Happy Friday everyone, this is Todd Denkin with TNMNews.com here to provide you with another fresh weekly update on the cannabis news across the country. While the government may be shutdown, the new House of Representatives certainly has not been taking a break. Three marijuana reform bills have already been introduced, some we have heard before like the CARERS Act, but cannabis is still on everyone’s mind. States around the country have remained proactive as well cleaning up the marijuana prohibition mess. St. Louis County in Missouri, where voters legalized a highly permissive medical marijuana program last November, is no longer going to prosecute marijuana possession offenses. It’s all looking good here people. It is January 11th, 2019 and this is The National Marijuana News. Let’s get started with our first story.
H.R. 420, The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, Proposed By Rep. Blumenauer
Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer introduced a marijuana reform bill on Wednesday that he adopted from Jared Polis, who had to relinquish it because he is now the governor of Colorado, called the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act. If passed, this bill would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act entirely and allows states to create marijuana laws. It would move federal cannabis law enforcement from the the DEA to a newly formed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana, Firearms and Explosives. The FDA and a newly formed Alcohol, Tobacco and Marijuana Tax and Trade Bureau would take over oversight and end up regulating cannabis just like alcohol, as the name suggests. On a rather humorous note, Rep. Earl Blumenauer went out of his way to reserve H.R. 420 as the bill number for the House. You can read more about H.R. 420 on TNMNews.com. Just look for the article, “Our Government Just Loves 420, Evidenced By The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act.”
62% of Medical Schools in U.S. Now Adding Medical Marijuana Training to Curriculum
Medical marijuana advocates around the country have been very critical of medical schools that have not included any sort of curriculum concerning the medicinal benefits of cannabis over the years. States began legalizing medical marijuana about a decade ago and their is ample evidence of the medicinal benefits of cannabis, however even in states that have legalized medical marijuana, schools have been slow to educate on cannabis and doctors are generally ignorant when it comes to discussing marijuana. However, a news study out of the University of Pittsburgh shows that 62% of medical schools around the country have now included some sort of medical marijuana research to their curriculum. The study polled 140 schools nationwide, so certainly that is a step in the right direction. If doctors can accept that marijuana has medicinal benefits than more people are likely to accept it as well around the country.
Israeli Study Shows Cannabis Users During Chemotherapy Have Less Symptoms
Sticking with medical marijuana for another moment. A study out of Israel is showing clear evidence of the benefits of cannabis to chemotherapy patients. Medical marijuana has been used for many years by many cancer patients going through chemotherapy to make them more comfortable, reduce nausea and increase their appetite to help maintain their strength. The study out of Israel and published in the Anti-Cancer Drugs journal, shows that chemotherapy patients using cannabis have less symptoms than those patients that abstain from consumption. During the three month research study, cannabis consumers not only had a better appetite, but were less fatigued, slept better at night and had no impairment to their cognitive abilities as compared to those that did not consume cannabis during the study.
Washington Governor to Have 3,500 Marijuana Misdemeanor Convictions Vacated
Moving over to some state news. Governor Jay Inslee of Washington is going to have 3,500 marijuana misdemeanor convictions vacated throughout the state. Washington was one of the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana, along with Colorado, and began the commercial sale of cannabis in 2014. The social injustice aspect of marijuana prohibition is one of the most important reasons to legalize it and expunging records of nonviolent cannabis related crimes is an essential aspect of correcting the mistakes of prohibition. Convictions hurt an individual’s ability to find gainful employment and admission into school. The city of Seattle has already thrown out thousands of convictions going back decades. We are seeing more states prioritize cleaning up records of people convicted of cannabis related misdemeanors and clemency being granted to inmates around the country, Here in Las Vegas, Tick Segerblom is working with the DA to throw out convictions.
Marijuana Excise Taxes Expected To Be Less Than Half Of What Was Projected in California
Finally, California is still having a tough time transitioning into a purely regulated marijuana market. With the passage of Prop. 64, and the one year anniversary of legal cannabis sales having just passed by, certainly the marijuana landscape has changed in California for the better. Many of the illegal growers in the Emerald Triangle have had to give up on growing cannabis due to the costs of getting licensed by the state and the drop in the price of weed. There is a documentary on Netflix called, Murder Mountain, that thoroughly explains how it became the biggest hub for illegal marijuana growers that have supplied more than half of the illegal marijuana to the U.S. since the ‘60s. But, still many people in California continue to buy illegal marijuana to avoid taxes. According to Governor Newsome, his budget is expecting $355 million in excise taxes from marijuana sales by June, which is less than half of what the state originally projected. California is in an unique circumstance when it comes to marijuana compared to any other state in the country and it cannot be terribly surprising that the transition into the regulated market is taking longer than many had hoped.
Well, that is it for this week everyone. Check out our Youtube channel, The National Marijuana News, along with our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, @NationalMJNews. This is Todd Denkin with The National Marijuana News. I hope you all have a great weekend and we will be back with you next Friday.