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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Cannabis History: Into the 21st Century 1998-2004 -by Joe Dauphinais

11th Cannabis Cup Highlights 
Held in Amsterdam, the 1998 Cannabis Cup featured celebrity judge and High Priest John Sinclair, who supervised the ceremonial inductions of Louis Armstrong and Mezz Mezzrow into the Hall of Fame. Memorable moments: John Sinclair, speaking about inductees Armstrong and Mezzrow said: “Pops gave us the solo, but Mezz gave us the nickel bag”. First Place Cup awarded to Green House Tolstraat for ‘Super Silver Haze’. Veteran Cup Competitor De Dampkring pulls out, declaring the event had become too commercial and expensive. 

Three More States Allow Medical Cannabis 
Following the precedent set in California 2 years prior, 1998 saw 3 more states vote to allow the use of Cannabis by qualifying patients. Alaska, passed by 58% of voters: Limits patients to 1 ounce of usable medicine, and 6 cannabis plants. Oregon, passed by 55%: Allows patients up to 4 ounces of usable medicine, and 7 plants. Washington, 59%: Allows for a 60 day supply of usable marijuana. This loose definition led to conflict between authorities and patients.

Half Baked Released 
With its all-star cast, this 1998 comedy became an instant classic among stoners everywhere. With too many memorable moments and quotes to list here, this must-see movie is best enjoyed with your buds.

D.C. Votes on MMJ, Congress Prevents Votes from Being Counted 
Following the 1998 election that had medical marijuana on the ballot, Congress refused to spend federal money on tallying the votes. After a struggle by activists to have that decision deemed as unconstitutional, the votes were finally tallied, revealing that 69% of voters were in favor. It won’t be until 2010 when the District of Columbia implemented a referendum for cannabis patients.

Institute of Medicine Recommends Further Cannabinoid Research
From the Institute of Medicine Report Conclusion: “The different cannabinoid receptor types found in the body appear to play different roles in normal human physiology... some effects of cannabinoids appear to be independent of those receptors. The variety of mechanisms through which cannabinoids can influence human physiology underlies the variety of potential therapeutic uses for drugs that might act selectively on different cannabinoid systems. Recommendation 1: Research should continue into the physiological effects of synthetic and plant-derived cannabinoids and the natural function of cannabinoids found in the body. Because different cannabinoids appear to have different effects, cannabinoid research should include, but not be restricted to, effects attributable to THC alone.

Maine Becomes 5th State to Allow Medical Cannabis 
Approved by 61% of voters: Limits patients to 2.5 ounces of usable medicine, and 6 cannabis plants. Maine’s laws for obtaining cannabis were unclear until 2009, when a bill passed by 59% of voters allowed for dispensaries.

Hawaii and Nevada Pass Measures
Allowing Medical Marijuana Hawaiian Senate passes Bill 862: Allowing patients up to 3 ounces of usable medicine, and 7 cannabis plants. Nevada, passed by 65% of voters: Allows patients up to 1 ounce of usable medicine, and 7 plants.

U.S. Government Sues Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Co-Op 
In order to stop the cultivation and distribution of marijuana in violation of federal law, the Federal government takes an Oakland-based medical marijuana distributer to court. The lawsuit began in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, where it was decided that there is no medical necessity defense that can trump the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. After government seizure of OCBC property, the co-op agreed to stop distributing cannabis, and appealed Judge Breyer’s decision to the Ninth Circuit, who overturned the decision. 
Aftermath: The Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative has gone on to become the largest distributor of Medical Marijuana ID cards in the state of California.

Portugal Decriminalizes All Drugs
On July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Under the new legal framework, all drugs were “decriminalized,” not “legalized.” Thus, drug possession for personal use and drug usage itself are still legally prohibited, but violations of those prohibitions are deemed to be exclusively administrative violations and are removed completely from the criminal realm. Drug trafficking continues to be prosecuted as a criminal offense. As a result, drug-related problems such as STD’s and addiction have been on the decline, which some attribute to the focus of resources being spent on education and rehabilitation, rather than incarceration.

New York Mets Athletes Face Allegations of Marijuana Use 
Newsday reported that at least seven players were regularly using marijuana, among other drugs. Grant Roberts, a pitcher, acknowledged that he was the player shown smoking marijuana in a photograph that was published with the Newsday article, but he said the photo was provided by a woman who was extorting him.

Vermont and Montana Approve Medical Marijuana 
Vermont Senate passes Bill 76: Allowing patients up to 2 ounces of usable medicine, and 9 cannabis plants. Montana, passed by 62%: Allows patients up to 1 ounce of usable medicine, and 4 plants.

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