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Coronavirus measures may curb the impact of the flu season

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With the fast approaching flue season, will SOPs be enough to ward off the burden on the healthcare system?

The United States may not necessarily see a ‘double whammy’ this fall, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Despite of fearing a setback to the healthcare system due to the concurrence of the flu season with the novel coronavirus, the scenarios observed in Australia are giving hopes to experts in the United States.

Australia usually experiences its flu season starting from April, with a peak arriving in August. This year however, due to numerous preemptive measures, the country was successful in curbing the impact of the flu season. According to the reports of WHO, flue cases in the country ‘virtually dropped off to baseline or negligible levels’.

CDC officials see vaccines as being mainly responsible for this major decline of flu cases in the country. The demand for flue vaccines in the region was at a record breaking high, resulting in about 18 million vaccinations.

Let’s take a look at what these results could mean for the United States.

Coronavirus and its preventative measures

The SOPs put in place for coronavirus might be also be warding of other diseases in the background. This trend was observed by researchers in March, whereby flu circulations got controlled after widespread social lock-downs. A similar tendency was seen in summers where the flu cases stood at historically low levels in the region.

In the opinion of a recent study, “If extensive community mitigation measures continue throughout the fall, influenza activity in the United States might remain low and the season might be blunted or delayed.”

These findings were published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. This means that avoiding crowds, wearing masks and frequently washing hands can help take the edge off the flu season.

In addition to this, Dr. Anthony Fauci has also urged Americans to get vaccinated against the flu. This is mainly because the healthcare system is not in a position to deal with any escalations in patient numbers. Healthcare providers are wary of combating an unknown number of flu cases if the virus spirals out of control.

He is seeing the flu season as an opportunity to educate the masses about the importance of vaccines. This is specially important for those individuals who have certain misconceptions about COVID-19. According to a poll conducted by Kaiser Family Foundation, about one in five respondents believed wearing masks could harm them. In addition to this, it was found that 1 in 4 participants believed that hydroxychloroquine is helpful in treating COVID-19. Ironically, this drug has been praised by Donald Trump, who claims to have used it himself. There is no scientific evidence of its efficacy for coronavirus whatsoever.

All of these misconceptions have stressed the need of educating the public about important issues relating to virus protection measures.

COVID-19 Vaccine

The question of whether or not people will get themselves vaccinated if a coronavirus vaccine is made available soon is getting mixed responses. According to latest research findings, a majority of Americans now believe that an increased political pressure may rush its approval by the FDA.

The numbers of these dubious individuals has risen from what it was a few months ago. About 54% of respondents of a poll conducted by KFF said that they would not get the vaccine even if it was available for free before the November 3 elections.

“Public skepticism about the FDA and the process of approving a vaccine is eroding public confidence even before a vaccine gets to the starting gate,” says KFF president and CEO Drew Altman.

Anthony Fauci sees a huge risk in this type of mindset. He believes that if a lesser number of people get themselves vaccinated, it is not going to stop the spread of the virus. “If you have a vaccine that is highly effective and not enough people get vaccinated, you’re not going to realize the full, important effect of having a vaccine.”

Cases of outbreaks have still continued to happen during long-weekends or personal gatherings of people. A vaccine for COVID-19 might be the only viable solution, but politicizing it as an opportunity to win big in elections is raising skepticism among the public. This has created an environment where misinformation can be easily created and widely shared.

 

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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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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Update: Cannabis Stocks Reaching New Heights

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Cannabis Stocks

The cannabis market is moving higher and higher day by day as stocks reach new highest levels this March. In January, the stock prices immensely increased. Moreover, marijuana sales increase and decrease depending upon the government policies and individuals that are actively part of the marijuana industry.

In Mexico on Thursday, stock prices shot higher, reported Investors. A day earlier, lawmakers proposed a bill to legalize and decriminalize cannabis for recreational use. A subsidiary of British American Tobacco is planning to take the big-stakes Canadian pot producer Organigram. 

The bill for the legalization of cannabis receives 316-129 votes in the Chamber of Deputies. The Chamber of Deputies is the lower house of Mexico. According to various media reports, the marijuana legalization bill is expected to clear the Senate and become law soon. 

ALSO READ: Variety Of Marijuana Strains Yield Different Health Impacts 

Changing Trends

The legalization of cannabis for recreational use will enable adults to buy and use marijuana freely. Moreover, the bill’s approval will result in permitting individuals to grow a handful of marijuana plants. 

Furthermore, another change likely to occur with the approval of the legislation is that the law would create a licensing system. This licensing system is for businesses and farmers, and it will enable them to produce and sell marijuana products legally. 

After gaining momentum for U.S. cannabis legalization, stocks of weed have been ramping high. There is uncertainty whether international commerce laws will allow cross-border sales or not. Furthermore, it is not clear how many challenges cannabis producers will face upon entering a new pot industry in another country. 

Possibilities are that new weed producers will face challenges in building infrastructure for growing and selling marijuana in a new market and nation. Other countries are also legalizing cannabis use for recreational purposes. However, some nations or communities do not agree to legalize international pot activities.

Cannabis Stocks Rise Percentage And Deal

The stock price of various companies increased, including a 7.4% rise in the stocks of Canopy Growth, 17% in Tilray, 12% gain by Aphria, and 7.7% Cronos Group. Moreover, Tilray and Aphria have a plan of merging for good. 

Marijuana stocks for over-the-counter products also increased. Curaleaf OTC dipped 0.1%, Cresco Labs OTC gains 4.4%, Acreage Holdings (OTC: ACRHF) rose 0.8%. 

A deal between the Organigram and a subsidiary of British American Tobacco occurred. As per the deal, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco will invest worth $175 million. 

Furthermore, under the contract, the two companies will establish a Center of Excellence in Organigram indoor facility in New Brunswick, Canada. The Center of Excellence will focus on developing cannabis products. 

However, cannabis products will contain more CBD. The focused substance of the marijuana products will be CBD, which is present in the weed plant as a non-psychoactive compound. 

A deal between Altria and Cronos Group occurred in 2018. According to experts, the results of this contract are yet slow to analyze progress rate and materialize. 

ALSO READ: Texas A&M Freshman Desires To Expand Cannabis Medical Use

Do Other Nations Legalize Marijuana Use?

Cannabis is legal for recreational use in Canada and Uruguay. However, the market for marijuana products present in Mexico is the biggest to date. Mexico has a population of 130 million. The highest number of possible consumers are available in Mexico.

Many states have already legalized cannabis for recreational use. Moreover, Virginia became the 16th state to legalize weed for adult-use. However, sales of pot products will begin in 2024.  

Colombia legalized medical marijuana several years ago to keep farmers out of illegal activities. Other states are also discussing legalizing cannabis activities. Therefore, controlling non-legal activities is possible. Furthermore, it will generate revenue for the state, and small farmers will benefit from the bill.

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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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