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Initiative 190 and an Overview of Montana’s marijuana laws

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Montana is going to witness reforms in its marijuana laws through Initiative 190.

Montanans have nicknamed their state the “Treasure State” because of its rich production of precious metals like copper, gold, and silver. Starting from January 2021 however, the state will also be associated with a revolutionary legislature known as Initiative 190.

Initiative 190 also known as I-190, is a legislative reform that was drafted with the intent to legalize the recreational usage of marijuana in Montana. Lawmakers in the state put the proposal on the November 2020 ballots for taking the voter’s verdict on this issue.

To the relief of legalization advocates, the state saw significant support from the public leading to the success of Initiative 190 after securing  56.90% of favorable votes. In contrast to this, the percentage of voters opposing it stood at 43.10% – representing the ‘former’ conservative mindset of the state’s legislatures.

Before we move on to the details of legislative reforms that will be put into effect through Initiative 190, let’s take a look at the history of the state’s drug laws.

Overview of Marijuana Laws in Montana

Marijuana was first made illegal in Montana in 1929 following the federal ban of the drug in the US. The Health Committee meeting where this decision was taken is infamous for Dr. Fred Flusher’s racist and ridiculing remarks towards Mexican immigrants.

A local newspaper quoted him saying, “When some beet field peon takes a few rares of this stuff… he thinks he has just been elected president of Mexico so he starts to execute all his political enemies.”

The meeting was described as ‘great fun’ by representatives who took the decision-making process. After this, xenophobic laws were drilled into the state’s legislature.

1987 Dangerous Drug Tax Act and the Kurths

In 1985, the Kurth family of Montana resorted to the cultivation and sale of cannabis in an attempt to pay off their debts. Their cattle business was failing so the money from their cannabis ‘side-business’ was really helpful to make ends meet.

However, it was not long after this that drug traffickers got word of their success and the family was soon threatened with extortion and physical abuse. Later, their business was reported, ultimately leading to their arrests, penalties, and property foreclosures.

Under Montana’s Dangerous Drug Act of 1987, a tax of $865000 was supposed to be levied on the plants seized from the Kurth’s farm.  The case was significant because it raised questions over whether this tax amount was justified as the family had already been slammed with drug charges and paid related penalities.

Montana Medical Marijuana Act – Medicinal Legalization begins in 2004

Montana adopted its first medical marijuana law in 2004 and called it I 148. The measure was approved after 62% of Montana residents voted in favor of it.

Since then, the growth of marijuana patients had been modest up until 2009. This also corresponded to the subtle relaxations in the federal law towards marijuana.

House Bill 161 – 2011

Between the years 2009 to 2011, the number of medical marijuana cardholders in Montana saw a significant increase. While they stood at 2000 in March of 2009, their volume increased to 31000 by May of 2011.

In response to this, House Bill 161 was introduced to repeal the reforms put into effect by I-148. However, due to the veto of Governor Brian Schweitzer against the bill, state representatives had to make do by putting strong restrictions on the medical program. Initiative I-148 was not repealed.

Initiative 182

In November of 2016, Initiative 182 was passed through the approval of 58% of voters. It had proposed relaxations in the possession limits of marijuana and added PTSD to the list of eligible conditions for marijuana treatment.

SB 333

Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Regulation and Compliance System was put into effect in May of 2017. It signed the mandatory testing and seed to sale tracking of marijuana into law. Also, a tax limit of 4% was imposed on medical marijuana, which was later revised to 2% in 2018.

Recreational Use Gets Legalized in 2020

As mentioned earlier, Initiative 190 marked the legalization of adult-use marijuana in Montana. Here is an overview of the reforms that this initiative will introduce in the state:

 Possession

Adults 21 or older will be allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana.  Possession of 8 grams of its concentrate is also permissible. Registered cardholders can possess up to four mature plants, four seedlings and a legally permitted quantity of marijuana if they have not named a service provider. If a provider is named by the cardholder, possession of one ounce of medical marijuna is allowed.

It is compulsory uponcardholders to inform related authorities about the number of plants or seedlings about their possession.

Consumption

Public consumption of medical or recreational marijuana is prohibited under all circumstances. They can only be consumed on private property, away from public view.

Driving, flying an aircraft to boating under influence can lead to severe penalities and repercussions.

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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Recycling Of Tonnes Of Cannabis Containers

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Cannabis Recycling

Cannabis products formulations in solid, liquid, and smoke-able forms are available in the market for medical and recreational use. Marijuana products are kept under storage conditions set out by the manufacturer. 

 

Cannabis products come in containers of variable sizes and shapes. The material used to prepare containers depends upon the manufacturer’s choice and demand for the stability of marijuana products. 

ALSO READ: Cannabis Products Association With Perceived Risks And Availability

 

Recycling of containers is occurring for decades to reuse items or process used items into new ones. Doing so reduces pollution and helps to use one material multiple times. 

 

Returning And Recycling Of Cannabis Containers To SDQC

 

In less than 12 months, about 21 tonnes of empty plastic containers were sent to recycle to the SQDC. SQDC is the company that does the recycling under the name Societe Quebecoise du cannabis. It is a government-owned company. 

 

The company began its recycling package or recovery program in August 2020. Since August, a lot of plastic containers have gone through recovery programs, precisely 2291143 containers.

 

The use of cannabis products has hugely increased in the market. The number of marijuana containers purchased by consumers is likely to be much more than the number of containers send to SQDC to recycle. There is only a deposit on SQDC beverages included in the RECYCQUEBEC consignment system. 

 

However, there is no deposit on the SQDC containers in the system. Quebecers who do return pot containers do so not for money as they do not get money. They do so to keep containers away from trash.

 

According to the SDQC, the benefit of returning empty containers is that others materials cannot contaminate cannabis containers. Moreover, doing so ensures that these packaging materials do not end up in the blue boxes. Collecting these empty plastic packaging allows sending a uniform material to businesses that reuse it easily after quick processing.

 

What Happens To Marijuana Containers After Recycling

 

The Societe Quebecoise du cannabis signed a partnership with TerraCycle. TerraCycle is a U.S.-based recycling business company. The SQDC sends collected cannabis containers to TerraCycle and other such companies that are in agreement to recycle them. 

 

TerraCycle recycling business company focuses on using the used items to form urban furniture such as park benches, flower boxes, etc. According to some individuals, TerraCycle recycles bags that could have added to pollution or result in a landfill otherwise.

 

According to the Canadian press, it is uncertain what happens to those containers. It is also unclear how many of such packagings go into and out of the company. No one knows the exact number of plastic packaging required to produce urban furniture. Furthermore, there is little knowledge about other formulations that use this recyclable material. So far, there is no way to find it as the TerraCycle recycling business company does not respond to emails or phone calls as per the Canadian press. 

ALSO READ: Changes In Cannabis Proposed Ordinance By Santa Fe County Planning Commission

 

The SQDC, in a Facebook post on a page, announces that they will continue to work to improve the environment. They are working with a team of experts to develop an efficient action plan for cannabis containers and packaging recycling that is eco-friendlier. They are looking forward to going further with their environmental efforts. 

Environmentally Unsustainable?

Some people are criticizing SDQC for its products that are considered over-packaged or are environmentally unsustainable. Individuals complain that they have to wait in line to return the cannabis containers, and it would be much better if SQDC places outdoor bins in front of SQDC branches. Some individuals, while returning multiple marijuana containers, feel embarrassed. 

 

SQDC replied to these complaints and said that they are aware of the critical remarks. However, they cannot do much about it as they are to abide by the law. Placing outdoor bins cannot ensure control over the material. Outdoor recycling bins can increase the risk of accidental cannabis consumption in children and youth.  

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Pot Legal In NYC But Where To Buy Recreational Cannabis In New York

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Cannabis Companies Making Moves Before New York Begins Recreational Cannabis Sales

Pot products, including recreational cannabis and medical marijuana products, are legal in New York. The lawmakers have successfully approved the weed legalization and decriminalization bill. However, the administration working and policies to implement the bill is taking way too much time. 

 

The disagreements among legislators and the inability to develop a plan to implement the legislation delays implementation of the new bill. Due to delays in proceeding procedures, things have become difficult for almost everyone. 

 

Cannabis Legalization Program Of New York – A Train To Nowhere

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislatures did approve cannabis legalization and decriminalization bill in March this year. However, there has not been much progress. According to critics, the Governor is the real buzzkill on the issue. 

ALSO READ: Cannabis Products Association With Perceived Risks And Availability

Critics elaborate that Cuomo is yet to nominate an executive director for his new Office of Cannabis Management. He also has to name appointees to the Cannabis Control Board. The Marijuana Taxation and Regulation Act were passed months ago, yet the official is working slowly to appoint and name some people for the office to begin further proceedings. 

 

The Governor is delaying the procedure because the Senate members have not yet passed Cuomo’s proposed MTA legislation. Richard Azzopardi is the spokesperson of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. According to his spokesperson, there are multiple unfinished businesses in Senate. However, they will submit their nominees and names for designated positions. The spokesperson also mentioned that they hope Senate passes MTA legislation and let nominees selected by the governor implement order regarding cannabis. 

 

Politicians Against Delay In Implementation Of Cannabis Legalization Policy In New York 

 

Mike Murphy is the spokesman for Senate Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins. According to Murphy, MTA approval and nominating nominees are separate issues with no interlinkage. Thus, these matters need separate resolutions, and it is best not to try to relate them. 

 

According to State Senator Diane Savino, after observing the current situation, it is evident that the cannabis legalistic program is likely to delay for much a longer time. She added that the public and officials of New York are in between a rock and a solid hard place. 

 

Moreover, apart from the politicians, the public is angry and frustrated at the delay of matters. Residents of the state are unable to understand the logic or reasoning behind the pending situation. 

 

According to Diane Savino, legislatures or lawmakers should walk and sign a joint agreement at the time regarding the subject to settle things as quickly as possible.

 

The politician further added that nothing can happen concerning marijuana sale policy and license issuance to begin a legal business. At least until regulators develop a set of ground rules to conduct cannabis business, following legal practices is impossible. 

 

What Is More About Marijuana Policy In New York State?

 

According to Diane Savino, no operation involving marijuana is practicable unless legislators set some ground rules. Licenses to individuals to begin a legal sale, cultivation, processing, manufacturing, or distribution of marijuana is unapprovable before settling some limitations. Moreover, it is inappropriate to approve licenses without designing a regulatory system. 

ALSO READ: Cannabis Dealer Stopped By Police

Governor needs to select three people to begin the formation of the five-member Cannabis Control Board. The nominees will first get approval from the Senate to offer their services. The selection of the other two members falls on the legislatures. One member of the five-member committee will be selected by lawmakers from the Assembly and one from the Senate. 

 

The selection of nominees and their approval is the next step after passing the bill, and it took almost a year for completion. Delaying the process cause trouble for the state and the public who had to go to borders to purchase cannabis legally from neighboring states like Massachusetts. 

 

Unless the regulatory and administrative procedures are incomplete, the state is unable to generate revenue. Pending them will only slow down the development process of the cannabis business field and delay experiencing possible benefits from its tax revenue. 

Originally covered on: NYPost

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Cannabis Products Association With Perceived Risks And Availability

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Medical cannabis

Cannabis products are in use for medical and recreational purposes in more than thirty states of the United States. Some of these states allow medical marijuana products, while others allow pot for all purposes, including adult and medical purposes. 

 

Multiple studies have been conducted relating to cannabis, including pot effects and associations with other factors. Perceived risks and availability links with marijuana use disorders. Moreover, research findings can demonstrate how perceived risks can alter pot use disorders in individuals. 

 

According to a new study at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, perceptions of the risks and availability of cannabis influence the risk of pot use. This influence is more than the perceived risk and effect of perceived availability alone. 

ALSO READ: Marijuana Growing In Zimbabwe Is The New Farming Trend

 

The research discovers that individuals that perceive cannabis as a low-risk and available drug are more likely to use cannabis. There are some other findings too. Researchers discovered that individuals with perceptions that cannabis is high-risk and unavailable drug report fewer drug use cases. You can find research discoveries in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 

 

More About Research Regarding Perceived Risks And Availability Effects On Cannabis Use

 

Natalie Levy is a Doctoral Student of the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia Mailman School and the first author of the study. According to this research, perception of cannabis risk affects its use, frequency of use, and pot use disorders. Moreover, the availability of cannabis does influence the chances of drug use, its frequency, and marijuana use disorders. 

 

However, the findings show that cannabis risks and availability together influence pot use more frequently. The research focused on the evolution of collective perceptions of marijuana risk and availability from 2002 to 2018. 

 

Data of 949,285 participants helped in doing the investigation or survey studies. These participants are from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. Researchers found that over the years from 2002 to 2018, more people perceive marijuana as a low-risk drug. The prevalence of individuals who perceive pot as a low-risk drug doubled in these years. However, the influence of the change in availability perception was comparatively less evident. 

 

The joined perceptions influence was evident in these years. The percentage of individuals with the perception of cannabis as low-risk and available increased from 17% to 36% from 2002 to 2018, respectively. The number of individuals who perceive marijuana as a high-risk and available or unavailable drug decreases in these years. The percentage of people who perceive pot as high-risk and available is 26 percent. Meanwhile, the percentage of individuals that consider weed as high-risk and unavailable is twenty-seven percent. 

 

Marijuana Perception Effects

 

According to findings, individuals who regard cannabis as low-risk have reported and are likely to report six times more about pot use. Individuals with the perception of cannabis being available are five times more likely to use pot.

ALSO READ: Cannabis Legislation Back From The Dead For Better In Arizona

However, joined perceptions increase the chances of pot use. Individuals with joined perceptions are twenty-two times more likely to use marijuana. That is, people who perceive cannabis as a low-risk and available drug are more than 22 times more likely to use pot than people with the opposite perception.

 

Marijuana perceptions vary from males to females. A large percentage of the male population views marijuana as a low-risk, more available drug when compared to females. Researchers noted variations in pot perceptions in different age groups of each gender. According to the study, individuals of age 12-17 years show minimal cannabis perception differences. 

 

Silvia Martins, MD, Ph.D., is an associate professor of epidemiology at the Columbia Mailman School. She is the director of the Substance Use Epidemiology Unit of the Department of Epidemiology. She is also the senior author of the study. According to Martins, their research will open a new pathway for searching specific hypotheses. Moreover, the study highlights the importance of exploring joint perceived risks and availability on cannabis use. 

Originally covered on: news-medical

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