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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
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- Tue, 27 Nov 2018 04:20:21 PST

US Senate: Leading Marijuana Prohibitionist Out As Judiciary Committee Chair

Washington, DC: One of the US Senate's leading marijuana prohibitionists, Iowa Republican Charles Grassley, will not be heading the Judiciary Committee in the 116th Congress.

Representative Grassley announced on Friday that he is stepping down as leader of the Committee. As Chair, Grassley refused to hold any hearings or votes on marijuana-related legislation, including bipartisan legislative efforts like the STATES Act. Virtually all Senate legislation specific to marijuana policy must pass through the Judiciary Committee.

Representative Grassley received a D- grade on NORML's 2018 Congressional Scorecard.

Next in line to Chair the Committee is Republican Lindsay Graham (R-SC), who received a C grade from NORML.

Representative Grassley's decision to step down follows the retirement of House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and the failed re-election bid of House Rules Chair Pete Sessions (R-TX) – both of whom also used their leadership powers to stifle any legislative debate on marijuana policy.

New York: Cuomo Administration To Back Adult Use Marijuana Bill

Albany, NY: A spokesperson for Gov. Andrew Cuomo says that creating a framework for legalizing adult marijuana use is among the administration's 2019 legislative priorities.

"The goal of this administration is to create a model program for regulated adult-use marijuana – and we determined the best way to do that was to ensure our final proposal captures the views of everyday New Yorkers," said Tyrone Stevens, a spokesperson for the Governor. "Now that the listening sessions have concluded, the working group has begun accessing and reviewing the feedback we received and we expect to introduce a formal comprehensive proposal during the 2019 legislative session."

In July, a Health Department study commissioned by the Governor's office recommended legalizing adult marijuana use and commerce. It concluded: "A regulated marijuana program enjoys broad support and would have significant health, social justice, and economic benefits. … Regulating marijuana enables public health officials to minimize the potential risks of marijuana use through outreach, education, quantity limits at point of sale, quality control, and consumer protection. The positive effects of a regulated marijuana market in New York State outweigh the potential negative impacts."

Oregon: Taxes From Retail Marijuana Sales Exceed Initial Projections

Salem, OR: Tax revenue in Oregon from the sales of retail cannabis products is exceeding initial projections, according to an economic analysis published by state officials.

For the period beginning January 1, 2017, "tax collections have come in seven percent higher than expected," the report finds. Authors add, "Since Oregon levies its recreational marijuana tax based on the price of the product, the fact that actual tax collections have exceeded expectations is all the more impressive given the ongoing drop in prices."

The average wholesale price per gram for marijuana in Oregon has fallen from approximately $4 per gram in the beginning of 2017 to roughly $2 per gram today.

"Long-term the real economic impact from recreational marijuana will come … from higher value-added products like oils, creams, and edibles, in addition to niche, specialty strains," it concludes. "These developments … would be quite similar to the emergence and growth of craft beer in recent decades."

Marijuana sales over the past two years have yielded over $152 million in new tax revenue.

Study: Cannabis Use Doesn't Negatively Impact Organ Transplants

Loma Linda, CA: A history of cannabis use is not associated with an increased likelihood of adverse outcomes among either those donating or receiving kidney organ transplants, according to data published in the Clinical Kidney Journal.

A team of California researchers assessed whether cannabis use detrimentally impacts the health of those undergoing kidney transplants. Hospital staff in several states, as a matter of policy, refuse to accept organ transplants from donors with a history of cannabis use, and also refuse to permit those who use cannabis to be placed on waiting lists for transplants.

Authors concluded: "There is no difference in renal function between MUD (marijuana using donors) and NMUD (non-MUDS) groups following kidney donation. In addition, there is no difference between MKR (marijuana kidney recipients) and NMKR (non-MKR) groups following transplant. … [I]t is hoped that the results of this study may encourage open dialog, and ultimately increase the kidney donor pool."

Separate studies have previously reported that marijuana use is not contraindicated in patients receiving either kidney transplants or liver transplants.

Legislation enacted in two states, California and Maine, explicitly prohibits patients with a history of cannabis use from being denied organ transplants. Similar legislation was vetoed in New Mexico by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

Full text of the study, "Should donors who have used marijuana be considered candidates for living kidney donation?", appears in Clinical Kidney Journal.

Study: Medical Cannabis Associated With Reduced Opioid Use Among Patients With Lower Back Pain

Jerusalem, Israel: Fibromyalgia (FM) patients suffering from lower back pain respond favorably to medical cannabis treatment, according to clinical data published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology.

Israeli researchers assessed the analgesic efficacy of both opioids and medical cannabis in 31 FM patients with lower back pain. Participants were treated with inhaled cannabis of relatively low THC potency (less than five percent) for a minimum of six months.

Patients reported greater pain improvement with medical cannabis as opposed to the use of opioids alone. Patients demonstrated increased range of motion following cannabis treatment, but did not show any similar improvement with opioids. While undergoing cannabis treatment, the majority of patients elected to "decrease or discontinue pharmaceutical analgesic consumption" – a finding that is consistent with those of several other studies.

Authors concluded: "This observational cross-over study demonstrates an advantage of MCT (medical cannabis treatment) in FM patients with LBP (lower back pain) as compared with SAT (standard analgesic therapy). Further studies randomized clinical trials should assess whether these results can be generalized to the FM population at large."

Full text of the study, "Effect of adding medical cannabis treatment to analgesic treatment in patients with low back pain related to fibromyalgia: An observational cross-over single center study," appears in Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology.

Case Reports: Cannabis Extracts Improve Painful Skin Condition

Groningen, The Netherlands: The oral administration of cannabis extracts containing THC and CBD is associated with pain reduction in patients suffering from the skin disease epidermolysis bullosa (EB), according to three case reports published in The British Journal of Dermatology. Epidermolysis bullosa is a rare genetic condition that results in blistering skin.

Dutch researchers assessed the use of cannabis extracts in three patients with EB. All three patients reported "improved pain scores, reduced pruritus and reduction in overall analgesic drug intake."

They concluded that the findings "warrant further investigations of CBMs (cannabis-based medicines) in controlled study settings in order to objectify the reported pain changes observed in these cases, and close the gap between current treatment standards and patient needs."

Earlier this year, US investigators reported that the topical administration of CBD in three patients with EB was associated with a "reduction in pain and blistering," "rapid wound healing," and "the objective need for less analgesic [medicines]."

Full text of the study, "Combined THC and CBD to treat pain in epidermolysis bullosa: A report of three cases," appears in The British Journal of Dermatology.

Canada: Police Report No Change In Drugged Driving Behavior Following Marijuana Legalization

Toronto, Canada: Canadian police agencies have not reported an uptick in incidences of marijuana-impaired driving in the initial weeks following its legalization, according to an analysis by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Legislation legalizing marijuana use and retail sales took effect on October 17.

Police agencies in numerous cities and provinces – including Manitoba, Newfoundland, Regina, and Vancouver – failed to report any initial spikes in motorists driving under the influence of cannabis, the report found.

In the United States, peer-reviewed studies show that legal cannabis jurisdictions have not experienced any significant rise in motor-vehicle crashes or fatalities as compared to states where marijuana use remains criminally prohibited.

NORML's fact-sheet, "Marijuana and Psychomotor Performance," is available online.

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