Marijuana Sales Increase over Holiday Season

Marijuana Sales Increase over Holiday Season

Baker, a marijuana software firm has just released a report showing an increase in sales over the holiday season so far. The increase is shown in marijuana stores, the majority being edibles.

Baker says there is an average of 21% the marijuana sales increase was in states that are legal in medical and recreational cannabis. The data was shown from these states: Colorado, California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington.

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Marijuana Sales Increase over Holiday SeasonIt seems like in these states, instead of buying traditional Christmas cookies or chocolates, marijuana brownies, cannabis cookies, and vaporizers were the highest selling products over the past couple weeks.

Joel Milton, CEO of Baker says “Holiday gift-giving is a perfect example of this once-taboo product making its way into the mainstream retail environment. We have a feeling people will like cannabis gifts a lot more than a traditional box of chocolates.”

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Although there was an increase in sales this year, it doesn’t surpass April 20, the biggest selling day of the year for the cannabis industry.

As more and more states legalize marijuana, we are sure to see an increase year after year in cannabis sales. Read the full article here.

Could Marijuana Weaken Heart Muscles?

Some studies have been conducted on the use of marijuana in health related issues.

One being its impact on the heart muscles

Since marijuana can significantly increase or decrease a persons’ stress levels, it’s obvious it will have some impact to a persons’ heart. Marijuana affects each and every person differently, and one of those reasons is the level of THC the strain has.

Marijuana with low THC and high CDB (cannabidiol) are used way more for medical purposes than vice versa, as marijuana with high levels of THC are the strains that will get you “high”.

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There are numerous medical benefits

from ingesting marijuana in some form, from epilepsy to cancer. But those are usually the strains with low THC and high CDB. The recent study performed, was towards the strains with high THC and low CDB levels.

The study was conducted by St. Luke’s University Hospital Network, on patients with high levels of stress and a high stress related heart disease called cardiomyopathy.

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Cardiomyopathy is a disease that affects the heart muscles

Could Marijuana Weaken Heart Muscles?It causes the heart muscles to become enlarged or rigid. Some symptoms are slower heart rates, shortness of breath, fatigue, and similar feelings of a heart attack. The disease is usually caused by high-stress rates, especially after a breakup or stressful life event in a person’s life.

The study showed an increase in cardiomyopathy in young men that use marijuana. Since marijuana is becoming much more available since it’s recreational legalization in many states, the disease is becoming more of a concern for medical professionals.

Currently, there has not been enough research done to learn about the effects marijuana has on many health related issues. Hopefully in the future, as marijuana becomes more widely used recreationally, researchers will have the ability to learn more of the positive and negative effects marijuana has on the body.

How to Enjoy Cannabis Without Smoking It

How to Enjoy Cannabis Without Smoking ItAlthough smoking cannabis is still an extremely popular method of ingesting the herb, it is by no means the only way, and for those seeking a more health-conscious approach, there are several options. If you’re a person who already has some kind of respiratory issue, you’ll be glad to know that these alternatives are available to you, and that you can still appreciate cannabis without causing further damage to your body. Here are several ways that marijuana can be easily enjoyed without lighting up, while the medical benefits can still be obtained.

Edibles
There are a great many foods and beverages which can be infused with cannabis to provide an enjoyable experience, and the number of these edibles is growing every day, as people get more creative. You can even develop your own home-made recipes, substituting cannabis oil for any recipe which calls for butter or oil. The one thing you have to watch out for with these is the dosage that you mix in to your creation. To be on the safe side, make sure to use a very low dosage at first, because edibles have a way of kicking in powerfully after a while.

Ingestible oils
Any kind of cannabis oil which can be orally taken is fair game for this category. Ingestibles generally come in colorful capsules, and can be added directly into food or drink, or just ingested with some water. Similar to edibles, they can have very strong effects when they kick in, so it’s best not to try much at a time, until you figure out your body’s tolerance for it.

Tinctures
This is a special category which is comprised of infused liquids which are applied under the tongue, and therefore enter into the bloodstream immediately. Unlike edibles or ingestibles, they act very quickly because of this, so you can have a better idea of how strongly you’re being affected by the dosage used. To add appeal, they are made available in many different flavors and strengths, so that your specific medical needs are adequately addressed.

Vaporizing
Since the active chemical compounds in cannabis are vaporized at a much lower temperature than that required for smoking, the harmful effects of the smoke and flame are bypassed. This approach is much less harmful to the lungs, and the flavor of the cannabis is left largely intact because it isn’t being burned.

Dabbing
This method calls for flash-vaporization, wherein a marijuana concentrate is dropped on a hot water-pipe attachment, and then inhaled for a fairly potent experience. The benefit of using this technique is that no plant material is involved, and instead of smoke, only a clean vapor is produced.

Topicals
Topicals are akin to salves and lotions which can be applied directly to the skin, and do not impart any of the psychoactive effects of the herb. All the medical benefits are achieved, and symptoms are relieved, without any impact on focus or concentration.


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Does Cannabis Affect Memory?

Most of us have seen movies which depict cannabis users as delightfully scatterbrained, and afflicted with a euphoric detachment from reality, accompanied by any number of humorous side effects, one of which is complete loss of memory. But does cannabis really have any effect on short-term memory, or is that something just written into movie scripts to generate laughs?

It should be acknowledged at the outset, that this is a very difficult area to measure accurately, because there are different types of memory, e.g. short-term memory and long-term memory. It also should be noted that the effects cannabis can have on memory are largely determined by which strain of cannabis is in question, how often it’s used, and what dosage is consumed.

Short-term effects

While it should be acknowledged that available information on this subject comes from limited studies, there does seem to be certain facts which consistently emerge, relative to the connection between cannabis usage and its effect on memory.

  • Formation of new memories– studies suggest that cannabis users do not form new memories as readily as during periods of non-usage
  • No blackouts– cannabis users do not experience the memory blackouts that binge drinkers do, when they simply cannot recall specific details of things that happened while they were under the influence
  • Recall difficulty– it appears there is some difficulty in remembering events and situations which occurred during periods of usage, and even for several hours afterward, until the effects wear off
  • Development of tolerance– frequent users of cannabis generally develop a tolerance to any memory impairment effects, so that the impact is less and less over time
  • Temporary effects– in all known studies on the subject, it was clear that any impact on memory was temporary in nature, and involved no long-term impairment


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Long-term effects

In one of the few studies conducted on long-term effects of cannabis usage, Professor Reto Auer from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland surveyed over 3,000 Americans over a period of 25 years.

Specifically testing for verbal recall, his results showed that cannabis users who smoked every day during that time were able to recall 8.5 out of 15 words. The control group, consisting of individuals who either smoked very little or not at all, could recall nine out of 15 words at each point during the testing.

Positive cannabis effect on memory?

One of the most interesting aspects in the study of cannabis effects on memory, is that it might actually help to protect rather than degrade memory.

Several studies have demonstrated that high levels of cannabidiol (CBD), which is the non-psychoactive cannabis component, may actually impart a therapeutic benefit. This can serve to prevent cognitive degradation.

CBD protects against damage caused by alcohol

Research in its early stages points at the fact that CBD seems to protect against damage caused to the brain by alcohol abuse.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has reported findings that CBD is able to prevent brain cell destruction due to alcohol abuse, by as much as 60%. Related studies suggest that CBD also acts as a neuro-protectant, and serves to prevent the onset of many diseases which affect the brain such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

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Will Vermont Legalize Cannabis This Year?

On May 10, 2017, the Vermont House of Representatives approved a bill by a vote of 79-66 which would legalize the possession of cannabis for adult usage, starting in 2018.

The Vermont Senate had already passed the bill, known as S.22, by a vote of 20-9, which would make it permissible to cultivate a small amount of cannabis for home usage, and possess up to an ounce.

Vermont’s neighbor, Massachusetts, has already legalized cannabis possession for adults, and it permits ownership of up to 10 ounces for each adult in a household.

The allowable home cultivation amounts for Vermont adults would include
  • Growing two mature plants
  • Four plants not considered to be mature by virtue of their having no buds
  • The ounce of cannabis which may legally be possessed is completely separate from the plants which can be cultivated


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Commission will study cannabis regulation

The bill also allows for formation of a commission to evaluate how the fledgling cannabis industry would be taxed and regulated within the state. While this may be a huge undertaking, it is one which has already been successfully implemented by eight other states in the U.S., and far more than that, if medical marijuana is included.

This commission would be comprised of nine members which would meet prior to August 1 of the present year. By November 1, the legislature and the governor would be provided with a proposal for the regulation of cannabis within the state.

Needless to say, as the bill passed through both the Senate and the House, it received considerable rework, and in the end, still didn’t please all the legislators involved.

According to Sen. Dick Spears, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill at least has broad appeal and widespread support. “I believe strongly that while this is not what we all wanted, this may be the best that we can get at this point. This is an effort to put something together that might have an opportunity to pass this session.”

First state to legalize through legislature

If this bill should be signed into law by Gov. Phil Scott, Vermont will become the very first state in the US to legalize cannabis through its legislature rather than by popular referendum.

Now all eyes will turn to Gov. Scott to see if he does indeed sign the bill into law, and even though the bill has popular support in both houses of the legislature, its passage is far from a done deal.

A spokesperson for the governor has already declared that while he is not philosophically opposed, he wants to thoroughly review the bill to ensure that public safety and health questions are appropriately addressed.

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Canadian Cannabis: Prime Minister Trudeau Addresses Questions

With the bill to legalize marijuana recently introduced into the Canadian legal system, many questions have come up that Trudeau has answered.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau devoted a press conference to answering some questions late in April. The theme to his specific remarks was that Canada would be taking an approach not so much from the perspective of commerce and profit, but from the standpoint of public health and safety.

Here are some of the specific issues which were addressed.

1. No change to medical marijuana laws

The Canadian government will leave the medical marijuana system intact during the year before legalization comes into effect. Having known the situation across the border in the US, where medical markets disappeared when recreational marijuana was made available in certain locations, Canada feels it is important to avoid that same pitfall.

It is the expectation of the Canadian government that the medical marijuana system will remain untouched for the foreseeable future.

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2. Current cannabis lot laws will be enforced

Even though legalization is only a year away, the Canadian government will not move to decriminalize cannabis in the interim. It will also not negate current penalties on the books for possession or distribution. Trudeau insists that until the new system is in place, the current one should be fully supported and implemented.

One of the major points of contention in this area is how people convicted of cannabis offenses in the past should have those offenses treated, and whether pardons should be extended. While no such blanket erasure is in the offing at present, it is possible in the future that past cannabis offenses may be wiped clean.

3. No edibles allowed

Canada will not permit the sale of edibles infused with cannabis. They will instead force consumers to purchase cannabis flower or concentrate in order to make their own edibles in the kitchen at home.

Even though the Canadian Supreme Court has endorsed the usage of medical edibles, Trudeau insists there is no regulated framework to cover the management of commerce for cannabis edibles.

If that situation should be addressed in the future, it would become conceivable that the legal status of edibles might be reversed.

4. Public safety is King

To reiterate the Canadian government’s stance on cannabis legalization, Prime Minister Trudeau took some time to make it very clear that public safety was the guiding principle behind government policy in all other areas.

  • There will be no decriminalization for the present time
  • It’s why there will be a ban on edibles for the time being
  • The industry will be closely monitored and kept in check by the government, when legalization arrives

Safety was also the main reason that the legal age for cannabis consumption will be established at 18, and why all advertising for cannabis will be closely monitored, and subject to governmental regulation.

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Cannabis Allergies

Allergies afflict at least 50 million Americans, and are the fifth-leading cause of chronic disease, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).

The symptoms experienced by people with allergies vary from puffiness around the eyes, to runny noses, coughing, sneezing, and general bodily misery. Sometimes these symptoms can be so severe that a person is nearly incapacitated by them, and that includes both children and adults.

There are many different triggers for allergies

  • Plants
  • Animals
  • Foods

Now it seems cannabis can be added to that list

Correlation to legalization

With the increased legalization of cannabis, researchers have found a rise in the number of allergies in those communities where legalization has begun taking effect.

This should not be surprising, since cannabis has many of the same properties as ragweed, in that its grains of pollen are very light and buoyant, and are easily dispersed for miles around any cultivation source. That of course, increases their reach and their effectiveness as a potential irritant.

The potential for cannabis to be an allergen stems from the fact that its active ingredient, THC, has been steadily increasing in potency over the last several decades. Cultivation techniques have deliberately sought to isolate female plants to prevent pollination, because that decreases potency and makes cannabis less effective.

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Allergies 101

In effect, allergies are the body’s immune system reactions to what it perceives as invaders from external sources. These ‘invaders’ are things like mold and pollen, which is a powdery substance released by many trees, shrubs, and grasses for the natural purpose of fertilizing neighboring plants as a means of reproducing themselves.

The body produces antibodies to prevent the respiratory system from being attacked by pollen and mold, but those antibodies then cause all the nasty symptoms everyone knows so well.

Researchers have discovered that the pollen released by cannabis plants can trigger hay fever, skin rashes, pink eye, and asthmatic symptoms. This occurs whether it is chewed, smoked, inhaled, or consumed in a food product.

It can afflict growers and handlers as well as recreational and medical consumers of the plant, and it can occur anywhere the wind blows near areas where plants are grown, as well as indoor facilities of course.

What to do

If you suspect you may be allergic to cannabis, you should set up an appointment with a dermatologist, and be tested.

The procedure will call for performing various prick tests on the skin to see which ones, if any, show signs of irritation.

This triggers the immune system production of antibodies, and the more pronounced the visible reaction is to the prick test for cannabis, the more likely it becomes that you will have an actual allergy toward the plant. And that of course, will mean that you should avoid contact with the plant if you wish to avoid the unpleasant symptoms which might be triggered.


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Colorado Tables Initiative to Allow Cannabis Clubs

In early April of this year, Colorado legislators backed away from a plan to have the state become the first one to offer Amsterdam-style cannabis clubs for legalized cannabis usage.

A reflection of the uncertainty in Washington over the government’s stated intention to crack down on marijuana legalization, lawmakers decided that it would be more prudent to avoid provoking the federal government into some form of legal sanctions or even worse actions.

What the bill was about

The bill as originally written, would have allowed consumers to bring their own cannabis to designated clubs in the state, for social gatherings and recreational usage. Both parties of Colorado government supported the measure substantially, but were convinced by Governor John Hickenlooper that now was not the time to test the government’s resolve with such a bold action.

Since U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has repeatedly criticized states which do not enforce the government’s ban on marijuana, it has led states such as Colorado and Alaska to become less aggressive in the pursuit of modernizing their cannabis regulations, and has instead caused them to go into protective mode to safeguard existing cannabis commerce.

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Where it goes from here

The bill was not scuttled entirely, but underwent major surgery to excise those parts which formalized and legalized social cannabis clubs. There are some minor parts of the bill which have survived, and are still going through consideration by both houses, and these surviving elements are certain to attract no attention whatsoever to the state.

Lawmakers from both parties have expressed disappointment, but are also anxious to avoid a setback in the state’s cannabis economy.

Cannabis Clubs Already Operating

Some cannabis clubs do already operate privately and discreetly within Colorado, but are subject to local regulations, which means they are occasionally raided and otherwise hindered from operating.

With state support now evaporating, it is presumed that roughly 30 existing cannabis clubs will continue to provide a gathering place for consumers, subject to whatever kind of intervention is deemed appropriate by local authorities.

There remains strong support for such a bill, because it provides a legalized setting where consumption can be confined and largely controlled, rather than having consumers meet in ‘underground’ settings, well outside the aegis of the law.

Home use of course, would not be affected either way, although it does not promote the kind of social aspect which would have prevailed in the Amsterdam-style club venue.


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How to Get a Cannabis State Law Changed

A lot of people probably feel that their voice won’t be heard and that they’re too insignificant to make a difference when it comes to influencing state cannabis laws.

While it’s true that very few people actually have that take-charge, leadership kind of mentality, it’s also true that you as a single individual can effect positive changes in policy if you’re willing to make the effort, and commit the time toward achieving them.

Here are some guidelines on how to go about doing just that.

Investigate your state’s legal forms

By far the easiest way to bring about major changes to state law is through a voter initiative or a referendum, and that means you have to find out whether or not your state allows for such forms.

Some states do allow voters to propose initiatives, constitutional amendments, changes to statutes, or statewide referenda, while others do not.

If your state allows voter initiatives

  1. The first step in this process is to draft your initiative
    • The best way to go about this is to research similar proposals from other states, in order to find out the essential components required of such a document. It will also be highly beneficial if you can pool your efforts with a local advocacy group, or perhaps a supportive local politician who can influence the outcome. Both of these could make a world of difference in swaying the opinions of people in power.
  2. Once you’ve drafted your proposal, you’ll have to gather a number of signatures to demonstrate the legitimacy and support for your position
    • The number of signatures will of course be different for all states, so you have to check on the exact requirements, but it’s generally based on the number of registered voters in the state.
  3. Now that you’ve gathered the required number of signatures, it’s worth your while to go through the list and make sure the signatures are valid
    • Any proposal submitted to the Secretary of State will be validated in exactly this manner, and all signatures found to be invalid will be disqualified.
    • If the number of those disqualifications is significant, your proposal may be entirely scuttled, and all your efforts wasted.

If it eventually turns out that your proposal is rejected, this isn’t a sign that your initiative should be completely abandoned.

In some cases, all that’s needed to turn things around is some tweaking of the language, or revision of certain phrasing to make it more palatable to those in a position to approve.

As a great example in this area, keep in mind that the Secretary of State for the state of Arkansas rejected seven consecutive petitions for medical marijuana after 2014, before finally approving the eighth such proposal in 2016.

At the heart of all those rejections were discrepancies which were correctable, and when they were revised, it eventually led to approval of the proposal and its placement on the 2016 ballot.

If your state doesn’t allow voter initiatives

If your state allows for voter-proposed initiatives, your path is likely to be much easier, but even if it doesn’t, there are still some avenues you can pursue. For instance, when local public hearings are held, make sure your voice is heard, and since you will have very limited speaking time, make sure that you attend any such hearings in a high state of preparedness.

This means having a convincing argument about why the issue is so important to your area and the state in general, and why local representatives should support it when the issue comes to a vote. Granted, this might only secure a success in your specific local region, but one approval can lead to approval in neighboring areas, and that’s how momentum gets generated and causes are carried into being.


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First Nation to Federally Legalize Cannabis could be Canada

On March 26 of this year, CBC news reported that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government would propose legislation in April which will permit legal adult possession and usage of cannabis by July 1, 2018, if the measure is approved and adopted.

If this happens, Canada could be the first nation to federally legalize cannabis of the G-7 nations.

The proposed legislation will be based on the recommendations of a task force chaired by former Justice Minister Ann McLlellan.

Ex Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, who has been heading up the cannabis legalization project on behalf of Canada’s current liberal government, provided a briefing on what the legislation would entail.

One of the main points in the proposal is a separation of the powers of federal, provincial, and municipal governments, each of which is expected to benefit by the tax revenue generated when the cannabis economy is fully implemented.

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Possession details

While the federal government will have control over the licensing of cannabis growers, adult-use distribution will be managed at the provincial level, and is likely to incur a tax of some kind by provinces for that service.

The minimum age for buying and possessing cannabis will be set at 18 by the federal government, but provincial authorities will retain the right to raise that age to any alternate age that they consider more appropriate.

In terms of the details of possession, Canadians will legally be allowed to grow as many as four plants in each household.

This is a significant defeat for law enforcement bodies that lobbied heavily against allowing any kind of home growing at all. Law enforcement officials cited problems with security, health, and fire hazards, but ultimately lost out to home cultivation advocates, who lobbied in favor of personal freedoms and environmental impacts.

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A brand new ground floor economy

It is expected that full implementation of legalized cannabis will not be immediately apparent on the July 1 date in 2018, but could take months longer, because each province will be required to create its own regulatory system from the ground up, starting with the issuance of licenses and permits for retail operations.

Cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2012 for medical purposes

After being approved at a national convention in Ottawa by a resounding 70% – 30% margin. When Justin Trudeau was campaigning to become Prime Minister of Canada, he spoke in favor of legalization, and proclaimed his commitment to the continuation of legalization.

If the measure passes and is fully adopted, Canada will become the first of the G-7 nations to legalize adult usage of cannabis at the federal level, and the first to implement a comprehensive program of regulation and retail sale.