Official Disaproval of Marijuana as a Gateway Drug

In the 1950’s, the US Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics,

candidate as gateway drugs are prescription drugsHarry Anslinger put forth his famous theory about marijuana being a ‘gateway drug’; a substance which led users into harder and more harmful drugs. That perception was taken up by literally thousands of other officials and people in the medical field, with no specific statistical evidence to back it up.

Apparently the fact that it seemed logical was enough people to adopt the theory as fact. For decades, that has been the prevailing opinion among many Americans, even though not a shred of evidence has been found to prove it.

Recently however, more research has been done about the positive effects marijuana has and how its medical properties bring relief to people suffering from an illness. It seems that the time has come for an official renunciation of the ill-conceived notion offered by Anslinger all those years ago – and that’s just what is now happening.

Jem Raw Almond Butters available at Live Superfoods

The US Attorney General Speaks

In a recent talk at a town hall meeting in Richmond, Kentucky, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch clearly acknowledged for the first time that marijuana should not be considered a gateway drug. That it does not encourage users to progress into harder, more addictive drugs.

The meeting was specifically set up to talk about the dangers of opioid abuse among high school teenagers, but during the course of a question-and-answer session, the focus turned more to marijuana usage. In response to some very specific questions, Attorney General Lynch admitted that government statistics simply do not support the notion that marijuana usage leads to opioid abuse or any other drug.

Prescription Drugs as the New Gateway

Instead she pointed out that the more likely candidate as gateway drugs are prescription drugs. Since statistics do bear out the fact that users of prescription drugs tend to seek more and deeper highs, these ought to be considered the real gateway drugs in society today.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has corroborated the statements made in Lynch’s talk at the town meeting, declaring that the majority of cannabis users do not go on to use harder, more addictive substances.

It may have taken 70 years to do it, but the ridiculous notion of marijuana being a gateway drug has finally been officially debunked. Once the general public embraces this new reality, a great deal of the stigma associated with marijuana usage in the past, may finally be overcome and laid to rest.

The 3 varieties of Marijuana

3 varieties of MarijuanaThere are 3 varieties of marijuana generally available, and each of them has their own distinct properties and a different set of effects that will be noticeable by those who partake.

Two of these types, Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa, have been known and used extensively since the 1700’s, and the third type Cannabis Hybrid, has been newly introduced in recent years by fans of the first two types.

3 varieties of Marijuana

Here is what you can expect if you choose to sit down with friends and enjoy a joint or two sometime.

Cannabis Indica

This strain of marijuana had its origins in the Hindu Kush region near Afghanistan, and it has historically been known as a fairly strong variety. Part of the reason for this is that over time, this strain of marijuana plant developed fairly thick coats of resin to protect itself from a climate that was often very harsh, and these resins are the active ingredient in marijuana.

While it has been known by such colorful nicknames as Purple Haze and Northern Lights, the Indica strain tends to have a very mellowing effect on participants, reducing anxieties and tensions, and inspiring serious time on the couch.

Cannabis Sativa

Sativa is nearly a direct opposite of Indica, in the sense that it tends to have energizing effects, and is therefore more frequently used during the daytime as an antidote to depression or fatigue. It is known to enhance creativity in participants, and to promote increased productivity among users. Over the years, Sativa has acquired such colorful nicknames as Sour Diesel and Lemon Haze.

Cannabis Hybrid

As its name would suggest, Cannabis Hybrid is a cross between Indica and Sativa, but in this very broad category, there are literally hundreds of strains of hybrid. This is quite understandable because so many amateur growers have indulged in experimentation with their own particular hybrid strain, to produce just the right combination of effects and ultimately, enjoyment.

Many marijuana enthusiasts have sought to create a strain of product which induces the perfect state of enjoyment, coupled with the most desired level of activity, or lack thereof. By far, the greatest amount of marijuana generally available is some form of Hybrid strain, simply because so many growers have tried their hand at producing it.

Why is marijuana illegal?

marijuana illegal, Marijuana law, marijuana legal statesEven though more and more states are jumping on the marijuana legalization bandwagon, many states have yet to make this leap. It’s important to know where your state stands before you grow, sell or use marijuana. The laws are changing almost on a daily basis, so arm yourself with the knowledge of where marijuana is legal and how that is evolving.

Legalization

Of the 20 legal marijuana states, only 15 allow the cultivation of marijuana at home, according to ProCon.org. In terms of use in general, federal law has in place something called the Controlled Substances Act, classifying marijuana as a Schedule I substance and does not recognize it for medicinal purposes, according to the Huffington Post. In effect, the feds treat this drug like any other controlled substance such as heroin or cocaine. However, it has allowed individual states to make up their own minds about whether it should be allowed for medicinal use. You’ll see here which states are legal medical marijuana states. Where in the country is marijuana still illegal? Currently, states like New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, Georgia and Minnesota don’t have laws legalizing pot. Some states are even lobbying for and have been granted laws that legalize recreational marijuana, such as Colorado and Washington State. That being said, federal law trumps state law in that if the DEA decides to, it can punish people for both medicinal and recreational marijuana use because it does not officially recognize either use, and the penalties can be pretty steep, says Americans for Safe Access.

Change

In recent years, more and more states are allowing the use of marijuana within their borders. Why? There is a growing body of evidence that suggests making marijuana legal does not increase its use, and that in fact prohibiting its use can be harmful and costly, according to Norml. Many people and organizations, such as the Drug Policy Alliance, feel that legalizing the nation’s biggest cash crop will not only create jobs but also economic opportunities that would work to protect the safety of the public and reduce court costs. The DPA feels that the criminalization of marijuana actually works against curbing youth access to the drug and may boost mass levels of violence. The medicinal effects of marijuana, a major component of legalized marijuana use from state to state, has had a major impact on the increasing acceptance of the growing, selling and consuming of cannabis.

Medical Marijuana Becomes Legal in Mexico

Medical Marijuana Becomes Legal in MexicoOn June 19, 2017, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto declared that the country of Mexico had legalized medical marijuana, on the basis of overwhelming support from that nation’s Lower House of Congress. After a long history in which the official stance of the country entailed criminalization of all cannabis-related activities, this announcement formally reverses the country’s prior position.

Presidential support

The Mexican President himself was once a strong opponent of any kind of legalized cannabis, but in response to growing public sentiment, softened his stance considerably in early 2016, when he called for public debate on the issue, when he made an earnest attempt to gauge the pulse of the nation. Another reason for President Nieto’s about-face on the issue stems from the fact that he believes global attempts at controlling drugs and drug-related crimes have fallen far short of what is truly needed. He now believes that prohibition of cannabis is the wrong approach, and that effective prevention of the more serious drugs should take priority.

Support from lawmakers

To emphasize his reversal of opinion on the subject, President Nieto even personal introduced a legal measure which would entitle all Mexican adults to own up to an ounce of marijuana with no legal consequences. This bill stalled in Congress, but its cousin which legalized medical marijuana, breezed through both the Senate and the House, the latter measure being approved by a count of 347 to 7. Pointing up the universal support for medical marijuana, the nation’s Secretary of Health, Dr. José Navarro Robles chimed in with his own personal approval by announcing that he welcomed the therapeutic usage of medical marijuana in the country.

Much work to be done

There is certainly much to be done before full implementation of a medical marijuana program will be realized in Mexico, but the biggest hurdle to legalization has now been handled, with state approval being made official. Now it becomes the task of the Ministry of Health to draft and implement all the necessary regulations regarding the use of medical marijuana, as well as national production of the plant, and all ongoing research into its beneficial properties.

In effect, all prior criminal penalties associated with growing, producing, selling, using, distributing, or researching medical marijuana are effectively banished in the country of Mexico as of this moment, and the nation’s focus will now shift to how all these activities can best be carried out in the interest of the nation and its citizens.


Photo credit: Herb.com

West Virginia To Become 29th Medical Marijuana State

There is about to be a new state where medical marijuana is legal, the 29th to be exact.

In early April, the bill known as SB 386 was approved by the West Virginia Legislature and currently awaits a signature of approval from Gov. Jim Justice, who has already indicated his support, and is fully expected to make the bill part of state law.

Provisions of SB 386

SB 386 legalizes all aspects of cannabis production, sale, and medical usage of cannabis, subject to physician recommendation and approval. The bill breezed through the State Senate by a vote of 28 to 6, and received similar overwhelming approval from the House of Representatives, by a margin of 76 to 24.

Under the provisions of the bill, patients who have qualifying conditions will be allowed to use tinctures, extracts, and oils, but will not be allowed to consume cannabis in its natural state as a flower or leaf. This of course rules out smoking medical marijuana in the state, but does provide much-needed relief for those patients who have legitimate qualifying conditions.

Matt Simon, who heads up the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), has expressed some reservations about the bill, because the West Virginia House of Representatives attached some fairly restrictive amendments to it as it went through passage. Simon is himself a native of the state, graduating from West Virginia University, and lauds his state for the passage of this sorely needed legislation, so it can come to the relief of those who would truly benefit from it.

Live Superfoods - Offering Nutrition in its Purest Form

Strong support statewide

Of particular interest in the passage of SB 386 is the fact that it is the third consecutive state which has approved a medical cannabis bill under a state legislature controlled by the Republican Party. Mr. Simon sees this is an encouraging sign that the present administration will not adopt a strong anti-cannabis stance anytime soon.

The bill received strong support statewide because many people realized that it would result in fewer opioid deaths, and that prescription painkiller abuse would likely diminish if medical cannabis were made legally available.

Many studies have shown that medical cannabis can be a powerful and effective treatment for chronic pain, nausea and vomiting, cancer treatment, alleviation of stress and anxiety, lowering blood pressure, arthritis pain, muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, and a host of other conditions.

It is expected that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of medical cannabis will be allocated to the state’s drug prevention and rehabilitation programs, which makes passage of the bill a win-win situation.

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.


HeavenGifts 10% off Coupon Code

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.

Click. Save. Celebrate. - Famous Smoke Shop Cigars

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.

Live Superfoods - The Raw Superfoods Superstore

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.

How to Pick the Right Stock: Investing in Cannabis

Cannabis as a business

It’s not hard to figure out that the cannabis industry is poised to become a massive economic business in this country, with a groundswell of popular support driving legalization throughout the states of the union.

While almost all cannabis operations are currently small, it’s clear that it won’t take much of a trigger to change all that overnight, and have cannabis production explode into prominence, if a few key events should occur.

As of 2016, the cannabis industry yielded a mere $17 billion nationally, but that figure is expected to soar to $44 billion by the year 2020, and if favorable trends were to continue, it’s easy to foresee even those impressive numbers being eclipsed. Despite the enormous potential however, choosing the right stock to invest in might still be pretty tricky, so here are a few things to consider, if you’re considering taking a plunge into the cannabis market.

HeavenGifts 10% off Coupon Code

The fly in the ointment

There are a couple obstacles that stand in the way of full-blown cannabis stock investment today.

  1. Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I substance
    • This puts it in the same category as heroin and the entire line of addictive drugs
    • Even though this classification is grossly absurd, while the Schedule I label remains in effect, Wall Street will not approve any filing from a cannabis company which is attempting to go public
  2. A secondary problem is related to the nature of today’s cannabis industry itself, which centers around the fact that almost all cannabis companies are currently too small to be publicly traded on the federal exchange.

For there to be serious investment in the cannabis industry, both of these hindrances would have to be overcome.

Opportunity knocks

That doesn’t mean that you can’t invest in cannabis stock however, it just means that the really big investors are being temporarily excluded from the market. This opens up an opportunity for investment in penny stocks, which are traded outside the federal exchange, and where the same stringent regulation does not obtain.

However, there are also some risks associated with investing in penny stocks, just because they are less subject to regulation. This climate also creates opportunity for unscrupulous individuals anxious to separate you from your hard-earned cash with bogus investments. If you do your due diligence in investigating these over-the-counter stock opportunities, you just might reap a huge reward.

The safest investment for mainstream investors

The safest investment currently are those related to a very small number of cannabis companies which are actually listed on the NASDAQ, and which supply medical marijuana facilities.

Such companies as
  • GW Pharmaceuticals
  • Cara Therapeutics
  • Zynerba Pharmaceuticals
  • Insys Therapeutics

The future of cannabis investment however, is probably tied to even more widespread legalization, and to the possibility of it being reclassified as a Schedule II substance, which would open up a great many doors, and make it more mainstream.

Federal and State Cannabis News Summary

There are some very important actions in progress for both federal and state cannabis news, regarding the regulation and the status of the cannabis industry in this country.

National News Roundup

One of the most important actions at the national level is that a resolution has been introduced into the House of Representatives by California Representative Dana Rohrabacher to amend the Controlled Substances Act.

If passed, this legislation would serve to shield cannabis businesses and programs from any federal interference, as long as they comply with all applicable state regulations. Almost as important is the formation of a Congressional Cannabis Caucus; a group of legislators who are advocates for adopting realistic and sensible federal policies toward the cannabis industry.

ArtNaturals® Essential Oils Collection

State News Roundup

Colorado

Access to cannabis is being made more readily available through the adoption of several measures. Such as drive-through cannabis shops, home delivery of medical and recreational cannabis, and social clubs where recreational cannabis can be enjoyed on a ‘bring your own’ basis.

Kentucky

Kentucky has a new bill under consideration in the House of Representatives which will allow the use of medical cannabis when accompanied by a doctor’s recommendation.

Massachusetts

They have implemented a Committee on Marijuana Policy to help implement and regulate the fledgling cannabis industry for recreational use, and to prepare for the opening of retail shops in that state by 2018.

Minnesota

A bill introduced by Minnesota Sen. Jeff Hayden would legalize the use of recreational cannabis in his state for adults 21 and over.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire is considering a similar measure, in the form of Senate Bill 233, which for the first time, proposes legalized cannabis usage for adults, and would establish a committee to consider the various factors involved with legalization.

Texas

Moving to de-criminalize cannabis for low-level offenses, for instance being in possession of less than two ounces of cannabis, and is diverting funds previously used cannabis prosecution into the fight against violent crimes.

Virginia

The state is also considering a relaxation of its cannabis criminal policy, and this revisionist movement is being spearheaded by Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, who is quoted as saying, “It’s absolutely atrocious that we are jailing people simply because they are in possession of marijuana.”

Wyoming

Wyoming has twice failed to gather the necessary 25,600 signatures in order to get a petition on the ballot to legalize medical marijuana, the most recent failed attempt missing a February 14 deadline.

However, a poll conducted late in 2016 has discovered that 81% of Wyoming residents are now in favor of legalizing medical cannabis, so it would seem that the measure will eventually be carried forward by the prevailing public opinion, and the sheer weight of numbers.

Oregon Leads the Nation’s Efforts Again with Hemp-Infused Alcohol

Oregon has been the leader of medical and recreational marijuana legalization efforts over the past few years, and they’ve just raised the bar again.

Change in Legislation

Over the weekend, Oregon reported a change in the legislation that legalizes the blend of alcohol with locally-cultivated hemp.

But of course it’s not final yet, as the OLCC, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has kept infused alcohol prohibited at this point.

“Hemp-infused beverages are only allowed if the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has approved the beverage formula, in accordance with the April 2000 Hemp Policy.” – OLCC

Oregon Leads the Nation in Craft Beer

Oregon has a big reputation for both hemp and alcohol, specifically beer and wine. Many people in the nation recognize Oregon as being one of the top brewery states with three main cities filled with craft breweries, Bend, Portland, and Eugene. Not to mention southern Oregon as being a new age Wine Valley producing similar grapes to that of Napa Valley.

Oregon’s help industry has also been booming over the past year as they recently reduced decriminalization towards legalization and have made regulations friendlier.

“Prior to manufacturing or selling hemp-infused beverages, the formula and label of the drink must be approved by the OLCC.” – Allie Beckett, Marijauna.com

We are already seeing breweries excited about this change as many have already introduced the blend by substituting the hemp plant in for hops.