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Cannabis Legalization

The Different Impacts of Marijuana Legalization

Daniel King

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The Different Impacts of Marijuana Legalization

Many groups across the world have been discussing the legalization of marijuana, with a focus on the health effects of the plant. However, it is important to remember that legalizing it can have different impacts, aside from making it an available option for medicine and recreation. It has implications on science and technology, as well as the society and the environment.

To know more about the various effects of marijuana legalization, read on!

The Impact of Marijuana in Medicine, Science, and Technology

Let’s start with something more apparent. With the medicinal properties of the plant, marijuana has been making an impact on these areas. Here’s what we know so far:

The State of Medical Legalization

Marijuana is completely legal in a few parts of the world, namely Canada, Uruguay and some parts of Europe and the United States. The non-medical use of the plant has been decriminalized in these places. Meanwhile, Thailand has been implementing medical marijuana laws since the beginning of 2019.

In the US, more than 11 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational use, while more than 30 states allow medical use. Meanwhile, the plant remains in the list of Schedule I substances, making it federally illegal. For some, the illegal status of the herb makes it more difficult for various researchers to conduct further studies about what the plant has to offer.

Federal Legalization Can Help in Cannabis Research Progress

Because of the restrictions posed by the lack of federal laws legalizing the plant, many advocates are pushing for the Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2019. This bill will decrease the hurdles faced by would-be researchers, making such studies regulated and legitimate.

According to The Hill, the proposed act makes obtaining the right licenses for research easier and more accessible. If you are worried about the implementation of rightful limitations to these studies, this law is expected to maintain safety measures that prevent misapplication and abuse of licenses.

An anticipated effect of the potential growth in marijuana research is that it can increase the quality and quantity of medical cannabis supply in the country.

The best thing about this proposal is that the bill will create a body of research on the plant. If this law gets passed, the US Department of Health and Human Services will issue a report discussing the status and results of the studies.

Cannabis as an Energy Crop

With the mounting concern about climate change, bioenergy is taking the forefront of energy research. The herb is becoming a point of interest for these types of development. According to experts, hemp (scientific name: Cannabis sativa L.) is potentially a great energy crop, which can replace currently used biofuel crops.

According to reports, crops that are currently used to extract biofuel is are actually bad for the environment. They disrupt biodiversity, require too much water in light of water crises in many parts of the world, displacing people and generate bad emissions.

On the other hand, hemp is a high-yielding crop that has a less environmental impact, which makes it a great alternative. Moreover, this can help in the production of CBD oil which is essential for the legalization and supply of medical marijuana. With the recently passed Farm Bill, this may be possible!

Social Impact of Cannabis

Aside from the medical, scientific and technological effects of marijuana legalization, the plant can also contribute to various social developments. Take a look at some aspects of the society that marijuana has affected.

The Racial Implications of Marijuana Prohibition

One of the most important things you should know about marijuana prohibition in the US is that it is closely related to racism. Before the great influx of Mexican immigrants in the 1900s, the plant was not prohibited. There was no federal law in place outlawing the herb. Come the 1900s, Mexican immigrants fled the grave political climate in their home country, leading them to go to the US.

After propaganda against “marihuana” was released in 1936, the Marihuana Tax Act sponsored by Harry Anslinger was passed in 1937. Anslinger claimed that cannabis was a “violence-inducing drug” connected to ethnic minorities, specifically black and Hispanic people.

Purging of Minor Offenses

Aside from the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, the Boggs Act was also passed in 1952, criminalized the possession and use of the plant. In fact, you can get jailed for two to five years and fined for $2,000 if you are caught with cannabis on your person. Combined with the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which made the plant a Schedule I substance, the penalty for minor offenses became graver.

With the current developments in marijuana-related laws, some states are now allowing residents with minor cannabis infractions to appeal for the removal of such offenses from their records. Illinois, Michigan, and California are taking initiatives to make such expungements possible. This is good news for residents with minor cannabis-related violations as it can expand their employment opportunities.

Other states with such programs include Colorado, Maryland, New Hampshire and Oregon.

More Open Mainstream Perception

The media plays a huge role in shaping public perception, just like what happened with the anti-marihuana propaganda in 1936. As the media portrayed the plant in a negative light, the public tended to view cannabis negatively, as well. With the more positive exposure of the plant in various media platforms today, many individuals are now seeing the herb differently.

Various television shows, documentaries, podcasts, and social media content are shedding light on the benefits and cautions pertaining to marijuana use. With discussions about legalization showing up on many media platforms, more and more viewers are warming up to the idea of legal recreational and medical cannabis.

Increased Influence on Cultural and Intellectual Production

As mentioned, the warmer acceptance of the plant from media producers is contributing to the gradual open-mindedness of media content consumers. However, marijuana as inspiration for cultural and intellectual production is not a new practice. In fact, the plant has been used by various artists across human history.

From our ancestors to William Shakespeare to various legendary musicians from the 60s and 70s up to the artists today, the herb has been contributing to cultural and intellectual production for millennia. So, artists and thinkers from the height of cannabis prohibition are able to produce masterpieces with the aid of the herb, you can bet that legalization can increase the rate of marijuana-inspired production.

Legal Recreational Cannabis Increased Safer Use

If there’s one thing cannabis enthusiasts advocate, it is for the safe and responsible consumption of the plant. This includes consuming the herb only when you are of legal age. Well, legalization for recreational purposes just may facilitate responsible use among teens. According to CNN, states with recreational cannabis laws saw a decline in the number of teenagers using the herb.

Moreover, the legalizing it makes high-quality, certified and safe cannabis products available for consumers. With legitimate dispensaries, you can uphold a more responsible use of the plant with the help of highly knowledgeable budtenders. Legalization can also make cannabis-related informational resources available to individuals who want to know more.

Environmental Impact of Cannabis

As an energy crop, hemp is a great alternative to conventional crops planted for biofuel. However, there are parties who express concerns about the effect of expansive legalization of the plant. Check out some of them.

Exo-Related Concerns

  • Water Supply

According to JSTOR Daily, cannabis is a “water-hungry crop,” requiring 22 liters of water per crop. This is just during the growing season. Some studies show that during low flow periods, these crops can even require water more than a flowing river can offer. So, hemp may be less water-hungry than traditional energy crops, but the fact remains that it requires a lot of water to grow.

  • Wildlife Habitats

Another concern is that the large demand for the plant requires more land area than available. Some critics say that some companies might clear our forests to make way for crops. Moreover, the use of rodenticides and other toxic substances to protect the crops lead to the killing of various wildlife.

  • Pollution

Because the crops need copious amounts of water, expansive cultivation can lead to the drying up of bodies of water. There are also concerns about huge emissions from cultivation facilities, making the industry a contributor to air pollution.

Regulation Follows Legalization

Now, it must be remembered that industrial cultivation is only allowed in some states, which means that these territories have laws pertaining to marijuana growing. However, federal legalization can help demarcate limitations to facilitate the responsible and non-abusive cultivate of these plants. With proper regulations in place, the government will be able to outline standards that can make growing the plant safer and more efficient, with minimized negative ecological effects.

Now that you know how legalization can impact various areas such as medicine, science, and technology, as well as the society and environment, you can responsible form your stand regarding marijuana legalization. After all, nothing beats a cannabis advocate who is aware of the advantages and disadvantages of their advocacy.

 

Cannabis Legalization

Barbados Attorney General to Introduce Medicinal Cannabis Bill to the Parliament

Daniel King

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Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Bill

Barbados Attorney General Dale Marshall announced Sunday he will be introducing a medicinal cannabis bill to the parliament, which he expects to be debated later this month. This marks Barbados’ entrance into the list of countries who are to consider a medical marijuana program.

“It is going to be laid in Parliament on Tuesday and the plan is to debate it on Friday the 30th of August,” Marshall revealed during the Barbados Association of Journalists and Media Workers Annual General Meeting held at the Argentina Embassy in Bridgetown.

To date, recreational marijuana is illegal in Barbados. Under its current law, people who are to be caught possessing cannabis for recreational use can be fined up to 250,000 Barbadian Dollars or face five-year imprisonment. Citizens who are guilty of marijuana trafficking are also likely to face life imprisonment.

During the conference, Marshall, who is also the deputy leader of Barbados, clarified that the government has no intention of permitting recreational marijuana use in the country. “The single treaty on narcotics, which is the 1969 United Nations Convention, exempts what would normally be illegal drugs, so long as the purpose is either medical or scientific,” he stressed during the press conference.

At the end of last year, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley has announced that the government will be making further effort to join other countries in allowing the use of medical marijuana.

“There is no doubt that we will put a framework in place for medical cannabis within the next week or so. We have already taken the decision we just need a bit more refinement and training for the medical practitioners who will have the right to issue it,” she said during that time.

The recent announcement on the introduction of a medicinal cannabis bill to the parliament signals the country’s entrance in joining other Caribbean countries in making progressive cannabis reform.

“We have committed to medicinal cannabis because, as a fella said- ‘you gotta go where the science takes you’, but there is always going to be some push back,” said Attorney General Marshall.

In 2015, Jamaica decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana in the country. Two years later, Antigua and Barbuda announced plans to legalize marijuana for religious and medical uses. St. Vincent and the Grenadines have also begun issuing marijuana cultivation licenses to local and international businesses earlier this year.

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Cannabis Legalization

France Cannabis Legalization Debate Fails to Count Race

Jordan Webber

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France Cannabis Legalization

The French Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament et des Produits de Santé (ANSM) recently allowed related authorities to conduct hearings in relation to medical marijuana legalization. According to Quartz, medical practitioners and cannabis advocates have been calling for this since 2013.

Cannabis has been illegal in France since 1970. The country’s decision to jumpstart dialogues aiming to shed light on the feasibility of medical marijuana takes a similar route as the United States.

In the US, this move resulted in the legalization and regulation of medical cannabis in many American states. However, Quartz pointed out France’s marijuana conversation fails to take into account race as an important part of its cannabis history.

‘Hidden war on drugs’

In the 50 years that cannabis is illegal in the country, studies show that Muslim minorities living in France received disproportionate negative impacts.

Records show that of the estimated 69,000 prisoners in France, 1/5 of the convictions are drug-related. Moreover, a study by the French National Assembly revealed that in 2010, there were 117,421 drug arrests. Around 86% of this number is related to marijuana.

The study also showed that there was a significant increase in cannabis-related arrest for “simple use.” In fact, the annual number grew from 14,501 in 2000 to 129,683 in 2015.

According to Farhad Khosrokhavar, a sociologist specializing in the French prison system, around 50% of the people imprisoned in the country are Muslims with Arabic origins. France has 67 million people and only 9% of them are Muslims.

Quartz noted that the records suggest that around 1 in 6 French prisoners “may be an Arab Muslim man” who was charged with marijuana possession or distribution.

A history of misinformation

The marijuana policies in France is highly influenced by a history of misinformation. According to Quartz writer David A. Guba, Jr., hashish (another term for the plant) was seen in 19th-century France as a herb that induces “insanity, violence, and criminality.”

In fact, this misinformation permeated Algeria, a French colony during the 19th century. Psychiatric hospitals were filled with Muslims who suffer from “folie haschischique” or reefer madness.

Such misinformation still persists until today and evidently influences current drug laws in France. According to Guba, the “historic racism” related to marijuana remains to exist in the country.

French Muslims are bound to benefit from the proposal to legalize and regulate marijuana, along with cannabis enthusiasts and doctors.

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Benefits of Medical Marijuana

DC Opens Marijuana Dispensaries to Out-of-State Patients

Daniel King

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DC Opens Marijuana Dispensaries

On Thursday, August 8, Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, DC announced that they will now accept medical marijuana cards from patients coming from any of the states in the U.S. with equivalent medical marijuana programs.

The new program will allow patients to purchase up to four ounces of medical marijuana each month. Patients from other states will only need to show their state-issued medical marijuana card to buy their medicines at any D.C. dispensary.

“This emergency rule making is patient-centric,” said Mayor Bowser in a statement. “It ensures medical marijuana patients from other states can obtain their needed medicine. It will also promote public safety by allowing visitors to obtain their medicine at one of the District’s six — soon to be seven — authorized marijuana dispensaries rather than forcing them to go without or patronizing the illegal market.”

The new policy will now expand the list of reciprocal acceptance from 19 to 27 states. The new additions include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, and Vermont. The District is also currently reviewing four other states to include in the list, namely Louisiana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and West Virginia.

DC’s Medical Marijuana Reciprocity Amendment

First introduced in 2016, the Medical Marijuana Reciprocity Amendment includes a reciprocity arrangement that allows medical marijuana users to use their out-of-state registration cards to purchase medical cannabis in the District. The amendment took effect in April of 2018 and approved 19 states as part of its list of reciprocal acceptance. Under the said policy, patients enrolled in a medical marijuana program from other jurisdictions can access medical marijuana in the District of Columbia.

A year later, Mayor Bowser proposed the Safe Cannabis Sales Act of 2019, which allows the sale of recreational cannabis in Washington, D.C. with a 17 percent tax. It requires cannabis-focused businesses to meet a threshold of 60% ownership by D.C. residents, and 60% DC-native employees.

“We want to be able to regulate, we want to be able to make sure we are collecting our fair share in taxes, we want to invest those taxes in ways that affect communities that have been disproportionately affected, and we want to train and hire DC residents,” she said at the time. The bill is currently under DC Council review.

The latest emergency rule making is regarded by many to have opened an avenue for non-resident patients to access medication when visiting the nation’s capital.

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