WA State: Not Easier for Minors to Get Weed

WA State: Not Easier for Minors to Get Weed
“But what about the children?” That’s one of the first thing opponents of marijuana reform invariably cry when the prospect of legalization is raised.

” There’s no real surprise in the recent study by the American Association of Pediatrics which found minors in Washington State haven’t found it easier to get marijuana post-legalization.”

Once adults 21 and over can buy and smoke without penalty, as they can in Colorado and Washington State, the devil’s weed will begin a devious trickle down to teenagers, tweens, and toddlers.

The world will invariably begin on a path toward utter destruction, not unlike the one Dr. Peter Venkman described in Ghostbusters“Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria!”

Of course, like so many other arrows in the quiver of these neo-prohibitionists, the charge doesn’t really stick.

So there’s no real surprise in the recent study by the American Association of Pediatrics, which discovered that minors in Washington State haven’t found it easier to get marijuana post legalization. As Science Daily reported:

“There was virtually no change in the proportion of teens who reported it was ‘easy’ to access marijuana in 2010 (55 percent), compared to 2014 (54 percent) after the new law was enacted, according to the study.”

Generally, the more regulated something is, the harder it is to procure illegally. Looking around the country, it’s easy to find sad, sad, proof of that fact in the heroin epidemic that’s decimating so many communities across the country. The vast majority of the people currently grappling with heroin addiction didn’t begin their decent into drug addition with heroin. Often, it was powerful prescription painkillers—like oxycodone—provided by a doctor which got them hooked.

When their prescriptions ran out, or just buying the heavily regulated pills became too expensive, the users would turn to heroin, which is cheaper. And the people who sell it? They don’t care how old their customers are, or even if their next next fix happens to kill them.

Score another one for legal marijuana. Sorry kids.

[via Science Daily, image Gramercy Pictures]

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Walgreens’ Blog Comes Out for Medical Marijuana

Walgreens' Blog Comes Out for Medical MarijuanaAlmost half the states in the Union—along with the District of Columbia—have approved the use of medical marijuana.

“So while there’s no national consensus—yet—about exactly what marijuana can be used to treat, Walgreens’ Health and Wellness blog has begun informing its customers about the benefits of medical marijuana.”

Of course, conditions which will allow patients to use marijuana vary widely between states. Pennsylvania and New Jersey, for example, the covered conditions are all life-alternating afflictions including cancer, multiple sclerosis, and Crohn’s Disease. But in the feel-good state of California? Things are a little different.

Head to one of the “recommendation stations” which pepper Los Angeles or San Francisco, and a helpful physician will write you a marijuana script for devastating conditions like “occasional anxiety,” unspecified “sports injuries,” or likely, even “cooties.” Honestly? We made up that last one, but that can vouch for the other two—they’re literally how yours truly secured a weed card.

So while there’s no national consensus—yet—about exactly what marijuana can be used to treat, at least one national drug store chain has begun informing its customers about the benefits of medical marijuana. Here’s a quote from Walgreens’ StayWell blog:

“Research has indicated it may impair your lungs, memory and judgment. However, research has also shown marijuana provides pain relief in ways traditional pain medicines don’t. Medical marijuana can improve appetite and relieve nausea in those who have cancer and it may help relieve symptoms such as muscle stiffness in people who have multiple sclerosis.”

Walgreens’ post is buried innocuously between Mother’s Day brunch and healthy fruit roll up recipes, so it’s hardly a fist-pumping call to action. But the very inclusion of medical marijuana on a mainstream, corporate blog shows just how far the perception of medical marijuana has come in recent years. Today, Walgreens’ still sells tobacco products, though chief rival CVS stopped the practice. And as Forbes  pointed outthe financial benefits of selling cigarettes are still too large for the company to ignore.

At some point, it will make financial sense for corporate pharmacies, like Walgreen’s, to begine selling medical marijuana. When that will happen is anyone’s guess, but we don’t think it’s a far away as many folks think.

[ Walgreen’s via Huffington Post ]

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Happy Birthday Willie Nelson!

Happy Birthday Willie Nelson!
Today marks the 83rd birthday of American treasure and country legend Willie Nelson. The singer-songwriter occupies a unique spot in our culture, as he’s simultaneously adored by both the Grand Ole Opry and marijuana legalization crowds.

“Along with marijuana legalization, Nelson has also championed causes including civil rights, bio-fuels, family farms, and animal welfare. But it’s his musical legacy which remains the native Texan’s biggest contribution to the collective good.”

Because while he still opens all his shows with “Whiskey River,” Nelson has been a public face for marijuana legalization since before Snoop Dog was a puppy. In a story that’s too good to fact check, he’s said to have smoked a joint on the roof of the White House while a guest of President Jimmy Carter. Today, he’s a co-chair on the board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

Along with marijuana legalization, Nelson has also championed causes including civil rights, bio-fuels, family farms, and animal welfare. But it’s his musical legacy which remains the native Texan’s biggest contribution to the collective good. While under contract for a music publisher D Records in the 1960s, he penned many country classics, including “Pretty Paper” and “Crazy,” which Patsy Cline famously turned into a jukebox staple.

Nelson actually moved to Austin to retire at the beginning of the 1970s, but the famously fertile scene there pulled him back to performing.

Post-retirement, he’d become an icon in the outlaw country movement, and go on to release hits like “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys,” “On the Road Again,” and “Always On My Mind.” He’s played the same guitar—named “Trigger” after Roy Rogers’ horse—since 1969, and while the decades of strumming have worn a hole in the body, Nelson refuses to replace it, ofter saying “when Trigger goes, I’ll go too.”

Fortunately, they’re both still kicking. Happy birthday Willie Nelson—we’ll smoke a fat one in your honor today!

[ image via Rolling Stone ]

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Two Japanese Snowboarders Suspended for Weed

Two Japanese Snowboarders Suspended for Weed
Two snowboarders have been suspended from the Ski Association of Japan over allegations of marijuana use, the StarTribune reported yesterday.

The pair, who as minors have not been identified, apparently used marijuana while they were in Colorado late last year. While recreation use is legal for adults 21 and over, it remains illegal for those underage. No duration was given for the suspension, and if it’s not lifted, the neither would be allowed to compete for places on the country’s Olympic team.

“Much as it is with surfing, marijuana has long been ingrained in snowboarding culture. During the 2008 Olympics—the first featuring snowboarding—Canadian gold medalist Ross Rebagliati ignited controversy after he tested positive for the drug.”

Additionally, Fumikazu Hagiwara, the head of the agency’s snowboarding wing has resigned.

Much as it is with surfing, marijuana has long been ingrained in snowboarding culture. During the 2008 Olympics—the first featuring snowboarding—Canadian gold medalist Ross Rebagliati ignited controversy after he tested positive for the drug, though he was eventually allowed to keep his medal.

That incident actually sparked a change in the way the Olympic Committee treats marijuana. Today, the level of the drug found in Rebagliati’s system would be well within the limits. But as legal marijuana use becomes more widespread, it presents hazards for athletes who wish to compete at a high level.

In competition, marijuana is hardly a performing-enhancing drug, although high athletes high might judgment errors, which raises safety concerns. And given the ever-expanding list of conditions which marijuana has been effective in treating—from menstrual pain to PTSD—whether it could help unfairly speed recovery times is another factor to consider.

Of course, the rules in every country and organization can be different. As far as this pair of Japanese athletes is concerned, it’s likely they violated a “morals clause,” which covers penalties for breaking their home country’s laws.

That said, we hope these snowboarders get reinstated soon.

[ via Star Tribune ]

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California Can’t Blow it This Time

California Can't Blow it This Time

Nationally, the idea that the Golden State will turn green after the November is a foregone conclusion.

California advocacy groups are currently jockeying for position, hoping to get their fingerprints on the type of regulation they think will be best for the state, and farmers in historic Humboldt County are already voicing concerns that big business could muscle them out of an industry they created.

“It was a complete bonehead move to attempt to legalize marijuana during mid-term elections, and given the chaotic, surreal nature of the ongoing presidential campaign, it’s a solid bet turnout will deliver a win for the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.”

But as of today, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act isn’t even on the ballot yet. That requires submitting 365,880 signatures to the state’s Attorney General, which is expected to happen sometime this week.

Obviously, there’s a lot riding on the bill. California is the eight-largest economy in the world. Billions of dollars are on the table. Yours truly currently resides in Los Angeles.

Seriously, it’s difficult to overstate the impact full legalization will have in this country and around the world.

That makes it all the more important for activists in California to buckle down and ensure the overwhelmingly popular measure makes it all the way into law. Because they were basically here, just six years ago, and that attempt failed. The official URL for the AUMA serves as a kind of cautionary tale. It reads: LetsGetItRightCA.

Of course, there’s a lot going for California’s second try. It was a complete bonehead move to attempt to legalize marijuana during mid-term elections, and given the chaotic, surreal nature of the ongoing presidential campaign, it’s a solid bet turnout will deliver a win for the AUMA.

At this point, it’s not clear what kind of opposition the measure will face. But given its high-profile, out-of-state groups blowing up California airwaves—like what happened with Proposition 8—is a real possibility.

Fortunately, AUMA spokesman Jason Kinney recently told LA Weekly “We have confidence we will be well-funded and able to communicate our message to every corner of the state.”

Let’s hope he’s right.

[ via LA Weekly, image via Universal Pictures ]

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