California allows home deliveries of cannabis including in areas that have banned cannabis dispensaries
Even though Prop. 64 permits cannabis business from seed to sale and provides opportunities for local governments to obtain significant new tax revenues, over 75% of California's cities and counties ban all cannabis businesses including retail outlets. This results in forcing their residents to drive hundreds of miles to a locality that allows sales or, as most continue to do, obtain cannabis from criminals.
Based on a section of Prop. 64 that reads: A local jurisdiction shall not prevent transportation of marijuana or marijuana products on public roads by a licensee transporting marijuana or marijuana products in compliance with this division, the Bureau of Cannabis Control has determined that local jurisdictions cannot ban the delivery of cannabis to any home anywhere in California by any licensed cannabis retail business no matter where it is located in California. Needless to say this ruling has pissed-off many local elected officials who, along with the League of California Cities, are mounting a legal challenge to the ruling.
This will take years to work its way through the court and no doubt will wind up before California's Supreme Court. In the meantime, residents can have cannabis delivered to their homes and the local police and code enforcement officers cannot stop it. Rolling Stone which delights in regularly publishing cannabis related stores wrote a short but excellent article on the cannabis delivery conundrum. To read it CLICK HERE.
Presence of THC in blood not associated with vehicle crash culpability
Conjuring up images of a blood bath on our highways and children run down by stoned drivers leaving a fast food joint, government funded drug warriors have been spreading misinformation and outright lies about the dangers of marijuana and driving. Scrambling to find sky-is-falling scenarios to frighten the public, driving under the influence of marijuana is one of their most successful gambits, but a new study is throwing cold water on their inflammatory rhetoric.
In a study published in the July 2019 issue of Addiction, researchers wrote: "we found no increase in crash risk, after adjustment for age, sex, and use of other impairing substances, in drivers with THC less than 5ng/ml. For drivers with THC greater than 5ngml there may be an increased risk of crash responsibility, but this result was statistically non-significant and further study is required."
To read the study CLICK HERE.
Cannabis dispensaries associated with drop in local crime
One of the most prevalent myths promulgated by those opposed to the legalization of marijuana is that crime will increase wherever it is sold causing businesses to flee and neighborhoods to deteriorate. This myth is especially promulgated by police who have always opposed the legalization of cannabis whether it is for medical or adult use. Local officials tend to listen to what their local police chief tells them which motivates them to oppose allowing commercial cannabis businesses to operate in their areas as permitted by Prop. 64. They do this even if their citizens voted in favor of Prop. 64 and they may lose hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in new tax revenues.
Although multiple reports have shown that crime not only does not increase, but actually decreases in areas where commercial cannabis businesses operates, the myth continues to be propagated. A new report published in the September 2019 issue of Regional Science and Urban Economics found that the opening of a cannabis dispensary resulted in a 19% decrease in crime. It is interesting to note that a previous study published in the March 2018 issue of Preventative Medicine found that crime was more likely to occur in association with alcohol and tobacco stores then cannabis stores. For more information on cannabis leading to a lower crime rate CLICK HERE.
Adolescent cannabis use is not associated with structural brain differences in adulthood
Like ISIS marching children before them as they attack infidels, marijuana prohibitionists march children before them as they attack the rising forces of marijuana law reform advocates. Ominously citing research papers, they warn that teens who smoke marijuana will have lower IQs and decreased cognitive abilities due to stunted brain development as a result of their use of cannabis.
Trying to sound professional, learned and more knowledgeable then thou, they liberally toss out regions of the brain - orbitofrontal region, neocortex, hippocampus, amygdala - claiming with little or no evidence that teen brain Armageddon is just around the corner if they consume cannabis. Most of the studies alleging detrimental results from marijuana use by adolescents failed to account for the concomitant use of alcohol which has been found in multiple studies to cause all the problems in adolescents that drug war advocates ascribe to marijuana.
Fortunately there are researchers who are not on the take of Office of National Drug Control Policy who have done the research to show that this is all scare-mongering reefer madness. In a truly exhaustive and amazing study of 1,000 adolescent boys, the authors concluded "Adolescent cannabis use is not associated with structural brain differences in adulthood." To read the study CLICK HERE.
Cannabis “effective for the treatment of chronic pain in adults"
Opioid based pain medications are the most dangerous drugs in America with over 1.25 million emergency room visits, 1.9 million nonfatal opioid overdoses and 47,600 deaths in 2018 accounting for 2/3rds of all deaths in the U.S. from drug overdoses. Almost 170 million prescriptions were written for opioids in 2018, mainly for pain.
Anecdotally used for thousands of years to treat pain, more and more peer-reviewed evidentiary based research is substantiating that the ability of cannabis to mitigate pain is effective and safe. To learn how cannabis access laws translate into a very real-world reduction in opioid prescriptions CLICK HERE.
Deaths from vaping-related illnesses foment vaping crisis and political hysteria
Although vaping has been practiced for thousands of years dating back to ancient Egypt, the beginnings of its mainstream use goes back less then 50 years. The e-cigarette is even newer being developed by the Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik Chinese. Hon Lik's father had died from lung cancer due to smoking tobacco and he wanted to develop a smokeless and hence safer way of ingesting tobacco's addictive ingredient nicotine. He made the first e-cigarette which he patented in 2003. Touted as a safer way to ingest tobacco and as way to wean a person off tobacco, the e-cig was first introduced in Europe but soon made its way to the U.S. in 2007.
It wasn't long before cannabis consumers saw the benefits of using e-cig type vapes for consuming cannabis. Since smoking cannabis, like smoking tobacco, introduces carcinogens (cancer causing agents) into the lungs, it was believed that by using a smokeless oil-based cartridge for inhaling cannabis, vape pens were inherently safer. Also since cannabis was illegal vape pens made for an easy, discrete and even stylish use as no one would know if you were vaping cannabis or tobacco. In addition the cannabis vapor creates a less potent and hence less noticeable aroma.
For almost a decade e-cigs and cannabis vape pens were used by millions with no problems. In 2019, an outbreak of severe vaping-associated lung illnesses manifesting symptoms such as coughing, chest pain, and shortness of breath, as well as nausea and vomiting, swept the nation. By December 2019, over 2,500 cases have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and two U.S. territories (Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands) with 54 confirmed deaths.
Although vitamin E acetate which is used as a diluent thickener has come under scrutiny, the exact cause of the vaping-associated lung illnesses is not known. It does occur more often in users of cannabis vape pen, especially illicit vape pens, then in tobacco e-cig users. Even though the number of deaths is relatively small compared to the 400,000 annual deaths in the U.S. from smoking tobacco, the media, with its mantra of "if it bleeds, it leads" has hyped the problem to levels that are reminiscent of the reefer-madness reporting of not-too-long ago. As a result, a frenzied panic has engulfed our elected officials who are falling all over themselves passing legislation restricting and banning e-cigs and cannabis vape pens.
A fairly good, thorough and less hysterical analysis of the issue has been published by Rolling Stone. To read it CLICK HERE.
Domestic hemp production SOARS
Every five years, Congress passes legislation that sets national agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and forestry policy, commonly referred to as the “Farm Bill.” Titled the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, the $867 billion package passed Congress in a rare bipartisan show of support and was signed into law by President Trump on December 20.
The bill is notable for its section removing industrial hemp, which contains less than 0.3% THC, from the federal Controlled Substances Act. Most importantly for cannabis enthusiasts and CBD aficionados, the bill makes legal all products containing cannabinoids derived from hemp. Although the FDA is tying itself in knots over trying to regulate all the health claims being made relating to hemp-derived CBD, the genie is out of the bottle as can be seen by the easy availability of CBD from Walgreens to the corner convenience store.
With 34 states licensing hemp production, 16,877 farmers cultivated over 500,000 acres in 2019. American farmers will now be able to cultivate a crop that is used in an estimated 50,000 different products across a wide spectrum of industries: from textiles to food products, building materials to bio-plastics, nutraceuticals to nanomaterials, ethanol to animal bedding. China and Canada were the main importers of hemp into the U.S, but now American farmers will be giving them some real competition. For more info CLICK HERE.
Almost 60% of primary care doctors agree cannabis is “legitimate medical therapy”
When the Marijuana Tax Act was passed in 1937, the only organization that appeared before Congress in opposition was the American Medical Association which was represented by Dr. William Woodward. In the 1937 hearings for the Marihuana Tax Act, Dr. Woodward defended the AMA’s position that cannabis should be regulated but not prohibited. In his lengthy testimony, he refuted the hyperbolic claims put forward by the proponents of marijuana prohibition, offering a prescient view of how our society should handle drug addiction in general, and marijuana in particular. Unfortunately the AMA eventually capitulated to the rising tides of reefer madness succumbing to the vociferous racism engineered by law enforcement and allowing it to be removed from the US Pharmacopoeia in 1941. The passage of California's pioneering medical marijuana initiative in 1996 was met with great skepticism and condemnation by most medical organizations - the California Medical Association and the California Nurses Association being notable exceptions.
The practice of medicine is a science and the overwhelming medical research that has being published since 1996 and the anecdotal communications to doctors by millions of their patients has finally resulted in many doctors and the organizations that represent them returning to the position that they held in 1937. To read the study on the change that has overcome medical doctors CLICK HERE.
11 states plus DC have legalized marijuana with support for legalization at an all-time high
With Illinois jumping on the cannabis bandwagon in 2019, there are now 93,593,875 people or 28% of U.S. population living in states where cannabis is legal for adults to use for any reason. The number will grow significantly in 2020 with New Jersey, New York and New Mexico expected to pass initiatives or legislation legalizing cannabis for adult-use. That cannabis legalization is on-a-roll should not be a surprise as polls show over 2/3 of Americans support cannabis legalization and 91% support medical marijuana legalization. For more information on states legalizing cannabis for adults CLICK HERE. For information on the latest poll numbers CLICK HERE.
House judiciary committee passes MORE act to remove cannabis from Controlled Substances Act which would end federal marijuana prohibition
We have lived through over 80 years of reefer madness prohibition since congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 and almost 50 years since the Controlled Substances Act was enacted further criminalizing cannabis. Finally a light at the end of the tunnel has begun to glimmer with the passage of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act by the House judiciary committee.
The MORE Act will remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act essentially ending federal marijuana prohibition. From the Judiciary Committee, the bill will now go to the floor of the House in 2020 where its passage is expected. From there it goes to the Senate where it's fate is questionable at best. From there it lands on the desk of President Trump who has expressed support. To read more CLICK HERE.
Some folks might consider this story to actually be the number one story of 2019. Science requires that any hypothesis must be verifiable and reproducible and that is exactly what these two studies published in 2019 do - they verify and reproduce an earlier study that found cannabis consumers have a lower body mass index (BMI), weigh less and have a smaller waist.
Note that the studies do not prove that smoking marijuana causes people to lose weight or even helps them to avoid gaining weight. It unequivocally concludes that there is link between cannabis use and a lower BMI and the concomitant benefits that come from having a lower BMI, but it would be wrong to conclude that using marijuana would cause a person to lose weight. There could be a biological mechanism since a previous study found a connection between regular cannabis use and lower insulin resistance and improved blood sugar control which may help to prevent weight gain.
Whether the link is the lifestyle of cannabis users, a biological effect of cannabinoids on the body or combination of both, these studies cast asunder the old stereotypes of cannabis consumers being junk food consuming couch potatoes. To read the study on cannabis and lower BMI CLICK HERE. To read the study about cannabis, lower BMI and reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders CLICK HERE.
Go ahead and consumer as much cannabis as you want, it won't make you fat and as you can see from the top stories of 2019, cannabis will improve your health and make your life safer and more enjoyable. 2020 is going to be an amazing, fulfilling and exciting year with twists and turns of unknown and unfathomable origins. No matter what happens we have cannabis and the reason is because so many have worked so hard, contributed so much and would not passively accept the forced absence of this magnificent plant from our lives.