MJ News for 05/14/17

7greeneyes

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url: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2236004/cannabis-legalised-uk-lib-dems/





Will cannabis be legalised in the UK, what have the Lib Dems said about it and where is marijuana already legal?



Will cannabis be legalised in the UK?

Anyone found possessing cannabis can be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison, an unlimited fine or both punishments under UK legislation.

But many argue that the law is not enforced.

Supplying or producing the class B drug can land people in prison for a maximum of 14 years, unlimited fine or both, under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

A report by the right wing think tank the Adam Smith Institute reveals there are major savings for state coffers if the soft drug was regulated.

Between £750m and £1bn could be earned by the Revenue if it was taxed.

And there would also be significant savings in the criminal justice costs, with 1,363 offenders now in prison for cannabis-related crimes, costing taxpayers £50m a year.

The call is backed by a full spectrum of MPs, including ex-Tory Cabinet minister Peter Lilley, and veteran Labour MP Paul Flynn.

In addition to financial arguments, there has long been a call to legalise the drug to help people with chronic pain and anxiety.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform says tens of thousands of people in UK already break the law to use cannabis for symptom relief.

The issue was debated on October 12, 2015, and closed after the government responded with: “Substantial scientific evidence shows cannabis is a harmful drug that can damage human health.

“There are no plans to legalise cannabis as it would not address the harm to individuals and communities.”

What have the Liberal Democrats said about cannabis?

Plans to legalise cannabis so it can be taxed and sold on the high street will be brought forward if the Liberal Democrats gain power.

The party will commit to creating a legal market for the production and sale of the substance in its manifesto, it confirmed, making it one of the first political parties to fight an election on a ticket of relaxing drug laws.

Cannabis would only be sold to people over 18 and sales would be strictly regulated under the new proposals, which could generate up to £1 billion per year in tax revenues, the party predicts.

The Lib Dems have long campaigned to legalise the drug, with former health minister Norman Lamb attempting to bring in a Bill last year to tackle what he called “a catastrophic failure” of the war on drugs.

Where is marijuana already legal?

In some countries – including Norway, the Netherlands and Portugal – it is legal to consume small amounts of marijuana.

In others police do not arrest people for possession.

Portugal became the first country in the world to decriminalise the use of all drugs in 2001.

In Australia, Puerto Rico, Poland, Czech Republic, Canada, Croatia and Macedonia it is legal for medicinal purposes in some form, and in Turkey for the cultivation for the same purpose.

In Uruguay, Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington in the US, Spain, Slovenia, Netherlands, Jamaica, Columbia and Chile it is legal or decriminalised in some form.
 

7greeneyes

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url: http://siouxcityjournal.com/news/st...cle_85db4cb1-e018-5faa-b8db-052606162391.html





(Iowa,USA) Branstad signs medical cannabis expansion into law



Medical cannabis can be grown and sold in Iowa and can be used to treat more ailments under a program expansion signed into law Friday by Gov. Terry Branstad.

The new law overhauls Iowa’s three-year-old medical cannabis program, which critics contended was too restrictive because it provided no legal path for Iowans to acquire the medicinal byproduct of the marijuana plant and covered treatment only for epileptic seizures.

A key advocate for medical cannabis expansion called the new program a step in the right direction while still falling short of reaching more ailing Iowans.

“I’m thrilled, really. I’m thrilled,” said Sally Gaer of West Des Moines, who co-founded a medical cannabis advocacy group and has a daughter with a rare form of epilepsy. “We’re hugely ahead of where we were in 2014 (with the original program). Now, we can have growth and production and testing and distribution in the state. So this is huge.

“It’s a huge step. It’s not everything we wanted, but 2014 wasn’t everything we wanted, either. It’s a huge step.”

Among the key provisions in Iowa’s new medical cannabis program:

• Allows for the establishment of up to two state-licensed medical cannabis manufacturers in Iowa.

• Allows individuals to obtain medical cannabis from neighboring states with similar programs.

• Adds ailments that can be treated with medical cannabis, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS or HIV, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and more.

• Establishes a medical cannabidiol board that can make recommendations to state lawmakers regarding further expansion or changes to the program.

“I recognize medical research continues to investigate the efficacy of medical cannabidiol,” Branstad said in a statement issued Friday. "We sympathize with the families that have a loved one that might benefit from treatments that include the use of this product, and for those reasons, I have signed (the legislation) into law."

Advocates have expressed concern that the program’s restriction on product potency will limit the number of Iowans who could be helped.

The new law says medical cannabis must contain no more than 3 percent THC, which is the psychoactive element in marijuana that produces the high. Experts say products with 3 percent THC cannot produce a high.

However, Gaer said 3 percent THC likely is too low to help people with pain related to some ailments.

“I think the THC cap is very prohibitive,” Gaer said. “People with cancer and chronic pain, anti-inflammatory (needs), colitis, Crohn’s, those people all need more than 3 percent THC. So that’s one of the major problems with the bill right there.”

That restriction could limit the number of Iowans who attempt to register for the program, which could limit sales potential and thus interest in becoming a manufacturer.

Gaer said she is hopeful the creation of the advisory board will help ease the THC restriction and add conditions that could be treated.

“Hopefully, moving forward, we can get a program that can help more Iowans,” she said.
 

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url: http://www.nationalmemo.com/cannabis-may-help-not-harm-narcotics-addicts/





Cannabis May Help, Not Harm, Narcotics Addicts



It is time for politicians to put to rest the myth that cannabis is a gateway to the use of other controlled substances — a theory that is neither supported by modern science or empirical data.

Over 60 percent of American adults acknowledge having tried cannabis, but the overwhelming majority of these individuals never go on to try another illicit substance. Further, nothing in marijuana’s chemical composition alters the brain in a manner that makes users more susceptible to experimenting with other drugs. That’s why both the esteemed Institute of Medicine and the Rand Corporation’s Drug Policy Research Center conclude that “[M]arijuana has no causal influence over hard drug initiation.”

In contrast, a growing body of evidence now exists to support the counter notion that for many people, pot serves as a path away from the use of more dangerous substances, including opioids, alcohol, prescription drugs, cocaine, and tobacco.

For example, in jurisdictions where marijuana use is legally regulated, researchers have reported year-over-year declines in opioid-related abuse and mortality. According to data published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, deaths attributable to both prescription opiates and heroin fell by 20 percent shortly after marijuana legalization and by 33 percent within six years. Overall, the study’s investigators concludedhttp://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1898878, “States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8 percent lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate compared with states without medical cannabis laws.” Data published this past April in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence also reports a dramatic decline in opioid pain reliever related hospitalizations following legalization.

Patients’ use of other prescription drugs has also been shown to fall in states where marijuana is legally accessible. Newly published data from both the United States and Canada finds that patients curb their use of anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs and sleep aids after initiating cannabis use—a reality that is quantified in their spending habits. According to researchers at the University of Georgia’s Department of Public Policy, Medicare recipients residing in medical marijuana states spent millions less on prescription drugs as compared to patients with similar ailments in non-legal states. Patients’ spending on Medicaid related services is also significantly lower in cannabis-friendly states.

Emerging data also indicates that pot use is associated with reduced cravings for cocaine. Writing last month in the journal Addictive Behaviors, investigators at the University of Montreal and the University of British Columbia reported that subjects dependent on crack cocaine subsequently reduce their drug use following the intentional use of cannabis. They concluded: “In this longitudinal study, we observed that a period of self-reported intentional use of cannabis … was associated with subsequent periods of reduced use of crack [cocaine]. … Given the substantial global burden of morbidity and mortality attributable to crack cocaine use disorders alongside a lack of effective pharmacotherapies, we echo calla for rigorous experimental research on cannabinoids as a potential treatment for crack cocaine use disorders.” The findings replicate those of a prior Brazilian study which also determined that the therapeutic use of cannabis mitigates crack cocaine cravings and consumption.

Empirical data also reinforces this contention. Specifically, Americans’ use of cocaine has fallen dramatically in recent years, during which time the percentage of adults acknowledging using cannabis has risen.

Scientific data also suggests that cannabis may reduce some people’s cravings for alcohol and tobacco. For example, clinical trial data from the United Kingdom finds that subjects administered cannabidiol, an organic cannabinoid, reduces their cigarette smoking by 40 percent compared to participants provided a placebo. Data published earlier this year in the International Journal of Drug Policy reported that over ten percent of Canadian medical cannabis patients acknowledge using pot in lieu of tobacco.

Survey data from the United States reports even larger declines in cannabis users’ consumption of alcohol. According to a May 2017 study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, over 40 percent of medical cannabis dispensary members acknowledge reducing their alcohol intake. A 2014 literature review published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism adds, “While more research and improved study designs are needed to better identify the extent and impact of cannabis substitution on those affected by AUD (alcohol use disorders), cannabis does appear to be a potential substitute for alcohol.”

Finally, for those seeking treatment for drug dependency, cannabis may also play a positive role. In fact, studies report that pot use is predictive of greater adherence to abstinence among heroin dependent subjects, and those who consume it occasionally are more likely to complete their treatment regimen as compared to those who not.

In light of this scientific evidence, combined with a growing number of Americans’ first-hand experience with cannabis, it is hardly surprising that public confidence in the ‘gateway theory’ is waning. According to survey data compiled in 2016 by YouGov.com, fewer than one in three US citizens agree with the statement, “[T]he use of marijuana leads to the use of hard drugs.” Among those respondents under the age of 65, fewer than one in four agree. Public opinion data provided earlier this week by Yahoo News finds even less support, with only 14 percent of adults expressing “significant concern” that cannabis “leads to the use of other drugs.”

In short, both scientific and public opinion reject the contention that marijuana use promotes the use of other drugs. It’s past time for public officials to renounce this rhetoric as well.
 

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url: http://host.madison.com/business/in...cle_cca93167-98af-55cb-9d9f-7be5fb90d927.html





Is The Marijuana Stock Rally Over?



While technology stocks have led the S&P 500 higher year to date, some of the most widely owned marijuana stocks have stumbled in 2017. Top marijuana stocks including Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (NYSE: SMG), GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: GWPH), and Canopy Growth Corp. (NASDAQOTH: TWMJF) have all lost ground. Does this mean the rally in marijuana stocks is over?

Different approaches, big growth

Pro-pot advocates have enjoyed a tidal wave of support among voters in the United States and Canada, and as laws approving the use of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana have become common, shares in top marijuana stocks shot considerably higher in 2016.

For example, Scotts Miracle-Gro -- best known for its fertilizer products -- has been making a big push into hydroponics so that it can ride the wave of rising demand from marijuana grow facilities. As a result, Scotts Miracle-Gro shares increased 52% in 2016.

GW Pharmaceuticals has invested big money researching marijuana cannabinoids use as medicine since the 1990s. Last year, it reported positive results from trials evaluating a drug based on the marijuana cannabinoid CBD. In these trials, epilepsy patients were given the company's purified CBD drug, Epidiolex, and they saw 40% fewer seizures per month following treatment. Excitement over these results, plus optimism Epidiolex could receive a speedy FDA thumbs-up, caused GW Pharma's shares to surge 61% in 2016.

Finally, Canopy Growth has delivered investors awe-inspiring returns as it's become Canada's largest maker of medical-marijuana products. A maturing market for medical marijuana in Canada helped Canopy Growth's revenue increase to nearly $23 million over the past 12 months, and plans to pass recreational-marijuana laws in Canada soon helped Canopy Growth's shares skyrocket 217% last year.

Marijuana stocks struggling

Marijuana legalization still has significant momentum, but investors in these marijuana stocks appear to have priced in a lot of the near-term sales growth for these companies.

In April, Scott's Miracle-Gro updated investors on the progress its making serving the hydroponic market, and while sales of those products continue to grow, weakness in other parts of its business offset that growth. Hydroponics revenue grew 22% year over year last quarter, and sales are up 13% year to date, but weak sales of the company's other products caused overall revenue to fall 3% from a year ago in the quarter. Unsurprisingly, that news didn't ignite shareholder optimism, and year to date, Scotts Miracle-Gro's stock is down 5.3%.

GW Pharma also updated investors on its first-quarter progress recently. However, since the company is still preparing its FDA filing for Epidiolex, there was little new news reported that could send shares to new highs. As a result, investors remain in watchful-waiting mode ahead of an eventual FDA decision, and its shares have fallen by more than 5% this year.

Investors have also lost some of their appetite for Canopy Growth's stock this year. The company's recent quarterly performance shows its continuing to win customers and grow revenue, but shares have taken a hit following industry recalls tied to the use of banned pesticides. Canadian regulators have since announced a shift to mandatory testing for pesticides, but the overhang has still contributed to a 16.4% decline in Canopy Growth's shares in 2017.

Where we go from here

The marijuana market could be massive. However, it will take time for this market to develop, and it's possible that past marijuana stock winners won't be the best marijuana stocks to own in the future.

Undeniably, this market is growing very quickly, but it still faces hurdles. For instance, Donald political name's election as U.S. president has sent shock waves through the industry because his past comments haven't been overly supportive of marijuana legalization. Those worries increased further when political name picked marijuana foe Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general.

Overall, risks from marijuana-industry growth pains suggest all but the most risk-tolerant investors ought to concentrate on other investment ideas, at least until this industry matures a bit more.
 

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url: http://www.thecannabist.co/2017/05/12/nascar-marijuana-company-logo-carl-long/79449/





NASCAR nixes weed company logo from driver’s car



By The Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Carl Long was forced to strip the logo of a Colorado-based marijuana vaping company from his car Friday after NASCAR said it violated rules governing sponsorship and paint schemes.

The logo for Colorado-based Veedverks was plastered on Long’s green and yellow No. 66 for tech inspection, but a NASCAR spokesman said it was never vetted and approved. And when officials learned of the hood logo, they had crew members remove it before the car went to the track.

NASCAR officials said it will not adorn the car the rest of the weekend.

Long returned to NASCAR’s top series this weekend after an eight-year banishment over an unpaid fine from a rules infraction earlier in his career. The penalty was commuted by NASCAR this season.
 

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