state's medical cannabis access program is not yet fully operational. A single dispensary opened in Fargo in March, and additional licensed facilities are anticipated to open later this summer.

Study: Plant-Derived THC/CBD Extracts Reduce Dementia Symptoms

Geneva, Switzerland: The daily administration of plant-derived extracts containing a two-to-one ratio of CBD to THC is associated with a reduction in agitation and behavioral problems in patients with severe dementia, according to clinical data published in the journal Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids.

A team of Swiss investigators assessed the use of cannabis extracts over a two-month period in a group of ten female dementia patients residing in a nursing home facility.

Patients demonstrated reduced levels of agitation, rigidity, and behavioral problems following cannabis treatment. Half of the subjects decreased or ceased their use of other medications.

"An oral cannabis extract with THC/CBD ... was well tolerated and greatly improved behavior problems, rigidity, and daily care in severely demented patients," authors concluded.

In prior clinical trials, the administration of oral synthetic THC capsules (Marinol) is associated with reductions in Alzheimer's-induced agitation.

Full text of the study, "Prescription of a THC/CBD-based medication to patients with dementia: A pilot study in Geneva," appears in Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids.

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