The Advocate: Weekly Cannabis News

San Francisco launches cannabis oversight committee

In the Bay Area, when licenses were first distributed for retail sales of cannabis, officials intended to help rehabilitate communities and individuals most affected by the War on Drugs – by providing them with business opportunities within the cannabis space.

It’s been 10 months since those plans were announced, with no results to show for it. To address the issue, the city recently created The Cannabis Oversight Committee, a new city-funded organization that will be tasked with “fostering equitable access to participation in the cannabis industry to communities unfairly burdened by the War on Drugs.”

The committee will have a powerful role in shaping future regulations and will work alongside legislators and city officials to create next year’s budget. The Department of Public Health is also expected to have a role in the committee and will help provide the city with more in-depth medical research.

Medicinal cannabis requests rapidly growing in Illinois thanks to recent law changes

The Illinois Medicinal Cannabis Program was recently expanded through the Alternative to Opioids Act.

Public health officials are already noticing an impact from the recent law change, specifically citing an increase in new patient applications. “It exploded with the first announcements,” said Judith Paice in a recent Chicago Tribune article – Paice is a nurse and research professor who directs the pain program at Nortwestern Memorial Hospital.

In 2016, 1,946 residents of Illinois died from an opioid overdose. Illinois, like many other states across the country, has experienced a recent increase in opioid-related deaths – leading many officials eager to discover the potential role that cannabis can play in helping combat the ongoing crisis.

Because of waiting processes involved with current application process, the numbers have yet to reflect Paice’s remarks – but 1,811 patients were added in the month of September, and that number will likely grow for the coming months as recent law changes begin to be implemented throughout the state.

Exhibit in Colorado hopes to change stigmas surrounding children and cannabis

The Freemont Center in Canon City, Colorado will be featuring a project titled ‘Face of Cannabis’ throughout the month of October.

The project was created by local photographer Nichole Montanez, who began documenting children who use medicinal cannabis to help treat rare seizure disorders.

Throughout the past 5 years, Montanez has documented more than 130 children and adults in 13 states. The project is based around black and white still photos that are meant to capture the humanity behind cannabis users.

“I wanted people to see this as the new face of cannabis, and that this is a treatment that has worked for so many children to lessen the severity of their seizures. Some children who use it are now seizure-free,” said Montanez to the Colorado Springs Gazette.

You can see the exhibit from Oct. 5- Oct. 27, in the Freemont Center for the Arts in Canon City, Colorado. Montanez hopes to take her project on a national tour in the coming months.

Medical states to watch as midterms approach

With midterms approaching, a handful of states are set to vote on pro-cannabis legislation.

Voters in Missouri and Utah will have the option to “vote yes” on measures that would legalize medicinal cannabis in their home state. The latest polls suggest a majority support in both states, despite significant, and well-funded opposition.

In Missouri, if Proposition 3 passes, it would set a record for the lowest retail cannabis tax – coming in at 2%.

In Utah, advocates are currently battling in an all-out media war against Drug Safe Utah and D.A.R.E.

If polling is accurate, and the bills pass, it will prove to advocates across the country that pro-cannabis platforms can pass in any state – conservative or liberal.