January 2019

Canada just legalized recreational pot. Here’s what you need to know

(CNN)People in Canada are cheering, enduring long lines and honking their car horns in support as the country’s first marijuana dispensaries open their doors Wednesday.

Like Power, hundreds are now legally buying recreational marijuana all over Canada but not without adjusting to a few rules.
As marijuana enthusiasts continue celebrating this historic day for Canada, here’s a quick primer to get you up to speed.

    Who can buy marijuana in Canada?

    Adults of at least 18 years old will be allowed to carry and share up to 30 grams of legal marijuana in public, according to a bill that passed the Senate in June.
    They will also be allowed to cultivate up to four plants in their households and make products such as edibles for personal use.

    Where can I buy it?

    The supply of recreational marijuana could be limited, at least early on, in some stores.
    Officials in Nova Scotia and Manitoba said they won’t have a large selection, at least not on the first day, CNN affiliate CBC News reported.
    “My father is going to be my first customer, and my second customer is going to be a lady who has [multiple sclerosis],’ Thomas Clarke, who owns Thomas H. Clarke’s Distribution cannabis retail store in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, told CBC News.
    Marijuana will not be sold in the same location as alcohol or tobacco. Consumers are expected to purchase the drug from retailers regulated by provinces and territories or from federally licensed producers when those options are not available.

    Can I travel in and out of Canada with weed?

    No.
    Please, save yourself a lot of trouble. Whether you are entering or leaving Canada, it is illegal to have marijuana with you, and you could face criminal charges.
    You can’t travel across international borders with it, even if it you are going to Colorado or any of the other eight US states where it has been legalized.

    What about previous pot charges?

    Authorities will soon announce plans to pardon Canadians who have been convicted with possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana, CNN partner CTV reported.
    The production, distribution or sale of cannabis products will still be an offense for minors.

    Why did they legalize it?

    The Canadian legislation, known as the Cannabis Act, stems from a campaign pledge of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to keep marijuana away from underage users and curb marijuana-related crime.
    Some health care professionals in Canada have said they are afraid of the consequences of legalizing marijuana. Stringent rules will still govern the purchase and use of marijuana.
    Canada’s government also made changes to impaired driving laws to address repercussions for driving under the influence of cannabis.
    Legalizing cannabis is expected to create an industry worth more than $4 billion in Canada.

    Where else is it legal?

    Not in many places. Canada is only the second country in the world — and the first G7 nation– to allow a nationwide marijuana market. In December 2013, Uruguay was the first country to legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana.
      Nine states in the United States and the District of Columbia now allow recreational marijuana use. Medical marijuana is legal in some form in 30 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
      The pot industry took in nearly $9 billion in sales in 2017 in the United States, according to BDS Analytics. The revenue from those sales is equivalent to the entire snack bar industry.

      Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

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      Just One Thing: Attracting investors with passion

      This post is part of our High-tech High series, which explores weed innovations, and our cultural relationship with cannabis, as legalization in several U.S. states, Canada, and Uruguay moves the market further out of the shadows.


      For many, the days of palming eighths from a seedy dealer are over — as states scramble to legalize recreational and medical marijuana, consuming weed has become sleeker, cleaner, and more complicated

      With the influx of cannabis-related products in legal states, shopping for weed is all the more confusing. How much THC should you look for in your vape pods? What the hell is a terpene? Should your vapes produce massive mango-scented clouds? 

      It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of flavors to try, much less the kind of high you’re trying to achieve. 

      “There’s a unique synergy that goes on with those molecules,” Jeffrey Raber said over a phone call. Raber has a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Southern California and founded The Werc Shop, one of the first research laboratories testing cannabis. 

      According to Raber, recreational users aren’t just looking to get high, but are seeking specific effects “based on these molecules being present.” 

      Here’s the rundown on what you should look for in a good cannabis oil vape, often just referred to as a  pen.

      Sativa or Indica?

      If you’ve ever passed around a joint, you’ve probably asked the seminal question for all stoners: Is this a sativa or indica? 

      While indica-dominant strains are known for the most stereotypical, clouded “couch lock” high, sativas claim to promote creativity with a clear mind. Raber says that’s mostly bullshit. 

      “The potential for these effects is absolutely real,” he said. “Do they come from those plants labeled or designated as those types of botany definitions? That’s very mixed up.” 

      Here’s the thing: Labeling something as a sativa or indica doesn’t tell you much except what the plant looks like. Cultivators still categorize strains by indica and sativa labels to denote growth patterns and physical traits. As Weedmaps puts it, “Botanists use these terms to classify plants on the basis of shared characteristics, not on their effects on the human body.”

      “It’s unfair to tell an insomniac an ‘indica-like’ plant is going to give you a sedative effect and you’ll be able to sleep better, when in fact it may not,” Raber said.

      According to Raber, most strains are pretty hybridized at this point. If you’re looking for a specific kind of high, you should keep an eye out for terpenes. 

      What the heck is a terpene?

      Terpenes are oils found in all plant life — Raber calls them the “fundamental building blocks” for flora to communicate with the world around it, from attracting insects to releasing scents.

      “Different terpene mixtures will define what makes different cultivar strains of cannabis,” Raber said. If you remove the THC and CBD from a strain, the defining factors differentiating each strain are the terpenes present.

      Lavender oil, for example contains linalool, a terpene found to induce relaxation and reduce anxiety. When combined with CBD, it can produce a sedative-like high. 

      Researchers have found that terpenes work along with cannabinoids like CBD and THC to have an “ensemble” or “entourage” effect. 

      “Cannabinoids are important for turning it on,” Raber explained. “But which direction is goes is gonna be determined by which terpenes and other minor cannabinoids are around them.”

      So if a cannabinoid — like THC, for example — is your acceleration, then terpenes are your steering wheel. Instead of falling for what Raber calls the “name game” of increasingly bizarre labels for new strains, the chemist suggest “trusting your nose.”

      “In the absence of test data, try and smell it!” he said.

      Is more THC a good thing?

      There’s no doubt that weed is way stronger than it used to be. But a higher THC content doesn’t necessarily yield a better high. Although some brands boast pods that clock in at 90 percent THC, Raber warns against consuming products like that.

      “It’s either bad testing or devoid of terpenes,” he said. Raber reasons that a pod with 80 percent THC that includes 10 percent terpenes will be “much stronger” than anything that measures 90 percent or more THC. 

      “They really add to the effect,” he said. “It’s important that you’ve got a well-rounded composition with many components as opposed to just THC.” 

      Cutting agents? Fillers?

      If you create massive vape clouds every time you take a hit, it’s probably not a good sign. Although juuls and other nicotine pens are known for producing fruity cumulus-like puffs, cannabis vapes shouldn’t. 

      Raber says there are “much better” alternatives to the fillers used in nicotine pens. 

      “This is a much different set of molecules that you can deliver in different ways,” he insisted. While nicotine is more water soluble, Raber says, cannabinoids and terpenes are oil soluble. 

      But you can’t just put extracted oil in a cartridge and expect it to have the same effect as lighting the bud and inhaling its smoke. To get around the complicated hassle of figuring out a well-rounded compound, companies “cut” the viscous oil with additives to sell cheaper, lower quality products. 

      There are four widely used cutting agents: Polyethylene glycol (PEG), Propylene glycol (PG), Vegetable glycerin, and coconut oil. Since vegetable glycerin is “more like water,” according to Raber, it’s unlikely you’d find it in a weed vape. And while coconut oil and other fatty acids blend beautifully for tinctures, they’re not ideal for vaping because they tend to dry out more quickly. 

      PEG and PG aren’t great for you either; As Rolling Stone pointed out in an investigation on vape pen safety, “A study from 2010 showed inhaling propylene glycol can exacerbate asthma and allergies, and multiple studies have shown that propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol break down into carcinogens formaldehyde and acetaldehyde — especially when vaped at high temperatures.”

      Just avoid cutting agents at all costs — Raber suggest looking for cartridges that use terpene-based fillers, both for a better high and healthier lungs. 

      Personalization and predictability 

      As recreational users figure out what kind of high they want, vaping has become more personalized, and more predictable. 

      Dosist, formerly branded as hmbldt, manufactures impossibly aesthetic weed pens that administer a precise 2.25 mg dose of vaporized cannabis with every hit. A review in the Atlantic compared the little pens to “if Muji made a tampon.” The pens come in six different categories, including “sleep” and “arouse,” defined by desired mood instead of by flavor or strain. 

      “Dose is critical to any therapeutic tool and it’s no different with cannabis,” dosist CEO Gunner Winston said in a emailed statement. “If you don’t know how much or what formulation you’re ingesting, you can’t effectively manage or predict the benefits.” 

      The PAX vape battery has a similar philosophy; the powerful little PAX Era allows the user to adjust the temperature, potency, and flavor via an app. An app!! According to its product description, wants users to “achieve session predictability.” 

      Look for the same high every time

      Predictability is something that Raber wants to see more in the cannabis industry — sure, you may be able to finally get the precise kind of high you were looking for, but can you recreate that? Are your reactions consistent? There are few regulations that require growers to continually produce plants and compounds with consistent results.

      “As a consumer, am I getting the same thing every time?” he asked. “And then I can start to count on it and fine-tune what compositions I like and my desired effects.” “

      In California, where The Werc Shop is based, Raber wants to see stricter statewide regulations that would require companies to include not only the THC and CBD percentage of their products, but the terpenes and cutting agents included as well. He believes that greater transparency will allow people to have more control of the high they’re seeking. Brands and manufacturers are already pushing for it. 

      “The people have spoken, all over the place, that we want to know more about this plant, we want access to this plant,” Raber said, referencing the push for nationwide legalization. “Now the question has become, ‘Which version of the plant?'”

      Read more: http://mashable.com/

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      Voters approve abortion restrictions and recreational marijuana in state ballot initiatives

      (CNN)The midterm election was not just an opportunity to change the face of Congress and statehouses nationwide. Voters in 37 states also considered ballot measures on social and political issues such as health care, marijuana and election policies.

      Some were initiated by citizens, others by lawmakers. The questions included whether to restrict abortion access, expand Medicaid, or change voting requirements.
      Here are some of the ballot measures we’re keeping an eye on nationwide. We’ll continue updating the results as they come in.

        Abortion

        Three measures in three states concerned abortion access and funding.
        In Alabama and West Virginia, voters approved changing their state constitutions to say that they do not protect the right to an abortion or require funding of abortions.

          Abortion wasn’t always taboo in America

        Alabama’s Amendment 2 will also change the state constitution to say that it supports the rights of unborn children, giving them constitutional protections.
        West Virginia’s Amendment 1 also prevents state taxpayer money from being used to pay for abortions for those on Medicaid.
        Oregon voters rejected Measure 106, which would have prohibited publicly funded health care programs from covering abortion.

        Crime, justice and sentencing

        Voters in six states — Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina and Oklahoma — voted to approve some version of a measure often called “Marsy’s Law.” South Dakota passed one in June.
        The proposals varied from state to state, but each would add specific protections for victims of crime to a state’s constitution. Such protections include the right to be notified about hearings or the release of the accused, the right to restitution or the right to refuse an interview or deposition at the request of the accused.
        Supporters of Marsy’s Law say it gives victims more say in what happens in their cases. Opponents, including the American Civil Liberties Union, said victims already have these types of rights through state laws and warned that enshrining victims’ rights in state constitutions creates a false equivalency between them and the rights of the accused. They warn that Marsy’s Law could undermine the rights of the accused and divert resources from those in need.
        Washington state’s initiative 940 would change the legal standard for use of deadly force in officer-involved shootings. It would effectively lower the bar for prosecuting officers by establishing a good faith standard for opening fire.
        The measure would also require law enforcement officers to receive ongoing training in violence de-escalation and how to interact with people with mental health issues. And it would establish a duty for officers to render first aid.

        Election policies

        Florida voters passed Amendment 4,which restores voting rights for felons after they complete their sentences, including parole or probation, except for those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense. The law is expected to give the right to vote to 1.5 million people.
        Ohio voters in May approved a statewide measure to establish a new redistricting system. Four more states — Colorado, Michigan, Missouri and Utah — weighed similar measures for their state legislatures, their congressional districts, or both.

          How gerrymandering got its name

        Measures passed in Colorado and Michigan. The Colorado initiative will create a 12-member independent redistricting commission instead of having the state legislature draw district maps. Michigan’s Proposition 2 establishes a 13-member redistricting commission and provides criteria for members and maps.
        More states considered measures related to voting requirements and ballot access.
        Voters in Arkansas and North Carolina approved amendments requiring voters to present a photo ID to vote in person.
        Maryland voters chose to authorize the general assembly to pass legislation that lets qualified people register to vote on Election Day. Ballots in Michigan and Nevada asked whether to allow automatic voter registration for those who interact with certain government agencies.

        Marijuana

        Six measures on four state ballots concerned the legalization of recreational or medical marijuana.
        Voters in Michigan approved a measure that allows people 21 and older to use marijuana and changes current violations from crimes to civil infractions.

          Why weed is stuck in a legal limbo

        Missouri had three competing measures. All of them proposed to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, but with different proposed sales tax amounts and revenue uses:
        – 2% tax, with revenue to be spent on veterans’ services, drug treatment, education and law enforcement
        – 15% tax, with revenue to be spent on a biomedical research institute
        – 4% tax, with revenue to be spent on health care services for veterans
        Voters in Utah are deciding whether to legalize medical marijuana, and Michigan and North Dakota voters weighed citizen initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana.
        Oklahoma voted in June to approve medical marijuana.

        Minimum wage

          A tale of two minimum wages

        Two measures in two states proposed increasing the minimum wage to $11 by the year 2021 in Arkansas, and to $12 by 2023 in Missouri.

        Medicaid expansion and health care

        Four measures on four state ballots concerned Medicaid expansion or funding for Medicaid expansion.
        Voters in Idaho, Utah and Nebraska considered whether to require their state governments to accept the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. In Montana, voters had the chance to force the state to continue accepting the expansion.
        Nebraska, Utah and Idaho voters said yes to expanding Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, including individuals under age 65 whose income is 138% or below the federal poverty line who aren’t eligible for other state insurance coverage.

          The debate over Medicaid explained

        The initiatives in Montana and Utah proposed a tobacco tax increase and a sales tax increase, respectively, to provide funding for the expanded coverage. In January, Oregon voters approved a measure upholding legislation to provide funding for expanded Medicaid coverage through a tax on health insurers and revenue of certain hospitals.
        In Nevada, Question 2 would amend the Sales and Use Tax Act of 1955 to remove taxes on feminine hygiene products, also known as the pink tax.

        More to watch

        Massachusetts voters chose to keep a state law that protects transgender people from discrimination in public places.
        Florida voters passed Amendment 13, which creates a prohibition on racing or betting on greyhounds or other dogs by 2020.
          More than 70% of Alabama voters approved an amendment to the state constitution authorizing the display of the Ten Commandments on state and public property, including schools, and to prohibit spending public funds to defend the constitutionality of the amendment.
          California’s Proposition 6 would repeal fuel and vehicle taxes passed by the legislature in 2017 for road repairs and public transportation.

          Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

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          Weed Growers Not High On Vicente Fox’s Goal To Add Pot To NAFTA

          Former Mexican President Vicente Fox is planting a seed as far as trade agreements go: He wants to add marijuana to North American Free Trade Agreement.

          Fox currently sits on the board of Vancouver-based medical marijuana producer Khiron Life Sciences Corp., and he believes cannabis should be treated like any other form of produce, according to Bloomberg.

          Mexico legalized medical marijuana in 2017, and Fox predicts recreational weed will become legal in the country next year. He’s high on the idea, saying it could help curb drug cartel violence.

          “We can change criminals for businessmen, we can change underground, illegal non-taxpayers into an industry, a sector of the economy,” Fox told Bloomberg on Thursday. “I think it should be part of NAFTA and that’s what I’m pursuing.”

          But that possibility gets marijuana growers like Jamie Warm all out of joint.

          Warm, the CEO of Henry’s Original, a Mendocino, California-based cannabis company, believes making pot part of NAFTA could be devastating to American agriculture.

          “U.S. farming has collapsed as it has been outsourced everywhere,” he told HuffPost. “How is that fair? But cannabis is one crop that small farms have relied on for income.”

          Although the cannabis industry is growing, Warm said it’s also become more corporate, making the barriers to entry into the market more difficult for small farmers.

          Allowing cannabis from other countries could nip the industry in the bud since “U.S. farmers have to deal with environmental regulations and worker protections that other countries don’t have.”

          Lex Corwin, the founder of Stone Road Farms in Los Angeles, also sees big problems with Fox’s proposal.

          “NAFTA is a federal trade agreement and marijuana is federally illegal, therefore marijuana can’t be included until it’s federally legalized,” he told HuffPost.

          But even if cannabis does become legal on a federal level, Corwin doesn’t think it should be included in international trade agreements.

          “Small cultivators and manufacturers are struggling enough with California’s excessive regulation and constantly changing legal framework,” he argued. “If we add foreign-grown, low-cost marijuana to the equation, it would be a death sentence for many American marijuana businesses and the tens of thousands of well-paying jobs this industry provides.”

          Kenny Morrison, president of the California Cannabis Manufacturers Association, holds out hope that pot smokers will ultimately prefer quality above cheap weed, but he added that legally available Mexican marijuana could impact the industry.

          “There will always be a market for California craft cannabis, but could Mexico disrupt it to a large degree? Yes. it happened to kale, why not cannabis?”

          Some pot industry people think a NAFTA deal could be considered in the future, but not in the current climate.

          Matthew Nathaniel, the general manager of Heavy Grass, a Los Angeles-based vape company, said trade agreements could be the future of cannabis production, but he added that Mexico, Canada and the U.S. are just too far apart on legality.

          “Additionally, none of the three have a proven regulatory system, with all three having struggles in the early stages of market development,” he told HuffPost. “There’s still much to do before a deal of this scale can be a reality.”

          But while many in the pot industry are hesitant about including marijuana crops in NAFTA, some investors believe the benefits outweigh the potential downside.

          Wil Ralston, the president of SinglePoint, a publicly-traded cannabis and technology holding company, believes allowing the import and export of legal cannabis would create huge growth in the industry.

          “While I understand that there might be concerns from U.S. cultivators, I do see an agreement like the one Vicente Fox proposes greatly expanding the potential U.S. market size for exports, in addition to opening a new and lucrative supply chain between U.S. and Mexican companies,” he told HuffPost.

          Meanwhile, Leslie Bocskor, President of Electrum Partners, an advisory services firm specializing in medical and recreational cannabis, said he’s certain that marijuana won’t be added to NAFTA anytime soon ― and so is the guy who is suggesting it.

          “President Fox knows that the Trump Administration will never add Cannabis to NAFTA at this time,”Bocskor told HuffPost. “However, he does know that the timing to have this conversation for the first time is now.”

          CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly cited a quote from Leslie Bocskor as being from Erik Knutson.

          Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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          Green Tuesday: Crowds expected at 1st East Coast pot shops

          FILE – In this Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018 photo a cannabis plant is displayed on a screen at New England Treatment Access medical marijuana dispensary, in Northampton, Mass. New England Treatment Access, and another store in Leicester, Mass., have been given the green light to begin selling recreational pot on Tuesday, Nov. 20, making them the first commercial pot shops in the eastern United States. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

          More than two years after voters in Massachusetts approved of recreational marijuana for adults, there are finally places to buy it legally.

          The state’s first commercial pot shops are set to open Tuesday in Leicester and Northampton. The stores will be the first to operate on the East Coast of the U.S., and large crowds are expected to gather at both locations.

          Items for sale will include various strains of marijuana flower, pre-rolled joints and edibles such as brownies and chocolate bars.

          Cannabis is sold legally in six Western states.

          The rollout of legal pot sales has been slow in Massachusetts, with regulators saying they wanted to make sure it was done safely and without some of the supply issues other states have faced.

          Several more stores could open in the coming months.

          Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/

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          Dazed and confused: Canada cannabis legalization brings complex new laws

          Recreational marijuana will be legal throughout the country, but rules will vary from province to province

          Canada will this week become the second country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana, but as they negotiate a patchwork of new legislation and inconsistent enforcement, smokers may soon find that their enjoyment of weed is still blunted.

          New rules governing cannabis use are different in each of the countrys 10 provinces and three territories, and campaigners warn that experimentation could still result in hefty fines or even arrest.

          There will be more laws around the cannabis plant after legalization than there were before, said Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, a professor at the University of Toronto. I dont think the average Canadian is aware of that.

          The prime minister, Justin Trudeau, was elected on a manifesto promise to follow the example of Uruguay and legalize cannabis, arguing that the move would cut the estimated C$6bn ($4.5bn) in profits pouring into the black market.

          As of Wednesday, Canadians aged 18 and over will be able to legally purchase the drug for recreational use. (Medical marijuana has been legal since 2001.)

          Exactly how they will be able to buy it will vary from province to province: Nova Scotia, (population 940,000) will have 12 stores, run in conjunction with the provinces liquor board; British Columbia (population 4.6 million) will have just one. In Ontario Canadas most populous province it will initially only be available online.

          Its amazing that Canada has taken this position, setting the stage for the world to watch as we show how cannabis legalization is a good thing, said Robin Ellins, the owner of a cannabis accessory shop in Toronto. Weve spent a quarter of a century advocating for legalization. And now, its here.

          But regulations rushed into place to govern the legal market could have jarring and unintended consequences, said Abby Deshman of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

          Were legalizing the industry, but criminalizing a lot of the aspects around the use of cannabis, she said.

          Only purchases from officially recognized stores will be legal: someone selling a few ounces to a friend could still face fines or even jail time.

          Giving marijuana to a minor remains illegal, so an 18-year-old sharing marijuana with a 17-year-old could in theory face a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail.

          The danger in this is that people are going to go out and think that theyre using a legal substance and will use it in a variety of ways that may seem innocuous, but could result in criminal charges, said Deshman.

          Meanwhile, the government has shrugged off calls for an amnesty for those prosecuted under the previous legal framework: more than 15,000 have been charged over marijuana-related offences since Trudeau was elected in 2015.

          I want to see social justice happen to those who were criminalized for possession of the plant, said Ellins. I want to see them go back and expunge that.

          Studies have found that black and indigenous residents have faced disproportionate charges and sentencing in Canadas criminal justice system, and legal experts warn that racial disparities will persist after legalization.

          Because our policing practices are racialized anyway, theres no reason to think thats going to change after legalization, said Owusu-Bempah.

          Weve got evidence from a number of American states that the racial disparity in arrests for things that remain illegal actually grow after legalization or decriminalization.

          Even with more minor aspects of the law, the rules vary dramatically across the country: in Ontario, people will be free to smoke or vape marijuana anywhere they can legally consume tobacco, but in Saskatchewan, public consumption of cannabis will incur a $200 fine; in Manitoba the penalty will be $672.

          Travelling with marijuana will not be straightforward: in Manitoba, it must be kept in the cars trunk. In Prince Edward Island, it can be kept in open packaging, but out of the reach of the driver or passengers. But in Canadas north, residents of Nunavut will be barred from carrying it any vehicles.

          Stiff penalties will be imposed for anyone caught with more than five nanograms of THC the psychoactive component of marijuana in their blood. But critics argue the limit is arbitrary and not backed up by science and warn that medical marjiuana users, who develop higher natural THC levels in their blood, could end up facing severe punishment.

          The stakes are potentially much higher at the border with the US, where marijuana possession and trafficking remains a federal crime. The US border agency was recently forced to clarify that Canadians who work in the burgeoning legal marijuana sector will be allowed to travel to the US, after several were reportedly turned back at the frontier.

          Meanwhile, some police officers are still wondering if they themselves will be able to use marijuana while off-duty: in Vancouver, officers have been told to treat it like alcohol, as long as they show up for the job sober. But members of the Toronto police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police must wait 28 days after consuming the drug before they are considered fit for duty.

          Many of the laws reflect a cautious approach by both the federal and provincial governments and a recognition that the rollout and enforcement will be a learning process for every group involved, said Deshman.

          One thing is certain, she added: There will be legal challenges.

          Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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          Utah Lawmaker’s Weird Encounter With A Marijuana Gummy Bear Goes Viral

          A Utah lawmaker is going viral after an unusual experiment with edible marijuana.

          Specifically, a gummy bear.

          Democratic state Sen. Jim Dabakis ― a self-described “marijuana virgin” ― traveled to Las Vegas, where pot is legal, to show his fellow lawmakers that the drug was “no big deal.” He then shared much of the experience on Facebook.

          Utah will vote on a proposal to legalize marijuana for medicinal use in November; the legislature also plans to consider a medical marijuana initiative after the election. 

          In his first video, Dabakis visited a marijuana dispensary and obtained his gummy bear. 

          “I thought it was about time that at least one legislator knew a little bit about marijuana before we changed all the laws,” he said. 

          “I have to admit somewhat shyly I have never tasted, smoked, eaten, shot up, marijuana in my life,” Dabakis added as he showed off a $30 packet of gummies and ate half a bear.  

          “I wouldn’t recommend it as a sheer candy,” he declared. “It’s a little bit bitter.”

          The first video concluded with a promise to return later to share his experience, which Dabakis did in a second video that was posted on Monday.

          “I made it back. I’m healthy,” Dabakis said after returning to Utah. “I wouldn’t suggest shooting up marijuana to anybody, but I’ll tell you: I think it’s a lot of ho-hum. I think the ‘Reefer Madness’ crowd, guys, you need to try it. It’s not that big a deal.” 

          Dabakis later told the Salt Lake Tribune that the comment about “shooting up” marijuana was a joke

          Dabakis said he felt “a little high,” but the experience with the drug didn’t change his life. He also urged everyone to “mellow out” on the issue:

          Dabakis concluded by encouraging voters to pass the measure. 

          Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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          Joint support: left and right in rare agreement on cannabis

          Two-thirds of the US favor marijuana legalization, making it one of the least divisive issues in the country

          With the US weeks away from the most contentious midterm election in at least a generation, Americans of all political persuasions increasingly want marijuana to be legal.

          Two-thirds of the country favor recreational legalization and polls consistently show support for medical use well above 80%. In 1996 when California became the first state to allow medical use, roughly one in four Americans wanted to legalize the drug. Since then there has been a seismic shift, and today, according to the data site FiveThirtyEight, support for legalization is among the least divisive issues in the country.

          Refreshingly, public opinion on marijuana policy refuses to conform to the countrys familiar red state/blue state divide. While legalization is somewhat more popular with Democrats, it has long attracted supporters from the libertarian right.

          With public opinion strongly in favor of legalization, it has become the default position for Democrats, while political realities have pushed Republicans in the same direction.

          Now that 31 states allow medical use, support for legalization has climbed amid perceptions that cannabis may be a treatment option for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and could be an exit drug for people addicted to opioids. The evidence that marijuana relieves these overlapping scourges is still more anecdotal than scientific, but both have been hard-felt in conservative, rural areas. Hope for relief has led veterans, a traditionally right-leaning constituency, to overwhelmingly support medical marijuana research.

          31
          Thirty-one states allow medical use, and polls suggest voters in conservative Utah will pass a stricter medical marijuana law on election day, despite initial opposition from the Mormon church. Illustration: Sam Morris

          The dynamic was apparent in June, when voters in deep-red Oklahoma approved a permissive medical marijuana law. Polls suggest voters in conservative Utah will comfortably pass a stricter medical marijuana law on election day, despite initial opposition from the Mormon church, the states most important institution. The religion, which doesnt permit consumption of alcohol or caffeine, has become comfortable with doctor-supervised medical marijuana use but not recreational use, whether legal or not.

          In November, legalization proponents hope to unseat Congressman Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican who has blocked votes on modest measures like allowing Veterans Administration doctors to recommend medical marijuana in states where its legal. Sessions (no relation to the anti-legalization US attorney general, Jeff Sessions) is in a competitive race and recently met with mothers who advocate for research into cannabis as a treatment for autism.

          Sessions opponent, Colin Allred, is a civil rights attorney and former NFL player who supports medical marijuana legalization. (Former NFL players who suffer severe chronic health problems, are a small but influential constituency that has advanced acceptance of medical marijuana.)

          One unusual aspect of the legalization debate as it plays politically is that with few exceptions, neither supporters nor opponents are especially eager to discuss marijuana and the consequences of legalization.

          The cannabis industry sees itself as an engine for creating jobs and offering the public a safer alternative to alcohol, but very few public officials are willing to go that far. Instead both Democrats and Republicans emphasize the potential benefits for veterans, and oppose harsh penalties for minor marijuana offenses. Ive yet to hear a politician say it will be a net benefit to society when every American adult has access to weed. Substantial campaign donations await whoever is willing to make the case.

          Legal, commercial marijuana may yet prove to be beneficial. But as access becomes easier, its also likely to become clear that there are drawbacks to many more Americans spending much more of their lives high. When that happens its possible to imagine Democrats calling for tighter control of legal cannabis and the industry gravitating to the anti-regulation GOP.

          Until then, politicians of both parties have absorbed the lesson: no one wins votes by taking away the peoples weed.

          Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

          adminJoint support: left and right in rare agreement on cannabis
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          Mormon church backs deal to legalize medical marijuana in Utah

          Ranking global leader Jack Gerard said they were thrilled to be part of effort to alleviate human pain and suffering

          The Mormon church joined lawmakers, the governor and advocates to back a deal on Thursday that would legalize medical marijuana in conservative Utah after months of fierce debate.

          The compromise comes as people prepare to vote in November on an insurgent medical marijuana ballot initiative that held its ground despite opposition from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

          The Utah governor, Gary Herbert, said he would call lawmakers into a special session after the midterm election to pass the compromise into law regardless of how the initiative fared. If it passes, it will be revised under the terms of the deal. It if fails, the legislature would consider a law under the new framework.

          The agreement in such a conservative state underscores the nations changing attitude toward marijuana. Medical use is now legal in more than 30 states and is also on the November ballot in Missouri. So-called recreational marijuana goes before voters in Michigan and North Dakota. If passed, it will be a first for a midwestern state.

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          The Utah-based faith had opposed the ballot proposal over fears it could lead to more broad use, but its ranking global leader, Jack Gerard, said leaders were thrilled to be a part of the effort to alleviate human pain and suffering.

          Though it still must go to a vote, the deal has the key backing of both the church and leaders of the Republican-dominated state legislature, who said the regulations in the hard-won agreement had their seal of approval. Unlike the ballot initiative, the compromise wont allow people to grow their own marijuana if they live too far from a dispensary. It also doesnt allow certain types of edible marijuana that could appeal to children, like cookies and brownies.

          I will do everything in my power to ensure this compromise passes in the special session, said the Utah senate president, Wayne Niederhauser.

          Medical marijuana advocates are backing the deal to avoid wrangling and uncertainty that could continue if the ballot initiative passes.

          There will be medical cannabis here in our day in Utah, said the advocate DJ Schanz. The two sides agreed to scale back media campaigns supporting and opposing the ballot measure known as Proposition 2.

          Not all medical marijuana advocates were convinced: Christine Stenquist with the group Truce said she remained skeptical about the deal and urged continued support for the ballot proposal.

          Smoking marijuana would not be allowed under the ballot proposal. It instead allows edible forms, lotions or electronic cigarettes.

          While the church opposed the ballot measure, leaders also made their first-ever public statement supporting the use of medical marijuana if prescribed by a doctor and dispensed by a pharmacy. The churchs positions carry outsized sway in its home state.

          The faith had long frowned upon medical marijuana use because of a key church health code called the Word of Wisdom, which prohibits coffee as well as alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs.

          Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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          You Can Now Get Cannabis On The NHS

          From today, doctors in Britain will be able to prescribe cannabis-derived medicine to patients, in what’s being called a “long overdue and historical day.”

          A change in the law came into effect on November 1 allowing specialist doctors – not your local GP – to prescribed cannabis-based medicinal products on a case-by-case basis for conditions where other medicines have failed, as per a statement from the UK Home Office. Furthermore, doctors will no longer need to seek approval from an expert panel in order for patients to access the medicines.

          A big factor in the decision has been the dogged efforts of campaigners and highly publicized cases of Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell, two children with severe epilepsy who were denied access to cannabis oil despite it being the only medicine that had any relieving effect on their condition.

          “Having been moved by heartbreaking cases involving sick children, it was important to me that we took swift action to help those who can benefit from medicinal cannabis,” Home Secretary Sajid Javid said in a statement.

          “We have now delivered on our promise and specialist doctors will have the option to prescribe these products where there is a real need.”

          Jon Liebling, Political Director of the pressure group United Patients Alliance, said in their own statement: “This is a long overdue and historical day for medical cannabis in the UK.”

          Cannabis-derived medicine will be freely available through the National Health Service (NHS). According to new guidelines, it should only be prescribed when there is “clear published evidence of benefit” to the patient.

          Research into the medicinal properties of cannabis is still in its early days. However, a number of small studies have shown that it could hold some true potential in the treatment of all manner of health problems, such as alleviating chronic pain, controlling muscle spasms associated with epilepsy, and reducing nausea in chemotherapy patients.

          Until today, cannabis was listed as a Schedule 1 drug in the UK, which means it is judged to have no therapeutic value but can be used for research. Now, certain cannabis products are a Schedule 2 drug, meaning they have a potential medical use.

          However, it’s worth remembering that most forms of cannabis remain a Class B drug, so possession of the substance for recreational use it could still land you in trouble with the law.

          Read more: http://www.iflscience.com

          adminYou Can Now Get Cannabis On The NHS
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