New York's medical marijuana program has been in the works for some time now and is expected to be up and running by January 2016. The state just finished licensing it's 25 dispensaries, but it seems that although Queens and Manhattan will have two, Brooklyn and Staten Island residents will be forced to travel for their medication. Though the bill has brought progress to the state, some advocates still call it too restricive as qualifying conditions are still limited, smoking the plant matter is prohibited, and no growers or dispensaries can be located within 1000ft of a church or school. Despite it's flaws, the bill leaves room for those in need to have cannabis delivered to them by a licensed caregiver. Advocates of the marijuana program have called the bill, which only allows for five manufacturers and 20 dispensaries and prohibits smoking, “too restrictive.” The requirements also include a prohibition against dispensing the drug within 1,000 feet of a school or church, a difficult criteria to meet in most parts of Brooklyn. In addition, the marijuana can only be approved for relief from 10 specific illnesses, including cancer, AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s, and epilepsy.
Massachusetts voters passed a medical marijuana bill in 2012, but new regulations make signing up for your medical marijuana card much more thorough. On June 1st, a new medical practice opened in Brockton, MA with a doctor focusing on chronic pain and rehabilitation. He is also one of the dozens of doctors in the state registered to certify patients for medical marijuana use. Doctor Walker said he does not use marijuana in any form, though he knows some friends and family do. Since his new practice, he has only worked with about 50 patients with conditions ranging from cancer and Crohn’s disease to anxiety and insomnia. "I understand the need. I understand the treatment.” “We’re trying to see as many patients as possible who want to use medical marijuana for their medical conditions,” Walker said. “It’s very natural, it’s very safe.”
You may know the organization called DARE from a middle school seminar where they try to ingrain a fear of drugs into your head. They have been teaching children to "just say no" for years, but the organization recently posted a letter written by a former deputy titled "Purchasing Marijuana Puts Kids At Risk". It seems as though whoever posted the letter did not read it, as instead of a hard hitting letter about the dangers of marijuana, it was actually outlining the benefits of legalizing and regulating marijuana to keep the drug out of kids hands. I support legalization precisely because I want to reduce youths’ drug use. Drug dealers don’t care about a customer’s age. The answer isn’t prohibition and incarceration; the answer is regulation and education.
Veterans who have experienced traumatic events overseas often develop PTSD. Once these soldiers come home, they should be welcomed with whatever can help them adjust back to a normal life, however so many veterans are in a battle in their homeland over the right to use a medicine that works. More and more research is coming out suggesting that marijuana can not only treats PTSD, but possible cure it, yet only 5 of the 23 states with medical marijuana allow PTSD as a qualifying condition. Some states that do allow PTSD patients have specialized products to help replenish the cannabinoids that they no longer produce naturally. “I suffered for many years not knowing there was plant medicine without side effects. I’m very sensitive to chemicals so when I tried CBD spray it was like I found the missing link that my body/mind needed to achieve balance." “I use Care By Design for PTSD and arthritis and the oil has been beneficial for both. I haven’t taken anxiety meds in months,” said AY from Los Angeles, CA.
We already know that majority of Americans believe marijuana should be decriminalized, but until our politicians believe it too, it's very difficult to get positive legislation passed. Luckily, after years of fighting the war on drugs, a recent survey showed that 79% of United States Mayors support the decriminalization of marijuana. That's not to say that so many are in favor of full legalization, but most US Mayors are aware that the drug doesn't deserve such harsh consequences, including the consequences on tax dollars that every city could use somewhere else. Some suggest that other cities should follow Philadelphia, who after their first year of decriminalized cannabis saved $1 million. The mayors are enthusiastic supporters of the federal government taking a larger role in issues of police and criminal justice reform. One much desired area of reform: The surveyed mayors, themselves uniquely positioned to feel the brunt of the federal drug policies, overwhelmingly encouraged the decriminalization of marijuana, with 79 percent of the mayors suggesting that the federal government follow the lead of an increasing number of cities like Washington, D.C., and even whole states like Colorado.
One of the biggest arguments ever from marijuana opponents is that legalizing marijuana, and even the discussions of legalizing marijuana, will undoubtedly lead to increased use in minors. Parents who may not have much information on the subject may side with that logic since there has been nothing saying otherwise, and they fear for their children's safety. Since the legalization of medical marijuana around the country, a few different studies have been keeping tabs, and the results are different than many would expect. A 2013 report from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment shows that since marijuana law reform in the state, teen use of marijuana has actually gone down, which agrees with the drug use questionaire of about 500,000 teens resulting in similar data. Driving the point even further, the study supports the 2013 report from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment finding that high school marijuana use decreased since the Centennial State became the first to legalize marijuana. This data was collected before recreational marijuana sales to adults started, but it demonstrates that medical marijuana laws and openly discussing full legalization did not send the message that it was okay for young people to use it.
The state of Oregon officially legalized recreational marijuana use on July 1st of this year, but similar to Colorado and other states, there have been no changes in laws for the workplaces ability to fire employees for marijuana use. One TV anchor in Oregon was recently fired after testing positive for marijuana following a fender bender on the way to a live shot. She says she used marijuana several days before and never uses the drug at work, but marijuana can stay in someones system for almost a month, making an unexpected drug test a nightmare. "I wasn't fired because I couldn't do my job. I wasn't fired because of my work ethic, my attitude, or my abilities," Maurer said. "I was fired for enjoying a plant, on my own time, in the privacy of my own home. A plant that the majority of voters in Oregon believe should be legal."
Since Maryland approved of medical marijuana in the state last week, one county with a proposed growing operation is showing mixed feelings. Opposers seem to be concerned about the intention of recreational legalization, which they don't approve of in fear of the federal government shutting their businesses down. Despite legislation protecting individual states from interference of the federal government, some officials are not convinced. Most legislators agree that more research should be done on the drug, though the local universities that could do so recieve too much federal money to risk involvement. "I have supported (medical marijuana) in the past and still do," said Sen. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, because of families who are impacted by illnesses marijuana could be used to relieve. "Here's my concern — it's still illegal under federal law. What happens when somebody enforces federal law?" he asked.
Since the legalization of marijuana in Washington state, certain cities have chosen to not allow marijuana businesses within their limits. After applying for a business license multiple times and being turned down, one man named David Morgan in the city of Pasco has decided to open his own recreational marijuana shop in hopes of helping the city with incoming tax revenue. City officials have announced they plan to take action the same way they would for any business operating without a necessary license, but Mr. Morgan is hoping with his business being preestablished the city will adjust zoning laws and grant the store a proper license. “We’re hoping that they’ll change their zoning and grant us a license so we can help the city get their share of tax revenue,” Morgan said Some customers signed a petition asking the city to lift its ban on marijuana businesses. All were required to have their identification scanned as they entered to prove they are at least 21 and show it again if they bought anything
Italy may be well on it's way to being the largest country in Europe to legalize marijuana, but it may take a few more years to convince majority of politicians. A recent survey in Italy shows 77% of those interviewed believed Italy should follow US states like Colorado and Washington with legalization and regulation of the drug. 250 of Parliament's 945 members have already signed a bill to show support for the decriminalization, production, and sale of marijuana , which is promising considering only 10 years ago the country passed a law treating marijuana with harsher sentences. Della Vedova is nevertheless optimistic: "So far, more than one-fourth of all lawmakers have signed the bill, these include more than [a] third of the deputies sitting in the chamber. So there is a concrete possibility that this proposal will be approved."
Washington state has taken huge strides in marijuana law reform as one of the 4 states to recreationally legalize the drug. Despite being legal, Washington's laws aren't all convenient for users, including the inability to grow personal cannabis at home, and the new open container law requiring marijuana to be transported in an unopened container in the trunk of a vehicle. Issues sprouting from this law are expected as the language does not specify the different containers allowed compared to the common receptacles given by dispensaries. The new law also regains the ability for law enforcement to suspend a persons' license if the driver is proven to be under the influence of marijuana. A new state law, House Bill 1276, will update the state’s open container laws for vehicles to include marijuana. The law stipulates that marijuana, like alcohol, must be kept in the trunk of a vehicle, in an unopened container, or in another part of the passenger cabin “not normally occupied or directly accessible by” the driver or passengers. The law, signed by Governor Jay Inslee on June 30, will take effect September 26.
History was going to be made when the first ever marijuana television ad was planned to air in Denver, Colorado, where the plant is recreationally legal, until it was pulled a few days before airtime due to fear of unknown consequences. After watching the ad, you'll see that there is no mention or visual of marijuana, and infact the ad was actually for a vape pen to be used with marijuana and not plant matter itself. The ad features friends attending concerts, stargazing, and enjoying campfires while sporting the phrase, "recreate responsibly", but still the ad was pulled as the FCC has yet to make a public stance on marijuana ads, but the airwaves are under federal control. “Channel 7 has officially put all cannabis commercials on hold until further notice, as ABC corporate investigates the legality of airing a ‘federally illegal’ substance on federal airwaves,” said Olivia Mannix, co-founder of Cannabrand, the ad agency that produced the Neos spot, in an email to CNNMoney.