• Oregon to ban Out of State Medical Marijuana Patients

    August 31, 2015

    The distinct feature of Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) has so far allowed non-Oregon residents to get treated in the state. It also allows people from outside the states to grow pot here. However, these facilities will be ceased to exist soon. From January 1, 2016, the Oregon Health Authority will stop issuing cards to patients without Oregon addresses, which means door will be closed for the out of State Medical Marijuana patients.

    There are many states that recognize out of state medical marijuana cards, but Oregon allows people to become a patient in the state. However, the new law, which was passed this year by the Legislature, would put an end to this practice. In addition, from July 1, 2016, new medical marijuana growers will have to prove that they have lived in Oregon for two years.

    The latest Oregon Health Authority Data reveals that about 71,000 people have been registered as patients. And, out of them, 1,900 have addresses outside Oregon. Most of the out of the state medical marijuana patients come from California, Idaho and Washington.

    It can be noted that Oregon now allows recreational marijuana and the sale would begin from October 1, 2015. The early sales will involve only flower, plants and seeds. So, there is still little joy for the out of the state travelers, as they can avail recreational marijuana. However, they won't be able to use medical marijuana from 2016.
  • Marijuana does not affect Brain Volume: JAMA Psychiatry Study

    August 28, 2015

    While a lot has been said about the use and side-effects of marijuana in the past, public health experts always raised concerns about potential link between substance use and structural changes in the brain. However, a new study seeks to allay all fears and apprehensions while comparing the brains of marijuana users and non-users to their siblings.

    The study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, shows how the researchers studied a large group of siblings in the age group of 22-35. Out of 483 people studied, 262 were found using marijuana even just once. The researchers then split the men and women into three groups - siblings who both had never used marijuana, siblings who both reported using marijuana, and pairs where one had used marijuana and the other did not.

    As per the established belief, the differences in brain volume would be visible in pairs with one user and one non-user. But, both exposed and unexposed siblings were found to have the same volume. “We found no evidence for the causal influence of cannabis exposure on amygdala volume,” the authors concluded.

    The study did not find any evidence to suggest that brain volume had any effect on whether or not a person uses marijuana. As there have been conflicting reports on the same subject, further research is required in this field to determine whether marijuana really has any effects on brain volume or not.

    Pic Credit: www.geneticsandsociety.org

  • Ohio Voters to get a chance to legalize Marijuana

    August 24, 2015

    ResponsibleOhio, an Investor Group, has successfully collected required signatures, paving way for Ohio to go for the ballot initiative in November 2015, which would determine whether the state would have marijuana legalized or not. And, interestingly, the initiative, if passed, would ensure legalization of both medical as well as recreational marijuana in Ohio.

    ResponsibleOhio Executive Director Ian James is upbeat about the prospects of Ohio legalizing marijuana. "It's not about drug business, rather it's about providing medication to sick Ohions, bringing money back to our communities and establishing a new industry with economic development opportunities", he said.

    Supporters of Marijuana Legalization Amendment predict a massive marijuana industry in Ohio once the legislation is approved. It could generate as much as $2 billion a year by 2020 and $500 million taxes per annum, they believe. There are many opponents to this legislation too. They have raised serious questions and sought to draw attention to the restrictions on where and how many wholesale growing farms may operate, as envisaged in the Ohio Constitution.

    If both amendments moved by the pro-marijuana activists are enacted, the issue will go to court because of the stiff opposition from several quarters. However, people, who are supporting marijuana, are not perturbed. The most recent poll from Quinnipiac University, conducted in July 2015, found that 52 percent of Ohioans support the legislation, while 44 percent oppose it. Can this be a game changer? Let's wait and watch!
  • Nebraska may have Marijuana Political Party Soon

    August 24, 2015

    Nebraska is yet to enter the map of states that have legalized medical marijuana, but a movement is going on in that state to unite people under a new political party, which will be established only to garner support for the weed. The supporters of legalization of medical marijuana are traveling across the state to launch this campaign.

    The advocates of medical marijuana argue that it would help their children with cerebral palsy with the epilepsy. Many people in York and other parts of Nebraska are in favor of medical marijuana, but it won't be an easy ride for them to get a legislation approved. It will be a long process for sure.

    The pro-marijuana people have started a campaign, requesting people to sign their petition to launch the 'Marijuana Party of Nebraska'. Mark Elworth Jr. who organized the petition back in April 2015, admitted that medical marijuana would not be passed through the legislature. "But, I want 5,500 signatures to create my own party so that we can present our views on appropriate platform", he said.

    Elworth has claimed to have garnered over 3,000 signatures so far. "I just don't want to legalize weed. My goal is to make the state better, Young people should not go out of the state. The money, which is going out, should stay here. And, our patients must get enough facilities and scope to stay back here and get proper treatment. Everyone has a right to healthy life and nobody should suffer. That's our goal." he added.

    At the same time, there are many people, who are opposed to Elworth's campaign, saying Nebraska does not need medical marijuana. They believe that Elworth and many others do not know anything about marijuana business and its side effects.
  • Montana may become 1st State to lose Medical Marijuana

    August 16, 2015

    While 23 states in the U.S. have legalized medical marijuana and 4 others and District of Columbia have allowed recreational marijuana, Montana is going backwards and may lose medical pot soon, it is believed. The medical marijuana industry in Montana has been a decline. The slump began in 2011 following some key legislation and the situation is going from bad to worse.

    The medical marijuana business in Montana boomed after it was legalized in 2004. At one stage, the state had 30,000 patients and 4,900 marijuana providers. It was a huge for a state with just a million people. However, when pot shops were set up near schools, churches and other key installations, anti-marijuana activists started opposing it and got the backing of common people too.

    The major problem began in March 2011, when the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration conducted raids across the state after an 18-month investigation into the allegations of links between medical marijuana and drug trafficking. In addition, there were charges of other federal crimes too. Many shops were closed during the crackdown and their owners/operators were charged under federal drug laws.

    A massive campaign to repeal medical marijuana began in April 2011, which still continues and received a big momentum. Then Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, a Democratic, vetoed a repeal bill in April 2011. In May 2011, a bill known as "repeal in disguise" was signed. Although it was weakened by a state judge, it put a brake on the growth of medical marijuana industry in Montana. The legislation barred the providers from charging a cent beyond recouping license application fee.

    As a result, the number of patients declined from 30,000 to less than 9,000 in June 2012 and the number of providers went down to less than 400. It was a massive fall. And, the medical marijuana industry in Montana never recovered from that shock. The state Supreme Court asked the judge to reconsider his ruling, but he made it permanent in January 2015. As the law is the subject of a Supreme Court decision in October 2015, it may seal the fate of Montana's medical marijuana industry forever. If we believe the indications, the SC decision may not give any reprieve to the industry.

  • India & Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act

    July 31, 2015

    India has a long history of opium and cannabis use, especially in medicinal, spiritual, religious and social contexts. The earliest mention of cannabis has been found in The Vedas, or sacred Hindu texts, written thousands of years ago. The Vedas call cannabis a source of happiness, joy-giver, liberator that was compassionately given to humans to help us attain delight and lose fear.

    During the Middle Ages, soldiers often took cannabis before entering battle while other professional used to consume it for different reasons such to celebrate different occasions or get relief from pain, anxieties etc. Cannabis was widely accepted in most part of the country before and after its independence from the colonial rule. Serving opium has been an age-old tradition in many parts of the country that marks respect for guests.

    No matter for rich or poor, men or women of certain sects after certain age, the practice of consuming opium, liquor, bhang etc during festivals or other social and cultural gatherings was not seen as socially deviant behavior. However, this social propriety turned into legal impropriety with the enactment of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in 1985 by the Government of India, in order to comply with international agreements.

    The NDPS Act prohibits cultivation, production, manufacture, possession, sale, purchase, store, transport, import, export, use and consumption of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, except for medical and scientific reasons, under license or permit by the government agencies. The Act extends to the whole of India and also applies to all Indian citizens outside the country and to all persons on ships and aircraft registered in India.

    Under the NDPS Act, penalties to offenders depend on the quantity of the drug found, with the scale of punishment varying from a maximum of 6 months for ‘small quantity’ to 20 years of imprisonment for a first offence involving ‘commercial quantity’ and also a monetary fine ranging from hundred to two hundred thousand in Indian rupees. The Act has also several provisions of severe punishment for serious offenders.

    However, the NDPS Act was criticized from different quarters due to the law providing the same punishment for all drugs, which meant that dealers shifted their focus to harder drugs, where profits are far higher. The critics also suggest that some of the softer drugs should be legalized, as this might reduce the level of heroin addiction.

  • Oregon to begin selling Recreational Marijuana in October 2015

    July 29, 2015

    People in Oregon will be able to purchase recreational marijuana much earlier than anticipated. As Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed a law on Tuesday allowing the sale of recreational marijuana in existing medical marijuana dispensaries, people will get pot from October 1, 2015. It's a big development, as the law legalizing recreational marijuana in Oregon took effect only on July 1.

    Oregon had approved marijuana legalization during the 2014 Election. The possession, consumption, and cultivation provisions recreational pot became effective on July 1, 2015. And, now, people would be able to purchase it from October 1. The system has worked faster than expected in the state, which had given a huge mandate to legalize recreational marijuana.

    Kristen Grainger, Kate Brown's spokeswoman, termed the development as a "smart solution to a short-term logistical problem. "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", she said while talking to a media house.

    The bill allows adults 21 years of age and above to purchase up to 7 grams of dried flower marijuana, as well as up to four seeds or non-flowering cannabis plants. However, it is prohibited to purchase Marijuana topicals, edibles etc. Sales of those items will be permitted only after the recreational marijuana stores open in 2016.

    The Oregon Liquor Control Commission will establish a regulatory framework and issue licenses to retailers at a later stage. It can noted that only Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Washington and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana in the U.S. till date.