Tennesseans United

Tennessean United – Please give them your support.

There’s a new group out there working on MMJ in Tennessee. Tennesseans United will be working hard to bring change in the 2015 Tennessee Legislation sessions starting in early January.

Please give them your support. Please go to their petition and sign up.

Looks like there are several groups in Tennessee this year standing up for changing the laws so our friends and family can get the medication they need to ease their suffering and pain.

More news coming every day!

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Voters in Santa Fe to Consider Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession

The list of localities considering making marijuana legal or decriminalizing possession of small amounts is steadily growing, and two New Mexico cities were just added to the list last week.

In Santa Fe, organizers submitted almost 11,000 signatures to allow voters to decide to remove criminal penalties for simple possession.

Currently in Santa Fe, first-time offenders in possession of less than an ounce of marijuana are charged with a petty misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $50 to $100 and imprisonment of not more than 15 days. The proposal calls for possession to be treated as a civil infraction, requiring no jail time and punishable by a fine of no more than $25.

State and federal law would be unaffected by the change, if it were approved. Police officers would have discretion as to whether to charge violations under a city ordinance, handled in municipal court, or under state statute, adjudicated in magistrate court.

However, the petition called for possession of small amounts of marijuana and instruments used to ingest it to be considered “a lowest law enforcement priority.”

In Albuquerque, supporters were unable to get enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot, but the city council included a similar provision in a package of local legislative bills. The mayor has voiced his opposition and threatened a veto, but it is unclear if he has the legal authority to do so.


Studies Suggest Marijuana May Help Decrease Domestic Violence and Overdose Deaths

A pair of recent studies suggest that marijuana policy reform may be paving the way for a healthier, happier world in at least two ways.

The first, released by the University of Buffalo, found that couples who use marijuana are the least likely to engage in, or be the victim of, domestic violence and abuse.

The authors caution that while these findings are predictive–meaning couples who smoke are less likely to commit domestic violence–they don’t necessarily draw a causal line between the two behaviors. Among the connections they hypothesize, “marijuana may increase positive affect, which in turn could reduce the likelihood of conflict and aggression.” …

Another possible mechanism: “chronic [marijuana] users exhibit blunted emotional reaction to threat stimuli, which may also decrease the likelihood of aggressive behavior.”

The second study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, reported that states with medical marijuana laws have roughly 25% fewer painkiller overdose deaths than states which do not allow medical marijuana. While the authors caution that this could simply be a correlation, not a causal effect, a large amount of anecdotal research exists from patients who report weening or discontinuing their use of prescription painkillers once they are able to use marijuana to treat their conditions.


New Hampshire Begins Considering Dispensary Rules

The delays in implementing New Hampshire’s medical marijuana program have been very frustrating for patients. Fortunately, the state finally appears to be making progress toward the adoption of alternative treatment center (dispensary) rules. The Concord Monitor reported some details of the rule-making process this morning.

You can read the first draft of the proposed rules here. The Department of Health and Human Services will accept comments as part of an “advance comment period,” which ends tomorrow. After that, the department will enter its formal rule-making phase, which will include a public hearing and additional opportunities for public comment. The department released a timeline indicating that it hopes to secure final approval of the dispensary rules by November 20.

You can read the comments being submitted by MPP here. While we have identified a number of issues with the rules, we think the most troubling provisions are the onerous application fee of $80,000 and the annual renewal fee of $80,000. We understand that the law requires the Department to set fees that cover the costs of administering the program, but it is unclear whether New Hampshire will have any qualified applicants who wish to enter this heavily restricted dispensary market with fees this high.

For information on how to submit comments, please visit the department’s website for the “therapeutic use of cannabis” program.


Prominent Think Tank Praises Washington’s Legal Marijuana System

On Monday, respected policy think tank The Brookings Institution published a paper analyzing Washington’s implementation of the law passed in 2012 to regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol. The results: the state is doing well and is actively trying to learn from the process. The results could have far-reaching implications for marijuana policy reform in other states.

Brookings’ Philip Wallach interviewed advocates, researchers, and government policymakers in Washington to learn about the state’s novel approach. In this report, he highlights several noteworthy features:

  • Building a funding source for research directly into the law: a portion of the excise tax revenues from marijuana sales will fund research on the reform’s effects and on how its social costs can be effectively mitigated.
  • Bringing to bear many perspectives on legalization by coordinating research efforts across multiple state agencies, including the Department of Social and Health Services, the Department of Health, and the Liquor Control Board.
  • Mandating a cost-benefit analysis by the state’s in-house think tank, which will be nearly unprecedented in its scope and duration.

Wallach makes a number of suggestions to ensure that Washington’s knowledge experiment can be made to work, including:

  • Ensure political independence for researchers, both by pressuring politicians to allow them to do their work and by encouraging the researchers themselves to refrain from making political recommendations
  • Gather and translate research into forms usable by policymakers
  • Counter misinformation with claims of confident uncertainty
  • Have realistic expectations about the timeline for empirical learning, which means cultivating patience over the next few years
  • Specify which reliable metrics would indicate success or failure of legalization

The full report can be found here.

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Local Legalization Initiatives Moving Forward in Maine 

As we’ve reported previously, three cities in Maine could be voting this November on initiatives that would direct local police not to arrest adults age 21 and over for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Despite opposition from city government, law enforcement, and the Maine chapter of Project SAM, all three initiatives are gaining public support and making steady headway in the election process.

Earlier this month, activists in the town of Lewiston turned in more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. The city council is expected to place the petition on the ballot at their Sep. 2 meeting.

David Boyer, MPP Maine Political Director

Last week, the South Portland city council voted to let the public decide the issue after voicing unanimous opposition. Supporters turned in more than 1,500 signatures in favor of the initiative.

And in York, after a second round of petitioning and being opposed by a majority of the Board of Selectman, the campaign turned in enough signatures to qualify for the ballot today. The press conference for the event was attended by supportive City Selectman Ronald Nowell.

If all goes well, Maine will have four localities where marijuana is legal for adults after Nov. 2, putting the state on the right track for passing a comprehensive measure to regulate marijuana like alcohol in 2016.


CannaSearch

The first CannaSearch event, held in March, drew more 1,000 people looking for jobs in the marijuana industry. The next job fair in Denver takes place on Sept. 16.


Major Oregon Newspaper Supports Measure 91

Over the weekend, one of the most popular newspapers in Oregon lent its support to Measure 91, which would make marijuana legal for adults in the state. Voters will decide on the initiative in November.

From The Oregonian:

Measure 91 would move Oregon from a hazy condition of almost-legalization to one of rational access guided by straightforward regulations and subject to sensible taxation. In other words, it would force Oregon’s 16-year-old marijuana experiment out of adolescence and into legal adulthood. The measure appropriately leaves the task of regulating the new industry to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which knows a thing or two about the distribution and sale of intoxicants. The OLCC would adopt the necessary rules by 2016.

Measure 91, far from revolutionary, would simply allow Oregon adults to obtain something they may obtain now, but without having to stroll through a “medical” loophole or drive over a bridge to a neighboring state. The measure would be worth supporting for reasons of honesty and convenience alone, but it also would raise millions of dollars per year for schools and other purposes. For that reason, it deserves support even from those who aren’t normally high on taxes.

While we would not characterize the Oregon medical marijuana program as anything other than a success that has provided thousands of patients out of jail, this is certainly a strong statement of support that will hopefully be heeded by voters in November.


Over $455,000 Seized from Medical Marijuana Patient Slapped with Civil Asset Forfeiture

This is an Arizona case but Civil Asset Forfeiture happens in Tennessee all the time.

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The post Over $455,000 Seized from Medical Marijuana Patient Slapped with Civil Asset Forfeiture appeared first on Tennessee NORML.


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States With Medical Marijuana Laws Have Fewer Opioid Overdose Deaths

States With Medical Marijuana Laws Have Fewer Opioid Overdose Deaths

Though it’s not totally clear why

FDA Approves New Pain Pill Designed To Be Hard to Abuse

States with medical marijuana laws have fewer deaths from opioid overdoses compared to states that do not allow medical marijuana, according to new research.

Opioids for chronic pain, like OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin, are meant to suppress pain. Recent data shows that not only are prescriptions for these drugs up, but rates of overdose and death are increasing as well. New research published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine shows that states with medical marijuana laws have rates of anticipated opioid-related deaths 25% lower than states that don’t allow it.

The researchers looked at death rates from opioids between 1999 and 2010 and found that the 13 states that allowed medical marijuana at the time had lower opioid mortality rates-the hypothesis being that patients with chronic pain perhaps switched from the heavy drugs to marijuana, since cannabinoids in marijuana react similarly in the brain. About 60% of all opioid deaths happen among people who have legitimate prescriptions, but abuse is also problematic. “Among people who use opioids illicitly, a relatively high proportion of them also use marijuana,” says study author Dr. Marcus Bachhuber of the Philadelphia VA Medical Center.

Though the findings are intriguing, the researchers could not prove causation, and there are many possible explanations for the findings. States with medical marijuana laws may also have implemented more rules regarding opioid prescriptions or offered more education to doctors and patients about their addictive qualities. And several states like Minnesota and New York have passed at least limited legalized medical marijuana since 2010, so the findings already need to be updated. Still, if there is in fact an association, Bachhuber believes it’s encouraging. “I think that any change that leads to fewer people dying of opioid overdoses would be a positive.”

The researchers say more research is needed to understand why people choose medical marijuana and whether people at risk for opioid abuse would consider it as an alternative. There’s also the issue of presenting a split medical community with the risks and benefits of prescribing someone marijuana.

“I know many doctors struggle with the issue of who would be best to treat medical marijuana. There are some doctors who say that there is no valid medical use,” says Bachhuber. “I think that leaves a tremendous opportunity for future studies to help guide use to look at the risk and benefits and in clinical practice.”

Original Article: http://time.com/3175582/states-with-medical-marijuana-laws-have-fewer-opioid-overdose-deaths/

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The post States With Medical Marijuana Laws Have Fewer Opioid Overdose Deaths appeared first on Tennessee NORML.