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Chris Christie Marijuana

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently stated on a syndicated radio show that he would not let America legalize marijuana if he is elected president in 2016.

Christie stated he would “crack down” on the states that have already done so.

“I will crack down and not permit it,” Christie responded when asked by the radio host if he would enforce federal drug laws in Washington, Colorado and other states where voter approved measures are “flaunting federal law by allowing people to sell dope legally,” according to the host.

Christie went on to say that he thinks “marijuana is a gateway drug” and that “we have an enormous addiction problem in this country. And we need to send very clear leadership from the White House on down through the federal law enforcement. Marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law. And the states should not be permitted to sell it and profit from it.”

Rand Paul Marijuana

In three key swing states – Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania – marijuana legalization is more popular than all the current potential 2016 presidential candidates, according to a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University last month.

Results from the survey reveal that over 80% of adults in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania support medical marijuana legalization. 55% of Floridians, 51% of Pennsylvanians, and 52% of Ohioans also support legalizing small amounts of marijuana for adult recreational use, similar to the marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington.

These numbers point towards two facts: the continued and rapidly growing support for marijuana legalization, and voters’ doubtfulness surrounding the current presidential candidates for 2016.

Rand Paul is the only candidate so far to take a stand as pro-marijuana. His viewpoints on the issue are from the standpoint of criminal justice reform and fiscal responsibility.

Elections Marijuana

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Hemp

Marijuana and hemp are the two most commonly known names for the cannabis plant.

Cannabis has just as much to do with industrial hemp products as it does with the recreational drug better known as marijuana or pot or weed. This begs the question — how is hemp different from marijuana?

1. Genetics
Cannabis is believed to be one of the oldest domesticated crops. Throughout history, humans have grown different varieties of cannabis for industrial and medical uses.

Tall, sturdy plants were grown by early civilizations to make a variety of foods, oils and textiles, such as rope and fabrics. These plants were bred with other plants with the same characteristics, leading to the type of cannabis we now know as hemp.

Other plants were recognized for being psychoactive and were bred selectively for medical and religious purposes. This led to unique varieties of cannabis that we now know as marijuana.

According to Dan Sutton of Tantulus Labs, a Canadian company that specializes in cannabis cultivation technology, “the core agricultural differences between medical cannabis and hemp are largely in their genetic parentage and cultivation environment.”

In fact, scientists believe the early separation of the cannabis gene pool led to two distinct types of cannabis plants. The two species (or subspecies) of cannabis are known as Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa.

2. THC Content
Cannabis plants contain unique compounds called cannabinoids. Current research has revealed over 60 different cannabinoids so far, but THC is the most well known. THC is credited with causing the marijuana high.

While marijuana plants contain high levels of THC, hemp contains very little of the psychoactive chemical. This single difference is what most rely on to distinguish hemp from marijuana. For example, countries like Canada have set the maximum THC content of hemp at 0.3%. Any cannabis with higher THC levels is considered marijuana instead.

In comparison, medical marijuana produces anywhere between 5-20% THC on average, with prize strains tipping the scale at 25-30% THC.

Hemp and marijuana plants contain another important cannabinoid: CBD. Hemp plants produce more CBD than THC, while marijuana produces more THC than CBD. Interestingly, research has shown that CBD acts to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC, separating hemp further from marijuana.

3. Cultivation
Hemp and marijuana are grown for different uses, and therefore require different growing conditions.

“Medical cannabis has been selectively bred over generations, and its characteristics are optimized in its cultivation environment to produce female flowering plants that yield budding flowers at the flowering stage of their life cycle,” explains Sutton.

In contrast, Sutton describes hemp plants as “primarily male, without representing flowering buds at any stage in their life cycle.” Instead, centuries of selective breeding have resulted in “relatively low concentrations of THC, and tall, fast growing plants optimized for higher stalk harvests.”

Achieving maximum THC levels in marijuana is tricky and requires close attention to grow-room conditions. Marijuana growers usually aim to maintain stable light, temperature, humidity, CO2 and oxygen levels, among other things.

On the other hand, hemp is usually grown outdoors to maximize its size and yield and less attention is paid to individual plants.

4. Legal Status
As you might already know, all cannabis is illegal to produce in the United States.

Both hemp and marijuana are classified as Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act.
However, outside the U.S., hemp is grown in more than 30 countries. In 2011, the top hemp-producing country was China, followed by Chile and the European Union. Hemp production is also expanding in Canada, with the country’s annual crop reaching a record high of 66,700 acres in 2013.

Interesting enough, it is legal to import hemp products into the United States. According to the Hemp Industry Association, about $500 million worth of hemp product is imported every year.

Marijuana, on the other hand, remains illegal in most countries. A few, such as Israel and Canada, have recently started to regulate marijuana as a medicine. But the legal production of marijuana is subject to stricter rules than hemp, since it is still widely considered a narcotic.

5. Research
The strict laws surrounding both forms of cannabis — hemp and marijuana — makes any research very difficult.

“The political implications of that scheduling, from a research perspective, are limiting,” explains Sutton. “To my knowledge, of the thousands of academic and research bodies in the United States and Canada whom would be equipped to perform agricultural or medical research on this unique species, only around 40 have actual research licenses to study the plant in a limited context.”

Despite these barriers, researchers are making progress in understanding the way medical marijuana works to assist in managing an ever-expanding list of disorders.

What’s more, developments in hemp technology continue to reveal new and intriguing ways that this industrial plant can contribute to society in the future. Recently, researchers at the University of Alberta created a supercapacitor using raw hemp material, making the manufacturing of cheap, fast-charging batteries from hemp a real possibility.

Hemp fibre is also being used to develop new forms of renewable plastic, which has made it a common material in the car parts industry.

But as legalization spreads across the globe, the opportunities to explore the potential of the cannabis grows too. The possibilities are endless, and this is one thing hemp and marijuana have in common.

Arizona Marijuana Legalization

A ballot initiative has been file that – if approved by voters in November 2016 – would legalize marijuana in Arizona for adult recreational use and would regulate and tax marijuana in a similar manner as alcohol.

“It was a long and deliberative drafting process involving a diverse group of stakeholders,” said a member of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), the organization that helped get Colorado’s recreational marijuana law implemented. “There were some bumps in the road, but in the end everyone came together to produce the best possible law for Arizona. We are united in this effort to end marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.”

Essentially, the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act would:

– Allow anyone 21 years of age and older to possess and privately consume and grow limited amounts of marijuana (it will remain illegal to consume marijuana in public)
– Establish a system in which licensed businesses can produce and sell marijuana to adults and establish a Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control to regulate the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation, and sale of marijuana in the state
– Provide local governments with the authority to regulate and prohibit marijuana businesses
– Establish a 15% tax on adult marijuana sales in addition to standard sales taxes

Tax revenue from marijuana sales will be used to fund the implementation and enforcement of regulations and any additional revenue will be allocated to the Department of Education for operating costs, construction, maintenance, and full-day kindergarten programs and to the Department of Health Services for public health efforts.

The full text of the initiative is available on the campaign’s website at www.RegulateMarijuanaInArizona.org.

“Marijuana should be produced and sold by licensed businesses in a regulated market, not violent criminals in the underground market,” stated an Arizona marijuana business owner who helped draft the initiative. “Arizona’s medical marijuana businesses have proven that regulation works. It’s time to take that lesson and apply it to all marijuana sales.”

“We’re looking forward to hitting the streets and starting conversations with voters about the benefits of ending marijuana prohibition in Arizona,” said an activist supporting the initiative. “Marijuana prohibition is an irrational policy that causes far more harm than good. Adults should not be treated like criminals simply for using a substance that is safer than alcohol.”

The initiative needs signatures from just over 150,000 registered Arizona voters by June 2016 in order for it to get on the November 2016 ballot.

Learn more about the initiative at www.RegulateMarijuanaInArizona.org.

Marijuana Alcohol

Reps. Chris Pearson (P-Burlington) and Jean O’Sullivan (D-Burlington) who co-sponsored a bill to legalize and tax recreational marijuana sales in Vermont (but the bill failed to be considered by the state legislature), have filed a new bill which would ban alcohol sales in the state.

Rep. Pearson stated that he does not actually support alcohol prohibition, but filed the bill to make a point that alcohol, a legalized substance, causes more societal problems than marijuana, yet marijuana is (still) illegal.

“This bill proposes to recognize recent scientific studies that demonstrate that alcohol use is significantly more dangerous than marijuana use,” reads House Bill 502.

The bill proposes to ban the “possession, cultivation, distribution and sale” of alcoholic beverages in Vermont. Although, alcohol used for medical purposes would still be permitted; however, as medical marijuana is also allowed in the state.

“Whereas prohibiting the sale and possession of alcohol is a laughable suggestion, the commonsense reaction against this idea should be the same logic we use to consider the continued prohibition of marijuana,” Pearson said.

Under the proposed bill, people 21 or older possessing a “small amount” of alcohol would be issued a civil violation and subject to a fine up to $500 — just like marijuana possession. Possessing larger quantities of alcohol, as well as the cultivation, distribution or sale, would become a criminal offense with penalties ranging from one day to 30 years in prison, and fines of up to $1 million — just like marijuana.