Here’s what’s catching our eye in cannabis news this week:

This week California senator Scott Wiener will introduce a bill designed to ease tax burdens for charities that provide medicinal cannabis to patients at no cost. The senator identifies these charitable groups as unintended casualties of Prop 64 saying, “Applying taxes to compassionate care will shut down collectives, and I can’t imagine that was the intent of voters.”

According to the San Francisco Chronicle: This bill would establish a new medical license designation for groups that donate cannabis to people with severe ailments. It would exempt these groups from paying a 15 percent state excise tax on cannabis that they are giving away. And it would allow commercial pot farms to donate their surplus crops to these charities without having to pay a cultivation tax. The way it is now, farmers and other suppliers pass those taxes on to the nonprofits, rather than eating the cost.The authors of SB 829 hope to tie California’s newly regulated cannabis industry back to the state’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which legalized medical marijuana and allowed patients with severe ailments — including AIDS, cancer and glaucoma — to get the drug free of charge.

This week The Motley Fool did a deeper dive on a recent AARP survey further validating the need, and interest in, medicinal cannabis in the 50-80 year old demographic. This survey found that 12 percent of adults age 50 and over have personally used cannabis in the last six months and another 41 percent are thinking about trying it. While the numbers alone are interesting, the reason WHY these people are turning to cannabis is crucial – for pain relief. The Motley Fool pulled a number of studies on cannabis for pain, referencing some staggering findings. Highlights below, and more interesting info can be found in The Motley Fool article, where these were sourced:

  • The Journal of Pain, the official journal of the American Pain Society, reported in June 2016 results from a University of Michigan study that found medical marijuana patients were able to reduce their use of opioids for pain relief by more than 50 percent.  
  • Another 2016 study conducted in Israel found that 44 percent of patients with chronic pain were able to stop taking prescription opioid drugs within seven months of beginning to use medical marijuana.
  • The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published a report in 2017 on the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids. This report stated, “In adults with chronic pain, patients who were treated with cannabis or cannabinoids are more likely to experience a clinically significant reduction in pain symptoms.”

The bottom line is people don’t want to be in pain and are open to anything that can aid with that. Medicinal cannabis provides that for so many and it’s encouraging to see lawmakers working to ensure it only becomes more widely available.

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