international business times

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U.S.: Credit Union Fights In Court To Become World's First Marijuana Bank


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In a high-stakes, closely watched lawsuit, the founders of the Fourth Corner Credit Union, which wants to become the world's first bank focused on the marijuana industry, is suing the U.S. Federal Reserve for the right to do so.

There's more at stake that just the fate of the credit union, reports Joel Warner at the International Business Times. The results of the case could have a ripple effect across the cannabis industry, which everyone agrees is currently lacking proper financial services.

"This transcript is going to be read around the world and your decision will have an effect around the United States in a major, major way," Mark Mason, attorney for the plaintiffs, told Judge R. Brooke Jackson on Monday.

"This isn't something that is going away," Mason said during his impassioned oral arguments for the credit union, whose founders include several members of his immediate family. “This is something that is going to be a part of the next generation and the future, and we need to get it right. And if we are not going to have banking ... and have millions and millions of dollars on the streets where bad things can happen, that is not responsible.”

Germany: Recreational Marijuana, Coffee Shops Rejected By Berlin


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Federal Institute of Pharmaceuticals on Monday rejected proposed plans that would have allowed "coffee shops" in Berlin similar to those in Amsterdam, where customers can buy various kinds of recreational marijuana products alongside coffee.

Proponents of the law said they are still hopeful for the future of cannabis legalization in Germany, reports Jess McXHugh at IB Times.

"For us, the rejection of the plans was no surprise, and as such, it's also not a setback," said Georg Wurth, spokesperson for a cannabis advocacy group in Germany, reports The Local. "Political pressure is rising from below," he said.

The Green Party has long favored cannabis legalization in Germany. In 2014, party leader Cem Özdemir had himself filmed doing the Ice Bucket Challenge with a tall marijuana plant in plain view on his balcony beside him.

The Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain borough of Berlin had submitted plans for four "specialist cannabis shops" back in June. The cannabis would have been produced in Berlin and Brandenburg, and sold only to residents of the borough 18 and older.

Study: Marijuana Delays Organ Rejection In Mice Transplant Recipients


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The psychoactive ingredient in marijuana has been found to delay organ rejection in mice. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) appears to have "decreased early stage rejection" of organs, and could be a useful anti-rejection therapy for transplant patients, according to scientists.

"We are excited to demonstrate for the first time that cannabinoid receptors play an important role in the prolongation of rejection of a foreign graft by suppressing immune response in the recipient," said researcher Mitzi Nagarkatti. "This opens up a new area of research that would lead to better approaches to prevent transplant rejection as well as to treat other inflammatory diseases."

The findings were published in The Journal of Leukocyte Biology by researchers from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, reports Hannah Osborne at the International Business Times.

Researchers noted that previous studies have shown the activation of cannabinoid receptors on immune cells triggers potent immunosuppression, but the role of cannabinoids in transplantation to prevent organ rejection hasn't been investigated. "In the current study, we tested the effect of THC on the suppression of HvGD (Host-Versus-Graft Disease) as well as rejection of skill allografts," Osborne said.

Study: Nicotine Changes The Way Marijuana Affects The Brain


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Nicotine changes the way marijuana affects the brain, according to a new study from scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas.

When marijuana and tobacco are combined, according to the study, which was published in the journal Behavioural Brain Research, memory gets stronger as the hippocampus, an area of the brain which affects learning ability and memory, gets smaller, reports Sean Martin at the International Business Times. The more cigarettes smoked per day, the smaller the size of the hippocampus, and the greater the memory performance, according to the research.

The team concluded that the effects of marijuana on the brain aren't usually analyzed with tobacco taken into consideration. The research team was led by Francesca Filbey, director of cognitive neuroscience of addictive behaviors at the Center for BrainHealth.

"Approximately 70 percent of individuals who use marijuana also use tobacco," Filbey said (although I'd question that number). "Our findings exemplify why the effects of marijuana on the brain may not generalize to the vast majority of the marijuana using population, because most studies do not account for tobacco use. This study is one of the first to tease apart the unique effects of each substance on the brain as well as their combined effects.

D.C.: No Legal Marijuana Sales For 2 More Years Under GOP House Budget Bill


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

After the District of Columbia's voters chose to legalize recreational marijuana, Republicans in Congress flirted with the idea of limiting D.C.'s ability to implement the law, although it was ultimately put into place. Now they're taking another try at blocking legalization: The GOP-controlled House on Thursday advanced a budget resolution saying cannabis can't be sold for two more years in D.C.

The House budget resolution seeks to delay implementation of the measure approved by D.C. voters, reports Clark Mindock at International Business Times.

Voters approved cannabis legalization last November; under the law, residents can grow and possess marijuana, but can't smoke it in public.

Advocates for legal pot said the fact that an outright ban did not appear to be an early budget priority added to other signs that a GOP-controlled Congress may be softening its opposition to marijuana, reports Aaron C. Davis at The Washington Post.

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