Mississippi Supreme Court overturns medical marijuana Initiative 65

The Mississippi Supreme Court on Friday issued a much-anticipated ruling that strikes down the Medical marijuana program enshrined in the state constitution by voters in November.

The ruling also voids — for now — the state’s ballot initiative process that allows voters to take matters in hand and pass constitutional amendments. The court ruled that the state’s ballot initiative process is “unworkable and inoperative” until lawmakers and voters fix state law and the constitution.

With six of the nine state justices agreeing, the court wrote, “We grant the petition, reverse the Secretary of State’s certification of initiative 65 and hold that any subsequent proceedings on it are void.”

Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler filed a Supreme Court challenge to Initiative 65 just days before voters approved it on Nov. 3. Butler argued that Mississippi’s ballot initiative process is constitutionally flawed and Initiative 65 was not legally before voters. She said a provision requiring an equal number of signatures from Mississippi’s five congressional districts could not be met, because Mississippi has only had four districts for two decades.

Besides derailing the medical marijuana program, the ruling also jeopardizes six pending ballot initiatives, including one to expand Medicaid and others to reinstate the state’s 1890 state flag, allow early voting and to approve recreational marijuana use. The ruling also could open to challenge two constitutional amendments that voters have passed since they were allowed to do so in 1992, one limiting eminent domain powers over government to take private land and one requiring a government-issued ID to vote.

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GOP Gov: ‘If You Legalize Marijuana You’re Going to Kill Your Kids’

Ricketts held a press conference this week to rail against a bill that would only make marijuana legal if it were recommended by a health care practitioner, come in oil form, pills, or tinctures. Additionally, the legislation would not make smoking marijuana, even in the privacy of a patient’s home, legal.

Ricketts said the legalization movement is “big industry” trying to skirt federal regulations at the state level.

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‘CBD supports the immune system’: Austrian clinic reports promising results from cannabis trial on Covid-19 ICU patients

Researchers in Austria’s Klagenfurt Clinic are reporting promising results from CBD trials on Covid-19 ICU patients that show reduced inflammation and quicker recovery times.

Cannabidiol or CBD oil was used as part of the overall course of treatment for Covid-19 patients in the hospital’s ICU over the course of three weeks. 

Rudolf Likar, head of intensive care medicine at the clinic, started by administering a dose of 200 milligrams of CBD per day which later increased to 300 milligrams. 

“We have seen that the inflammation parameters in the blood go down and people leave the hospital faster than the comparison group,” Likar said. “CBD supports the immune system.”

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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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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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Why medical marijuana in Pennsylvania is some of the most costly in the U.S.

Cannabis is most often sold in eighths of an ounce, which can be rolled into about seven joints. An eighth of Gorilla Glue 4 marijuana sells for $35 in California. It’s $40 in Maine. It costs $58 in Pennsylvania.

In Colorado, a full ounce of average weed often sells to consumers for $190. In Pennsylvania, the price is closer to $500. Some especially rapacious growers charge $600.

“The patient community is always outraged about the prices,” said Luke Shultz, a member of the state’s medical marijuana advisory board. “I’m not sure where the price should be. But we’d sure like to see it lower.”

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