There has been a tidal shift in politics
and on marijuana laws in America, from Obama lightening up on pot
prosecutions to the recognition of cancer prevention properties.

#1 Obama Administration: Don’t Focus On Medical Marijuana Prosecutions
United States Deputy Attorney General David Ogden issued a memorandum
to federal prosecutors in October directing them to not “focus federal
resources … on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous
compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of
marijuana.” The directive upheld a campaign promise by President Barack
Obama, who had previously pledged
that he was “not going to be using Justice Department resources to try
to circumvent state laws on this issue.” Read the full story here.

#2 Public Support For Legalizing Pot Hits All-Time High
A majority of U.S. voters now support legalizing marijuana, according to a national poll
of 1,004 likely voters published in December by Angus Reid. The Angus
Reid Public Opinion poll results echo those of separate national polls
conducted this year by Gallup, Zogby, ABC News, CBS News, Rasmussen Reports, and the California Field Poll, each of which reported greater public support for marijuana legalization than ever before. Read the full story here.

#3 Lifetime Marijuana Use Associated With
Reduced Cancer Risk

The moderate long-term use of cannabis is associated with a reduced
risk of head and neck cancer, according to the results of a
population-based control study published in August by the journal
Cancer Prevention Research. Authors reported,
“After adjusting for potential confounders (including smoking and
alcohol drinking), 10 to 20 years of marijuana use was associated with
a significantly reduced risk of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.”
Read the full story here.

#4 AMA Calls For Review Of Marijuana’s Prohibitive Status
In November, the American Medical Association resolved that marijuana
should longer be classified as a Schedule I prohibited substance. Drugs
classified in Schedule I are defined as possessing “no currently accepted use in treatment in the United States.” In a separate action, the AMA also determined,
“Results of short term controlled trials indicate that smoked cannabis
reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and caloric intake
especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve
spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.” Read the full
story here.

#5 California: Lawmakers Hold Historic Hearing On Marijuana Legalization
State lawmakers heard testimony
in October in support of taxing and regulating the commercial
production and distribution of cannabis for adults age 21 and older.
Additional hearings,
as well as a vote on Assembly Bill 390: the Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act,
are scheduled for January 12, 2010. Read the full story here.