Marijuana News in MA and World
According to the results of a recent survey conducted by Public Policy Institute of California, 60-percent of Californians support recreational marijuana legalization. Only 37-percent of those surveyed are opposed.
Hundreds of thousands of signatures have been collected to support the Adult Use of Marijuana Act that will be on the November ballot in California. If it passes, adults in California ages 21 and older would be permitted to possess 1 oz of marijuana and grow up to six plants, SF Gate reports. Licensed retail shops would also be permitted to open in accordance with local restrictions.
Mark Baldassare, PPIC President and CEO, said, “California seems poised to show its blue state credentials in the fall. Voters today are signaling their early support for Democratic statewide candidates, tax initiatives and marijuana legalization.”
Broken down by political affiliation/demographic criteria:
- Political parties: 69-percent Democratic support, 65-percent independent support, 45-percent Republican support
- Racial/Ethnic groups: 78-percent black voter support, 65-percent white voter support, 50-percent Asian support and 40-percent Latino support
- 66-percent of adults under age 35 support legalization
- Those that have used marijuana support legalization by 78-percent
- Those who have never used marijuana, oppose legalization by 63-percent
Voters in California support tax dollars from marijuana sales being used for drug abuse prevention.
Baldassare continued by saying, “As the presidential primary season comes to a close, the Republican Party’s favorability rating has declined while the Democratic Party’s favorability rating has held steady. Particularly noteworthy is the big disconnect on immigration policy between Californians and the Republican front runner.”
Supporters and activists for recreational marijuana legalization have raised an estimated $3.3 million in donations to run their campaign. Opponents have raised barely $60,000, including from drug rehab industry entities and severalenforcement entities.
U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has admitted that he has started using medical marijuana to assist with his arthritis pain, making him the first congressman to confess to using marijuana while in office.
While speaking to pro-marijuana activists at a Capitol Hill engagement recently, Rohrabacher said, “It was the first time in a year and a half that I had a decent night’s sleep because the arthritis pain was gone.” Rohrabacher tried a wax-based topical treatment option.
Rohrabacher is actively working to urge Congress to overhaul the existing marijuana The Washington Post reports. He helped create the federal preventing the Department of Justice (DOJ) from interfering with state-regulated medical marijuana programs.,
Speculation suggests that Rohrabacher’s use of medical marijuana with actual results may sway his fellow congressmen to see medical marijuana in a different light.
Marijuana is legal in some form in almost half of the United States, and many Americans expected adolescent marijuana use to vastly increase due to medical and recreational legalization throughout varying states, but a new study reveals the exact opposite is occurring.
Data from 216,000 teens from every state was examined by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis. Those studied, as reported by Eureka Alert, were between the ages of 12 and 17, over a period of 12 years. From the years 2002 through 2013, adolescent marijuana use decreased by 24 percent.
Researchers believe that a reduction in personal behavior problems aided the decline in adolescent marijuana usage.
First author in the study, Richard A. Grucza, PhD said, “We were surprised to see substantial declines in marijuana use and abuse. We don’t know how legalization is affecting young marijuana users, but it could be that many kids with behavioral problems are more likely to get treatment earlier in childhood, making them less likely to turn to pot during adolescence. But whatever is happening with these behavioral issues, it seems to be outweighing any effects of marijuana decriminalization.”
Dr. Grucza also noted, “Other research shows that psychiatric disorders earlier in childhood are strong predictors of marijuana use later on. So, it’s likely that if these disruptive behaviors are recognized earlier in life, we may be able to deliver therapies that will help prevent marijuana problems – and possibly problems with alcohol and other drugs, too.”
Adolescent study participants also reported a decline in fighting, illegal drug sales and carrying concealed weapons.
Boston-based startup CannaKorp has developed a vaporizer called the CannaCloud that is being dubbed as the “Keurig for marijuana” because of its pod-style vaporizing system. Pre-measured pods, or cups, filled with marijuana are inserted into the vaporizer where they are heated to create vapor. The CannaCloud will be available in early 2017.
The entire process takes about one minute from inserting the “pod” into the canister to inhaling vapor, Tech Insider writes. CannaCloud’s structure is set to specific dosages and is all pre-packaged.
The innovative approach to making marijuana easier to use for those that prefer vaporizing or using precise dosages is due to two prior Keurig executives now working for CannaKorp. CannaKorp already has 50lined up to sell the marijuana pods to patients.
CannaKorp chairman Dave Manly said, “When you pick up one of the pods, you’re able to read the brand, strength and strain. Every time you do it, it’s going to be the same.”
Another benefit of the CannaCloud is the lower cost, an expected $149 retail price, which is less than many competitors’ products. Each pod will contain 0.4 grams of marijuana and will cost around $10 each.
Manly also stated, “One of our dreams is that someday you’ll go into your CVS or Walgreens and CannaCups will be right there on the shelf, much like cough medicine. We may be a ways away from that. But I think as things evolve and people understand cannabis better, I think it could be mainstream and we’ll be right there with a consumer report.”
MassRoots, a marijuana industry company, requested to trade shares on the NASDAQ exchange. The Denver-based startup had high hopes of becoming the first marijuana industry company on the exchange. But on Tuesday, May 24th, MassRoots learned its request was rejected.
NASDAQ viewed adding MassRoots as “aiding the distribution of an illegal substance,” reported CNN. Co-founder of marijuana-based business, Isaac Dietrich, says the rejection is a “dangerous precedent” and prevents legal marijuana companies from displaying a presence on national stock exchanges.
Dietrich is quoted as saying, “This [will make] it more difficult for cannabis entrepreneurs to raise capital and slow the progression of cannabis legalization in the United States.”
MassRoots is already listed on a smaller exchange with the ticker MSRT. According to Dietrich, the market cap for MassRoots is $40 million. The startup also has above 300 shareholders on alternative exchanges.
MassRoots was given an option to either withdraw the application to keep the rejection private or allow for it to be made public knowledge. Dietrich said in response, “But we want his to be made public because it sets an important precedent.”
NASDAQ commented only that it does not make public commentary on any rejected applications
Congress has given veterans the right to discuss medical marijuana use as a treatment option with Veterans Affairsin states where medical marijuana is legalized.
The new legislation allows VA doctors to discuss medical marijuana and complete the required paperwork for state-legalized medical marijuana programs, but it doesn’t allow the VA to sell medical marijuana or cover costs for veterans, the Military Times reports.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer stated, “The death rate from opioids among VA health care is nearly double the national average. From what I hear from veterans is that medical marijuana has helped them deal with pain and PTSD, particularly as an alternative to opioids.”
The VA is recommending that its doctors use evidence-based therapies that have been proven by scientific research to be effective with medical marijuana; for instance, treating PTSD, depression or chronic pain.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper heavily criticized legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado but now concedes that the industry is working. Although he opposed legalization back in 2012, it was his duty as Governor to give the people of Colorado what they wanted.
Hickenlooper is reported to have previously called the legalization of recreational marijuana as reckless, reports the LA Times. But he has changed his position and stated that if he could reverse his initial decision, he would.
Hickenlooper recently said, “It’s beginning to look like it might work,” in regards to marijuana legalization.
Mason Tvert of the nonprofit Marijuana Policy Project said, “The predictions of fire and brimstone have failed to materialize. Most Coloradoans, including the governor, recognize that theis working.”
None of the concerns that Hickenlooper had prior to recreational legalization in Colorado have come to fruition. The state is thriving and expects to collect upwards of $100 million in tax dollars to state organizations in 2016, with 70 percent of those tax dollars going to public programs like education.
Marijuana Coordination for Colorado director, Andrew Freedman, said, “In the short run, there have been a lot fewer public safety and health issues than the governor feared in the beginning. In the beginning, we had problems with edibles and hash oil fires but now, for the most part, Colorado looks a lot like it did before legalization.”
Tvert added that, “The state’s image is actually rising. We were just ranked as the best place to live in America. The idea that businesses would not relocated here or conferences wouldn’t be held here was untrue. In fact, attendees at conferences are now offered pot tours as day trips.”
An independent think tank called The Tax Foundation recently conducted a study to assess how much tax revenue the federal government and states are losing from not legalizing marijuana. They estimated that roughly $28 billion in tax revenue is being missed out on. Approximately $7 billion of it would go to the federal government and the remainder to the states.
The potential tax revenue received by the government from legalized marijuana would primarily be from business and payroll taxes and some from excise taxes, according to The Washington Post. The idea would be to tax marijuana in a similar way to tobacco products.
The government can actually capitalize on production by taxing each pound of marijuana produced, which is similar to the per-pound tax on tobacco products. A 10 percent sales surtax could generate $5.3 billion with proper guidelines in place.
Some are concerned that marijuana legalization would create social difficulties. They expect abuse and use of the plant to increase. They expect addiction to take place. The fact of the matter is, regardless of its legal status, a vast amount of Americans are using marijuana daily. The costs of prohibition are to the tune of several billion dollars per year. Legalization would bring billions of dollars in tax revenues to organizations that need them for mental health, education, crime prevention and more.
In an effort to assist the increasing homeless population in Aurora, Colorado, the city has decided to allocate $1.5 million in recreational marijuana sales tax dollars to aid those in need.
City councilman, Bob Roth said, “We wanted to be able to show citizens that we are having a positive impact on the community and point to specific projects or initiatives to where that money is going to.”
It is reported that Colfax Community Network will receive $200,000 in relief which will help families living out of motels, the Huffington Post reports. Two other groups, Comitis Crisis Center and Aurora Mental Health, will be provided with vans for homeless outreach programs. Additional funding for non-profit organizations and community groups to assist other suffering programs.
Additional intentions for the tax dollars includes mobile showering stations, vouchers for personal needs and general community outreach services. It is also an intention of these programs to eventually provide permanent supportive-type housing and social services for those needing assistance.
A recent poll by Quinnipiac University reveals that 80 percent of Florida voters support medical marijuana legalization. Only 16 percent of Floridians are in opposition. A majority of those in support of medical marijuana are also in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana in Florida.
Florida’s medical marijuana law will be implemented in July of 2016, but is very limited, allowing only for marijuana with high CBD and low THC content for Floridians with non-terminal illnesses. A new medical marijuana initiative with broader terms will be on the Florida ballot this November.
In every age category polled, at least 70 percent of voters voted in support of legalization, Sun Sentinel reports. Political affiliation appeared to not play a role in the poll results. Some voters fear a repeat of the 2014 vote that narrowly failed as Florida requires a minimum of 60 percent of votes to be in favor of an amendment for it to pass.
The poll was conducted between April 27th and May 8th. It also showed that those over 65 and Republicans were less favorable of legalizing recreational marijuana. Overall, 56 percent of those polled support recreational marijuana legalization.