After years of stalled attempts, New York State has legalized the use
of recreational marijuana, enacting a robust program that will
reinvest millions of dollars of tax revenues from cannabis in minority
communities ravaged by the decades-long war on drugs.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the cannabis legislation on Wednesday, a
day after the State Legislature passed the bill following hours of
debate among lawmakers in Albany.
New York became the 15th state to legalize the recreational use of
cannabis, positioning itself to quickly become one of the largest
markets of legal cannabis in the nation and one of the few states
where legalization is directly tied to economic and racial equity.
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MEXICO CITY - On June 17, 1971, President Richard Nixon stood in front
of the White House press corps and made his historic declaration of a
new type of war. "Public Enemy No. 1 in the United States is drug
abuse," he said. "In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it's
necessary to wage a new all-out offensive."
It would be a government-wide effort, and rally the United States's
power abroad to stem the supply of drugs. Among the countries targeted
was Mexico, which was home to abundant marijuana production and had
been resistant to aerial crop spraying.
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Americans were still waiting for clarity on the presidential race
Wednesday morning. Perhaps lost in the frantic haze of election night
was the legalization of recreational marijuana in four states.
Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota and Montana all passed legislation
Tuesday permitting the possession of weed by adults, which means 15
states have legalized recreational weed or voted to legalize it.
South Dakota and Mississippi passed initiatives to allow medical
marijuana, which means 36 states permit the legal distribution of
medical weed, according to a tally by NORML, a nonprofit marijuana
public advocacy group.
43.5 per cent of study participants who used marijuana as a substitute
for alcohol decreased the frequency of their drinking.
Authorized medical marijuana patients who began using cannabis to help
reduce their drinking report experiencing a reduction or even
discontinuation of alcohol use, notes new research out of the
University of Victoria.
The finding reflects feedback from 2,102 patients registered with
Tilray, a medical cannabis research and production company in Canada.
The input was received as part of the Canadian Cannabis Patient Survey
2019, which gathered details on patient demographics, patterns of weed
use and self-reported use of prescription drugs, alcohol, tobacco and
illicit drugs before and after starting medical cannabis.
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Oregon has an addiction problem. Pockets of rural poverty, chronic
homelessness and cities with lots of young people have given the state
one of the highest rates of substance abuse in the nation. It is also,
because there is so little money allocated to it, one of the toughest
places to get treatment.
A proposed solution on the ballot next week would be one of the most
radical drug-law overhauls in the nation's history, eliminating
criminal penalties entirely for personal use amounts of drugs such as
heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine. Tax revenues from drug sales
would be channeled toward drug treatment.
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PHOENIX - Foes of legalizing adult recreational use of marijuana in
Arizona are trying to keep the issue from going to voters in November.
Legal papers filed in Maricopa County Superior Court contend the
legally required 100-word description misled people into signing the
petition to put the issue on the ballot. Issues range from the
definition of "marijuana" to how the law would affect driving while
The lawsuit comes as a new survey Tuesday finds widespread support for
the proposal a=80" with more than 6 out of every 10 likely voters saying
they will support it if it is on the ballot. Pollster Mike Noble of OH
Predictive Insights said the query of 600 likely voters found that
just 32% say they're definitely opposed.
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Sue Taylor never would have let one of her students slide 20 years ago
if she had caught one with marijuana.
But the former Catholic school principal has found a new mission with
senior citizens: providing them with information and access to
cannabis through her California dispensary, Farmacy Berkeley. It
opened in the Bay Area in February.
Like many of her former colleagues at the top of religious
institutions, she once saw marijuana as a plague on her
African-American community. "I was just like them until I saw the
healing, and I could not turn my back on that, spiritually," Ms.
Taylor, 72, says.
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SKOPJE, North Macedonia - In a desolate industrial zone of this
capital city, a cannabis grow house is under construction that, when
finished, will span 178,000 square feet, about the size of a Walmart
superstore. At full capacity, 17 tons of marijuana a year, worth about
$50 million, will be harvested. Among the planned offerings is an
American strain known as Herijuana, a portmanteau of "heroin" and
"marijuana," which has received some rhapsodic online reviews.
"I feel blown to the dome omg," wrote a fan on Leafly, a cannabis
review site. "It also gave me the ability to rap."
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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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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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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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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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SMITHS FALLS, Ontario - When Canada became the first major
industrialized nation to legalize recreational marijuana, visions of
billions of dollars in profits inspired growers, retailers and
investors, sending the stock market soaring in a so-called green rush.
A year later, the euphoria has vanished.
"No one wants to invest in it now," said John-Kurt Pliniussen, a
professor of marketing at the Smith School of Business at Queen's
University in Kingston, Ontario.
That is because those who have invested have generally lost money.
During the first year after legalization, the value of shares in
Canada's six largest marijuana companies tumbled by an average of 56
percent, according to stock price data.
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LOS ANGELES - Every Sunday, about two dozen people gather at a green
cabin along the main drag of Big Bear, Calif., a small mountain town
known for its namesake lake. They go there for Jah Healing Church
services, where joints are passed around.
April Mancini, a founder of the church, said she was drawn to the idea
of cannabis as a religious sacrament back in 2013, after she met a
Rastafarian who was running the place as an unlicensed medicinal dispensary.
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Last year, after the vote to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana in
Michigan was certified, people lined up outside provisioning centers with
the expectation that they would be allowed to buy some in those locations
- - only to find that a state medical certification was still required.
Nearly a year later, folks are still wondering when they'll be able to
walk into a store and buy some weed.
The conventional answer to that question is probably sometime early in
2020. That's based on the Marijuana Regulatory Agency's stated plan to
start taking applications from businesses that already have medical
marijuana business licenses this fall. MRA people have said that they will
process these applications with dispatch. And since these already
medically licensed businesses have already gone through the rigorous
licensing process, it should be quicker and easier than the first time around.
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For the past three and a half months, marijuana has essentially been
decriminalized in Miami. After Florida legalized hemp July 1, the
Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office announced it would no longer
prosecute most minor marijuana charges because the substance is
virtually indistinguishable from hemp.
Nevertheless, the City of Miami Beach has passed a municipal ordinance to
discourage people from smoking weed in public. At a meeting last week,
city commissioners unanimously voted to outlaw public smoking of marijuana
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SACRAMENTO - Gov. Gavin Newsom led the campaign to legalize marijuana in
California three years ago but has since angered some in the industry by
refusing to allow pot in hospitals and outlawing its use on tour buses and
Newsom took the action on tour buses and hospitals as he signed
several other bills in the last few weeks that will ease pot
restrictions, including measures waiving taxes on cannabis provided
for free by charities to people with serious health problems and
allowing parents to provide medical marijuana products such as oils,
creams and pills to their sick children on K-12 school campuses.
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