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Hemp News: 03/12/21

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Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) and 18 other lawmakers sent a letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken promoting human rights in the U.S.-Mexico relationship and saying that “an excessive focus on arresting cartel kingpins—an approach that the U.S. Government has at times promoted—has not effectively reduced violence.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said he thinks a marijuana banking bill will pass “relatively early in this session of Congress.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) tweeted, “The filibuster is the reason we can’t pass: -Marijuana legalization… It is strangling our democracy.”

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has signed off on final U.S. Department of Agriculture hemp rules despite concerns stakeholders had raised about certain provisions amid a review conducted during the presidential transition.

Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) sent a letter urging Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to veto his own bill to legalize marijuana, calling it a “gateway drug” and saying it would “undermine the rule of law” and “expose more children to drug use at young impressionable ages.”

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said his marijuana legalization bill has a “60-40” chance of passing this year. He also said it “wouldn’t be the end of the world” to amend it to let people grow their own cannabis.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) mounting list of scandals could give added momentum to a marijuana legalization plan that leading lawmakers are proposing as an alternative to the governor’s own relatively restrictive measure. Two of those legislators spoke at a Women in Cannabis event on Monday.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court this week ruled in favor of a medical cannabis patient seeking worker’s compensation reimbursement for his medical cannabis related costs.

Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee (D) and Senate leaders are expected to unveil separate marijuana legalization plans this week.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said he thinks proposed legislation to allow police to notify the parents of minors caught with marijuana is a “step in the right direction.”

The South Dakota Senate amended a medical cannabis delay measure by reducing the amount of marijuana that would be covered under an affirmative defense provision for patients but also to decriminalize possession for all adults.

The Idaho House of Representatives passed a hemp legalization bill.

The Florida House Professions and Public Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing on a proposal to place THC potency caps on medical cannabis on Tuesday.

California regulators launched a “This is California Cannabis” campaign designed to promote the state’s legal marijuana cultivation market.

A new Drug Enforcement Administration report argues that the broadly popular bipartisan legalization of hemp creates complications for police and has been used as a cover for drug cartels. But it also admits that as more states legalize marijuana, illicit trafficking is shrinking.

At the local level, members of the Las Vegas City Council voted unanimously to allow drive-thru marijuana dispensaries in the city and the city of Madison WI legalized the public use of cannabis, including on the street and in a parked car.

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Global cannabis sales reached nearly $21.3 billion in 2020, an increase of 48% over the previous year’s $14.4 billion in sales, according to BDSA. The analytics firm forecasts global cannabis sales will grow to $55.9 billion by 2026, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 17%.
The more mature markets in the U.S. saw accelerated growth in 2020, BDSA said, noting that Colorado grew by 26% – double its 2019 rate – while Oregon expanded by 39%, 18% more than its 2019 rate. Medical and adult-use markets that launched in 2019 and 2020 contributed $1.6 billion in spending in 2020, BDSA said, with $422 million in medical cannabis sales and nearly $1.2 billion in adult-use.

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Lawmakers in two key committees in Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies amended and approved a Senate-passed bill to legalize marijuana nationally on Monday, setting the legislation up for floor action that is expected on Wednesday.

Members of the chamber’s Health and Justice committees approved the cannabis bill in a joint vote of 34-11, with 12 abstentions.

Lawmakers made several significant revisions from the version that passed the Senate in November.

To the dismay of advocates, the bill was also changed to include a provision requiring that people who want to grow their own marijuana at home register with the government for approval to do so.

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Tel Aviv, Israel: Cannabis use mitigates chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain according to data published in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology.

A team of Israeli investigators assessed the effect of cannabis on chemotherapy-induced neuropathy in a cohort of 513 patients with gastrointestinal malignancies. Two-hundred and forty-eight of the participants received cannabis treatment and 265 subjects served as controls.

Authors reported that the use of cannabis both mitigated, and in some instances, prevented oxaliplatin-induced neuropathy. Researchers noted that pain mitigation was “more significant in patients who received cannabis prior to treatment with oxaliplatin, suggesting a protective effect.”

They concluded: “Oxaliplatin-induced neurotoxicity is a profound adverse effect which, according to the results of our investigation, may be mitigated and prevented by cannabis treatment. A randomized placebo-controlled trial of cannabis use in the setting of oxaliplatin chemotherapy is being planned to further investigate its potentially important neuroprotective effect.”

Several prior clinical trials – such as those here, here, here, and here – have previously documented that cannabis mitigates neuropathic pain in various patient populations, including those with HIV and/or refractory pain conditions.

Full text of the study, “Effect of cannabis on oxaliplatin-induced peripheral neuropathy among oncology patients: A retrospective analysis,” appears in Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology.

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Baltimore, MD: Neither the past use nor the current use of cannabis is independently associated with an increased risk of hypertension, according to longitudinal data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review.

An international team of investigators from the United States, Canada, Germany, and Russia assessed the relationship between cannabis use and hypertension in a nationally representative sample. Participants were restricted to those who did not possess hypertension at baseline and their health was monitored for a three-year period.

Researchers reported, “After adjustment for all confounders, neither lifetime cannabis use, 12-month cannabis use nor 12-month cannabis use frequency [at least monthly use and less than monthly use] were associated above chance with the incidence of hypertension.”

Prior data has shown that cannabinoids may influence blood pressure and other cardiovascular responses, though these effects tend to be short-term in duration. Most recently, Israeli data reported that elderly subjects with hypertension respond favorably to medical cannabis treatment. Investigators involved with that study concluded, “Cannabis treatment for three months was associated with a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, as well as heart rate.”

The study, “The longitudinal relationship between cannabis use and hypertension,” appears in Drug and Alcohol Review.

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