Tags Posts tagged with "legalization"

legalization

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A recent proposal aims to legalize medical marijuana in North Carolina. The bill lays out the development of a medical marijuana supply system and aims to create a program administered by the UNC system called the North Carolina Cannabis Research Program. The program would conduct studies to determine the safety and efficacy of cannabis as medical treatment and then develop guidelines for the appropriate physician administration and patient use of medical cannabis.

The political director of the marijuana advocacy group NORML, Justin Strekal, said the proposal is comprehensive and includes a long list of conditions that doctors could prescribe marijuana to treat. He stated, “Some other states have gone a much more conservative approach in terms of what they will consider marijuana to be a treatment for.” Strekal said there are states that only legalize cannabidiol, or CBD (oil derived from a strain of marijuana without psychoactive effects).

Strekal said, “The CBD-only is really great at treating the kids with refractory epilepsy, but as far as the much more holistic approach that can be used to treat a whole host of ailments, it’s important to have access to the whole plant. So, as far as medical marijuana bills go, we’re very happy with what’s being introduced in North Carolina.” But the federal administration and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions have been increasingly critical of states legalizing marijuana in recent months.

He recently said, “I, as you know, am dubious about marijuana. States can pass whatever laws they choose, but I’m not sure we’re going to be a better, healthier nation if we have marijuana being sold on every corner grocery store.” Whether Sessions and the new administration will actually enforce the federal status of marijuana remains unclear. Strekal said data suggests legalization of medical marijuana could reduce opioid dependency in the state.

Research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center found the annual number of deaths from prescription drug overdose is 25% lower in states that have legalized medical marijuana. Strekal said, “The data is very conclusive that marijuana can be a pathway out of addiction rather a gateway in.”

Executive director of Drug Free America Foundation Inc., Calvina Fay, said she doesn’t think the proliferation of marijuana reduces drug-related deaths and overdoses. “Is there a state that has reduced their opioid problem and legalized marijuana? Yeah, I’m sure there is,” she said. “But there’s no proof that marijuana is the cause of that.”

In a speech to Virginia law enforcement in March, Sessions said marijuana proliferation will not staunch the effects of the opioid crisis. Sessions stated, “I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana; so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful.”

However, criticisms of medical marijuana are outdated and not based on scientific fact, Strekal said. He stated, “To maintain the same classification of marijuana in the realm of heroin is absolutely absurd. It’s unfounded, and it’s unfathomable to deny patients access to a substance that will alleviate their suffering.”

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By Jason Spatafora @WolfofWeedSt

“I fear the Greeks, even those bearing gifts.”- Virgil

The DEA’s recent cannabis research expansion is a Harry Houdini inspired smoke show of misdirection all to set up the next trick; there I said it. While some view it as a positive first step, I tend to think it served a very deliberate function. Optically it played directly into expected vitriolic fallout from advocates, activists and media touts, all of which lined up to ignite their “DEA should reschedule cannabis” torches. In a “perfect world” scenario these people aren’t wrong, cannabis isn’t Heroin’s equal & 1+1=2, but just as fire cannot exist in a vacuum, neither can a rational cannabis debate. And while everyone on the side of reason is shouting in unison about rescheduling they failed to see that they might have just had their pockets picked. DEA’s policy statement that everyone seemed to ignore there are 33 words that have the potential to create the legal framework for the monopolization of Cannabis by means of an exclusionary application process.

Prologue – August 10th, 2016

Russ Baer, a staff coordinator for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) media affairs wing gave a response to Steven Nelson of USNEWS.com via email. Nelson later shared a screen grab of the email via tweet. The statement made to him from this Drug Enforcement Administration staff coordinator read:

“Tomorrow morning (August 11th, 2016) the Drug Enforcement Administration will be making some important announcement regarding Marijuana related topics that will be published in the Federal Register. Because of your interest and/or prior engagement with the DEA on this subject, the DEA office of National Media Affairs is reaching out to you regarding these anticipated announcements.”

Over the next 24 hours social media was a blaze, with many people within the industry uncovering the fact that Rescheduling wouldn’t happen and that the DEA response would have to do with research. As expected, the incendiary scheduling of cannabis debate raged on into the following day.

August 11th, 2016

As expected, the Drug Enforcement Administration disappointed the advocates and activists of medical marijuana by not removing or rescheduling marijuana from its class 1 controlled substance status. Yet the DEA, in all of its benevolence, offered a consolation prize of sorts, by “deciding” to expand the study of Medical Marijuana for researchers, Universities & drug companies outside of the confines of a single federally legal facility. The facility, to refresh your memory is located at the University of Mississippi, (ranked 164th in Bio Sciences) and had up to this point been the sole research monopoly on legally grown marijuana, courtesy of the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse).

DEA’s Misdirection Strategy

Over the next few days it seemed that every headline following the DEA’s deliberation was about the archaic rescheduling system & how cannabis is safer statistically than opiates that are schedule 2. Some media outlets went as far as to paint a “glass half full” picture. The LA Times for example did a piece titled “DEA ends its monopoly on marijuana growing for medical research.” The social reaction from cannabis enthusiasts, advocates and potrepreneurs from Main Street to Wall Street was as expected with everyone chiming in on social media to wag their fingers at the DEA. Representative Barbara Lee, a congresswoman from Oakland California stating via tweet “Politicians aren’t doctors or scientists. Marijuana research prohibitions are outdated, unscientific, & dangerous for those who need #MMJ.” As expected the rhetoric from the cannabis side was “The DEA is bad, the War on Drugs is a complete failure, Big Pharma is to blame,” so on and so forth.

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The people aren’t wrong on many of these points. The War in Drugs is a failure when considering addiction has been plateauing since its 1970 inception and US drug control spending is up 2000%, which to date stands at $1.5 trillion dollars. We can go on and on as to where that money went, what industries it created (prison industrial complex), the people it disproportionately targeted (minorities), but that’s a whole other article or book for that matter. Big Pharma however does have its trillion dollars hands in this story, but more on that later as I’ve digressed.

Not to go back and pick on the LA Times click-bate headline of “DEA ends its monopoly on marijuana growing for medical research,” but did it really end the monopoly? Let’s evaluate the idea. Yes, a monopoly is defined as “the exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service.” The University of Mississippi was in fact in exclusive possession of the NIDA edict to legally grow marijuana and study it. On the surface the Monopoly has ended, but the reality is that we are just switching out the term Monopoly for an Oligarchy. Is an oligarchy any different than a monopoly in the sense that it’s just a smaller group carving out the biggest slices for themselves, eliminating competition by means of out maneuvering or outspending their opponent in an effort to influence policy such as this? Consider that the biggest lobby against the cannabis Industry is the pharmaceutical industry, yet they’re simultaneously studying cannabis for the purpose of synthesizing its many chemical compounds to create their high margin drugs.

Currently, their high margin bread and butter are the opioids for pain management such as OxyContin, Percocet and their generic versions of each. The drug companies are experts at isolating molecules from nature to create drugs that cost pennies to manufactures. In a zero sum game, cannabis is a direct threat to pharma companies, by snatching billions in profit and simultaneously causing billions in losses. Anti-cannabis lobbies would also be at risk as the pharmaceutical giants that feed them down on K Street would lose out on easy paydays. These anti-Marijuana lobbyists provide a micro look at the systemic problems within American politics illustrating how/why elected officials in Congress consistently vote against the interests of their collective constituency and bring forth carefully crafted bills or amendments like this one.

On the DEA’s policy statement and legal considerations section, under, legal applicable considerations it states.

“Second, as with any application submitted pursuant to section 823(a), in determining whether the proposed registrationwould be consistent with the public interest, among the factorsto be considered are whether the applicant has previous experience handling controlled substances in a lawful manner and whether the applicant has engaged in illegal activity involving controlled substances. In this context, illegal activity includes any activity in violation of the CSA (regardless of whether such activity is permissible under State law) as well as activity in violation of State or local law. While past illegal conduct involving controlled substances does not automatically disqualify an applicant, it may weigh heavily against granting the registration.”

Translation, grow marijuana even in a state where it’s legal and you are going to have a hard time becoming a manufacturer or researcher for the DEA’s new policy, thus excluding tier one cultivators in practice and likely creating a perpetual home for cannabis on the scheduling list. Prohibition’s end could very well be right around the corner, but the fear is in the form of legal medical marijuana at a Walgreens near you. I asked the DEA’s Russ Baer directly if the inserted language above in bold would be a non-starter for current cultivators wanting to become manufacturers as they are in clear Violation of CSA? In a written statement to Marijuana Stocks the DEA’s official response was:

“DEA is serious about facilitating marijuana research and that there is a lawful pathway for doing so. This DEA decision will facilitate increased research involving marijuana, within the framework of the law and U.S. treaty obligations, to enhance the drug’s supply available to researchers. The goal of this historic and monumental policy shift is to increase the amount and variety of marijuana available to researchers and make it easier for researchers to obtain marijuana as compared to current system under which marijuana must be obtained from NIDA. Growers must become registered with DEA, following the submission of an application, which DEA will evaluate in accordance with the CSA. Registered growers will need to comply with all CSA regulatory requirements, such as quotas, record keeping, order forms, and maintenance of control against diversion. Marijuana produced under this proposal may only be supplied to DEA-registered manufacturers and researchers, and only for purposes authorized by the CSA.

All potential new drugs, including drug products made from marijuana, are subject to the rigors of the drug approval process mandated by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). This drug approval process requires that before a new drug is allowed to enter the U.S. market, it must be demonstrated through sound clinical trials to be both safe and effective for its intended uses,” stated Russ Baer of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

When asked if the inserted language also creates an unfair advantage for Pharma companies the response from the Drug Enforcement Administration circled back to the CSA (Controlled Substance Act) stating that the “DEA has adopted a new policy, consistent with the CSA and U.S. treaty obligations, under which additional entities may become registered with DEA to grow and distribute marijuana for research purposes. DEA will evaluate each application it receives to determine whether adding such applicant to the list of registered growers is necessary to provide an adequate and uninterrupted supply of marijuana to researchers in the U.S. In addition, applicants must demonstrate their ability to safely secure the drugs to prevent diversion, while abiding by the approved research protocol.”

The Controlled Substance Act

Everything points back to the Controlled Substance Act, a bill that was introduced into the Congress by Harley Staggers and took less than 6 weeks to get passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon. The signing of this document not only created the “War on Drugs,” but put an enforcement agency (DEA) in charge of Cannabis scheduling, circumventing the FDA in a move that creates an inter-agency firewall of sorts. The DEA’s position on why the FDA, who already regulates pharmaceutical drugs, isn’t in charge of marijuana rescheduling was point blank, “The Controlled Substances Act provides a mechanism for substances to be controlled (added to or transferred between schedules) or decontrolled (removed from control). The CSA provides roles for DEA and the FDA. Proceedings to add, delete, or change the schedule of a drug or other substance may be initiated by DEA, HHS, or by petition from any interested party. Once initiated, the process involves a deliberate and collaborative interagency exchange.”

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In Laymen’s terms CSA effectively says “DEA you’re in charge of this, FDA you’re in charge of that.” Unfortunately, Marijuana will never be completely removed from the scheduling list unless there is a major political overhaul in every branch of government, if and only if elected officials stop letting lobbies pour honey in their ears and money into campaigns. The reality from my perspective is that the DEA is a scapegoat, the perfect Boogey Man, simply because their job is to follow orders. They are soldiers in a sense, adhering to the guidelines of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), a legal document crafted by a congress, molded in the image of benefactors, used to fuel a fake war and create cottage industries.

The DEA knows marijuana is safer than Oxy and that’s not speculation that’s a direct quote. They don’t want to go after the mother transporting medication to her sick child because they’re suffering from seizures. They want the dangerous individuals like El Chapo or the pill mills slinging Oxy off the streets. They have no interest in going after all cultivators following state law to the letter. Are there exceptions, of course! Does it make these comments directly from them any less true? No.
DEA’s direct position on which drug is more dangerous from a consumption standpoint as it relates to Cannabis vs OxyContin? “There were more than 47,000 drug overdose deaths in 2014, or approximately 129 per day, more than half (61 percent) of which involved either a prescription opioid or heroin. Marijuana meets the statuary criteria of a Scheduled I controlled substance, and has been determined to have a high abuse potential with no currently accepted medical use. Schedule I includes some substances that are exceptionally dangerous (including heroin and LSD) and some that are less dangerous (including marijuana, which is less dangerous than some substances in other schedules).” When asked point blank, what’s more dangerous Oxy or Marijuana DEA says “Oxy.”

Robert Capecchi, Director of Federal Lobbying at the Marijuana Policy views medical marijuana legalization as a means to an opioid end as well as fiscal no brainer with far reaching benefits.

“Ending marijuana prohibition will allow licensed businesses to cultivate, distribute, and sell marijuana to adults. Unlike the criminal market, a legal and regulated market means products are pure, tested and labeled, sales are taxed, and business disputes are resolved in the courts, not with violence. Additionally, there is promising evidence to suggest that legal access to medical marijuana reduces the rates of opioid overdoses and the reliance on prescription pain killers.”

Foregone Conclusion?

Prohibition’s end could very well be right around the corner, but would we want it in the form of legal medical marijuana at a Walgreens near you? August 11th’s ruling was either one of many dominos in the quest for the monopolization of cannabis or just a pessimistic idea based off of history repeating itself. Regardless of which reality we are presently in, it doesn’t hurt to try and connect the dots, but if I can leave you with one last thing it’s the number 6630507. In case you’re wondering that’s the United States patent # they filed for cannabis in 2003 citing “multiple therapeutic uses.” I can only postulate why they did that….

Regards,

Jason Spatafora

Drug War

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The Truth is Out There

Find anyone who is against the legalization of marijuana and ask them why they believe the “drug” should remain illegal. After they respond with narrow-minded statements that they believe to be facts but actually have zero scientific backing or support whatsoever, I want you to ask this series of questions:

  1. “How come the U.S. government actually used to tax marijuana?”
  2. “How come the U.S. government tested marijuana as a truth serum?”
  3. “Why are thousands of marijuana plants grown today on public land?”

And lastly, my absolute favorite question to make every nay-sayer respond with “uhhhh, ummm, uhhh duuhhh, ummm,”

  1. “Why has the U.S. government been growing marijuana for decades?”

After you ask that last question make sure to pull out your smart phone or camera and snap a selfie with them because the expression on their face will be priceless. Then upload it to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtag #dumbass.

The truth is that marijuana and hemp used to be widely accepted and used by the U.S. government and citizens across the country until one political event changed everything. I am about to share with you just how and why marijuana became outlawed in the United States. And it has absolutely NOTHING to do with its effects on the human body as a “drug.”

Mexicans are Responsible for “Marijuana?”

First, consider this. Throughout the 19th century, Americans used the word “cannabis” when referring to the plant, not marijuana. Pharmaceutical companies like Bristol-Myers Squib and Eli Lilly used cannabis in medicines — widely sold in U.S. pharmacies — to treat insomnia, migraines and rheumatism. From 1840 to 1900, U.S. scientific journals published hundreds of articles touting the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. But not once, not never, not ever was the plant referred to as “marijuana.” So where the hell did that word come from and why does it dominate the discourse in the United States today?

The answer can be found in the Mexican Revolution. Beginning in 1910, the Mexican Revolution is responsible for not only the creation of the word “marijuana” but for the radical change in our government’s stance on the plant. And here’s why.

After the war, waves of Mexican peasants migrated to U.S. state borders bringing with them their popular and preferred form of intoxication, what they termed “mariguana.”

With so many Mexican immigrants knocking on the doors of Southern state borders, anti-immigrant fears spread quickly. And after the Great Depression, these fears and prejudices against the Mexican people only grew. Historians and analysts attribute the creation of our nation’s very first marijuana laws to an attempt at trying to place social controls on the immigrant population.

In an effort to marginalize the new migrant population, the first anti-cannabis laws were targeted at the term “marijuana,” says Amanda Reiman, a policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance. Scholars say it’s no coincidence that the first U.S. cities to outlaw pot were in Border States. It is widely believed that El Paso, Texas, was the first U.S. city to ban cannabis, when it approved a measure in 1914 prohibiting the sale or possession of the “drug.”

Around the same time, West Indian and Mexican migrants started taking marijuana with them to ports along the Gulf of Mexico — most notably New Orleans, where the media began associating cannabis use with jazz musicians, blacks and prostitutes. Media outlets across the country helped fuel the hysteria, churning out headlines like “Loco weed now cultivated and smoked in cigarettes” and “Murder weed found up and down coast.” By the early 1930s, 29 states had banned marijuana.

Politics and Racism

But the man most largely responsible for cementing the negative view on marijuana is undoubtedly some jackass named Harry Anslinger, director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics from 1930 to 1962. An outspoken critic of the “drug,” he set out in the 1930s to place a federal ban on cannabis, embarking on a series of public appearances across the country.

Anslinger is often referred to as the great racist of the war on drugs, says John Collins, coordinator of the LSE IDEAS International Drug Policy Project in London. That’s funny because I refer to him as the “not-so-great asshole.”

Collins is not certain if the “not-so-great asshole” truly was a bigot. “But he knew that he had to play up people’s fears in order to get federal legislation passed,” Collins said. “So when talking to senators with large immigrant populations, it very much helped to portray drugs as something external, something that is invading the U.S. He would use the term ‘marijuana’ knowing that it sounds Hispanic, it sounds foreign.”

Anslinger began his federal campaign against the drug by publishing a report titled “Marijuana: Assassin of Youth” in 1937. That year, Anslinger testified before Congress in favor of marijuana prohibition stating, “Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.” “Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage.”

Was this guy f@cking serious?! How stupid were people back then?

But wait, it gets worse guys…

Big Business and Monopolies Hated Hemp

You see, Anslinger had a friend by the name of William Randolph Hearst. Hearst was not only a notoriously known racist with a strong hatred towards Mexicans, but he also happened to be the owner of the largest media conglomerate of the early-mid 1900s. Hearst owned just about every major newspaper in every major city in the United States. And get this, was heavily invested in the timber and paper production business to support his newspaper chain. Ahhhh, did that little light bulb inside your head just turn on?

What’s very similar to marijuana that could threaten a timber, paper business? Hemp!

Hemp was exploding on the scene in the early 1900s and it was a HUGE threat to Hearst. Early colonists were required to grow hemp, during World War II you could actually dodge the draft by growing hemp, and Henry Ford even made a car entirely from hemp! The mass production of hemp paper threatened to tear Hearst’s empire apart and he wasn’t going to stand for it. So what did he do?

Hearst is the creator of something known as yellow journalism, a practice that involves very little or no research and news but rather exaggerated and outlandish headlines to sell more newspapers. He used eye-catching headlines to captivate an audience and emphasized sensationalism rather than facts about how marijuana was ruining our country. This helped Anslinger build a political following for his fight against the Mexicans, I mean marijuana.

Hearst lost 800,000 acres of timberland to Pancho Villa, a prominent Mexican Revolutionary war general, which only fueled his hatred for the Mexican people. And the bottom line people is that telling outlandish lies about Mexicans and their crazy marijuana usage sold newspapers and made him filthy disgusting rich.

Their combination of political influence and media persuasion proved successful as Congress approved the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 criminalizing pot possession throughout the United States.

Go ahead, take a moment to really let that sink in. We outlawed an extremely useful plant because we wanted to put restraints on Mexican immigrants and some racist guy in a position of power was scared of losing money. Well, I guess nothing’s changed in nearly 100 years because I’m pretty sure immigration is still a major political debate, people are still racist, and big business still has a grasp on global economies.

And considering how big of a political topic immigration laws are today, I’d say the outlawing of marijuana was a complete failure!

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Canadian licensed medical cannabis producers built off the momentum from Wednesday and benefited from this as it carried into Thursday’s trading session.

These movements are significant because several of these stocks were under pressure on Tuesday and early Wednesday (post-Canopy Growth earnings).

Investors should keep an eye on how this sub-sector continues to trade as we believe it is comprised of some of the highest quality opportunities for investors.

We recapped some of these recent price movements and provided our updated thesis below:

Canopy Growth Corp (WEED.TO: TSX) (TWMJF: OTC) recaptured most of its losses from Tuesday after the shares rallied 3.7% on above-average trading volume. We continue to view Canopy Growth as one of the top long-term cannabis investments due to its leading position in the Canadian medical cannabis market. Canopy Growth recently broke below the $10 level and investor should keep an eye on shares as we continue to see long-term upside to current levels.

OrganiGram Holdings (OGI.V: TSX Venture) (OGRMF: OTC) saw a nice rally yesterday and we will monitor how this continues today. OGI and OGRMF rallied more than 5% and this was a nice change from the recent trend. We will provide updates on any significant price movements today. Stay tuned as we continue to hold cautiously.

Emblem Corp. (EMC.V: TSX Venture) (EMMBF: OTC) continued to rally yesterday and the shares were one of the top performers as they also rallied more than 5%. EMC is trading at $4.17 while EMMBF trades near $3.20. We continue to hold as we are favorable on the long-term outlook. Emblem has a lock up coming up in March and we have started to receive questions about this. Although we expect this to cause a short-term dip, we do not expect it to last long and will keep an eye on any significant price movements leading up to this.

Aurora Cannabis (ACB.V: TSX Venture) (ACBFF: OTC) ended the day up less than 2% and we continue to hold onto the shares. We have contemplated exiting this position and re-entering on weakness, however, we have not decided yet. The reason why we are questioning this holding is due to valuation. When you look at Aurora’s fully-diluted market cap, it is over $1 billion which is significant. We view the risk-reward scenario as balanced here and will keep you updated on how the shares move from here.

Aphria (APH.V: TSX Venture) (APHQF: OTC) edged lower yesterday and this move followed an 18% rally over the last week. APHQF traded as high as $5.15 before ending the day at $4.97 and We continue to see upside to current levels but we may trim the size of our position because of the strength of the recent rally.

CanniMed Therapeutics (CMED.TO: TSX) is trading at $11.95 after the shares edged slightly higher yesterday and we are on the sidelines at current levels. Although we are favorable on the company’s recent execution, the exchange it trades on, and its business model; we are cautious at these levels. We will keep you updated on how the shares trade from here

Cronos Group (MJN.V) recaptured all its losses from Wednesday as the shares rallied approx. 8% yesterday. MJN.V is trading at $2.59 and we are on the sidelines at current levels. We were favorable on MJN after Wednesday’s dip and will monitor how the shares respond today. The company announced a bought deal this week at $2.25 a share and this has caused the shares to trade a little more volatile over the last two trading sessions.

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Election day may likely put an end to the long-standing cannabis prohibitions in Denver. With a population of almost 60 million Americans, it signifies a huge step forward at making legal marijuana the law of the land nationwide. Smaller but still significant medical cannabis legalization measures around the United States could affect yet another 24 million Americans. Half of the states already allow some kind of medical cannabis use and more than half of all Americans live in a state where medical cannabis is approved.

Experts say California will most likely be the key factor in determining marijuana legalization on election day. Our most popular state is expected to approve the “Adult Use of Marijuana Act,” which would add almost 40 million names to the list of people who live in a state with legal marijuana. This fast growing industry which was Made-In-America has the potential for making billions of dollars in profits. Lawmakers see cannabis as a way to generate income in order to close budget gaps while entrepreneurs are considering the business side.

Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada are pushing to legalize pot for recreational purposes. Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota are asking voters to allow medical use for particular conditions such as cancer or chronic pain. None of this will affect the federal ban on cannabis use, although advocates for legalization say it can further pressure Congress, the DEA and the FDA to act.

Recreational cannabis is already legal in the following four states: Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska, plus the District of Columbia. Twenty five other states permit medical use. Because a large amount of Americans populate the nine states where loosening measures are being considered, this election has the ability to change things in a major way. California is a huge source of our County’s revenue and it has the tendency of paving the way for the rest of the Country.

National polls show increasing amounts of support for marijuana legalization. Pew Research Center released a poll earlier this month which found 57 percent of adults think cannabis use should be legal, up from 53 percent in 2015 and 32 percent in 2006; despite the fact that cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. A Gallup poll released Oct. 19 showed even greater support: 60 percent up from 58 percent last year and 50 percent in 2011.

“There’s been an enormous shift in public opinion on this issue, and I think that has directly led to why it is appearing on so many state’s (ballots) this year,” said John Kagia, executive vice president of industry analytics for New Frontier Data. “This is going to be an enormous industry, no matter how you slice it.”

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At the moment, public support for cannabis legalization is the highest it has ever been. However, this does not mean that everyone wishes to legalize. There are certain industries that wish to keep marijuana illegal. For instance, prisons and even law enforcements both fight legalization. However, there is one more player that people often forget: the drug-testing industry.

Everyone knows that drug testing is extremely expensive and that it unfairly singles out cannabis users. Even so, the drug-testing industry is still a major advocate of keeping cannabis illegal. Why? Well, the industry has a lot to lose. There are some who believe that the industry is selfishly going against legalization efforts and just trying to keep its revenue up.

In order to understand how and why various members of the drug-testing industry seem to be working against the cannabis legalization movement, studies looked at federal lobbying records and spoke to professionals about the science and economics behind drug testings.

“If you take marijuana out of the equation of the standard drugs that are screened for, you’re going to have a very, very small percentage of employees ever flunking drug tests,” Paul Armentano, the deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), said. “In fact, that percentage might be so small that employers rethink their cost-benefit analysis on whether the cost of doing all of these tests are worth the reward of finding a very small minority of employees who may be testing positive.”

Another expert spoke out on not just the science and economics, but the fairness of it.

“Someone passing or failing a drug test has no bearing on whether or not they’re going to be impaired at the job two weeks later,” Jason Williamson, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project, said. “I think that’s a huge piece of the puzzle that I’m sure drug-testing companies don’t need or want to talk about, but that public institutions and private industry should be considering.”

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Throughout the last few years, marijuana has become very popular among the public. In fact, more than half the nation now supports legalization. That means more and more people are becoming open to the idea of marijuana, and furthermore, more and more people are using the drug. This does not exclude celebrities. Let’s take a look at some famous potheads:

1. Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus used to be the queen of the Disney World with her run as Hannah Montana. People were unsure about this during the beginning of her transformation, but it became clearer. Eventually, she just flat out told Rolling Stone that “weed is the best drug on Earth.” Then, if that wasn’t clear enough, she began smoking on stage during one of her concerts. Yup, she’s a stoner.

2. Rihanna

This should come off as a surprise to anyone. There are pictures all over the internet of Rihanna smoking weed. There is even one of her rolling a blunt on her security guard’s head while mounting his shoulders. Seriously. Yup, she’s a pothead.

3. Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman, the man with the voice of voices, admitted to having smoked weed and drinking a lot in the past. He gave it up like most celebrities end up doing… Well, almost all of it. He stated during an interview that “I’ll never give up the ganja,” calling it “God’s own weed.”

4. James Franco

This one should not come off as a surprise to many people. However, he says that he gave up smoking weed in 2008. This is actually right before he made the movie Pineapple Express, where he played a drug dealer. He said “I used to smoke weed, but I haven’t done it in a long time. Everybody, even now, thinks, ‘That guy is stoned.’ It’s just the way I talk because I don’t smoke weed. Somehow, there’s something about me, the way I talk; that implies that I’m on drugs.”

5. Oprah

“You get a blunt, you get a blunt, you get a blunt!” Here is the big shocker. Oprah admits that she was smoking weed very actively back in the day, but decided to stop smoking in 1982. The most famous celebrity admitted this on Watch What Happens Live, but does not associate herself with the drug anymore. Sure, Oprah, sure.

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Stuck between a convenience store and a sports store selling football jerseys, the door to a cannabis dispensary could be extremely difficult not to see. However, when you enter the establishment, you cannot confuse the aroma. At Euflora, there are counters stacked with containers of cannabis next to platforms that describe each strain. A display of cannabis mixed products is stored in cases. Some of these products include energy shots, gummy bears, brownies, and more. These are available to those that are 21 or older.

More specifically, this store can be found in Colorado, where the billion dollar cannabis industry began in 2014. It gives a good look at what Massachusetts may be seeing if voters decide to pass cannabis on the upcoming ballot this fall. So for all of those wondering whether or not cannabis legalization has been good or bad, the answer is “good,” according to Colorado Senate President Bill Cadman.

The general agreement among state officials, who strongly believe that their job is to represent the people rather than their own beliefs, is that since marijuana has become legal, there have been no significant negative externalities. In fact, legalization has resulted in thousands of new jobs in the growing industry as well as $135 million in taxes last year.

While that may be true, police state that they scramble to enforce a group of laws making sure cannabis is safe, including driving while impaired. Officials typically worry that the industry is going to follow the footsteps of tobacco companies, avoiding regulation and tempting users with sly advertising. In addition, according to recent data from a federal drug-use survey, Colorado has the highest under-21 population smoking marijuana since it was legalized in November of 2012. However, as previously mentioned, there have been no cases such as this so that these fears may be put to rest.

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In an incredibly hasty manner, Peter Shumlin, Governor of Vermont, changed from merely stating that he was indecisive on whether or not support to legalize the recreational marijuana industry in 2016 to asking lawmakers to come together and form a bill that would end prohibition for the crop. As he was giving his annual State of the State address this Thursday, Shumlin told lawmakers to begin seriously considering how to put together a proposal to tax and manage cannabis. He also highlighted that 80,000 residents in Vermont used marijuana last year, which was a great contribution to the black market.

“That’s why I will work with you to craft the right bill that thoughtfully and carefully eliminates the era of prohibition that is currently failing us so miserably,” stated Shumlin. “I believe we have the capacity to take this next step and get marijuana legalization done right the Vermont way. Let’s do it together.”

Sketching out five key focuses, Shumlin said the right bill ought to keep cannabis out of the hands of minors; keep taxes sufficiently small to draw individuals out of the underground market; reserve rehabilitation programs; devise more grounded laws against driving while impaired; and prohibit the offer of pot edibles until the state has an opportunity to direct more research with an end goal to establish the appropriate regulations to these sorts of items.

Representative Shumlin’s prerequisites are like a proposition drafted during the summer by Senator Jeanette White. Not long ago, White reported that her proposition – Senate Bill 241 – had been submitted to the state governing body with expectations of sanctioning recreational cannabis in 2016. The bill looks to authorize the development, ownership, and selling of pot for grown-ups 21 or older, however not at all like comparable measures presented all through the country, it accompanies a provision that would permit the state to set up various marijuana lounges all through the state

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Surpassing national surveys, an amazing 80 percent of voters in Illinois said that they would permit patients to utilize medical cannabis as suggested by a specialist, a Harper Polling survey reports. The survey, led in January for the Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois (MCAI), reviewed 800 likely voters of all races, political gatherings and bunches, and urban and rural tenants. About 75 percent of those solicited said the advantages from medicinal weed exceed any potential dangers.

“The message that Illinois supports the medical cannabis program is clear,” Tim McGraw, MCAI co-founder, and director, said.

Near 70 percent of the survey, members said they trust Illinois’ current MMJ experimental program—right now restricted to just a couple of ailments that ought to be extended, particularly to incorporate veterans experiencing PTSD. Illinois’ official Medical Cannabis Advisory Board suggested last October that eight weakening conditions including PTSD, mental imbalance, a few incessant agony disorders, osteoarthritis and crabby gut disorder be added to the MMJ registry. These conditions, be that as it may, should be affirmed by Illinois’ Republican senator, Bruce Rauner, before the February 1 due date.

Illinois’ MMJ experimental run program, which propelled last November, is a standout amongst the most prohibitive in the nation. MCAI authorities are trusting this bipartisan survey will demonstrate that Illinois occupants overwhelmingly bolster giving a more extensive scope of patients more access to medical marijuana.

“The Rauner administration and lawmakers throughout the state must follow the will of the people and leave the decision on whether medical cannabis is a suitable treatment for the patient and their physician,” McGraw added after the results of the poll were let out. “Nationally, 44 people die from prescription drug overdose every day, and patients should have the opportunity to use medical cannabis instead of highly addictive and dangerous prescription drugs.”

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