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Illinois State pardons hundreds of thousands of cannabis-related charges

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Illinois

They say a good new year brings good tidings. After the absolutely chaotic mess that made up 2020 is safely behind us. Still, all is not well just yet. Between the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, shifting political focuses and global turmoil, we can only hope 2021 fares better. If there is one last redeeming quality about the past year, it’s the results of past reforms. From Mexico setting up the world’s largest legal cannabis market, to the Biden administration moving to decriminalize weed in the United States, especially in Illinois, things improved.

With respect to the sensitive matter of legal recreational cannabis in the United States, one pleasing change occurred just last week. After decades of tireless activism and legislative work, the state of Illinois now prepares to make amends. Namely, the expungement of criminal records of convicts pertaining to cannabis-related felonies. That’s right, at the very end of a horrible year, justice finally reached the innocent, unfortunate souls facing incarceration.

Illinois State Governor, J.B. Pritzker, formally announced nearly half a million pardons

In an official announcement last week, Pritzker expressed his desire to mitigate the damage the War on Drugs caused. While the decades-old program sought to curb illicit drug trafficking in America, it is now deemed a failure. Spurred by President Nixon in the 1970s, the ongoing agenda disproportionately targets minority communities in poverty. Holding cannabis as damning as fentanyl is already a ridiculous point, but systematically crippling poverty-stricken minority neighborhoods with excessive arrests is terrible. Following a shift in thought, and seeing the devastation the pointless war brought, the Illinois State Government decided to make amends.

Last year, the resultant legislation saw a watershed moment for the pro-cannabis and social equity movements. Not only were the recreational and medicinal cannabis trades legalized, but new expungement laws set up. These laws set out to initially pardon all cannabis-related offenses from 2013 to 2019. To that end, the state government announced that over 47000 cases already received the amnesty. By January 1, 2025, the roughly 429,000 cases need resolving. The governor also specified that smaller county districts would need to comply on their own to accomplish this goal. The deadline to process all the pardons is this Friday. It took a while to initiate, but the expungement program certainly makes good time.

The new law also sets up a social equity aspect, where fledgling cannabis stores belonging to minority-owners would gain priority

The other facet of the Illinois State Government’s law is the preparedness it allows for social equity. While many of the original convicts and victims of the War on Drugs died off long ago, their descendants at least deserve protection. For this reason, emphasis is placed on ensuring that economic opportunities reach everyone. Now, within the span of a few months, the state law demands that minority owners of cannabis businesses get protection and support. This comes greatly needed; several multi-billion dollar corporations will certainly try to have the emergent competition die off.

Furthermore, the State Government also aims to support major non-profit organizations restore marginalized communities. It claims that it will pay up to $25 million to such organizations. The hope is that they can help their fellow neighbors reach justice. All of these groups raise funds almost entirely through the cannabis trade. By the time the 2025 deadline arrives, those persecuted communities may just improve significantly.

For more on cannabis laws, social equity schemes and overviews by country, stay tuned!

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Cannabis

Is Marijuana Consumption Increasing Your Risk Of Schizophrenia

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Marijuana effects on brain

Schizophrenia is a mental condition common in more than 20 million people of all ages, and recent findings suggest marijuana has an association with its progression. Scientists have been researching and conducting multiple investigations on marijuana products. They also experiment to find the influence of pot on mental and physical health. 

 

According to Denmark research, in the previous twenty-five years, the portion of schizophrenia cases associated with problematic use of pot has increased immensely. The study suggests that in 1995 the percentage of people that develop the mental condition in association with pot use disorder was 2 percent. 

 

This percentage increased to 4 percent in 2000. And the figure continued to increase to 8 percent in 2010. The value is rising since then as more people with marijuana use disorder are developing schizophrenia. The study published in the medical journal JAMA Psychiatry elaborates the possible risk of developing mental health conditions upon cannabis use.

 

What Does The Denmark Study suggest About Cannabis Use Disorder And Schizophrenia? 

 

Carsten Hjorthoj is an associate professor at the Copenhagen Research Center for Mental Health. Carsten is also the author of the Denmark study. According to the author, it is vital to create awareness in individuals that marijuana use has consequences. Moreover, it is not entirely harmless. 

 

Hjorthoj wrote via an email that people regard cannabis as a harmless substance, unfortunately. But there is evidence indicating otherwise. Multiple research studies suggest the use of cannabis or its abuse decreases cognitive functioning.

ALSO READ: Charles Koch Supports Federal Cannabis Legalization Bill

According to Carsten Hjorthoj, they found links linking marijuana use disorders, poor cognitive functioning, schizophrenia, and other substance use disorders. 

 

The study suggests that the risk of developing schizophrenia heightens in people who are heavy drug users or cannabis users. Adductors or people experiencing cannabis use disorders are at a higher risk of developing mental disorders and psychological conditions. 

 

According to some researchers, cannabis usage may be a component cause that interacts with other risk factors resulting in the formation of mental abnormalities. The combination of interactions and risk factors may lead to the development of schizophrenia or other similar conditions. 

 

Is There A Need For More Investigation on Marijuana Effects on Schizophrenia?

 

There is a need for more replicated and similar research investigations. However, according to Carsten Hjorthoj, they are confident that these investigations will yield similar results. Moreover, further studies will help in designing firm conclusions and gather more evidence. 

 

The author of the recent study is confident that researchers will find proves to indicate that marijuana use disorder has increased the occurrence of schizophrenia. Studies may also suggest that increasing potency of cannabis consumption has an association with the occurrence of mental health conditions

 

In 19 states of the United States and Canada, it is legal to use cannabis for recreational purposes. Although in some areas, it is allowable to consume weed products for medical purposes as the plant products can treat some health conditions. 

 

In Denmark, cannabis use and pot use disorders are increasing alarmingly, as per the study findings. Denmark has not permitted to use of cannabis products for adult use, but it is applicable for medicinal usage. It is essential to conduct more research to find more about pot and its usage for the safety of people and the future. 

 

Excessive consumption of marijuana can become problematic as the body develops tolerance and consumer begin to use it in large amounts. Long exposure of the body to heavy doses of cannabis leads to negative consequences. 

 

Negative consequences include neglecting responsibilities or duties, spending too much time finding more pot, developing schizophrenia and other diseases. The diagnosis of schizophrenia is difficult as it overlaps with multiple other pathological conditions. 

 

It is also difficult to find whether marijuana use disorder is the only cause in triggering the disease or a combination of risk factors leads to the worsening condition. Thus, to drive a verdict, it is need of the hour to investigate more.

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Charles Koch Supports Federal Cannabis Legalization Bill

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Charles Koch is known for his interest and investment in political causes and is actively funding efforts to end federal cannabis prohibition. Individuals from various fields are interested in the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana products on the federal level.

 

Federally legalizing pot for multiple purposes will solve a lot of problems. It will also make it convenient for business individuals to conduct cannabis involving activities. Organizations, celebrities, and politicians have come forward in favor of marijuana bill alteration and make its use legal for the public. 

ALSO READ: Recycling Of Tonnes Of Cannabis Containers

 

What Charles Koch Has To Say About Cannabis?

 

Charles Koch has a versatile personality, and some people like him, others not. He is a titan of industry, a dark money political bogeyman, or the Marcus Aurelius of the liberation movement. 

 

He has also shown interest in cannabis relating legislation and regulation policy. Moreover, soon he may become known as the billionaire who convinced Republicans and Democratic to legalize and decriminalize cannabis on the federal level. 

 

Charles Koch is an 85-year-old individual who is the CEO of the Koch Industries and is not a pothead. He has a fortune of about $45 billion. He consumed marijuana for the first time accidentally in the 1980s in British Columbia. Koch also knows multiple friends, doctors, lawyers, and individuals from different professions that have used cannabis products. 

 

He is not a heavy consumer of marijuana products. However, he is willing to invest $25 million to fulfill his long-held belief that marijuana shall become legal nationwide. This investment will help to work towards criminal justice reforms and legalization efforts. 

 

According to Charles Koch, using or not consuming cannabis products shall be the decision of the individual. Every person shall have the freedom to take marijuana products for medical or recreational purposes.

 

While he was addressing from his office in Koch Industries in Wichita, Kansas, he mentioned that marijuana prohibition is counterproductive. Prohibiting individuals from involving in cannabis activities ruins the lives of people. 

ALSO READ: Cannabis Products Association With Perceived Risks And Availability

From a societal point of view, prohibiting some and allowing others to do pot businesses creates conflict in society. People in such environments experience resentment, anger, and hatred resulting in an anti-progressive community. 

 

Why Is Legalization Of Marijuana Essential?

 

According to Charles Koch, prohibition never made sense to him, as it is damaging to society. Limiting and banning pot involving actions acts as a hurdle in economic progress. Thus, in April, his political advocacy group Americans For Prosperity joined hands with other organizations. Their collaboration aimed to form the Cannabis Freedom Alliance.

 

The member of this alliance has already begun lobbying Congress to aid in lifting marijuana prohibition nationwide. According to Koch, the ban on marijuana is a destructive public policy and addition to America’s mass-incarnation problem. 

 

Seventy percent of Americans understand and agree with Charles Koch’s perspective regarding the marijuana ban federally. Eighteen states have already approved cannabis legalization and decriminalization bill. Moreover, they are working day and night to develop plans to implement the bill. So that the public can take advantage of this opportunity to establish new businesses. 

 

Thirty-seven states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, and 18 states allow recreational use of pot. According to an estimate, the cannabis industry is likely to generate more than $100 billion in annual sales by 2030. 

 

Charles Koch raises the question that alcohol is more addictive than marijuana, so why is it allowed, and the pot is under prohibition. He also believes that prohibition creates more problems for the country with jail and increasing prison population. The prison population has risen to 2 million. 

According to Koch, cannabis criminalization generates a negative effect on individuals that are in this system and the overall society. Restrictions limit the growth and progress of society, and block out thousands of individuals. Thus, for the success and progress as a nation, it is essential to legalize cannabis federally. 

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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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