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California: Regulators Finalize Rules Permitting Cannabis Home Deliveries

Sacramento, CA: State regulators gave final approval last week to regulations governing the commercial sale of cannabis, including rulespermitting its home delivery.

Under the plan, licensed businesses will be able to home deliver cannabis to adults — including those who reside in localities that have otherwise prohibited retail cannabis sales. An estimated 390 of the states 482 cities do not currently authorize retail cannabis operations.

The League of California Cities opposes the new home-delivery rules and some experts anticipate that the regulations could eventually lead to litigation between municipalities and state regulators.

The new rules take immediate effect.

 

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Study: CBD Dosing Relieves Symptoms In Patients With Anxiety Disorders

Denver, CO: The daily administration of CBD is associated with sustained symptomatic relief in patients diagnosed with anxiety disorders, according to the results of a case series published in The Permanente Journal.

Investigators at the University of Colorado, Denver and Colorado State University assessed the adjunctive use of low daily doses of CBD (typically 25mg capsules) over a three-month period in a cohort of patients diagnosed with either sleep or anxiety disorders.

Researchers reported that patients experienced a “mild improvement” in sleep scores, and a larger “more sustained response to anxiety.” They also reported that “CBD appears to be better tolerated than routine psychiatric medications.”

Authors acknowledged that the therapeutic doses used in the study were far lower than those typically associated with anxiolytic action in prior clinical trials.

They concluded: “Anxiety scores decreased fairly rapidly, and this decrease was sustained during the study period. … Randomized and controlled trials are needed to provide definitive clinical guidance.”

 

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Medical Schools Including Cannabis Content In Their Curriculum

Pittsburgh, PA: A growing percentage of colleges of pharmacy are instituting medical cannabis training as part of their curriculum, according to survey data published in the journal Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh contacted 140 US schools of pharmacy regarding whether they include medical cannabis-related topics in their curriculum. Among respondents, 62 percent reported that they had instituted some level of medical marijuana training, while 23 percent answered that they intended to incorporate the topic to their coursework within the next 12 months.

The study is the first inventory of medical schools with regard to the inclusion of medical cannabis-related topics to their curriculum.

According to a 2015 evaluation of student pharmacists’ attitudes, 90 percent of respondents indicated that they favored the inclusion of medical cannabis instruction to their curriculum.

 

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Study: CBD Administration Reduces Methamphetamine Cravings

Sydney, Australia: The administration of cannabidiol (CBD) is associated with reduced cravings for methamphetamine in rats, according to preclinical data published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Australian researchers assessed the impact of CBD on methamphetamine-seeking behavior in a rat model. They reported that CBD dosing reduced the animals’ motivation to self-administer methamphetamine and reduced the likelihood of relapse following drug abstinence.

Authors concluded, “This is the first demonstration that cannabidiol can reduce the motivation to seek and consume methamphetamine, and suggests that cannabidiol might be worth trialing as a novel pharmacotherapy for methamphetamine dependence.”

Prior studies have similarly reported that CBD is associated with reduced cravings for tobaccoheroincocaine, and opioids.

 

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2018 Year In Review: NORML’s Top Ten Events In Marijuana Policy

#1: Public Support in Favor of Adult Use Legalization at Historic Highs

More adults than ever before believe that marijuana use by adults ought to be legal. An October poll conducted by Gallup reported that 66 percent of adults – including majorities of Democrats, Independents, Republicans, and those over the age of 55 – back legalization. The percentage is the highest level of support ever reported by the polling firm. A 2018 Pew poll similarly reported greater public support for legalization than ever before, while a June poll by the Center for American Progress reported that 68 percent of voters nationwide endorse legalization – the highest level of national support ever recorded in a scientific poll.

#2: Marijuana Initiatives Win at the Ballot Box

Voters in four states – Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Utah – passed voter initiated measures in 2018 regulating the use of marijuana. Missouri, Oklahoma, and Utah became the 31st, 32nd, and 33rd states to enact medical cannabis access laws, while Michigan became the tenth state to permit adult marijuana use. In January, Vermont legislatively enacted provisions permitting adults to grow and possess marijuana for their own personal use.

#3: Congress Amends CSA to Lift Ban on Commercial Hemp Production

Hemp-specific provisions included in the 2018 Farm Bill (aka The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) for the first-time amend the federal classification of marijuana to distinguish between cannabis and hemp. Under the new law, which takes effect on January 1, 2019, hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance. The Act also broadens the definition of ‘hemp’ (Section 297A) to include “any part of the plant, including …. extracts [or] cannabinoids” that do not possess greater than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis. The Act also for the first time in decades permits for the licensed commercial cultivation of hemp under a partnership of state and federal regulations.

#4 Canada Legalizes Adult Marijuana Use and Retail Sales

Canadian lawmakers this summer approved federal legislation permitting the use of marijuana by those ages 18 and older, and regulating adult use cannabis production and sales. Retailers began selling cannabis in compliance with the new law in October. In November, justices for Mexico’s Supreme Court also struck down the nation’s marijuana ban – finding that laws criminalizing the private use and cultivation of cannabis by adults are unconstitutional.

#5: Governors Campaign, Win On Marijuana Legalization Platforms

Candidates for Governor in numerous state races campaigned and won in 2018 on a pledge to legalize and regulate the adult use of cannabis. Specifically, incoming governors in Connecticut, Minnesota, and Illinoisexplicitly pledged to enact legalization. Re-elected Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo has also pledgedto enact adult use legalization in early 2019, as has New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.

#6: Incoming House Rules Chair to Allow Floor Votes on Marijuana-Related Measures

Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern said in November that he will permit federal lawmakers to debate and vote on marijuana-related amendments when he assumes control of the House Rules Committee in 2019. Representative McGovern replaces outgoing Rules Chair Pete Sessions (R-TX), who lost his re-election bid. Representative Sessions used his position as Chairman of the House Rules Committee to block House floor members from voting on over three-dozen marijuana-related amendments during his leadership tenure. “Unlike my predecessor, I’m not going to block amendments for marijuana,” McGovern said. “Citizens are passing ballot initiatives, legislatures are passing laws, and we need to respect that. Federal laws and statutes are way behind.”

#7: Legal Marijuana Access is Associated with Reduced Opioid Abuse

Over a dozen studies were published in 2018 finding that regulated marijuana access is associated with lower rates of opioid use, abuse, and mortality. Among patients enrolled in medical cannabis access programs, use of opioids frequently decreases or is eliminated altogether.

#8: FBI: Marijuana Arrests Spike for Second Straight Year

The total number of persons arrested in the United States for violating marijuana laws rose for the second consecutive year, according to data released in September by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, police made 659,700 arrests for marijuana-related violations in 2017. As in previous years, marijuana possession arrests were least likely to occur in the western region of the United States, where possessing the plant has largely been either legalized or decriminalized. By contrast, in Midwestern states, marijuana-related arrests comprised over 53 percent of all drug arrests.

#9: FDA Approves First Ever Plant-Derived Cannabis Medicine

Regulators at the US Food and Drug Administration in June for the first time granted market approval to a plant-derived cannabis medicine, Epidiolex. The medicine contains a standardized formulation of plant-derived cannabidiol for the explicit treatment of two rare forms of severe epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. In September, the US Drug Enforcement Administration classified Epidiolex to Schedule V — the lowest restriction classification available under federal law.

#10: States, Localities Move to Expunge Past Marijuana Convictions

California became the first state to automatically review and expunge past marijuana-related convictions, under legislation enacted in October. Delaware enacted a similar law calling for the mandatory expungement of certain marijuana-related offenses, joining several other states that permit those with past records to petition to have those records sealed. Local officials in various cities in 2018, including DenverPhiladelphia, and Seattle, announced the facilitation of similar policies.

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