Tag Archives: legalization

How Did Marijuana Fare In 2016 Omnibus Spending Bill?

 

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While millions of Americans let out a sigh of relief, knowing our government will not shut down at least for another fiscal year, millions of Americans may not have been aware of marijuana legislation that was and was not included in the Omnibus bill.

According to an article in The Daily Chronic, the following marijuana re-authorizations for 2016 took place:

  • Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration will not have funding for interfering with state medical marijuana laws; and
  • The DOJ and DEA will not have funding to interfere with state industrial hemp research programs.
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Unfortunately, the following individual provisions were not included:

  • To permit Veterans Affairs doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to military veterans;
  • To prevent the V.A. from denying services to veterans because they are state recognized medical marijuana patients;
  • To include Senate-backed language seeking to authorize financial institutions to engage in relationships with state-licensed marijuana business; and
  • To allow the District of Columbia to sell and tax marijuana.  (Currently, DC residents can grow, possess and share marijuana.)

The parts that stand out for me is:

  1. The fact that our members of Congress are still interfering with doctor-patient relationships in the VA; and
  2. Licensed businesses still have to pay their bills in cash instead of accessing banking services.

This is a very slow and frustrating process.

In the meantime, patients suffer and Congress shows it DOES NOT CARE about our very sick and needful military veteran citizenry.

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And, rubbing salt in the wounds:  the licensed, lucrative, high tax-paying marijuana businesses are not allowed to use the same banks to which small, under-funded, and low tax-paying businesses across the country have access.

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Assuring Quality and Standards in the Cannabis Laboratory

Question:  How can a medicinal marijuana patient or a recreational user have assurances that the cannabis product he/she is purchasing is safe and is actually the one prescribed or desired, no matter in which state the product is purchased?

Answer:  A cannabis chemistry committee was established last year and has now become a subdivision of the American Chemical Society (the largest chemical society in the world).  Of course, this will take work and time in order to establish central cannabis laboratory regulations,  creating precise standards which, hopefully, would eventually require adherence to by all laboratories.

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According to an article in Culture Magazine, there are no standardized procedures at the present time and this has created a safety concern throughout the cannabis industry as well as for the users of the cannabis products.  Standard methods of production and screening for pesticides is a great concern.  The formation of this subdivision, under the jurisdiction of the Chemical Health and Safety division, is a progressive step in the direction of safety for the cannabis industry.

 

New Jersey Has The Right Idea

 

Today, the State of New Jersey’s Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding its first hearing on the legalization of marijuana in the state.

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This progressive action could be a possible standard for all states who are starting to realize the reality of the use of marijuana by its citizens.  With this attitude, otherwise law-abiding citizens will not have their lives ruined by having to face arrest if caught using or carrying a small amount.

If this action by New Jersey comes to fruition (legalization of marijuana), they will be joining Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Alaska and the District of Columbia in the expanding circle of states who have come to the realization that the push for legalization of marijuana is a sensible, growing “grass” root movement.

The taxation will contribute to infrastructure repair and upgrades, drug and alcohol abuse programs, and regulation of marijuana could be handled the same as adult alcohol consumption.  It’s a “no-brain-er.”

The benefits to the average citizen’s life who uses marijuana, will mean:

  • no criminal record;
  • no legal discrimination;
  • no difficulty to secure employment or housing;
  • no difficulty to obtain student loans or drivers’ licenses;
  • no stigma or embarrassment;
  • no need to hire an attorney;
  • no lost hours from work or school and
  • no more 3 times more arrests of people of color for possession than for whites.

The benefits to the state with legalization of marijuana would be:

  • no more arrests for possession, saving the state over $100M a year;
  • police resources would be free to handle serious criminal issues;
  • an increase of the budget for important state issues without increasing or perhaps even lowering state taxes.

Making it legal in New Jersey will allow regulated, safe marijuana to be available, taking it off the black market where quality and safety is always in question.

The committee will be listening to testimony on taxation, legalization and regulation.  The testimonials will be given by experts who have been invited to the hearings.  The names of those people have not been disclosed at this time.

[Image and inspiration for this post is from “The Weed Blog.”]

Amid All The Issues Before Congress, Marijuana Has Made A Step Forward

 

Marijuana’s path toward a potential federal approval or decriminalization has not been easy and signs of further difficulties are apparent.  It could be years before researchers and drug companies feel comfortable with the results of their completed trials and experimentation and those in the future. As you might be aware, the cannabis these drug companies use for their experiments are provided by our Federal government which is grown in VERY SECRET farms.

One pharmaceutical company has discovered in excess of five dozen cannabinoids it hopes to use to help cure a number of chronic and/or serious diseases.

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Due to the fact that our Federal government lists marijuana as an illicit drug, and until that changes, the research by drug companies will basically slow down because of the legal stumbling blocks in their path, and more importantly, the costs.

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Surprisingly, Congress, just recently passed legislation that hopefully, will protect businesses that legally sell marijuana in states that have passed marijuana legislation, from any interference and/or prosecution by federal agencies.

Is there an important possible stumbling block to becoming law?  Yes.  The bill passed by Congress has to be signed into law by President Obama.

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