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Cannabis Legalization

Mexico’s Supreme Court Demands Regulation on Medical Marijuana

Jordan Webber

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Mexico Medical Cannabis

Mexico’s Supreme Court ordered the health ministry on Wednesday, Aug 14, to issue a regulation on medical marijuana after its two-year delay. In a statement released by the country’s top court, the ministry has been commanded to issue rules surrounding patient use within a 180-day deadline, following the court’s ruling in favor of a child who needed THC medication for epilepsy in 2017.

“Due to the absence of rules regulating the therapeutic use of cannabis, it was impossible for the plaintiff to access treatment based on this substance or any of its derivatives,” the court said in a statement.

In June 2017, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed a decree legalizing the use of medical marijuana, provided that the THC content is under 1%. Under the said policy, Mexico’s Ministry of Health is supposed to draft and implement regulations on “the medicinal use of pharmacological derivatives of cannabis sativa, indica, and Americana or marijuana, including tetrahydrocannabinol.”

Graciela Elizalde, an 8-year-old Mexican who suffers 400 seizures a day due to Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, has become the first Mexican citizen to be allowed to use a cannabis-derived product for epileptic seizures. However, since the ministry hadn’t issued rules about the drug’s distribution and use, the child had been compelled to seek approval from authorities to use cannabis oil.

The ministry’s failure to issue regulations on medical marijuana has affected the medical community significantly. To date, a number of Mexican patients and cannabis suppliers remain to be unsure about the rules concerning their rights to buy and sell medical cannabis.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health has responded to the order, saying it would “fully comply” with the ruling.

Since 2006, Mexico has faced a series of drug-war violence led by the government and the military against drug cartels. It is not until 2009 that the country has decriminalized consumption of small amounts of marijuana weighing less than 5 grams.

Earlier this year, the Security and Citizen Protection have posted an online poll, asking whether the government should legalize marijuana for recreational use. The survey, which received over 85,000 responses, resulted in 81 percent of respondents saying “Yes,” while the 19% disapproving the idea.

Current Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has maintained a positive stance on legalizing marijuana use. In late last year, his government submitted a bill proposing to create a medical marijuana industry and the legalization of recreational marijuana use. If everything goes well, Mexico is to become one of the world’s most populous countries to legalize the drug.

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Cannabis Legalization

Community College in Illinois Now Offering Cannabis Course

Jordan Webber

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Illinois Cannabis Dispensary Course

Aspiring budtenders at Illinois dispensaries can now get training certificates with the new cannabis dispensary course at Oakton Community College.

The course helps students prepare for the laws associated with legal marijuana use, consumption, types and treating terminal illnesses. Unlike blow-off classes, this course does not let students touch any marijuana inside the classroom, instead, make use of visuals so students can differentiate each type.

Aside from drug laws, students enrolled in the cannabis dispensary course will learn more about molecular biology and the technical knowledge of working in a marijuana dispensary.

Just recently, the University of Minnesota also opened its new undergraduate Cannabis course.

This is the first and only community college in Illinois that offers a certificate course in cannabis, which highlights practical knowledge on the subject to help students land a job in the multi-billion dollar industry. After the certificate program, students will be trained at a local cannabis dispensary and patient care specialists to help them prepare to work on both medical and recreational settings.

The course will have 12 credit hours with instruction in the business and dispensary operations.

According to the Oakton Community College Vice President for academic affairs, Ileo Lott, the course offering is backed by the increasing demand of people and industry needs. Most of the dispensaries, not only in Illinois, look for employees with relatively high knowledge about marijuana.

Lott added, “They’re [dispensary owners] looking for people who know how to work with chronically ill patients and understand what they need. They’re not looking for enthusiasts who love to use the product.”

Marijuana Legalization In Illinois

The regulations about the medical cannabis patient program or MCPP is yet to be finalized by the Illinois legislation, in preparation for the legal commercial marijuana sales effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Additional medical conditions for the MCCP includes a minimum age of 21 for purchasing smokable medical cannabis like vaping products and other associated accessories. Registered MCCP patients can also grow up to five cannabis plants for personal consumption.

The new medical conditions that qualify for the MCCP include autism, chronic pain, migraines, anorexia nervosa, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Neuropathy, Ulcerative colitis, Polycystic Kidney diseases, Osteoarthritis, Superior canal dehiscence syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and Neuro-Bechet’s autoimmune disease.

Medical practitioners such as nurses and caregivers can also apply for the MCCP to assist patients as opposed to only physicians.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced last Aug. 12, 2019, the permanent medical marijuana program and qualifying conditions for the MCCP.

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Arts & Culture

The Role of LGBT Community in the Cannabis Industry

Stacey Wellington

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Cannabis and LGBT Culture
Cannabis and LGBT

No cannabis historian worth their salt can deny the contributions of the LGBT community in the world of marijuana. Some of the most important events in cannabis history are connected with members of the queer community. If this is the first time you are hearing about this, worry not because here are the most notable connections between both communities.

The First Medical Marijuana Dispensary in the US

Did you know that the first-ever medical marijuana dispensary in the United States was established thanks to the efforts of a gay man? Dennis Peron is the owner of the first dispensary in the country which was launched back in 1991 in San Francisco, California.

Wondering why and how he did so? Well, Peron lost his partner to AIDS, which even then is known to be a condition that can be treated using marijuana. Together with another advocate, he arranged a ballot initiative called Proposition P, which made medical marijuana an accessible option for patients. Around 80% of the voters approved of the bill.

By 1996, Peron organized a signature campaign called California Proposition 215 (also called the Medical Use of Marijuana Initiative or the Compassionate Use Act). The ballot initiative was passed in the November 1996 elections.

Today, Peron’s efforts paid off as California now allows the use not only of medical but also recreational cannabis. In fact, the recreational use of the plant is legal in 8 other states, including Washington D.C. AIDS and HIV are also listed among the chronic and debilitating symptoms and conditions that qualify for MMJ.

The Connection with Harvey Milk

Peron also worked with Harvey Milk, California’s very first openly gay individual elected into public office. Milk was San Francisco’s city supervisor when the Proposition W (also called Stop Prosecuting Marijuana Offenses) was passed on November 1978 with 63.7% voter approval.

The Proposition seeks to cease the arrest and prosecution of people who cultivated, transferred and possessed cannabis. It was organized by Peron, friend and supporter of Milk. The Guardian reported that Milk “helped push” the ordinance.

Milk also advocated rent control and restriction of real estate speculation. Moreover, he worked with labor leaders and opposed corporate interests including redevelopment plans. Unfortunately, Milk was not able to continue his work as he was assassinated by a homophobic cop in November 1978.

Some Marijuana Companies Support the LGBT

Suzannah Weiss from Weedmaps acknowledged that there is evidence of gender inequality in the cannabis sector. According to her, sexism and mistreatment of the LGBT occur in the industry. However, the marijuana community has shown support of the queer community in the past.

While there are companies who rode the support bandwagon to make money, there are cannabis-focused companies that funneled their funds to actually support the community.  Kiva Confections, an edibles producer, made a five-figure donation to the Los Angeles LGBT Center. The donation was announced during RuPaul Drag Race alumni Laganja Estranja’s Pride party last June.

There are also brands that directly collaborated with the queer community throughout the years through charities.

Just as the LGBT community is fighting for rights that have been long denied them, the cannabis community is also advocating for a plant that has contributed to humanity for millennia but has been negatively judged throughout the years. There’s no room for prejudice when talking about the right to use cannabis.

With the oppression and injustices faced by marijuana users in the past, including unjust imprisonment and even death, it makes sense for cannabis advocates to fight for the legalization of the plant. And the LGBT community has contributed greatly to this cause.

 

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Cannabis Legalization

Petition to Legalize Marijuana Submitted to Mississippi’s Secretary of State

Jordan Webber

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Mississippi Medical Marijuana

Mississippians for Compassionate Care, an organization advocating for medical marijuana legalization, turned in a petition to the secretary of state’s office on Wednesday aiming to register medical marijuana on Mississippi’s 2020 ballot.

According to a report from WLBT, the group has submitted a petition with a total of 105, 686 signatures. This totaled way above the minimum of 86,185 signatures required by state law to qualify Initiative 65, aka Medical Marijuana 2020, to appear on the ballot for next year’s election.

Under the law, a minimum of 86,185 certified signatures, with at least 17,237 certified signatures from each of the state’s five congressional districts, must be submitted to the Secretary of State in order for an initiative to be placed on the ballot. Moreover, all signatures must also be certified by county circuit clerks before submission.

The Mississippians for Compassionate Care had managed to originally collect 214,000 signatures in total. However, only 105,686 were certified by local clerks. Nevertheless, the group had insisted they were able to meet all the given requirements.

“The medical marijuana petition, No. 65, was filed [Wednesday]. At this time, we do not know whether the signature requirement has been fulfilled,” said a spokesperson for the secretary of state. “We are in the process of reviewing and determining the number of signatures so as to file with the Legislature on the first day of the 2020 session in accordance with [state law].”

The legality of Cannabis in Mississippi

Under the current Mississippi law, medical and recreational marijuana use remains to be illegal. However, should the initiative be approved by the Secretary of State, the Medical Marijuana 2020 will appear on the ballot for Mississippians to vote on during the November 2020 election.

Once approved by the voters, doctors from Mississippi will be allowed to prescribe medical marijuana for certain medical conditions. This includes cancer, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, HIV, AIDS, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, and other debilitating diseases.

Although the petition had garnered an impressive number of signatures, many remain to be vocal in opposing the initiative. This includes Gov. Phil Bryant, who had previously shared his opposition on Facebook.

Nevertheless, the Mississippians for Compassionate Care said they remain to be confident that the initiative will be approved by the secretary of state’s office.

“The polling is extremely positive,” said Jamie Grantham, the group’s spokesperson. “It polls above 77 percent, with every age group, religious affiliation, political affiliation, and other groups. Also, to that point, we saw the overwhelming support from the number of signatures we received.”

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