Colorado awarded more than $8 million for medical marijuana research Wednesday, a step toward addressing complaints that little is known about pot’s medical potential. The grants awarded by the Colorado Board of Health will go to studies on whether marijuana helps treat epilepsy, brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease and post-traumatic stress disorder. “This is the first time we’ve had government money to look at the efficacy of marijuana, not the harms of marijuana,” said Dr. Suzanne Sisley, a Scottsdale, Arizona, psychiatrist who will help run a study on marijuana for veterans with PTSD. Three of the eight research projects, including the veterans study, will still need federal clearance and access to federal marijuana grown at Ole Miss. The other five are “observational studies,” meaning the subjects will be providing their own weed. The studies also include work on marijuana’s benefit for irritable bowel syndrome and comparing marijuana and oxycodone for pain relief.
People who smoke marijuana may have lower levels of inflammation compared with people who have never smoked it, according to new research on one marker of inflammation. In the study, researchers examined data from more than 9,000 people on their history of marijuana use and their levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), one marker of inflammation that is frequently linked with people’s risk of heart disease. About 12 percent (1115) said they smoked marijuana recently, or at least once in the past 30 days. The researchers found that the people who smoked in the last month had lower CRP levels than those who had never smoked the drug.
An ordinance that would have banned commercial marijuana in Anchorage failed after four hours of public testimony and debate in Assembly chambers Tuesday night. The Assembly voted 9-2 just after 10 p.m. to kill the measure. Only members Amy Demboski and Paul Honeman supported the measure. Demboski introduced the proposal last month, hoping the city would take a “wait and see approach” as state lawmakers craft marijuana regulations. In hours of testimony in the Assembly chambers, most people spoke in opposition to the ordinance. Medical marijuana cardholders wept at the struggle of trying to get their medicine illegally. Many worried about city finances and said the Assembly should not shy away from new revenue in the form of taxable marijuana sales.
Officials representing law enforcement urge Michigan lawmakers to not pass bills that would permit medical marijuana dispensaries and “edible” forms of cannabis during the lame-duck session. The legislation, which has passed the House and is among many bills pending on the Senate floor, contains too many risks to be adequately addressed during the two days remaining before the Legislature adjourns for the year, they argued at a press conference. Terrence Jungel, executive director of the Michigan Sheriff’s Association, and Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Director Robert Stevenson said police and health officials have had too little opportunity to comment on the measures. Republican Rep. Mike Callton, sponsor of the dispensary bill, took issue with the statements. “We’ve been working two years on this, and now they hold a press conference?” he said. Jungel said the legislation would result in “a for-profit drug distribution business in the state of Michigan.”
Indiana State Sen. Karen Tallian will continue her fight to reform marijuana laws in the Hoosier State. This coming session, Sen. Tallian hopes a narrowly defined bill to legalize marijuana for people with certain medical conditions will fare better in a Republican-controlled legislature. The bill that she plans to introduce would allow people with a medical marijuana card and a doctor’s recommendation to use marijuana. Downs said a bill is unlikely to pass this session, unless several Republicans sign on to it. Indiana is very strict on marijuana and is one of the few states that do not allow Sunday liquor sales. Sen. Tallian has filed bills to decriminalize less than two ounces of marijuana in the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions, but both bills died without a hearing.
A Michigan mother faces child abuse and other charges after authorities say she gave her 10- and 12-year-old sons marijuana for medical reasons. Wexford County Prosecutor Anthony Badovinac tells the Cadillac News that the woman told Child Protective Services she gave marijuana to the 10-year-old boy to help with emotional issues and to the 12-year-old to treat attention deficit disorder. The drug charge is punishable by up to 4 years in prison and the child-abuse charge carries up to 2 years in prison or 5 years of probation.