USA: Polls Split on California Marijuana Legalization Initiative

Two California public opinion polls, one released Friday and one released Monday, are at odds as to whether the Tax and Regulate Cannabis marijuana legalization initiative (now known officially as Proposition 19) has the support of Golden State voters. The confused polling results suggest a race that will be very tight. On Friday, the Field Poll reported that only 44% supported the initiative, while 48% opposed it and 8% were undecided.

USA: Polls Split on California Marijuana Legalization Initiative.

But that was followed on Monday by a SurveyUSA poll that found 50% supported the initiative, 40% opposed it, and 11% were undecided. (The numbers don't add up because of rounding.) The sampling margin of error for the SurveyUSA today poll was +/- 4%, while the margin of error for the Field poll was +/- 3.2% overall and +/- 5.5% for its population subsamples.

Again, given the small gap between support and opposition and the margin for error, the polling suggests a very tight race indeed. Proposition 19 would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and the growing of a garden of 25 square feet by adults anywhere in California. It would also provide counties and municipalities with the local option to allow, tax, and regulate marijuana sales and production. If it wins in November, it would be the first time the voters of any state have voted to legalize marijuana.

USA: Nearly 2/3 of New Yorkers Support Medical Marijuana, Poll Finds
The poll released today by the Cornell University Survey Research Institute found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of New Yorkers are in favor of legalizing marijuana for medical use. The poll results are similar to a Quinnipiac poll in February that measured support at 71%. Despite broad public support, medical marijuana legislation failed to pass either chamber of the New York legislature this year.

For a dozen years, proponents have pushed medical marijuana bills, and twice the Assembly has approved them, only to see them die in the Senate. That was understandable when the Senate was controlled by Republicans, but is less so now. Among Democrats, 66% support medical marijuana, and so do 68% of unaffiliated voters, while a mere plurality of Republicans (48%) oppose it. When broken down on ideological, as opposed to partisan, lines, 79% of liberals support medical marijuana, as do 63% of moderates. A majority of conservatives (51%), on the other hand, oppose legalizing medical marijuana, but only a slight majority.

Somewhat surprisingly, upstate residents had higher levels of support (67%) than people who live downstate (62%). Men were more likely to support it (67%) than women (61%), and whites were more likely to support it (66%) than non-whites (60%). Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have approved medical marijuana. Maybe one of these years, legislators in New York will get around to enacting the will of Empire State voters.

USA: Michigan Supreme Court ruling makes it more difficult to prove drugged-driving cases involving marijuana

A recent Michigan Supreme Court ruling makes it more difficult to prove drugged-driving cases involving marijuana. The high court overturned a 2006 ruling that 11-carboxy-THC — a long-lasting byproduct of metabolism created when the body breaks down the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana — is a schedule 1 controlled substance, a drug classification that includes heroin.

Now, prosecutors will have to prove drivers had the actual narcotic or its active ingredient in their systems at the time they are alleged to have been driving while drugged. Previously, people could have been charged with a driving offense involving drugs long after they had ingested or inhaled marijuana because the metabolite remains in the body for a month after use.

USA: Oregon - Obtaining an Oregon medical-cannabis card no longer will be limited to Oregon residents.

As part of a review of otherwise routine changes proposed in the rules, the Department of Justice has advised the Department of Human Services that the 1998 law authorizing medical cannabis is not limited to residents of the state. As of 1 July 2010, there were 36,380 card holders.

USA: Montana

A Montana group is shutting down its travelling medical cannabis 
clinics following criticism that the so-called cannabis caravans have added thousands of people to the state registry without conducting thorough patient screenings.

The Montana Caregivers Network has hosted the one-day clinics in hotels and conference centres across Montana for more than a year. For a fee of 150 US Dollars (about 116 Euros), the group brought together those seeking to become medical cannabis patients with doctors willing to prescribe the drug.

Science: Cannabichromene

Researchers of the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, USA, investigated the pharmacology of the natural plant cannabinoid cannabichromene (CBC). CBC was active in the tetrad test, which consists of the following four endpoints: hypomotility, antinociception, catalepsy, and hypothermia.

This effect was increased by a low dose of THC. In addition, CBC elicited anti-inflammatory effects.  CBC effects were not mediated by CB1 or CB2 receptors.

Science: Pregnancy

Exposition to cannabis before birth may be associated with deficits in later life. Researchers of the University of Pittsburgh, USA, followed children with prenatal exposure to different drugs until the age of 16.

As was the case for prenatal tobacco exposure, cannabis exposure was also associated with deficits in visual-motor coordination.

Brought to you by The Greenish Warbler

July 19th 2010

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