Of Course Marijuana Use is Up

Of Course Marijuana Use is Up

Original Article: Marijuana Times: Of Course Marijuana Use is Up

[Canniseur: While there are no surprises here, you’ll get an interesting perspective on why we’re smoking cannabis more and thoroughly enjoying it.]

If cannabis were a person, we’d say they’d had a long, strange trip. Thirty years ago, most people genuinely believed that marijuana use caused cancer, killed brain cells and led more times than not to a life of harder drugs and homelessness.

Now most people realize that those were lies told to us by older generations. We know now that cannabis is actually a relatively safe substance with numerous medical benefits and amazing economic potential where legally sold. The Gateway Theory has been thoroughly debunked and multiple studies have shown that marijuana use does not cause cancer or kill brain cells.

With the destruction of the lies that have surrounded the cannabis plant and the changes in policy around the country, it should come as no surprise to anyone that marijuana use is going up among just about every age group.

In fact, according to a new study from Rockefeller Institute, since 2002 marijuana use in states without adult-use legalization laws has gone up 33% while use has gone up 47% in states with recreational legalization.

Oregon and Vermont were #1 and #2 respectively when it comes to marijuana use, with use more than doubling in Oregon since 2002. Since a myriad of studies and data reviews show that marijuana use by teens is either declining or staying the same, all of these gains have to be coming from adult age groups.

“With the continued legalization and general increase in marijuana use, knowing the data and what they mean will be increasingly important,” said Rockefeller Institute Interim Executive Director Patricia Strach. “This analysis and new data tools offer valuable guidance for policymakers going forward.”

It’s true that data is important, for many reasons. It can tell us a lot about ourselves. But we really don’t need data to know marijuana use is on the rise; it’s just common sense. If, for 80 years, we were told that drinking milk causes cancer and that’s why it’s illegal, then we were told that was all a lie and we’re making it legal again, it’s pretty safe to say that milk use would go up. This would be true for any substance under similar circumstances.

And as we learn that more people are using cannabis as a substitute for everything from alcohol to prescription drugs, we can admit that not only is the rise in use not surprising, it’s a good thing.

Original Article: Marijuana Times: Of Course Marijuana Use is Up

Illinois Governor Signs Adult-Use Legalization Bill

Illinois Governor Signs Adult-Use Legalization Bill

Original Article: Marijuana Times: Illinois Governor Signs Adult-Use Legalization Bill

[Canniseur: With a lot of hard work and a bit of compromise, Illinois has finally legalized adult-use recreational cannabis. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA) includes far-reaching expungement provisions, funding for communities hard-hit by the drug war, and assistance to business applicants operated by those harmed by prohibition or from areas of disproportionate impact. It also legalizes home cultivation for patients. Learn more about the bill’s criminal justice reform and social equity provisions here.]

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has officially signed legislation that legalizes adult-use cannabis in his state. Starting January 1, 2020, Illinois adults will be able to carry up to 30 grams of marijuana on them legally; non-residents of the state can carry up to 15 grams.

With the Governor’s signature, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize cannabis for recreational use, the second to do so via the legislature and the first to legalize sales via the legislature. Unfortunately, a provision that would have allowed adults to grow up to 5 plants in their home was scrapped before the final bill; medical marijuana patients will be allowed to grow 5 plants though, something they could not do before, and all adults will face reduced penalties if they do decide to grow personal amounts of cannabis and get caught (a $200 fine instead of the current $2,500 fine and up to one year in jail).

The new law will also allow up to 800,000 criminal records to be expunged, as long as the charges were for under 30 grams of marijuana.

“Today, Illinois residents and political leaders demonstrated the power of democracy in action, using the political process to achieve sensible policies that protect individual freedoms and that ensure community safety,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said in a statement. “Governor Pritzker and legislators in Illinois have laid out a path forward for states like New York, New Jersey, and others to emulate in the national movement towards comprehensive marijuana law reform.”

Illinois also becomes the second large, industrial Midwestern state to legalize adult-use marijuana in the last year (the other being Michigan via the ballot box last November). This could have a huge impact as it shows that legalization is not just something that is happening in certain parts of the country, but is possible all over the U.S.

Of course, more needs to be done – in Illinois and other states, as well as at the federal level – and there is no time to waste. Millions of people around the country suffer simply because marijuana is prohibited or severely restricted in their area. They are criminalized and forced to seek illegal means to make a safer choice when it comes to the substances they will ingest.

Marijuana law reform is a long, hard road, but we have no choice but to travel it.

Original Article: Marijuana Times: Illinois Governor Signs Adult-Use Legalization Bill

What Does the Historic Congressional Marijuana Vote Mean?

What Does the Historic Congressional Marijuana Vote Mean?

Original Article: Marijuana Times: What Does the Historic Congressional Marijuana Vote Mean?

[Canniseur: This is historic…at least in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill passed the house by a huge majority because of bipartisan support. The Senate is a different matter, but now this ball is in their court. I don’t believe that cannabis legalization is going to be a major election issue in 2020, but I do believe that it will be there somehow in the election.]

In case you may have missed it, June 20, 2019 saw a historic cannabis vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, one in which the federal government was barred from using taxpayer funds to go after legal cannabis businesses in states that have legalized marijuana, whether it is for medical or adult-use purposes.

As many of you know, these protections have covered states that have medical marijuana laws since 2014 – the amendment being renewed each year – but now those protections have been extended to the 11 states that have legalized adult use possession.

Even more exciting than the vote itself was the margin of victory. The amendment passed by a vote of 267 to 165. This is an impressive spread that many feel bodes well going forward.

“The historic House vote signifies that the end of prohibition at the federal level is a question of when, not if,” Matthew Schweich, Deputy Director of the Marijuana Policy Project, told The Marijuana Times. “The passage of the Blumenauer-McClintock-Norton amendment demonstrates that sustained pressure on Congress to address the conflict between state and federal cannabis laws has yielded results. We now face a significant hurdle in the Senate, and we must maintain our advocacy efforts in order to see federal cannabis reform through to its conclusion.”

This vote shows that enough members of the House can come together to pass cannabis law reform measures whenever they want. So instead of it being a matter of politics, it’s more a matter of will. If Democrats in the House have the will to get legislation to the floor for a vote, nothing is stopping them.

As Matthew pointed out, the GOP-controlled Senate is a whole new can of worms when it comes to marijuana bills, but there seems to be no reason the House can’t clear a lot of pending legislation and make the Senate either vote on or ignore multiple marijuana measures.

To be sure, there is a lot going on in Congress these days, with the daily struggle between Democrats and President Trump for supremacy over the power of the federal government. And in light of that struggle, it seems it would be politically advantageous for Democrats to make GOP Senators take a stand against something that probably polls with majority support in their home state – namely, marijuana legalization.

“It’s past time we protect all cannabis programs,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), lead sponsor of the amendment, said in a statement. “We have much more work to do. The federal government is out of touch and our cannabis laws are out of date. I’m pleased that the House agrees and we are able to move forward.”

And forward is where we must move, relatively quickly. As many military leaders and sports coaches alike will tell you, the best time to press the enemy is when you have the advantage. Instead of letting your foot off the gas and letting the other side have time to regain their bearings, right after a victory is the best time to push forward on all fronts.

State-by-state legalization has done much for the cannabis movement and has gotten us where we are today, but it was never going to be the end. There’s no way it could be. As long as federal prohibition remains intact, no state laws are safe.

No matter what happens in the Senate, every effort must be made to get marijuana law reform legislation to the House floor, passed, and sent on its way. Not only will that put pressure on the GOP and maybe even Trump himself, but it will keep the issue at the forefront of the news cycle, where voters can more easily see which lawmakers are failing them.

Original Article: Marijuana Times: What Does the Historic Congressional Marijuana Vote Mean?

Should the Legal Age for Marijuana Use be 25?

Should the Legal Age for Marijuana Use be 25?

Original Article: Marijuana Times: Should the Legal Age for Marijuana Use be 25?

[Canniseur: This is starting to get ridiculous. Joe Klare is correct. Too many people rely on too few studies. We all tend to pick the things that reinforce our personal world view. But why are these two “Doctors” making a case that cannabis should be only for those above the age of 25. If that’s the case, and I truly hate to conflate cannabis and alcohol, consumption of everything should be at the age of 25. It’s starting to get stupid out there.]

A recent opinion piece in The New York Times by Dr. Kenneth L. Davis and Dr. Mary Jeanne Kreek is making waves in the cannabis community and beyond. In the piece, the doctors attempt to make the case that the legal age for marijuana use should be set by the government at 25.

While reading the good doctors’ thoughts on the subject, three major problems became obvious:

  1. The doctors fall into the trap that everyone who is not familiar with the cannabis plant falls into, namely, the cherry-picking of a few studies out of thousands to bolster their specific argument, while making useless comparisons to tobacco and alcohol. Not only do they cherry-pick studies, but they even included a thoroughly discredited 2012 study from Duke University that supposedly showed marijuana use at an early age lowers I.Q. results.
  2. They don’t explain how making the legal age 25 will keep marijuana away from those who are aged 21-24. While having to buy marijuana from a licensed shop has shown to be a deterrent to teenagers when it comes to accessing marijuana, is a 23-year-old adult who can legally drink in a bar going to have that much of a problem finding cannabis on the black market? Is forcing them to the black market the solution these doctors are advocating for the imaginary problem they are pushing?
  3. One of the problems that has grown out of the prohibition and subsequent battle to legalize marijuana is the assumption on the part of many that their personal opinion on marijuana carries some important weight. Even worse, some think that their opinion on marijuana should be enforced by the state. And even worse than that – can you imagine? – there are some, doctors even, who think their opinion on marijuana is so important that it should be the standard for all future legislation on the matter.

Doctors Davis and Kreek are full of policy prescriptions for cannabis legalization, but why should we care? They show very little knowledge of the cannabis plant or the community, but even if they showed vast knowledge, why should their opinion on the matter force a 24-year-old to continue to be criminalized for choosing to use cannabis? Who is being victimized in that situation?

We are entirely too comfortable with giving credence to the opinions of strangers who know nothing about us concerning what we do in the privacy of our own home. I don’t remember asking for those opinions.

Original Article: Marijuana Times: Should the Legal Age for Marijuana Use be 25?

The Big Freak-Out Over Oregon’s Marijuana Surplus

The Big Freak-Out Over Oregon’s Marijuana Surplus

Original Article: Marijuana Times: The Big Freak-Out Over Oregon’s Marijuana Surplus

[Canniseur: Who ever thought there would be a surplus of cannabis!? A surplus! Oregon did some things right. They had low barriers to entry for cultivators and ended up with too many people growing too much weed. That’s what happens in new markets. The growers making superior products will survive. Cultivators growing blah products, will go. Take this as a prognostication; In two years (maybe more) there will be a cannabis shortage in Oregon. It’s the way new markets mature.]

By now many of you have heard the devastating news: There’s too much marijuana in Oregon. Perhaps I should have told you to sit down first; for those who fainted after reading that sentence, my apologies.

All jokes aside, this is apparently a huge deal. State authorities put the surplus from last year’s harvest alone in excess of 2 million pounds of marijuana. With supply outpacing demand in the state, prices have plummeted, putting many businesses in the crosshairs of failure.

The plan to rectify this is to cap the number of cultivation licenses. But the worry among state officials is that much of the surplus marijuana will end up on the black market out of state, where is can bring higher prices.

Under market conditions, much of the surplus would flow out of state, to areas where supply is not quite meeting demand. Some growers would go out of business and some would survive as the market continuously pushed toward equilibrium of supply and demand. But here we hit a problem that most legal products don’t face: Oregon growers can’t legally sell their product out of state.

This fact alone dictates much of what happens next. Faced with financial destitution, most growers will run the risk of selling their product illegally to other states. This is a big no-no in the eyes of the feds, something state officials in Oregon live in fear of.

So while the best solution – interstate commerce – is forbidden, the state will try to adjust the supply of marijuana relative to demand within the state while cracking down on the black market, i.e. prohibition.

Oregon is home to slightly more than 1% of the United States’ total population. This means that growers there are legally barred from selling their product to roughly 99% of the market. Will many fail under those conditions? Absolutely. How many growers in Oregon will turn to the illegal market? How many will get busted? How many lives and families will be destroyed?

While impressive in many respects, the rollout of legalization across the U.S. has been haphazard and incredibly inefficient. How much investment has been wasted because the legal cannabis market in the U.S. follows no logical sense?

Government is not the solution to this “problem”. The federal government needs to get out of the business of marijuana prohibition and let the legal cannabis market develop like every other legal market.

Original Article: Marijuana Times: The Big Freak-Out Over Oregon’s Marijuana Surplus

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