Government approves medical marijuana research – By Evan Halper and Cindy Carcamo March 14, 2014, 5:00 p.m.


Mississippi marijuana farm

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration handed backers of medical marijuana a significant victory Friday, opening the way for a University of Arizona researcher to examine whether pot can help veterans cope with post-traumatic stress, a move that could lead to broader studies into potential benefits of the drug.

For years, scientists who have wanted to study how marijuana might be used to treat illness say they have been stymied by resistance from federal drug officials.

The Arizona study had long ago been sanctioned by the Food and Drug Administration, but under federal rules, such experiments can use marijuana only from a single, government-run farm in Mississippi. Researchers say the agency that oversees the farm, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has long been hostile to proposals aimed at examining possible benefits of the drug.

“This is a great day,” said the Arizona researcher, Suzanne A. Sisley, clinical assistant professor of psychology at the university’s medical school, who has been trying to get the green light for her study for three years. “The merits of a rigorous scientific trial have finally trumped politics.

“We never relented,” Sisley said. “But most other scientists have chosen not to even apply. The process is so onerous. With the implementation of this study and the data generated, this could lead to other crucial research projects.”

Backers of medical marijuana hailed the news as an indication that the government had started coming to terms with one of the more striking paradoxes of federal drug policy: Even as about 1 million Americans are using marijuana legally to treat ailments, scientists have had difficulty getting approval to study how the drug might be employed more effectively.

“The political dynamics are shifting,” said Rick Doblin, executive director of the Multidisciplinary Assn. for Psychedelic Studies, or MAPS, a group based in Santa Cruz that is raising money to help fund studies such as Sisley’s. The group counts several prominent philanthropists among its backers, including two Pritzkers and a Rockefeller.

Article continues:

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-pot-research-20140315,0,6211983.story#ixzz2wCdM79GB

cindy.carcamo@latimes.com

Halper reported from Washington and Carcamo from Tucson.

Marijuana news: Pot and the teen brain – By Noelle Crombie – January 30, 2014 at 7:40 AMw11


potairportjpg-f9fa8f8464823ff3.jpg

This morning’s marijuana news roundup comes to you from the southern Oregon city of Ashland, where I’ll be covering the first of two marijuana industry conferences this week.

A few headlines caught my eye this morning:

CNN has a story on cannabis and the teen brain. Writer Randye Hoder talks with a couple of Northwestern University medical researchers who say teens are vulnerable to marijuana’s harms. The drug, they say, can impact teens’ ability to solve problems and think critically. It’s a message, Hoder writes, that’s getting lost in “the pro-legalization fervor.”

Hoder writes:

Use of pot among adolescents, which had declined from the late 1990s through the mid-to-late 2000s, is again on the rise, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. One likely reason: “The percentage of high-schoolers who see great risk from being regular marijuana users has dropped,” over time, the agency points out. 

That perception, however, is all wrong. In a study published last month, Smith and his colleagues found that teens who smoked a lot of pot had abnormal changes in their brain structures related to working memory — a predictor of weak academic performance and impaired everyday functioning — and that they did poorly on memory-related tasks.

Could Nevada be among the next states to legalize marijuana? Legalization advocates in that state are laying the groundwork for legalizing recreational cannabis, reports The Las Vegas Sun.
Staff writer Andrew Doughman reports:

Touting the benefits of regulating and taxing what is now an underground industry in Nevada, advocates say they’re confident they’ll have the money and votes required to pass an initiative similar to the one that Colorado voters approved in 2012.

“Based on the dynamics we’re seeing in Colorado with full adult use being legal, it seems a natural fit for Nevada,” said Joe Brezny, executive director of the Nevada Cannabis Industry Association and officer with the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana, the Nevada political action committee organized to get the legalization initiative on the 2016 ballot.

Two months after federal raids on marijuana businesses, The Denver Post reports that many of the operators who were apparently targeted by investigators are back in business.

Several stores raided by armed federal agents have reopened. Some cultivation warehouses that were swept clean are again filled with marijuana plants. Nobody named in the search warrants has been arrested or even publicly accused of wrongdoing. At least three of those targets say they are baffled why the feds showed up at their doors.

A couple more headlines from The Oregonian before you go:

Marijuana opponents pay for anti-pot billboards near Super Bowl
Follow me on Twitter for updates from today’s marijuana business conference. (@NoelleCrombie)

— Noelle Crombie

http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/01/marijuana_news_pot_and_the_tee.html#incart_river