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Colorado To Start Legal Sales Of Marijuana Tomorrow

Category: News | Posted on Tue, December, 31st 2013 by THCFinder

co-marijuana-sales

The eyes of the world will be on Colorado this New Year’s Day as adults 21 and over become eligible to legally buy marijuana for the first time anywhere. Sales will be tightly controlled, regulated like alcohol is currently, and subject to a number of restrictions preventing sales to minors, intoxicated driving, smoking in public and other undesirable behavior. The Colorado Legislative Council estimates marijuana will generate $67 million in tax revenue annually.
 
“This Wednesday Coloradans stop buying marijuana from street gangs and cartels and start buying it from licensed, regulated sellers who create jobs and pay taxes to the government,” said 36-year policing veteran Lieutenant Tony Ryan (Ret.), a board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of law enforcement officials opposed to the war on drugs. “Soon our jails will be less crowded, our schools will be better funded, and our police more able to focus on violent crime.”
 
Initially only licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in good standing (of which there are about 500) are eligible to apply for sales licenses As of early last week, the state had approved 348 total licenses, including 136 for retail stores, 178 for cultivation facilities, 31 for product manufacturing facilities, and 3 for testing facilities. Each shop must also apply for a local license, and localities are able to pass bans or temporary stays on the stores if they so choose. Adult Coloradans are eligible to buy up to ounce of marijuana; out of state visitors up to one quarter-ounce.
 
LEAP’s executive director Major Neill Franklin (Ret.) had this to say: “Though, as with any new system, there will be issues to be worked through at first, the people of Colorado are about to show the world that legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana benefits the economy, public safety and ordinary citizens. I predict that after a year or two, once the media stops focusing on anecdotes of people behaving badly and we start to see hard data on the real benefits of ending prohibition, there will be a domino effect that echoes across the world.”
 
Washington state voters also chose to legalize marijuana in November of 2012 and retail sales will begin there later this year. Since that election, the Uruguayan legislature approved President José Mujica’s legalization proposal and Argentina, Guatemala, Mexico City and many other places are considering adopting similar systems.
 
“It’s a tough day to be part of a street gang in Colorado. Not only did they just lose one of their biggest sources of income, now that police don’t have to focus as much on nonviolent offenders, they’ll be coming after real criminals with everything they’ve got,” added Franklin.
 

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Florida Medical Marijuana Campaign Passes Signature Requirement

Category: News | Posted on Fri, December, 27th 2013 by THCFinder
florida-gets-sigsThe nonprofit organization United for Care has garnered enough signatures to put their medical cannabis legalization initiative to a vote of the people in 2014. In total, roughly 800,000 signatures have been collected, with 683,149 required to put the initiative to a vote. However, given that some of those 800,000 signatures may not be valid (from someone who isn’t a registered voter, for example), the group will continue to collect signatures until their February 1st deadline.
 
Under the proposed law, the possession and use of cannabis will be legal for qualified patients who receive a license from the Department of Health. In addition, state-licensed dispensaries will be authorized to distribute cannabis to patients or their caregivers. Although specific diseases such as cancer are mentioned as qualifying conditions, physicians would have the ability to prescribe cannabis to anyone who they thought would benefit from it.
 
According to recent polling, Floridians overwhelmingly support medical cannabis, and are primed to make Florida the first state in the south to legalize it; a Quinnipiac University poll released in November found that an astonishing 82% of those in the state in support of legalizing medicinal cannabis, with only 16% opposed.
 
United for Care is founded by attorney John Morgan, a former fundraiser for President Obama, who has vowed to spend “whatever it takes” to get his initiative on the ballot, and passed into law.

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Overwhelming Majority Supports Taxing Marijuana In Indiana According To Poll

Category: News | Posted on Sun, December, 15th 2013 by THCFinder
taxing-marijuana-in-indianaA majority of Indiana residents believe that marijuana should be legally regulated like alcohol and nearly 80 percent of Hoosiers support taxing it, according to recently released statewide polling data released by the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University.
 
Fifty-two percent of respondents said that cannabis “should be regulated like alcohol.” Forty-five percent of respondents opposed legalization. Among self-identified Democrats, 64 percent of respondents backed regulation. Forty-nine percent of self-identified Republicans did so.
 
Hoosiers support for taxing cannabis was even stronger. Seventy-eight percent of respondents, including strong majorities of both major political parties, answered ‘yes’ to the question, “Should we tax marijuana like alcohol/cigarettes?” Only 19 percent of respondents opposed the idea.
 
Under present state law, first-time marijuana possession offenses of under 30 grams are punishable by up to one-year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Subsequent offenses are classified as felonies, punishable by up to 3 years incarceration.
 
Six hundred randomly selected Indiana residents participated in the survey, which has a margin of error of +/- 4.8 percent.
 
The Indiana poll is the latest to show growing support for marijuana law reform among so-called ‘Red State’ voters. Recent statewide surveys in Arizona, Louisiana, and Texas have similarly shown majority support for legalization.
 

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MPP Challenges Drug Czar To Justify Self- Contradicting Statement

Category: News | Posted on Sat, December, 14th 2013 by THCFinder
drug-czar-issuesThe Office of National Drug Control Policy released an email invitation this past Friday for the first White House Drug Policy Reform Conference in history. The email contained a graphic with a quote from U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske that read, Drug policy reform should be rooted in NEUROSCIENCE – NOT POLITICAL SCIENCE. Now, MPP is asking the office to explain the meaning behind their contradictory statement, since actual neuroscience has shown that marijuana harms the human brain far less than alcohol does.
 
For example, in 2005, Researchers at Harvard University reported in the American Journal on Addictions that marijuana use was not associated with structural changes within the brain.
 
When compared to control subjects, [marijuana] smokers displayed no significant adjusted differences in volumes of gray matter, white matter, cerebrospinal fluid, or left and right hippocampus. … These findings are consistent with recent literature suggesting that cannabis use is not associated with structural changes within the brain as a whole or the hippocampus in particular.
 
Furthermore, according to a 2004 report from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:
 
Heavy drinking may have extensive and far-reaching effects on the brain, ranging from simple ‘slips’ in memory to permanent and debilitating conditions that require lifetime custodial care.
 
Studies that compare the effects of marijuana and alcohol side by side also find that alcohol is more damaging than marijuana. A 2009 study published in the journal Clinical EEG and Neuroscience found:
 
Abnormalities have been seen in brain structure volume, white matter quality, and activation to cognitive tasks, even in youth with as little as 1-2 years of heavy drinking and consumption levels of 20 drinks per month, especially if  >4-5 drinks are consumed on a single occasion. Heavy marijuana users show some subtle anomalies too, but generally not the same degree of divergence from demographically similar non-using adolescents.
 

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Worlds Leading Experts Issue Standards On Cannabis, Restore Classification As Botanical Medicine

Category: News | Posted on Fri, December, 13th 2013 by THCFinder
reclassify-cannnabisIn an historic move, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) released the first installation of a two-part Cannabis monograph yesterday that classifies cannabis (marijuana) as a botanical medicine, alongside many other widely accepted Complementary and Alternative Medicines. Written and reviewed by the world’s leading experts, the Cannabis monograph brings together an authoritative compendium of scientific data, including long-awaited standards for the plant’s identity, purity, quality, and botanical properties. The monograph provides a foundation for health care professionals to integrate cannabis therapy into their practices on the basis of a full scientific understanding of the plant, its constituent components, and its biologic effects.
 
“The inclusion of cannabis in the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia returns the plant to its place alongside as a proven botanical medicine, which has been used for centuries by countries and cultures around the world,” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access, which helped support the development of the Cannabis monograph. “Health care professionals, researchers and regulators now have the tools to develop effective public health programs for medical marijuana and to further explore its therapeutic benefits.” ASA will host a Google Hangout on Thursday, December 12th at 5:30pm PT, featuring a panel of experts discussing the ramifications of the Cannabis monograph and a new Cannabis certification program.
 
The first Cannabis monograph was introduced in the 3rd edition of the U.S. Pharmacopoeia in 1851, where it remained until the 12th edition in 1942, making the AHP monograph the first of its kind in more than 70 years. Cannabis medicines were produced by Eli Lilly and other American pharmaceutical companies until the federal Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 sharply reduced U.S. cannabis production and prescriptions.
 
AHP began development of a Cannabis monograph in 2011 in part because of a need for validated standards to guide laboratory analysis for quality control of cannabis and related products. However, AHP also recognized that the expanding use of medical marijuana makes accurate information regarding appropriate use and safety important for health care decisions. Patients, providers, and regulators will also benefit from proven testing standards that can quantify the key chemical compounds, or cannabinoids, that are tied to the plant’s therapeutic effects, as well as identify potentially harmful pesticides, metals, and microbes.
 

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Marijuana Legalization Bill Introduced In New York Senate

Category: News | Posted on Thu, December, 12th 2013 by THCFinder
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New York — Today, New York State Senator Liz Krueger introduced a bill to tax and regulate marijuana for adult use. The bill would end the criminalization of adults 18 years and older who possess up to two ounces of marijuana and would create a regulatory system allowing for the retail sale of marijuana to those over the age of 21, much like the current system for regulating alcohol. Recent polls show a majority of Americans now support taxing and regulating marijuana.
 
New York’s current marijuana policies are widely recognized as broken. Approximately 600,000 people, mostly young Black and Latino men, have been arrested for marijuana possession in NY since 1997, saddling them with criminal records that impede their ability to obtain jobs, student loans, and housing.
 
“Prohibition of marijuana is a policy that just hasn’t worked, no matter how you look at it, and it’s time to have an honest conversation about what we should do next,” said Sen. Krueger. “The illegal marijuana economy is alive and well, and our unjust laws are branding nonviolent New Yorkers, especially young adults, as criminals, creating a vicious cycle that ruins lives and needlessly wastes taxpayer dollars. Worst of all, this system has resulted in a civil rights disaster: African Americans are dramatically more likely to be arrested for pot possession than whites, despite similar rates of marijuana use among both groups.”
 
In New York City, marijuana possession is the number one arrest, and NY makes more marijuana arrests than every other state in the country, including California, Florida and Texas. Nearly 97% of all marijuana offenses in New York were for mere possession. The vast majority of those arrested (85%) are Black and Latino, mostly young men, even though numerous government studies report that young white men use marijuana at higher rates.
 
“As a neuropsychopharmacologist who has spent the past fifteen years studying the neurophysiological, psychological and behavioral effects of marijuana, I can tell you that the claims about the harms associated with marijuana use have been greatly exaggerated in the media,” said Dr. Carl Hart, associate professor of psychology at Columbia University. “Far greater harm results from arresting people for marijuana possession and the racial disparities of those arrests.”
 

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