No evidence that adolescent marijuana use leads to a decline in intelligenceThe Washington Post (US)
Monday, January 18, 2016
A 2012 Duke University study found that persistent, heavy marijuana use through adolescence and young adulthood was associated with declines in IQ. Other researchers have since criticized that study's methods. A follow-up study found that the original research failed to account for a number of confounding factors, such as cigarette and alcohol use, mental illness and socioeconomic status. Two new reports tackle the relationship between marijuana use and intelligence from two very different angles: One examines the life trajectories of 2,235 British teenagers between ages 8 and 16, and the other looks at the differences between American identical twin pairs in which one twin uses marijuana and the other does not.
Out-of-state anti-drug crusaders are taking Colorado marijuana to court. Is it their last chance to stop pot before other states vote on retail cannabis?The Denver Post (US)
Sunday, January 17, 2016
Three of the four marijuana-centered lawsuits filed against Colorado officials and businesses were organized and at least partially funded by out-of-state anti-drug organizations and socially conservative law firms. Only one lawsuit, filed by the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma, appears to be entirely homegrown. For those who oppose Colorado's marijuana laws, the out-of-state money offers a chance to fight back against what they characterize as a well-heeled marijuana lobby that changed public opinion with misleading messages.
Recent research has shown that differences other than cannabis use might be causing the much-discussed disparities in cognitive functionThe Guardian (UK)
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Whether or not using cannabis can lead to cognitive impairment is a hot topic of research and public interest. Given the extensive media attention to findings that suggest detrimental effects of cannabis on cognition, brain function and mental health, you would be forgiven for thinking smoking a spliff was akin to repeatedly bashing yourself over the head with a giant bong. However, since much of the work to date is cross-sectional (that is, measurements are taken only at one time in a person’s life), we cannot know whether cannabis users would have performed any differently before they started using cannabis.
Bank fined £1.32bn in 2012 argues that legal attempt to release government report would help criminals bypass safeguardsThe Guardian (UK)
Thursday, January 14, 2016
HSBC is trying to prevent publication of a report on how it complies with money-laundering rules imposed on it by the US authorities in 2012, when it was fined a record $1.9bn. The bank is arguing in US courts that it could be left vulnerable to money laundering if the report is published. Under the terms of a deferred prosecution agreement with US authorities, made when it was fined for aiding money laundering by Mexican drug cartels, HSBC must be subjected to regular audits about its internal capacity to seek out potentially suspect activity by customers. (See also: Drug smuggling is HSBC’s raison d’etre)
Jamaicans interested in investing in ganja for medical as well as recreational use are being encouraged to look to Canada for developing the industryJamaica Observer (Jamaica)
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Following the lead of several US states in holding referendums which have been supportive of reducing the legal restraints on the use of the drug, Jamaica amended its Dangerous Drugs Act in April last year. The changes included reducing penalties for possession and smoking of ganja, use of ganja by those of the Rastafarian faith, and use of ganja for medical, therapeutic and scientific purposes. However, with a limited market for excessive production of ganja, and with the threat of increased action against its importation from US authorities, not much has changed in terms of the use of the drug locally.
A federal-provincial-territorial task force on the legalization of marijuana will study various models in Canada and around the worldThe Globe and Mail (Canada)
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Liberal MP Bill Blair wants to make it clear the growth and sale of legal marijuana in Canada will not be a free-for-all. In an interview, the chief architect of the country’s new marijuana regime frequently used such words as "control" and "strict regulation" as he discussed the federal government’s options. The former chief of the Toronto Police Service supports legalization, but mainly as a tool to restrict access for young people and to deal with the social and health problems caused by the drug. (MP Bill Blair says legal pot could be sold in liquor stores)
More growers and more prescribing doctors, says reform, but stronger enforcement to stop drug ‘trickle’ into recreational marketThe Times of Israel (Israel)
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Medical cannabis is set to hit pharmacy shelves in Israel in the form of cigarettes, cookies and oil, while the number of doctors permitted to prescribe the natural painkiller and the number of farmers allowed to grow it will substantially increase, according to a Health Ministry reform. At the same time, the entire production and supply chain will be strictly supervised to ensure that medical cannabis is kept out of the recreational drug market. (See also: Cannabis opponents take a hit as top ethicist calls for legalization)
Measures should include keeping marijuana and other drugs out of the hands of minors, destroy the black market, and a ban on edible marijuanaReuters (UK)
Friday, January 8, 2016
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin said he would seek to legalize marijuana through the legislative process, instead of through the ballot box, for the first time in the United States. In his State of the State address, the Democratic governor said more than 80,000 Vermonters reported using marijuana last year, contributing to a black market. He said legislators needed to proceed step by step to regulate marijuana. (See also: Vermont lawmakers consider legalizing marijuana)
Concerns that the AUMA does not go far enough with legalization and does not adequately address social justice issuesThe Guardian (UK)
Thursday, January 7, 2016
A plan backed by Silicon Valley billionaire Sean Parker to legalize recreational use of marijuana in California is on the path to the November ballot, potentially bringing more than $1bn a year in tax revenue. The proposal, which would allow for the retail sale of marijuana to adults aged 21 and older, is one of the most highly anticipated initiatives, in no small part because California is the country’s largest economy and the eighth largest in the world. But some industry insiders are unhappy with the proposal and are withholding support. "This skews towards big marijuana," said Hezekiah Allen of the California Growers Association.
To the extent that there is a gateway drug, then, it's alcoholThe Washington Post (US)
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
You may have heard that marijuana is a gateway drug. New research in the Journal of School Health could shed some light on this question. They found that "the vast majority of respondents reported using alcohol prior to either tobacco or marijuana initiation." Not only that, but of those three main substances -- alcohol, tobacco and marijuana -- kids were the least likely to start using pot before the others. "Alcohol was the most widely used substance among respondents, initiated earliest, and also the first substance most commonly used in the progression of substance use," the researchers concluded.
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