Toke TV 52: Senators Ask White House To Clarify Pot Laws! New York Times Calls For Legalization! US and Canada Highest On Earth!
New numbers released Tuesday by Washington State’s Liquor Control Board show that there has been over $2.4 million in recreational cannabis sold in the first three weeks of legal sales, which began on July 8th with just six outlets open.
These sales have resulted in $614,985 in excise taxes for the state, which doesn’t include local and state sales taxes, which comes out to an additional $240,000 (approximately) when accounting for the standard ten percent sales tax.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board has approved 334 recreational cannabis outlets, though most these are far from ready to open their doors. In many cases, this is due to a lack of steady supply due to the low amount of producers currently operating in the state. Seattle’s only outlet has been closed most of the time since opening on the 8th due to being sold out, with no way of obtaining enough supply to meet demands. Regardless, the state is still likely to surpass a million dollars in taxes made in the first month of legal sales.
In Washington, the possession, use and state-licensed distribution of cannabis is legal for those 21 and older, thanks to the passage of Initiative 502 in 2012.
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The passage of state laws legalizing the physician-recommended possession and consumption of cannabis by qualified patients has not led to an increase in adolescents’ use of the plant, according to a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research – a non-partisan research organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Investigators from the University of Colorado at Denver, the University of Oregon, and Montana State University assessed federal data on youth marijuana use and treatment episodes for the years 1993 to 2011 – a time period when 16 states authorized medical cannabis use.
Authors reported, “Our results are not consistent with the hypothesis that the legalization of medical marijuana caused an increase in the use of marijuana among high school students. In fact, estimates from our preferred specification are small, consistently negative, and are never statistically distinguishable from zero.”
A separate analysis published in April in the Journal of Adolescent Health similarly determined, “This study did not find increases in adolescent marijuana use related to legalization of medical marijuana. … This suggests that concerns about ‘sending the wrong message’ may have been overblown.”
Full text of the study, “Medical marijuana laws and teen marijuana use,” is available online here.
A new report released by the Seattle Police Department has found that of the 83 tickets given out for public consumption of cannabis this year in Seattle, 80% were distributed by one officer. That officer has since been put on administrative leave and is being reassigned.
In Washington state the possession, use and state licensed distribution of cannabis is legal. However, public consumption of cannabis isn’t legal, though in Seattle, it’s a simple $27 ticket.
As of early July there’ve been 83 of these tickets handed out in Seattle, with a recent analysis finding that those tickets were given disproportionately to minorities and the homeless. According to the Seattle Police Department, 66 of the 83 tickets were given by one officer, who calls the voter-enacted legalization of cannabis in the state “silly”.
The officer has been reported to the Office of Professional Accounting and put on leave while an investigation takes places.
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New Approach Oregon's Anthony Johnson and Oregon Senator Floyd Prozanski elaborate on the rationalization to include the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) into I-53 and what will happen to the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) after passage at the Eugene Weekly Cannabis Forum on July 22, 2014. Footage: Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) Website: http://hemp.org/news From: RestoreHemp Views: 112 7 ratings Time: 08:07 More in Music
Law enforcement in many states are making a greater number of marijuana arrests than ever before despite polling data showing that the majority of Americans believe that the adult use of the plant ought to be legal.
According to a just published report, “Marijuana in the States 2012: Analysis and Detailed Data on Marijuana Use and Arrests,” which appears on the newly launched RegulatingCannabis.com website, police made an estimated 750,000 arrests for marijuana violations in 2012 – a 110 percent increase in annual arrests since 1991. Yet, despite this doubling in annual marijuana arrests over the past two decades, there has not been any significant reduction in marijuana consumption in the United States the report found.
In 2012, marijuana arrests accounted for almost half (48.3 percent) of all drug arrests nationwide. Marijuana arrests accounted for two-thirds of more of all drug arrests in five states: Nebraska (74.1 percent), New Hampshire (72 percent), Montana (70.3 percent), Wyoming (68.7 percent) and Wisconsin (67.1 percent).
From 2008 to 2012, seventeen state-level jurisdictions experienced an average annual increase in marijuana arrests, the report found. South Carolina (11.6 percent) and the District of Columbia (7.7 percent) experienced the highest overall percentage increase in arrests during this time period. By contrast, annual marijuana arrests fell nationwide by an average of 3.3 percent from 2008 to 2012.
Overall, the study reported that the five state-level jurisdictions possessing the highest arrest rates for marijuana offenses are the District to Columbia (729 arrests per 100,000 citizens), New York (577), Louisiana (451), Illinois (447) and Nebraska (421). District of Columbia lawmakers decriminalized the adult possession of marijuana earlier this month.
The two states possessing the lowest marijuana arrest rates are California and Massachusetts, the report found. Both states decriminalized marijuana possession offenses in recent years.
Stated the report’s author, Shenondoah University professor Jon Gettman, “After a generation of marijuana arrests, nearly 19 million and counting since 1981, the results are that marijuana remains widely used, not perceived as risky by a majority of the population, and widely available. The tremendous variance in use and arrests at the state level demonstrate why marijuana prohibition has failed and is not a viable national policy.”
The following video slideshow is a compilation of photographs taken at the THCF Medicinal Gardens. The slideshow is accompanied by the song "Mary Wanna" by The Sindicate. Music: The Sindicate, Hempstalk 2013 End Cannabis Prohibition. Restore Hemp! http://hemp.org http://drugsense.org http://jackherer.com http://mapinc.org From: RestoreHemp Views: 178 0 ratings Time: 03:42 More in Music
D. Paul Stanford, Executive Director of Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH), on the initiative to legalize cannabis in Oregon at the Eugene Weekly Cannabis Forum on July 22, 2014. Footage: Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) Website: http://hemp.org/news From: RestoreHemp Views: 72 4 ratings Time: 01:14 More in Music
Anthony Johnson, I-53 Chief Petitioner, on the initiative to legalize cannabis in Oregon at the Eugene Weekly Cannabis Forum on July 22, 2014. Footage: Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) Website: http://hemp.org/news From: RestoreHemp Views: 225 10 ratings Time: 04:17 More in Music
Oregon Senator Floyd Prozanski, I-53 Chief Petitioner Anthony Johnson and D. Paul Stanford of CRRH on the effort to end prohibition in Oregon at the Eugene Weekly Cannabis Forum on July 22, 2014. Footage: Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) Website: http://hemp.org/news From: RestoreHemp Views: 100 5 ratings Time: 05:49 More in Music
The New York Times has joined the majority of US citizens in the call for a more rational marijuana policy. The White House responded with an attempt to explain why a taxed and regulated market is no “silver bullet solution.” Alluding to The Lone Ranger probably wasn’t a great idea, but I think they mean that this isn’t a panacea for every problem related to cannabis.
Of course, all our other legislation is perfect, so we shouldn’t change this policy until we have a solution with all advantages and no disadvantages.
Our government says that this use of law enforcement and court time targets marijuana users because the plant alters brain development, impedes academic achievement, impairs driving, and creates addiction. The tacit assumption, that prohibition is going to prevent all of these problems, is tenable at best. (We’ve had police officers whip out the handcuffs over 18 million times since 1981. From 1995 until now, we’ve had at least one marijuana arrest per minute. The plant is more available than ever.) But let’s forget about how prohibition isn’t going to help and address the White House’s Furious Four Factors.
The first two (brain development and academic achievement) fall under the “what about the children” category. When all else fails, it’s great to play the baby card. NORML has condemned juvenile consumption for decades now. Of course, the underground market is notoriously bad at carding purchasers. When was the last time a dealer asked for ID? Licensed distributors who could lose their livelihood for underage sales would be markedly more motivated to keep the plant from children. But let’s address the claims.
Brain Development. Regular use early in life could alter brain development. But here’s the point no one is supposed to mention: we don’t really know for sure. It’s likely. It works in animals. But it’s not proven. The niftiest gizmos that take pictures of brains often can find differences between those who’ve used early and those who haven’t. But we don’t have a time machine. We don’t really know if these people had deviant brains before they ever saw the plant.
Investigators who run these expensive studies also have a hell of a time publishing results unless they find some differences. Many would rather leave the data in a drawer than battle editors and reviewers in an attempt to publish a paper that says that marijuana has no impact. What has been found is not always consistent. It’s one brain area showing differences in one study and another in the next. Reports that find nothing, or that the non-users actually have deviant brains (e.g. Block, O’Leary, Ehrhardt, et al., 2000, who found bigger ventricles in non-users), never get mentioned. Big reviews try to tell a coherent story, but effects are small. Binge drinking is markedly worse. (See Lisdahl et al.). Cigarette smoking leads to detectable changes in brain structure, too. I’d joke that we should make alcohol and tobacco illegal following this logic, but I’m afraid some people will actually try to do so.
Academic achievement. If the government genuinely cared about my academic achievement, I think I would have learned more in public school. But that’s another issue. We know that mastering new material immediately after using cannabis is extremely difficult. Going to class high is a dumb waste of time. It would certainly interfere with grades. But what’s the real issue here?
Decades ago, researchers showed that college students who used the plant had better grades than their peers who didn’t (Gergen, Gergen, & Morse, 1972; Goode, 1971). It’s not that marijuana’s a study aid. Students who liked the plant might have taken classes they enjoyed and flourished as a result. Subsequent studies didn’t always confirm these results, and investigators lost interest.
But high school kids who use the plant often bonk their exams. Most heavy users had earned lower grades prior to their marijuana consumption, suggesting cannabis could not have caused the poorer performance (Shedler & Block, 1990). Essentially, cannabis users with bad grades in high school also had low marks when they were in fourth grade. Cannabis might not lead to bad grades, but folks with bad grades often turn to cannabis. In addition, high school students who smoke cannabis heavily also tend to use alcohol and other illicit substances. Once these factors are taken into account, the link between cannabis and academic performance disappears. These results suggest that drugs other than marijuana might lower grades (Hall, Solowij, & Lennon, 1994).
In truth, if the government wants to see better achievement in school, the best answer would require schools with funding. Perhaps we could attract more of the energetic, enthusiastic, well-trained teachers who inspire learning if we offered better salaries. Students might find school more engaging when teachers are delighted and facilities are excellent. Busting teens for possession seems too indirect a strategy for improving education.
Driving. Paul Armentano has done such a superb job of summarizing the relevant data on this topic that I don’t want to belabor it.
A few points are worth emphasizing. NORML has always opposed impaired driving. People who can’t pass appropriate roadside sobriety tests should not operate a motor vehicle. Note that passing a sobriety test has little to do with the content of anyone’s blood or urine.
A recent meta-analytic review suggests that, at most, cannabis is no worse than antihistamines and probably on par with penicillin when it comes to culpability for accidents. If we’re going to make all drugs that impair driving illegal, we’re going to have a lot of runny noses and infections to handle.
Research from The Netherlands shows that folks who use cannabis in the laboratory lose their willingness to drive (source). When the experimenter forced them, they go slower, avoid trying to pass other cars, and start putting on the breaks earlier when they have to stop. These compensatory steps probably explain why a couple of studies have found cannabis users less culpable than drug-free drivers. Surprise surprise! This work never got any press. (Drummer, 1994, Bates & Blakely, 1999).
A study of over 300 drivers involved in fatal crashes in California focused on motorists who tested positive for cannabis but no other drug. Unexpectedly, they were half as likely to be responsible for accidents as those who were free of substances (Williams,,Peat, & Crouch, 1985). Another investigation of over 1,800 fatal crashes in the United States found that drivers who used only cannabis were only 70% as likely to have caused an accident as the drug-free group (Terhune, Ippolito, & Crouch, 1992). These are literally impossible to publish anymore, potentially suggesting the bias alluded to in the Elvik meta-analysis. So don’t drive high, but drive as if you were. Go slowly. Don’t try to pass. Leave room to stop.
Addiction. The new DSM V definition of addiction qualifies me for a caffeine disorder, so I’m obviously biased. Better take what I say with a grain of salt. But be careful, salt allegedly has addictive properties, too.
After five millennia and a series of moving definitions, researchers have finally identified something that they can call marijuana withdrawal and marijuana addiction. I’m guessing that prohibitionists really love this one. it conjures up images of sweaty heroin users snatching purses and plunging needles into infected arms. Have you met people who mug girl scouts to maintain their marijuana money? Neither have I. So what is marijuana addiction supposed to be? Among the most common symptoms are disturbed sleep and, I can barely say this with a straight face, loss of appetite. Anybody who uses every day and then gets irritated on a day without the plant could end up qualifying. If you tell anyone struggling with the opiates that these are the symptoms of your addiction, you’re likely to get a swift kick in the crotch. Expert opinions suggest that only the hallucinogens are less addictive than marijuana.
The most negative thing a government can do to its citizens is punish them. If we want to use punishment, we need outstanding reasons. These four simply do not qualify.
Block, R. I., O’Leary, D. S., Ehrhardt, J. C., Augustinack, J. C., Ghoneim, M. M., Arndt, S., et al. (2000). Effects of frequent marijuana use on brain tissue volume and composition. NeuroReport, 11, 491–496.
Drummer, O. H. (1994). Drugs in drivers killed in Australian road traffic accidents. (Report no. 0594). Melbourne, Australia: Monash University, Victorian Institute of Forensic Pathology
Gergen, M. K., Gergen, K. J., & Morse, S. J. (1972). Correlates of marijuana use among college students. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 2, 1–16.
Goode, E. (1971). Drug use and grades in college. Nature, 239, 225–227.
Hall, W., Solowij, N., & Lennon, J. (1994). The health and psychological consequences of cannabis use. Canberra: Australian Government Publication Services.
Shedler, J., & Block, J. (1990). Adolescent drug use and psychological health: A longitudinal inquiry. American Psychologist, 45, 612–630.
Terhune, K. W., Ippolito, C. A., & Crouch, D. J. (1992). The incidence and role of drugs in fatally injured drivers (DOT HS Report No. 808 065). Washington DC: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Williams, A. F., Peat, M. A., & Crouch, D. J. (1985). Drugs in fatally injured young male drivers. Public Health Reports, 100, 19–25.
“Sen. Johnson has been an outspoken supporter of legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use during her tenure in the Oklahoma legislature,” stated NORML PAC Manager Erik Altieri. “Few state legislators have rivaled her passion and acumen on marijuana law reform and, if elected, Sen. Johnson would be an invaluable ally in the fight to legalize marijuana nationwide.”
“We encourage Oklahomans to support her campaign and send Sen. Johnson to Washington, D.C. to work toward ending our country’s failed prohibition on marijuana.”
“I’m incredibly thankful for NORML’s endorsement, ” said Sen. Johnson. “After years of stonewalling in the state legislature, I’m taking this fight to the people. It’s time for the people of Oklahoma to speak on this issue.”
Sen. Johnson began circulating a petition in early July to put marijuana legalization and commercialization on the Oklahoma November ballot.
“As taxpayers, we’re spending over $30 million each year policing, jailing, and incarcerating our citizens on marijuana-related offenses—often on simple possession. Yet, marijuana is almost universally available,” Sen. Johnson stated. “It’s time for a smarter approach, particularly in regards to how we spend our taxpayer dollars.”
“We have teacher shortages in Tulsa and Oklahoma City public schools, as well as in our smaller school districts. Why? Because Oklahoma pays teachers some of the lowest salaries in the nation. How many Oklahoma teachers does $30 million a year pay for?”
While serving in the state legislature, Sen. Johnson introduced measures to legalize marijuana for recreational and medical use and has been the outspoken champion of marijuana reform in the Sooner State.
The Oklahoma Democratic Primary will have a runoff election on August 26th. You can click here to check the status of your voter registration and to find your polling place.
A study published this month by the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin has found that cannabis use doesn’t negatively impact the symptoms of schizophrenia in those with the condition. Although this may come as no surprise to many, it helps to combat the prohibitionist argument that cannabis use is a detriment to those with schizophrenia.
“There are inconsistencies in findings as to whether cannabis use has a negative impact on clinical outcomes for people with established psychosis”, says professor Christine Barrowclough, PhD, who led the study. Due to these inconsistencies, researchers at the University of Manchester and University of Lancaster investigated “the relationship between cannabis use and clinical outcome, including whether change in cannabis use affects psychotic symptoms, affective symptoms, functioning and psychotic relapse in a sample of people in early psychosis with comorbid cannabis abuse or dependence.”
Their study method; “One hundred and ten participants were examined prospectively with repeated measures of substance use antecedent to psychopathology at baseline, 4.5, 9, and 18 months. We used random intercept models to estimate the effects of cannabis dose on subsequent clinical outcomes and whether change in cannabis use was associated with change in outcomes.”
After conducting the study, it was found that; “There was no evidence of a specific association between cannabis use and positive symptoms, or negative symptoms, relapse or hospital admissions.”
Researchers did find that reducing cannabis use may be associated with decrease anxiety and increased patient functioning, though they admit that these findings are inconclusive and may be explained by other factors (for example, increased anxiety may be due to the laws surrounding cannabis, and not the cannabis use itself).
A study released earlier this year, published by the National Institute of Health, found that cannabis may actually provide a treatment option for the symptoms of schizophrenia. The results echo a study published last July in the journal Neuropschopharmacology. A study published in August in the journal Psychiatry Research found cannabis use to be associated with better emotional memory and brain function in those with schizophrenia.
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Nearly nine out of ten Florida voters support legalizing the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, and a majority of Floridians support allowing adults to possess the plant for any purpose, according to the results of a statewide Quinnipiac University poll released today.
Fifty-five percent of voters support “allowing adults in Florida to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use.” Only 41 percent of respondents opposed the idea.
Voters between the age of 18 and 29 (72 percent), Democrats (64 percent), and men (61 percent) were most likely to endorse legalization, while and Republicans (41 percent) and respondents over the age of 65 (36 percent) were least likely to do so.
When asked whether patients ought to be able to access cannabis for medicinal purposes, public support rose to 88 percent, including super-majority support from respondents of all age groups and political affiliations. Seventy-one percent of respondents also expressed support for the establishment of medical cannabis dispensaries in their neighborhoods.
This November, Florida voters will decide on a proposed constitutional amendment (Amendment 2) that seeks to legalize and regulate the dispensing of cannabis to authorized patients. Because the measure seeks to amend the state constitution, 60 percent of voters must decide in favor of it before it may be enacted.
The survey possesses a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.
A new Quinnipiac University poll released today has found that an overwhelming majority of Florida voters are in support of legalizing medical cannabis, and a majority also supports the legalization of recreational cannabis.
According to the poll, an astonishing 88% of Florida voters favor medical cannabis being legalized, with just 10% opposed to the move. The poll results come with the general election in November being just around the corner, where Florida voters will have the opportunity to vote on Amendment 2, an initiative to legalize the possession, use and state-licensed distribution and cultivation of medical cannabis.
The survey found support for medical cannabis to be strong in all age groups, including being supported by 83% of those 65 and older. Although Democrats support the move more than Republican at 94%, eight out of ten Republicans were found to be in support.
“Forget the stereotypes of stodgy old folks living out their golden years playing canasta and golf,” says Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll. “Almost nine- in-ten Floridians favor legalizing medical marijuana and a small majority says adults should be able to possess small amounts of the drug for recreational purposes.” He continues; “Even though a proposal to legalize medical marijuana, on the ballot this November, must meet a 60 percent threshold, these numbers make a strong bet the referendum is likely to pass”.
When asked whether or not they would support a legal medical cannabis dispensary in their town, 71% of voters said yes, with 26% saying no.
“No ‘Not in My Backyard’ mentality here. By an almost 3-1 majority, Florida voters would allow a medical marijuana dispensary near where they live,” says Brown.
55% of Florida voters were also found to be in support of legalizing recreational, with 41% opposed.
The full poll can be found by clicking here.
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