• Medical Marijuana may curb Opioid Crisis in Pennsylvania

    May 23, 2016

    Pennsylvania has now joined the states that legalized medical marijuana after Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 3, the Medical Marijuana Act (MMA), into law in April, 2016. With the passage of MMA, it is legal for the patients with ‘serious medical conditions’ to use medical marijuana in order to treat their health problems.

    The Act states that severe, chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin is one of the serious medical conditions that qualify for treatment with medical marijuana. The law also allows using medical marijuana to treat severe, chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective.

    Moreover, parents or guardians of a minor with a serious medical condition can be allowed to lawfully collect medical marijuana from another state, territory or country to be administered to the minor.

    More importantly, it is estimated that the medical marijuana could be used to fight the epidemic of opioid addiction that has resulted in numerous deaths from overdoses in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States.

    A report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2014 reveals that as many as 46 people die every day in the US due to an overdose of prescription opioid or narcotic painkillers, such as Vicodin (hydrocodone-acetaminophen), OxyContin (oxycodone), Opana (oxymorphone), and methadone.

    In 2012, the CDC also found that health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers, which is enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills.

    The research study however opined that although there is evidence of the link between medical marijuana use and decrease in deaths from opioid overdoses, further study are required before wide adoption of medical marijuana use to counter the risks of opioid use.

    So far, 24 states in the USA and Washington D.C. have legalized either medical marijuana or recreational marijuana, or both.

  • California may vote on Marijuana Legalization in November

    May 10, 2016

    In a big development, California had taken a step forward to legalize marijuana with the ballot proposal coming in November 2016. The ballot measure known as "Adult Use of Marijuana Act" would legalize possession of small amounts of pot for adults, will establish tax rates and a clear policy for the farmers to grow marijuana.

    According to reports, enough signatures have been collected to qualify for the fall ballot. However, the ballot measure is still awaiting formal certification from state election officials.

    While medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996, it's not open for all adults. It requires an authorized doctor's prescription to use marijuana for medical purpose. However, the new measure, if approved, would open a new era in California's pot history.

    Legalization of recreational marijuana could bring billions of dollar in revenue for California. Employment sector may get a big boost with the requirement of construction workers, cultivation employees, distributors and administrators at testing facilities.

    A similar proposal failed to qualify for the 2014 ballot, but this time, the backers had collected enough funds to launch their campaign effectively.

    Several respected Californians, including Lieutenant Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa); Dr. Donald I. Abrams, Chief, Hematology-Oncology Division at San Francisco General Hospital and Professor of Clinical Medicine, UCSF; Stephen Downing, former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Deputy Chief back the new measure. Drug Policy Alliance, Youth Education and Prevention Working Group and Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy are also supporting the move.
  • Victoria not to ban Marijuana Edibles

    May 09, 2016

    Under the proposed regulations, Canadian city Victoria won't ban marijuana candies, cookies and other edibles despite attempts by several provincial medical officials to ensure prohibition. Mayor Lisa Helps asked Chief Medical Health Officer to have Island Health address health concerns involving marijuana edibles.

    Public Health Officials earlier argued that marijuana in the shape of candies and baked goods may appeal to children, increasing the risk of childhood marijuana addiction. But, the Council said it was not their job to determine or deal with such concerns.

    Victoria is known for rampant marijuana use. At least 35 shops are operating in Victoria, including 32 storefront marijuana retailers. The number was just four 20 months ago. The new regulations will prohibit marijuana retailers from operating anywhere in the city unless permitted.
    Under the new rule, every retailer will have to go through a rezoning process. They need to produce a presentation before the Community Association Land Use Committee and then apply for a business license. The bylaw changes should be ready by June. A key provision withing the new regulation would prohibit marijuana retailers from operating 200 meters from each other/from a school/licensed childcare facility. The limit hours will be 7 A.M. to 8 P.M.
  • Vermont House delays Marijuana Legalization Bill

    May 03, 2016

    In a big jolt to pro-marijuana activists, the Vermont House has delayed until Tuesday a vote on compromise legislation calling for expanded decriminalization. The bill was approved by the Senate, allowing possession of up to an ounce of marijuana in the state. the bill was on House agenda for debate Monday, but the lawmakers decided to defer it till Tuesday.

    The proposal sought to replace criminal penalties with fines akin to a traffic ticket for possession of up to 2 ounces and cultivation of up to two plants. However, it looks quiet uncertain that the House would give its approval to the bill.

    The bill would not legalize retail sales of marijuana, as approved by the Senate. Rather, a compromise formula has been reached to allow growing of up to two marijuana plants at home. In addition, possession of marijuana has been increased to 2 ounces from 1.

    The House has, however passed a separate measure, expanding the medical marijuana bill to cover patients with glaucoma and chronic pain. It also expands the law to cover patients with glaucoma, an eye disorder.

    While the above measure was approved on 133-13 votes, it's very unlikely that marijuana legalization bill would get the majority in the 150-member Vermont House. The Vermont lawmakers might be willing to discuss the issue further, but could stop short of legalization.
  • Woody Harrelson denied license to open marijuana dispensary in Hawaii

    May 02, 2016

    Hollywood star and a vocal proponent of recreational marijuana usage, Woody Harrelson has been denied a license recently to open a first ever medical marijuana dispensary in Hawaii.

    The 54-year-old Oscar-nominated actor applied for the license on behalf of his company—‘Simply Organic Living LLC’ in Honolulu County in February.

    Harrelson, best known for his roles in the film “Hunger Games”, was among 66 Hawaii residents who applied to open medical-marijuana dispensaries.

    The Hawaii Department of Health released the list of approved applicants last week. Among the successful applicants, three are from Honolulu, two from the Big Island, two more from Maui while one is from Kauai.

    Applicants in Hawaii were required to have USD 1 million plus USD 100,000 for each of their planned dispensary locations. Also, one must be resident of Hawaii for more than five years.

    The approved applicants are allowed to have two production centers and two retail dispensaries, for a total of 16 dispensaries statewide. And, the facilities can be open for business as early as July 15.

    Hawaii was the first US state to legalize medical marijuana 16 years ago.

  • Maine to vote on Marijuana Legalization in November Ballot

    April 29, 2016

    In a significant development, Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap announced on Wednesday that the ‘Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol’ had garnered enough signatures to place the initiative on the ballot this November.

    The Campaign originally submitted 99,229 signatures on Feb. 1, but only 51,543 of the signatures were deemed to be valid. A review was ordered after a judge set aside Dunlap's decision to reject thousands of signatures because the notary's signature didn't match the signature on file in Augusta.

    While it’s unlikely that lawmakers in Maine will pass the proposed legislation legalizing marijuana for recreational use, the voters of the state will decide on the issue in November.

    “This November, Maine voters will have the opportunity to adopt a more sensible marijuana policy. We are thrilled to finally start transitioning into the more substantive phase of this campaign." said David Boyer, Campaign Manager for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. Marijuana legalization will take the industry out of the hands of drug dealers, he believes.

    The initiative would allow people 21 years or older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for recreational use. It would also allow state-regulated businesses to sell the substance and would impose a 10 percent tax on recreational marijuana sales.

    If the ballot initiative passes, Maine would join states like Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

    However, medical marijuana has been legal in Maine since 1999. As many as 24 states in the U.S. A. and District of Columbia currently allow medical marijuana use.

  • Oakland Museum to open first-ever Marijuana Exhibition in U.S.

    April 17, 2016

    In a first-of-its-kind incident in the USA, the Oakland Museum in northern California is all set open a unique exhibition dedicated to marijuana, titled "Altered State: Marijuana in California", from April 16, 2016. The marijuana exhibition ends on September 25, 2016.

    The first ever museum exhibition devoted to marijuana in the country will showcase the history of weed from scary predictions of Reefer Madness to the stoner comedy of Cheech and Chong, and the point when America began discussing the issue of medical marijuana in a more serious way.

    The months-long exhibition on marijuana will also display every imaginable aspect of the complex issue — from medical claims and the “War on Drugs” of the ‘80s, to recreational use, conflicting laws, economics, environmental concerns, sacred uses of the plant and, even stoner movies like “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

    The associate curator of the museum Sarah Seiter believes that the exhibit will not take a position on legalization, or whether recreational use is good or bad. Instead, the show will examine the science, economics, politics, history, and spirituality surrounding the marijuana, she points out.

    The museum show on marijuana certainly draws national attention as part of the institution’s ongoing effort to serve as a forum for debate on different aspects of marijuana use.

    Currently, the use, sale, possession, cultivation, and transportation of marijuana is illegal under federal law in the USA. However, more than twenty states have marijuana laws, while four states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

    California voters may face a ballot initiative this year to legalize recreational use of marijuana.