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Marijuana News in MA and World

Congress Marijuana

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a comprehensive report that examined the establishing of a wholesale excise tax on the production and sale of marijuana-related products on a federal level.

This comprehensive policy and fiscal report of how marijuana can be taxed and regulated nationally included enforcement concerns, discouraging youth use, choosing the base to tax (such as weight, potency, and price), restrictions, labeling, special tax rates, home production and medical marijuana.

CRS’s economic analysis indicated that marijuana prices would likely fall from current-day prohibition-influenced prices of approximately $200-$300 per ounce to potentially less than $20 per ounce. The economic modeling was based on a $40 billion annual US marijuana market that tested a $50 per ounce federal excise tax price point which would generate nearly $7 billion in federal excise tax.

Alcohol and marijuana’s external costs (i.e. taxation to equate with external costs of the drug use on society) were studied and researchers pegged alcohol’s external costs to the nation at $30 billion annually and marijuana’s at less than $1.6 billion, revealing that the federal government understands that alcohol is a much more harmful substance to society than marijuana.

NORML Executive Director commented on the CRS report:

“This CRS report on the prospects of the federal government taxing and regulating cannabis is another clear indication of the political saliency and fiscal appeal of ending cannabis prohibition at the state, and increasingly at the federal level (replacing the nearly eighty-year old failed federal policy with tax-n-regulate policies that are similar to alcohol and tobacco products). With four states and the District of Columbia since 2012 opting for legalizing cannabis, dozens of members of Congress from both major political parties—from states with legalization and those that pine for it—are getting serious about making sure the federal government does not lose out on hundreds of millions annually in tax revenue from the ever-growing cannabis industry in the United States.”

Marijuana Depression

Researchers from The Netherlands published a study in the European Neuropsychology journal that focused on the effects of THC on humans while processing emotional content. They found that THC decreased brain activity when faced with negative stimuli.

The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology to gauge the study subjects’ brain activity. Subjects were shown faces expressing different emotions and then asked whether the person was happy or fearful. This gauged whether THC would effect how the subjects perceived others’ emotions.

Their findings were quite interesting, to say the least: THC decreased brain activity in response to the negative stimuli, but not for the positive stimuli. One researcher stated that “These results indicate that THC administration reduces the negative bias in emotional processing.”

The “negative bias” refers to when a person gives more weight to negative experiences than positive experiences. For example, it’s common for people to be afraid of all dogs after being attacked by a dog. This fear remains embedded in the subconscious despite the many positive experiences a person has had with a dog(s). This reveals to us that negative emotions may be stronger and have more of an impact on someones long-term psyche than positive emotions.

When a negative bias is prevelant in a person’s everyday interactions, it has been linked to depression. Depressed patients often have this negative bias which causes them to perceive events in more of a negative way than people without depression. This leads to the notion that THC could be very useful in naturally treating depression and PTSD.

Marijuana Investments Stocks

During the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years investments in the legal US marijuana industry (medical and recreational) hit nearly $105 million.

A financial insights company recorded that there were 60 major investment deals involving marijuana-related companies. The largest deal was $75 million raised by a private equity firm based in Seattle. Next was a $20 million investment deal with a company that owns cultivation sites in the Midwest, then $12.4 million in funding for a company that was granted a license to grow and distribute marijuana in Minnesota.

An up-and-coming marijuana industry stock is Northsight Capital, Inc. (OTCBB: NCAP) which owns and operates multiple online marijuana industry business and is based out of Arizona. Two of their biggest sites include 420careers.com, a leading marijuana industry job board, and WeedDepot.com, a new marijuana map directory for legal dispensaries, doctors, head/vape shops, delivery services and more. Northsight Capital, Inc. also owns and is developing other marijuana-related sites, all of which will work together to form a vast advertising platform.

It has been predicted that the legal US marijuana industry will expand to over a $10 billion industry by 2018. With recent recreational marijuana laws passing in multiple states, and other states expected to follow next year, the industry will likely exceed $10 billion by 2018.

AZ Dispensary

There are currently over 63,000 medical marijuana patients in Arizona, and a new report by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) revealed that more than 10 tons of marijuana was purchased at dispensaries over the last year.

That statistics averages out to the equivalent of one joint per patient per day. But, as with any medication, some patients consume less than others.

If we estimate the price for an ounce of marijuana from a dispensary at $350, that means Arizonans spent about $112 million on medical marijuana over the last year. Furthermore, the ADHS charges $150 per year per medical marijuana card issued, which means the state made over $9 million last year from issuing cards.

The recent Arizona Department of Health Services report also found:

– 85 medical marijuana dispensaries were operating last year.
– Over two-thirds of medical marijuana patients are male.
– The average medical marijuana patient made 17 transactions at dispensaries during the last year.
– Fridays and Saturdays are the two busiest days of the week for dispensaries.

These statistics reveal that Arizona’s medical marijuana industry is steadily growing.

If marijuana gets legalized in Arizona for recreational use in 2016, marijuana sales would likely increase to upwards of $400 million per year.

Hemp

A bill has been filed in the United States Senate (with bi-partisan support) that could legalize industrial hemp cultivation and production throughout the country.

The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 bill would remove any federal restrictions on the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp. The bill would also remove hemp from being a Schedule I controlled substance and would define it as a non-drug, as long as it contains less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

“The U.S. ban on hemp farming is an outrageous restriction on free enterprise and does nothing but hurt economic growth and job creation,” stated Sen. Wyden. “Our bipartisan, common-sense bill is pro-environment, pro-business, and pro-farmer. Congress must act to empower farmers and boost economic activity across the country. As I’ve always said, if you can buy it in Oregon, you should be able to grow it in Oregon.”

Hemp products, such as food and clothing, are legal to sell in the United States, but must be grown in other countries and imported into the United States.

Farmers worldwide grow hemp for commercial purposes, such as for fiber, seed, and oil, which are used in a variety of industrial and consumer products. The United States is the only developed nation that does not cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop, according to the Congressional Resource Service.

More than thirty countries worldwide produce industrial hemp, including: Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, England, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, among others.

Benefits of Vaporizing

When it comes to consuming marijuana there are many methods of consumption available. Along with rolling a joint, there is a wide selection of pipes and bongs available on the market. Recently, edibles, tinctures and vaporizers have become the latest and greatest method for consuming marijuana. This article discusses why vaporizers are the ideal device when consuming marijuana via inhalation.

Vaporizers are prevalent in many countries; for example, in Isreal, vaporizers can be found in hospitals and senior homes. As well, the well-known Volcano Vaporizer is actually an approved medical device in Canada and the EU.

Here are some reasons why vaporizers have become so popular among medical professionals and patients:

Health

Smoking marijuana has not been proven to cause lung cancer, but the combustion of marijuana can still produce toxins that can irritate the lungs. Vaporizers were mainly designed to overcome this problem. Vaporizers heat marijuana at a lower temperature than combustion. They produce an inhalable vapor that still contains the active and beneficial marijuana ingredients (cannabinoids), but without the harmful by-products that combustion creates.

Potency

A study conducted in California found that vaporizers convert around 46% of available THC in marijuana into vapor; whereas the average joint converted less than 25% of the marijuana’s THC.

When it comes to using lungs to consume marijuana, it appears that vaporizers are the ideal method.

Opioid Marijuana

An internal medicine study performed by UPenn researchers found a startlingly clear correlation between states with implemented medical marijuana laws and the lowering of opioid death rates. Simply put, states that allow medical marijuana had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate than states that don’t have medical marijuana available as a medicine.

“Approximately 60 percent of all deaths resulting from opioid analgesic overdoses occur in patients who have legitimate prescriptions,” stated Dr. Bachhuber. Moreover, it’s clearly evident that states that offer medical marijuana have a lower rate of opioid deaths and see a favorable decrease in opioid deaths over time.

The statistics show that: year 1 (-19.9%; 95% CI, -30.6% to -7.7%; P?=?.002), year 2 (-25.2%; 95% CI, -40.6% to -5.9%; P?=?.01), year 3 (-23.6%; 95% CI, -41.1% to -1.0%; P?=?.04), year 4 (-20.2%; 95% CI, -33.6% to -4.0%; P?=?.02), year 5 (-33.7%; 95% CI, -50.9% to -10.4%; P?=?.008), and year 6 (-33.3%; 95% CI, -44.7% to -19.6%; P?<?.001).

This study clearly shows that mortality death rates decrease and continue to decrease over time in states with medical marijuana.

Marijuana Health

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two most commonly known chemicals that are naturally found in marijuana. Both CBD and THC belong to a unique class of compounds known as cannabinoids.

Marijuana is typically know for its THC content, which provides the psychoactive active aspects or “high” from consuming marijuana. But CBD has begun to draw attention from the medical community because of the amazing health benefits it provides.

High

THC is best known for being psychoactive. CBD, however, is non-psychoactive. In other words, CBD can’t get you “high” like THC. This lack of a “high,” or lack of side effect as medical professionals like to put it, is one reason why CBD is so appealing as a medicine.

Pain

THC is known to help reduce pain, but CBD is the substance that has the most anti-inflammatory properties, making it an all-star at pain reduction and healing. THC and CBD are also know to suppress muscle spams and reduce nausea, making them perfect for chemo patients.

Anxiety

THC is known to cause anxiousness or paranoia in some people, but CBD actually reduces anxiety and can actually counteract the anxiety caused by consuming THC. Studies also suggest that CBD can reduce anxiety when administered on its own.

Antipsychotic

In addition to being non-psychoactive, CBD also has antipsychotic properties. Researchers believe that CBD might protect marijuana users from getting “too high” by reducing the psychosis-like effects caused by THC. CBD is also being tested as an antipsychotic medicine for patients with schizophrenia.

Sleep

One of the more common uses of marijuana is as a sleep aid. THC is known to be responsible for most of marijuana’s sleep-inducing effects. On the other hand, studies have suggested that CBD acts to promote wakefulness, making CBD a better choice for daytime use.

MA Marijuana Dispensary

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has officially issued the state’s first medical marijuana dispensary certificate of registration.

The dispensary certificate was given to Alternative Therapies Group, Inc., and will allow the company to begin growing marijuana for medical uses. The dispensary plans to begin cultivating immediately and hopes to open in the spring of 2015.

Before the company is allowed to sell or transport medical marijuana, it needs to undergo additional oversight, including state inspections of its transportation plans and testing of the marijuana from its first crop.

The dispensary will operate in Salem and a their cultivation center will be in Amesbury.

The awarding of the dispensary certificate comes more than two years after voters approved the state ballot which will allow up to 35 dispensaries to open and sell marijuana to qualifying patients with medical marijuana cards.

IL Marijuana

With no explanation, Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration confessed it missed its end-of-the-year target date for deciding which businesses will be receiving permits to initiate the state’s medical marijuana pilot program.

The delay forces cultivation centers to break ground during the coldest winter months, which will delay harvest of the first crop. Patients that paid $100 for their medical marijuana cards will also have to wait, perhaps until summer or fall, before they can legally purchase and use marijuana from dispensaries.

“We are strongly committed to bringing relief to thousands of people across the state and ensuring Illinois is the national model for implementing medical cannabis,” Illinois DPH spokeswoman Melaney Arnold stated. “We are working hard to make sure this is done right.”

Arnold also noted the state is “conducting a comprehensive review of every cultivation center and dispensary applicant to ensure that only the most qualified are approved for this important program. We will announce the recipients when this important review is finished.”

The Illinois Department of Agriculture received 159 applications for cultivation center licenses and will likely award 21 licenses, one per Illinois State Police district. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation received 214 applications for dispensary licenses, and will likely award 60 licenses.