• More than half of American Adults have used Marijuana, says Survey

    April 22, 2017

    Marijuana has been federally classified as a dangerous Schedule 1 drug in the United States, but a majority of American adults have tried marijuana at least once in their lives, according to a new survey conducted by Yahoo News and Marist Poll.

    The survey, titled Weed and the American Family, was conducted from March 1 to March 7 involving 1,122 adult respondents. It found that 52 percent of Americans over 18 have tried marijuana at some point in their lives, and more importantly, 44 percent of those who tried it once still use it today.

    The study also observed that 49 percent of American adults support legalization of marijuana for medical purpose while around 47 percent oppose it.

    Dr. Donald Abrams, an oncologist at University of California San Francisco who has studied marijuana, stated that the overwhelming support for medicinal marijuana in the U.S. is inevitable.

    Many "have had family members or friends who have benefited from the use medicinally," Abrams said. "I hear it all the time."

    The study also shows that moms and dads are being more open about using marijuana with their children and even with their own parents.

    More adults are talking to their parents about consuming marijuana, according to the study. More than seven in 10 adults who use marijuana say they have told their parents about their use.

    “And more than one in four users say they’ve consumed marijuana in front of or with their own parents,” the report states.

    However, a social stigma is still involved with the marijuana consumption.

    Around 70 percent of poll respondents believe their parents would be unhappy to learn they were using marijuana recreationally while nearly 58 percent of the parents also think that their children would not approve if they know that their parent consume marijuana for recreational purpose.

    The survey was conducted about evolving social attitudes towards marijuana use. It examined at everything from family views on marijuana use to regulation, entertainment, social acceptability, and more.

    Source:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/half-american-adults-marijuana-poll-finds/story?id=46786923

  • Michigan creates Medical Marijuana Agency

    April 22, 2017

    Michigan has created the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation to centralize all aspects of medical marijuana regulation, according to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). The bureau will house the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP), the state patient and caregivers.

     The new agency will be responsible for regulating marijuana business including issuing licenses to growers, processors, distributors, retailers and patients in the state. In addition, it will take responsibility for the enforcement of secure transporters, provisioning centers and safety compliance facilities.

    Andrew Brisbo, who has served as LARA’s licensing division director, has been named as the director of the newly created Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. He will be in charge of the department that could grow to nearly 100 employees who investigate all license applicants and ultimately regulate the medical marijuana business in the state.

     “Our function as an agency is to ensure safe product is available for the patients in Michigan, and that we create a regulatory structure that allows for the growth of business”, says Andrew Brisbo. “The number of patients is increasing yearly, so the need is obviously there in that regard.”

    LARA Director Shelly Edgerton said, centralized services will enhance patient protections and make regulations more efficient for business customers in the state.

    Currently, more than 240,000 medical marijuana patients are registered in MMMP, and 40,000 care givers are licensed to distribute medical marijuana in the state.

    In Michigan, the medical marijuana business is projected to generate revenues of more than $700 million, and if a ballot proposal goes to voters in 2018 and the market is opened for recreational use, too, those revenues will easily surpass $1 billion.

    Michigan will start issuing the new marijuana licenses in 2018.

  • Marijuana 'not a factor' in Drug War, say DHS chief John Kelly

    April 22, 2017

    Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has said that marijuana is "not a factor" in the war on drugs  in the Trump Administration despite Attorney General Jeff Sessions'  tough talk on state movements to legalize the marijuana either medicinal or recreational or for both purposes in recent past.

    Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press", on Sunday Kelly was asked whether legalizing marijuana would help or hurt his work to stop the flow of drugs into the United States from Central America and Mexico.

    "Yeah, marijuana is not a factor in the drug war," Kelly answered. "It's three things. Methamphetamine, almost all produced in Mexico; Heroin, virtually all produced in Mexico, and cocaine that comes up from further south."

    Kelly said that in 2015 those three drugs, plus opiates, were responsible for the deaths of 52,000 people in the United States and cost the country $250 billion.

    Importantly, Kelly considered that solving the nation's drug problem does not involve merely cracking down on marijuana dealers, users, addiction, and marijuana related crime in the U.S. Instead, he said the solution is to lower the drug demand in the country.

    "The solution is a comprehensive drug demand reduction program in the United States that involves every man and woman of goodwill. And then rehabilitation, and then law enforcement, and then getting at the poppy fields and the coca fields in the south”, Kelly stated.

    Ironically, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has expressed different views in case of marijuana legalization. He argues "good people don't smoke marijuana" and has long taken an enthusiastic hard-line stance on federal marijuana prohibition in particular and the drug war in general.

    However, Kelly's de-legitimizing of marijuana as "not a factor in the drug world" seems to fuel recent criticism of inconsistencies in the Trump administration in case of marijuana legalization.

  • Oregon Lawmakers introduce Bill to protect Recreational Marijuana Industries

    April 01, 2017

    Amidst uncertainty over the Trump administration’s stand towards federal crackdown of marijuana legislation, Oregon lawmakers are taking proactive steps to protect recreational marijuana industries in the state.

    Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Sen. Ron Wyden on Thursday announced a legislative package- "Path to Marijuana Reform" to protect legal marijuana even as the US attorney general has heavily criticized marijuana legislation in various states of the country.

    "What the two of us are here today to say is: Voters in Oregon and others states have chosen to legalize marijuana, and their votes shouldn't just be casually thrown in the trash can by this administration", Sen. Wyden and Rep. Blumenauer said in a statement. "More than 20 percent of Americans live in states that permit adult use of marijuana."

    Both the Democratic legislators said, they will preserve the integrity of state marijuana laws and provide a path for responsible federal legalization and regulation of the marijuana industry.

    In this new package of bills, Wyden for the first time supports removing federal criminal penalties for all users, both recreational and medicinal. He is also now in favor of completely removing marijuana from the federal list of controlled drugs.

    The move came at a time when marijuana has been garnering support nationally while White House press secretary Sean Spicer last month indicated that the Trump administration may enforce federal marijuana laws in states where recreational marijuana is legal.

    Marijuana analytics firm New Frontier Data expects the national legal marijuana market to grow to more than $24 billion by 2025. It projects Oregon's recreational marijuana market will be worth roughly $502 million by the end of this year and about $827 million by the end of 2025.

    Though marijuana remains illegal under the federal law, Oregon has already legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational purpose.

  • Georgia Senate passes expansion of limited Medical Marijuana Bill

    April 01, 2017

    The Georgia state Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill that would expand the medical marijuana program of the state by adding six new diagnoses to the list of qualifying conditions.

    The Senators on Thursday passed a revised version of “Senate Bill 16” with 45-6 votes and sent the bill to Governor Nathan Deal in order to sign into law of the state. The bill was approved by Georgia's House of Representatives on Tuesday.

    Sen. Ben Watson, R-Savannah, sponsored the bill and called on the federal government to "tear down the wall" to additional research by changing the classification of marijuana.

    The new measure would make six conditions eligible for treatment with a limited form of marijuana oil allowed across the state. Those are Alzheimer’s disease, HIV/AIDS, autism, epidermolysis bullosa, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette’s syndrome. Patients in hospice care also could possess the oil.

    According to the bill, marijuana Users must be registered with the state health officials and prove to be under a physician's care for the conditions allowed in state medical marijuana program.

    Georgia's limited medical marijuana law was enacted in 2015. If the Governor signs the bill into law, the marijuana program of the state will include people with 15 medical conditions, up from nine currently.

    Current conditions allowed to use medical marijuana in the state include cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and Crohn's disease.

    “Today we’re going to provide more access to Georgians with very specific illnesses,” said Sen. Matt Brass, R-Newnan. “And we’ll provide doctors more treatment options for patients.”

    Brass also said that he supported the expansion because he wanted those with autism to be allowed to be use cannabis oil after obtaining a doctor's approval.

    In Georgia, around 1,300 people are approved to use low-THC marijuana oil l for the initial nine conditions.

  • West Virginia Senate approves Medical Marijuana Bill

    March 30, 2017

    The West Virginia Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would permit marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes in the state. The lawmakers voted 28-6 to pass the Senate Bill 386, also known as the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act.

    The Senate Bill 386, sponsored by Sen. Richard Ojeda, D-Logan, will advance to the House of Delegates for consideration.

    According to the measure, the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Commission will be created to establish and oversee a state medical marijuana program. The Cannabis Commission will consist of sixteen members including medical professionals, law enforcement officials, and government agency representatives.

    The Commission will be responsible for setting the requirements to phase medical marijuana into the state, including certification and applications for physicians to become eligible to prescribe medical marijuana. It would also establish standards, licensing processes, and databases for medical marijuana dispensaries, physicians and cultivators.

    "We applaud the Senate for standing up for seriously ill West Virginians and giving them hopes with this much-needed legislation,” said Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project in a statement. “For many patients, medical marijuana is a far safer alternative to opioids and other prescription drugs. Any delegates who are serious about addressing the opiate crisis in West Virginia need to consider the substantial benefits this law could have on that front. We hope Speaker Armstead will review the facts and give this bill a fair shake in the House.”

    If the Bill becomes law, residents with certain medical conditions could be prescribed marijuana treatment. Those conditions include anorexia or wasting syndrome; a chronic disease or condition that produces cachexia; end-of-life or hospice care; severe or chronic pain that isn't relieved through standard pain medication; severe nausea; seizures; severe or persistent muscle spasms; refractory generalized anxiety disorder; and post-traumatic stress disorder.

    In the U.S., as many as twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have already enacted effective medical marijuana legislation.

  • Georgia House approves bill to expand Medical Marijuana Program

    March 30, 2017

    In a major development, Georgia House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved legislation expanding eligibility conditions for treatment under the state’s medical marijuana program.

    The Senate Bill 16, which was passed with 167-4 Vote, needs Senate approval to send the bill to Republican Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk for his review and signature.

    The new measure adds six additional conditions to the list of diseases that qualify patients with a doctor's prescription for medical marijuana treatment. The conditions include Tourette's syndrome, autism, epidermolysis bullosa, Alzheimer's disease, HIV/AIDS and peripheral neuropathy.

    A total of eight diseases are now eligible for treatment with low-THC cannabis oil across the state. In addition, anyone in a hospice program, regardless of diagnosis, will be allowed access to marijuana oil that’s low on THC, the chemical responsible for the marijuana high.

    The Senate passed a bill earlier in this year's session reducing the allowable THC content to 3 percent. THC is the chemical in marijuana that gets users high. The House amended the bill to put the allowable level of THC back at 5 percent, the content permitted by current law.

    "I’m grateful we’ve moved the bill," said Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), who has sponsored medical marijuana bills the last several sessions.  "We’re not there yet. We still have a huge issue of, where do we access the product. And until we deal with that we’re still going to be shortchanging our citizens in some respects."

    “More than 1,300 Georgia patients have benefit from cannabis oil since medical marijuana was legalized in Georgia two years ago”, he said. "It is changing people's lives, making life bearable, giving our citizens hope.”

    Sen. Ben Watson, R-Savannah, authored the original Senate Bill 16. He said that he was pleased with the outcome.

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