Three years after recreational marijuana was legalized in California,
it still casts a cloud over most job applicants.
Many employers in the state still require drug screening as a
prerequisite for hiring someone, experts in the hiring field say. And
while recreational use and possession are allowed for people 21 and
older, failing a drug test can still prompt an employer to toss a
resume into the reject pile.
But with 11 states now legalizing recreational marijuana use, there
are new perspectives that might be giving workers something of a break.
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Researchers hope the findings counter recent trends of mothers using
marijuana for pregnancy-related nausea symptoms.
Researchers in Minnesota and Iowa have found greater risks of social
and emotional problems in infants whose mothers consumed marijuana
Using results of a developmental screening tool for 1-year-olds, the
researchers found that 9.1% of babies from marijuana users were at
risk, compared to 3.6% of babies whose mothers didn't consume the drug
Researchers said the size of that gap was surprising, along with
screening results showing that 8% of mothers tested positive during
pregnancy for the presence of THC, the psychoactive component in
marijuana, said Dr. Elyse Kharbanda, lead researcher of the study from
the HealthPartners Institute in Bloomington, Minn. Researchers from
the universities of Minnesota and Iowa co-authored the study, which
was published in the Journal of Perinatology.
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When Garrett Rigg moved from a "transitional living program" facility
near Chicago last month into a group home, it was a major milestone
for the 27-year-old, who traveled 1,000 miles from his home in Denver
to get treatment after a cannabis-induced psychotic break five years
Rigg had to leave his hometown because it lacked suitable long-term
treatment, according to his mother, Connie Kabrick. The three
marijuana dispensaries at the intersection a half block from her home
are the reason why she says he can't move
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Regarding your editorial "The Vaping-Marijuana Nexus" (Dec. 26):
Tobacco, marijuana and vaping companies mislead the public on the
clear harms associated with wider use of today's higher-THC-content
marijuana and inhaling substances other than clean air. Opponents of
expansion of marijuana availability acknowledge concerns about
disparate enforcement of drug laws. But the costs to society from
legitimizing the addiction industry far outweigh the benefits.
Meanwhile, proponents of recreational marijuana push the false
narrative of a tax windfall for governments and improved safety for
users while ignoring the harms: mental-health issues, addiction, acute
and chronic lung disease, domestic violence and more.
Dr. Madejski was president of the Medical Society of the State of New
York from 2018 to 2019.
"Is Marijuana Fueling a Public-Health Crisis?"
The statistic from your editorial, that "95% of heroin and cocaine
users report first using pot," doesn't prove much. Remember, 99% of
criminal motorcycle-gang members started by riding bicycles.
David Allan Van Nostrand
Boca Raton, Fla.
As a physician specializing in drug safety, I agree that "pot is more
dangerous than people realize, and Americans should pause on the rush
to legalize until we understand how much medical and social harm it is
The safety profile of cannabis is largely unknown. The states and localities
that have legalized marijuana have focused on the quality of marijuana
products, but haven't required anyone to systematically report side effects.
That needs to change. Since today's marijuana products are four to five times
more potent than past products, old data understates the safety issues.
I fear that the marijuana story is a slow-moving train wreck. We're
witnessing widespread use of largely unregulated and untested products
which may be toxic in themselves as well as adulterated or
Chapel Hill, N.C.
One in five Americans reside in a jurisdiction where the adult use of
cannabis is legal under state statute, and the majority of citizens
reside some place where the medical use of cannabis is legally
authorized. Many of these latter programs have been in place for the
better part of two decades.
Were the societal impacts of these policies not preferable to those
associated with criminal prohibition, or as dire to public health as some
critics suggest, then support for marijuana policy reform would be rapidly
declining. Instead, the opposite is true.
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I've covered things that injure, sicken and kill kids and adults for
more than 30 years. From auto safety to medical errors, I've competed
to break stories on the latest deadly defect or health policy change,
most recently on electronic cigarettes.
In late August, I added vaping-related lung illnesses to the beat.
Last month, I added marijuana, psychosis and other mental illness.
It's a pretty solitary place to be.
We reporters covered the heck out of vaping lung illnesses starting in
August. Once it became clear the culprit was THC and not nicotine,
however, the news media seemed to lose interest, said former Food and
Drug Administration chief Scott Gottlieb at a breakfast event I
attended in early November.
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SHINAHOTA, Bolivia-During nearly 14 years as president, Evo Morales
pampered the Chapare, the coca leaf-growing jungle region of central
Bolivia where he got his start in politics.
Mr. Morales expelled U.S. antidrug agents and promoted the health
benefits of the coca leaf, the raw material for cocaine, which is
legal and chewed by many indigenous people. His socialist government
built a paper mill, an airport, and a 25,000-seat soccer stadium in
the region. In turn, the farmers gave Mr. Morales, the head of a
federation of coca growers, their fervent support.
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It's a new year and, for Illinois, a new era of recreational
Weed dispensaries across the state opened their doors before sunrise
Wednesday, welcoming long lines of customers - some who had been
waiting since 4 a.m.
"Cheers to lighting up the start of 2020!" one dispensary, Sunnyside,
wrote on its Facebook page.
Under Illinois law, anyone over 21 with a valid state ID or driver's
license can purchase recreational marijuana from licensed retailers.
Illinois started off the new decade by embarking into the world of
recreational marijuana, where people can buy the intoxicating plant
legally and without a prescription.
Across the Chicago area, thousands lined up - some before dawn - for a
chance to buy marijuana legally for the first time. The day featured
long lines, a few glitches - and lots of happy customers.
"It's history, so it's worth the wait," Damien Smith of Maywood said
as he left MedMen dispensary in Oak Park with a bag of cannabis
products after waiting in line for about four hours.
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Your editorial "The Vaping-Marijuana Nexus" (Dec. 26) is a wake-up
call for parents and politicians. Marijuana isn't harmless. Nor is it
legal under federal law, and for good reason. It contains more than
460 different chemicals and, as the editorial board points out, it's
four to five times more powerful than the marijuana of the 1970s, '80s
Extensive scientific research has documented serious harm to brain
development for teenage regular users, major consequences for pregnant
and nursing mothers and significant impairment for drivers and others
performing sensitive tasks. Colorado, the first state to legalize
marijuana, leads the nation in use by 12-to-17-year-olds. Meanwhile,
the gangs and drug dealers are cheering because their sales have
skyrocketed, selling to minors and others at lower prices than
dispensaries can offer.
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The editorial board is right to take a stand and tell the truth about
marijuana. The grand marijuana human experiment in the "legal" states,
abetted by an addiction-for-profit industry and politicians hungry for
tax revenue, has taken a cruel toll.
By any objective benchmark, the experiments have failed:
emergency-room visits, driving fatalities, calls to poison control,
youth use and suicidal ideation have increased since legalization.
Overproduction and black-market sales have collapsed the legal revenue
streams, which are insufficient to cover the societal harms caused by
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It is difficult to keep track of the fallacies and straw men in your
reefer madness rant. Start with the obvious: The federal ban on
cannabis makes it impossible for legal, federally regulated
e-cigarette makers to develop and market safe THC cartridges for
vaping. Consequently, most THC cartridges are dangerous bootleg
products sold on the black market. Federal legalization would lead to
improved product safety for which manufacturers would be held
The reason unlicensed dispensaries are flourishing in California
relates to the state's exorbitant taxes and burdensome regulations.
This isn't the case in Colorado and Washington, where an oversupply of
legal cannabis outlets has driven prices down so much that state-based
growers turn to California's black market in search of profits.
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CHICAGO - The sale of marijuana for recreational purposes became legal
Wednesday in Illinois to the delight of pot fans - many who began
lining up hours early at dispensaries.
About 500 people were outside Dispensary 33 in Chicago. Renzo Mejia
made the first legal purchase in the shop shortly after 6 a.m., the
earliest that Illinois' new law allowed such sales.
"To be able to have (recreational marijuana) here is just
mind-boggling," Mejia told the Chicago Sun-Times after buying an
eighth of an ounce called "Motorbreath."
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For years, Richard Manning knew what he needed to cope with his
physical pain, rage and PTSD - much of which he traced to a
career-ending knee injury he suffered while on a domestic security
detail with the Marines.
Cannabis may not have been a cure-all, but it was the closest thing
he'd ever had to one.
Manning, a resident of Elk Grove, Calif., didn't have enough money to
buy the daily amount of cannabis he needed, but he was able to get it
through a network of charitable donors spawned by the Compassionate
Use Act, a 1996 California law that allowed marijuana to be used for
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As California enters its third year of legal recreational cannabis
sales, many expect upcoming new laws, high-profile court cases and
major criminal justice reforms to shake up the industry.
Marijuana advocates are wary after a challenging second year, but most
also are hopeful that changes in 2020 will put them in a better
position a year from now.
"We always knew it would be an uphill battle," said Robert Flannery of
Dr. Robb Farms, a cannabis cultivation company based in Desert Hot
Springs. "But there are very few people who are not generally
optimistic about the cannabis industry."
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ROME - Growing small amounts of marijuana at home for private use is
not a crime, Italy's top court has ruled, putting an end to a
years-long legal dispute and adding Italy to the short list of
countries to allow cultivation of recreational cannabis.
A 1990s law prohibits the cultivation and sale of marijuana in Italy,
but conflicting court decisions, and a 2016 amendment that opened a
loophole in the law, created confusion over how it should be
The country's highest court appears to have settled at least part of
the question, writing in a one-page statement of its findings that "at
home, small-scale cultivation activities are to be considered excluded
from the application of the penal code."
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Graham Saunders is a man in high demand.
When U.S. cannabis companies need financing they can't find elsewhere,
they turn to this Toronto banker who operates far from Wall Street.
Since the spring of 2016, Mr. Saunders's team at Canadian boutique
firm Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. has helped finance more than half of
all pot deals in the global equity markets, raising more than $5
billion from investors, according to Dealogic.
The king of pot financing presents himself in business meetings as a
banker from another era, sporting pinstripe suits, monogrammed cuff
links and slicked-back hair. He drives a Bentley, has a collection of
expensive watches, and answers to his high-school nickname, "Sudsy."
Mr. Saunders, 51, has become so identified with cannabis that he has a
jacket with marijuana leaves printed on it.
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A surge in vaping related lung illnesses this year caught the medical
community by surprise, with the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) reporting more than 2,500 lung illnesses and 54
deaths. Politicians are targeting e-cigarettes, but the CDC reported
last week that marijuana is so far the greatest common
This is another reminder that America is undertaking a risky social
experiment by legalizing and especially destigmatizing cannabis, and
the potential effects are hard to foresee or control. The same
political culture that is in a fury over legal opioids, and is trying
to bankrupt drug companies as compensation, seems to have no problem
celebrating a drug that may be damaging young brains for a lifetime.
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