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Cannabis culture and Discussion

Erasing stigma through information

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Mexico Legalizes Medical Marijuana

The President of Mexico, Enrique Peña on Monday had made a decree stating that cannabis is now legal to use for medical purposes in the country.  It’s surprising, and this seems to be the opposite approach to what he has had in the past.  This comes after a landslide victory for the same bill in April of this year in the lower house in parliament and this momentum seems to have something to do with the president taking action.

Products made and sold will have to contain less than 1% THC or lower currently. However cannabis cultivation of the whole plant for scientific or medical purposes will not be a punishable crime.  Which is very important language luckily that was added to the proposal.  I hope in the future both raw cannabis and extracts with high percentages of THC and CBD are available by purchase like we have in the states so they also can have safe reliable access.  Within the next couple weeks the Health Ministry will be establishing guidelines and regulations for this brand new medical marijuana movement.

Like anywhere Mexico has plenty of people suffering from a number of severe and minor aliments that could be treated by this plant.  Many of these conditions need all the chemicals that the entire natural plant produces and this most definitely includes THC. To try and reduce the amount of this important chemical is almost defeating the point of using the medicine in the first place.  Yet, this is still an important move because it is a clear signal from the government that the people and legislature can’t be ignored for long.  As we hear more about exactly what patients are allowed to possess and their rights, we’ll get a better idea on how Mexico plans to treat the thousands of suffering people who are looking for a natural alternative to harmful medications.

How Likely is 2017 Nationwide Legalization?

There is more than one reason why I believe this question should be addressed.  However, there is one significant factor that led to the writing of this article. That would be the legalization of cannabis in the state of California.  This means an additional 40 million people will be subject to different laws then the rest of us living in the same country.  There is far more momentum from this passage then the 4 states before them.  I really believe it’s going to be hard to ignore the countries most populous state make it clear we need reform in our laws.  On top of that, at the same time Nevada, Massachusetts. and Maine all legalized it in similar manners that allowed the sale of it in many forms.  That means 8 states allow at least possession of personal amounts and recreational shops to open in the states.  Tax revenue will be collected from each one of these states although that will take a year or longer in the states that passed laws this past November.

All these positive changes that have taken place recently are still facing the same old powerful opponents that stand to lose tons of money if marijuana is allowed to be used and sold.  I think it’s very clear that we will win as more and more people become aware of why exactly marijuana was even made illegal and how wrong it is to continue this war.  It’s more of a matter of when this will happen.  The DEA are dragging there feet harder then ever and have refused to even reschedule the drug to a lower category in their nonsense hierarchy of drugs.  They do not want to lose their easiest target and the largest source of their funding and arrests.  There really isn’t as much of a drug problem once you remove marijuana because that’s the key component to all their operations and their way of justifying thousands of jobs.  Taking this all into consideration I say the chances it becomes legal for all 50 states this year is not very good.  I hate to not be optimistic but we are still erasing the stigma to this day that 80 years of prohibition has caused and it may take a little more then this year and a big state decision to change federal law.  Once they start seeing all the tax revenue coming from California in the years to come they may change their thinking.

Massachusetts Cannabis Prohibition is Over

Although it was November 8th of this year when Massachusetts voted to eliminate penalties for personal consumption and cultivation of marijuana, the law officially takes effect today.  For legal sales, the soonest we’ll see stores opening is not until January of 2018 however.  This is huge as Massachusetts is the first state on the east coast to implement a law like this.  Maine also passed the ballot measure to legalize marijuana but it hasn’t taken effect yet.  Keep in mind, these two states are very far away from the next closest recreational state of Colorado.  This is definitely a victory worth celebrating and is the best example of an effective drug policy outside the western coastal area.

So what can the people of Massachusetts do exactly without going to prison or facing fines?  What they should have always been able to do, cultivate and bring up to an oz of buds with them on their person.  At home, the rule is 6 plants per person and total of 12 per household.  You can also have up to 10 ounces kept at home.  Prices at the recreational shops are sure to be ridiculously high when first starting out, so make sure to start your grow now and save some serious cash come 2018.  Tax rates in the state are supposed to be low in comparison to other states like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon but the law of supply and demand the first opening months will guarantee some pricey buds.

For those of us that can’t grow because they don’t have the resources, knowledge, or time to put into an operation, there are no new options for obtaining cannabis.  It’s illegal for people to sell and advertise on Craigslist and other sites so still go to your connection that you used before it became legal.  There is no real legal way to purchase weed it’s suppose to just appear from nothing.(wouldn’t be so bad)  Sticking to this method will not put the consumer at any additional risk instead of going to someone new who is openly advertising illegally.  There have been plenty of cases on the news of police operations based on this idea in other states.  This is a huge moment in history for personal freedom and I am just smiling thinking about the real crime that will be stopped, and the innocent lives that will be saved from the permanent damage of a criminal record.  As long as you remember not to use in public or surpass the limits allowed, you can sleep at night knowing you’re no longer considered a criminal.

November’s Election- How Much Momentum will be Gained?

There is one thing to look out for in this November elections other than our great presidential candidates.  Cannabis initiatives will appear before voters in 9 different states.  This includes recreational and medical marijuana measures, all individually important in each jurisdiction. The initiatives for recreational use include California, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada.  If all were to pass it would be the most recreational cannabis initiatives passed in a single election year and bring the serious momentum we need for long awaited federal change.  While going state by state is likely the only way to do this, it’s a painfully slow process to wait for a beneficial regulatory system to be put in place countrywide.  Three other states: Florida, Arkansas, and North Dakota will decide whether or not to allow suffering patients legal access to the plant.  Minnesota also will  be voting on whether or not to ease their strict restrictions when it comes to their medical marijuana program.

So starting with California it is probably the most important and crucial win for this election cycle.  This is mainly because of the large population of Americans that live in the state of California.  A large number of people are going to experience two different worlds when they visit other parts of the country after an initiative.like this.  The polar opposites of being thrown in jail and purchasing it from a store is going to apply pressure on law makers to do something sooner then later.  From what I’ve read it has a good chance of passing compared to other states like Arizona.  A similar proposal failed to pass back in 2010 but also was not during an election year where voter turnout will be increased.

Like mentioned earlier, it appears that voter support for recreational cannabis is lower in the state of Arizona.  This does not mean that it will not pass by any measure.  Estimates will always just be estimates.  The law allows for possession of one ounce and six plants at home.  Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada would be the first move for legal weed out east.  All these states already have medical marijuana programs in place.  My prediction is 4 out of 5 or greater of these measures pass and we start to see great change in the perception of the effects these businesses and laws have on the community and economy.  It’s already very clear in states like Colorado that has had similar laws in place for years how positive these changes are but they will become evident to many more while the movement continues to spread.  Get out and vote if you’re in these states and let’s stop this important change from being delayed any longer.

Will Canada Reach Legalization Before the U.S.?

The Liberal government in Canada has announced that 1 year from now, some time during next spring in 2017 they will introduce a law to legalize recreational use of the plant. Details on limits and who can produce and distribute the drug have not been released yet. However, this obviously would be a nationwide law that would take effect in all 10 Canadian provinces.  This would be a huge step in the right direction and would also mean that the United States is way behind with their slow state by state progress.  The approach in Canada seems to be much better and will have more of a positive impact on the amount of people being arrested anywhere across the northern country.

One of the main reasons for this breaking news is the election of Justin Trudeau as the new Prime Minister.  Legalizing marijuana was a huge campaign focus and ultimately helped lead him to a political victory.  Before him, the previous Prime Minister had zero intentions of changing the draconian laws on marijuana.  One change in leadership and there appears to be a very bright future for the economy and criminal justice system coming.

So where does the United States stand?  Well currently for recreational legalization, there are only 4 states out of 50 that allow personal possession/consumption to an extent without legal ramifications.  If you are unable to obtain a medical marijuana license due to the lack of an “acceptable” medical condition in the 24 states that offer medical marijuana programs, you’re shit out of luck and looking at a dim future if caught.  Clearly, the lawmakers and voters are not on the same page and policy is way behind the will of the voters.  There hasn’t been any announcement of nationwide legalization even though most people think that it is inevitable.  My personal opinion is that Canada will beat us by a mile because the DEA and other industries have to much profit to lose from freeing the weed and all the people serving nonsense sentences for it.  There is just simply to much lobbying and misinformation going around and it will continue to take time to undo the damage from this.

I plan on seeing it legal nationwide within the next five years.  I also said that 5 years ago, so who knows how long they can drag it out.  The U.S. started making medical marijuana and recreational reform first, but it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish!

2016 the Year of Rescheduling?

Within the past week there has been a lot of buzz about the possibility of this year finally being the year of at least a federal rescheduling of the drug.  Following a recent smoke out Saturday at the White House supporting the veteran movement, there was also news that the DEA sent a lengthy memo to lawmakers claiming it hopes to decide whether to change the scheduling of the drug by this July.  The only result for this is has to be the enormous pressure they are now feeling as more and more people are educated on how messed up the war on drugs has been.  It’s been dragged out longer than anyone thought possible.

I think that it’s something to definitely look out for but this is far from the first time there has been talk of rescheduling with no action being taken.  The data and information has been out there that it has medical purposes, but this agency has been able to deny science in the name of enormous profits and police budgets that they have become so dependent on.  The time will come when a large majority of people will catch on to the profitable and devastating effects the prohibition of this plant has been.  There is definitely some of that going on this year, thanks to the legalization of marijuana in 4 states already and people are taking notice.  Those states are seeing lower crime rates and most importantly, no ones going to jail for a personal harmless choice.  The possibility that 2016 is the year it is at least acknowledged officially for its medical uses and taken off the list of dangerous drugs is definitely there.  The DEA will have to listen to other associations like the AMA who are even recommending a rescheduling now.  This would be a huge victory for proponents of medical marijuana and give protections immediately to thousands of patients from federal prosecution.  The current scheduling is the only reason for the federal raids and pretty much justifies everything they do to enforce it.  Sick people need their medicine and they may finally be left alone and treated like the legitimate patients  that they are.

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Michigan and Marijuana

When you look at the state of Michigan currently and think its somewhat reasonable with it’s cannabis laws because it allows for the medical use with a doctors recommendation, I’d say you’re partially right.  It was a huge step in the right direction and provided criminal protections for those who needed it.  However there is no way for you to obtain it unless you can grow it yourself or know someone who can for you.  I think that these options should be available but the legal options stop there.  Not everybody has the ability or time to produce their own medicine and often need instant relief.  Also, not every sick person has an experienced grower who has been growing it since the time it was illegal.  There is no where for someone to safely access their medicine in a public setting.  This makes people turn to black market dealers who have no interest in registering in the system to provide their legal medicine.  There is absolutely no reason for this and the ones that do try to set up in the grey area of the law as “compassion centers” often get shut down and/or raided.

These are serious problems that need to be fixed to have a truly effective medical marijuana program in the state of Michigan.  As far as not being a medical user, you get a permanent criminal record that you would otherwise never have if it was decriminalized, and at the very least face fines.  If your’e a student like myself, you will not be eligible for any financial aid either.  It’s also very possible you could face jail time or be pressured into becoming a confidential informant and risking your life.  All for using a plant that grows from the ground.  This year there is hopes of seeing a measure on the ballot to legalize cultivation and possession of the plant but without enough educated voters, it will never pass.

Have you ever been a victim of the war on marijuana?  Have you been harassed by police for being a medical user in possession?  They often try to prosecute for bullshit improper carrying violations and suspecting intoxication.  Share your stories below!

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