Report: Marijuana “Gateway Drug” Theory is a Fallacy

Report: Marijuana “Gateway Drug” Theory is a Fallacy

The theory that marijuana is a “gateway drug”, meaning it leads to the use of harder drugs, is a fallacy, according to a new report.

The report, conducted by the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz, explicitly rejects allegations that marijuana makes people susceptible to the use of other illicit substances, or that a causal link exists between marijuana use and drugs such as heroin.

“There is compelling and enduring evidence that marijuana is not a gateway drug,” states the report. “Yet, non-evidence-based political factors on both the left and the right remain the reason for the persistence of the gateway myth.”

According to Paul Armentano, Deputy Director for NORML; “Prior analyses from the National Academy of Sciences and the Rand Corporation’s Drug Policy Research Center similarly conclude that “marijuana has no causal influence over hard drug initiation.” By contrast, several recent studies indicate that those with legal cannabis access typically mitigate their use of other controlled substances, such as opioids and cocaine.”

The full report, titled “The Marijuana Gateway Fallacy“, can be found by clicking here.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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Published at Thu, 28 Sep 2017 21:36:21 +0000

Marijuana industry looks to add more women, minorities

Marijuana industry looks to add more women, minorities

The Columbian / Associated Press

Marijuana industry looks to add more women, minorities

WASHINGTON — Compared to a year ago, times may seem tough for those banking on the legalization of marijuana.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has raised “serious questions” about legalization, appears less friendly to the cannabis industry than his predecessor. Even after the District of Columbia permitted recreational use of the drug in 2015, arrests in the city for public use of marijuana are on the rise.

Yet, a panel of speakers who gathered Wednesday at Howard University said entrepreneurs — particularly women and minorities — should not fear what those in the marijuana industry call “the cannabis space.”

“It’s a good business — we’re at the start, it’s brand new,” said Lisa Scott, a former chef who runs Bud Appetit, an edibles company based in D.C. “So many minorities are locked up — white people are getting filthy rich from it.”

The panel, “Minority Leaders in Cannabis,” came together through Women Grow, a national for-profit group founded in Denver in 2014 “as a catalyst for women to influence and succeed in the cannabis industry as the end of marijuana prohibition occurs on a national scale,” according to its website.

Chanda Macias, head of the group’s D.C. chapter and owner of a dispensary in Dupont Circle, said cultivating diversity in the marijuana business is vital.

“We are the leaders — the minority leaders — in cannabis, and we make cannabis look good,” Macias said at the event.

The hurdles to people of color seeking to produce and sell marijuana products are significant, those on the panel said. The war on drugs disproportionately targeted minorities, and criminal histories can complicate applications for dispensary licenses.

Meanwhile, communities destroyed by the crack epidemic are not always eager to welcome a pot business to the block — even though those communities could benefit economically and physically from marijuana products, advocates said.

“Prohibition is built on a racist formula,” said Rachel Knox, a member of a family of doctors in Portland whose practice focuses on cannabis. “The health-care disparity between blacks and whites is large.”

After the election of President Donald Trump, some in the industry worry about the specter of federal action against the marijuana industry. The drug, a federal Schedule 1 controlled substance, has a “high potential for abuse” and “no medically accepted use” in the eyes of the federal government.

“I can’t say I feel comfortable,” Macias said. “As the industry continues to change, less minorities participate because of their fears.”

But according to Marvin Washington, a cannabis investor and former New York Jets defensive lineman, minorities have a historic chance to turn a bad break into a good one.

“We have the opportunity to do this right and make sure the people that suffered when cannabis was in the black market … have the opportunity to participate in the upswing,” he said.

Washington, a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit against the Department of Justice that seeks marijuana legalization, also discounted the possibility that Sessions would somehow re-criminalize marijuana across the nation after legalization in D.C. and elsewhere.

“The genie is out of the bottle,” he said. “I’m not sure how you get it back in.”

As the issue winds its way through the courts, Gia Mor?n, Women Grow’s communications director, said it’s important for a new industry to address diversity early — and avoid the battles that Silicon Valley is fighting over minority representation.

“We are calling it out early,” Morón said. “We’re starting out saying, ‘You’re going to do better.’ … I hope in five years we’re not talking about diversity.”

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Published at Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:53:54 +0000

Philippines Health Committee Approves Bill to Legalize Medical Cannabis

Philippines Health Committee Approves Bill to Legalize Medical Cannabis

A key legislative committee in the Philippines has given approval to legislation that would legalize medical cannabis throughout the country.

The House Health Committee approved House Bill 180 on Monday, known as the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act. The bill, which now moves towards a vote by the full House of Representatives, would legalize and regulate the possession, use and distribution of cannabis for medical purposes, for those who receive a recommendation from a licensed physician.

Under the proposed law, sponsored by Representative Rodolfo Albano (Isabela), Medical Cannabis Compassionate Centers, licensed by the Department of Health, would be established in certain hospitals, including state-accredited hospitals, private tertiary hospitals and specialty hospitals. They would be authorized to sell cannabis and cannabis products to qualified patients or their  designated caregiver. The measure states that only a pharmacist with an S3 license issued by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency can actually sell and dispense the medicine.

House Bill 180 would also create the Medical Cannabis Research and Safety Compliance Facilities, where medical cannabis research can be legally conducted.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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Published at Tue, 26 Sep 2017 23:34:37 +0000

Study: 24% of Cancer Patients Use Medical Marijuana, 74% Want More Info

Study: 24% of Cancer Patients Use Medical Marijuana, 74% Want More Info

According to a new study published in the journal Cancer, nearly one in four cancer patients have consumed medical marijuana in the past year, with more than one in five having consumed it in the past month.

“Cannabis is purported to alleviate symptoms related to cancer treatment, although the patterns of use among cancer patients are not well known”, states the study’s abstract. “This study was designed to determine the prevalence and methods of use among cancer patients, the perceived benefits, and the sources of information in a state with legalized cannabis.”

For the study, “A cross-sectional, anonymous survey of adult cancer patients was performed at a National Cancer Institute–designated cancer center in Washington State. Random urine samples for tetrahydrocannabinol provided survey validation.”

926 cancer patients completed the survey, with a median age of 58 years. “Most had a strong interest in learning about cannabis during treatment”, with 74% wanting “information from cancer providers.”

Previous cannabis use was common (66%), 24% used cannabis in the last year, and 21% used cannabis in the last month.” Researchers state that; “Random urine samples found similar percentages of users who reported weekly use (27 of 193 [14%] vs 164 of 926 [18%]). Active users inhaled (153 of 220 [70%]) or consumed edibles (154 of 220 [70%]); 89 (40%) used both modalities.” Cannabis was used primarily for “physical (165 of 219 [75%]) and neuropsychiatric symptoms (139 of 219 [63%]).” Legalization significantly increased the likelihood of use in more than half of the respondents.

Researchers conclude by stating; “This study of cancer patients in a state with legalized cannabis found high rates of active use across broad subgroups, and legalization was reported to be important in patients’ decision to use. Cancer patients desire but are not receiving information about cannabis use during their treatment from oncology providers.”

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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Published at Mon, 25 Sep 2017 18:35:00 +0000

Jewlz and Ashtree’s Total Eclipse Journey

Jewlz and Ashtree’s Total Eclipse Journey

Saturday, August 19th, 2017:

Here we are again. Going for another adventure…  I couldn’t be more excited and Ash is vibrating with joy. This whole idea is her brain child and to be honest, it makes me proud to have her as a friend.

Many people in this world would hear about a solar event and not feel a physical guttural pull, forcing them to go in the path of it; I found one of the few people that does! Bonus, she likes my company enough to chill in a small space with for long stretches! So, She gets a funky spontaneous idea, I jump on board, we stay happy and we make them happen together…

We are off for a road trip to see a total solar eclipse in Salem, Oregon. We have to get there by 10:18am on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 because the sun waits for no one.

A Bold Plan

Very Important – Sleep in very late on Sunday morning to preserve precious energy 

– Cram into the Prius, get on the mainland in the afternoon to have a serious session with our friends at Terp Fire Extracts

Start driving at 11pm (HIGHLY STRATEGIC, GALLANT AND BRILLIANT): The amount of traffic that is forecasted for where we are heading literally scared Donald Trump into calling the National Guard! President Donny opening the US Federal Wallet for this is enough for us to take notice…

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

– Drive all night in shifts till meeting up with our Delta 9 friends at their friend’s property in Salem, OR. The drive is approximately 6 hours…

– Pitch our tent and have a decent nap! Wake up in time for a leisurely java, joint, and a solar eclipse and eventually stroll our way back up to Canada…

Sunday, August 20:

The shenanigans were mine; no need for details… Three sailing waits later, we got to our friends at Terp Fire Extracts around 10:30pm. Knowing we were heading into the States, we arrived without bringing anything to smoke; they had dinner waiting and set out a help yourself banquet of dabs.

monkeys-smoking-and-drinking-david-teniers-the-younger

This painting reminds me of our Terp Fire Eclipse Banquet.

Tendrils of Congo, Charlotte’s Web and Cheese dabs perfumed the air as we discussed cannabis and the fundamentals of twerking… Ah Terp Fire… such lovely people.

Sunday – Monday Night:

Its kinda late and the border has one lane but, I believe in the plan and the feeling in my gut that it will be fine. The border is packed and the people are weird and on edge. It is as if no one in the car lineup ever had a conversation about behavior at borders or the importance of patience.

We are 4 car lengths from crossing into the USA; then, the 2 cars behind us get in an accident, missing our bumper by 8 inches at most!

Talking this out is not going well for the people involved; we are seconds away from witnessing a bare knuckle fist fight, right beside our car at the Canada/US border. You know the kind of yelling people do when they are so mad that spit is flying unnoticed out their mouth? They were beyond that point. 

Anxiously, we watch the border police coming charging straight towards us. The moment they passed the back bumper, we gratefully drove up to the window… Neither of us daring to look back.

Monday, August 21st – 8am (2h 18m till Eclipse):

Every little place we stopped at looked at us like lunatics when we said we were gonna get to Salem in time; they all showed fear when uttering the curse word: traffic.  We braced ourselves for a storm that never came (1 hour of traffic at the most). There is never a dull moment and that bumper to bumper hour was no exception. The highlights included strangers on overpasses with creepy yet creative signs and freeway traffic updates such as:  no stopping for eclipse. Almost there…

9:20am (58m till Eclipse): Worst question ever: Have you heard back from our buddies? We are almost at the address but no word… I tell Ashley to just go for it; we will show up and see if they are there…

9:30am (48m till Eclipse): They are definitely not having a party where we show up. Thank god we are polite because considering the wildlife in Oregon, I imagine gun laws are not strict. We have no goggles or “official place” to scope the sun but, we have our spirits, a hybrid car and google maps… more than enough.

9:46am (32m till Eclipse): Have you ever been to a giant Walmart that is almost completely empty and quiet because everyone is standing in the parking lot, tilting their heads at the same angle wearing dark glasses? It is a pretty surreal feeling; natural performance art.

9:47am (31m till Eclipse): Tinfoil and pizza box? Nope. Ash buys a giant poster board and marker, writes an eye catching sign trying to buy glasses. Not kidding at all; that is what she did. She walks through the eclipse zombies holding this huge sign, full of pzazz, big smile and it works in under 5 minutes. (Bonus: there was enough time to find a choice spot away from Walmart apocalypse ground zero)

10:12am (6 minutes till the fiery finger nail in the sky disappears): Several people in Salem chose sitting on concrete curbs out front of businesses for this life changing event; but, my father always told me, if you sit on concrete, you are going to get hemorrhoids. The clock is ticking and across the street, I point out a nice plot of green space by a fenced field. Looks good to us: blanket stretched, goggles on…

The Eclipse

It was moving and if you can, go out of your way to see a total solar eclipse. In less than two minutes, all the problems, big and small, of every single being on this planet were irrevocably put in perspective for me. The temperature dropped 16 degrees in that minute and a half.

I didn’t see what I expected to see. The sun’s rays do not shine outwardly like the iris of an eye, they wobble unevenly. Seeing the shape of the sun’s corona for myself, with my own eyes, has changed me forever and I will never forget it.

After The Eclipse:

The keys are gone. They are nowhere. The black hole in the sky swallowed them…

… to be continued… (…got home 2 days late)

(Why?)

Published at Sun, 24 Sep 2017 16:00:37 +0000

Report: Marijuana Legalization May Have Led to Drop in Murder and Rape Rates in Washington and Oregon

Report: Marijuana Legalization May Have Led to Drop in Murder and Rape Rates in Washington and Oregon

A new report by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) has found that marijuana legalization may have helped to reduce rape and murder rates in both Washington and Oregon.

In their second assessment report on the impact of marijuana legalization, WSIPP also found no evidence that marijuana legalization has increased marijuana usage rates among adults or adolescents, and found legalization to have no impact on hard drug use, property crimes or  violent crimes.

“[A]mong respondents under age 21, those living in counties with higher sales were significantly less likely to report use of cannabis in the past 30 days”, says Justin Strekal, poliyical director for NORML, speaking on the report. Stekal says the report shows “evidence that nonmedical legalization in Washington and Oregon may have led to a drop in rape and murder rates”.

For the full WSIPP report, click here.

The report is the second of four WSIPP is required to do, the first being in 2015, the next being in 2022, and the final one in 2032.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

(Why?)

Published at Sat, 23 Sep 2017 06:49:16 +0000

Hawaii to go cashless for marijuana sales

Hawaii to go cashless for marijuana sales

The Columbian / Associated Press

HONOLULU — Hawaii said Tuesday that it aims to be the first state to have marijuana sales handled without cash, saying it wanted to avoid robberies and other crimes targeting dispensaries.

All of Hawaii’s eight licensed dispensaries have agreed to go cashless by Oct. 1, the governor’s office said. The dispensaries will ask patients to use a debit payment app to buy their pot instead of cash. The app is already an option for marijuana transactions in six states, including California and Colorado.

Iris Ikeda, the state’s financial institutions commissioner, told reporters at a news conference that state officials haven’t discussed whether people wanting to pay in cash will be turned away from dispensaries.

“Oct. 1 is our target date to try to go cashless as much as we can,” Ikeda said.

Helen Cho, director of the Honolulu-based Aloha Green dispensary, said dispensaries won’t be required to go cashless and the company won’t turn away patients who want to pay in cash. The dispensary will be encouraging people to use the cashless system, she said.

Many marijuana businesses use cash because banks fear pot money could expose them to legal trouble from the U.S. government, which regulates banking and still bans marijuana.

The debit app called CanPay uses a Colorado-based credit union to facilitate transactions. The Hawaii dispensaries will set up accounts with the credit union, called Safe Harbor Private Banking.

Under the cashless system, customers use their checking accounts to pay CanPay, which sends the payment to Safe Harbor.

Hawaii was still working on allowing prepaid, stored-value cards to be used an alternative for people who don’t have checking accounts, Ikeda said.

Becky Dansky, legislative counsel at Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington-based organization that aims to change federal law to allow states to determine their own marijuana policies, said it’s good to find alternatives to dealing with large amounts of cash.

But she said it’s a concern that Hawaii’s program will rely on one specific system, given the risks of a hacker attack or a company going out of business.

Hawaii was among the first states to legalize medical marijuana in 2000. But the state didn’t grant licenses to any dispensaries until last year. Maui Grown Therapies became the first to open last month after the state Department of Health gave it approval to begin sales.

During the Obama administration, the Justice Department issued guidelines to help banks avoid federal prosecution when dealing with pot businesses in states where the drug is legal.

But most banks don’t see those rules as a shield against charges that could include aiding drug trafficking. They say the rules are difficult to follow, placing the burden on banks to determine if a pot business is operating within the law.

There is also uncertainty over how the Trump administration will react. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said he wants to crack down on the legal marijuana industry.

Credit card companies like Visa and Mastercard say they won’t allow their cards to be used to buy cannabis or marijuana-related products.

Patients who don’t own smartphones will have to create CanPay accounts with an email address and personal identification number. Patients will be able buy pot by logging on to their accounts with computer tablets at the dispensaries.

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Published at Wed, 13 Sep 2017 23:42:58 +0000

Washington Regulators Seek Public Comment on Legalizing Home Cultivation for All Adults

Washington Regulators Seek Public Comment on Legalizing Home Cultivation for All Adults

By NORML

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) is seeking written public comment and will hold a public hearing on Wed. Oct. 4, 2017 on whether the State should allow home grows of recreational marijuana.

Legislation enacted in 2017 directs the WSLCB to “conduct a study of regulatory options for the legalization of marijuana plant possession and cultivation by recreational marijuana users.” The study must take into account the “Cole Memo,” issued by the United State Department of Justice in 2013, which outlines the federal government’s enforcement priorities in states where medical or recreational marijuana has been legalized or decriminalized. The study and recommendations are due to the Legislature on Dec. 1, 2017

“The agency is actively engaging other states, the public, the industry and stakeholders. We know there are many perspectives to this issue and we want to ensure they are captured for our report and recommendations,” said agency director Rick Garza.

Please enter your information below to contact the WSLCB in support of recreational home grow.

Also, please click here and take a moment to fill out Washington NORML’s survey about home cultivation rights in Washington State.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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Published at Tue, 19 Sep 2017 23:26:31 +0000

Federal Bill Introduced to Eliminate Mandatory Minimum Sentences for all Drug Offenses

Federal Bill Introduced to Eliminate Mandatory Minimum Sentences for all Drug Offenses

Legislation to end mandatory minimum sentences for all drug offenses has been filed in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The legislation – H.R. 3800 – was introduced by Representative Maxine Walters, a Democrat from California’s 43rd legislative district. It would end the practice of applying mandatory minimum sentences to offenses involving illegal substances. Mandatory minimum sentences require judges to give offenders a specific – and typically harsh – sentence regardless of extenuating circumstances.

Mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes was greatly scaled back under President Obama’s terms as president. However, current President Trump and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently reversed much of the changes made by the Obama Administration regarding mandatory minimums, making Representative Walters’ proposal incredibly important and relevant to the times.

Walters’ proposal would apply to all illegal substances located on the federal controlled substances list. According to Congress.gov, the measure has been “Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.”

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

(Why?)

Published at Mon, 18 Sep 2017 23:33:15 +0000

New Hampshire Marijuana Decriminalization Law Takes Effect Tomorrow

New Hampshire Marijuana Decriminalization Law Takes Effect Tomorrow

A New Hampshire bill decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana officially takes effect tomorrow.

The bill makes New Hampshire the 22nd state in the nation to eliminate the possibility of jail time for simple marijuana possession.

“The governor and Legislature both deserve a lot of credit for moving the state forward with this commonsense reform,” said Matt Simon, the Manchester-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Unlike his predecessors, who opposed similar proposals, Gov. Sununu appears to understand that ‘Live Free or Die’ is more than just a motto on a license plate.”

Simon continues; “A lot of credit also goes to the House, which has been supporting decriminalization bills since 2008,” Simon said. “It was refreshing to see the Senate finally come to an agreement with the House on this issue in 2017. This is a big step toward a more sensible marijuana policy for New Hampshire.”

House Bill 640 was introduced by Representative Renny Cushing and a bipartisan group of co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, where it received overwhelming approval in February (318-36). The Senate amended and approved it on May 11 (17-6), and the House passed the Senate version by a voice vote on June 1. Gov. Sununu signed it on July 18.

This legislation reduces the penalty for possession of up to three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor — currently punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000 — to a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine for a first or second offense and a $300 fine for a third offense within three years of the first offense. A fourth offense within three years of the first offense may be charged as a class B misdemeanor, but there would be no arrest or possibility of jail time.

“There is no good reason to continue arresting and prosecuting people for marijuana possession,” Simon said. “Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and Granite Staters are ready to see it treated that way. A very strong majority of state residents support ending marijuana prohibition altogether.

“New Hampshire lawmakers should continue to follow their constituents’ lead on this issue,” Simon said. “Every state in New England is either implementing or strongly considering legislation to regulate marijuana for adult use. It is time for the Legislature to develop a realistic marijuana prohibition exit strategy for New Hampshire.”

More than two-thirds of adults in New Hampshire (68%) support making marijuana legal, according to a Granite State Poll released last month by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

(Why?)

Published at Fri, 15 Sep 2017 19:04:18 +0000