The free forums are now under new ownership, a full announcement will be made shortly
Legalization of pot - MarijuanaColorado becomes first U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana
7 November 2012, Denver
Colorado voters passed a ballot measure on Tuesday making their state the first to legalize possession and sales of marijuana for recreational use, putting the state at odds with federal law.
Supporters of the state constitutional amendment declared victory and opponents conceded defeat after returns showed the measure garnering nearly 53% of the vote in favor of passage, compared with 47% against.
MARIJUANA - DRUG - SORCERY - WITCHCRAFT - FORBIDDEN
When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations.
There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire [an ancient occult practice],
or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells,
or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.
For all who do these things are an abomination [detestable] to the LORD
1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
1Pe 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Since mind-altering drugs invite demons, are they changing into nephilim?
drugs - pharmacaea - sorcery - witchcraft
Marijuana Supporters Light up in Celebration of Legalization
12/7/12 In Washington, smoke 'em if you 'got 'em, marijuana is officially legal. Here's a look at the big stories from overnight in your Top Trenders.
The recreational use of the drug is officially legal in Washington state and supporters celebrated at Seattle's Space Needle where pot smokers lit up the night. Over in Colorado, the governor has up to a month to sign into law the state's pot decriminalization initiative. But there's still the big question hanging in the air like a cloud of smoke: what will the federal government do about the decriminalization of pot at the state level? Marijuana is still illegal federally and the Justice Department has yet to decide on the laws.
Colorado gets members-only clubs for legal pot use
January 2013 DENVER - With reggae music pumping in the background and flashing disco-style lights, members of the recreational pot club lit up in celebration of the new year — and a new place to smoke legally among friends.
Club 64, in an industrial area just north of downtown Denver, opened at 4:20 p.m. on Monday, with some 200 people signed up. The opening came less than 24 hours after organizers announced they would charge a $29.99 admission price for the bring-your-own pot club.
"Look at this!" Chloe Villano exclaimed as the club she created over the weekend opened. "We were so scared because we didn't want it to be crazy. But this is crazy! People want this."
The private pot dens popped up less than a month after Colorado's governor signed into law a constitutional amendment allowing recreational pot use. Club 64 gets its name from the number of the amendment.
Marijuana, its Legalization and the Bible
Table of Contents:
» Listener Comment: Marijuana and the Bible
» Scott Johnson’s Response
» Is Vaporization of Cannabis “Harmless”?
» How does a vaporizer work?
» The chemical makeup of Cannabis / Pot
» The medical facts about DAGGA/ MARIJUANA / HASHISH / CANNABIS
» The Cannabis Religion
» Verbiage from a Witchcraft chat room where occult practices for magical purposes were being discussed–so let’s see what practicing pagan occultists have to say about smoking/tobacco/marijuana
» Why a Christian Should NOT Smoke
» Dr. Johnson’s Healthy Living Newsletter: ACID REFLUX, HEARTBURN AND INDIGESTION
Colorado Company Plans Pot-Infused Skin Care Line
January 2013 Lavender, aloe vera, and now, marijuana?
The makers of a new line of lotions promise to light up your skin care routine with a special ingredient: cannabis.
The Denver-based company Appothecanna is taking advantage of Amendment 64, the newly-enacted law that legalizes recreational marijuana use in Colorado. Some varieties of the company's creams, lip balm and body sprays contain cannabis flower oil, which had been illegal due to its high concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC - pot's psychoactive ingredient.
"THC is what people resonate with, and that's what most consumers are looking for when they are buying a product like this," Apothecanna owner James Kennedy told ABC News.
* July 2014 I am combining several scattered threads on pot, Most posted by BornAgain2
Conservatives Push Marijuana Reform in Congress
April 2013 Pot activists have some surprising new allies
There's a new congressional push to end the federal War on Pot in the states – and it's being spearheaded by some of the most conservative members of the Republican conference.
The "Respect State Marijuana Laws Act" introduced in the House last week would immunize anyone acting legally under state marijuana laws from federal prosecution under the Controlled Substances Act. Depending on the state, the legislation would cover both medical marijuana and recreational pot, and would protect not only the users of state-legal cannabis, but also the businesses that cultivate, process, distribute and sell marijuana in these states.
The legislation is in keeping with poll data released last week from Pew Research that found that 60 percent of Americans believe the feds should allow states to self-regulate when it comes to marijuana. The same poll finds that 57 percent of Republicans also favor this approach, which may explain why this bill is attracting arch-conservative backers in the House.
The three GOP co-sponsors are:
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, who is best known to liberals as a villainous climate denier for theorizing that global warming is the result of "dinosaur flatulence."
Rep. Don Young of Alaska, the mastermind of the infamous Bridge to Nowhere, who was most recently in the news for recalling the "wetbacks" his father employed on the family farm.
And Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who was recently "purged" from the Republican House Budget Committee – allegedly for being too conservative – and who has repeatedly voted against toughening penalties for human trafficking.
These hardcore Republicans are joined in a ganja Gang of Six by liberal pro-pot stalwarts Reps. Jared Polis of Colorado, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Steve Cohen of Tennessee.
Speaking for the group, Republican Rep. Rohrabacher said the bipartisan bill "establishes federal government respect for all states' marijuana laws" by "keeping the federal government out of the business of criminalizing marijuana activities in states that don't want it to be criminal."
Steve Fox, national political director of the Marijuana Policy Project, hailed the effort to bend federal marijuana law to the will of the governed. "Marijuana prohibition is on its last legs because most Americans no longer support it," said Fox, adding that the new legislation offers the states'-rights crowd in the House with a chance to vote their principles: "This legislation presents a perfect opportunity for members to embrace the notion that states should be able to devise systems for regulating marijuana without their citizens having to worry about breaking federal law."
Majority Now Support Marijuana Legalization
April 2013 poll - For years, supporters of marijuana legalization have pointed to polls trending their way, claiming the issue was about to tip as favorable to a majority of Americans.
Now, their prediction has finally come true.
For the first time, a major U.S. poll shows a majority of nationwide support for legalizing marijuana: 52 percent now back legalized pot, compared with 45 percent who oppose it, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center. Pew has been asking about marijuana since 1969, when only 12 percent thought it should be legal, and 84 percent said it shouldn't be.
In the last few years, national polls have shown marijuana flirting with overall popularity.
In 2011, 50 percent told Gallup that marijuana should be legal-a record in that firm's polling. (That support sank to 48 percent last year.) ABC and The Washington Post found 48 percent support in November, and CBS found 4 7 percent in favor of legalization in the same month. Gallup reported in December that 64 percent said the federal government should step aside when states clear the way for pot.
The new Pew survey comes on the heels of two big victories for marijuana supporters in 2012, when Washington and Colorado became the first two states to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
Support has grown rapidly in the last three years. Since March 2010, when most opposed marijuana legalization and 41 percent backed it, support has grown by 11 percentage points in Pew's data. Since 2002, it's grown by 20 percent.
The legalization charge is being led by young people: Support ranked highest among 18-29-year-old respondents, 64 percent of whom think pot should be legal. Politically, liberal Democrats overwhelmingly think marijuana should be legal, at 73 percent.
But the idea of legalization has grown by making inroads among Republicans. Since 2010, the demographic that has shifted more support than any other-including groups broken down by age, political leaning, race, gender, and education-is liberal and moderate Republicans. Among them, support has jumped 17 percentage points in the last three years, from 36 percent in 2010 to 53 percent today.
Colorado marijuana Debauchery and Drunkeness
April 2013 Thousands of marijuana smokers celebrate first legal ‘420’ in Colorado
In the minutes after the shooting, three individuals were shot by an unknown assailant. None of the injuries were described as life-threatening. Approximately seven gunshots were heard shortly before 5pm, less than an hour after the rally's keynote address completed. It was initially reported that two people had been shot, along with one of the individual's pet dog. However, the Denver Police Department tweeted that a third individual, a juvenile, was grazed by a bullet and escorted themselves to nearby hospital.
DENVER, CO. - Ten years ago, Ken Gorman, the founder of Denver’s annual “420 Rally,” stood inside the city’s Civic Center Park with about a dozen supporters as they pushed for marijuana legalization. Today, an estimated 80,000 individuals gathered in the same location as they celebrated Colorado voters’ decision to legalize the recreational use of cannabis last November. “This is what freedom smells like,” attorney Rob Corry told the crowd, as he counted down the moments until 4:20pm CT, at which point literally thousands of people simultaneously exhaled marijuana smoke into the air, creating a haze that was visible for blocks away.
“You’re going to be in the Guinness Book of World Records,” rally organizer Miguel Lopez told the crowd, eliciting a roar of cheers and laughter. “More people will have smoked pot at ‘420’ in this location than anytime, anywhere in the history of the world.” The day's events formally kicked off at just past 10:00am on Saturday morning. And while it was readily apparent that many, if not most, attendees showed up simply for the novelty of smoking marijuana in a large public gathering, there were hundreds of people there to make money off the attendees.
Dozens of vendors quickly set up shop, offering items ranging from marijuana smoking pipes to various food offerings like "giant turkey legs." And one didn't have to walk far without being offered several varieties of marijuana for sale, which is still illegal under Colorado law. In November 2012, more than a million Colorado voters (55.32 percent) supported the passage of Measure 64, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana in the state. However, the consumption of the drug remains illegal under federal law. A similar bill passed by a broad margin in Washington State.
* July 2014 I am combining several scattered threads on pot, Most posted by BornAgain2
Vermont decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana
June 2013 - Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill Thursday that made the state the 17th in the United States to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Under the law, possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana (28.3 grams) would be treated as a civil penalty with fines akin to a traffic ticket. Previously, possession of up to two ounces (56.6 grams) of pot was a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail for a first offense and up to two years in jail for later offenses.
"This change just makes common sense," said Shumlin, a Democrat. "Our limited resources should be focused on reducing abuse and addiction of opiates like heroin and meth rather than cracking down on people for having very small amounts of marijuana."
The law also decriminalizes possession of less than 5 grams of hashish, a more potent marijuana derivative. People younger than the legal drinking age of 21 caught with small amounts of marijuana would be treated the same as if they were in possession of alcohol, and be referred to a court diversion program for a first offense.
Vermont's law is similar to those in California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island, where non-medical possession of marijuana is treated as a civil offense.
But the state did not go as far as Washington and Colorado, where laws allowing the recreational use of marijuana by adults passed last year.
Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio treat marijuana possession as a fine-only misdemeanor offense, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which favors decriminalization.
"The trend is extremely good both in public opinion and the number of bills being introduced and being passed," said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the group.
He noted that New Jersey, New Hampshire and Hawaii have also taken up similar bills, though all three were defeated.
Opponents warned that decriminalizing marijuana would take a toll on public health, noting that marijuana smoke contains more cancer-causing substances than tobacco smoke, which also causes lung cancer.
"It's a very unfortunate trend, the public perception of the dangers of marijuana has not caught up with the science," said David Evans, special adviser to the Drug Free America Foundation. "Ten to 20 years from now when the science is more apparent to everybody, they're going to be very sorry for what they did."
Vermont passed a law in 2004 allowing for the use of medical marijuana with the supervision of a doctor.
Colorado now a major exporter of illegal marijuana
Aug. 2013 DENVER — The amount of illegal marijuana from Colorado and seized elsewhere quadrupled in the past few years, according to a report by a network of law enforcement organizations.
The report found that in 2012, there were 274 seizures where the marijuana was destined for other states. In 2005, the number was 54.
The most common destinations for the marijuana were Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Texas.
The size of the seizures also increased. From 2005 to 2008, the total average number of pounds seized was 2,220. From 2009 to 2012, it increased to 3,937.
Most of the marijuana came from Denver, Boulder and El Paso counties, the report found.
The report also found an increased number of people trying to mail marijuana through the U.S. Postal Service. In 2010, the Postal Service seized 15 packages with marijuana headed out of state. In 2012, they seized 158.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta comes out in favor of medical marijuana
Aug. 2013 CNN Dr. Sanjay Gupta has reversed his opposition to medical marijuana — and admitted he’s even tried the drug himself.
“Well, I am here to apologize,” Gupta wrote in an editorial posted on CNN’s website.
“I apologize because I didn't look hard enough, until now,” he explains. “I didn't look far enough. I didn't review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.”
In a 2009 op-ed for Time magazine entitled “Why I Would Vote No On Pot,” Gupta wrote, “I'm constantly amazed that after all these years — and all the wars on drugs and all the public-service announcements — nearly 15 million Americans still use marijuana at least once a month.
However, Gupta said he’s now conducted enough personal research — including smoking cannabis himself. In an interview with CNN colleague Erin Burnett on Thursday, Gupta acknowledged he’s smoked marijuana but admitted the side effects made him “paranoid.”
While Gupta still says he doesn’t believe people should try pot until they are adults, he gave a list of reasons for why his opposition to marijuana has softened, citing what he describes as the drug’s low potential for abuse and dependency, and legitimate medical applications.
“In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works,” Gupta wrote.
He also cited a recent study showing that 76 percent of doctors say they approve of medical marijuana for treating pain in patients with cancer.
“I promise to do my part to help, genuinely and honestly, fill the remaining void in our knowledge,” Gupta wrote.
Gupta is producing a new documentary on medical marijuana, entitled “Weed." It is scheduled to air at 8 p.m. ET on Aug. 11 on CNN.
Federal government won't block Colorado marijuana legalization
The federal government, at least initially, will not stand in the way of marijuana legalization in Colorado or Washington.
In a memo sent out Thursday to federal prosecutors, the Department of Justice said it will not make it a priority to block marijuana-legalization laws in Colorado or Washington or close down recreational marijuana stores, so long as the stores abide by state regulations.
The guidance — which was sent to prosecutors in all 50 states and applies to medical marijuana businesses in addition to Colorado and Washington's forthcoming recreational marijuana businesses — is a significant rewrite of the federal approach to marijuana in states that have loosened laws around cannabis. The guidance says prosecutors should not make it a priority to target marijuana users or marijuana business — either medical or recreational — so long as they are in compliance with state laws and not violating eight key federal priorities. Those priorities include such things as keeping marijuana away from kids and keeping criminal gangs from involvement in the marijuana industry.
"The Department's guidance in this memorandum rests on its expectation that states and local governments that have enacted laws authorizing marijuana-related conduct will implement strong and effective regulatory enforcement systems that will address the threat those state laws could pose to public safety, public health, and other law enforcement interests," the guidance said.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who was told about the guidance by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday morning, said the federal priorities reflect the concerns Colorado officials had when setting up the regulatory system for recreational marijuana stores.
"Today's announcement shows the federal government is respecting the will of Colorado voters," Hickenlooper said in a statement. "We share with the federal government its priorities going forward."
For more, click link
* July 2014 I am combining several scattered threads on pot, Most posted by BornAgain2
Marijuana May Grow Neurons in the Brain
SASKATOON, Saskatchewan, Oct. 14 - Advocates for medical marijuana can take heart over the findings of two Canadian research teams.
A synthetic cannabinoid -- similar to the compounds found in marijuana, but substantially stronger -- causes the growth of new neurons and reduces anxiety and depression, investigators at the University of Saskatchewan here reported.
And researchers at the University of Calgary said they've found evidence that the brain contains so-called CB2 cannabinoid receptors, previously seen in immune tissue but thought not to exist in brain tissue. The discovery, they added, could lead to new drugs to treat nausea associated with cancer or AIDS.
Most so-called drugs of abuse -- such as alcohol or cocaine -- inhibit the growth of new neurons, according to Xia Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Saskatchewan.
"Only marijuana promotes neurogenesis," Dr. Zhang said.
The finding -- reported in the current issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation -- does not involve smoked or ingested marijuana, but rather a synthetic compound dubbed HU-210, which Dr. Zhang said is 100 times as powerful as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound responsible for the highs experienced by recreational users.
Dr. Zhang and colleagues showed that administration of HU-210 in high but not low doses, not acutely but over a period of several weeks, promotes new neurons in the hippocampus of rats by causing neuronal progenitor cells to proliferate.
The new neurons were associated with a reduction in behaviour typical of anxiety and depression, such as unwillingness to eat in a novel situation.
When neuronal progenitor cells in the hippocampus were destroyed by x-rays, however, the HU-210 had no effect, Dr. Zhang said.
The finding is "exciting" because it offers the possibility of new ways to treat anxiety and depression, said Lisa Kalynchuk, Ph.D., also of the University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Kalynchuk, like Dr. Zhang a member of the university's neural systems and plasticity research group, was not part of the research team.
"It certainly shows that drugs that act on these cannabinoid receptors -- and that would include marijuana -- can have beneficial effects on brain and behaviour," she said.
At the University of Calgary, Keith Sharkey, Ph.D., and colleagues have for the first time showed that the cannabinoid receptor CB2 can be found in the brain stem of rats. What's more, they reported in the Oct. 14 issue of Science, manipulating the two cannabinoid receptors -- CB1 and CB2 -- blocked emesis in ferrets.
If it can be translated to humans, the finding has direct implications for several aspects of clinical care, Dr. Sharkey said, including:
Nausea and vomiting associated with diseases such as HIV/AIDS
Common physiological reactions, such as morning sickness
Better pain management
"We would be thinking of the implications of our finding (as) being able to develop novel anti-emetic therapeutics that would target this system and block emesis without having very many side effects," he said.
THC is known to be effective in the treatment of nausea and vomiting, and acts on neurons in the brainstem, Dr. Sharkey said. The researchers hypothesized that endocannabinoids -- endogenous compounds that resemble the active ingredient in marijuana -- might act at the CB2 receptor in the brainstem to reduce emesis.
Using morphine to stimulate vomiting in ferrets -- since rats do not vomit -- Dr. Sharkey and colleagues showed that endocannabinoids that preferentially target the CB2 receptor blocked vomiting better than compounds that prefer the CB1 receptor.
Dr. Sharkey said the well-known use of marijuana to treat nausea and vomiting probably relies at least partly on this newly discovered mechanism, although others may be involved.
In the long run, he said, the hazards associated with marijuana make it unattractive as a therapy. "This is a way to use the body's own systems that can perhaps enhance the benefits and reduce the costs a bit," he said.
The finding "gives us important and unexpected insights," said Raphael Mechoulam, Ph.D., of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who was the first to isolate THC and later discovered the first endocannabinoid.
It "has changed the way we think about the flow of information within the brain, and how the brain communicates with other parts of the body," Dr. Mechoulam said in a statement.
Pot group goes after NFL drug policy
Sept 2013 Some Colorado marijuana supporters are using football as a reminder about alternative medicine.
“Stop driving players to drink!” a billboard reads. “A safer choice is now legal (here).”
The billboard is sponsored by MarijuanaPolicy.org — a website dedicated to marijuana legalization. Colorado and Washington voted to legalize marijuana in the 2012 election, and numerous other states have decriminalized the herb.
A big part of the movement is the sentiment that, if people are going to get their buzz one way or another, they should be encouraged to choose something that is supposedly less destructive than alcohol.
Nothing goes together quite like booze and football, and so here you go: A sign, next to a football stadium, marketing marijuana as an alternative to liquor.
You’ve just got to convince Roger Goodell.
The organization is trying to do that by going after the NFL’s drug policy.
”For years, the NFL has been punishing players despite the fact that it is far less harmful than alcohol,” reads a Marijuana Policy Project press release. ”The league would never punish a player simply for having a couple of beers, so why does it penalize him for using a substance that is less toxic, less addictive, and less likely to contribute to violence.”
Marijuana Policy Project calls out Goodell directly.
”We hope commissioner Goodell will explain why they NFL is willing to promote the use of alcohol among its players and fans, but unwilling to recognize a safer alternative is now legal.”
* July 2014 I am combining several scattered threads on pot, Most posted by BornAgain2
9 Reasons Why Sanjay Gupta Changed His Mind About M@rijuana
April 2014 Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, says he was wrong to ignore marijuana's medical potential when he wrote an opinion piece in 2009 called "Why I would Vote No on Pot."
Gupta filmed a documentary that aired on CNN on Sunday, August 11, and earlier this week wrote an editorial on CNN.com in which he admitted that the research for the movie changed his mind about the drug and its medicinal effects.
After traveling the world, meeting with medical experts and medical marijuana patients, Gupta concludes "we have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that."
Here are Gupta's reasons for his change of stance:
1.Marijuana laws are not based on science. Gupta wrote: "Not because of sound science, but because of its absence, marijuana was classified as a schedule 1 substance" at the urging of Assistant Secretary of Health, Roger Egeberg in 1970.
2.Gupta notes that marijuana doesn't have a "high potential for abuse" and it doesn't lead people to use other drugs. "We now know that while estimates vary, marijuana leads to dependence in around 9 to 10% of its adult users." Cocaine, classified as a (less addictive) schedule 2 substance, hooks 20% of those who use it. Around 25% of heroin users and 30% of tobacco users become addicted.
3.In some medical cases, marijuana is "the only thing that works." Gupta met with one woman in Colorado who used marijuana to cut the number of seizures she had from 300-per-week to two or three per month.
4.It's safer than a lot of prescription drugs: Someone dies from a prescription drug overdose every 19 minutes in the United States, but Gupta could not find a single person who died from a marijuana overdose.
5.Other doctors believe in it: Seventy-six percent of physicians surveyed would prescribe marijuana to ease the pain of women suffering from breast cancer.
6.While quitting marijuana can produce some withdrawal symptoms, like insomnia, anxiety and nausea, it is still nowhere near as bad at drugs like heroin or cocaine, or even booze. "I have seen the withdrawal from alcohol, and it can be life threatening," Gupta said. Not so with m@rijuana.
7.Medicinal plants (including marijuana specifically) aren't a new idea: The medical and scientific communities have been studying medical marijuana since the 19th Century, and marijuana was actually used to treat neuropathic pain until 1943.
8.Only 6% of research on marijuana published in the last year analyzed benefits. The other 93% are designed primarily to investigate harm. "That imbalance paints a highly distorted picture," Gupta said.
9.The system is biased against research into medical marijuana's benefits. First, you have to get the marijuana for your study from one government-approved farm, and you have to get approval from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which is tasked with studying and preventing drug abuse, not the medical benefits of drugs.
In general, Gupta says he listened a bit too closely to medical marijuana opponents and skeptics, and he "didn't look hard enough, until now. I didn't look far enough. I didn't review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis."
Boy with autism has his own strain of medical marijuana and is thriving
May 2014 Five years ago, a Southern California mother decided that in order to save the life of her son with severe autism, she needed to turn to medical marijuana.
Joey Hester-Perez was diagnosed with autism at 16 months, and later with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. His symptoms became worse as he got older, and more and more medications were added to his regimen until he was taking 13 different drugs every day. When Joey was 9 years old, ABC 7 in Los Angeles says, doctors told his mother to plan his funeral.
"I couldn't bear that," Mieko Hester-Perez said. "I couldn't imagine my life without Joey." Instead, she decided to give medical marijuana a try. It took trying about 15 different strains before the right one was found, but as soon as Joey's Strain, as it's now called, was concocted, the change was immediate. Joey began to smile, laugh, and joke with his in-home nurse. He gained weight, calmed down, and was no longer on edge. Today, Joey eats one brownie every week that contains cannabis oil derived from Joey's Strain, and his mother is sharing the positive results with other families.
"We need to open the door to more research so we can do this the right way," she told ABC 7. The few studies on autism and medical marijuana in the U.S. are focusing on cannabinoids, the active molecules found in marijuana, but it's very difficult to get started; according to doctors, they must "navigate a maze of bureaucratic red tape and receive permission from multiple federal agencies."
Mieko hopes that the rules are loosened, so more strides can be made and other children like Joey can have improved lives. "He may never walk, he may never form a sentence, he may never throw a ball," she said. "But he will smile, and that's all I've ever wanted." --Catherine Garcia
1 Peter 5:8-9
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
Washington state poised to start legal marijuana sales
July 2014 Marijuana hits the shelves as Washington readies to start legal sales
SEATTLE (AP) -- As Washington state readied to become only the second state to allow people to buy marijuana legally without a doctor's note, lines were already forming in front of the lucky few stores that got last-minute approval to sell.
At Cannabis City, where the owner wasn't planning to open his doors until noon Tuesday, a 65-year-old retiree named Deb Greene, showed up just before 3 p.m. Monday. She had a chair, sleeping bag, food, water and a 930-page book.
"I voted for it, and I'm just so excited to see it come to be in my lifetime," she said. "I'm not a heavy user, I'm just proud of our state for giving this a try."
The start of legal pot sales in Washington Tuesday marks a major step that's been 20 months in the making. Washington and Colorado stunned much of the world by voting in November 2012 to legalize marijuana for adults over 21, and to create state-licensed systems for growing, selling and taxing the pot. Sales began in Colorado on Jan. 1.
Businesses including Cannabis City, which will be the first and, for now, only recreational marijuana shop in Seattle, got word early Monday morning from the state that they were licensed marijuana dealers.
Owner James Lathrop had already worked into the night Sunday placing no-parking signs in front of his building, hoisting a grand-opening banner and hanging artwork.
"I've had a long day. It really hasn't sunk in yet," he said.
In a 2:30 a.m. Pacific time interview with The Associated Press, John Evich, an investor in Bellingham's Top Shelf Cannabis, which will also open Tuesday morning, said they were "pretty stoked."
"We haven't had any sleep in a long time, but we're excited for the next step," Evich said.
Randy Simmons, the state Liquor Control Board's project manager for legal marijuana, said the first two dozen stores were notified so early to give them an extra few hours to get cannabis on their shelves before they are allowed to open their doors at 8 a.m. Tuesday. The store openings are expected to be accompanied by high prices, shortages and celebration.
An AP survey of the licensees showed that only about six planned to open Tuesday, including two stores in Bellingham, one in Seattle, one in Spokane, one in Prosser and one in Kelso. Some were set to open later this week or next, while others said it could be a month or more before they could acquire marijuana to sell.
Officials eventually expect to have more than 300 recreational pot shops across the state.
As soon as the stores were notified Monday, they began working to place their orders with some of the state's first licensed growers. As soon as the orders were received, via state-approved software for tracking the bar-coded pot, the growers could place the product in a required 24-hour "quarantine" before shipping it early Tuesday morning.
The final days before sales have been frenetic for growers and retailers alike. Lathrop and his team hired an events company to provide crowd control, arranged for a food truck and free water for those who might spend hours waiting outside, and rented portable toilets to keep his customers from burdening nearby businesses with requests to use the restrooms.
At Nine Point Growth Industries, a marijuana grower in Bremerton, owner Gregory Stewart said he and his director celebrated after they worked through some glitches in the pot-tracking software early Monday and officially learned they'd be able to transport their weed 24 hours later, at 2:22 a.m. Tuesday.
"It's the middle of the night and we're standing here doing high-fives and our version of a happy dance," he said. "It's huge for us."
Pot prices were expected to reach $25 a gram or higher on the first day of sales — twice what people pay in the state's unregulated medical marijuana dispensaries. That was largely due to the short supply of legally produced pot in the state. Although more than 2,600 people applied to become licensed growers, fewer than 100 have been approved — and only about a dozen were ready to harvest by early this month.
Nevertheless, Evich said his shop in Bellingham wanted to thank the state's residents for voting for the law by offering $10 grams of one cannabis strain to the first 50 or 100 customers. The other strains would be priced between $12 and $25, he said.
The store will be open at 8 a.m. Tuesday, he said, but work remained: trimming the bathroom door, cleaning the floors, wiping dust off the walls and, of course, stocking the shelves.
At Cannabis City, despite the line already beginning to form, Lathrop wasn't planning to open before noon.
"Know your audience: We're talking stoners here," he said. "I'd be mean to say they need to get up at 5 a.m. to get in line."
Seattle's first legal pot shop runs out of marijuana
July 2014 SEATTLE (Reuters) - Seattle's first and only recreational marijuana store had to close on Friday after running out of stock in just three days since Washington became the second U.S. state to allow pot sales to adults.
Cannabis City opened in Seattle on Tuesday with at least 10 pounds (4.5 kgs) of marijuana for sale, and by close of business Thursday it was all gone. A message on the store's phone line said it would re-open on July 21.
There were widespread concerns that shortages of pot would afflict retailers this week after the state issued its first 25 licenses to outlets, under a heavily regulated and taxed system approved by voters in November 2012.
Some business owners planned to limit the amount of marijuana early customers could buy to try to make stocks last.
Amber McGowan, manager at Cannabis City, told Reuters on Thursday the store would likely not have enough inventory to stay open for all of its regularly scheduled business hours until a delivery that was due next week.
She said the shop was only able to stay open as long as it had by limiting customers to 0.2 ounces (six grams) per purchase, rather than the legal limit of 1.0 ounce (28 grams).
The roll-out of recreational sales in Colorado and then Washington comes as a broader trend of liberalization and pro-pot activism takes hold in the United States.
Progress in Washington has been slow, however, with state regulators still processing more than 300 license applications, and approved growers producing only limited harvests so far.
Industry insiders say the shortages are likely to be only temporary, caused in part by the short notice many retailers had to prepare for opening, and a surge of pent-up demand.
This week, Colorado estimated that state's total marijuana demand for this year at 130 tons.
"A year from now, product is likely going to be far more available," said Sean Green, chief executive officer of Kouchlock Productions, a marijuana producer in Washington.
Another local supplier, Wow Weed, said they were trying to help the stores, but that there was only so much they could do.
"We have been hearing from retailers off the hook. My voice mail is full every single day," said Wow's Susy Wilson. "It's the same people calling over and over, hoping I'll pull something out of thin air."
Frustrated consumers in Seattle, a city of some 630,000 people, made light of the shortages, with one Twitter user urging outlets to adopt a green "Pot Light" system for their windows to show they had stock - similar to the Hot Light employed by a well-known donut brand.
Marijuana - pot - legal or not - is a DANGEROUS DRUG.
The bible CONDEMNS it calls drugs - sorcery - witchcraft
Drugs open the door to demon possession
* July 2014 I am combining several scattered threads on pot, Most posted by BornAgain2
And this is slowly getting legalized during this same time sodomy marriage is rolling out...
Romans 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Rom 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
Rom 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
Rom 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Rom 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Rom 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Rom 1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Rom 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
FYI, I've heard like 2-3 testimonies of people who converted to Christianity who said how during their lost days, they smoked marijuana and GOT HIGH.
And Scott Johnson(the audio posted earlier in this thread) said years ago he had witnessed roommates that got high on this.
Detox Network Sees Pot DUIs Spike in Colorado After Legalization
26 June 2014 It may be legal to buy and smoke marijuana in Colorado, but it’s still against the law to drive while high — and that’s a message an increasing number of people aren’t receiving.
Colorado’s largest detox network said that the number of its patients busted for DUI while high on pot has nearly doubled, from 8 percent last year to 15 percent this year.
“This percentage increase is significant because recreational marijuana legalization is in its infancy and there has clearly already been an impact on public safety,” Art Schut, president and CEO of Arapahoe House, said in a statement. “Our hope is that this new data will create awareness so that if Coloradans choose to use marijuana, they do not get behind the wheel.”
Arapahoe House, which runs three detox centers in the state, compared data from Jan. 1 to May 31 in 2014 and the same period last year, when recreational marijuana sales were still illegal in the state.
In the six months this year, 197 of the around 1,311 people brought to the network’s detox centers after being caught for driving under the influence were high on marijuana.
In the same period last year, that number was 112 out of 1,324 brought in for DUI.
Colorado’s law allowing recreational sales of the drug in stores took effect Jan. 1, after voters approved an amendment to the state constitution in 2012. Medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 2001.
Arapahoe House Communications Director Kate Osmundson told NBC News the network expects to see an increase in the number of drivers busted for DUI while high on pot now that the drug can be sold in stores.
When people are brought by police to a detox center after being caught driving under the influence, staffers monitor them until they are sober enough to get home safely, usually by arranging a ride from family members, Osmundson said.
The network, which says it is Colorado’s largest provider of detox services, said its data shows the average person caught driving while high on marijuana is white, male, and 30 years old. Only one in five was female.
Denver Police did not respond to a request for comment.
It is illegal for drivers to operate a motor vehicle with 5 nanograms of active THC in their bloodstream, an amount the Colorado Department of Transportation says is comparable to the 0.08 blood-alcohol level used in cases involving booze.
In March, the state Department of Transportation launched a $1 million ad campaign to curb drugged driving.
When you use marijuana - pot - you are drunk, your mind / judgment altered.
I saw a man on TV this week who leads a secular (non-christian) band come out strong AGAINST pot - because so many of his pot-smoking band members had died too young in his arms!
Getting High: Public Opinion on Marijuana Legalization in 4 Charts
Anyone who has been paying an ounce of attention to the news over the past couple of years is well aware that the nation’s attitudes towards drugs — and marijuana in particular — are going through a radical shift. Data has shown that the War on Drugs has turned out to be a monumental failure, wasting billions, if not trillions of dollars and leading to the incarceration of untold amounts of people. As the Internet has allowed more people to access information easily, it’s also become common knowledge that marijuana is not the incredibly dangerous narcotic it was made out to be for many generations, and instead could be a real driver of economic prosperity — if we allow it to be.
During the 2012 election cycle, both Colorado and Washington became the first states to pass legislation legalizing marijuana for recreational use within their borders. The news was met with great fervor, and everyone across the country has sat back and watched with much anticipation to see what the fallout would be. The DEA announced they would let the states’ experiment proceed forward without interference, and so far, things have gone off without a hitch. Tax revenue is pouring in, access to cannabis has become safer and convenient, and other states are getting to work drafting their own legislation to follow in Colorado and Washington’s footsteps.
The positive effects of the legalization process have really been undeniable in both Colorado and Washington. Fewer people are getting in trouble with the law, police officers have one less thing to worry about, and it’s opening up an entire new industry for entrepreneurs and investors to wade into. Still, there are some holdouts who still believe cannabis should be outlawed and criminalized. For the most part, the divide in attitudes has been along generational and political lines, but those rifts are starting to close up, which is one of the major reasons the legalization efforts have been able to pick up steam.
Looking at data collected by the Pew Research Center, we can take a closer look at exactly how these shifts are happening, and when they started to occur. Read on to see four charts explaining the generational and political shifts in marijuana legalization attitudes that are driving the U.S. towards new drug policies, and as a result, economic prosperity in the brand new cannabis industry.
The Tables Have Turned
The biggest shift in attitudes towards cannabis legalization has been across the entire demographic spectrum. The chart above shows how people of all races, genders, and age groups feel about legalizing marijuana, and as anyone can plainly point out, there has been a huge change. Starting at around 1990, legalization popularity bottomed out with just 16 percent of those polled supporting it. That number doubled in just ten years to 31 percent in the year 2000.
Since 2000, support grew wildly, and eventually reached the 52 percent threshold during 2012. Currently, numbers are the highest they’ve ever been. At the beginning of 2014, CNN polls show 55 percent support. As more and more data becomes available from Colorado and Washington’s opening industries, it’s hard to think that these numbers would see any regression.
Deep Red Holdouts
A closer look into the political demographics show that the left is a very strong supporter of the legalization effort, while conservatives still have a ways to go. Eighty-one percent of the solid liberal base has given legalization advocates their support, compared to just 28 percent of conservatives of the same degree. In fact, the above chart shows that only the far right on the political spectrum still maintain fledgling support, while all those on the left and in the center have jumped on board.
This may actually seem counter-intuitive, as conservatives generally vie for less regulation and open markets. The fact that their attitude does not bleed into the cannabis debate tells of some other factors at play. Of course, everyone was skeptical of legalization at first, but now that most people are behind it, the right will most likely see their attitudes evolve. Even Colorado Republicans have changed their minds, and if the rest of the party doesn’t change, it could end up hurting them come election time.
Political Party Support
Much in-line with the previous chart, here we get a glimpse of the two main political parties themselves, not just political beliefs of those polled. It’s painfully obvious that there is a huge gap between Democrats and Republicans, to the tune of 22 percent. Once again, those numbers may seem counterintuitive, as the Republican party’s platform usually is all-for free markets and less government interference, while the Democrats typically champion more government regulation.
One interesting thing to watch as 2014 and 2016 elections come up is whether or not these numbers see a radical shift. If the majority of people are supporting the legalization effort, a 37 percent rating from the Republican side could really put a damper on conservative’s hopes of gaining more power in Congress, and by passing legislation. Republicans didn’t support legalization measures in either Colorado or Washington, and if their views don’t morph to fit the mainstream a little more, it could cost them.
In our final chart, we see just where exactly the biggest rift currently sits when it comes to attitudes regarding marijuana legalization. The rise of the millennial population has been the most significant driving force behind the legalization effort, with 65 percent of those born after 1981 supporting the notion. That number has exploded over the past ten years or so, nearly doubling from a mere 34 percent in the mid-2000s. All other generations have seen increases as well, but none so much as the millennials.
Another giant leap in progress has been made in the baby boomer demographic, in which now half support legalization. As the boomer population makes up a large percentage of the overall population, their increasing support lends a heavy hand in the overall evolving attitudes of the country. Generation X has also reached a point to where more than half of the generation is on board as well, and as the silent generation ages and passes on, many who are against legalization will go with them.
It’s obvious that things are changing, and generational and political lines are still the biggest factors in deciding attitudes towards marijuana legalization for many. Expect that to change in coming years, as cannabis becomes an even bigger issue than it ever has before, especially when monstrous profit and tax revenue is involved.
Pot seen as reason for rise in Denver homeless
DENVER (AP) — Officials at some Denver homeless shelters say the legalization of marijuana has contributed to an increase in the number of younger people living on the city's streets.
One organization dealing with the increase is Urban Peak, which provides food, shelter and other services to homeless people aged 15 to 24 in Denver and Colorado Springs.
"Of the new kids we're seeing, the majority are saying they're here because of the weed," deputy director Kendall Rames told The Denver Post (http://dpo.st/1l1vQER ). "They're traveling through. It is very unfortunate."
The Salvation Army's single men's shelter in Denver has been serving more homeless this summer, and officials have noted an increase in the number of 18- to 25-year-olds there.
The shelter housed an average of 225 each night last summer, but this summer it's averaging 300 people per night. No breakdown was available by age, but an informal survey found that about a quarter of the increase was related to marijuana, including people who moved hoping to find work in the marijuana industry, said Murray Flagg, divisional social services secretary for the Salvation Army's Intermountain Division.
Some of the homeless have felony backgrounds that prevent them from working in pot shops and grow houses, which are regulated by the state, Flagg said. He also thinks others may find work but don't earn enough to pay rent in Denver's expensive housing market.
At the St. Francis Center, a daytime homeless shelter, pot is the second most frequently volunteered reason for being in Colorado, after looking for work.
St. Francis executive director Tom Leuhrs also sees an economic reason for the increase of the number of homeless young people. They're having difficulty moving from high school and college to the workforce, Leuhrs said.
"The economy is not supporting them. There are not enough jobs," he said.
Edward Madewell said he was on his way back home to Missouri when he decided to head to Colorado so he could keep smoking the marijuana he uses to control seizures. "I'm not going to stop using something organic. I don't like the pills," he said.
Dusty Taylor, 20, said he moved back to Colorado, where he grew up, to avoid legal problems. "I don't want to catch a felony for smoking," he said.
Seattle cop who issued 80% of marijuana tickets reassigned
July 30, 2014 - The Seattle Police Department has reassigned an officer who single-handedly issued about 80 percent of the marijuana tickets handed out in the city during the first half of this year, authorities said on Wednesday.
Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole said staff reviewing data to prepare the department's first biannual report on marijuana enforcement found that 66 of 83 citations for public pot use were given out by just one officer.
In some instances, the officer added notes to the tickets.
In one case, she said, "the officer indicated he flipped a coin when contemplating which subject to cite."
Washington state voted in 2012 to legalize the sale of cannabis to adults for recreational use but does not allow it to be used in public places.
She said the officer's actions were reported to the police's Office of Professional Accountability, and that he will not perform patrol duties while an investigation takes place.
A spokesman said the SPD recognized the numbers were disproportionate, and O'Toole reiterated on Wednesday that the study was designed to provide more oversight and to flag "anomalies or outliers" in Seattle's marijuana enforcement.
**And this cop WAS DOING HIS JOB after all!
Bill O'Reilly took a poll on legalizing weed. You'll never guess what happened next.
When Bill O'Reilly issued a poll on his site about marijuana legalization, he probably didn't expect users to come out swinging for the pro-weed crowd. And yet, that's exactly what happened.
On July 28, Bill O'Reilly asked his site's visitors their opinions on "the move to legalize marijuana for recreational use." The poll had two answer choices: "It should be legal, like alcohol" and "Dangerous idea with many unintended consequences."
That's an echo of Bill O'Reilly's own statement on Monday night that "the legalization of marijuana is still full of unintended consequences." But after more than 68,000 people responded, 89 percent of those polled said that marijuana should be legalized, "like alcohol."
Now, it's possible O'Reilly's online poll got hijacked. Online polls are notoriously unreliable, because respondents are just whomever decides to click. Still, previous polls by Gallup and Pew have shown that a majority of Americans support legal weed, and seeing the data reinforced on a right-wing website really drives home the fact. Check out the screenshots of the poll, taken Thursday afternoon, below. --Meghan DeMaria
WARNING!!! Legalizing pot will make income inequality a lot worse
Anyone who favors more states legalizing pot, or a federal law making it legal nationwide, needs to be aware of and prepared for some of the very predictable adverse results. Notably, that it will exacerbate income inequality.
For the record, I am in favor of legalizing marijuana. And not because I support marijuana use (I don't) but because I believe in more personal liberty.
Legalizing marijuana will have a number of ill effects: Marijuana addiction will go up. Marijuana-related DUI incidents will spike, as they already have in Colorado.
To be clear, none of the problems are serious enough to warrant keeping marijuana illegal. But the one we need to talk about is income inequality. Here is how legalization will widen the chasm between rich and poor:
1. States will choose the winners. Licenses to sell cannabis in any form are not exactly easy to come by — and the states decide who gets them and how many will be awarded in total. When the government controls the sole legal path to entry into any industry, those who are deemed worthy of government approval get a major economic and political advantage over many, many others. Eventually, the financial gains allow those businesses to influence the regulation and often cut off potential newcomers to that industry. It's all a key part of what we call "regulatory capture" — you see it in everything from liquor licensing to the issuance of taxicab medallions.
In other words, state control of industry almost by definition concentrates wealth in the hands of a lot fewer people than the total number of people with the ability and desire to get into that industry.
Result? More inequality.
2. More pot smoking means more unemployment. A lot of experts believed that when Colorado legalized pot, a big number of casual users from out of state would be the biggest source of revenue for the marijuana businesses. But the opposite has turned out to be the case.
Colorado's pot market is dominated by a small number of state residents who are very heavy users. The Colorado State Department of Revenue just reported that the top 20 percent of marijuana users are using more than two-thirds of the cannabis supply.
The same study shows that only 9 percent of Colorado residents are using marijuana at all, so we're talking about fewer than 2 percent of the state's population consuming more than 66 percent of Colorado's pot.
Now THAT's inequality!
And it's also likely to be economic bad news for those 2-percenters. A study published this year by The National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that people with drug addictions are at least twice as likely to be unemployed than those who aren't.
Unless the majority of the people who do succumb to marijuana abuse and addiction are already in the 1 percent, their economic descent will only add to economic inequality in the states that legalize pot.
Former Congressman and recovering addict Patrick Kennedy wrote earlier this week about the hundreds of letters he's received from middle class families who lost just about everything as they were forced to dig deep to pay for marijuana addiction treatments for their children and other family members.
Demand for admission to Colorado's existing drug addiction has soared since pot was legalized, prompting some of the leading centers to begin major new expansion programs.
Again, that's their choice and they've had fair warning. And the same is true about alcohol addiction, which has been a job killer for centuries.
But everyone needs to be prepared for this likely outcome: Some new millionaires will be created and some new wealth will be distributed. But lots of that wealth will also be concentrated at the top, and there will also be a new cause of financial destruction for middle and lower classes.
Will marijuana legalization destroy our society? Of course not. But like any new enterprise, it will reward the harder working and lucky among us much more than it will spread the wealth. And that's this conservative's best argument for it.
The Impact of Recreational Marijuana Use on a Denver Neighborhood
NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Emick's Auto is a car repair shop on Jasmine Street in Denver that services both Asian and American vehicles right around the corner from Gaia Plant-Based Medicine, a marijuana dispensary. Owner and mechanic David Emick prefers having the dispensary as a neighboring business because of the regulation that exists in the legal marijuana industry.
"There are laws against loitering in front of dispensaries," Emick told MainStreet. "I see a lot of loitering in front of liquor stores, but nobody ever hangs around Gaia. Customers are in and out and on their way."
The estimated 275 dispensaries that exist in Denver are largely located in lower income areas, according to a recent study released by the University of Colorado in Denver. But residents don't perceive the presence of a dispensary as undesirable.
"I get contacted on a daily basis from people looking for a job and wanting to come to work," said Meg Sanders who owns Gaia Plant-Based Medicine on Colfax Avenue along with three other retail stores in the city and a growing facility at the corner of Holly Street and 39th Avenue, which employs eight full time cultivators as well as biologists, horticulturists and mechanical and aerospace engineers to produce 300 pounds of cannabis a month.
In addition to creating jobs, marijuana dispensaries appear to have positively impacted the city financially.
"We continue to see increases in tax revenue from recreational sales," said Crisanta Duran, a state house representative who chairs the joint budget committee. "Medical marijuana licenses have increased by 3.8% and last months' tax revenues from recreational marijuana increased by more than 10%. Overall, there's been an upward trend."
So far since January, the state of Colorado has raked in about $11 million in sales and excise taxes on recreational marijuana, according to statistics published in June by the Colorado Department of Revenue. The total for recreational and medical marijuana taxes and fees combined is about $18 million.
"At the state level, we focus on how to invest recreational marijuana tax dollars, school construction and keeping marijuana out of the hands of children," said Duran, whose office is located on the same avenue as Gaia Plant Based Medicine. "There are multiple ways to address these issues at the state and local level."
Denver has issued more than 300 sales-tax licenses for dispensaries.
"What we've seen in Colorado since regulation is a 3% drop in teen use, a 25% reduction in the availability of cannabis on school grounds and a drop in traffic fatalities," said Darnell, an attorney who specializes in marijuana law. "We've also seen crime drop in neighborhoods with dispensaries in them. It's across the board."
**And we've heard this same argument when Bill Clinton was in office - that the number of abortions *declined* during his 8 years in office b/c he was on the side of "giving women that freedom and choice"?
That may be partly a result of healthy distancing of dispensaries from schools by Denver city officials as well as state funding of public awareness campaigns.
"Five million dollars is going towards advertisements to educate the public about the use of marijuana," said Duran who chairs the joint budget committee. We've also invested money in school prevention programs and $40 million will go to school construction. We are trying to regulate in a reasonable fashion according to the will of the people of Colorado."
*Didn't they say the same thing when they legalized gambling in states 20 years ago? That how all the revenue will be given to public education? Look at how that's turned out!
Amendment 64, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana, was a ballot measure for which 55% voted yes and 44% voted no on November 6, 2012. Those who voted against Amendment 64 reportedly claim marijuana is addictive and is damaging to children because it permanently affects brain development, impairs learning ability and contributes to depression.
Following in the footsteps of Denver, sister cities such as Aurora are taking great care to plan their retail market in advance to minimize any negative impact marijuana sales could have on their neighborhoods.
"Anybody who is applying to sell marijuana here needs to have a state license first," said Kim Stuart, director of communications with the city of Aurora, which is located about half an hour from Denver. "Dispensaries need to be located away from schools, hospitals and substance abuse facilities and reasonable distances from our neighborhoods."
Although the short term impact of a dispensary on the community may be better than a liquor store, the long term effect on the people of Colorado and their children remains to be seen.
New Hampshire declares state of emergency over synthetic drug
MANCHESTER N.H. (Reuters) - New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan declared a state of emergency on Thursday in response to 44 reported overdoses linked to people smoking or ingesting "Smacked," a synthetic marijuana-like product sold in convenience stores as potpourri.
The state of emergency authorizes public health officials to investigate stores and quarantine the product, and Hassan directed the officials to work with local police departments to do so.
"These products pose a serious threat to public health, especially to young people, and it is our responsibility to do whatever we can to combat the recent rash of overdoses," Hassan said in a statement.
The overdoses, none of which have been fatal, have primarily been reported in the Manchester area. Manchester police on Wednesday said they had found Smacked in three convenience stores and that those stores' business licenses were revoked.
Health officials are particularly concerned about the bubblegum flavor of Smacked, which several people who were brought to area hospitals reported taking.
The packets contain a potpourri-like substance that is sprayed with chemically engineered substances similar to tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana, officials said.
Similar concerns have arisen over "bath salts," which sent thousands of people in the United States to hospitals in 2012.
A federal ban on compounds found in synthetic marijuana products and bath salts was enacted in 2012, and later that year New Hampshire joined more 40 other states in adopting similar bans. But such laws have proven difficult to enforce, as drug makers can make slight modifications to the products' chemical compositions.
New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster urged store owners to voluntarily pull such products from their shelves, noting that they "could be held responsible for harm caused to a user of the product."
Heavy pot use in teen years may predict later-life disability
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A long-term study of Swedish men finds that those who smoked marijuana at age 18, especially the heaviest users, were more likely to end up on the nation’s disability rolls by age 59.
It’s unclear whether the pot use in adolescence may have led to more severe substance abuse or was an early sign of psychiatric or social factors that contributed to later disability, the researchers caution.
“There is reason to believe that the associations found in our study develop over a long period of time and are intertwined with problems in the labor market, in the social security system, and with the individual,” said study leader Anna‐Karin Danielsson of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.
Marijuana is one of the most commonly used illicit drugs in the world, with 77 million Europeans reporting having tried it in a recent study.
Pot use in the U.S. has been on the rise since 2007, possibly due in part to a perception of diminishing risks. Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize the possession and use of recreational marijuana by adults in 2012.
Nonetheless, studies continue to link cannabis with a variety of psychiatric and health problems as well as adverse social consequences, Danielsson said. The research is limited, though, by short follow-up times and small study samples, she told Reuters Health in an email.
“With our unique Swedish cohort of men comprising 98 percent of the male population at baseline and a 39-year long follow-up time, we had the opportunity to expand on existing knowledge,” Danielsson said.
She and her colleagues analyzed data from a large study that included almost 50,000 men born between 1949 and 1951 and conscripted into compulsory military service in 1969 and 1970.
When the men entered the military, they were asked about their drug, tobacco and alcohol use, as well as questions about their family and social backgrounds, school performance, behavior, psychological issues and general health.
Danielsson’s team was specifically interested in the frequency of marijuana use at age 18, when the men were conscripted. The young men were grouped according to how often they had ever used pot at that point: never, 1‐10 times, 11‐50 times or more than 50 times.
Next, the study team looked at data from the Swedish national social insurance agency, the education registry and labor market statistics to see how many were granted disability pensions through 2008.
About 9 percent of the teens reported having used marijuana when they entered the military, and 1.5 percent said they had used it more than 50 times.
The researchers found that men who used marijuana more than 50 times before the age of 18 were 30 percent more likely to go on disability sometime between the ages of 40 and 59.
A similar pattern was seen for young men who used pot less frequently, with the chance of being on disability in middle age rising with increasing pot use at age 18.
However, when the study team adjusted for other factors, including socioeconomic background, other substance use by age 18, psychiatric diagnoses and other health problems, the link remained statistically significant – meaning it could not have been due to chance – only for the heaviest users who had smoked pot more than 50 times as young men.
That group already had a number of problems in their teens, the researchers note in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Of the 654 heaviest pot users at age 18, 80 percent also reported using other drugs, 47 percent reported risky alcohol use and 55 percent had a psychiatric diagnosis.
Danielsson said that smoking marijuana at a young age may increase the risk of negative social consequences later on in life, and that prior studies have shown frequent marijuana use increases the risk of using other illicit drugs.
“It may be the case that adolescent cannabis use may lead to a series of negative life events such as, for example, subsequent illicit drug use, illness (e.g., dependence) and associated disability pensions,” she said.
The study cannot prove that pot use in the teen years caused the men to end up on disability later in life, the researchers acknowledge. They don’t know how much marijuana the men used after they entered the military or many other details of their lives after age 18.
Legal or not, the pot business is still wacky
NEW YORK (AP) — Legal or not, the business of selling weed in the U.S. is as wacky as ever.
The tangle of rules and regulations that govern whether and how it can be grown, bought and sold create complexity and ambiguity that cause major headaches for marijuana businesses — and enticing opportunities for those who want to exploit it.
"It's a gray market industry, that's just how it is," says Kayvan Khalatbari, who owns a marijuana dispensary and a chain of pizza restaurants in Denver.
The big issue: the nation hasn't decided whether marijuana is a dangerous illegal drug or not much worse than tobacco or alcohol. According to federal law, it is an illegal narcotic like heroin, with "no currently accepted medical use." But recent legalization pushes have made it legal — for medical use — in 23 states and Washington D.C. In Colorado and Washington State, it can be bought just for fun.
Entrepreneurs and investors have to navigate laws that are different from state to state and sometimes from county to county. That has given rise to a bumper crop of consultants promising to show the way to success, while shady public companies spin visions of fat profits. Consumers now have an array of new pot-related products to choose from, many of far higher quality than what's offered on the corner. But they must also discern truth from hope in the many claims about all the supposedly wonderful things pot can do.
Khalatbari started his first pizza restaurant with a small business loan from a bank. To raise money to build a marijuana-growing facility, a bank loan wasn't an option.
Almost all banks avoid working with pot businesses because pot is illegal federally, and banks want to avoid running afoul of anti-trafficking laws. Also, residency restrictions in Colorado prevent raising money from out-of-state investors in exchange for a share of the company, which is exactly what most investors want.
So, to build a 40,000 square-foot growing facility, Khalatbari teamed with an out-of-state investor who is lending money for construction while trying to establish residency in Colorado. When that comes through, the investor should get an ownership stake in the facility.
Khalatbari says there's plenty of investor money sloshing around, looking to fund marijuana businesses, but the terms are expensive because of the risk and the restrictions.
"It's almost impossible not to get funding," he says, "but it's not going to be on the terms you want."
Once up and running, entrepreneurs face more twists. Khalatbari kept his bank account in the name of the management company that controlled his pizza restaurants, called Sexy Pizza, along with his marijuana dispensary, Denver Relief. (He is also a stand-up comedy promoter.)
He was careful not to pay pot-related vendors out of the account, instead using cash, which is common in the pot business. And he didn't make cash deposits over $10,000 in order to avoid triggering suspicious activity inquiries. Still, three successive banks dropped him after learning the management company had ties to pot.
"We can't be honest and open about where we can put our legal money," he says. "They are pushing us underground."
He has recently found an unidentified bank that will work with him and a few other pot businesses.
Khalatbari can't write off certain expenses the way most businesses can. The Internal Revenue Service prohibits deductions for expenses incurred while selling what the federal government considers to be an illegal drug. That makes his profit lower than it otherwise would be. It also encourages him and other sellers to designate, for tax purposes, only a small portion of their stores as having anything to do with selling pot.
These conditions can help a business flourish once it's open, however. Would-be competitors face the same hurdles to getting started — local zoning rules, state regulations, financing complexity or a slow bureaucracy — so it can often be some time before the established business faces a real challenge.
California rules are relatively lax, and there are believed to be at least 500 dispensaries just in Los Angeles. But Connecticut has approved only six dispensaries. The first opened last month — without pot — two years after getting approval. Illinois growing facilities must put up a $2 million surety bond to get approval. Washington has awarded 43 licenses to sell marijuana for recreational use — and just one in Seattle, called Cannabis City.
Khalatbari has plenty of competition, but the profit margin at his marijuana dispensary is 60 percent higher than at the pizza restaurants. Even after the legal headaches, it's easier to make a profit selling the bud of a plant for $200 an ounce than it is selling a meat lover's pizza (pepperoni, spicy sausage, Canadian bacon and mozzarella) for $19.99.
"It's much higher-risk," he says of the marijuana business. "But the reward is much greater."
"Everyone wants to be in the weed business," says Adam Bierman, managing partner at a marijuana consulting company based in Culver City, California, called the Med Men.
That suits Bierman just fine. Dozens if not hundreds of consultants like Bierman have popped up, feeding off the complexity of the marijuana business and the desire of so many to make it big in pot. Some act as matchmakers, promising to connect investors with entrepreneurs looking for money. Others sell help navigating the licensing process, tips on how best to grow marijuana, or advice about how to manage a startup that must operate outside of the banking system.
But many of these "consultants" have little or no experience in the business. Bierman acknowledges he didn't when he started six years ago. "We got our teeth kicked in," he says.
Now his firm knows the ropes, he says, but the industry is crawling with people who don't.
"There are a lot of opportunistic people coming into this industry from every angle," he says. "And unfortunately we are part of that. We are one of the companies I'm blasting, and I hate that."
In February, PetroTech Oil and Gas — a drilling services company — announced it was establishing a management company in Colorado and Washington to help pot growers. Trading volume in the tiny company's stock rose 13-fold and the penny stock rose to 7 cents per share over three weeks. The Securities and Exchange Commission suspended trading in the stock in March over questions about the accuracy of the information about the company's operations.
Investing in the pot business seems like it should be as easy as printing money. The product's millions of users are so dedicated that they've been willing to risk arrest to get it. To reach them, all businesses have to do is grow a weed and sell the flowers.
Pot investing is treacherous, though, even for professionals.
"There are a lot of large egos and puffery in this industry," says Brendan Kennedy, a former Silicon Valley banker who helped found Privateer Holdings, a marijuana-focused private equity firm. "It takes a lot of time and energy to sort through the hyperbole and find the right, legitimate opportunities."
Every new pot company thinks it has the best growing technique or marijuana strain, Kennedy says, but few have worked out a long-term business plan that coldly assesses the market and the risks. Growing plants for profit isn't quite so simple.
"Ultimately it's a crop, it's a commodity, not very different from a lot of agricultural products that are out there," Kennedy says. "Would you invest in a winery? Or a strawberry grower?"
Investing in pot stocks is even scarier, because nearly all of them are so-called penny stocks, like PetroTech, that trade outside of major exchanges. There are now a couple dozen of these companies, often with names that play on marijuana's scientific name, cannabis sativa, such as Advanced Cannabis Solutions or Cannabusiness Group. But many have tenuous ties to the marijuana industry, regulators say.
Canadian regulators issued a warning about marijuana-related stocks in June, following similar alerts from the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority last year and one from the SEC in May. Five times this year the SEC has suspended trading in shares of companies claiming to be in the marijuana business.
Kennedy says the penny stock companies "are full of charlatans and hucksters," who are "purely playing on the desire of Main Street investors to get into the industry."
One of the companies, called GrowLife, makes urban gardening equipment and trades under the ticker symbol PHOT. An October report designed to look like it was issued by a Wall Street firm suggested the company's stock was poised to rise nearly 300 percent. But that "research" was actually paid for by GrowLife — a detail found only in the report's fine print.
GrowLife's shares soared 900 percent, to 60 cents from 6 cents, between October and early April, when trading was halted by the SEC. In June the company revealed that the $37 million loss it reported for the first quarter was actually double that, $74 million. GrowLife shares have since fallen back to 7 cents.
GrowLife CEO Marco Hegyi says the report "was never intended to boost the stock" and that legalization efforts boosted shares of GrowLife and other marijuana companies. Hegyi, who became CEO in March, says the company is working to improve its financial reporting. "We're more on top of our business," he says.
A decade ago, pot consumers risked jail time by buying pot of uncertain origin and quality in back-alley deals. Now, in many states, they can shop openly for a wide variety of strains with different levels of potency. Pot can be bought in lotions, foods and drinks with precise doses.
But buyers still need to beware. Companies are using pot's new legitimacy to try to equate getting high with taking care of your body or curing any number of ailments, making extraordinary health claims about pot to push their products.
"Because it's a drug that makes people feel good, marketers want to put medical claims on it," says Bill London, a professor of public health at California State University in Los Angeles and a health claim watchdog. London has no problem with legalization, but says many medical claims for marijuana "are false or exaggerated" and "should not be tolerated."
The website Cannabis.org, which is owned by GrowLife and carries the tagline "Cannabis is Medicine," lists 17 major diseases that cannabis can treat, including Alzheimer's, cancer, and diabetes.
Some of the chemicals in marijuana have been tested thoroughly and found to effectively treat some conditions, such as reducing nausea and stimulating appetite in patients undergoing chemotherapy. These or other chemicals in pot may someday be found to be effective in treating other diseases — or they could be found to be dangerous in ways not yet understood. Scientists simply don't know yet.
A Colorado company called Dixie Elixirs sells pot in pill form called "scrips" — short for "prescription." These pills allow users to manage both their ups and downs, despite the same amount of pot in each pill, with additives like ashwagandha root. "Awakening Scrips" are said to provide a "stimulating sensation," while "Relaxing Scrips" are said to "reduce mental and physical stress and promote relaxation."
Joe Hodas, chief marketing officer at Dixie Elixirs, says the company is careful to not make specific medical claims about its products. "It's the regulatory framework that forces businesses to sell (marijuana) as medicine because that's the only way it's legal (in most states)," he says.
In a marketing pitch for one pot-based product, called Foria, a woman identified as "Anna, 29" says: "Foria is potent medicine and the most healing way I have ever used cannabis." It's not clear that Anna had a medical problem, though. The product is a pot-based lubricant for women, designed to increase sexual pleasure by delivering a high through their private parts.
HHS: Law does not prohibit pot purchases with welfare
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell told the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee that the federal government does not have the power to stop states from allowing people to use welfare benefits to buy marijuana.
In a letter addressed to Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who asked Health and Human Services about the policy earlier this year, Burwell said the law simply excludes any mention of marijuana dispensaries in the list of places where people are prohibited from using welfare, formally known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF.
The law was updated in 2012, prior to Colorado’s decision in May 2013 to legalize the production and sale of marijuana. The law gives HHS the power to withhold funds to states that allow people to use welfare money at liquor stores, casinos, and “establishments in which performers disrobe or perform in an unclothed state for entertainment.”
Burwell added in the letter that “nothing in the the TANF statute or regulations precludes states from taking measures to prevent recipients from using their benefit cards at marijuana shops.”
States, Burwell added, can add language to prohibit certain expenditures and in Colorado, she added, lawmakers are examining whether to ban pot from the list of things that people can buy with welfare.
Sessions said he would introduce legislation to close the loophole. House Republicans have already authored legislation to prohibit welfare benefits from being used to buy pot.
“The federal government current spends roughly $750 billion each year on means-tested welfare programs across 80 different accounts,” Sessions said. “This money is administered by a vast, sprawling bureaucracy with little oversight and no moral vision. Surely we can all agree that the guiding principle ought to be that benefits are reserved for those in real need.”
Pot Draws Homeless To Colorado In Search Of Work
DENVER (CBS4) - Legal marijuana is luring pot tourists and business entrepreneurs to Colorado, and it’s also attracting another demographic: the homeless, some of whom trek to the state in hopes of landing a job in the industry.
“There’s an enormous migration, even a homeless movement, so to speak,” David Spencer, a homeless man from Tennessee, said. “I figured this would be a good place to start over.”
While shelters across the metro area are willing to open their doors, they’re quickly running out of room.
“We were averaging 190 (homeless) last year. We’re now averaging 345 a night,” Murray Flagg of the Salvation Army said.
Tom Luehrs, the executive director of St. Francis Center, says the top reason many homeless are moving to Colorado is work, especially in the new legal industry.
“People see that the marijuana business has been flourishing here,” he says, “so they match up good business … and jobs must be available, which they are.”
Space is tight at St. Francis Center, too.
“We’ve seen as many as 45 new people in one day,” Luehrs said. “I think it was one of the unintended consequences of the marijuana legalization,” Luehrs said.
Colorado law requires an employee in the marijuana business lives in the state for one year before they can be hired.
Philadelphia becomes largest US city to decriminalize marijuana
Philadelphia has decriminalized small amounts of marijuana in the city, reducing penalties for possession and public use to minor fines and community service. The move makes Philadelphia the largest city in the United States to decriminalize pot.
Mayor Michael Nutter signed the legislation on Wednesday, making the possession of 30 grams or less a civil offense. Though the law, which will go into effect on Oct. 20, does not legalize marijuana in the city.
Those found in possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana will be cited and fined $25. Smoking pot in public can result in a citation and a $100 fine, or nine hours of community service, according to The Inquirer. Possessing more than 30 grams is still a criminal offense in the city, and anyone caught with marijuana who cannot show identification will still be arrested.
Nutter also announced an outreach campaign to educate citizens on the new law. The mayor also pledged support for efforts to re-examine criminal records of those convicted for possession of small amounts of pot.
City Councilman James Kenney, sponsor of the bill, hailed the legislation as a way to address, among other issues, disproportionate marijuana arrests in the African-American community, which has resulted in criminal records that reduce job opportunities, among other effects.
"The most important thing here is to keep kids on a straight line and not allow someone's life to get screwed up because of a mistake when they were young,” Kenney said, according to The Inquirer.
Neither Nutter nor Kenney advocated use of marijuana.
"I'm not advocating anything in excess, except prayer,” said Kenney, who offered the legislation in May and helped finalize the bill’s passagein September.
Mayor Nutter also touted the city’s drug-abuse health programs.
"We want to make sure people know it is still against the law to possess and use marijuana in Philadelphia, and that it can have serious consequences if you are convicted," he said. "However, many Philadelphians are in fact looking for help. We want to get them that help they need."
While critical of the legislation in the past, Nutter told CBS News recently that he changed his mind given the amount of punishment so many citizens have garnered for possession of such small amounts of pot.
Many US states and citieshave approved various forms of marijuana decriminalization over the past several decades. Most recently, the District of Columbia’s decriminalization efforts were held up this summer by Congress based on powers vested in the Home Rule Act, which gives the US House of Representatives the ability to block legislation approved by the city’s elected leaders. If ultimately passed, the legislation would give Washington, DC the least punitivemarijuana laws outside of states that have legalized its use.
In the US, only Colorado and Washington state have passed laws legalizing the cultivation, sale, and use of recreational marijuana even though federal officials still consider pot to be a Schedule 1 narcotic. Colorado shops officially began selling it on January 1 after voters approved a ballot initiative in November 2012. Washington state began selling legal recreational marijuana in July.
The states of Alaska and Oregon, as well as the District of Columbia, will vote on legalization proposals this fall.
Voters give nod to legal marijuana in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, D.C.
Residents of Oregon, Alaska, and the U.S. capital voted to legalize marijuana on Tuesday, in key victories that could fuel the legalization movement as cannabis usage is increasingly recognized by the American mainstream.
The Oregon and Alaska measures would legalize recreational pot use and usher in a network of retail pot shops similar to those operating in Washington state and Colorado, which in 2012 voted to become the first U.S. states to allow marijuana use for fun.
A less far-reaching proposal in the District of Columbia to allow marijuana possession but not retail sales won nearly 65 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting, unofficial results showed.
The referendums come amid shifts in American opinions on marijuana in recent years that have energized efforts to legalize cannabis, a drug that remains illegal under federal law even as Colorado and Washington state have been given the go-ahead to experiment with legalization.
"In 2016 we're going to push the ball forward in several states until we end prohibition," Leland Berger, a Portland attorney who helped write the new law, told Reuters outside a packed Portland nightclub where advocates declared victory amid pot-centric revelry.
Advocates have portrayed the District of Columbia measure as a civil rights issue, saying studies have shown that African Americans are disproportionately more likely to be arrested on marijuana charges than are people of other races.
The D.C. measure had been strongly favored to pass but could still be halted during a review by the U.S. Congress, which has constitutional oversight over the capital. The measure would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to two ounces (57 grams) of cannabis and grow up to six plants.
POT OPPONENTS TO FIGHT ON
The Oregon law, which drew 54 percent support in preliminary returns, takes effect in July 2015 and stores could open the following year.
The Alaska measure was leading by about 52-48 percent with nearly 97 percent of precincts reporting preliminary results late on Tuesday, and groups for and against the initiative said it had passed.
If given official approval, a regulatory body would have nine months to write regulations after the election is certified and the measure becomes law, with stores likely coming at some point in 2016.
Opponents of legal weed in Oregon say they would take their fight to the Oregon legislature, pushing for stricter laws designed to limit access to pot by children, among other efforts.
Kevin Sabet, co-founder of anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said his group would redouble its efforts to build a broader coalition to beat back better-funded pro-cannabis groups ahead of what is expected to be an expanded fight in 2016.
"Tonight is going to inspire us to do better and to try harder and go after the donors we have to go after in order to level the playing field," Sabet said. "The more people that hear about legalization, the more people are uncomfortable with it. For us it's about getting our message out."
Meanwhile, a proposed constitutional amendment to make Florida the 24th state and the first in the South to allow medical marijuana was defeated after falling short of the 60 percent support needed to pass, according to groups both for and against the measure.
In Maine, a proposal to legalize the possession of small amounts of recreational marijuana failed in Lewiston and passed in South Portland, advocacy groups said. In Guam, unofficial results indicated it became the first U.S. territory to approve medical marijuana, an election official there said.
Marijuana Dispensaries Are Celebrating Black Friday, Too
For shoppers of age in Colorado and Washington state, the most novel deal this Black Friday isn’t a gadget like the iPhone 6. If what they’re looking for is relaxation, they’re in luck: For their first Black Friday ever, recreational marijuana dispensaries in those states are offering some great deals on weed.
“This is one of the first times in the nation that we’re going to be able to do such crazy discounts and specials on marijuana products, and have people 21 years or older be able to come in and join the festivities,” says John Satterfield, a distribution worker at Denver’s Kindman Premium Cannabis.
Kindman had its lights on for a few hours this Thanksgiving—“just in case you want[ed] to get away from the family,” says Satterfield—and will offer huge discounts all weekend to compete with other retail dispensaries. Deals will include $50 ounces for the first 16 Colorado residents per day Friday through Sunday, along with other price cuts on products like joints and edibles. Some discounts will hit 80 to 90 percent, Satterfield says.
For dispensaries, the move into Black Friday discounts represents another step into the mainstream. Sean Taggart, manager of the Green Room, said the Boulder, Colorado dispensary is also offering discounts, including pricing all of their eighths at $40—usually $50.
“People will be out and about already, so we might as well accommodate the people that are out taking on Black Friday already,” Taggart says.
Colorado and Washington state residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012, and retailers in both states opened for business earlier this year. According to one study, the marijuana industry could be worth $8 billion a year by 2018.
The move into Black Friday promotions raises the same issues for dispensaries as it does for any other outlet—like whether employees should have to work during a time traditionally spent with family.
Green Anne, a dispensary in Seattle, will not be open, says manager Eduardo Beaumont. “We’re a really small shop, and we don’t have that many people working here, and my boss respects the fact that people want to be with their families,” Beaumont says. He added that Green Anne will probably be one of few places that stays closed.
The products may be new, but the quandaries—and the traditions—definitely aren't. “We’re trying to do things to give back to our customers,” Satterfield says. “And just trying to spread the holiday cheer and get everybody a little bit high.”
Marijuana figures big in Ferguson meltdown
CNN’s Don Lemon is under fire for making the elementary observation that some of the Ferguson protesters planning violence and mayhem were smoking pot. Linking dope to violence is taboo for most of the media.
Reporting from the scene, Lemon said, “Maybe a minute, two minutes ago we heard a gunshot and watched people scattering. And we’re watching people on the roofs of cars, on the tops of cars and … Obviously there’s a smell of marijuana here as well.”
“Lemon’s comments sparked fierce backlash on social media,” reported Toyin Owoseje of the International Business Times. She said “many members of the online community” accused him of “adding fire to the flames and promoting his own agenda.”
It’s the marijuana, not Lemon’s observation, that added fire to the flames. He was just pointing out the obvious. Are journalists supposed to ignore the use of mind-altering substances by demonstrators planning the burning and looting of businesses?
That Lemon’s simple observation has generated outrage in the press demonstrates how most journalists are trying to play down the harmful effects of the drug and ignore the epidemic of drug use in minority communities. Our media, and some libertarian politicians such as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., want everyone to believe that police who enforce the laws and the “War on Drugs” are the problem.
No, it’s the drugs and their consequences, including mental illness and violence.
Don Kaplan of the New York Daily News called Lemon’s remark a “culturally insensitive comment,” as if dope-smoking were something indigenous to Ferguson residents. He also called it a “useless observation” that “polarized critics” against Lemon.
Catherine Taibi of the always politically correct Huffington Post said the remarks sparked a “backlash” against Lemon.
Why so much outrage over a simple observation of fact? Aren’t journalists supposed to report facts?
It is apparent that Lemon’s critics were concerned that viewers might conclude that some of the burning and looting may be linked to the weed that some of them smoke for alleged “recreational” or “medical” purposes. The “backlash” probably came from other marijuana smokers, or those sympathetic to the demonstrators.
Lemon’s critics were obviously concerned that his observation of fact would put the protesters in a bad light.
But, remember that Michael Brown, who assaulted police Officer Darren Wilson, was high on marijuana as well. That is something else the media have tried desperately to downplay.
The idea that this “harmless” substance isn’t so harmless after all is something that the liberal media cannot tolerate. That’s why anything negative about the weed has to be suppressed. If it is reported, such as in the case of Don Lemon, the offending journalist must be ridiculed and ostracized.
The Lemon incident brings up another critical point.
Any reporter who reads the grand jury documents in the case and covers them objectively will note there was an extensive discussion of the possible effects of marijuana on Michael Brown.
DeForest Rathbone, chairman of the National Institute of Citizen Anti-Drug Policy, or NICAP, saw the evidence of dope playing a role in the confrontation between Brown and Wilson, and found a strange omission in the Washington Post’s coverage of the grand jury proceedings. In a letter to the paper, he wrote:
“Michael Brown is continually being described as an ‘unarmed black teenager.’ And that mantra prevails among the liberal media and government officials, enflaming [sic] violent reactions by people believing that the ‘innocent’ teenager was irrationally killed by police.
“But in a glaring example of media bias exacerbating racial tensions in the Michael Brown shooting death, Post reporters left out the key exculpatory fact in the grand jury finding officer Darren Wilson not guilty: The fact that Michael Brown tested positive for marijuana, which could explain his irrational violent behavior, not only in the convenience store which he strong-arm robbed while physically attacking the store clerk, but also in provoking the violent confrontation with police officer Darren Wilson.
“If it weren’t for the mainstream media’s reverence for the ‘sacred cow’ of marijuana, they would see the valid scientific studies showing that pot is currently being produced in varying strengths from a mildly intoxicating 2% THC up to school-shooter-psychosis-inducing 40% to 70% THC. And that early childhood use of pot is a major cause of psychosis and violent behavior … which could be the ‘unknown motive’ frequently cited in news articles on the Ferguson affair.”
Rathbone’s reference to the “unknown motive” is the discussion we have seen on CNN and other networks expressing surprise that Brown would have charged or attacked Wilson. Being stoned on pot, as Brown was, explains his behavior. Many notorious cases of violence have been linked to the drug in the past.
Rathbone said Attorney General Eric Holder’s suspension of enforcement of federal drug laws against marijuana in “Stoner States” has resulted in “producing and shipping brain-destroying, violence-inducing strains of pot throughout the nation.”
“Therefore,” he adds, “it’s not the police, or white racism, that is causing this devastation; it is U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder who turns a blind eye to the malignant impact of marijuana and then tries to blame everybody else for the resulting social chaos.”
Rathbone urged “responsible journalists” to focus on the problem.
But that’s clearly not going to be the case. After attacking Lemon for mentioning the smell of pot amidst the protests, some in the media have decided to attack the prosecutors for even bringing the subject up before the grand jury.
Anthony Zurcher of the BBC questions the role of marijuana in the attack on Wilson and quotes Jacob Sullum of Reason magazine as his authority in saying the dope couldn’t have played a role.
Jacob Sullum is a libertarian who favors legalizing dangerous drugs, and once wrote an article on why heroin is supposedly less dangerous than alcohol and how people can use the drug without harmful effects. He has compared heroin to nicotine. “Even daily opiate use is not necessarily inconsistent with a productive life,” he wrote.
However, there are some reporters beginning to cover the subject objectively.
Rathbone points out that Kevin Torres, a reporter for KUSA in Colorado, where marijuana is legalized, has done a balanced story on the issue, noting that researchers from Harvard and Northwestern University recently found “younger marijuana users are more likely to have learning and mental health problems.” He cited an article from the New England Journal of Medicine showing high THC use being linked to paranoia and psychosis.
Michael Brown was not only high on THC but was apparently preparing to smoke more dope when Officer Wilson caught him walking down the center of a street and asked him to move to the sidewalk. The swisher sweet cigars Brown had stolen from the convenience store are notorious for being used to make marijuana “blunts.”
Our media are desperate to maintain the narrative that the police are shooting black youth for no reason. If the media admit that marijuana is being used extensively in the black community, that fact could lead to other disturbing questions. For example, did Brown’s mother and father know about his drug use? Did they do anything to stop his use of the drug? Have they used drugs themselves?
You and I know these questions won’t be asked because they are considered to be “culturally insensitive.” So the problem will get worse.
Such questions might prompt some serious scrutiny of the Obama/Holder policy of encouraging drug use in America’s communities by failing to enforce federal laws against the possession or distribution of dangerous mind-altering substances.
Drug use helps explain the violent conduct of Brown, as well as some of the protesters. It also explains why they continue to blame Officer Wilson for Brown’s death when the evidence shows that Wilson was only defending himself against what he described as a “demon” coming toward him.
Reporters like to laugh about the old “reefer madness” film depicting crazy conduct resulting from marijuana use. It’s not so funny anymore.
Alaska becomes 3rd state with legal marijuana
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Smoking, growing and possessing marijuana becomes legal in America's wildest state Tuesday, thanks to a voter initiative aimed at clearing away 40 years of conflicting laws and court rulings.
Making Alaska the third state to legalize recreational marijuana was the goal of a coalition including libertarians, rugged individualists and small-government Republicans who prize the privacy rights enshrined in the state's constitution.
But when they voted 53-47 percent last November to legalize marijuana use by adults in private places, they left many of the details to lawmakers and regulators to sort out.
Meanwhile, Alaska Native leaders worry that legalization will bring new temptations to communities already confronting high rates of drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and suicide.
"When they start depending on smoking marijuana, I don't know how far they'd go to get the funds they need to support it, to support themselves," said Edward Nick, council member in Manokotak, a remote village of 400 that is predominantly Yup'ik Eskimo.
Both alcohol and drug use are prohibited in Nick's village 350 miles southwest of Anchorage, even inside the privacy of villagers' homes.
But Nick fears that the initiative, in combination with a 1975 state Supreme Court decision that legalized marijuana use inside homes — could open doors to drug abuse.
Initiative backers promised Native leaders that communities could still have local control under certain conditions. Alaska law gives every community the option to regulate alcohol locally. From northern Barrow to Klawock, 1,291 miles away in southeast Alaska, 108 communities impose local limits on alcohol, and 33 of them ban it altogether.
But the initiative did not provide clear opt-out language for tribal councils and other smaller communities, forcing each one to figure out how to proceed Tuesday.
November's initiative also bans smoking in public, but didn't define what that means, and lawmakers left the question to the alcohol regulatory board, which planned to meet early Tuesday to discuss an emergency response.
In Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, officials tried and failed in December to ban a new commercial marijuana industry. But Police Chief Mark Mew said his officers will be strictly enforcing the public smoking ban. He even warned people against smoking on their porches if they live next to a park.
Other officials are still discussing a proposed cultivation ban for the wild Kenai Peninsula. But far to the north, in North Pole, smoking outdoors on private property will be OK as long as it doesn't create a nuisance, officials there said.
While the 1975 court decision protected personal marijuana possession and a 1998 initiative legalized medicinal marijuana, state lawmakers twice criminalized any possession over the years, creating an odd legal limbo.
As of Tuesday, adult Alaskans can not only keep and use pot, they can transport, grow it and give it away. A second phase, creating a regulated and taxed marijuana market, won't start until 2016 at the earliest.
And while possession is no longer a crime under state law, enjoying pot in public can bring a $100 fine.
That's fine with Dean Smith, a pot-smoker in Juneau who has friends in jail for marijuana offenses. "It's going to stop a lot of people getting arrested for nonviolent crimes," he said.
The initiative's backers warned pot enthusiasts to keep their cool.
"Don't do anything to give your neighbors reason to feel uneasy about this new law. We're in the midst of an enormous social and legal shift," organizers wrote in the Alaska Dispatch News, the state's largest newspaper.
Richard Ziegler, who had been promoting what he called "Idida-toke" in a nod to Alaska's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, reluctantly called off his party.
There's no such pullback for former television reporter Charlo Greene, now CEO of the Alaska Cannabis Club, which is having its grand opening on Tuesday in downtown Anchorage. She's already pushing the limits, promising to give away weed to paying "medical marijuana" patients and other "club members."
Greene — who quit her job with a four-letter walkoff on live television last year to devote her efforts to passing the initiative — plans a celebratory toke at 4:20 p.m.
A majority favors marijuana legalization for first time, according to nation’s most authoritative survey
For the first time, the General Social Survey -- a large, national survey conducted every two years and widely considered to represent the gold standard for public opinion research -- shows a majority of Americans favoring the legalization of marijuana.
In interviews conducted between March and October of last year -- when the legal marijuana markets in Colorado and Washington were ramping up -- researchers asked 1,687 respondents the following question: "Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal or not?"
Fifty-two percent said pot should be legalized, 42 percent opposed it, and another 7 percent were undecided. Support is up 9 percentage points from 2012, the last time the survey was conducted.
The GSS marijuana numbers trace the trajectory of U.S. drug policy over the past 40 years. In 1974, a year after the Shafer Commission recommended removing marijuana from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, public support for full legalization stood at 19 percent. Support rose through the 1970s, reaching nearly 30 percent in 1978, only to plummet during the Reagan years, "Just Say No" and the advent of the drug war.
The year 1990 represented the nadir of legalization support, when it stood at 16 percent. But the numbers rose steadily through the 1990s as states began adopting medical marijuana laws, starting with California in 1996. As recently as 2006, support stood only at 32 percent -- just a little bit higher than the previous peak in 1978. In the fewer than 10 years since then, support has jumped 20 percentage points -- mirroring, in many ways, the dramatic shift in public opinion on gay marriage over the same period.
Legalization supporters have been able to capitalize on that energy and secure full legalization in four states, with a partial legal status in DC similar to the Schafer Commission's original recommendation. Opponents have scrambled to catch up, but the sharp and sustained increase in public opinion means they're facing an uphill battle. That fact that they've been drastically outspent at every turn -- partially a reflection of greater public support for the pro-legalization camp -- hasn't helped things.
Still, after repeated losses at the ballot box legalization opponents are now turning toward the courts. The attorneys general of Nebraska and Oklahoma have filed suit against Colorado. Former DEA administrators and a DC-based tough-on-crime group advocating for harsher prison sentences have also rallied to the cause. Additional state-level lawsuits may be coming soon.
For a public increasingly weary of the toll of decades of costly and ineffective drug policies, these cases will be a tough sell. Younger Americans -- including Republican ones -- overwhelmingly favor marijuana legalization. And after a year of legal pot, Colorado doesn't appear to be experiencing buyer's remorse. A recent Quinnipiac poll found that 58 percent of Colorado's voters said they supported the state's marijuana law -- slightly more than the 55 percent who approved it in 2012.
The strong numbers in the latest General Social Survey indicate that the issue isn't losing salience with the public. At the national level, support for legal marijuana remains robust -- and doesn't show signs of wavering any time soon.
FWIW - I was in an online chat fellowship with a home church pastor(where it was a Q&A session)...
Philippians 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
I asked him whether moderation applies to thinks like drinking liquor and pot smoking, here was his response...
|In this passage it is describing your Christian modesty. Not like in clothing, but like in restraint of our passions and being free of excesses. First, this must be talking about things lawful, for even the slightest indulgence of that which is unlawful is forbidden. Second, it is to be known of all men. Now Christians are not to brag, but this is something we should be sure to show. that is, be sure to publicly demonstrate that you are not about public demonstration and show. That is paradoxical. Have no interest in showing off, and let that be obvious, with a right spirit. Now, as for alcohol and pot. These thing do not fall under the lawful that can be abused, such as food, sleep, money, possessions. they fall under the category of what is forbidden, therefore, there can be no moderate use of the thing. For it is out of the reach of the rule of moderation. If we have a heart for God, we will not use His rules which protect us from getting addicted to good things, to permit ourselves the license to use the forbidden things that are addictive.
I hope that helps,
Synthetic marijuana sends 30 to hospitals across New Jersey
SOUTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) - Health officials are warning New Jerseyans about a street drug that has sent about 30 people to emergency rooms throughout the state.
Authorities have issued the warning for synthetic marijuana, commonly known as spice or K2, which can cause severe agitation, seizures and renal failure.
No one has died in New Jersey as a result of the drug. But a 22-year-old South Brunswick woman apparently suffered an adverse reaction on Tuesday.
It's been seen mostly across the northern and central counties in the state.
Dr. Steven Marcus, the executive director and medical director of the poison information system, tells the Home News Tribune the drug is puzzling because it can induce extreme agitation and coma.
Marcus says the drug can kill and isn't just a strong version of marijuana.
Race on to develop 'pot breathalyzer'
As cannabis bans are relaxed in more U.S. states, the race is on to develop an instant roadside breathalyzer for police to test drivers who may be taking the "high" road.
Vancouver-based Cannabix Technologies Inc, founded by a retired RCMP officer, expects to be first out of the gate with a "pot breathalyzer" - a handheld device similar to those used to detect alcohol.
Cannabix won't give an estimate of when its product might go on sale, but has a prototype undergoing in-house testing.
Other hopefuls, such as Colorado-based Lifeloc Technologies Inc and a chemistry professor-PhD student duo at Washington State University, are still busy in the lab.
The devices aim to accurately detect the presence of THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis, but can't provide enough evidence of impairment by themselves.
"I think the first breathalyzer on the market will be a simple 'yes' or 'no' for the presence of THC at the time of the test, and in that sense it won't provide a quantitative evidential measure," said Barry Knott, the chief executive of Lifeloc, which already makes alcohol breathalyzers.
The size of the potential market is unclear, owing to widely varying estimates of cannabis use, and unreliable data on those driving under its influence.
But developers say they will be able to sell pot devices for a lot more than the ubiquitous alcohol breathalyzers.
Lifeloc sells alcohol breathalyzers for US$300-$400 but expects to charge $2,500-$3,500 for its cannabis version.
Marijuana is illegal under U.S. federal law but is allowed for medical use in about half the country's states. Others, including Oregon and Colorado, have gone further, allowing recreational use.
Lifeloc shares, traded over the counter, have risen about 21 percent to $14.50 this year, while Cannabix's have risen about 21 percent to 17 Canadian cents on the small-cap Canadian Securities Exchange.
A roadside breathalyzer would replace a complicated assortment of costly blood and urine tests that can take days to get a result. But even these tests are a long way from showing impairment, as the science on how cannabis affects driving is far from settled.
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in a paper this year, said cannabis impairs psychomotor skills, attention, lane tracking and cognitive function, but not enough is known about how much is needed to affect driving performance.
This is primarily because of the vastly different ways in which alcohol and cannabis affect the human body.
Whether marijuana is smoked or ingested also dramatically changes how the body processes it. It's also difficult to isolate the affects of cannabis in crashes if drivers have also consumed alcohol and/or other drugs.
But some states are not waiting to reach a consensus on how much THC is too much to drive.
Washington and Montana have set a limit of 5 nanograms/milliliter (ng/mL), while Pennsylvania has a 1 ng/mL limit.
Other states prohibit drivers from having any measurable amount of cannabis in their system.
These limits are more political than based on science, said Nicholas Lovrich, a political scientist at Washington State University who is researching the accuracy of drug-recognition experts - police officers trained to detect drug impairment in drivers.
Cannabix founder Kal Malhi initially aims to cater to Canada and the U.S. states that have zero tolerance for THC, hoping his device - designed to confirm police observations - will be able to accurately detect THC up to two hours after consumption.
The company won't talk about its technology, other than to say a patent is pending. Aside from law enforcement, Malhi sees employers and educational institutions as potential customers.
Lifeloc's research has been boosted by a $250,000 grant from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
The company has undertaken laboratory tests of its technology, but creating a real-time device that can collect enough sample for reasonable analysis is proving a challenge.
A few blows are typically sufficient to determine alcohol levels, Knott said. "... With a marijuana breathalyzer we'd have somebody blowing like 20 times - that's just not going to fly."
Washington State University is also still in the research stage, as part of a project applying existing technology - ion mobility spectrometry - to drug testing, including cannabis.
"(This) is the same technology used for explosive detection at airports, the same technology used across the world for chemical warfare detection," said Dr. Herbert Hill, who is working on the research with student Jessica Tufariello.
However, the likely inability of these devices to accurately detect levels of THC - at least initially - raises the question of whether law enforcement agencies will clamor to buy them.
"If this is just a matter of showing how many people have THC in their systems, then it's essentially useless," said Steve Sarich, who runs a cannabis advocacy group and serves as an expert witness for cases involving THC-related impairment.
Colorado’s monthly marijuana sales top $100 million
But stashing all that cash remains a growing problem for ganjapreneurs
Marijuana sales blazed past the $100 million mark for the first time in August, the Denver Post reported over the weekend.
According to sales data from Colorado’s Department of Revenue released Friday, sales of recreational pot topped $59.2 million for the month, while medical marijuana dispensaries pulled in $41.4 million, for a combined $100.6 million — the highest monthly total since legal recreational cannabis sales began there in January 2014.
“It means that $100 million is going to licensed, taxpaying businesses, creating jobs and helping to build new schools,” Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, told Yahoo News, “instead of going to cartels and drug dealers — as is the case in the 46 states that don’t regulate marijuana.”
It was also the seventh time in eight months that marijuana sales in Colorado have exceeded the previous month’s total. In May, combined recreational and medical sales ($74.31 million) fell marginally from April ($74.64 million).
In Washington state, retail pot sellers had been enjoying month-to-month jumps until July, when revenues from recreational marijuana were $31.1 million, or down about 6 percent from June, according to data from the state Liquor and Cannabis Board. Despite the dip, Washington’s recreational pot sales are on pace to surpass $300 million this year.
And in Oregon, where legal recreational sales began earlier this month, pot retailers pulled in an estimated $11 million — or more than double the $5 million worth of recreational marijuana sold in Colorado the first week it was legal to do so.
Combined, marijuana sales in Colorado, Washington and Oregon will easily surpass $1 billion in 2015 — and may hit $1 billion in Colorado alone.
So where do they stash all that cash? For budding ganjapreneurs, cannabusiness owners and lawmakers from those states, that’s the billion-dollar question currently facing the marijuana industry.
“I’ve gone through at least eight banks,” Shaun Gindi, owner of Colorado’s Compassionate Pain Management, told Bloomberg Business.
“We’re on our 15th bank right now,” Andrew DeAngelo, director of operations at Harborside Health Center in Oakland, told CNBC in June.
According to the U.S. Treasury Department, just 220 of the more than 7,600 banks and credit unions in the country accept so-called “cannabis cash” because marijuana still violates federal law.
Legal marijuana sellers have been forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on security, protecting their cash-heavy businesses with armed guards, armored vehicles and high-tech vaults — sometimes transporting their cash in duffel bags as if it were marijuana in states where it’s still illegal.
“The federal government and these banking laws are making it so that people have to walk around with tens of thousands of dollars in their businesses, in their cars, in their homes,” Michael Julian, CEO of MPS International, a marijuana security company, told Bloomberg. “[It’s] putting these people in danger.”
In July, Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley introduced a bill — backed by their colleagues in Colorado — that would give legal marijuana businesses access to banking services. Similar legislation was introduced in the House, and both bills were referred to subcommittees for review.
In the meantime, several private organizations have stepped in to try and help. One of them, CannaNative, is attempting to link legal marijuana businesses with the American Indian banking system “to use the expertise gained from decades of managing casinos,” Bloomberg reports.
But Riffle doesn’t see that as a long-term solution.
“I think rather than finding a way to work around broken and outdated federal marijuana laws, Congress needs to simply fix the law,” Riffle said, pointing to a pair of bills — the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act and the CARERS Act — that have stalled because Republican chairmen of the House and Senate judiciary committees have not held hearings on them despite support from a bipartisan majority.
“Apparently a century of failure isn’t enough,” Riffle said, “so they want to give marijuana prohibition a few more decades.”
Bad News: We May Have a Marijuana Problem on Our Hands
Data from a new long-term study demonstrates a potentially worrisome trend when it comes to marijuana use and marijuana use disorders.
Marijuana has been something of an unstoppable force over the past two decades. After being completely outlawed in all states in 1995, marijuana in 2015 can now be legally sold in 23 states for medicinal purposes (as well as Washington, D.C.), and it can be sold legally for recreational use to adults ages 21 and up in four states (and Washington, D.C.).
A big component of this sweeping change is the rapid shift in public opinion as well as the need for states to generate revenue. Over the past two decades, respondents in Gallup's marijuana polls have pushed their favorability of the drug from a mere 25% to more than 50% on a consistent basis in recent years. As the negativity surrounding marijuana has lessened, the push for experimentation into its possible medical benefits, and the desire to use marijuana without potential federal consequences, has intensified.
States have also played a big role in marijuana's recent proliferation. Along with the desire to follow the sentiment of their constituents, many states' elected officials are desperate for new sources of revenue. Raising taxes on an entire constituency is often not a path to reelection. Taxing marijuana, though, pulls in extra revenue from a defined consumer base and industry, while leaving a majority of residents unaffected by the new tax. This extra revenue can be used to create or maintain jobs, or as is the case in Colorado, to possibly support the education system. Colorado residents will vote very soon on what should be done with the tax revenue generated from marijuana sales.
Do we have a marijuana problem on our hands?
As marijuana sales have grown, concern about marijuana's proliferation has grown as well. A study released a little more than a week ago in JAMA Psychiatry subtly implies that we may very well have the beginnings of a marijuana problem on our hands if we don't educate consumers.
The study, which was authored by a dozen researchers, sought to examine what changes we've witnessed in marijuana use prevalence rates over the past decade. Additionally, it sought to examine trends in marijuana use disorders, which are defined as abuse or dependence on the drug. Marijuana use disorders can lead to comorbidities and disabilities, which have the potential to strain an already thin U.S. healthcare network.
Researchers used data of U.S. adults compiled in two separate surveys. The first included face-to-face interviews of 43,093 adults between April 2001 and April 2002, and the second involved face-to-face interviews of 36,309 adults between April 2012 and June 2013.
What researchers discovered was that marijuana use prevalence and marijuana use disorder prevalence had both risen over the prior decade. Past-year use prevalence in the 2001-2002 period was just 4.1%. By the 2012-2013 period, this had more than doubled to 9.5%.
The rise in marijuana use disorder prevalence was a bit less straightforward. In terms of the percentage of marijuana users exhibiting abuse of or dependence on the drug, it actually dropped from 35.6% in 2001-2002 to 30.6% in 2012-2013. However, the total number of users exhibiting a marijuana use disorder as a whole is up over the prior decade simply because of the sheer increase in marijuana use among respondents. Additionally, the prevalence of a diagnosis of a past-year marijuana use disorder rose from 1.5% in 2001-2002 to 2.9% in 2012-2013.
Based on marijuana's growing prevalence, researchers suggest that consumers, physicians, and lawmakers be educated about the potential harms of marijuana use, as well as the propensity for addiction to the drug. Researchers note that clearly not all of marijuana users will become addicted, but the data suggests that around three in 10 will.
Marijuana's federal roadblock
The truth is, studies just like this one help to reinforce many of the roadblocks currently in place within the federal government that'll keep Congress from changing its stance on marijuana anytime soon.
Perhaps the biggest roadblock of all is the long-term safety profile of marijuana. Don't get me wrong, we've witnessed numerous instances of marijuana providing medical benefits in somewhat recent clinical studies. Marijuana has been shown to create positive benefits in treating epilepsy, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and aggressive forms of brain cancer.
However, marijuana also has a mound of clinical studies stacked a mile high detailing harmful side effects. A lot of this imbalance has to do with marijuana studies centering on its risks rather than its benefits for multiple decades. Only within the past decade or so have researchers really begun to turn their attention to the drug's possible benefits. The problem is that it takes time for these long-term benefit studies to mature, and one study is not enough on its own to establish safety. Each study is like a puzzle piece that helps set the stage for lawmakers regarding marijuana's safety profile -- and it's going to be years before that puzzle is even fully framed!
Another issue is that the federal government appears somewhat apathetic toward the marijuana movement. It's a bit of a head-scratcher considering the slim majority of respondents that support marijuana in a number of national polls, but as President Obama suggested earlier this year, the youth of America should be focused on far more important issues than marijuana. Both President Obama and Congress have made it a point to emphasize economic and job growth, as well as national security, while de-emphasizing the debate over marijuana.
What this means for you is that marijuana is unlikely to become the "next big thing" anytime soon, even though the market potential for marijuana is much, much bigger than we're seeing today. With Congress having little incentive to alter its perception of marijuana, it very well could mean that marijuana-based businesses could lose money or struggle to survive in the meantime.
My suggestion, as it's remained all along, is to keep your money squarely on the sidelines and away from the marijuana industry until we witness a definitive change in policy from the federal government.
Ohio voters weigh legalizing recreational marijuana use
CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Ohio voters will decide Tuesday on whether to become the first Midwestern state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, though a rival ballot measure could kill the law before it takes effect.
Issue 3 would add an amendment to the state constitution that legalizes both personal and medical use of marijuana for those over 21 years old.
The ballot initiative was the result of a campaign that gathered more than 300,000 valid voter signatures from around the state.
If it passes, Ohio would become the fifth, and largest, state to legalize the recreational usage of marijuana, following Alaska, Colorado, Washington and Oregon, as well as the District of Columbia.
Ohio is considered a political bellwether - the candidate who wins Ohio usually wins the presidency. So a win for recreational marijuana in Ohio is expected to change the national conversation on legalization, according to Gary Daniels of the Ohio American Civil Liberties Union.
Seven other states are expected to vote on recreational marijuana legalization next year, according to Danielle Keane, political director for NORML, which advocates for legalization.
But Issue 3 also grants exclusive rights for commercial marijuana growth and distribution to 10 facilities around the state. Those facilities are owned by investors in the legalization movement.
Critics of the measure say this creates a monopoly, and responded with a rival ballot measure called Issue 2. This ballot measure would nullify legalization if it creates "an economic monopoly or special privilege" for a private entity.
"We support marijuana legalization, but we cannot support Issue 3," said Maurice Thompson, executive director of 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, a conservative legal rights organization. The Ohio Green Party also opposes Issue 3 over the monopoly issue.
Ohio State University constitutional law professor Daniel Tokaji believes that marijuana legalization measure will fail to pass due to the word "monopoly" in the ballot language.
But Thompson's group and the ACLU also are concerned that the anti-monopoly measure could tie up other citizen-initiated amendments.
If both measures pass, the conflict will likely end up in court, said Daniels.
Recent polls in the state are split down the middle for legalizing recreational use - support is greater for medical use.
Ian James, executive director of ResponsibleOhio, a political action group which brought the issue to the ballot, said that the measure is not about monopolies but "providing access to adults and smothering a black market."
ResponsibleOhio volunteers have knocked on a million doors in the weeks leading up to the election in part to educate voters to vote "no" on Issue 2, James said.
"Ultimately it is going to be all about the turnout," said James.
Ohio votes pot legalization DOWN
Green light: Group of Mexican activists wins right to grow & smoke own marijuana
Published time: 5 Nov, 2015 10:39
A historic ruling by the Mexican Supreme Court has allowed the recreational use of marijuana for a group of four people. Many see the move as the first step to legalizing the substance in a country torn by drug violence.
The court voted 4 to 1 that banning people from growing marijuana for their own consumption was unconstitutional.
The ruling doesn’t mean the general ban to sell and grow weed is revoked, but many tout the decision, saying it could see marijuana legalized eventually.
COLORADO POT CULTURE CREATES THE ‘STONER JESUS BIBLE STUDY’ HERESY
Newest member JeTaun Brown says reading the Bible stoned enables people to relax and focus. She says, “I think you have a deeper thought process which makes you better understand.”
PEOPLE IN A BIBLE STUDY GROUP IN CENTENNIAL, COLORADO SAY THEY GET HIGH TO BETTER REACH THE ALMIGHTY. THEY ARE CALLED THE STONER JESUS BIBLE STUDY AND THEY PASS ON BIBLE VERSES AND JOINTS
“But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” 1 Thessalonians 5:8 (KJV)
EDITOR’S NOTE: FIRST OFF, THE IDEA THAT JESUS WAS A “STONER” OR GOT HIGH OR DRUNK IN ANY WAY IS A SATANIC THOUGHT. THE BIBLE SAYS HE WAS “IN ALL POINTS TEMPTED” LIKE WE ARE – BUT – WITHOUT SIN. SINCE YOU CANNOT SMOKE POT AND BE SOBER AT THE SAME TIME, THE 420 LIFE IT IS A VIOLATION OF MULTIPLE BIBLICAL COMMANDMENTS. IF YOU’RE SAVED, JESUS LOVES YOU IN SPITE OF YOUR SINS, BUT AT NO POINT DOES HE EVER CONFIRM YOU IN YOUR SINS. THE “STONER JESUS BIBLE STUDY” IS ABSOLUTE LIVING PROOF THAT THE LAST CHURCH IN THE END TIMES WOULD BE HOPELESSLY CONFUSED, SELF-FOCUSED AND LUKE WARM. COLORADO STONERS, PREPARED TO BE SPEWED OUT.
Group member Mia Williams says, “We are just a bunch of stoners that come together and learn about Jesus and the Word of God.” Longtime member Mark Button says the group has “really good spiritual conversations in this setting. We get really deep; deeper than I have ever gotten before. It’s the perfect setting.”
The “Tree of Sin” may be a lesson in the Bible, but this Bible study group views the marijuana plant as a blessing. For Button, weed helped pull him closer to God and away from an addiction.
“God is what got me through that. Thanks to him, I’ve been sober eight years. I don’t drink or do hard drugs anymore. I do smoke marijuana sometimes,” Button said.
Pastor Greg leads the group in prayer and says they all believe in worshipping outside of church. They are all Christians as well as professionals or students. They admit there is a stigma attached to marijuana, but they also say some Bible studies offer wine and cheese, so they don’t understand the difference. One member says, “Marijuana has less calories and no one leaves drunk!”
Newest member JeTaun Brown says reading the Bible stoned enables people to relax and focus. She says, “I think you have a deeper thought process which makes you better understand.”
Button, who has always been a devout Christian, says he has heard the word of God “over and over and it never clicked (and now) it clicks.”
They study various sections of the Bible which they say have a direct link to smoking out. They say pot smokers are open-minded people and God’s word is also for open-minded people. For example, Pastor Greg says the Beatitudes teach the group “to be kind and loving and have mercy on other people; not to be judgmental and that’s why we like the 4/20 crowd because we are open minded.” source
ChocoHigh! Chocolate with cannabis goes on sale in Siberia for $3 a bar
Published time: 26 Dec, 2015 10:15
How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain and Behavior? Here's What Recent Studies Say
Stoners have a reputation for being exceptionally mellow, but a recent study of the effects of marijuana use on daily behavior may suggest otherwise. According to researchers from Yale University of Medicine and the Pennsylvania State University, the study found a positive short-term correlation between marijuana use and hostile and impulsive behavior.
"Marijuana use is associated with changes in impulse control and hostility in daily life," according to the study, published in March. Researchers found that participants were more aggressive on days they used marijuana, and the following day, than on days they didn't get high.
The study analyzed 43 participants' marijuana, alcohol, tobacco use and hostile and impulsive behavior daily for 14 days using random effects models. Scientists found that marijuana use alone, without the alcohol and tobacco combination, increased impulsive and hostile behavior on the day participants used the drug and the day after.
The study was brief, but due to the results and increased recreational marijuana use, researchers believe the topic warrants further research.
A 2012 study in Biological Psychiatry found that weed can cause anxiety for regular users during periods of withdrawal and puts those with genetic tendencies at risk for developing schizophrenia, Cosmopolitan reported. Some of the alleged negative side effects of marijuana can be reduced if it's legal, regulated and tested by health officials, according to marijuana advocates. "People are used to buying weed on the black market with no idea about quality," deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Paul Armentano told Cosmopolitan. "As consumers get more sophisticated, they'll demand higher quality and better testing."
Another study on the effects of marijuana use published in the Psychology of Addictive Behaviors in September showed that the drug had an indirect negative relationship with grades among a cohort of college students. The study showed students who smoked more went to class less and therefore received relatively lower grade point averages than those who didn't engage in marijuana use.
In November, a survey of police officers across the United States conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration showed that 6% of the 1,000 officers surveyed reported marijuana use as the biggest drug threat. However, as of 2014, no one had died from marijuana use alone.
Emerging from shadows, pot industry tries to build brands
DENVER (AP) — Snoop Dogg has his own line of marijuana. So does Willie Nelson. Melissa Etheridge has a marijuana-infused wine.
As the fast-growing marijuana industry emerges from the black market and starts looking like a mainstream industry, there's a scramble to brand and trademark pot products.
The celebrity endorsements are just the latest attempt to add cachet to a line of weed. Snoop Dogg calls his eight strains of weed "Dank From the Doggfather Himself." Nelson's yet-to-be-released line says the pot is "born of the awed memories of musicians who visited Willie's bus after a show."
The pot industry's makeshift branding efforts, from celebrity names on boxes of weed to the many weed-themed T-shirts and stickers common in towns with a legal marijuana market, show the industry taking halting steps toward the mainstream.
The U.S. Supreme Court Is Hearing a Huge Marijuana Legalization Case Today
Nebraska and Oklahoma v. Colorado.
The Supreme Court of the United States — minus the late Justice Scalia — is set to take up the hot-button issue of marijuana legalization today in a highly watched case. The SCOTUS is hearing a challenge to Colorado legalization from two neighboring states Nebraska and Oklahoma as plaintiffs. The states are arguing that because of legalization, marijuana is unlawfully crossing over their borders. The federal Controlled Substances Act should override state legalization, they argue, under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. But SCOTUS is unlikely to take up Nebraska and Oklahoma v. Colorado, watchers say, partially because the plaintiffs' case is so weak, and partially because one likely supporter of the case, Justice Scalia, is dead.
"It's hard to predict where a given justice is going to come down on anything," according to Tom Angell, in an interview with the International Business Times. Angell founded the cannabis advocacy group Marijuana Majority, and analyzed Scalia's record on cannabis for Marijuana.com. "But my best guess is Nebraska and Oklahoma probably just lost one of their votes for granting the review."
With the nine-member SCOTUS down to eight, the vote for review could be 4-4, and a tie would favor the defendant Colorado. Legal experts say plaintiffs Nebraska and Oklahoma lack standing.
"The plaintiffs can't show they could be helped by a positive decision in their favor," Sam Kamin, marijuana law professor at the University of Denver, told IBT.
The federal government itself does not support review, and the solicitor general urged the Supreme Court to deny the lawsuit. If SCOTUS takes up review and ties on the case, it would only be the third time in U.S. history for a so-called 'original jurisdiction deadlock'.
The first time, in 1870, the case remained up in the air for nearly three years. The second time, in 1953, the court ruled one way, only to overrule itself a year later. … In other words, no one knows exactly what will happen if the Supreme Court takes up the Colorado lawsuit and then can't come to a majority opinion on it.
Still legal experts doubt SCOTUS wants to potentially shut down medical and recreational legalization in 35 states.
"There is so much very, very high-profile stuff on pause right now, my gut instinct is they are going to say, 'We don't need anything else on our plate,'" Kamin told IBT.
See the Conversation!
Regular Marijuana Use Linked to Economic and Social Problems
People who smoke marijuana on a regular basis for years and those who are dependent on it are significantly more likely to have economic and social problems at midlife than those who use it only occasionally or not at all, new research shows. And the longer that people regularly smoke, the greater their chances of having these troubles.
The study does not prove that marijuana causes these problems, but it does go further than probably any other research has done before to demonstrate a strong link. The paper was compiled from information gathered on nearly 1,000 New Zealanders in the town of Dunedin, who were checked on and interviewed regularly from birth to the age of 38. It was published online March 23 in the journal Clinical Psychological Science.
People in the study who smoked regularly, defined as at least four times per week over the course of several years, had significantly more economic problems, such as high levels of debt, poorer credit ratings, limits on cash flow and even difficulty paying for food and rent, says study author Magdalena Cerdá, a researcher at the University of California, Davis.
Moreover, they also were more likely to exhibit antisocial tendencies in the workplace, including such things as lying and engaging in arguments with co-workers. And they were more like to have conflicts in their intimate relationships, she adds.
Heavy smokers also ended up in a lower “social class” than their parents, Cerdá says. (Social class was defined as level of job specialty, with professionals like doctors and lawyers at the top and unskilled laborers at the bottom.) Meanwhile, those who didn’t regularly smoke ended up in a higher social class than their parents. While noteworthy, the finding raises some philosophical questions about what “social class” really means and what the value of such distinctions are.
Unlike many studies, this paper tried to control for a wide variety of potentially confounding factors, such as ethnicity, social class of origin, family history of substance dependence, low childhood self-control, childhood IQ, adolescent psychological problems like depression and motivation level at age 18. The researchers also controlled for the use of alcohol and other drugs. When people using these substances were excluded and only those using solely marijuana were considered, the link held up, the study found.
It should be noted, however, that the findings don’t apply to light or occasional smokers. And Igor Grant, a physician and researcher at UC San Diego who wasn’t involved in the paper, clarified that people who admitted smoking four times per week were probably more realistically smoking on a daily basis. Meanwhile, only a small fraction of marijuana users— around 9 percent, according to one large study—become dependent on it. And this number, as with just about everything involving marijuana, is a subject of controversy, with some saying it’s higher and others saying it’s lower or inappropriately measured in the first place.
The study participants were interviewed by researchers at ages 3, 5, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 21, 26, 32 and 38.
Researchers found that cannabis and alcohol dependence were both about equally linked with downward mobility, antisocial behavior in the workplace and relationship conflicts. But marijuana dependence appears to be linked even more strongly to financial problems than alcohol dependence is, Cerdá says.
Of course, alcohol dependence has much worse health effects than heavy cannabis use, and this study didn’t address physical health, Cerdá says.
As to whether these results could be unique to New Zealand, Ceradá says she doesn’t think so because “there have been multiple studies looking at this, and they’ve been pretty consistent.” That said, the levels of regular use and dependence—15 and 18 percent, respectively, among the New Zealand study participants—is higher than those found in the United States. But these rates may go up as marijuana is legalized in more and more states.
(The reason those numbers are different is because some people smoke regularly without being dependent, and some become dependent without smoking heavily, Cerdá says.)
There are, of course, limitations to this study. “It is difficult to definitely establish a causal relationship in studies of this sort, as the authors acknowledge,” says Wayne Hall, a researcher at the University of Queensland who wasn’t involved in the paper. “It may be that cannabis dependence is a marker of other risk factors for social and economic adversity. [But] this is less likely given that the effects persisted after controlling for plausible confounders and that much the same pattern was true of alcohol dependence” in the group, he adds.
One of the strengths of the study was to show that people generally began to have economic and social problems after smoking regularly and were not different beforehand as teens on measures of IQ, motivation, impulsivity or likelihood of using other drugs, Cerdá says.
However, Grant says that it’s possible there is something unique about the type of person who goes on to smoke regularly or become dependent, and some of the problems encountered may have to do with underlying personality differences that are difficult to measure—or psychological problems not yet manifest—as opposed to marijuana itself.
“It’s not the ordinary person who would use marijuana every day for years on end,” Grant says. “Whether marijuana caused these problems or these were people who were destined to have these problems anyway, I don’t think we can really figure out.”
Weed is "Winning" - 4 signs the marijuana business is "booming"
Cannabis arteritis: Australian diagnosed with marijuana-related disease that can cause loss of limb
Man will have to take aspirin as a blood thinner for the rest of his life
An Australian man who smokes up to a gram of cannabis per day has narrowly escaped amputation after becoming the first in the country to be diagnosed with a rare disease linked to cannabis use.
After an ulcer on his toe failed to heal, the heavy cannabis user consulted Frankston Hospital in Melbourne, where he was diagnosed with cannabis arteritis, an extremely rare disease which causes a build-up of plaque around the arteries, thereby decreasing blood flow to the limbs.
The patient, who has not been identified, was treated with a balloon angioplasty, where a collapsed balloon, known as a balloon catheter, is placed in the area which is constricted in order to inflate it to a healthy size.
California gets go-ahead to vote on legalization of marijuana
(Reuters) - Californians are set to decide whether to make recreational marijuana use legal, as other Western states have done, after the California Secretary of State's office said on Tuesday the issue could be put to voters in the November ballot.
The proposed so-called "Adult Use of Marijuana Act," which is supported by Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom among others, would allow people aged 21 and older to possess as much as an ounce of marijuana for private recreational use and permit personal cultivation of as many as six marijuana plants.
"Today marks a fresh start for California, as we prepare to replace the costly, harmful and ineffective system of prohibition with a safe, legal and responsible adult-use marijuana system that gets it right and completely pays for itself," initiative spokesman Jason Kinney said in a statement.
The measure would also establish a system to license, regulate and tax sales of marijuana, while allowing city governments to exercise local control over or disallow commercial distribution within their borders.
The initiative required just over 402,000 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot and exceeded that number on Tuesday, the Secretary of State's office said. Secretary Alex Padilla is slated to certify the initiative on June 30.
High court sides with employee fired for smoking pot at work
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut state worker fired after he was caught smoking marijuana on the job was punished too harshly and should get his job back, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday.
Gregory Linhoff was fired from his maintenance job at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington in 2012 after a police officer caught him smoking pot in a state-owned vehicle. He had no previous disciplinary problems since being hired in 1998 and had received favorable job evaluations, according to his union. He was arrested, but the charges were later dismissed.
State officials said firing the New Hartford resident was the only appropriate penalty for his conduct and not doing so would send a bad message to other employees. An arbitrator disagreed and overturned the firing, saying Linhoff instead should be suspended without pay for six months and be subject to random drug testing for a year after he returned to work.
The state appealed and a Superior Court judge overturned the arbitrator's decision on the grounds that it violated Connecticut's public policy against marijuana use. Linhoff's union, the Connecticut Employees Union Independent SEIU, appealed the judge's ruling to the Supreme Court.
All seven justices agreed that the lower court judge was wrong to overturn the arbitrator's ruling, saying that while state policy on drug use in the work place allows for firing workers it does not require it. Justices also said that judicial second-guessing of arbitration awards is uncommon and should be reserved only for extraordinary circumstances.
"The misconduct at issue was completely unacceptable, and we do not condone it," Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers wrote in the decision.
"By the arbitrator's estimation, (Linhoff's) personal qualities and overall record indicate that he is a good candidate for a second chance," Rogers wrote. "Moreover, the discipline the arbitrator imposed was appropriately severe, and sends a message to others who might consider committing similar misconduct that painful consequences will result."
Linhoff couldn't be reached for comment Friday. A phone number for him could not be found.
His lawyer, Barbara Collins, said the Supreme Court ruling is important because it acknowledges the value of upholding decisions made in arbitration, which was designed as a way to settle disputes out of court.
"Perhaps as important the court acknowledged whether directly or indirectly that there is a public policy of rehabilitation and second chances which should be recognized in the work place," she said.
A spokeswoman for the state Attorney General's Office said officials are reviewing the ruling and they declined further comment.
At the time Linhoff was fired, he was seeking treatment for depression, stress and anxiety because his wife had filed for divorce and he had a cancer scare; he believed smoking pot helped to alleviate his worries, Collins said.
The price of pot is tumbling in Colorado
Colorado's weed is getting much cheaper.
In October last year, the cost of a wholesale pound of cannabis in Colorado was around $2,400 to $2,600. That price has almost been cut in half to between $1,400 and $1,600 last month, according to data from Tradiv, an online marijuana distribution platform.
"In less than a year, we’ve seen wholesale prices drop to nearly half of their previous totals," John Manlove, the director of sales at Tradiv told Business Insider in an email. "We’ve never seen prices like this."
The reason prices are dropping so rapidly is because the market is getting flooded. Growers are building scale and ramping up production of the plant.
Manlove explains that this has to do with the way cities in Colorado, like Denver, regulate the recreational marijuana market.
In May, Denver's municipal government extended a moratorium on granting licenses to new retail dispensaries as well as marijuana cultivation facilities.
This has allowed a "minority of large cannabis business owners" to buy up and consolidate the remaining licenses, says Manlove.
And, without strict "canopy limits" (the amount of plants one facility can grow) the influx of marijuana into the Colorado market will continue to cause prices to drop, says Manlove.
Thus, Colorado growers, with few limits and access to a huge market, are able to build an economy of scale, reducing prices across the board.
Though low prices are good news for consumers, dispensaries will have to cope with lower profit margins on raw marijuana flowers.
According to Headset, a cannabis intelligence platform, the highest margin products for dispensaries are those that make marijuana easier to consume, like edibles, beverages, and pre-rolled joints.
If these trends continue, raw marijuana will only continue to get cheaper. And it's likely that the retail market will adapt by pushing further into such higher-margin products.
fact is, marijuana is just a plant. It is supposed to be a herbal remedy that was abused that is why it became illegal. If there will be a way to monitor it, just like prescription medicine, why not?
The next 14 states to legalize marijuana
In 2013, only 7% of American adults said they were marijuana users. Today, less than three years later, usage rates have nearly doubled, as 13% of U.S. adults say they smoke pot -- according to a recent Gallup poll. Despite what appears to be growing acceptance of the drug, the DEA recently reiterated marijuana’s classification as a Schedule 1 substance, in the same category as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy.
Reflecting the increasing acceptance of the drug, and in direct conflict with the DEA’s conclusion, some states have dialed down their marijuana laws in recent years. Prohibited across the country less than five years ago, marijuana is now legal and regulated in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia. While it may be too early to gauge the social and economic impact of full scale legalization in these places, more than a dozen other states could foreseeably repeal marijuana prohibition in the coming years.
24/7 Wall St. revisited last year's list of states most likely to legalize recreational marijuana. We again reviewed current marijuana laws as well as legislative processes in each state. The path to legalization is long, complex, and often very different in each state. Changing circumstances led to the addition of several states, including Arizona and Illinois, while Minnesota was the only state on last year’s list that was not included this year.
A state's legislative process is an important factor in the state's path towards legalization of marijuana. In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Morgan Fox, senior communications manager with Marijuana Policy Project, a marijuana legalization advocacy group, explained, “Traditionally, voters have been far ahead of politicians when it comes to supporting marijuana policy reform.” As a result, states that allow ballot initiatives, through which statutes and constitutional amendments can be proposed by voters, are more likely to legalize marijuana sooner than states that do not allow ballot initiatives.
The four states that have legalized recreational marijuana use have done so through ballot initiatives. And this November, voters in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada will also vote on ballot initiatives that would repeal prohibition of the drug.
However, just over half of states do not allow such ballot initiatives, and many lawmakers perceive marijuana reform as too politically risky. According to Fox, this is beginning to change. In many states, including Vermont and Rhode Island, voters are not likely to punish politicians for being perceived as soft on drugs if they are in favor of marijuana law reforms. In states such as these, possession of a small amount of pot is already decriminalized and marijuana use is legal for those with certain medical conditions.
These Nine States Will Vote on Legalizing Recreational and Medical Marijuana
Nine states have marijuana measures on the ballot this November, and chances are good that many will pass — giving pot advocates high hopes that the federal government will eventually lift its nationwide ban.
In five states — Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada — voters will decide on legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.
In four others — Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota — voters will weigh in on medical marijuana, which is already legal in nearly half the country.
As Election Day approaches, polls and research show rising support for marijuana legalization: 57 percent of U.S. adults say marijuana should be made legal, compared to just 32 percent a decade ago, found a Pew study earlier this week.
Supporters say the shift in attitude is in part thanks to successes in Colorado and Washington, the first states where voters approved recreational marijuana in 2014.
Five states consider legalizing marijuana
(CNN)On this election day, voters in five states will get to decide whether marijuana should be legal to use recreationally.
It's on the ballot in California, Massachusetts, Maine, Arizona and Nevada. Voters will also decide whether it should be used for medical reasons in three other states.
The drug is still illegal under federal law, but it has grown in popularity over the years. The number of adults who have smoked weed has nearly doubled in three years, according to a Gallup poll released in August.
It is the No. 1 illicit drug of choice for Americans, according to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use (PDF), although only one-third of users reported an addiction to the substance, unlike most all the other illicit drugs used.
Currently, it's legal to use recreational marijuana only in four states and in the District of Columbia. Colorado and Washington state voted to OK it in 2012. Alaska and Oregon voters approved it in 2014. Medical marijuana is legal in half of US states and is on state ballots this year in Montana, Florida and North Dakota. It will be on the ballot in Arkansas, but the results won't count after the state supreme court struck the issue in October, due to invalid signatures.
For the states where recreational use is legal, it seems to have been a boost to the economy. The marijuana industry created more than 18,000 full-time jobs last year and generated $2.39 billion in economic activity in Colorado, according to an analysis from the Marijuana Policy Group (PDF).
There have also been some health consequences. Emergency rooms have seen a significant increase in adult marijuana-related exposure cases.
The number of calls to poison control centers involving Colorado children has gone up, as has the number of children who've been taken to the hospital for treatment due to unintentional marijuana exposure, studies show. There have also been more school suspensions, marijuana-related traffic deaths, pet poisonings and lab explosions.
Here's what's on the ballot.
If marijuana becomes legal in California, the world's sixth-largest economy and the country's most populous state, it could have the biggest impact on the national scene.
In 1996, the state was the first to make medical marijuana legal.
A "yes" on Proposition 64 would make it legal for people 21 or older to use it recreationally. There would be a 15% sales tax, and its cultivation would be taxed. The money would be used in part to study drug research, to study treatment and to help with enforcement of the law.
The state's two largest newspapers back the measure, as does the California Democratic Party, while Republicans are against it.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told the Los Angeles Times Friday that she plans to vote in favor of it. That makes Pelosi the highest-ranking, sitting elected official in either political party to support legalizing a drug the federal government currently considers a Schedule 1 narcotic. A Schedule 1 narcotic is a drug with no currently accepted medical use and has a high potential for abuse. The category also includes heroin.
California voters approve recreational marijuana
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California voters approved a ballot measure Tuesday allowing recreational marijuana in the nation's most populous state, handing the legalization movement its biggest victory yet.
A preliminary exit poll conducted for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research showed the measure passed handily.
Voters in eight other states also considered proposals Tuesday to expand legal access to the drug, which is still forbidden by the federal government.
California's vote makes the use and sale of recreational cannabis legal along the entire West Coast, giving the legalization movement powerful momentum. That could spark similar efforts in other states and put pressure on federal authorities to ease longstanding rules that classify marijuana as a dangerously addictive drug with no medical benefits.
In addition, Massachusetts voters also legalized the recreational use of marijuana.
California was the first state to approve medical marijuana two decades ago. It was among five states weighing whether to permit pot for adults for recreational purposes. The other states were Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada.
Florida and North Dakota earlier approved medical marijuana measures Tuesday. Arkansas was considering a similar measure and Montana voted on whether to ease restrictions on an existing medical marijuana law.
In general, the proposals for recreational pot would treat cannabis similar to alcohol. Consumption would be limited to people 21 or older and forbidden in most public spaces. Pot would be highly regulated and heavily taxed, and some states would let people grow their own.
State-by-state polls showed most of the measures with a good chance of prevailing. But staunch opponents that included law enforcement groups and anti-drug crusaders urged the public to reject any changes. They complained that legalization would endanger children and open the door to creation of another huge industry that, like big tobacco, would be devoted to selling Americans an unhealthy drug.
The California proposal sowed deep division among marijuana advocates and farmers. In Northern California's famous Emerald Triangle, a region known for cultivating pot for decades, many small growers have longed for legitimacy but also fear being forced out of business by large corporate farms.
"I'm not necessarily stoked nor surprised," said Humboldt County grower Graham Shaw, reflecting the ambivalence of the region to the measure. "I am very happy that the war on cannabis in California is finally over."
Advocates opposed to the measure were joined by more traditional voters who opposed legalization on moral grounds.
"I'm against it because you're going to get more and more problems if you legalize it," said Joanne Hsu, 86, a lifelong Republican from Walnut Creek who also voted for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.
If "yes" votes prevail across the country, about 75 million people accounting for more than 23 percent of the U.S. population would live in states where recreational pot is legal. The jurisdictions where that's already the case — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state and the District of Columbia — have about 18 million residents, or 5.6 percent of the population. Twenty-five states allow medical marijuana.
According to national polls, a solid majority of Americans support legalization.
Proposition 64 would allow people 21 and older to legally possess up to an ounce of weed and grow six marijuana plants at home. Varying tax rates would be levied on sales, with the money deposited into the state's marijuana tax fund.
The exit poll of 2,282 California voters was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research. This includes preliminary results from interviews conducted as voters left a random sample of 30 precincts statewide Tuesday, as well as 744 who voted early or absentee and were interviewed by landline or cellular telephone from Oct. 29 through Nov. 4. Results for the full sample were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups
The United States of Weed: Election results for legal marijuana
•November 8, 2016
While most eyes have been set on the presidential race during the 2016 election, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada and California all held a vote to legalize recreational marijuana, a decision that could potentially shift the nation on a cultural and economic level.
Paving the road ahead of them, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington have all legalized, regulated and taxed marijuana for recreational use by adults, similar to laws that govern alcohol use. Additionally, Washington D.C. also legalized cannabis possession and cultivation for personal use. If all five states pass their ballots, cannabis will be legal for nearly one-fifth of the US population.
Massachusetts passes recreational marijuana
Question 4 passed in Massachusetts, which will allow people 21 and older to use, grow and possess marijuana. The ballot was extremely close leading up to the final results, which definitely kept plenty of cannabis enthusiasts in the state on the edge of their seats.
#Breaking: Mass. voters have approved #Question4 legalizing recreational marijuana, the AP projects. #Electionnight https://t.co/nJfWSpwDW5 pic.twitter.com/OmQE86KLFm
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) November 9, 2016
The measure specifies that people would be allowed to possess one ounce of cannabis in public and a whopping 10 ounces of pot at home, which is a shitload of weed. The measure will also create the Cannabis Control Commission that will oversee legalization and issue licenses for those who wish to sell marijuana products.
For reference, here's Tommy Chong holding 10 ounces of pot at medical marijuana dispensary Shango.
Image: Shango Las vegas
Additionally, the initiative will impose a modest 3.75 percent tax on top of Massachusetts sales tax, and will allow cities and towns to impose an additional 2 percent tax. Funds will go towards helping the state establish the new law and commission.
Question 4 states that legalization will take place on December 15, 2016. It should be a great Christmas and New Year in Massachusetts this year.
California votes for Recreational Marijuana
Proposition 64 passed in California, which will allow people 21 and older to possess and consume marijuana for recreational purposes. Adults will be allowed to hold one ounce of marijuana, and grow up to six plants in a secure area out of public view.
The measure will create two new taxes, one for cultivation and another for retail. The taxes will pay for the cost of administering the new law in addition to raising funds for youth substance abuse education, law enforcement training with a focus on DUI enforcement and environmental cleanup and restoration of public land damaged by illegal marijuana cultivation.
Recreational marijuana will effectively become legal tomorrow in California. Prop. 64 passes. https://t.co/NsrR5Hxnbv pic.twitter.com/SnuTK2Rssn
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) November 9, 2016
Proposition 64 passing in California isn't too surprising considering the state was the first to deregulate marijuana for medical use in 1996. The state also has some of the most relaxed qualifying symptoms, making it relatively easy for patients to receive treatment.
Nevada votes for recreational marijuana
Question 2 passed in Nevada, according to ABC News, which allows adults 21 and older to possess, purchase, cultivate and consume marijuana. Adults will be allowed to possess up to one ounce of cannabis, and those who don't live within 25 miles of a retail store will be able to grow up to six plants in an enclosed and locked area.
The measure also creates a 15 percent excise tax, which will be paid by licensed cultivators. Funds will first be used to implement the measure as well as regulation, and anything leftover will go to support public K-12 education.
Massachusetts and Nevada have voted in favor of legalizing marijuana, @ABC News projects based on vote analysis. https://t.co/ZU99KLLCWu
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 9, 2016
Arizona votes against recreational marijuana
According to NBC affiliate 12 News, Arizona is projected to vote against Proposition 205 to legalize recreational marijuana. The full results are still coming.
#BREAKING: Voters reject legal marijuana in Arizona, AP says. #Prop205 pic.twitter.com/AuNoqBOKuh
— 12 News (@12News) November 9, 2016
Maine still too close to call.
By the earlier morning hours on Wednesday, with 90 percent of the vote reporting, Maine favored legalization of recreational marijuana with 50.3 percent voting in favor and 49.7 percent voting against.
The slim margin of the results, a scant 4,500 votes, has kept official sources from called the race. We will update here when it's called.
In addition to the recreational vote, Florida, Montana, North Dakota and Arkansas also voted to allow qualifying residents with their doctor's recommendation access medical marijuana treatment, joining 25 states that have already developed medical marijuana laws.
Florida votes in favor of medical marijuana
#Florida passes medical marijuana ballot measure by 71%. 9 states voting on marijuana laws today. #Vote2016 #ElectionNight
— Rhana Natour (@RNatourious) November 9, 2016
North Dakota votes in favor of medical marijuana
North Dakota becomes the latest state to allow medical #marijuana! pic.twitter.com/Q5MZDkB9Uu
— MPP Marijuana Policy (@MarijuanaPolicy) November 9, 2016
So what's next?
While Massachusetts has a clear date when the laws will go into effect, it's going to take some time before you'll be purchasing legal weed from any of these states. Regulations need to be set, agencies need to be formed and most importantly, the public as well as law enforcement need to be educated. Thankfully, the four states that have already regulated recreational marijuana have set standards, acting as an experiment for the states that follow.
Results for Maine are not yet in
This story is currently developing ...
Additional reporting by Peter Allen Clark
Topics: election day 2016, Legalization, Watercooler
California voters legalize recreational marijuana: Will federal law follow?
Tuesday night California, Massachusetts, and Nevada joined Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state and Washington D.C. in legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.
Similarly, medical use referenda passed in Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas, making the 2016 election the biggest victory for cannabis proponents since 2012, when Colorado and Washington became the first to vote to end prohibition of the drug. The growing state support for pot consumption, as evidenced by this election, is interpreted by proponents that there's momentum to change the federal laws banning the drug's use, sale, and cultivation.
“I think of this victory in California as a major victory,” Lauren Mendelsohn, the chairwoman of the board of directors of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, a group that has campaigned against the government’s war on drugs, told the New York Times. “It shows the whole country that prohibition is not the answer to the marijuana question.”
Recommended: How much do you know about marijuana? Take the quiz
But critics note that Arizona voted down a recreational marijuana initiative Tuesday, and argue that the pro-pot movement may have cherry picked the more liberal states, but the momentum could stall in more conservative states. And a Trump administration isn't looking very pro-marijuana. In Maine, the "yes" vote on recreational marijuana ballot initiative is ahead by 1 percent with 93 percent of the vote counted, as of Wednesday morning.
The California referendum will allow those over 21 to possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use and to grow up to six plants on their private property if they are are not visible to the public. California, Massachusetts, and Nevada, plan to implement these measures by 2018 after licenses are issued to dispensaries and other related businesses.
There are still questions about driving while high, so some of the additional $1 billion in tax revenue expected to come from marijuana sales in California are to be put toward a study to develop more accurate tests for determining whether a driver is impaired by marijuana. Marijuana tax money will also be directed to drug education programs for young people as well as efforts to curb the environmental impact of increased marijuana cultivation and production.
California has long been hub of support for marijuana, as well as illicit marijuana cultivation, and with the state’s powerful economy, advocates see it as occupying a unique position to push for reform of US federal ban on marijuana.
“This represents a monumental victory for the marijuana reform movement,” Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement. “With California’s leadership now, the end of marijuana prohibition nationally, and even internationally, is fast approaching.”
Advocates say that the federal government's war on drugs stance will not hold up as more states legalize recreational and medical marijuana use. But the White House still opposes the legalization of marijuana because it says it would increase the availability and use of illicit drugs. In August, in a letter in the Federal Register, the DEA said marijuana should remain as a Schedule I drug, a class that includes drugs the regulator says have a “high potential for abuse” and “no current accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”
Still, President Barack Obama said in a recent interview with Bill Maher that there's a need for "a more serious conversation about how we're treating marijuana and our drug laws in general."
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D) of Oregon and a supporter of legalization, told The New York Times, “The new administration is not going to want to continue this toxic and nonproductive war on drugs.”
But after Tuesday's vote, which gives Republicans control of the House, Senate, and White House, there may be less receptivity to changing federal law on recreational use of marijuana.
"In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state," Donald Trump told The Washington Post. "… Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should happen – right? Don’t we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states."
Marijuana advocates are aware that a Trump administration may be less receptive to a federal change. “The prospect of Rudy Giuliani or Chris Christie as attorney general does not bode well,” Mr. Nadelmann told the Washington Post. “There are various ways in which a hostile White House could trip things up.”
William A. Galston and E.J. Dionne Jr. acknowledge the growing public support for marijuana use in the US, but write in a study for the Brookings Institution that it's a mistake to assume that national support for issues such as same-sex marriage also means that marijuana is on a similar track to legalization.
Attitudes toward legalization are marked by ambivalence, especially on the conservative side. Many of those who favor legalization do so despite believing that marijuana is harmful or reporting that they feel uncomfortable with its use. Among conservatives, many who believe marijuana should be illegal nonetheless support states’ right to legalize it and take a dim view of government’s ability to enforce a ban," the researchers wrote.
Marijuana Use Tied to Rare, Temporary Heart Malfunction
HealthDay News) -- Marijuana use might raise the risk of a rare, temporary heart muscle malfunction that can feel like a full-fledged heart attack, a new study suggests.
People who used marijuana were almost twice as likely as non-users to suffer a bout of stress cardiomyopathy, a condition also known as takotsubo, said study co-author Dr. Amitoj Singh. He is chief cardiology fellow at St. Luke's University Health Network in Bethlehem, Pa.
Further, pot users experiencing takotsubo were more likely to suffer a cardiac arrest or require an implanted defibrillator, compared with non-users with takotsubo, Singh said. Cardiac arrest is when the heart suddenly stops beating.
"Marijuana does not appear to be entirely safe, as some of the lobbyists for marijuana are arguing," Singh said. But the study did not prove that pot causes takotsubo.
Singh was to present his findings Sunday at the American Heart Association's annual meeting, in New Orleans. Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
An American Heart Association spokeswoman questioned the findings, noting that the study mainly focused on marijuana use among people who'd fallen ill with takotsubo, which is a very rare condition.
"I think they're extending conclusions that go beyond the data," said Donna Arnett, dean and professor of epidemiology at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, in Lexington. "These data are suggestive only. I don't know you can extend it to say you should not use marijuana in terms of risk for stress cardiomyopathy."
Takotsubo is a sudden and usually temporary weakening of the heart muscle that reduces the heart's ability to pump -- essentially a "stunning" of the heart, Singh explained. This can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness and sometimes fainting.
The condition generally causes no long-term effects on a person's heart health, Singh said.
Takotsubo typically affects older women, and has been linked to anxiety or stress, Singh said.
Singh said he and his colleagues decided to investigate this topic after treating a patient in their hospital who'd ingested marijuana and was found to be suffering from takotsubo.
The researchers analyzed data from a federal health care database, identifying more than 33,000 people who had been hospitalized with stress cardiomyopathy between 2003 and 2011 in the United States.
Of those patients, 210 were also identified as marijuana users, which amounts to less than 1 percent of all people identified with takotsubo.
The marijuana users with takotsubo were more likely to be younger and male, with few other heart risk factors, the researchers found.
"Most of these people who had used marijuana and had developed takotsubo were young men, which was completely diametrically opposite of what takotsubo is known for," Singh said.
Despite their age and relative heart health, the marijuana users were significantly more likely than non-users to go into cardiac arrest (2.4 percent versus 0.8 percent, respectively) and to require an implanted defibrillator to detect and correct dangerously abnormal heart rhythms (2.4 percent versus 0.6 percent, respectively).
"They should not be having these severe side effects like cardiac arrest," Singh said. "That's an alarming thing for people who ingested marijuana."
Looking at the entire database, Singh and his colleagues concluded that active marijuana use doubles the risk of takotsubo in young men.
Chemicals contained in marijuana are known to interact with systems that control or moderate stress hormones within the body, and could potentially explain this observation, Singh said.
Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, a group advocating reform of marijuana laws, said that takotsubo is extremely rare, and occurred in far fewer than 1 percent of the patients tracked in the health care database.
On the other hand, national data indicates more than 10 percent of Americans use marijuana, and as many as one-third of young adults aged 18 to 25 are users, Armentano said.
"Self-evidently, if cannabis consumption is a risk factor for this condition, it is a nearly insignificant risk factor," he said.
New marijuana laws create opportunities, risks for CPAs
Initiatives in eight states expanded recreational and medical use, but federal ban remains.
By Lindsay Patterson
Voters approved marijuana initiatives in eight of the nine states where the issue was on the ballot Nov. 8, allowing for the creation of new businesses that will need CPA services. However, because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, CPAs will need to carefully consider potential risks associated with businesses operating in this industry.
California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada approved the use of recreational marijuana, although voters in Arizona rejected a similar measure. Medical marijuana remains legal in that state, however. On the medical side, voters in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota approved legalizing medical marijuana, while voters in Montana approved expanding the state's existing medical marijuana program. Nationwide, 31 states and jurisdictions now have legal marijuana in some capacity.
Businesses in this industry are increasingly seeking CPA services, with some states—such as Arizona and Minnesota—mandating that marijuana retailers undergo an annual audit. At the same time, however, most state boards of accountancy have not issued official guidance as to whether providing services to these businesses would constitute a violation of the board's rules of professional conduct. Thus far, only state boards of accountancy in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have issued guidance.
Generally speaking, each of these boards has determined that providing accounting services to state-legal marijuana businesses is not itself an act discreditable. However, a board could pursue disciplinary action against a licensee found guilty of a criminal act involving marijuana. A listing of each board's specific guidance is available here.
The AICPA has also developed resources for CPAs considering offering services to state-legal marijuana businesses, including the paper An Issue Brief on State Marijuana Laws and the CPA Profession, which will be updated in early 2017. AICPA Insights also published a recent blog post on the issue, and more tools are available on the AICPA website.
Lindsay Patterson is the AICPA's senior communications manager for state regulatory & legislative affairs. To comment on this article, contact Chris Baysden, senior manager of newsletters at the AICPA.
Cannabis: teenage consumption increases following legalization in the United States
An American study has uncovered a shift in teenagers' consumption and perceptions of cannabis since the 2015 legalization of recreational use of the drug in the state of Washington.
According to researchers at UC Davis and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, marijuana consumption among 13-14-year olds and 15-16-year olds increased respectively by two percent and four percent in the state of Washington since the introduction of the 2015 law authorizing recreational use of the drug.
The study also found that since legalization negative perceptions of marijuana among Washington teenagers in the same age categories had declined by 14% and 16% respectively.
In the United States, nine states have now authorized the recreational use of marijuana, while while 26 have legalized it for medical purposes. Most recently California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts voted to change their laws in November 2016. They join Colorado, which legalized in 2012, Oregon, Alaska and the State of Washington, which legalized in 2015, as well as the US capital Washington DC, which legalized in 2014.
Worrying impact on teenagers
In concrete terms, anyone over the age of 21 can now legally procure one ounce of marijuana for recreational use. The law also allows for the cultivation of six marijuana plants, provided they are not on public view. Retail sales from licensed vendors are permitted and taxed at 15 percent.
"While legalization for recreational purposes is currently limited to adults, potential impacts on adolescent marijuana use are of particular concern," points out Magdalena Cerdá, the author of the study which was published in Jama Pediatrics.
In view of the increasing number of states moving to legalize marijuana, the researchers argue that changes to the law should be accompanied by prevention programs that raise teenagers' awareness of the potential risks of marijuana.
Vermont governor issues 192 pardons for minor pot crimes
Wilson Ring, Associated Press Updated 7:05 am, Wednesday, January 4, 2017
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Nearly 200 people had minor marijuana convictions wiped from their records Tuesday when Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin issued pardons to those who he said were still facing stigma and "very real struggles" that often accompany drug convictions.
Shumlin, who leaves office Thursday, had urged people convicted of minor marijuana crimes prior to when the state decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana in 2013 to apply for the pardons.
His office received about 450 applications.
Smoke & ministers: Israel moves to allow medical marijuana exports
An Israeli government committee has given the first go-ahead for the country to export medical marijuana.
The green light came from a ministerial committee on Sunday, but the legislation could take months to get through parliament.
The measure could generate an estimated 1 billion shekels ($267 million) per year for Israel, according to some projections.
The bill aims to regulate and enable the exportation of cannabis in response to global demands for the plant from medical marijuana researchers and business owners.
“Today there are eight companies growing [marijuana] in Israel and there are dozens more requests from business owners wanting to practice, pending the relevant bodies,” read a government statement announcing the vote.
Marijuana is currently only allowed for medical use in Israel by special permission. Around 26,000 patients were approved to use cannabis by the Israeli Ministry of Health in 2016, with the number of licenses expected to double by 2018, the Times of Israel reported late last year.
The Israeli government announced recently plans to decriminalize home use and small-scale possession of marijuana, and allocated 8 million shekels to a dozen research programmes studying cannabis for medical use.
Last year, Israeli drugmaker Teva struck a deal with a Tel Aviv-based start-up to give patients a pocket-sized inhaler that delivers an individualized dose of marijuana.
In the US, 28 states have legalized marijuana for medical use, and the market is estimated to reach $50 billion over the next decade, according to Reuters.
Israel gives green light to decriminalize marijuana use
The Israeli government voted on Sunday in favor of decriminalizing recreational marijuana use, joining some U.S. states and European countries who have adopted a similar approach.
"On the one hand we are opening ourselves up to the future. On the other hand, we understand the dangers and will try to balance the two," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet in broadcast remarks.
According to the new policy, which must still be ratified by parliament, people caught smoking marijuana would be fined rather than arrested and prosecuted. Criminal procedures would be launched only against those caught repeatedly with the drug.
Selling and growing marijuana would remain criminal offences in Israel.
"Israel cannot shut its eyes to the changes being made across the world in respect to marijuana consumption and its effects," Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said in a statement.
In the United States, 28 states have legalized marijuana for medical use and since 2012, several have also approved marijuana for recreational use.
Shaked said Israeli authorities would now put their focus on education about the possible harmful effects of drug use.
Marijuana use is fairly common in Israel. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has said that almost nine percent of Israelis use cannabis, though some Israeli experts believe the numbers are higher.
Israeli police figures showed only 188 people were arrested in 2015 for recreational use of marijuana, a 56 percent drop since 2010, and many of those apprehended in that time were never charged.
About 25,000 people have a license to use the drug for medicinal purposes in Israel, one of the world leaders in medical marijuana research.
In February, a government committee gave an initial nod for the export of medical cannabis, though final legislative measures will likely take months.