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Marijuana Coalition Plans to Legalize Interstate Cannabis Trade

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A policy to legalize interstate cannabis trade has been proposed by a coalition of marijuana advocates.

Within the United States, marijuana is illegal at the federal level. Inside the limits of the states however, its status differs according to the policies of local governments. In a recent policy changing move, marijuana advocates have announced a plan to legalize interstate trade of cannabis. The proposed policies will be applicable on all states, irrespective of the legal status of marijuana therein. The affiliation is going to be a first legislative attempt that will initiate the legalization of marijuana trade between state lines.

Alliance for Sensible Markets has initiated this very unconventional campaign with the aim to form an interstate unison that is recognized constitutionally. Other prominent supporters of the campaign include MCBA,  Craft Cannabis Alliance, Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce and 52 other organizations.

Whether or not the proposed plan would be presented as an exclusive legislation in the Congress or attached to a broader bill as an amendment, remains undecided as of yet.

Growth prospects if the campaign succeeds

Advocates are trying to get at least two states to support the stance of the campaign. If they are successful in doing so, the prospect would be placed in the Congress for review by lawmakers. California and Oregon are the two most favored states by the campaign. This is mainly because the physical environment of these states allows them to produce the drug on a large scale.

Oregon already appears to be on board as Governor Kate Brown had approved a similar legislation earlier in June. The legislation has positioned the state for the import and export of marijuana with states that consider the drug legal. Following the policy changes, Oregon has formed an interstate commerce affliation with California, Nevada and Washington.

These changes were implemented because the state was producing surplus marijuana. This had forced businesses to drive down their prices, putting pressure on the local businesses. The new policies have allowed Oregon to redirect their production surplus into surrounding states. In addition, it has also allowed businesses to maintain their prices at a profitable level, rewarding the owners.

Interstate commerce would do the same for all producer and consumer states on a larger scale if they enter into the coalition. “With this policy change, immediately across producer states, you will see valuations for thousands of farms and businesses increased by multiples, which will spur an immediate wave of investment expansion and job creation. On the east coast in the consumer states, legalizing cannabis with interstate commerce, will mean that they can get industries up and running and stable in six-to-18 months, rather than three years or five years or seven years, spurring an immediate wave of investment, business formation and tens of thousands of jobs just when the states need them. We are looking to partner with the governors and be their partners in economic recovery.” said Adam Smith, founder and president of the Alliance for Sensible Markets.

Politicians supporting the proposed policy

The present federal law of United States prohibits the transport or trade of cannabis across states. This has created an environment of confusion for users and businesses alike.

Supporters argue that a policy to legalize interstate cannabis trade will help thousands of small businesses. In addition to this, it will also set a framework for a more diverse and equitable industry. Industries regulated and controlled by the state are prone to monopolization. Contrary to this, the new policy changes will promote more diversification in the industry.

Rep. Earl  Blumenauer (D-OR) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) have shown their support for this interstate legalization. The legislators have already presented a bill to  import and export marijuana between states that consider it legal. An added clause prohibits the interference of the Justice Department in cannabis activities of states.

“As more and more states legalize cannabis, the gap between state and federal laws will only grow more confusing for both legal businesses and consumers,” said Wyden in press release. “The solution is clear: the federal government needs to end its senseless and out of touch prohibition.”

Governors in the Northeast have also conducted a recent summit on adopting a coordinated marijuana legalization plan. With this unique proposal to legalize interstate cannabis trade, these states can also become part of this change with their own set of policy reforms.

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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Medical Cannabis the cure for UK’s chronic pain issue

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One of the major issues of NHS right now is dealing with chronic pain patients. A recent study done by The British Pain Society disclosed that about 40 percent of the UK’s population suffers from chronic pain. This translates to about 26 million people that have been suffering from a pain that has lasted for longer than three months. It is about time the UK looks into its policy on Medical Cannabis.

Studies suggest that this percentage will only rise in the future. NHS is looking at about 60 percent of people suffering from chronic pain above the age of 75. The majority of the patients suffering from these issues just go from one prescription drug to the other with no favorable benefits. There are approximately 4.6 million appointments each year for this issue only. This issue also uses some of the major resources at NHS with about £69m in yearly cost.

The common treatment often directs patients to opioid painkillers. This is also an important issue. According to Public Health England, the UK has a dangerous growth rate in opioid use. The prescriptions are rising by 22% over the past decade. There are about 40 million prescriptions a year which shows how serious this issue is getting. NHS does prohibit patients from the consumption of opioid drugs as they can be addictive. In addition, they are looking for alternatives to opioid drugs.

One such alternative is the medical use of cannabis. UK law was amended in November 2018 to allow specialist doctors to prescribe a range of cannabis-based medicines to patients. Besides the law, there are very few instances of the use of medicinal treatments using cannabis. This is probably because of the complexities that exist in the process as well as the lack of study on the topic. A 2019 metric suggested that about 1.4 million people in the UK regularly use cannabis illegally for medicinal purposes. If the UK does legalize the treatment it can help a lot of people around the country.

Source: uofmhealth.org

Medical Cannabis, the alternative:

The UK’s pain problem has about 540,000 people nationwide addicted to opioids. With the percentage rising every year there is a dire need for THC-based alternatives. We currently need analgesics that are non-addictive and non-toxic at the same time. Interestingly, evidence from clinical trials showed the therapeutic benefits of medical cannabis. The cannabinoids have shown reducing effects on the neuropathic pain intensity in various studies until now

Take the US for example, the US government has made the medicinal use of cannabis legal for a while now. Consequently, the prescriptions for opioids and anti-depressants have dropped by around 30% in the country. Not only that the medical cannabis legalization and prescription have helped in reducing about 31% of deaths linked to opioids each year. Further analysis also shows that with the new laws in place the opioid prescriptions fell by 2.21 million daily doses filled per year.

All these metrics provide one simple piece of information, Cannabis-based alternatives have far more advantages when compared to conventional drugs. We have seen from the example of how America benefited from the legalization. Since it is a major issue in the UK as well, the government can’t put it aside for long.

The UK currently exports cannabis-based medicines to 48 countries worldwide where medical cannabis is legal. The country itself has only three cannabis medicines that are licensed for use after extensive clinical trials. Uk is still falling behind on Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) in the country which is an important step in legalization. However, those are expected to happen by 2021.

Consequently, as the chronic pain problem grows in the UK, we can expect NHS doctors to call for a change sooner or later.  They can not just continue to deny the patients proper cure because of the missing legal framework in the country. Hopefully, we will see a change in the system after proper research in the field.

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Is it time for Japan to legalize cannabis?

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Cannabis in Japan is stigmatized with the illegal status. Advocates are now stressing for a change in attitudes.

Cannabis has been illegal in Japan since 1948.

Under the current legislations defined by the Cannabis Control Law, its use and possession can be punished with five years of imprisonment on top of heavy financial penalties. In addition, anyone found involved in the cultivation, sale or transport of the drug can land in jail for about 7 to 10 years and made liable to pay a hefty fine to authorities.

These stringent policies have led to a lot of stigmatization of cannabis in Japan. According to some legalization advocates in the country, this stigma is so strong that it can be analogous to pillory surrounding criminals.

This criminalization of the plant has led to a complete shift in social attitudes towards it. Therefore, in order to bring about policy reforms in the industry, many advocates consider raising public awareness about the drug as the most vital course of action.

History of cannabis use in Japan

A historical review of cannabis use in Japan reveals that it was cultivated in the region since the pre-Neolithic period. This means that it was associated with the culture of the region since thousands of years.

If that period seems too ancient to consider, data from 1954 can be far more convincing. According to statistics reported in Medical Cannabis Network Quarterly, there were about 37,313 hemp farmers in Japan in 1954, compared to barely 37 in 2016.

Therefore, it can be established that cannabis was a popular agricultural product in the country back in the day.

Before its US influenced legal ban in 1948, the plant was widely used in the country. It was also considered sacred. The followers of the Shinto religious tradition believed that cannabis had the power of purification. They also respected it as a symbol of the sun, the inspiration for the Japanese flag.

In addition to this, cannabis was widely used in producing fiber and various other products. According to Junichiro Takayasu, director of Japan’s only cannabis museum, “The cannabis-fiber weaving technique used by Japanese craftsmen is very conscientious handwork, and I think it is important to carry on the tradition. The clothes from genuine cannabis fiber are cool in summer and warm in the winter, which is perfect for the Japanese climate.”

Struggling for cannabis acceptance and legalization

Despite of the strict laws surrounding the cannabis industry, groups of legalization advocates are emerging in the country. Green Zone Japan and Japanese Clinical Association of Cannabinoids are among the most prominent names that are striving to secure a legal status for cannabis in the country.

 Aim of Green Zone Japan

Green Zone Japan is a medical cannabis advocacy group that came into being in 2017. The main aim of the founders Naoko Miki and Yuji Masakata is to bring up to date medical cannabis information to Japanese medical professionals and the general public in order to educate them on the subject.

In a recent move towards its legalizing efforts, Green Zone is adding subtitles to a documentary called CBD Nation. The documentary will be virtually screened for members all year long for maximum viewership.

Aim of Japanese Clinical Association of Cannabinoids

Japanese Clinical Association of Cannabinoids is the official partner of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines. It was established in 2015 to aid healthcare workers in conducting cannabinoid researches in Japan.

They are working to analyze and evaluate CBD clinical researches and the effects of foods infused with it.

Businesses using cannabis derivative, CBD

The lack of awareness about therapeutic benefits of CBD and the stringent laws have negatively affected businesses in the country.

It was among the most important agricultural crops when a complete ban was placed on it. The resulting outrage and disapproval by the most hard hit farmers forced the government to revise the laws. What we see today is the “revised” version due to the retaliation.

Today, cultivation of hemp is still possible, but under the strict control of the government. Growers have to obtain a cultivation license and permission before they can begin plantation. The bureaucratic process for obtaining and maintaining a license is so long and tiresome that agricultures are discouraged.

Despite of this, Japan is advancing small steps towards cannabis normalization. Entrepreneurs like Kota Shimomura, owner of CBD Coffee in Tokyo’s Meguro Ward, are giving new business ideas and clientele to the cannabis industry. Due to the increasing demand, he believes that the CBD market will surpass tobacco in the nest five years. He is also planning to open a second location in Shinjuku by the end of this year.

Then there is another line of beauty products launched by Priyanka Yoshikawa, a model and former Miss World Japan. “I wanted to have my own skin care line for a long time. And I saw that no one was really doing a good, CBD-based skin care line.” She also believes that CBD will provide the much needed relief to the workaholic population of Japan. It will allow them some “relaxation and one-on-one time”.

This industry is expected to bring in a lot of job opportunities for it agricultural revival. According to Masakata, a neurologist by profession and volunteer at Green Zone, this revival will bring young people to come back to the countryside.

 

 

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Looking at Hemp and Marijuana through a law maker’s lens

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Hemp and marijuana belong to the same plant family, but there are key differences

Hemp and marijuana (cannabis) are cousins that belong to the same plant family. Although they are often mistaken as two distinct species, reality is that both of them stem from the same Cannabis plant.

Their key difference emanates from their varied THC concentration levels. Both hemp and marijuana can produce high levels of CBD, but THC levels can be distinctive, giving each plant its unique set of therapeutic qualities.

The uniqueness of properties also differentiates them in the eyes of law-makers. While hemp and its derivatives are largely legal throughout the United States, marijuana still has a long way to go. Its tendency to intoxicate has categorized it as a Schedule 1 drug. Whether or not this is fair is a separate debate which you can read here.

So why does marijuana intoxicate users, while hemp does not? Lets dig in to the reasons.

THC – The psychoactive compound

THC is a psychoactive compound that is found in cannabis, meaning that it is present in both hemp and marijuana. The key difference – it is more abundant in marijuana and sparse in hemp.

It can bind directly with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain, allowing it to react efficiently with the endocannabinoid system of the body.

According to research THC’s chemical structure is very similar to anandamide, a brain chemical that influences pleasure, memory, movement, coordination and perception.

Having a similar structure with a chemical that already exists in the brain allows THC to be easily recognized by the body. This gives it an edge in acting through the cannabinoid receptors, allowing it to activate the brain’s reward system.

These reward stimuli lead to the expression of dopamine – a neurotransmitter and feel good hormone of the body. THC not only stimulates its production, but the levels it expresses are notably higher than what the body would naturally produce in response to a similar stimuli.

As a result of this over-expression, THC leads to the euphoric high in its users. Due to this, THC poses a substantial likelihood of addiction among its users.

Hemp VS Marijuana – who has a higher THC concentration?

Having understood the psychological impact of THC, it will now be easier to contemplate the difference in the legal statuses of hemp and marijuana.

Hemp and Hemp Seeds

The hemp plant is capable of producing a wide range of cannabinoids including THC and CBD. What’s unique about THC produced by hemp is that the concentration levels of the compound are not high enough for inflicting intoxicating effects. Due to this hemp and its derivatives are legally accepted in all 50 states of USA.

By definition, hemp is classified as a cannabis plant that does not contain more than 0.3% THC in the United States. This threshold for legality varies between countries. For instance it is 0.2% in the European Union and zero in Great Britain.

Hemp seeds have been used for a number of purposes for the past many years. Due to their nutritional properties, hemp infused products are found in alternative health clinics as well as health food stores. They have been in use particularly due their anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and calming properties.

In addition to this, hemp seeds and oil also improve heart health and aid in rejuvenation of skin, bones and muscles by providing protein. Moreover, they help with hormones, boost brain health, relieve pain and improve digestion.

Marijuana and marijuana seeds

The marijuana plant is classified as a cannabis strain that contains more than 0.3% THC. The seeds of these plants are generally more expensive and the plants require some exclusive care measures.

Not only do marijuana seeds need to be grown in controlled settings, but their growth cycle is significantly shorter. While it is 108-120 days for hemp, marijuana seeds take about 60-90 days. Medical marijuana has to be grown with extra caution with proper spacing between each plant.

While hemp is used in a number of industries, marijuana is solely grown for medicinal and recreational uses.

Can they be grown together?

Although hemp and marijuana look very similar to each other, they cannot be grown together. It is highly possible for the pollen from hemp to dilute marijuana’s psychoactivity, ruining both crops.

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