From USA Today: “Where America landed on marijuana”
While Florida voters narrowly rejected a plan to legalize medical marijuana, voters in Washington, D.C., Oregon, and Alaska approved recreational pot posession and use by adults
And in Guam, voters legalized medical marijuana use, according to initial returns showing Proposal 14A passing with more than half of the vote.
Supporters say the legalization wins indicate voters think America’s pot prohibition is a failure, especially since non-presidential elections tend to draw an older, more conservative electorate. Twenty-three states and the nation’s capital already permit medical marijuana. Tuesday’s vote means Washington, D.C., Alaska and Oregon join Colorado and Washington in allowing adults to posses and consume marijuana just for fun.
At the Daily Beast on Tuesday: “Judge Could Smash Marijuana Law”
Three states, one district, and two cities will vote on various aspects of the nation’s drug laws on Tuesday but the most crucial marijuana decision being weighed in the coming days will be made by just one person. U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller could be about to start a legal revolution.
After a five-day hearing in California, she is considering the validity of the science surrounding pot’s classification as one of the most dangerous drugs in the world.
In May, she became the first judge in decades to agree to hear evidence relating to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s classification of marijuana which puts it in the same category as heroin and meth. Over the next few weeks, Mueller will comb through hundreds of pages of witness testimony, scientific research, and public health policy to determine whether the Schedule I Substance classification of marijuana is unconstitutional.
Her ruling will only apply in the specific case she is hearing, but some argue that a first judicial ruling against the legality of the DEA’s current drug classifications would invite a flood of similar legal challenges all over the country.
What would you like to see happen? What do you intend to support or oppose? What are the worst and best case scenarios?
image illustration via shutterstock / Iriana Shiyan
Vets in Colorado Springs will have the chance to get free pot this Saturday, courtesy of Operation Grow4Vets:
The organization’s goal is to help veterans suffering from emotional and physical pain. They hosted their largest-ever cannabis giveaway event in Denver Saturday. KDVR reported about 500 people–mostly veterans–attended that event. Each veteran at Saturday’s event got $200 worth of cannabis products for free, according to KDVR. The bag included a week’s supply of tincture, a cannabis chocolate, and eight marijuana seeds to grow.
I’d rather see MDMA legalized for this kind of purpose, as it’s been shown time and again to have real and lasting benefits to helping people cope with PTSD.
I don’t know if there’s anything like this yet in Colorado, but California has a booming business in medical marijuana home delivery:
Needing to replenish his stash of pot one recent afternoon, the Burbank resident dialed Speed Weed. Within the hour, a driver arrived with a white paper bag carrying a gram of cannabis, 10 joints and a handful of pot-infused candies and cookies.
“They come to my house, and they’re in and out,” said Reichle, 39, a comedian who spends about $100 a week on medical marijuana. “I shouldn’t have to go to a store.”
I say this as a guy who isn’t about to pare down his martini habit, but doesn’t $100 a week sound a bit excessive? I remember what the stuff used to cost a quarter century ago and how long each purchase would last, and inflation doesn’t come anywhere near to covering the difference. I don’t see how anyone can ingest that much THC and still stand up off the sofa to go to the bathroom, much less do comedy.
That aside, the story opens by claiming that Reichle “couldn’t have gotten a pepperoni pizza much faster.” And I bet right now he’s thinking, “Mmm, pizza.”
image via shutterstock / Juan Camilo Bernal
Pressure to control the consumption of tobacco has grown in tandem with the pressure to liberalize the consumption of marijuana. Perhaps this is not a paradox in the most literal sense, but it is certainly very striking. The yin of prohibition, it seems, always goes along with the yang of permission.
An article in a recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine discusses the forthcoming tussle between what it calls Big Marijuana – the commercial interests, analogous to Big Tobacco, that will inevitably grow if marijuana ever becomes as accepted as tobacco once was – and the public health authorities. For while the smoking of marijuana does not yet cause anything like as many health problems as tobacco or alcohol, it would do so if its use were as general as the use of tobacco or alcohol. A little statistic that was published some time ago in the Lancet caught my eye: the French police attribute 3 percent of fatal road accidents to intoxication with cannabis and 30 percent to intoxication with alcohol. If, as seems likely, ten times as many Frenchmen drive drunk as drive stoned, marijuana is as dangerous as alcohol where driving is concerned.
The authors of the article point out that commercial growers and marketers of marijuana are likely, given the chance, to resort to all the techniques and obfuscations employed by the tobacco companies. They will minimize the harms done by marijuana while trying to increase the concentration of the very substance in their product that does the harm. The concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in modern cannabis plants is already much higher than it was when hippiedom first struck the western world; Uruguay, where the cultivation and sale of cannabis has recently been legalized, is attempting to control the strains of cannabis that can be sold, with what success remains to be seen.
My home state of Colorado is a guinea pig for the pros and cons of marijuana legalization. Other states are observing closely to see if they should move down the path towards legalization.
There’s plenty of bad news to go around. Police in other states are pulling over Colorado drivers with no justification other than the green license plate. (We’re all stoners now, I guess.) A college student named Levy Thamba fell to his death from a high balcony during spring break after eating a marijuana cookie. And last week a Denver man who ate pot-infused candy became incoherent and paranoid and shot his wife to death.
Is there good news? Turns out there is. Colorado Springs is the source of the Charlotte’s Web strain of medical marijuana that has sent parents with gravely ill children flocking to the city for treatment.
The strain was developed by Joel Stanley and his brothers in their Colorado Springs medical marijuana facility. They’d read that marijuana strains that are high in a chemical called CBD can help to shrink tumors and prevent seizures. The chemical in marijuana that gets users high is called THC, and since it has an adverse affect on seizures the Stanley’s bred it out of the plant.
Their first patient, 5 year old Charlotte Figis, was so affected by a genetic seizure condition called Dravet’s Syndrome that she was not expected to live much longer. Today, she’s almost seizure free. The Stanley brothers named the strain after their first little patient, and it’s showing the world what medical uses marijuana can offer.
Today there are nearly a hundred families with gravely ill children who have relocated to Colorado Springs, purchasing a treatment for their children that would have landed them in prison just a few years ago. Medical marijuana is well known to help in the treatment of nausea in cancer and AIDs patients, but the strains now being investigated may uncover new lifesaving medicines such as Charlotte’s Web.
The recreational use of marijuana is proving to be the problem it was predicted to be, but while the stoners fill the headlines the researchers in medical marijuana are quietly making amazing advances in the treatment of illnesses. That’s some very good news indeed.
Image via CNN Health.
No doubt I have forgotten much pharmacology since I was a student, but one diagram in my textbook has stuck in my mind ever since. It illustrated the natural history, as it were, of the way in which new drugs are received by doctors and the general public. First they are regarded as a panacea; then they are regarded as deadly poison; finally they are regarded as useful in some cases.
It is not easy to say which of these stages the medical use of cannabis and cannabis-derivatives has now reached. The uncertainty was illustrated by the on-line response from readers to an article in the latest New England Journal of Medicine about this usage. Some said that cannabis, or any drug derived from it, was a panacea, others (fewer) that it was deadly poison, and yet others that it was of value in some cases.
The author started his article with what doctors call a clinical vignette, a fictionalized but nonetheless realistic case. A 68-year-old woman with secondaries from her cancer of the breast suffers from nausea due to her chemotherapy and bone pain from the secondaries that is unrelieved by any conventional medication. She asks the doctor whether it is worth trying marijuana since she lives in a state that permits consumption for medical purposes and her family could grow it for her. What should the doctor reply?
Voters in three western U.S. states go to the polls on Tuesday to decide whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use in a move that could spur a showdown with the federal government, with polls showing legalization ahead in Washington and Colorado.
If voters approve the measures, the states could become the first in the country to legalize the recreational use of pot. Each of the initiatives would see marijuana taxed and would regulate its sale in special stores to adults age 21 and older.
But the prospect of legalizing pot, which the federal government considers an illicit and dangerous drug liable to be abused, has raised concerns about how to keep stoned drivers off the roads and joints out of the hands of teenagers.
A survey of 932 likely voters in Washington state released on Saturday by Public Policy Polling found 53 percent support legalization, with a margin of error of 3.2 percent.
Legalization was also ahead in Colorado, where a recent SurveyUSA poll of 695 likely voters conducted for the Denver Post showed 50 percent in favor and 44 percent opposed. The survey had a 3.8 percent margin of error.
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