Since before the debates against legalizing marijuana began, there were always claims that the drug can change the brain's structure. Now we have research that has tested many sets of siblings to find where these abnormalities occur, only to find that none of the marijuana smokers had any irregularities compared to their non-smoking siblings after many years. The researchers hypothesized that in the sibling pairs where one had used marijuana and one had not, they would see differences in brain volume. But instead, they found that the exposed and unexposed siblings had the same amygdala volume. “We found no evidence for the causal influence of cannabis exposure on amygdala volume,” the authors concluded.
For many, marijuana held a special place in college life, but no longer is the use of the drug looked down upon, and now you can even find marijuana as a subject in the classroom. No, the University of Denver is not teaching how to grow your own marijuana; instead, the university is using this class as a platform to start real and productive discussions about the drug and the industry. The new course is called, "Cannabis Journalism reporting and covering the new normal" and the goal is to create an unbiased, transparent conversation that really focuses on good journalism. The University of Denver's College of Law also now hosts classes about taking on marijuana clients in the ever-changing industry. University Of Denver professor Andrew Matranga said: "It's called Cannabis Journalism reporting and covering the new normal." Economics major Kevin Bartlett is taking the class to better understand a trailblazing trend. "It's still very taboo and I think that having a more responsible conversation can lead to more open discussions for the rest of the country," Bartlett said.
Florida makes the third most arrests for marijuana possession in the country at about 60,000 per year, yet the residents show overwhelming support to legalize the plant. More and more cities are taking it upon themselves to use their local government to decriminalize small amouts of marijuana. Florida's largest county, Miami-Dade, decriminalized the possession of up to 20 grams as a civil infraction punished with a $100 fine. Many other cities are following with similar bills, but Florida NORML is pushing for a 2016 vote to legalize marijuana statewide. It’s clear that Florida residents are fed up with policies that treat those who possess marijuana as criminals and are looking to their local governments to lead the way in reforming these policies. NORML encourages you to contact your local city commissioners and urge them to consider adopting decriminalization policies in your communities.
As an industry grows, naturally things fall into their niche as efficiency and convenience work together. The budding marijuana industry is no different, and small details like only keeping the precious flower while throwing the rest of plant in the garbage kept certain businesses from reaching their potential. Companies like Cameron Yee's, Lunchbox Alchemy, have been throwing away parts of the plant called "trim" for too long before realizing the amount of products he could make with it. Fresh trim from quality strains of marijuana can be used to make the increasingly popular concentrates like oils and even edibles, but at a fraction of the price of using strictly buds. As Oregon's recreational market approches their first harvest and sales in October, the price of concentrates is sure to plummet while quality rises with the excess amount of trim that will be sold to third party companies like Cameron's. The demand for trim mirrors the recent rise in hash oil's popularity. For years, growers viewed the leaves as a nuisance, tossing them into chippers or garbage compactors, said Jorge Cervantes, a renowned marijuana grower who has written extensively about the plant. "This market was a sleeper market," said Cervantes, who is from Oregon and lives in California. "Until the market became developed and people wanted it, nobody was really paying attention."
The more states that legalize marijuana, the higher interest becomes from companies to branch out to the higly profitable marijuana industry. Copper and gold mining companies like International Goldfields and Chlormet Technologies have begun investing in marijuana by seeking medical marijuana grow licenses and buying facilities. China is the top consumer of industrial metals, and as their economy is slowing down these metal companies are looking for more stable and promising ventures. As only a portion of US states have legalized marijuana in some forms, there is huge potential for even more growth. After growing 74% in one year the legal cannabis market had a value of $2.7 billion last year giving it the title of fastest growing industry in the country. Last year, the legal cannabis market in the US had a value of $2.7 billion, a 74% increase from 2013, making it the fastest-growing industry in the country, according to a report by ArcView Market Research (pdf, registration required). If all 50 states were to legalize sales of recreational marijuana, the firm estimates, the market would be larger than the organic food industry, with a value of $36.8 billion. Copper, meanwhile, has shed 22% so far in 2015.
Despite what you might have heard, new research suggests that the developing teen brain mixed with marijuana does not lead to problems later in life. Contrary to cigarettes and alcohol stunting your growth and development, marijuana use is not linked to any changes in mental and physical health over the course of your life regardless of frequency of use. For years many have claimed that marijuana smoke causes a plethora of health issues like cigarettes was found to cause, but the more research that is conducted, the more marijuana proves itself to be a stricly healthy drug. "What we found was a little surprising," said lead researcher Jordan Bechtold, a psychology research fellow at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "There were no differences in any of the mental or physical health outcomes that we measured regardless of the amount or frequency of marijuana used during adolescence."
There are many stereotypes surrounding those who smoke marijuana, whether it's being lazy, unintelligent, or just unhealthy, but new research is going to put many of these assumptions to shame. Researchers from the Conference of Quebec University have found that marijuana use is linked to lower body mass index (BMI) and lower fasting insulin meaning not only are pot smokers more likely to have less body fat, but they're also less likely to develop diabetes. The American Journal of Medicine published research with similar findings back in 2013 and since, cannabis has been an interest for those interested in controlling diabetes. Furthermore, marijuana users had a smaller risk of contracting diabetes, with lower fasting insulin and insulin resistance. “In this large cross-sectional adult survey with high prevalence of both substance use and obesity, cannabis use in the past year was associated with lower BMI, lower percentage fat mass, lower fasting insulin, and HOMA-IR (insulin resistance),” the authors said.
ResponsibleOhio is on a winning streak this year after first gathering enough signatures to bring their marijuana reform bill to a vote, then airing a simple but effective ad during the presidential debate, and now airing a state-wide ad that is meant to connect with citizens and educate on the facts. This new ad shows a retired police captain explaining his past experience in law enforcement and becoming an expert in drug addiction. He follows up by informing viewers that Ohio spends over $100 million fighting the war on marijuana that simply cannot be won. The ad closes by reminding you that this can be changed if you "vote yes on 3" which if passed will legalize marijuana in Ohio for medicinal and recreational use. "As a police officer, I walked a beat, served on the vice squad and SWAT team and became an expert on drug addiction. I saw firsthand the effects of Ohio's destructive marijuana laws. Simply put -- they don't work. Ohio spends more than $100 million each year on this failed effort. It's time for marijuana reform. So law enforcement can spend their time cracking down on real criminals and making Ohio a safer place for our families. Vote yes on 3."
Euphoria Wellness is a brand new medical marijuana dispensary, and the first to open in the Las Vegas area. The store aimed to be the first in the state, but was beat out by another in a smaller city when some developing laws did not go in their favor. Despite being the second to open in the state, Euphoria Wellness is exposed to majority of the state's population. The dispensary opened on Monday to only 200 pre-registered invited patients, and will not fully open to the public until Wednesday. The main delay in opening the store was getting ahold of legal and safe marijuana to sell, and now that they're open they're rationing customers to a max of half an ounce until they can replenish stock. Euphoria once hoped to open as early as February or March. But the debut was delayed by bureaucratic disputes and the wait for commercial crops to be ready. Euphoria planned to start by selling marijuana bought from home growers, which is allowed under state law, but soon ran into a problem. County officials first told the dispensary it could buy only 2½ ounces from each home grower. They cited a provision in state law saying a patient can only possess that much "usable marijuana" at one time. Such small amounts would make marijuana prohibitively expensive to test and made it impossible for the dispensary to gather enough to open for business.
Since the legalization of marijuana, police have had trouble enforcing a consistent policy for impairment while driving. Washington and Colorado have the same legal limit of 5 nanograms per milimeter of blood, but in Oregon there is no such limit. If an officer in Oregon believes the driver to be impaired then they will be placed under arrest and made to take a blood or urine test which can be very excessive when the driver comes out clean. It took the US about 30 years to fully commit to a .08 limit for blood alcohol content and implement it in something as convenient as a breathalyzer. A limit of 5 nanograms is vague and can be reached by a completely sober person who smokes regularly due to THC staying in the blood long after the high has worn off, but creating a limit was a political compromise to see legalization through. Experts say that an effective method of roadside impairment testing for marijuana is atleast a decade away, and until it's ready there will likely be variation to see what works best. "It's not against the law to drive a car after drinking alcohol, it's also not against the law to drive a car after smoking pot," Hingson said. It's only illegal to drive while impaired, he points out. "I think it would be a long time before marijuana breathalyzers are scientifically vetted and supported by law enforcement and by the courts the way alcohol breathalyzers are," Knott said
As the US and others are showing more support for cannabis and legalizing, other countries like chile are following suit on their way to decriminalization. Last month, Chile's Chamber of Deputies voted almost 2:1 in favor of passing a bill that would allow Chileans to posses up to 10 grams of marijuana and grow up to 6 plants at a time. The bill is still waiting to be adjusted by a health commission and then it must pass the senate before it becomes law. Despite having one last hurdle to jump, marijuana policy reform looks promising in Chile as 86% of citizens are in favor of medical marijuana, and still over half are in favor of full legalization. The bill must first be adjusted by a health commission and then passed by the Senate before it officially becomes law, but strong support for cannabis legalization in the country illustrates that legalizing marijuana use appears to be the new norm in the Western Hemisphere and, once again, that the War on Drugs has been a failed campaign.
Colorado took on a lot of responsibility when it became the first state to legalize marijuana recreationally, but that is not to take away from the medical marijuana industry that is also flourishing. Medical marijuana shops in Colorado have been serving patients for years now, but only those whose illnesses qualify can reap the benefits of significantly lower taxes and larger legal possession amount compared to recreational marijuana. PTSD is a condition that only a handful of medical states allow to qualify for the drug, and since last month's decision by the Colorado Board of Health to deny medical marijuana access to sufferers of PTSD, 5 patients have filed a lawsuit hoping to overturn the decision. According to ABC News, the reason medical marijuana was not allowed to treat PTSD is the lack of federal research showing a benefit in patients treated with marijuana. The motion was voted down by a 6-2 vote. Subsequently, a lawsuit was filed in the Denver District Court by five PTSD patients in the hopes of overturning the decision.