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The latest in marijuana news, culture and politics
  • News Posted Aug 2016

    Conn. high court sides with employee fired for smoking marijuana at work

    Back in 2012 a state employee in Connecticut, Gregory Linhoff, was fired when he was caught smoking in a state-owned vehicle. After being arrested, his charges were soon dismissed, as well as his firing being overturned. Not only had Linhoff never had discliplinary problems in his 14 years working for the state, but he was considered a favorable employee. Marijuana helped him cope with medical problems and a pending divorce, leading an arbitrator to instead penalize him with a 6-month suspension without pay, as well as participate in random drug testing for a year. After once again being overturned by a Superior Court judge on the grounds of public policy, Linhoff's union appealed within the Supreme Court, leading the decision to be overruled one last time in a unanimous decision by all 7 Supreme Court justices. The justices ruled that although state drug policy allows for firing, it is not required, allowing some to be awarded proper second chances under the right circumstance.  All seven justices agreed that the lower court judge was wrong to overturn the arbitrator's ruling, saying that while state policy on drug use in the work place allows for firing workers it does not require it. Justices also said that judicial second-guessing of arbitration awards is uncommon and should be reserved only for extraordinary circumstances "By the arbitrator's estimation, (Linhoff's) personal qualities and overall record indicate that he is a good candidate for a second chance," Rogers wrote. "Moreover, the discipline the arbitrator imposed was appropriately severe, and sends a message to others who might consider committing similar misconduct that painful consequences will result." At the time Linhoff was fired, he was seeking treatment for depression, stress and anxiety because his wife had filed for divorce and he had a cancer scare; he believed smoking pot helped to alleviate his worries, Collins said.

  • News Posted Aug 2016

    Oregon collects millions in marijuana-related taxes

    While the Oregon Liquor Control Commision continues to prepare for the state's recreational marijuana industry, medical marijuana dispensaries have been able to sell recreational marijuana with a 25% tax since January. Oregon voters legalized recreational marijuana back in 2014 and the program is expected to be fully operational by next year. In the 6 months from January to July that dispensaries have been able to collect marijuana taxes, there has been $25.5 million turned into the state. Estimates for next year's recreational marijuana taxes shot up from $8.4 to $35 million after this year's numbers were turned in.  Oregon has processed $25.5 million in tax payments from recreational marijuana from January through the end of July. Anticipated state revenue from recreational marijuana through June 2017 was recently quadrupled by Oregon's Legislative Revenue Office. The expected amount rose from $8.4 million to $35 million

  • News Posted Aug 2016

    New campaign aimed at talking to youth about marijuana use

    A new campaign in Colorado will be encouraging parents to speak to their children about underage marijuana smoking and why it could effect them negatively in the future. A 2015 study in Colorado shows that those with parents openly against underage marijuana use are 4 times more likely to refrain from smoking, and kids with a positive support system at home and in school are 2 times more likely to stray away from the drug. For years our schools have been pushing anti-drug messages, but the study shows that strong messages as such are more effective when delivered from parents.  "Our research shows underage marijuana use can impair brain development and keep Colorado kids from reaching their potential," said Dr. Larry Wolk, health department executive director and chief medical officer. "We also know parents and other trusted adults can make a big difference in whether young people choose to use marijuana." CDPHE says a 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado survey found is a parent believes underage marijuana use is wrong, their children are four time less likely to use marijuana. The survey also found youth who have teachers who care, families with clear rules or parents willing to their children are nearly twice as likely not to use the drug.

  • Medical Marijuana Posted Aug 2016

    NY med marijuana program changes recommended

    New York's Department of Health released a progress report for the state's medical marijuana program recently with a recommendation to double the amount of allowed growers and dispensaries around the state within the next two years, giving more access where it's needed. Over half of the state's medical marijuana patient's and registered doctors are located in Long Island and New York City, making access scarce around the rest of the state. The Department of Health also recommended that nurse practitioners be given the ability to certify medical marijuana patients, just as they can prescribe other controlled substances. With easier access to medical professionals and dispensaries, more people will be able to seek out and find the relief they need from medical marijuana. Recommendations must be approved by state legislators and the governor before becoming law.  Currently, the state allows five companies to operate one growing facility and four dispensaries each. The Department of Health recommends doubling that over the next two years, which the report says will help "meet additional patient demand and increase access to medical marijuana throughout New York State." "Allowing NPs to issue certifications for medical marijuana would allow them to properly treat patients suffering from severe, debilitating or life threatening conditions, particularly in many rural counties where there are fewer physicians available to treat such ailments," according to the report

  • Medical Marijuana Posted Aug 2016

    Pa. releases medical marijuana 'roadmap' for entrepreneurs

    Gov. Wolf of Pennsylvania signed the state's medical marijuana bill into law in April, and this week a draft of the regulations to grow, cultivate, and track the drug have been released for aspiring business owners' benefit. The market to grow and sell medical marijuana will be intensely competitive with only 25 licenses awarded, and businesses will have to move quickly to begin sales by the estimated open date of 2018. Growers will have a 30-day window to import seeds. but after the first crop, no out of state cannabis imports will be legal. The proposal has received praise from advocates for using  the successful aspects and compensating for problems in other states' current programs.  "These regulations take into account what other states have done successfully and what other states would have liked to have done better," Bronstein said, "but the Pennsylvania program is its own animal." No out-of-state marijuana plants can be brought into Pennsylvania at any time. Growers will have a 30-day window to import seeds for their first crops, but subsequent crops must be grown with seeds, clones, or grafts produced at in-state facilities    

  • Legalization Posted Aug 2016

    Nashville marijuana decriminalization bill survives first vote

    Currently in Tennessee, those caught with less than an ounce of marijuana face a misdemeanor punshable up to a year in jail and fines up to $2,500, but some legislators are hoping to change that. In a first vote by the Metro Council, legislators passed a decriminalization bill that would lower penalties in Nashville for those possessing less than half an ounce of marijuana to a $50 fine or 10 hours of community service. Some legislators who voted for the proposal have stated that they'll likely vote against the bill in the future, but wanted to open up the floor to discussion. Nashville legislators have never considered a marijuana decriminalization proposal before this, but they hope to model the current proposal after Tampa's. “I think it’s completely unfair to shut off debate and kill this bill before we’ve ever had it before any committee — any conversation about it whatsoever,” Pulley said. “Let’s at least move it through the process and see what we can come up with. Everybody’s going to have an opportunity to weigh in on this.”

  • Medical Marijuana Posted Aug 2016

    A Columbia professor just nailed the simple reason we need to keep studying marijuana

    Marijuana opponents have stated for years how the lack of scientific studies on marijuana is plenty reason to keep it illegal and let prohibition continue to ruin innocent lives. But the more we're learning about marijuana, the more it's clear that thorough research needs to be done. Take it from Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, a chairman at Columbia University's department of psychiatry, who points out with around 400 compounds making up marijuana, we only have limited knowledge on the two main cannabinoids, THC and CBD. Each compound has the potential to effect us in a different way, and it's time to find out what compound can be used for what purpose, medicinal or not. Until we take the time to fully study cannabis and each compound's full potential, we may never understand the drug that has caused so much controversy.  "In terms of does cannabis hold any therapeutic potential, cannabis contains many constituents. It’s not just THC. And whether these have medicinal properties that can be used, the answer is very likely, and they should be studied,"Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, who is the chair of Columbia University's department of psychiatry and serves as the director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute, told Business Insider. "Like many plants, marijuana has many different chemicals. There are specific components of the plant that can be developed for medical interventions," Hurd said.  

  • Legalization Posted Aug 2016

    Judge rejects lawsuit: Marijuana measure will be on Arizona ballot

    Last month, Proposition 205 officially qualified for the election ballot, giving Arizonans the ability to vote for recreational legalization this November. Marijuana opponents hoped to waste time and money from the legalization campaign, but after the judge threw out the lawsuit a The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol chairman says he will be asking to recover the cost of the lawsuit. The plantiffs claimed that the 100-word summary of the bill was not specific enough for voters to understand, but with complete access to Proposition 205's text online, anyone can see what they're voting for, like any other bill. If voters pass Proposition 205, adults over 21 will be able to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and grow up to 6 plants in their home.  "This frivolous lawsuit was meant to waste the campaign's resources," Holyoak said. "After the case is concluded we will be asking the court to recover our costs from these litigious people. We've said from the beginning this was a frivolous lawsuit and Judge Gentry dismissed each and every frivolous claim. It is time to let the voters decide."

  • Medical Marijuana Posted Aug 2016

    Marijuana a better pain reliever for men than women

    A small study coming out of Columbia University Medical Center is showing that the pain relieving effects of marijuana could potentially be more effective in men compared to women. The double-blind study had both men and women soak a hand in nearly freezing temperature water until the pain became too much. While men experienced a significant increase in pain tolerance, the women only showed a small change. The findings are more than enough reason to perform more testing on cannabis for medical use to find out the best methods to treat symptoms in all patients.  "These results indicate that in cannabis smokers, men exhibit greater cannabis-induced analgesia relative to women. As such, sex-dependent differences in cannabis's analgesic effects are an important consideration that warrants further investigation when considering the potential therapeutic effects of cannabinoids for pain relief."

  • News Posted Aug 2016

    This is what a marijuana overdose is like

    The phrase 'marijuana overdose' has been used commonly by legalization opponents trying to scare people into believing marijuana is as dangerous or more than other  drugs, legal or not. The reality is much different than the phrase leads on. While an overdose of heroin, alcohol, cocaine, and many substances can kill users, there has never been a documented case of marijuana killing anyone. In fact, a recent 'marijuana overdose' that made the headlines involved a 53 year-old father eating 4 marijuana brownies, far beyond the recommended dose, and the worst of hid problems came in the form of cusing at his cat. When his wife called paramedics to be safe, they helped the man into bed after finding his vitals normal and declining to be taken to the hospital. It's unfair to put marijuana in the samecategory as dangerous drugs that cause over half a million unneccessary deaths every year.  Paramedics called to the scene who checked the man found his vital signs to be normal. But they noted he was displaying odd behavior — crawling around on the floor, randomly using profanities and calling the family cat a "bitch." Compare that to tobacco, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) links to 480,000 deaths each year. Or alcohol, which the CDC links to 88,000 deaths each year. Or opioid painkillers and heroin, which were linked to nearly 29,000 drug overdose deaths in 2014.

  • News Posted Aug 2016

    Sockeye, a Portland ad company, takes on marijuana client

    Oregon residents might start seeing a new commercial for a cannabis soda, but you could easily mistake it for a casual beer commercial at first. Yes, an advertising firm in Portland began working with a marijuana business with a unique twist on marijuana edibles. The goal is to remove the 'stoner' stigma from cannabis products and advertising. Most cannabis users are normal adults looking relax after a long week of work, and now there is advertising to suit that market. The ad firm holds high profile clients like Oregon Health & Science University, the Portland Children's Museum, and the University of Oregon, so they were wary to work with cannabis businesses, but they believe in the products and companies they're working with. The commercial features friends and neighbors at a backyard barbeque listening to music and enjoying what appears to be a craft beer, but consumers shortly after find out that a cannabis soda is now locally available.  The catchy jingle highlights a new type of soda, whose retro label and stubby brown bottle could easily be mistaken for the latest kombucha or craft beer. The ad doesn't feature pot leaves, green crosses or bikini-clad women, some of the more common images associated with marijuana. Aimee Huff, an assistant professor of marketing at Oregon State University who has studied marijuana advertising in Colorado, said Sockeye's ad targets consumers new to cannabis or people who don't want to smoke. She said the ad, which echoes alcohol advertising, is clearly an effort to give the product mainstream appeal

  • News Posted Aug 2016

    WIKILEAKS EXPOSES HOW ALCOHOL INDUSTRY IS UNDERMINING MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION

    In the midst of the Hilary Clinton email leak via WikiLeaks, more corruption was found than just dealing with the presidential election. It was discovered through an email that Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America was insistent that Congress be more harsh with the developing marijuana industry. While the alcohol company claims to have no stance on cannabis legalization, it's no doubt that the more marijuana people use, the less alcohol they will consume. As a direct threat to the alcohol industry's profits, it's within Wine & Spirits' interest to both delay the inevitable legalization, and also make marijuana look more dangerous to users and drivers than it actually is. Cannabis has shown to impair drivers far less than alcohol, but instead of bringing more attention to drunk driving and urging congress to crack down on alcohol, which causes thousands of overdoses and automobile fatalities every year, the alcohol advocates are hoping to shift the danger blame over to the marijuana industry. “Given that driving under the influence of marijuana is already illegal and that the existing research shows marijuana’s effect on driving ability is significantly less than alcohol, it is difficult to see a legitimate reason for the alcohol industry to be taking up this issue,” Fox said. “They would do better to fund research on how to decrease drunk driving.”