Governor Noem issues executive order against legalizing marijuana

Governor Kristi Noem issued an executive order Friday, January 8, against Amendment A, which would legalize recreational marijuana in the state of South Dakota. This move officially backs South Dakota Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller and Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom, who originally filed the lawsuit.

Noem says she will be directing the suit challenging the amendment and has the authority to do so. She claims the process used to put it on the ballot violates the state constitution. A motions hearing is scheduled for January 27th.

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Novel cannabis plant extracts could protect against COVID-19

Researchers in Canada have conducted a study suggesting that novel Cannabis sativa extracts may decrease levels of the host cell receptor that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) uses to gain viral entry to target tissues.

SARS-CoV-2 is the agent responsible for the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that continues to sweep the globe threatening public health and the worldwide economy.

The team – from the University of Lethbridge and Pathway Rx Inc., Lethbridge – developed hundreds of new C. sativa cultivars and tested 23 extracts in artificial 3D human models of the oral, airway and intestinal tissues.

As recently reported in the journal Aging, 13 of the extracts downregulated expression of the SARS-CoV-2 host cell receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).

“The observed down-regulation of ACE2 gene expression by several tested extracts of new C. sativa cultivars is a novel and crucial finding,” say the researchers.

“While our most effective extracts require further large-scale validation, our study is important for future analyses of the effects of medical cannabis on COVID-19,” write Olga Kovalchuk and colleagues.

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Marijuana legalization was a clear winner in the November election, as one in three Americans will now live in a state with legal marijuana. In red states like Montana and South Dakota; swing states like Arizona; and blue states like New Jersey, marijuana legalization ballot measures were extremely successful, in many cases at levels approaching supermajorities. In every single one of these states–from red to blue, east to west, urban to rural–marijuana legalization far outperformed the states’ Democratic tickets. 

In my state of California, voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 64 in 2016, which legalized marijuana use. Following its passage, marijuana arrests decreased by 56%, demonstrating the power decriminalization has to curb mass incarceration.

None of this should come as a surprise. We knew the popularity of marijuana legalization and the MORE Act long before November 3rd. Support for these policies has been steadily rising since the 1970s. This summer, polling from Data for Progress and the Justice Collaborative Institute found that when asked about its specific provisions, 59 percent of voters, including a majority of Republicans, support the MORE Act.

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Researchers Are Looking At Cannabis As A Potential Way To Prevent COVID-19

Two Canadian researchers think that a special strain of cannabis might potentially be a valuable tool in the fight against COVID-19.

The researchers, Olga and Igor Kovalchuck have reportedly been developing and testing a novel cannabis strain for years, except with the goal of creating a strain that helps to combat cancer and inflammation. When the pandemic hit, the duo started to focus their efforts on how the strain might be used to help fight COVID-19.

The duo’s work was published in an April issue of the online medical journal Preprints.

“Similar to other respiratory pathogens, SARS-CoV2 is transmitted through respiratory droplets, with potential for aerosol and contact spread. It uses receptor-mediated entry into the human host via angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2) that is expressed in lung tissue, as well as oral and nasal mucosa, kidney, testes, and the gastrointestinal tract,” reads the study. “Modulation of ACE2 levels in these gateway tissues may prove a plausible strategy for decreasing disease susceptibility.”

After looking at the research done on cannabis and COVID by other scientists, they were able to determine that cannabis, a special strain in particular, could potentially block COVID-19 from entering a person’s body to begin with.

It all comes down to our body’s ACE2 receptors, which works sort of like doorways into our bodies for the virus. In the case of the Kovalchuck’s work, cannabis would be used to decrease the level of ACE2 gene expression, essentially temporarily closing the doors to the virus.

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