85% Of U.S. Doctors Suspect Their Patients Abuse Opioids

Survey shows 77% list medical marijuana as least preferred alternative

MASSACHUSETTS:  The opioid epidemic causes more than 100 overdoses daily in America and fewer than 1 in 5 treating physicians approve of the government’s handling of the crisis. These findings are from a new survey of 501 physicians conducted by InCrowd and McLean Hospital.

“The doctors we surveyed showed incredible passion for this topic—they had significant insight into fixing it,” says Danielle Schroth, InCrowd’s Director of Crowd Development. “They’re frustrated that they can’t do enough for their patients’ wellbeing.”

“Part of what got us into this current crisis was physician behavior, well-meaning physician behaviors,” says Rocco Iannucci, MD, of McLean Hospital’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Treatment. “The survey uncovered physicians’ pressures towards treating pain and addiction.”

The survey fielded by InCrowd, pioneer of real-time life science market intelligence, and McLean Hospital’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Treatment Programming, also found:

  • Nearly half (47%) disapprove of the federal government’s response
  • Forty-four percent called for stricter regulations to curb opioid abuse, while 18% wanted to discontinue opioid prescriptions all together
  • Ten percent wanted to end patient satisfaction surveys, which put pressure on physicians for positive patient ratings
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are the most preferred treatment alternative (68%), followed by lifestyle changes.

“There is limited education historically on treatment of pain,” says Dr. Iannucci. “So, doctors may only be familiar with a few things—perhaps Tylenol, ibuprofen, and then they move to opioids. More systematic education of medical students and residents in all specialties, and not just in pain specialization, is really important.”

Study: No Link Between Cumulative Cannabis Use And Kidney Disease

MASSACHUSETTS: The cumulative use of cannabis is not associated with adverse effects on kidney function, according to clinical data published in The American Journal of Medicine.

Harvard investigators assessed the relationship between marijuana use and renal function in a cohort of 13,995 adults between the ages of 18 and 59. Current marijuana users possessed no significant differences in any measures of kidney function as compared to past users and never users.

“Marijuana use did not have a significant association with serum creatinine, eGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate), or odds of having stage 2 or greater chronic kidney disease,” they concluded.

The study’s findings are similar to those of a 2017 University of California study which reported that the long-term use of cannabis was not associated with symptoms of kidney disease.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Marijuana use and renal function among US adults,” appears in The American Journal of Public Health.

NE’s Largest Cannabis Convention Returns To Boston March 24-25, 2018

MASSACHUSETTS: The 4th Annual New England Cannabis Convention, hosted by the NECANN, will return to the Hynes Convention Center on Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25.

With over 5,000 attendees, 200+ industry exhibitors, and 120+ local and national speakers, the New England Cannabis Convention will be the largest Cannabis and Hemp Industry event ever in the Northeast. Cannabis sales in Maine and Massachusetts are projected to exceed 1.5 billion dollars by 2020, and this expo focuses on helping New Englanders get involved in this amazing growth opportunity, as well as serving as a resource for medical marijuana patients and advocates.

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Programming for the event will feature four separate tracks covering all aspects of the industry:

  • Marijuana as medicine
  • Local Cannabis legal, businesses, and investment news
  • Live demos on growing, cloning, making salves and tinctures, and more.
  • Cannabis Career and entrepreneurial opportunities

The keynote speaker for the event will be Cheryl Shuman. Known as the “Martha Stewart of Marijuana,” Cheryl has been featured as “the cannabis queen of Beverly Hills” on the covers of Adweek, The Jerusalem Post, The New York Times Magazine, The London Times Magazine and was named one of the most powerful women in pot in Fortune Magazine, as well as features in Vogue, Elle, The View, ABC’s 20/20, and Good Morning America.

This year’s event will also feature the premiere of “The Doc and the Jocks”, a live panel discussion discussing the role of cannabis in treating sports-related injuries. Panelists will include former Chicago Bears Super Bowl champion QB Jim McMahon and local sports broadcast legend Bob Lobel. The panel with be moderated by Massachusetts based Dr. Uma Dhanabalan, an internationally renowned cannabis advocate who termed the saying “Cannabis is not an entrance drug, it is an exit drug from pharmaceuticals and narcotics”.

“Over the last 12 months, huge progress has been made toward the normalization of cannabis use in New England and throughout the country,” says Marc Shepard, co-founder of NECANN. “With legalization spreading throughout the region, hosting the essential networking hub for local businesses, investors, and entrepreneurs to meet and grow is very exciting. For anyone who is interested in seeing the true scope of this industry, including the opportunities and enormous potential, this is the place to be,” Shepard adds.

Attendees can network with the over 200 local and national Cannabis Industry businesses, talk with doctors and health care providers, explore investment & career opportunities, connect with advocacy groups, see the latest developments in lighting, soil, and growing equipment, and purchase a huge variety of the latest smoking, vaping, and storage accessories.

Every single facet of the cannabis industry is represented, including: Accounting, Banking, Insurance, Botanicals, Dosing Equipment, Grow Lights, Hemp Industry, Hydroponics & Cultivation Products, Infused Products, Inventory Tracking, Legal Resources, Licensing Services, Marketing, Medical Experts & Resources, Packaging, Patient Advocacy & Education, Payment Processing, POS & Management Software, Private Equity & Investment Resources, Security Services & Equipment, Smoking and Accessories for Vaping & Dabbing, Storage, Training & Education, and Testing & Lab Services.

Since 2015, NECANN has hosted the largest, most comprehensive Cannabis Industry event series in the northeast. It’s 2018 schedule includes six conventions (Boston, Providence RI, Portland, ME, Northampton, MA, Burlington, VT, and Reno, NV), making it the largest series in the country as the legalization of recreational cannabis use in both Maine and Massachusetts bring ever greater national attention to New England.

Registration for the event can be purchased online at www.necann.com. A limited amount of tickets will also be sold on-site on the days of the shows. The full programming schedule is available at www.necann.com/programming.

Location
Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston Street, Boston, MA

Hours
Saturday, April 22, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday, April 23, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
*- Box office closes one hour prior to Show closing each day.

Admission
Business, Investment, Career (BIC)
One Day Registration: $50 online, $60 onsite
Two Day Registration: $75 online, $85 onsite
Patients, Advocates, Caregivers (PAC)
One Day Registration: $20 online, $25 onsite
Two Day Registration: $30 online, $35 onsite

*Must be 18+ to attend NECANN. Children under 18 MUST be accompanied by an adult. ID is required.

 

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What You Need To Know About The Massachusetts Recreational Marijuana Program

By The Marijuana License

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission just released the latest information on what rules and regulations business-owners can expect when the recreational marijuana program launches in July of 2018.

Here’s where the marijuana industry currently stands in Massachusetts: medical marijuana is legal and available for purchase for patients who register with the Medical Use of Marijuana Program. Meanwhile, even though the legalization of recreational marijuana was approved in November of 2016 the program is still months away from becoming a reality with marijuana business license applications expected to become available in July 2018. However, we just got a sneak peek into what the state’s future recreational marijuana program will look like thanks to the completion of public policy discussions held by the Cannabis Control Commission.

The discussions defined 5 main areas of recreational marijuana business licensing and operations: fees, inventory and record-keeping, business types, inspections and fines, and cash and banking.

Business Types

The state of Massachusetts will recognize and offer licenses to a whopping 11 types of recreational marijuana business:

  • Cultivation – Grows marijuana plants for sale to licensed manufacturers or retailers. Licenses are tiered based on the square footage of the cultivated area.
  • Craft Marijuana Cooperative
  • Microbusiness License – Microbusinesses operate on a smaller scale in terms of square footage and revenue and are able to participate in multiple areas of business without having to apply for separate licenses.
  • Manufacturing – Creates preparations, tinctures, concentrates and other forms of manufactured marijuana products for sale to licensed retail establishments
  • Independent Lab – Can test marijuana products for contaminants and concentration of THC and CBD
  • Retail – The state will offer separate licenses for brick & mortar stores with a physical location and stores that only offer delivery of recreational marijuana. Retailers can only sell marijuana products to the end consumer and customers must be 21 years of age or older.
  • Transporter – Transport marijuana plants or manufactured products for other licensed marijuana businesses
  • Research – Test marijuana products for scientific purposes
  • Social Consumption – Establishments that allow the consumption of recreational marijuana on their premises. The state will offer separate licenses to businesses that only allow the consumption of marijuana and those that offer mixed use. “Mixed use” has not been defined yet but may refer to food and non-alcoholic beverages. Smoking of marijuana within social consumption establishments will not be allowed.

Application and Licensing Fees

The state has set a flat application fee of $300 for all business types with the exception of Cultivation. Application fees for cultivators is tiered with Tier I through Tier IV applicants paying $100, $250, $400 and $600 respectively.

The state will also impose the following annual licensing fees on all businesses:

Cultivation:

Tier I $1000

Tier II $2,500

Tier III $4,000

Tier IV $5,000

Craft Marijuana Cooperative: The same as Cultivation licensing fees

Microbusiness: $1,250

Manufacturing: $5,000

Independent Lab: $5,000

Retail: $5,000 (brick and mortar) $2,500 (delivery)

Transporter: $5,000

Research: $1,000

Social Consumption: $5,000 for primary use and a sliding scale for mixed use.

Inventory & Record Keeping

Licensed marijuana cultivators will be required to carry out a monthly inventory of plants they are currently cultivating and marijuana that has been stored. An additional annual inventory will be required that is comprehensive. Inventories must include the date they were performed, signatures from all who participated in the inventory and a summary of what was found.

All establishments will be required to implement a seed-to-sale tracking method and any business that cultivates, processes or sells marijuana for both medical and recreational use must have separate tracking of both classes of product.

Business must also keep historical records of their operating procedures, vendor training completion, background check reports, inventory records, personnel records, policies and procedures, staffing plans and the seed-to-sale tracking records.

Inspections and Fines

The commission decided to apply the same rules for inspections and penalties that are currently enforced for medical marijuana businesses. Methods for inspection may include random purchases made at retail by inspectors and the filing of complaints by employees and consumers. The commission will make use of license suspensions, sales limitations, quarantines and cease and desist orders to ensure compliance with regulations.

The framework for fines was also established, borrowing from the regulations applied to other industries in Massachusetts. Each incident can only incur up to a maximum fine of $25,000 and the fine can only be imposed upon the licensed entity rather than an individual. Written notice of fines must be provided as well as an option to appeal the fine.

Cash and Banking

Marijuana businesses have met major obstacles in trying to move their revenue legally through the banking system, often paying exorbitant fees for services. Massachusetts is proactively trying to improve this situation with two major actions.

First the state government will create its own agreement with state banks to allow retail establishments to make cash deposits electronically. Meanwhile, paying tax revenues to the state will also be made easier with the installation of new cash-handling machines placed across the state. These will allow businesses to deposit directly to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue at secure locations.

These policies have not yet been made official. The commission expects to have a final vote by the end of December 2017 before filing them as Draft Regulations.


The Marijuana License is a non-profit informational resource for patients and business-owners across the country looking to obtain a medical marijuana card or marijuana business license. It maintains an up-to-date database for each state.

Cannabis Science Pioneer Tikun Olam Expands Partnership With MariMed

Combines Tikun Products & Unparalleled Research with MariMed’s Cultivation & Distribution Networks

MASSACHUSETTS and NEW YORK:  Tikun Olam, the world pioneer in cannabis research, and MariMed Inc., a preeminent management company in the U.S. medical cannabis industry, announced an expansion of their licensing agreement for Tikun Olam products to be grown, manufactured and sold through MariMed’s network of managed and affiliated licensed facilities throughout the United States.

This new agreement brings Tikun Olam’s premium cannabis products, years of proprietary, peer-reviewed scientific research and unprecedented clinical data collection to four additional MMJ-legal U.S. states, its most expansive agreement to date. Tikun Olam and MariMed’s relationship began in 2015 with a pilot program in Delaware and marked the first time that U.S. patients had access to the world’s only cannabis strains proven to deliver symptomatic relief for specific conditions including cancer, PTSD, epilepsy, Crohn’s Disease/Colitis, chronic pain and neuropathy to name a few.

“After the great success of our program in Delaware, MariMed is excited to bring Tikun™ to our expanding national network of legal cannabis production and dispensary facilities,” says Robert Fireman, CEO of MariMed Inc. “Tikun Olam’s empirical data on clinical effectiveness is unsurpassed, and we look forward to educating healthcare professionals and offering Tikun’s products to tens of thousands of new patients nationwide.”

MariMed will introduce Tikun’s exclusive strains and products in state-of-the-art, regulatory compliant and fully operational cultivation and medical marijuana dispensaries in Rhode Island, Maryland, Massachusetts and Illinois in 2018. Tikun products will be available in flower, vape cartridges, topicals, tinctures and edibles utilizing at least six Tikun-branded strains, including its world-renowned Avidekel high-CBD strain.  In addition to Delaware, Tikun products have launched in Nevada (March 2017) and are expected to launch Washington (November 2017).

“Tikun Olam is delighted to expand our relationship with MariMed,” says Tikun CEO Bernard Sucher.  “MariMed utilizes the “best practices” and standards for cultivation and production and their qualified distribution channels allow us to bring our proven wellness products to more U.S. patients than ever before.”

Massachusetts: Medical Marijuana Patients Afforded Workplace Protections

MASSACHUSETTS: State-registered medical cannabis patients may sue a private employer for discrimination if they are fired for their off-the-job marijuana use, according to a first in the nation ruling issued Monday by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Opining for the court, Chief Justice Ralph Gants determined that it is “not facially unreasonable” for employers to make exceptions to their substance abuse policies in instances where employees are using cannabis at home to treat a debilitating condition. “The fact that the employee’s possession of medical marijuana is in violation of federal law does not make it per se unreasonable as an accommodation,” he wrote.

The defendant in the case was fired on her first day on the job for testing positive for carboxy-THC on a company drug test. The former employee possessed a doctor’s recommendation to use cannabis to treat symptoms of Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Qualified patients may legally obtain cannabis in Massachusetts under a 2012 voter-initiated law.

The unanimous verdict reverses a lower court decision and is contrary to rulings in CaliforniaColoradoOregon, and Washington. In each of those states, justices ruled that employees had no legal protection if they were fired without cause for their use of medical cannabis.

“Patients should never have to choose between their heath and their job and for the first time, the courts are beginning to recognize that they shouldn’t have to do so,” NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said. “It is our hope that courts in other jurisdictions begin to apply this same rationale to patients as well as to all adults who are using cannabis responsibly off-the-job in compliance with the laws of their states.”

The case is Barbuto v. Advantage Sales and Marketing LLC.

Massachusetts Marijuana Sales To Top $1 Billion By 2020

MASSACHUSETTS: Arcview Market Research, in partnership with New Frontier Data, has released its Massachusetts Legal Cannabis Market State Profile, which shows the potential growth of the legal marijuana market after Massachusetts voters legalized adult-use on Election Night 2016. The official Arcview Market Research projection for the Massachusetts market is that it will grow to over $1 billion by 2020 at a compound annual growth rate of 113%.

“Unlike other places where cannabis is legal, Boston is within driving distance of many of the most populous places in America. This will make Boston the cannabis capital of the world in short order. This cannabis tourism will drive significant revenue, tax dollars, and job growth which will make legalization very attractive to neighboring states,” said Troy Dayton, CEO of The Arcview Group.

“As one of only two states on the East Coast to legalize cannabis for adult use, Massachusetts represents a significant opportunity for business owners and entrepreneurs in the space. The law does not limit product forms nor does it cap retail dispensary licenses, which are both factors that will positively contribute toward the billion dollars in sales projected by 2020,” said New Frontier Data Founder & CEO, Giadha Aguirre DeCarcer.

Over the next four years, the legal cannabis market in Massachusetts is forecast to grow from $52.0 million in 2016 solely from medical use sales, to an estimated $1.07 billion in 2020 with medical and adult use sales combined. The full regulatory structure and key program details of the adult use market remain to be determined, and the market could take a few different directions depending on the actions of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission and local municipalities across the state. However, the broad parameters of the law create an opportunity for an open and expansive market.

Key trends that will be critical in shaping the growth and evolution of Massachusetts’ market covered in the report are:

  • Interplay between the medical and adult use markets
  • Competition from bordering states with legal medical and adult use programs
  • Regional, national, and international tourism demand
  • Physician participation and its impact on medical program growth

If you would like more information on Massachusetts’ legal cannabis markets, you can download the 2016 Massachusetts Legal Cannabis Market State Profile at www.ArcviewMarketResearch.com and the report can be ordered for $249.

 

Study: Medical Cannabis Associated With Improved Cognitive Performance, Reduced Opioid Use

MASSACHUSETTS: Medical cannabis administration is associated with improved cognitive performance and lower levels of prescription drug use, according to longitudinal data published online in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology.

Investigators from Harvard Medical School, Tufts University, and McLean Hospital evaluated the use of medicinal cannabis on patients’ cognitive performance over a three-month period. Participants in the study were either naïve to cannabis or had abstained from the substance for at least ten years. Baseline evaluations of patients’ cognitive performance were taken prior to their cannabis use and then again following treatment.

Researchers reported “no significant decrements in performance” following medical marijuana treatment. Rather, they determined, “[P]atients experienced some improvement on measures of executive functioning, including the Stroop Color Word Test and Trail Making Test, mostly reflected as increased speed in completing tasks without a loss of accuracy.”

Participants in the study were less likely to experience feelings of depression during treatment, and many significantly reduced their use of prescription drugs. “[D]ata revealed a notable decrease in weekly use across all medication classes, including reductions in use of opiates (-42.88 percent), antidepressants (-17.64 percent), mood stabilizers (-33.33 percent), and benzodiazepines (-38.89 percent),” authors reported – a finding that is consistent with prior studies.

Patients in the study will continue to be assessed over the course of one-year of treatment to assess whether these preliminary trends persist long-term.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Splendor in the grass? A pilot study assessing the impact of marijuana on executive function,” appears in Frontiers of Pharmacology.

The Expectations Of The Legal Cannabis Market After Elections

MAINE: In California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine, voters decided that recreational cannabis use is now legal. Now as for Arizona, it was the only state that rejected the proposal. Making it four of the five states, where the proposal of legalization of cannabis for recreational use were approved. Companies in this sector profiting from the growing demand, views this as a highly positive development for the legal cannabis industry, as it may bring billions of dollars to the industry and to the states themselves.

District of Columbia, along with other 8 states now recognizes recreational marijuana use as a legal practice for adults. Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota assed ballot measures legalizing medical marijuana use only.  California is of course the most populated state and the largest market for cannabis. California Lt. Gov. and former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, said the proposition could generate up to $1 billion a year in tax revenue, as well as $100 million in saved taxpayer money on an annual basis.

Mass. Senators Learn The Ins And Outs Of Colorado’s Marijuana Businesses

MASSACHUSETTS: It’s still early, but Fall River state Sen. Mike Rodrigues is eager. He’s grilling an Uber driver who was taking him to a high-tech Denver laboratory that extracts potent compounds from marijuana leaves.

“You’re out and about driving, picking people up. Do you see more people under the influence when they get into the vehicle? Do you see them roaming the streets or anything like that?” Rodrigues asks driver Jay Arcuri, who’s lived in Denver all his life.

Arcuri doesn’t hold back.

“Hell, as soon as they open the car door, you can smell it,” answered Arcuri, who tells Rodrigues legalized pot has made his home state the “laughing stock of the nation.”