Category: News

Chronic Pain Now a Medical Cannabis Condition in New York

As of today, chronic pain is a qualifying medical cannabis condition in New York.

The change brought forth by New York’s Health Department allows those with chronic pain to legally possess and use cannabis medicines if they receive a recommendation from a physician and register with the state. This would allow them to access one of the state’s medical cannabis dispensaries.

“After conducting a thorough review of the scientific literature it became clear that there may be certain benefits in the use of medical marijuana by patients suffering from chronic pain”; Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said when the department first announced the change in December. “Medical marijuana is already helping thousands of patients across New York State; and adding chronic pain as a qualifying condition will help more patients and further strengthen the program.”

Chronic pain now joins cancer, HIV infection or AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis; damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity; epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, and Huntington’s disease as qualifying medical cannabis conditions in New York.

More details on New York’s medical cannabis can be found by clicking here.

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Companion Bills to Legalize Cannabis Filed in Illinois

Legislation to legalize cannabis fro everyone 21 and older has been filed in the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 316 was filed by Senator Heather Steans (D), and House Bill 2353 was filed by State Representative Kelly Cassidy. Senator Steans was the lead sponsor of a 2016 measure that has since decriminalized the possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis in the state.

Both SB 316 and HB 2353 would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis for those 21 and older. The proposals would legalize regulated and taxes system of cannabis retail outlets and cultivation centers. All-in-all, the measures would legalize cannabis “in a manner similar to alcohol”.

“Legalizing and taxing marijuana will not and should not solve all of our budget woes, but it should be a part of the conversation about resolving Illinois’ worsening budget problems”, says Senator Steans. “Every bit of new revenue will help to close the governor’s $5 billion budget gap”.

Both measures must now be passed by their respective chambers before they can be sent to Governor Bruce Rauner for consideration.

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Stephen Colbert Makes Fun of Jeff Sessions Over Marijuana Comments

On yesterday’s episode of Late Night With Stephen Colbert, Colbert made fun of Sessions’ recent remarks that marijuana is “only slightly less awful” than heroin.

Before responding to Sessions remark, Colbert made a cannabis-related joke within the first two minutes of his opening monologue.

“White House staffers are so afraid that a deep state of career military and intelligence officials are out to destroy them. Now, what is a deep state? I thought a deep state is what you achieve after doing three bong hits and watching Planet Earth? Very deep… very deep. Those lizards are going to get caught by those snakes!”

A few minutes later Colbert asked his audience; “Does anyone dabble in the marijuana?”, which led to heavy cheering from the crowd. “Shh… not so loud” Colbert said. “Don’t tell our attorney general and forest gnome whose riddles are kind of racist Jeff Sessions.”

Colbert then went over Sessions recent comments that marijuana is “only slightly less awful” than heroin, and responded by saying; “Sure, marijuana’s only slightly less awful than heroin…. like how burning your tongue on hot cocoa is only slightly less awful than being set on fire.”

Following the joke, Colbert said; “Sessions really is uptight, if only there was someway to mellow him out, something that’s legal in half of America at this point.”

Colbert’s comments can be seen in the video below:

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Washington Bill to Legalize Hemp Passed Unanimously by Senate Committee, Already Passed Full House

Legislation that would explicitly legalize hemp in Washington State has been passed by its initial Senate committee.

House Bill 2064 was given unanimous approval this morning by the Senate Law & Justice Committee. Earlier this month it was passed unanimously by the state’s House of Representatives.

If passed into law, the measure would exclude “industrial hemp from the definitions of “controlled substance” and “marijuana” for purposes of the uniform controlled substances act.” This would legalize hemp in a manner similar to other agricultural crops such as tomatoes, as in their would be no limit on the amount grown, and no license required to begin cultivation.

The proposal must now be passed by one more committee before it can be vote on by the full Senate; passage by the Senate would send it to Governor Jay Inslee for consideration.

House Bill 2064 is sponsored by a bipartisan coalition of seven representatives. Te full text of the measure can be found by clicking here.

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Vermont House Committee Passes Bill to Legalize Marijuana Possession and Cultivation

Legislation that would legalize marijuana for those 21 and older has been passed by the House Judiciary Committee.

The committee passed the measure with an 8 to 3 vote; it’s expected to be voted on soon by the full House. The measure would allow those 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis, and grow up to two mature cannabis plants (and four immature plants).

“Today’s vote shows just how far this issue has advanced in just this past year,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Most Vermonters agree it makes no sense to continue punishing adults for consuming a less harmful substance than alcohol — especially now that it is legal for adults in Massachusetts and Maine. Vermonters are ready to close the book on marijuana prohibition.”

A new statewide poll finds a substantial majority of Vermont voters are in favor of the policy change proposed in H. 170. Fifty-seven percent said they support allowing adults 21 and older to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana. Only 39% are opposed. The Public Policy Polling survey of 755 Vermont voters was conducted March 20-21 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6%. The results are available at https://www.mpp.org/VTpoll.

H. 170, sponsored by Committee Chair Maxine Grad (D-Moretown), Vice Chair Charles Conquest (D-Wells River), and ranking Republican Rep. Tom Burditt (R-West Rutland), would eliminate Vermont’s civil penalty for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana, and it would eliminate penalties for possession of up to two mature marijuana plants and up to four immature plants. Penalties for possession of more than one ounce of marijuana would also be reduced.

The bill is expected to receive a full vote in the House of Representatives soon. If it passes, it will be considered by the Senate, which approved a measure to regulate marijuana for adult use in 2016.

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Hawaii Bill Adding Five New Medical Cannabis Conditions Passes House Committee

The Hawaii House Health Committee has passed a measure that wold expand the state’s medical cannabis program. They also unanimously passed a bill to change state law to refer to “medical marijuana” as “medical cannabis”.

Senate Bill 174, which has already passed the Senate with a unanimous 25 to 0 vote, passed the House Health Committee yesterday; the vote was 4 to 2. The proposal would add lupus, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, arthritis and autism as conditions that qualify someone to become a legal medical cannabis patient.

Currently medical cannabis use in Hawaii is limited to those with cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS or a “chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces” cachexia, severe pain or nausea, seizures, sever muscle spasms or post traumatic stress disorder.

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

The House Health Committee also passed a bill that would amend “Hawaii Revised Statutes and Hawaii Administrative Rules to substitute references to “medical marijuana” and like terms with “medical cannabis” and like terms”. The committee passed Senate Bill 786 with a unanimous 6 to 0 vote. Like Senate Bill 174, SB 786 has already passed the Senate with a unanimous vote.

According to the bill’s text, the term marijuana has “no scientific basis”, and “carries prejudicial implications rooted in racial stereotypes”. “Cannabis”, however, has “no such negative connotations.”

Both measures must now pass one more committee before they can be voted on by the full Senate. If the Senate chooses the pass them, they will be sent to Hawaii Governor David Ige. Governor Ige would then have the option of signing them into law, allowing the, to become law without his signature, or vetoing them. If he was to veto them, the legislature could override it with a 2/3rds majority vote.

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