• Capitol Lawmaker pushes for legalization of Marijuana

    May 20, 2017

    A section of the lawmakers in the Capitol are considering legalizing of the cannabis plant.

    A Bill titled, ‘Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act,’ was introduced early this year by Representative Thomas Garrett of Virginia, which removes cannabis from Controlled Substances Act and gives states the permission to decide on regulating medical and recreational marijuana.

    On Wednesday, Thomas Garret held a press conference to update the public and media on the progress of the Bill.

     “I have long believed justice that isn’t blind, isn’t justice. Statistics indicate that minor narcotics crimes disproportionately hurt areas of lower socioeconomic status and what I find most troubling is that we continue to keep laws on the books that we do not enforce,” said Garret, who believes there are medical uses for cannabis.

    Marijuana is currently out of federal law, but is still legal in over half of the nation including states like Colorado.

    Garrett said deregulating punishment for marijuana would enable states “to determine appropriate medicinal use and allows for industrial hemp growth.”

    At a time when President Donald Trump’s administration is looking for a stronger enforcement of federal Marijuana laws, the Bill that has 11 co-sponsors has added to the chaos. There have been speculations of the cannabis industry being at risk, ever since Jeff Sessions was made in charge of US Department of Justice.

    In his statement, Kevin Sabet, President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a non-profit organization criticized the policy.

    “Common sense – not Cheech and Chong ideology – should drive our nation’s marijuana laws.  Make no mistake: Congressman Garrett’s legislation is designed to chip away at law enforcement’s ability to keep drug trafficking organizations out of our communities and support a growing for-profit industry that will target poor and young people throughout Virginia,” the statement read. 

  • First medical marijuana dispensary in Gainesville opens on Friday

    May 20, 2017

    The first medical marijuana dispensary in Gainesville opened on Friday. Knox Medical, a Central-Florida based medical marijuana firm will be delivering the medical cannabis plant. This is the first medical marijuana dispensary to be set up in Gainesville and one of the firsts in Florida after the approval of medical marijuana amendment.

    Knox Medical, which is located on Southwest 34th street and is close to the University of Florida, is attempting to make it appear more like a pharmacy than a stereotypical ‘pot-shop.’ The shop starts taking orders from 11am.

    The dispensary has a waiting room, which has open access for all, but only people with prescriptions are allowed beyond the waiting area. There is consultation room and a section which has Knox’s products displayed.

    Since, no medical dispensaries in Florida can legally sell marijuana to be smoked; Knox Medical’s product line would include vaporizers and liquid drops.

    The doctors are allowed to prescribe pots for diseases including cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis and related diseases. Only a patient who has been treated three times by a physician would be eligible to receive cannabis treatment.

    Operating out of Winter Garden for over 50 years, Knox Medical is part of the Knox Nursery, which manufactures more than 500 varieties of plants.

    Knox also plans to open up dispensaries in other locations of Florida including Jacksonville, Lake Worth, Tallahassee and St. Petersburg in the next two years. A medical marijuana dispensary is due to be set up in Orlando in a few weeks.

  • Marijuana Legalization Bill in Governor Phill Scott’s Court for Veto

    May 20, 2017

    S.22 , the Bill to legalize marijuana, has been forwarded to Vermont Governor Phil Scott, who has time until next Wednesday to decide whether to sign the Bill or not. As per the law, once a Bill is sent, the Governor has five days (May 24) to respond. The Bill was handed over to Governor Scott on Thursday morning.

    If the Governor doesn’t sign by next Wednesday and vetoes it, it becomes law without his signature. Both the chambers of the State Legislature have approved the Bill.

    So far, Governor Scott has not revealed his intentions to sign the petition or not.Though, he has not opposed the legalization of the cannabis plant, he has asserted concerns about highway safety and youth access to marijuana.

    Once approved, the Bill would legalize marijuana possession up to an ounce of marijuana and home-growing of cannabis plants per household from July 2018. However, the commercial production of cannabis plant is not permitted under the law. A commission to look into tax models will also come up after the passage of the Bill.

    The Bill assumes significance because it is the first Bill to be passed in State legislature without the participation of citizen.

    If the Bill is approved and passed, it will pave way for other states to follow suit and legalize cannabis plant without ballot initiative.

    While opponents are reluctant to the introduction of marijuana in Vermont industry, fearing criminal justice system, the supporters argue the medicinal aspect of the weed.

    Though, marijuana is not legalized under federal law, it is still available in most of the States. This comes at a time when President Donald Trump’s administration is looking for a stronger enforcement of federal Marijuana laws.

  • Roger Goodell believes Marijuana is 'Addictive' and bad for NFL Players

    May 01, 2017

    At a time when numerous American States are legalizing marijuana either for medical use or recreational purpose or both in recent times, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell thinks marijuana is “addictive” and generally bad for football players.

    While appearing on the ESPN show Mike & Mike on Friday, Goodell also claimed that he won’t change his stance until his advisers prove the medicinal benefit of marijuana consumption for the players.

     “I think you still have to look at a lot of aspects of marijuana use,” Goodell said. “It does have an addictive nature”.

    Goodell pointed out that the long-term effects of marijuana are not yet known.

    “There are a lot of compounds in marijuana that may not be healthy for the players long term. All of those things have to be considered. We really want to help our players in that circumstance, but I want to make sure that the negative consequences aren't something that is something that we'll be held accountable for some years down the road”, Goodell stated.

    However, the NFL Commissioner acknowledged that the league will continue to evaluate whether marijuana can be used for medicinal benefits..

    'We look at it from a medical standpoint,' Goodell said. 'So if people feel that it has a medical benefit, the medical advisers have to tell you that. We have joint advisers, we also have independent advisers, both the NFLPA and the NFL, and we'll sit down and talk about that”.

    Goodell has been criticized for his strict ruling of marijuana use in the league. The NFLLPA is down with dope as a tool for pain management, as are many NFL coaches.

    Notably, marijuana has been banned in the NFL. The players face fines and suspensions for multiple drug-test violations in case of marijuana use.

  • Pennsylvania should legalize Recreational Marijuana: Mayor Kenny

    May 01, 2017

    In an effort to prevent more people from going to jail over marijuana possession, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney observes that the state should legalize marijuana for recreational purpose, and police don’t need to expend resources on busts

    Mayor Kenny’s comment came after the recent bust at a Philadelphia pot party, in which police arrested 22 people, seized 50 pounds of marijuana, 100 pounds of THC-infused edible products and $50,000 in cash over the weekend.

    Kenney, a Democrat, called the raid at a warehouse hosting a pot-smoking party in Philadelphia as “overkill." He said, “I just think the amount of resources that were put into it may have been a little overkill.”

    The Mayor says that he understands why police busted the party, citing the large amount of marijuana present and potentially dangerous conditions in the building. He also agrees that it is “clearly illegal” to sell, or even possess, the amount of weed connected to the bust.

    However the Mayor of Pennsylvania’s largest city believes such types of operations would not exist if the state had a fully legalized marijuana market. For Kenny, marijuana legalization is "the real solution."

     “The real solution to this is legalizing it in the state of Pennsylvania as they did in Colorado," Kenney said. "We won’t have to use police resources in these kinds of activities and actions.”

    “It’s clearly illegal to sell in those quantities.” But, Kenny added, there must be “another way” to go about resolving the matter, “as opposed to the amount of resources that were put into this, especially considering our ongoing relationship with that community.”

    In 2014, Philadelphia passed a citywide ordinance decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana with a punishment of monetary fine. However, marijuana sales weren't decriminalized in the city.

  • Mexico’s Lower House approves Marijuana for Medicinal Use

    May 01, 2017

    In a major development, Mexico's Lower House of Congress overwhelmingly passed a bill on Friday that would legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes, scientific research, as well as production and distribution of marijuana for those two stated purposes across the country.

     The measure was passed with 371 lawmakers in favor, 7 against and 11 abstentions.

    The bill sailed through the Senate in December and will now be sent to President Enrique Pena Nieto for his signature to make it a law in a country mired in brutal drug violence.

    "The ruling eliminates the prohibition and criminalization of acts related to the medicinal use of marijuana and its scientific research, and those relating to the production and distribution of the plant for these purposes," the Lower House said in a statement.

    The bill authorizes the Health Ministry to design regulations for the use, import and production of pharmaceutical products made from marijuana, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the plant's main psychoactive ingredient.

    According to the new measure, marijuana products with one percent concentration of THC will be allowed for medicinal marijuana. But, it does not allow smoking marijuana.

    In April, President Pena Nieto, once a vocal opponent of drug legalization, proposed legalizing medical marijuana in a major policy shift after his government organized forums to discuss changes to the laws.

    The day Pena Nieto signs the bill to make a law, Mexico will join several US states and other nations in Latin America that allow marijuana for medical purposes.

    Recreational marijuana is still widely prohibited in Mexico. However, the Supreme Court in 2015 granted four people the right to grow their own marijuana for personal consumption, opening the door to marijuana legalization for recreational purpose as well.

    Rep. Rosa Alba Ramirez of the small Citizens’ Movement party stated that, “this is not opening the door for a general and unchecked consumption because it includes measures so the health department can ensure it is not being abused or distorted to widen it to recreational use.”

  • Florida’s Medical Marijuana Bill heads to Full House

    May 01, 2017

    The Florida House of Representatives bill that aims to implement the state’s medical marijuana constitutional amendment has been passed by its final committee on late Monday afternoon. The bill now heads to the Florida House floor for approval.

    The House Committee on Health and Human Services passed the proposal, HB 1397, sponsored by Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, by a vote of 14-4.

    The measure would create many limitations on medical marijuana across the state. The patients would also be barred from buying more than a 90-day supply of marijuana, edibles would be off-limits and “vaping” would only be allowed for terminal patients.

    “The goal was to have a reconciliation between the House medical marijuana implementing bill and the Senate medical marijuana implementing bill and present it at this committee,” said the House bill’s sponsor, Ray Rodrigues.

    The Amendment 2 was overwhelmingly approved by voters in last November. It has been criticized by patients and advocates for being far too rigid to provide relief to so many suffering Floridians.

    Supporters of the amendment object that the House bill is too restrictive, in part because it would rely too heavily on a 2014 law that legalized non-euphoric marijuana for patients with chronic muscle spasms, epilepsy or cancer.

    Meanwhile, supporters of the measure want to see the marijuana regulation to be implemented in a tightly restricted but responsible manner where would be treated like a medicine rather than a recreational drug.

    However, the critics of Rodrigues’ proposal consider that the measure continues to distance itself from the Senate bill, SB 406, which they see as a much more amenable way to implement medical marijuana in Florida.