Last year, voters in Florida failed to pass an amendmend to legalize medical marijuana, this year the state will have another chance. Amendmend 2, if passed, would expand on the current medical marijuana program in Florida by adding 6 additional illnesses to the list of qualifying conditions. Patients do not receive marijuana buds, but instead a concentrate or extract that can be vaporized or added to into food/drink. Though scientific evidence for treating some of the illnesses has been hard to come by, many patients hold much trust in anecdotal evidence and personal experience. "It certainly is something that allows me to function in society 100 percent more than what Percocet, Demerol, Vicodin or any other drugs prescribed through a pharmacy were able to do," a patient identified only as M.J., who suffers from chronic pain, said. A total of 25 states have approved some form of medical marijuana, and a recent Gallup poll shows that 60 percent of Americans are in favor of its use. If the amendment passes, the Florida Department of Health will set guidelines for how it's dispensed and monitored.
While the two primary candidates for president have both danced around the subject of marijuana legalization, there is one man who has been a long time advocate of legalization, the Libertarian party candidate Gary Johnson. Recent polls show Johnson reaching just under the 5% mark, which is what he needs to bring a new political party into future elections. With young people typically having poor turnout on election day, it's easy for pollsters to count them out. But with the amount of states with marijuana legalization on the ballot, the drive to legalize could help push America's political system into the future by bringing young marijuana advocates to the polls. “Oh, our drug laws. Tens of millions of Americans, but for drug laws, who are now convicted felons, would otherwise be taxpaying, law-abiding citizens. And we have the highest incarceration rate in the world, and at the heart of that is the drug war. We need to be looking at pardoning those convicted felons that have served out their sentences, and we need to look to be pardoning those that are in prison for victimless, nonviolent crime.”
The National Institute on Drug Abuse keeps a close eye on the effects of substances legal and illicit including the fatal impact they have on the American public. To date, there are zero deaths associated with a marijuana overdose, and experts are saying it would be nearly impossible to ingest a lethal amount. A human would need to ingest 1,500 lbs of marijuana in under 15 minutes to reach a toxic level. It's no surprise no one has been able to die from cannabis as 1,500 lbs is an outrageous and unneccessary amount for any one person. It's shocking to consider when everyday substances like asprin, alcohol, and even water all have feasible lethal limits, yet marijuana does not. Both prescribed and illicit opioids are responsible for killing 28,000 Americans in 2014, but that pales in comparison to the 88,000 people who die from alcohol related causes every year. With more people lighting up than ever (and nine states voting on the legalization of marijuana on Election Day), it's important to remember how many fatally overdose on the drug. Zip. Zero. That's according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which collects data on a range of other substances, both legal and illicit, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. For comparison, opioids, which include prescription pain relievers and heroin, killed more than 28,000 Americans in 2014. Nearly 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes every year, which makes alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of the death in the US. It's pretty impossible to ingest a lethal dose of marijuana.
The Massachusetts campaign to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana appears to be leading in the polls and has raised a good amount of money to hold a strong campaign, but the opposition just recieved a hefty donation. In a final attempt to even the playing field, Boston's Archdiocese has donated $850,000 towards a losing campaign on the church's behalf. Church officials believe that legalizing marijuana will be harmful to 'the Catholic Church's health and social-service programs.' While the church is using it's patron's hard earned money to do it's bidding, Massachusetts' legalization campaign is alive and thriving with polls showing a 49% voter backing, and national support around 57%. This year, Donilon said, the Archdiocese has identified the legalization campaign as a threat to its sprawling umbrella of services — from antihomelessness programs, to food pantries, to parochial schools. Given the small window between the archdiocese’s financial involvement and the election, and with the airwaves crowded with presidential ads, it remains unclear what impact the investment will have. The bishops’ contribution represents the largest single donation against marijuana legalization aside from the $1 million check written by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a Dorchester native and conservative political financier. The antilegalization campaign has raised more than $2.6 million, including the archdiocese’s contribution. YES on 4 has raised $6.6 million so far, according to state campaign finance records.
Marijuana legalization is on the ballot in many different states and the anti-marijuana campaigns are resorting to spreading misinformation and lies to try and scare voters away. In Arizona, the marijuana opposition group Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy has been airing TV ads claiming that the tax revenue owed to Colorado public schools and health programs was not given. As a formal response to the misleading allegations, members of the Colorado House Appropriations Committee wrote a letter to the leaders of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy with a list of their ad's claims and the corrected information. In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, Colorado raised $220.8 million in tax revenue from legal marijuana. Out of over $200 million, $138.3 million was given to the Colorado Department of Education for public schools, while the amount used for regulating the marijuana program was only around $20 million. Of the approximately $220.8 million in total marijuana tax revenue distributions made in FY 2015-16 and FY 2016-17, more than $138.3 million was distributed to the Colorado Department of Education to benefit Colorado schools. This far exceeds the amount that was distributed for the purposes of regulating marijuana, which included $15.8 to the Department of Revenue, $2.4 million to the Department of Agriculture, $2.8 million to the Department of Law, and less than $500,000 to the Governor’s Office of Marijuana Coordination.
Marijuana legalization efforts in the US have accelerated in recent years as states and territories across the country have adopted regulations to allow medical or recreational use of cannabis. While the US Presidential election is the most visible vote on November 8, nine states will also vote on ballot issues concerning marijuana legalization: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada and North Dakota. WheresWeed.com and California Cannabis Ventureshave partnered together in an effort to predict which states will legalize cannabis next. Utilizing Unanimous A.I.’s artificial intelligence platform, Where’s Weed and California Cannabis Ventures questioned current business owners in the cannabis industry on the likelihood of marijuana legislation passing in 2016. The cannabis industry professionals were asked about the likelihood of both medical and recreational ballot measures up for consideration across California, Arizona, Nevada, Maine, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Arkansas, Montana, and Florida. Participants were given options ranging from Very Likely to Very Unlikely. Previously, Unanimous A.I.’s Swarm Intelligence results have been widely cited in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and other major media outlets. Unanimous A.I.'s swarm intelligence platform, UNU, has successfully enabled groups to accurately predict the Academy Awards, the Super Bowl, and the Kentucky Derby Superfecta, which turned $20 into $11,000 at 540-1 odds. Swarm Intelligence Results California’s Proposition 64: Very Likely Nevada’s Question 2: Very Likely Maine’s Question 1: Very Likely Arizona’s Proposition 205: Likely Massachusetts Question 4: Likely Montana’s Ballot Issue 24 (I-182): Likely Arkansas’ Medical Cannabis Act: Unlikely Florida’s Amendment 2: Unlikely North Dakota’s Compassionate Care Act: Very Unlikely “The results were pretty much what I expected,” said Bill Anders, CMO of Where’s Weed. “However, Florida was a very interesting result though as polling in that state is showing overwhelming support. Recent polls are showing 69% in favor of Amendment 2. I think a lot of the negative sentiment comes from the 2014 vote which fell short by just 2%.” “According to Gallup, Pew and other pollsters, American’s approval of marijuana legalization is the highest in history and has soared in the past decade as Colorado and other states have shown the benefits of legalization to be real and the feared drawbacks to have been overblown,” adds Wesley Hein of California Cannabis Ventures. “But this has been a year of voter surprises and because ballot measures have a history of big swings in the last few weeks before an election it is reassuring that the Unanimous A.I. results are largely in line with pollsters’ expectations for passage of the majority of state medical and recreational marijuana initiatives that are very important to marijuana patients and anti-prohibition supporters alike.” Developed by Silicon Valley startup Unanimous A.I., and based on years of scientific research on Swarm Intelligence, UNU is a unique merger of software algorithms and real-time human input. Modeled after swarms in nature, UNU enables groups of online users to think together as a unified emergent intelligence – a “brain of brains” that can express itself as a singular entity. Touted to as the world’s first “hive mind,” the UNU platform has had over 60,000 human participants in swarming sessions this year, together answering over 240,000 questions. Swarm Intelligence, the science behind UNU, goes back to the birds and the bees. In fact, it goes to all creatures that amplify their group intelligence by forming flocks, schools, colonies, herds, and swarms. Across countless species, nature show us that social groups – when working together as a unified dynamic system – can outperform the majority of individual members when solving problems and making decisions, proving the old adage: many minds are better than one. In 2014, researchers at Unanimous A.I. first discovered that people can form online swarms that amplify intelligence just like natural swarms. So Unanimous built the UNU platform to bring that experience to everyone. Users can login for free, join an existing swarm, or form their own swarm on any topic. From sports and politics, to movies and music, online groups can form their own emergent intelligence and ask it questions about anything. Because of the recent successes Unanimous A.I. has had with UNU’s predictions, Where’s Weed and California Cannabis Ventures selected it for their marijuana legalization forecast. For additional information on the project and results, contact Where’s Weed or California Cannabis Ventures. About Where’s Weed Since 2011, Where’s Weed has been the leading cannabis technology company, connecting medical and recreational users with trusted local marijuana businesses in their community. Cannabis users can search and filter for exactly what they’re looking for, whether that be a business, strain, or product. Additionally, users can connect with other members of the community for a daily newsfeed of local offerings and events happening within the cannabis industry. Press Contact Bill Anders Chief Marketing Officer bill(at)wheresweed.com (855) 420-7771 ext. 2 https://wheresweed.com About California Cannabis Ventures California Cannabis Ventures is a consulting firm dedicated to helping cannabis brands establish themselves in California’s competitive medical cannabis market. Press Contact Wesley Hein californiacannabisventures(at)gmail.com 213-222-8077 http://californiacannabisventures.com/ About Unanimous A.I. Unanimous A.I. develops technologies for Artificial Swarm Intelligence, unlocking the hidden brainpower inherent in groups of all sizes, while fostering collaboration and community. Unlike traditional A.I., which aims to replicate intelligence with bits and bytes, Unanimous’ technologies keep people in the loop, amplifying human intelligence rather than replacing it. For more information, visit http://unanimous.ai/ or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn. Press Contact Laura Beauregard PAN Communications for Unanimous A.I. 407-767-0452 ext. 223 lbeauregard(at)pancomm.com http://unanimous.ai/
Australia passed it's Narcotic Drugs Amendment 2016 this week to legalize the cultivation of medical marijuana by 'fit and proper' individuals and entities. The law does not allow for relaxed laws on recreational smokers and does not decriminalize marijuana. With the goal to create a domestic supply of medical cannabis products, companies will be allowed to apply for cultivation licenses to grow cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes only. All cultivation licenses will be subject to state and territory drug regulations and each harvest accordance with the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Each state and territory will also be in charge of approving licenses. To hold a license for cannabis production, business will need to pass “strict fit and proper persons requirements and other legislative tests relating to security.” It is left up to individual states and territories to award licenses and outline the types of cannabis plants that can be cultivated and the quantities that can be produced
A new startup based in Stoneham, Massachusetts is taking the simplicity of the Keurig coffee machine and bringing it to the cannabis industry. CannaKorp is a company with 3 former Keurig executives. With a successful business model similar to the Keurig's, you will likely see the company's first product, the CannaCloud, very soon. The CannaCloud will simplify the entire marijuana experience for users by using prepackaged pods filled wih the ground bud of your choosing. Insert the pod into the machine and in about 1 minute the user can remove the canister and inhale clean cannabis vapor. The canister features a one-way mouthpiece for securing the vapor. CannaKorp expects the CannaCloud to retail for about $150 with each individual cannabis pods for $6-7. According to the company's website, customers can choose from various types of marijuana — including sativa, indica, hybrid and CBD-only strains. "The pods are pre-ground cannabis flower that are sealed to lock in flavor, aroma, and freshness.
Marijuana use has grown more common in people of all ages, but some are concerned about the affect it has on academics and work ethic in students. Inhale Labs' performed a study this year to find the answer to the question: Does marijuana affect academic performance in college? Over the last 9 years, near-daily use of marijuana (20+ times a month) has gone from 3.5% to 10.1% (2007-2016) in college students, but has the increase in daily users caused a drop in overall performance? The data from the study is showing that a large number of students can both use cannabis and complete assignments, go to class, study, and even take exams while high. These students are combating the stereotype that mariuana users are lazy and cannot perform normal functions while under the influence. The GPA of near-daily users is reported as an average of 3.2. The study also found that 87 percent of those using marijuana daily or near daily have completed an assignment under the influence of marijuana in the prior 3 months. It was also found that 69 percent have gone to class under the influence in the prior 3 months and 62 percent have studied for an exam under the influence in the prior 6 months. A whopping one in five have taken an exam under the influence in the prior 3 months. The average self reported GPA of all college students is 3.1. The average self reported GPA of students classified as daily or near daily users is 3.2.â
As legal marijuana becomes increasingly more common and widely accepted, it's easy to see that the marijuana industry is responsible for many new jobs and a substantial amount of tax revenue. According to a study by the Marijuana Policy Group, after legalizing recreational marijuana, Colorado earned $121 million in tax revenue from the $996 million in legal marijuana sales in 2015. From 2014 to 2015, tax revenue in Colorado increased by 91%. The marijuana industry has also brought more jobs to the state, 18,005 in 2015 alone according to the report. The 24-page report concluded the marijuana industry is the fastest-growing business sector in the state. It’s credited with creating 18,005 jobs in 2015, according to the report. Legal marijuana produced $996 million in sales and $121 million in taxes in 2015.
Marijuana has grown alongside humanity for thousands of years, but we have yet to pinpoint exactly how it's compounds interact with our brain. Scientists have traced the primary interaction down to THC (the active compound in cannabis) and our brain's receptor, CB1. CB1 has proven to be a difficult receptor to research because of it's fast moving nature, but scientists were able to freeze it long enough to learn it's structure. Computer simulations are used to predict how new compounds could react to CB1 and help further understand how the receptor can be unsed in our benefit. We have learned that the 'active site' of CB1 is much more complex than other receptors, leading us to believe there could be a variety of positive ways that drugs could interact with it. And once they figured out the structure, the was one surprise. Receptors have a special place where other molecules can interact with it to turn it on or off; this is called the active site. “What was interesting here is that active site had a lot of crannies, a lot of different sites within it,” says Makriyannis. “We didn’t expect it to be so intricate.” This may be why the receptor was so unstable to begin with, and it also means that lots of different types of molecules can fit within the site. This provides opportunities to design specific molecules and drugs that might, for example, suppress appetite without causing depression.
Following Ohio's legalization of medical marijuana, the city of Cleveland is joining among 50 others within the state to put a hold on the forthcoming marijuana industry. Though Ohio legalized the use of medical marijuana, these cities have prevented marijuana businesses from opening by placing a moratorium on marijuana sales permits and licenses. Cleveland City Council voted last week to pass a one-year moratorium on the marijuana businesses, though other moratoriums are anywhere from six-months to two-years. Ohio's coming medical marijuana legalization will take time to implement, meaning these cities could decided to allow marijuana businesses in the future. All cities participating in the medical marijuana industry must have their programs running by September 2018. The legislation approved Monday by the Cleveland City Council calls for a one-year moratorium. More than 50 Ohio cities have approved similar moratoriums that vary in length from six months to two years. More cities are expected to follow suit