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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

Marijuana Breath Analyzers to Make Possible Appearance by 2020

Jordan Webber

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Marijuana Breath Analyzers

Marijuana breath tests are slated to come out in the latter part of 2020. According to news sites, these roadside breath analyzer tests will determine if drivers have smoked marijuana within the past three hours.

Numerous firms are taking strides towards providing products for this endeavor. Some companies involved in this industry include Hound Labs from Oklahoma and SannTek from Canada.

Hound Labs will be creating a dual breath analyzer that can determine the presence of both alcohol and cannabis.

Mike Lynn, a co-founder of Hounds Labs, reveals that their company currently rolls out tests to gauge whether an individual has used marijuana within a three-hour time frame. In a statement to the Sacramento Bee, Lynn states they “had to completely create the device. It’s like looking for [a certain] 25 grains of sand on a beach a mile long.” Creating the devices necessary for immediate detection posed problems for Hound Labs, saying the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) compounds are significantly lower compared to alcohol, making it difficult for the substance to be easily identified.

The same technology is currently being employed by SannTek nanotechnology engineer Noah Debrincat.

Hound Labs worked closely with the University of California at San Francisco for further research, with input and assistance coming from Dr. Kara Lynch, a pathologist whose expertise lies in looking for sample cannabis molecules.

Both companies have reportedly used their creations to test whether employees are complying with the current workplace rules and regulations.

Reason for Using Marijuana Breath Analyzers

The creation of these devices comes as more and more individuals in different states gain access to medical and recreational marijuana. In a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, approximately 15 million Americans drove even under the influence of cannabis, notes Newsweek. Studies from the Hound Foundation, the research arm of Hound Labs, say with the drug five times more powerful compared to the past 50 years, individuals who smoked these are more likely to get into a car accident.

Despite making great leaps in the field of technology, it appears that police and other similar agencies are reluctant to use devices, especially when there’s a huge financial undertaking at stake. Dino Lawson, Madera Police Chief, said “I think it’s interesting technology, but we don’t want to be the first to jump on it.” However, Janelle Dunham, the public information officer from CHP, said they are “always interested in testing and evaluation new and emerging technology.”

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Cannabis Legalization

Pennsylvania Rep Files a Bill to Allow Recreational Marijuana in State-Run Liquor Shop

Jordan Webber

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PA Bill to Allow Recreational Marijuana on Liquor Store

A lawmaker from Pennsylvania introduced a bill on Wednesday, Oct 2, that would legalize the sale of recreational marijuana and allow cannabis to be sold in over 600 state-owned liquor stores.

David Delloso, a Democratic state representative, introduced House Bill 1899, which allows individuals aged 21 and above to legally possess and consume marijuana. Under the bill, sales of cannabis will be limited to businesses licensed by the state. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) would be responsible for administrating the production and sale of marijuana at the state-controlled stores.

“What I’m afraid of is, without this bill, if we don’t sell cannabis in the state stores, big corporate interests throughout the United States are going to come to Pennsylvania and they’re going to put corner stores up,” Delloso said. “They aren’t going to provide family-sustaining jobs, and all the profits are going to leave Pennsylvania.”

The medical marijuana in the state has been approved last April 17, 2016, with 17 initial qualifying medical conditions.

Economic Benefits to Pennsylvania

According to Pennsylvania’s Budget and Policy Center, over 18, 000 new jobs could be produced once recreational marijuana is to be legalized within the state. The bill also proposes that retail sales of cannabis be taxed at 19%, which could generate around $581 million per year for the state in new tax revenue.

“As an administrative agency tasked under current law with responsible, effective, and efficient regulation of the sale of wine and spirits in Pennsylvania, we generally leave policy discussions regarding the future of this agency up to the General Assembly and the Governor,” said press secretary for the Liquor Control Board, Shawn Kelly. “If, however, a new law presents the PLCB with additional or different duties and responsibilities, we would adapt accordingly.”

With the said measure, individuals convicted of possession of marijuana would have their criminal record expunged while inmates currently confined for such offenses would be released.  Employers would also no longer be able to fire or discipline employees if a drug screening shows the “presence of a nonintoxicating level of cannabis.”

“It is time for us to not just have a conversation but sit down and really look at details on how we can do this in Pennsylvania understanding that the support is there, the revenue will be there for us and we could do a lot of good things with those resources,” added State Rep. Jordan Harris, (D) Philadelphia County.

To date, the House Bill 1899 has been raised to the House Judiciary Committee for its consideration.

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Cannabis Legalization

Australia allocated $3m Fund for Medical Cannabis Research

Stacey Wellington

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AU $3m Fund for Medical Cannabis Research

The Australian Federal Government allocated A$3 million (US $2.03 million) for medical cannabis research in the country. Greg Hunt, the Australian health minister, made the announcement last Sunday, October 6, 2019, alongside Grease star Olivia Newton-John in a wellness walk held in Australia.

Research in the field aims to address the growing number of cancer patients within the nation and the potential ability of cannabis to provide relief and cure to these patients. The research will build upon existing studies to gauge the effectiveness of the plant in pain management and its potential side effects on users.

The government’s decision to fund research comes as more than 11,000 patients have been approved for medical marijuana use.

In a statement, Hunt said that “there have only been a limited number of well-designed clinical studies on medicinal cannabis, and we need to increase the evidence base to support medical professionals.” In line with the safety and security measures observed by the Australian government and its healthcare institutions, individuals who are given access to cannabis medication are required to only obtain these from accredited medical professionals.

Despite more than 10,000 individuals being given access to medical marijuana, the Grease star voiced her disappointment for other patients and individuals having little to no access to cannabis. She said “I’m a great proponent of it, for general health, for pain, for sleep, for anxiety. I really believe it is important in my journey”. Olivia Newton-John had been diagnosed with cancer, and she has admitted to using cannabis to manage her pain.

Newton-John spearheaded the annual Wellness Walk and Research Run held in Melbourne, Australia. The actress supported the event in the hopes of raising awareness about the plant and the wealth of benefits and possibilities that could come from using it. In a statement, the Grease actress said “they’ve discovered it hasn’t caused all the problems that people are afraid of. People need to let go of that old hippie thing,” when asked about the lack of advancement and accessibility of medicinal marijuana in the nation.

ACT Cannabis Law

While the Australian federal government is providing funding for medicinal cannabis research, recreational use is still largely prohibited on a federal level. However, through the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), six states and two main territories have filed to legalize the recreational use of the plant.

The ACT Law is slated to start on January 31, 2020, with some of its provisions conflicting with the current laws in place.

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