Feb 1, 2018
NEWS: Donald Trump promises to "get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers" in his State of the Union address; WHAT: Audio of previous pronouncements from Trump about getting tougher on drugs; RANT: The beginnings of my career in radio and podcasting.
In his only reference to drug policy in his first State of the Union speech, Donald Trump vowed to "get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers." [TRUMP CLIP: These reforms will also support our response to the terrible crisis of opioid and drug addiction. Never before has it been like it is now. It is terrible. We have to do something about it. In 2016, we lost 64,000 Americans to drug overdoses — 174 deaths per day; 7 per hour. We must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers if we are going to succeed in stopping this scourge.] The president also gave a nod to criminal justice reform during the speech. [TRUMP CLIP: …Opportunity must be extended to all citizens. That is why this year we will embark on reforming our prisons to help former inmates who have served their time get a second chance at life.]
Cannabidiol, or CBD, would become legal for anyone in the state of Indiana under legislation unanimously approved by the full House. Indiana has already passed a law last April allowing CBD for treatment-resistant epilepsy. There are several bills dealing with the issue this session, in both chambers. The measure approved Tuesday takes the simply defines CBD as a byproduct of the cannabis plant that contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, no longer to be considered a controlled substance. Rep. Bill Friend (R-Macy), the measure's author, says cannabidiol should be treated like an herbal supplement. "CBD oil has a negligible amount of THC and does not produce a high or intoxication or euphoria," Friend says. Rep. Chris Judy (R-Fort Wayne) says he has plantar fasciitis, a painful foot condition. And on the House floor, Judy admitted he's used CBD since August. "I wake up in the morning without pain now. For me, it's worked," Judy says. "I do not want to be thrown in jail for CBD." The House voted 93-0 to advance the bill to the Senate.
A Democrat in the Idaho Legislature who is seeking the governor's office in the reddest state in the nation is a proponent of medical marijuana. Rep. Paulette Jordan says if she wins the 2018 gubernatorial race she would not only be the first woman to serve as Idaho's governor, but also the first Native American woman to serve as governor of any state. In terms of health care, she said she would expand Medicaid coverage in Idaho to close the gap and would work to increase Veterans Assistance benefits and accessibility. A proponent of medicinal marijuana, Jordan said she worked on a bill in the Legislature last year to decriminalize marijuana across the state. "70 percent of our borders are surrounded by states that have legalized marijuana," Jordan explained. Further, Jordan said she is involved in a national lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies involved in the production of opioid medications that has fueled a nationwide drug epidemic. "They are shooting thousands of pills, millions of pills into our areas and we have to fight back," Jordan said.
A new study of marijuana smoking and lung function found that "neither current nor former marijuana use was associated with increased risk for cough, wheeze, or chronic bronchitis." Researchers also found that "current and former marijuana smokers had significantly higher FEV," a measurement of exhalation power, "significantly less quantitative emphysema… and increased total tissue volume." The authors concluded, "We did not find that a history of marijuana use is associated with more wheezing, coughing, or bronchitis even after considering tobacco cigarette smoking. We did, however, find an increase in reported wheeze among those with a history of greater than 10 and 20 joint years. In agreement with other published studies, we also did not find that marijuana use was associated with more obstructive lung disease." The study can be found in the Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
California officials announced Tuesday that they will take a detailed look at the possibility of creating a taxpayer-backed marijuana bank to handle what could be billions of dollars in revenue generated by the state's legal marijuana industry. State Treasurer John Chiang stopped short of endorsing the idea but said his office would work with the state attorney general to examine how a weed bank might function for California's emerging pot economy, estimated to grow to $7 billion. Completing the study is expected to take about a year.