A Quarter of American Beer Drinkers Say They’re Switching to Pot

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

(POT IS A STEP DOWN DRUG, NOT A STEP UP DRUG. LEGAL POT IS A THREAT TO THE ALCOHOL AND PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES AS WELL AS TO THE PROFITS OF DRUG CARTELS, POLICE DEPARTMENTS AND TO THE STATE AND FEDERAL PRISON FOR PROFIT SYSTEMS. THIS IS THE MAIN REASONS THAT POT IS STILL ILLEGAL, THAT AND PEOPLE LIKE THE AG JEFF SESSIONS WHO ARE TOTALLY IGNORANT OF KNOWLEDGE AND OR TRUTH OR SIMPLY DO NOT CARE WHAT THE TRUTH IS.) (THIS COMMENTARY IS BY TRS)   

A Quarter of American Beer Drinkers Say They’re Switching to Pot

11:34 AM ET

As legalization of marijuana grows throughout the United States, so does its popularity with beer drinkers.

About one in four Americans are now spending their money on marijuana instead of beer, new research from Cannabiz Consumer Group found. Twenty-seven percent of beer consumers are legally purchasing cannabis instead of beer, or suggested they would purchase it instead if it were legalized in their state. The research group surveyed 40,000 Americans last year.

About 24.6 million Americans legally purchased pot in the U.S. last year and that number is expected to grow, according to the study. Numerous states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, and a smaller number of states have legalized it for recreational use. The Department of Justice under the Obama Administration relaxed federal enforcement of marijuana laws in states where it is legal, but the Trump Administration may reverse that trend.

Still, the group predicts the cannabis industry will grow to $50 billion. The U.S. beer market sells over $100 billion in beer each year, according to the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

If marijuana were legalized nationally, the beer industry would lose more than $2 billion in retail sales, the Cannabis Consumer Group says. The group anticipates the cannabis industry will take just over 7% of the beer industry’s market.

Other studies have supported this concept. As Money reported in 2016, the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, Oregon and Washington state contributed to beer sales falling in those states, according to research firm Cowen & Company.

Most recently, Massachusetts, Maine, California and Nevada passed measures to legalize the recreational use of marijuana late last year. More than half of U.S. states permit the medical use of marijuana.

Governments If You Really Want To Stop Heroin And Opiate Deaths: Then Legalize Marijuana Now

 

I know that there are folks who have read this title and had all kinds of different emotions flow over them and this is understandable. Here in the U.S. big government and big media have a long history of distorting what the truth is concerning marijuana. I credit the mainstream media for simply being stupid and running with whatever the federal government tells them. Big government and by big government I do mean from city, county, state and federal organizations where some are just ignorant, some are corrupt, and some are both concerning the concept of making marijuana legal again for the people to consume like a lot of folks do wine, champagne or beer. Yet it has been in the interest of different governments, police agencies and some big lobbyist groups to keep marijuana illegal for their own financial profits they make from such an hypocritical system. Now I know that a lot of folks who read my articles are a bit confused about my stance on legalizing marijuana or even mad at me because the underlying theme on by blog is Christianity. This is true, yet what is the title of my blog site? It is Truth Troubles isn’t it? In my belief system Christianity is Truth so truth troubles is about speaking the truth even if it is something that goes against what we hear in Church, the media, or from the government. Throughout Scripture in the Old Testament and the New Testament we are told many times that wine and alcohol were given to us humans for our enjoyment, but we are also told not to be gluttonous when we are partaking of them. God also gave mankind plants like Mandrake for our enjoyment. Remember back to the founding Fathers of Israel, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, remember Isaac had two wives of which his favorite was Rebecka and how she gave his other wife some of her Mandrake so that she could get to sleep with Isaac that night even though it wasn’t her turn? Mandrake does the same type of things as marijuana does as far as giving a person a ‘buzz’, if it is okay for the founding Fathers of Israel and their wives, you get the picture? Even here in America our own Founding Fathers like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin grew pot in their own personal gardens. Think about this for a moment, the night that Rebecca got to sleep with Isaac when it wasn’t her turn is the night she was impregnated with Jacob, the man who’s 12 sons the 12 tribes of Israel are named after. Remember that the first reported miracle of Jesus was turning water into wine and no it was obviously not ‘grape juice’ or the ‘governor’ of the party would not have referred to it as the best. As Christians we all have to quit acting like hypocrites on these issues.

 

I was born in 1956 and the first time I ever tried ‘pot’ was when I was 17, it was just some cheap homegrown that was so weak that it didn’t do anything to me. I was probably about 22 or 23 before I smoked marijuana again yet I was around lots of folks who did smoke it literally every day  when they could afford to buy it. In fact just about everyone I knew smoked it at least every once in a while. Most all of these people that I have known throughout the years didn’t even drink alcohol and if they did it was just an occasional beer. None of these people used any of the ‘hard drugs’ like Crack, Heroin or were users of pills. A lot of the people that I have known throughout my life who were able to keep smoking a little ‘pot’ in the evenings and on weekends at their homes never ever did go onto other type of drugs, not even alcohol. The Government and the big Media like to call marijuana a “gateway” drug, saying that when most people start off smoking pot that they progress into the harder drugs, the way in which they frame their argument is a lie, period.

 

The people that I know who have gone onto harder drugs like Heroin and opioid pills is because those drugs tend to flush out of a person’s system in about 72 hours. People have always throughout human history have wanted to have something they can have for relaxation and for a gentle ‘buzz’. When the U.S. Government decided to act stupid and classify marijuana a level one drug like Heroin and encouraged all businesses to start doing pre-employment and random drug screens on their workers almost all of the people that I know quit smoking marijuana because it stays in a person’s system for at least 30 days and they could not afford to lose their jobs. Most all of the people that I know who did quit smoking pot started drinking alcohol in place of it. Unfortunately there are millions of people who instead of smoking marijuana did turn to the real hard drugs. So, in a since, yes marijuana did become a ‘gateway’ drug in that people quit using it because it stayed in their systems so long that millions of people who would have never gone onto drugs other than marijuana have done so and the result is thousands of people are dying every year because of these hard drugs. Marijuana has never ever even killed one person! Now let’s look at states like Colorado since they made marijuana legal for adults, checkout the amount of overdose deaths from before they made marijuana legal and then sense they made it legal. I am no computer whiz to say the least so I will leave your investigations up to you, but I do ask you to check out the stats. I remember reading a Colorado newspaper online about two or three months ago concerning this issue and the results were rather stark, the amount of overdose deaths are way down as they are in Washington State.

 

Truth is that all this “war on marijuana” has done is to put a lot of money into drug cartels pockets and cost hundreds of thousands of people their lives. Our Nation’s policies are idiotic, un-Christian and un-Jewish as well as being immoral. If our government was really interested in cutting down on overdose deaths from these hard drugs thus cutting down on the amount of these drugs coming into our country and giving drug cartels billions of dollars each year then they would create a system where pot is treated like beer or wine. Marijuana should be made to be cheaper than Heroin, Morphine or Crack. States who have actually done what the people of their states have voted for (when they have been allowed to vote on the issue, places like here in Kentucky refuse to allow a vote on it) the States have benefited with hundreds of millions in new tax revenue along with creating thousands of new jobs to help spur their economies. When our Government decided to create this “war on drugs” they through their own ignorance and hypocrisy took a benign medically helpful God-given Erb away from the people and have been the driving force behind the reason that millions of people worldwide are now dead. If our Nation was actually serious about stopping thousands of people from dying each year to drug overdoses then they need to get a clue and make marijuana totally legal in Our Country just like beer and wine is.

New Hampshire House Committee Approves Decriminalization Of Marijuana

 

MPP Blog


New Hampshire House Committee Approves Decriminalization Bill

Posted: 09 Feb 2017 11:37 AM PST

The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee overwhelmingly voted to pass HB 640, a bill that would decriminalize possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. The vote, 14-2, was overwhelming, and it appears very likely that the House will pass HB 640 with a huge margin of support.

The Committee also voted to “retain” HB 656, a bill that would make marijuana legal for adult use. This is a good thing because it means the Committee will be able to study the issue more thoroughly this summer and fall before they vote on the bill in early 2018.

The post New Hampshire House Committee Approves Decriminalization Bill appeared first on MPP Blog.

Adult Use Bills Introduced in Maryland Senate

Posted: 09 Feb 2017 11:28 AM PST

This week, two companion bills that would legalize and regulate personal use amounts of cannabis for adults 21 and up were introduced in the Maryland Senate.

SB 928 would allow adults to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and to grow up to six plants, and would set up regulated businesses that would cultivate, process, and sell cannabis, including a “craft cultivator” category for small businesses. SB 927 sets a $30 per ounce excise tax and 9% sales tax (the same as alcohol). Half of the proceeds would go to high-poverty schools.

Much of the cannabis discussion in the General Assembly is about Maryland’s continuing failure to properly implement its medical program. The Maryland Cannabis Policy Coalition strongly supports making medical cannabis available as soon as possible, but this bill would not impact the medical program — it would set up a parallel system for adults. Every year as the General Assembly waits to pass these reforms, thousands more people are searched, fined, and often arrested for using a substance safer than alcohol.

If you are a Maryland resident, please let your lawmakers know the time has come to allow adults to use cannabis.

The post Adult Use Bills Introduced in Maryland Senate appeared first on MPP Blog.

Jeff Sessions Confirmed as Attorney General

Posted: 09 Feb 2017 09:48 AM PST

On Wednesday, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions was narrowly confirmed as the new Attorney General in a 51-47 vote, split largely along party lines.

MPP released the following statement from its federal policies director, Robert Capecchi:

“MPP remains cautiously optimistic that the Trump administration will refrain from interfering in state marijuana laws. When asked about his plans for marijuana enforcement, Attorney General Sessions said he ‘echo[es]’ the position taken by Loretta Lynch during her confirmation hearings. He repeatedly acknowledged the scarcity of enforcement resources, and he said he would ensure they are used as effectively as possible to stop illicit drugs from being trafficked into the country.

“President Trump has consistently said that states should be able to determine their own marijuana laws, and his spokesperson made it clear that the attorney general will be implementing the Trump agenda. We are hopeful that Mr. Sessions will follow the president’s lead and respect states’ rights on marijuana policy.

“A strong and growing majority of Americans think marijuana should be made legal, and an even stronger majority think the federal government should respect state marijuana laws. Eight states have adopted laws that regulate and tax marijuana for adult use, and 28 states now have laws that regulate marijuana for medical use. It would be shocking if the Trump administration attempted to steamroll the citizens and governments in these states to enforce an increasingly unpopular federal policy.”

Sessions was asked about marijuana policy on multiple occasions during the confirmation process. During his oral testimony, he conspicuously refrained from committing to enforce federal marijuana prohibition laws in states that are regulating marijuana for medical and adult use, noting the scarcity of resources available. In his written testimony, he said he “echo[es]” the comments made by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, when she was asked about marijuana enforcement during her confirmation hearing.

President Donald Trump has consistently said that he supports legal access to medical marijuana and believes states should be able to determine their own marijuana policies. During a January appearance on Fox News Channel, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer signaled that Sessions would adhere to Trump’s position that states should be able to establish their own marijuana policies. “When you come into a Trump administration, it’s the Trump agenda you’re implementing and not your own,” he said. “I think Senator Sessions is well aware of that.”

 

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Mellow drivers? Study says states with medical-marijuana laws have lower traffic fatality rates.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘TRIPPING’ AND THE WASHINGTON POST)

Mellow drivers? Study says states with medical-marijuana laws have lower traffic fatality rates.

December 20

 

States with medical-marijuana laws have fewer traffic fatalities than those without, especially among younger drivers, a new study has found.

You would think crash rates might be higher, supposing that more drivers are, too — especially around midnight, when a run to a 7-Eleven becomes necessary.

But, no. Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found an 11 percent reduction in traffic fatalities on average when examining places that have enacted medical-marijuana laws — 23 states and the District of Columbia. The presence of medical-marijuana dispensaries also correlated with fewer traffic fatalities, the study found.

Silvia Martins, a physician and associate professor who was the study’s senior author, theorized that lower traffic fatality rates in states with marijuana laws might be related to lower levels of alcohol-impaired driving as people, especially younger people, substitute weed for booze.

There was little evidence of a reduction in the traffic fatality rate for people 45 or older, who are disproportionately represented in larger numbers among enrollees in state medical-marijuana programs. The largest drop in traffic fatality rates in states with medical-marijuana laws occurred among drivers ages 15 to 44.

“We found evidence that states with the marijuana laws in place compared with those which did not, reported, on average, lower rates of drivers endorsing driving after having too many drinks,” Martins said in a written statement. She said other factors that might help explain the correlation could be the “strength of public health laws related to driving, infrastructure characteristics, or the quality of health care systems.”

The researchers cautioned, however, that not all states with medical-marijuana laws experienced declines in traffic fatality rates. California and New Mexico had initial reductions of 16 percent and 17.5 percent, respectively, after the passage of medical-marijuana laws but then saw gradual increases in their traffic fatality rates.

The study, which was published online in the American Journal of Public Health, analyzed National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data on traffic fatalities from 1985 to 2014. The researchers took into account factors such as whether the states had graduated driver licensing laws, as well as median household income, unemployment rates, laws increasing the speed limit to 70 mph or more, laws on enforcing the use of seat belts, and bans on using cellphones and texting while driving.

The researchers undertook the study as more states passed medical-marijuana laws — nine between 2010 and 2014 — and concerns were raised about the possible effect on public safety. Previous research, for example, found that marijuana use caused drivers to weave in traffic more often and have slower reaction times; studies also found that drivers who were high tended to reduce speed and increase headways — suggesting that the users were aware of their marijuana-related impairment and were trying to compensate.

Read more of Tripping:

States With Legal Marijuana Sales See %25 Drop In Opioid Overdoses

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF MPP BLOG SITE)

 

MPP Blog


Colorado Sees More Than $1 Billion in Marijuana Sales in 2016

Posted: 20 Dec 2016 10:42 AM PST

Legal marijuana businesses in Colorado made more than a billion dollars in sales during the first 10 months of 2016, exceeding sales numbers from last year.picstateflag_1

The Cannabist reports:

Recreational and medical cannabis shops in America’s first 420-legal state have sold nearly $1.1 billion of marijuana and related products in 2016, according to the new October data from the state’s Department of Revenue.

When 2015’s year-end marijuana tax data was finally released in February, Cannabist calculations showed $996,184,788 in sales at Colorado marijuana shops that year — spurring a leading industry attorney to tell us at the time, “I think it’s ethical to round that up to a billion.”

That same lawyer, Vicente Sederberg partner Christian Sederberg, celebrated the billion-dollar news on Mondayby also pointing to the Colorado cannabis industry’s increasing economic impact and skyrocketing tax revenues for the state as well as numerous cities and counties throughout Colorado.

“We think we’ll see $1.3 billion in sales revenue this year,” said Sederberg, “and so the economic impact of this industry — if we’re using the same multiplier from the Marijuana Policy Group’s recent report, which is totally reasonable — it suddenly eclipses a $3 billion economic impact for 2016.”

In addition to creating economic benefits, including state and local tax revenue and thousands of jobs, this legal market is on pace to continue stripping billions of dollars a year from the criminal market.

 

The post Colorado Sees More Than $1 Billion in Marijuana Sales in 2016 appeared first on MPP Blog.

Tennessee Medical Marijuana Legislation to Be Introduced

Posted: 20 Dec 2016 10:07 AM PST

Last week, Tennessee State Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-11) and Sen. Steve Dickerson (R-20) announced that they are introducing a medical marijuana bill to bring meaningful access to many patients in Tennessee.1280px-flag_of_tennessee-svg
While the full text of the bill is not yet publicly available, the legislators’ plan allows patients with a doctor’s recommendation and a $35 ID card to purchase medicine at one of 150 dispensaries across the state. They also noted that their proposed program could help address the opioid epidemic; studies have shown a 25% drop in opioid overdoses in states with effective medical marijuana programs.
If you are a Tennessee resident, please request that your legislators support the plan, and stay tuned for more information about this bill.

The post Tennessee Medical Marijuana Legislation to Be Introduced appeared first on MPP Blog.

Marijuana Now Legal In Massachusetts

Posted: 20 Dec 2016 09:44 AM PST

Massachusetts residents are allowed to legally possess and grow marijuana as of December 15, ending the state’s 100-year prohibition era marked by vast social injustices, wasteful government spending and ineffective public policyyes_on_4_logo_header

Persons age 21 and older are allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana on their person up to 10 ounces in their homes, and are permitted to give an ounce or less of marijuana to others. Any quantity above one ounce in the home must be under lock and key. Residents will also be allowed to grow six plants per person in their homes, with a maximum of 12 plants per household.

No plants can be visible by neighbors or from a public place and all growing areas must be under lock and key. Landlords have the right to prohibit smoking or growing of marijuana in their properties.

Public consumption of marijuana remains prohibited under the new law, as does the unlicensed sale of any amount.

MPP and our allies will continue to work with the state government to ensure that the rest of the law is implemented effectively so that the regulated adult market is on its feet as soon as possible.

The post Marijuana Now Legal In Massachusetts appeared first on MPP Blog.

Study: States with medical marijuana have lower prescription drug use—Plus Fewer Drug Overdoses And Deaths

 

Study: States with medical marijuana have lower prescription drug use—This Causes Fewer Drug Overdoses And Fewer Drug Related Deaths As It Is Impossible To Overdose (Die) From Marijuana Usage!

Prescription drug prices are up, making policy experts increasingly anxious. But relief could come from a surprising source. Just ask Cheech and Chong.

New research found that states that legalized medical marijuana — which is sometimes recommended for symptoms like chronic pain, anxiety or depression — saw declines in the number of Medicare prescriptions for drugs used to treat those conditions and a dip in spending by Medicare Part D, which covers the cost on prescription medications.

The study, which appears in Health Affairs, examined data from Medicare Part D from 2010 to 2013. It is the first study to examine whether legalization changes doctors’ clinical practice and whether it could curb public health costs.

The findings add context to the debate as more lawmakers express interest in medical marijuana. Ohio and Pennsylvania have this year passed laws allowing the drug for therapeutic purposes, making the practice legal in 25 states, plus Washington D.C. The question could also come to a vote in Florida and Missouri this November. A federal agency is considering reclassifying it under national drug policy to make medical marijuana more readily available.

Medical marijuana saved Medicare about $165 million in 2013, the researchers concluded. They estimated that, if the policy were nationalized, Medicare Part D spending would have declined in the same year by about $470 million. That’s about half a percent of the program’s total expenditures.

That is an admittedly small proportion of the multi-billion dollar program. But the figure is nothing to sneeze at, said W. David Bradford, a professor of public policy at the University of Georgia and one of the study’s authors.

“We wouldn’t say that saving money is the reason to adopt this. But it should be part of the discussion,” he added. “We think it’s pretty good indirect evidence that people are using this as medication.”

The researchers found that in states with medical marijuana laws on the books, the number of drug prescriptions dropped for treating anxiety, depression, nausea, pain, psychosis, seizures, sleep disorders and spasticity. Those are all conditions for which marijuana is sometimes recommended. Prescriptions for other drugs treating other conditions, meanwhile, did not decline.

The study’s authors are separately investigating the impact medical marijuana could have on prescriptions covered by Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for low-income people. Though this research is still being finalized, they found a greater drop in prescription drug payments there, Bradford said.

If the trend bears out, it could have meaningful public health ramifications. As doctors and public health experts grapple with the consequences of excessive prescription painkiller use, medical marijuana could provide an alternate path. Experts say abuse of prescription painkillers — known as opioids — is in part driven by high prescribing. In states that legalized medical uses of marijuana, painkiller prescriptions dropped — on average, the study found, by about 1,800 daily doses filled each year per doctor. That tracks with other research on the subject.

Questions exist, though, about the possible health harms or issues that could result from regular use.

It’s unlike other drugs, such as opioids, in which overdoses are fatal, said Deepak D’Souza, a professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, who has researched the drug.

“That doesn’t happen with marijuana,” he added. “But there are whole other side effects and safety issues we need to be aware of.”

“A lot of people also worry that marijuana is a drug that can be abused,” agreed Bradford. “Just because it’s not as dangerous as some other dangerous things, it doesn’t mean you want to necessarily promote it. There’s a lot of unanswered questions.”

Meanwhile, it is difficult to predict how many people will opt for this choice instead of meds like antidepressants or opioids.

Because the federal government labels marijuana as a Schedule I drug, doctors can’t technically prescribe it. In states that have legalized medical marijuana, they can only write patients a note sending them to a dispensary. Insurance plans don’t cover it, so patients using marijuana pay out-of-pocket. Prices vary based on geography, but a patient’s recommended regimen can be as much as $400 per month. The federal Drug Enforcement Agency is considering changing that classification — a decision is expected sometime this summer. If the DEA made marijuana a Schedule II drug, that would put it in the company of drugs such as morphine and oxycodone, making it easier for doctors to prescribe and more likely that insurance would cover it.

To some, the idea that medical marijuana triggers costs savings is hollow. Instead, they say it is cost shifting. “Even if Medicare may be saving money, medical marijuana doesn’t come for free,” D’Souza said. “I have some trouble with the idea that this is a source of savings.”

Still, Bradford maintains that if the industry expanded and medical marijuana became a regular part of patient care nationally, the cost curve would bend because marijuana is cheaper than other drugs.

Lester Grinspoon, an associate professor emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, who has written two books on the subject, echoed that possibility. Unlike with many drugs, he argued, “There’s a limit to how high a price cannabis can be sold at as a medicine.” He is not associated with the study.

And, in the midst of the debate about its economics, medical marijuana still sometimes triggers questions within the practice of medicine.

“As physicians, we are used to prescribing a dose. We don’t have good information about what is a good dose for the treatment for, say pain,” D’Souza said. “Do you say, ‘Take two hits and call me in the morning?’ I have no idea.”

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

What Does a Trump Presidency Mean for Marijuana Policy?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE MPP BLOG SITE)

What Does a Trump Presidency Mean for Marijuana Policy?


On the same night that voters in eight states were approving marijuana policy reform initiatives, Donald Trump was on his way to being elected the next President of the United States. the_white_house_in_washington_dcWhile this divisive election has left some people jubilant and others outraged, many are wondering what a Trump presidency will mean for the future of marijuana policy reform efforts as well as the progress we have made so far.

While it is difficult to tell what will happen in the next administration, MPP is hopeful that the current federal policy of not targeting people and businesses in compliance with state marijuana laws will continue in the next administration.

Some things to consider:

-A clear majority of Americans think marijuana should be legal for adults, according to recent Pew Research Center and Gallup polls. Additionally, a clear majority of Americans think the federal government “should not” enforce federal marijuana laws in states that allow legal adult use, according to a March, 2015, Pewpoll.

-Roughly 21% of the population now live in states where marijuana is legal for adults, and 62% live in states with effective medical marijuana laws.

-More people voted for marijuana initiatives than voted for Trump and other prominent politicians in several states.

-Even if Trump appoints someone who is against marijuana policy reform to head the Department of Justice, it would cost significant resources for federal law enforcement to start targeting state-legal marijuana businesses.

-U.S. Attorneys have significant discretion regarding how they prioritize enforcement of federal laws.

-The political consequences of ripping the marijuana market away from legitimate, tax-paying businesses and handing it right back to dangerous criminals would be severe.

-The number of Members of Congress who represent states with medical or adult-use marijuana laws is about to drastically increase, bringing us closer to Congressional support for ending federal prohibition regardless of the administration’s position.

-During the campaign, Trump made several statements in support of medical marijuana and allowing states to determine their own marijuana policies, even though he does not support regulating marijuana for adult use.

No matter what happens, MPP and our allies will continue to work diligently toward changing both state and federal marijuana laws. Please make sure to contact your lawmakers and ask them to help us end the government’s war on marijuana.

Wings of the Marijuana Butterfly—The New Jim Crow Laws

 

One could write an entire book just ABOUT Michelle Alexander’s devastating treatise THE NEW JIM CROW. Pulling just a small moment of brilliance, though, I marked a passage that set off in my mind a moment of “the wings of the butterfly” adage, that saying that the smallest transactional movement in one part of the world can set off a storm on the other side of the planet.

 

So, on page 160, Alexander writes about a man named Drake who was convicted of a marijuana-related felony: “Drake’s vote, along with the votes of millions of other people labeled felons, might have made a real difference in 2004. There is no doubt their votes would have changed things in 2000. Following the election, it was widely reported that, had the 600,000 former felons who had completed their sentence in Florida been allowed to vote, Al Gore would have been elected president of the United States rather than George W. Bush.”

So, by criminalizing marijuana and disenfranchising more than half a million voters, we get a different President. Imagine if marijuana convicts had NOT lost the right to vote in Florida: we get Gore as Pres, and maybe no war in Iraq, maybe no ISIS, no Syrian Civil War, no refugee crisis, no destabilized EU, no Brexit, etc etc etc, and,well, let your imagination run wild with the way things might have been different 16 years ago if those voters had been allowed their constitutional right.

PLAYA DEL REY, CA - OCTOBER 20: Author and activist Michelle Alexander attends Michelle Alexander VIP Reception And Justice On Trial Film Festival at Loyola Marymount University on October 20, 2013 in Playa del Rey, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/WireImage)
PLAYA DEL REY, CA – OCTOBER 20: Author and activist Michelle Alexander attends Michelle Alexander VIP Reception And Justice On Trial Film Festival at Loyola Marymount University on October 20, 2013 in Playa del Rey, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/WireImage)

If you haven’t, please read THE NEW JIM CROW so we’re all on the same page about protecting our constitutional rights as citizens. At least we’re partly headed in the right direction with the decriminalization of marijuana and reversing the racially driven policies of the past fifty years (or longer).

Israel Wakes Up To Reality That Marijuana Is A Medical Gift From God For Mankind

(This article is courtesy of the Times of Israel News Paper)

As hundreds of medical professionals, farmers, patients and cannabis activists descend on Israel this week for the Cann10 International Medical Conference from September 11 to 13, Israeli scientists are plowing ahead with new clinical trials in order to approve cannabis use for a wider variety of diseases.

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Israel is a well-known internationally as a pioneer in medical cannabis. This summer, the government approved a plan initiated by Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) to relax some of the medical cannabis requirements. The plan will expand the number of doctors who can issue cannabis prescriptions, remove limits on the number of marijuana growers, make cannabis available at approved pharmacies, and possibly eliminate the requirement for a permit from the Health Ministry so that just a doctor’s prescription will be sufficient.

“There’s no reason why someone who needs cannabis for medical reasons should suffer and confront unnecessary red tape, and therefore the present situation must be changed,” Litzman said in June, the Haaretz daily reported.

The Health Ministry’s move to make medical marijuana even more accessible is part of the country’s tolerance and even support for marijuana, especially in a medical context.

A Tikun Olam pharmacist metes out a patient's monthly medical marijuana prescription at the Tel Aviv dispensary on September 1, 2016. (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

A Tikun Olam pharmacist metes out a patient’s monthly medical marijuana prescription at the Tel Aviv dispensary on September 1, 2016. (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

“This is the second [marijuana] conference in Israel in six months and it is evidence that Israel and the world are starting to wake up to what Israel can contribute to the cannabis industry,” said Clifton Flack, chief marketing officer for iCAN Israel-Cannabis, a private equity fund that focuses on cannabis.

“Our key contribution has been and will be research,” Flack added. “The story of the Israel cannabis industry began with research, with Prof. [Raphael] Mechoulam. For the past 50 years we’ve contributed to research. You are going to find that, under the hood, a big percentage of the global cannabis products or industry will somewhere have something Israeli.”

Today, there are approximately 23,000 patients who have medical marijuana prescriptions in Israel, up from 10,000 in 2012. That number will continue to rise as marijuana is approved to treat more ailments, with scientists racing to run high-level, double-blind clinical trials exploring medical uses of cannabis that can be published in major medical journals.

Currently, cannabis is undergoing clinical trials or approved for use to treat tinnitus, colitis, Crohn’s disease, some of the spastic symptoms of cerebral palsy pediatric patients, severe epilepsy in children, Tourette’s syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, autism symptoms like insomnia or aggressiveness, and some of the side effects of cancer treatment. Future trials include testing cannabis for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic stress disorder and eye inflammations.

Professor Raphael Mechoulam, previously at the Weizmann Institute and now at Hebrew University, is largely credited as the father of medical cannabis for identifying and identifying tetrahydrocannabinol (commonly known as THC) in 1964. THC is the active compound in marijuana that produces the “high” sought after by recreational users. Another main active compound in marijuana is cannabidiol (CBD), which has medical benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties.

Professor Raphael Mechoulam in his lab in Hebrew University's Ein Kerem campus on September 1, 2016. (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

Professor Raphael Mechoulam in his lab at Hebrew University on September 1, 2016. (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

It took years for the rest of the medical establishment to begin paying attention to his work with medical marijuana, Mechoulam said.

“There was a therapeutic importance for epilepsy that we identified, and although we published, no one was interested in epilepsy,” he said. “There are one and two-year-old’s with epilepsy and there is no other medication that works. Only in the last few years have they discovered our work. Up to 60 percent of the kids with epilepsy are helped.”

But the 85-year-old scientist, who still oversees a lab at Hebrew University’s Ein Kerem campus, feels that the cannabis field is on the precipice of a breakthrough, and hundreds of uses of the plant are just waiting to be discovered.

“In the last few years, compounds related to cannabinoids are acting on things that we didn’t expect, like osteoporosis,” he said. He noted that cannabis may also reduce the amount of brain damage after a head trauma by relaxing constricted blood vessels.

Medicinal marijuana in the pre-cookie stage (photo credit: Abir Sultan/ Flash 90)

Medicinal marijuana in the pre-cookie stage (Abir Sultan/Flash 90)

Mechoulam has watched the field of cannabis research come a long way in the past decades. When he first started his research at the Weizmann Institute in the 1960s, his first challenge was to obtain a large amount of cannabis. “The administrative head of Weizmann called someone he knew in the police and just asked for cannabis,” Mechoulam recalled.

“I heard from the other side [of the conversation], ‘Is he reliable?’ and the person from the Weizmann Institute said ‘Of course he’s reliable!’ so they said, ‘Have him come over.’ So I went to the police, I got five kilo’s of hashish, I signed for it, and I put the five kilo’s of hashish in my bag. Then I went on a bus and went to the lab. Now, in the bus there was a lot of cannabis smell; nobody knew what it was.”

“Then it turned out that we had broken the law and I should go to prison and the policeman had broken the law and he should go to prison, because it was the Health Ministry that has to approve these things,” Mechoulam continued. “I went to the Health Ministry and said ‘I apologize, I’m sorry, next time we’ll do it that way.’”

Christine Haj, a post-doctoral student in Mechoulam's lab, holds a beaker of pure THC in the Hebrew University lab on September 1, 2016. THC, the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis, can be an amber or gold colored glassy solid when cold, and becomes viscous and sticky if warmed. (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

Christine Haj, a post-doctoral student in Mechoulam’s lab, holds a beaker of pure THC in the Hebrew University lab on September 1, 2016. THC, the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis, can be an amber or gold-colored glassy solid when cold, and becomes viscous and sticky if warmed. (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

The US National Institutes of Health has supported Mechoulam’s cannabis research for decades, since American scientists had much more difficulty obtaining cannabis for study. He was awarded a NIDA (National Institute of Drug Abuse) Discovery Award in 2011. Mechoulam said that while the US and Israel had similar laws governing cannabis research, Israel’s culture of personal connections, colloquially called  enabled the research to progress much faster here.

Still, there have been many challenges along the way, especially because cannabis is a natural compound that must be grown rather than produced.

“Clinicians don’t like to work with marijuana or hashish because it’s not consistent, and that’s not the way modern research is done,” said Mechoulam.

The smallest changes in growing techniques, weather, or watering can affect the chemical make-up of the plant. “THC amounts can vary even within the same plant,” said Dr. Keren-Or Amar, business development manager at Shizim, another cannabis investment company.

“One of the concerns the FDA [US Food and Drug Administration] has expressed is that when you use a plant you cannot secure the right dosage in every batch,” said Doron Ben Ami, chief strategy officer of Therapix Biosciences Ltd., a company that is developing cannabis-based drugs to treat neurological disorders such as Tourette’s syndrome and mild cognitive impairments.

“In pharmaceuticals, you need to be sure you know exactly what your patient is getting,” he said.

Medical marijuana at the Tikun Olam dispensary in Tel Aviv on September 1, 2016. Along with guidance from Tikun Olam's specially trained nursing staff, patients can decide to purchase their prescription in flower form, pre-rolled joints, pills, or tinctures. (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

Medical marijuana at the Tikun Olam dispensary in Tel Aviv on September 1, 2016. Along with guidance from Tikun Olam’s specially trained nursing staff, patients can decide to purchase their prescription in flower form, pre-rolled joints, pills, or tinctures. (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

Therapix and other pharmaceutical companies are working with the chemical production of THC, or synthetic THC. This allows the company to monitor the exact ratio of the active compounds that will be in the developed drugs.

But as additional strides have been made in producing synthetic cannabis, scientists are also getting better at manipulating strains of marijuana to have higher levels of THC or CBD depending on what disease they are treating.

Tikun Olam, the largest and oldest cannabis dispensary in Israel, now has 15 marijuana plant strains, which are cultivated to have a specific ratio of THC to CBD. Its Avidekel strain has 18% CBD compared to just 0.8% THC, meaning that it is safe for children and won’t produce the high commonly associated with marijuana. Tikun Olam treats more than 200 children with epilepsy with this strain.

Tikun Olam started 10 years ago with 10 patients in Israel, growing a few plants on Birya, a small moshav near Safed. When its list of patients grew to 1,000, it had to move to commercial fields whose location is closely guarded.

Next up: More markets, more diseases

Today, there are currently about 23,000 patients in Israel who have medical marijuana licenses granted by the Health Ministry. Tikun Olam treats 7,000 people per month. Except for patients with Tourette’s syndrome, patients must prove they have tried at least four alternative methods for managing their pain or illness before receiving a medical marijuana license, which is utilized as a last resort.

“The problem for us is that people want to believe that cannabis is going to cure them, but we don’t have the research yet,” said Professor Zvi Bentwich, a professor of medical biology at Ben Gurion University and the chief scientist at Tikun Olam. Bentwich was a pioneer in the Israeli fight against HIV/AIDs, and he became interested in medical cannabis after observing the positive effects that marijuana use, though illegal, had on his patient’s in dealing with nausea and loss of weight.

“In the 1990s, I advocated for my patient’s to use cannabis illegally, and then I helped get the government to legalize cannabis,” he said. “Previously, marijuana has not been studied clinically. Well-created, legal, clinical studies didn’t exist.”

A cancer patient shows his concentrated marijuana pills in the Tikun Olam guidance center in Tel Aviv on September 1, 2016. (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

A cancer patient shows his concentrated marijuana pills in the Tikun Olam guidance center in Tel Aviv on September 1, 2016. (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

Now Bentwich works with Tikun Olam to design clinical studies for various diseases. “We doctors are reluctant to use cannabis unless evidence is brought forward to prove it. In Israel, we are in a position to do pioneering work that has not been done anywhere.”

“The industry is exploding, but it is a fraction of what it is going to be in 10 years,” added Flack, the equity fund chief marketing officer. “In 10 years you are going to see cannabis everywhere. In Israel we add vitamin D to milk. We should be adding CBD. It doesn’t get you high. The body requires CBD, the brain produces it naturally and taking CBD every day in small amounts only does you good. I think within 10 years we will see Yotvata milk with CBD.”

Market potential could be huge. Cannabics Pharmaceuticals, an Israeli company that developed a marijuana capsule for cancer sufferers, estimates that the medical marijuana market has the potential to reach $3.6 billion in the US alone by 2019. This would make it larger than the organic food market.

“I think in 10 years every single accelerator or incubator in Israel will have at least one business, one startup doing something for cannabis,” said Flack. “It could be a medical device, or a tracking system, but in the startup world it will be everywhere. You are going to see a significant export industry, not of the flower, but of medical products.”

Exporting the buds may not be far behind. Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel announced in August that Israel would begin exporting medical marijuana, possibly within the next two years.

Scientists stress that the real key toward making marijuana more useful to patients is clinical tests that can systematically prove that cannabis is safe and effective for human use for specific diseases.

“I can cure a lot of diseases in mice [with cannabis],” said Amar, a former scientist now with the cannabis investment group. But without clinical trials, she said, “there’s no benefit to humans.”

Marijuana Is Not A Gateway Drug Up: It Is A Step Down Drug Though

 

The first time that I ever tried smoking Marijuana (Pot) was in the High School parking lot the year I turned 17, that was 1973. As I learned through the years the Pot I tried was Norther Illinois Homegrown and was basically worthless as far as getting a buzz (high) from it. Back then you could buy a five-finger bag for $15 but I thought it to be a waste of 15 hard-earned dollars. I am now 60 years old so I have been around Marijuana for 43 years now so yes, I do have some opinions that I would like to share with you about what I think and believe about this God-given plant. The next time I tried Pot I was 23 years old and living in Houston Texas. I have never really been a drinker of alcohol nor a user of hard drugs and I have never once stuck or been stuck with a needle with street drugs in it, I have never had such a desire to do so. The far right (wrong) media has been talking trash about Pot at least since about 1988 saying it is a ‘gateway drug” that gets people to go into doing “hard” drugs like Crack, Pills and Heroine. Folks, my life’s experiences have shown me that Pot being a “gateway drug” is a bunch of lies (BS).

 

Folks, I have known people who have smoked Pot their whole adult lives who have never gone onto harder drugs and that includes alcohol. I have known people in several professions who liked to smoke Pot in the evenings when they got home from work to help relax from the stress of their day and who would smoke it on the weekends for the relaxation of it. These people I speak of are my age and older who are now retired from their jobs. These people were/are inner twined into the fabric of our economy. They bought and paid off homes, cars, boats, and raised families. None of these people who I know ever did anything to get into trouble with the law, they weren’t/aren’t robbers, murderers or violent people. Many millions of people believe that this is a God-given plant that is given to the people for many health benefits and believe that no man, no government has any right to refuse it to the people. This past week President Obama said that Marijuana will stay in the class one category of drugs because it has no medical value and this is what the DEA also spouts as truth. I know that these are educated people but if they believe this they would have to be both ignorant and stupid. The only reason that these people would say something so stupid is if big money is involved, and you know it is. So, is it stupidity, ignorance or just plain crooked. Personally I have to go with the big money, thus the crooked concept.

 

I am a service connected disabled Veteran from active duty Army service. I was only in for seven months because in the second month I was struck by lightning during a training exercise. The VA has in the past loaded me up with pain killers which do almost nothing for the nerve pain so I had them stop them about 14-15 months ago as I have no desire to walk around like a Zombie. The only thing that I have found that helps is if/when I can find some good quality Pot. The Pot does not cure the issues but then again, neither do the pills. The Pot works like a block on the nerve pain, the pain is still there but it does not let the pain signals go from (A to B) SO IT STOPS THE PAIN SIGNAL FROM GOING TO THE BRAIN. About two weeks ago the Senators and Congressmen who were on the committee over seeing the budget for the VA at the last-minute took the provision to okay medical Marijuana out of the VA funding bill. These disgusting people should all be fired this November!

 

In my life I have seen many cases where people who used to smoke Pot but had to quit because of laws about pre employment and random drug test at their employers, if I remember correctly this kicked into high gear in about 1988. If you are old enough to remember this is about when our Federal Government started their so call ‘war on drugs’. This ignorance, the way they have gone about things have cost many thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars that could have gone into the economy instead. For many people when they had to quit smoking Pot because it stays traceable in your system for about 30 days they then started drinking or just drinking more than they ever had. Also for many people who still wanted a ‘high’ when they had to quit smoking Pot turned to things like Cocaine, Crack, Heroine, and Pills because these things only stay in a person’s system about three days. So in essence, the Government has increased drug usage with their ‘war on drugs’. Check the stats, in states where Marijuana is now legal drug overdoses have gone down, Pill usage has gone down because people would rather have the mellow high that Pot gives and a fact is, no one has ever died from an overdose of Marijuana. If states would all legalize real Marijuana this new product called K-2 would disappear. It seems like every week we are hearing of people having to go to the hospital because of the chemical effects of this synthetic version of Pot. Just yesterday it was on the news that 10 people in Austin Texas were sent to the hospital because of it.

 

There is only one thing that comes to mind for the reason that Marijuana is not legalized and that is there is very big money flowing into D.C. politicians to keep it illegal. Remember what I said about the VA? If Marijuana became legal and the VA was able to dispense it the drug companies would lose billions of dollars each year because there would be no need or reason to take their chemicals. This would also save the VA and the tax payers billions of dollars each year, this is money that could be going into the economy instead of CEO’s pockets. The U.S. ‘war on drugs’ has in fact created drug traffickers and cartels. This ignorance has created revenue for street gangs here in the States. How many lives has been taken by these gangs from South America and Mexico to Los Angeles to Chicago to New York to small towns all over the U.S.? Marijuana being illegal has helped fuel other much more dangerous drugs and gang warfare on our city streets! How many police have lost their lives in this war? I don’t know that answer but even one Officer losing their life over the bought and paid for politicians and their hypocrisy is just plain evil. There is also the reality that many policing agencies go after the people with small amounts of Pot for the purpose of stealing people’s personal property like their homes, cars, land and bank accounts. It is safer and more profitable to go after these people who are much more mellow type of folks. The exception would be when the police are trying to arrest some of the Pot dealers, some times some of these folks will have guns or big dogs to worry about. There is also the concept of the Prison Industry which cost the public billions of dollars to arrest, convict and house/jail Pot smokers each year. Some States cry about over crowded prisons and want to have more jails and prisons built. The remedy to this problem is simple, free the people you have in the prisons who are there for simple possession of Pot. This would free up many cells in which to put the violent offenders! Also there is the problem of our Court system being so backed up with people charged with simple possession that it takes ridiculous amounts of time to adjudicate the cases of the violent criminals that our local jails are over-flowing. One last thought, the U.S. has more people in Prisons than any nation on Earth, more than Iran, Russia, China or even North Korea. The remedy to all these ill’s is simple, make Marijuana legal, every thing about this issue is a win win for our Country and our people.

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oldpoet56

truthtroubles.wordpress.com/ Just an average man who tries to do his best at being the kind of person the Bible tells us we are all suppose to be. Not perfect, never have been, don't expect anyone else to be perfect either. Always try to be very easy going type of a person if allowed to be.

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