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As if you needed another reason to support the availability of legal marijuana, here’s another one: Legal marijuana means there are fewer reports of public health problems associated with prescription opioid use. marijuana1

A new study published recently in the journal Health Affairs reveals that in states where medical marijuana is legal, it serves as an alternative to other more dangerous drugs – namely, opiates. That means the number of reported opioid prescriptions, addictions and deaths are markedly down in those states.

In fact, one of the most stunning decreases is with prescription painkillers, which have been the scourge of society in recent years, with health care advocates calling the problem “epidemic.”  Continue reading

One of the ongoing threats to California marijuana dispensaries, growers and users is the ongoing federal prohibition on the drug. marijuana2

To this day, despite the increasing research findings proving the medicinal and societal benefits of the drug, it remains under a Schedule I narcotic designation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This is true even as lawmakers in four states plus Washington, D.C. have approved the cultivation, sale and possession of recreational use. This prohibition is what has forced marijuana dispensaries to operate in cash, because banks won’t handle their money. It’s the reason marijuana cultivators and distributors have faced criminal prosecution, even when carefully following state laws.

The good news is that there are many signs this could be on the verge of changing. For one thing, national polls show 89 percent of Americans support medical cannabis – and that includes 81 percent of Republicans.  Continue reading

Taxation of legalized marijuana is slated to boost funds for homeless services in L.A. County. That’s if a ballot measure, just approved  by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, is green-lighted by local voters. homeless

Following a four-hour public hearing on the issue, the board agreed in a split 3-2 decision to impose a county-wide tax on recreational marijuana – if it’s approved by voters statewide in the fall.

This action pays lip service to the confidence county leaders have that the Adult Use of Marijuana Act Initiative is going to pass in November. If both the state and local measures are approved, that could mean an estimated $80 million to $130 million annually helping the homeless in L.A. County. That’s based on projections of a 5 to 10 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana.  Continue reading

One of the reasons our L.A. marijuana lawyers advocate so strongly for legalization – both for medicinal and recreational purposes – is that we know safe, legal marijuana allows for regulation and minimizes the black market trade. It also is known to slash the demand for synthetic marijuana, which is unregulated, unpredictable and highly toxic.

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Take, for example, the recent exploration of this growing problem in Wired.com. Noting that the synthetic versions of the drug are often comprised of unknown substances, the writer explained that whatever is in it is, “The opposite of chill.”

The story detailed how a Brooklyn hospital was recently flooded with 33 overdoses – people all from the same community – who had to be hospitalized after smoking synthetic marijuana. Many were unable to stand on their own. Some were sprawled helplessly on the pavement. Witnesses likened it to something out of a zombie movie.  Continue reading

A popular initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana in California is now officially on the November ballot. voterinformation

The measure had to garner a minimum of 600,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for consideration. A random sampling of those signatures by the state election’s office proved there were enough, numerous outlets reported.

A spokesperson for the initiative, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, said the approval marks the start of a step away from the expensive, harmful and ultimately ineffective prohibition on the responsible, legal use of adult marijuana use.  Continue reading

Contrary to all the fears hyped by anti-marijuana advocates, statewide marijuana laws that allow for legal access – both medicinal and recreational – are not associated with increased teen use. In fact, according to the most recent research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the opposite is true. joints

The CDC just released its latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which monitors six different types of health risk behaviors that cause or contribute to death and disability among teens and young adults. One of those is alcohol and other drugs.

What they found was that the percentage of teens who had ever used marijuana had increased significantly – from 31 percent to 47 percent – from 1991 to 1991. If you’ll recall, 1997 was the year California approved marijuana as medicine, and there was a great deal of fear that California’s law and those adopted in other states would prompt an even bigger spike. But that didn’t happen because from 1997 to 2015, there was a decrease from 47 percent to 38 percent. Specifically when we look at 2013 to 2015, which is when states started passing recreational marijuana laws, the prevalence of teens who used marijuana nationally dropped from 40 percent to 38 percent.  Continue reading

A recent police raid of a popular Santa Rosa cannabis dispensary that services thousands of medical marijuana patients sparked a huge protest and intense political pressure, ultimately leading to the owner being released with no bail and no criminal charges pending. jail2

The company, Care By Design, is back in business, making its cannabis oil-infused products. Police likely didn’t expect the backlash when they raided the facility, which is run by a prominent, well-connected professional.

Authorities initially arrested Operator Dennis Hunter on charges of spearheading a meth lab-type operation. His bail was set at an eye-popping $5 million. The next day, hundreds of people gathered in front of the Sonoma County courthouse to protest the arrest. Local officials were hounded with a letter-writing campaign. A long-time, respected politician stepped in with his support. City officials then began weighing in.  Continue reading

Speaking to a group of cannabis industry advocates and members, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsome implored them to participate in the campaign to pass the legalization of recreational marijuana, slated for the November ballot. He warned a failure on this front would not only set California back on the marijuana issue, it would set the nation back. voterinformation

Newsome said a change in the law is essential because of the utter failure of the so-called War on Drugs.

At a conference in Oakland, sponsored by the National Cannabis Industry Assn., approximately 2,000 entrepreneurs and industry activists nodded as Newsome described the existing drug policies in California and the U.S. as essentially a war on the poor and on minorities.  Continue reading

Survey data unveiled at the most recent annual American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting revealed that more than 90 percent of pediatric oncology doctors are in favor of allowing patient access to marijuana therapy. doctor9

The findings are important because even as legalization of medical marijuana has become more widespread, its use for pediatric patients is controversial. Access has increased, but it’s a controversial subject. There are many advocates who believe there is no situation in which children should be prescribed the drug.

These researchers sent the electronic survey to more than 650 pediatric oncologists at three National Cancer Institute centers in Washington state, Massachusetts and Illinois – three states that have legalized the drug for medicinal use. Nearly half of recipients responded. Of those who did, 92 percent said they were willing to help child cancer patients access medical marijuana to help manage their symptoms.  Continue reading

The cost of living in New York has always been sky-high – at least 68 percent higher than the rest of the country. It has the least affordable housing the country and prices for every-day products are typically twice the national average. Money in hand

Apparently, medical marijuana is no exception.

A recent report by the Drug Policy Alliance, the first in-depth look at New York’s medical marijuana program, found that caregivers face huge hurdles in accessing medical marijuana – not the least of which has been the cost.

 

Continue reading