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Denied Medicine As A Punishment: Cannabis And Parole

This article was originally published on The Cannigma, and appears here with permission.

If you’re a medical marijuana patient and you receive probation or are released on parole, will you still be legally allowed to use your medicine? It depends on where you live, and the answer is even more complicated by the conflict between the majority of states that allow medical marijuana and federal law, which still bans any use of cannabis. 

Earlier this month, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled that a woman with a legal medical marijuana card issued by the commonwealth could not use cannabis while on probation for a charge of misappropriation of postal funds — a federal crime. According to PennLive.com, presiding U.S. Middle District Judge Mattthew W. Brann said that “from what he has read the medical benefits of marijuana have not been studied sufficiently.”

Much like medical marijuana laws across the country, there is no single nationwide policy regarding the use of cannabis for people on probation or parole. (Illustrative photo by Katarzyna Białasiewicz/123rf)

The plaintiff, Melissa Gass, uses medical cannabis to treat her epileptic seizures. “I went from having multiple seizures a day to having one every few months,” she said of her cannabis treatment in a press release at the time the lawsuit was filed. “Medical marijuana has been a lifesaver for me. This policy is a cruel blow.”

Upon receiving her medical marijuana ID card in February 2019, the lawsuit says she used Rick Simpson oil to end her seizures “almost instantaneously.” Seven months later, when her probation officer told her that she could not use medical marijuana, she stopped immediately, and had approximately 20 seizures over the next two weeks, according to the lawsuit. 

Often the argument made for restricting access to medical marijuana is that while it may be legal in the state in question, it is still illegal on the federal level. The rationale being that someone should be required to follow all state and federal laws if they are under government supervision 

In October, 2019, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of three medical marijuana patients, challenging a policy of the Lebanon County court that prohibits people on probation who are registered medical marijuana patients from using their medication. The ACLU said that this policy — and that of other counties in Pennsylvania — contradict the commonwealth’s medical marijuana law, which legalized cannabis for medical purposes in 2016.

“Barring individuals who have been certified by a state-authorized physician from accessing medication to treat their serious medical conditions creates severe and potentially life-threatening medical risks,” the ACLU wrote, noting that there is no prohibition banning people on probation or parole from using opioids, even as the commonwealth has stated that “the opioid overdose epidemic is the worst public health crisis in Pennsylvania, and the nation, in almost a generation.” 

The lawsuit was submitted a month after the Lebanon County court announced that people on probation, parole, or accelerated rehabilitative

Many Using Cannabis for Pain Take Opioids, Too | Health News

By Steven Reinberg, HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

THURSDAY, Oct. 8, 2020 (HealthDay News) — People using cannabis for pain may still be taking opioid painkillers, a new study suggests.

Researchers looked at cannabis and nonprescription opioid use among 211 individuals in the New York City area. Over 90 days, the investigators found that opioid use was at least as high when cannabis was used as when it wasn’t, regardless of participants’ pain levels.

“Our study is among the first to test opioid substitution directly, suggesting that cannabis seldom serves as a substitute for nonmedical opioids among opioid-using adults, even among those who report experiencing moderate or more severe pain,” said researcher Deborah Hasin. She’s a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University in New York City.

“In other words, our study suggests that cannabis is not an effective way to limit nonmedical opioid use,” Hasin added in a news release from the Society for the Study of Addiction.

In 2017, more than 2 million Americans suffered from opioid addiction, and more than 70,000 died from the painkillers, the researchers pointed out in background notes.

Opioid use — including nonmedical use of prescription opioids, synthetic opioids and heroin — is the main cause of overdose deaths. How cannabis may change nonmedical opioid use is critical to understanding how cannabis-based interventions can affect the opioid crisis, the researchers said.

The report was published Oct. 8 in the journal Addiction.

Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Study: Teens who vape nicotine more likely to also use cannabis e-cigarettes

Oct. 6 (UPI) — If teens are vaping nicotine, it’s likely they’re also using cannabis-based e-cigarettes and vice versa, according to a new analysis published Tuesday by JAMA Network Open.

The survey of more than 3,000 adolescents and teens from 10 high schools in the Los Angeles area found that older teens who identified as frequent users of nicotine vaping devices were 25% more likely than others to be moderate users of cannabis e-cigarettes.

Those who started using nicotine-based e-cigarettes in adolescence also were 46% more likely than others to become frequent cannabis vapers, the researchers said.

The trends suggest high levels of “poly-substance” use among teens who vape, according to the researchers. Poly-substance use is a term used in addiction medicine to describe dependence on two or more drugs.

“Poly-substance nicotine and cannabis vaping appears to be the norm, compared to nicotine-only or cannabis-only vaping for adolescents and young adults,” study co-author H. Isabella Lanza told UPI.

“If your teen vapes one substance, it’s highly likely they are or will vape other substances,” said Lanza, an associate professor of human development at California State University-Long Beach.

E-cigarette use among teens has been seen as a significant public health challenge in recent years, with research indicating that as many as one in four teens vape.

In 2019, more than 2,500 teens suffered from e-cigarette- or vaping-associated lung injury, or EVALI, with one young person in Michigan even requiring a lung transplant to treat the potentially dangerous condition.

In their research, Lanza and her colleagues surveyed 3,322 high school students on their use of vaping products.

Among those surveyed, 17% reported infrequent — one to two days per month — nicotine use and 18% indicated that they vaped cannabis infrequently, the data showed.

Moderate use — up to seven days per month — of nicotine and cannabis vaping products was reported by 5% and 7% of the teen respondents, respectively, while approximately 6% indicated frequent use — up to 19 days per month — of both, according to the researchers.

In addition to the health risks associated with vaping, teens who use e-cigarettes are also more likely to transition to traditional cigarettes — and possibly become heavy smokers — as adults, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests.

A separate analysis, published Tuesday by JAMA Network Open, found that the percentage of young adults who started smoking in early adulthood — aged 18 to 23 years — has more than doubled to 43% in 2018 from 21% in 2002.

“Although prevention strategies focused on adolescent vaping should remain prominent, efforts specifically addressing young adult vaping use may be warranted to substantially reduce nicotine and cannabis vaping,” Lanza said.

Mexico, Plagued by Cartel Wars, on Cusp of Legal Cannabis ‘Green Rush’ | World News

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – For Guillermo Nieto, a Mexican businessman who grew up smoking pot, the cannabis greenhouse on his family’s vast farmlands in Guanajuato state is part of a bigger dream. One that involves deep-pocketed pharmaceutical companies.

Nieto and several Mexican businessmen have spent years positioning themselves for a time when the country opens up what would be the world’s biggest legal cannabis market in terms of population, where the drug can be lawfully cultivated and sold.

Mexico finally outlined rules in July covering cannabis for medical use, and the sign-off is expected in coming weeks.

A bigger prize may also be close for Nieto and foreign companies; Senate majority leader Ricardo Monreal told Reuters he expected a law to be passed before December for recreational use of the drug, allowing regulated private firms to sell it to the public.

“It’s going to generate a market,” said Nieto, wearing a smart blue shirt, blazer, and bright marijuana-leaf print yellow socks. “We are expecting to create jobs and revenue for the government. We think it could really help our economy.”

Indeed the legal cannabis industry is already a multi-billion-dollar global trade, and some big players, including Canada’s Canopy Growth and The Green Organic Dutchman, and a unit of California-based Medical Marijuana Inc, told Reuters they were eager to tap the new Mexican market.

Business aside, Nieto says the new regulations will have a profound social impact on the conservative nation of 126 million people, where drugs are a sensitive subject due to a long and painful history of violence perpetuated by feuding cartels.

“The first thing that will happen is that no Mexican will die or go to jail because of this plant,” Nieto said.

“With that, everyone wins.”

Dario Contreras Sanchez aims to set up a business making products like soaps and pain-relieving oils from cannabis that he would grow legally near his family’s hacienda in Durango state, where the powerful Sinaloa Cartel has held sway for decades.

He believes farmers near him who cultivate the plant for narcos would want to sell their produce lawfully – if the government permits them.

“Most of the people want to work legally,” said Contreras Sanchez, whose sister married into the family of former Mexican drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes.

However Mexicans are by no means unified on this issue.

While a growing cannabis industry promises to be a money-spinner, it faces resistance from campaigners who are worried that regulations for both medical and non-medical cannabis will heavily favor big, often foreign corporations.

They fear legislation will shut out small family producers and fail to offer a path to legalization for many farmers who make a living by feeding Mexico’s illegal narcotics trade.

The initial regulations covering medical use permit entrepreneurs such as Nieto to grow marijuana on behalf of pharmaceutical companies and allows foreign businesses to import medical cannabis products into the country.

However Mexico’s Supreme Court, which has effectively legalized cannabis by ruling prohibition is unconstitutional, has given the government

Mexico, plagued by cartel wars, on cusp of legal cannabis ‘green rush’

By Drazen Jorgic

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – For Guillermo Nieto, a Mexican businessman who grew up smoking pot, the cannabis greenhouse on his family’s vast farmlands in Guanajuato state is part of a bigger dream. One that involves deep-pocketed pharmaceutical companies.

Nieto and several Mexican businessmen have spent years positioning themselves for a time when the country opens up what would be the world’s biggest legal cannabis market in terms of population, where the drug can be lawfully cultivated and sold.

Mexico finally outlined rules in July covering cannabis for medical use, and the sign-off is expected in coming weeks.

A bigger prize may also be close for Nieto and foreign companies; Senate majority leader Ricardo Monreal told Reuters he expected a law to be passed before December for recreational use of the drug, allowing regulated private firms to sell it to the public.

“It’s going to generate a market,” said Nieto, wearing a smart blue shirt, blazer, and bright marijuana-leaf print yellow socks. “We are expecting to create jobs and revenue for the government. We think it could really help our economy.”

Indeed the legal cannabis industry is already a multi-billion-dollar global trade, and some big players, including Canada’s Canopy Growth and The Green Organic Dutchman, and a unit of California-based Medical Marijuana Inc, told Reuters they were eager to tap the new Mexican market.

Business aside, Nieto says the new regulations will have a profound social impact on the conservative nation of 126 million people, where drugs are a sensitive subject due to a long and painful history of violence perpetuated by feuding cartels.

“The first thing that will happen is that no Mexican will die or go to jail because of this plant,” Nieto said.

“With that, everyone wins.”

Dario Contreras Sanchez aims to set up a business making products like soaps and pain-relieving oils from cannabis that he would grow legally near his family’s hacienda in Durango state, where the powerful Sinaloa Cartel has held sway for decades.

He believes farmers near him who cultivate the plant for narcos would want to sell their produce lawfully – if the government permits them.

“Most of the people want to work legally,” said Contreras Sanchez, whose sister married into the family of former Mexican drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes.

However Mexicans are by no means unified on this issue.

While a growing cannabis industry promises to be a money-spinner, it faces resistance from campaigners who are worried that regulations for both medical and non-medical cannabis will heavily favor big, often foreign corporations.

They fear legislation will shut out small family producers and fail to offer a path to legalization for many farmers who make a living by feeding Mexico’s illegal narcotics trade.

‘GREEN RUSH’ FRONTIER

The initial regulations covering medical use permit entrepreneurs such as Nieto to grow marijuana on behalf of pharmaceutical companies and allows foreign businesses to import medical cannabis products into the country.

However Mexico’s Supreme Court, which has effectively legalized cannabis by