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Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Brief History of Cannabis: 1980's - by Chelsea Shaker

Marinol, (Synthetic THC) & Smoked Marijuana Tested on Cancer Patients

     “In 1980, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) began experimental distribution of a new drug called Marinol, an oral form of THC (the primary active ingredient in marijuana), to cancer patients in San Francisco. Simultaneously, six states conducted studies comparing smoked marijuana to oral THC in cancer patients who had not responded to traditional anti-vomiting medication. These state-sponsored studies revealed that thousands of patients found marijuana safer and more effective than synthetic THC. Meanwhile, the NCI experiments showed that some patients responded well to Marinol... Confronted with two different medical recommendations, the government chose to dismiss the state studies and give Marinol the green light.”

Kambiz Akhavan  “Marinol vs. Marijuana: Politics, Science, and Popular Culture,”, 1997

WORLD NEWS: Australian Prime Minister Supports Medical Marijuana - by Chelsea Shaker

     Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has expressed his support for medical marijuana to Talkback radio host Alan Jones in a letter saying no further testing is needed if medical marijuana is legal in similar jurisdictions. PM Abbott recently said he has no problem with making medical marijuana legal. He said he believes if a drug has been validated for medical purposes, the legality should be out of the question.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Marijuana Decriminalization Efforts in Maine - by Chelsea Shaker

     As the state of Maine dabbles in the potential to becoming another state in the nation to completely decriminalize marijuana in the form of adult use, the city of York Board of Selectmen vowed to not include marijuana decriminalization language on their November ballot for their city. With over 900 signatures collected, which meets the amount needed to be included on the ballot, the city’s aggressive police force and stern Selectmen (similar to City Council) are making an issue with the peoples’ will. Maine State Law allows for a notary public to write in the question on the ballot if enough signatures have been gathered, so there is hope yet for the initiative. Other cities in Maine: Portland in 2013, Lewiston, and S. Portland are all considering decriminalization efforts.

     Technically speaking, Maine is already a “decrim” state. In 2009, the Main Legislature passed and extended the state’s laws by making possession of up to 2.5 ounces a civil penalty with civil fines. Possession up to 1.25 ounces received a $350-$600 fine. Any amount between 1.25 and 2.5 ounces received a $700-$1000 fine. Possession of more than 2.5 ounces can lead to jail time up to 6 months.

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Legislation - by Chelsea Shaker

     Pennsylvania Senate overwhelmingly passed medical marijuana legislation in late September. SB 1182, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, was hailed a victory in the Senate, with all of the Democrats voting “yea” and 20 out of 27 Republicans voting in favor as well. The bill calls for a structured program through the Department of Health and Agriculture. The bill calls for licensed Care Centers throughout the state, while enforcing rigorous testing of medical marijuana to ensure safe, clean cannabis. The bill itself takes note of the benefits of Charlotte’s Web strain to relieve debilitating conditions in children such as seizures, and calls for high CBD consideration for children suffering in Pennsylvania. The bill allows for other forms of ingesting medical cannabis, such as extracts, topicals, and edibles.

Decrim in Philadelphia - by Chelsea Shaker

     Activists in Philadelphia are proud to announce the signage of the marijuana decriminalization bill by Mayor Michael Nutter after the bill was voted on and passed 13-3 by Philadelphia City Council. The bill calls for personal possession of under 30 grams to be applicable for a $25 civil fine for adults aged 21 years and older. The mayor also went as far as agreeing to sign a similar bill for a civil fine of $100 for public consumption of marijuana, also proposed and passed by the Philly City Council. Author of the bill, Councilman Jim Kenney, expressed the need for the decriminalization in Philadelphia due to the overwhelming amount of arrests in the city and negative effects on the community for non-violent arrests. 

Medical Marijuana Production Begins in Florence-Based Military Lab - by Chelsea Shaker

     Italy is to grow medical marijuana for the sick… in a secure military lab. Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti signed an agreement with Italy’s Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin to instate a pilot project to grow and distribute medical marijuana to pharmacies by the end of 2015. Private pharmaceutical companies will not be able to grow medical marijuana “given the delicacy of this issue” Lorenzin said.

City of Flint Passes Dispensary Ordinance - by Chelsea Shaker

     Flint City Council voted and passed the ordinance to license medical marijuana dispensaries, also known as Provisioning Centers. The city had been working on this new law for almost over 3 years, and several council members acknowledged that the ordinance would have to be updated in the future as the Michigan marijuana laws evolve. Dispensary owners that are grandfathered in are mostly pleased with the ordnance, but attorneys representing those who weren’t expressed a need to postpone the vote. Regardless, they voted 7-2 in favor of passing the ordinances. Matt Abel, from Cannabis Counsel in Detroit, is considering challenging the ordnance validity.  “Don’t get too comfortable,” warns attorney Matt Abel. “We might have to sue the city and force another vote. There are many problem with this ordinance and they (City of Flint) need to get it right.”