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The Legalization of Marijuana – Part 1 of 2

On July 30, 2001, the ‘Narcotic Control Regulation’ was amended and the ‘Marijuana Medical Access Regulation’ came into force. This sparked the beginning of a heated national debate, the subject in question being the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes in Canada. While marijuana is still considered an illegal substance in Canada, it is approved for use under certain circumstances. It is available for applicants who have a terminal illness with a prognosis of a life span of less than 12 months, those who suffer from specific symptoms associated with certain serious medical conditions, or those who have symptoms associated with a serious medical circumstance, where conventional treatments have failed to relieve symptoms (Health Canada, “Medical Marijuana”).

Due to previous stigmatizations associated with marijuana use, as well as its previous legal implications, public favor was not in support for the recent Bill C-17; a Bill for cannabis law reform in Canada, which was passed on November 1, 2004. The legislation allows a person to have up to 30 grams of marijuana in their possession, within limitations, while only receiving a fine (Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, “Cannabis Law Reform in Canada”). This Act is the closest the Canadian government has ever before come toward legalizing marijuana. It is becoming increasingly apparent that through Bill C-17, there will be potentially beneficial monetary implications for the federal government, false social perceptions will lessen, and medical benefits of cannabis use will become further appreciated. In the future, marijuana use will not be perceived as the social ‘evil’ it once was, or still is. In light of the following information, it will become clear that it is not necessary to prohibit marijuana use, but rather to regulate it.

To drug policy reformers, prohibition of marijuana is not just a cause to be supported, but a mandatory way of life, necessary to uphold society’s moral fiber. These activists do not consider marijuana to be safe. Even when scientific information supports the lack of harmful effects of cannabis on the body; many still categorize it with dangerous substances such as cocaine or heroin. It is these ‘marijuana myths’ that continue to influence the opinions of so many Canadian citizens, even though there is a lack of fact-driven information to support common social stigma.

A widespread belief amongst the public is that marijuana is a ‘gateway drug’, leading to the use of more harmful substances. Never has there been a consistent relationship between the use patterns of various drugs. While marijuana use has fluctuated over the years, harder, more addictive drug use, such as LSD, remains the same. In fact, in 1999 less than 16% of high school students who smoked marijuana report trying cocaine (qtd. in Zimmer, 2). Another frequent misconception is that high levels of marijuana use can be profoundly addicting. While lab rats that are injected with THC and then given a cannabinoid receptor-blocker do experience some withdrawal symptoms, such as disturbed sleep and loss of appetite, humans are never given ‘blockers’. THC slowly leaves the human system, causing no serious withdrawal (Zimmer et al. 47). A study such as this is not relevant to physical addiction in humans.

Lastly, many people still believe that the damaging effects of smoking marijuana are greater then that of smoking tobacco products. Although, except for their psychoactive ingredients, tobacco and marijuana smoke are nearly identical, tobacco use is far more dangerous than the latter. Mainly because of nicotine (cigarettes’ addictive quality), cigarette smokers tend to smoke 10 cigarettes a day, while regular cannabis smokers smoke fewer than 5 (Zimmer et al. 62). Marijuana smoke also effects the lungs in a different way than tobacco smoke does. “The nature of the marijuana-induced changes were also different, occurring primarily in the lungs’ large airways – not the small peripheral airways affected by tobacco smoke. Since it is small-airway inflammation that causes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, marijuana smokers may not develop these diseases” (Zimmer et al. 64).

These are just a few basic examples of the social stigmatization surrounding marijuana use, as there are many others. When closer examined, none of these ‘myths’ provide a solid foundation for the prohibition of marijuana use; therefore its ban remains unfounded.

Saint Augustine Lawn Seeding – Reasons and Solutions

Saint Augustine grass is an unusual and different lawn type in many different ways to other lawn grasses. Not only in its unique wide leaf blades and its thick stolons (above ground runners), but also unusual in its appearance when the grass is going to seed.

In fact, many people who are unfamiliar with Saint Augustine grass seeding habits can believe there is something wrong with their lawn, or that some type of unusual weed has taken over their lawn. When the truth is their lawn is simply undergoing a natural seeding cycle. The reason for this often mistaken diagnosis of the turf is because of the unusual appearance of these seed heads, which do not look like what regular lawn seeding is expected to look like.

Saint Augustine grass in seed will have an abundance of thick stalks all over the lawn surface, which raise just a little higher above the leaf tips of the grass. On closer inspection of these rather tough and thick stalks will often be what appears to be a slightly pointy tip. And finally on even closer inspection we can then clearly see all the little seeds that are covering the seed head of these stalks in the lawn.

While slightly uncomfortable underfoot for the period of time the Saint Augustine lawn is seeding, these seed stalks are still very flimsy and fragile and pose no risk of any harm to people or pets at all. They simply crumble underfoot, as if they were just thick blades of grass.

Reasons For Saint Augustine Lawn Seeding

Most Saint Augustine lawns will go to seed at least once, and sometimes twice a year. This seeding will last for about two weeks on average, sometimes shorter and sometimes longer in duration. And despite the fact that Saint Augustine grass seed in notoriously bad at propagating a new lawn, the lawn is still a plant and like all lawn plants this lawn type will seed itself as a natural part of its life cycle.

Oftentimes lawn stress can cause greater seeding levels, or can cause the St Augustine lawn to seed at times when it normally would not. Most lawns and plants will quickly put out seed if it senses it is in danger of dying off, and the seeding is the lawn’s way of ensuring its future survival. That if the stress should last and the lawn should die, then the seed it is producing with the last of its energy could then regrow the lawn once conditions improve in the future.

Reducing Seeding In St Augustine Lawns

As already stated, seeding is a natural part of the life cycle of lawns, so we really don’t want to worry too much when it happens. Though in times when we can clearly see that the entire health of the lawn is also looking that it is under stress or in otherwise poor health, then it may well be that the poor health of the lawn may be causing the seeding.

In these cases, where the St Augustine lawn is seeding, and the lawn is also in poor health, then this is the lawn telling us that there are bigger underlying problems with the lawn that need to be fixed before the lawn deteriorates even further.

Our job then is to track down whatever is causing this poor lawn health and to rectify the problem quickly. In most occurrences this is usually a lack of water being available to the lawn. Other causes can also be factors such as a lack of nutrients in the soil, keeping the lawn cut too short, a deficiency of one major or minor nutrient etc.

On discovering and rectifying whatever may be the cause of the lawn being in poor health while at the same time also seeding, this repair should bring the St Augustine grass seeding under control in short time. Just remember though, seeding in Saint Augustine lawns is normal, and just because we are seeing seeding, does not also mean there is anything wrong with the lawn, which is only ever a signifier if the two symptoms show at the same time.

Why Alternative Strategies Must Be Preferred Over Drug Law Enforcement in Canada

An Audit of Drug Strategy review unravelled that Canada ends up spending $454 million on an annual basis on controlling illicit drugs out of which $426 million was allocated to law enforcement activities alone. What is more worrisome, is that the risk reduction from illegal drug use to community health is not significant enough. From a policy perspective, the costs incurred seem to have been insufficiently evaluated. Canada is in need of result oriented outcomes from implementation of nationwide programs that concentrate beyond the Drug Prohibition domain.

The Need to Look Beyond Traditional Drug Policies

That was the precise focus of a research study from the first quarter of 2012 [1], which aimed to create result oriented outcomes in the Health Policy and Public Health domain. Owing to the inappropriate resource allocation towards National Health priorities, channelized largely towards Drug Law implementation and follow up, insights from the research unravel that ‘evidence-based drug treatment programs’, ‘harm reduction strategies’ and ‘opioid substitution therapy’ could prove much more effective in terms of costs as well as outcomes.

Researchers argue that the illegal market, rampant criminal violence and unintended consequences that emerge as an unavoidable effect of traditional Drug Law enforcement are extremely hard to control, and even harder to curtail. Despite this, several drug prevention programs directed towards school children and youth have received Federal Funding towards an ineffective or negative aggregate result in Canada.

More Effective Models Towards Health Improvement

Proponents of Evidence based programs aimed at drug treatment argue that a larger scale implementation effort would definitely yield appreciable benefits in terms at the micro and macro levels in the Canadian population. Medical and non-medical withdrawal programs, addiction management programs, mental health therapies, opioid substitution therapy as well as primary and residential care programs that are re-evaluated and re-launched with a renewed strategy could definitely reap positive results.

In addition, harm reduction strategies including needle exchange and methadone maintenance therapy are excellent candidates as alternative Policy strategies to traditional Drug Laws, in light of the fact that they have seldom been associated with unintended consequences.

Further, owing to global insights about the ineffectiveness of staunch criminalization measures against drugs users, Canadian Health Policy makers would achieve higher success rates in terms of costs and effectiveness by considering addiction as a Public Health issue, rather than just a criminal offence, thereby modifying legislation targeted towards non-violent drug offenders.

Lastly, a regulated drug market in Canada is identified as the need of the day, with regulated legalization of selected drugs. In light of comparative disadvantages from harmful substances (Cannabis is considered less harmful than Alcohol and Tobacco for example), legalization of only certain drugs in selected setting would curtail overall drug use and widespread unintended consequences.

Looking Forward

The period between 2005 and 2007 was noteworthy in terms of Drug related Policy Making for Canadian Policy Makers. While 2005 opened new avenues to culminate scientific evidence towards achieving higher success rates in Health Policy implementation through Canada’s National Drug Strategy, a new anti-drug strategy in 2007 deviated focus completely.

Ever since, evidence based harm reduction programs have not received the required support from Federal offices. Researchers strongly feel the need for putting evidence based policy making in practice in the present day. Canada faces a huge crisis in controlling the cascading effects of illegal drug use, abuse and violence, and unless programs are directed with clear objectives, scientific evidence based approaches and resultant resource allocation priorities, Public Health restoration would become a costly affair in future.

References

[1] “Improving community health and safety in Canada through evidence-based policies on illegal drugs.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. Open Medicine, n.d.

Medical Marijuana – The Debate Rages On

Marijuana is also known as pot, grass and weed but its formal name is actually cannabis. It comes from the leaves and flowers of the plant Cannabis sativa. It is considered an illegal substance in the US and many countries and possession of marijuana is a crime punishable by law. The FDA classifies marijuana as Schedule I, substances which have a very high potential for abuse and have no proven medical use. Over the years several studies claim that some substances found in marijuana have medicinal use, especially in terminal diseases such as cancer and AIDS. This started a fierce debate over the pros and cons of the use of medical marijuana. To settle this debate, the Institute of Medicine published the famous 1999 IOM report entitled Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. The report was comprehensive but did not give a clear cut yes or no answer. The opposite camps of the medical marijuana issue often cite part of the report in their advocacy arguments. However, although the report clarified many things, it never settled the controversy once and for all.

Let’s look at the issues that support why medical marijuana should be legalized.

(1) Marijuana is a naturally occurring herb and has been used from South America to Asia as an herbal medicine for millennia. In this day and age when the all natural and organic are important health buzzwords, a naturally occurring herb like marijuana might be more appealing to and safer for consumers than synthetic drugs.

(2) Marijuana has strong therapeutic potential. Several studies, as summarized in the IOM report, have observed that cannabis can be used as analgesic, e.g. to treat pain. A few studies showed that THC, a marijuana component is effective in treating chronic pain experienced by cancer patients. However, studies on acute pain such as those experienced during surgery and trauma have inconclusive reports. A few studies, also summarized in the IOM report, have demonstrated that some marijuana components have antiemetic properties and are, therefore, effective against nausea and vomiting, which are common side effects of cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Some researchers are convinced that cannabis has some therapeutic potential against neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Specific compounds extracted from marijuana have strong therapeutic potential. Cannobidiol (CBD), a major component of marijuana, has been shown to have antipsychotic, anticancer and antioxidant properties. Other cannabinoids have been shown to prevent high intraocular pressure (IOP), a major risk factor for glaucoma. Drugs that contain active ingredients present in marijuana but have been synthetically produced in the laboratory have been approved by the US FDA. One example is Marinol, an antiemetic agent indicated for nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. Its active ingredient is dronabinol, a synthetic delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

(3) One of the major proponents of medical marijuana is the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a US-based organization. Many medical professional societies and organizations have expressed their support. As an example, The American College of Physicians, recommended a re-evaluation of the Schedule I classification of marijuana in their 2008 position paper. ACP also expresses its strong support for research into the therapeutic role of marijuana as well as exemption from federal criminal prosecution; civil liability; or professional sanctioning for physicians who prescribe or dispense medical marijuana in accordance with state law. Similarly, protection from criminal or civil penalties for patients who use medical marijuana as permitted under state laws.

(4) Medical marijuana is legally used in many developed countries The argument of if they can do it, why not us? is another strong point. Some countries, including Canada, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain, Israel, and Finland have legalized the therapeutic use of marijuana under strict prescription control. Some states in the US are also allowing exemptions.

Now here are the arguments against medical marijuana.

(1) Lack of data on safety and efficacy. Drug regulation is based on safety first. The safety of marijuana and its components still has to first be established. Efficacy only comes second. Even if marijuana has some beneficial health effects, the benefits should outweigh the risks for it to be considered for medical use. Unless marijuana is proven to be better (safer and more effective) than drugs currently available in the market, its approval for medical use may be a long shot. According to the testimony of Robert J. Meyer of the Department of Health and Human Services having access to a drug or medical treatment, without knowing how to use it or even if it is effective, does not benefit anyone. Simply having access, without having safety, efficacy, and adequate use information does not help patients.

(2) Unknown chemical components. Medical marijuana can only be easily accessible and affordable in herbal form. Like other herbs, marijuana falls under the category of botanical products. Unpurified botanical products, however, face many problems including lot-to-lot consistency, dosage determination, potency, shelf-life, and toxicity. According to the IOM report if there is any future of marijuana as a medicine, it lies in its isolated components, the cannabinoids and their synthetic derivatives. To fully characterize the different components of marijuana would cost so much time and money that the costs of the medications that will come out of it would be too high. Currently, no pharmaceutical company seems interested in investing money to isolate more therapeutic components from marijuana beyond what is already available in the market.

(3) Potential for abuse. Marijuana or cannabis is addictive. It may not be as addictive as hard drugs such as cocaine; nevertheless it cannot be denied that there is a potential for substance abuse associated with marijuana. This has been demonstrated by a few studies as summarized in the IOM report.

(4) Lack of a safe delivery system. The most common form of delivery of marijuana is through smoking. Considering the current trends in anti-smoking legislations, this form of delivery will never be approved by health authorities. Reliable and safe delivery systems in the form of vaporizers, nebulizers, or inhalers are still at the testing stage.

(5) Symptom alleviation, not cure. Even if marijuana has therapeutic effects, it is only addressing the symptoms of certain diseases. It does not treat or cure these illnesses. Given that it is effective against these symptoms, there are already medications available which work just as well or even better, without the side effects and risk of abuse associated with marijuana.

The 1999 IOM report could not settle the debate about medical marijuana with scientific evidence available at that time. The report definitely discouraged the use of smoked marijuana but gave a nod towards marijuana use through a medical inhaler or vaporizer. In addition, the report also recommended the compassionate use of marijuana under strict medical supervision. Furthermore, it urged more funding in the research of the safety and efficacy of cannabinoids.

So what stands in the way of clarifying the questions brought up by the IOM report? The health authorities do not seem to be interested in having another review. There is limited data available and whatever is available is biased towards safety issues on the adverse effects of smoked marijuana. Data available on efficacy mainly come from studies on synthetic cannabinoids (e.g. THC). This disparity in data makes an objective risk-benefit assessment difficult.

Clinical studies on marijuana are few and difficult to conduct due to limited funding and strict regulations. Because of the complicated legalities involved, very few pharmaceutical companies are investing in cannabinoid research. In many cases, it is not clear how to define medical marijuana as advocated and opposed by many groups. Does it only refer to the use of the botanical product marijuana or does it include synthetic cannabinoid components (e.g. THC and derivatives) as well? Synthetic cannabinoids (e.g. Marinol) available in the market are extremely expensive, pushing people towards the more affordable cannabinoid in the form of marijuana. Of course, the issue is further clouded by conspiracy theories involving the pharmaceutical industry and drug regulators.

In conclusion, the future of medical marijuana and the settlement of the debate would depend on more comprehensive and comparable scientific research. An update of the IOM report anytime soon is well-needed.

The Legalization of Marijuana – Part 2 of 2

A very influential factor regarding the legalization of marijuana, is the cost implications of maintaining cannabis prohibition to the federal and provincial governments, and in turn the average Canadian taxpayer. According to the Auditor General of Canada, it is projected that approximately $450 million was spent on drug control, enforcement, and education in the year 2000.

Since ¾ of drug offences are marijuana related, the majority of the $450 million spent across Canada was due to cannabis prohibition laws. This expenditure also does not include funding for marijuana related court hearings, or incarcerations, as over 300 000 people are arrested for simple marijuana possession every year (Cohen et al. 2). Another issue to consider is that the amount of cannabis users continues to rise across Canada, up from 6.5% in 1989, to 12.2% in 2000 (Nabalamba, 1).

This will only increase the amount of funding the federal government is forced to contribute to drug control and enforcement, further charging the taxpayer. A more cost efficient way to regulate marijuana is to set an age limit through provincial regulation, permitting for adult use of a substance less harmful than both alcohol and tobacco. Otherwise, it is left in the hands of organized crime, with the government continuing to spend millions on its prohibition, and not profiting from its continuous increase in use. In this situation, the regulation of marijuana should not only be allowed, but would financially benefit the country.

Even after thousands of years of people using marijuana to treat a variety of medical conditions, many still believe marijuana is a drug without therapeutic value. Patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy, or AIDS related AZT therapy, found smoking marijuana to be an effective way to curb nausea (Health Canada, “Medical Marijuana”). Often it is more effective than available prescribed medications. “44% of oncologists responding to a questionnaire said they had recommended marijuana to their cancer patients; others said they would recommend it if it were legal” (Zimmer et al. 87). Other uses include control for muscle spasms associated with spinal cord injury/disease, and multiple sclerosis and pain/ weight loss associated with cancer, HIV, and arthritis patients.

Cannabis also lessens the frequency of seizures in epilepsy, and controls eye pressure in glaucoma patients (National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Drug Policy Information Sheet”). Although medical marijuana has been approved for use under certain circumstances, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to obtain cannabis for treatment purposes in Ontario. This is because the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario issued a warning in October 2002, cautioning that the “clinical efficacy of the drug has not been entirely established” and to “proceed with caution” when prescribing cannabis (The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, “Prescribing Medical Marijuana”). Due to this, a physician cannot make a proper declaration of the risks and benefits; therefore, they can not fully inform the patient of the drugs possible effects.

Fortunately, since the legalization of marijuana for medical use occurred almost 5 years ago, one could assume a proper risk assessment of the drug will soon be completed through Health Canada. Through marijuana’s apparent medical usages, it becomes clear that it should be regulated across the country.

The implication of marijuana’s prohibition is financially devastating to the federal government. As false social perceptions are the only grounds for this ban to be upheld, and the medical sciences continue to find new usages for cannabis as therapeutic treatment, it remains unfounded to continue its outlaw. Through government enforced regulation, it becomes obvious that the benefits of marijuana legalization outweigh the disadvantages.

Legal Cannabis for Treatment

For decades, controversy and debate has been going about the legality of cannabis. In general, it is illegal to use, consume, possess, cultivate, trade or transfer cannabis in many countries. Since the widespread of its prohibition in the middle of the 20th century, many countries have not re-legalized it for personal consumption, even though over then countries tolerate its use and cultivation in restricted quantities. Cannabis is legal in countries such as Canada, Belgium, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Israel and 16 states in the United States of America.

The restrictions and regulations of the sale of Cannabis sativa as medication started as early as the year 1860. Increased restrictions and labeling it as a poison began in a lot of US states from the year 1906 onward and prohibitions started in the 20s. During the mid 30s, Cannabis was regulated as a drug in each state, which includes 35 states adopting the Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act. These days, researches and patient testimonies have alerted many people to the benefits that legal cannabis can provide to people suffering from various illnesses when their usual medications do not seem to work for them anymore. These patients have their doctor’s recommendations that cannabis is good for treating their ailments. The clinical evidences strongly suggest that medical cannabis can provide relief to many symptoms.

In states where cannabis is legal, a patient needs a cannabis card that he or she can use to buy or even cultivate his or her own hemp solely for medical purposes. Many of these states require patients who want to use marijuana to register first. Before you can get a cannabis card, you have to go to your doctor for recommendation. You need to provide proof that you have a condition that can be treated by using marijuana. A $150 fee is required for your card. The office will issue a recommendation certificate and in most cases a plastic ID card which is valid for one year.

Remember that it is not necessary to have the state ID card but comes in handy only in case you are stopped by law enforcers and have to prove that you are a qualified patient. Nevertheless, many clinics that issue recommendations have a 24-hour automated verification lines that law enforcers can call anytime. A cannabis card may offer you a sense of hope to fight your medical symptoms in the event that the drugs you use before no longer seems to work for you.

Arizona’s Legalization Of Medical Marijuana With Prop 203

Medical Marijuana was passed in November 2010 Arizona with Prop 203, becoming the 15th US State to recognize its medicinal qualities for various debilitating medical conditions. The Arizona Department of Health Services is now assembling the Rules and Regulations for its dispensing and usage.

Marijuana was legal until 1937 in the US. It was commonly prescribed medicinally. The Marijuana Tax Act was brought before Congress in 1937, which was passed and placed a tax on the sale of cannabis. This tax equaled roughly one dollar on anyone who commercially dealt marijuana. The ACT did not criminalize the possession or usage of marijuana however. The American Medical Association opposed the bill, arguing that cannabis was not dangerous and that its medicinal use would be severely curtailed by prohibition. Within 4 years, medical marijuana was withdrawn from the US pharmaceutical market because of the law’s requirements.

In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act was passed, making Marijuana a Schedule 1 Narcotic. A Schedule 1 Narcotic is supposedly one that has a high potential for abuse, no medical use, and not safe to use under medical supervision. As you will read soon in this E-Book, a lot of states disagree, and Arizona is the latest to realize marijuana’s benefits medicinally.

In 1996 California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. The California Compassionate Use Act, known as Proposition 215, allowed patients freedom from prosecution with a physician’s recommendation. The federal government went after the initiative and threatened to arrest physicians for recommending it, but a federal court decision protected physicians under the First Amendment.

Despite persistence of federal oppositions, numerous states have passed their own medical marijuana laws, with the latest being Arizona. Canada has also changed their laws with regards to medical marijuana as well. In 2005, the Supreme Court upheld the federal ban on marijuana but did not question the validity of the state laws. Therefore, patients are protected from state prosecution in the states with legal medical marijuana, but not federal. Both the DEA and Justice Department have said they don’t want to go after patients, only large traffickers.

There were not many regulations put into place in California upon passing medicinal marijuana. Colorado subsequently passed it in 2000. Due to federal regulations neither state had widespread abuse of medical marijuana with the prospect of federal prosecution looming.

That all changed in 2009. President Obama announced his administration would no longer use federal resources to go after dispensaries and patients as long as they complied with state laws. Dispensaries began to multiply like rabbits, and within a few months patients were signing up in Colorado at a rate of 1000 per day. In Los Angeles alone, medical marijuana dispensaries outnumber McDonald’s and Starbucks by 2 to 1.

Arizona became the 15th state to legalize medical marijuana with Prop 203 passing in November of 2010. It was an extremely close vote that took over 11 days after the actual election to finalize the count. 1.7 million people voted and initially the vote was 7000 votes against it, but when it was final it won by slightly over 4000 votes.

Voters have passed medical marijuana in Arizona twice in the past but because of wording and conflicting federal laws nothing actually went into effect. Marijuana remains completely illegal under federal law. It is a Schedule 1 Drug under the US Controlled Substances Act, which means it is regarded as having high abuse potential and no medical use. Its possession, sale, manufacture, transportation and distribution for any purpose are against federal law.

However, more and more states continue to recognized its medicinal purposes. Fifteen states now have laws permitting medical use of marijuana. These laws exempt patients from criminal charges for personal possession and/or cultivation of small amounts with a doctor’s recommendation. What this means is since the overwhelming majority of smaller scale drug offenses are prosecuted by state law, patients are generally safe in these states from arrest (as long as local law is followed).

A 2002 Time magazine poll showed an amazing 80% of Americans supported legalizing medical marijuana. As you will read in this E-Book, medical marijuana is beneficial to patients suffering from many debilitating medical conditions such as Glaucoma, MS, ALS, Cancer, HIV/AIDS, Severe Muscle Spasms, and Chronic Pain.

Is Legal Marijuana Bigger Than The Internet of Things?

The greatest innovation in history –

Nothing on Earth today (and I mean nothing at all), not smartphones, automotives, aerospace, real estate, gold, oil, software, biotechnology, nothing… is growing as much or as fast as the market for legal marijuana.

Consider this: By 2020, the market for legal marijuana will top $22.8 billion (not million, but billion with a B).The legal market for cannabis “could be bigger than the National Football League, which saw $12 billion of revenue in 2015. Between 2016 and 2029, the projected growth of marijuana is expected to reach $100 billion – 1,308% growth.

Estimates place the number of some time marijuana users in the neighborhood of 50 million people. As many as 7.6 million indulge on a daily basis. Out of the 83.3 million milllennials, fully 68%of them want cannabis to be legal and available. Once legalization takes hold everywhere, dozens of already established firms – in the tobacco industry… in agriculture and irrigation… in pharmacueticals – are going to want to jump in without hesitation. And if you want more proof that marijuana is going mainstream, consider this…

On Nov 8th, tens of millions of Americans in nine states headed to the polls and voted on the future of marijuana. California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. And voters in Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota and Montana passed ballot initiatives legalizing medical marijuana. Only Arizona, where recreational cannabis was up for a vote, decided against legalization. Together, these states (excluding Arizona) represent a total population of 75 million people. That means one in five Americans – 20% of us – woke up on Aug 9th finding themselves in a state where medical and/or recreational marijuana is legal for adults 21 and over.

Even Hollywood celebrities are getting into the act. Many folks already know about the weed-related business activities of Snoop Dog, country music legend Willie Nelson and actor and comedian Tommy Chong. Fewer know that Grammy Award winning singer Melissa Etheridge is developing her own line of cannabis-infused wine and TV talk show host Whoopi Goldberg is launching a line of medical marijuana products aimed at women. And people listen to Hollywood icons. Nothing is more mainstream than the TV sitcom.

On July 13th in 2016, Variety revealed that Netflix is planning to air a sitcom set inside a legal pot dispensary. Called DisJointed, the show is the brainchild of TV genius Chuck Lorre, creator of such mainstream blockbusters as The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men. A recent poll by Quinnipiac University found that 89 percent of voters in the United States believe that adults should be allowed legal access to medical marijuana when a doctor prescribes it. And the U.S.A. is not the only country poised to loosen the reins on marijuana. Israel, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Australia, Uruguay, Jamaica, Germany and Columbia have either legalized or decriminalized possession.

Since 1972, marijuana has been classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Schedule 1 drugs are those considered to lack medical use and present a high potential for abuse. As a Schedule 1 drug, marijuana gets grouped alongside heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. But in the face of mounting pressure from the doctors, medical researchers, state governments and Congress, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) have come under pressure to downgrade marijuana to a Schedule II drug, or maybe even a Schedule III.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2030 one fifth of the population – 72 million Americans – will be 65 or older. Those Baby Boomers will all confront a slew of age-related ailments, such as glaucoma, cancer, arthritis and back pain. As it happens, cannabis-based remedies are uniquely suited to treating those diseases. So, as the elderly population grows, so will the size of the medical marijuana market. Social acceptance of cannabis will grow as well, as millions of people discover the benefits of medical marijuana for themselves.

A single marijuana dispensary could bring in more than $676 million a year. Not all of that cash comes from weed itself. Most folks have already heard about things like “pot brownies.” But the market for marijuana “edibles” goes for beyond that. There are weed desserts and weed energy drinks. In fact, we’re even about to see the opening of the world’s first weed distillery.

For people averse to inhaling smoke, there are sites that offer THC-laden capsules, lip balms, hash bath oils, topical compound, and even THC patches that provide “accurate dosing… a quick onset and unsurpassed duration.” Thirsty users can enjoy THC-infused coffees, sodas, and sparkling waters. Aside from the market boom in recreational cannabis, medicinal marijuana and derivatives have also been seeing brisk growth, and for good reason.

Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation usually lose their appetite and have sensitive stomachs. But if they don’t eat, the treatments aren’t as effective. Cannabis has been proven to help stimulate the appetite and settle the stomach. There is also new work being done with cannabis oil that shows promise treating epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, some cancers, and even rheumatoid arthritis. The oil is also effective for insomnia.

For most of the 20th century, doctors knew little about the working of out most important organ, the human brain. Brain cells dictate almost one of our sensations, thoughts, and actions sending signals that trigger appetite and hunger. Marijuana seems to bridge the gap. The voters in state after start are quickly coming to an agreement that cannabis is in fact medicine. Momentum is only going in one direction.

Can Drug Users Get Life Insurance?

Drug use in Canada is prevalent to non-existing depending on what you define as a “drug.” Eleven per cent of the Canadian population “has a problem with drugs or alcohol” according to a CBC survey, but this does not include people who use drugs recreationally without “a problem.” That number, especially when you include alcohol and cannabis, is much, much higher, and if you include only people with classically-defined addictions to the illicic drugs, such as crack cocaine and heroin, the number is much, much lower.

In general, the way insurance companies approach drug issues is based on two major questions: is the potential client using prescription drugs provided through the proper channels, or are they using drugs outside those channels, and there is therefore potentially vulnerable to certain liabilities.

For the former, these questions are often discovered in the background checks and medical questions provided by insurance companies prior to developing or offering a policy. Naturally, some drugs have effects on a person’s life expectancy and prospective quality of life, and others come with certain health risks, even when provided by a healthcare practitioner. In these, instances, an insurance company will take into account the medical issues being treated by the drugs and the effects of the drugs themselves in developing a policy, but a policy can usually be provided by most major health insurance providers.

For those who use illicic drugs, the options are generally more difficult. Usually, insurance companies are hesitant to provide policies, many are even wary of providing low-cost options for people who smoke cigarettes.

Luckily, there are some options still available for drug users, especially those who use illicit drugs. Remember, many policies will not cover complications that occur because of illicit drug use, and not disclosing such information when asked to institute insurance fraud, which can be a severe crime that includes heavy fines and possible jail time.

In general, illicit users have only one option when it comes to life insurance opportunities: simplified life insurance policies that do not require medical questionnaires. This is changing as more and more insurance providers offer products specifically designed for the “hard-to-insure” market. Simplified insurance plans often require only simple medical questions that do not include questions about drug use.

No medical life insurance policies vary widely from carrier to carrier, so it is beneficial to research these plans before contacting them to compare potential rates and coverage. You can also ask your insurance broker to make an informal preliminary inquiry before you submit a formal application. Informal preliminary inquiries are non-binding and can give you an idea of ​​whether your application would be approved as standard, declined or rated. Bear in mind that insurance providers may offer plans with coverage on day one or with a two year waiting period depending on your situation.

If you have used or are using illic drugs and require life insurance, it is important to discuss your options with an insurance broker who has your best interests in mind. With the right team behind you, the right policy can be found.

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