Jun 012015

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law a bill allowing epilepsy patients to use medicinal oils containing a therapeutic component found in marijuana. Under the legislation, the state would be able to regulate and distribute the oils containing CBD, a non-euphoric component of marijuana, to patients whose symptoms have not responded to federally approved medication. The bill requires the state to regulate the distribution of the medication, directing the Texas Department of Public Safety to license at least three dispensing organizations by Sept. 1, 2017, provided that at least that many applicants have met the state’s requirements. Under the bill, only a neurologist or epileptologist would be able to prescribe CBD oil, which is only available to patients who have tried at least two traditional epilepsy medications and have not found them to be effective. The patient must also get the approval of two doctors before being able to take advantage of the new law.

Data collected by the Washington Post suggests that the number of people shot by US police is twice as high as official figures claim. The paper said that during the first five months of this year, 385 people – more than two a day – were killed. The number of black people was disproportionately high among the victims, especially unarmed ones. Official statistics rely on self-reported figures from law enforcement agencies. They suggest about 400 people have been killed each year since 2008. Among the report’s other findings: Black people were killed at three times the rate of whites or other minorities when adjusted for local population; Most were armed, but one in six was unarmed or carried a toy weapon; 365 men and 20 women were killed; Most (118) were aged 25-34, while 94 were 35-44. Eight were children younger than 18.

The First Church of Cannabis Inc. has been approved by Indiana’s Secretary of State under its controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Even bigger that state law approval, the church has even been granted tax-exempt status by the IRS. Bill Levin is the self-described “Minister of Love and Grand Poobah” of the Church. The first church service is set for July 1, 2015. It is no coincidence that July 1 is the day the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act takes effect. The case U.S. v. Myers, examined five factors to determine whether a “Church of Marijuana” was authentically religious: ultimate ideas, metaphysical beliefs, a moral system, comprehensiveness of beliefs, and the ‘accoutrements of religion,’ such as important writings, a priesthood, etc. Churches reap a vast array of tax advantages. They even include special rules limiting IRS authority to audit a church. A “church” is not specifically defined in the tax code.

State court records show that Connecticut judges have granted more than 80 percent of requests to erase marijuana possession convictions since the state decriminalized small amounts of pot in 2011. Superior Court judges have approved 32 of 39 petitions to erase convictions for marijuana possession in the past four years. In 2011, the state downgraded possession of less than a half-ounce of pot from a misdemeanor with potential jail time to a violation with fines ranging from $150 to $500. The number of erasures is small compared with the thousands of convictions for possessing small amounts of pot in Connecticut. But defense lawyers say they expect many more people to apply as word spreads about a recent state Supreme Court decision that gave people the right to request erasure.

Sir Paul McCartney says he has given up marijuana after many years of indulgence and now prefers wine or “a nice margarita.” The former Beatle told the Daily Mirror he doesn’t want to set a bad example for his children and grandchildren by using marijuana. He said Saturday his decision is “a parent thing.” He says “the last time I smoked was a long time ago.”

Pot proponet Susan Sarandon argues “the world would be a better place” if people smoked weed instead of drinking. The “Thelma and Louise” star told High Times Magazine’s August issue,”It’s absurd that more states haven’t legalized it. It’s an important source of income… You also see the reports on kids who have seizures that are prevented by medical marijuana. You see the relief it gives to vets….It’s also a lovely way to socialize and be with people — and to be with yourself and de-stress.”