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Louisiana Governor Says Cannabis Legalization ‘Is Going To Happen’

Louisiana Governor Says Cannabis Legalization ‘Is Going To Happen’

Louisiana cannabis legalization is coming according to the governor

Just a day after a bill to legalize marijuana in Louisiana stalled in the state legislature, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said on his live radio program Wednesday that cannabis legalization “is going to happen in Louisiana eventually.”

“In the past, as a legislator and as governor, I’ve been opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana,” the governor said on the monthly program, Ask the Governor. “I will tell you, I have come to believe that it is going to happen in Louisiana eventually.”

Edwards stressed that while he isn’t yet endorsing legalization—he declined to take a position on pending legislation in the House—he wants to “make sure that we do it right.”

“I suspect you’re going to see a lot of interest and studying the other states and making sure that we have a clear path forward,” he said. “One of the things that I’ve always said is that before we do it here, we need to make sure we study and learn all the lessons to be learned.”

“I think there’s a growing number of people who are sort of where I am,” the governor continued, “not quite comfortable yet but understanding that we’re likely to get there.”

Last month, in a pivot from his years of quickly dismissing questions about legalization, Edwards said that he had “great interest” in a marijuana bill that had advanced out of a House committee just hours earlier. That proposal, however, hit a speed bump on Tuesday after the full House of Representatives rejected a complementary tax measure.

Despite the setback for legalization broadly, numerous other cannabis-related bills have been advancing in the conservative state this session. The House last week approved legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, which is now awaiting Senate consideration.

A separate House-passed measure that is also before the Senate would give the state’s existing medical marijuana patients access to cannabis flower and permit them to lawfully smoke it. Currently patients are able to vaporize cannabis preparations via a “metered-dose inhaler,” but they cannot purchase whole-plant flower and smoking is not allowed.

Edwards proactively brought up both of those measure in the radio appearance on Wednesday, suggesting he is closely tracking them and is potentially open to signing the proposals if they reach his desk this session.

DEA may allow companies to grow cannabis for scientific research

DEA may allow companies to grow cannabis for scientific research

DEA cannabis may be getting better for scientists

After years of delay under the Trump administration, the federal government is preparing to award the first new licenses for cultivating cannabis for scientific research, giving U.S. marijuana operators a crack at entering a business that has been dominated by the University of Mississippi for more than 50 years.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration late last week signaled it would award the licenses soon by issuing a “Memorandum of Agreement” (MOA) to “a number” of organizations that applied for the opportunity, according to an agency news release. The move will allow greater research into marijuana and its potential medicinal properties. That, in turn, could spur more doctors to recommend medical cannabis, which likely would boost sales.

“We expect to receive our registration number this afternoon,” said Dr. Steven Groff, founder of Groff North America in Red Lion, Pennsylvania, one of three entities that on Friday received an MOA from the DEA.

The recipients are supposed to review the MOAs and return them to the DEA with comments or suggestions. Groff already returned its MOA, and two other recipients told MJBizDaily they’d return their paperwork in the coming days or weeks.

Besides Groff, at least two other organizations confirmed they’d received an MOA:

  • Scottsdale Research Institute in Arizona.
  • Biopharmaceutical Research Co. (BRC) in Castroville, California.

A DEA spokesperson declined to answer if any other MOAs were issued. It’s also unclear when, or if, the DEA intends to issue more MOAs.

“This has the potential to create a renaissance of cannabis research for decades,” Dr. Sue Sisley, president of the Scottsdale Research Institute, said in a phone interview. Sisley, a longtime cannabis advocate, has been studying marijuana’s potential therapeutic benefits.

George Hodgin, the CEO of BRC, echoed Sisley, saying in a phone interview: “This is a massive regulatory step.”

Currently, the University of Mississippi, or Ole Miss, is the only institution in the United States with DEA permission to cultivate cannabis for federally approved research, having been awarded its license in 1968.

Critics complain that the cannabis grown there doesn’t reflect what’s being sold in the marketplace today.

To expand the number of entities with federal licenses for cultivating marijuana for research, the Obama administration announced an application process in its final year. Nearly 30 businesses, research institutes, universities and other entities applied.

Alabama governor signs medical marijuana legislation

Alabama governor signs medical marijuana legislation

Alabama medical marijuana signed by Governor

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed medical marijuana legislation Monday as conservative opposition to the issue gradually faded after decades of debate.

The program will allow people with one of 16 qualifying medical conditions, including cancer, a terminal illness and depression, to purchase medical marijuana with the recommendation of a doctor. The approval came eight years after a medical marijuana bill in 2013 won that year’s so-called “Shroud Award” for the “deadest” bill of the year in the House of Representatives.

 

Ivey called signing the bill an “important first step” and thanked the sponsors, of the bill for their work. While the bill takes effect immediately, the bill sponsor estimated it will be about 15 months or so before medical marijuana is available in the state.

“This is certainly a sensitive and emotional issue and something that is continually being studied. On the state level, we have had a study group that has looked closely at this issue, and I am interested in the potential good medical cannabis can have for those with chronic illnesses or what it can do to improve the quality of life of those in their final days,” Ivey said.

The bill was sponsored by Republican Sen. Tim Melson, an anesthesiologist. It was handled in the House of Representatives by Republican Rep. Mike Ball, a former state trooper and state investigator. The approval came after a number of lawmakers shared stories of loved ones and their illnesses.

“Hopefully, we are going to help some people,” Melson said Monday night.

Melson said for people who have tried other treatments without success, that people will have “another option to treat themselves and get some relief.” The state Senate approved the bill in February by a 21-8 vote after just 15 minutes of debate. But the House of Representatives had traditionally been more skeptical of medical marijuana proposals and sent the bill through two committees before approving it 68-34.

The bill would allow the marijuana in forms such as pills, skin patches and creams but not in smoking or vaping products.

The program authorizes use of medical marijuana to treat for conditions including cancer-related nausea or vomiting, or chronic pain; Crohn’s disease; depression; epilepsy, HIV/AIDS-related nausea or weight loss; panic disorder, Parkinson’s disease; persistent nausea; post-traumatic stress disorder; sickle cell anemia; spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and Tourette’s syndrome.

Representatives voted to name the bill after the son of a state Democratic representative, Laura Hall. She had first introduced a medical marijuana bill over a decade ago after her son Wesley ‘Ato’ Hall had died of AIDS.

Ball, who shepherded the bill through the House, said last week that “hearts and minds” were slowly changed on the issue.

“I think we just educated them as much as anything. This wasn’t done on emotion. This was done on science,” Melson said.

Republicans Push for Federal Legalization of Marijuana

Republicans Push for Federal Legalization of Marijuana

Republicans in the senate have introduced a federal legalization bill for cannabis.

Republican lawmakers introduced legislation this week that would federally legalize and regulate marijuana, saying the proposal was necessary to ensure “individual liberty” and protect states’ rights.

Representative Dave Joyce, a Ohio Republican, introduced the proposed legislation to end the longstanding federal prohibition of marijuana along with Representative Don Young, an Alaska Republican.

The bill would remove cannabis from the Federal Controlled Substances list; instruct the government to create a regulatory framework for marijuana similar to the alcohol industry; allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to prescribe medical cannabis; and protect financial institutions dealing with marijuana distributors and growers.

“For too long, the federal government’s outdated cannabis policies have stood in the way of both individual liberty and a state’s 10th Amendment rights. It is long past time that these archaic laws are updated for the 21st Century,” Young said in a Wednesday statement.

The Republican congressman noted that he is “proud” to represent a state that has already legalized and regulated marijuana.

“This bill takes significant steps to modernize our laws by removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and allowing the VA to prescribe medical cannabis to veterans, in addition to finally permitting state-legal cannabis businesses to utilize traditional financial services,” he said.

Joyce released a similar statement, explaining the importance of his proposed legislation.

“With more than 40 States taking action on this issue, it’s past time for Congress to recognize that continued cannabis prohibition is neither tenable nor the will of the American electorate,” the GOP lawmaker said. Joyce said he looks forward to working with Democrats and Republicans to pass the bill.

Feds Announce New Standard THC Dose for Cannabis Research

Feds Announce New Standard THC Dose for Cannabis Research

cannabis research by the government

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) announced on Friday it was setting the new standard THC dose for cannabis research at five milligrams, Marijuana Moment reports. The requirement took effect immediately.

Inconsistency in the measurement and reporting of THC exposure has been a major limitation in studies of cannabis use, making it difficult to compare findings among studies. A standardized measure of THC in cannabis products is necessary to advance research by providing greater comparability across studies of both its adverse effects and potential medical uses. — NIDA Notice of Information excerpt

NIDA said the five-milligram standard unit was selected following extensive stakeholder input, expert consultation, and a request for information from the general public.

In its notice, NIDA recognized that “the same quantity of THC may have different effects” depending on a number of variables, including the method of administration, other ingredients in the product, an individual’s genetic make-up and tolerance levels, and more. Additionally, the notice clarified that the newly standardized THC unit does not limit the quantity of THC permissible in cannabis research, only the way in which investigators must record and report their work.

While cannabis remains a Schedule 1 substance under federal law, research efforts are difficult but not completely blocked: a 20-year study by the University of Minnesota recently revealed that long-term cannabis use has little to no effects on cognitive abilities, while another recent study found cannabis use to be associated with increased rates of exercise and physical activity.

Ann Arbor dispensary to open Michigan’s first cannabis consumption lounge

Ann Arbor dispensary to open Michigan’s first cannabis consumption lounge

Michigan cannabis consumption lounge approved in Ann Arbor
An Ann Arbor dispensary is venturing into recreational cannabis’ next frontier: consumption lounges.

According to WXYZ 7 Action News, Holistic Industries, which operates Liberty Provisioning Center, have announced plans to open a cannabis consumption lounge adjacent to the dispensary at 338 S. Ashley Street.

“We’re thrilled to bring Michigan’s first cannabis consumption lounge to Ann Arbor and create a one-of-a-kind experience for the many people in Ann Arbor who agree that life is better with cannabis,” a spokesperson shared with WXYZ. “By providing a safe, designated space for consumption, we are helping remove some of the potential roadblocks cannabis patients and customers face after they purchase products and want to consume them.”

Liberty Provisioning Center opened last summer and services recreational clients and medical marijuana patients. Despite 2018’s legalization of recreational weed in Michigan, neighboring businesses are concerned that a consumption lounge — which is exactly as it sounds like: a commercial space where adults are legally allowed to consume cannabis on-site — could pose a threat to the community.

Sherry Doughty, who operates a Montessori school just a few hundred feet from the proposed site of the consumption lounge, is among those community members who remain skeptical.

“We don’t want them using the playground as a place to party,” Doughty told WXYZ. “If people will be milling around outdoors and if that will impact our staff and our children.” A local therapist who operates his business out of a house close to the dispensary and the yet-to-open lounge is also wary even though he supports legal cannabis.

“I don’t want a bunch of potheads walking around acting like a bunch of fools, would you?” Ken Land said. “If they get out of line, I’ll get crabby. But if they don’t, live and let live.”

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