Michigan: Adult-Use Marijuana Sales to Begin This December

Generic 16 November 2019 | 0 Comments

Select retailers will begin engaging in adult-use marijuana sales next month, according to an advisory issued by the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency.

Beginning on December 1, state-licensed medical dispensaries that possess the appropriate licensing will also be able to begin selling products to adult-only consumers.

However, only a handful of facilities are expected to be ready to engage in adult-use sales next month, the agency’s director cautioned. Currently, 41 medical marijuana businesses have been pre-qualified to receive a retail sales.

Michigan voters approved a statewide initiative last year calling upon state officials to regulate the plant’s production, use, and sale.

Pew Poll: Two-Thirds of Americans Say “Marijuana Should Be Made Legal”

Generic 15 November 2019 | 0 Comments

Marijuana PollMore than two out of three US adults believe that the personal use of cannabis should be legal, according to nationwide polling data compiled and released today by the Pew Research Center.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents say that the “use of marijuana should be made legal.” That is the highest percentage of support ever recorded by Pew, which has been surveying Americans’ attitudes on marijuana policy since 1969. Public support for legalization has more than doubled in the past decade.

The Pew survey is the fourth national poll released in recent weeks showing majority support for cannabis legalization. Recently compiled polling data by Gallup and the Public Religion Research Institute both reported that two-thirds of Americans endorse legalization, while survey data compiled by Harvard reported that 62 percent of US adults back the policy change.

Consistent with other national surveys, support for adult-use legalization was strongest among self-identified Democrats (78 percent) and Millennials (76 percent), but was weaker among Republicans (55 percent) and those born before 1945 (35 percent).

According to Pew, in 1989 only 16 percent of US adults believed that cannabis should be legalized.

“The percentage of the public who favors adult-use marijuana legalization has skyrocketed over the past three decades and shows no signs of abating,” NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said. “As more and more states have moved forward with their own marijuana liberalization policies in recent years, public support has only grown stronger. At a time when the political divides is larger than ever, the issue of marijuana legalization is one of the few policy issues upon which most Americans agree.”

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In states where recreational marijuana is legal, problematic use increased among adults and teens

Did you know that? 13 November 2019 | 0 Comments

Problematic use of marijuana among adolescents and adults increased after legalization of recreational marijuana use, according to a new study from NYU Grossman School of Medicine and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

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Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Patients Protest for Better Protections, Lower Prices

Generic 12 November 2019 | 0 Comments

Medical marijuanaLehigh Valley NORML, and medical cannabis patients from across Pennsylvania, will hold the second in a series of monthly protests at the Department of Health (PaDOH) headquarters on Forster St. “Patients First: Fixing Medical Marijuana in PA” will commence on Wednesday November 13, 2019 from 08:30 AM-5:00 PM.

These events offer a voice to the large number of registered medical marijuana patients who are deeply dissatisfied with the current program. Key concerns: Expensive prices, product shortages and quality, few legal protections and the daily threat of a DUI charge.

Their first rally, on October 23, saw a groundswell of support from the patient community, and  garnered significant media attention. The Nov. 13th protest again focuses on the struggles within Pennsylvania’s very restrictive medical marijuana program.

While boasting an enrollment of around 200,000 patients, those registered continue to suffer under the extended growing pains of a stunted program. Employers and law enforcement are also playing catch up to the new laws. Patients have faced lost jobs and needless DUI charges.

Meanwhile, those who hold the lucrative cultivation, processing, and dispensary licenses are finding new ways to profit, primarily by selling to out of state investors. Patients are stuck paying some of the most expensive cannabis product prices in the country: Average out-of-pocket expenses of over $1000 per month, with no relief from insurance.

These protests will highlight the program’s shortcomings, and offer sensible solutions directly from the patient community. A Patients’ Bill of Rights for Medical Cannabis will be offered to legislators as a proposed Resolution.

Lehigh Valley NORML Executive Director Jeff Riedy said, ”These protests were organized in response to the ongoing cries from registered patients. We fought to win this Medical Cannabis program in Pennsylvania, and we continue to support it. Now, we believe that the needs of our patients are being overlooked in favor of business enterprises. It’s time for our regulators and legislators to listen to our seriously ill residents once again.”

According to longtime NORML organizer Chris Goldstein, “It’s time for the Department of Health to begin actively evolving this program. Prices need to come down significantly for working patients, and those living on a fixed income. Healthcare only works when people can afford it.”

The next event will be on December 18, and will include a protest at the Capitol, along with a rally and brief press conference inside the Capitol Rotunda. Patients will engage in citizen lobbying efforts throughout the day.

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Congress Should Lift the Ban on Medical Cannabis Access for Military Veterans

Generic 12 November 2019 | 0 Comments

Americans in 33 states and the District of Columbia have legal access to medical marijuana under a doctor’s authorization. But this same access is often lacking for many military veterans.

That is because the current policy of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs explicitly prohibits V.A. physicians “from completing forms or registering veterans for participation in state-approved [medical marijuana] program[s].”

… Continued congressional intransigence on this issue is unacceptable. Emerging evidence indicates that cannabis can potentially mitigate many of the symptoms plaguing our nation’s veterans.

For example, a 2014 study reported a 75 percent reduction in PTSD symptomology scores following subjects’ enrollment in a state-sponsored medical cannabis access program. Separate data from Minnesota similarly reports that many patients enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis registry show a “clinically meaningful” reduction in post-traumatic stress symptoms.

Most recently, data published this month in the Journal of Psychopharmacology reported that those with a clinical diagnosis of PTSD who consume cannabis possess significantly lower rates of severe depression and suicidal ideation than those who do not.

… It is time for Congress to grant physicians affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs the same discretion as other doctors in medical cannabis states. Politicians should no longer put politics ahead of the health and well-being of America’s military veterans, some of whom may potentially benefit from medical marijuana.

Read NORML’s full op-ed at The Hill here.

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