Florida will add medical marijuana referendum to U.S. election in November

Florida is the latest state to have a referendum on the legalisation of cannabis.

A proposed constitutional amendment to allow medical use of marijuana will be back on the ballot in November and organizers said Wednesday that growing public support and a larger voter turnout in a presidential election year should help pass the measure that narrowly failed in 2014.

The group organizing a petition drive to put the issue on the ballot now has 692,981 certified voter signatures, nearly 10,000 more than it needed to put the proposed amendment on the ballot.

“We feel very good that 60 percent plus of Florida voters will finally approve a true medical marijuana law,” said Ben Pollara, who is organizing the effort for United for Care.

The state requires that constitutional amendments receive at least 60 percent approval from voters. In 2014, 57.6 percent of voters supported a medical marijuana initiative. Pollara said at the time that supporters hoped lawmakers would recognize that most Floridians wanted to legalize medical marijuana and pass a bill to approve it.

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Medical marijuana approved for one case. If it can be approved for one, why not all?

There is good news and bad news on the medicinal cannabis front.

The good news is that one woman has approval from Pharmac for funding to use Sativex in an attempt to help her; the bad news is that no one else has.

A woman who may have otherwise died from her regular severe seizures has been granted approval for medical marijuana funding.

Alisha Butt, 20, has the mentality of a toddler and is unable to speak.

Her seizures had presented a huge problem for specialists who were unable to adequately treat her, leading to the possibility she could end up in a coma from one and die.

But thanks to medicinal marijuana extract Sativex, Alisha is able to live a more comfortable life.

“Since being on Sativex for over 4 months, she has shown a great improvement,” mum Sushila Butt said.   Read more »

Dope-growing teacher still registered

We’ve been told that Charter Schools and the government put children at risk because there isn’t a mandatory requirement for registration. The teacher unions and Labour tell us that kids need protection and teacher registration is the way to protect them.

And every week we are presented with headlines about teachers before the courts or the tribunal for offences…like drug cultivation.

A Northland relief teacher who was caught growing cannabis has kept his registration after renouncing the drug.

Colin James White, 61, was convicted of cultivating cannabis in December 2014 after police found cannabis growing in his backyard.

Police were visiting the home where White lives with his ex-wife on an unrelated matter when they found four plants growing in a tunnel house in between tomato plants.

A search inside the house revealed two containers with 738 cannabis seeds hidden behind a skirting board and a small amount of dried cannabis.   Read more »

Dunne on Kelly: the government will not be swayed by “emotional nonsense”

The pontificating ponce, Peter Dunne, and the happy hand-clapper child-smacker, Bob McCoskrie, have as good as told New Zealand that they’d prefer cancer sufferers to hurt real bad.

They have come out against legalisation of medicinal cannabis.

Family First fears a push to make medical cannabis more easily obtainable will lead to decriminalising marijuana in New Zealand.

Former union boss Helen Kelly has written poignantly about the battle she and others face to obtain medical cannabis and is calling for a referendum on the issue at the next election.

Family First says groups who want dope legalised are promoting medicinal marijuana, which manipulates society’s compassion for people with serious pain and health concerns.

“But marijuana will then be diverted from medical programs to recreational purposes,” says Bob McCoskrie, the conservative lobby group’s national director.

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Helen Kelly really keen to have some Marijuana now, And a referendum

Helen Kelly draws much-needed attention to the legalisation of cannabis issue.

And I agree with her. I watched my Mum die slowly from cancer. I offered to get her some weed to help, but Mum decided not to…because it was illegal. I told her at the time that there was nothing anyone could do if she did, she was dying and she shouldn’t have to do that feeling shit.

Former union boss Helen Kelly has written poignantly about the battle she and others face to obtain medical cannabis.

The Australian federal government is planning a licensing scheme to allow cultivation and distribution of medical cannabis while the issue remains a hot topic in New Zealand.

Ms Kelly was diagnosed with lung cancer in February 2015 and stood down as the boss of the Council of Trade Unions in October.

She has spoken openly about her cancer journey and has said she’s been breaking the law by taking cannabis oil to manage pain.

“I am taking nothing really that can stop this cancer killing me, and in not too long a timeframe to be brutally honest,” she says in a post on the left-wing blog The Standard yesterday.

“It is my view that a good cannabis product will help me live the rest of my life in a better situation than I will without it. The fact I can’t do that shows the absurdity of the whole regime.”   Read more »


Marijuana reform hits next stage – no need for referendum, just legislate

More and more states are legalising cannabis. Usually the issue ends up on the ballot paper in a state referendum, but the governor of Vermont is going to just legislate to legalise.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin says he will seek to legalise marijuana through the legislative process, instead of through the ballot box, for the first time in the United States.

In a State of the State address, the Democratic governor said more than 80,000 Vermonters reported using marijuana last year, contributing to a black market. He said legislators needed to proceed step by step to regulate marijuana.

“That’s why I will work with you to craft the right bill that thoughtfully and carefully eliminates the era of prohibition that is currently failing us so miserably,” he said, according to a copy of the address on his website.   Read more »

The unintended consequences of anti-tobacco policy

In the US it has been found that teens are smoking cannabis more than cigarettes now.

Could this be an unintended consequence of a focus on combatting tobacco, while at the same time legalising cannabis?

For the first time, more high-school seniors smoke marijuana daily than smoke cigarettes daily, according to a new survey of teen drug use released Wednesday morning by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. An equal number of sophomores—3 percent—use marijuana daily as smoke cigarettes.

Though each year, fewer high-schoolers perceive regular marijuana use as risky, the number of 12th-grade, daily marijuana smokers has remained relatively stable, hovering near 6 percent since 2012. The reason marijuana use has overtaken cigarettes is because of the rapid decline in cigarette smoking among high schoolers over the past five years. Among 10th graders, for example, there has been a 55 percent drop in the daily smoking rate since 2010.

In an interview, the NIDA director Nora Volkow chalked up the reduction in smoking to “prevention campaigns targeting adolescents specifically.”  Read more »

Canadians want to buy weed from the government


VICE reports that Canadians, contemplating legalisation of cannabis after the election of Justin Trudeau, would prefer that the government be the provider of legal cannabis.

Canadians, known for their sensibility (a.k.a. boringness) and love of weed, want the Trudeau government to legalize pot and sell it through government-run stores, a new poll says.

The Forum Poll, made available exclusively to VICE, shows 40 percent of those polled want a legalized model where a few large companies grow cannabis and then distribute through government run stores where it can be taxed.

The most popular answer for what to do with those green tax dollars is to put the money into Canada’s debt (21 percent), followed by drug addiction programs at 17 percent. Putting the money into law enforcement or government surveillance didn’t make the cut as an option.   Read more »

What is the most dangerous drug in the world?

Is it cannabis? What about heroin? Or cocaine?

How about none of those…let’s see what the science says:

David Nutt is the Edmond J. Safra professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London. He’s one of the world’s foremost experts on drugs, in terms of their use, their effects on the human brain, and international drug policy. Drug Science – formally the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs – is a science-led drugs charity and research organization headed by Professor Nutt.

In 2010, a now-infamous paper was published by the group detailing their scientific analysis on the harms of drugs available in the U.K., both legal and illegal. Sixteen parameters of harm were chosen, and were divided in terms of the specific drug’s direct and individual effects on the user. A direct effect of a drug on a person could be death through an overdose, for example; an indirect effect could be damage caused by becoming infected with HIV while using contaminated syringes. Each drug’s effect on others and the wider society were also taken into account.

The list included mortality likelihood, dependence, impairment of mental functioning, loss of tangible socioeconomic things (such as a house or a job), physical injury, and criminal activities. The economic cost to the country, as well as the international damage (in terms of political and societal destabilization, for example) were also considered.

“Ranking twenty different drugs on sixteen different harms – that’s the best method we’ve had,” Professor Nutt told IFLScience. In a more general sense, the detrimental effects of drugs could be divided into two broad categories: harm to others and harm to users.    Read more »

A more important referendum than the one for the flag

A Waikato law professor thinks that focussing on the flag when other pressing priorities exist is a wasted opportunity.

His preference was for a referendum on cannabis legalisation.

You are being offered the wrong referendum. The matter to be decided should not be the design of a flag on which 6000 people have made submissions, but the status of a law which 400,000 people feel inclined to break each year.

The question of whether crime should be reduced, taxes collected and liberty increased on par with comparable risks, has been the subject of referendums in Oregon, Colorado, Washington and Alaska. It is likely California, Arizona, Maine and Massachusetts will also in the near future legalise the recreational use of marijuana.

The current position in New Zealand is that marijuana should be prohibited as the risks are too high to allow the public to have regularised access to it. The evidence shows that the risks are real.

Nine per cent of all people who use marijuana become addicted. All users run the risk of short- or long-term impacts. Immediate use impairs reaction times and hinders concentration, significantly increasing the risk of accidents.

Longer-term risks, especially with people who have a genetic predisposition towards particular mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, are strongly negative. All of these risks will heighten as improved growing techniques produce increasingly powerful products.

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