Marijuana News

Lawmakers Revive Effort to End Federal Marijuana Prohibition


Luckily, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act is still alive and bipartisan support continues to grow. They’re calling it a criminal justice issue.

Representative Thomas Garrett from Virginia sponsors the bill to lift the federal restrictions on marijuana, according to The Hill. The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act has 11 co-sponsors.

The increase of support has slowed a bit since the Trump administration appears to be rejuvenating the war on drugs.

The bill’s sponsor wasn’t always a supporter of marijuana. He does, however, believe that there are “redeeming medical uses for cannabis.”

Garrett said, “The first time I heard the term ‘medical marijuana’ 25 or 30 years ago, I probably chuckled.”

He used to prosecute marijuana offenders in Virginia. He said, “My background on this issue is shaped by my own experience as a criminal prosecutor, where in fact, I did enforce the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia as they relate to marijuana, and some would say, did so quite vigorously.”

He was tired of “creating criminals out of people who otherwise follow the law.” He changed his stance on marijuana and is now fighting hard to legalize it.

Garrett said, “If there’s anything I cannot tolerate as a citizen and as a prosecutor, it is the unequal application of justice.”

Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii has similar opinions.

Gabbard said, “Every 42 seconds someone is arrested for the use or possession of marijuana, turning everyday Americans into criminals, tearing families apart. The question before us is not whether you think marijuana use is good or bad, or how you feel about this issue, but whether we should be turning people into criminals.”


U.S. Virgin Islands Senator Is Trying to Legalize Medical Marijuana

USVI Marijuana

Senator Terrence Nelson of the U.S. Virgin Islands plans to reintroduce legislation to legalize medical marijuana in the U.S. territory. Previous attempts have not gained enough support from fellow lawmakers. A date has not been given regarding with the Senator will introduce the legislation to the Senate again.

Senator Nelson said, “With the passage of time and the release of more information, more proven research, it will make sense that this Legislature will be more prepared to pass it.”

New research may help Senator Nelson’s efforts this time around, The Consortium reports. Governor Matt Mapp said he’d consider the legislation. He gave no promise that medical marijuana would be signed into law.

Governor Mapp said, “It would be something that I think would be considered. I look at all of the bills that arrive on my desk, and I will give it its merits. I will pass it through all of my commissioners and agency heads that has to deal with that.”

Senator Nelson hinted that Governor Mapp may be on board with recreational marijuana legalization as well.

Nelson said, “He’s actually not limited his consideration to medical.”

A poll conducted by The Consortium showed overwhelming support of marijuana legalization in some form.

Arizona Company Launches Marijuana Vending Machines

Marijuana Vending Machine

American Green is a Phoenix, Ariz.-based marijuana technology company that has created a vending machine—currently in prototype status—that scans identification and requires a fingerprint for making medical and recreational marijuana purchases.

In April, the vending machine debuted at a Las Vegas convention, Time reports. The machines were created to help protect a marijuana users’ identity.

There are marijuana vending machines in operation in Canada; however, an employee is always having to check IDs before the machine can be used.

The new machine, the American Green Machine, requires no human attendee. A fingerprint scan must verify a buyer before purchases can be made. Accounts must also be setup using a government-issued ID. If a prescription is required, that data would also be required.

The goal is to tie multiple types of vending machines nationwide.

David Gwyther of American Green said that, “A baseball fan could buy a beer at the game in New York and cannabis from a dispensary in California the next day through the same app utilizing their verified account.”


Israel Legalizes (Some) Medical Marijuana Use in Public Areas

Israel Vaporizer

Medical marijuana patients in Israel are now allowed to use some of their marijuana products in public. The use of vape pens and oils is permitted in public places, but smoking marijuana flower in public is still not permitted.

New guidelines were adopted lifting medical marijuana use from home-only restrictions, according to Forward. When it was realized that the original regulations were making it hard for patients who moved or vacationed to use their medicine legally, the Health Ministry changed the rules.

Previously, patients were required to contact the Health Ministry to notify them that about vacation plans or moving to a new home.

Israel is a global leader in medical marijuana research, and just decriminalized the recreational use of marijuana in March.

New Study Reveals the Safest Marijuana Oil Agents for Vaporizing

Vape Cartridges Safety

A new study by the Medical Marijuana Research Institute in Tempe, Arizona tested marijuana oil thinning agents, which are mixed together in the production of vaporizer cartridges used for vaporizing marijuana oil.

Vaporization creates an inhalable aerosol by heating marijuana to a temperature at which the plant’s chemical compounds boil. Because the marijuana is not heated to the point of combustion, fewer carcinogens and irritants are produced. Compared with smoking, vaporization is associated with fewer respiratory issues in marijuana users, which some researchers suggest is a result of lower exposure to toxic substances.

Published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the study analyzed four marijuana oil thinning agents – propylene glycol [PG], vegetable glycerin [VG], polyethylene glycol 400 [PEG 400], and medium chain triglycerides [MCT] – which were all heated to 230 degrees Celsius, the maximum temperature at which the plant’s chemical compounds vaporize but do not combust. The resulting vapors were then tested for formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acrolein.

Cannabis Oil Safety

The Institute stated: “Formaldehyde production from PEG 400 isolate was particularly high, with one inhalation accounting for 1.12 percent of the daily exposure limit, nearly the same exposure as smoking one cigarette. Because PG and PEG 400 are often mixed with cannabis oil, individuals who vaporize cannabis oil products may risk exposure to harmful formaldehyde levels.”

A large discrepancy was found between the two types of thinning agents: the natural agents (MCT and VG) and the petroleum-based agents (PEG 400 and PG). The study concluded that medium chain triglycerides (MCT) and vegetable glycerin (VG) are by far among the safest thinning agents available to individuals who vape marijuana oil.


Iowa Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Bill Into Law

MN Marijuana

Iowa Governor Terry Brandstad has signed HB 512 into law, thus legalizing medical marijuana in the state. With a doctor’s recommendation and confirmation of a qualifying condition, patients in Iowa will be able to access low-THC marijuana oil come December 1, 2018.

By December 2018, patients will have in-state access, Marijuana Policy Project reports. Protection from prosecution will also be upheld. A certification must be obtained by a licensed doctor for patients to apply for the program. Surgeons and osteopathic doctors may also be able to provide recommendations.

Iowa qualifying conditions:

  • Cancer – when chronic/severe pain, nausea or severe vomiting is present
  • Wasting syndrome
  • Multiple Sclerosis – with severe/persistent muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Terminal illness – with a life expectancy less than 1 year and other conditioning factors
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Untreatable pain

Residency restrictions also apply, as the state requires all patients to be permanent residents of Iowa. Those under age 18 will have to have a caregiver. Caregivers are only permitted to aid in administering the medicine or obtaining it. Caregivers have to be Iowa residents and over age 18. They also have to be designated by the recommending doctor on the patient’s application. Caregiver cards are a mere $25

Patients are required to pay a $100 fee to obtain a medical marijuana card. Discounts are given to those on disability, Social Security or other state-funded assistance programs. For those patients, the fee will be just $25.

The Medical Cannabidiol Board will determine when and which conditions to add as the program grows. This group is also responsible for recommending to the General Assembly to increase the THC concentration permitted by the program. The legislature has the final say, but the Medical Cananbidiol Board would need to make the recommendation.

THC may not exceed 3-percent. No smokable forms of medical marijuana will be permitted. The Department of Health hasn’t determined yet just how much of the medicine patients will be allowed to possess.

Iowa is teaming up with Minnesota and will allow patients from Iowa to trek into Minnesota to obtain their medicine. Minnesota’s regulations have to be updated to reflect this. Patients would have to register in order to purchase medical marijuana products in Minnesota. Out-of-state patients can use medicine in the state, but can’t make any purchases.

Study: Marijuana Use Is Becoming More Acceptable in America

Marijuana Survey

A survey by Yahoo News and Marist College found that marijuana is becoming more normalized in America. The survey suggests that more American adults say they’ve used marijuana than those that haven’t. The survey says that 133 million American adults have admitted to trying it and 115 million haven’t.

Fifty-five million American adults say they’ve used marijuana in the last year, according to Salon. That is roughly 23.1-percent of the nation’s adult population. Thirty-five million claim regular marijuana use and 20 million say they currently use. The same report indicates that 56-percent of Americans find marijuana use to be “socially acceptable.”

More Americans are being open about their marijuana use. About 95-percent of those surveyed said they’ve told a spouse or significant other about using marijuana. Surprisingly, 35-percent also say they’ve used marijuana in front of or with their adult children.

Only 27-percent of marijuana users surveyed said they use marijuana because it’s still illegal. The most popular response, at 37-percent, is that marijuana is used for relaxation. Behind relaxation is pain relief at 19-percent. Only 16-percent said they use marijuana because it’s fun.

The overall shift in perception of marijuana has changed too. Nearly 76-percent of those surveyed say that marijuana is safer than tobacco and 70-percent say it’s less dangerous than alcohol. In regards to opiates, 67-percent of those surveyed say marijuana is safer than opiates.

AG Jeff Sessions Reestablishes the Drug War on Americans

Drug War

Federal prosecutors have been ordered by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions go after the maximum punishments allowable for all drug offenses. This move breaks the policies of the Justice Department under the Obama administration, which sought to reduce the amount of low-level drug crimes and ease sentencing.

Sessions’ memo to federal prosecutors was distributed on May 10, and made public on May 12, reports NBC News. It urges prosecutors to “file the most serious, readily provable” charges with maximum punishments. Mandatory minimum sentences were also included in that statement.

Sessions said that it, “Affirms our responsibility to enforce the law, is moral and just, and produces consistency.”

Former US Attorney General Eric Holder’s 2013 policy “Smart on Crime” will essentially be reversed with Sessions’ ignorant and archaic approach to drug policy. Under Holder’s policy, prosecutors weren’t reporting how much of a drug was found during a non-violent crime arrest where a minimum mandatory sentence would be imposed. Sessions’ policy, on the other hand, wants to know how much of each drug is found and wants maximum penalties sought.

The change maintains consistency with the Justice Department’s responsibility “to fulfill our role in a way that accords with the law, advances public safety, and promotes respect for our legal system,” according to Sessions.


Chilean Pharmacies Begin Selling Medical Marijuana This Week

Medical Marijuana

Pharmacies in Santiago, Chile started selling medical marijuana this week.

Medical marijuana was legalized in Chile in 2015, Reuters reports. Till now, patients in Chile had been importing their medical marijuana or obtaining it from a charity-based farm.

Tilray, a Canadian marijuana producer, has partnered with Chilean-licensed Alef Biotechnology to provide marijuana in Chile. The average cost will be about $300 for a month supply of marijuana.

Roberto Roizman of Alef said, “By importing Tilray’s medical cannabis products to Chile, we intend to ease the suffering of those in need by offering pure, precise and predictable medical cannabis products.”

The Chilean Congress hasn’t decided whether it will let patients grow their own medical marijuana.


Canada Changes Law to Require Testing of All Medical Marijuana

Canada Marijuana Law Testing
Health Canada announced on Friday that another government-licensed medical marijuana cultivator has tested positive for a banned pesticide.

Canada has 43 approved medical marijuana growers to serve its 130,000 patients, according to Ottawa Citizen. Testing for mold, harmful bacteria and heavy metals is required by Health Canada, but they’ve relied on the growers to police themselves regarding pesticides.

Part of the announcement said that testing for pesticides is necessary to “ensure that Canadians continue to have confidence in obtaining safe, quality-controlled medical cannabis.”

Seventeen pesticides are approved for use on medical marijuana in Canada.

Health Canada said, “There are no exceptions to these requirements, and no situations in which using a pesticide that is not authorized…for cannabis cultivation would be acceptable.”

Three manufacturers have recalled products over the last several months following positive tests for unapproved pesticides like myclobutanil. Patients who have become ill from contaminated medical marijuana have filed three class-action lawsuits. Myclobutanil is said to be used for mildew control. It is approved for some produce but not for plants that are dried and/or smoked.

Health Canada did say that the levels of myclobutanil found wouldn’t cause any serious health problems, but enforcement has been increased. Piperonyl butoxide was found on plants at Peace Naturals with a level of 0.78 parts per million. When combined with pesticides, piperonyl butoxide is considered an “active ingredient” according to Health Canada. In regards to approved pesticides, piperonyl butoxide is not an ingredient.

Cronos Group Inc., parent company of Peace Naturals, says they are no longer using the product.

Cronos Group said, “There is no evidence to suggest that (piperonyl butoxide) at these levels is likely to cause any adverse health effects when inhaled or ingested. However, out of an abundance of caution, Peace is in the process of assessing which lots have been impacted, notifying patients, and will voluntarily recall any products that have even potentially been impacted. We take safety testing seriously and are working closely with Health Canada to determine next steps.”