Uruguay Legalized Marijuana and the Crime Rate Dropped

Canada gets the headlines for its plan to legalize marijuana nationwide in 2018. So does anti-marijuana rhetoric from some officials in the Trump Administration.

Meanwhile, in the South American country of Uruguay, the sale and possession of marijuana has been legal since last July. Citizens there can grow their own marijuana and buy it over the counter without fear of arrest. So far, about the only major complaint about the law is that it doesn’t go far enough.

Crime Rate Drop
The most eye-popping result from Uruguay’s legal marijuana market has been the plunge in crime. Drug-related crime has dropped 20 percent in the country since marijuana became legal in 2017, according to Latin American news service Telesur.

But there are issues. Telesur reports that the government has had to crack down on locals selling to tourists. While marijuana is legal for Uruguay citizens, that right does not extend to those visiting the country.

SOURCE: dispensaries.com (2018, February 6). Entrepreneur. Uruguay Legalized Marijuana and the Crime Rate Has Plummetted. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/308557

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Recreational Marijuana Legalization Likely to be Delayed

The full implementation of legal cannabis could occur later than July 1, government officials told CBC News Tuesday.

While the Liberal government is still hoping its legislation will pass Parliament before July — even though it faces entrenched opposition from some Conservative senators — it recognizes it may take some provinces 8 to 12 weeks of further work after the law passes before consumers can purchase legal, recreational marijuana from storefronts.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, during an appearance before a committee of the whole inside the Senate Tuesday, said she has heard from lower levels of government that more time might be required.

As a practical matter — they told us they need 8 to 12 weeks following royal assent for preparatory activities to occur, such as lawful movement of product from license producers to distribution and retail outlets.

Before legislation comes into force and Canadians can legally buy cannabis, Health Canada continues to engage national and community partners to share information related to implementation and ensure all levels of government are prepared for the prospective coming into force of bill, she said.

SOURCE: Tasker, J. P. (2018, February 6). CBC News. Full implementation of legal cannabis could be delayed beyond July 1. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/minister-legal-cannabis-senate-committee-1.4522970

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Democrats Sponser Bill for Carrying Marijuana

A pair of Nashville Democrats are sponsoring a bill that would create a legal defense for people caught with limited amounts of marijuana, provided it is for medical purposes.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Yarbro and Rep. Harold Love, would allow those suffering from a host of medical conditions, including cancer and glaucoma, to possess no more than one ounce of marijuana.

Yarbro said the measure is necessary because the legislature has failed to craft rules for medical marijuana on a statewide basis.

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SOURCE: Ebert, J. (2018, January 22). The Tennessean. Legislation would create legal defense for medical marijuana users possessing limited quantities. Retrieved from https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2018/01/22/legislation-would-create-legal-defense-medical-marijuana-users-possessing-limited-quantities/1041483001/

Previous Legal Medical Marijuana Markets Dropped Violent Crime Rate by 12.5%

The US is currently facing a government shutdown because Donald Trump is insisting any spending bill must fund the construction of a US-Mexico border wall, which would cost as much as $18 billion.

Bound up in symbolism about the racial purity of the United States, the wall has been sold as a way to prevent both illegal immigration and the trafficking of drugs over the southern border. But the actual solution to securing the border against drug smuggling may be simpler and cheaper than Trump realizes: Rather than stop the flow, why not just grow the drugs here?

In a paper published late last year in The Economic Journal, economists Evelina Gavrilova and Floris Zoutman and sociologist Takuma Kamada found that the creation of a domestic marijuana industry—in the form of legal markets for medical marijuana—led to a 12.5% reduction in violent crime in US states bordering Mexico.

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SOURCE: Fernholz, T. (2018, January 17). Quartz. The best border wall is a legal marijuana market. Retrieved from https://qz.com/1180763/mexico-border-wall-dont-tell-jeff-sessions-but-legal-medical-marijuana-decreased-drug-crime-in-us-states/

Illinois Judge Rules in Favour of Medical Marijuana

A judge has ordered Illinois officials to add intractable pain as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana, a ruling that could greatly expand access to the drug.

The Illinois Department of Public Health had rejected intractable pain — defined as pain that’s resistant to treatment — but Cook County Judge Raymond Mitchell ordered the agency to add the condition.

A health department spokeswoman said Tuesday the agency will appeal the ruling. The change is expected to be put on hold while the appeal is pursued.

Ann Mednick, whose lawsuit resulted in the ruling, said she has taken opioid pills to cope with extreme pain caused by osteoarthritis but wants a treatment with fewer side effects that would allow her to be more functional. Rheumatoid arthritis is on the list of about 40 qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, but osteoarthritis is not, nor is general or chronic pain.

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SOURCE: McCoppin, R. (2018, January 16). Chicago Trubune. Judge orders Illinois to expand medical marijuana qualifying conditions to include pain. Retrieved from http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-medical-marijuana-pain-illinois-ruling-20180116-story.html

11 Year Old’s Medical Marijuana Use Approved at School

CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois attorney general’s office on Friday told a federal court it will allow a suburban Chicago school district to administer medical marijuana to an 11-year-old leukemia patient to treat her for seizure disorders.

Illinois’ medical cannabis law prohibits possessing or using marijuana on school grounds or buses. After Friday’s ruling, Ashley Surin is now the sole exemption.

The commitment made to U.S. District Judge John Blakey came two days after the student’s parents sued Schaumburg-based District 54 and the state for the girl’s right to take medical marijuana at school.

Parents Jim and Maureen Surin contend the policy violates the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Chicago Tribune reported .

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SOURCE: The Associated Press. (2018, January 15). FOX10. Retrieved from http://www.fox10tv.com/story/37265437/judge-allows-11-year-old-to-use-medical-marijuana-at-school

11 Year Old’s Prescribed Medical Marijuana use Denied

CHICAGO—The parents of an 11-year girl with leukemia have sued the state of Illinois and a suburban Chicago school district over a state law that prohibits her from using medical marijuana at school.

Illinois passed a medical marijuana law in 2014, but the statute prohibits the consumption or possession of cannabis on public school property. The family argues in the lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court that the state’s medical marijuana law denies the child due process and violates the federally-mandated Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The girl, identified in the lawsuit as A.S., attends public school in Schaumburg, Ill. School District 54. She was treated for her leukemia with chemotherapy. Those treatments resulted in the child suffering from seizures and epilepsy, the lawsuit said.

Four years of traditional treatments and medicine failed to completely regulate her seizures and the side effects hampered her ability to learn, according to the lawsuit.

Late last year, her doctors prescribed a medical cannabis patch.

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SOURCE: Madhani, A. (2018, January 11). USA Today. Illinois sued for prohibiting ill child from using medical marijuana at elementary school. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/01/11/parents-sue-illinois-medical-marijuana-school/1025742001/

Jeff Sessions Making the Opioid Slope Steeper

On Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ended the federal policy of non-interference with marijuana-friendly state laws. While controversial for many reasons, this move is first and foremost a significant step backward in our country’s fight against opioid addiction.

According to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, states with medical cannabis laws on average reduced opioid overdose deaths by 24.8%. And each year after the medical cannabis law was passed, the rate of opioid overdose deaths continued to decrease.

Maybe Attorney General Jeff Sessions needs to come to Logan County, West Virginia, where I grew up. Maybe he needs to visit nearby Huntington, West Virginia, a town of nearly 49,000 that’s been dubbed the overdose capital of America. A town where opioid- and heroin-related crime has spiked to such levels that the National Guard is now backing up local law enforcement efforts.

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SOURCE: Ojeda, R. (2018, January 6). CNN. Sessions just made the opioid war harder to win. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/05/opinions/sessions-attack-on-pot-hurts-trump-supporters-opinion-ojeda/index.html

Legalized Marijuana: How is it Shaping Up?

Recreational marijuana is on track to be legalized in Canada by July 2018, making Canada the first Group of Seven country to allow the drug nationwide and the second in the world after Uruguay.

While the federal legislation proposed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government will regulate cannabis production, the details of who can sell it and who can buy it will be largely left up to the country’s provinces.

Details about how the sales, enforcement, investment, and taxes of legal marijuana are shaping up are available in the full article from Global NEWS.

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SOURCE: Paperny, A. M. and Saminather, N. (2017, November 17). Global NEWS. Just months away, here’s how pot legalization is shaping up in Canada. Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/3867467/marijuana-legalization-canada-progress/