Month: August 2014

Gambia Lawmakers Reduce Penalties for Cannabis Possession

On Monday the Gambia National Assembly

Under the previous laws enacted in 2010, any person found guilty of possessing cannabis would be subject to a D250,000 (about $6,300 USD) fine and/or a three-year jail term. With the enactment of the new law, penalties for cannabis possession will be reduced, and based on quantity: 0.1 grams – 150 grams of cannabis will be punishable by a fine between D50.000 and D100,000 and/or imprisonment for six months to a year; 151 grams to 500 grams will be punishable by a fine of D100,000 – D150,000 and/or imprisonment for one to two years; over 500 grams will warrant a fine of D150,000 – D250,000 and/or imprisonment for two to three years.

“We have observed with grave concern the rate of arrest and conviction of young people on cannabis possession. The NDEA (National Drug Enforcement Agency) records show that in the past four years, 349 young people were prosecuted for Cannabis sativa possession and /or trafficking,” says the Minister of the Interior Honourable Ousman Sonko, who tabled the Drug Control Amendment Bill 2014 before lawmakers. “Such imprisonment of young first-time convicts may expose them to hardened criminals in prisons who may negatively influence their lives forever. That is one of the reasons why we want to scale down the fines depending on the quantity for first-time offenders in cannabis possession.”

Many of those who have been charged with possession end up in jail due to the inability to pay the costly fines, resulting in an increase in prison population. Minister Sonko says the new law “may help decongest the prisons and obviate or reduce government spending on prison maintenance.”The current prison population rate in Gambia is 53 people jailed per 100,000. In comparison, the U.S. incarcerates 716 out of every 100,000 people.

– TheJointBlog

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Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program to Begin Accepting Applications for Patients and Businesses in September

On September 2nd, the State of Illinois will begin accepting applications from residents who would like to become registered medical cannabis patients or caregivers in the state’s newly-launched Medical Cannabis Pilot Program.

Applicants with last names that begin with letters A through L will have until the end of October to submit an application; patients who are approved will be allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces in a 14 day period.

The application period for cultivation centers and dispensaries will begin on September 8th, and extend through September 22nd. Dispensaries will be required to prove they have at least $400,000 in liquid assets, and will have to pay a $5,000 non-refundable application fee. Cultivation centers will be required to have at least $500,000 in liquid assets, and pay an application fee of $25,000. A total of 60 dispensaries and 22 cultivation centers will be licensed throughout the state.

All applicants, including patients, will be required to submit their fingerprints, and undergo a background check.

The state is also accepting applications for members of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board, which will be responsible for considering the addition of new qualifying medical conditions under the pilot program. Board members will be selected by the governor, and must include one medical cannabis patient advocate or designated caregiver, two nurses or nurse practitioners who work with medical cannabis patients, three registered qualifying patients (including one veteran) and nine healthcare practitioners with current professional licenses in the fields of neurology, pain management; medical oncology, psychiatry or mental health, infectious disease, family medicine, general primary care, medical ethics and pharmacy. Board members will begin reviewing new qualifying conditions to add to the pilot program in January.

As the state continues to implement the new medical program, it will continue to accept comments and suggestions from the public on ways to improve the program (the official form to submit feedback can be found here).

The application for patients, caregivers and businesses can be found here. Patients can submit a paper application or apply online; businesses are restricted to paper applications only. Those interested in becoming a member of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board can find more information here.

– TheJointBlog

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Cannabidiol May Treat Acne, Finds Study

cannabis compound cannabidiol, often referred to simply as CBD, may provide a potential treatment for acne.

For the study, researchers used cannabidiol derived from cannabis on human sebaceous gland function, and determined that CBD behaves as a highly effective sebostatic agent.

“Administration of CBD to cultured human sebocytes and human skin organ culture inhibited the lipogenic actions of various compounds, including arachidonic acid and a combination of linoleic acid and testosterone, and suppressed sebocyte proliferation via the activation of transient receptor potential vanilloid-4 (TRPV4) ion channels”, claims researchers.

They continue; “Activation of TRPV4 interfered with the prolipogenic ERK1/2 MAPK pathway and resulted in the downregulation of nuclear receptor interacting protein-1 (NRIP1), which influences glucose and lipid metabolism, thereby inhibiting sebocyte lipogenesis. CBD also exerted complex antiinflammatory actions that were coupled to A2a adenosine receptor-dependent upregulation of tribbles homolog 3 (TRIB3) and inhibition of the NF-κB signaling.”

The study concludes; “Collectively, our findings suggest that, due to the combined lipostatic, antiproliferative, and antiinflammatory effects, CBD has potential as a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of acne vulgaris.”

The research can be found on the National Library of Medicine’s website by clicking here.


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Study: Cannabis Can Improve Quality of Life, Decrease Need for Help in Those With Cerebral Palsy

the U.S. National Institute of Health and the journal Duodecim, has found that cannabis significantly improved the quality of life for a patient with cerebral palsy.

Cannabinoid was licensed in 2012 for the treatment of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis in Finland”, states the study. “Spasticity is one of the main symptoms in cerebral palsies and a risk factor of multiple painful anomalies of the skeletal network. We describe a 28-year-old man with severe cerebral palsy, whose quality of life improved and the need for help decreased by using two daily mouth sprays of cannabinoid.”

Although the study used just one patient, the conclusive results will hopefully lead to further research on the subject, in order to help validate the study’s claims.

According to the National Library of Medicine, celebral palsy is “a group of disorders that can involve brain and nervous system functions, such as movement, learning, hearing, seeing, and thinking. There are several different types of cerebral palsy, including spastic, dyskinetic, ataxic, hypotonic, and mixed.”


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Enough Signatures Submitted to Put Cannabis Legalization to a Vote in York

Activists in York, Maine submitted over 900 signatures yesterday to put their proposal to legalize cannabis to a vote, more than the 640 required. Once the city verifies that enough of the 900-plus signatures are valid (from registered York voters), the proposal will be sent to the City Council, which can either pass it into law, or place it on this November’s ballot.

The proposal, put forth by Citizens for a Safer Maine, would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis for those 21 and older. Earlier this summer advocates submitted over 100 signatures for this initiative, enough to put it before the council, though they rejected it on a 3 to 2 vote. The group then decided to pursue the goal of 640 signatures, which would override the council’s vote and force them to vote on it again, but this time giving them the option of passing it or putting it to a vote of the people – they don’t have the ability to reject it entirely.

Citizens for a Safer Maine has also collected enough signatures to put legalization to a vote in South Portland and Lewiston.


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