• Alaska-based Soldiers forbidden to attend Marijuana Events

    September 24, 2016

    In a major development, Alaska-based U.S. soldiers have been forbidden to attend any events involving promotion of the use of marijuana or hemp, including all fairs, festivals and conventions, while the state prepares to allow legal marijuana sales.

    The U.S. Army on Thursday issued a commanding general policy letter, signed by Maj. Gen. Bryan Owens, prohibiting Alaska-based soldiers from attending marijuana-related events and festivals. The policy says attendance at such events is inconsistent with military service and could adversely impact the health, welfare and good order and discipline of soldiers.

    The policy also points out that marijuana remains illegal in the military and incompatible with military service as well. The soldiers who possess, use, or distribute marijuana or any derivative on an Alaska base are in violation the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Any violation is subject to adverse administrative action and punishment under the UCMJ.

    The new USARAK policy was issued because “we just wanted to make sure folks know the left and right limits when they leave the installation,” said spokesman John Pennell. “One of those limits is, if it has to do with cannabis, if it has to do with marijuana or hemp, stay away.

    The policy was put in place as a pre-emptive move, Pennell said, and also because a few marijuana organizations in Alaska have offered military discounts in recent past.

    Alaska has already legalized recreational use of marijuana. Persons aged 21 or older can possess limited amount of marijuana as well as grow and give away as many as six marijuana plants. However, the use of marijuana is banned in all public spaces, such as schools, businesses, parks etc.

  • Arizona School Officials endorse Marijuana initiative

    September 24, 2016

    Several leading school officials in Arizona on Thursday announced their support for Proposition 205, the Initiative to ‘Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol’. They highlighted the much-needed revenue that will be raised for K-12 education if voters approve the ballot initiative.

    “With our state ranked near the bottom in education funding, we can use all the help we can get. I therefore appreciate that the drafters of Proposition 205”, said Jesus Rubalcava, president of the Gila Bend Unified School District Governing Board.

    Buck Crouch, President of the Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board said, “It is no secret that Arizona schools can use additional funding, and Proposition 205 would make a significant contribution toward that need. The projected estimate of $55 million for K-12 education annually would be very beneficial for schools, teachers, and students.”

    School officials pointed out that the success of a similar ballot measure approved by Colorado voters in 2012. That measure (Amendment 64) fulfilled its promise to raise $40 million per year for public school construction.

    Colorado’s regulated marijuana system brought in more than $135 million in 2015 and, according to a report, it has produced nearly $106 million in revenue in just the first seven months of 2016.

    Prop 205 would generate more than $123 million in annual revenue for Arizona, including more than $55 million per year for the state’s school districts, according to a July analysis by the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

    Prop 205 campaign received endorsements from key officials that includes Arizona School Boards Association Immediate Past President Jesus Rubalcava, who currently serves as president of the Gila Bend Unified School District Governing Board; Tolleson Union High School District Governing Board Vice President Devin Del Palacio; Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board President Buck Crouch and Board Member Daniel Hernandez; State Sen. Martin Quezada, who is a member of the Pendergast Elementary School District Governing Board, Balsz School District Governing Board Member Channel Powe, to name a few.

  • Colorado Springs Mayor urges Arizonans not to legalize Marijuana

    September 23, 2016

    The mayor of Colorado's second-largest city has urged Arizonans not to legalize marijuana for recreational use while visiting Arizona this week to denounce Proposition 205 on behalf of the opposition group Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy.

    At a news conference on Tuesday, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers along with officials including ARDP's co-chair, Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, spoke against Arizona’s Prop 205, which would allow the recreational use of marijuana within certain limits.

    Suthers pointed out a list of problems that Colorado has experienced since recreational marijuana was legalized in 2012, including alleged rise in kids using marijuana, increasing criminal activities, more homeless people so on and so forth. The legalization would make it difficult to prosecute marijuana-impaired drivers and would spur organized crime, he said.

     “The problem with the leap to legalization is the message it sends to young people in terms of their perception of risk,” Suthers said. “That’s what’s caused the dramatic increase in youth use in Colorado.”

    Suthers admitted, though, that teen use of marijuana in Colorado has not risen since recreational use became legal after the 2012 vote. But he sated that's because the sharp increase came years before when Colorado legalized medical marijuana, what Arizona already has made.

    The Republican leader also urged that Arizona voters should wait until the Colorado law has been in effect for five full years to see whether they still believe recreational use of marijuana is desirable.

    The proposition 205, which will appear on November's ballot, would legalize anyone 21 and older to possess and use up to an ounce of marijuana as well as grow their own plants. It would also make possession of marijuana between one and 2.5 ounces a non-arrestable petty offense with a $300 fine. However, the measure would still be illegal under the federal law of the United States.

  • Nashville passes Marijuana Decriminalization Ordinance

    September 23, 2016

    Nashville became the first city in the state of Tennessee to reduce the penalty for people who possess a small amount of marijuana as the Metropolitan Council on Tuesday night passed an ordinance with 35-3 voting in this regard.

    "This legislation is a positive step forward in addressing the overly punitive treatment of marijuana possession in our state that disproportionately impacts low-income and minority residents. It is important to stress that this ordinance is not a license to sell, possess, or use marijuana in Nashville”, Mayor Megan Barry stated in a release after the voting.

    According to the new ordinance, those who possess or exchange a half-ounce of marijuana would face a civil penalty of $50. A court could also choose to suspend the civil penalty and order ten hours of community service if someone is found with less than a half-ounce of marijuana.

    The new measure also allows Metro-Nashville police officers to use their discretion in a case-by-case basis. If an officer catches someone with half an ounce or less of marijuana, they can opt to give them the lesser penalties under the new law or the misdemeanor charge, rather than arresting the individual.

    The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN) has appreciated the Metro Council’s decision, saying it a “smarter approach to marijuana possession.”

    However, Councilman Glover did not support the bill because he said it sends mixed messages. “That does not mean if you come into Davidson County and you have a half ounce of marijuana or below that you are safe. You get pulled over by the wrong officer, you can still get handcuffed, you can still go to jail,” he said.

    Current state law states that people who commit the offense face a fine of $2,500 and a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to a year behind bars.

  • Eben Britton says he played his best game after smoking Marijuana

    September 21, 2016

    The former Jaguars and Bears offensive lineman Eben Britton has revealed that he not only smoked marijuana before games during his six-year NFL career but had also been even better while baked, according to a report in Sunday's New York Post.

    “NFL games I played stoned were some of the best games I ever played. Cannabis cements your surroundings,” Britton told the paper. “A lot of people say they’re useless when they smoke weed. But hell, I played NFL games while stoned, dude. My performances were solid and I felt really good after.”

    While responding to a query about how many NFL players currently smoke marijuana, Britton said, he estimates “over 50 percent and it could be as high as 75 percent.”

    Marijuana falls under the league’s substance abuse policy and the NFL tests for it, but just once a year between April and August, so players who want to smoke marijuana can do so during the season without much fear, he added.

    For Britton, marijuana helped him more than medical benefits. “Right after practice, me and one to three other players would go to somebody’s house to get high,” the former offensive lineman said. “Smoking helped me to socialize with teammates. Cannabis took us out of football. We were hanging out and just being people. It brought us closer together as teammates.”

    Meanwhile, a number of former players have urged that the NFL should relax its policies in light of more lenient attitudes toward the use of marijuana as a safer alternative to painkillers, particularly in the United States, since half of the states have legalized the use of marijuana for some qualified medical conditions while four states and D.C. for recreational use as well.

    Notably, Britton was suspended by NFL in 2015 and has not played in the league since then.

  • Maine Business Group seeks Strong Marijuana Regulation

    September 21, 2016

    With a view to advocate for better regulation of the marijuana industry in Maine State of the United States, a group of business professionals has formed a new organization in the name of “Maine Professionals for Regulating Marijuana” few weeks before the November ballot.

    The members of organization include attorneys, accountants, lawyers, Realtors, elected officials, financial institutions, and marijuana dispensaries. They seek the best rules in place for the existing medical marijuana program and for recreational marijuana in the state, if the marijuana measure passes in the November ballot.

    However, the organization has no plan to take a stand on the marijuana proposal appearing as Question 1 on the ballot. “Some people are for Question 1 and some people are opposed to Question 1. But also if Question 1 passes that the rules are promulgated in a fashion that would make sure that we’re focused on quality, safety and transparency here in Maine,” said Toby McGrath, the group’s president. “Most of this is an acknowledgment that we do have a current medicinal marijuana industry here in Maine that can use some tightening.”

     McGrath further points out that both medicinal and recreational adult use of marijuana require mandatory safety and potency testing and labeling. The organization also urges more stringent record keeping, a ban on advertising to minors and child resistant packaging in the marijuana law.

    A recent study by ArcView Market Research and New Frontier estimated the value of Maine’s marijuana industry would increase from around $50 million today with medical marijuana to more than $200 million by 2020 if voters legalize the pot for recreational use.

    Maine first legalized marijuana for medicinal use in 1999. The voters of the state will decide whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use on November 8. However, Marijuana is still illegal under the federal law of the United States.

  • Marijuana Legalization may reduce opioid use in USA: Study

    September 21, 2016

    A new research finds a decline in the use of opioid painkillers in States of the USA that legalized medical marijuana to treat various health problems. The study, which was published on Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health, claimed that marijuana could substitute the use of opioids, including prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Percocet.

    In the study, researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health examined a data of 69000 traffic fatalities from 1999-2013 in 18 U.S. states. They found that most states that passed medical marijuana laws saw an overall reduction in fatal crashes involving drivers who tested positive for opioids, particularly among drivers between the ages of 21 and 40.

    “We would expect the adverse consequences of opioid use to decrease over time in states where medical marijuana use is legal, as individuals substitute marijuana for opioids in the treatment of severe or chronic pain,” lead author of the study June H. Kim, a doctoral student at Mailman, said in a statement.

    Previous studies have found that opioid overdoses went down after medical marijuana laws were enacted, but this study was geared at opioids use more generally. Montana, for instance, had a 1.7 percent reduction in the number of people who tested positive for opioids after its medical marijuana law went into effect, the study showed.

    Researchers also noted that those who tested positive may have been taking opioids as a doctor prescribed, and the use of the drug was not necessarily a contributing factor to the vehicle crash.

    Notably, Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia in the USA have legalized medical marijuana while four states and D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana.