Emily Sullivan, NPR, October 17, 2018

The sale of recreational marijuana begins in Canada following a law passed over the summer.

The law says anyone in Canada over the age of 18 is allowed to possess marijuana, provided it’s less than 30 grams – just over an ounce. Canadians can also grow up to four marijuana plants in their home and buy from a provincially regulated retailer.

Keeping the drug illegal in the years prior "has allowed criminals and organized crime to profit, while failing to keep cannabis out of the hands of Canadian youth," the government said in a news release last year. The Canadian Department of Justice says historically, the majority of police-reported drug offenses have involved marijuana.

Read more: It’s Legal. In Canada, Recreational Marijuana Gets Green Light

Judy George, MedPage Today, October 3, 2018

EVI Editor Note: Canada legalized cannabis on October 18, 2018.

Cannabis use was tied to concurrent and lasting changes in adolescent cognitive functions, according to a study that tracked Canadian high school students.

“The question has been highly controversial, because of concern that legalization will place more cannabis in the hands of more juvenile users,” Moffitt told MedPage Today.

While adolescent use of cannabis and alcohol was tied to generally lower performance in all cognitive domains, “of particular concern was the finding that cannabis use was associated with lasting effects on a measure of inhibitory control, which is a risk factor for other addictive behaviors, and might explain why early onset cannabis use is a risk factor for other addictions,” said Patricia Conrod, PhD, of the University of Montreal CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center in a statement.

Read more: Teen Cannabis Use Tied to Lasting Cognitive Changes

International Journal Review of Psychiatry, July 16, 2018

Lauren M. Dutra, William J. Parish, Camille K. Gourdet, Sarah A Wylie & Jenny L Wilie

A higher prevalence of serious mental illness is linked to the states having legalized marijuana. This is the first analysis of the relationship between medical cannabis legalization and mental health. The results of this analysis suggest that, at a population level, medical cannabis legalization is associated with a higher prevalence of serious mental illness, and cannabis use somewhat accounts for this association.

Similarly, research should continue to investigate the relationship between medical cannabis legalization and specific psychiatric disorders. Mental healthcare providers should continue to assess cannabis use among patients to understand its potential role in patients’ symptoms and treatment.

Read more: Medical cannabis legalization and state-level prevalence of serious mental illness in the National...

US Food and Drug Administration — FDA News Release — June 25, 2018

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on June 25, 2018 approved a new drug, a derivative from marijuana, to treat patients with two forms of epilepsy. GW Pharmaceuticals developed Epidiolex, made from cannabidiol or CBD, a marijuana component that does not cause “highs.” The drug was shown to decrease by 40 percent the number of seizures in patients with Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.

Read more: FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived from Marijuana to Treat Rare,...

 Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times, April 5, 2018

By the time Thomas Hodorowski made the connection between his marijuana habit and the bouts of pain and vomiting that left him incapacitated every few weeks, he had been to the emergency room dozens of times, tried anti-nausea drugs, anti-anxiety
medications and antidepressants, endured an upper endoscopy procedure and two colonoscopies, seen a psychiatrist and had his appendix and gallbladder removed.

The only way to get relief for the nausea and pain was to take a hot shower.

He often stayed in the shower for hours at a time and could be in and out of the shower
for days.

When the hot water ran out, “the pain was unbearable, like somebody was wringing my
stomach our like a washcloth,” said the 28-year- old, …

It was nearly 10 years until a doctor finally convinced him the diagnosis was cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, a condition that causes cyclic vomiting in heavy marijuana users and can be cured by quitting marijuana.

Read more: A Perplexing Marijuana Side Effect Relieved by Hot Showers

Alexa Lardieri, U.S. News and World Report, March 20, 2018

Exposure to marijuana smoke is three times more harmful than exposure to tobacco smoke, new research suggests.

Matthew Springer, a professor at University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, studied the effects of smoke on rats and found exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke makes it harder for arteries to expand and allow a healthy flow of blood.

Read more: Study: Marijuana Smoke 3 Times Worse For You Than Tobacco Smoke

 

Boston Globe, Dan Adams and Margeaux Sippell, March 17, 2018

Marijuana companies will be banned from a majority of cities and towns in Massachusetts when recreational sales begin this summer, a Globe review has found, the latest indication that there will be fewer pot stores in the early going than many consumers expected.

At least 189 of the state’s 351 municipalities have barred retail marijuana stores and, in most cases, cultivation facilities and other cannabis operations, too, according to local news reports, municipal records, and data collected by the office of Attorney General Maura Healey.

Fifty-nine of the local bans on marijuana businesses are indefinite. The remaining 130 are temporary moratoriums designed to buy local officials time to set up marijuana zoning rules. Many expire on July 1, and the rest are due to end later this year.

Read more: Pot shops face bans in most of Mass

Adam Shaw and Jake Gibson, Fox News, January 4, 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled back an Obama-era policy that allowed legal marijuana to thrive without federal intervention.

The move effectively unleashes federal prosecutors to consider bringing marijuana cases, while stopping short of ordering them to do so. “U.S. attorneys need to make decisions in these cases as they do in other drug cases,” a senior DOJ official told Fox News.

“I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana – so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful,” he told law enforcement officials in march. “Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”

In a letter to congressional leaders in May, he asked them to ditch language that prevents the DOJ from spending money preventing states from implementing their own laws on medical marijuana.

Read more: Sessions reverses Obama-era policy on marijuana, unleashes prosecutor

Steve Doughty and Ben Spencer, Daily Mail, June 8, 2017

The study of the lives of more than 5,000 teenagers produced the first resounding evidence that cannabis is a gateway to cocaine, amphetamines, hallucinogens and heroin.

Teenagers who regularly smoke cannabis are 26 times more likely to turn to other drugs by the age of 21.

It also discovered that teenage cannabis smokers are 37 times more likely to be hooked on nicotine and three times more likely to be problem drinkers than non-users of the drug.

Read more: Proof cannabis DOES lead teenagers to harder drugs: Study finds users are 26 times more likely to...

 Dana Rebik, WGN 9, July 6, 2017

A man, arrested for driving under the influence and possession of marijuana, hit a car killing a mother who was six months pregnant and leaving a 1-year-old daughter hanging out the front of the car with one arm hanging out and the other hand reaching back grabbing the baby seat.

The driver, Jacob Kaminski 23 from Marseilles, went on to hit a Toyota Camry carrying three people. They were not hurt.

Read more: Teens rescue girl from horrific crash that killed her pregnant mother