New Jersey Senate Committee Passes Hemp Bill

A hemp legalization bill has been passed by a key Senate committee in New Jersey.

The Senate Economic Growth Committee passed Senate Bill 2491 today, sending it towards a vote by the full Senate. A companion bill to this measure, Assembly Bill 1330, was passed unanimously through the Assembly (67 to 0) in June.

According to its official text, SB 2491 “establishes an industrial hemp license for planting, growing, harvesting, possessing, processing, distributing, buying, or selling industrial hemp in the State.” The bill also “establishes procedures and requirements for persons applying to the Secretary of Agriculture for a license, including procedures and requirements for fingerprinting and criminal background checks for license applicants.”

The proposal defines industrial hemp as “an agricultural product that is part of the plant of any variety of Cannabis sativa L. with a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of 0.3% or less on a dry weight basis, and that is permitted pursuant to this act to be planted, grown, harvested, possessed, processed, distributed, bought, or sold by a person licensed pursuant to section 3 of this act.”

The full text of Senate Bill 2491 can be found by clicking here.

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Louisiana Officials Remove 100-Patient Limit for Doctors Recommending Medical Cannabis

Louisiana state officials today nixed a regulation that prohibited physicians from recommending medical cannabis to more than 100 patients, while also easing renewal requirements for patients.

Earlier today the Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners, by a vote of 8 to 1, decided to remove an arbitrary rule that required physicians to stop recommending medical cannabis once they’ve recommended the medicine to 100 patients. The board also removed a requirement for patients to see their physician every 90 days in order to continue their ability to legally use medical cannabis (the vote on this was closer; 5 to 4).

Dr. Victor Chou, who was one of the first physicians in the state receive a license to recommend medical marijuana, told the board he met the patient cap just two weeks after opening his clinic, noting that he has “a waiting list of 700 patients”.

During their meeting the board was also asked to lift a rule that requires minors using the medicine to treat the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder to see a pediatric subspecialist in addition to their family physician. Proponents of the change urged the board to look into the issue at their next meeting which takes place in October.

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Study: Marijuana May Have Anti-Obesity Effects

Marijuana may help fight obesity, according to a new study published by the International Journal of Molecular Science.

Noting that “Obesity is an increasing health problem worldwide” and its “related comorbidities imply a high cost for the National Health System and diminish a patient’s life quality”, the study’s abstract states that”Cannabinoid receptors (CB) regulate thermogenesis, food intake and inflammation”.

In this study researchers found that “Stimulation of CB2 limits inflammation and promotes anti-obesity effects by reducing food intake and weight gain.” Stimulation of the CB2 receptors, of course, can occur through the consumption of cannabis and cannabinoids.”

The study’s full abstract can be found below:

Obesity is an increasing health problem worldwide. Its related comorbidities imply a high cost for the National Health System and diminish a patient’s life quality. Adipose tissue is composed of three types of cells. White adipocytes are involved in fat storage and secretion of hormones. Brown adipocytes are involved in thermogenesis and caloric expenditure. Beige adipocytes are transitional adipocytes that in response to various stimuli can turn from white to brown and could be protective against the obesity, enhancing energy expenditure. The conversion of white in beige adipose tissue is a potential new therapeutic target for obesity. Cannabinoid receptors (CB) regulate thermogenesis, food intake and inflammation. CB1 ablation or inhibition helps reducing body weight and food intake. Stimulation of CB2 limits inflammation and promotes anti-obesity effects by reducing food intake and weight gain. Its genetic ablation results in adiposity development. CB receptors are also responsible for transforming white adipose tissue towards beige or brown adipocytes, therefore their modulation can be considered potential anti-obesity target. CB1 principal localization in central nervous system represents an important limit. Stimulation of CB2, principally localized on peripheral cells instead, should facilitate the anti-obesity effects without exerting remarkable psychotropic activity.

The full text of the study can be found by clicking here.

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New Jersey Committee Passes Marijuana Banking Resolution

A resolution urging the federal government to allow banks to work with marijuana businesses that are legal under state law has been passed by an Assembly committee in New Jersey.

The Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee gave approval yesterday to Assembly Resolution 183, which urges Congress to pass the federal “Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2017.” According to the resolution, this bill would prohibit “federal bank regulators from punishing banks that service marijuana businesses and by prohibiting federal bank regulators from discouraging banks to do business with marijuana companies”, which would “improve public safety in New Jersey and would allow marijuana businesses to fully utilize the banking services offered in the State.”

The resolution notes that “New Jersey, like many other states, allows for the production and sale of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Marijuana is effective in treating pain, muscle stiffness, nausea, lack of appetite, and other symptoms associated with serious illnesses like cancer, AIDS, and multiple sclerosis.” The resolution states that the legalization of medical marijuana “has been endorsed by the American College of Physicians, the American Nurses Association, the American Academy of HIV Medicine, the HIV Medicine Association, and many other medical organizations.”

The resolution continues; “However, current federal law makes it difficult for persons engaged in the medicinal marijuana trade to keep their business’s assets in banks, since both the persons engaged in the medicinal marijuana trade and the banks fear reprisal from the federal government. This causes many people engaged in the medicinal marijuana trade to keep their business assets entirely in cash. This is dangerous, since it encourages armed robbery and other crimes against these businesses. It is also inefficient, since it involves counting and transporting large amounts of cash, and it excludes this capital from the market.”

The full text of Assembly Resolution 183 can be found by clicking here.

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Michigan Judge Stops Closure of Nearly 100 Medical Marijuana Businesses

A judge is Michigan has stopped plans by state officials that would shutdown nearly 100 medical marijuana businesses.

Court of Claims Judge Stephen Borrello granted an injunction yesterday on the businesses’ closure. The injunction was requested by a lawyer representing one of the medical marijuana business that would have been shutdown. The state is currently reviewing the judge’s order.

Regulators on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, extended the deadline to Dec. 15, 2018, for medical marijuana businesses to be licensed, allowing 108 facilities to continue operating while warning that 98 others would be issued cease-and-desist letters. Borrello’s order tells the state to allow all to keep operating.

This marks the third time the licensing deadline has been extended or softened as Michigan continues the process of more tightly regulating the medical cannabis industry under a 2016 law.

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New Jersey Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Now Authorized to Sell Vaporizer Cartridges and Vape Pens

The New Jersey Department of Health has waived regulations prohibiting medical cannabis dispensaries from selling vaporizer products such as cannabis vape cartridges and vape pens.

A cannabis oil vape cartridge (photo: GamonWeed.com)

Up until this point medical cannabis dispensaries in New Jersey were banned from carrying vaporizer products such as cannabis cartridges, with the law limiting them to selling cannabis bud, topicals (lotions, ointments, etc.) and oral lozenges. Now, with a rule change brought forth by the Department of Health, dispensaries are authorized to sell cannabis cartridges, vape pens and other similar products.

Curaleaf New Jersey, based in Bellmawr, is one of the first dispensaries to offer cannabis cartridges, with sales of the product starting earlier today. There are five other dispensaries located throughout New Jersey, and it’s expected that most if not all will be offering the product soon (if they don’t already).

Expanding access to medical cannabis and allowing a more diverse list of products is a priority of the Health Department, and this move is an indication of that, says assistant health commissioner Jeff Brown.

Earlier this year the department released a new set of rules for the state’s medical cannabis program.

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Study: 18% of U.S. Adults Who Are 21 and Older Consider Themselves Cannabis Users

A new study has found that 18% of those in the U.S. who are 21 or older consider themselves cannabis cannabis.

The study, conducted by Kadence International, found that 48% of those who consider themselves cannabis users use cannabis to relieve anxiety, 40% use it as a sleeping aid or as a pain relief agent, and one in five use cannabis as a substitute for prescription medicine.

This research “was conducted among a representative sample of the U.S. general population, ages 21+, to better understand all aspects of the American cannabis consumer”, states a recent press release. “The study found that 1 in 5 adult Americans have used cannabis within the past 12 months, with 32% of them using cannabis daily.”

Cannabis is also changing many attitudes towards alcohol (table two below), states the study. Almost half of adult cannabis users (47%) are lowering their alcohol intake, with over 50% of them feeling cannabis is less harmful to them than alcohol. This attitude is especially prevalent in adults between 21 and 40 years old.

Interestingly, the study has found that the legalization of cannabis is also driving a change in attitudes. 70% of those surveyed stated that if cannabis were legal in the area they lived, they would be likely to try it. Only 4% of Americans refuse to try cannabis.

Table one – Reasons for Cannabis usage

Table two – Cannabis vs alcohol

Miriam Konz, managing director at Kadence International, commented: “While now recreationally legalized in a number of US states, discussing cannabis and its benefits is often done in hushed tones. The study we have conducted tries to demonstrate the role that cannabis has in modern society. We aimed to understand the reasons why people were using it and how often. Most interestingly, there is no defined and clear specific demographic for cannabis users, it is used across all adult age groups, socio-economic backgrounds, and locations.

“For many, cannabis is increasingly a substitute for both alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs, but what does this mean? This research study is trying to understand the drivers of cannabis use in the United States, and while there is still a stigma attached to usage, most of the adult population is either using cannabis or strongly considering it in the coming year. Given the anticipated growth in this category, there are implications for both the alc bev and the pharmaceutical industries, which explains their rush to invest and get involved.”

The study found that smoking cannabis is still the most common method of consumption. 83% of adult users smoked cannabis, compared to only 8% ingesting oils.

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Poll: 56% of Michigan Voters Support Initiative to Legalize Marijuana, Just 38% Oppose

According to new polling, a strong majority of likely voters in Michigan support an initiative to legalize marijuana which is being voted on this November.

The survey, commissioned by The Detroit News and WDIV-TV, shows that 56% of likely voters support Proposal 1, with just 38% opposed. Only 6% of voters are undecided, meaning that even if all of them decided they oppose the measure, it would still hold a 12% lead in support.

“What’s interesting is how consistent these numbers have been over two years,” says pollster Richard Czuba of the Lansing-based Glengariff Group Inc., which conducted the survey. “There are hardly any undecided people left on this issue. It’s baked into the electorate.”

If Proposal 1 is passed into law this November, those 21 and older would be allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and could grow up to 12 marijuana plants. In addition, the measure would established a licensed and regulated system of marijuana retail outlets.

The poll was conducted between September 5 to 7, and included the participation of 600 likely voters. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 4%.

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California pot products seeing big safety testing failure rate

Nearly 20 percent of marijuana products in California have failed tests for potency and purity since the state started requiring the checks on July 1, a failure rate some in the industry say has more to do with unrealistic standards and technical glitches than protecting consumer safety.

The post California pot products seeing big safety testing failure rate appeared first on The Cannabist.

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