• Won't be easy to legalize Recreational Marijuana in Oregon

    October 21, 2014

    The ballot initiative began in Oregon to mobilize opinion in favor of legalization of marijuana, has stirred a huge debate across the state. Known as 'Measure 91', it would allow adults 21 and above to possess up to eight ounces and four plants of marijuana. It would also legalize production and sales in Oregon through the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. If approved, the new measure will make marijuana taxable at the point of sale at $35 per ounce.

    Currently, Oregon has allowed only medical marijuana. But, the ballot measure, if successful, will enable the state to allow recreational marijuana too. This is not the first time such initiatives are being taken in Oregon. On November 6, 2012, voters in Oregon had rejected the Ballot Measure 80 by a margin of 53% to 47%. Had it been successful, it would have allowed personal recreational use and cultivation of marijuana and hemp without a license. It had also sought to establish a commission to regulate the commercialized sale and cultivation of the cannabis.

    While the new initiative has found favor with many, some individuals and organizations have started campaigning against the move. There have been allegations that federal taxpayer money was being used to fund anti-legalization events. Representative Earl Blumenauer has taken up this matter and called for a probe into the allegations. Interestingly, after he raised the issue, at least 6 out of 13 events were cancelled. Rest of the events continued with private funding.

    Kevin Sabet, the co-founder of 'Smart Approaches to Marijuana', is in charge of these controversial events. He clarified that they have been trying to educate people about the health risks posed by marijuana, but never did anything to oppose Oregon's ballot initiative. He also rubbished the charges that federal funding has been used to fund such campaigns.

    The 'Measure 91' argues that prohibition of marijuana has resulted in a series of drug-related violence in the state and failed to discourage the children and teen from using marijuana. It has also opened a huge black market and increased the illegal use of pot among the teen and youngsters. Legalization of recreational marijuana would eliminate all these concerns, it says.

    The vociferous protests against 'Measure 91' and lessons from the past voting in 2012, are enough to indicate that it won't be a smooth ride for the pro-legalization campaigners in Oregon this time too. Only Colorado and Washington have been successful in legalizing the recreational pot, but the efforts have so far failed in other states. Let's see which list Oregon joins when the voting takes place.

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  • New Poll seeks Legalization of Marijuana in Delaware

    October 17, 2014

    As the call to legalize marijuana is growing across the United States, a new poll conducted by the University of Delaware has revealed that 56 percent of Delawareans support legalization of marijuana use. Out of 902 adults that participated in the polls, just 39 percent opposed the move. The survey was conducted between September 10 and 22.

    According to the University sources, the main opposition came from people older than 60 and some self-identified conservatives. The liberals and young adults came out in support of the move to legalize marijuana in the state. Interestingly, majority of poll respondents in all three counties of Delaware supported legalization of marijuana, saying that would help the youngsters and others find the legal way to lead their lives at will.

    Among the conservatives, 39.2 percent favored legalization of marijuana. Similarly, just 36.9 percent of the people aged 60 or above backed it. However, 73 percent of the liberals gave a big thumbs up to the move. 48 percent of total respondents supported marijuana use in Sussex county, which is considered as the most conservative county of Delaware. 47.3 per cent respondents there opposed the move.

    Paul Brewer, the political communications professor at the University of Delaware, who supervised the poll, observed that the voting pattern reflected the mood of the public at the state level and also found favor with the sentiments of people at the national level. Even though majority of people back the move to legalize marijuana in the state, the political establishment is not convinced about it. Governor Jack Markell remains opposed to full legalization of pot in Delaware.

    The Governor's office has been in touch with legislators and other law enforcement bodies to study further about the ramifications of any such move to legalize marijuana in the state. Markell is reportedly averse to reducing the criminal penalties on small amounts of marijuana.

    It can be noted that only Colorado and Washington DC have legalized the sale of both medical and recreational marijuana in their states. Other 22 states have allowed only the medical marijuana, which is still illegal under federal law.

  • Nebraska struggles to deal with Marijuana Influx

    October 13, 2014

    The security officials and law enforcing members in Nebraska are having a tough time these days to deal with heavy marijuana influx from Colorado. In the first five months in 2014, around 7,000 arrests have been made in Sidney, Neb, a small city of less than 7,000 people. That has baffled the law enforcement agencies. According to cops, at least 50% traffic stops have resulted in marijuana arrests, which is a dangerous trend.

    In the last six months, the police department has been spending huge amount of extra money on prosecution arguments and trials in court. Authorities have now urged the lawmakers to enforce stricter penalties to prevent the massive marijuana influx. The cops believe that imposing a strict fine would work as a deterrent for the offenders, who think that they can get away with small fines worth $120 or so even if they use marijuana in public. The fine should be increased by 10 times to make them think twice before they flout the rules, the cops argue.

    The KHAS TV reports that Deule County Sheriff Adam Hayward complained about increasing number of felony drug cases stemming from Colorado marijuana, which is draining resources to accommodate the arrested people in various jails and pay defense attorneys during the court cases. Similar complaints are coming from Cheyenne County, which has made 60 marijuana arrests in 2013 as compared to 45 in 2010.

    The cops in Nebraska mince no words to declare that Colorado's gain is Nebraska’s pain. Colorado has legalized medical as well as recreational marijuana. But, Nebraska is probably paying the price for sharing the border with that state. In early September, the Western Nebraska law enforcement officers raised the issue and argued how legalization of marijuana in Colorado have affected Nebraska.

    Scotts Bluff County Sheriff Mark Overman lamented that Colorado’s legalization of marijuana has completely changed the landscape of Nebraska. He raised the issue of increase in the number of kids as young as 14 who are being ticketed for marijuana possession. The use of marijuana remains illegal in all forms under federal law of the United States. Six other states also share the borders with Colorado. It would be interesting to see whether they too face similar issues or that is limited to Nebraska only.

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  • 10 Interesting Facts about Medical Marijuana

    October 07, 2014

    Medical cannabis or medical marijuana are being used in medical therapy to treat some specific diseases or ease symptoms. The plant has a history of medicinal use for over thousands of years. However, it has become very controversial in recent times. As the debate continues over the use of marijuana in medical or recreation purpose, here are 10 interesting facts to know about the drug.

    1. Historians believe that Cannabis or marijuana was used in Taiwan about 10,000 years ago. The medical use of marijuana is believed to be a very early development, as ancient people used hemp seed as food.
    2. Cannabis or marijuana is one of the 50 fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese medicine.
    3. Marijuana is used to reduce nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy and people with AIDS. It helps in treating pain and muscle spasticity too.
    4. Medical marijuana can be administered using a variety of methods such as vaporizing or smoking dried buds, eating extracts, taking capsules or using oral sprays.
    5. Medical use of Marijuana is legal in Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and 23 states in the US apart from Washington, D.C. In the United States, only Colorado and Washington have allowed the use of recreational marijuana. However, all types of marijuana use is prohibited under federal law of the US.
    6. Marijuana vaporizers are gaining popularity, as it is believed that less harmful chemicals are ingested when components are inhaled rather than smoke.
    7. Cannabis indica, which produces a high level of cannabidiol (CBD) is often preferred for night time use because of its sedative nature. It is also used for treatment of insomnia.
    8. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US, has approved two oral cannabinoids for use as medicine: dronabinol and nabilone.
    9. The National Institutes of Health holds a US patent for medical marijuana. The patent issued in 2003, is entitled "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants".
    10. Medical marijuana has been proposed as having the potential for lessening the effects of Alzheimer's disease.
  • Calls for legalization of Marijuana in California

    October 06, 2014

    The Marijuana Policy Project, a national marijuana advocacy group, began the process of raising money in order to launch a strong campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in California in 2016. The MPP has filed paperwork with the California Secretary of State's office. The move is on the lines of initiatives taken by Colorado and Washington in 2012.

    California is the leading state in the United States to produce illegal marijuana. The medical marijuana industry remains unregulated for years. Although California is one of the 21 states that allow medical marijuana, the drug remains illegal here under federal law. The Marijuana Policy Project believes that prohibition of recreational marijuana, has an adverse impact on the communities in California. It believes that marijuana must be allowed to be used just like alcohol and should not be treated as a criminal offense.

    The group, which has its base in Washington D.C. has also established campaign committees to start the legalization process in Arizona, Massachusetts and Nevada apart from California. The aim is to legalize marijuana in these states in 2016. It can be noted that voters in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia will take a call on legalization of marijuana in November 2014.

    This is not the first time California will witness such a situation. In 2010, the voters in this state had rejected a ballot initiative, which sought to legalize recreational marijuana. The state had allowed medical marijuana way back in 1996, but the medical marijuana users and other growers of pot, have been resisting any move to legalize its recreational use, apprehending a surge in its prices.

    As the campaign in California has just begun and the state has two long years to take a decision, the Marijuana Policy Project is hopeful of building a consensus or at least majority of opinion in favor of recreational marijuana use. The Drug Policy Alliance, another group, which is expected to play a major role in this campaign, has estimated the cost of total campaign at $8 million to $12 million.