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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

National News for February 2017 - by Rachel Bunting

Marijuana Home Delivery 
Portland, Oregon: The Portland City Council approved an amendment to the marijuana code last month which will make it legal for marijuana related businesses to offer home deliveries. The unanimous decision will allow businesses wishing to deliver their products to register a licensed headquarters while also obtaining a license from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Though the business must have a licensed headquarters, the delivery company will not be permitted to sell from a store. The amendment also states that any business dealing with marijuana must be located at least 1,000ft from any other related business. This new amendment will be a God-send to patients with limited mobility issues.

Legislative Cannabis ApprovalRhode Island: Legislators in Rhode Island are considering bypassing a ballot that would allow residents of the state to vote on legalizing marijuana, and instead creating legalization through the legislative process. This would be a first for recreational marijuana legalization. Every other state that has allowed legal pot has done so because voters approved the law. Never has the state government taken the initiative to create legalization without citizens voting on the topic. Law makers worry that the state will lose potential tax revenue to Massachusetts, as they approved recreational pot in November. If Rhode Island residents drive to Massachusetts to buy marijuana to bring back, the state is losing a huge amount of revenue. Sen. Joshua Miller and Rep. Scott Slater have been pushing the idea of creating a formal proposal which would apply to adults 21 and older with a 23% sales tax on consumers at a retail level.

Officers have Facebook FunNew Jersey: Officers at the Absecon Police Department recently posted a photo of a clearly non-medicinal bag of marijuana with “Candy Kush” written across the top. The officer’s then commented with “I guess writing ‘oregano’ across the bag would have been too obvious. If you were supposed to buy some Candy Kush this weekend, we have it here at the #Absecon PD. Just stop on down and ask. #dank #YourWeedManisinJail.” The comical post has received comments ranging from offers to buy the bag to thanking the department for having a sense of humor. While medicinal marijuana has been legal in the state since 2010, a recent poll found nearly 58% of New Jersey voters support recreational legalization.

Inauguration Day Light Up 
Washington DC: The advocacy group responsible for legalization in D.C., DCMJ, has been spending weeks rolling joints for an inauguration day protest. The organization will be passing out more than 4,200 joints near Dupont Circle, they then plan to march to the National Mall and light the pre-rolls exactly 4minutes and 20seconds into the president-elect’s speech. The march is protesting not only the new president but also his Attorney General pick, Senator Jeff Sessions. Leader of the group, Adam Eidinger, said they began planning the demonstration as soon as Sessions was announced as Trump’s choice. Eidinger worries the new administration will set back the legalization strides made throughout the country. The group has reason to fear as Sessions has been extremely outspoken about his anti-marijuana views, saying in a 2016 Senate hearing, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” The group will be checking ID’s of all protester wishing to join in the light up as the law in the area is for those 21+. Eidinger has told protesters that if they are arrested at the mall or incur a fine or legal cost due to the demonstration, he will pay it for them and share their story. However the D.C. Mayor has stated that arresting people for smoking pot on inauguration day would not be their first priority. More groups have begun contributing to the cause, donating marijuana and time to help roll. The total as of January 17th was over 5,500 rolled joints. The point of the protest, according to Eidinger, is to “show that marijuana smokers are there and shouldn’t be ignored.”

**UPDATE: More than 100 people showed up at 6am to receive their free pre-rolls to light up 4 minutes and 20 seconds into Trump’s inaugural speech. There was a total of 8,400 joints rolled and each person who wanted to participate was given two joints, one for the protest and one to share. Organizers had a replica jail cell on Massachusetts Ave. which they handed the free goodies out of as a symbol of the overly harsh penalties for marijuana-related crimes. Marijuana activists walked the three blocks from Mass. Ave. to Florida Ave. The demonstration was meant to put the new President on notice that he should relax drug laws.

National Academy of Sciences Wants Marijuana Rescheduled
 Washington DC: The National Academy of Sciences recently released a report which contradicts the DEA’s claim that marijuana should be a Schedule I drug due to no medicinal properties. The report reviewed nearly 10,000 scientific research abstracts (summaries of a research study) and reached almost 100 different conclusions pertaining to the medical uses of marijuana and marijuana-related products. Chair of the review committee, Marie McCormick, told Forbes, “We conducted an in-depth and broad review of the most recent research to establish firmly what the sciences says and to highlight areas that still need further examination.”

     The review noted that the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug is hindering further studies by preventing researching from getting the cannabis they need. It suggests discussing “political and non-political strategies to resolve regulatory barriers to cannabis research, an objective and evidence-based analysis of cannabis policy is necessary.” In their review, the committee found evidence that marijuana does contain therapeutic properties to treat chronic pain, improve symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and eases the side effects associated with chemotherapy. The paper concluded with “cannabis has both therapeutic value and public health risks”. This means while there could be health risks associated with marijuana use, more studies are needed to come to that definite conclusion.

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