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What if coronavirus becomes an endemic?

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The recent coronavirus crisis has everyone locked in their homes, trying to stay away from the outside world. However, there has been no change despite the precautionary measures. The drastic increase in its spread has raised suspicions if the virus is here to stay. According to a latest statement released by the World Health Organization, the coronavirus might never go away.

Starting from Wuhan, China, the Coronavirus has spread across the globe. Majority of the countries are failing to gain control over its spread. Adversely affecting the world’s economy, the virus has put countries into lockdown. This has led to a halt for imports and exports and even caused the oil market to crash.

Current Situation

Currently, the novel virus has affected 6,245,229 people, causing 373,337 deaths, and is nowhere near slowing down. Everyday, the new cases seem to be increasing and the hospitals have reached maximum capacity. Governments have taken numerous measures to isolate and accommodate the patients. Quarantine centers have formed and pharmacies have received extensive supply of protective material. However, the number of affected people has still shown a continuous increase.

Over the last 7 months, researchers and scientists across the globe have been trying to produce an effective vaccine. There have also been numerous research studies to find ways of slowing the spread of the virus. However, the efforts have not produced any fruitful outcomes. While some believe mouthwash can help, others have theories about adding vitamin D supplements to the diet to stay safe. None of them have been successful.

Also read: Massachusetts – Cannabis Retailers Fear Another Shutdown Owing to COVID-19

Will coronavirus become an edmemic?

While majority of the world is praying for the pandemic to end, the World Health Organization has raised suspicions that the crisis might turn into an endemic, even if a vaccine is developed. When an infection becomes a characteristic of a particular population, it is referred to as an endemic. Just like we have made peace with HIV, chicken pox and the Influenza virus, coronavirus would become a norm.

It is evident f that having a transmittable disease is a big problem for the everyday lives of people. Business processes have also been put to a halt as everyone is bound within the boundaries of their homes. Currently, even going to a nearby market for getting groceries is not safe.

Everything has shifted online as schools and other educational institutions have been closed. Staying at home is more convenient than commuting to work everyday. However, frustration might take a toll on us when we are stuck in the same space without any guarantee of returning to normal.

As the cases keep on increasing, it is high time people start thinking of a world where they coexist with the deadly virus. There are far too many uncertainties at this point. The scientists still have not produced an effective vaccine and there is no guarantee if an affected patient will not get infected again. In fact, a second infection might actually be worse than the first one given the compromised immune system.

What to expect

However, given the bitter reality, it is becoming clear that coronavirus might be here to stay for a long time. The World Health Organization has reiterated the suspicions, saying that the virus might “never go away”.

Also read: US Cannabis Legalization – Recent Survey Shows Voters Consider it as Success

Even though it is daunting to think of living with a virus that has caused global unrest, it is time to think of how the world would be, post the crisis. Embracing the reality is vital in making sure the people are ready to face what the future holds. Scientists believe that eventually, the human body would learn to adapt to the new life style, until then, how exactly would the world function?

There is a strong possibility that people would move away from the cities. Since, the virus is highly contagious, living in relatively congested areas would increase the probability of contracting the disease. Moving to the suburbs or the country side would be an optimal option. Especially, since most of the work would shift online, there will be no need of getting to offices or educational institutions. Working from home would be the ultimate future.

Going out for shopping or a night out would no longer be viable options. All hangouts and meetups would be within safe boundaries, with the maximum being a barbecue in the backyard. Similarly, online shopping would be only way to buy things you want – that too without the certainty of getting the correct products!

Further, imagine a world where you cannot just decide to go out and get something you need. Every time you go somewhere, you will have to take precautionary measures, wear a mask, use sanitizer and keep a safe distance from everyone you come across.

Conclusion

Some might argue that if coronavirus decided to stay, the world would be a better place. Pollution would drastically decrease as travel and commute is minimized. This might propel the world towards a low carbon future. Over the last few months, measurements by European Space Agency has shown a 40% decrease in nitrogen dioxide emissions as compared to the previous year. Moreover, the Air quality Index has improved, and bio-luminescent microbes have also seen to return to the beaches of California.

While the outcomes are great in terms of the environmental conditions, it is, however, not a suitable living situation for the people – who have spent majority of their lives in freedom. Being held captive within the walls of your own home can highlight personal issues, along with added frustration and stress. Reports have shown that the number of domestic violence cases after a lock down have drastically increased.

Overall, it is evident that the chances of containing the virus as minuscule. It has been on its ‘killing spree’ for the past 7 months. The new world would be an entirely different experience for the humans – particularly with the restrictions and preservation rules that would have to be followed. However, it is in human nature to adapt – and the post COVID world would eventually become the new “normal”.

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Cannabis

Nunica town of Michigan gets its first legal Weed Retailer this week

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Nunica, Michigan, gets first weed store

In the United States, the battle for legal cannabis remains an ongoing slow burn. In recent highlights, the state of Vermont finally gained a bill that decriminalizes recreational cannabis. Aside from that, encouraging news on this front seems few and far in between. The most notable recent exception goes to the town of Nunica in Ottawa County, Michigan.

In Nunica, a small town in Ottawa County (which, unlike the other Ottawa, never had legal recreational cannabis) a peculiar shop opened up. Settled in an area called Crockery Township, the store goes by the name of the ‘Exit 9 Provisionary’. While the name sounds spartan, this little shop holds the title of the first cannabis retailer in the whole county. This quirky designation only took effect just this Monday.

The dispensary, owned by a company called ‘Agri-Med‘, becomes a watershed monument

While the store itself comes off as simple and unassuming, visitors must know that they come across history. Michigan, subject to decades of repressive, Puritanical laws, repressive as they were, saw extreme measures like Prohibition take hold across the country. This meant that attitudes towards alcohol and cannabis suffered. Consequently, Michigan only gained legalization of recreational weed in 2018.

This Agri-Med owned store simply exists apart from the era it’s in. While the entire nation grapples with primitive laws that make cannabis federally illegal, Ottawa County thrives. The town of Nunica may have only a small population, with limited demand for cannabis, but the freedom to sell must feel exhilarating. The entire state has yet to properly embrace their cannabis-legal legislation. And furthermore, the cannabis industry as a whole is still in its nascent stages.

Setting up the store, and dealing with the government permits, took great effort

The CEO of Agri-Med, Greg Maki, recently expressed his enthusiasm for expanding operations in Nunica. He claims he felt a personal connection to Ottawa County, and recalls its staunch Prohibitionist stance until recently. In addition, he himself went to great lengths to install Exit 9 Provisionary.

The process took a great deal of negotiations, according to Maki. The local townspeople were persuaded and their concerns assuaged. Also, the local politicians and people of influence needed individual persuasion too. To achieve this, Maki says that he and his team collaborated with the local Health Department. Together, the two entities promoted cannabis awareness and education using fliers and posters across greater Ottawa County. Even still, he cautions that some work remains. This includes the official inauguration of the store and precautionary measures taken to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite taking place in a small town, the pro-cannabis movement in Nunica accomplished something remarkable

Nunica gained overnight something a major metropolis like New York City still lacks, even after decades of campaigning. The freedom to sell, distribute, produce and consume legal cannabis remains an underappreciated boon. Many states vie for the title of the “most progressive”, but given the odds against them, it seems Michigan may have trumped California. Of course, the next step is to encourage and normalize recreational cannabis consumption. This will serve the movement by ensuring more and more people take part in the growing cannabis industry.

Speaking of the cannabis industry, it astounds economists just how well the ongoing pandemic impacted it. From increasing demand for weed to funding scholarships for marginalized communities, the benefits of the cannabis trade seem countless. Stay tuned for the latest on this!

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New Vermont Bill Decriminalizes Recreational Cannabis And Pardons Related Convictions

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New Vermont Bill

Cannabis, over the past two decades, went from an almost universally banned substance to one with major acceptance. Across greater Europe, from Scandinavia to the Netherlands, the drug goes legal and regulated. In other developed nations, like Australia and Canada, the legalization of cannabis happened long ago. And now, the last, and toughest, hold out remains the United States of America. Few states permit recreational marijuana, which is why the state of Vermont finally has its turning point.

Just this week, official Senate meetings to discuss proposals yielded a victory for cannabis supporters. The new bill, S.54, sought decriminalization of recreational cannabis and amnesty for any convicted on cannabis related past charges. In addition, the bill allows the regulation, distribution and sale of cannabis across the entire state. All it needs is an official signature.

A vote to pass the bill this week resulted in a total bicameral compromise

The two-house system in state level Senate politics decides many of the laws passed. The bill, S.54, gained approval by the House of Representatives as a bicameral party compromise. This means that the bill had the backing of both parties after negotiations. The resultant vote, at 23 to 6 against, led to a landslide victory. Therefore, the pro-cannabis movement won the battle in Vermont.

All that remains to see the bill made into law is the governor’s signature. The governor of Vermont, Philip Scott, officially awaits the letter to reach his desk formally. Moreover, he still possesses the right to decline signing it. However, such a move would prove counter-intuitive and simply delay the inevitable. As such, experts agree that Scott, through various recent expressions of approval, already supports the decriminalization of cannabis. Hence, his signature comes all but guaranteed.

The Senate also discussed finer details about cannabis legalization and implementation, and expungement in the case of cannabis-related convictions

The adoption of cannabis as a legal item of sale will clearly not be anything but gradual. Great focus needs to go to the taxation, regulation, economic adaptation and safety before the roll-out. Luckily, this aspect of legalization already is pre-planned. The Senate meeting extended to the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) limits in products, which controls the “high”. In addition, they also went over safety precautions in users, recommended guidelines and established fixed tax levels.

The other aspect of the bill, the social equity program, also underwent expounding. This program aims to compensate those impacted by the disastrous War On Drugs, which led to widespread disproportionate convictions. Families and communities suffered because of these actions taken against those involved with illegal cannabis. Hence, the new bill hopes to ease the suffering of such families.

Other states could learn from Vermont’s example, and hopefully something will change across the United States

Cannabis, unfortunately, remains federally illegal across the United States of America. Try as they might, legalizing cannabis state by state is difficult. At the moment, most conservative states like Texas bear suspicious and intolerant biases towards cannabis. Hence, unless activism takes place in every state, and gradual decriminalization occurs, nothing can happen. Once enough states take to decriminalizing it, a federal level decision may finally occur.

Until the day comes where cannabis no longer is subject to prejudice and intolerance, work must continue to change perceptions. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the growing cannabis industry may just yet spark change. And it doesn’t hurt to have notable celebrities embracing the cause, either.

 

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Patients Prescribed Cannabis In Georgia, USA, Can’t Legally Obtain It

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Georgia cannabis patients can't get theirs

The United States of America often astounds the rest of the world with just how ludicrous its laws seem. Take the example of recreational cannabis, which remains federally illegal since decades. However, a few select states, such as California, Colorado and Georgia, allow small quantities of legally purchased cannabis. Everywhere else, possession of cannabis remains a misdemeanor offense, and other disproportionately severe punitive measures.

In Georgia, in particular, the case of medicinal marijuana recently emerged as troubling. For many patients, medicinal weed simply is a lifesaver and experts agree that it packs unique therapeutic effects. However, in the state of Georgia in particular, it seems like a cruel joke that obtaining said weed becomes near impossible. And this is despite the fact that it’s been legal to possess since 2015.

Despite the usage of medicinal cannabis being legal in the state of Georgia, purchase or sale remains illegal

As far as ridiculous laws go, this one stands out as extremely cruel. With doctors able to prescribe doses of cannabis to ailing patients, the lack of any places to legally obtain it seems absurd. And no, buying cannabis from a shady back alley dealer is not a safe idea. Not just because of the chance of getting caught but because there’s no guarantee the product is what you pay for. Only a legal and regulated avenue available would help.

In 2019, at the behest of several concerned citizens, official government action started. The state governor set up the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission in 2019 to discuss this terrible issue. And yet, the problem still stands. This is because the panel only convened once, before the COVID-19 pandemic put the matter on hold indefinitely. Thus, millions of patients needing their drug have no one else to ask for help from.

For many patients with a variety of ailments, medicinal marijuana works wonders for their health

Medical science generally holds several consensuses on the health effects of different substances. No respectable doctor will ever claim that arsenic is good for your health. And when it comes to cannabis, the leading consensus after extensive studies and research holds opinions that cannabis may hold several cures. Weed, which consists primarily of CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), exerts effects on the body’s physiology. This leads to improvements in breathing, blood circulation, mood, and pain relief.

Various types of disorders that lead to seizures, such as West Syndrome, in all age groups exist. Fortunately, cannabis is also a known therapeutic agent for reducing the intensity of seizures. In many young individuals, such as a recent UK toddler, it offers marked improvements to health. Furthermore, cannabis offers health benefits to patients with PTSD, anxiety, extreme pain and even in certain cancers. However, there also exists evidence that in the smoked form, it can lead to cardiovascular issues in the long term. Hence, edibles or inhalables suit most users better, and offer better efficacy of the weed.

The United States sorely needs to fix its haphazard and primitive legislation regarding both recreational and medicinal cannabis use

Several conservative states, like Texas, where the most anti-cannabis attitudes prevail, reflect that in their legislation. From introducing ridiculous hemp regulation laws, to launching an entire War On Drugs, they’ve done it all. None of that changes the fact that cannabis stays, and will always do so.

The time comes now that lawmakers, urged by the people, reexamine the science. And then, hopefully change laws for the better. That remains to be seen, however.

 

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