Why the marijuana and tobacco policy camps are on very different paths

New research looked at diverging trajectories of cannabis and tobacco policies in the US and attempts to explain some of the reasoning behind the different paths, while discussing possible implications.

Denver NORML Promotes Home Cultivation Through Grow Safety Symposium

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On Saturday, April 15th, during what many now refer to as “420 weekend,” Denver NORML is hosting a free educational event that will focus on the many aspects of home cultivation. The event will consist of two parts: a panel discussion with an exciting line up of speakers that will highlight safe and sustainable cultivation practices, and an expo where attendees can visit with representatives from various companies ranging from genetics and nutrients to soil and lighting.

As home cultivation laws in Colorado continue to evolve, we need education more than ever. Therefore, Denver NORML has partnered with some of the best names in the cultivation community. We have scheduled speakers covering the following areas of interest: energy consumption and savings, cultivation, pest control, lighting, genetics, plumbing, electricity and HVAC, home security, waste removal, curing and storage, and compliance. We will also provide an opportunity for medical marijuana patients to learn how to make their own RSO.

Our goal is to create a dialogue and provide as much education as possible. People continue to move to Colorado every single day, simply for the opportunity to legally grow their own marijuana. People arrive with little knowledge, but they’re excited grow so they typically buy a light, put it in a small closet or tent, and then immediately run into issues with ventilation, temperature and pests. The problem that we at Denver NORML kept seeing was the lack of education for those that wish to safely grow in the privacy of their homes.

At the Grow Safety Symposium we plan to educate attendees on how to safely and sustainably grow from beginning to end!

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Reserve your spot today at Grow Safety Symposium  or join the conversation on Facebook where you will find the updated speaker schedule: Grow Safety Symposium.

For more updates on local reform efforts, follow Denver NORML by visiting their website and on Facebook and Twitter!

Study: Medical Marijuana Laws Associated With Fewer Traffic Fatalities

cropsThe passage of medical marijuana legalization is associated with reduced traffic fatalities among younger drivers, according to data published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Public Health.

Investigators from Columbia University in New York and the University of California at Davis analyzed traffic fatality data from the years 1985 to 2014.

They reported that states with medical cannabis laws had lower overall traffic fatality rates compared to states where cannabis is illegal, and that there was an immediate decline in motor vehicle deaths following the establishment of a legal cannabis market – particularly among those under 44 years of age.

Authors concluded: “[O]n average, MMLs (medical marijuana laws) states had lower traffic fatality rates than non-MML states. …. MMLs are associated with reductions in traffic fatalities, particularly pronounced among those aged 25 to 44 years. … It is possible that this is related to lower alcohol-impaired driving behavior in MML-states.”

An abstract of the study, “US traffic fatalities, 1985-2014, and their relationship to medical marijuana laws,” appears online here.

Join the Marijuana Union!

mjunionupdateWith just a few weeks left in 2016, NORML is gearing up for what will be, without a doubt, one of the most eventful and important years in the history marijuana law reform.

In order to be able to advocate and lobby in as many states as possible in 2017, we need the funding to do so. NORML has always been a purely grassroots organization and we have no single major funder bankrolling our operations. What we do have is thousands of people like yourself who care an awful lot and step up to chip in what they can. However, if we want to have the most impactful political strategy and ground game possible, we need to be able to budget in advance. By signing up as a monthly contributor, you give us the ability to plan for the long term and be the most effective voice for marijuana consumers we can be.

We’re asking you to join us as a member of the “Marijuana Union” and support NORML’s important work on an ongoing basis.

With eight states and the District of Columbia legalizing marijuana for adult use and more than half of the country allowing for the medical use of marijuana, it is time we double down on our efforts and finish the job. As we’ve done since 1970, NORML will be on the frontline fighting for legalization nationwide. Will you stand with us?

We’ve set a goal of having 100 supporters sign up before January 1st. Can you help us reach that goal and spread the seeds of legalization nationwide? Join the Marijuana Union today!

Supporters who sign up for a sustaining monthly membership not only get the above products as a thank you, but will also receive exclusive email updates from National NORML staff, invitations to conference calls with experts on marijuana policy, members only merchandise, and more.

Together, we WILL end marijuana prohibition.

Thanks for all your hard work and support,

The NORML Team

Hearing Set for Jeff Sessions Attorney General Nomination

Cannabis PenaltiesIt’s official, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has set January 10-11, 2017 for the confirmation hearing of noted marijuana law reform opponent Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to become the next Attorney General.

Already it appears that Sen. Grassley will try to keep the hearings as short as possible and restrict the number of witnesses who testify. From the Judiciary Committee press release:

“The hearings for the four most recent Attorneys General lasted one to two days each. At each of those hearings, three to nine outside witnesses testified.”

It’s clear the hope is to rush the process as much as possible in order to obtain a successful confirmation given Sessions’ failed history of earning the approval of the Judiciary Committee for a previous judicial appointment in the 1980’s.

In 1986, Sessions was appointed by the Reagan Administration to serve as a federal judge, yet his confirmation was voted down 8-10 in the Republican controlled committee, with two Republicans joining the Democrats in opposition over claims of racial prejudice, including off handed remarks about supporting the Ku Klux Klan until he discovered that they smoke marijuana. At the time, Sessions was just the second judicial federal appointee denied confirmation in 50 years.

The implications for marijuana policies at the state level could be dire. As recently as April of this year, during a Senate hearing, Sessions proclaimed that “good people do not use marijuana.” How a potential Attorney General Sessions would treat the 29 states that have legalized medicinal or recreational marijuana is still unclear and could prove devastating to the decades of hard-fought progress that we have made on behalf of responsible marijuana users.

TAKE ACTION: Email your Senators and tell them to not approve Jeff Sessions as the Attorney General

Cannabis abuse possible cause of psychosis

The risk of developing psychosis is more than tripled for those who abuse cannabis, according to results from a new twin study.

NORML Releases Updated and Revised 2016 Congressional Scorecard

FBScorecardToday is National Voter Registration Day and we are pleased to present this valuable voter education tool to the marijuana movement: NORML’s updated and revised 2016 Congressional Scorecard. The Scorecard is an all-encompassing database that assigns a letter grade of ‘A’ (the highest grade possible) to ‘F’ (the lowest grade possible) to members of Congress based on their comments and voting records on matters specific to marijuana policy.

KEY FINDINGS

Of the 535 members of the 114th Congress:

  • 330 members (62%) received a passing grade of ‘C’ or higher (270 Representatives and 60 Senators)
  • Of these, 22 members (4%) received a grade of ‘A’ (20 Representatives and 2 Senators)
  • 254 members (47%) received a ‘B’ grade (218 Representatives and 36 Senators)
  • 54 members (10%) received a ‘C’ grade (32 Representatives and 22 Senators)
  • 172 members (32%) received a ‘D’ grade (149 Representatives and 23 Senators)
  • 32 members (6%) received a failing grade (16 Representatives and 16 Senators)
  • 60 Senators (60%) received a passing grade of a C or higher (Two A’s, 36 B’s, and 22 C’s)
  • 270 Representatives (62%) received a passing grade of a C or higher (20 A’s, 218 B’s, and 32 C’s)
  • Of the 233 Democrats in Congress, 215 (92%) received a passing grade of a ‘C’ or higher
  • Of the 302 Republicans in Congress, 113 members (37%) received a passing grade of ‘C’ or higher

This analysis affirms that voters’ views on marijuana policy are well ahead of many of their federally elected officials. While the majority of Americans support legalizing the use and sale of cannabis for adults, only four percent of Congressional members voice support for this position. Approximately half (51%) of federal lawmakers favor liberalizing medical cannabis policies. However, this percentage remains far below the level of support frequently expressed by voters in state and national polls.

Also evident is that Congressional support for marijuana law reform is largely a partisan issue. While more than nine out of ten Democrats express support for some level of reform, just over one-third of Republicans hold similar positions. This partisanship lies in contrast to voters’ sentiments, which tend to view the subject as a non-partisan issue. For example, recent polls from swing states show that super-majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents endorse medical marijuana legalization. Further, most Republican voters embrace principles of federalism with regard to cannabis policy. Nonetheless, Republican support for this position remains marginal among members of Congress.

HOW NORML’S CONGRESSIONAL SCORECARD IS CALCULATED

  • An ‘A’ letter grade indicates that this member has publicly declared his/her support for the legalization and regulation of marijuana for adults.
  • A ‘B’ letter grade indicates that this member supports policies specific to the legalization of medical cannabis and/or the decriminalization of cannabis.
  • A ‘C’ letter grade indicates that this member has publicly declared his/her support for the ability of a state to move forward with cannabis law reform policies free from federal interference.
  • A ‘D’ letter grade indicates that this member has expressed no support for any significant marijuana law reform
  • An ‘F’ letter grade indicates that this member expresses significant and vocal opposition to marijuana law reform

FOR MORE INFORMATION

To find NORML’s grade for a specific member of Congress, please click here for the Senate scorecard and click here for the House scorecard. NORML’s full 2016 Congressional Scorecard and Executive Summary is available online here.

Ending Prohibition When Only 13% of Adults Are Smoking?

C1_8734_r_xThe latest Gallup Poll, based on polling conducted from July 13-17, 2016, reports that 13% of adults in the US are current marijuana smokers, and 43% have smoked marijuana at some point in their lives. According to Gallup, the numbers of adults acknowledging their personal use of marijuana has risen from 7% in 2013 to 11% in 2015; and to 13% in 2016.

This may surprise some marijuana smokers, who tend to choose their friends (at least partially) based on their mutual enjoyment of marijuana, and to whom it may seem as if a majority of Americans are current smokers, but the great majority of Americans are not current marijuana users.

The results show that age and religiosity are key determinants of marijuana use. Almost one in five adults (19%) under the age of 30 report currently using it — at least double the rate seen among each older age group.

In addition, religiosity appears to be a key determinant for current marijuana usage, with only 2% of those who report regular church attendance and 7% of those who report frequent church attendance acknowledging current marijuana usage. Apparently marijuana smoking is still considered bad behavior, or “sinful,” among some religious communities.

 How Are We Winning Politically?

Which raises the obvious question: how is the legalization of marijuana continuing to move forward politically in more and more states if only one out of 8 Americans are current users? The answer: you don’t have to be a marijuana smoker to oppose prohibition.

Most of us support gay rights, although most of us are not gay or lesbian; and most of us support equality for all minorities, while by definition most of us are not minorities. Most Americans seek to treat others in a fair manner, despite our gender or racial differences, or our sexual preferences. And the same is true about marijuana smokers.

A majority of the non-smokers have concluded that marijuana prohibition is a failed public policy that causes more harm to society than the use of marijuana itself. They favor an end to marijuana prohibition, although they are not “pro-pot.” In fact, a recent poll by The Third Way discovered that nearly two-thirds (64%) of the non-smokers who favor legalization continue to hold an unfavorable impression of recreational marijuana smokers. They do not believe we should be treated like criminals, but neither do they approve of our marijuana usage.

Current Support Levels

 From a low of only 12% public support for legalization when NORML was founded in 1970, we have seen those support levels build gradually over four decades, as Americans became more familiar with marijuana and less fearful of the possible harm from responsible marijuana smoking. Gallup first found a majority of Americans supporting full legalization in 2013, and their most recent data (released in October, 2015) finds the current support level at 58%. Several other national polls find similar support levels, with one 2016 Associated Press poll finding support at 61%.

All of which suggests that we have largely won the hearts and minds of most adult Americans, including a majority of those who do not smoke. And that is really all we need to continue forward politically. We don’t need to “turn-on” more Americans. Rather we need to continue to demonstrate that responsible marijuana smokers present no threat to non-smokers, or to society as a whole.

So long as we do that, a clear majority of Americans are willing to respect our right to smoke marijuana, just as tens of millions of Americans enjoy a beer or a glass of wine when they relax at the end of the day. Thankfully a majority of Americans understand and support the concept of personal privacy.

 

A minute of secondhand marijuana smoke may damage blood vessels: Study in rats

Rats’ blood vessels took at least three times longer to recover function after only a minute of breathing secondhand marijuana smoke, compared to recovery after a minute of breathing secondhand tobacco smoke. With many states legalizing medical and recreational marijuana, and possible corporate expansion within the cannabis industry, this type of research is important to help understand the health consequences of exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke, researchers said.

Researchers study differences in ischemic stroke in marijuana users

Strokes in young adults who use marijuana are more likely to be caused by stenosis, narrowing of the arteries, in the skull than strokes in non-users, new research shows. Previous studies found an association between marijuana use and stroke, but the new study is the first to explore differences in stroke in marijuana users and non-users, an approach that can help identify possible mechanisms for stroke in users.

Ministry of Cannabis will Study the Medical Applications of its Cannabis Strains


(PRWeb UK) May 5, 2010

Ministry of Cannabis, an Amsterdam based cannabis seedbank, announces new initiatives to support legal medical marijuana users.

Ministry of Cannabis is a well known cannabis seeds bank, active in the Netherlands since 2007. In these 3 years the seeds of the Ministry have travelled the whole world. Looking at their website, it is possible to order 12 different marijuana seeds strains, which 10 are feminized cannabis seeds, and 2 autoflowering seeds. Reading the descriptions of these strains, it seems that they focus on the botanical and recreational aspect of the plant, rather the medical one.

?We are a commercial company and we propose our products in the most fascinating way for our customers, as it is normal to be? says Saskia, the director of the company, ?but at the same time we cannot ignore the requests of those who suffer and cannot have yet an efficient access to the marijuana as medicine?.

The marijuana is the unfertilized flower of the female cannabis plants. There are many varieties of cannabis and only some of them contains enough cannabinoids (the active ingredients) to be used as medicine. The marijuana, consider as a medicine, should be rather evaluated like a ?cocktail? of medicines, because its final effect is given by the interactions of several teens of substances, rather than one, like in a ?normal? medicine.

The staff of the Ministry is since its foundation busy to give the best suggestions to the patiences that ask for their help. ?We are of course not doctors? adds Saskia ?so our suggestions are based mostly on our knowledge of every single strain that we produce and on the past experiences of other customers with similar diseases?.

The staff of the Ministry is now busy to rewrite all the descriptions of the strains, so each one will contain not only botanical and recreational info, but also an orientation about its possible medical use. Patiences with glaucoma, for example, will greatly benefit from the high THC content of strains like Carnival and White Widow. Those who suffer of sclerosis can find beneficial the effect of a strong indica like Kandahar.

Many european countries (like UK, Swiss, Spain, Netherlands etc) already allow the prescription of marijuana for medical use. In many other countries the debate is opened. One element that is sure is, the prohibition till now didn’t help the medical research. ?We are not scientists and we don’t wanna replace the role of the doctors? ends Saskia ?but till there are proper scientific research programs, the best that we can do is to collect info on a practical base, and with those we help suffering people to feel a little better?.

The new, updated descriptions in the Ministry of Cannabis website will be available within the end of June.

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More Medical Marijuana Doctors Press Releases

How 420 College is Extending Extra Steps Towards Aiding in Legal Compliance.

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) August 22, 2010

420 College (http://www.420college.org), a relatively new, premier medical marijuana school in California, has seen over four-hundred students pass through their program in their first year alone. Many of these individuals are now starting their own cannabis businesses. The success rate of these new businesses is high, thanks in great part to how the role of 420 College has evolved to constitute more than the standard education equals diploma methodology.

According to the graduates who have recently started businesses, this would not possible, or at least not easy for them, if not for the reliable legal resources that have been extended to their post-graduation interests, thus, their new established entrepreneurial efforts.

As many are aware, the American Medical Marijuana Industry rests various pieces of legislation, which are often in motion. Aside from the laws, which regulate all businesses, those involved in these cannabis related fields also have to deal with a compounded set of rules, in order to stay in accordance with the law.

420 College has offered a very encompassing education on the history, cultivation, and how-to of marijuana since it?s doors opened. But to further their efforts for the success of their student body, program participants also receive a full document preparation package for starting a variety of medical marijuana businesses. This provides all the tools, forms, and information needed to startup a legitimate medical marijuana business.

With legitimate being the key word here, the school has recently redirected a great flow of energy towards guidance through the maze of paperwork and legalese, from its experienced and knowledgeable staff. These experts include established medical marijuana doctors, marijuana professionals who actually work in the industry, and notable marijuana lawyers, such as William R. McPike, Attorney at Law.

McPike has specialized in medical marijuana law from its onset, is an active member of the NORML Legal Committee, and is a published author on the subject. With over 30 years of legal experience, he has successfully defended many related cases in California, and his methods and papers are part of the state Bar Association?s Continuing Legal Education protocol for practicing attorneys.

Business ownership is one of the most popular topics for the school, and experienced individuals, such as McPike, have become more active in 420 College?s role to ensure legitimacy for students who chose to start any type of medical marijuana business. From licenses to zoning, and everything in between, the school now helps, more than ever, to extend legal understanding and help beyond the filing process.

The school has recently received many calls from former students thanking them for their assistance in this area. These students, who have incurred inquiries into the legalities of their newly established operations, have since concluded in their feedback, that due to 420 College?s help on this level, all the appropriate paperwork proven itself to adequately protect them and their businesses.

Actions such as this are a testament to the school?s continued desire to help the community as a whole. 420 College counselors have since been called in to investigate several Californian cannabis farms in with questions and concerns about their legal status, and to determine what steps needed to be taken. After the consult, these farms have been acknowledged as completely state compliant.

The school helps both their students and the medical marijuana industry itself through this new, more participatory practice. They now make it possible for people in the program to connect with and gain knowledge from industry professionals of all types, including lawyers and licensed medical marijuana doctors, and provides the industry with individuals who want to be involved. 420 College is taking the doubt out of how to ensure compliance, and ultimately aiding their fellow farmers.

Visit 420 College home, click here.

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Related Medical Marijuana Doctors Press Releases

San Francisco Medical Marijuana Doctor Says Cannabis Offers Numerous Benefits Beyond Treating Symptoms


San Francisco, CA (Vocus/PRWEB) January 22, 2011

Greenway Medical Marijuana Doctors advise that in addition to treating symptoms, medical cannabis helps patients focus; increases productivity, creativity, and awareness; can boost physical performance during exercise; and has anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, cardio- and neuro-protective properties.

?Cannabis is a complex medication with a spectrum of benefits.? said Dr. Arif Khan. ?Safe therapeutic use requires selecting strains (Indica v. Sativa) and moderating dosage to address each patient?s medical condition.?

Many patients are unaware that cannabis enhances their lives as well as controls the symptoms of their illnesses. Taken properly, cannabis helps them focus, plus increases their productivity, creativity, and awareness. Patients often find that their social interactions are more meaningful with cannabis: it makes people pleasant and adds to one’s emotional intelligence.

Some of Greenway?s patients also find that their physical output during a workout or exercise session is greatly augmented by cannabis. The amazing effect of a well-chosen Sativa (one that energizes in a good way without being “trippy”) increases endurance and physical performance.

Of course, the underlying anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, cardio- and neuro-protective properties of cannabis (in particular, the high Cannabidiol or CBD strains) are, in Greenway?s opinion, likely to add happy, fulfilling years to many people?s lifespan.

For more information about effective medical cannabis use, contact Greenway Medical Marijuana Physicians Evaluations at (415) 777-0157, drop by the clinic located at 393 Tehama Street in San Francisco, or visit their website at http://www.greenway420.com. Greenway?s fax number is (415) 777-0153.

About Greenway Medical Marijuana Physicians Evaluations

Greenway Medical Marijuana Physicians Evaluations is a downtown San Francisco medical marijuana clinic. Greenway provides efficient, low-cost medical evaluations to the qualifying public for medicinal marijuana accessibility. San Francisco medical marijuana doctor and director Dr. Arif Khan believes in providing a compassionate, non-judgmental and detailed evaluation of each patient?s medical problem. Based on his shared experience at Greenway, he formulates an individualized treatment plan which incorporates the different strains of cannabis, guiding the patient through the initial experience and ensuring that he or she gets the best possible treatment plan.

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Related Medical Marijuana Doctors Press Releases

San Jose 420 Evaluations Outlines Recent Findings on Marijuana?s Usefulness in Treating Chronic Pain


San Jose, CA (Vocus/PRWEB) March 25, 2011

Medical marijuana advocates have known for a long time that cannabis is an effective treatment for their patients who suffer from chronic pain, and recently released scientific studies from UC San Diego?s Center for Medical Cannabis Research support this claim with solid evidence. San Jose 420 Evaluations, a medical marijuana dispensary, explains chronic pain and the various recent studies? conclusions about how marijuana helps alleviate its symptoms.

Pain, a signal from the nervous system to the brain that alerts it to possible injury, can be very useful. Chronic pain, wherein according to the National Institute for Health, ?pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years,? can cause terrible suffering in people?s daily lives. According to the American Pain Foundation, 50 million Americans suffer from persistent pain each year, causing sleep difficulties, absenteeism at work, social effects and other related hardships. According to an article in TIME Magazine, $ 50 billion is spent on it annually in this country. Chronic pain may result from an injury, come with age, or be associated with other ailments.

The National Pain Foundation explains that the human body contains cannaboid receptors in the brain, spinal cord and immune system. Cannaboids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a chemical compound found in marijuana, react with the cannaboid receptors to alleviate symptoms of pain.

Recent controlled studies have demonstrated marijuana?s effectiveness on treating chronic pain associated with a number of other diseases. UC San Diego?s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research found that, among other things,

Free Viewing Of Important Documentary: Breaking The Taboo

The producers of an important and well-received film documentary have contacted NORML asking for help to make as many free viewings of Breaking The Taboo as possible before the film goes into traditional theater distribution. Of the many documentaries in NORML’s forty two year-old archives, this SunDog Pictures produced film is a real stand out for it’s scope and breadth.

The film, narrated by actor Morgan Freeman, has received a terrific amount of publicity buzz regarding the subject matter (ending the war on some drugs…) as well for three of the key people interviewed in the documentary: former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and current president of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos.

All three men went on the record acknowledging the failures of the current policies and favor substantive reforms, notably Mr. Carter, who favors cannabis legalization.

This outstanding one hour documentary has already been viewed by nearly 470,000 concerned citizens from around the world.

Spanish-speaking version (narrated by Mexican actor/director Gael Garcia Bernal) is available here.

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