Colorado sides with parents over doctors on medical marijuana for autism

Families spent hours with the state’s lawmakers convincing them that their kids need cannabis. 

Despite opposition from physicians and health experts, Colorado’s House of Representatives will now consider a bill which would add autism to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. After hearing from autism advocates, families and health experts for over five hours, a House committee voted on April 5 to allow the bill to come to a vote in the legislature.

The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Edie Hooton (D-Boulder and Gunbarrel), would allow adults as well as children under the age of 18 to treat symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), such as seizures, with the use of medical cannabis. For children, a prescription would have to be approved by two physicians.

If the bill passes, Colorado will join a number of other states which currently allow for the treatment of autism with medical marijuana. California, Oregon and Washington D.C. are among the jurisdictions which have fully legalized cannabis and list autism as a qualifying condition. Even states which have limited medical marijuana programs like Georgia have approved the treatment of autism with cannabis oils.

In Colorado, families are currently treating children who have been diagnosed with the disorder regardless of its legal status because of the effects they’ve seen firsthand. Several of those families appeared before lawmakers to testify in favor of the bill, including the Walker family from Texas.

Read the full article from The Capital.

 

SOURCE: TOMOSKI, M. (2018, April 16). Herb. Colorado sides with parents over doctors on medical marijuana for autism. Retrieved from https://herb.co/marijuana/news/colorado-parents-marijuana-autism

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Cannabis legalization can reduce violent crime.

A new study published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization has added to an ever-growing body of research which suggests that cannabis legalization is linked to a decrease in violent crime. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Bologna in Italy, looks at legalization’s effects on crime in the state of Washington.

The findings are the result of a comparison between Washington state, after it legalized in 2012, and the neighboring state of Oregon, which legalized two years later in 2014. That two-year gap allowed researchers to compare violent crime rates across several counties in both states and measure the effects of legalization.

The researchers cite four reasons they believe the legalization of cannabis may have had a positive effect on violent crime rates starting with the suggestion that legalization itself, “reduces the likelihood of [cannabis users and growers] engaging in violent activities.” They go on to say that legalization reduces the likelihood that those growing and selling cannabis will be involved in gang activity while the regulation of a legal market frees up police resources to combat other crimes.

The study also found that residents in legal states reduced their normal and binge alcohol consumption significantly when provided with the alternative of legal weed. Researchers see this reduction in the use of more “violence-inducing substances” like alcohol and cocaine as a contributing factor.

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SOURCE: Tomoski, M. (2018, April 9). Herb. New study confirms cannabis legalization reduces violent crime. Retrieved from https://herb.co/marijuana/news/cynthia-nixon-governor-cuomo-cannabis

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Jeff Sessions Blames Marijuana for the Opioid Epidemic

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is blaming an old foe of his for the opioid crisis: marijuana.

Speaking at the Heritage Foundation to the Reagan Alumni Association this week, Sessions argued that cutting prescriptions for opioid painkillers is crucial to combating the crisis — since some people started on painkillers before moving on to illicit opioids like heroin and fentanyl. But then he expanded his argument to include cannabis.

“The DEA said that a huge percentage of the heroin addiction starts with prescriptions. That may be an exaggerated number; they had it as high as 80 percent,” Sessions said. “We think a lot of this is starting with marijuana and other drugs too.”

It’s true that, historically, a lot of opioid addiction started with prescribed painkillers — although that’s changing. A 2017 study in Addictive Behaviors found that 51.9 percent of people entering treatment for opioid use disorder in 2015 started with prescription drugs, down from 84.7 percent in 2005. And 33.3 percent initiated with heroin in 2015, up from 8.7 percent in 2005.

Where Sessions, who once said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” went wrong is his suggestion that marijuana leads to heroin use — reiterating the old gateway drug theory.

SOURCE: Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/8/16987126/jeff-sessions-opioid-epidemic-marijuana

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Moldy Marijuana Calls for New Legislature

PHOENIX – A Republican lawmaker has persuaded nearly the entire Legislature to sign on in support of his proposal to require medical marijuana to be tested for mold and agricultural chemicals.

The proposal from Sen. Sonny Borrelli would appropriate $2 million from the state’s huge medical marijuana fund to do the testing. It also would lower the $150 annual fee that patients need to pay to get a medical marijuana card to $50 and $25 for a renewal.

Borrelli has 78 co-sponsors for his measure, including the Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate. There are 90 members of the Legislature.

SOURCE: Wasu, S. (2018, January 29). abc15. Arizona lawmakers considering medical marijuana safety bill. Retrieved from https://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/central-phoenix/arizona-lawmakers-considering-medical-marijuana-safety-bill

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