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Vermont: Faith Leaders Support Legislation To End Marijuana Prohibition

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In a letter to state senators on Tuesday, a diverse group of more than a dozen local clergy and faith leaders from across Vermont expressed support for legislation that would end marijuana prohibition in the state and regulate the cultivation and sale of marijuana for adult use. The bill, S. 241, is expected to receive a full Senate vote this week.

In the letter, the faith leaders say they believe they have “a moral obligation to support change” because the state’s current marijuana prohibition laws “have caused more harm than good for the people of Vermont” and they are “disproportionately enforced against the poor and people of color.”

“As those who teach compassion and love, we believe the harm associated with marijuana can best be minimized through a regulated system that emphasizes education, prevention, and treatment rather than punishment,” they said. “For these reasons, we support S. 241, the proposal to end marijuana prohibition and regulate marijuana in Vermont.”

S. 241 would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and establish a tightly controlled system of licensed marijuana cultivation sites, testing facilities, and retail stores.

U.S.: Thursday Webinar To Address Quality Control In Medical Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Thursday press briefing via Webinar will address the need for better quality control in medical marijuana products.

The briefing, hosted by RTI International, will address the public health risks arising in this unregulated market due to factors such as:

• Product types and formulations that vary from state to state, store to store, even product to product;
• Inaccurate product labeling and marketing claims;
• Limited testing of medical marijuana products for safety and efficacy; and
• Lack of professional guidelines and governmental regulations. This places the burden on the consumers and providers to be aware of the above factors and how they affect dosing and ultimately, safety.

This briefing comes at a time when the number of medical marijuana users is on the rise in the U.S. and even presidential candidates on the campaign trail are calling for more research.

Marijuana itself, of course, is as safe as it ever was. But as big corporate money and big corporate mass production methods have come to the medicinal cannabis world, the mom-and-pop atmosphere of trust and safety which had distinguished the industry from the rest of the cut-throat economy is fading away. Production is increased by using chemical fertilizers and harsh pesticides, and those who are focused only on profit and not on healing are looking only at the bottom line.

Nevada: Marijuana Testing Facility Opens For Business In Las Vegas

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DigiPath Labs, the cannabis testing subsidiary of DigiPath, Inc., on Wednesday opened the doors of its Las Vegas marijuana analytical testing laboratory for business. Equipped with state of the art analytical instrumentation and operated under the direction of Cindy Orser, PhD, DigiPath Lab's flagship facility says it offers cannabis growers and marijuana-based product-makers fast and reliable results.

"This is a great day for the patients of Nevada who will benefit from medical marijuana," said DigiPath Labs president Todd Denkin. "Our analysis not only helps product producers and dispensaries screen out products with dangerous levels of contaminants, we also quantify the medicinal compounds present in samples, so patients and caregivers can choose products that have been shown to relieve their specific symptoms."

Surprisingly, compulsory cannabis testing is relatively new. The State of Colorado only began requiring product testing a year ago after a series of freakouts on edibles made the news. Washington State did not begin requiring testing for potency, contaminants, moisture and microbiology testing until 2013 when recreational cannabis became legal, even though the medicinal use of marijuana became legal in 1998.

The portfolio of cannabis testing services offered by DigiPath includes foreign matter inspection, moisture content analysis, solvent residue analysis, pesticide residue analysis, heavy metals screening, microbial screening, mycotoxin screening, and potency analysis.

Colorado: Cannabis Chamber Calls For Marijuana Testing Reference Library

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The Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce (C4) on Thursday called for a marijuana testing reference library in support of amended HB 15-1283 currently underway in the Colorado Legislature.

“The mandatory testing requirements for retail marijuana were put into place before there were standards established for the labs,” C4 President Tyler Henson explained. “Unfortunately this led to a wide disparity in testing results from lab to lab.”

The C4 Chamber possesses documented surveys by members who have submitted samples from the same batches to different licensed labs in Colorado, only to receive drastically different results – upwards of 40 percent.

“Because of these issues, the standards and methodologies should be established properly within a reference library, just like any other industry that utilizes testing before we subject the industry to even more costs in an unproven system,” Henson said.

The current system also does now allow for variance in test results, as currently, even if a product is less than 1-milligram over the 10-milligram serving size, the whole batch must be destroyed.

An allowance for testing variance in products is common across many industries, particular with pharmaceutical companies. A reference library would be able to establish standards for testing variance in cannabis, in order to make both laboratories and manufactures more efficient.

Global: Cannabis Science Operating Medical Cultivation Programs In Europe, N. America

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Cannabis Science, Inc., a United States-based company specializing in marijuana formulation-based drug development and related consulting, on Tuesday provided an updated guidance report on its current pre-clinical drug development programs underway, beginning with scientific cannabis cultivation programs in Europe and North America, testing multiple marijuana strains for multiple critical ailments.

"The company's efforts in Spain complement Cannabis Science's plans in Canada and the company's current, pre-clinical collaboration with the Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Health Care on Aging (INRCA) in Italy, where the company is testing toxicity and efficacy of cannabinoid formulations for neurobehavioral diseases including sleep disorders," said Mario S. Lap, director and president of European Operations at Cannabis Science.

The facilities are located in the Alicante region of Spain; the company said it has successfully initiated an agricultural program spanning combined 15 hectares parceled according to seed strains and growth cycles and protocols. The tests focus on production requirements and research framework to conduct scientific testing of the active constituents in the cannabis plant.

The company said it will set those protocols "to multiply optimal results into drug formulation regimens for pre-clinical studies."

U.S.: Drug Policy Alliance Says Marijuana Edibles Should Be Tested and Regulated

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Drug Policy Alliance on Tuesday released an official statement on marijuana-infused products -- "edibles" -- which it says "are an important part of the burgeoning marijuana market." The DPA recommends laboratory testing, labeling, and regulation of the products.

The statement applies to cannabis-infused foods, drinks, tinctures, "or any other product infused with marijuana that is often consumed orally," according to the DPA.

"For many consumers, these products are a better option than smoking," the statement reads. "Infused products are also vital to people who use marijuana for medical reasons, because their effects last longer and can be manufactured with doses that meet patients' needs in a reliable way. However, proper regulation is necessary to ensure reliability and safety."

According to DPA, the products should be regulated and tested to ensure safety, quality and reliability of information. DPA recommends labeling edibles "with detailed information to ensure that consumers are informed about what they are consuming and educated on how to safely consume, and that all edibles should be kept away from children."

DPA is advocating for four main principles when it comes to cannabis infused products.

1. Edibles must be kept away from children.

2. Edibles must be clearly labeled.

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