• Alaska allows people to use Marijuana at Stores

    November 25, 2015

    Alaska, which had legalized recreational marijuana one year ago, has become the first state in the U.S. to allow the pot to be used at certain stores that have the permission to sell it. So far, only Colorado, Alaska, Washington and Oregon have allowed the recreational use of marijuana. But, no states are allowing users to use pot at the stores.

    The decision was taken at the Marijuana Control Board of Alaska with a 3-2 verdict. They changed the definition of the term "in public" to allow consumption of marijuana at pot shops. Alaska has set a precedent with this decision. Other states may too debate it and follow suit.

    Alaska passed the ballot measure to allow recreational marijuana in last November. People 21 year and older are allowed to use pot for recreational purpose. Like other states, the ballot initiative did not define "public", leading to confusion. Now, the amendment clearly defined the term as a place where the public or a substantial group of people have access. The pot shops do not fall in that category.

    The board also made sure to allow consumption of pot in a designated area at certain licensed pot stores. It had earlier said it lacked the legal authority to create a license permitting public use. Another round of regulations may come up to outline which types of marijuana will be allowed at the licensed stores.

    Colorado, which was the first state in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana, has banned use of pot in public and bars. People were found penalized for smoking pot on sidewalks and public parks. In Washington, marijuana use is restricted to private places.
  • Antioch Council bans Medical Marijuana Cultivation

    November 25, 2015

    The City Council in Antioch, Turkey, has banned the cultivation of medical marijuana, making things difficult for the users in the city, who will now have to get the drug from an out-of-town dispensary. The City Council took the unanimous decision to approve the ban. The users won't be able to obtain a state license to produce their own supply.

    Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 266 into law in October 2015. It was one of three pieces of legislation related to the Medical Marijuana Regulation Safety Act. The bills would take effect from January 1, 2015. They will establish a system of regulating the use of medical marijuana, including its cultivation.

    AB 266 gives local authorities the option of framing their own set of regulations and permitting process. If they fail to do so by March 1, the state will become the sole licensing authority.

    The police department chief in Antioch too opposed any move to allow medical marijuana, saying it would put extra burden on his people. He also claimed that marijuana would attract theft and violence in the city.

  • Florida names 5 Growers of Medical Marijuana

    November 24, 2015

    Medical Marijuana is all set to become a reality in Florida, as the state has selected 5 nurseries to grow and distribute a weak form of marijuana. The latest development came as a big relief to the thousands of residents of Florida, who qualify for medical marijuana under a 2014 state law.

    The Department of Health in Florida has named five nurseries that will be allowed to grow noneuphoric marijuana for medical purposes. Each nursery will cover a region of the state. Patients from South Florida will get their pot from Costa Farms of Goulds, an area west of Cutler Bay in southern Miami-Dade County.

    Knox Nursery in Winter Garden for Central Florida, Chestnut Hill Tree Farm in Alachua for the Northeast region, Hackney Nursery in Greensboro for the Northwest region, Alpha Foliage in Homestead for the Southwest region, and Costa Farms of Goulds for the South region are the five nurseries selected for growing medical marijuana.

    Under the 2014 law, patients were supposed to be able to obtain medical marijuana by the beginning of 2015. But, red-tapism and lawsuits caused the delay. The Health Department had initially proposed a lottery system to choose growers, but later, they had to backtrack following the lawsuit filed by Costa Farms, which forced a change in the rules.

    As per the law on marijuana farming, the marijuana strains must contain 10 percent or more cannabidiol (CBD), a substance that may help alleviate seizures. It also requires the strains to possess 0.8 percent or less tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive substance in marijuana that produces a high.

    Smoking marijuana will remain illegal even for medical marijuana patients, who will have to go for oil, vaps or other non-smokeable ways.
  • Marijuana can improve Vision, says Study

    November 20, 2015

    A new study has revealed that recreational marijuana can improve the vision of children in the womb. Children exposed to marijuana were 50% better at the global motion task than children who were not, according to the study conducted by scientists at the University of Auckland. Global motion task is about detecting movement of signal dots against the background noise of other dots.

    The study was conducted on 145 four-and-half year old kids who were exposed to various forms of methamphetamine, alcohol, nicotine and marijuana before birth and 25 unexposed children. It was found that when mothers took alcohol, their children's motion perception was impaired, but when they consumed both marijuana and alcohol, there was no effect. That came as a big surprise to the scientists.

    "Prenatal exposure to methamphetamine had no influence on vision", the study confirmed. While 81.3% of the children were exposed to multiple drugs, 15% had no drug exposure. The study was published on Nature: Scientific Reports.

    The children studied by the scientists, comprised of 52 percent European, 36.5 percent Maori, and 11 percent from other ethnicities. The range of drugs they were exposed to was - nicotine 75.2 percent, alcohol 56.4 percent, methamphetamine 44.2 percent and marijuana 40 percent.

    Participants from the IDEAL study (2014) were recruited into two groups and data collected from the mothers. Meconium samples were collected from their babies soon after birth for a drug metabolite analysis.
  • Pittsburgh City may decriminalize Marijuana

    November 17, 2015

    If a new legislation, which is set to be introduced today in City Council, is passed, Pittsburgh City will decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana within the city limits. The legislation is based on a law enacted in Philadelphia in October 2014. It seeks to amend the Pittsburgh City Code to impose a fine of up to $100 on possession of a small amount of marijuana (under 30 grams), or smoking a small amount of marijuana in a public space.

    The bill is being introduced by Councilman Daniel Lavelle, of District 6, which includes Downtown, Uptown, the Northside, Oakland, The Hill District and Perry Hilltop. Currently, the marijuana possession or smoking (even a small amount), warrants prosecution under criminal law and destroys the life and career of many people. The activists have been working hard to decriminalize marijuana with a minor penalty at least within the city, if not outside.

    It is believed that the new bill would help many youths, who use marijuana and end up landing in a revolving criminal justice system. They can heave a sigh of relief, as they won't face the harsh consequences of minor marijuana offenses. "The bill will help break the damning lifelong consequences of unemployment, lack of education and being caught in a revolving criminal justice system, all due to a minor marijuana offense," said the press release by City Councilman Daniel Lavell.

    Similar legislation in Philadelphia drastically cut marijuana possession arrests," said Patrick Nightingale, a local criminal defense lawyer and executive director of the Pittsburgh chapter of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He argued that it gave police the option of writing a ticket but still retaining the power to file misdemeanor charges if situation warrants so.
  • AMA warns against Marijuana Use during Pregnancy, Breastfeeding

    November 17, 2015

    The American Medical Association (AMA) has agreed that use of marijuana during pregnancy and breastfeeding, may pose risk to the women as well as their babies. The AMA sought a clear message in this regard to be written on medical and recreational products as well as on the stores where they are being sold.

    The decision to spread the message, was taken based on studies that suggested that marijuana use may be linked with low birth weight, premature birth and behavior problems in young children. While the critics of this decision claim that the evidences are not strong enough to reach a conclusion, others agree that more research is required, but cautioning about its use does make sense.

    The AMA's new policy says that some studies have linked marijuana use in pregnancy with childhood attention problems and children's mental growth. It quoted a study, which found THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana in the milk of women who use it while breastfeeding.

    As there are similar warnings for alcohol and tobacco for pregnant women, AMA does not see any wrong in issuing the guidelines for the use of marijuana. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, had proposed the warnings at an AMA policy-making meeting in Atlanta, which was accepted without much debate. Some women use marijuana during or after pregnancy to remove nausea, chronic pain or depression. But, there are alternatives without any risk factor.

    The AMA policy seeks local and state measures to implement the warnings, as marijuana remains illegal under federal law and it won't have to do much there. Medical marijuana is legal in 23 states and Washington, D.C.' while recreational use of marijuana is legal in Washington D.C., Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington.
  • Canadian PM initiates Marijuana Legalization Process

    November 16, 2015

    In a major development, new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has asked the lawmakers to start the marijuana legalization process without any further delay. Trudeau has written a letter to the Canadian Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, listing top priorities for the administration. And, marijuana legalization is one of them.

    Justin Trudeau's poll promises included marijuana legalization among its key priorities. So, he wants to leave no stones unturned to achieve his goal. Trudeau’s letter seeks the creation of a federal-provincial-territorial process that will lead to the legalization and regulation of marijuana.

    The Canadian PM spoke about the mandate in his letter, saying Canadians sent a clear message in this election, hoping for a real change. "As we offered a new, ambitious plan for a strong and growing middle class, we must come true to our words," he said. He asks his Attorney General to work hard to deliver on those promised to Canadians.

    "As Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, your overarching goal will be to ensure our legislation meets the highest standards of equity, fairness and respect for the rule of law. I expect you to ensure that our initiatives respect the Constitution of Canada, court decisions, and are in keeping with our proudest legal traditions," Trudeau said.

    He also asked his Minister to work towards fulfilling their policy goals with the least interference with the rights and privacy of Canadians.