CINCINNATI, Ohio – The American Legion, the nation’s largest military veterans’ organization, adopted a resolution at their 98th national convention calling on the federal government to support medical marijuana. The organization resolved that the DEA should “license privately-funded medical marijuana production operations” for cannabis research and that Congress should “amend legislation to remove marijuana from Schedule I.” Marijuana.com reports that Dr. Sue Sisley, the first researcher to gain FDA approval for study of whole-plant cannabis for vets suffering from post-traumatic stress, was instrumental in lobbying the American Legion to adopt their pro-medical marijuana stand. After speaking to their national convention, Dr. Sisley remarked that “I only heard very positive feedback from the thousands of veterans in the audience.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), announced $85.9 million in grants for 698 Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Programs across the country. The grants will provide funding to local community coalitions for preventing youth substance use including prescription drugs, marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol. DFC-funded coalitions are comprised of community leaders, parents, youth, teachers, religious and fraternal organizations, health care and business professionals, law enforcement, and media. While the DFC’s internal reporting shows decreases in all drug and alcohol use among teens in those communities, marijuana use “showed the smallest percentage change” compared to alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs.
NASHVILLE, Tennessee – The municipal decriminalization measure proposed in the Nashville Metro Council has been reworded to remove opposition from the Chief of Police. The proposal would treat the possession of less than a half-ounce of marijuana as a non-criminal municipal violation, punishable by a fine of $50 or a ten hours of community service. Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson had opposed the measure for its language stating that an officer “shall issue” such a ticket. Anderson believed that removed the officer’s discretion to charge a marijuana offender with the city violation or the state misdemeanor or to confiscate the marijuana and waive the ticket with a warning. Newly-proposed amendments would change the word “shall” to “may”, leading Anderson to “feel comfortable in moving my position to neutral…” The Metro Council Committee will vote on the measure today. It is expected to pass to the full Council for debate and a second vote on Tuesday.
PARAMUS, New Jersey – Another former NFL player is stepping up to support medical cannabis use by pro football players. Former New York Giants defensive end Leonard Marshall was best known for his crushing hits on the field, most infamously for cracking Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana’s ribs in the 1991 NFC Championship game, sidelining Montana for the entire next season. Now Marshall, age 54, is a vice president for Home Towne Rx, a chain of pharmacies aiming to someday provide medical cannabis products in New Jersey. Marshall says he’s been using cannabidiol oil to combat the daily headaches he still suffers after twelve years of battles on the line of scrimmage. He never used marijuana recreationally in his life, but suicides of former players like his friend Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson led Marshall to be proactive about the mood changes and strange thoughts he began to experience in 2007. This year, Marshall tried some CBD he got from a friend in Florida. “Within a few days of using it, I found some significant relief,” Marshall told the NY Daily News.
LANSING, Michigan – The Michigan State Senate has advanced a trio of bills to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries and legalize edible preparations of cannabis. Recent court rulings have clarified the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act in such a way that dispensaries and edibles currently sit in a legal gray area. The Michigan House has already passed such legislation. With the Senate Judiciary Committee unable to muster the votes to forward the proposal, the Senate took the unusual step of discharging the bills from committee for full Senate consideration. Opponents on the committee believe the bills are simply the beginning of marijuana legalization in the Great Lakes State. Also included among the bills is a seed-to-sale tracking system and the appropriation of funds to cover its cost.
DOVER, Delaware – Delaware Gov. Jack Markell signed a bill yesterday that allows children on the state’s medical marijuana program to use their medicine at school. The new law allows school nurses, with the presence of parents and guardians, to administer cannabis oil to students with medical marijuana recommendations anywhere on school property, including school buses. Until now, parents and guardians had been required to take their child off school property to administer their dosage. There are currently fewer than ten children in Delaware with medical marijuana recommendations.
TRENTON, New Jersey – Gov. Chris Christie had not acted on a bi-partisan bill to allow patients with post-traumatic stress to use medical cannabis in New Jersey. An online petition urging his signature to pass the measure, passed by the Assembly and sent to Gov. Christie on August 1, has now gained over 18,000 supporters. Gov. Christie’s only response to the bill was a promise at an August news conference to “read it”. As of Wednesday, the governor’s spokesman Brian Murray emailed Philly.com, saying “we will not comment until we have finished our review.” Gov. Christie is an ardent opponent of marijuana reform, famously declaring that marijuana liberalization, whether medical or recreational, will not occur “on my watch”. He has vetoed every attempt to advance marijuana reform except for two bills – one that allows juvenile use of cannabis oils and another that allows use of those oils at school – but three years later has still not approved any dispensaries to manufacture the oils.
LOS ANGELES, California – Former television host and wellness advocate Montel Williams is launching a line of medical cannabis products for patients under the brand name LenitivLabs by Lenitiv Scientific, LLC. Williams made the announcement today at the Cannabis World Congress and Business Exposition being held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Williams—an award winning media personality, decorated former Naval officer, entrepreneur, and wellness advocate—was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 1999 and has used cannabis products as a medication to manage the disease’s symptoms. Marvin Washington, an eleven year NFL veteran and outspoken advocate for athlete’s access to cannabis as medicine has also joined the company.
OTTAWA, Canada – The recent case of a Canadian man permanently denied entry at the US border for admitting his past marijuana use is highlighting the absurdity of marijuana prohibition. The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has committed to legalizing marijuana in Canada, which would then keep law-abiding Canadian citizens from visiting the United States. More absurd is the fact that Canadians crossing into the US from British Columbia would be entering Washington State, where cannabis is legal for adults. After this election, there may be a similar border between the provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec, and the state of Maine, where cannabis is legal on all sides, but Canadians admitting to using it could not cross. “We obviously need to intensify our discussions with our border authorities in the United States, including the Department of Homeland Security,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp late on Thursday.
LANSING, Michigan – Though the highest court in Michigan has ruled the fight for marijuana legalization in 2016 is over, a new federal lawsuit offers a sliver of hope. Two signature gatherers for the ill-fated MI Legalize campaign have asked a federal court to halt the printing of ballots until all the signatures for the initiative are counted. MI Legalize turned in more than 354,000 signatures, well more than what they needed to qualify for the ballot. But the Secretary of State’s office rejected thousands of signatures that were older than 180 days, citing a Michigan law regarding so-called “stale” signatures. The Michigan Supreme Court agreed with lower court rulings that the state had no legal obligation to count the stale signatures. The plaintiffs allege that their right to vote has been unconstitutionally infringed by the state. MI Legalize is also preparing a suit for the US Supreme Court over the signatures.
SACRAMENTO, California – SAM Action, the political action committee of the anti-legalization group Project SAM, announced another $1.3 million in fundraising to defeat marijuana initiatives nationwide. Kevin Sabet, founder of Project SAM, said the money came from a retired millionaire in Pennsylvania named Julie Schauer, who is opposed to marijuana legalization because “455,000 people were hospitalized in emergency rooms for panic attacks, paranoia and psychosis related to marijuana consumption.” Sabet says the money will be used to fight California’s Prop 64 as well as the other initiatives for marijuana law reform on the ballot.
BELLMAWR, New Jersey – Cannabis oils used for topical preparations went on sale for the first time in New Jersey’s dysfunctional medical marijuana program. While five dispensaries are currently operating in New Jersey, only one, Compassionate Sciences, has been approved by the state to dispense the products. Even so, the dispensary can only sell pre-filled syringes of the oil and can only market them as topical products, since they have not yet been approved to sell edibles. Nothing is stopping the patients from using those oils in making their own edible products, however. A 2013 law expanded the program to allow for use of cannabis edibles, but only for children.