Blog

The latest in marijuana news, culture and politics
  • Medical Marijuana Posted Apr 2017

    Why Microdosing Is Taking Over Medical Marijuana

    What is microdosing? With cannabis, microdosing is the act of ingesting the minimum effective dose bringing therapeutic treatment, but that exact dose will not be the same for everyone. Some may find a microdose of THC more effective than CBD, or perhaps a combination of the two, but the goal is to get the most from each dose without going too far. Taking too much often results in unwanted side-effects for the user. Once a consumer understands their minimal effective dose, they can take cannabis alongside their daily activities without worry. Often the biggest problem is finding products that are properly and accurately labelled to inform the user of exactly how much THC and CBD they're consuming. With the marijuana industry growing at the rate it has, surely microdosing will become more popular and specific cannabis labeling will become a standard around the country. Welcome to marijuana 2.0. With microdosing, people are getting the maximum benefit from the minimum amount, without becoming stoned, paranoid or lethargic. Some are microdsoing to regulate their moods, boost their creativity, or enhance their workouts and yoga sessions. Susannah Grossman, 29, founder of Verdant Communications in Denver, takes several small doses through the day. "It lifts my spirits, relieves the stress and tension that build up, and allows me to approach my work with more keen interest." Grossman moved to Colorado in 2015, where she found that with recreational use being legal in the state, "You have the luxury of trying an infinite variety of strains until you find what rings your bell. You can't do that in a non-legal state." Wherever she went, she bought grams of new strains, tested them, and tried different combinations and doses. "It took quite a while to find what works," she says. "I'm currently taking a tincture that's 5 mg of both THC and CBD. Then I'll take a puff of a certain strain three or four times a day, if I'm feeling at the end of my runway, or if I'm about to go into a meeting where I need a fresh perspective."

  • News Posted Apr 2017

    Study: Nationwide medical marijuana laws would save lives — and a billion taxpayer dollars

    A study last year determined that Medicare prescriptions for painkillers, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications all significantly fell in states that adopted medical marijuana programs, showing that many older patients preferred to self medicate with medical marijuana over their given prescriptions. This year a similar study was conducted but with Medicaid, which includes people of all ages, and just as predicted the same result was recorded. The same can be predicted for those on private insurances, but the significance of the data we do have cannot be ignored. While anti-nausea, anti-depressants, seizure, and psychosis drugs fell the most, prescription pain killers like opiates, which are currently responsible for an epidemic of addiciton and overdoses, dropped 11%. Ontop of the population successfully self-medicating certain ailments, if the Medicaid data is applied to a national medical marijuana program, it would save taxpayers around $1.1 billion every year. Perhaps most significantly from a public health standpoint, prescriptions for painkillers fell by 11 percent. Opiate painkillers are behind much of the current drug overdose epidemic. Numerous studies have found that opiate abuse and overdose rates fell in states with medical marijuana laws. The Bradfords' research describes the mechanism by which that could happen: the introduction of medical marijuana laws coincides with a drop in painkiller prescriptions. The Bradfords' data only include prescriptions made under Medicare and Medicaid, but given the totality of their evidence it seems reasonable to assume that similar patterns hold true for patients on private insurance plans. In the current budgetary environment, no analysis of health care is complete without a discussion of costs. The Bradfords estimate that because of the drops in prescribing rates, a nationwide medical marijuana program would save taxpayers about $1.1 billion on Medicaid prescriptions annually. That's on top of the half a billion in Medicare savings the Bradfords estimated last year.

  • Fun Posted Apr 2017

    With recreational marijuana legal in Massachusetts, New England Cannabis Convention returns this weekend April 22-23

    In 2012 Massachusetts voters said YES to legalizing medical marijuana in their state, and only a few months ago voters came through once more for recreational marijuana. With interest growing even more after the recreational law passed, it's no surprise that the New England Cannabis Convention will be returning to Boston once more this weekend, April 22-23. While no consuming of the drug will be permitted on the premises, there will be a plethora of marijuana based presentations around for all visitors to learn from. Open from 10-6 both days, visitors will have a chance to see dozens of public speakers, over 175 marijuana exhibits and even demonstrations performed live including cannabis-infused home cooked meals.  What the future holds for medical marijuana is also on the convention agenda. Massachusetts voters legalized marijuana for medical use in 2012. In-door homegrowing of marijuana is another topic. A 45-minute demonstration promises to answer beginner questions about how much space is needed, what kind of equipment and fertilizer works best and how to stay in compliance with Massachusetts laws. Set to take place at the Hynes Convention Center on Saturday, April 22, and Sunday, April 23. Smoking, dabbing or vaping is not allowed anywhere inside the convention center, organizers say.

  • Medical Marijuana Posted Apr 2017

    7 incredible health benefits of marijuana

    Though proper marijuana research is hard to comeby, there is still plenty of evidence to reinforce the many benefits of cannabis. Recreational and medical marijuana markets are growing at a tremendous rate around the US and even other major countries like Canada could fully legalize the drug soon. Despite only 6% of cannabis research focusing on the benefits of the drug, it's still quite clear that patients with a wide variety of ailments can find relief in using it. For chemo patients, not only can marijuana battle the intense nausea that comes with chemotherapy, but it's the only anti-nausea that actually increases the user's appetite. Cannabis can also be extremely helpful in patients' focus with Alzheimer's and dementia, more effective healing in stroke victims, and even slow the incoming of Parkinson's disease. For lucid Alzheimer and dementia patients, marijuana can reduce feelings of confusion and agitation. For stroke victims, marijuana can, quite literally, shrink the damage away. Marijuana can reduce tremors and slow the progression of Parkinson's disease. That's why many researchers, patients and families are advocating for future legislation of the drug. Legalization will not only offer patients increased access to the drug, but it will allow researchers to conduct more research. According to Business Insider, only 6% of studies on marijuana are focused on the drug's benefits. And since there are so many benefits, the backing of the drug on a federal level is necessary -- whether it's funding for clinical trials, drug development or patient care. "We've conducted the studies, but I think an ordinary researcher without the support of the state would be hard pressed to do it. It's just a difficult and cumbersome process," said Igor Grant, the director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research

  • Medical Marijuana Posted Apr 2017

    Las Vegas considers changes to medical marijuana laws

    In Las Vegas recreational marijuana sales began at the beginning of this year. Medical marijuana remains strong in Nevada, but officials in the city are hoping to make some changes to the program that will benefit the city. Some of the current limitations include MMJ sales being prohibited between 12am-6am, and medical marijuana products being prohibited from transport by licensed medical marijuana business. Changes to be discussed on May 17 include shrinking the time of prohibited sales to 3am-6am, allowing licensed MMJ businesses to transport marijuana products, removing the annual $75,000 dispensary fee, and allowing expired marijuana products to be returned within 30 days of expiration.  The proposed changes will go to the May 17 council meeting for a possible vote. Medical marijuana, edibles and marijuana-infused products may be transported by a licensed medical marijuana establishment or a medical marijuana support business. Expired medical marijuana may be returned to a cultivation or production facility for disposal within 30 days of its expiration. Adds definition of “medical marijuana support business” to be a business providing goods or services to a medical marijuana establishment that receives at least 50 percent of its annual revenue from licenses medical marijuana establishments. Adds language that says support businesses that have obtained a business license in another Nevada jurisdiction must apply for a license to be able to transport marijuana or other related support services within the city.

  • Medical Marijuana Posted Apr 2017

    Legal medical marijuana passes Iowa Senate on 45-5 vote

    This week the Iowa Senate overwhelmingly passed a limited medical marijuana bill that would allow patients with a large range of ailments to access non-smokable forms of medical marijuana, but somehow that's not restrictive enough for members of the House. Currently, Iowa is operating on a 2014 medical marijuana law that allowed patients to possess medical marijuana, but did not put in place a system for anyone to purchase or manufacture the drug. With that bill expiring this summer, it's important for lawmakers to bring positive change to Iowans in need. Many are concerned about the lengthy process it takes for legislators to bring about positive change, but some say the issue is those opposing these laws are simply not educated on the subject. "A lot of people say, 'Why is this taking so long?'  Well, the reason why is education. A lot of us have learned about the benefits of cannabis. I beg our House colleagues to do the right thing," Zaun said. Iowans are now allowed to possess cannabis oil for the treatment of epilepsy. But it's illegal to manufacture or distribute that oil in the state, and federal law prohibits its transportation across state lines. In practice, that makes it illegal for Iowans to obtain the product. The state  law  allowing cannabis oil was enacted in 2014 but is scheduled to expire in July, leaving no state law in its place.

  • Fun Posted Apr 2017

    Wine Industry Finds a Companion in a Competitor: Marijuana

    The marijuana industry seems nearly unstoppable as it continues to grow around the United States, but some are concerned it's growth could be a threat to other competing industries. With wine and beer companies running the intoxicating substance industry, should alcohol companies be worried about the up and coming products? Some winemakers see the marijuana industry as less of a competitor and more of a companion. The unique qualities sought after by wine enthusiasts are similar to the unique characteristics possessed by different strains of cannabis, and therefore have attracted many of the same consumers. The high end marijuana industry is already budding and some are even trying to highlight certain climates and locations as preferred growing spots for marijuana just like wine. “There are different flavors and bouquets to good weed, and different strains that elicit different effects,” he added. “There are real body highs, and real stony highs, and there are highs that are cerebral and ethereal. There are levels of socializing that can be enhanced or inhibited, depending on the strength and the amount you smoke.” “Our world revolves around intoxicants, but it also revolves around flavor,” he said. “Just as we look at wine, we might look at a bud and dissect its aroma and characteristics.” Like wine, marijuana is an agricultural product, and where it is grown can determine its character. “How you grow it really affects the flavor and the high of the pot,” Mr. Coturri said. “If it’s grown in a greenhouse, it’ll be a lot different than if it’s grown in the hills. It thrives in certain soils and with a long growing season.”

  • Legalization Posted Apr 2017

    Trudeau Proposes Bill to Legalize Recreational Marijuana Use in Canada

    This week the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau proposed a bill that would legalize the recreational and medical use of marijuana for adults aged 18+. Language in the bill allows for provinces to raise the minimum legal age for purchasing marijuana, as well as limits the amount anyone can possess at one time to one ounce. Coming only a week before the popular cannabis holiday, 4/20, Canada is now in line to become the first developed nation to fully legalize the drug. Officials in Canada have recognized that prohibition simply does not at keeping the drug out of the hands of teenagers and that proper regulation and education are going to be the best way to control underage usage. Most regulations for how the plant's industry will be handled still awaits a decision. The Liberal Party's bill would allow households to grow up to four marijuana plants. Commercial growers would have to comply with the federal government and individual laws designated by the province, and obtain a license of some kind before selling marijuana. The finer points of marijuana regulation, such as the cost, how heavily the products will be taxed and how much marijuana can be distributed and sold within each province, have not been decided. In order to enact the legislation, the Canadian government must also contend with international drug treaties that explicitly ban marijuana, Vox reports. And on the national level, Canada will have to come up with a marijuana equivalent of breathalyzers so people can be tested for safety while working or driving in public places. 

  • Medical Marijuana Posted Apr 2017

    Rhode Island wants to “beat Massachusetts to the punch” on marijuana sales

    Rhode Island legislators say they not only have support to pass a recreational marijuana bill this year, but that they could also get the program up and running before their neighboring state of Massachusetts beings their program. With Rhode Island already having set boundaries and regulations for it's medical marijuana program, proponents are sure it won't take near as much effort to translate much of the system to a new recreational program. Last year, Massachusetts voters said YES on Question 4, which will legalize marijuana similar to alcohol, but it seems lawmakers have experienced numerous setbacks, pushing the current open date to mid-2018. Lawmakers in Rhode Island have discussed possible recreational marijuana laws for years, but this week they are holding the first legislative hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.  Rep. Scott Slater, a Providence Democrat and legalization proponent, said taking action this year would allow Rhode Island to have regulations and a new source of tax revenue in place before retail marijuana stores open over the border in Massachusetts. He said Rhode Island has already strengthened the way it regulates and taxes medical marijuana plants, so “flipping the switch” to allow recreational use wouldn’t be hard. “We’ll definitely be able to beat Massachusetts to the punch,” Slater said. “They seem to keep delaying it.” Voters in California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada last year approved recreational use of marijuana, joining Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska. But Massachusetts lawmakers have delayed the opening of marijuana shops until mid-2018 at the soonest.

  • Legalization Posted Apr 2017

    Lawmakers may study recreational marijuana

    With most of the United States currently having some sort of legal marijuana program, Montana legislators are giving the subject a fair chance by creating a committee to study many aspects of recreational marijuana legalization and how it could be done in the state. Montana's next legislative session will hear comments on the pros and cons of legalizing as well as how it is done in other states. If Montana lawmakers go as far as legalizing through legislation, it would make history as the first state to do so due to every other legal state being passed by a popular vote through it's citizens. 19 other states are currently considering recreational marijuana, but several have already failed to pass such legislation this year. Legislators in Montana are recognizing that prohibition not only doesnt work, but it is funneling potential tax revenue to the black market instead of worthy state programs like substance abuse programs and child protective services. House Joint Resolution 35, heard Monday, would create a committee that would study how recreational legalization would be carried out in Montana. The panel would look at things like if liquor control should be a guide for marijuana control, how legalization has affected other states, and the pros and cons of it all. The findings would be reported to the next Montana Legislature. “Why should all of this money be going to the black market, when it could be going to Montana’s budget?” Dunwell said. “Funding substance abuse programs, funding other human services programs, funding child protective services, funding developmental disabilities, senior long-term care, I could go on and on and on.”

  • News Posted Apr 2017

    Oregon set to shield marijuana user data from US officials

    With the growing confusion about legal marijuana coming from the Trump administration, Oregon lawmakers have taken it into their own hands to protect the rights and identities of their state's legal consumers. When an adult walks into a recreational marijuana shop in Oregon, their ID is checked to verify the customer is at least 21. What most consumers aren't aware of is that dispensaries have been saving information from your ID, names, birthdates, addresses, and other information, which is saved digitally and used mainly for marketing and customer services. But with the continued uncertainty of state marijuana crackdowns, databases of marijuana customers raise potential problems for the consumer. Oregona lawmakers decided to protect consumers by passing a law that would ban any record-keeping of customers in that manner, and once signed by the governor, marijuana businesses will have 30 days to destroy such data.  The bipartisan proposal would protect pot consumers by abolishing a common business practice in this Pacific Northwest state where marijuana shops often keep a digital paper trail of their recreational pot customers' names, birthdates, addresses and other personal information. The data is gleaned from their driver's licenses, passports or whatever other form of ID they present at the door to prove they're at least 21 as required by law. The data is often collected without customers' consent or knowledge. It is stored away as proprietary information the businesses use mostly for marketing and customer service purposes, such as linking their driver's license number with every pot product they buy so dispensary employees are better able to help out during their next visit. Upon the bill's signing into law, Oregon pot retailers would have 30 days to destroy their customers' data from their databases and would be banned from such record-keeping in the future. Recreational pot buyers could still choose, however, to sign up for dispensary email lists to get promotional coupons or birthday discounts. The bill's provisions do not apply to medical marijuana patients.

  • News Posted Apr 2017

    Colorado set to prohibit marijuana co-op growing operations

    This week a House bill was passed by the Senate in Colorado to ban anyone from growing marijuana for anyone else, more commonly known as a 'co-op grow'. After passing the Senate 35-0 it is now on the way to the governor's desk, who supports the bill, though a date to be signed is unknown. Officials are worried that a black market is persisting in the state due to relaxed laws about growing marijuana at home. If the governor signs the bill, it would also allocate $6 million a year from marijuana tax revenue to help law enforcement investigate illegal marijuana operations. Another bill will see the governor's desk this week that would limit the amount of cannabis plants to be grown in a home to 12, meaning anyone authorized to grow more will be forced to move the plants to an agricultural or commercial location.  There are no state estimates on how many collective recreational marijuana growing operations exist in Colorado, though they are popular among users who share the cost of electricity, water and fertilizer to grow their pot. Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, but it has a nagging black-market problem. Law enforcement and state lawmakers attribute the black-market problem in part to weak restrictions on who can grow pot. The Colorado state constitution authorizes people over 21 to grow their own pot, or to assist someone else in growing pot. That language allows groups to designate a single “farmer” to care for their marijuana plants, allowing them to avoid pot taxes that approach 30 percent, depending on the jurisdiction.