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01/26/2017

The Health Benefits of Marijuana and Related Regulatory Policies : A Conversation with Paul Armentano (January 24th)

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This past November, voters in seven states legalized marijuana either for medical or for recreational use.  Twenty-nine states have now legalized cannabis for medicinal use (and of these eight, along with the District of Columbia, for recreational use).   Despite growing state legalization, the debate concerning marijuana's health effects continues.  Recently, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) published an extensive scientific review of research literature published since 1999 to reach nearly 100 conclusions about its therapeutic benefits including in the treatment for chronic pain in adults, chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting and Multiple Sclerosis-related spasticity.  Despite state approval and demonstrated health benefits, at the federal level, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I controlled substance (along with, e.g., heroin), and its use illegal.  

Mr. Paul Armentano is the Deputy Director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.  He is Armentanoalso a faculty member at Oaksterdam University in Oakland, California.  His is the author of over 200 publications including more than a dozen contributions to textbooks and anthologies.  His most recent book-length work is, The Citizen's Guide to State-by-State Marijuana Laws (2015) and he is co-author of the 2013 volume, Marijuana is Safer: Why Are We Driving People to Drink?  Mr. Armentano was the principle investigator for the defense counsel in US v Schweder, the first federal evidentiary hearing since 1973 to challenge the constitutionality of cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance.  He also served as an expert in a successful Canadian constitutional challenge, Crown v. Allard, preserving qualified patients right to grow cannabis at home.   Among other awards Mr. Armentano was the 2013 Freedom Law School Health Freedom Champion of the Year.  

The National Academy of Sciences' report, The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research is at: http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/reports/2017/health-effects-of-cannabis-and-cannabinoids.aspx.

For more information regarding NORML go to: http://norml.org/.

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