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UK Parliament to debate medical cannabis this week (Newsletter: Feb. 21, 2018)

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MD legalization hearing; IN Senate GOP candidates debate medical cannabis; WV board wants smoking allowed

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

UK lawmakers are scheduled to debate a medical marijuana bill on Friday.

The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Advisory Board recommended making smokable forms of marijuana available to patients. Separately, the West Virginia senator who successfully enacted a medical cannabis law last year filed a full marijuana legalization bill. He is also running for Congress this year.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) tweeted, “North Dakotans voted overwhelmingly in favor of medical marijuana—the federal government shouldn’t be getting in the way.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “It’s time to end the destructive and discriminatory war on drugs.”

Republican U.S. Senate candidates from Indiana debated medical cannabis.

/ STATES

Here’s a look at where Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidates stand on expanding the state’s limited medical cannabis program.

Michigan Democratic gubernatorial candidate Shri Thanedar said he supports legalizing marijuana and would move to release people incarcerated for cannabis offenses.

California regulators and officials with the attorney general’s office testified at an Assembly hearing about marijuana legalization implementation.

Rhode Island Democratic attorney general candidate Peter Neronha doesn’t support legalizing marijuana, but is distancing himself from a threat letter he sent to state officials about medical cannabis when he was a U.S. attorney.

The Washington State Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee approved legislation to remove the threat of state criminal prosecution from banks that work with the marijuana industry.

The Missouri House of Representatives gave initial approval to an industrial hemp bill.

The Oklahoma House Rules Committee approved a bill to make it harder to qualify voter initiatives, a measure introduced because lawmakers fear a possible future marijuana legalization measure.

Maryland lawmakers held a hearing on a marijuana legalization bill.

New Jersey local, state and county government officials attended a briefing on marijuana policy.

Six Ohio businesses that failed to get medical cannabis cultivation licenses are suing the state.

Iowa lawmakers are considering bills that would allow doctors or a state medical board to decide which conditions medical cannabis can be used for.

A California senator introduced a bill to suspend drivers licenses for people under 21 who are found operating motor vehicles with marijuana in their systems.

Massachusetts cannabis regulators launched a new website and approved contracts with companies for  licensing software and and a seed-to-sale tracking system.

/ LOCAL

Three marijuana retailers are suing Lewis County, Washington over an ordinance that requires them to get approval from the federal government.

The Alameda County, California district attorney’s office released an update on ongoing efforts to dismiss prior marijuana convictions.

Deschutes County, Oregon’s sheriff and district attorney slammed the state’s efforts to regulate legal marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Malta’s government took the first step toward allowing three companies to begin growing medical cannabis.

The British Virgin Islands is considering allowing medical cannabis cultivation.

As more of the U.S. marijuana market is legalized, Mexican drug cartels are trying to find other ways to make profits.

/ ADVOCACY

The prohibitionist Marijuana Accountability Coalition will hold an event to release newly compiled data on Colorado marijuana legalization implementation on Thursday.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “medical cannabis treatment had a significant favorable effect on patients with fibromyalgia, with few adverse effects.”

A study concluded that “evidence does not support evidence for improving pain or sleep…yet cannabis users have more confidence in symptom control.”

A paper found that “medical cannabis laws produce a statistically significant decrease in opioid prescription rates.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The American Association for Public Opinion Research’s conference in May will include a panel on marijuana polling.

/ BUSINESS

Denver, Colorado marijuana business Lightshade Labs voluntarily recalled products due to presence of elevated yeast and/or mold counts.

The Hershey Co. is actively policing what it views as violations of its trademark by marijuana companies.

VICE looks at the marijuana industry’s banking access issues.

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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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