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.
August 22, 2014
October 17, 2014
As the call to legalize marijuana is growing across the United States, a new poll conducted by the University of Delaware has revealed that 56 percent of Delawareans support legalization of marijuana use. Out of 902 adults that participated in the polls, just 39 percent opposed the move. The survey was conducted between September 10 and 22.
According to the University sources, the main opposition came from people older than 60 and some self-identified conservatives. The liberals and young adults came out in support of the move to legalize marijuana in the state. Interestingly, majority of poll respondents in all three counties of Delaware supported legalization of marijuana, saying that would help the youngsters and others find the legal way to lead their lives at will.
Among the conservatives, 39.2 percent favored legalization of marijuana. Similarly, just 36.9 percent of the people aged 60 or above backed it. However, 73 percent of the liberals gave a big thumbs up to the move. 48 percent of total respondents supported marijuana use in Sussex county, which is considered as the most conservative county of Delaware. 47.3 per cent respondents there opposed the move.
Paul Brewer, the political communications professor at the University of Delaware, who supervised the poll, observed that the voting pattern reflected the mood of the public at the state level and also found favor with the sentiments of people at the national level. Even though majority of people back the move to legalize marijuana in the state, the political establishment is not convinced about it. Governor Jack Markell remains opposed to full legalization of pot in Delaware.
The Governor's office has been in touch with legislators and other law enforcement bodies to study further about the ramifications of any such move to legalize marijuana in the state. Markell is reportedly averse to reducing the criminal penalties on small amounts of marijuana.
It can be noted that only Colorado and Washington DC have legalized the sale of both medical and recreational marijuana in their states. Other 22 states have allowed only the medical marijuana, which is still illegal under federal law.
October 13, 2014
The security officials and law enforcing members in Nebraska are having a tough time these days to deal with heavy marijuana influx from Colorado. In the first five months in 2014, around 7,000 arrests have been made in Sidney, Neb, a small city of less than 7,000 people. That has baffled the law enforcement agencies. According to cops, at least 50% traffic stops have resulted in marijuana arrests, which is a dangerous trend.
In the last six months, the police department has been spending huge amount of extra money on prosecution arguments and trials in court. Authorities have now urged the lawmakers to enforce stricter penalties to prevent the massive marijuana influx. The cops believe that imposing a strict fine would work as a deterrent for the offenders, who think that they can get away with small fines worth $120 or so even if they use marijuana in public. The fine should be increased by 10 times to make them think twice before they flout the rules, the cops argue.
The KHAS TV reports that Deule County Sheriff Adam Hayward complained about increasing number of felony drug cases stemming from Colorado marijuana, which is draining resources to accommodate the arrested people in various jails and pay defense attorneys during the court cases. Similar complaints are coming from Cheyenne County, which has made 60 marijuana arrests in 2013 as compared to 45 in 2010.
The cops in Nebraska mince no words to declare that Colorado's gain is Nebraska’s pain. Colorado has legalized medical as well as recreational marijuana. But, Nebraska is probably paying the price for sharing the border with that state. In early September, the Western Nebraska law enforcement officers raised the issue and argued how legalization of marijuana in Colorado have affected Nebraska.
Scotts Bluff County Sheriff Mark Overman lamented that Colorado’s legalization of marijuana has completely changed the landscape of Nebraska. He raised the issue of increase in the number of kids as young as 14 who are being ticketed for marijuana possession. The use of marijuana remains illegal in all forms under federal law of the United States. Six other states also share the borders with Colorado. It would be interesting to see whether they too face similar issues or that is limited to Nebraska only.
September 23, 2014
October 07, 2014
Medical cannabis or medical marijuana are being used in medical therapy to treat some specific diseases or ease symptoms. The plant has a history of medicinal use for over thousands of years. However, it has become very controversial in recent times. As the debate continues over the use of marijuana in medical or recreation purpose, here are 10 interesting facts to know about the drug.
- Historians believe that Cannabis or marijuana was used in Taiwan about 10,000 years ago. The medical use of marijuana is believed to be a very early development, as ancient people used hemp seed as food.
- Cannabis or marijuana is one of the 50 fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese medicine.
- Marijuana is used to reduce nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy and people with AIDS. It helps in treating pain and muscle spasticity too.
- Medical marijuana can be administered using a variety of methods such as vaporizing or smoking dried buds, eating extracts, taking capsules or using oral sprays.
- Medical use of Marijuana is legal in Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and 23 states in the US apart from Washington, D.C. In the United States, only Colorado and Washington have allowed the use of recreational marijuana. However, all types of marijuana use is prohibited under federal law of the US.
- Marijuana vaporizers are gaining popularity, as it is believed that less harmful chemicals are ingested when components are inhaled rather than smoke.
- Cannabis indica, which produces a high level of cannabidiol (CBD) is often preferred for night time use because of its sedative nature. It is also used for treatment of insomnia.
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US, has approved two oral cannabinoids for use as medicine: dronabinol and nabilone.
- The National Institutes of Health holds a US patent for medical marijuana. The patent issued in 2003, is entitled "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants".
- Medical marijuana has been proposed as having the potential for lessening the effects of Alzheimer's disease.
October 06, 2014
The Marijuana Policy Project, a national marijuana advocacy group, began the process of raising money in order to launch a strong campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in California in 2016. The MPP has filed paperwork with the California Secretary of State's office. The move is on the lines of initiatives taken by Colorado and Washington in 2012.
California is the leading state in the United States to produce illegal marijuana. The medical marijuana industry remains unregulated for years. Although California is one of the 21 states that allow medical marijuana, the drug remains illegal here under federal law. The Marijuana Policy Project believes that prohibition of recreational marijuana, has an adverse impact on the communities in California. It believes that marijuana must be allowed to be used just like alcohol and should not be treated as a criminal offense.
The group, which has its base in Washington D.C. has also established campaign committees to start the legalization process in Arizona, Massachusetts and Nevada apart from California. The aim is to legalize marijuana in these states in 2016. It can be noted that voters in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia will take a call on legalization of marijuana in November 2014.
This is not the first time California will witness such a situation. In 2010, the voters in this state had rejected a ballot initiative, which sought to legalize recreational marijuana. The state had allowed medical marijuana way back in 1996, but the medical marijuana users and other growers of pot, have been resisting any move to legalize its recreational use, apprehending a surge in its prices.
As the campaign in California has just begun and the state has two long years to take a decision, the Marijuana Policy Project is hopeful of building a consensus or at least majority of opinion in favor of recreational marijuana use. The Drug Policy Alliance, another group, which is expected to play a major role in this campaign, has estimated the cost of total campaign at $8 million to $12 million.
October 03, 2014
In a historic development, Mayor Michael Nutter signed the legislation on Wednesday, making Philadelphia the biggest city in the United States to decriminalize marijuana. The law, which becomes effective from October 20, will allow possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana, which was earlier a criminal offense. Going forward, it will be just a civil offense.
Not to be confused, the new legislation does not legalize pot in Philadelphia. It just reduces penalties stemming from possession and public use to small fines and community service. Possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana, will lead to arrest and warrant criminal proceedings.
People can still be arrested for failing to show ID cards when caught with marijuana. Those possessing 30 grams or less of marijuana will be fined $25. People, caught smoking in public will be cited and fined $100. If they fail to pay the fine, they will have to perform nine hours of community service. The existing law in Philadelphia punishes any marijuana possession with at least a $200 fine, a drug abuse course and an arrest record, which won't be the case from October 20.
The city has also decided to launch an outreach campaign to educate people about the new law. The law was announced last month after reaching a compromise on several clauses and amendments proposed earlier. City Councilman James Kenney, who is also the sponsor of the bill, hailed the new legislation, saying it will address various issues such as disproportionate marijuana arrests in the African-American community. He expressed confidence that it will help in curbing criminal activities and increase job opportunities.
At the same time, neither Michael Nutter nor James Kenney advocated the use of marijuana. But, they agreed that the new legislation will protect the kids and young people from any danger and help them move on while recovering from the trauma. Kenney believes that the people's lives should not be allowed to get screwed up because of a mistake they make at young age. Philadelphia will make sure to spread the right message among the people that excessive use of marijuana still remains punishable under the criminal law and any conviction may have serious consequences for them.
Philadelphia's move is seen as a great step towards changing the lives of people at a time when the District of Columbia's decriminalization efforts were held up due to the legal tangles. In the United States, only Colorado and Washington states have passed laws legalizing the cultivation, sale and recreational marijuana.
October 01, 2014
Even though Marijuana is legalized under the Colorado law, the citizens may not have the right to use it at will. It became evident when the Supreme Court considers a case to determine what employment protections marijuana users have. The court will rule whether somebody, who uses marijuana in off-duty hours can be fired by the employer or not.
The employers in Colorado have adopted a zero-tolerance drug policy. However, Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic, has challenged the decision of his employer Dish Network, which fired him four years ago after failing a drug test. Coats contends that he has been using medical marijuana since 2009 as prescribed by the doctors. Thus, he cannot be held guilty for using the drug during off-duty hours.
Coats says that he only used marijuana during off-duty hours and never took it at work. His lawyers produced the documents to prove his medical status and argued that the use of medical marijuana in Coats' case should be treated like alcohol or any other legal substance. They further claim that Colorado's Lawful Activities Statute protects employees from being punished for legal, off-duty behavior.
Lawyers of Dish Network and the state of Colorado argue that the use of marijuana - whether medical or recreational, remains illegal under the federal law. The state's court had ruled in favor of Dish Network in 2013, which forced Coats to move the Supreme Court.
Many independent observers believe that the Supreme Court will uphold the ruling given by the state court and rule against Coats. They cite the examples of Supreme Court ruling in four other states - California, Montana, Oregon and Washington where the fired employees had failed to get any relief.
Currently, 23 states in the United States, including the District of Columbia, have legalized medical marijuana, while Colorado and Washington have legalized it for recreational use. However, all eyes are now on the Colorado Supreme Court whose ruling may have far-reaching consequences in the months to come.
September 25, 2014
At a time when we witness reforms in marijuana law in most states, a huge debate has taken place in Texas whether medical marijuana should be allowed there or not. The local and state political groups have mixed thoughts over the issue. There are many groups such as the Sheriff’s Association of Texas Legislative Committee, which have strongly opposed any move to change the Texas marijuana laws.
Denton County Sheriff Will Travis, while talking to a leading newspaper on July 29, had vowed not to allow any changes to the existing laws. He categorically said that the Texas sheriffs will firmly oppose the legalization of marijuana and send a clear message to the Legislature. "It's high time we protect the children and families of Texas from any attempt to legalize marijuana," he said.
On the other hand, the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML), has batted for the legalization of marijuana with the argument that many epileptic kids may get benefits from medical marijuana. The NORML is working hard to mobilize political opinion to end prohibition of marijuana in Texas. The organization is trying to rope in more number of senators to propose pro-marijuana bills for 2015.
There is little doubt that the public opinion towards use of marijuana has changed significantly in the last few years. As many as 23 states in the US have so far legalized marijuana for medical purpose with riders. Colorado and Washington have already legalized marijuana for recreational use. But, they have kept the minimum age of the marijuana users at 21 or above.
It seems the public opinion in Texas is in favor of legalization of marijuana. As per the Public Policy Polling published in October 2013, 58 percent of Texans were found supporting legalization of marijuana for adults and sought alcohol-like regulation for it. Even 61 percent of people backed decriminalizing marijuana possession. With the rising public support and changing perceptions within the political fraternity, the day is not too far when Texas may decide to take the plunge to legalize medical marijuana.
September 22, 2014
Like many other states in the United States, Colorado too has different set of laws and guidelines for the use of marijuana, which has been streamlined under Colorado Amendment 64. The law passed on November 6, 2012, addresses "personal use and regulation of marijuana" for adults of 21 and above. The law also covers commercial cultivation, manufacture, and sale of marijuana in Colorado.
Here are some interesting facts about Marijuana Policy in Colorado:
1) Adults of 21 and above can grow up to six cannabis plants (with no more than half being mature flowering plants) privately in a locked space. Marijuana is produced from cannabis. They legally possess all cannabis from the plants as long they stay at the same place.
2) Consumption of marijuana is in accordance with the law that permits the use of alcohol. Marijuana is not permissible at places as per the Colorado law.
3) The citizens of 21 and above can possess only one ounce of marijuana during the travel. They can also give as a gift up to one ounce of marijuana to other citizens of same age group.
4) Visitors and tourists in Colorado can purchase and use marijuana, but they cannot it take it out of the state. Marijuana is prohibited at the Denver International Airport.
5) As per the Amendment 20 passed on November 7, 2000, approved patients with written medical consent can possess up to 2 ounces of medical cannabis. They can also cultivate no more than six cannabis plants.