Oregon's recreational marijuana sales are expected to start in October of this year, but already the industry has created a remarkable new job market. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is in charge of keeping the drug regulated properly and they're now ready to hire for the new positions, "marijuana compliance specialist". The job involves investigating marijuana businesses and manufacturing facilities, as well as conducting decoy operations of minors in marijuana shops. What does it take to become a marijuana compliance specialist? Because the industry is so new, the OLCC is looking for applicants with diverse skills, because they’ll be expected to tackle problems that come their way. “They’ll have to be adaptive and have good critical thinking skills,” said OLCC recreational marijuana spokesman Mark Pettinger.
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.
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.
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.
Cannabis has been a widely accepted treatment for cancer patients to help with the nausea, anxiety, and depression. New research is showing that the cannabinoids found in marijuana not only fight the symptoms of cancer, but also kill the cancer cells themselves. Tests in mice and rats are revealing that many types of cancer cells are being destroyed by THC and CBD, while at the same time the normal healthy cells are being protected. The National Cancer Institute now lists on their website that marijuana can effectively inhibit and shrink tumors, yet the DEA continues to list marijuana as a schedule 1 narcotic next to heroin. Schedule 1 means the drug has a high potential for abuse, and no accepted medical value. How long will it take for government agencys to accept modern research and reclassify marijuana? The National Cancer Institute’s listing of Cannabis and Cannabinoids as holding tremendous potential for medical applications, particularly as treatments for cancer, clearly contradicts the DEA’s position regarding the Schedule I status of Marijuana. It seems that no one can manage to get on the same page regarding Marijuana, leaving many still pulling from impressions of Reefer Madness to form their opinions.
Colorado's recreational marijuana sales have been going on for about a year and a half now, and business is booming. This year in the month of June alone, the state collected nearly $10 million in tax revenue from marijuana sales, which is double the revenue from June 2014. State public schools are seeing the benefits from marijuana taxes and are now able to make major improvements. In 2015 from January to May the state collected a whopping $88 million in marijuana taxes, and sales are only expected to keep going up. Revenue from marijuana sales has been used to fund improvements to the state’s public schools. “The people who were smoking marijuana before legalization still are. Now, they’re paying taxes,” Gov. John Hickenlooper told USA Today in February.
Connecticut's medical marijuana program is making progress in adding more conditions that qualify for the pain-relieving drug. The state's Medical Marijuana Program Board of Physicians passed new conditions in a unanimous vote this week, allowing many people including one patient, Michele DiPietro, to finally recieve proper treatment for her painful syndrome. Michele lives in California for part of the year and says medical marijuana not only eases her pain, but also lessens the harsh side effects from the other prescription drugs she takes. The support for medical marijuana coming from the board of physicians is an overwhelming plus for marijuana policy, and with their help patients will be able to find the best form of relief for themselves. One such patient is Michele DiPietro, 25, of Farmington, who has suffered from the syndrome since she was 11. She attended Wednesday's hearing and praised the board's unanimous recommendation. "I've been on every pain medicine, every muscle relaxer, every combination of medicine, and nothing has helped my pain," said DiPietro, who attended Wednesday's meeting in a wheelchair because the syndrome restricts her walking. "It's exciting there is a new option," she said after the meeting. "If people want to try it, they can. If they don't, they don't. I think it has the potential of helping so many people."
Paige Frate is a 4 year old girl who suffers more than 100 seizures a day, with each one having potential to cause brain damage. Her rare form of epilepsy leaves her family wondering if she will have a tomorrow, while her only prescription medicines leave her with dangerous side effects. Her parents are hopeful that the new Ohio marijuana amendment will be passed, but they're concered that the specific type of marijuana they need (high CBD, low THC) Charlotte's Web, will not be available as it is not as profitable. However, it has dozens of families with children that suffer from Dravet's flocking to Colorado. That's because the CBD oil shows promise in helping these children. "The best case scenario is that it eliminates seizures, the worst case is that it reduces them, and to me that's a great scenario," said Kristina.
Connecticut began selling legal medical marijuana for the first time September 2014. At the time, only 6 dispensaries were open throughout the state, but the issue at hand seems to be getting doctos to participate and take advantage of the practice. There are currently almost 5,000 registered patients, but of the 239 doctors licensed to certify patients, majority are seen by one of 8 doctors. According to marijuanadoctors.com, over 1/5th of the registered patients were certified by just 1 doctor. Some people in the state aren't even aware of the state's medical marijuana program, thus never seek out alternative treatment, and not enough doctors are licensed to make people aware. For PTSD patients, many of whom are veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, the indica strain of cannabis helps with sleep while sativa reduces depression. “We have tons of people coming back from the war,” Major said. Other effects include reducing muscle spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis and tremors in those with Parkinson’s disease. For HIV patients, marijuana helps reduce side effects and increases appetite.
Nevada legalized medical marijuana nearly 15 years ago, but the original wording of the law never established a regulated way to buy and sell the drug. This open ended bill left Nevadans to learn to grow cannabis themselves or resort to buying their medicine from illegal sources. In 2013 the state legalized the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana, but it has taken almost 2 years to finally open a legal dispensary. Finally, about a week ago the shop, Silver State Relief, opened their doors to everyone with a state licenesed medical card. Nevada tracks their medical pot "seed-to sale" to ensure none makes it to the black market. Nevada is also working on a pesticide testing program to ensure the highest quality medicine, which will be the only program of it's kind in the country. Swan noted cardholders who come to Silver State Relief are not stereotypical stoners but normal people who use pot as medicine. He cited a young veteran with PSTD who told him marijuana is the only thing that gets him through the day. "It gets me choked up, a little teary-eyed, and proud to be a part of this," he said.
Prescription pain killers have become increasingly popular in the last 25 years, and since 1991 the overdose deaths from these prescribed opioids have tripled. The DEA has made prescription painkiller abuse a top priority, but they may be surprised to find out that in medical marijuana states, since legalization, death by opioid overdose has dropped 25% annually. New research was published in August's issue of JAMA Internal Medicine that suggests legalizing medical marijuana may be one of the most effective options to replace prescriptions pain killer abuse and reduce overdose deaths. In the journal, the “researchers hypothesize that in states where medical marijuana can be prescribed, patients may use pot to treat pain, either instead of prescription opiates, or to supplement them—and may thus require a lower dosage that is less likely to lead to a fatal problem,” according to Newsweek.
Nevada legalzed medical marijuana 15 years ago, but only allowed for home growing. In 2013 an updated law was passed allowing for cultvation and sale of the drug, but the first dispensary in the state only opened last week, and nowhere near majority of the state's population. There are over 9,300 registered medical patients in the state, and around 6,700 are stuck in a county without access to relief. The planned dispensary for the county faced troubling news when their plan to purchase cannabis from home growers fell through when legislators limited how much one person can possess. Patients waiting for dispensaries to open must stand by while their medical cards expire, or continue paying the state for services not provided. The Gerstenzangs are glad marijuana sold in Nevada will be tested. Herb, a pharmacist who worked in drug approval for the Food and Drug Administration, said he wouldn't want his wife taking an untested drug. So for now, they wait. With no dispensary open, Sheila sees no point paying more money to her doctor, the state and the Department of Motor Vehicles, which issues the driver's license-like patient cards.