A cannabis plant at the Healing Harvest Farms 2014 farmers market.
A cannabis plant at the Healing Harvest Farms 2014 farmers market.

DC Made it Easier to Seal Past Marijuana Convictions

This week, the Washington DC City Council voted to make it easier for people who have marijuana convictions to have their criminal records sealed. Earlier this year, the council passed the most progressive cannabis decriminalization measure in the nation. This recent action will make it easier for people with convictions to clear their criminal record for marijuana possession, thereby removing barriers to gaining employment and housing. Polls indicate DC voters are likely to approve of cannabis legalization in the nation’s capitol next month.

Judge Deems Medical Cannabis Use Reasonable in Worker’s Comp Case

In New Mexico, where 11,000 people are certified to use medical cannabis, one patient will have their cannabis paid for by their former employer’s insurance. Gregory Vialpando’s workplace accident occurred 14 years ago when he was working as a mechanic at Ben’s Automotive Services in Santa Fe. In 2013, the state’s workers compensation judge found that Vialpando’s use of marijuana through the state sanctioned program was reasonable and necessary medical care.

The auto shop and its insurance company fought to the contrary, but lost their appeals court case this Spring. Now the state supreme court has declined to hear the case, thereby leaving in place the decision favoring the worker.

Cannabis May Help TBI Patients Survive Brain Surgery

Data recently published in The American Surgeon concludes that traumatic brain injury patients with a history of cannabis use have greater survival rates compared to non-users. UCLA Medical Center investigators reviewed 446 brain surgeries conducted over three years and discovered that 97.6 percent of patients who tested positive for the presence of cannabis survived brain surgery, whereas patients who tested negative for the presence of cannabis prior to surgery had an 88.5 percent survival rate.

The researchers conclude “[O]ur data suggest an important link between the presence of a positive THC screen and improved survival after TBI,” the authors concluded. “This finding has support in previous literature because the neuroprotective effects of cannabinoids have been implicated in a variety of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. … With continued research, more information will be uncovered regarding the therapeutic potential of THC, and further therapeutic interventions may be established.”

Sales Revenue Up in Colorado for Recreational and Medical

In Colorado, The sales of recreational and medical cannabis in Colorado each jumped more than 10 percent from July to August 2014, according to numbers released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Revenue. The numbers also show that recreational sales and medical sales figures differ by less than $1 million dollars.

In August, consumers purchased over $33 million in recreational cannabis, and patients bought over $32.2 million in medical cannabis. Since January 1, when recreational sales commenced, the total revenue generated for the state of Colorado from fees, licenses, and taxes for both medical and recreational cannabis is over $45 million. Recreational sales are expected to continue to surpass medical marijuana sales as new shops are opening every week, and next month the first shops will be opening in the large Colorado city of Aurora.

Melissa Etheridge Wants In On the Cannabis Industry

As cannabis takes off as a new industry, even rock star and breast cancer survivor Melissa Etheridge wants in on it. In an interview this week on Bloomberg TV, Melissa Etheridge said that she has cannabis infused products in the works, including a cannabis-infused wine.

Canada’s Largest Addiction Center Calls for Marijuana Legalization.

This week Canada’s largest addiction center called for cannabis legalization with a strict regulatory approach in its report titled Center for Addiction and Mental Health’s Cannabis Policy Framework. A lead author of the report said “Canada’s current system of cannabis control is failing to prevent or reduce the harms associated with cannabis use. Based on a thorough review of the evidence, we believe that legalization combined with strict regulation of cannabis is the most effective means of reducing the harms associated with its use.”

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