Illegal Cannabis Use Increases in Pro-Cannabis States

Medical Cannabis

In recent years, states that legalized medical cannabis are dealing with rising illegal cannabis use. This is in comparison to states that have no such laws, new research suggests. In addition to that, the percentage of marijuana abusers, or people who use the drug in unhealthy ways, is increasing in the same states. This is according to the findings in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Stats about Legal Medical Cannabis and Illegal Cannabis Use

In states where medical marijuana laws are absent, the use of illegal cannabis rose from 4.5% to 6.7%. This indicates an increase of 2.2%. On the other hand, states where medical cannabis is legal saw the figures go up from 5.6% to 9.2%. This shows an increase of 3.6% in illegal cannabis use.

The authors also see a similar rise in marijuana use disorders. Their incidence is increasing faster in states with medical marijuana laws than the states without. Marijuana dependence or Marijuana use disorder is demarcated in the 5th amendment of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The sustained use of cannabis in spite of clinically noteworthy impairment, ranging from minor to severe.

The Positive Impact of Legalization

However, even though the study concludes an increase in disorders typically in adults, other studies show that a decline in the same disorder in teens from 2002 to 2013. In the research, two states, Colorado and California, are at the top for their higher percentages of illegal cannabis use. For instance, from 2001/2002 to 2012/2013, the rates of illegal use rose by 7 percentage points in Colorado. The corresponding increase in California is 5.3%. Both these states legalized marijuana for recreational use.

Deborah Hasin, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, explains how the medical marijuana laws discreetly send a message that the drug is safe for use and acceptable in some way. With this unspoken message, more and more people feel free to use weed just like alcohol. They use it as a way to relax or deal with problems, such as depression or anxiety.

The spread of medical cannabis dispensaries translates to greater availability of the drug. This might also encourage unlawful use, as per director of the RAND Corporation’s Bing Center for Health Economics, Rosalie Pacula. Mason Tvert of the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project criticized Hasin’s team’s data. He said it contradicted previous research on the same subject.

Overall, researchers admit to a number of limitations in the study. These include potential inaccuracies and discrepancies regarding self-reported data. For example, many marijuana users today may feel more comfortable about disclosing their use of the substance. This was not the case in the past. It will take more research and studies to draw a solid conclusion. Only then we can explain exactly why medical cannabis laws trigger the increase of illegal cannabis use.

States Are Taking Steps to Encourage Minority Marijuana Entrepreneurs to Enter The Marijuana Industry

States have taken it a step further than legalizing marijuana: some are actually encouraging minority marijuana entrepreneurs to enter the market for legal marijuana sales and start their own marijuana businesses! Could we be living in better times for the cultivation, sale, and us of marijuana?

The kind of healing of old wounds and restitution for past injustices inherent in these policies is incredibly encouraging for the burgeoning legal marijuana industry. This is especially true after decades of drug prohibition laws that were enforced with a disproportionate effect of violence and repression on black and Hispanic communities in the United States.

In the Associated Press report on this welcome development for minority marijuana entrepreneurs, the AP featured a photograph of Andre Shavers and told his story.

Shavers, a black minority marijuana entrepreneur who runs a marijuana delivery business in Oakland California, is a living, personal example of the positive changes that have been set in motion by the ascendancy of the legal marijuana movement in American politics.

He was once sentenced to five years of probation on felony charges after police authorities broke into his house (in an area of Oakland with some of the most heavy-handed police enforcement) and found a quarter ounce of the harmless plant.

Now Oakland and other cities and states with legal marijuana laws presently on the books are making an effort to make amends to minorities for the damage marijuana prohibition has done to their families and communities.

According to statistics gathered by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, African-Americans accounted for 5.6 percent of the Golden State’s population, but made up a disproportionate 16 percent of marijuana arrests in 2015.

Oakland officials have now approved a policy that sets aside half of the city’s marijuana licenses for low-income residents who have been convicted of a marijuana crime or who live in a neighborhood ravaged by the fallout from the heavy handed prohibition enforcement.

In Washington state, where recreational marijuana businesses were legalized by ballot proposition in the 2012 election, Brian Smith, a spokesman for the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, said the board is looking at ways to ensure minorities are well represented among licensees, including the use of targeted outreach to ethnic communities to diversify the licensee pool.

Just about 3 percent of retail marijuana license holders in Washington are African-American, roughly tracking the percentage of the population in the state where 3.5 percent of Washington residents are black. Like California, in 2015 African-Americans made up a disproportionate share- 11 percent- of marijuana arrests.

Cannabis: The Key to a Better Life for Parkinson’s Patients

Image result for parkinson's disease

 

Cannabis treatment is a powerful tool, one that may also help with mobility disorders, like Parkinson’s. Its performance so far is staggering. Considering how debilitating Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is, medical marijuana could dramatically improve the lives of countless Americans.

PD has a variety of treatments to combat its debilitating symptoms, but predictably, marijuana isn’t on that list. According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF), this degenerative “movement disorder” affects almost one million people in the United States.

Ironically, millions of dollars continue to be spent trying to find effective countermeasures. Yet judging by recent discoveries, the solution was right under our noses since the dawn of agriculture. Once again, medical cannabis appears to have the answer – with remarkable results.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

The PDF explains that Parkinson’s Disease involves the “malfunction and death” of neurons in the brain. Neurons play a variety of roles, with movement control being just one of them. Naturally, the death of these cells affects their associated functions. Symptoms worsen as time goes on, ultimately causing severe debilitation of movement control.

Parkinson’s symptoms include tremors in the extremities, jaw and face; slow movement (bradykinesia), body stiffness and issues with balance or coordination. Aside from drastically reducing quality of life, these afflictions have something else in common. They are all things that cannabis could reduce or alleviate.

A Case for Cannabis and Parkinson’s Disease

Despite significant push-back from the medical community, evidence mounts in favor of medical marijuana. Adding to the growing body of anecdotal evidence, this video all but seals the argument.

The video features “Larry,” a retired police officer who suffers from “Severe Parkinson’s” using cannabis – in this case, oil – for the first time. Naturally, he’s a bit nervous, but the people off camera talk him through it.

Within minutes, he goes from barely being able to speak or control his movements, to relaxed and still. He speaks clearly and even gives singing a brief try. The transformation is nothing short of shocking. Sadly, Larry laments that medical cannabis isn’t available in his home state.

Benefits of Cannabis Treatment

Although still lacking much peer-reviewed research, marijuana seems promising as a treatment for Parkinson’s Disease. For instance, a study in the U.S. National Library of Medicine explains: “Preclinical research in animal models of several movement disorders have shown variable evidence for symptomatic benefits but more consistently suggest potential neuroprotective effects in several animal models of Parkinson’s (PD) and Huntington’s disease (HD).”

In other words, not only could marijuana effectively mitigate symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, but it protects existing, healthy cells.

While the medical community continues to debate the benefits and drawbacks, the National Parkinson Foundation acknowledges the benefits of marijuana. They advocate how cannabis can help with “pain management, sleep dysfunction, weight loss and nausea” in Parkinson’s patients.

<h2>Parkinson’s Disease and Cannabis Risks</h2>

Individuals who intend to try medical marijuana for Parkinson’s have a great deal to gain; however, it’s important to be informed about potential side effects.

Obviously, the most prominent effect is the physical and mental impairment, or “high.” The National Parkinson’s Foundation also lists other symptoms, specifically “…dizziness, blurring of vision, mood and behavioral changes, loss of balance and hallucinations.”

They also warn that extended use could increase the chances of lung cancer; however, since cannabis comes in oral drops or pills, simply avoid things such as joints, pipes or bongs.

The Future of Cannabis and Parkinson’s Disease

Ultimately, only time will tell whether marijuana will be universally accepted as a treatment. As we see in “Larry’s” case, this potential discovery can’t be ignored. Hopefully, individuals with Parkinson’s Disease will be able to safely reap its benefits.

 

 

Recreational Dispensaries in Nevada Set to Legal Sell Marijuana in One Month

If everything proceeds without any delays, recreational dispensaries in Nevada are about to join a select few other U.S. states in which retailers are legally selling marijuana to customers for recreational purposes, to be used the way millions of Americans use alcoholic beverages on a daily basis.

People in Nevada, both residents and the Sagebrush State’s many tourists, without fear of sanction from their government or marginalization from their society will be able to freely make a choice about their own body and consciousness, and utilize the uncanny effects, of a marvelous molecule, in a notorious and highly valued plant to unwind, relax, enhance their social interactions, increase their creativity levels or ability to gain deep insights, or even improve their ability to appreciate music or food.

That’s just on the consumer side. Meanwhile planters, distributors, vendors, advertisers, and enterprising small business startups will be able to freely and openly engage in peaceful commerce in the trade of this highly sought after plant. It’s a monumental sea change in how our society is constituted, and if the examples of Colorado and other states who are further along this path now are any indication, it’s a change that will enrich and enliven our world.

Even though it became legal to possess and use marijuana in Nevada on January 1st after the passage of Question 2 last Fall, opening up retail marijuana businesses and recreational dispensaries in Nevada will not be legal until a month after the application deadline has elapsed.

The CEO of one medical marijuana dispensary in Nevada said of the new change which will soon see recreational dispensaries in Nevada spread like wildfire: “I think we have the potential of being the new marijuana hub of the country, taking that crown off Colorado and putting it on Nevada, namely Las Vegas,” adding:

“We have the best nightclubs, the best hotels, the best restaurants, the best shows and now we’ll have hopefully the best cannabis experience as well. I’m really excited to see… in a year or two how much that [tourism] number grows. I think it’s had a positive effect on Colorado and Washington that don’t have the allure that Las Vegas has.”

The impact of legal marijuana on tourism in Nevada, and the impact of the state’s vibrant tourism industry on recreational dispensaries in Nevada will be closely watched. It seems to be the perfect storm for a lot of enterprising individuals and businesses to make a lot of money, while making Nevada a “greener” place to live and visit.

Our Very First Actively Managed Marijuana ETF May Be On Its Way

Cannabis Investment

US SEC CLEARS WAY FOR CANNABIS EFTs

On Friday, May 5th, Cambria Investment Management filed an N-1A form with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for not just one, but five new ETFs. The diverse basket of proposed funds cover a wide range of industries (real estate, cannabis, robotics and AI), and also include two tax optimized funds – one domestic and one foreign.

The stand-out of the bunch – and the one that is perhaps kicking up the most attention – is the Cambria Marijuana Industry ETF. The proposed fund, if successfully launched by Cambria, will be given the ticker “TOKE.”

Cambria’s Marijuana ETF will track publicly traded companies that support or directly work in the legal production of cannabis, including: companies that legally produce marijuana, those that conduct legal research into its medical or pharmaceutical use, and those that design and manufacture equipment used in the marijuana sector.

While it may be the first cleverly-named marijuana ETF, TOKE is not the first ETF to deal in cannabis-related stocks. The proposed fund will follow on the heels of the first-ever marijuana ETF, the Horizons Medical Marijuana Life Sciences ETF (TSX:HMMJ) – which launched at $10.00 per share last month and is now sitting at $9.59. While the fund trades in Canada, American investors have been able to get in on the action via its listing on the OTC.

Horizon’s ETF isn’t alone, either. In February, a filing popped up for a fund called the Emerging AgroSphere ETF. The proposed fund, which comes from New Jersey-based ETF Managers Group, will include companies exclusively in the medical marijuana space and – if approved – will list on the NYSE Arca.

Both HMMJ and the Emerging AgroSphere ETF are passively managed, meaning the indexes they are based on dictate their performance. This means that TOKE has the potential to be the first actively managed ETF in North America. At the time of writing, there is no indication yet as to when the two remaining ETFs might launch.

There is still no telling how well these (hopefully) soon-to-be-launched ETFs will perform in the market, especially considering the fact that HMMJ has declined by about four percent since it began trading. But, at the same time more and more states are legalizing medical cannabis, and – according to Arcview Market Research – sales in the marijuana sector as a whole grew 30 percent in 2016 alone. The industry is also projected to triple in size over the next four years.