Texas MMJ News

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By Laura Lorek
Publisher of Silicon Hills News

Pioneers in pot see a huge market developing nationwide for legal cannabis, and they think it’s not if, but when, legal marijuana will become a huge market in Texas.

That’s the big takeaway from the first ever Austin Cannabis Entrepreneurs conference held last Thursday and Friday at the Hyatt Regency downtown.

Hugh Forrest, founder of the ACE Conference

“I think we are ahead of the curve in Texas,” said Hugh Forrest, programming director at South by Southwest, who created the conference. “It is a market that is being disrupted and that’s what entrepreneurs like.”

The Texas market for adult recreational marijuana is worth about $2 billion initially based on the population and use rates, said Troy Dayton, co-founder, and CEO of The Arcview Group, based in Oakland, Calif., a research firm focused on the cannabis industry.

“Texas is great market because there is a lot of money in Texas,” Dayton said. “And it has a particular type of investor. Particularly people who have been investors in oil and gas – they are used to being pioneers and taking big risks in the possibilities of things. There is a lot of excitement here.”

Legal cannabis has already become a $10 billion industry, up 33 percent in 2017, according to an Arcview report. It forecasts by 2021, the legal market will more than double reaching $24.5 billion.

About 200 people attended the Austin conference.

Among them, Elena Marquez with Culinary Cannabis Consultants, based in

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GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex is made from the marijuana plant but without THC. On April 19, 2018, an FDA advisory panel recommended approval of the drug.

Kathy Young / AP

WASHINGTON — A medicine made from the marijuana plant moved one step closer to U.S. approval Thursday after federal health advisers endorsed it for the treatment of severe seizures in children with epilepsy. If the Food and Drug Administration follows the group’s recommendation, GW Pharmaceuticals’ syrup would become the first drug derived from the cannabis plant to win federal approval in the U.S.

The 13-member FDA panel voted unanimously in favor of the experimental medication made from a chemical found in cannabis — one that does not get users high. The panelists backed the drug based on three studies showing that it significantly reduced seizures in children with two rare forms of childhood epilepsy.

“This is clearly a breakthrough drug for an awful disease,” said panel member Dr. John Mendelson, of the Friends Research Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

The drug carries a potential risk of liver damage, but panelists said doctors could monitor patients for any signs. More common side effects included diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue and sleep problems.

FDA regulators are due to make their decision by late June. Approval would technically limit the drug, called Epidiolex, to patients with hard-to-treat forms of epilepsy. But doctors would have the option to prescribe it for other uses and it could spur new pharmaceutical research and interest into other cannabis-based products.

More than two dozen states allow marijuana use for a variety of ailments, but the FDA has not approved it for any medical use. The FDA has approved synthetic versions of another cannabis ingredient for other medical purposes.

Several patients and parents at Thursday’s meeting spoke about the benefits of Epidiolex. Sam Vogelstein, 16, said he experienced daily seizures — at times more than 100 per day — before enrolling in a study of the drug.

“I just went to South Africa for two weeks without my parents on a school trip,” said Vogelstein, who lives in Berkeley, California. “I would not have been able to do that if I had not tried this medication.”

It’s not yet clear why the medicine reduces seizures.

Epidiolex is essentially a pharmaceutical-grade version of cannabidiol, or CBD oil, which some parents have used for years to treat children with epilepsy

“Ever since I’ve been on this cannabis, I’ve actually been seizure-free for — today it’s 974 days, so we’re coming up on 1,000. So I think that’s pretty good,” 12-year-old Alexis Bortell told CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen last November. Her family said they had no choice but to move from their Texas home to Colorado, where marijuana is legal, to treat her severe epilepsy with cannabis-derived oil. The Bortell family and a handful of others are suing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for legal access to the drug for medical use nationwide.

CBD is one of more than 100 chemicals found in the cannabis plant and it doesn’t contain THC, the ingredient that gives marijuana its mind-altering effect.

CBD oil is currently sold online and in specialty shops across the country, though its legal status remains murky. Most producers say their oil is made from hemp, a form of cannabis that contains little THC and can be legally farmed in a number of states for clothing, food and other uses.

Cannabis data analytics firm New Frontier Data predicts CBD sales will nearly quadruple over the next four years, from $535 million in 2018 to over $1.9 billion by 2022. CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula reports it is used for a variety of conditions including anxiety, insomnia, depression and seizures.

It’s unclear how FDA approval of a CBD drug would affect products already on the market. Executives for the British drugmaker GW Pharmaceuticals say their goal is to provide a more standardized, research-backed version.

“We’re not looking to impact the availability of other products on the market,” GW executive Steve Schultz said before the meeting. “Our goal is to provide an additional option for patients and physicians who desire a purified version of CBD for treatment of seizures.”

The company declined to comment on the price of the drug before the approval decision. Wall Street analysts estimate it could cost more than $25,000 per year.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Patrick Johnston, Times Record News Published 4:40 p.m. CT April 19, 2018

Garcia(Photo: Wichita County Sheriff’s Office)

A Hirschi High School student was arrested Wednesday after being reportedly caught with a bag of marijuana cookies at school back in August 2017.

Marc-Antonio Garcia, 17, is charged with possession of a controlled substance in penalty group two weighing more than 4 grams but less than 200 grams.

The charge was enhanced to a first-degree felony due to the crime occurring in a drug-free zone.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit:

On Aug. 25, 2017, Wichita Falls police were sent to Hirschi HS for a student being in possession of possible marijuana cookies.

The officer met with a teacher, who reportedly received an anonymous tip from a student that said Garcia was selling the cookies at school.

The teacher said she saw Garcia holding a clear, plastic bag containing what appeared to be golden-colored cookies in it.

She said Garcia was talking to two girls and each of them had money in their hands.

The teacher approached Garcia and told him to go to the office, at which time Garcia attempted to give the bag of “cookies” to another student. The teacher reportedly told Garcia the bag of “cookies” was staying with him.

After reaching the office, the teacher opened the bag and noticed it smelled strongly of marijuana. School officials then contacted police.

The teacher handed the plastic bag containing five “cookies” that smelled like marijuana

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A new poll finds that 61 percent of Texans support legalizing marijuana. (Photo: KXLN)

The majority of Texas voters approve allowing adults to legally possess marijuana for personal use, according to a new poll.

The independent Quinnipiac University Poll finds that 61 percent of Texans support adults being able to possess small amounts of marijuana.

While Republicans oppose legalized marijuana 51 – 43 percent and voters over 65 years old oppose it 51 – 40 percent, every other listed party, gender, education, age and racial group support legalization.

“Texans are not much different than voters in other parts of the country. They support almost 2-1 the idea of allowing small amounts of marijuana for personal use,” says Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll.

For more information on the poll, click here.

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A new poll finds that 61 percent of Texans support legalizing marijuana. (Photo: KXLN)

The majority of Texas voters approve allowing adults to legally possess marijuana for personal use, according to a new poll.

The independent Quinnipiac University Poll finds that 61 percent of Texans support adults being able to possess small amounts of marijuana.

While Republicans oppose legalized marijuana 51 – 43 percent and voters over 65 years old oppose it 51 – 40 percent, every other listed party, gender, education, age and racial group support legalization.

“Texans are not much different than voters in other parts of the country. They support almost 2-1 the idea of allowing small amounts of marijuana for personal use,” says Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll.

For more information on the poll, click here.

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A new poll finds that 61 percent of Texans support legalizing marijuana. (Photo: KXLN)

The majority of Texas voters approve allowing adults to legally possess marijuana for personal use, according to a new poll.

The independent Quinnipiac University Poll finds that 61 percent of Texans support adults being able to possess small amounts of marijuana.

While Republicans oppose legalized marijuana 51 – 43 percent and voters over 65 years old oppose it 51 – 40 percent, every other listed party, gender, education, age and racial group support legalization.

“Texans are not much different than voters in other parts of the country. They support almost 2-1 the idea of allowing small amounts of marijuana for personal use,” says Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll.

For more information on the poll, click here.

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Consultant Angel Martos holds a marijuana leaf at the Canna Pi medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle, Washington, November 27, 2012. REUTERS/Anthony Bolante

Tomorrow is 4/20, an unofficial day of celebration for marijuana users nationwide. 

To mark the occasion Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D.-Ore.), founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, released what he’s calling the “Cannabis State of the Union 2018.” It’s a reckoning of the state of domestic marijuana policy and a look forward to the debates we’re likely to see in the coming year.

The speech covers a lot of ground, so we’ve annotated it below.

CONGRESSMAN EARL BLUMENAUER: For the two decades after cannabis was listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, we were spinning our wheels. While a few states decriminalized marijuana, starting with Oregon in 1973, we were basically overwhelmed by Richard Nixon’s misguided War on Drugs.

In 1996, with California’s vote to legalize medical marijuana—followed shortly thereafter by Arizona and Oregon—we moved into a new period of activism driven by the will of the voters, not the politicians. Victories for medical marijuana and decriminalization began piling up in state after state.

The adult-use victories of 2012 and 2014 in Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and the District of Columbia signaled the shift to broader acceptance and increasingly sophisticated campaigns. The wins in eight of nine states’ elections in 2016 cemented the revolution.

The public, and some politicians, finally understood that it was

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