The costs and benefits of cannabis and cannabis policies are difficult
to calculate, but cannabis legalization will remove many impediments
A recent study finding an association between chronic cannabis use by
young people and diminished life outcomes acknowledged "while we
controlled for multiple potential confounds, it is possible that there
are other explanatory mechanisms that have not been accounted for ...
in the current study."
Oddly, one of the confounds the study neglected to control for is the
self-medication of emotional and psychological problems such as ADHD
and PTSD, which typically stem from childhood trauma: abuse, neglect,
abandonment or, in some cases perhaps, an emotionally unavailable father.
[continues 86 words]
In 2012, Washington State voted to legalize marijuana. By 2014, the
world's first system for legally growing, processing and retailing
cannabis was operating.
As Canada prepares to go live with pot sales in a few months, what can
we learn from four years of practical, hands-on experience in the
western United States?
The first take-away is that all the fretting about the impact on
children and teens is largely unwarranted.
Before legalization, 17 per cent of Grade 10 students in Washington
State said they had smoked pot in the previous month. Four years of
legal doobies later, 17 per cent of Grade 10 students say they have
smoked pot in the previous month.
[continues 663 words]
Manitoba's Justice Minister is calling for federal legislation to
confirm that provinces can ban the home growth of marijuana plants.
"I think that is clear that is provincial jurisdiction to make that
decision. (But) I believe the federal (Justice) Minister made some
comments that were a little concerning, so we wanted clarification on
that," said Justice Minister Heather Stefanson, following a speech to
Manitoba Chambers of Commerce members on cannabis legislation
Thursday. "We've called (for) some clarification from the federal
government. If they could put it specifically in legislation, that
would be best."
[continues 341 words]
As legal marijuana spreads and the opioid epidemic rages on, the
number of drugged drivers killed in car crashes is rising
dramatically, according to a report released today.
Forty-four percent of fatally injured drivers tested for drugs had
positive results in 2016, the Governors Highway Safety Association
found, up more than 50 percent compared with a decade ago. More than
half the drivers tested positive for marijuana, opioids or a
combination of the two.
"These are big-deal drugs. They are used a lot," said Jim Hedlund, an
Ithaca, New York-based traffic safety consultant who conducted the
highway safety group's study. "People should not be driving while
they're impaired by anything and these two drugs can impair you."
[continues 987 words]
SARASOTA COUNTY -- The county is moving to ban the cultivation and
sale of recreational marijuana if the practice is ever legalized in
The County Commission last week unanimously voted to authorize its
staff to draft an amendment to current county laws to prohibit the
growing, processing and sale of recreational marijuana should it ever
become legal in the state. Commission Chair Nancy Detert was absent
for the vote.
The move comes several weeks after the commission approved the
county's first two medical marijuana dispensaries. The commission on
April 10 voted to allow Trulieve to open a medical marijuana
dispensary in a freestanding building in the Venice Pines Shopping
Plaza on Jacaranda Boulevard -- the county's first approved
dispensary. A day later, the board approved a request by
Sarasota-based AltMed to open a medical marijuana dispensary at 5077
Fruitville Road in the Cobia Bay shopping plaza.
[continues 172 words]
Legalizing marijuana makes sense for a lot of reasons, but there's one
valuable thing we'll lose when police stop arresting people for
smoking pot: A sense of just how misleading our crime data are.
Data on arrests and reported crime play a big role in public policy
and law enforcement. Politicians employ them to gauge their success in
making neighborhoods and the entire country safe. Police departments
use them to determine where to deploy more officers to look for more
crime. They are fed into recidivism-risk algorithms, which help judges
and parole boards make decisions on sentencing and release.
[continues 638 words]
State Rep. Kelly Alexander, D-Mecklenburg, introduced a bill this week
that would significantly increase the amount of marijuana a person
could have in his or her possession for personal use before being
charged with a misdemeanor or felony.
Under Alexander's bill, a person would not be charged with a
misdemeanor unless he or she had more than 4 ounces of marijuana.
Under current law, possession of more than a half-ounce is a
misdemeanor. A person would have to have more than 16 ounces -- more
than 10 times the current limit -- to be charged with a felony.
[continues 221 words]
The government's leader in the Senate, Peter Harder, slammed the
committee's removal of the provision
OTTAWA - In a controversial move that may set up another showdown with
the House of Commons, a Senate committee voted on Wednesday night to
remove random alcohol testing from the government's impaired driving
The provision would allow police to demand a breathalyzer test from
any driver regardless of whether police had reasonable grounds to
believe the driver had consumed alcohol. Currently police need that
reasonable suspicion to make the breathalyzer demand, which drivers
are punished for refusing.
[continues 625 words]
Open letter sent to federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and
her B.C. counterpart David Eby
Jessika Villano sells a potent array of dried cannabis, oils, salves
and even bud-infused bath bombs at Buddha Barn Medicinal Society - all
grown and processed by small-scale British Columbia producers.
Villano doesn't want that to change when marijuana is legalized later
this year, and she's among the proponents of local craft cannabis who
are pushing the federal and provincial governments to ensure its survival.
[continues 600 words]
Charity Gates phones her contact each month to make an appointment.
When the time comes, she and a colleague drive around Denver,
collecting stacks of $20 bills she has stored in various safes since
the last delivery. She counts the cash and places it in small duffel
or sling bags, carrying up to $20,000 at a time.
She then drives to a gray two-story office building downtown and parks
on the street or in a pay lot nearby. Ms. Gates fears being robbed, so
the two dress simply to avoid attention and use different vehicles and
delivery days to vary their routine. "We hold our breath every time we
go," Ms. Gates said.
[continues 968 words]
The district attorneys in Manhattan and Brooklyn are weighing plans to
stop prosecuting the vast majority of people arrested on marijuana
charges, potentially curbing the consequences of a law that in New
York City is enforced most heavily against black and Hispanic people.
The Brooklyn district attorney's office, which in 2014 decided to stop
prosecuting many low-level marijuana cases, is considering expanding
its policy so that more people currently subject to arrest on
marijuana charges, including those who smoke outside without creating
a public nuisance, would not be prosecuted, one official familiar with
the discussions said.
[continues 1661 words]
If you've walked around New York City lately, there's a good chance
you've smelled weed. People smoke walking their dogs in the West
Village, and they smoke in apartment building lobbies in the South
Bronx. They smoke outside bars and restaurants and in the park.
White people largely don't get arrested for it. Black and Hispanic
people do, despite survey after survey saying people of most races
smoke at similar rates.
So after a senior police official recently testified to the City
Council that there was a simple justification - he said more people
call 911 and 311 to complain about marijuana smoke in black and
Hispanic neighborhoods - we decided to dig into the numbers the New
York Police Department gave lawmakers to support that claim.
[continues 689 words]
After years of halting steps, top prosecutors and elected officials in
New York City on Tuesday made a sudden dash toward ending many of the
marijuana arrests that for decades have entangled mostly black and
The plans, still unwritten and under negotiation, will rise or fall on
the type of conduct involving marijuana that officials decide should
still warrant arrest and prosecution. The changes appear likely to
create a patchwork of prosecution policies across the city's five
boroughs, and are unlikely to restrict police officers from stopping
and searching people on suspicion of possessing a drug that is now
legal in a number of states.
[continues 1001 words]
They sit in courtroom pews, almost all of them young black men,
waiting their turn before a New York City judge to face a charge that
no longer exists in some states: possessing marijuana. They tell of
smoking in a housing project hallway, or of being in a car with a
friend who was smoking, or of lighting up a Black & Mild cigar the
police mistake for a blunt.
There are many ways to be arrested on marijuana charges, but one pattern
has remained true through years of piecemeal policy changes in New York:
The primary targets are black and Hispanic people.
[continues 1833 words]
Edmonton police will need about $1.4 million in ongoing and one-time
funding to prepare for marijuana legalization this summer, a report to
the police commission states.
Cannabis is set to become legal in Canada this summer and with it
comes higher policing costs, the Edmonton Police Commission heard Thursday.
Police officials outlined a laundry list of new technology and
training needed to enforce legal weed laws. Last month, the city
approved $1.4 million in one-time and ongoing funding to help the
police service deal with the impact of legal weed.
[continues 538 words]
Cathy Jordan credits pot with helping her defeat the odds in the
battle against Lou Gehrig's disease she's waged for more than 30 years.
And although she can now legally obtain the cannabis treatment she's
relied on for decades, Jordan is prohibited from what she and her
doctors swear is the best way for her to consume her medicine --
Jordan is among the plaintiffs challenging a state law that bans
smoking pot as a route of administration for the hundreds of thousands
of patients who are eligible for medical marijuana treatment in Florida.
[continues 648 words]
In Oregon and Denver, where marijuana is legal for recreational use,
activists are now pushing toward a psychedelic frontier: "magic mushrooms."
Groups in both states are sponsoring ballot measures that would
eliminate criminal penalties for possession of the mushrooms whose
active ingredient, psilocybin, can cause hallucinations, euphoria and
changes in perception. They point to research showing that psilocybin
might be helpful for people suffering from depression or anxiety.
"We don't want individuals to lose their freedom over something that's
natural and has health benefits," said Kevin Matthews, the campaign
director of Denver for Psilocybin, the group working to decriminalize
magic mushrooms in Colorado's capital.
[continues 936 words]
The New York Police Department has claimed that more black and Latino
people are arrested for petty marijuana offenses because complaints
are more voluminous in neighborhoods where black and Latino people
predominantly live. That excuse was blown apart this weekend by a
Times investigation showing that the complaints about marijuana use do
not fully account for the racial arrest gap - and that, when
complaints were held constant, "the police almost always made arrests
at a higher rate in the area with more black citizens."
[continues 533 words]
Running back Mike James hurts all over. He experiences chronic pain
every day, a natural byproduct of his chosen profession. Still, he's
not yet ready to walk away from his NFL career, and says he knows the
key to continuing: marijuana.
James, an NFL free agent, applied for a marijuana therapeutic-use
exemption (TUE) from the league this offseason, which he hoped would
allow him to treat his pain without fear of violating the league's
substance-abuse policy. The league denied his request last week, which
James said jeopardizes his ability to sign with a team and continue
[continues 1342 words]
Some time this summer, marijuana will be legal in Canada. It's
already legal in Washington state and has been for four years.
But Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth warned this week that
there's a significant problem looming at the border crossing,
because it's still going to be illegal there.
It makes no sense whatsoever, but the U.S. federal government controls
the border crossing, and marijuana is still nominally illegal in the
"People [meaning, cannabis users] are going to naturally assume, on
either side of the border, that they cross back and forth because
it's legal in each jurisdiction,a" told the house. "But the
reality is it will not be legal at that federal border crossing."
[continues 626 words]