Canadian Insurance Company Adding Medical Marijuana to it’s Group Benefits Plans

Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada will become the first major insurance company to add medical marijuana to its group benefits plans for Canadian companies, a pivotal move in the insurance industry that will help ease the financial burden for medical-marijuana users, and a sign of the growing acceptance of cannabis in the Canadian workplace.

As of March 1, Sun Life will include medical cannabis as optional coverage under an extended health-care benefit plan. Sun Life, which administers group benefits plans for more than 22,000 Canadian companies, oversees health and dental coverage for more than five million Canadians – including dependents.

SOURCE: O’Hara, C. (2018, February 14). The Globe and Mail Sun Life to add medical-marijuana coverage to group benefits plans. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/sun-life-to-add-medical-marijuana-coverage-to-group-benefits-plans/article37988860/

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Opioid Crisis Opening Minds on Medical Marijuana

The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that states with medical cannabis are associated with a 25% reduction in average opioid overdose mortality rates. Secondarily, doctors in medical marijuana states prescribed 1,800 fewer painkiller prescriptions for patients a year.

Physicians and activists alike are using findings like these to highlight the cannabis plant’s powerful properties in the face of federal attempts to disrupt the legalization of it. The opioid crisis has, in fact, helped spotlight the role medical marijuana can play in reducing the spread of it.

Compared to opioids, cannabis is less addictive both physically and psychologically. “Any drug which provides relief from pain may be habit-forming, but from a clinical standpoint, physical addiction to cannabis has not been proven,” Zeyead Gharib, CEO of Harvest Direct Enterprises related to me in an email interview. His company’s products, Weed Pillz™ (THC-Dominant) and Med Pillz™ (CBD-Dominant), are cannabis edibles offer an alternative to patients seeking to manage chronic pain, and preventing addiction and overdoses.

SOURCE: Bourque, A. (2018, January 31). Entrepreneur. The Opioid Crisis Is Forcing Open Minds About the Lifesaving Potential of Medical Marijuana. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/308174

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Medical and Recreational Marijuana are Different

VANCOUVER — Diana Koch never wanted to numb her pain and anxiety with opioids. After seeing family members struggle with addiction, she felt pharmaceuticals were not an option.

Medical marijuana freed the 36-year-old from her troubling symptoms. But with recreational weed legalization looming, she worries about her portion of the market being swallowed up.

“People who are using it for medical purposes, they actually are suffering from something, from a condition that’s handicapping them in some way in their life,” she said, speaking from her home in Toronto.

“The recreational users are not,” she added. “There is a difference.”

SOURCE: Kane, L. (2018, February 11). CTV News. ‘There is a difference’ between medical and recreational marijuana, patients say. Retrieved from https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/there-is-a-difference-between-medical-and-recreational-marijuana-patients-say-1.3798663

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Jeff Sessions Blames Marijuana for the Opioid Epidemic

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is blaming an old foe of his for the opioid crisis: marijuana.

Speaking at the Heritage Foundation to the Reagan Alumni Association this week, Sessions argued that cutting prescriptions for opioid painkillers is crucial to combating the crisis — since some people started on painkillers before moving on to illicit opioids like heroin and fentanyl. But then he expanded his argument to include cannabis.

“The DEA said that a huge percentage of the heroin addiction starts with prescriptions. That may be an exaggerated number; they had it as high as 80 percent,” Sessions said. “We think a lot of this is starting with marijuana and other drugs too.”

It’s true that, historically, a lot of opioid addiction started with prescribed painkillers — although that’s changing. A 2017 study in Addictive Behaviors found that 51.9 percent of people entering treatment for opioid use disorder in 2015 started with prescription drugs, down from 84.7 percent in 2005. And 33.3 percent initiated with heroin in 2015, up from 8.7 percent in 2005.

Where Sessions, who once said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” went wrong is his suggestion that marijuana leads to heroin use — reiterating the old gateway drug theory.

SOURCE: Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/8/16987126/jeff-sessions-opioid-epidemic-marijuana

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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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Veterans Fight Against Opioids with Medical Marijuana

Ryan Miller describes the year after his leg amputation as the best year of his life. He worked out. He traveled. He tanned. He was done with opioids.

After an explosively formed projectile destroyed his leg and damaged his stomach in Iraq, Miller had been caught in a vicious cycle of surgery and prescribed painkillers. The wounded Army infantry captain would have a surgery every few months, broken up by unsuccessful physical therapy.

“It wasn’t just a pain, physical thing,” Miller said. Physical dependence on opioids, coupled with pain from the injury, crushed Miller’s spirit. “It just sucks. You feel like a prisoner.”

SOURCE: Morgan, R. (2018, February 7). CNBC. Military veterans defy Jeff Sessions, fight for medical marijuana to kick opioid addiction. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/07/military-veterans-fight-for-medical-marijuana-to-kick-opioid-addiction.html

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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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Moldy Marijuana Calls for New Legislature

PHOENIX – A Republican lawmaker has persuaded nearly the entire Legislature to sign on in support of his proposal to require medical marijuana to be tested for mold and agricultural chemicals.

The proposal from Sen. Sonny Borrelli would appropriate $2 million from the state’s huge medical marijuana fund to do the testing. It also would lower the $150 annual fee that patients need to pay to get a medical marijuana card to $50 and $25 for a renewal.

Borrelli has 78 co-sponsors for his measure, including the Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate. There are 90 members of the Legislature.

SOURCE: Wasu, S. (2018, January 29). abc15. Arizona lawmakers considering medical marijuana safety bill. Retrieved from https://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/central-phoenix/arizona-lawmakers-considering-medical-marijuana-safety-bill

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High Demand for Education in Marijuana Industry

“From growing the perfect crop to marketing within restrictive rules, Canadian colleges and universities are cultivating courses for those wanting to work in the booming marijuana industry.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University started offering online courses in cannabis production, marketing and financing about three years ago after officials at the British Columbia school realized there was a need for training and education around medicinal marijuana, said David Purcell, the university’s director of emerging business.

Demand is skyrocketing, prompting Kwantlen to offer the classes every four weeks instead of every eight to keep up with demand, he said.”

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SOURCE: Karstens-Smith, G. (2018, February 4). The Globe and Mail. Canadian universities, colleges expand course offerings for careers in marijuana industry. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/canada-universities-colleges-expand-course-offerings-for-careers-in-marijuana-industry/article37847833/