More than a dozen U.S. states have now completely decriminalized the act of possessing marijuana and both Colorado and Washington have made it legal to possess, sell, transport and cultivate the plant. But soon it may be legalized across the entire country following a decision Thursday by the federal government. In a historic and significant moment in American history, last November, Colorado became the first US state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The impact of the decision could soon ripple across the entire country with vast opportunities to educate millions on the top health benefits of marijuana.
With the passage of I-502 in the 2012 Washington State election, marijuana also became legal in Washington–not just for medical use, but also for recreational use–and Alaska, California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, and Vermont have all decriminalized marijuana.
Consumption and sale of marijuana is still illegal in all other states, though some cities and towns have passed local laws decriminalizing it or making it a low priority for law enforcement officers.
There are also movements in many states to legalize pot, including legalization bills introduced in many other states.
For other states to mimic the systems in Colorado and Washington, they will first have to get legalization laws on their ballots or in their state houses, which could post a challenge, he said.
After Washington state and Colorado passed laws in November 2012 legalizing the consumption and sale of marijuana for adults over 18, lawmakers in both states waited to see whether the federal government would continue to prosecute pot crimes under federal statutes in their states.
Both Colorado and Washington have been working to set up regulatory systems in order to license and tax marijuana growers and retail sellers, but have been wary of whether federal prosecutors would come after them for doing so. They are the first states to legalize pot, and therefore to go through the process of trying to set up a regulatory system.
Ruling Signals the End is Near for Marijuana Prohibition
Last Thursday, the Department of Justice announced that it would not prosecute marijuana crimes that were legal under state law, a move that could signal the end of the country’s longtime prohibition on pot is nearing. “It certainly appears to be potentially the beginning of the end,” said Paul Armantano, deputy director of the pot lobby group NORML.
The memo sent to states Thursday by the DOJ said that as long as states set up comprehensive regulations governing marijuana, there would be no need for the federal government to step in, a decision that will save the Justice Department from having to use its limited resources on prosecuting individuals for growing or smoking marijuana.
“This memo appears to be sending the message to states regarding marijuana prohibition that is a recognition that a majority of the public and in some states majority of lawmakers no longer want to continue down the road of illegal cannabis, and would rather experiment with different regulatory schemes of license and retail sale of cannabis,” Armantano said.
In 2011 the federal government decreed that marijuana had no accepted medical use use and should remain classified as a highly dangerous drug like heroin. Accepting and promoting the powerful health benefits of marijuana would instantly cut huge profits geared towards cancer treatment and the U.S. would have to admit it imprisons the population for no cause. Nearly half of all drug arrests in the United States are for marijuana. According to MarijuanaNews.com editor Richard Cowan, the answer is because it is a threat to cannabis prohibition “…there really is massive proof that the suppression of medical cannabis represents the greatest failure of the institutions of a free society, medicine, journalism, science, and our fundamental values,” Cowan notes.
While Colorado and Washington have not yet set up their regulatory systems, both states will likely sell licenses to farmers who want to grow marijuana as well as to manufacturing plants and retail sellers. The marijuana will also likely be taxed at each stage of its growth, processing, and sale.
“In both Colorado and Washington, legalization was done by citizens with no participation by elected representatives until they had to pass laws to comply with the initiative. In other initiative states I would expect such measures – I would expect a new one in California, for instance – and roughly half the states permit this and the rest don’t.
“In the states that do have initiatives I expect efforts to get it on the ballot. The other half it will be much tougher. It’s hard to get elected representatives to do this,” Collins said.
Armantano is more optimistic about the spread of legalized pot. He compared the DOJ’s announcement to the federal government’s actions toward the end of alcohol prohibition in America a century ago, when states decided to stop following the federal ban on alcohol sales and the federal government said it would not step in and prosecute crimes.
“For first time we now have clear message from fed government saying they will not stand in way of states that wish to implement alternative regulatory schemes in lieu of federal prohibition,” Armantano said.
He predicted that within the next one to three years, five or six other states may join Colorado and Washington in legalizing the drug, setting the stage for the rest of the country to follow.
The Age of Deception is Ending
In 2003, the U.S. Government as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services filed for, and was awarded a patent on cannabinoids. The reason? Because research into cannabinoids allowed pharmaceutical companies to acquire practical knowledge on one of the most powerful antioxidants and neuroprotectants known to the natural world. The U.S. Patent 6630507 was specifically initiated when researchers found that cannabinoids had specific antioxidant properties making them useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidoil, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention. Besides the top 10 health benefits below, findings published in the journalPLoS ONE, researchers have now have now discovered that marijuana-like chemicals trigger receptors on human immune cells that can directly inhibit a type of human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) found in late-stage AIDS. Recent studies have even shown it to be an effective atypical anti-psychotic in treating schizophrenia, a disease many other studies have inconsistently found it causing.
Top 10 Health Benefits of Marijuana
Cannabinoids, the active components of marijuana, inhibit tumor growth in laboratory animalsÃ‚Â and also kill cancer cells. Western governments have known this for a long time yet they continued to suppress the information so that cannabis prohibition and the profits generated by the drug industry proliferated.
THC that targets cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 is similar in function to endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body and activate these receptors. The researchers suggest that THC or other designer agents that activate these receptors might be used in a targeted fashion to treat lung cancer.
2. Tourette’s Syndrome
Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological condition characterized by uncontrollable facial grimaces, tics, and involuntary grunts, snorts and shouts.
Dr. Kirsten Mueller-Vahl of the Hanover Medical College in Germany led a team that investigated the effects of chemicals called cannabinols in 12 adult Tourette’s patients. A single dose of the cannabinol produced a significant reduction in symptoms for several hours compared to placebo, the researchers reported.
Marijuana is a muscle relaxant and has “antispasmodic” qualities that have proven to be a very effective treatment for seizures. There are actually countless cases of people suffering from seizures that have only been able to function better through the use of marijuana.
Since medicinal marijuana was legalized in California, doctors have reported that they have been able to treat more than 300,000 cases of migraines that conventional medicine couldn’t through marijuana.
Marijuana’s treatment of glaucoma has been one of the best documented. There isn’t a single valid study that exists that disproves marijuana’s very powerful and popular effects on glaucoma patients.
6. Multiple Sclerosis
Marijuana’s effects on multiple sclerosis patients became better documented when former talk-show host, Montel Williams began to use pot to treat his MS. Marijuana works to stop the neurological effects and muscle spasms that come from the fatal disease.
7. ADD and ADHD
A well documented USC study done about a year ago showed that marijuana is not only a perfect alternative for Ritalin but treats the disorder without any of the negative side effects of the pharmaceutical.
8. IBS and Crohn’s
Marijuana has shown that it can help with symptoms of the chronic diseases as it stops nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
Despite what you may have heard about marijuana’s effects on the brain, the Scripps Institute, in 2006, proved that the THC found in marijuana works to prevent Alzheimer’s by blocking the deposits in the brain that cause the disease.
10. Premenstrual Syndrome
Just like marijuana is used to treat IBS, it can be used to treat the cramps and discomfort that causes PMS symptoms. Using marijuana for PMS actually goes all the way back to Queen Victoria.
Mounting Evidence Suggests Raw Cannabis is Best
Cannabinoids can prevent cancer, reduce heart attacks by 66% and insulin dependent diabetes by 58%. Cannabis clinician Dr. William Courtney recommends drinking 4 – 8 ounces of raw flower and leaf juice from any Hemp plant, 5 mg of Cannabidiol (CBD) per kg of body weight, a salad of Hemp seed sprouts and 50 mg of THC taken in 5 daily doses. Why raw? Heat destroys certain enzymes and nutrients in plants. Incorporating raw cannabis allows for a greater availability of those elements. Those who require large amounts of cannabinoids without the psychoactive effects need to look no further than raw cannabis. In this capacity, it can be used at 60 times more tolerance than if it were heated.
Raw cannabis is considered by many experts as a dietary essential. As a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, raw cannabis may be right there with Garlic,Resveratrol,Glutathione and Tumeric…
About the Author
Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy. From Hemp for the Future @ http://www.hempforfuture.com/2014/03/31/new-ruling-finds-cannabis-to-be-the-most-medicinal-plant-in-the-world/
Violent Crime Drops Where People Have Access to Marijuana, Study Suggests
Two scientific papers suggest the dire warnings we’ve heard about marijuana for decades don’t hold water.
Opponents of marijuana legalization, particularly members of law enforcement, frequently claim that liberalizing cannabis laws will lead to an increase in incidences of criminal activity, such as burglary, robbery, and driving under the influence. But two recent scientific papers report that just the opposite is true. In the most recent paper, published online in March in the scientific journal PLoS ONE, researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas reported that the enactment of laws legalizing people’s access to medical marijuana is not associated with any rise in statewide criminal activity, and that it may even be related to reductions in incidences of violent crime. Investigators tracked crime rates across all 50 states in the years between 1990 and 2006, during which time 11 states—Alaska (1998), California (1996), Colorado (2000), Hawaii (2000), Maine (1999), Montana (2004), Nevada (2000), Oregon (1998), Rhode Island (2006), Vermont (2004), and Washington (1998)—legalized the use, home cultivation, and (in some cases) the retail dispensing of marijuana for medical purposes. (A total of 20 states and the District of Columbia have now approved similar laws.) Authors reviewed FBI Uniform Crime Report data to determine whether there exists any association between the enactment of medicinal cannabis laws and rates of statewide criminal activity, specifically the number of reported crimes involving homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft. Their analysis is the first to look at multiple offenses across multiple states and time periods to determine whether medical marijuana legalization impacts state crime rates.
Authors reported that the passage of medical marijuana laws is not associated with an increase in any of the seven crime types assessed, but that liberalized laws are associated with decreases in certain types of violent crime. Authors wrote:
“The central finding gleaned from the present study was that MML (medical marijuana legalization) is not predictive of higher crime rates and may be related to reductions in rates of homicide and assault. Interestingly, robbery and burglary rates were unaffected by medicinal marijuana legislation, which runs counter to the claim that dispensaries and grow houses lead to an increase in victimization due to the opportunity structures linked to the amount of drugs and cash that are present.”
“In sum, these findings run counter to arguments suggesting the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes poses a danger to public health in terms of exposure to violent crime and property crimes. To be sure, medical marijuana laws were notfound to have a crime exacerbating effect on any of the seven crime types. On the contrary, our findings indicated that MML (medical marijuana legalization) precedes a reduction in homicide and assault. While it is important to remain cautious when interpreting these findings as evidence that MML reduces crime, these results do fall in line with recent evidence and they conform to the longstanding notion that marijuana legalization may lead to a reduction in alcohol use due to individuals substituting marijuana for alcohol. Given the relationship between alcohol and violent crime, it may turn out that substituting marijuana for alcohol leads to minor reductions in violent crimes that can be detected at the state level.”
Commenting on the findings in an accompanying news release, the study’s lead author, Robert Morris, associate professor of criminology, said, “The results are remarkable.… It takes away the subjective comments about the link between marijuana laws and crime so the dialogue can be more in tune with reality.” The paper’s results, specifically the notion that cannabis liberalization may lead to a reduction in alcohol-induced criminal activity, are similar to those previously documented in a study published last year in the Journal of Law and Economics. In that study, researchers at Montana State University, the University of Oregon, and the University of Colorado assessed whether the enactment of medical cannabis laws was associated with a reduction in incidences of alcohol-related traffic fatalities for the years 1990 to 2010. It was.
Authors wrote: “[T]he legalization of medical marijuana is associated with a 13.2 percent decrease in fatalities in which at least one driver involved had a positive BAC level. … Why does legalizing medical marijuana reduce traffic fatalities? Alcohol consumption appears to play a key role. … Using individual-level data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) …, we find that MMLs (medical marijuana laws) are associated with decreases in the probability of [an individual] having consumed alcohol in the past month, binge drinking, and the number of drinks consumed.
“The negative relationship between the legalization of medical marijuana and traffic fatalities involving alcohol lends support to the hypothesis that marijuana and alcohol are substitutes,” authors concluded.
Separate studies have also failed to link the establishment of marijuana retail dispensaries with any alleged increases in criminal activity. A 2011 study of crime rates in Los Angeles published by the Rand Corporation “found no evidence that medical marijuana dispensaries in general cause crime to rise.” (Disturbingly, Rand withdrew the paper shortly following its publication because its findings were publicly criticized by the Los Angeles city attorney’s office, which had long claimed that these operations were magnets for various street crimes.) A followup study commissioned by the federal government in 2012 similarly reported that the proliferation of cannabis dispensaries is not associated with elevated rates of either violent crimes or property crimes.
It concluded: “There were no observed cross-sectional associations between the density of medical marijuana dispensaries and either violent or property crime rates in this study. These results suggest that the density of medical marijuana dispensaries may not be associated with crime rates or that other factors, such as measures dispensaries take to reduce crime (i.e., doormen, video cameras), may increase guardianship such that it deters possible motivated offenders.”
Most recently, localized crime data from Colorado once again reinforced the notion that pot legalization isn’t associated with increased criminal activity. According to a report in Vox.com, incidences of both violent crime and property crimes have dipped slightly during the three-month period following that state’s enactment of full-scale marijuana legalization. Yet members of law enforcement are still continuing to publicly claim otherwise. Some things never change.
Paul Armentano is the deputy director of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and the co-author of Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink (Chelsea Green, 2009).
From Alternet @ http://www.alternet.org/drugs/increased-access-cannabis-associated-reductions-violent-crimes?paging=off¤t_page=1#bookmark
For more information about marijuana/cannabis see http://nexusilluminati.blogspot.com/search/label/cannabis
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