Illinois could be the next state to legalize marijuana like alcohol after Democratic State Representative Kelly Cassidy introduces a recreational marijuana bill. If passed, adults over 21 would be able to purchase up to 28 grams of cannabis as an Illinois resident, with non-residents allowed 14 grams. The Chicago lawmakers believes that properly regulating marijuana frees up important police efforts to be used towards fighting violent crimes instead. Tax revenue gained from the medical system would benefit local education, government and communities. Cassidy’s proposal would make marijuana legal for anyone age 21 or older. It would be regulated just as alcohol. According to information about the proposed bill on the Illinois Policy website,it would be legal for any Illinois resident to possess up to 28 grams of cannabis, non-residents would be allowed to possess 14 grams and driving while smoking would remain illegal.
Regulations are still being determined by Ohio lawmakers on who can qualify to grow and sell marijuana and what patients will be able to buy. A former Rabbi turned owner of the largest dispensary in Washington D.C. says Ohio's medical marijuana laws will change and change again. After seeing his father find relief in marijuana from multiple sclerosis, Kahn knew he could help many more patients like his father by opening a medical marijuana dispensary. It took persistence through the cliche marijuana stigmas and frequent changes in industry regulations, but Kahn's medical marijuana venture has become highly successful. Ohio lawmakers last year set up the framework for a strictly regulated medical marijuana program to serve patients with one of 20 medical conditions if recommended by a physician. Three state agencies are now determining the details, such as who will qualify to grow and sell marijuana and how much marijuana patients will be able to buy. We spent a lot of time trying to break down the stigma around cannabis. There's so much misconception, so many erroneous opinions, so many fears and concerns. We knew they were unfounded and now, looking back, we can prove it. Folks in our community are very happy and proud we're here, and they no longer have any concerns about increased crime or unsavory characters in the community.
After much deliberation, Arkansas lawmakers have sent several medical marijuana bills back for more consideration, but they also sent 4 bills detailing the medical marijuana industry to the Governor for final approval. One particularly unhelpful bill heading to the Governor's desk would prohibit members of the U.S. military and National Guard from participating in the state's medical marijuana program, patient or caregiver. Another bill would allow regulatory organizations to determine if certain felonies can be excluded when considering employees for marijuana businesses. An amendment also filed would require marijuana tax revenue to be reconsidered in 2019. House Bill 1451, which was sent to the governor’s desk earlier this month, was signed into law as Act 479 of the 91st General Assembly on Thursday. That bill prohibits members of the Arkansas National Guard or U.S. military from participating in the state’s medical marijuana program as either a patient or a registered caregiver. All four of the bills forward to the governor’s office originated in the House of the Representatives and received Senate approval last week.
Massachusetts voters said Yes on Question 4 last year and passed a bill legalizing recreational marijuana and regulating it like alcohol. Regulation and sales will be coming by the summer of 2018 putting the pressure on lawmakers to finish regulating the entire industry properly before it can begin. Legal marijuana is a great source of tax revenue awaiting to benefit the state and local governments, but some are worried about people being allowed to grow too much at home. When passed, the recreational referendum had the support of 54% of the state, but any cities wishing to opt out of retail marijuana sales would be able to with a majority vote in a community. State officials say this new industry could yield up to $1.3 billion in revenue once legal pot gets up and running. That’s a big jackpot, but before they can cash in on it, they have to sort out a big regulatory mess. For the advocates, the intrusion of pols and bureaucrats is worrisome. “The citizens did pass a legalization of marijuana, and we’re just concerned that they don’t regulate it to death,” said Kathryn Rifkin, a legal-pot advocate.
New Hampshire's Medical Marijuana program is a vote closer to expanding it's qualifying conditions after a committee unanimously passed a bill that would add Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Patients with EDS testified recently of the painful surgeries and symptoms that accompany the disease, including chronic back, joint, and neck pain that never goes away, Opioids can be prescribed for EDS, however some patients are concernced about the highly addictive properties of many prescription pain killers. Some patients also think medical marijuana could help treat suicidal thoughts. The bill awaits final Senate approval before being considered by The House. Committee chairman Sen. Jeb Bradley called the testimony extremely compelling, as people with EDS testified about the often severe that pain they experience. "Chronic back, joint and neck pain, vision problems, congenital heart valve defects, congenital kidney structure defects," said Lena Zerbinopoulos, who has EDS. "I've had 16 surgeries because of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome," Lynette Stebbins said in her testimony. "I have pins and plates and screws in my body because of all of the dislocations and torn ligaments and tendons." EDS attacks the body's connective tissues, and those who testified before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee said the pain associated with it never goes away. The committee considered a bill that would allow those with EDS to use medical marijuana. Although opioids can be prescribed, Stebbins told the committee that she is afraid to use them.
The NFL has been a dominant sports league in the US for years but some think football could go the route of horse racing and boxing, losing popularity by creating too much concern over health issues. Marijuana, though banned from the NFL, could greatly improve the health and recovery of professional football players' injuries. Specifically, researchers believe cannabidiol, 1 of the 100 chemicals in marijuana is able to stabilize the brain after injury. Former Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer is leading a campaign to raise money for studies of cannabidiol and how they can treat common football related brain injuries like CTE. Plummer claims cannabis is healthier and many players have smoked through their careers using primarily cannabis instead of addictive prescription drugs. More and more reports are saying that marijuana can — in a healthy way — help alleviate the pain that so many current and former football players experience. Not only can it help take away the pain from the daily nicks, bruises and bumps that players suffer from an opposing player’s helmet off the shin or a facemask in the forearm, it is also becoming increasingly clear that it can help treat CTE, a progressive degenerative disease in the brain caused by trauma. “I’d say 80-90 percent of NFL players are on some kind of drug to get them through the pain and the stress and the anxiety of playing a full football season,” Plummer told Metro. “And when these players are done playing, I’d say 80-90 percent of them continue on high priced meds for most of the rest of their lives. Whether it’s cannabis or Percocets or whatever — there’s a lot of drugs in the league.” Plummer is convinced that marijuana is infinitely more safe than the other pain relievers that players put into their bodies.
The world's first cannabis gym is opening in California later this year where gym-goers will be able to bring their own marijuana or order it, and then smoke alongside their workout. While a cannabis enhanced workout is not for everyone, those that enjoy the combination find the drug to relieve pain and improve focus. Opponents are worried about the drug's adverse effects on some people, but the World Anti-Doping Agency says marijuana can reduce anxiety in athletes and even increase performance. Though doctors aren't recommending young adults to use the drug, Dr. Sue Sisley says marijuana is far less toxic than many common prescription drugs and would be pose little risk for adults. The gym, which advertises itself as the world's first cannabis gym, touts using the drug for pain, focus and meditation. “For the people that it affects the right way, cannabis can make working out fun,” McAlpine said. “If you make it more fun, people are going to do it more.” While Sisley said she wouldn't advise adolescent use of cannabis for fitness, she said trying cannabis later in life would pose little risk. “Bottom line is the plant is very benign,” she said. “It has a very mild side effect profile. It’s far less toxic than many of the prescriptions I write every day.”
Widely beloved television shows like Star Trek give us a glimpse into the possible future of what could be, and medical marijuana is making a bigger footprint on our society everyday. Patrick Stewart, Jean-Luc Picard from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" is a shining example of both a seasoned actor and a patient of medical marijuana. Though his on-screen character has access to all kinds of futuristic medication, the real Patrick Strewart must settle for the state-legal medical marijuana in his home of California. After receiving his prescription nearly two years ago, Stewart, 76, uses marijuana spray, ointments, and edibles to deal with his arthritis and trouble sleeping. A cannabis spray allowed him to regain the ability to make a fist again, solidifying his trust in the drug and how it can help many more. Using a marijuana-derived spray brought back mobility to his hands, and he was able to make fists again, Stewart said. He also said he regularly used a marijuana-derived ointment and an edible bar to help him sleep. "As a result of this experience, I enthusiastically support the Oxford University Cannabis Research Plan," Stewart said. "This is an important step forward for Britain in a field of research that has, for too long, been held back by prejudice, fear and ignorance."
With all the confusion that revolves around the state-legal but federally-illegal marijuana industry, any clarification by a government entity or website is extremely valuable. This week the National Institute on Drug Abuse updated it's website with some interesting information that could be telling on how the future of the industry will progress. One major change to the site is the update to the section "What is CBD?" which is now titled "CBD and Childhood Epilepsy." This shift represents a huge step forward in our understanding of the different components of marijuana and how they can be isolated and concentrated to treat a specific condition completely separate from any recreational consumption of the drug. The site's additions also acknowledge individual states' rights to legalize the drug, clarifying further approval by the federal government. The last additions to the site underline what many researchers have been saying for years, marijuana needs to be studied much more so we have a clearer understanding of both it's benefits and long-term effects on humans and our development. The box itself explains how CBD can treat epilepsy; the small shift in the headline reflects how accepted this practice has become. So does a change in the verbiage. Instead of reading, "These drugs may be less desirable to recreational users because they are not intoxicating," the updated version is more direct: "These drugs aren't popular for recreational use because they aren't intoxicating." This change is major for medical patients: So much of the time, their medicine is compared to THC and negative cultural norms associated with smoking marijuana. Specifying that drugs that medical patients use are not in any way comparable to the high users get from THC is an important distinction.
Luxury cannabis is coming to the mainstream as art and fashion both continue shining the light on marijuana's newfound place in modern society. With the current cannabis industry's continued expansion, it's only natural that a high-end and sophisticated product would make it's way to the front of the market and attract a new type of consumer. The more diverse the marijuana consumer market becomes, the more solidified the industry becomes in our society. Beboe is a new company sprouting out of their local California market and selling luxury vaporizers and pastilles for all types of consumers. Featuring low-dose CBD and higher dose THC products, Beboe aims to have something for everyone to enjoy. With more states getting on board with the legilization of marijuana, Kwan and Campbell hope to appeal to a growing cannabis consumer base. Starting this month, you'll be able to purchase Beboe's products from select marijuana dispensaries in California and online at beboe.com. Beboe's pre-filled vaporizers retail for $60 while pastilles infused with 5mg of THC/CBD sell for $25.
The amount of people holding onto outdated and inaccurate information about marijuana has been gradually falling for years now, but unfortunately some old dogs just cant learn new information. Most people are likely aware that marijuana is clearly less dangerous than heroin and opioids, but Attorney General Jess Sessions is stuck in the ill-informed drug war of the 1970's. In a statement he prepared for this week, Sessions cites marijuana as "only slightly less awful" than heroin, but almost any professional in a medical or research field would disagree. From the years 2000-2015, over 500,000 people have died from drug overdoses. While there are still no recorded deaths from a cannabis overdose, nearly 91 people die everyday from opioid overdose. Despite marijuana's medicinal benefits that have been shown to curb opioid overdoses in MMJ legal states, Attorney General Session's negative statements on marijuana are grossly ill-informed and not in line with modern science or research. "The statement flies in the face of the science," said Dr. Donald Abrams, a professor of clinical medicine at the University of California San Francisco, who has studied the health effects of marijuana. "No one has died from an overdose of cannabis. There's abundant evidence that it is a useful intervention for chronic pain, and we may see it’s useful in harm reduction." "I've been a physician for almost 40 years and I’ve never admitted a patient for complications from cannabis use," Abrams said. "The number of patients we see with problems with use of alcohol, heroin, and methamphetamine is enormous. [Sessions'] statement is unfortunate and uninformed."
If Virginia's Governor signs several new medical marijuana bills like expected soon, the state will become the second in the US to allow pharmacies to manufacture and sell medical marijuana oil to patients with intractable epilepsy. While this is progress, Virginia has a long way to go before it has a full medical marijuana program able to benefit a wide enough range of patients. Current state law calls for the automatic suspension of a person's driver's license if caught possessing even a small amount of marijuana, but a new bill seeks to give judges discretion over each ruling. Lawmakers seem to be listening to the voters as public opinion is showing in polls that Virginians want marijuana policy reform. “We are optimistic,” she said. “The polling shows that Virginians desperately want their marijuana policy changed and laws reformed in some capacity, and I think that lawmakers are starting to hear the call in Virginia as well as throughout the U.S.” “It has no psychotropic effects, and no one is dealing it on the illicit market. For the people that are sick and really wanted the bill to pass, it was heartbreaking,” Vogel said. “I think this is a little bit of bias and a little bit of lack of education … The overwhelming majority of the voting public believes having access to that kind of medication is very helpful.”