Marijuana News Roundup: Another Push to End Federal Controls on ‘Marihuana’

Print Email

Last week the lead story in our weekly roundup of cannabis news related the contents of a memo from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions specifying a set of directives establishing charging and sentencing policies that reversed what Sessions call “any previous inconsistent” department policies. One of those inconsistent policies would be the “look the other way” enforcement of federal laws governing marijuana possession and use.

In response, a small group of legislators has revived a bill introduced in February called the “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017” (H.R. 1227). The bill would delist marijuana (or, “marihuana” as the feds prefer to spell it) as a Schedule I drug and leave regulation of cannabis to the states.

The bill’s sponsor, Thomas Garrett (R-VA), a one-time criminal prosecutor in Virginia, told The Hill that he eventually grew tired of “creating criminals out of people who otherwise follow the law. … If there’s anything I cannot tolerate as a citizen and as a prosecutor, it is the unequal application of justice.”

Democratic representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) said:

The question before us is not whether you think marijuana use is good or bad, or how you feel about this issue, but whether we should be turning people into criminals.”

Cannabis Could Treat Traumatic Brain Injury, Israeli Researchers Say

Our body’s cannabinoid receptor system may play a part in protecting our nervous system following trauma, Israeli researchers believe.

A team at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has found that rats and mice subjected to traumatic brain injury (TBI) showed significantly better recovery when treated with cannabinoid compounds, possibly opening the way for clinical trials in the near future.

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds, either derived from cannabis or manufactured, that act on specific cannabinoid receptors in our body’s cells. The most well-known is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, marijuana’s main psychoactive compound. The endocannabinoid system, our body’s natural cannabinoid receptors, is found in the brain and most organs of the body, and is believed to be a part of the neuroprotective mechanism in mammals, said Prof. Esther Shohami of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

When an external event like stroke or trauma occurs, the body responds by producing these molecules that should protect the brain, Shohami said. In previous studies, the researchers looked at the endocannabinoid 2-AG in mice following a traumatic brain injury. 2-AG is produced by the body naturally, but in relatively low amounts that are not enough to effectively protect the brain.

Read more at The Times of Israel.