- Senator Asks DA Not to Prosecute Against Marijuana Arrests October 31, 2014
- Happy Halloween!!! Or is it Halloweed? October 30, 2014
- Judge Could Change Marijuana to Schedule 2 Substance October 29, 2014
Marijuana News in MA and World
A Pennsylvania senator has requested that the District Attorney not prosecute any offenders arrested for using medical marijuana.
Democratic Senator, Daylin Leach, wrote in a letter to the District Attorneys Association president: “Given the likelihood that using lifesaving medical cannabis will not be a legal issue in Pennsylvania much longer, I ask that you consider using your prosecutorial discretion.”
A bill was sent to the senate just last month entitled “The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act” that would have outlined the way that Pennsylvania would have governed the medical marijuana market in its state had it passed. Although there was a lot of support behind it, the bill still managed to fall short of making it to the House of Representatives.
Recent polls have shown that 80% of voters in Pennsylvania support legalizing medical marijuana. With statistics like this, it would be a surprise to everyone if the District Attorney’s office still chooses to prosecute minor marijuana-related charges.
Leach ended the letter by saying, “I ask that you perform an act of compassion.” In situations where a state is inevitably going to pass some sort of medical marijuana reform, or it has already been passed, but yet to take effect, it seems like the only right thing to do would be for law enforcement officers and the courts to use their best judgment and not punish someone for trying to improve their quality of life my using small quantities of marijuana for personal use.
Marijuana has long been classified by congress as a Schedule 1 substance, which is the worst possible classification it could receive. The Schedule 1 classification means that the U.S. government believes marijuana has no medicinal benefits what so ever and it also carries with it a high potential for abuse. This decision was made in 1970, and it has not yet been modified, but, hopefully, that’s all about to change.
Testimony is being heard this week in San Francisco that could change the federal classification of marijuana in what is being called the case of United States v. Pickard. The defense has put together a team of qualified expert witnesses that will testify that marijuana does not meet the guidelines to be classified as a schedule 1 substance.
Dr. Carl Hart, the Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at Columbia University in New York has said that, “It is my considered opinion that including marijuana in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act is counter to all the scientific evidence in a society that uses and values empirical evidence. After two decades of intense scientific inquiry in this area, it has become apparent the current scheduling of cannabis has no footing in the realities of science and neurobiology.”
This will be the first time in a very long time in which a federal judge has allowed a hearing which could potentially change the current classification of marijuana in the United States. With recreational marijuana now legalized in both Colorado and Washington and medical marijuana legalized in about 23 states, it’s nearly impossible for the general public to truly believe that marijuana is as dangerous as other Schedule 1 substances, such as heroin and LSD.
The European College of Neuropsychopharmacology recently presented their findings in regards to moderate marijuana use by young people and their IQ level at an event in Berlin, Germany.
Over 2,500 participants had their IQ tested at the age of 8 and again at the age of 15. The results found by the University College of London showed that there was no correlation between marijuana use and lower IQ in the 15 year old subjects. The study’s author stated that, “In particular, alcohol use was found to be strongly associated with IQ decline. No other factors were found to be predictive of IQ change.”
The lead author of the study was even quoted in the Independent Business Times as saying, “Our findings suggest cannabis may not have a detrimental effect on cognition, once we account for other related factors particularly cigarette and alcohol use. This may suggest that previous research findings showed poorer cognitive performance in cannabis users may have resulted from the lifestyle, behavior and personal history typically associated with cannabis use, rather than cannabis use itself.”
There is also the argument of whether kids begin doing poorly in school as a result of marijuana use or for other reasons. Regardless, it appears that marijuana use doesn’t have any long term negative impacts on brain development in adolescents.
Current research is revealing that marijuana provides many health benefits. 12 health conditions that marijuana can help alleviate are listed here:
Alzheimer’s — Marijuana has been found to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, according to research by the Scripps Research Institute.
Anxiety — Harvard Medical School found that marijuana can provide anti-anxiety effects. (Although, high doses can increase anxiety and paranoia.)
Pain — Marijuana can alleviate pain and inflammation.
Arthritis — Marijuana can alleviate pain and inflammation linked to arthritis.
Crohn’s disease — Marijuana was shown to induce “complete remission” for patients suffering from Crohn’s disease, also known as inflammatory bowel disease.
Cancer — Research in the Molecular Cancer Therapeutics journal found that cannabidiol (CBD), which is a natural chemical found in marijuana, turns off a gene called “Id-1,” which cancer cells use to multiply.
Epilepsy — Marijuana has been shown in Virginia Commonwealth University’s animal studies to stop seizures.
Glaucoma — Researchers are working on developing new marijuana-based treatments for glaucoma pain after learning its effectiveness for treating glaucoma, a condition that increases pressure inside the eyeball and can lead to vision loss.
Lung Health — Research in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that marijuana is capable of increasing lung capacity.
Multiple Sclerosis — A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that cannabinoids (CBD, THC, etc) found in marijuana significantly reduced pain from multiple sclerosis.
Nausea — Marijuana contains a minimum of 60 chemicals known as cannabinoids, of which THC is most widely known (because of its psychoactive effects), and it has been used in the treatment of nausea, including drug- or chemotherapy-induced nausea.
Parkinson’s Disease — Research published in MedPage Today found that marijuana eases tremors and improves fine motor skills in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Marijuana edibles makers in Colorado have started creating less potent edibles to appeal to novice marijuana users so that they don’t find themselves ingesting too strong of a dose and having undesirable effects.
Tim Cullen, who owns twoin the Denver area equated it to the difference between selling beer alongside liquor. He said, “No one buys a handle of JIm Beam and thinks they should drink all of that in one sitting. But people do want to eat an entire cookie, an entire piece of chocolate. So these products allow you to do that and not have a miserable experience.”
A new product lining recreationalshelves is known as the “Rookie Cookie” and only contains 10 milligrams of THC. A dose this small would allow for a novice marijuana user to consume the entire thing and probably still be sober enough to operate a vehicle.
Similarly, Dixie Elixirs has put out a new soda that is 15 times less potent than that of their traditional recipe and is marketed as being “great for those who are new to THC or don’t like to share.”
The Growing Kitchen’s Holden Sprout, maker of the Rookie Cookie, said that, “For a long time, the medical market was a race to the strongest edibles. Now it’s a new market, and people want something that won’t get them so inebriated they’re not functional.”
Marijuana activists are hoping to change the public’s opinion on the dangers of over consuming marijuana as well. It is extremely common to hear a story about someone who “overdid it” and consumed too strong of a dose of an edible and “freaked out.”
It’s important that the newly legal marijuana industry ensure consumers have a safe and enjoyable time when they are inexperienced with marijuana.
420careers.com, the marijuana industry’s premier job listing site, has just revealed the 10 most popular marijuana industry jobs in the United States in a recent article posted on MJbizwire.
“Because the marijuana industry is so new and expanding so rapidly, many employers only require minimal or no experience necessary for their jobs posted on 420careers.com. This means that almost anyone 18 or older can apply for a job and be a highly considered candidate for the position,” stated the Director of Marketing at 420careers.com.
10 most popular marijuana jobs in the United States:
1. Budtenders (marijuana “pharmacists”) – assist
2. Marijuana Cultivators (growers) – cultivate marijuana for .
3. Edibles Chefs – create marijuana-infused foods such as cookies, brownies, teas, sodas, and sauces.
4. Extraction Technicians – help make marijuana-infused products by creating marijuana concentrates.
5. Marijuana Industry Journalists – write about the marijuana industry for publications or blogs.
6. Vaporizer Sales Representatives – sell vaporizers for manufacturers or distributors.
7. Dispensary Security Officers – patrol dispensaries for illegal activity.
8. Trimmers – harvest and process marijuana for dispensaries.
9. Dispensary Managers – manage all or various aspects of dispensaries.
10. Marijuana Delivery Drivers – deliver marijuana to customers.
10 most popular auxiliary jobs the marijuana industry helps employ:
3. Event Planners
5. Web Developers/Designers
7. HVAC Technicians
8. Merchant Processors
9. Payroll Services
10. General Contractors
420careers.com provides a free website for marijuana-relatedto post available marijuana jobs and browse job-seekers’ resumes; while, job-seekers can freely browse and apply for marijuana jobs, as well as post their resumes. Businesses can upgrade their job posting to a Featured Job listing for $25 that is displayed and highlighted on 420careers.com’s homepage.
Maryland’s new marijuana decriminalizationhas begun. The new bill will allow for citizens in possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana to receive a simple fine.
The law originally stated that anyone found in possession of any amount of marijuana can be arrested and serve up to a 90 day prison sentence. But as of October 1, violators will instead be issued a ticket. The first ticket will be for $100, the second for $250 and then $500 for any tickets thereafter.
A strange amendment to the law has made it still illegal to possess any and all marijuana paraphernalia. This includes everything from a 3 foot glass bong to a rolling paper. So someone caught smoking a joint could technically be arrested for the rolling paper, but not the marijuana itself.
However, as a result from public outcry by marijuana activists in Maryland, lawmakers have said that they will look into the idea of doing away with this law in the next year.
Medical marijuana has been legal in Maryland since June 1, 2014, and patients are allowed to carry paraphernalia worry free.
As Colorado’s recreational marijuana market expands, a surge of entrepreneurs are stepping up their game to get a piece of the marijuana pie.
One innovative business, the Scarlet Theater, is planning to open a marijuana-friendly movie theater for tourists and Denver area marijuana-users to hang out, get high, and watch awesome movies.
The Scarlet Theater is currently in development, but they have big plans. The theater will require patrons pay a membership fee to enter and enjoy the club, but it sounds well worth it. The theater plans on featuring a world-class restaurant and a BYOC (bring your own cannabis) policy.
Proprietor Kelly McGonigal describes some key differences that make the Scarlet Theater stand out from other social clubs in the Denver area: “Offering more things to do than just smoke and socialize — which are great in and of themselves, but sometimes people want to toke up, and maybe talk with people for a while, but then they want to go off and do their own thing. People who want to do that can go to the movie theater, they can go to the restaurant. And since they’re all operated by us, patrons will know they’ll be in a supportive, understanding environment.”
The Scarlet Theater is scheduled to open for business on April 20, 2015.
The Justice Minster of Jamaica recently announced that legislation is under way to decriminalize marijuana.
The majority of the world views Jamaica as a place where marijuana is widely used and accepted, but that is far from the case. Jamaica has prohibited the use of marijuana for the last 100 years.
Justice Minister, Mark Golding, has suggested to lawmakers that they should make possession of 2 ounces or less a simple ticket before year’s end. He also hopes that marijuana use for religious purposes will be legalized as well. The Rastafarian religion, which views marijuana as a “holy herb,” smokes marijuana in a ceremonial fashion on a regular basis. Golding believes that they should be permitted to partake as they please.
Golding also believes that Jamaican scientists may hold the key to unlocking some of the vast therapeutic benefits of marijuana. Jamaican researchers even came up with a medication made from marijuana to help treat glaucoma over 20 years ago that has received little to no attention from the medical world.
In the midst of the legalization movement, Golding stresses that the government will continue to battle drug trafficking, organized crime, and keeping marijuana out of the hands of the youth.
Golding mentioned that while they do not plan on setting a maximum plant number on marijuana growing operations, the government wants to make sure that all small scale farmers “are not excluded and it does not just become something exclusively for major capital-intensive investors.”
The leader of the Drug Policy Alliance said of Golding’s legislation that it is “both noteworthy in that Jamaica is reforming policies on possession, religious use and medical use at more or less the same time, and politically important to providing leadership in the Caribbean.”
The New York Times has endorsed the legalization of recreational marijuana in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington D.C. in their editorial released on October 5.
This is the second time this year that The New York Times has publicly stated their support for marijuana reform in the United States.
In an excerpt from the Times’ recent editorial, “Yes to Marijuana Ballot Measures: Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia Should Legalize Pot,” they repeatedly touch on the argument that marijuana is still “far less dangerous than alcohol” and that medical marijuana is now available in nearly half the states in the US.
The editorial said in regards to the legalization in Colorado: “Opponents of legalization warn that states are embarking on a risky experiment. But the sky over Colorado has not fallen, and prohibition has proved to be a complete failure. It’s time to bring the marijuana market out into the open and end the injustice of arrests and convictions that have devastated communities.”
In closing, the editorial stated, “Ideally, the federal government would repeal the ban on marijuana, so states could set their own policies without worrying about the possibility of a crackdown on citizens violating federal. Even though a majority of Americans favor legalization, Congress shows no sign of budging. So it’s better for the states to take the lead than to wait for an epiphany on Capitol Hill that may never come.”