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COVID19 update: Why is South Africa Lifting Restrictions Amid Rising Cases?

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Coronavirus cases have been rising rapidly in South Africa. However, due to the deteriorating economic conditions, its president has lifted the restrictions on lockdown.

Current Situation

What started as a minor disease in the heart of Wuhan, China, Coronavirus has now taken over most of the world. The cases have been following an exponential growth, with thousands of new ones arising each day. Over the course of 8 months, the virus has managed to affect over 100 countries.

As of today, the novel coronavirus has affected 8,516,854 people and caused 453,586 deaths. Despite numerous efforts to control its transmission, the infection has spread like wild fire. Particularly in the United States, where more than 18000 new cases per day have been reported.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, scientists and researchers have been trying to find a possible cure and develop a vaccine. However, up till now, none of the two are available. Scientists believe it will take around a year for an effective vaccine to be developed. Hence, there is a possibility the vaccine would be available by the end of this year.

Also read: Coronavirus: U.K Approves Use of £5 Life-Saving Drug Dexamethasone

The epidemic has led to a global lockdown. Governments have imposed restrictions in numerous areas to prevent the further transmission of the disease. South Africa followed the same footsteps.

However, recently, Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s president, eased these restrictions, even though the cases are increasing rapidly. The decision was made to reduce the deterioration of the economic conditions in the country.

It is clear, the decision will not prove effective in the long run. As the coronavirus cases will increase, the economic crisis will only worsen.

Previous Measures

By the end of March, South Africa went into one of the strictest lockdowns across the globe. Alcohol and cigarette sales were banned, and movement was almost completely restricted. This slowed the spread of the disease in the initial period, allowing the medical experts to prepare for the future. This included getting hospitals and ventilators ready for the patients.

Source: Financial Times

Reasons for Lifting Lockdown

The extreme lockdown led to an economic crisis in the country. Therefore, pushing the government to has ease the restrictions. Casinos, hairdressing salons, hotels and sit-down restaurants will now be open for the public – among other corporations and businesses. The officials have not yet announced a date for the implementation though.

In the start of June, South Africa opened their mining and manufacturing businesses, allowing them to operate at their normal levels. The government also lifted the ban on alcohol sales for use at home from Monday to Thursday.

Source: US News

The country currently has 80,412 confirmed cases with 1,674 deaths. In the last week, the number of affected patients has increased by 37%. This is still with the lockdown. Extrapolating for the time period without such restrictions, the increase would be exponential.

Also read: Two New Coronavirus Cases Emerge: Did New Zealand lift lockdown too soon?

The easing of restrictions was to help small scale businesses to survive the major economic crisis. According to Vumani Mkhize, a business reporter for the BBC, South Africa’s economy was adversely affected due to the coronavirus crisis and the lifting of lockdown would help the struggling businesses.

Overall, the lockdown greatly slowed down the transmission of coronavirus infection. The number of reported cases of flu and pneumonia were also considerably lesser than previous years. Further, the ban on alcohol reduced the homicide and domestic abuse cases as well.

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Cannabis

No More Firing Or Barring of Workers Or Applicants Over Cannabis Screening, Says Amazon

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No More Firing Or Barring of Workers Or Applicants Over Cannabis Screening, Says Amazon

Amazon has been in favor of legalizing and decriminalizing cannabis in all states. The company favors federally altering reforms to make new legislation for legalization and decriminalization of marijuana. It also supports altering employer-employee policy with respect to new legalization rules. 

 

Amazon reestablished its employment eligibility criteria for previous workers or job applicants. Previously, the company used to fire employees with positive cannabis screening results. The same used to happen with job applicants, they were considered ineligible to apply for any job. 

 

Moreover, in June 2021, Amazon changed its policy and ended pre-employment cannabis screening for many applicants for various job posts.

 

Amazon And Cannabis-Employment Policy

 

Amazon is one of the largest e-commerce platforms with millions of clients and workers. The company is planning to further relax its cannabis screening policies to support federal legalization legislation.

ALSO READ: Best CBD For Terriers Dogs

The previous cannabis employment policy contains that individuals, former workers, and applicants, that use cannabis will be fired or will not be selected for any post. However, things change over the last 18 months. Now people with a history of using marijuana and those with positive screening results can continue their jobs and office work freely irrespective of pot usage.

 

The pre-employment test and screening processing adversely affected many people, especially people of color. Minority communities are most affected. According to Beth Galetti, people of color suffer from these policies, and the team of employees and employers in Amazon consider such behavior unacceptable. The people of color had to go through inequitable treatment.

 

Changes In Employment Policy

 

In June this year, the company announced that it no longer screens its workers for cannabis. However, the company’s new employment policy requires employees and applicants for the Department of Transport to pass through a marijuana screening test. Employees such as heavy equipment operators and truck drivers have to clear marijuana screening before beginning their job and can be asked to perform screening whenever necessary.

 

Hiring cannabis consumers was a positive change in the employment policy made by Amazon. Hopefully, many other companies will follow the example and bring an alteration to society. 

 

Yet employees will go through regular tests, including tests for alcohol and other drugs. The company can ask employees to undergo a drug test after any incident. 

 

Why Allow Cannabis users To Apply And DO Jobs?

 

Amazon observed that many states are legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana. After learning the change in perspective of the public and legislators, the company also decided to relax its cannabis standards.

ALSO READ: New York Cannabis Industry And Park Strategies

According to Beth Galetti, allowing former cannabis users to apply for a job will lure more applicants in a tight labor market. It will also reduce the suffering of people of color somehow.

 

Amazon is looking for field experts and enthusiastic employees. According to Galetti, they have discovered that eliminating pre-employment testing for cannabis permits the company to expand its applicant pool. 

 

According to Bloomberg, Amazon encourages its delivery firms to advertise that they do not require cannabis screening. Also, the company is lobbying the federal government to legalize pot. Amazon supports the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act. The objective of this act is to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level. One of the aims is to expunge criminal records. According to the Act, this will bring investments to these communities. 

 

Amazon also recently endorsed a similar bill on Tuesday called the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. The company is urging congress to expunge federal nonviolent marijuana crimes and legalize pot federally. 

Originally Covered On: CNBC

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Edible Cannabis Items Might Contain Dangerous Delta-8 THC Substances

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Edible Cannabis Items Might Contain Dangerous Substances

Cannabis-infused edibles are known as edible marijuana products. There is a high possibility that these items contain Delta-8 THC which leads to increased side effects and damage to consumers’ health.

 

A health advisory committee will discover more about the subject. An official member of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is joining hands with the Food and Drug Administration to investigate the presence of delt-8 THC in cannabis-infused products.

 

There has been an increase in the demand and supply of marijuana-containing items during the coronavirus pandemic situation. Many such products contain delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and (cannabidiol) CBD. But insufficient labeling of items puts consumers in jeopardy. People unknowingly consume THC and CBD, leading to intoxication. 

 

Delta-8 THC In Cannabis Edibles Intoxication 

 

Intoxication disturbs body functioning, and people, after consuming edible products of pot may develop delta-8 THC toxicity. They experience lethargy, slurred speech, uncoordinated movements, and low blood pressure.

ALSO READ: Former Hudson Valley Prison Transforming Into A New Cannabis Facility

People also develop decreased psychomotor activity, increased heart rate progression to slowed heart rate, and difficulty breathing. In some conditions, some individuals experience sedation and fall into a coma. 

 

According to the advisory, the health impacts of delta-8 THC are not available, due to a lack of research. It is not well-understood whether it is as damaging as delta-9 THC or is different from it. However, it is known that delta-8 THC is a psychoactive compound capable of causing similar impairing effects as delta-9. 

 

Presence of Isomeric Compounds In Cannabis

 

Marijuana plants contain multiple isomers that exist in various parts of the plant. Some components have beneficial effects, and others have side effects. Delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC are present in the cannabis plant naturally but only in small quantities. 

 

Delta-8 THC is present with 50 percent to 75 percent of the psychoactive punch as delta-9 THC. Various isomers of THC, including delta-8, and delta-9 come from the synthetic conversion of CBD. Cannabidiol is not psychoactive, but THC is. 

 

Delta-8 THC Containing Products Increasing In Marketplaces

 

The number of delta-8 THC-containing products is increasing in the marketplaces of both hemp and marijuana both. In some areas, sales of such items occur legally by following territorial, state, or tribal laws. According to the official CDC Health Advisory, most states and territories allow full or restricted marijuana marketplaces. In these states, hemp and its derived CBD items are undergoing sales process lawfully. 

 

The advisory also says that delta-8 THC-containing cannabis products are purchasable online. Moreover, marketing of these products occurs under the names “weed light” or “diet weed”. 

 

Many marijuana marketplaces contain several delta-8 THC-containing products, but the label mentions delta-9 THC only. The THC content in these products increases. Due to inaccurate labeling, consumers of cannabis edibles with delta-8 THC experience unexpected or increased THC intoxication.

 

CDC Reports And Delta-8 THC Containing Products

 

There is a large variety of delta-8 THC-containing marijuana products in the market. Vapes, smokeable marijuana sprayed with delta-8 THC extract, tinctures, and chocolates containing THC are in abundance in the market. Delta-8 THC contains distillates, gummies, infused beverages, and many more cannabis edible items that are purchasable from marketplaces.

ALSO READ: Cannabis Industry Welcomes Black Americans, But For Many Of Them Entry Price Is Steep

According to the advisory, there is no testing procedure available to determine the presence of delta-8 THC in marijuana edibles. Testing methods are in the development process and require research and time. Moreover, testing to determine the presence of contaminants does not occur due to a lack of advanced testing procedures. These contaminants like heavy metals, solvents, insecticides, or pesticides may cause adverse reactions in consumers. 

 

The CDC report indicates an increase in delta-8 THC intoxication cases. CDC gathers information from emergency departments participating in its National Syndrome Surveillance Program. 

 

Thirty-nine percent of the patients admitted to the emergency department due to delta-8 intoxication are younger than eighteen years of age. Eighteen percent of those taken to the emergency department require hospitalization to recover from in-toxicity of delta-8 THC.

Originally covered on: foodsafetynews

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Former Hudson Valley Prison Transforming Into A New Cannabis Facility

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Former Hudson Valley Prison Transforming Into A New Cannabis Facility

Growing and cultivating cannabis in Warwick is the new trend in the locality. The town is undergoing debating sessions on whether to permit marijuana dispensaries or not. 

 

The existing marijuana industry is looking for new market potentials and trying to get into new markets. Facilitating people legally by providing them high-quality weed products is the goal of many big marijuana companies.  

Cannabis firms are keeping a keen watch over states marijuana policies and legalization trends to expand their businesses. Local businesses are also interested in becoming a part of the quickly growing marijuana industry. 

 

The Green Thumb Industries are setting new marijuana cultivation and production unit at a former prison Hudson Valley in Warwick. The CEO of the Green Thumb Industries is Ben Kovler. On Thursday, September 9, Ben announced that the firm is beginning a production facility in that region. The company already has many cultivation and production facilities in fourteen states. The opening of a cannabis production and cultivation facility in Warwick will be beneficial for locals. Doing so will generate 100 permanent jobs at a minimum. 

 

The Warwick prison once holds 1000 inmates and it was a medium-security prison. By 2023 it will completely operate as a marijuana cultivation site. 

 

Cultivation Of Cannabis And Its Legalization

 

Multiple states including New York legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. Marijuana industrialists are moving towards new marketplaces to expand their business. Green Thumb Industries is a Chicago-based cannabis operator. 

ALSO READ: New York Cannabis Industry And Park Strategies

They began construction of their cultivation and production facility on Thursday at the former Mid-Orange Correctional Facility site. The site is located on John Hicks Drive, joining Citiva Medical. Moreover, Citiva Medical has already begun its greenhouse and processing unit for cannabis cultivation and processing.

 

The legislators of New York approves of the marijuana legalization bill this year. Adult use of weed items by individuals, above or equivalent to 21 years of age becomes legal. The approval of the legislation encourages manufacturers to start developing sites for cannabis cultivation and production in the area.

 

Employment And Cannabis

 

According to Ben Kovler, marijuana, employment, and the economy is a full-circle moment. Cresco Labs also propose the development of a marijuana cultivation facility. This facility will provide 300 to 400 jobs in 2022 once construction begins. 

 

The expansion of cannabis markets and industries increases the chances of individuals getting jobs. The number of employed individuals gets better with an increase in job opportunities. People begin to make a living as more marijuana firms develop and progress.

 

Kovler does not like that there is still a prison that has imprisoned inmates for marijuana activities. Individuals in the past for cultivating, possessing, or getting involved in marijuana activities were put into jail and are still there. There is also a need to do something about them and resolve the matters as now the nation legalizes cannabis.

 

More About Green Thumb Industries and Their Marijuana Services

 

The Green Thumb Industries has sixteen cultivation and processing facilities and sixty-four retail locations in fourteen different states. According to Ben Kovler, Green Thumb is one of the ten registered organizations permissible to participate in the medical cannabis program. 

 

The firm is investing $150 million to remodel the Orange County site. The construction of a cultivation facility will generate at least a hundred construction jobs. More than 100 permanent jobs creation will occur once they are ready to operate.

ALSO READ: Ban On Cannabis Marketing Via Billboards In Michigan

There is a need for supervisors, operational roles, managers, and general managers in the cannabis processing facility. According to Ben Kovler, it is time for individuals to learn skills with passion, and the firm can create a long-lasting career for them.

 

Recreational cannabis dispensaries will likely open by 2023. At the same time, Green Thumb products will be ready to make a launch on the market. Things are slowly progressing towards a better future for the cannabis industry. 

Originally covered on: timesunion

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