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Cannabis Culture

Austin won’t prosecute low-level pot offenses

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Austin won’t prosecute low-level pot offenses

AUSTIN, Texas — Members of the Austin City Council have unanimously approved a resolution that forbids city officials from spending funds for the purpose of prosecuting low-level marijuana possession offenses. The sponsor of the resolution called the measure necessary in order to reprioritize limited police resources and to arrest the racial disproportionality in marijuana arrests. Texas NORML Executive Director Jax Finkel praised the change in municipal policy. “Austin officials should be doing the absolute most they can within their discretion to prevent these arrests,” she said. “This resolution prevents taxpayers’ funds from being wasted on enforcing this failed policy and refocuses monies where they belong, protecting our city from violent and property crimes.” The local ordinance also applies to activities involving the personal possession of cannabis concentrates, edibles, or vapor cartridges. Under state law, low-level marijuana possession offenses are classified as criminal misdemeanors, punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a $2,000 fine, and a criminal record. Annually, Texas police make over 60,000 marijuana possession arrests – one of the highest totals in the nation.

Cleveland Council moves to decriminalize pot possession

CLEVELAND — Members of the Cleveland City Council have approved municipal legislation de-penalizing marijuana possession offenses. The measure now awaits final approval from the city’s mayor. Under the proposal, activities involving the possession of up to 200 grams of cannabis will no longer be punishable by an arrest, a fine, or a criminal record. Marijuana will still be defined as contraband and will be confiscated by local law enforcement. The measure is similar to those approved in several other Ohio cities, including Athens and Columbus, which also reduce or eliminate municipal penalties for the possession of up to 200 grams of marijuana. Under state law, the possession of marijuana in amounts above 100 grams but below 200 grams is punishable by up to 30 days in jail.

Missouri awards medical cannabis dispensary licenses

JEFFERSON CITY, MO — State regulators last week began issuing the first licenses for medical cannabis providers. Under the provisions enacted by a 2018 voter-approved ballot initiative, officials with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services must license a minimum of 24 dispensaries in each of the state’s eight congressional districts. Regulators have already registered 27,000 patients to participate in the cannabis access program. Licensed dispensaries are expected to be operational by this spring.

Marijuana not associated with low infant birth weight: study

LONDON — Cannabis smoking during pregnancy, absent concurrent tobacco smoking, is not associated with lower birth weight outcomes, according to data published in the Journal of Perinatal Medicine. A team of investigators from Kings College in London assessed the association between the maternal use of tobacco and cannabis on infant birth weight and head circumference. Researchers reported that self-reported tobacco smoking during pregnancy, as well as the combined use of tobacco and cannabis, was associated with reductions in birth weight and head circumference. By contrast, “cannabis use alone was not associated with a significant reduction in birth weight or head circumference.” The study’s finding is consistent with those of prior studies, including a meta-analysis which concluded, “Maternal marijuana use during pregnancy is not an independent risk factor for adverse neonatal outcomes after adjusting for confounding factors.”   Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. Visit norml.org for more information.
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Highstream 420 Festival Livestream

Join us on 4/20 at 4:00pm EST for a full day of music performances, online workshops, demos, and interactive panels.

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America’s largest cannabis gatherings, National Cannabis Festival and The Emerald Cup, combine forces for a coast-to-coast online 420 festival benefiting Coronavirus relief charities.

Join us on 4/20 at 4:00pm EST for a full day of music performances, online workshops, demos, and interactive panels.

The Los Angeles Blade will be live streaming on this page and on our Facebook page HERE.

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Cannabis Culture

Cannabis Culture

Two-thirds of Latinos back legalizing marijuana

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Two-thirds of Latinos back legalizing marijuana

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — More than two in three U.S. Hispanic adults support legalizing marijuana, according to nationwide polling data compiled by the digital media firm H Code.

Pollsters surveyed a nationally representative sample of over 1,300 English- and Spanish-speaking U.S. Hispanic respondents. Sixty-eight percent of those polled said that they are favor of legalizing marijuana in the United States.

That percentage is consistent with other nationwide polls of U.S. adults, such as those here, here, and here, finding that two-thirds of respondents believe that the adult use of cannabis ought to be legal. By contrast, prior polls of Hispanic-only voters had often reported that Latinos were less likely than the general population to express support for legalizing cannabis.

Smoking cannabis is most popular method of ingestion

SEATTLE — Adults who consume cannabis are most likely to smoke it, according to data compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Researchers analyzed data from over 6,100 adult cannabis consumers in 12 states. Ninety-one percent of respondents acknowledging having smoked herbal cannabis, with 59 percent reporting that inhalation “was their only mode of marijuana use.” By contrast, only 25 percent of respondents reported having ever used cannabis-infused edible products, and only 20 percent reported ever having vaporized cannabis. Five percent of subjects reported exclusively consuming marijuana edibles, and two percent said that they only vaped cannabis.

The data is consistent with prior studies, such as those here and here, showing that the majority of people who self-report consuming cannabis do so by methods that involve smoking the substance.

Medical cannabis is Maine’s 3rd largest economic market

AUGUSTA, Maine — Patients purchased an estimated $112 million worth of medical cannabis-related products in 2019, according to newly released Maine tax data.

The annual revenues related to medical cannabis are more than the total revenues generated by the sales of blueberries, maple syrup, apples, herring, and oysters combined. Only the state’s lobster industry and potato industry bring in more annual revenue.

Some three-quarters of the revenue generated from medical cannabis (85.3 million) came from sales by caregivers to patients. Although the state’s medical cannabis access program has been operational for some two decades, Maine officials only began tracking caregiver-related tax revenue in February of 2019.

Licensed retail adult-use marijuana sales are anticipated to begin in June.

 

Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. Visit norml.org for more information.

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Cannabis Culture

Cannabis Culture

ABA calls for marijuana banking access

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SAFE Banking Act, gay news, Washington BladeABA calls for marijuana banking access

CHICAGO — The American Bar Association has adopted a resolution urging the passage of federal legislation facilitating banks and other financial institutions to legally interact with licensed cannabis businesses.

The resolution calls for the “enactment of [federal] laws to ensure that it shall not constitute a federal crime for banks and financial institutions to provide cannabis-related services.”

Under existing law, banks are discouraged from engaging with state-licensed marijuana businesses. In September, members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted 321 to 103 in favor of HR 1595: The SAFE Banking Act, amending federal law so that financial institutions may work directly with state-legal marijuana businesses without fear of federal repercussions. The bill now awaits action from the Senate Banking Committee. However, Committee Chair Mike Crapo (R-Ind.) has expressed opposition to the measure.

In 2019, the ABA adopted a separate resolution urging Congress “to enact legislation to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.” With over 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is among the largest voluntary organizations in the world.

More seniors turning to cannabis

NEW YORK — Cannabis use is increasing among those ages 65 and older, according to data published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers affiliated with the New York School of Medicine assessed trends in self-reported cannabis use among seniors. They reported that 4.2 percent of seniors acknowledged engaging in past-year cannabis consumption in 2018, up from 2.4 percent in 2015 and 0.4 percent in 2006.

The study’s findings are consistent with those of prior papers similarly reporting an uptick in marijuana use among older Americans. According to a 2019 study published in the journal Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine, marijuana use among seniors is associated with self-reported improvements in pain management, day-to-day functioning, and in their overall health and quality of life.

Employers’ attitudes shifting on drug tests

SUNNYVALE, Calif. — A growing number of companies are either abandoning marijuana-specific drug testing programs or reducing the frequency with which they test, according to nationwide survey data compiled by the online recruitment website Simply Hired Incorporated.

Fifty-five percent of hiring managers polled in the survey said that their companies do not test current employees for off-the-job marijuana use. Among those hiring managers who work for companies that do engage in testing, 40 percent said that “they do it less often than in the past.” Larger-sized companies (1,000+ employees) were far more likely to utilize pre-employment testing for cannabis than were smaller-sized companies.

Nearly 70 percent of hiring managers said that their company would be “okay” with an employee using cannabis while away from work “as long as the company remains unaware of it.” Among employees surveyed, 75 percent said testing positive for marijuana should not be grounds for automatic termination.

 

Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. Visit norml.org for more information.

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