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SOCIETY

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director February 16, 2016

    joint_budA report published last fall claiming that an estimated three in ten consumers of cannabis suffer from a ‘use disorder’ has been dismissed in a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

    Investigators at the Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis assessed trends in marijuana use and the prevalence of marijuana use disorders during the years 2002 to 2013. Researchers determined that the self-reported use of cannabis by adults increased an estimated 19 percent, but that reports of cannabis-related problems actually declined during this same period.

    “We’re certainly seeing some increases in marijuana use,” the lead researcher of the new study said. “But our survey didn’t notice any increase in marijuana-related problems. Certainly, some people are having problems so we should remain vigilant, but the sky is not falling.”

    Separate evaluations of self-reported marijuana use by young people have determined that rates of cannabis use by high-school students is significantly lower today than it was 15 years ago.

    Full text of the study, “Recent Trends in the Prevalence of Marijuana Use and Associated Disorders in the United States,” appears online in JAMA Psychiatry here.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director February 10, 2016

    marijuana_seedlingAustralian lawmakers are anticipated to approve landmark legislation in the coming months allowing for the production and use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

    The legislation, which is backed by Australia’s Prime Minister, Health Minister, and leading political parties, amends national drug laws to permit for the licensed cultivation and distribution of medicinal cannabis.

    The move by Parliament follows recent efforts by several Australian territories to provide patients participating in clinical trials with access to the plant.

    “This government understands that there are some Australians suffering from severe conditions for which cannabis may have applications,” Health Minister Sussan Ley told Parliament this week. “[W]e want to enable access to the most effective medical treatments available.”

    She added, “Allowing controlled cultivation locally will provide the critical missing piece for a sustainable legal supply of safe medicinal cannabis products for Australian patients in the future.”

    To date, only Canada, Israel, and the Netherlands federally license private growers to provide medical marijuana to qualified patients. Colombia, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico are also expected to begin licensing medical marijuana manufacturing in the near future.

    In 2013, Uruguay officials approved legislation authorizing the retail production and sale of cannabis to those age 18 and older. Consumers in that country are anticipated to be able to begin purchasing cannabis at state-licensed pharmacies by mid-2016.

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Political Director February 3, 2016

    lobby_day_2016NORML’s 2016 Congressional Lobby Day at the United States Capitol is scheduled for May 23rd and 24th. Hundreds of marijuana consumers, activists, patients and business owners are expected to attend a day-long training and informational conference on Monday and re-convene on The Hill Tuesday to personally lobby their elected members of the House of Representatives and Senate.

    Whether you’re a longtime activist, young college student, medical marijuana patient or simply just a marijuana consumer and NORML supporter, consider taking the next step and travelling to Washington D.C. to directly lobby Congress in support of common sense marijuana law reform. You’ll meet like minded activists from across the country and you’ll get a glimpse into the Capitol Hill lawmaking process!

    Scheduling and registration information will soon be posted to norml.org, and promoted as well across NORML’s network via listservs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Please save the dates and participate in this historic lobbying effort in our nation’s capital at this crucial time in the law reform effort as cannabis prohibition increasingly gives way to legalization!

    For planning purposes you can look up hotel information. Our day-long training and informational conference on Monday will be held at 1957 E Street if you wish to look for something close to the planned activities. Last year, participants also benefited from booking with AirBnb.

     

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director January 28, 2016

    ballot_box_leafMore than three out of five New Mexicans believe that state law ought to be amended to permit retails sales of marijuana to adults, according to statewide polling data provided by Research & Polling Inc. and commissioned by the Drug Policy Alliance.

    Sixty-one percent of respondents said that they supported legislation to regulate and tax retail sales of marijuana to those age 21 and over. Respondents’ support rose to 69 percent when pollsters indicated that sales taxes would be used to fund health-related programs.

    Majority support for regulating the adult use of cannabis have previously been reported in a number of other state and national surveys.

    Legislation to allow for the retail sale and adult use of cannabis, House Bill 75 and Senate Joint Resolution 5, is presently pending in the New Mexico legislature. Similar legislation is pending in over a dozen other states, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New Hampshire, Kentucky, and Vermont.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director January 19, 2016

    oil_bottlesThe administration of liquid cannabis extracts containing THC is associated with the mitigation of various symptoms of Alzheimer’s-related agitation and dementia, according to observational trial data published online ahead of print in The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

    Israeli investigators assessed the use of cannabis oil as an adjunct pharmacotherapy treatment in ten Alzheimer’s disease patients over a period of several weeks. Researchers reported that drug administration was associated with a significant reduction in patients’ symptom severity scores. Specifically, cannabis oil ingestion corresponded with decreased levels of aggression, irritability, apathy, and delusions.

    Investigators concluded, “Adding medical cannabis oil to Alzheimer’s disease patients pharmacotherapy is safe and a promising treatment option.”

    The administration of dronabinol (oral synthetic THC in pill form) has previously been reported to reduce Alzheimer’s-induced agitation and improve weight gain, while preclinical studies have theorized that cannabinoids may be neuroprotective against the onset of the disease.

    An abstract of the study, “Safety and efficacy of medical cannabis oil for behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia: An open label, add-on, pilot study,” appears online here.

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