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New York Times Marijuana
Perhaps the most renowned newspaper in the country, if not the world, has proclaimed that it is time to finally put an end to marijuana prohibition in the US.

The New York Times recently printed a story in their Sunday editorial that stated, “The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana. We reached the conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.”

The Times also looked into the idea of letting states continue to decide their own fate in regards to how to govern marijuana on a state level and feel that it isn’t the best option.  They went on to say, “We considered whether it would be best for Washington to hold back while the states continued experimenting with legalizing medicinal uses of marijuana, recuing penalties, or even simply legalizing all use.  Nearly three-quarters of the states have done one of these.”

While the Times doesn’t necessarily speak for Congress, they most definitely have a massive following and are seen as perhaps the most respected news publication on the planet, so it isn’t as if they just decided to up and publish something without reviewing all of the facts.  The United States perception of marijuana is changing rapidly, and it seems like we are only moving forward.

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Marijuana AlcoholClick image to enlarge
Alcohol can be very fun to consume and can provide some benefits to society, but when compared to marijuana, it is easy to conclude that marijuana is much safer and more beneficial to society. There are many reasons as to why marijuana is safer and more beneficial than alcohol, but that would make for a really long list. Below is a list of 9 reasons why marijuana is safer than alcohol:

1. Marijuana can curb brain damage, especially damage inflicted by drinking.  Marijuana actually contains properties that can help with preventing brain damage brought on by drinking alcohol.  It can also help treat depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and other brain-related diseases.

2. Marijuana can help treat cancers caused by drinking. Alcohol is a toxin that has the potential to cause breast, liver, colon, and other cancers.  Close to 20,000 cancer related deaths in 2009 were said to be a result of excessive alcohol consumption.  Marijuana has been proven to help alleviate cancer symptoms, and possible stop some cancers.

3.  Alcohol typically causes more aggressive and in turn violent behaviors.  However, marijuana is well known to do the opposite by helping users relax.

4. Alcohol addiction is no joke.  Alcoholism exists virtually everywhere in the world and withdrawals from it can result in death or irreversible brain damage.  While marijuana addiction does exist, it is far less severe than alcohol addiction.

5. Alcohol has killed its users. Marijuana hasn’t.  Alcohol kills 2.5 million people across the globe annually, compared to an astounding zero marijuana related deaths.  It’s pretty obvious which one is more harmful.

6. Alcohol can prevent muscle growth.  Alcohol is known to decrease testosterone and interrupt sleep patterns which can affect muscle growth.

7. Marijuana has medicinal benefits.  There is a long list of ailments marijuana is said to treat, from chronic pain to inflammation.  One can argue that a glass of red wine has anti-oxidant properties, but other than that, alcohol does little to nothing positive for an individual’s well-being.

8. High sex is way better than drunk sex.  After you’ve had a few too many drinks, alcohol gives you a numbing sensation which decreases feeling all over your body.  While this can be good in some situations, like if you were to fall on your face, it’s certainly not optimal when it comes to love making.  However, marijuana increases sensitivity and can make the overall sexual experience more enjoyable.

9. Alcohol consumption often results in bad decisions, while “high” decisions tend to be more thought out.  Alcohol lowers your inhibitions which results in questionable decision making.  Marijuana users typically come to the similar conclusions as sober people, but will likely take them seconds longer to do so.

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Marijuana Edibles
Washington lawmakers have recently stated that they will permit recreational marijuana dispensaries to sell marijuana infused brownies, cakes, and other miscellaneous baked goods, but they will not allow them to be sold in candy form (lollipops, gummy bears, jelly beans, etc) which could potentially entice children.

Recreational marijuana clubs in Washington opened their doors to the public on July 8th of this year and the guidelines for how marijuana infused edibles are required to be packaged was released less than two weeks later.  The Liquor Control Board of Washington was placed in charge of overseeing the process.

Their main concern is they don’t want anything floating around that might appeal to children.  Specific items being banned will include gummy bears, jelly beans, suckers and some other types of candy.

Hopeful manufacturers must also adhere to certain guidelines in order for their product to even be considered.  They must be able to show that the THC is spread out evenly amongst the products to ensure that all of the edibles contain a uniform amount of potency.  In other words, they want to be sure that one brownie doesn’t get you drastically higher than another.

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CO Marijuana Farm
The nation’s first market study about the after effects of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado is out, and the numbers are huge to say the least.  It appears that over 10 tons of recreational marijuana is being sold every single month.

The Marijuana Policy Group in conjunction with the Department of Revenue has found that marijuana demand in the Rocky Mountain state is drastically larger than what was once believed.  Based on the first 3 months of recreational marijuana sales, Colorado is on pace to consume 260,000 pounds this year alone.  These numbers are quite the surprise, as this number turned out to be a third larger than what was expected.

The data was collected using a tracking system specifically designed for the marijuana industry for commercial growers and dispensaries to assist in keeping track of inventory.  The tracking system also proved that the majority of recreational sales are from out of town visitors to Colorado.

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Washington DC Marijuana
A remarkable marijuana decriminalization law has gone into effect in Washington D.C. The new law will hopefully help to end D.C.’s excessive racial profiling drug-related (particularly marijuana) arrests.

The district has replaced jail time with a simple $25 fine for any person found to be in possession of an ounce or less of marijuana.

Grant Smith, with the Drug Policy Alliance put it best when he said, “We are hopeful that marijuana decriminalization will reduce excessive racial disparities in the enforcement of D.C’s marijuana laws.”

And they are definitely on the right track. The $25 fine is the lowest out of all the states in the US that have chosen to implement a fine in place of jail time for people caught with personal amounts of marijuana.  They have also taken a massive stride by putting an end to the “stop-and-frisk” laws that unfairly targeted minorities, as well as prohibiting using the smell of marijuana as probable cause to search.

This is an exciting time in our nation’s capital, where voters will have the opportunity to decide whether the District of Columbia will become the third state to legalize marijuana for recreational use this November.

Marijuana Legalization 2014
2014 is shaping up to be a big year for marijuana law reform. Here are a few of the states that might be joining Colorado and Washington’s new stance on marijuana legalization, as well as a couple more that will potentially be legalizing marijuana for medical purposes:

Alaska

Alaska is a state leaning towards the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes.  While it’s still early on, the Marijuana Policy Project is confident that their fundraising efforts will help win over the public opinion.

Marijuana legalization was on the ballot in both 2000 and 2004 in Alaska, but this time around the voting demographic seems to be shifting their stance after seeing how well Colorado and Washington have adapted.

Oregon

Oregon is looking to give it another go after having recreational marijuana legalization on the ballot just two short years ago, but they are going to get another shot at it this November.

Oregon was the first state in the U.S. to decriminalize personal possession of marijuana back in 1973 and was also one of the first states to legalize medical marijuana.

With many of the same people that helped fund the Washington and Colorado initiatives on board with helping the Oregon cause, their future is looking mighty bright.

District of Columbia

The nation’s capital has just submitted twice the required numbers of signatures to get marijuana on the ballot for legalization this November.  If it passes, adults will be permitted to possess up to two ounces of marijuana in D.C.

There are still a number of hurdles that activists will have to leap in order to get past congress, who just last month took a large step toward stopping a decriminalization bill.

Florida

Florida hopes to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes this November.  In order for the law to pass, they will need a 60% turn out from voters in favor of medical marijuana, which shouldn’t be an issue as recent polls have suggested that support was over 80% across the boards.

Lawmakers at a state level have already voted to allow a strain of CBD high marijuana that has shown to be helpful in treating seizures.

New York

Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York, signed a bill this past weekend that will make New York the 23rd medical marijuana state in the US.

Governor Cuomo has been criticized for how restrictive New York’s medical marijuana program will be and that they won’t have marijuana available for over a year and a half.  He also implemented a strict policy on which diseases will qualify patients for a card as well as only allowing patients to eat or vaporize the product while smoking will still remain illegal.

Arizona & Nevada

Arizona and Nevada both have initiatives for marijuana legalization to be on 2016 ballot and will be greatly influenced by the Marijuana Policy Project.

Spain Marijuana Clubs
Spain is becoming a global destination for marijuana tourism.  Roughly 300 marijuana clubs have opened in Barcelona and surrounding areas with no signs of slowing down,. Barcelona officials are not condoning the businesses either.

It seems that these new marijuana entrepreneurs are operating off a decade old loophole.  An old law in Spain allows anyone to grow and use marijuana in private as long as they are doing so in regards to operating a nonprofit business.  So individuals are permitted to join together and open marijuana clubs the same way your mom might start a wine-of-the-month club and invite all of her friends to sit around and drink and gossip in private.

Over the last few years, these clubs have been popping up all over Barcelona, specifically in heavy tourist areas.  While a lot of the clubs will refuse walk-ins off the street, many will offer “memberships” where you can gain entry by paying a little over $20.  The type of club you might encounter will vary from spot to spot.  Some are reminiscent of a fraternity house, with pool tables and a couple of televisions, while others are more upscale offering live music, full restaurants, and even pilates classes.

Experts say that one reason for the massive boom in club openings is that the younger generation is seeing it as a way to find good jobs. In the meantime, Spanish authorities have put a 1 year moratorium on any new marijuana clubs from opening.

CO Recreational Dispensary Licenses
The recreational marijuana industry in Colorado is poised to get even larger now that more businesses are allowed to apply for a recreational marijuana business license.  This will result in many more recreational marijuana retail shops and growers, as well as more marijuana related jobs throughout Colorado.

Only licensed medical marijuana dispensaries were able to apply for recreational marijuana distribution permits during the first 6 months of legalization.  They were also only allowed to sell marijuana that they grew themselves. But as of this past Tuesday, anyone is permitted to apply for a recreational marijuana business license, regardless of their previous experience in the marijuana industry.

These newly licensed stores will be able to open their doors as early as October, and the law pertaining to growing your own product will change, and dispensaries can then opt to buy their marijuana from independent growers.

Experts are still unsure how these new rules will affect the already booming recreational marijuana industry in Colorado.  Some believe that lower quality shops will start opening up, while others are hopeful that it will just create a larger and more creative structure.

One more concern facing new business owners is that finding a location to set up shop could be difficult considering the strict zoning laws set in place to distance themselves from schools, parks, and already existing dispensaries.

Read more marijuana news.

Seniors and Marijuana

Vince Diesel

Seniors and Marijuana

Seniors are often reluctant to try marijuana for medical purposes. But new scientific evidence is quickly revealing that marijuana has many health benefits, and little to no downside. This list helps to break down negative perceptions and false information about marijuana.

1. Marijuana is safer than most prescription medications. Prescription drugs are a common daily occurrence in the lives of most senior citizens. And lot of the medications carry with them some truly terrible side effects, while marijuana has been shown to have very few and mild side effects.

2. Marijuana is not an addictive substance. A common misconception about marijuana among seniors is that once they begin using marijuana they won’t be able to quit. In reality, people can stop using marijuana from one day to the next and the effects would be similar to that of someone quitting drinking coffee.

3. Marijuana can reduce and even replace many prescription medications. A lot of seniors complain that the first pill they take every day causes side effects like drowsiness or nausea. While this pill might be imperative to their health they are then told to take an additional pill to combat the first pill’s side effects. Marijuana can help relieve symptoms of nausea and drowsiness.

4. There are many different types (strains) of marijuana. If one particular strain doesn’t suit someone’s needs, then there is another one that should do the trick.

5. There are marijuana strains that don’t get you “high.”  A lot of seniors like the idea of the medicinal properties of marijuana, but not the actual “high” caused by THC.  In circumstances like these, there are CBD dominant strains which alleviate inflammation, acute pain, and even seizures without producing the “high.”

6. You don’t have to smoke marijuana to use it.  A lot of seniors think that smoking marijuana is there only option, when in reality there are many ways to consume marijuana: from vaporizing to eating edibles to applying lotions. There are multiple options.

7. Marijuana infused creams can drastically improve pain associated with arthritis.  Creams that you can apply directly to the skin have been shown to help with sore joints and muscle pain.

8. Marijuana does not lower your IQ.  There is no evidence or documentation that shows marijuana lowers your intelligence or kills brain cells.  There are even studies showing that using marijuana improves brain function. Recent scientific studies reveal that marijuana helps fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

9. Marijuana increases your appetite.  When ill, senior citizens don’t have much of an appetite and in turn lose a lot of weight.  Marijuana has been shown to get rid of the nausea that causes this loss of appetite.  And on the opposite end of the spectrum, studies have shown that people who smoke marijuana every week are more likely to lose weight because of the metabolic boost it provides.

10. There are fewer stigmas attached to marijuana use than there once was.  Senior citizens are now the fastest growing demographic of medical marijuana users in the US.  The main reason is because marijuana is a truly amazing medicine.

Learn how to get a medical marijuana card in Arizona.

IRS

Rachel Gillette, the head of the Colorado chapter of NORML, is suing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) because she feels the IRS has been mistreating and discriminating against perfectly legal marijuana businesses.

All Greens LLC is a medical marijuana dispensary located in Denver, Colorado, and is at the heart of the lawsuit.  Gillette is representing All Greens due to a claim made by the IRS that they owe $20,000 in penalties from 2013 alone which she feels is unfair.

All Greens lost their bank account in 2012 as a result of federal regulations which began disapproving of banks that were in business with marijuana companies so they were unable to pay their taxes via the IRS website.  In the years leading up to 2012 All Greens was able to use the IRS website because they had a bank account, but when they lost their bank account they had no choice but to hand deliver their payments in cash and in person in Denver.

Gillette explained to the Tax Court that, “It was not that the taxpayer did not want to make use of the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. Rather the taxpayer is unable to secure a bank account due to the nature of its business. With no bank account and no access to banking services, the taxpayer is simply incapable of making the payments electronically.”

Gillette is facing an uphill battle against the IRS, but is confident everything will get sorted out.