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Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission Sets Timeline for Licensing

Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission Sets Timeline for Licensing

Alabama medical cannabis commission says licenses won't be available until 2022.

An Alabama regulatory commission has plenty to do before people can apply for medical cannabis licenses, so it won’t push for a date that might allow sales next year, a commission official said.

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission had said earlier that it might ask for the date to be moved up. It decided last week not to do so, the Montgomery Advertiser quoted commission Vice Chairman Rex Vaughn as saying.

Before people can apply, the commission has to establish rules and train physicians, Vaughn noted. It also must create a central database to register patients by next September. Registration cards will cost up to $65 a year.

Since would-be growers and distributors cannot apply for licenses before Sept. 1, 2022, the substance probably won’t be available before 2023, supporters of medical marijuana have said.

But Vaughn noted that the legislature would have to change the date, and he said asking it to do so could open the way for those who want to weaken the law.

“We could lose what we’ve got,” he said.

The legislature approved the medical cannabis bill in May after hot debate in the House, which had blocked earlier bills. The commission must decide license applications within 60 days.

“If you start looking at the timelines for what it’s going to take to get rules and regulations approved, and the growth cycle and the 60 days that people have to get in business after they get the license, it starts adding up,” John McMillian, the commission’s executive director, said after the commission’s meeting last week.

Sen. Tim Melson, a Florence Republican and sponsor of a bill to move up the date, said he supported the commission’s decision because he is in favor of a program implemented in a “thoughtful and correct” manner.

Once available, doctors will be able to prescribe cannabis for at least 16 conditions including cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain. Cannabis would be available as tablets, capsules, gummies, lozenges, topical oils, suppositories, patches, and in nebulizers or oil to be vaporized. The law forbids smoking or vaping medical cannabis, or baking it into food.

The law also forbids the recreational use of marijuana.

New York medical cannabis home-grows left in the dust by regulators

New York medical cannabis home-grows left in the dust by regulators

New York medical cannabis home-growers won't be able to grow their own any time soon.
Six months after New York passed its landmark bill legalizing marijuana for adult use and creating a regulatory framework for the cannabis industry overall, the state is violating the law’s deadline for home cannabis cultivation rules.

The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act allows limited home cultivation of medical cannabis. But it also specifies that patients will not enjoy that right until after the Office of Cannabis Management issues regulations governing it, which it was obligated to do “no later than six months after the effective date” of the law. But after a series of delays, staffing of that office is still underway.

That means lawmakers’ intention for the law to allow medical marijuana card holders to begin growing plants this week is on hold indefinitely.

The delay is the latest in a series of stumbles in the medical cannabis program, and they are occurring in spite of the explicit intent of legislators who drafted and championed the new law.

In the months following the law’s passage, patients and doctors also complained that key updates to the program which legislators insisted were meant to apply right away had yet to take effect, including increasing patients’ supply limits to 60 days, permitting physicians to have discretion on the reasons they certify for patients’ cannabis use, and allowing the sale of whole flower.

Dr. Mark Oldendorf, who runs a general practice in Albany and has developed significant expertise on the medical applications of cannabis, is frustrated that he has patients who should have been eligible months ago for medical cannabis certification but have yet to receive the treatment in New York.

“I’ve had quite a few people who I’ve turned away because they wanted it specifically for insomnia, that’s the big need, and it’s not a qualifying condition” at the moment, he said. “So all of those people are headed off to Massachusetts to buy something.”

Oldendorf said this delay has pushed some doctors to search for additional relevant ailments that might tick a box on the state’s outdated online form, in order to get around the restrictive list of conditions a provider must select from.

Cannabis Fear Mongering is Alive and Well

Cannabis Fear Mongering is Alive and Well

The days of reefer madness and the devil’s lettuce are behind us…or are they?

If you don’t follow the politics and history of cannabis prohibition, I don’t blame you. Cannabis is legal in over a dozen states for recreational use, with only four states keeping cannabis and hemp (including CBD) completely illegal.

In other words, the majority of the United States has either legalized or decriminalized cannabis. One would think the industry is on the up and up, and the days of cannabis fear mongering were behind us.

But in a media landscape where fear is the best seller, our trusted news sources just can’t resist pushing a new form of reefer madness for the modern generation.

The Devil’s Lettuce Trope Returns

We are all adults here, and we can admit that burning and inhaling any sort of plant matter isn’t ideal for your lungs. But if the media spoke about the strength of alcohol today compared to the 1920s like they do with cannabis, many people would be scratching their heads wondering why the media is so focused on something people already know.

Yet with cannabis, it would seem the media is very concerned for all of our safety. But for some reason, I find that pretty hard to believe. See the aforementioned example, plus the lack of coverage on the nation’s crippling opioid epidemic.

That should be enough to prove that the media is blatantly cherry picking cannabis. But what are they saying?

Lucky for us, the idea of “Reefer Madness” and cannabis driving you insane after smoking it has been disproven enough times. But that isn’t stopping mainstream media outlets like CNN from trying to find the next best scare.

In the last two weeks, CNN has published two separate articles, alleging that young adult cannabis consumers are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack compared to non-consumers, and that uncontrollable vomiting from cannabis use is on the rise.

WOW! That’s some bad news for us cannabis lovers, we all better quit.

Except of course that it’s not as simple as the headlines love to make it out to be.

Cannabis Fear Clickbait

Let’s start with the first headline: “Young adult cannabis consumers nearly twice as likely to suffer from a heart attack, research shows”.

If you just read that headline you might think, “Wow, I feel like heart attacks are pretty common. If cannabis use doubles the risk, that must mean that it’s pretty dangerous!” Don’t worry, that’s exactly what the article wants you to think.

Now here’s the actual study: Researchers analyzed health data from over 33,000 adults ages 18 to 44 included in US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveys in 2017 and 2018. Of the 17% of adults who reported using cannabis within the previous month, 1.3% later had a heart attack while only 0.8% of non-cannabis users reported the same.

Let’s just break down those numbers. 33,000 people. Only 17% use cannabis. That is 5,610 people. Of those 5,610, 1.3% — yes, 1.3% — had a heart attack. That’s 73 people if you round up. And we will just glance over the small detail that there is zero reference to any sort of preexisting conditions or co-morbidities that could have also played a role in those heart attacks.

It might be starting to sound like cannabis might not really do that much to increase heart attack risk, considering it’s only half a percent more than non-consumers (if you can trust the data). But that’s not even the best part.

Halfway through the fear mongering there’s this juicy snippet; “The study did not research how cannabis affects heart health.”

In other words, the study somehow concluded that cannabis increases your chance of heart attack, without doing any research into how cannabis actually affects heart health. That makes sense, right? Toward the end of this cannabis hit piece we get to the real old-timer fear mongering; “the cannabis of today is more potent than what your dad was smoking”.

Remember when alcohol content in beer rose from 3% in an old school ale to 8% in a modern IPA and the media lost it? Yeah, me neither.

If it’s starting to look like CNN might just be cherrypicking, you’re on the right track.

But Wait! There’s More!

Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome, The OG “Cannabis Illness”

I remember when I was a freshman in college. It was 2013, and I was just starting to dive into the culture and community of cannabis myself. My parents weren’t pro-weed by any means, and I had my fair share of talking to’s before I went to college.

But I always had a hunch that some of the cannabis fears pushed at the time might have been overblown, and I wanted to prove it to my parents. After all, if they had no issue with me drinking in college, they shouldn’t have an issue with cannabis either.

When I started looking for articles about the science and safety behind cannabis that I could send them — which was hard enough to find in 2013 as is — Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) was the first thing I stumbled upon. Uncontrollable vomiting, nausea, dizziness? NO THANKS!

But hold on a second…where’s all the research? Where’s the data? All I could find was a study from 2004 of 19 — yes, 19 — people who came into the ER with the issue.

Want to hear something funny? That’s the same study that CNN decided to cite when talking about the rising occurrences of CHS, in this article, in 2021.

Even better, halfway through the article after you read all the scary stuff, is an actual subheading that says “Research is Spotty“.

No I’m not joking. But for the sake of rubbing it in a little more, let’s dive into this article’s “research”.

From the article: “To do research, scientists looked at medical records for reported cases of repetitive vomiting and compare those to marijuana usage in an area. Wang’s analysis… found over 800,000 cases of reported vomiting in Colorado between 2013 and 2018. That was an approximate 29% increase since marijuana was legalized in the state.”

Wow. That sure is a lot of vomiting! You would think that with so many hundreds of thousands of Coloradans flooding emergency rooms with all their vomiting, doctors would start asking about their cannabis use. Not in this study!

While they mention a single anecdote of one doctor asking about cannabis use when a kid came in vomiting, that’s just what it is; an anecdote.

And that’s it. No more science, no more research. No numbers telling you what percentage of that 800,000 used cannabis, how many had actual uncontrollable vomiting or just normal vomiting and nausea. Oh, and of course we can’t forget that they just had to throw in the, “not your father’s weed” for good measure!

So….Why?

If things are starting to click in your head by now, you’re probably wondering, “Why the hell is a massive, mainstream media outlet like CNN pushing such bullshit stories?” Welcome to the club! We meet once a week.

But in all seriousness, cannabis fear mongering by the media is nothing new (see; the last 80 odd years of cannabis prohibition), and it likely won’t be going away any time soon.

Is there a chance that if we dug into the ad dollars received by CNN, a portion would be coming from pharmaceutical or alcohol companies? Probably. But does that mean that those ad dollars influence what CNN covers on their platform?

YES.

To ignore the fact that there are two massive corporate interests (Big Pharma and Alcohol) currently losing millions of dollars to medical and recreational cannabis (cannabis has nearly passed alcohol in tax revenue already) would be ignorant. We all know what’s going on there.

The reality is that these interests have very deep pockets, and outlets like CNN are always looking to have theirs filled. As long as cannabis remains federally illegal and listed as a Schedule 1 substance with no accepted medical use (Because what even is medical marijuana, right?), we can expect to see these stories continue.

What we can do as a community is combat misinformation from these outlets. Share these stories and blast them. Point out how blatantly wrong, or ignorant, or lazy they are with their research and studies.

This is just one example of the “most trusted name in news” pushing blatant anti-cannabis propaganda. So the real question is, who else is doing it?

New Jersey Cannabis Commission Approves New Grow Site, More Waiting on Approval

New Jersey Cannabis Commission Approves New Grow Site, More Waiting on Approval

New Jersey’s cannabis regulators on Tuesday moved to streamline the licensing of new weed businesses and approved another marijuana grow site — but it did not announce the recipients of some two dozen businesses that have sat in limbo for nearly two years.

The state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission met on Tuesday evening to approve the transfer of an existing medical marijuana license, a new marijuana grow site and a system to help it process applications for new cannabis businesses.

All signal the state is gearing up for legal cannabis sales.

The commission unveiled its initial rules to guide the legal weed industry last month. That set the clock ticking down to launch sales to those 21 and older — according to the law, they must start within six months of the commission adopting its regulations.

But the commission gave no word on the 2019 request for applications to operate new medical marijuana facilities. Some 150 entities saw a review of applications paused in late 2019 due to a lawsuit. But a court ruled earlier this year that the commission could resume its evaluation and award those 24 licenses.

So far, the commission has not issued any of the new licenses. Jeff Brown, the commission’s executive director, has said licenses will come soon, but regulators have not given a date by when they will announce the new licenses.

“It is not lost on us that everyone is eager to get that moving forward, as are we,” Dianna Houenou, the commission’s chair, said during the meeting. She said the commission was working quickly to score them, but emphasized the need to “double” and “triple” check each.

Still, frustration dominated the meeting.

Olympic Anti-Doping Group Will Review Cannabis Ban

Olympic Anti-Doping Group Will Review Cannabis Ban

Olympic anti-doping group with evaluate the cannabis ban

The World Anti-Doping Agency will review its ban on cannabis, in what the agency says is a response to “requests from a number of stakeholders” in international athletics. But it’s not clear when, or if, a change to the controversial policy might take effect: cannabis will remain forbidden for the 2022 athletic season.

The news comes after WADA’s ban on cannabis prevented U.S. sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson from competing in the Tokyo Olympics, despite her victory in the 100-meter race at the U.S. Olympic trials.

WADA’s executive committee has approved a plan to organize “a scientific review of the status of cannabis” that will start next year, the group said. But it reiterated that cannabis remains on its list of prohibited substances — a new version of which is due to come out by Oct. 1.

Richardson was hit with a 30-day suspension this summer after she tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The decision triggered an outpouring of support for Richardson, at a time when dozens of U.S. states have legalized marijuana to some degree.

The ban also prompted widespread confusion over why marijuana might be considered a performance-enhancing drug.

“I didn’t think the evidence base for marijuana would be particularly strong,” Dr. Michael Joyner of the Mayo Clinic told NPR in July. “But as I looked at the papers yesterday, I was surprised at how weak it is.”

Missouri medical cannabis industry adds over 140 dispensaries

Missouri medical cannabis industry adds over 140 dispensaries

Missouri medical cannabis dispensaries surpass 140

Missouri opened its first medical marijuana dispensary last October and now there are more than 140 across the state, with more to come.

The state’s medical cannabis industry employs roughly 5,000 people. Earlier this summer, Governor Mike Parson vetoed a bill that would have allowed Missouri medical cannabis business owners to deduct their expenses, but the head of the state program says that won’t stop the multi-million-dollar industry.

“The sales revenue is pleasantly surprising,” Lyndall Fraker, director of the section of medical marijuana with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said. “At the end of July, we surpassed $91 million in sales.”

Voters in the Show Me State passed an amendment in 2018 legalizing medical marijuana. Missouri was the 33rd state to legalize cannabis as medicine. Fraker said all medical marijuana sold in the state is grown in Missouri.

“The amendment that was voted on said that we should open the minimum number at least, which was 192 dispensaries,” Fraker said. “As of today, we have 142 open We’ve done the math and based on the number of quantities that each patient can purchase each month, how much product it would take to serve the patient base and we think we are going to be good for five or six years.”

Fraker said he believes the other 50 Missouri medical cannabis dispensaries could be open by the end of the year.

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