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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
media :: news
- Wed, 10 Oct 2018 04:20:21 PST

DEA Reclassifies Plant-Derived Marijuana Medicine To Schedule V

Washington, DC: The US Drug Enforcement Administration has classified Epidiolex, a prescription medicine containing a standardized formulation of plant-derived cannabidiol (CBD), as a Schedule V controlled substance - the lowest restriction classification available under federal law.

The US Food and Drug Administration previously approved the product in June explicitly for the treatment of two rare forms of severe epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. It is the first botanically-derived medicine from cannabis to receive US market approval.

A spokesperson for the DEA affirmed that the change is only specific to Epidiolex, and does not amend the schedule I status of either whole-plant cannabis or CBD - stating: "As of right now, any other CBD product other than Epidiolex remains a Schedule I Controlled Substance, so it's still illegal under federal law."

The drug's manufacturer estimates that physicians will be able to begin prescribing the medicine within six weeks. An annual prescription is anticipated to cost patients $32,500.

Schedule V substances, as defined by the US Controlled Substances Act, are medicines deemed to possess a "low potential for abuse," and are associated with "limited physical dependence or psychological dependence."

Study: Adjunctive Cannabis Use Improves Treatment Retention In Opioid-Dependent Subjects

St. Louis, MO: The intermittent use of cannabis can play a positive role in opioid-dependent subjects undergoing treatment, according to a review published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis assessed data evaluating the relationship between the use of cannabis and opioids.

They reported, "Adjunct cannabis use alongside current treatment strategies could help to improve the number of individuals engaging in OUD (opioid use disorder) treatment, as well as increase treatment retention rates."

Specifically, authors acknowledged that the use of CBD is associated with reduced opioids cravings and relapse, and that cannabis acts synergistically with opioids to provide analgesic benefit at sub-therapeutic doses. Authors also suggested that "cannabis may be an efficacious tool" in the treatment of symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal.

They concluded: "The opioid overdose epidemic is arguably the worst public health crisis in U.S. history. ... A continental crisis of this magnitude warrants the immediate implementation of novel strategies that prevent opioid misuse, overdose, and death. Growing pre-clinical and clinical evidence appears to support the use of cannabis for these purposes. The evidence summarized in this article demonstrates the potential cannabis has to ease opioid withdrawal symptoms, reduce opioid consumption, ameliorate opioid cravings, prevent opioid relapse, improve OUD treatment retention, and reduce overdose deaths."

Separate clinical data published online last week in the journal Addiction reported that daily cannabis users undergoing therapy for opioid dependence are far more likely to complete their treatment regimen than are non-users

Full text of the study, "Emerging evidence for cannabis' role in opioid use disorder," appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. NORML's fact-sheet, "Relationship between marijuana and opioids," is online.

California: Governor Signs Legislation Expunging Past Marijuana Convictions

Sacramento, CA: Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation, Assembly Bill 1793, facilitating the automatic review and expungement of hundreds of thousands of past marijuana convictions.

The new law requires "the Department of Justice, before July 1, 2019, to review the records in the state summary criminal history information database and to identify past convictions that are potentially eligible for recall or dismissal of sentence, dismissal and sealing, or redesignation pursuant to AUMA (the Adult Use Marijuana Act)." Prosecutors would have up to a year to either vacate the conviction or to reduce it from a felony to a misdemeanor.

An estimated half-million Californians are eligible for relief under the law.

"It's safe to say the number of persons eligible to have their offenses reduced from felonies to misdemeanors is in the hundreds of thousands," said Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML. "Most people should be relieved to no longer have a felony on their record."

Governor Brown also took action on several other marijuana-related bills. Specifically, he vetoed Senate Bill 1127, which permitted certain students to access medicinal cannabis products on school grounds, and Assembly Bill 1996, which authorized the University of California's Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research to cultivate marijuana for clinical trial research. The Governor also vetoed Senate Bill 829, which prohibited cultivation taxes from being imposed on medicinal cannabis designated for donation to indigent patients, and signed into law Senate Bill 1294, which allocates grant funding to assist minority-owned businesses in the cannabis industry.

New Hampshire: Taxing, Regulating Adult Use Cannabis Market Would Yield $58 Million In New Annual Revenue

Concord, NH: Regulating New Hampshire's existing adult use cannabis market would yield as much as $58 million per year in new annual revenue, according to an analysis authored by the state's Department of Revenue.

Analysts' estimates are based upon the application of a 15 percent tax rate on commercial transactions. The Department's report was provided to the state's Commission to Study the Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana - which is preparing to make recommendations to the legislature this November.

Members of the New Hampshire House initially voted in favor of legalization legislation in January by a vote of 207 to 139 before ultimately deciding in favor of appointing an interim study committee in March. Lawmakers decriminalized low-level marijuana possession offenses last year.

Pennsylvania: Lancaster City Council Votes In Favor Of Decriminalization Ordinance

Lancaster, PA: Members of the city council of Lancaster (population 59,000) have voted in favor of a municipal ordinance amending penalties for low-level marijuana offenses.

Under the policy, those within city limits found to be in the possession of either marijuana (up to one ounce) or marijuana paraphernalia will most likely face a summary charge punishable by fines of up to $75.00 and/or community service. Under state law, marijuana possession is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

In recent years, several other Pennsylvania cities - including Erie, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia - have similarly enacted local ordinances decriminalizing local penalties for marijuana violations.

NORML's report summarizing citywide decriminalization ordinances is available online.

Oklahoma City, OK: Council Approves Cite-And-Release Ordinance

Members of the Oklahoma City City Council have passed a citywide ordinance shielding minor marijuana offenders from arrest and jail.

While the policy does not amend the criminal classification of cannabis-related violations under local law, it does change how police interact with low-level offenders. Under the ordinance, which takes effect October 26, police will issue a citation to marijuana possession offenders in lieu of making an arrest and taking them to jail. The new policy also lowers the maximum fines for marijuana possession to $400 and caps the maximum fine for possessing cannabis paraphernalia to $50.00.

Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty proposed the policy change, stating: "What we're trying to do is not put so many people in jail. It's not reasonable anymore and hasn't been for quite some time." Several municipalities - such as Dallas and Houston, Texas - impose similar cite-and-release policies.

Under Oklahoma state law, minor marijuana possession offenses are punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

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