Nebraska and Oklahoma are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Colorado’s laws legalizing recreational marijuana. The Colorado attorney general’s office says the states have filed the lawsuit directly with the nation’s highest court. The attorney general’s office says the lawsuit alleges “that Colorado’s Amendment 64 and its implementing legislation regarding recreational marijuana is unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.” Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said in a statement that he will defend the state’s legalization of marijuana. In a news conference Thursday, Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said marijuana from Colorado is turning up in Nebraska, resulting in an increase in marijuana-related arrests on his state’s western border. “I am adamantly against the spread of marijuana across our country,” Bruning said. “Nebraska taxpayers have to bear the cost. We can’t afford to divert resources to deal with Colorado’s problem.”
It’s the end of the road for the Michigan Legislature’s 2013-14 legislative session, which is set to conclude with final House and Senate meetings today. Any bills not approved by the end of the day — or perhaps the wee hours of Friday morning — will end up on the ash heaps of history. Or they’ll be resurrected next year. House Bills 5104 and 4271 would allow for the return of regulated dispensaries and allow registered patients to use edibles. Parts of the bills would also allow medical marijuana cardholders to sell up to 50 ounces of excess product. Law enforcement compared that provision with a person who is prescribed Oxycontin being allowed to take three pills and sell the rest of the bottle to someone else. The bills passed the Michigan House of Representatives back in December 2013 and have been sitting in the Michigan Senate for about a year.
New Yorkers seeking legal medical marijuana will have to wait at least another year to get it, state officials said today. State officials said they cannot allow patients to get the drug from other states before New York’s medical marijuana program begins operating in January, 2016. Compassionate Care NY, an advocacy group, says some severely ill patients cannot wait that long. It has been asking state officials to give them access to the drug on an emergency basis before the state’s medical marijuana program is operating. Alphonso David, the state’s deputy secretary for civil rights, said advocacy groups wanted the state to bring in medical marijuana from other states immediately. “We determined as a matter of law we could not do that,” he said. New York legalized medical marijuana in June and released proposed regulations for the medical marijuana program today. State officials say they expect the regulations to be approved in February.
Mauro Maccarrone, of the Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome, Italy, and colleagues have revealed that black truffles, the gourmet fungus hunted for with pigs, produce anandamide. That’s the compound that triggers the release of mood-enhancing chemicals in the human brain, and does so using the same biological mechanism as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical responsible for producing the mind-bending effects of marijuana. The researchers were intrigued when their tests revealed the truffles had the means to make anandamide and contained the chemical but did not have the receptors to which it binds and that would allow it to trigger effects. Maccarrone believes truffles use it to attract animals to eat their fruiting bodies, so that their spores are spread more widely and they have a better chance of reproducing. Truffles rely on being unearthed and eaten by animals so that their spores are spread in their dung.
Researchers at Indiana University in Bloomington are recruiting current and former marijuana users to participate in a study in which their brains will be analyzed for changes in structure and function. The study — funded by a $275,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health — is taking place as marijuana is gaining more acceptance in some parts of the country. The IU researchers — who will use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques to conduct the study — are recruiting 90 people, ages 18-35, to participate in their research. Along with current and past users of marijuana, the study, which is one of the first of its type, will include people who’ve never used the drug. Study participants will undergo a series of brain scans so that the research team can do connectivity analysis. Prior to brain scanning, participants will undergo tests of perception, thinking and memory and take a questionnaire about problems they may be having, such as strange hallucinations.