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Massachusetts Medical Marijuana News

Scott Perry CBD Oil
US Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) has introduced a bill to Congress that would make cannabidiol (CBD) legal under federal law. CBD oil is the marijuana-based oil that has been shown to reduce seizures in children with debilitating epilepsy and helps with other medical conditions.

“These children and individuals like them deserve a chance to lead a healthy and productive life and our government shouldn’t stand in the way,” said Perry.

If passed, the “Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014″ would allow states to permit patients suffering from epilepsy and other related medical conditions to use CBD oil that is extremely low in THC (the psychoactive component in marijuana) but very potent in CBD content.

Currently, federal law states that any product made from marijuana is illegal, as marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I drug.

The bill would allow children and adults with epilepsy and other seizure disorders access to cannabidiol for treatment by removing CBD oil and therapeutic hemp from the federal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. Therapeutic hemp would be defined at the federal level as marijuana containing no more than .3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), under the bill.

Eleven states (Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin) have enacted laws this year to allow CBD-based medications. Many of the laws passed in these states are not workable due to the current limitations imposed under federal law and are unlikely to provide much, if any, relief for patients.

In addition, 23 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing medical marijuana for a wide variety of medical conditions, including seizures and chronic pain.

New York Times Marijuana
Perhaps the most renowned newspaper in the country, if not the world, has proclaimed that it is time to finally put an end to marijuana prohibition in the US.

The New York Times recently printed a story in their Sunday editorial that stated, “The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana. We reached the conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.”

The Times also looked into the idea of letting states continue to decide their own fate in regards to how to govern marijuana on a state level and feel that it isn’t the best option.  They went on to say, “We considered whether it would be best for Washington to hold back while the states continued experimenting with legalizing medicinal uses of marijuana, recuing penalties, or even simply legalizing all use.  Nearly three-quarters of the states have done one of these.”

While the Times doesn’t necessarily speak for Congress, they most definitely have a massive following and are seen as perhaps the most respected news publication on the planet, so it isn’t as if they just decided to up and publish something without reviewing all of the facts.  The United States perception of marijuana is changing rapidly, and it seems like we are only moving forward.

Marijuana Exercise

In general, people know exercise is good for the mind and body. But contrary to popular belief, it’s not just endorphins (the chemical which makes you feel good after an activity such as exercise) that make physical activity so great.

The medical community already knows the human body stores tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC), the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, in fat. However, a study by Drug and Alcohol Dependence shows that the THC-to-fat storage process can give exercisers an added boost, even up to 28 days after the consumption of marijuana.

As the body begins to burn fat, traces of THC are released back into the bloodstream, producing a mild effect similar to consuming a small amount of marijuana. THC blood levels increase by approximately 15% immediately after moderate exercise, but the increase is no longer present two hours after exercising.

Studies have also found that exercising actually activates the endocannabinoid system in the same way marijuana does. The endocannabinoid system is a group of lipids (types of fats) and cell receptors that cannabinoids (compounds like THC and CBD) bind to inside the body and is responsible for reducing pain, controlling appetite, and influencing mood and memory. Furthermore, researchers have found that human-produced cannabinoids increase as you exercise, causing you to feel a little “high.”

Read more marijuana news.

Marijuana Edibles
Washington lawmakers have recently stated that they will permit recreational marijuana dispensaries to sell marijuana infused brownies, cakes, and other miscellaneous baked goods, but they will not allow them to be sold in candy form (lollipops, gummy bears, jelly beans, etc) which could potentially entice children.

Recreational marijuana clubs in Washington opened their doors to the public on July 8th of this year and the guidelines for how marijuana infused edibles are required to be packaged was released less than two weeks later.  The Liquor Control Board of Washington was placed in charge of overseeing the process.

Their main concern is they don’t want anything floating around that might appeal to children.  Specific items being banned will include gummy bears, jelly beans, suckers and some other types of candy.

Hopeful manufacturers must also adhere to certain guidelines in order for their product to even be considered.  They must be able to show that the THC is spread out evenly amongst the products to ensure that all of the edibles contain a uniform amount of potency.  In other words, they want to be sure that one brownie doesn’t get you drastically higher than another.

Marijuana Epilepsy Kids
Illinois will be expanding its medical marijuana pilot program to allow medical marijuana for patients with epilepsy, which will include children. Governor Pat Quinn just signed the new bill.

Governor Quinn stated “This new law will help alleviate the suffering of many adults and children across the state. Epilepsy is a debilitating condition, and this much needed relief will help to reduce some of its symptoms for those who endure seizures. The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act is now designed to help our fellow citizens of all ages by allowing its strictly controlled use for specific medical conditions.”

The new bill will allow patients suffering from seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy, get access to medical marijuana under the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, which was approved in 2013 but has yet to be fully implemented. The first dispensaries are expected to open in late 2014 or early 2015.

The bill also allows minors, 18 and under, to have access to medical marijuana for epilepsy, or any of the other qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. Minors will be limited to marijuana extracts, such as oils and infused edibles. In addition to a doctor recommendation, minors will also need parental consent to enroll in the medical marijuana program.

Washington DC Marijuana
A remarkable marijuana decriminalization law has gone into effect in Washington D.C. The new law will hopefully help to end D.C.’s excessive racial profiling drug-related (particularly marijuana) arrests.

The district has replaced jail time with a simple $25 fine for any person found to be in possession of an ounce or less of marijuana.

Grant Smith, with the Drug Policy Alliance put it best when he said, “We are hopeful that marijuana decriminalization will reduce excessive racial disparities in the enforcement of D.C’s marijuana laws.”

And they are definitely on the right track. The $25 fine is the lowest out of all the states in the US that have chosen to implement a fine in place of jail time for people caught with personal amounts of marijuana.  They have also taken a massive stride by putting an end to the “stop-and-frisk” laws that unfairly targeted minorities, as well as prohibiting using the smell of marijuana as probable cause to search.

This is an exciting time in our nation’s capital, where voters will have the opportunity to decide whether the District of Columbia will become the third state to legalize marijuana for recreational use this November.

Banks Marijuana

The U.S. House passed a historic bipartisan amendment today which will prevent the Treasury Department from spending any funding to penalize financial institutions that provide services to marijuana businesses that are legally operating under their state laws. The amendment passed 231 to 192.

The U.S. House passed an amendment in May prohibiting the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from undermining state medical marijuana laws. They also passed two amendments prohibiting the DEA from interfering with state hemp laws.

“Congress is yet again rejecting the failed war on marijuana,” said Bill Piper, of the Drug Policy Alliance. “They have read the poll numbers and are doing both what is right and what is politically smart.”

Marijuana is still federally illegal, so banks who do business with legal marijuana dispensaries could still be accused of helping them launder money.

“[Dispensaries] are operating just in cash, which creates its own potential for crime, robbery, assault and battery,” said Rep. Earl Perlmutter, D-Colo., whose state has legalized recreational marijuana use. “You cannot track the money. There is skimming and tax evasion. So the guidance by the Justice Department and the guidance by the Treasury Department is to bring this out into the open.”

Marijuana Legalization 2014

2014 is shaping up to be a big year for marijuana law reform. Here are a few of the states that might be joining Colorado and Washington’s new stance on marijuana legalization, as well as a couple more that will potentially be legalizing marijuana for medical purposes:

Alaska

Alaska is a state leaning towards the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes.  While it’s still early on, the Marijuana Policy Project is confident that their fundraising efforts will help win over the public opinion.

Marijuana legalization was on the ballot in both 2000 and 2004 in Alaska, but this time around the voting demographic seems to be shifting their stance after seeing how well Colorado and Washington have adapted.

Oregon

Oregon is looking to give it another go after having recreational marijuana legalization on the ballot just two short years ago, but they are going to get another shot at it this November.

Oregon was the first state in the U.S. to decriminalize personal possession of marijuana back in 1973 and was also one of the first states to legalize medical marijuana.

With many of the same people that helped fund the Washington and Colorado initiatives on board with helping the Oregon cause, their future is looking mighty bright.

District of Columbia

The nation’s capital has just submitted twice the required numbers of signatures to get marijuana on the ballot for legalization this November.  If it passes, adults will be permitted to possess up to two ounces of marijuana in D.C.

There are still a number of hurdles that activists will have to leap in order to get past congress, who just last month took a large step toward stopping a decriminalization bill.

Florida

Florida hopes to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes this November.  In order for the law to pass, they will need a 60% turn out from voters in favor of medical marijuana, which shouldn’t be an issue as recent polls have suggested that support was over 80% across the boards.

Lawmakers at a state level have already voted to allow a strain of CBD high marijuana that has shown to be helpful in treating seizures.

New York

Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York, signed a bill this past weekend that will make New York the 23rd medical marijuana state in the US.

Governor Cuomo has been criticized for how restrictive New York’s medical marijuana program will be and that they won’t have marijuana available for over a year and a half.  He also implemented a strict policy on which diseases will qualify patients for a card as well as only allowing patients to eat or vaporize the product while smoking will still remain illegal.

Arizona & Nevada

Arizona and Nevada both have initiatives for marijuana legalization to be on 2016 ballot and will be greatly influenced by the Marijuana Policy Project.

Spain Marijuana Clubs

Spain is becoming a global destination for marijuana tourism.  Roughly 300 marijuana clubs have opened in Barcelona and surrounding areas with no signs of slowing down,. Barcelona officials are not condoning the businesses either.

It seems that these new marijuana entrepreneurs are operating off a decade old loophole.  An old law in Spain allows anyone to grow and use marijuana in private as long as they are doing so in regards to operating a nonprofit business.  So individuals are permitted to join together and open marijuana clubs the same way your mom might start a wine-of-the-month club and invite all of her friends to sit around and drink and gossip in private.

Over the last few years, these clubs have been popping up all over Barcelona, specifically in heavy tourist areas.  While a lot of the clubs will refuse walk-ins off the street, many will offer “memberships” where you can gain entry by paying a little over $20.  The type of club you might encounter will vary from spot to spot.  Some are reminiscent of a fraternity house, with pool tables and a couple of televisions, while others are more upscale offering live music, full restaurants, and even pilates classes.

Experts say that one reason for the massive boom in club openings is that the younger generation is seeing it as a way to find a job. In the meantime, Spanish authorities have put a 1 year moratorium on any new marijuana clubs from opening.

CO Recreational Dispensary Licenses
The recreational marijuana industry in Colorado is poised to get even larger now that more businesses are allowed to apply for a recreational marijuana business license.  This will result in many more recreational marijuana retail shops and growers, as well as more marijuana related jobs throughout Colorado.

Only licensed medical marijuana dispensaries were able to apply for recreational marijuana distribution permits during the first 6 months of legalization.  They were also only allowed to sell marijuana that they grew themselves. But as of this past Tuesday, anyone is permitted to apply for a recreational marijuana business license, regardless of their previous experience in the marijuana industry.

These newly licensed stores will be able to open their doors as early as October, and the law pertaining to growing your own product will change, and dispensaries can then opt to buy their marijuana from independent growers.

Experts are still unsure how these new rules will affect the already booming recreational marijuana industry in Colorado.  Some believe that lower quality shops will start opening up, while others are hopeful that it will just create a larger and more creative structure.

One more concern facing new business owners is that finding a location to set up shop could be difficult considering the strict zoning laws set in place to distance themselves from schools, parks, and already existing dispensaries.