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Vermont: Senate Passes Compromise Marijuana Bill, House Extends Session

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Vermont's Senate passed a compromise bill on marijuana legalization Friday which could be taken up by the House on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. Two versions were passed last week-- the House version would allow adult possession and cultivation, while the Senate version would implement a taxed and regulated regime.

The legislature had planned to adjourn on Saturday, leaving both bills hanging, but Democratic House Speaker Mitzi Johnson said the chamber would reconvene on Wednesday. The compromise legislation would legalize possession of small amounts and limited home grows by adults beginning in July 2018, but at present it is not clear if the House will take the legislation up. A commission would develop a tax-and-regulate scheme and present it to the legislature next year.

Sen. Dick Sears, a Democrat who advocates legalization, said the compromise is “a way for Vermont to join two other New England states (Massachusetts and Maine) to have a legalized, regulated seed-to-sale system at some point in the hopefully near future.”

The measure passed the chamber 20-9. But Republican Governor Phil Scott has not supported any plan legalizing marijuana and there is no guarantee he will sign the measure if it makes it to his desk.

Germany: Study Shows Marijuana Could Help Reverse Brain Aging

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Researchers from Germany's University of Bonn report that low doses of THC can help reverse some of the effects of brain aging and assist in restoring memory. Colleagues from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel agree with them according to a study published in the journal Nature Medicine. The researchers used mice in the studies, and found that old animals were able to regress to the state of two-month-old mice with prolonged low-dose THC treatments.

“The treatment completely reversed the loss of performance in the old animals,” Andreas Zimmer, from the Institute of Molecular Psychiatry at the University of Bonn and member of the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation, said in a Neuroscience News report. “With increasing age, the quantity of the cannabinoids naturally formed in the brain reduces. When the activity of the cannabinoid system declines, we find rapid aging in the brain.”

Vermont: House Passes Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill, Goes To Governor

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Vermont's House has passed a measure that would double the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in the state and would expand the qualifying condition list. The measure passed the Senate in February and now goes to the desk of Governor Phil Scott.

The bill adds Chron's disease, Parkinson's disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of conditions approved for treatment with medical marijuana and increases the number of dispensaries in the state to eight.

The bill also eliminates some of the red tape that could prevent some patients from accessing the program. It removes language that requires an applicant to have their application notarized and requirements that a physician provide a statement that other medical efforts had been made “over a reasonable amount of time without success to relieve symptoms.” The bill also adds language to protect physicians, requiring that their recommendations to include a statement that they are not prescribing marijuana, but instead confirming the patient has the qualifying condition.

If Governor Scott signs the bill, the Department of Public Safety will begin accepting applications for the four additional dispensaries on July 1.

Kansas: Grandmother With Terminal Cancer Jailed For Prescribed Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Angela Kastner, a grandmother from Wichita, Kansas, was sentenced to 48 hours in jail this week for driving under the influence. There was no alcohol in her system, but she tested positive for traces of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that causes a "high."

However, the THC came from Marinol, a synthetic medical marijuana product approved by the FDA and prescribed to Kastner by her doctor to suppress nausea from chemotherapy. She is undergoing chemotherapy for what is likely terminal colorectal cancer. Kansas is one of only three states where medical marijuana remains completely illegal, but Marinol has been legal nationwide since 1985.

Kastner was locked up anyway. "I miss my chemo tomorrow and I miss my doctors appointment tomorrow," she said. "I feel sorry for the next cancer patient who has to go through anything I have had to go through. They shouldn't have to do this at the end of their life."

Colorado: NFL Players Fight Pain With Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Nine former professional football players, all members of the Denver Broncos Alumni Association, met recently at CW Hemp offices in Boulder, CO for a tour and a firsthand lesson on the potential benefits of the marijuana plant. They all suffer daily from aches and pains that are a result of the combined nearly 700 NFL games in which they have played.

“Every day, I wake up in pain, from my ankles to my neck,” said Ebenezer Ekuban, 40, who played defensive end for nine NFL seasons. “It’s part of the territory. I know what I signed up for.”

Football players have treated pain for years with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, powerful prescription painkillers, and alcohol. One study says that retired NFL players use opioids at four times the rate of the general population. Marijuana advocates say there's a safer, healthier alternative available.

“This pain is never going away. My body is damaged,” said Eugene Monroe, 30, who was released by the Baltimore Ravens last year just three weeks after becoming the first active player to publicly call on the NFL to permit medical marijuana. “I have to manage it somehow. Managing it with pills was slowly killing me. Now I’m able to function and be extremely efficient by figuring out how to use different formulations of cannabis.”

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