Category: Blog


Senator’s Marijuana Bill Announcement Is a Masterpiece of Pot Puns

Senator Marijuana

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch wants to help medical marijuana research become easier to accomplish. The bill he just introduced to the Senate would take a look at medical marijuana as a safer and more effective alternative to opioid medications. The Marijuana Effective Drug Study Act of 2017 (MEDS Act) couldn’t have come at a better time as the country’s opioid crisis continues.

Senator Hatch is Mormon and remains very opposed to recreational marijuana use, according to Fortune. Regardless, the senator wants barriers removed that currently are making medical marijuana research challenging.

Senator Hatch addressed the Senate saying: “It’s high time to address research into medical marijuana. Our country has experimented with a variety of state solutions without properly delving into the weeds on the effectiveness, safety, dosing, administration, and quality of medical marijuana. All the while, the federal government strains to enforce regulations that sometimes do more harm than good. To be blunt, we need to remove the administrative barriers preventing legitimate research into medical marijuana, which is why I’ve decided to roll out the MEDS Act.”

The bill includes provisions to streamline the research registration process. It would also make marijuana more available for research purposes and allow for the FDA to approve marijuana-derived medications that would be allowed for the commercial production of FDA-approved formulas.

If the bill is approved, Attorney General Jeff Sessions would be required to increase the country’s national marijuana quota to meet research needs.

Protections would also be in place to make sure that abuse of controlled marijuana products doesn’t occur. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) would also have to establish and make available information recommending proper manufacturing practices for the cultivation and production of marijuana grown for research purposes.

Senator Hatch also told the Senate: “It will surprise no one that I am strongly against the use of recreational marijuana. I worry, however, that in our zeal to enforce the law, we too often blind ourselves to the medicinal benefits of natural substances like cannabis. While I certainly do not support the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, the evidence shows that cannabis possesses medicinal properties that can truly change people’s lives for the better. And I believe, Mr. President, that we would be remiss if we threw out the baby with the bathwater. We lack the science to support use of medical marijuana products like CBD oils not because researchers are unwilling to do the work, but because of bureaucratic red tape and over-regulation. Under current law, those who want to complete research on the benefits of medical marijuana must engage in a complex application process and interact with several federal agencies. These regulatory acrobatics can take researchers over a year, if not more, to complete. And the longer researchers have to wait, the longer patients have to suffer.”

The MEDS Act has four co-sponsors: Senator Schatz, Senator Coons, Senator Gardner and Senator Tillis. The CARERS Act, introduced by Senators Paul, Booker and Gillibrand, has also been introduced in an effort to expand medical marijuana research.

Photo: youtube/UtahPolicy

Study: Americans’ Attitude Towards Marijuana Increased Use, Not Legalization

Marijuana Use

It may be surprising to learn that increased marijuana use in the U.S. isn’t because of marijuana legalization. The journal Addiction published new data following a study’s completion along with comparing data from the 29 medical marijuana states and eight recreational marijuana states. The findings determined that societal factors have led to the increase in marijuana use, not the liberalization of marijuana laws.

The study is very clear regarding that its findings are absolutely not due to changes in state marijuana legalization laws, according to Forbes. It was also noted that in prior surveys some respondents may have been too timid to admit their marijuana use. More marijuana users are becoming open about their consumption.

The study says, “Medical and recreational marijuana policies did not have any significant association with increased marijuana use. Marijuana policy liberalization over the past 20 years has certainly been associated with increased marijuana use; however, policy changes appear to have occurred in response to changing attitudes within states and to have effects on attitudes and behaviors more generally in the U.S.”

The abstract portion of the study said that the “steep rise in marijuana use in the United States since 2005 occurred across the population and is attributable to general period effects not specifically linked to the liberalization of marijuana policies in some states.”

Interestingly enough, this study’s findings were published just one week after the annual federal study shows that teen marijuana use is at the lowest levels recorded since 1994.

These two recent studies show that despite marijuana prohibition and some legalization throughout the U.S., nationwide legalization isn’t likely to lead to a mass increase in marijuana use. Simply put, many people that want to use it, likely already do.

Uruguay Forced to Make Recreational Marijuana Sales Cash Only

Marijuana Sales

The Uruguay government announced that it is making changes to its recreational marijuana system because due to international finance laws banks cannot legally work with pharmacies selling marijuana.

New pharmacies will be setup that will sell marijuana and accept cash purchases, according to Idaho Statesman. Marijuana sales began in July after a 3-year wait for implementation. Following warnings from banks, there were three pharmacies in the country that chose not to delve into the recreational marijuana market.

The new system will prevent the dismantling of Uruguay’s recreational marijuana market.

There are still challenges in place, such as paying employees. In Uruguay, employees must be paid via direct deposit, so a bank account is needed for this service. A few other fixes are also in order before things are on an even keel in Uruguay.

These THC-Infused Lollipops Also Grow Cannabis Plants

Half Lit

Half Lit edibles company has developed an organic and THC-infused candy lollipop that will also grow a cannabis plant when the lollipop sticks are planted and watered. Seeds are hidden within the sticks, and sprout like a normal cannabis plant when fed. Germination takes up to 11 days, according to Half Lit.

The vegetative states of the lollipop-started plants is between one and three months with a two to three month period required for the flowering stages, according to NY Daily News. Each lollipop contains 25mg of THC.

There are several flavors available including Lit Lemonade, Watermelon Wonderland, Pineapple Paradise, Lunar Lavendar, Calming Caramel, Acai Lit, and Hot Mama Mango. Currently, Half Lit’s products are only available in California.

The Half Lit website says, “Our name, a gentle nod to the moon above when half of its shape dares to light up the sky. Think of it as a half-moon.”

Photo: @gethalflit

Nevada Soon to Become Home to Marijuana Consumption Clubs, Bars, Hotels

Vegas Marijuana Lounge

According to Nevada’s Legislative Counsel Bureau there are currently no laws in place preventing local governments in the state from issuing business licenses for marijuana consumption lounges where tourists and locals could consume recreational marijuana legally.

Consumption on casino property is still illegal, according to Las Vegas Review Journal.

Andrew Jolley of The Source dispensary in Las Vegas believes the lounges are a step in the right direction. Jolley is also the president of the Nevada Dispensary Association. He said, “We have to be able to give tourists an option rather than a blanket statement that it’s just not allowed on the Strip. We’ll be surprised at how many locals find value in these lounges. Think about how many bars we have or wine tasting facilities and events. It’s crazy to think that marijuana is somehow different than that. It’s really not.”

Nevada Senator Tick Segerblom said, “I really believe that Nevada can be the marijuana capital of the world. And this will be one more thing in our toolbox.”

Local governments in Nevada are free to allow or disallow recreational marijuana consumption lounges in their jurisdictions. The Clark County marijuana advisory panel has discussed the lounges opening in Las Vegas, and a pilot program allowing on-site dispensary consumption is being considered.

Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said, “I do feel it is very important for the people who are coming from out of town, the tourists, which are a big contributor to the industry’s business, I’m told, to have a place where they can legally and safely consume the product.“

While the scope of consumption lounges isn’t clear in Clark County, Sisolak said, “I’d want to make sure that any of the marijuana being consumed was purchased from a licensed dispensary or grown in a home that has a license, (and) not illegally obtained product.”

Senator Segerblom introduced a bill earlier in 2017 regarding consumption lounges, but Governor Sandoval’s expressed concerned tabled the progress. Regarding the recent developments, Segerblom said, “This is what we’ve been waiting for. It’s fantastic.”

Colorado Marijuana Sales Are Funding Marijuana Prevention at Schools

Teen Marijuana Prevention

Rhonda Valdez, a school nurse at Wheat Ridge High School in Denver, will be taking on a new role soon. She has special certification in Colorado to teach marijuana prevention to school children. She’s among a group of nurses, counselors and social workers hired by districts to teach marijuana prevention education.

The state’s recreational marijuana sales tax dollars are funding the program, according to The Denver Post. Forty-two school districts will take part in the program. The $9.2 million grant is being distributed to schools that are near recreational marijuana shops. The education programs are designed to discourage teens and school age children from trying or using marijuana.

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) says that work will be done inside and outside the classrooms.

Nurse Valdez said, “We and other school health professionals are in a unique position in our schools in that we see kids every day and we can educated, assess and assist them with substance abuse or behavioral health issues. We can help keep kids from walking through that door that can lead to bad things.”

The grant money also helps correct school districts’ shortage of nurses. For every Colorado school nurse, each is responsible for up to 6,000 students. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that school nurses be responsible for no more than 750 students.

Qualified counselors will also be hired with the grant money. The counselors, according to Jon Widmier of Jefferson County School District, will help intervene and teach drug prevention. He said, “There is a growing need for this type of service in our schools, and we are trying to get ahead of it.”

Jeffco Schools has received $825,000 to hire three full-time nurses and six social emotional learning specialists. All positions are funded for three years.

Widmier said, “The lines have definitely been blurred. There is more of a cultural acceptance of marijuana use.”

Since 2005, roughly 5% of Colorado high school students used marijuana regularly. In January 2017, the report shows little to no evidence that this number has increased.

Mike Van Dyke, of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said, “After all, it’s still illegal for high school students to use marijuana. You still can’t go to a retail shop and buy marijuana if you are under 21. You have to get it through illegal means.”

Before the grant funding came through, Nurse Valdez bounced between three schools. Now, she’ll be able to stay at just Wheat Ridge High School.

Widmier said, “That’s one reason why we are so excited about this. We can offer more focused support in one place.”

The Denver Public Schools system was given $871,636 in grant funding. This will help with suicide prevention education, substance abuse education and other programs at 22 of its middle and high schools.

Ellen Kelty of Denver Public Schools said, “It’s an interesting life we are in right now. But anything we can do to eliminate depression and other things that cause substance abuse is a step forward. We just want to make sure kids make smarter choices.”

Israeli Entrepreneur Producing Marijuana Innovation Expo in London

iCAN

The event is being called the first-ever international summit for accelerating marijuana innovation. The iCAN: Israel-Cannabis conference hopes to help Britain and other countries move toward decriminalization or legalization.

Scientists, regulators and entrepreneurs will all be featured to discuss the medical uses of marijuana at the conference, according to The JC. The conference will be held in London in October.

Israel has led the world in marijuana research. The Israeli military started using THC in 2004 to treat PTSD and medical use has been legal since the early 1990s.

Saul Kaye says that medical marijuana is already showing remarkable results, especially for PTSD sufferers and cancer patients.

Kaye said, “It really has impacted many, many lives. When your grandma is recovering from chemotherapy for cancer, she will be a typical user. There is a really good set up in Israel. Innovation wise, we’re already there, leading the way. In Israel we don’t stop someone using a product if it’s helping them, even if it’s illegal. No one should be put in jail for owning a plant.”

Kaye mentioned that medical marijuana has been shown useful for treating ailments like rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and other Ashkenazi diseases.

The UK still classifies marijuana as a Class B drug, making every aspect of it illegal. Just possessing marijuana in the UK may result in a 5-year jail sentence and a fine.

Kaye suggests that the UK is behind the rest of the world regarding marijuana legislation because it’s reluctant to break away from tradition.

Photo: fb .com/CannaTech2015

3 Marijuana Myths Debunked by Unbiased Researchers

Marijuana Myths

Claims about the supposed dangers of marijuana are regularly reported without criticism. But new studies illuminate the facts on a few prominent marijuana myths.

Myth 1) Dispensaries increase crime  
One common myth is that dispensaries are magnets for crime, according to the National Memo. But data recently published in the Journal of Urban Economics reveals that dispensaries actually deter crime in their neighborhoods. Researchers found that, in Los Angeles, crime quickly increased in areas where dispensaries closed.

The researchers said, “Open dispensaries provide over $30,000 per year in social benefit in terms of larcenies prevented.”

A federally-funded research study was published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs and noted a similar trend in Sacramento. That report reads: “There were no observed cross-sectional associations between the density of medical marijuana dispensaries and either violent or property crime rates in this study. These results show that the densities of medical marijuana dispensaries may not be associated with crime rates or that other factors, such as measures dispensaries take to reduce crime (i.e., doormen, video cameras) may increase guardianship such that it deters possible motivated offenders.”

Myth 2) Marijuana increases traffic fatalities
Another myth is that states with legalized marijuana have more traffic-related deaths because of marijuana. Research from investigators at the University of Texas – Austin show that there weren’t any significant changes in the number of traffic-related deaths in Colorado or Washington.

The investigators said, “We found no significant association between recreational marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado and subsequent changes in motor vehicle fatality rates in the first three years after recreational marijuana legalization.”

A 2016 publication noted that in medical marijuana legal states traffic fatalities decreased in drivers between ages 25 and 44.

Myth 3) Marijuana increases use among youth
The third myth debunked is that of problematic marijuana use after legalization. Some say that legalizing marijuana will increase rates of marijuana use. Those claims are unsubstantiated. Most studies regarding the issue didn’t find significant change in the amount of young people or adults using marijuana in a problematic way.

Columbia University researchers submitted information to the journal Addiction recently reporting: “No associated increase in the prevalence of cannabis use disorder” where medical marijuana is legal. The same report shows that there was: “No significant change in the prevalence of past-month marijuana use among adolescents or young adults (those ages 18 to 25) after legalization.”

Separate studies also show that there are fewer young people using marijuana now than a decade ago. Lead study author for a JAMA Psychiatry published study said, “Our survey didn’t notice any increase in marijuana-related problems. Certainly, some people are having problems so we should remain vigilant but the sky is not falling.”

Legalization is Causing Marijuana Prices to Plummet Rapidly

Weed

In many marijuana-legalized states the price of marijuana has dropped significantly.

The average price per gram is $7.38 in Washington, a 67-percent decrease since legalization took place three years ago, reports The Washington Post.

Steven Davenport of the Pardee Rand Graduate School analyzed retail prices in Washington. To maintain a profitable business model, Davenport hints at the industry finding even more ways to reduce price.

Davenport said, “Some consumers will prefer higher priced brands, but there will always be a market for the brand that can produce adequate qualify cannabis at the cheapest cost.”

This is significant for drug policy in general. Legalization in Washington and other states proves that prohibition is the cause for high cost. One example is heroin, which in a decade, has only seen a 16-percent decrease in price. In some states, legalized marijuana dropped that much in price in just months.

Prohibition drives up prices. Legal substances, like coffee and alcohol, cost less than other substances because they are legal and demand is high.

The marijuana industry, however, is entertaining to witness because we get to watch first hand as new technologies emerge and prices drop considerably within just months.

New Federal Govt Survey Says Teen Marijuana Use Decreased in 2016

Marijuana Use

Released on Sept 7, the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that teen marijuana use rates have decreased nationally in 2016. Past-month use rates among adults increased slightly, but alcohol use rates among all age groups decreased, indicating the possibility that adults are substituting marijuana for alcohol.

Past-month use rates for the 12-17 age group decreased by 0.5% from 2015 to 6.5% nationally in 2016, reports MPP. This is the lowest level of marijuana use in this age group since 2002. The data also shows a steady decrease since 2014, when the first states to make marijuana legal for adults began allowing regulated retail sales.

Morgan Fox, senior communications manager for the Marijuana Policy Project, said, “Critics of legalization worry about the message being sent to youth by marijuana policy reform efforts, but the real message is that marijuana should only be used by responsible adults, and it seems to be sinking in. Regulating marijuana for adults reinforces that message and creates effective mechanisms for making it more difficult for teens to obtain marijuana. Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and regulation gives adults the legal option to choose the safer substance.”

There are currently eight states that regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol for adults, four of which voted to do so in 2016. Marijuana possession is also legal for adults in the District of Columbia. Twenty-three states and D.C. considered legislation in 2017 to legalize and regulate marijuana.

February 2017 data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported that the rate of marijuana use among adolescents “has not changed since legalization either in terms of the number of people using or the frequency of use among users.” A study released last week by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy also found that teen marijuana use has not increased in that state. Colorado and Washington were the first states to make marijuana legal and regulated for adults.