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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

Impaired Driving: A Must Consideration for the State’s Cannabis Bill

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impaired driving in New York

Even with the concept of Vision Zero and more raising concerns for the traffic rules, Albany legislators aren’t focused on it, while rushing to legalize the use of cannabis in New York. Silive shares the thoughts of how important it is to slow down the process of legalization and first pass on a bill that would stop impaired driving and hold marijuana-impaired drivers accountable for accidents.

Before the legalization of marijuana, to create a safer environment, it is extremely important to put pressure on the notion that studies categorize all intoxicating substances as unsafe for driving.

Impaired Driving Same as a Speeding Ticket

No consideration against the impaired driving would make people think it unimportant as a speeding ticket. This indirect message by the leaders would eventually lead to a greater number of casualties with each passing day.

It is nothing but a truth that marijuana has the potency to affect concentration, response time, motor function, and movement. Also, the science links a high concentration of THC in the blood due to cannabis intake to impaired driving. Surprisingly, marijuana is a second substance that has a major influence on driving capability after alcohol.

Need to Reinforce the Drug Definition in New York

Apart from considering classifying impaired driving due to marijuana as a minor criminal act, some light should also be shed on revising the term drug as other 45 states have done. Any substance should be called a drug that can compromise the ability to think, focus, and react.

ALSO READ: Marijuana Legalization And Decriminalization Bills Delayed By Murphy 

If this act is not taken, according to the law, they cannot be charged if the alleged impaired drivers refuse to have a chemical test. The dismissal would eventually result in chaos and poor law enforcement. Such impaired drivers could not be held accountable and would be back on the roads again, risking the lives of hundreds of people.

The legislators of Albany must think about the message they are conveying to the younger generation out there. Already, as shown by the personal accounts of many teenagers, marijuana is nothing big for them and seems harmless.

Different treatment for impaired drivers than those drunken drivers would further strengthen this perception among people. Since neighboring states have already legalized marijuana for recreational and other purposes, New York seems to be next.

Strict Laws and More Investment in the Traffic Sector

Along with the modifications in the law to serve a better criminal justice system, there is a need to pass on better provisions to ensure safety on roads. No person should become a target of  people managing a 3,00 pounds vehicle while being impaired by marijuana, asserts the source.

ALSO READ: Denver’s Cannabis Ordinance Will Jeopardize Hard Earned Public Health And Safety

There should be provisions in the law to hold such people against the criminal act. To run a smooth traffic system, it is mandatory to design out complete traffic safety rules. There should be more people, funding, and resources to train the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) officers and create awareness of the possible effects of drug abuse, including marijuana. As time has changed, the use of synthetic drugs has made it difficult to articulate a specific one; thus, the need for DRE officers has become as important as the need to include the provisions in the bill.

The legalization in New York for cannabis should be set straight from the start. Before the bill includes and assures safety on roads, the legalization of recreational cannabis is a non-starter. All the roads

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People Of Color Hit With Brunt Of Cannabis Arrests

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Cannabis relating arrests in NYC

Cannabis is an illicit drug but lawmakers’ efforts to legalize and decriminalize marijuana activities. Some states have legalized medical and recreational use of marijuana, but others are discussing making the final decision. 

The situation has produced confusion as some individuals think the possession of marijuana is legal already by law, but it is not, says The City. As a result, large-scale imprisonment occurs in many states.

In 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his plan to legalize cannabis. However, a final decision has not yet occurred. As a result, many Black New Yorkers are getting arrested. Moreover, people of color in New York receive summonses at vastly disproportionate rates. 

ALSO READ: Hope Wiseman Breaks Barriers In Marijuana Industry

According to Allan Gandelman, the state must legalize cannabis activities and include productive-measures into the legislation for better outputs. So that Blacks and other people in minorities get justice. 

Data Analysis Regarding Cannabis Arrest 

According to an analysis of NYPD data by the Legal Aid Society, 94% of the Black And Latinos in New York face arrest and summons in 2020. Moreover, according to an analysis report, 57% of arrested New Yorkers were Black, and 35.7% were Latino. According to the Census Bureau, concerning the population, the city has 24% Black population and 29% Latino.  

Moreover, the analysis data elaborates that people of color face more imprisonment and summons regarding marijuana activities than any other citizen. Other individuals get free passes while Black and Latino have to pay penalties or go to prison for the same action as done by others. 

According to Anthony Posada, Blacks and Latinos are suffering from injustice in the marijuana business. 

In 2019 the number of arrests and summons was 16411. However, in 2020 the number decreased to 10811, yet the percentage of Black and Latino arrests remained the same through-out the pandemic. 

As a result of disproportionate arrests and summons, the Black and Latinos are suffering immensely. Therefore, members of the Legal Aid Society are requesting to pass the legalization bills as soon as possible. 

Cuomo Response To Legalizing Marijuana Bills

Passing the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act on governors’ approval will end the disproportionate arrests and summon cycle. This will put an end to the sufferings of the people of color and provide equal rights to them, resulting in racial justice and equity.

During the 2018 elections, Governor Cuomo promised to legalize marijuana, but he did nothing to bring it to action. Moreover, in the following year, Cuomo showed a lack of support towards the legalization of cannabis. 

In 2020, lawmakers were hopeful that the governor would pass the bill. However, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the matter remains unsolved. Moreover, the governor is currently trying to pass through the state’s annual budget process legislation regarding marijuana. Furthermore, he designed the marijuana legislation himself. 

ALSO READ: Marijuana Uses Not Sufficient Reason For Disqualification from White House Jobs

The governor desires to pass his own designed bill that enables delivery services and provides marijuana equity funds worth $100 million. The funds will also be used to provide substance use disorder treatment, financial literacy help, and jobs. 

Some lawmakers agree with the state’s legislature, but others recommend passing Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act. With both bills, legalization will occur. Moreover, legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana is the need of the hour. However, with the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act, the government will collect about 30% to 50% of tax. But with the state’s legislature-plan, only 18% will be the tax rate. 

Allan Gandelman is NY Cannabis Growers and Processors Association President. Gandelman appreciates MRTA-efforts that allow the growth of marijuana, home-delivery, weed microbusinesses, and funding for social-equity applicants. Moreover, he understands the importance of legalizing marijuana bills.

 

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Looking For A Job In Marijuana Business In Michigan

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Marijuana jobs

The marijuana industry is exploring and flourishing day by day. Many states, including Michigan, have legalized and decriminalized cannabis activities. Individuals have lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic and need employment with good salaries and incentives. Thus, Michiganders are looking for a job in the marijuana industry.

A year back, Michigan legalized cannabis involving activities. The state this year celebrates successful legal marijuana sales. In Western Michigan, a group is offering free training and advice to individuals who desire to find work in the marijuana business, reports Michigan Radio.

According to Matt Hoffman, like any other industry, the marijuana industry also has the potential of providing jobs to many individuals. Moreover, the jobs that are available in the cannabis industry have great-variations for qualification criteria. There are jobs available for those who love farming, who like transportation or administrational activities. 

ALSO READ: Cannabis Greenhouse Effect – Areas With More Emission

Individuals with sufficient knowledge and experience in cultivating, growing, and harvesting cannabis from its fields are suitable for marijuana production. However, individuals with administrative-knowledge, management skills, and good communication skills are for administrative work. Similarly, individuals that can help with product efficiencies, compliance, security, and environmental impact can also get a job in the cannabis industry. 

Moreover, the founder and chairman of Grand Rapids-based nonprofit Our Cannabis suggests that individuals shall similarly think of the marijuana industry as they think of other industries. 

What Hoffman Has To Say About Marijuana Business And Jobs?

Matt Hoffman is the founder and chairman of Grand Rapids-based nonprofit Our Cannabis. He worked for 11 years in the marijuana industry, and with the support of his family, he was able to build a new cannabis business. However, business trends have altered over time. Moreover, government policies also affect the cannabis industry.

Hoffman participated in the marijuana job fair a few years back in Grand Rapids, and there he was able to make reasonable profits. Moreover, the demand for weed products is increasing day by day. 

According to Matt Hoffman, in 2018, Michigan legalized marijuana activities. However, there are still some individuals that are unable to get to participate in the cannabis industry. 

Moreover, some individuals face criminal charges or imprisonment for getting involved in the weed industry, sales, and other activities. Matt Hoffman elaborates that there are individuals that spend their lives in prison despite the legalization of marijuana. Furthermore, their families are also suffering.

Through Our Cannabis, Matt desires to open the marijuana industry to all individuals. Moreover, anyone can get help in getting a job in the cannabis industry, no matter if they are from a minority or a majority. Even those with no job experience can also get jobs in the cannabis industry. 

COVID-19 Crisis And Drug Offenses Imprisonment

According to the state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency reports, 80% of the prisoners for drug offenses are Black or Latino at the federal level. Moreover, at the state level, 60% of prisoners for drug offenses are Black or Latino. 

ALSO READ: Hope Wiseman Breaks Barriers In Marijuana Industry

Marijuana business ownership is also another problem as Black is under restrictions by law. Thus, only 3.8% of the cannabis business owners in Michigan are Black or African Americans. Moreover, Latino own 1.5% of the weed business in the state. Analyzing the situation of minorities, the MRA’s Racial Equity Advisory Workgroup recommends new regulations for the state. Furthermore, through these alterations, minorities will be able to get equal rights to business in the marijuana industry. 

Due to COVID-19, many small businesses were unable to continue progression. As a result, many small-scale-businesses are closed, leading to an increase in unemployment. However, the legalization and decriminalization trend in the cannabis industry produces new job opportunities for many unemployed individuals.

According to Hoffman, individuals can gather information regarding the marijuana industry and job opportunities by signing up for free classes at Our Cannabis official website. 

 

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