Oregon adults will be able to legally purchase recreational marijuana beginning Oct. 1, about a year earlier than had been expected.
Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed a law on Tuesday allowing the sale of recreational marijuana in existing medical marijuana dispensaries, starting just three months after Oregon's reformed marijuana law went into effect.
The measure "is a smart solution to a short-term logistical problem," Kristen Grainger, Brown's spokeswoman, told The Huffington Post. "Oregon’s new recreational marijuana law went into effect in July 2015, but Oregonians couldn’t lawfully buy it anywhere for another year or more. If marijuana is legal to use, it shouldn’t be illegal to buy."
The new marijuana law allows adults 21 and older to buy up to one-fourth ounce of recreational marijuana per day at medical marijuana shops. Consumers also may buy seeds and up to four non-flowering cannabis plants. The 25 percent state tax on marijuana sales won't begin until Jan. 4, so early shoppers can buy their newly legal weed tax-free for a few months.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, charged with regulating and monitoring the industry, will issue licenses to new recreational marijuana retailers later. Those shops, which will be allowed to sell up to one ounce per transaction, are likely to open before the end of 2016.
State voters in November approved Measure 91, which legalized the possession, use and sale of recreational marijuana for adults. The law took effect July 1, but sales hadn't been expected to begin until late 2016, giving state authorities time to establish a regulatory framework and issue licenses to retailers.
“I think this is a step forward," U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D) told HuffPost of the new law. "The state is doing a careful job of rolling this out in a thoughtful way, working to keep with the intent of the ballot measure.”
Blumenauer has been a vocal supporter of ending marijuana prohibition-style policies, offering several congressional bills aimed at reforming marijuana policy.
To date, four states, and the District of Columbia, have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. Colorado and Washington state were the first to legalize the substance for adult use in 2012, with the first shops opening in both states in 2014. Twenty-three states, including Oregon in 1998, have legalized medical marijuana.
Despite more than half of all states forging their own way on marijuana policy, the federal government continues to ban the plant, classifying it as one of the "most dangerous" drugs alongside heroin and LSD.
Multiple recent polls have illustrated the dramatic shift in public opinion on the issue, finding record high percentages of Americans in support of legalization for recreational purposes.
In April, CBS News found 53 percent in support of legalization, the most since CBS began asking the question in 1979. That same month, Fox News found a record 51 percent in favor of legalization. In March, General Social Survey, widely regarded as the most authoritative source on public opinion research, found 52 percent in favor.
VIA Huffington Post
TORONTO -- Canadians who have been prescribed medical marijuana could one day see their insurance company footing the bill, experts predict, following the introduction of new Health Canada rules that allow for the sale of cannabis oils.
Health Canada announced revamped medical marijuana regulations earlier this month after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that users of the drug should be permitted to consume it in other forms, such as oils and edibles, rather than having to smoke dried buds.
"You're going to see insurance companies slowly start to creep into the sector," says Khurram Malik, an analyst at Jacob Securities Inc., noting that the new regulations will allow medical marijuana producers to sell gel caps similar to those made from cod liver oil.
That will allow for more precise dosing, Malik says.
"When you're trying to smoke a plant you have no idea how much you're consuming, so that makes doctors a little nervous," he said.
Experts say the changes are a major step towards legitimizing the drug in the eyes of doctors and insurers.
"When something doesn't look different than other medicines, it becomes much easier for people to get comfortable with the idea that this is, in fact, a possible treatment option for patients," says Bruce Linton, the chief executive of Smiths Falls, Ont.-based Tweed Marijuana Inc. (CVE:TWD).
However, medical marijuana producers still have one major hurdle to overcome before insurers begin routinely funding the drug -- cannabis currently doesn't have a drug identification number, known as a DIN.
"If it was issued a DIN by Health Canada, it's quite likely that the insurance companies would cover it," says Wendy Hope, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc.
"To obtain a DIN, the new form of medical marijuana would need to go through the full Health Canada approval process like any new drug."
As it stands, most insurance companies don't routinely cover medical marijuana. But some insurers, including Manulife, say they will consider making an exception if the employer has specifically requested it for one of its employees.
"It's up to the employer to ask if they want to have it covered," says Hope.
Earlier this year, Sun Life agreed to pay for a University of Waterloo's medical marijuana prescription through his student health plan after the student union went to bat for him. Jonathan Zaid, 22, uses the drug to combat a syndrome called new daily persistent headache.
Some health insurance companies may pay for medical marijuana through a health spending account, says Hope. But, she adds, "my understanding is it doesn't happen often."
Malik says the primary reason why medical marijuana doesn't have a DIN is a lack of rigorous, clinical research on its efficacy.
"The evidence is very circumstantial -- not your typical 10-year, double-blind study that doctors and big pharmaceutical companies like to see," Malik said.
He suspects that's about to change.
"You're going to see a lot of Canadian companies partnering up with universities overseas that are a little more progressive than the ones we have here, at least in this space, to drive this research forward and legitimize it in the eyes of doctors and get DIN numbers on these things," Malik said.
Malik says there is a financial incentive for insurers to pay for medical marijuana, rather than shelling out for pricier chronic pain drugs such as opiates.
"From a dollars and cents standpoint, if marijuana is the same thing as a narcotic opiate, they would much rather cover marijuana because they're in the business to make money," Malik said.
While cops in the United States persist in their prohibitionary efforts—sometimes paralyzing and brutally murdering the average citizen over marijuana—police forces throughout northeast England have pulled out of the war on weed, at least for the most part. According to reports, cops are now only busting street hooligans engaged in large-scale black market operations—small timers are free to grow.
In a move that some government officials consider insubordinate decriminalization, County Durham crime commissioner Ron Hogg recently approved a series of guidelines dictating that police resources no longer be used to crack down on low-level home pot cultivators. Instead, their authority will be used solely as a weapon to fight against the scourge of organized crime, dope dealers and street gangs.
"We are not prioritizing people who have a small number of cannabis plants for their own use” Hogg told the Telegraph. “In low-level cases we say it is better to work with them and put them in a position where they can recover.
"In these cases,” he continued, “the most likely way of dealing with them would be with a caution and by taking the plants away and disposing of them. It is unlikely that a case like that would be brought before a court.”
This rubber-fisted approach to dealing with petty pot crimes, according to Hogg, will not only save police time and money but, perhaps, even inspire a much needed debate over how the entire nation handles drug offenders.
Although marijuana cultivation is still considered a serious offense in the eyes of Crown Prosecution Services—an offense with a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison—Hogg said his troops are no longer going after “users and small-time growers” unless there is a complaint or a “blatant” disregard for the law. Therefore, as long as cannabis connoisseurs maintain grows of a reasonable size, there should never be any reason for a vicious shakedown.
The latest Crime Survey for England and Wales indicates that Hogg’s blind-eye approach to personal pot plants could remove a significant amount of heat off British cannabis culture. Statistics show that between 2012 and 2014, pot seizures increased by 45 percent. Interestingly, in around 90 percent of those cases, less than 50 plants were confiscated—evidence that the majority of these arrests have been for the average user, not large black market operations.
Yet, officials with the National Drug Prevention Alliance argue that the Durham Constabulary has gone rogue, suggesting that the publicity surrounding his newfound policy will encourage more people to grow weed. However, Hogg contends that his position is simply about “keeping people out of the criminal justice system and reducing costs.”
"Cannabis use is still illegal and smoking it is still a crime, but if you are caught, you will get this opportunity to stop re-offending,” Hogg told the Northern Echo.
Commissioner Hogg explained that although he supports decriminalization and the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, he remains concerned about the mental health implications associated with the herb.
“Legal or illegal makes no difference—it can be detrimental to health just like alcohol,” he said.
For now, resident stoners will have to settle for this concept of quasi-decriminalization because the U.K. government has no plans to legalize the leaf anytime in the near future. Commissioner Hogg said that as long as there is evidence that weed is damaging to the mental and physical condition, parliament will not tender its support.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.
VIA High Times
The top moving destination in 2014 was Oregon, which voted to legalize marijuana last November.
When choosing retirement locales, a few factors pop to mind: climate, amenities, proximity to grandchildren, access to quality healthcare.
Chris Cooper had something else to consider – marijuana laws.
The investment adviser from Toledo had long struggled with back pain due to a fractured vertebra and crushed disc from a fall. He hated powerful prescription drugs like Vicodin, but one thing did help ease the pain and spasms: marijuana.
So when Cooper, 57, was looking for a place to retire, he ended up in San Diego, since California allows medical marijuana. A growing number of retirees are also factoring in the legalization of pot when choosing where to spend their golden years.
“Stores are packed with every type of person you can imagine,” said Cooper who takes marijuana once or twice a week, often orally. “There are old men in wheelchairs, or women whose hair is falling out from chemotherapy. You see literally everybody.”
Cooper, who figures he spends about $150 on the drug each month, is not alone in retiring to a marijuana-friendly state.
Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing medical marijuana use. A handful – Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and D.C. – allow recreational use as well.
The U.S. legal marijuana market was $2.7 billion in 2014, a figure expected to rise to $3.4 billion this year, according to ArcView Market Research.
Figuring out how many people are retiring to states that let you smoke pot is challenging since retirees do not have to check off a box on a form saying why they chose a particular location to their final years.
But “there is anecdotal evidence that people with health conditions which medical marijuana could help treat, are relocating to states with legalized marijuana,” said Michael Stoll, a professor of public policy at University of California, Los Angeles who studies retiree migration trends.
He cited data from United Van Lines, which show the top U.S. moving destinations in 2014 was Oregon, where marijuana had been expected to be legalized for several years and finally passed a ballot initiative last November.
Two-thirds of moves involving Oregon last year were inbound. That is a 5 percent jump over the previous year, as the state “continues to pull away from the pack,” the moving company said in a report.
The Mountain West – including Colorado, which legalized medical marijuana in 2000, and recreational use in 2012 – boasted the highest percentage of people moving there to retire, United Van Lines said. One-third of movers to the region said they were going there specifically to retire.
Lining Up for Pot
The image of marijuana-using seniors might seem strange, but it is the byproduct of a graying counterculture. Much of the baby boom generation was in college during the 1960s and 70s, and have had much more familiarity with the drug than previous generations.
Many of the health afflictions of older Americans push them to seek out dispensaries for relief.
“A lot of the things marijuana is best at are conditions which become more of an issue as you get older,” said Taylor West, deputy director of the Denver-based National Cannabis Industry Association. “Chronic pain, inflammation, insomnia, loss of appetite: All of those things are widespread among seniors.”
Since those in their 60s and 70s presumably have no desire to be skulking around on the criminal market in states where usage is outlawed, it makes sense they would gravitate to states where marijuana is legal.
“In Colorado, since legalization, many dispensaries have seen the largest portion of sales going to baby boomers and people of retirement age,” West said.
The folks at the sales counters agree: Their clientele has proven to be surprisingly mature.
“Our demographic is not punk kids,” added Karl Keich, founder of Seattle Medical Marijuana Association, a collective garden in Washington State. “About half of the people coming into our shop are seniors. It’s a place where your mother or grandmother can come in and feel safe.”
A neurology professor at the University of South Florida will join a group of speakers to bring together leaders in health care and medical marijuana.
Dr. Juan Sanchez-Ramos, who conducts research on Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, is one of seven speakers to advocate for medical marijuana at the three-day International Canna Pro Expo that starts Oct. 2.
The expo expects to bring over 2,000 people to Orlando.
“There’s a lot of room for business,” Sanchez-Ramos said in an interview July 20. “Believe me.”
The professor will discuss how marijuana can help treat neurological disorders, slow down brain aging, and relieve pain for people who can’t take opiates.
He hopes to win over health care professionals not yet sold on marijuana’s benefits and explain the need for more studies on the plant. Major health organizations still take defiant stances against medical marijuana, he said.
Though some states have legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use, the biggest obstacle to research is marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I drug, he said.
This means the federal government believes marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical treatment use, is unsafe under medical supervision, can’t be prescribed and is not readily available for clinical use. The list includes marijuana, heroin, LSD and more.
Plants have historically been used for beneficial drugs, be it aspirin from willow bark or morphine from poppies. He predicts a renaissance of marijuana research to come with more legalization.
“They should allow it to be studied in a scientific way,” he said. “Finally, society is starting to see the light.”
In Florida, only the Charlotte’s Web strain of marijuana is legal. Only in May did a final judicial hurdle finish before growers across the state could send in applications to grow the plant.
Five regional growers will be chosen later this year.
Advocates want to expand medical marijuana legalization in the state through a vote or through the Legislature next year.
If legalized in all 50 states, New York marijuana industry research firm GreenWave Advisors predicts $35 billion in retail marijuana sales revenue by 2020.
It may come as a shocking surprise, but even though you can’t bring your own bottled water through TSA checkpoints, you can bring your own marijuana!
Fox 12 Oregon reports that passengers traveling on flights within Oregon are now going to be permitted to bring a small amount of “personal use” marijuana with them. The new approach is being implemented after the state’s recreational marijuana law just went into effect at the beginning of this month.
Passengers flying through Portland International Airport, will be allowed to go through TSA checkpoints with marijuana from now on.
The Transportation Security Administration has always claimed that their job is to “detect threats to aviation security.”
That would seem to indicate that this should not bother the agency one bit. As long as adult marijuana users are staying under the state’s 1 ounce marijuana limit, the International Business Times reports, they will be left alone by the TSA.
The TSA agents will, however, alert airport police, who will check out whether the passenger is staying in state, or flying out of state.
If they are heading across state lines, they’ll have to ditch the pot at the checkpoint.
Traveling across state lines with the plant is still regarded as a federal offense.
Local Fox 12 interviewed passengers about the new law. Arnold Lucht said, “I don’t care if they got it in their pocket. I could care less as long as they can’t smoke it in the airport, you can’t smoke it in the airplane. So depends if wherever they’re going if it’s legal, that’s fine with me.”
Verena Douglas, who moved to Oregon from Colorado, said, “I’m not anti-marijuana, but I’m pro-hairspray. I would really like to have some hairspray or some shampoo. What’s shampoo going to do to somebody? Why can’t I take my shampoo on a plane? I think it’s a little lopsided. Silly, it’s actually silly.”
Retail marijuana sales to begin in Oregon this October 1.
Things are really beginning to change with marijuana and the law in the United States. How long do you think it will be before we #EndMarijuanaProhibition and #EndTheDrugWar entirely?
(Article by Jackson Marciana)
Experts and society are divided on the benefits and subsequent legalisation of medical marijuana.
In North America alone there is deep division with half the states and Canada legalising medical marijuana while the other half refuses. In the UK it is not legal to use medical marijuana, but ironically the UK is home to the most successful cannabis extract company in GW Pharmaceuticals, who have a product on the market that includes a mixture of cannabis extracts. The success of the company and for the patients it treats strongly suggests the issue might need to be revisited, and at least more research performed on exploiting the possibilities.
Our own work in the area, including the most recent study, shows that there is a powerful argument for the potential of cannabis extracts. We conducted a study which involved the testing of one of these extracts for the use of pain relief. The impetus of our study was whether one compound contained in the marijuana plant could achieve therapeutic effects, while at the same time minimising or avoiding the undesirable side effects. Our results demonstrate for the first time that the medically beneficial pain-relieving effects of THC can be separated from its cognitive side effects.
There are multiple compounds contained within the marijuana plant that are of medical interest. The two major ones are cannabidiol and THC. Cannabidiol is in clinical trials to treat epilepsy and symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, while THC has been linked for numerous treatments including pain relief and cancer.
Our work has revolved around THC, which is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. THC is known to induce numerous undesirable effects, including memory impairments, anxiety, and drug dependence. Importantly, THC also has numerous potentially therapeutic effects, including pain relief, muscle relaxation, and neuroprotection. THC acts in the body on a family of receptors, called cannabinoid receptors or docking stations, that go on to communicate that THC has ‘docked’ and will facilitate the above effects.
What we discovered was that not all of these cannabinoid docking stations were the same. We found that some were associated with another family of receptors, called serotonin receptors. When THC docks with cannabinoid-serotonin coupled receptors, the body responds with memory impairments. Using mice lacking this serotonin receptor, we revealed that the pain relief effects of THC were maintained while the memory problems caused by exposure to THC were lost in these mice.
In subsequent molecular studies, we showed that in specific brain regions involved in memory formation, the receptors for THC and serotonin work together by physically interacting with each other. We were then able to interfere with this interaction and prevent the memory deficits induced by THC, but not its pain relieving properties.
Going forward, our study suggests that it would be possible to create a drug that can interfere with this cannabinoid-serotonin interaction and thus allow THC to provide side effect-free pain relief.
Importantly, our work was done in rodents, so it will important to first show that these same things can occur in humans. If they do, then this study will open doors to harnessing the potential of THC without the side effects.
A bill to establish Hawaii’s first medical marijuana dispensary system will become law at midnight Tuesday, without Gov. David Ige’s signature.
The Hawaii state Department of Health has until Jan. 4 to finalize rules and regulations for the new system — a deadline that the governor has called "aggressive."
A highly competitive merit-based application process will commence in January, and only eight applicants will be awarded licenses. Each license holder will be allowed two dispensaries.
While the new law does not specify what the cost of medical marijuana will be in Hawaii, experts predict it to run from $200 to $300 an ounce.
An estimated 13,800 registered medical marijuana cardholders live in Hawaii. Qualified patients in Hawaii may purchase up to eight ounces per month under the new law.
Assuming each patient bought one ounce at $200 per month, the industry could reach $2.6 million in gross sales per month, or $31.2 million a year. That’s roughly $3.9 million in sales per month per dispensary.
According to Forbes, the average price of marijuana in Hawaii on the illegal market is $307 per ounce.
Hawaii’s law allows for additional licenses to be distributed as early as October 2017.
DOH Director of Communications Janice Okubo told PBN it is likely the department will allow “market forces to work as much as possible,” since only eight licenses will initially be distributed.
“The department’s major regulatory goals are patient safety, public safety through tight inventory controls and accountability, and quality control, all of which can require a high cost of doing business,” she said. “The statute will require the licensee to be financially viable; we will verify that. And to remain financially viable, the licensee will have to cover the cost of goods sold as well as the overall costs of doing business, plus make a sufficient profit to incentivize the licensee to remain in business and to make business improvements.”
Among the first states in the nation to legalize the use and possession of marijuana, Colorado is also blazing trails when it comes to marijuana legislation in schools.
Democratic Rep. Jonathan Singer sponsored a bill known as “Jack’s Amendment,” which would allow medical marijuana to be used in schools along with other permitted medications.
“Jack’s Amendment will assure that children don’t have to choose between going to school and taking their medicine”
Jack Splitt, 14-year-old Colorado student, inspired the amendment after Splitt’s personal nurse was reprimanded for his use of a medical marijuana patch at his middle school. Doctors prescribed the patch to help control his spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and dystonia.
This policy change is intended to benefit school-age students in Colorado who, like Jack, rely on medical marijuana patches to help manage conditions like cerebral palsy, epilepsy and seizures. Under the new bill, caregivers or parents would be allowed to administer marijuana patches in school, as long as a doctor’s note is provided.
Singer continued, “We allow children to take all sort of psychotropic medications, whether it’s Ritalin or opiate painkillers, under supervised circumstances. We should do the same here.”
The bill was met with overwhelming support in the Colorado House and passed unanimously. Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) has to reject or sign the bill in 30 days to give Colorado the opportunity to become the nation’s first state to permit medical marijuana usage in schools. According to one of the governor’s spokespersons, Hickenlooper intends to sign the bill.
Though the new legislation has been widely supported, voices of concern can still be heard. The former adviser on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, Robert O’Brien, has openly voiced his opposition to marijuana in schools.
O’Brien recently spoke with FoxNews.com, stating, “Even in a tightly regulated regime, I don’t think more marijuana in the schools is a better idea.” He also commented, “Kids need to get the treatment they deserve … but I don’t want that in the schools.”
Penalties have yet to be defined for those who violate new rules, though laws of drug-free zones are known for inflicting harsh penalties. In the meantime, Jack’s mother, Stacey Linn, told FoxNews.com that she is relieved her son can soon attend school with the medication he needs.
Photo Credit: Marijuana Industry Group