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U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has joined the growing number of top medical professionals and organizations favoring the reform of marijuana allows to allow access to cannabis for medicinal purposes.
“We have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms, that marijuana can be helpful,” Dr. Murthy said, reports communications director Jag Davies at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “I think that we have to use that data to drive policymaking.”
Despite the legalization of medical marijuana in 23 states, the federal government still insists cannabis is a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no medical value.
It’s an “interesting story that’s unfolding in our country right now,” according to Dr. Murthy, and “we have to see what the science tells us about the efficacy of marijuana, and I think we’re going to get a lot more data on that” as more states legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes.
It’s a repeating pattern. Last year, the mainstream press gave lots of attention to a study suggesting that daily marijuana use could cause abnormalities in the brain. But now that new research, using better techniques, indicates that claim simply isn’t true, it doesn’t get nearly as much coverage.
The authors of the new study, “Daily Marijuana Use Is Not Associated with Brain Morphometric Measures in Adolescents or Adults,” which was published in the latest issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, suggest that alcohol use was actually responsible for the brain changes found in previous studies, reports Ray Stern at Phoenix New Times.
An abstract of the study describes how scientists could not replicate recent research that claimed cannabis use “is associated with volumetric and shape differences in subcortical structures.”
U.S. House Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and eight bipartisan Congressional cosponsors on Tuesday introduced the “Veterans Equal Access Act,” marking a concerted federal effort to allow our country’s veterans to become medical marijuana patients in states where it’s legal.
The bill, which is modeled after similar legislation introduced in November, would simply allow Veterans Affairs (VA) physicians to discuss and recommend medical marijuana to their patients, a right enjoyed by physicians outside of the VA system.
“Post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury can be more damaging and harmful than injuries that are visible from the outside,” said Rep. Blumenauer in a prepared statement. “And they can have a devastating effect on a veteran’s family. We should be allowing these wounded veterans access to the medicine that will help them survive and thrive, including medical marijuana — not treating them like criminals and forcing them into the shadows. It’s shameful.”
The Veterans Equal Access Act is cosponsored by a balanced mix of eight members on each side of the aisle, including Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Justin Amash (R-MI), Tom Reed (R-NY), Richard Hanna (R-NY), Dina Titus (D-NV), Sam Farr (D-CA) and Jared Polis (D-CO).
(Toke Signals)The press blitz began months ago, and it became absolutely inescapable once 2015 started. Article after article has appeared in the mainstream press about the supposed need to extinguish medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington.
The largely untold side to this story is that of mom-and-pop marijuana businesses, serving seriously ill patients, that are seen as “the competition” and are thus slated for extinction by greedy I-502 interests. Supporters of “folding” medical marijuana into the recreational system claim that safe access would be unaffected by suddenly doubling, tripling or quadrupling the price patients have to pay, even while reducing the number of safe access outlets in Seattle, for instance, from about 200 to about half a dozen.
Among the more shrill attackers of what they claim are “untaxed, unregulated” businesses are Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and ACLU attorney Alison Holcomb, the author of Initiative 502. Most activists who’ve been paying attention have known for years that neither Holmes nor Holcomb is a friend of the medical marijuana community.
Instead of upping their game in a competitive environment, the I-502 recreational stores, which quickly gained well-deserved reputations for both subpar pot and outrageous prices, want to clear the field of their pesky (read: usually superior in both price and quality) competitors on the medical side.
“We want a marijuana policy that reflects the will of the people,” said Anthony Johnson, chief petitioner for Measure 91. “Instead of making major changes, the state first needs to get the basics of implementation right — like childproofing, labeling, testing, packaging, auditing, inspecting, taxing, licensing and background checks.”
In places like Colorado, marijuana retail sales began before comprehensive rules for edibles and packaging were completed and in place, contributing to difficulties in implementing the new marijuana law.
“We don’t want to see that happen in Oregon,” said Leah Maurer, who led the Moms For Yes On 91 group.
(Hemp News)An Alabama state senator this week proclaimed “I’m really tired of dealing with these people” when pressed to release a doctor survey he ordered, which was conducted by the state medical association.
Oddly, Senator Jim McClendon, who at the time he ordered the study was chair of the House Health Committee, repeatedly denied ever ordering the survey in a telephone interview this week, reports Edward Burch at ABC 33/40.
Senator McClendon, who perhaps should seek a less stressful form of employment than public servant, said he had received emails from medical marijuana proponents for the past two years about the missing survey.
“I’m really tired of dealing with these people and this issue,” McClendon said.
Reporter Evan Anderson became curious about cannabis citations around the United States after reading a MuckRock piece by Beryl Anderson on citation data from California marijuana arrests after decriminalization. Copying the language used by MuckRock user Dave Maass to get California’s numbers, Anderson requested the same data from Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Texas, Vermont and Washington. Data from Washington and Colorado, both of which have legalized pot, were unavailable at the time of the requests, and the Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice never acknowledged his request.
The number of marijuana citations given in Florida “blows the rest of the states out or the water,” Anderson reports in MuckRock.
Part of that is due to the unfortunate fact that possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis in Florida is a felony with a maximum punishment of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Toke Signals Must Read of the Week
By Cheri Sicard
“We hope you go home soon Larry.”
These are words Larry Duke, serving two life sentences without possibility of parole for a nonviolent marijuana offense, hears from the most unlikely of sources… the federal prison guards who are paid to keep the 68-year-old grandfather incarcerated.
It’s easy to understand why even the prison guards would be on Larry Duke’s side. When you get to know the man even a little bit, the colossal waste of his incarceration becomes readily apparent.
A decorated combat veteran of the Viet Nam war, the assassination of John F. Kennedy prompted Duke to quit high school in his senior year and join the Marines, where he served with Delta Company 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, 1965-1966, before being honorably discharged.