Scientists demand a new approach to evaluating illicit drug policy
Denis Kuvaev / Shutterstock
TORONTO, Jan. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Scientific experts from around the world are calling on governments to better align illicit drug policy goals with community concerns. According to an open letter released by the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP), while governments measure illicit drug policies primarily based on their capacity to reduce the availability of illicit drugs, this ignores the 'real world' impact of drug policies on the health, security, development, and human rights of affected communities. This call comes as the international community focuses unprecedented attention towards the world drug problem.
In advance of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) – the largest international meeting on drug policy since 1998 – leading researchers are asking national governments and UN agencies to commit to revising the indicators currently used to evaluate drug control policies. Scientists held a panel to release the open letter at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City today, where the UNGASS will be held in April this year.
"To date, the impact of drug policies has traditionally been measured using a very narrow set of indicators totally detached from community concerns about health, safety, human rights and development," said Dr. Dan Werb, Director of the ICSDP. "The scientific evidence suggests that conventional drug policies have little to no impact on patterns of illicit drug use. What's equally important, though, is that these conventional indicators – like the amount of drugs seized or the price and purity of illicit drugs – totally fail to capture the most important ways in which drugs and drug policies affect communities."The open letter, signed by leading drug policy experts – including Dr. Michel Kazatchkine, Member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, and Dr. Julio Montaner, Director of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS – outlines extensive scientific evidence that the indicators used to evaluate drug policy ignore some of the most important community impacts. In response, the open letter includes a preliminary set of suggested indicators that allow for governments to better assess the health, security, development and human rights impacts of their drug policies.
Dr. David Nutt, Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, explained, "Governments have yet to systematically measure and evaluate their policies based on health and security outcomes experienced by communities. These outcomes include the numbers of fatal overdose, blood-borne disease transmission rates, or traffic accidents – all of which have a far more meaningful impact on communities than measuring the level of drug use in the general population, or the amount of drugs that have been seized annually. While these may be important statistics, they tell us very little about how drugs are impacting communities."
Ms. Genevieve Sander, Human Rights Research Analyst at Harm Reduction International, emphasized the need to include human rights indicators when evaluating drug policies. "Hundreds of people are executed for drug offences every year in clear violation of international human rights law," said Ms. Sander. "We have documented instances where international aid for drug enforcement activities in death penalty States has led directly to death sentences and even executions. This aid comes from the United Kingdom and other European countries, and the programmes facilitated through the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Yet such direct links between aid and illegal executions are never considered in international and national evaluations of drug policy."
According to the open letter, by adopting health, security, development and human rights indicators, governments will be better able to implement targeted and effective policies that align with community needs. The alternative is to continue the unacceptably high levels of drug-related harms, with grave implications for communities across the globe.
About the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy The International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP) is a network of scientists and academics from all global hemispheres committed to improving the health and safety of communities and individuals affected by illicit drugs by working to inform illicit drug policies with the best available scientific evidence. With the oversight of a Scientific Board made up of leading experts on addictions, HIV, and drug policy, the ICSDP conducts research and public education on best practices in drug policy. This work is undertaken in collaboration with communities, policymakers, law enforcement and other stakeholders to help guide effective and evidence-based policy responses to the many problems posed by illicit drugs.
SOURCE International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP)
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Gov. Shumlin Supports Bill That 'Cautiously And Deliberately' Legalizes Pot
By Bob Kinzel on January 26, 2016
The effort to legalize marijuana has gotten a big boost at the Statehouse. Gov. Peter Shumlin and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Sears have announced their support for a bill that "cautiously and deliberately" moves to legalize marijuana in Vermont.
Standing together in the governor's ceremonial office at the Statehouse, Shumlin and Sears called for a "common sense" approach to regulate the sale of marijuana in the state.
Medical marijuana industry confronts growing pains
By Kay Lazar on January 26, 2016
One medical marijuana dispensary keeps running out of cannabis, forcing clients to drive hours to find another open shop. Another has battled mold in its crop. And patients seeking to shop at one of the state’s four dispensaries report difficulties with the state’s online registration system.
More than three years after Massachusetts voters approved marijuana for medical use, dispensary owners and patients continue to confront challenges in the state’s nascent industry.
Marijuana enters new phase of policy discussions at Colorado Capitol
By Peter Marcus on January 24, 2016
DENVER – Colorado lawmakers have headed into a new phase of marijuana policy in the state, focusing on some of the unintended results of legalization.
With initial rule-making largely behind them, the Legislature now has time to focus on issues that few expected when voters first legalized marijuana in 2012.
Pesticides top the list, with lawmakers and consumers raising concerns about poisons ending up in products.
Also on the list for the Legislature this year is an effort to allow marijuana distribution at special events, such as Cannabis Cup, an annual marijuana competition that has in recent years added Colorado to its list of stops.
New evidence suggests that a chemical derived from marijuana may be an effective treatment for patients with drug-resistant forms of epilepsy
Charlotte Figi, an eight-year-old girl from Colorado with Dravet syndrome, a rare and debilitating form of epilepsy, came into the public eye in 2013 when news broke that medical marijuana was able to do what other drugs could not: dramatically reduce her seizures. Now, new scientific research provides evidence that cannabis may be an effective treatment for a third of epilepsy patients who, like Charlotte, have a treatment-resistant form of the disease.
Study: Cannabis Oil Mitigates Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s-Induced Dementia
by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director on January 19, 2016
The administration of liquid cannabis extracts containing THC is associated with the mitigation of various symptoms of Alzheimer’s-related agitation and dementia, according to observational trial data published online ahead of print in The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Israeli investigators assessed the use of cannabis oil as an adjunct pharmacotherapy treatment in ten Alzheimer’s disease patients over a period of several weeks. Researchers reported that drug administration was associated with a significant reduction in patients’ symptom severity scores. Specifically, cannabis oil ingestion corresponded with decreased levels of aggression, irritability, apathy, and delusions.
Investigators concluded, “Adding medical cannabis oil to Alzheimer’s disease patients pharmacotherapy is safe and a promising treatment option.”
Legal marijuana home delivery could come to Seattle
By Gary Horcherand KIRO 7 News on Jan. 20, 2016
SEATTLE —A Washington state House bill would create a pilot program for a legal marijuana home-delivery service in Seattle.
Here's how it would work:
The pilot program would allow five existing licensed recreational marijuana stores in Seattle to offer delivery services to Washington state residents over the age of 21, according to Mayor Ed Murray's office. The pilot program would also provide a framework for delivery requirements, employee training and enforcement. The bill's first reading was January 12.
More @ KIRO 7 News
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Bernie Sanders makes a reference to marijuana in Democratic candidates' debate
By Steve Bloom on January 18, 2016
At last night's Democratic candidates' debate, Bernie Sanders made the only reference to marijuana, and it was a powerful one. Regarding the investment banking firm, Goldman Sachs, he said:
'I find it very strange that a major financial institution that pays $5 billion in fines for breaking the law and not one of their executives is prosecuted while kids who smoke marijuana get a jail sentence.'
Big Alcohol and Pharma are Paying Politicians to Block Marijuana Legalization
By T. Bud on January 16, 2016
Politicians Are Being Bought By Big Alcohol, Pharma and Police Unions
Cannabis has been rapidly gaining public favor over the past few years, with the majority of North Americans supporting legalization in some form. This is a hugely positive shift in public opinion, putting the pressure on lawmakers to end marijuana prohibition.
Not everyone is thrilled with the idea of marijuana being legally sold though, and we aren’t just talking about the un-informed prudes that voice their disgust for the Devil’s Lettuce. Some of the largest industries in the world are throwing mountains of money at politicians to maintain the status quo and keep prohibition intact.
While the state’s December data and year-end totals won’t be available until mid-February, Colorado’s cannabis shops are already approaching the $900 million sales mark with this week’s new November numbers.
However, the tide has turned as decriminalization of medical and recreational cannabis sweeps the nation and the continent. With legalization, more and more people are discovering how this plant can provide a safe alternative to the dangerous effects of prescription pills.
Oregon's recreational pot shoppers adjust to 25 percent sales tax
By Noelle Crombie on January 11, 2016
Oregon's recreational marijuana consumers, at least those who opt to shop in dispensaries, seem to be taking a new state sales tax in stride, many dispensary owners say.
On Jan. 1, after a three-month tax holiday, Oregon imposed a 25 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana sales. The tax will eventually be replaced with a 17 percent state tax once the Oregon Liquor Control Commission assumes control over recreational marijuana sales later this year.
Trudeau's Plan For Reform Will Hit Roadblocks From International Treaties
By Michelle Mark on January 7, 2016
Canada’s Liberal government will have to overcome several international hurdles before legalizing marijuana as per Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's promise during his campaign last fall, documents have shown. Canada is beholden to three international treaties that criminalize the possession and production of marijuana, which would require the federal government to find a way to prove compliance, the Canadian Press revealed.
The path to pot legalization has already proved a rocky one within the country’s borders, as provinces remain at loggerheads on how to regulate, tax and restrict access to marijuana. “Canada will need to explore how to inform the international community and will have to take the steps needed to adjust its obligations under these conventions,” says the briefing note, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
First Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in New York Are Poised to Open
By Jesse McKinley and Eli Rosenberg on January 7, 2016
ALBANY — New York was poised to join the ranks of nearly half the states on Thursday in allowing the use of medical marijuana with the opening of eight dispensaries statewide, serving a variety of syrups, concentrates and other forms of the drug.
How many patients will initially visit those dispensaries is uncertain. On Wednesday evening, officials at the state’s Department of Health said they did not know exactly how many patients had qualified for the drug, noting that such certification began only on Dec. 23, though they said some people had been certified.
New York Marijuana Legalization 2016: Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Slated To Open This Month
By Jackie Salo on January 4, 2016
New York's medical marijuana program will finally be underway this month when four dispensaries open their doors in early January in New York City, DNAinfo New York reported. But due to a number of obstacles, advocates are concerned that medical marijuana use will be slow to take off in the health industry.
The openings come more than a year after the Compassionate Care Act was signed into law in July 2014 to allow physicians to prescribe cannabis for a number of conditions. Among the 23 states that have legalized marijuana for medical use, New York has one of the stricter programs.
Former NFL players call for medical marijuana to be taken off banned list
By Scott Keyes on January 3, 2016
Former NFL players call for medical marijuana to be taken off banned list
To understand football, Nate Jackson says, you need to remember one inherent truth about the game: a human body was not made to absorb that kind of punishment.
“There’s no safe way to get hit by a truck,” Jackson puts it.
Jackson, author of the football memoir Slow Getting Up, spent six seasons playing tight end for the Denver Broncos. Recounting a lifetime of football-related injuries is nearly impossible, because, as he put it: “You’re always kind of battling with something.”
To hurry players back from injury, a cocktail of pain pills and anti-inflammatory injections are typically dispensed. Hydrocodone, Vicodin, Percocet, Toradol, Celebrex, Vioxx (before it was recalled for increasing the long-term risk of heart attacks and strokes) and so on. The widespread use of highly potent prescription pain drugs, some argue, has allowed the NFL to become the multibillion-dollar industry that it is today, but at a price.
Here's How Many People Fatally Overdosed On Marijuana Last Year. Zero
By Kim Bellware on December 28, 2015
With marijuana now legal in some form throughout 23 states, the number of Americans who fatally overdosed on the drug last year was significant:
The rate of absolutely zero deaths from a marijuana overdose remained steady from last year, according to figures released this month by the Centers for Disease Control. But while Americans aren't dying as a result of marijuana overdoses, the same can't be said for a range of other substances, both legal and illicit.
2015 was a pretty amazing year for progress in the legalization of marijuana. Four states and the District of Columbia legalized recreational marijuana, many states decriminalized it and several more states approved medical marijuana. But for all the advances made in 2015, the year was just a run up to 2016, when the presidential election is expected to be accompanied by a ramp up in legalization.
As far as big societal shifts go, 2015 has been a remarkable year. One issue close to my heart that has seen changes unimaginable just a few years ago is global drug policy. I’ve long advocated for an end to the so-called war on drugs which continues to wreck millions of lives, causes untold suffering and has wasted trillions in taxpayer money. But I feel more confident than ever that this war will finally come to an end within the next generation.
The legislation, introduced by Councilman Daniel Lavelle, gives Pittsburgh police officers the discretion to issue a civil fine up to $100 to people found in possession of 30 grams of marijuana or less, instead of charging them with a criminal misdemeanor offense.
After several years of jostling since the defeat of Proposition 19 in 2010, the smoke has cleared in California and it now appears that a single, well-funded marijuana legalization initiative will go before the voters next November. That vehicle is the California Control, Tax, and Regulate Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), backed by Silicon Valley tech billionaire Sean Parker, WeedMaps head Justin Hartfield, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), and a growing cast of state and national players.
Delaware Marijuana Decriminalization Law Takes Effect (Today) Friday
Published on December 17, 2015
Adult possession of a small amount of marijuana will become a civil violation punishable by a fine; Delaware will be the 19th state in the nation to remove the threat of jail for simple possession
DOVER — Marijuana decriminalization legislation adopted earlier this year in Delaware will officially take effect on Friday, making it the 19th state in the nation to remove the threat of jail for simple marijuana possession. (A 20th state, Missouri, has a similar law on the books that goes into effect in 2017.)
“Delaware’s marijuana policy is about to become a lot more reasonable,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Most people agree adults should not face jail time or the life-altering consequences of a criminal record just for possessing a substance that is safer than alcohol. Taxpayers certainly don’t want to foot the bill for it, and fortunately they will not have to any longer.”
Under current Delaware law, possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of a $575 fine and three months in jail. Once HB 39 takes effect, the possession or private use of one ounce or less of marijuana will no longer trigger criminal penalties or create a criminal record for adults 21 years of age and older. Instead, it will be a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine. Adults between the ages of 18 and 20 will face the same $100 civil fine for their first offense, then an unclassified misdemeanor for subsequent offenses, which they can have expunged from their records when they reach age 21. Marijuana possession by minors and public consumption by people of any age will remain misdemeanors.
“State governments are realizing it makes no sense to criminalize substantial portions of their populations for marijuana possession,” O’Keefe said. “It diverts law enforcement resources from serious crimes and takes a toll on the lives of their citizens. Delaware is moving in the right direction, but there’s still plenty of room for progress. Most voters think the state should treat marijuana similarly to alcohol, and we hope their lawmakers will explore that option.”
HB 39 was introduced by Rep. Helene Keeley (D-Wilmington South) in the House and sponsored by Sen. Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington East) in the Senate. It received final approval in the legislature on June 18 and was signed by Gov. Jack Markell later that day.
Feds Tell Supreme Court to Stay Out of lawsuit over Colorado marijuana
By Trevor Hughes on December 17, 2015
DENVER — The federal government has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to avoid wading into a lawsuit brought by Oklahoma and Nebraska over Colorado’s legalized marijuana system.
Oklahoma and Nebraska say Colorado’s legal marijuana system has created a flood of modern-day bootleggers who are buying pot in Colorado and then illegally crossing state lines. Oklahoma and Nebraska have sued Colorado, asking the Supreme Court to block the state’s legal marijuana system. Colorado asked the court to throw out the lawsuit, and the Supreme Court this fall asked the federal government to weigh in.
John Morgan: Medical marijuana has enough signatures to be on 2016 Florida ballot
By Rachel Williams on December 15, 2015
More than 900,000 signatures have been collected in support of legalizing a wider use of medical marijuana in Florida, Orlando Attorney John Morgan told Orlando Business Journal.
This is more than enough to get the amendment on the ballot in November 2016, as only 683,149 are needed. However, campaign manager Ben Pollara, of medical marijuana advocacy organization United for Care, told OBJ that since some signatures do not pass the validation process — due to someone signing more than once, for instance — the campaign is aiming to collect 1 million signatures.
In New Era for Marijuana, New York Smokers Get Bolder
By Sarah Maslin Nir on December 14, 2015
It wafts down the pavement, an unmistakable odor more Haight-Ashbury than New York — the tang of marijuana smoke in the city’s streets. If the smell (and the lightheadedness a passer-by may feel) is anything to judge by, lighting up and strolling around seems increasingly common in pockets of Brooklyn, on side streets in Manhattan and in other public spaces.
Street smokers say they are emboldened by laws that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana in other parts of the country and by the relatively low-key comments by New York’s leaders, including the police commissioner, about the drug.
San Francisco prepares for legalization of recreational marijuana use
By Joshua Sabatini on December 11, 2015
Expecting California voters will legalize recreational marijuana use next year, San Francisco is assembling a task force to propose regulations for the industry, addressing everything from drug potency to where pot businesses can locate.
California tech billionaire's marijuana legalization measure wins key support
By Sharon Bernstein on December 9, 2015
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - Efforts to legalize marijuana in California got a boost this week after competing ballot measures joined forces behind the stronger of the two, backed by billionaire Sean Parker, a former president of Facebook Inc.
The initiative has the support of Democratic Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform. Coalition board member Antonio Gonzalez, who is also president of the Latino Voters League, said the coalition withdrew its rival initiative after Parker's measure was modified to protect children, workers and small businesses.
This famous Chicago pastry chef is developing a line of marijuana sweets
By Ana Campoy on December 8,2015
Weed-loving celebrities such as Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg are cashing in on marijuana legalization by creating their own cannabis brands. But the latest famous face to launch a marijuana line is relying on her baking skills, not a reputation for partying, to sell her products.
More @ Quartz
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Three years in, legal marijuana sales soaring in Washington state
By Jim Camden on December 6, 2015
As Washington on Sunday marks the third year of legal recreational marijuana, monthly sales have grown from about $3 million to more than $57 million in November.
Nov. 25 – the day before Thanksgiving – was a record day at the state’s 188 recreational pot stores.
Illegal Dispensaries a Vexing Question as Canada Explores Recreational Marijuana
By Omar Sacirbey on December 2, 2015
The six-week-old government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is considering what type of regulatory system to establish for recreational marijuana, which the country’s new leader promised to legalize.
But entrepreneurs operating illegal dispensaries may have already created a de facto system that the government will find neither easy nor in its interest to undo.
Hound Labs said on Wednesday it had found an accurate way to measure THC - the psychoactive component in cannabis - within one or two blows. The portable device is designed to help determine if a driver is impaired from recent marijuana use.
The idea is to replace a complicated assortment of costly blood and urine tests that can take days to get a result and cannot distinguish between recent and chronic use.
Recreational Pot Will Be Legal Just About Everywhere Soon
By Todd Krainin on November 30, 2015
"When The New York Times says we should legalize marijuana, I think maybe I should re-evaluate my position," jokes Reason senior editor Jacob Sullum, who spoke with Reason TV about the remarkable evolution of national drug policy over the last 25 years.
During the "Just Say No!" years of the 1980s, less than a quarter of Americans supported the legalization of marijuana. Today, even presidential candidates eager to claim the legacy of drug warrior Ronald Reagan are relaxing their views on prohibition.
“When they repealed alcohol prohibition, it was left up to the states what to do with alcohol,” says Sullum. “And so you have most of the Republican presidential candidates saying the federal government should not interfere if the states want to legalize. That’s really an amazing development.”
EDITORIAL: Marijuana should be removed from Schedule I list
Las Vegas Review-Journal on November 29, 2015
With February's Nevada caucuses fast approaching, the Review-Journal is publishing a 10-editorial series on policies and government reforms all candidates should be able to get behind. The fifth policy goal we'd like all presidential candidates to champion: removing marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.
Marijuana laws are among the most perplexing laws in the nation. While federal law bans any and all uses of the drug, many states allow the possession, production and use of marijuana for medical purposes. Meanwhile, since the federal government argues that federal law trumps state law, the federal government can, in theory, prohibit the use of marijuana anywhere it wants to, and the states can't do anything about it.
"We've heard the concerns around this regulation, and we're going to take this feedback and see if this regulation is the best way to move forward," Associate Health Minister Dipika Damerla said Thursday.
"The pitch is that prohibition has only created crime, violence, and the destruction of families. It's time to end prohibition," says Jim Gonzales, a political strategist for the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform.
California set the stage for marijuana legalization in America as the first state to legalize the drug for medical use with the passage of Prop 215 in 1996. But after the Golden State failed to legalize commercial marijuana sales in 2010 when Prop 19 lost by seven points, several states and the District of Columbia leapfrogged California and showed the nation what a recreational pot market would look like.
Canada: Ontario to allow smoking and vaping medical marijuana in public places
By City News on November 25, 2015
Instead of popping two aspirins, you can now light up a joint at work – if you have a medical marijuana prescription.
Medical marijuana users with a doctor’s prescription are exempt from the laws that prohibit cigarette smoking and e-cigarette vaping in most public places, Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Dipika Damerla, explained on Wednesday.
Alaska the 1st state to approve marijuana use at certain pot shops
By Becky Bohrer on November 23, 2015
The board tasked with writing rules for Alaska's recreational marijuana industry voted Friday to allow for people to use pot at certain stores that will sell it, a first among the four states that have legalized the drug.
The 3-2 vote by the Marijuana Control Board also changed the definition of the term "in public" to allow for consumption at some pot shops, none of which are open yet. Colorado, Washington and Oregon have legalized recreational marijuana but ban its public use, including in pot stores.
Canada Legalization Advancing, Application Avalanche in WA & Ohio MJ Revamp
By John Schroyer and Omar Sacirbey on November 20, 2015
Canada moves toward legalizing recreational cannabis, Washington State gets flooded with applications for new retail marijuana licenses, and the man in charge of the failed MJ campaign in Ohio promises to change his approach in 2016.
Here’s a closer look at several notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.
Rastafari Rootzfest Celebrates Jamaica's Emancipation of Marijuana
The Rastafari Rootzfest, launched on October 27, 2015 at the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, Jamaica, brought together reggae music and ganja in a groundbreaking event on the Caribbean island that has led the way in decriminalising marijuana. It was described as “the first international wellness festival which celebrates Jamaica's indigenous peoples and their cultural heritage.”
Rootzfest, which took place from November 12-15 in Negril, was the first money-making event exempted under a new law that went into effect earlier this year recognising Rastafari sacramental and religious rights in the country. Rastafarian religious traditions incorporate the spiritual use of marijuana. Mark Golding, Jamaica's minister of justice, pioneered the legislation.
A Great Injustice: Veterans and Medical Cannabis Access
By Lauren Mendelsohn on November 17, 2015
As more states move towards legalizing marijuana for adult use, people tend to forget that, for many people suffering from debilitating diseases, even basic access to medical cannabis remains a major challenge. Nowhere is this injustice more clear than in the case of military veterans.
Smoking Marijuana Associated With 50% Lower Chance Of Developing Metabolic Syndrome
By Steve Smith on November 16, 2015
Marijuana users are stereotypically portrayed as lazy, leading a generally sedentary lifestyle. They are also prone to get the “munchies,” which science proved to actually be a thing a few months ago. Those two factors are leading causes of metabolic syndrome, so one would think that marijuana users would be at greater risk of metabolic syndrome. A new study shows that’s not the case, however.
According to research published in The American Journal of Medicine, people who currently smoke marijuana are about 50 percent less likely to have metabolic syndrome compared to those who have never smoked marijuana. Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and abdominal fat, which are linked to increased risk of heart disease and/or type 2 diabetes, as well as other health problems.
Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau mandates marijuana legalization
Canada - In Official Ministerial Letters : Top Priorities: Prime Minister Trudeau directs Justice, Health and Public Safety ministers to work together to Legalize Marijuana for Adult Use.
Excerpt from Mr. Trudeau's letter to Justice Minister Ms. Wilson-Raybould:
"In particular, I will expect you to work with your colleagues and through established legislative, regulatory, and Cabinet processes to deliver on your top priorities:
Working with the Ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Health, create a federal-provincial-territorial process that will lead to thelegalization and regulation of marijuana. (This was the 6th 'top priority' in a list of 15. - Marijuana.Ca)
I know I can count on you to fulfill the important responsibilities entrusted in you. In turn, please know that you can count on me to support you every day in your role as Minister.
I am deeply grateful to have this opportunity to serve with you as we build an even greater country. Together, we will work tirelessly to honour the trust Canadians have given us."
These parents are fighting to give pot to their kids
By Kathleen Burke on November 12, 2015
When Moriah Barnhart’s 2-year-old daughter Dahlia was attacked by intense tremors, fever and nausea in May 2013, she rushed the girl to a Tampa emergency room. A week later, after surgery for an aggressive and cancerous brain tumor, Dahlia couldn’t eat, walk or talk.
Three weeks later, her left side partly paralyzed, Dahlia was moved to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis for experimental treatments. She soon stopped breathing, a device had to be implanted in her skull to drain excess fluid, and her chemotherapy drugs had spread sores throughout her mouth and gastrointestinal tract. Subsequent treatments caused nerve and brain damage, vomiting and weight loss.
Barnhart was determined to save her daughter’s life, but she agonized as the child struggled with pain and sickness. “You want to save your child. That’s your first and foremost instinct,” she said. “But after watching them suffer for so long it becomes a question of quality of life.”
Finally, after six months, Barnhart decided to try alternative treatments, ordering whole-plant extract cannabis oil sent to St. Jude’s and giving it to her daughter through a syringe. Dahlia, her mother said, awoke the next morning with a regular appetite after sleeping for more than a few hours for the first time in her life.
N.J. school 1st in nation to allow medical marijuana for students
By Susan K. Livio on November 12, 2015
TRENTON — A south Jersey teenage girl with autism and potentially life-threatening epilepsy may legally consume edible marijuana at her school every day, according to a policy school administrators adopted Wednesday night to comply with a new state law.
The Larc School in Bellmawr appears to be first school in the nation to permit medical marijuana on campus, according to executive director Susan Weiner.
Marijuana proposals fight to represent California's 2016 legalization effort Of 18 submitted proposals, Sean Parker’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act is considered the frontrunner because of his rumored financial backing
By Anita Chabria on November 11, 2015
With almost a year left until election day 2016, a slew of proposals to legalize marijuana are already being floated in California, ushering in a referendum not just on whether to legalize pot in the world’s eighth largest economy, but how.
“A lot of money is going to be spent and it’s going to be a big show,” said Hezekiah Allen, head of the statewide California Growers Association, a cannabis advocacy group, of the dueling plans. “We’ll see how it goes. It’s a long time until election day.”
Eighteen proposed initiatives for legalizing cannabis had been submitted to the California attorney general’s office as of early November. Nine of those have been issued titles and summaries, allowing them to begin collecting signatures to qualify for next fall’s election.
State Department: Canada and Mexico Can Legalize Marijuana If They Want
By Tom Angell on November 6, 2015
Signaling a continued shift in U.S. posture toward drug policy reform in other countries, a federal official said on Thursday that Canada and Mexico should be able to legalize marijuana if they want to.
“It’s up to the people of each nation to decide policies,” John Kirby, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of State, said in a press briefing. “And in this case, it’s up to the people of Mexico to decide which drug policies are most appropriate for their country within the framework of international law.”
Legal medical marijuana sales start today in the state of Illinois.
The 3,300 qualified patients that possess the state issued ID cards are now able to access their medical pot from eight dispensaries across the state that are authorized to sell. According to the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program report, an estimated 26,300 have started the registry application process.
The state also reported that by the end of November there will be approximately 15 licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Illinois.
Friday, November 6, 2015
Illinois medical marijuana sales start Monday
CHICAGO -- More than 3,000 patients with Illinois-issued ID cards will be able to buy medical marijuana legally for the first time Monday, according to the state official overseeing the pilot program.
Eight licensed dispensaries are authorized to start selling cannabis on that day, program director Joseph Wright told The Associated Press. The number will grow to a dozen dispensaries by the end of the month and up to 25 by the end of the year, Wright said.
Ohio voters reject legalization of recreational marijuana
By Ryan Felton
Ohio voters on Tuesday shot down a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana, but advocates remained hopeful for another measure that could be on the ballot in 2016.
The swing state of nearly 11.6 million people would have followed five other jurisdictions where both recreational and medicinal marijuana are now legal: the states of Oregon, Alaska, Colorado and Washington, along with Washington DC.
Ohio Marijuana Legalization: Here's What You Should Know About Issue 3
By Jessica Eggert
Ohio has faced the possibility of legalizing marijuana since an August petition earned it a spot on the November 2015 general election ballot. But that anticipation will come to an end Tuesday when the state votes on Issue 3, a bill that would make Ohio the first state to legalize medicinal and recreational marijuana use simultaneously.
Weed May Treat ADHD Better Than Adderall, Study Says
By Rebecca Dancer
It's no secret that an increasing number of states and cities are decriminalizing, and even legalizing, recreational marijuana use. And new medical studies on the effects of the drug are quickly following suit—some positive, and some not so positive.
The latest one comes from Germany, where scientists studied the effects of cannabis on 30 patients with ADHD who had limited success with conventional treatments for the disorder (Adderall and Ritalin). All 30 reported “improved concentration and sleep” and “reduced impulsivity” after using medicinal cannabis, according to the case report. Moreover, 22 out of the 30 patients decided to forgo their previously prescribed medications once the study was over and continue using medicinal marijuana to manage their symptoms.
Bernie Sanders Supports Ending Federal Marijuana Ban
By Tessa Stuart
Bernie Sanders announced Wednesday he supports removing marijuana from the federal government's list of outlawed drugs.
"Too many Americans have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use. That's wrong. That has got to change," Sanders said in a speech at George Mason University, citing a recent FBI report that noted someone is arrested on marijuana charges every minute in United States.
Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, the most restrictive designation, reserved for drugs that have "no currently accepted medical use."
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission on Thursday approved wide-ranging rules that will launch the state's recreational marijuana industry next year.
The commission spent the morning tweaking 77 pages of administrative rules that detail everything from the security that licensed growers must have to the kind of information that has to be listed on product labels.
Ending the U.S. government’s war on medical marijuana research
By John Hudak and Grace Wallack
Of all the controlled substances that the federal government regulates, cannabis is treated in unique ways that impede research. Specifically, the U.S. government has held back the medical community's ability to conduct the type of research that the scientific community considers the experimental gold standard in guiding medical practice. Thus, the use of cannabis for medical treatment is happening in states based largely on anecdotal or limited science. In many cases, patients and doctors operate according to a learn-as-you-go approach—a situation that is inexcusably the fault of federal policies failing to keep pace with changing societal views and state-level legal landscapes.
Canada's new governing party promises to legalize, regulate marijuana sales
By Trevor Hughes
DENVER — Canada's leap to the left in Monday's elections could have the country singing a new anthem: "Oh, Cannabis."
The United States' largest trade partner overwhelmingly selected Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party to run Canada, a sweeping change that may lead to full marijuana legalization for our northern neighbor, which already allows medical pot use.
The NFL Should Be Investing In Marijuana Research If It Wants To Survive
By Jason Belzer
The National Football League has survived more public relations crises in the past year than most multi-billion dollar organizations endure in a decade. Yet the greatest existential threat to the NFL - if not to the existence of football itself - still remains Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or “CTE.”
Four states already allow recreational pot, but approved medical marijuana first. Now, Ohio could make history by legalizing both at the same time, and the pro-marijuana camp is ramping up as the days until the vote are counting down.
A new poll finds most Ohioans support legalization, but the campaign is stirring up controversy, reports CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen.
Bernie Sanders signals support for marijuana legalization
By Christopher Ingraham
Asked by CNN's Juan Carlos Lopez whether he'd support Nevada's 2016 ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana in that state, Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders answered "I suspect I would vote yes" to applause from the crowd.
Sanders' answer is significant because it marks the first time a 2016 candidate has openly declared support for legalizing recreational -- and not just medical -- marijuana.
National Cancer Institute Posts Benefits of Marijuana on Federal Govt. Website
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is the federal government’s principal agency for cancer research and training. Recently, it updated its site to posts the known benefits of marijuana. The federal government admits to the below benefits, yet will not institute national medical marijuana laws to promote the research and use of this proven medicine. Obviously, the question arises who is stopping a serious push in Congress to do what obviously needs to be done in the public’s best interest.
Gov. Jerry Brown OKs first statewide licensing, operating rules for marijuana growers
A trio of bills aimed at bringing order and oversight to California's medical marijuana industry nearly 20 years after the state led the nation in legalizing pot for medical use won Gov. Jerry Brown's signature, his office said Friday.
The first statewide licensing and operating rules for pot growers, manufacturers of cannabis-infused products and retail weed stores comes as multiple groups try to qualify voter initiatives for next year that would allow adults to use marijuana recreationally.
6 Professions in the Marijuana Industry That You Might Not Have Seen Coming
By Chip Whitley
If the booming marijuana industry means anything to the majority of people, it means opportunity. We’re talking about opportunities for all-around wellness and progress – and of course the economic advantages are beyond exciting.
In Colorado alone, more than 16,000 jobs have been created within the cannabis industry. And, as the Marijuana Policy Project points out, this number does not include the boost seen in collateral sectors such as real estate, law, accounting, and tourism.
Colorado's largest pot grower sued by two consumers over pesticide use
By David Migoya and Ricardo Baca
A pair of marijuana users in Colorado — one of them a medical-card holder with a brain tumor — have sued the state's largest pot grower for allegedly using a potentially dangerous pesticide on the pot they later purchased.
The lawsuit against LivWell Inc. by Brandan Flores and Brandie Larrabee seeks class-action status and alleges the company for years inappropriately used Eagle 20, a heavy-hitting pesticide with myclobutanil that kills a variety of pests endangering the plants.
The Control, Regulate and Tax Cannabis Act of 2016 would allow people 21 and over to possess and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana and it would set up legal marijuana commerce overseen by a pair of new state agencies, the California Cannabis Commission and the Office of Cannabis Regulatory Affairs.
Colorado case study: What legalizing marijuana could mean for Canada
Possibly one of the most dramatic changes coming from a Liberal government, if elected on Oct. 19, would be the legalization of marijuana in Canada.
Earlier this week on the campaign trail, Trudeau said his party is “committed to legalizing and regulating marijuana,” which would “remove the criminal element” linked to the drug and make it more difficult for youth to access.
To see what that could mean for consumers and tax collectors alike, voters can look no further than Colorado. In early 2014, it became the first U.S. state to legalize marijuana.
Poll: Support For Marijuana Legalization Soars In Texas
Support for marijuana legalization has enjoyed a massive boost in one the country’s most conservative states.
According to a Texas Lyceum Poll, 46 percent of Texans support legalizing cannabis – a substantial increase from just a third four years ago. Public opinion in the state is still marginally opposed to a more relaxed policy on pot, with 50 percent against full legalization.
Happy 420 — or, October 1, stoners of the northwestern Untied States. You can now legally purchase marijuana for recreational consumption in the state of Oregon. Measure 91, which legalized recreational cannabis use for adults 21 and older in Oregon, was passed in the November election last year and went into effect on July 1 — but the state of Oregon did not immediately allow for recreational sales. That means adults in the state could grow weed and give or receive it from others, but were not legally allowed to buy it until Thursday. Existing medical marijuana dispensaries can now sell one-quarter ounce of marijuana flower to adults per day. Naturally, people lined up to purchase it just like they would a new iPhone.
Medical Marijuana Policies to Change in California
By Caitlyn Kaifer
The medical marijuana industry may be seeing a restructuring of policies that regulate the business. Changes come following a recent senate bill (SB643) that has passed both the Senate and the Assembly.
The bill focuses on the safety of the industry on both a state and county level. It will create a system of regulation that California has been lacking, giving those who want to comply with the law a real chance in the industry. Read Whole Article @ The Lumberjack
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Every minute, someone gets arrested for marijuana possession in the U.S.
By Christopher Ingraham
The nation's law enforcement agencies are still arresting people for marijuana possession at near record-high rates, according to the latest national data released today by the FBI. In 2014, at least 620,000 people were arrested for simple pot possession -- that's 1,700 people per day, or more than 1 per minute. And that number is an undercount, because a handful of states either don't report arrest numbers to the FBI, or do so only on a limited basis. Read Whole Article @ The Washington Post
Marijuana.TV comment: Marijuana possession charges ruin the lives of hardworking Americans at the expense of taxpayer dollars. The prohibition doesn't work. It's time for change.
Monday, September 28, 2015
Oregon medical marijuana dispensaries gear up for rec sales
By GOSIA WOZNIACKA
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Oregon’s medical marijuana dispensaries are getting ready for a watershed moment this week: when recreational pot users will also be able to buy weed at their pot shops.
More than 200 of Oregon’s 345 medical marijuana dispensaries have notified the Oregon Health Authority of plans to sell recreational marijuana starting on Thursday. Read Whole Article @ The Washington Times
Friday, September 25, 2015
Drug War’s End: Oregon Is Expunging Pot Records
By David Downs
Oregon has taken the lead in righting some of the wrongs of the War on Weed. On Monday, TheNew York Times reported on Oregon’s leadership in expunging marijuana violations from citizens’ records.
Even simple pot tickets can haunt someone for the rest of his or her life, sabotaging job hiring and other milestones. So Portland’s Metropolitan Public Defender’s office is running “expungement clinics” to forever seal records of past pot crimes. Read Whole Article @ East Bay Express
Thursday, September 24, 2015
Willie Nelson secures Wall Street backing for his cannabis brand
Country singer Willie Nelson has received Wall Street backing for his 'premium cannabis lifestyle brand'.
The 82-year-old star, who founded Willie's Reserve in 2014, has secured funding from New York-based private equity firm Tuatara Capital.
His marijuana will be grown and sold in Colorado and Washington, the only two states to have fully legalized cannabis sales. Read Whole Article @ DailyMail.co.uk
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
2016 Presidential Candidates and where they stand on the Marijuana Policy
Snoop Dogg Lights Up 'Merry Jane,' A Marijuana Lifestyle Content Site
Rapper-turned-tech-investor Calvin Broadus, better known as Snoop Dogg, is now a startup founder, too: he’s launching Merry Jane, a marijuana lifestyle site that he said will be “the encyclopedia to the cannabis world.”
Snoop laid out plans for Merry Jane on stage Monday at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference: the site will be a gathering place for everyone from those curious about cannabis to seasoned smokers and will feature things like original video content, including a series called “Deflowered,” where people get high and describe a new experience they had while enjoying marijuana. Read Whole Article @ Forbes
Monday, September 21, 2015
NFL Players Use Marijuana To 'Cope With The Pain' As League Drug Rules Draw Scrutiny
Marijuana is casting an ever-thickening haze across NFL locker rooms, and it's not simply because more players are using it.
As attitudes toward the drug soften, and science slowly teases out marijuana's possible benefits for concussions and other injuries, the NFL is reaching a critical point in navigating its tenuous relationship with what is recognized as the analgesic of choice for many of its players. Read Whole Article @ Huffington Post
Friday, September 11, 2015
California: Lawmakers reach 11th-hour deal to regulate medical marijuana
By Lisa Leff
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California lawmakers were expected to vote Friday on a proposal to create the first regulatory framework for the state's thriving but unruly medical marijuana industry after lawmakers reached an 11th-hour compromise on a trio of marijuana bills.
The authors of legislation that had been stalled in the Senate and Assembly in the closing days of the legislative session announced a deal on a package that would establish a Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation to oversee every aspect of the industry, from pot farms and medical clinics to product safety labs and retail distribution.
Both chambers said they plan to put the measures establishing underlying licensing and operating rules to a vote before the Legislature adjourns for the year Friday. Read Whole Article @ Tri-City Herald
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Marijuana Legalization 2015: Ohio’s Push To Legalize Pot Creates Rifts Within Pro-Pot Movement
By Joel Warner
Sri Kavuru is a consummate marijuana activist. He studied the political and economic consequences of the country’s war on drugs at the University of Cincinnati and became convinced that if Ohio launched a medical marijuana program, it could reduce the national heroin epidemic that had ensnared several of his friends. For a while he worked for the ArcView Group, a major California-based marijuana investor network, and in the summer of 2014 he moved back to Ohio to launch Ohioans to End Prohibition, dedicated to legalizing cannabis in the state.
Kavuru, 32, could be getting his wish: This November, Ohioans will vote on a constitutional amendment to allow medical and recreational marijuana, which could make it the fifth state to allow adult use of the drug. But Kavuru strongly disagrees with the ballot measure and is fighting it. Read Whole Article @ International Business Times
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
UK: Parliament to Debate Marijuana Legalization
By Mike Adams
In response to a public petition demanding that the United Kingdom repeal prohibition, Parliament has announced that it will put the issue of marijuana legalization up for debate at the beginning of next month.
Reports indicate the House of Commons is scheduled to discuss the possibility of legalizing a nationwide cannabis industry on October 12. This discussion is expected to cover a wide range of topics from how to handle the cultivation and retail sale of marijuana to determining appropriate possession amounts for personal use. Read Whole Article @ High Times
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Poll: 61 Percent Of Americans Want Marijuana Legalization, Smashing Previous Records
A new poll has found that 61 percent of American voters agree with legalizing recreational marijuana, shattering previous records. The poll was released by the Benenson Strategy Group (BSG), while the old record of 58 percent supporting was done by Gallup in 2013.
Republicans still haven’t crossed the halfway point. According to the BSG survey, 48 percent agree with legalization, while 52 percent still oppose. A slightly wider gap exists for conservatives, with 45 percent supporting legalization and 55 percent opposing. Read Whole Article @ The Daily Caller
Monday, September 7, 2015
David Murét: Getting a Job in the Cannabis Industry
Want a job in cannabis? DavidMurét of Viridian Staffing joins show host Shango Los to discuss where the jobs are in this exploding market and how you can get one. Viridian Staffing is a recruiting agency in Washington that connects employers with job-seekers in the legal cannabis industry. Companies in Washington have hired Viridian to find and place candidates in job roles ranging from entry-level to executive, in every sector and niche of the marijuana market.
In this show, David and Shango discuss what types of jobs these companies are hiring for, how cannabis jobs compare to jobs in more established industries, how cannabis growers in prohibition states can apply to job openings in legal states, and what steps an average person can take to find employment with a cannabis company. Listen to Podcast or read the transcript @ Ganjapreneur
Friday, September 4, 2015
Denver officials promise to work with activists on possible pot use in clubs, hotels, bars
By: Steven K. Paulson
DENVER - Supporters of a proposed ballot initiative to allow marijuana use in some Denver clubs, bars and hotels are pulling the measure while they negotiate with city officials amid concerns that it could create "a bad chamber of commerce moment" if it passes.
Officials promised to work on a compromise to give others time to weigh in on the proposal. City and business leaders expect the proponents to cancel their initiative plans Thursday, before Friday's deadline to verify if there are 4,700 valid signatures to put it on the ballot.
Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project said proponents of the ballot measure want to give the city time to pass an ordinance. They want guests of private clubs — and some bars, hotels and motels — to be able to use marijuana vaporizers similar to electronic cigarettes and smoke pot outdoors where it is now prohibited. Read Whole Article @ The Brandon Sun
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Advocates in Denver, Home to Legal Marijuana, Seek Public Place to Smoke
DENVER — Whether bought from a downtown shop or cadged from a friend’s basement greenhouse, legal marijuana is easy to find in Colorado. Places to smoke it, not so much.
Smoking in private homes and on front porches is allowed. But under a thicket of state, local and private regulations, marijuana use here, in a state at the forefront of legalization, is banned from parks and sidewalks, airport smoking areas, hotel rooms, gallery events, nightclubs and nearly every other corner of public life. Smoking in public is regularly ticketed, and this spring, the Denver police raided two private, marijuana-friendly clubs and handed out citations. Read Whole Article @ The New York Times
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Investors in proposed Ohio marijuana farms are diverse lot
By Alan Johnson
There is a doctor, a developer, an NBA legend, a fashion designer, a knight, an ex-boy-band member, a professional football player and two relatives of a U.S. president.
Despite their widely varied backgrounds, investors in the for-profit ResponsibleOhio marijuana-legalization plan have something in common: They all want to make money, and lots of it. Read Whole Article @ The Columbus Dispatch
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Optimism Running High in California Over Chances of Statewide Medical Cannabis Regulations
By John Schroyer
After years of failed attempts, California could be just days away from approving statewide regulations on its enormous medical cannabis industry.
The legislative session adjourns on Sept. 11, which gives lawmakers and dozens of stakeholders involved in negotiations a chance to strike an agreement at the eleventh hour. Read Whole Article @ MJBizDaily.com