United Nations Appoints Leader Known for Decriminalizing Drugs
With the American election still dominating headlines, it was easy to miss the appointment of António Guterres as the top man at the United Nations. Guterres was sworn in as the Secretary-General on Jan 1.
While the power of the U.N. Secretary-General is indeed limited, this one is very much worth watching.
Guterres is the former prime minister of Portugal, a country famous among activists for decriminalizing personal use of all drugs—yes, all of them, including coke, heroin and meth—instead, focusing on harm reduction and addiction recovery as an alternative to criminalizing a public health issue. Guterres was instrumental in getting this change passed, and the results have been spectacular.
As of July 2001, possession of up to a 10-day supply of any illegal drug changed from a criminal offense to an administrative one. Which means that if caught by cops, users will not be arrested, although their stash will be confiscated, and they will be issued a summons to be interviewed by a Commission for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction (Comissões para a Dissuasão da Toxicodependência), comprising of a psychiatrist, a lawyer and a social worker. The commission can levy fines, restrict or ban some forms of travel and revoke licenses for some professions like doctors or professional drivers, but their main goal is to get addicts and users into rehab programs.
Judge Rules Insurance Company Must Pay for Injured Worker’s Medical Marijuana
In what could become a precedent-setting decision, New Jersey Judge Ingrid French ordered an insurance company to pay for medical marijuana for an injured worker who suffers from lingering neuropathic pain after an accident involving a power saw at an 84 Lumber outlet in 2008.
The worker, 39-year-old Andrew Watson, was seeking reimbursement for MMJ he’d bought in 2014 after enrolling in the New Jersey’s medical marijuana program. He also sought to be covered for the treatment in the future.
French found that Watson’s intractable neuropathic pain fell under New Jersey’s list of qualifying conditions.
The judge took into account testimony from a psychiatrist/neurologist who said medical marijuana was an appropriate treatment for Watson to reduce prescription opiates to treat his complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), an uncommon form of chronic pain.
Buy These Sandwich Bags for $325—Free Marijuana Included!
2017 was always going to be a weird year for the states that legalized marijuana on Election Day in November. Cannabis is now legal for adults 21 and over in Massachusetts, California and Nevada—and on Jan. 30, Maine—but only if you can find any lying around.
Retail sales in licensed stores won’t start until 2018, and unlicensed sales of any kind are illegal then and now.
That means that the only way to actually legally acquire any cannabis for now is to grow some yourself, receive some for free or otherwise stumble upon some unattended reefer. That, or buy some off the street or from your “guy” (or girl) just like before.
One enterprising man in Massachusetts has stumbled upon another option—and one that might be even more relevant, now that state lawmakers have abandoned their early-2018 deadline to set up retail sales and pushed it back to at least the middle of next year.
Georgia Lawmaker Wants to Put Medical Marijuana Up to Voters
While the Georgia legislature has done its best to avoid passing measures intended to create a functional medical marijuana program, one state lawmaker believes this reform would pass without incident if simply given the opportunity to go before the voters.
That’s why Representative Allen Peake, a man who is often considered the “Godfather of the Medical Marijuana Movement” in the state of Georgia, plans to introduce a piece of legislation in the coming weeks aimed at giving the voting public the ability to cast an opinion on the subject of marijuana reform.
The proposed referendum, which would be slated for the ballot in 2018, specifically intends to seal the argument on whether the state should allow cannabis to be grown throughout the state. As it stands, the current state law allows only certain patients to possess cannabis oil, but it also forces them to break Uncle Sam’s rules by smuggling it in from a legal state.
Indiana Marijuana Advocates Go to Court—Just for the Right to Protest
Thanks largely to Mike Pence, Indiana is a hard place to be gay and a hard place to be a woman. And while the Hoosier State is surrounded by states where cannabis is available to sick people, lawmakers in Indianapolis have been so intransigent on the issue that one man was led to literally walk across the state in an attempt to get them to change their minds.
Perhaps inspired by their governor, who is soon to be sworn in as vice-president, the leaders of one Indiana county wanted to go one step further—and declare their public buildings off-limits to any kind of free speech they didn’t approve.
Specifically, commissioners in Tippecanoe County wanted to bar marijuana activists from demonstrating on the steps of the county courthouse—but just marijuana activists, and just marijuana activists from Higher Ground, an organization that spent last year staging demonstrations in all 92 Indiana counties in support of legalizing medical marijuana.
California’s Pot Makes More Money Than the Next 5 Largest Crops Combined
Well before California legalized recreational weed in November, the state was already known as a major pot-producer, huge in fact.
According to the Orange County Register, the Golden State’s weed crop is not only the most valuable product in the nation’s biggest agricultural state, it is way ahead of the next most popular crop—by a long shot.
California’s mild climate and year-round farming made the rich Central Valley the breadbasket of the world at one time and provided the U.S. with fruits and vegetables that grew in very few other places.
The same went for the Napa and Imperial Valleys and the dry garlic fields of Fresno.
But now the biggest crop in California’s diverse cornucopia is marijuana.
Using data from the state Department of Food and Agriculture, as well as its own calculation of in-state pot production, the Orange County Register places the value of California’s weed crop above the top five leading agricultural commodities combined.
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