Has COVID-19 contributed to reducing stigma surrounding cannabis use in the United states?
Trends in the record breaking sales of the drug during 2020 is proof that this could be somewhat true. Out of the 27 states facing the stay at home orders, 23 adjudicated cannabis as an essential item since March of 2020.
With this came the acceptance of the fact that cannabis is necessary for the well-being and healthcare of a large proportion of the American population. Prior to this, only industrialists, patients or medical professionals knew the actual figures that reflected this necessity. COVID-19 has brought this truth out in the open for everyone to see.
With most businesses forced to shutdown during this peak pandemic period, the contrasting success of the cannabis industry is suggesting that the cliched smirch attached to its use is finally clearing up.
Why has Cannabis been stigmatized for so long?
The Federal Law of the United States Of America still categorizes cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, despite of widespread legalization in almost 33 states in the country. This federal intolerance towards the drug has given birth to some deep rooted stigma around cannabis use in the country.
Schedule 1 is the most stringent category of drug classification. Cataloging marijuana under it means implying that the drug has no accepted medical use and has a high potential of abuse.
Advocates of marijuana legalization have long argued this stratification. The widespread use of medicinal marijuana for treating epilepsy, cancer, Alzheimer’s etc. negate the stance that it has no accepted medicinal use. Similarly, as far as substance abuse and addiction is concerned, the repercussions are not much different than alcohol.
Why then is alcohol considered a legal form of recreation and marijuana has been denounced across the board for so many years?
How is COVID-19 reducing stigma around cannabis use?
A large proportion of the American society already supports legalization of cannabis in some form. According to a 2019 Pew Research Poll, the percentage of supporters stood at a staggering 91%.
Despite of this, paradoxes still surround cannabis use in the country. Shame and guilt have often forced many users to hide their ‘secret’, despite of being active users themselves.
According to Michele Norris, an award winning journalist. ” It’s hard for an individual—or a country—to evolve past discomfort if the source of the anxiety is only discussed in hushed tones.”
COVID-19 has brought people closer together than they were ever before. With this, cannabis users have found themselves sharing living spaces with others. Most of them have found themselves having open and difficult discussions with others.
These discussion can be catalytic in evolving opinions about cannabis use. This responsibility of changing the deductions of harsh judgement rests in part on the cannabis user.
Here is how this can be done.
How to deal with judgement surrounding cannabis use?
Rabbi James Kahn, Director of National Outreach at Holistic Industries has compiled some tips that can be helpful for cannabis users to tackle being judged.
1- Use facts to tackle myths.
This will require a cannabis users to be well aware of laws and drug facts associated with cannabis use. For example, it is important for the obscurrent to know that not all cannabis strains lead to intoxication. Some are excellent pain relievers and have medicinal properties.
2. Show them Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s documentary, Weed.
This documentary covers the therapeutic effects of cannabis. It can change opinions.
3. Be sympathetic
Here Rabbi James Kahn suggests to start the conversation with the intent of love and care. The point of having the conversation is not winning a debate. This is why it is important to frame sentences using words that bring the listener closer to understanding rather than getting into a fight.
Cannabis Gummies – The Best Cannabis Snack
Cannabis gummies are part of individuals’ life for multiple reasons, including their effect on pain relief, depression, and other conditions. Over the years, people’s consumption of weed evolves. Previously they ate weed brownies, homemade cannabis cookies, and other homemade dishes. Now people have more variety for the consumption of weed with the advent of soft drinks, candies, and other readily available foods containing marijuana.
Gummies, mints, tarts, and candies are the new trends in the market. Moreover, gummies sales have risen remarkably in the market as they enable the consumption of weed legally. Other reasons make these little weed chewable stand out in the market.
Weed Gummies Are User Friendly
Gummies contain cannabidiol (CBD) oil, which is one of the compounds present in cannabis or weed. It develops a positive impact on multiple mental conditions. Thus, patients with anxiety disorders, depression, and cancer-related symptoms use it as prescribed by their physician. Moreover, it has neuroprotective properties that improve the mental health condition of individuals.
Eating CBD in the form of gummies is easy for administration, and individuals can consume it on their own. CBD-gummies are quickly chewable, and individuals can accurately take a specific dose at each administration.
Eating weed-chocolate and other foods incorporated with cannabis provide the drug, but its dose varies. On the other hand, gummies will provide the same dosage at each self-administration.
Cannabis Gummies Any Time
The thing with various dishes is that you cannot consume the same meal for days and need alteration to taste something new. You can eat brownies or cookies once a week or every other day. But consuming them daily is not easy as you will lose appetite for the same dish.
However, CBD-gummies have no such problem as individuals can eat them anywhere, whenever they want. Moreover, there is always room for gummies, unlike occasional eats like mints and tarts.
The calorie intake is also lower in gummies consumption than other desserts like brownies, cookies, etc. Chef Matt Kulczycki is the edible product manager for CannaCraft, California. According to Chef Matt Kulczycki, gummy provides an easy way to eat cannabis. Also, a quick way to snack on something.
Longer Shelf-Life Of The Cannabis Snack
Usually, baked foods get old with time and are no longer fresh for consumption. But gummies and candies comparably have a longer shelf life, and they remain free of contamination for a longer duration if it is within its wrapping.
Moreover, risks of melting, deforming, and flavor alterations are lower with weed-gummies than other snacks like chocolates, brownies. Also, gummies do not require any specific storage condition and remain in form for a longer duration wherever you take them.
ALSO READ: How to Make Ice Cream Infused with Cannabis
Evolving Is Part Of Life
Evolution occurs naturally over the years and brings changes in nature. Similarly, with time science makes progress and formulates more advanced technologies. Like that, food items and their formulation also change with time.
Moreover, the type changes depending upon the manufacturing procedure, and the state of cannabis used for forming the Gummies. Gummy may contain any one of the following: pectin, gelatin, distillate, live resin, for manufacturing a different type. Some of them also contain additives like melatonin and terpenes.
Manufacturers alter production methods and product formulas to formulate weed gummies of great taste, efficacy, and reasonable cost. According to Chef Kulczycki, the cost of adding CBN and CBG is so high that its difficult to add them to the product. Sleep-gummy and fruit chews, similar to Starburst and Mamba, are ready for launch in the market. Sleep gummy contains 5mg of THC and other compounds of medicinal importance.
Weed Illegal Possessors Fined By Police
As health care professionals condemn the use of weed illegally, the situation has become more critical during the coronavirus pandemic.
Illegal Activities Late At Night In Hampshire
According to the Island Echo, three friends from different backgrounds were busted by police for not following lockdown-instructions at night on 22nd January.
Police stopped a trio of friends in Hampshire. The police discovered that not only they are breaching COVID-19 lockdown. But they have a large amount of a controlled drug. The three men did have a wish-list purchase, but the Hampshire Constabulary officer was not convinced with it.
Having weed illegally in one’s possession is against health laws. As a result of breaching COVID-19 lockdown and health regulations, each of the three was fined £200 ($348).
Maggie Blyth is the assistant chief constable of Hampshire. According to Blyth, authorities reintroduce the national restrictions. Further, she added that there is a need to take immediate action against breaching the law. Multiple groups and individuals have gone against the instructions of authorities for controlling coronavirus pandemic.
ALSO READ: Does Cannabis Affect Your Brain?
Government Policies For Coronavirus Lockdown
The government makes videos for public awareness and recommends them to stay within their homes or apartments. Moreover, because one of every three individuals is asymptomatic. Such individuals are carriers of coronavirus and have no symptoms of infection.
Authorities have given clear instructions recommending people avoid public gatherings and unreasonably leave during the lockdown.
Coronavirus is spreading exponentially. The U.K. government recommends individuals stay at home unless it is an emergency or an urgent matter. However, there are few other situations in which outdoor visits are permissible.
People can purchase necessities for life or do work relating to services that cannot be done from home. Furthermore, exercising within home premises with a trainer is permissible if there is a distance of two meters between individuals.
However, purchasing class B drugs that are controlled drugs is not legal according to law. Moreover, having an immense amount of weed or cannabis without prescription is illegal and can result in five years imprisonment, a fine, or both.
Legal Professionals Remarks On Weed (Cannabis)
According to Sara Zborovski, it is not permissible to promote weed or cannabis under section 16, even for educational purposes. There are certain boundaries within which information about weed can be provided for medical purposes. The age of people who are getting educational information about cannabis also matters. However, any information regarding cannabis for promoting its sale in public is not permissible.
According to Matt Maurer, education about cannabis is continuing under strict rules without any promotional campaigns encouraging its sale. According to Paul Lewin, the law permits discussion and teaching of the medical benefits of cannabis within limitations.
However, cannabis health benefits are remarkable in improving the condition of patients with epilepsy. But illegal purchase and possession of drugs are punishable under the law. Moreover, individuals can face years of imprisonment for illegal-activities regarding drug sale and purchase.
Sometimes individuals with illegal drug activities have to pay heavy-fines. Moreover, it depends upon the number of controlled drugs like cannabis found at the crime scene. There is a possibility of receiving imprisonment and a fine by the culprits from the court.
Cannabis Industry- A Way to Business or Social Justice in Society
For many, the booming cannabis industry is a blessing. Within the passage of two decades, cannabis has become a taboo substance to a highly profitable thing available in the dispensaries. According to research in 2019 the cannabis industry has alone provided 33000 jobs. Also, these jobs come with an average income that is 10.7 percent more than the national average income. As cannabis is becoming more common and mainstream many people don’t see any harm coming their way. All they see is an opportunity. Legalizing cannabis can be a significant way to improve society.
Cannabis Positive Side
Native cultures use cannabis for healing, spiritual and medical reasons. One of the largest cannabis markets in the world is America. Under federal law using, possessing, and sale of marijuana is still illegal. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the laws are still shifting. The ballot states that soon cannabis will be legal for adult recreational use in many states. In addition to this, it is also estimated that medical use of marijuana will also be allowed in many states. Many people still don’t believe that marijuana is becoming a big business deal.
Decades of drug arrests, violence, sentencing, and imprisonment have tangled the relationship between black and brown communities. According to Stormy Simon, the executive director of the board for Mission Green states that there are many large companies making millions and many people remain in prison because of the classification of the marijuana plant as a Schedule 1 Drug in the same state where adults use is legal. It looks that the cannabis dispensaries are also increasing in number in society along with the pandemic yet the drug remains illegal in others.
A Quick View on the War of Drugs
Social equity becomes a key question. Advocates who look forward to legalizing marijuana have argued for social justice. After decades of the long drug war, they targeted minority, poor communities and societies only. Social justice has been a turning point that has also become the selling point of these drugs in Ney York and New Jersey among many other states that still wait to decide whether to join the states that allow the recreational use of weed or not. It is impossible to talk about marijuana and social equity without really knowing the war of drugs and its after-effects.
President Nixon is famously known for his racist views. He declared drug abuse as public enemy number 1 officially culminating the war on drugs. Many people argued that this move is targeting anti-war activists and wage a systematic war against Black Americans, fighting for civil wars.
Many people see a very positive side of the marijuana industry. According to Brittany K Barnett, a lawyer and co-founder state that bold and brave actions are required by the cannabis companies and legislation. She urges that marijuana justice means everyone can achieve economic equity and general social equity. The U.S House of Representatives has passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act that the bill has removed marijuana from the controlled substances list.
White believes that cannabis and its related industry can provide many advantages. Not only entrepreneurial opportunities for people of color. One day he expects as a culture and society people to learn the power of this plant. We are not going to over-consume it. Indeed we all are going to use it respectfully.
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