December 17, 2014
After an increase for the last five years, the marijuana use by students in all three grades has declined to 24% in 2014 as compared to 26% in 2013. Among the high school seniors, the marijuana users fell from 6.5% in 2013 to 5.8% in 2014. The fall is very significant, as many states are making efforts to legalize pot to prevent drug abuse among kids. The anti-marijuana activists may use this report to discourage the legalization process.
According to the survey, teen use of alcohol and cigarettes dropped to their lowest level since the study began in 1975. This is an interesting trend. If it continues in case of marijuana use too, anti-pot efforts will gain momentum. "There is a lot of good news in this year's results, but the problems of teen substance use and abuse are still far from going away," Lloyd
Johnston, the study's principal investigator, said.
Interestingly, Synthetic marijuana, chemical concoctions used to simulate a marijuana high, no longer remain on demand. They are being sold at convenience stores and gas stations. But, their sales have dropped significantly in 2014. 11% of 12th standard students were using the drugs in 2011. In 2014, the figure declined to 6%.
Use of all prescription drugs, including narcotic painkillers, sedatives and amphetamines, declined from 16% in 2013 to 14% in 2014 among 12th graders. Narcotic painkiller use dropped again from 7% in 2013 to 6% in 2014. However, Heroin use remained stable for teens.
December 12, 2014
The Barack Obama administration has decided to allow the Native American tribes to grow and sell marijuana even in those states where pot remains illegal. This is a significant decision, which may have far-reaching consequences. Some federal restrictions may still apply to the relaxation, as marijuana can't be allowed to grow on public land and can't be sold to minors or drug cartels.
It would be interesting to see how many tribes will take advantage of the decision, as many of them are opposed to legalization of marijuana. The Justice Department guidelines will allow Native American tribes to formulate policies on their own. They can set up schemes to grow and sell marijuana in states where it's illegal, or ban marijuana in states, where it's legal.
It has been a long-standing demand of the Native tribes who sought more autonomy to set their own regulations on issues such as drugs, taxes and gambling. A 2011 survey conducted by JAMA Network, had revealed that 15 percent of Native American adolescents aged 12 to 17 suffer from a drug abuse disorder, compared to 7.9 percent of the entire adolescent population.
Only three tribes in California, Washington state and in the Midwest have expressed interest in selling marijuana. Other tribes may or may not follow suit. A tribe in South Dakota has already rejected a proposal to allow sale of marijuana. Former Klamath Tribes chairman Jeff Mitchell from Oregon expressed confidence that tribal governments will deal with the verdict appropriately and consider social and legal aspects as well as other implications before taking any decision.
The tribal policy in the United States, is based on an August 2013 Justice Department announcement that the federal government won't intervene if the states strictly regulate marijuana and take steps to keep it away from children, criminal cartels and federal properties.
December 09, 2014
Even though nearly 70 percent of voters in District of Columbia had given thumbs up to the recreational use of marijuana in the national capital, the U.S. Congress is looking forward to stall their efforts to legalize the pot. The Initiative 71, which was supposed to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use while still banning sales, may not get the nod of the U.S. Congress.
According to a summary published on the House Appropriation website, the spending bill to be considered by the Congress this week, prohibits both federal and local funds from being used to implement a referendum legalizing recreational marijuana use in the District.
According to Drug Policy Alliance, the Democrats who openly vouched for Initiative 71, may strike a deal with the Republicans to show that they protected D.C.'s marijuana decriminalization law from elimination, even though they failed in the legalization efforts.
D.C.'s legalization initiative in November received the mandate to allow use of small amount of marijuana for recreational purpose. However, as per the provisions, all initiatives in the national capital must get the Congressional approval to become law.
The Ballot 71 initiative would allow adults 21 and above to possess up to two ounces of marijuana, grow up to six plants of cannabis at home, and give marijuana to other adults 21 and above. However, it still prohibited legalization, regulation or sale of pot. Only Colorado and Washington have so far legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Apart from D.C., Alaska and Oregon too approved the November initiatives to allow recreational use of pot in their states.
November 27, 2014
While people across the United States celebrate the Thanksgiving Day today on November 27 and gear up for the biggest shopping fiesta of the year (Black Friday) on November 28, the pot shops in Colorado have come up with a unique idea. They have decided to turn Black Friday into Green Friday by announcing smoking deals.
A store in Denver store was offering a limited number of ounces of marijuana for $50 each. This is much less than the $250 per ounce price, which is prevalent in the market. The store has been identified as Grass Station. Only the first 16 customers can avail of this opportunity.
As this is the first Black Friday since recreational marijuana has been allowed in Colorado, the pot shops are leaving no stones unturned to make it memorable. Colorado legalized recreational marijuana on January 1, 2014 although it had allowed medical marijuana years ago.
The 'Green Friday' deals include Sweetgrass Kitchen's single-serving marijuana-infused pumpkin pies, pumpkin-spice mocha chocolate bars containing eight servings of pot and discounts for customers who brought in canned food for the local homeless shelter. One dispensary is selling marijuana in the shape of mini Christmas trees.
The pot shops in Colorado claim that their offers have already generated much curiosity among the buyers. The next two days would be very crucial for the pot industry in Colorado. If the 'Green Friday' idea turns out to be a big success, the shop owners may be tempted to plan many such events in future. And, Christmas and New Year are not that far.
October 23, 2014
Hot deal on the DaVinci Ascent is here! It is usually $249, but Massdrop is selling it for $149. There are only 5 days left for this sale, but this deal seems to pop up every once in a while, so don't stress out if you miss this one. This is one of my favorite portable vapes (read my review where I gave it an A rating).
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November 25, 2014
Georgia became the latest state in the United States to join the legal battle for Marijuana use. Democrat Senator Curt Thompson introduced two pieces of legislation on Monday that would legalize medical and recreational marijuana in Georgia. Both legislation are known as SB 6 and SB 7.
As per the provisions of SB 6, the state would allow people of 21 years of age and above to purchase a 'limited' amount of marijuana. The taxes and fees collected from the sale of marijuana would be split equally between education and transportation departments of the state. So far, only Colorado and Washington state have legalized the use of recreational marijuana. Although Oregon, Alaska and District of Columbia have joined the club recently, the legalization process will go through several phases in these states before people can take advantage of it.
The SB 7 legislation focuses on legalization of medical marijuana. Under the provisions of this bill, marijuana would be authorized for medical use for such people who suffer from a “debilitating medical condition,” which includes but isn’t limited to cancer, glaucoma, HIV, Alzheimer’s disease. Any other chronic disease or medical conditions that require use of marijuana in the healing process, would also come under this.
Senator Curt Thompson, while introducing the legislation, made a statement, saying, "During the 2015 legislative session, we will have the opportunity to provide our doctors with an additional tool by legalizing marijuana for medical use.” It can be noted that a bill seeking to legalize cannabis oil for medical use failed to pass the legislature in March 2014. It was sponsored by Republican Allen Peake. It would be interesting to see what response Senator Curt Thompson's efforts will get in the legislature this time.
November 21, 2014
According to a new study published under 'Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)', researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas, have revealed that long-term use of marijuana definitely change the activities of brain, but there is evidence to suggest that the impacts are negative or hazardous. Using marijuana daily for four years or longer may be related to certain changes in the brain, the study said.
The researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine the brains of 48 adults who were chronic marijuana users. They used pot at least thrice in a day for four years or more. The researchers also gathered the data from 62 people who did not use marijuana. The regular pot users had a smaller volume of gray matter in orbitofrontal cortex, which is associated with addiction.
The chronic marijuana users showed higher connectivity between different parts of the brain as compared to the people who did not use marijuana. The study further clarified that more activities inside the brain are not necessarily negative. However, it is difficult to say what consequences these changes may have for users in the long run. The effects of chronic marijuana use on the brain may depend on age of first use and duration of use, opined the researchers.
The researchers dismissed the myth that marijuana use lower IQ. Rather, they hint at evidences of marijuana's possible role in fighting Alzheimer’s disease. They all agreed that the study provided evidence that long-term use of marijuana kicks off a complex process that allows neurons to adjust and compensate for smaller gray matter volume. But, all findings must be followed up with further research and studies in a more advanced way, they said.
The study is titled as 'Long-term effects of marijuana use on the brain'. The researchers involved in the study, include Francesca M. Filbey, Sina Aslan, Vince D. Calhoun, Jeffrey S. Spence, Eswar Damaraju, Arvind Caprihan and Judith Segall.
November 18, 2014
Bob Marley, the late reggae superstar, will soon become synonymous with marijuana, as his family is planning to launch a pot brand on his name, which will sell cannabis and related products. The products will be launched under Bob Marley's estate and cannabis-focused private equity firm Privateer Holdings.
The product will be known as 'Marley Natural'. An announcement with this effect was made by the company today. Privateer Holdings, a New York City based company, will have three categories of marijuana products by the end of 2015. The products are divided into heirloom cannabis, topicals and accessories.
The cannabis products will be available in 23 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Guam, which have allowed medical marijuana. Only Colorado and Washington have allowed the recreation use of pot. Although Oregon, D.C., Alaska have recently voted in favor of legalization of recreational marijuana, it will take some time before the law comes into force.
The topicals will include lotions, sun-repair creams and lip balms infused with cannabis and Jamaican botanicals. A bamboo bubbler and coconut chalice will be part of the accessories. Interestingly, Bob Marley himself used these accessories in his lifetime. Marley family members who are part of the new venture are Cedella Marley (daughter), Rita Marley (widow) and Rohan Marley (son).
Earlier, Bob Marley's estate had launched several ventures including House of Marley Audio products and Marley Coffee. This is the first time they will enter the marijuana business.
November 13, 2014
Although the D.C. voters overwhelmingly backed Initiative 71, which legalizes possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana for people aged 21 and above and allows cultivation of four cannabis plants at home, it is the U.S. Congress, which will take a final decision whether to approve this legalization process or not. The Congress has 60 days to review the legislation. But, it remains to be seen whether the House will take up the matter on priority to pass the bill during this limited period.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), one of the most conservative politicians, joined hands with a group of Democrats to urge the Congress to allow the legalization of marijuana to go into effect in District of Columbia, the nation's capital. Democratic Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Jared Polis (Colo.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (District of Columbia) too supported the legalization of marijuana.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) strongly vouched for recreational marijuana, saying the record shows that no one has ever died from marijuana overdose. These Congressmen joined hands to put pressure on their colleagues to follow the footsteps of Colorado, Washington State, Oregon and Alaska to allow use of recreational marijuana. "Let's not waste tax dollars and oppress people with big government," he said. "Let's leave these issues up to the states and strike a blow for liberty," said Dana Rohrabacher from California, the state which had rejected the move to legalize recreational use of pot.
Holmes Norton made an emotional appeal to the House to respect the D.C. marijuana legalization initiative, saying that came straight from the votes of two-thirds of the people of the district. Rohrabacher urged the Congressmen to end political opposition and look into the practicality before taking any decision.
November 11, 2014
Even as people in Oregon voted overwhelmingly to legalize recreational marijuana in a historic vote on November 4 along with Alska and Washington, D.C, the Portland parks officials have denied permission to hold the Hempstalk Festival 2015, saying the decision was taken before the voting. The officials waited till November 4 to take their decision, which draws flak from all quarters. The free annual Hempstalk Festival event is being organized every year to garner support for marijuana and hemp legalization.
Hempstalk Festival founder Paul Stanford expected the 2015 event to be a big moral booster and celebratory for all those who tried hard to see the legalization of recreational marijuana in Oregon. However, a firm denial to allow the event to be held at Portland's Tom McCall Waterfront Park or any other public property dented his spirit and mood.
Shawn Rogers, Parks Bureau customer service center manager, categorically said that the passage of ballot measure 91 cannot influence their decision. "The organizers are unable to manage the event in accordance with the necessary conditions clearly outlined and revisited on multiple occasions", he said.
It can be recalled that during the 2014 event, a large number of people defied the law and consumed marijuana even though it remained illegal. The organizers of the event did not intervene to prevent them from doing so. That created a big controversy and forced the authorities to deny permission to hold any such events in future, it is believed.
Shawn Rogers revealed that he personally went to the Hempstalk festival to check how the organizers manage the event. And, he found things messy and chaotic. "I heard speakers at the event encouraging the participants to go outside the gate and consume marijuana. I actually felt like I was at risk of getting high," he said. Hempstalk has hired a professional event coordinator, Peter Mott to set things in order in 2015. But, seems it's too late.
November 07, 2014
Oregon made history on November 4 by allowing legalization of recreational sales and consumption of marijuana in the state. The ballot measure was passed by 55% to 45%, putting Oregon in the league of Colorado, Washington, D.C. and Alaska. Here are the most important changes that will take place in Oregon following the latest development.
- People in Oregon and the visitors will have to wait until at least July 1, 2015 to take advantage of the new initiatives. However, the legal sale may occur only after January 1, 2016, after getting the approval of Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
- Initially, an ounce of legal marijuana will cost about $330 or $12 a joint. In the black market, marijuana is sold at $177 an ounce.
- People of 21 year old or above irrespective of their resident status, can possess up to one ounce of marijuana outside and 8 ounces at home. They can also plant four plants of cannabis at home.
- There is a plan to get opinions from the Oregonians during the first half of 2015 on the preparation of draft rules and regulations.
- The law doesn't prohibit firms from firing employees who test positive for marijuana. so, that could be the bad news for the people of Oregon. As Pot is still illegal under federal law, many companies continue to have a zero tolerance policy towards its use.
- According to industry experts, Oregon may earn $17.5 million to $25.9 million in taxes during the first year of legal sales. It may go up further. 20% of the consumption is expected to be from tourists.
November 05, 2014
The District of Columbia and Oregon joined Colorado and Washington state to allow recreational marijuana. Both states gave a thumbs up to the proposal. On the other hand, Florida rejected the proposal to legalize medical marijuana. Although 57% people in Florida backed the move, it failed to get the required 60% votes to pass the amendment.
Under the provisions of Initiative 71 measure passed by D.C. voters with a massive 69% support, residents and visitors aged 21 and above can possess two ounces of marijuana and grow up to three cannabis plants at home. It also makes manufacture, sale and possession of marijuana accessories legal. However, the U.S. Congress reserves the right to overturn the ballot victory if it wishes so, making the joy of D.C. people short-lived.
In Oregon, at least 70% people have backed the legalization of marijuana. In Alaska too, the measure is leading by 53 percent to 28 percent, as reported by the media. Only Colorado and Washington State had so far legalized recreational marijuana, while 22 other states have allowed its medical use.
November 04, 2014
November 4 may turn out to be historic for four states in the U.S.A, as they vote on the issue of legalization of marijuana. Oregon, Alaska and District of Columbia will decide whether to allow recreational marijuana or not. Only Colorado and Washington state have so far approved recreational marijuana.
Florida will decide on the issue of medical marijuana, while Michigan, Maine, New Mexico and Guam have started local initiatives on pot issue. 10 counties in Michigan, including Huntington Woods, Berkley, Saginaw, Mount Pleasant, Clare, Harrison, Frankfurt, Onaway, Port Huron and Lapeer will vote on decriminalization measures.
We had seen hectic activities in these states in the last few weeks to mobilize opinion in favor of marijuana. There have been some opposition to these ballot measures, but it seems final voting could result in loosening the restrictions on pot. Pro-Marijuana activists have called pot less toxic and less addictive even than alcohol.
In Alaska, medical marijuana is legal, but people here want to use pot for recreational purpose too. Two recent surveys showed contradictory results. One poll found 57% of the respondents supporting the move. However, the second poll showed only 43% supporting the measure, while 53% voting against it.
All eyes are on Oregon, which had rejected the move to legalize marijuana by 56%-44% voting in 2012. However, the situation is very different this time. The Drug Policy Alliance has been working hard to garner support for Measure 91. If we believe the surveys and polls, the chances of pot getting legalized in Oregon stand at 50:50.
The District of Columbia will vote on a measure, which would allow people to possess up to 2 oz. of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants at home. The measure may get people's nod, predict the local surveys published on various media platforms. On the other hand, Florida is all set to become the 24th state in the U.S.A. to allow medical marijuana. The constitutional amendment requires 60% supermajority. The polls have predicted a win for the amendment, but they are unsure whether the required number of votes could be achieved or not.
October 24, 2014
A latest report published by research firm GreenWave Advisors, has come up with some interesting predictions. If all 50 states in the U.S.A. legalize marijuana and the federal government lifts the prohibition, the marijuana industry could grow to $35 billion by 2020, it believes.
Currently, only 23 states and District of Columbia have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana. Colorado and Washington have allowed recreational marijuana too, which is still illegal under federal law. The survey predicts that even if the federal government does not legalize marijuana and the process continues in other states at the current pace, the marijuana industry in the U.S. may still become worth $21 billion in 2020.
The GreenWave has predicted 12 states and the District of Columbia to have legalized recreational marijuana by 2020. They will be the additions to Colorado and Washington. According to the data provided by GreenWave Advisors, Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont are the states that may allow recreational marijuana over the next six years.
The Huffington Post quoted Matt Karnes, founder and managing partner of GreenWave, who expects the ballot measure to pass in 2014 so that their sales forecast starts in 2016. He further noted that voters in Oregon, Alaska and District of Columbia are holding ballot measure in November to decide whether or not to allow recreational marijuana. Florida voters will consider the proposals to legalize medical marijuana. "As more and more states come on board with legalization and as the federal government shifts its course on marijuana policy, investor interest will undoubtedly intensify," says the report.
According to Live Trading News, GreenWave is not the first group to suggest that the federal government may end prohibition of marijuana. A US Congressman has also predicted that federal government will legalize marijuana by the end of this decade (before 2020). It can be noted that in May 2014, the US House passed measures to limit Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) crackdowns on shops in states, where medical marijuana is legal.
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.