On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill decriminalizing marijuana use in New York.
(ZH) — For years, New York State has lagged behind its progressive-minded peers in the area of marijuana prohibition. As states like California, Massachusetts, Vermont and even Maine passed bills legalizing the drug, members of the New York State legislature simply haven’t been able to overcome minor differences in ideology to pass a legalization bill of their own, leaving New York with some of the most draconian marijuana laws in the northeast.
But that’s all about to change – sort of. On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill decriminalizing marijuana use a little over one month after the legislature failed to reach an agreement on a bill that would have legalized sales. But the decrim bill is the next best thing, supporters insist, arguing that it will help eliminate the racial disparities in arrests and sentencing, since it eliminates the hated “public view” loophole (which allows a cop to arrest a suspect who willingly takes a bag of marijuana out of his pocket, placing it in “public view”) while also making possession of anything up to one to an ounce punishable by a max fine of $50. Possession of between one and two ounces will be punishable of a fine up to $200, eliminating the possibility of jail time, regardless of an individuals criminal record.
The state assembly and Senate passed the decrim bill more than a week and a half ago.
Proponents of legalization still see decrim as insufficient, since users still wouldn’t have a legal source for marijuana, allowing criminal organizations to still profit off it.
Ten states and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana, though DC and Vermont don’t allow sales.
Illinois will become the 11th state to legalize once Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs the recently passed legalization bill into law. Another 14 states have only decriminalized.
After signing the bill, Cuomo praised the legislation for helping to eliminate a source of discrimination against communities of color, according to NBC New York. Proponents estimate that as many as 600,000 New Yorkers will benefit from the legislation (which also provides for expunging past marijuana convictions).
“Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana for far too long, and today we are ending this injustice once and for all,” Cuomo said.
“It’s not legalization,” he said on public radio previously. “But it is decriminalization and it’s a major, major accomplishment.”
Cannabis produces pain-relieving molecules that are 30 times more potent at reducing inflammation than aspirin.
(TMU) — Medical marijuana is fast gaining credibility as a valid pain relief treatment, with data from various studies attesting to the medical and health benefits of cannabis as a viable alternative to pharmaceutical drugs.
And now, researchers have uncovered a new reason why: the cannabis plant produces pain-relieving molecules that are 30 times more potent at reducing inflammation than aspirin.
What makes the discovery so groundbreaking is that it could carve a new path to natural pain relief medications that would save patients who suffer chronic pain from the risks of addiction associated with opioid-based pain killers.
According to the team of researchers at Canada’s University of Guelph, they found out how the two important molecules—cannflavin A and cannflavin B—were produced through a combination of genomics and biochemistry.
The two cannflavins, known as “flavonoids,” were identified in 1985 when scientists proved that they had benefits which could fight inflammation at a gram-for-gram rate of about 30 times that of aspirin, or acetylsalicylic acid.
However, prohibitionist laws in Canada prevented further research into the potent anti-inflammatory qualities of the molecules.
But with Canada joining the growing bandwagon of countries legalizing cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, molecular and cellular biology Professors Tariq Akhtar and Steven Rothstein were able to resume an analysis into cannabis and how it produces cannflavins.
“Our objective was to better understand how these molecules are made, which is a relatively straightforward exercise these days.
There are many sequenced genomes that are publicly available, including the genome of Cannabis sativa, which can be mined for information. If you know what you’re looking for, one can bring genes to life, so to speak, and piece together how molecules like cannflavins A and B are assembled.”
Their full findings, which were published in the peer-reviewed journalPhytochemistry, offer an exciting opportunity to create new natural health products with equal or greater power than traditional synthetic or opioid-based pain relievers.
“There’s clearly a need to develop alternatives for relief of acute and chronic pain that go beyond opioids.
These molecules are non-psychoactive and they target the inflammation at the source, making them ideal painkillers.”
The research comes amid the ongoing opioid crisis in North America which has largely been driven by large pharmaceutical firms such as Purdue Pharma, the company responsible for making the OxyContin narcotic pill, incentivizing or misleading doctors and patients about the dangerous and addictive nature of strong painkillers to boost company profits.
In recent years, drug overdose deaths have reached monstrous proportions, with 65,000 fatal drug overdoses taking place in 2017 alone. Many who abuse the pills have prolonged addictive fixations on opioids, with the hardest-hit age group ranging from 25 to 34 years old. Out of that age group, 12,325 died in 2017, among whom two-thirds were men.
Professor Rothstein, however, hopes that his team’s latest discovery can help make a powerful difference in people’s lives.
“Being able to offer a new pain relief option is exciting, and we are proud that our work has the potential to become a new tool in the pain relief arsenal.”
First off, they are not allowed any tax deductions or credits for business expenses which can mean effective federal tax rates of as high as 90 percent. Hemp producers are luckier since recent changes to the law now allows them to deduct ordinary business expenses for tax purposes on condition that their products contain no more than 0.3 percent THC.
Second, most banks and financial institutions will not touch them with a 10-foot pole, meaning they have to pay their taxes in cash and not through checks or electronic means.
Yet, they continue to tough it out, making an important mark where they are officially recognized. According to the Tax Policy Center, states with marijuana taxes are obligated to put a portion of their funds toward important social programs ranging from education programs in Colorado and Nevada to administrative costs in California and crime reduction in Alaska.
(Natural News) Many parts of the United States are still stuck in the stone ages when it comes to their antiquated stance on cannabis (marijuana), and the World Health Organization (WHO) has a message for them all: stop prohibiting it already!
Not only is the WHO recommending that legislators take a “more rational” approach to laws dealing with cannabis, but the international agency is also stressing the fact that, contrary to the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) official position on the matter, cannabis is medicinal.
The WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) recently made an official proposal that cannabis be rescheduled – constitutionally speaking, it should be de-scheduled entirely – in light of new scientific findings demonstrating an extensive array of medical benefits.
Last fall, the committee held its first formal discussion on cannabis laws since the advent of the International Drug Control Conventions in 1961. This one discussion brought to bear the obvious: that it’s basically a crime against humanity to keep cannabis illegal.
“The Committee recognized the public health harms presented by these substances, as well as their potential for therapeutic and scientific use,” reads an official press release from the committee following the meeting.
“As a result, the Committee recommended a more rational system of international control surrounding cannabis and cannabis-related substances that would prevent drug-related harms whilst ensuring that cannabis-derived pharmaceutical preparations are available for medical use.”
It’s time for all countries, states, and municipalities to finally “free the weed”
Among the emerging research in favor of ending cannabis prohibition is a 2015 study which found that cannabis is at least 114 times safer than alcohol, as well as a study published last year which found that nobody has ever died from using cannabis.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people die annually from drinking toxic alcohol, which damages the liver and other vital organs from normal use.
We also now know that in states were cannabis is legal, opioid use is way down – as opposed to prohibition states where abuse of opioids and other damaging drugs is on the rise.
Studies also show that cannabis is highly beneficial for the brain and nervous system, helping to slow brain aging and even reverse it.
Cannabis really is God’s medicine – and the Bible supports this claim
This and so much more proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that cannabis really is nature’s medicine – the literal fruit of one of God’s seed-bearing plants, which he declared to be goodin Genesis 1:29.
“These recommendations are of monumental importance as they may lead to the overcoming of barriers to research, enhance access of patients to cannabis-based medicine, and allow free commerce of cannabis products internationally,” stated Ethan Russo from the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute in response to the WHO’s new official position on cannabis.
Michael Krawitz, a global policy adviser at the non-profit cannabis advocacy group FAAAT, agrees, having told Newsweek that the WHO’s placement of cannabis in the 1961 Convention was a “terrible injustice.”
“The WHO has gone a long way towards setting the record straight,” he’s quoted as saying in response to the news.
“It is time for us all to support the World Health Organization’s recommendations and ensure politics don’t trump science. Advocates thank the WHO Experts for their work, and WHO leadership for consistently defending the medical needs of our world.”
To learn more about the many health benefits of medical cannabis, including its potential role in the natural treatment of cancer, be sure to check out MarijuanaToday.news.
In a bold move, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador—commonly referred to by his initials AMLO—has issued a proposal that would see nearly all drugs decriminalized in the country and calls for negotiating with the United States to take similar steps.The move would be a drastic turnaround for a country that has been plunged into violence, corruption, and organized crime thanks to the war on drugs and raging battles between cartels vying for control of the illicit drug trade. Mexican experts believe that the decriminalization of narcotics—such as marijuana, cocaine, and opium poppies—would lead to a drastic reduction in the violence that has racked the North American country over the past years.
Funds typically used in the never-ending battle with cartels would instead be transferred toward the treatment and rehabilitation of addicts, addressing the root causes of addiction. In the meantime, Mexican diplomacy would be geared toward ensuring the success of the new strategy with international partners—and especially the U.S., which is the key consumer of drugs produced in, or trafficked through, Mexican territory.
Santiago Roel Garcia, the founder of Mexican public safety group Semáforo Delictivo, believes that the legalization of some narcotics could see murders plunge by up to 80 percent, given the significant blow to the power of organized crime that an end to prohibition would entail.
The plan would make good on AMLO’s pledges to drastically change the manner in which Mexico has been governed for decades. In the policy proposal, included in AMLO’s National Development Plan for 2019-2024, the government argues that the current “prohibitionist strategy is unsustainable,” adding that “the ‘war on drugs’ has escalated the public health problem posed by currently banned substances to a public safety crisis.”
The success story of one woman who replaced her pills with plants.
Sharmila Clee; Photograph by Ceasar Ron
After drug use caused Sharmila Clee’s parents to lose custody of her and her siblings in 1998, Clee said she was squarely against anything related to drugs or alcohol, including cannabis.
“An anti-drug and alcohol mantra became my identity for years,” she said.
Once her parents and extended biological family’s rights were terminated, Clee and her siblings were put up for adoption. She and her sister were separated from their special needs brother, who needed extended care.
“It was difficult finding a home willing to take in three children with a history of trauma,” Clee shared. “My experience started my passion to become the best social worker in the world, and help other children like us.”
Her brother was eventually returned to her biological parents; Clee started experiencing panic attacks soon after.
“I was barely managing, receiving calls in the middle of the night from my brother, with reports of our dad drunk and violent,” she recalled. “I was three hours away at college and felt powerless, but it propelled me to move forward with vengeance and purposes, after witnessing so much social injustice—in the world, then through the eyes of my brother.”
Clee learned to push down her feelings of panic and anxiety by numbing herself with a Valium habit that began in the Fall of 2001 while at graduate school. She was diagnosed with latent Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She remembers it disrupting her studies with random visions of her turbulent childhood, yet, she says, she managed to pull A’s in all subjects.
Her goal of climbing the corporate ladder was achieved. But she found that her new bureaucratic life was not all she had hoped for. She dreaded the monotony of wearing suits, the grueling commute, and her life in a cubicle.
Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Southern California
Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states as of November 2018. Yet the federal government still insists marijuana has no legal use and is easy to abuse. In the meantime, medical marijuana dispensaries have an increasing array of products available for pain, anxiety, sex and more.
The glass counters and their jars of products in the dispensary resemble an 18th century pharmacy. Many strains for sale have evocative and magical names like Blue Dream, Bubba Kush and Chocolope. But what does it all mean? Are there really differences in the medical qualities of the various strains? Or, are the different strains with the fanciful names all just advertising gimmicks?
I am a professor in the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy. I have lived in California a long time and remember the Haight-Ashbury Summer of Love. While in graduate school, I worked with professor Alexander Shulgin, the father of designer drugs, who taught me the chemistry of medicinal plants. Afterwards, while a professor at USC, I learned Chumash healing from a Native American Chumash healer for 14 years from 1998 until 2012. She taught me how to make medicines from Californian plants, but not marijuana, which is not native to the U.S. Currently, I am teaching a course in medical marijuana to pharmacy students.
If there is one thing about marijuana that is certain: In small doses it can boost libido in men and women, leading to more sex. But can marijuana really be used for medical conditions?
What are cannabinoids?
New research is revealing that marijuana is more than just a source of cannabinoids, chemicals that may bind to cannabinoid receptors in our brains, which are used to get high. The most well-known is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Marijuana is a particularly rich source of medicinal compounds that we have only begun to explore. In order to harness the full potential of the compounds in this plant, society needs to overcome misconceptions about marijuana and look at what research clearly says about the medical value.
The FDA has already made some moves in this direction by approving prescription drugs that come from marijuana including dronabinol, nabilone, nabiximols and cannabidiol. Dronabinol and nabilone are cannabinoids that are used for nausea. Nabiximols – which contain THC, the compound most responsible for marijuana’s high and cannabidiol, which does not induce a high – are used to treat multiple sclerosis. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is also used to treat some types of epilepsy.
Marijuana, originally from the Altai Mountains in Central and East Asia, contains at least 85 cannabinoids and 27 terpenes, fragrant oils that are produced by many herbs and flowers that may be active, drug-like compounds. THC is the cannabinoid everyone wants in order to get high. It is produced from THC acid – which constitutes up to 25 percent of the plant’s dry weight – by smoking or baking any part of the marijuana plant.
THC mimics a naturally occurring neurotransmitter called anandamide that works as a signaling molecule in the brain. Anandamide attaches to proteins in the brain called cannabinoid receptors, which then send signals related to pleasure, memory, thinking, perception and coordination, to name a few. THC works by hijacking these natural cannabinoid receptors, triggering a profound high.
Tetrahydrocannabivarinic acid, another cannabinoid, can constitute up to 10 percent of the dry weight. It is converted to another compound that probably contributes to a high, tetrahydrocannabivarin, when smoked or ingested in baked goods. Potent varieties like Doug’s Varin and Tangie may contain even higher concentrations.
Medical properties of marijuana
But not all cannabinoids make you high. Cannabidiol, a cannabinoid similar to THC, and its acid are also present in marijuana, especially in certain varieties. But these do not cause euphoria. The cannabidiol molecule interacts with a variety of receptors – including cannabinoid and serotonin receptors and transient receptor potential cation channels (TRP) – to reduce seizures, combat anxiety and produce other effects.
Many different varieties of marijuana are on the market and are alleged to treat a range of diseases. The FDA has no oversight for these claims, since the FDA does not recognize marijuana as a legal product.
Strains of marijuana are grown that produce more THC than cannadidiol or vice versa. Other varieties have abundant monoterpenoids. How do you know that the strain you choose is legitimate with probable medical benefits? Each strain should have a certificate of analysis that shows you how much of each active compound is present in the product you buy. Many states have a bureau of cannabis control that verifies these certificates of analysis. However, many certificates of analysis do not show the monoterpenoids present in the marijuana. The analysis of monoterpenoids is difficult since they evaporate from the plant material. If you are looking for a strain high in myrcene or linalool, ask for proof.
Marijuana can improve several conditions, but it can also make others worse and can have nasty side effects.
As recreational use has become more widespread, marijuana hyperemesis syndrome is becoming more of a problem in our society. Some people vomit uncontrollably after smoking marijuana regularly. It can be treated by rubbing a cream made from capsaicin, from chili peppers, on the abdomen. Capsaicin cream is available in pharmacies.
For some of these conditions, studies show that eating or topically applying marijuana products rather than smoking is recommended.
Clearly, more research is needed from the scientific community to help guide the appropriate, safe use of marijuana. However, the FDA does not recognize the use of medical marijuana. This makes funding for research on marijuana difficult to find. Perhaps the cannabis industry should consider funding scientific research on marijuana. But conflicts of interest may become a concern as we have seen with drug company-sponsored studies.
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone