The wait for the 2020 elections is almost over with early voting sessions already underway in various states. Although issues like the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, countrywide protests against racial injustice, and the future of Affordable Care Act were the top most highlighted issues during the election campaigns, advocates of marijuana legalization have strived really hard to get their voices heard amidst all the chaos. In an attempt to get public opinion on their stance and validate the status of marijuana, these proponents have managed to get the question of its legalization on the ballot of at least 6 more states in the 2020 elections.
Here is a brief round up of the legalization efforts and ballot initiatives put forward in these states.
This is not the first time that Arizona is going to put up the cannabis legalization initiative on its election ballots. In 2016, the legalization initiative was defeated by a mere 2.6% majority of the opponents.
This year, Arizona has placed the cannabis legalization question before its residents yet again in the form of Proposition 207. If it wins, the initiative will allow the possession, cultivation and use of marijuana to adults aged 21 and older. In addition to this, a provision to expunge past offences related marijuana has also been made.
In Mississippi, residents would be voting on two different and competing initiatives related to marijuana legalization.
While Initiative 65 has proposed access to medical marijuana for 22 types of qualifying conditions, Initiative 65A has limited the consumption of smokable marijuana only to the terminally ill.
Further more, Initiative 65A has also stressed on the pharmaceutical grade of medical marijuana. The right of amending any regulation are placed with the legislature under this initiative.
Medical marijuana is already legal in Montana. This year, the question of legalization is on the ballots yet again to take the process a little further.
One initiative would allow adults 21 years or older to purchase, own and consume cannabis recreationally. In addition, it has proposed a tax of 20% on sales that will be directed to national parks and wildlife.
The other initiative establishes the legal age of consumption, possession and purchase of cannabis at 21. What’s different in this initiative is that it does not position itself to establish an industry within the state.
In New Jersey, the legalization question will be put forward in the form of Public Question No.1.
Public verdict on the issue is very important in this state as it will have almost immediate impact on neighboring states of New York and Pennsylvania. Upon success, the proposition would legalize cultivation, retail, processing and recreational use of cannabis for adults 21 or older.
The commission already overseeing medical cannabis business of the state will be manage the initiative upon success.
South Dakota has broken previous norms set by other states in their legalization efforts. This is because the state is putting forward the question of legalizing both medical and recreational marijuana in one swift move under Measure 26.
Measure 26 aims to provide legal medical marijuana access to patients with qualifying conditions. It will put a registration system and medical cannabis program into effect if it gets enough voter support.
Additionally, another marijuana initiative called Constitutional Amendment A is also on the ballots.
Oregon has already legalized marijuana use in its jurisdiction. In the elections of 2020, the state will take voter opinion on Measure 109. This is the Oregon Psilocybin Program initiative that would allow the access of psilocybin to qualifying individuals over 21.
In addition to this, the state is also putting forward Drug Addiction and Treatment Recovery initiative that would expunge all criminal penalties related to Schedule I, II, III, or IV drugs.
Why more States need to legalize marijuana
Although 35 states have already legalized medical marijuana and 11 others, along with Washington DC have permitted its commercial adult use, the immense confusion due to different state policies and their contradictions with the federal law demand more to be done.
A classic example of this was seen in the case of Chris Bartkowicz , a licensed marijuana grower in Colorado. Despite of its legal status there, the cultivator was arrested. “He was in violation of federal laws and he had the intent to distribute marijuana.”
In his defense Bartkowicz said, “If I knew what I was doing was illegal, I would have never made a public display of myself. I would not have put myself in the line of fire if I was knowingly violating the law.”
There are undeniable legal disagreements even between different states that have granted marijuana a lawful status. Due to these discrepancies, marijuana users are unable to carry their products/medications across state lines. In some states where marijuana is legal, consuming the drug on federal property could lead to some serious charges by authorities.
In addition to this, current laws surrounding marijuana have fueled racial disparities in the country. Since the beginning of its ban, marijuana has been tout with xenophobia. Its therapeutic qualities were scarred in an attempt to tarnish Mexican immigrants, who were active users of marihuana. According to statistics, people people belonging to the African American descent make up only 34% of the American population, yet they makeup for about 13% overall arrests.
Cannabis Oil Effectively Reduces Chronic Pain
The use of cannabis oil and other medical items containing marijuana legal since 2018 in the UK. However, the evidence of marijuana being efficacious has come under light recently. Researchers are discovering the effectiveness of marijuana oil in chronic pain patients.
Multiple studies occurred to determine the effectiveness of cannabis oil. Patients receiving marijuana as part of their treatment feel much better and experience improvement in their health.
Gathering Evidence Of Cannabis Oil Being Effective For Chronic Pain Patients
The United Kingdom Medical Cannabis Registry enrolls one hundred and ten patients. The purpose of enrolling these patients was to observe the effectiveness of cannabis oil. Moreover, through these patients, the impact of marijuana on overall improving quality of life was determined.
The registry reports that enrolled patients feel much better after one, three, and six months of cannabis oil intake. They experience that their pain reduces after using medical pot. They experience comfort, and their sleep quality has improved hugely. According to the registry, there are significant improvements in patients’ health-associated quality of life.
The National Health Service of the United Kingdom has a strict cannabis oil prescription policy. It is hard for patients to get a marijuana prescription because of the strict rules of the NHS. Patients who don’t respond well to conventional therapy have access to medical marijuana. The conditions under which patients can access medical marijuana include pain sufferers, individuals with anxiety issues, and multiple sclerosis.
About sixty-five percent of the patients part of the study had never used cannabis oil or medical marijuana. The participants are primarily diagnosed with chronic non-cancer pain, neuropathic pain, and fibromyalgia.
16% of the participants suffered from fibromyalgia and 48% percent from chronic non-cancer pain. Twenty-four percent of the participants are suffering from neuropathic pain.
Experts Focus On Research
For the betterment of society and its safety, it is vital to gather research-based evidence. Doctors and scientists consider it essential to discover the realities of using cannabis before prescribing it.
Dr. Simon Erridge is the head of research at Sapphire Medical Clinics. In a statement, he said that the number of medical marijuana prescriptions is increasing quickly in the UK. In this situation, it is essential to determine the outcomes of patients. Collecting real-world practical evidence regarding cannabis oil consumption is vital.
According to Dr. Simon, this research that they conducted is one of a kind in Europe. His team will continuously review inpatients, outpatients, and marijuana products via the Medical Cannabis Registry UK. So far, the selection of observational data has occurred. In the future, more critical research, including randomized controlled investigations, will occur.
Sapphire Medical Clinics developed the registry. They survey patients suffering from various diseases receiving separate prescriptions depending upon their condition. Surveying these individuals enables us to reduce the knowledge gap.
Filling the blank space regarding medical marijuana and cannabis oil in scientific knowledge helps a lot. The study’s findings were published in the well-known scientific journal, the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.
The research does prove that medical marijuana is effective in improving multiple conditions of people. But researchers require more research to form guidelines, funders, and licensing agencies.
Adven is a subsidiary of Curaleaf International. It is one of the largest independent marijuana companies in Europe. Adven cannabis oil was used in studies such that the average CBD dose was 20mg per day. The average THC dose that participants get is 1mg per day. Administration of cannabis oil occurs in a ratio CBD/THC of 20 to 1.
More participants enrolled in the survey process. Sapphire Medical Clinic plans to continue its survey-based research.
Oklahoma On Its Way To Legalize Marijuana And Alter Medical Cannabis Reforms
Activists in Oklahoma are filling marijuana legalization. For the 2022 ballot, they are willing to introduce medical cannabis reform. On Thursday, the activists of the state legalized adult-use weed products. Moreover, they remodel the existing medical pot program of the state.
The activists formally introduced the measures to the secretary of state’s office. After the signature-gathering, the constitutional amendments will occur.
Last month, Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action (ORCA) announced late that it was close to finalizing the language of the initiatives. The final set of amendments occurs after soliciting feedback from a wide range of advocates and stakeholders.
Medical Cannabis Reforms
Medical cannabis reforms in the state have many flaws and loopholes that lead to problems. Jed Green is the director of ORCA. According to Jed, the initiatives the activists are introducing are to fix the issues that have emerged in the state’s medical marijuana program.
The amendments and new policies will also generate opportunities for the weed industry with adult-use legalization. According to Jed, these initiatives will enable the people of Oklahomans to keep operating the marijuana business successfully.
New Marijuana Policies
Under the new policy, individuals 21 or above will have permission to keep eight ounces of marijuana. They can purchase such an amount from any legal retailer or dispenser. The new policy also allows one person to own 12 plants of cannabis for personal use.
The new reforms suggest imposing a fifteen percent excise tax on the sale of weed products. There are multiple numbers of programs that will receive revenue generated from those taxes.
After deducting the implementation cost, the rest of the money is divided into various programs. These programs include water-related infrastructure, substance misuse treatment programs, people with abnormalities or disabilities, and many more.
Some of the revenue money will be for law enforcement training and cannabis research projects. The initiatives have measures for those that have faced resentencing for marijuana convictions.
What is new in Oklahoma Medical Cannabis Reforms?
In 2018 voters in Oklahoma approved medical cannabis programs are open for any patient. Unlike other states, Oklahomans patients do not need to fulfill specific qualifying conditions. In addition, physicians and doctors can prescribe medical weed products to anyone they think is fit to use.
Activists suggest establishing a new OSCC Oklahoma Cannabis Commission. The aim of establishing the OSCC is to build a commission that will oversee everything regarding the state medical marijuana program.
The new policy also suggests imposing a seven percent excise tax. The authorities will utilize revenue money from the sale of these items in supporting weed research. It will be for rural impact and urban waste remediation.
Part of the revenue will also be for agriculture development and treatment programs designed for substance use disorder patients. Gross income from the sale of medical cannabis will support mental health response programs.
The tax on medical hemp products will decrease to zero gradually within one year of the enactment of initiatives. Once the proposed constitution is under-enactment, medical marijuana dispensaries will have permission to sell recreational pot items. However, it will begin within 60 days of ordinance enactment.
The activists have previously attempted to qualify some cannabis legalization measures for the 2020 ballot. But, due to less support, those measures were never put to action. To get signatures of the majority to approve ballot 2022 is essential to introduce the new medical cannabis reforms and legalize marijuana for adult use.
Without sufficient support from registered voters, new policies can never become a reality.
New York Cannabis Board Relaxes Medical Cannabis Rules
New York State approves recreational and medical cannabis by passing the bill of decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana. Initially, the process got delayed, but now things are moving a step forward in implementing the bill. Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislators approve of the marijuana control board.
The cannabis control board, after its formation, conducted its first meeting on Tuesday. Five members of the board are taking a step closer to the commencement of legalized marijuana retail sales.
What Changes Does The State Cannabis Board Make?
The members agree to make an official announcement of immediately relaxing rules governing the state’s medical-marijuana program. The control board expands the number of people who can prescribe medical cannabis. Now anyone from dentists to midwives can prescribe marijuana as medication.
The control board permits the sale of weed flowers. It will make the drug available to people in a smokeable format. Moreover, it will lower the high prices of medical weed items in New York.
Tremaine Wright is the chair of the NewYork State’s Cannabis Control Board. The mandate of the board is to make medical marijuana accessible for patients and improve patient care. Tremaine elaborates that the board takes their mandate very seriously and will immediately work on fulfilling it.
Changes In The Medical Cannabis Program
In the first quarter of 2021, legislators made some changes to the medical marijuana program. Previously, the program authorized 150000 New Yorkers to only get access to medical cannabis for various health reasons. It is uncertain how many of the certified people are still using pot. It is unknown how many have died of terminal diseases.
Of the certified people, some people have abandoned the use of marijuana due to cost issues. Some stopped their program because of the inaccessibility of weed in New York.
Lawmakers urge the control board not to delay medical cannabis program changes. Crystal Peoples-Stokes is the Assembly Majority Leader. Stokes, the Assembly marijuana law sponsor, and a Buffalo Democrat were among those who requested quick changes. Legislators are requested to make the necessary changes to the program before beginning the process of allowing recreational marijuana sales.
Decisions regarding recreational pot, policymaking, and implementation of its rules can occur within 18 months. The state has time of 18 months before recreational marijuana sales begin in New York State. But before that, rules regarding pot as medication must undergo some alterations immediately.
What More Is On Marijuana?
The Office of Cannabis Management has decriminalized for people 21 and older the ownership of about 3 ounces of marijuana. However, the sale of weed is still illegal in the state. The control board or agency also controls the hemp industry along with the recreational and medical cannabis industry.
About 3400 healthcare professionals have permission to prescribe medical marijuana to patients that are certified or eligible. These professionals include physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists, midwives, and some assistants of physicians.
The change that led to the expansion of health care professionals who can prescribe medical marijuana passed on Tuesday. It increases the number of prescribers that are recommending the drug. Now anyone with a license to dispense controlled substances can prescribe medical cannabis.
The board increases the supply of marijuana for dispensing. It decreases the $50 registration fee of the patient and caregiver. It makes it easy for facilities such as hospitals to hand out medical cannabis to patients.
According to officials, allowing the sale of raw flowers instead of refined final formulations of marijuana will decrease production costs. As a result, it will reduce the cost of medical cannabis for patients. However, the entire marijuana plant sale will not begin on the 38 medical pot dispensaries right away. They will have to practice some quality control measures to start selling the drug.
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