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Dispensaries save lives, study finds (Newsletter: Feb. 6, 2018)

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A new federally funded study concluded that legal access to medical cannabis dispensaries saves lives by reducing opioid overdoses.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City granted permission to a Colorado credit union to serve individuals and companies that support marijuana businesses, such as accountants, lawyers and landlords, but not to open accounts for cannabis growers or retailers themselves.

The Virginia Senate unanimously voted to approve a House-passed proposal to let doctors recommend CBD/THC-A medical cannabis oil for any medical condition.

The Indiana Senate voted 35-13 to approve a House-passed bill to legalize CBD products.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt appears to have inadvertently held a meeting with Florida farmers who grow medical cannabis.

Democratic members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee are pushing for a hearing on federal marijuana enforcement policy.

The Daily Caller looks at turf battles between the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Office of National Drug Control Policy. And presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway has reportedly sidelined ONDCP officials from the administration’s opioid efforts.

Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) spoke on the House floor about “drain[ing] the Black labor pool by doubling down on the war on drugs and mass incarceration.”

Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) tweeted, “It’s important for the American people to understand why Sessions reversed the very simple policy of letting states go ahead & honor the wishes of their residents in terms of legalizing #marijuana & to understand the rationale for doing this. Why does he believe what he believes?”

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) tweeted that “Jeff Sessions’ decisions on marijuana will waste taxpayer dollars and subvert the will of voters who have clearly indicated a preference for legalized pot in their states.”

Politico looks at Democratic congressional candidates who are campaigning on marijuana law reform.

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) said he doesn’t support legalizing marijuana “today.” Separately, activists took advantage of an anti-marijuana campaign’s confusing web URL.

Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) said he still doesn’t support legalizing marijuana.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) said he is considering ways to dismiss prior marijuana convictions.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), a former Drug Enforcement Administration head, said he opposes legalizing marijuana.

Florida lawmakers sharply criticized regulators’ efforts to implement medical cannabis at a hearing.

Massachusetts revenue officials are seeking public comment on tax issues related to marijuana businesses.

A California assemblymember introduced a bill to let cities allow marijuana use at social events.

West Virginia lawmakers are considering expanding the state’s limited medical cannabis law to allow for home cultivation and smoking.

Colorado regulators issued a bulletin on new requirements for outdoor or greenhouse marijuana cultivation.

A Maryland delegate who has championed drug policy reform, and who got into trouble for undisclosed medical cannabis conflicts of interest, is retiring.

/ LOCAL

The Chicopee, Massachusetts City Council is considering a proposal to prevent local resources from being used to assist in federal marijuana crackdowns.

The Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council is considering a resolution urging state lawmakers to legalize medical cannabis.

The Jackson, Mississippi City Council held a public hearing on a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said a feasibility study on supervised injection facilities for illegal drug consumers will be released “soon.”

A Pueblo County, Colorado scholarship program is expected to have $700,000 in funding from marijuana tax revenues for the next academic year.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian government ministers will testify about pending marijuana legalization legislation before the Senate on Tuesday. Separately, the British Columbia government released proposed provincial cannabis regulations.

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili will begin pardoning people convicted of nonviolent drug crimes.

Lawmakers in Panama are reviewing medical cannabis legislation.

NPR takes a look at the evolution of Mexico’s marijuana legalization debate.

/ ADVOCACY

The Drug Policy Alliance and the Harm Reduction Coalition are now both led by women of color.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “therapeutic use of cannabis is safe and efficacious in the elderly population” and “may decrease the use of other prescription medicines, including opioids.”

A study found that “exposure to [medical cannabis] patient testimonials indirectly increased positive attitudes, beliefs and intentions related to recreational cannabis use through changing attitudes, beliefs and intentions related to MC.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Emerson College Polling Society says it is dedicating the month of March to studying public opinion about cannabis.

A poll funded by a prohibitionist organization found that when given a choice, 23% of Illinois adults support legalizing marijuana, 47% want to keep decriminalization and medical cannabis, 4% want to  keep decriminalization but repeal medical cannabis and 18% want marijuana to be completely illegal.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board wants prior marijuana convictions to be expunged.

The Sioux City Journal editorial board wants the federal government to respect state marijuana laws.

The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board says that a limited medical cannabis proposal before Utah lawmakers doesn’t go far enough.

/ BUSINESS

Marijuana-focused law firms Emerge Law Group and Greenbridge Corporate Counsel are merging.

The San Diego Girl Scout Council is investigating whether a girl photographed selling cookies outside a marijuana dispensary broke any rules.

/ CULTURE     

Actress Helen Mirren suggested to co-star Donald Sutherland that marijuana might help him sleep better at night.

Snoop Dogg is backing a high school student who was suspended for posting a photo of the rapper smoking marijuana.

/ CORRECTION

In Monday’s newsletter I mistakenly reported that New Jersey officials are taking a marijuana fact-finding trip to Colorado. They are actually visiting Nevada.

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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