Sunday, May 29Urban Hippie

Author: Nicole Potter

Japanese Ministry of Health to Discuss Medical Cannabis Legalization

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A Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare panel met on May 25 to begin discussions regarding lifting the ban on medical cannabis to benefit patients who suffer from refractory epilepsy. As reported by The Asahi Shimbun, the ministry may revise the current law sometime this summer. Japanese law currently prohibits any possession or cultivation of any part of cannabis, including “the spikes, leaves, roots and ungrown stalk of the cannabis plant.” The Asahi Shimbun references that of the “Group of Seven,” or the seven countries with the most advanced economies, which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Of these, Japan currently has one of the strictest approaches to cannabis regulation and prohibition. In August 2021, the Ja

Local Texas Advocacy Group Collects Signatures for Decriminalization Initiative

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Ground Game Texas held a press event on May 25, announcing that the group has collected enough signatures to qualify for the November 2022 ballot. Only 1,000 valid signatures were necessary, but the group collected over 2,400 signatures for submission. Ground Game Texas was founded in 2021 and seeks to organize and educate Texas communities to fight for issues such as increased minimum wages, Medicaid expansion plans, and cannabis legalization, to name a few. A part of their mission is to consistently inform voters of these issues year-round, and to avoid taking “off-years.” Executive Director and Co-founder of Ground Game Texas, Julie Oliver, released a statement about the initiative, which is called the Killeen Freedom Act of 2022. “In a quickly growing and thriving community like

Missouri Veterans Commission Receives $5 Million From Medical Cannabis Program

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The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services announced on May 18 that it would be transferring $5 million to the Missouri Veterans Commission (MVC). According to a press release, this is the third transfer of funds to the organization, which now totals up to $13,978,820. Director of Medical Marijuana, Lyndall Fraker, issued a statement about the progress being made for medical patients. “Today, patients are being served by more than 180 dispensary facilities in Missouri—a 20% increase from last fall,” Fraker said. “We are happy to see the veterans served by MVC continue to benefit from these contributions.” Paul Kirchhoff, Missouri Veterans Commission Executive Director, also praised the continued support. “MVC will use these new funds for increasing support for Missouri v

Louisiana Bill to Allow State Employees to Use Medical Cannabis Receives Unanimous Vote

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House Bill 988 was passed through the Louisiana House Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations on May 19. If the bill becomes law, it would create protections for state employees who seek to use medical cannabis. While it would prevent employees from being fired, and prevent discrimination against those who seek to apply, it does not apply to public safety employees such as firefighters or law enforcement. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mandie Landry, strongly believes that her bill is a healthier choice for Louisianians. “There are a lot of people who don’t want to take opioids for their long-term PTSD and pain management because of the high possibility of addiction to opioids,” Landry said, according to the Louisiana Illuminator. “This has proved to be a better option than them.” The

Cannabis Drug Testing Partial Cause for U.S. Truck Driver Shortage

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The American Trucking Association released a statement in October 2021, citing retiring driving veterans and lower wages as the partial cause for the shortage of more than 80,000 drivers. However, another cause for this shortage is being attributed to adult-use legalization and drivers testing positive for cannabis. A March 2022 U.S. Department of Transportation summary report states that as of April 1, 2022, 10,276 commercial truck drivers tested positive for THC. (Although this is a significant decrease in numbers, compared to 31,085 violations in 2021 and 29,511 violations in 2020.) Cannabis leads the data as the highest positive drug tests for drivers, but this also includes data about drivers who test positive for cocaine, methamphetamine, oxymorphone and more. The situation is ...

Inside the Mind of a Medical Cannabis Pharmacist in Utah

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In Utah, dispensaries are referred to as pharmacies, and the method of which patients must apply for and obtain cannabis medicine differs. While the state of Utah is home to over three million people, only 15 pharmacies and eight cultivators are allowed to legally operate there. Pharmacists are essential to the structure of Utah’s medical cannabis program, as they are legally the only way that medical cannabis patients can obtain cannabis products. Beehive Farmacy’s Pharmacist in Charge, Mindy Madeo, has been a pharmacist for over 20 years, but found a new calling to enter the cannabis industry after the state of Utah legalized medical cannabis. Madeo attended the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s cannabis program, which she will soon be graduating with a Masters of Science in

Study Finds Cannabis Legalization Source of Decreased Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption

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A new study published on May 9 in the Journal of Adolescent Health shows evidence that cannabis legalization has brought down the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes in youth consumers. Entitled “Trends in Alcohol, Cigarette, E-Cigarette, and Nonprescribed Pain Reliever Use Among Young Adults in Washington State After Legalization of Nonmedical Cannabis,” the study includes the analysis of six waves of survey data collected between 2014 and 2019. Researchers from the University of Washington reviewed data which covered approximately 12,500 adolescents. “Prevalence of past-month alcohol use, heavy episodic drinking (HED), and cigarette use and prevalence of past-year pain reliever misuse decreased, while the prevalence of past-month e-cigarette use increased since 2016 (the first year

Iowa Legalization Campaign Gives a Voice to the People

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The Campaign for Sensible Cannabis Laws is a nonpartisan organization that is striving to “reform Iowa’s medical and recreational cannabis laws based on fairness, financial prudence, and common sense.” The group recently launched its newest campaign, which is led by Bradley Knott and Pete D’Alessandro. Recently, Knott authored an article about their drive to get Iowa up to speed with other states that have legalized cannabis. “Cannabis reform is sweeping the country. From ruby red South Dakota and Montana to perpetually blue New York and New Jersey, majorities from across the political spectrum are voting for reform. In some states it’s a stronger medical program,” Knott wrote. “In other states voters have gone all in for both medical and recreational cannabis. In Iowa, we don’t have a

Study Analyzes Cannabis Content on TikTok, Including Youth Concerns

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A research study published in Drug and Alcohol Review found that cannabis consumption is mainly depicted as positive on TikTok. However, lead author on the study, Brienna Rutherford, explained the thought behind the study.  “Social media is a big part of the modern world, with adolescents reporting that they spend an average of eight hours online every day,” said Rutherford, a PhD candidate with University of Queensland in Australia. “Despite this high volume of use, little is known about the potential risks exposure to social media content depicting substance use may have on viewers. However, before you can assess the effects of exposure, we need to know what content is out there and accessible.” The study, entitled “Getting high for likes: Exploring cannabis-related content on TikT

California Gov. Gavin Newsom Adds Tax Cuts in Revised Budget Proposal

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Newsom announced the revision proposal on May 13, which aims to set aside $150 million in order to “temporarily reduce taxes” and simplify the tax structure, while $21 million will go toward local governments to help expand cannabis’s retail footprint. Newsom said in response to a question from a Bloomberg reporter that he is “…addressing the persistent issue that is exactly what we anticipated would be a persistent issue—and that’s dealing with the black market, going after the illegal growers and the illegal operators,” Newsom explained. “Trying to level-set, trying to be flexible in terms of the cost pressures related to the current tax structure, and the lack thereof, in the black market.” “This is [the] beginning of a process from my humble perspective, in terms of my thinking,”