Your favorite singer success story, Kelly Clarkson, has announced pubilcly her support for legalizing marijuana. Her reasoning is spot on with many people who are educated on the matter of the effects of different drugs. She points out alcohol's destructive properties that are praised and legal allover the world, but she herself knows many who have died from different forms of alcoholic destruction. “I’m not even a pothead, I just think it’s funny that we legalize something as destructive as alcohol or pills and not that,” Clarkson says, adding, “Don’t get me wrong, I love me some alcohol, but I don’t know anybody in rehab because of pot. And I know a ton of people that have died either from liver cancer or behind the wheel. We legalize things that are so disturbing for our bodies, but one that’s completely fine, we say, ‘No, that’s bad for you.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, enjoy your scotch. Enjoy your Xanax.’”
Children with epilepsy are starting to become more prominently prescribed medical marijuana as it has been shown to be the only thing to truly stop the seizures and return to them their childhood. For Noah, a 6-year old boy in Michigan, it has not only treated his epilepsy, but also his more reckless symptoms of severe autism. Noah's mother is able to give him marijuana oil because of his epilepsy, but his autism alone is not enough to receive medical marijuana. Before having tried medical marijuana, he couldn't control many of his outbreaks of kicking, punching, and pulling hair, but now his mother says he is more calm and focused. This week a committee of health officials will hear the arguments for adding autism to the state list of medical marijuana qualifying conditions. “It seems to work. ... Wouldn’t that be better than giving them all these psychiatric drugs?” Chugani said. “Not every autistic kid would take this, but if your behavior is wild and you have to be institutionalized, I as a physician would prefer to try medical marijuana. I have at least 50 patients on multiple drugs and still their behaviors are not controlled.”
Some form of marijuana has become legal in over half the country at this point, but is still illegal under federal law. Many states are finding that despite having legalized the drug, companies are still allowed to enforce federal drug policy and fire employees over marijuana positive drug tests. A woman in Massachusetts, where medical marijuana has been made legal, revealed her medical need for the drug to her employer in her interview and was made to believe it would not be an issue, until her first day of work when receiving the call from human resources that her failed drug test has led her to be fired. “As long as it is not affecting that person’s ability to perform their job, then it should be protected, and that person should not suffer adverse consequences,” said Fogelman, who teamed with Fine on Barbuto’s case. Barbuto said she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2011, an illness that often robs a patient’s appetite. Because she rarely feels hungry, Barbuto struggles to maintain a healthy weight, and traditional medicines have not helped, she said. So she smokes a small amount of marijuana before meals a couple of times a week, she said, to spur her appetite, but not enough to make her feel high.
A major concern for legislators and and marijuana investors alike, is wondering why would citizens buy marijuana from a dispensary if they can get it cheaper from the black market. As Illinois approaches their first sale later this year, they are trying to work through all the kinks that other states have struggled with. "Most Americans prefer to buy marijuana from legal sources" says the president of Marijuana Business Media, and with the efforts many dispensaries are taking to be knowledgeable, clean, and have non-aggressive sales styles, the black market of marijuana will surely have no chance. There may be a menu of strains, he said, with different potencies and balances of CBD, the component said to give marijuana its medicinal properties, and THC, the psychoactive ingredient that makes people feel high. "Is this going to put me on the couch, or help me clean the house?" Aaron Varney, co-director of Dockside Cannabis in Washington state, said in paraphrasing what a customer might want to know.
Nearly 30 years ago Jeff Mizanskey was arrested for possession of marijuana, and under Missouri's three-strike system he was sentenced to life without parole. Jeff says he has seen murderers land in jail, then get released only to land in jail yet again, while he is serving a life-sentence for a non-violent crime. A petition to shorten Jeff's life sentece has has gained 390,000 signatures, and the attention of the governor, who officially shortened his sentence leaving him open for parole. Chris was 14-years-old when his dad went away to prison. “It breaks my heart every time we go up there to see him. We have to leave and he has to stay,” Chris said. “I can only hope he’ll be able to walk out of there one day, we’ll be able to enjoy our lives together what’s left of his and what’s left of mine.”
Illinois voters legalized medical marijuana over two years ago, and bureaucracy has prevailed in making eager patients wait on their medicine day after day. In anticipation of the upcoming production and sale of marijuana, Illinois hosted a Marijuana Business Conference & Expo with many businesses and entrepreneurs wanting to get into the gold rush of the marijuana industry. Some even got the chance to pitch their business ideas in a "Shark Tank" format to investors, some asking for $500,000 and some $5 million. More than 2,000 people attended the Marijuana Business Conference & Expo, hoping to cash in on a business that is forecast by one industry-backed market research group to grow to $11 billion in annual sales nationwide by 2019, with the prospect of legalization in several more states.
Oregon was among the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, but not every community in the state was so welcoming. The city of Pendleton has deemed the smell from marijuana to be a nuisance and can be reported similar to a noise complaint and come with a fine up to $500. The fines are aimed at keeping growers out of certain communities, but if a neighbor is feeling violated even just a smoker of marijuana could see a fine for consuming on their own property. Marijuana possession and use will become legal in Oregon for people over 21 on July 1, although legal retail sales are not expected until the fall of 2016. While Pendleton might take in relatively small amounts of money from fines, the state as a whole is still working on its tax structure for legal marijuana.
History is being made in congress in favor of our military veterans! For the first time ever, Congress' upper chambers have voted in favor of marijuana legislation and though it faces more votes to become law, it is a major step in politicians learning to accept the positives of marijuana law reform. If passed, the bill would allow veterans in marijuana legal states, to talk to their VA hospital doctors and discuss marijuana as a treatment option for different ailments. Currently, the VA bans medical providers working with the agency from completing any forms brought by patients that seek marijuana recommendations or opinions in states where the drug's medical use is legal. The amendment, sponsored by Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) blocks the VA from using funds to enforce the ban on doctors.
Illinois is one signature away from joining 17 other states in decriminalizing marijuana. This week the Illinois state senate approved the decriminalization bill 37-19 and after some language cleanup to make the legislation more clear it will make it to the governor's desk. One of the senators sponsoring the bill stated that he believes using marijuana is wrong, however he followed up that he also doesn't believe getting caught wiith pot should ruin a young person's life. If passed, the bill would take the current penalty of $2500 and possibly a year in jail, to a fine up to $125. Supporters said the measure would keep low-level drug offenders out of the state's clogged jails and prisons. Earlier this year, Rauner announced a goal of reducing the state's prison population by 25 percent over the next 10 years. On Thursday, Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly offered the administration's standard response when asked about pending legislation: "The governor will carefully consider any legislation that crosses his desk."
Oregon voters legalized recreational marijuana in their state last november by popular vote, and since then legislators have been working to install a functioning system ready to take care of marijuana sales from seed to sale. In recent proposals, the plan was to have recreational sales by July 1st, but now they are projecting the first sales to be in October. Legislators chose to use a sales tax (tax rate not yet decided) for marijuana instead of a fixed fee like certain areas. The medical marijuana legislation is chiefly aimed at limiting the size of growing operations serving medical marijuana patients. Backers say too much of this pot is being diverted to illegal sales.
Michigan is facing financial problems that are being taken out in the form of taxes on middle to lower class families, when positive tax reform is just waiting to be cultivated from marijuana sales. Many michigan cities such as East Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Detroit are decriminalizing the plants possession, but not fully benefiting with legal sale and taxation. Some legislators are still concerned about endangering the community with marijuana legalization but the facts are showing a decrease in violent property crimes and a major decrease in alcohol-related deaths in areas where marijuana is legal. Regulating and taxing marijuana will never be a panacea for all the challenges our state faces. Taxes raised from regulating marijuana won't be enough to pay for all of our priorities. However, taking marijuana off the black market will generate much needed revenue, allow us to redeploy law enforcement resources to focus on violent and property crime, and ease the tax burden on the middle class.
In the past year alone, 14 states have legalized medical marijuana soley in the form of CBD oils to treat seizures, and now is Texas' chance to make a change for the betterment of it's patients. This medical marijuana bill allowing CBD oils passed the state house 96-34, with some still opposing the law desptie CBD not having the properties to get the user high. The bill is on it's way to Governor Abbott's desk. The governor has not mentioned his intentions to sign the bill or not, but has previously mentioned the unlikelyhood of decriminalizing marijuana this year. Republican Rep. Stephanie Klick, the House sponsor of the latest cannabis bill, has said even she wouldn't have supported her own legislation two years ago. Klick, a nurse, said learning about the impact the oil can have on patients changed her mind.