Indiana's Republican dominated legislature has repeatedly denied even a hearing of a medical marijuana bill, but a new voice is speaking up in hopes to change a state's old views. Last year the national American Legion asked congress to remove marijuana from the list of drugs with no medical purpose, and this last week Indiana's American Legion followed suite in voting to ask the Indiana legislature to reclassify marijuana and recognize the potential benefit in cannabis. Veterans are a large portion of patients who use medical marijuana and politicians listen to what the veterans have to say. A veteran of the Marine Corps and leading advocate for medical marijuana in Indiana, Jeff Staker, says cannabis can help patients avoid addictions to harmful painkillers like oxycontin. On Sunday, the Indiana American Legion approved a resolution supporting the national American Legion's position and calling on Indiana's legislature to "remove restrictions from marijuana and reclassify it in a category that, at a minimum, will recognize cannabis as a drug with potential medical value." “Politicians listen to veterans,” he said. Staker and others contend that marijuana can prevent wounded veterans from getting addicted to pain medication and can help combat-related mental health issues such as post traumatic stress disorder. "I said I want to challenge him to prove one thing and one thing only: that marijuana has no medical benefits whatsoever,” Staker said. “It’s been a month or a month and a half and I haven't heard back."
Medical marijuana will be in the spotlight at the sports medicine forum scheduled for Feb. 1 with the focus on whether or not marijuana can have a "proper place in professional sports." The event will be sponsored by Vapen CBD and Merry Jane with tickets available to the public for $65. The NFL will be directly addressed as well as research on cannabis and pain relief, concussion symptoms, and other injuries. Former NFL athletes attending the event include: Jim McMahon, Kyle Turley, and Nate Jackson. "It's time the discussion is brought to the national stage where it belongs," said Rory Mendoza, CEO of Cannabis in Professional Sports and organizer of the event. Inhaler manufacturer Vapen CBD and cannabis media and culture company Merry Jane will join forces with Doctors for Cannabis Research to sponsor the sports medicine forum scheduled from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 1 at Revention Music Center, 520 Texas Ave. Open to the public, tickets are available for $65.
The Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee was established in Colorado when voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2012. By the end of last year the committee recommended the research grants that have now been approved by the state of Colorado. 7 studies have been chosen to look at marijuana and public health and safety, with studies on the topics of: Duration of Marijuana Concentration in Breast Milk, The Adverse Effects of Edible Cannabis Products, The Cardiovascular Effects of Marijuana in At-Risk Patients, and Comparative Assessment of Driving Impairment on Occasional Versus Heavy Marijuana Users, and more. Officials are pushing for marijuana research in the state to fill the gaps still being enforced by federal prohibition. The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment announced the grants at the end of 2016. A total of $2.3 million will go to seven projects. The state already has approved $9 million in research over the past few years. “This research will be invaluable in Colorado and across the country,” Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer for the department, said in the statement. “The findings will inform our public education efforts and give people additional information they need to make decisions about marijuana use."
Within the next three months, New York patients will be able to have their medical marijuana delivered to them at home. Deliveries will be made first by Vireo Health, one of the 5 licensed growers, who operate dispensaries in Queens, White Plains, and Westchester County. Officials are doing their best to implement regulations to help patients, especially those that may not be able to leave their homes to purchase their medicine. Extra safety precautions will be taken for marijuana delivery drivers and vehicles. Patients will soon be able to sign up and see program details and pricing online at vireohealthny.com. “This is another step in the department’s implementation of the recommendations in the two-year report on New York’s medical marijuana program, in recognition of the fact that, in many cases, patients with serious health conditions cannot leave their homes and have difficulty accessing medical marijuana products,” the Health Department said in a statement “Home delivery will not only help us to improve upon current services, but also expand our reach to those patients who are unable to travel,” said Dr. Stephen Dahmer, Vireo Health’s chief medical officer. Certified marijuana patients or family members of patients can sign up for home delivery program updates by visiting vireohealthny.com.
Sports leagues, like federal organizations, have always been harsh on marijuana use and will go as far as suspending professional athletes for years from their craft and possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. The Nevada Athletic Commission is having a hearing on Friday with plans to discuss cannabinoids and possibly exluding them from the list of Prohibited Substances and Methods. If the commission chooses to relax regulations on marijuana the changes wont take effect for another 3 months. Athletes should not be banned from a known non-addictive anti-inflammatory, especially when many of them are being prescribed addictive and harmful opiates to manage their pain brought on by the sport. Fighters testing positive for marijuana in Nevada have received some harsh sanctions in the past. Most notably, Nick Diaz was initially suspended five years and fined $165,000 after testing positive for marijuana following his bout with Anderson Silva at UFC 183 in Las Vegas. Diaz would later reach a settlement with the NAC reducing his suspension to 18 months and fine to $100,000. According to the agenda for the upcoming NAC hearing on Friday, the commission is going to discuss “the possible exclusion of cannabinoids from the list of Prohibited Substances and Methods.” TMZ Sports first reported the news on Tuesday.
With more states than ever passing marijuana laws this year, its no wonder people are confused about where they can and can't have cannabis. California voters are heavily in favor of recreational marijuana, but many are still being arrested and fined for possessing the drug in national parks. Federal land like national parks still operate under federal law and officials have full intention of continuing to enforce prohibition. Innocent adults know that a marijuana law passed in their state and they make the mistake of thinking parks like Yosemite are just like any other park in California. The Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado sees much fewer people busted for marijuana possession since the state legalized adult use in 2012. On the otherhand, Washington also voted to legalize in 2012 but still has marijuana cases end up in federal coourt. “I’d anticipate more people thinking now that it is legal in the park,” Mitchell said. “A lot of people don’t recognize that you are going into a completely different jurisdiction; it’s just like going into a different state. A lot of people don’t know that. They just think they’re going into a park, like any other California park.” “But in New Jersey and in Washington state, they’re still seeing these cases ending up in federal court. Typically it’s misdemeanor possession,” Vicente said. “It’s folks thinking, ‘Oh, marijuana is legal in Washington state,’ or they’re a medical marijuana patient in New Jersey, which doesn’t have fully legal marijuana, and then they’re getting cited for possession.”
The war on drugs has been a long game of lies and misinformation, but the people have had enough and are calling on the DEA to stop the lying and admit to the truths they know. A petition with over 85,000 signatures on Change.org is gaining tracking in the short month it's been alive, and with a little more support it could bring real change. The DEA has been using false information for years about marijuana being a gateway drug and this gives politicians and those in power the ability to quote this wrong information to justify their actions and fortify their prohibitionist goals. The DEA has even admitted to the falsehoods in the past, but has done nothing to update their publicly available information on cannabis. Sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/president-obama-make-the-dea-tell-the-truth-about-marijuana “Many people don’t know that it is illegal for federal agencies to disseminate incorrect information”, the petition begins. “But when it comes to medical cannabis, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has been doing this for years — and politicians use this misinformation to justify opposition to medical cannabis laws.” “The DEA has actually admitted that the theories that cannabis use leads to harder drugs (gateway theory), long-term brain damage, psychosis, and other alleged harms, are not based in scientific fact, and yet they keep distributing this false information”, says ASA. “[W]e have found 25 instances of these false claims on their website.” Th petition ends by saying that; “Forcing the DEA to correct this misinformation would give medical cannabis patients and the families the ability to say, unequivocally, “That is not based in scientific fact, and the DEA has admitted that as well,” effectively removing these falsehoods from the conversation.”
New York's medical marijuana program has seen a number of improvements since products first went on sale last year, but the market is still lacking in many ways. One of the problems is patients having trouble finding a doctor who is registered and willing to recommend them cannabis. Of the 807 physicians registered to prescribe the drug, none are found on a state available list. Finding a local cannabis provider can be just as difficult for patients as companies aren't allowed to advertise. It's not that New Yorkers don't qualify, but that the system isn't easy enough to navigate. Another basic hurdle is that the companies aren’t allowed to advertise. “We need to build patient volume in order to be able to bring down prices, and make it more affordable to patients,” Peckham said. “Really there’s no demand. And it’s not that there aren’t people who don’t qualify or people who don’t want this, it’s that people are having a really hard time accessing this.” Last month, the health department added chronic pain to the list of 10 eligible conditions. Pot companies are now allowed to deliver products to patients’ homes. And later this year, state officials say five new companies will be allowed to grow and process marijuana.
The inaugurationof Presedent-Elect Trump is this month and will feature a huge peaceful public smoking protest. A group of marijuana activists will be handing out over 4,000 joints to adults at the inauguration and everyone will light up at 4 minutes and 20 seconds into the speech. While marijuana has been legal to possess in Washington D.C. since 2015, smoking in public is not legal. Adults can possess up to 2 ounces up marijuana and grow in the privacy of their own home, but sales are not legal. Cannabis must be given away as a gift. While public smoking remains illegal, Mayor Muriel Bowser says arresting pot smokers will not be first priority. Pro-pot activists are planning to give away 4,200 free joints during the inauguration, which is legal in the District of Columbia. They’ve also pledged to light up during President-elect Donald Trump’s inaugural address, which is not. Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser said police and city leaders want to see people peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights. Bowser says arrests for smoking pot “wouldn’t be our first priority.”
Indiana Senator Karen Tallian has been persistent through the last several years to try and bring medical marijuana to Hoosiers in need, despite the consistent refusals by the republican dominated legislature. If passed, Senate Bill 255 would create a medical marijuana program and allow patients diagnosed with migraines, PTSD, and any persistent chronic illness helped by marijuana to be recommended cannabis by a licensed physician. The bill would also create the Department of Marijuana Enforcement and an advisory committe for further regulation. Backed by the American Legion Department of Indiana, Senator Tallian believes she can garner the support of even more republicans this year, as long as her bill is given a chance to be heard. “We move by inches down there, so I’d take every inch I could get,” Tallian said last year. “I have a lot of votes over there on the Republican side if I could just get a hearing.” Interestingly, Tallian could receive some influential support this session from the American Legion Department of Indiana. The organization is set to vote next week on a resolution aimed at persuading the State Legislature to finally give medical marijuana some consideration. “Legislators listen to veterans,” said Jeff Staker, the veteran responsible for introducing the resolution. “We’ve got to get their attention, and who better to do that than veterans?” A recent WTHR Howey Politics Indiana Poll shows 73 percent of Indiana residents believe marijuana should be legalized throughout the state for medicinal purposes. Only 25 percent said they opposed, while 2 percent were left undecided.
The North American legal marijuana market brought in $12 billion in revenue in 2016 and experts think it could continue to grow to well over $20 billion by 2021. From 2015 to 2016 marijuana industry revenue grew by 30%, which is significantly larger than the 22% GDP growth during the dot com era. With so many states legalizing marijuana this election it's likely marijuana sales will continue to skyrocket in the coming years. Currently 21% of the entire US population lives in a place where adults can legally choose to purchase marijuana, and that number is going to continue to grow. "To put this in perspective, this industry growth is larger and faster than even the dot-com era," Forbes said. He said sales in Colorado, Washington and Oregon jumped 62 per cent between the period of September 2015 and 2016.
Marijuana has become more popular than ever. You see it in the news headlines, magazines, dispensaries, and you've likely seen someone wearing clothes or accessorizing with marijuana logos. The public perception of pot is changing for the better, meaning marijuana's aura will only become more prevalent. Fashion magazines like Vogue and Marie Clarie have taken the initiative to publish some cannabis content, from celebrity quotes to fashion design, and even cannabis beauty products. This year and for many more to come, marijuana is in. Just this week, The Business of Fashion web site published an article about the luxury opportunities for marijuana: "The opportunities for the luxury industry to capitalise on the legalisation of marijuana go far beyond incorporating a cannabis leaf into apparel designs. The first, most obvious, foray has been into accessories; vapourisers and pipes are now being reimagined through a high-design lens."