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Decriminalization of marijuana likely under Joe Biden’s administration

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Is Joe Biden's decriminalization of marijuana enough for policy reforms or does he need to do more?

Joe Biden has gained prominence yet again on the political scene of United States as a presidential nominee for the 2020 elections. According to his running mate Kamala Harris, decriminalization of marijuana is a change in the design of the system which will definitely be dealt with if they win the elections. Effectuation of this policy will also involve an automatic expungement of all marijuana-use convictions and ‘end incarceration for drug use alone’.

Kamala Harris outlined these proposals during a virtual roundtable she hosted through Facebook Live on September 14th.

“This is no time … for half-steppin’, this is no time for incrementalism. We need to deal with the system, and there needs to be significant change in the design of the system.” said Kamala during the virtual roundtable.

The proposed alterations in the legislative policies reflect a huge change in the political stances of these democratic leaders. Both Kamala Harris and Joe Biden have been active supporters of strict actions against drug use. From proposing decriminalization of marijuana to desceduling it, the duo has evolved a lot on their attitudes towards the drug.

Biden has spent a career in Washington that stressed for mandatory minimum sentencing. According to Naomi Murakawa, author of  The First Civil Right:How Liberals Built Prison America, Joe Biden’s policies have ‘made the criminal justice system more lethal and just bigger’.

Biden helped write the controversial 1994 ”tough on crime” law. This law had resulted in aggressive policing, mass incarcerations and more prison cells in the 1990s. He was at the center of framing many other federal policies that escalated the war on drugs.

Biden has defended the 1994 law as recently as 2016. He argued that it helped to put an end to an era of crime and violence in American cities. Biden’s past records with criminal justice issues had put him at odds with most Democrats as a vast majority of them were in support of some sort of reforms in marijuana policies.

Earlier this year, Joe Biden has admitted to making mistakes in his political career. “I haven’t always been right. I know we haven’t always gotten things right, but I’ve always tried,” he said. In an attempt to highlight the changes in his political views, he admitted to the presence of systematic racism within the nation. His decisions had trapped an entire generation, but despite of this he was hopeful about carrying the legacy of MLK forward.

California and Proposition 19

Proposition 19 is also known as the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010. The initiative had proposed legalization of marijuana and its related activities for adults 21 years and older. It had also allowed local governments to regulate, tax and control these activities.

About 53.5% votes opposed the initiative on the ballots, leading to its defeat. Kamala Harris was also among those who opposed it and saw the proposition as a public safety issue. She only supported the legal use of medical marijuana but not anything beyond that.

Policy reforms by Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris is often mocked by her opponents for her past record as a prosecutor of marijuana cases. According to some sources, she is responsible for putting 1500 people in jail for marijuana related crimes.

In July of 2019 however, Kamala Harris introduced the MORE Act, short for Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungment Act. The bill proposed a removal of marijuana from the Schedule 1 classification. In addition to this, criminal justice reforms and decriminalization of the drug were also a part of the bill. This bill has not received a single vote from the republican controlled Senate.

This September, the MORE Act would be up for vote in the House of Representatives. Voting for rescheduling marijuana in the Congress is a history changing event which has never happened before. Many are seeing this voting opportunity as ‘a chance to end a failed policy’.

If successful, the Act will allow marijuana a legal status at the federal level, although sales will not be legalized immediately in states. “As people across the country protest racial injustices, there’s even greater urgency for Congress to seize this historic opportunity and finally align our cannabis laws with what the majority of Americans support, while ensuring restorative justice,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), an advocate of marijuana legalization.

Will marijuana be legal?

Republicans have criticized Democrats for ignoring more urgent issues like handling the pandemic and handling healthcare issues. Therefore, the chances of this bill passing in the Senate are low in light of the severe opposition.

Furthermore, both Kamala Harris and Joe Biden have been supporters of decriminalizing marijuana not legalizing it. This is why many politicians, including Barbara Lee, think that Joe Biden will need to evolve more on his marijuana policies.  Although the decriminalization of marijuana and its removal from the Schedule 1 classification are big steps but more needs to be done.

A graduate in Bachelors of Business Administration, Yumna Haq is an ardent researcher and a dedicated writer. Having lived in three different counties, her cultural exposure is vast, allowing her to reflect more knowledge in her work. She's currently working for Cannabis Health Insider as a news writer.

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The Legalization of Cannabis across USA; What’s the Real Reason Behind?

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Are we ready to enter the cannabis sector?

People of color are striving for decades and are discriminated against for their usage of drugs. Often facing issues of penalties and illicit charges finally is the time for them to have justice and help sustain the United States economy. The economy has suffered adversely. Back in December global cannabis stock started rising up.

The news is in the air and making a huge difference in the lives of many people. It’s a well-deserved and remarkable recovery for the cannabis industry. 2021 has definitely given them a lot of good news to survive and cheer up! This industry is fighting for a very long time for its due rights and during 2020 several events gave it the due edge. Now it seems like wrestling has resulted in the achievement of existential identity and is already set for any storm. There are several reasons for the change in the direction of the wind. Let’s recap the reasons and have a look at this major shift.

Pandemic

As flagged Covid 19’ has forced the state to legalize cannabis. It is not only the effort of Democrats but also the hole in the budget which is persuading them to take this step. This step will lead towards new employment opportunities and will help families that have lost their means of earning at the hands of the pandemic. It is estimated that billions in terms of tax will be generated to help the state and its citizens.

End to Racism

The people of color will finally get justice. They have been facing racism and discrimination issues since the war on drugs. You must know the history of the plant marijuana- which is believed to be an agent in stopping the immigration of the Mexicans from entering Texas. Initiatives taken by States: The November elections opened up a way for many cannabis companies to open up across New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, South Dakota, and Mississippi. The total addressable market expects more than 16 million new customers. According to studies, very soon, every one-in-three American citizen will live in a state where cannabis adult usage is legalized.

Also Read: Legalization of Cannabis by the Democrats in New York

Expansion of other industries

The best for last is cannabis acting as a catalyst in the generation of revenues. Not only is this legalization of cannabis acts as a fuel to empower other industries. Boris Jordan, Chairman, Curaleaf declares that New Jersey was the tipping point and when New York and Pennsylvania go recreational, 80% of the US population will have access to adult-use cannabis.

Helping Hand to Neighboring States

It will also help the neighboring states like Canada to invest in States. The leaders will look forward to trading. Constitutional developments and laws will help US operators and industrialists to trade around core positions. As soon as the legalization of cannabis takes place, multiple fund managers start to buy cannabis in the US which is of high quality. Despite the fact, there is a lot of supply of cannabis and capital raises we still need to remind ourselves that more laws need to exist. Like they have come up with the laws and decree for the growth, cultivation, supply, and possession laws they need to have laws for child-resistant packaging marijuana foods.

Also Read:Mexico Takes A Shift to Create World’s Largest Cannabis Market

What to expect now?

Once the US companies linked with cannabis are able to access capital to fuel and pump their growth and once they list on US exchanges, then the voyage will be underway. This asset will prove to be a new socio-economic engine for the US. The historic end to the war on drugs is on its way. A revolution is coming and good days for many!

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Medical Marijuana Leads to Poisoning in Kids

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Medical Marijuana

The Bottom Line

Giving medical marijuana to patients suffering from HIV or AIDS, seizure disorders, and in case of chronic pain is trending. In addition to this, it is given to patients suffering from severe nausea. Also, it is proven beneficial for patients who lose their appetite for treatment such as chemotherapy. The chemical inside medical marijuana is active compared to the marijuana plant.
There had been several issues getting under the light once the news of cannabis legalization came into existence. This has for sure brought smiles to millions of faces. Proper laws and decrees have been passed for the possession, cultivation, and growing of marijuana but what is the major concern right now is that there are no laws for the child safe storage of medical marijuana products.

ALSO READ: Medical marijuana to reduce pain and improve workforce in older Americans

The Complete Story

After the Democrats winning the position they have pushed a way forward to the matter of legalization of medical marijuana in the States. Although there are many states in America where it has been legalized but the debate is still in the air about other states.
Dated, 14th January many states have made it legal in the District of Columbia. There are specific medical conditions allowing patients to use medical marijuana legally. Examples of such conditions include patients with cancer, AIDS, and severe nausea. Also, patients suffering from seizure disorders and high-intensity pain can legally use medical marijuana. However, the Federal Government doesn’t take any legal action against people holding it but it still is illegal under federal law.

What’s Next

Now coming to the major concern legal or illegal, if you have marijuana in your household, it is accessible to small children. The recent study suggests that children swallowing marijuana are serious and need hospitals to save their lives. As medical marijuana has a high intensity of an active chemical termed tetrahydrocannabinol– abbreviated as THC compared to marijuana plant or dried marijuana.

Reports by researchers in Colorado

Kids are curious and they have a habit of imitating adults. There is a very high chance of bad news if you don’t take the proper precautions of keeping medical marijuana at your homes. Cookies, brownies, and candies contain medical marijuana. Such items usually don’t have any warning labels that would at least remind the adults to keep such things out of reach. Researchers in Colorado have recently reported an increase in the number of cases after swallowing its products. The children’s ages vary from 8 months to12 years old. After these cases, evaluations suggested that medical marijuana cakes, brownies, and candies belonged to the grandparents, parents, friends, or baby sitters coming to their places.

Symptoms in Children

The most common and noticeable symptoms that left the parents suspicious were excessive sleeping, lightheadedness, and having trouble maintaining balance. Yet, some children faced breathing issues-leaving them with low oxygen saturation. Fortunately, enough none of such cases expired and they recovered without the persistence of any health issues.
The most common symptoms were excessive sleepiness, lightheadedness, and trouble walking. However, a few became too sleepy and their breathing slowed down. That could mean the child doesn’t get enough oxygen. Fortunately, none of these children died. They all recovered without permanent health problems.

ALSO READ: Two Faces of Marijuana

The True Story

This happened which warned the parents in the state to take special care of their children. As at this particular time there are no regulations for child-resistant packaging of medical marijuana products.
Report says that a 3-year-old child ate a cookie made with his grandfather’s medical marijuana. The trouble for the family came into notice When the child became very sleepy rushing to an emergency room was the only option. Several blood tests and medical procedures as per the protocols took place but the urine sample declared the presence of marijuana. The child was admitted to ICU for further treatment and procedures.

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Common Ground Found For Legalizing Weed

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Common Ground Found For Legalizing Weed

Perhaps one of the most overlooked and avoided affairs in the Senate is the legalization of weed. In the past, some laws did become a reality. These include house bill 3703 that makes slight changes to Texas’ low-THC medical program.

We’ve seen about two dozen bills that address decriminalization of medical cannabis, allowing hemp cultivation, and outright legalization of carrying and using weed.

The responsible marijuana policy director Heather Fazio believes that this current push for legalization is something that was never seen.

The house bill 447 by El Paso Democratic Representative Joe Moody would permit adults in the state of Texas to purchase and subsequently possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis. Moreover, 15 grams of this could be in concentrate form. The bill also allows people to grow up to 12 plants at their private residence.

ALSO READ: Mexico Takes A Shift to Create World’s Largest Cannabis Market

The bill also argues that this will facilitate in curbing the illegal movement of cannabis as prices will go down significantly and everyone related to the trade will have their records sorted.  Bill 447 also allows for retail operations under a license and a 10% sales tax.

The current suggestion will allow most of the money to go to the Public-School Teachers Fund. Another such senator, Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, brings bill 140 to the table that essentially offers an alternate way to distribute the money.

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy Director Heather Fazio believes that economic factors may also weigh heavily. She thinks that over a billion dollars per budget cycle will be added to the national exchequer. All this can be put to practice by legalizing a product that people are already using. Right now it is largely unregulated and is outside the tax net.

Increased Acceptance in People Regarding Weed Use and Distribution

The suggestions are to be a part of the constitution through amendments. Fazio sees more bipartisan common ground in their efforts related to decriminalization and penalty reduction. Even extremely conservative members like Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, wish to reduce the penalty for small-scale possession to a class C misdemeanor. This would make small-scale (under two-ounce) possession ineligible for jail time.

All these movements will allow Texas’ medical cannabis program to grow further. Senator José Menéndez, D-San Anton­io, has been a long-standing fan of the medical use of weed. Each time the house was in session since 2015; his SB 90 would allow physicians to prescribe cannabis products to their patients. This is a suggestion for any level of THC concentration, and for whatever diseases that the doctor sees fit. Menéndez believes that his bill will allow a medical doctor the right to decide about what’s the best medical treatment for them.

ALSO READ: Dealing with Insomnia While Overcoming Weed Dependency

Medicinal Usage of Weed

Menéndez is vouching for medicinal use of weed. He thinks whoever does abuse the use of weed will continue to do so with or without this legalization. Menéndez further says he wants to open weed usage up for senior citizens and law-abiding citizens who need pain relief. He wants weed legalized for people who wouldn’t dare touch weed except for medicinal purposes.

According to Menéndez,  SB 90 could easily pass in both chambers but is unsure about the take of the governor or lieutenant governor on the matter. He expects both to be on the same side as most other Texans, who have vouched for open trade and legalization of weed.

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