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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

Joe Biden Withdraws Previous Stance on Marijuana Being a “Gateway Drug”

Daniel King

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Biden Withdraws Previous Stance on Marijuana Being a “Gateway Drug”

Days after Joe Biden expressed his opposition to legalizing marijuana and calling the substance as a “gateway drug,” the 2020 presidential candidate has retracted his assertions, insisting even that he had never made such a claim.

In a press conference call with reporters, the former Vice President rolled back his stance, saying he had never said that marijuana is a “gateway drug” in the first place.

“I don’t think it is a gateway drug. There’s no evidence I’ve seen to suggest that,” Biden told Nevada Independent reporter Megan Messerly.

“I didn’t [say that it was],” he added. “I said some say it’s a gateway drug.”

Joe Biden and his Stand on Marijuana

According to the 2020 front runner, he believes that marijuana should be decriminalized and that anyone who has been previously convicted for marijuana use should have his or her record wiped clean.

“With regard to the total legalization of it, there are some in the medical community who say it needs to be made a Schedule II drug so there can be more studies as not whether it is a gateway drug but whether when used in other combinations may have a negative effect on people overcoming other problems, including in fact on young people in terms of brain development, a whole range of things that are beyond my expertise,” Biden explained.

Earlier this month, Biden caught fire from other Democratic contenders following his controversial reasoning to not legalize marijuana on a federal level.

“The truth of the matter is, there’s not nearly been enough evidence that has been acquired whether or not it is a gateway drug,” Biden said at a town hall in Las Vegas on Saturday. “It’s a debate, and I want a lot more before I legalize it nationally. I want to make sure we know a lot more about the science behind it.”

This is not the first time that Biden expressed his strong opposition against the legalization of marijuana on the federal level. In 2010, the former Vice President told ABC News he thinks marijuana use leads to other addictions.

“I still believe it’s a gateway drug. I’ve spent a lot of my life as chairman of the [Senate] Judiciary Committee dealing with this. I think it would be a mistake to legalize,” he asserted at the time. “The punishment should fit the crime. But I think legalization is a mistake.”

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Cannabis Legalization

Brazil OKs Medical Cannabis, Rejects Cultivation

Jordan Webber

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Brazil Approves Medical Marijuana

Brazil’s pharmaceutical regulator Anvisa recently expressed its approval of the proposed regulations for medical cannabis use in the country. This covers the use of cannabis-based products for medicinal and pharmaceutical purposes. However, a separate vote turns down the proposal to allow cultivation of marijuana.

In an announcement, Anvisa said that the new rules can be read in Brazil’s official gazette in the next few days. The approved proposal will take effect as law 90 days after.

To ensure that the industry will be well-regulated, the Anvisa released a specific set of rules of manufacturing, importing, selling, packaging, marketing and quality control of cannabis products. An Anvisa spokesman said that Brazilian companies that want to enter the nation’s marijuana market will need to import inputs from other nations.

Medical Cannabis in Brazil

The approval of medical marijuana rules is seen as a positive development in the country’s situation related to drugs. It is important to note that Brazil has been suffering from drug-related violence. Anvisa’s decision is believed to be a sign that the country is now shifting its perception of the plant with related top drug policies.

This decision is part of the global shift in the perception of cannabis. This development is focused on the medicinal and therapeutic value of the plant. The current Brazilian leader, far-right- President Jair Bolsonaro, has previously expressed support of the application of marijuana for medicinal purposes so long as there are no “loopholes in the law.”

Marijuana Cultivation

However,  the refusal to allow domestic plantations shows that the country is not yet ready to make the move that its Latin American peers including Colombia and Uruguay made.

Uruguay is the very first country in the world to make marijuana fully legal. Both countries are now at the forefront of a growing multibillion-dollar market not only in the region but around the world.

Meanwhile, Colombia, which had suffered from a deadly drug war in the past, has also made cannabis legal. Mexico has expedited the process of making the plant legal. According to some reports,  Mexico’s supreme court has “ordered the country’s health ministry to speed up its issuance of medical marijuana regulations.” Recreational cannabis is also on the table.

With regards to Brazil’s development, Anvisa clarified that only licensed pharmacies will be able to carry medical products infused with cannabis. Moreover, patients who are looking to access such medical treatments can only do so with a prescription.

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Cannabis Legalization

MORE Act Bill Passes Congress in a 24-10 Vote

Jordan Webber

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MORE Act Bill of 2019 Passes Congress

In a historic 24 to 10 vote by the House Judiciary Committee last  November 20, 2019, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement or known as MORE Act of 2019 has passed the Congress. The committee approval moves marijuana use and consumption legal on a federal level.

The bill’s approval is considered a monumental time in American history, particularly as this is the first time the congress saw the passing of a marijuana legalization bill.  The bill was spearheaded by Jerrold Nadler, House Judiciary Committee Chairman.

More about MORE Act Bill

The MORE Act of 2019 is also known as the House Resolution (H.R.) 3884. Under the legislation, marijuana will finally be removed from the Schedule 1 list of the Controlled Substances Act.

Moreover, the regulation provides states access to implement their own cannabis legalization policies. H.R. 3884 also extends the right to thrown out criminal records for individuals charged with low-level marijuana offenses prior to passing the bill.

With the aim to boost the economic sector and the cannabis industry, the bill will also levy 5 percent tax on cannabis products. Taxes imposed on these products will be reportedly allocated towards additional job training and legal assistance

Should the ruling pass its final stage, cannabis industries and businesses may obtain loans and financial support. The ruling is also slated to give physicians within the Veterans Affairs system to give medical cannabis prescriptions to patients.

The bill was expected to pass the hearing following the overwhelming number of Democratic representatives in the voting chamber. In total, 234 seats were taken by the party.

Only two Republican representatives voted to pass the bill, namely Matt Gaetz from the state of Florida and Tom McClintock from the state of California.

What Lies Ahead

However, the news site anticipates more challenges as the legislation advances to the Senate, given that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from the Republican partylist goes against the legalization of the marijuana.

Even Republican representatives think so, with Colorado rep Ken Buck saying, “I don’t think a majority of the Republicans will support this bill. It is even less likely that the Senate would take it up. Therefore, I would just suggest that we deal with other bills that we can get a much larger bipartisan support from.”

Despite the surprising turn of events, numerous supports and legislators think this is only the first step. To date, there are currently over 50 co-sponsors, making it a strong contender to enter the Senate.

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