Welcome back everyone to another blog post that updates you about the week’s marijuana news and research. Make sure to keep checking back to stay up-to-date about the changing cannabis laws and our understanding of this wonderful plant.

Federal

The Trump administration put in some rules and policies concerning hemp and CBD that are in the process of coming into effect. The policies were submitted to the White House by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and would provide CBD and hemp businesses guidance on their products and the legality of them. One of the issues with CBD is that companies claim it can help in almost all medical conditions, including healing cancer and curing coronavirus. This is all bogus, of course, as the scientific data does not show such effects from CBD. It appears that the CBD industry is running like a snake-oil industry from the 19th century, making unproven claims for their over-the-counter “medical” product.

Since coming into office, Biden’s administration sent out a government-wide memo calling on these pending rules requested by the Trump administration to be pulled. Now hemp and CBD companies won’t have any regulations for what they can and can’t do in regards to advertising and marketing. Hopefully the Biden administration will legalize cannabis altogether and put some kind of restrictions on false advertising of CBD and hemp products.

 

State Updates

New Jersey

Governor Phil Murphy is having a hard time coming to an agreement to legalize recreational marijuana. He wants the recent recreational marijuana law to change before February 8th or he will veto it. The problem arises because the law (in combination with a decriminalization bill) permits residents under the age of 21 to be free of criminal prosecution or fines for possessing small amounts of cannabis. According to the governor, this essentially allows recreational marijuana for children, which he opposes.

Democrat Senators in New Jersey are pushing back on this and claiming that minorities who are young are prosecuted for small possession charges too often and that it does not help the community or their futures. We will see how this plays out but right now there seems to be a stalemate and the legalization and decriminalization bills will probably be vetoed by the governor.

 

Florida

In Florida, medical marijuana is legal but cannabis patients who have a marijuana card can still be fired from their job if they test positive for THC. Senator Tina Polsky has submitted a bill to change that. Under her new bill, employees can show their marijuana card to their employers and save their job.

This brings up something important that many states don’t factor into their laws. What if someone has an expired marijuana card but still tests positive? In theory, THC can stay in the system for up to six weeks after discontinuing cannabis. Employers should consider this before firing someone with an expired card. The laws should state that patients who had a card six weeks prior to their drug test are still protected. Unfortunately, this is not part of state laws and patients who test positive after discontinuing use are considered to be using cannabis illegally and fired.

 

Missouri

A recently bill filed in Missouri allows Airbnbs, hotels and other lodging facilities to apply for a license that allows their guests to use cannabis. This is a double-edged sword because it also allows the state to fine facilities thousands of dollars for having cannabis use on their premises without such a license. The good news is that Missouri allows non-residents from out-of-state to demonstrate that they have a medical marijuana card in their own home state and these visitors can use cannabis at the facility. This means that Missouri can have cannabis resorts that promote marijuana use for their guests, who can go to the local dispensaries with their out-of-state marijuana cards and bring products back to the hotel to use freely in a comfortable setting. This should increase tourism and bring additional revenue to the state.

 

Research

In a survey of Michigan medical marijuana patients, only 18% of them felt their primary care physicians (PCP) had a very good or excellent understanding of cannabis. Only 21% were very or completely confident in their PCP’s ability to integrate medical cannabis into treatment. This is a sign of how poor physicians are in knowledge of medical marijuana. Doctors don’t learn about it in residency or medical school and are clueless when it comes to integrating it into the care of their patients.

One way for doctors to better understand cannabis is for them to read The Clinician’s Guide to Medical Cannabis, which is a book written for doctors by a doctor who is also a medical marijuana patient. The Guide bridges the gap between physicians and marijuana users and can bring them up to speed about everything from flower, to concentrates, to how they can use cannabis to treat various conditions of their patients.

Another finding in the study showed that 86% of the patients who were surveyed substituted cannabis for pharmaceuticals. This can be a wonderful thing if the medications are pain meds or anxiety medications like addictive benzodiazepines (Valium, Ativan, etc.), however, it is important to inform your family doctor if there are changes to treatment of chronic conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure) or diabetes or other diseases that need to be kept in check and monitored closely by a PCP.

Further Reading

This week we added two additional articles to our Cannabis Education page:

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