Cannabis laws

Anyone want a tonne of dope?

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I mean it…does anyone want a tonne of dope? …a Washington state farmer is selling a tonne of legal dope.

A Washington state farmer is selling off a ton of marijuana — literally 2,000 pounds worth — to the highest bidder in one of the first large-scale legal pot auctions in modern American history.

On Saturday, Randy Williams of Fireweed Farm in Prosser, Wash., will offer for sale the marijuana he’s been growing all summer. Most legal marijuana in Colorado and Washington, the only states with legal recreational marketplaces, is grown indoors under electricity-hogging lights in much smaller batches.   Read more »

Medicinal Cannabis coming to Australia

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As more states and countries around the world start legalising cannabis the pressure is going to come on John Key to look at legalisation of cannabis sooner rather than later.

Tony Abbott is a convert and his government is moving to legislate for the introduction of medicinal cannabis.

The federal government would be given oversight over the production and distribution of medical cannabis under new legislation to make the make the drug available to patients with chronic pain.

The push to legalise medical cannabis is gathering pace, with Greens Senator Richard Di Natale, chairman of the cross-party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy and Law Reform, now finalising a bill that is set to be introduced into Parliament next month.

Supporters of legalised medical cannabis have been buoyed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s strong public support for the legalisation of the drug for medical use.

“I have no problem with the medical use of cannabis, just as I have no problem with the medical use of opiates,” Mr Abbott wrote in a letter to 2GB radio host Alan Jones, dated August 23.

“If a drug is needed for a valid medicinal purpose … and is being administered safely there should be no question of its legality.”

Jones, who has been campaigning in support of medical cannabis, read Mr Abbott’s letter on air earlier this month.

Senator Di Natale, a former GP, is also pushing for the Therapeutic Goods Administration to create a special category for the drug so that it can be available with a doctor’s prescription. The TGA currently lists cannabis as a prohibited substance.   Read more »

NY Times endorses legalisation of cannabis

The NY Times has taken an editorial stance supporting the legalisation of cannabis.

The New York Times editorial board endorsed the repeal of federal law banning marijuana use on Saturday, a landmark moment in the decades-long fight for legalization.

The Times is also rolling out an interactive six-part series with more editorials discussing issues related to marijuana use. In the first interactive editorial, which turns the stars of the American flag into marijuana leaves as the user scrolls down, the editorial board argued that the ban on marijuana has caused “great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.”

“There are no perfect answers to people’s legitimate concerns about marijuana use. But neither are there such answers about tobacco or alcohol, and we believe that on every level — health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues — the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization,” the board wrote. “That will put decisions on whether to allow recreational or medicinal production and use where it belongs — at the state level.”

The Times is the biggest U.S. newspaper to endorse the legalization of marijuana. In recent years magazines like National Review and a few state newspapers like the Las Vegas Review Journal and the Star-Ledger Editorial Board have endorsed legalization.  Read more »

The Governor who opposed legalisation of cannabis and what he thinks now

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The Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, is a Democrat who opposed legalisation of cannabis in the state.

The voters however saw differently and voted for legalisation. Accordingly he then had to implement the wishes of the people.

Here are ten things he has passed comment on about the whole process.

1) As Colorado attempts to build its brand as a healthy state, marijuana “dilutes what you’re trying to do.”

2) “I think decriminalization would’ve been a wiser first step.”

3) One of the best things about marijuana legalization: “I think the black market has been damaged. I think people are willing to pay taxes and to go through pretty rigorous regulation.”

4) “Some of the anxiety has been laid to rest. We don’t see a spike in adult use. We don’t think we see a spike in youth consumption although there are some things that are disconcerting.”

5) One of the governor’s concerns: “This high THC marijuana, what can it do to a brain that is still developing?”

6) One of the governor’s complaints: federal rules that prohibit dispensary owners from putting their money in banks. “If you really want to introduce corruption into legal marijuana,” he said, “make it an all cash business.”

7) On unanticipated problems: There’s been “a dramatic increase in edibles.” And “no one had ever worried about dosage sizes. The original edibles that came out, once you took the packaging off there was nothing to show it was any different than candy.”   Read more »

Cannabis – the dissenting view

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In case I get accused of pushing one particular agenda or another here is the counter argument against legalisation of cannabis from the Heritage Foundation.

Ken Sabet outlines what he says are the Seven Myths arguing that cannabis is fine.

Myth No. 1: “Marijuana is harmless and non-addictive”

No, marijuana is not as dangerous as cocaine or heroin, but calling it harmless or non-addictive denies very clear science embraced by every major medical association that has studied the issue. Scientists now know that the average strength of today’s marijuana is some 5–6 times what it was in the 1960s and 1970s, and some strains are upwards of 10–20 times stronger than in the past—especially if one extracts THC through a butane process. This increased potency has translated to more than 400,000 emergency room visits every year due to things like acute psychotic episodes and panic attacks.

Mental health researchers are also noting the significant marijuana connection with schizophrenia, and educators are seeing how persistent marijuana use can blunt academic motivation and significantly reduce IQ by up to eight points, according to a very large recent study in New Zealand. Add to these side-effects new research now finding that even casual marijuana use can result in observable differences in brain structure, specifically parts of the brain that regulate emotional processing, motivation and reward. Indeed, marijuana use hurts our ability to learn and compete in a competitive global workplace.

Additionally, marijuana users pose dangers on the road, despite popular myth. According to the British Medical Journal, marijuana intoxication doubles your risk of a car crash.

Myth No. 2: “Smoked or eaten marijuana is medicine.”

Just like we don’t smoke opium or inject heroin to get the benefits of morphine, we do not have to smoke marijuana to receive its medical effects. Currently, there is a pill based on marijuana’s active ingredient available at pharmacies, and almost two-dozen countries have approved a new mouth spray based on a marijuana extract. The spray, Sativex, does not get you high, and contains ingredients rarely found in street-grade marijuana. It is likely to be available in the U.S. soon, and today patients can enroll in clinical trials. While the marijuana plant has known medical value, that does not mean smoked or ingested whole marijuana is medicine. This position is in line with the American Medical Association, American Society of Addiction Medicine, American Glaucoma Foundation, National MS Society, and American Cancer Society.    Read more »

Cannabis law reform: it is inevitable

Shane Colislaw notes almost a third of Kiwis responding to a survey are already illegal potheads

Questions about cannabis law reform are again being posed, with a survey revealing that most users would not use more if the drug became legal.

The Global Drug Survey, conducted in partnership with Fairfax Media, shows that we are a nation of cannabis smokers, with more than a third of the almost 6000 respondents having used it in the past year.

Respondents were also asked about their attitude towards legalising drugs, and how their behaviour would change if the law was amended.

More than 50 per cent said they would not drink more or use more drugs if small amounts of cannabis were made legal, while 20 per cent also said they would be happier about disclosing their use.  A quarter said they would be more comfortable seeking help for a drug problem.

The whole “make it legal and use will spiral out of control” fear appears to be scaremongering.   Read more »

Even the happy hand clappers are coming around on cannabis reform

They are calling it God’s plant, but there is growing evidence that the happy hand clappers are coming around to cannabis reform.

Jesse Stanley sees marijuana as “God’s plant.” He is one of five brothers—all alums of an evangelical high school—who grow medical marijuana from their two dispensaries in Colorado Springs, Colo. As he put it to the website FaithStreet: “God is moving in the hearts of men and women and children around the world about this plant in ways that I never would’ve imagined.”

The Stanleys got into the marijuana business in 2009 because of a cousin who was in pain and wasn’t helped by conventional treatment. Several years in, they made an unexpected breakthrough. The mother of a 5-year-old girl named Charlotte came into their dispensary seeking help for her daughter’s severe epilepsy. Wary about giving marijuana to a young girl, the Stanleys took a strain called “Hippie’s disappointment” that was low in THC (the chemical that gives the buzz), and created a new blend, high in cannabidiol (the chemical with the medical potential). Charlotte could take it in small doses.

Remarkably—the Stanleys might say miraculously—Charlotte’s seizures decreased dramatically. They dubbed their blend “Charlotte’s Web,” and started a charity called Realm of Caring, which has helped reduce the seizures of hundreds of children like Charlotte. Gaining national attention, the Stanleys even melted the heart of CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, who had been a major critic of medical marijuana.  Read more »

Simple really, but one is legal and one is not

Pew Research has some interesting results in a poll that shows the public get it when it comes to cannabis vs alcohol.

 

If only our law makers could get it too.

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[T]here has been a major shift in attitudes on whether or not the use of marijuana should be legal. As recently as four years ago, about half (52%) said they thought the use of marijuana should not be legal; 41% said marijuana use should be legal. Today those numbers are roughly reversed – 54% favor marijuana legalization while 42% are opposed.   Read more »

The politics of pot is changing

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Another poll, this one by CNN has been released about legalisation of cannabis.

Again the majority support legalisation. This echoes two other polls Gallup’s and Pew’s.

The politics of pot is changing. The middle of the political spectrum is conformable now with legalisation, and so will some politicians who will, from these polls, see that there isn;t much electoral danger in considering exploring legalisation.

Times have changed and attitudes are being reflected in the polling. Politicians are creatures of polls and they will be starting to contemplate where to go on this.

A majority of Americans think marijuana should be legal, a new poll finds, with support steadily increasing over the past few years.

Fifty-five percent of those surveyed thought using pot should be legal, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Monday night, compared with 44 percent who said it should not be.  Read more »

Legalisation of Cannabis is going to become an avalanche

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After Colorado moved to full legalisation and licensing of cannabis other states are rushing to join in.

Uruguay has legalised and put in place a regime similar to that of tobacco and alcohol. It is only a matter of time as state after state embraces legalisation.

Most of the western world will follow suit. I predict that some states and countries will move to a halfway house of decriminalisation first…which will lead Police to stop enforcement anyway, followed by legalisation. That is probably what will happen in Maryland.

Amsterdam, Vancouver, and Silver Spring?

Maryland could become the latest destination for legal marijuana, joining the states of Washington and Colorado, if an effort to allow the regulated sale of the drug in the Old Line State becomes law.

In an interview with The Washington Post on Friday, Mike Miller, the powerful president of the Maryland Senate, said, “I favor the legalization and taxation of marijuana, with restrictions.” Miller, a relatively conservative Democrat who has opposed both same-sex marriage and abolishing the death penalty, said he believes his position is the way of the future. “I know where people are going to be a generation or two from now,” he said.  Read more »