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Bernie Sanders Says He Would Legalize Marijuana during Debate

Bernie Sanders Says He Would Legalize Pot during Debate

Author: Shernide Delva

If you watched the Democratic presidential debate, you saw five candidates tackle issues ranging from abortion, gun laws, climate control, and finally putting an end to the Hilary Clinton email debacle. Interestingly enough, recreational marijuana made its way into the discussion and Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton went head to head as they were the only two candidates who got an opportunity to weigh in on the subject.

Bernie Sanders’ Vote on Legalizing Marijuana

On Oct. 13, Bernie Sanders became the first presidential candidate from a major political party to say he would support the legalization of recreational marijuana if given the chance.

Bernie Sanders was asked hypothetically if he would vote to legalize marijuana if he were a citizen of Nevada. The question was prompted by Nevada’s upcoming ballot measure on legalizing recreational marijuana.

Berners replied, “I suspect I would vote yes.”

His answer resulted in a brief applause break before he continued on:

“And I would vote yes because I am seeing in this country, too many lives being destroyed for non-violent offenses. We have a criminal justice system that lets CEOs on Wall Street walk away, and yet we are imprisoning or giving jail sentences to young people who are smoking marijuana.

I think we have to think through this war on drugs, which has done an enormous amount of damage. We need to rethink our criminal justice system, and we have a lot of work to do on that.”

Hillary Clinton on Legalizing Marijuana

When the question was passed to Hillary Clinton, she gave a far less concise answer.

When asked if she would support recreational marijuana, Clinton said, “No.

She continued –

“I think that we have the opportunity through the states that are pursuing recreational marijuana to find out a lot more than we know today.

I do support the use of medical marijuana and I think even there, we need to do a lot more research so that we know exactly how we’re going to help people for whom medical marijuana provides relief.”

To sum it up,  Bernie Sanders supports marijuana because he feels that drugs are over criminalized and Hilary Clinton isn’t quite sure how she feels about marijuana being used recreationally but she is open to the idea of medical marijuana with more research to prove efficacy.

The tone of the responses shows how far the effort to legalize marijuana has come. Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, said in an article how Sander’s comment was a major shift in direction for the way we view politics. He explained

“As a point of reference, in 2008 no major candidate even supported decriminalization when asked in a debate. […] Legalization is at the forefront of mainstream American politics, and politicians are starting to treat it as such.”

Many believe that Sanders won against Clinton on this portion of the debate on marijuana reform.  The audience responded favorably to his opinion on marijuana legalization. However, this is not the first time Sanders has come out stating his opinion on the matter of decriminalizing marijuana. During a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” interview earlier this year, Bernie Sanders stated he was open to the use of medical marijuana and would look to Colorado to see how recreational marijuana legalization would play out over the course of a few years. Either way, only time will show how marijuana reform will play into the election within the next few months.

Although marijuana is becoming legal both recreationally and medically, it is important to remember that everyone handles drugs differently and if you feel you are falling into an addictive cycle, it does not matter if the drug is legal or not. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or alcoholism, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588

California Approves New Medical Marijuana Act


Author: Shernide Delva

Nearly 20 years after California became the first nation to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that would provide clear regulations on the multibillion-dollar industry. Now, California will move away from their unclear gray marijuana marketplace to a more state-law-regulated medical marijuana regime.

In the past, California had really loose regulations on medical marijuana use and production. Furthermore, these new bills mean California will be getting the “robust regulations” the federal government requires from the states.

The bills collectively known as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) were passed by the legislature in late September. Lawmakers considered the action crucial since measures to legalize the recreational use of marijuana will likely be on the 2016 ballot.

The legislature’s biggest concerns were:

  • The Impact of Marijuana Businesses on Communities: Establishing clear regulations and tracking methods.
  • Edibles: How to sell, market, and distribute the infused products.
  • Youth Access to Cannabis: How to properly regulate marijuana to prevent easy access.

Just a few weeks ago, I talked about how the lack of regulation of the marijuana industry in California was contributing to California’s water crisis. Many marijuana farms were using astronomical amounts of water due to lack of clear regulations and policies. As the marijuana business continues to boom and shift in different directions, it results in an increased necessity to establish clear regulation and tracking methods.

The lack of regulations has been an issue since the beginning and was frustrating to growers, dispensary operators, law enforcement and patent group since the Proposition 215 was enacted in 1996.  The regulations will send a “clear and certain signal to our federal counterparts that California is implementing robust controls not only on paper, but in practice,” Gov. Brown stated.

There are three bills that are part of the MMRSA:

  1. AB266: Will establish the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. It will establish licensing regulations on pot growers, makers and retailers. The bill will allow for-profit businesses to obtain operational medical marijuana licenses from the state. It will set forth guidelines when it comes to deliveries and implement business inspection guidelines among other regulations.
  2. SB643: Deals with handling felony convictions, security measures, record keeping, tracing and safe product handling. This bill will clamp down on clinics who irresponsibly issue medical marijuana to people who lack valid health needs. Too many people are getting access to medical marijuana licenses without actual health issues. It will also create licensing and other regulations that monitor the industry.
  3. AB243: Will establish guidelines and regulation for medical pot growers but on an environmental level. So, the “marijuana caused California’s drought” articles and criticism will finally be addressed among other environmental issues. This bill will give authority to nine regional water quality boards in the state to regulate the discharge of water, chemicals and sediment into the environment.

The regulations will create a much needed framework for governing virtually every aspect of the medical marijuana business in California from licensing to quality control, shipping, packaging, and pesticide standards.

The Price to Pay

Many are concerned that these new policies will increase the cost of doing business and therefore increase the price of marijuana. However, Jim Wood, assembly member and author of bill AB243, states that the regulations are crucial if the marijuana industry wants to be a part of the legitimate marketplace.

“There’s a price to pay, and part of that is the regulatory structure that goes along with that,” he explained.

Despite these regulations, many aspects of the marijuana industry remain unclear. California rule making authorities still need to fill in the blanks left by these three bills.

There are a few areas that need further clarification which include:

  • How exactly edibles and infused products will be regulated
  • Fees associated with licensing and renewals
  • Residency and investment regulations
  • Clear guidelines on how medical marijuana businesses will (or will not) conduct promotion of their products and services.

These issues and more will be address through state agency rule which won’t take place until at least January 2018. So although the policies were approved, the bills are not scheduled to go into effect until 2018. However, some may be phased in earlier.

These policies are a step in the right direction in clarifying regulations when it comes to the booming marijuana industry. Only time will tell the effect they will have on California’s marijuana industry and marijuana reform policies throughout the country. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-561-221-1125

Marijuana Legalization Could Help California’s Water Crisis

Marijuana Legalization Could Help California's Water Crisis

Author: Shernide Delva

California is in the middle of their worst drought in 1200 years. Recently, I wrote an article about how marijuana farms are draining the state of its water supply. The growing season for marijuana plants comes during California typically dry summer months. An article in The Rolling Stone pushed for regulating the drug stating their needs to be a crackdown on water usage.

As a side effect, Marijuana Reform is now being viewed as a possible solution for California water drought problem. The legalization of marijuana is now heavily promoted as a way to save California’s water crisis.

Marijuana plants require six gallons of water a day per plant to grow. Often, this large water supply is diverted from rivers, lakes, and streams or even stolen from farmers whose water use is already strictly regulated. The majority of marijuana is produced in an area known as the Emerald Triangle consisting of Humbold, Mendocino, and Trinity counties.

Unfortunately, much of the Emerald Triangle is currently classified as ecologically vulnerable. Writer S.E Smith argues in one article that the solution is to legalize pot so that large marijuana growers would go away from ecologically vulnerable areas.

The legalization of marijuana would result in environmental benefits, the article mentions.  Marijuana growers would be required to grow their crops next to other farms and thereby have to follow the same water regulations. It would allow regulators to monitor the growth of the plants and offer guidelines for reducing water usage such as establishing a rainwater collection for the summer months.

The full legalization of marijuana in California is seen as inevitable for many corporations. In efforts to prepare, The North Coast Regional Water Control Board is in the process of setting up permits associated with marijuana cultivation. Other pilots programs across the states have implemented new guidelines to cultivate marijuana in an environmentally conscious manner.

What this means for Marijuana Reform:

So what does this all mean? Essentially the drought in California is making the fight for legalization easier. In addition to all the health benefits and revenue that marijuana has the potential to bring; the environment is another reason for reform.

California has one of the largest running medical marijuana programs, but in the past, recreational marijuana has been voted down.  Since the drought has gotten to be so horrible, most people will lean towards supporting any legislation that will improve the water shortage. California’s significant loss in agricultural yield, income and employment will likely influence the decision to legalize recreational marijuana.

Furthermore, the higher tax revenues generated from marijuana will result in other states to want to cash in on marijuana as well.  Legalization in California is predicted to generate a rippling effect influencing legislation in states nationwide. As more states legalize marijuana, there will be less of a need to grow only in one area and farms will spread in other areas of the country.

Until recently, farmers sought out hidden nooks and crannies of the state to cultivate their crops. They were not conscientious about water usage or environmental regulations. Marijuana still remains largely in the shadows because its illegality makes it impossible to regulate. How do you regulate a crop that people can’t legally produce?

For now, as long as farmers offer documentation that they are growing plants on behalf of those with medical marijuana prescriptions, they can continue to grow. Unless marijuana legalization occurs, this will be an uncertain situation with minimal solutions.

Marijuana is an easily abused drug, and legalization poses other consequences. However,  medical marijuana regulations are not beneficial to the environment. The next step for California may be to protect the environment by legalizing the drug and enforcing proper regulations.

Marijuana is a mind-altering substance that can be abused just like any other drug. Research is suggesting there could be health implications from heavy use. Although marijuana reform is getting significant amounts of attention, it is important to recognize if your drug use is becoming an addiction.

Remember, legal or not, drugs can be abused and drug addiction can occur. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

High School Marijuana Use Has Decreased

High School Marijuana Use Has Decreased

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

There has been a plethora of questions surrounding marijuana in the past few years. Should marijuana be legal? If it is legal, should it be recreational use or medicinal? These are the questions being debated across the country. With several states legalizing the drug, marijuana is increasing in availability.

With all the focus on marijuana lately, one would assume that marijuana use would have skyrocketed in high school settings. Surprisingly, this is not the case.

Contrary what you might think, marijuana use in American high schools have actually gotten lower over the years.  Considering the movies that depict high school as still being full of pot smoking partying teenagers, this is not expected.

Despite the legalization of marijuana in several states, a new study reveals that high school marijuana use is significantly lower than it was 15 years ago. These numbers were surprising considering a move toward decriminalization of the drug and even recreational use in a handful of states like Colorado.

Maybe it’s one of those “If everyone starts doing it, it’s not as cool anymore” phenomenons.

Either way, Marijuana is still the most common used drug in high school. According to research done by John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, researchers say marijuana is more popular then the use of other illegal drugs.  Here are the results from the study:

  • Numbers: Research shows that 40 percent of teens in 2013 answered yes to if they have ever smoked marijuana. That number decreased from 47 percent in 1999.
  • The Gender Gap: In the past, boys tended to smoke marijuana more than girls. Findings show now that boys and girls are now using marijuana at a similar rate.
  • Race: In the past, whites and blacks used to use marijuana at similar rates. Findings show now that blacks report using the drug more often.

Compared to twenty years ago, marijuana policies have undergone significant changes.

Since 1996:

  • 34 states have passed laws removing criminal sanctions for medical use of marijuana.
  • Eleven states have passed laws decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana adding to the nine passed in the late 70s.
  • Four states now allow for the recreational use of marijuana for people over 21.

All this would lead anyone to assume the use of marijuana, especially in high schools, would keep going up and up.  Study leader Renee, M. Johnson, PhD, explains more:

“People have been very quick to say that marijuana use is going up and up and up in this country, particularly now that marijuana has become more normalized. What we are seeing is that since 1999 — three years after medical marijuana was first approved — the rates of marijuana use have actually fallen. But we will be watching those states where recreational marijuana use has been legalized to see if that leads to increased use among teens.”

Time will tell is the general consensus. The 80s and 90s were the era of “just say no” and federal crackdown on illicit drugs. Yet, those were the times where drugs were high in popularity. Use of other illegal drugs has also decreased such as hallucinogens and cocaine. Alcohol and cigarette use continues to decrease alongside them.

The study recommend programs get implemented that educate students about the specific harm of marijuana use—something that is rarely ever done. The focus for too long has been on tobacco and cigarette use, Johnson stated.

“We’ve done a really good job in public health of alcohol and tobacco use prevention,” she says. “We haven’t done the same with marijuana. We would do well to follow the lessons learned from those programs, which have been pretty successful.”

Over 115,000 high school students were surveyed for the results. We’ll have to see in a couple more years how marijuana reform affects rates of marijuana use.

Like any drug, marijuana has the potential to be abused. If you feel like you may be leading into an addictive path, find someone who can get you on the path to recovery.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

Marijuana Use May Lead to Prediabetes


Author: Shernide Delva

All across the country, marijuana reform continues to stir up controversy and make headlines. A few states have even legalized marijuana for recreational use. Other states remain focused on the medical benefits of the drug. Marijuana has gained significant attention for its medicinal benefits. Various studies show that marijuana can be beneficial for certain health conditions.

However, a new study reveals marijuana could increase the risk of developing prediabetes.  When a person develops prediabetes, their sugar levels become abnormally high yet not high enough to warrant a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

In the study, researchers discovered that people who used a large amount of marijuana in their young adulthood were 40 percent more likely to develop prediabetes as middle-aged adults compared to those who never tried the drugs.

These findings contradict past studies that showed marijuana reducing the risk of diabetes. Previous studies looking at marijuana use had found that users have lower rates of diabetes compared with nonusers. However, those studies only examined marijuana use during the time of the study.  Furthermore, it was unclear if the participants researched were using marijuana before they had diabetes, or afterward.

This is the first study to actually examine marijuana use over a period of years. Michael Bancks, lead author of the study, explained the reason for this new research.

“We felt we could address the potential limitations of previous research and add new information to our understanding of the relationship between marijuana use and subsequent metabolic health,” said Bancks.

It’s important to note that the study does not state that marijuana causes diabetes; it only says that it increases the risk of developing prediabetes. Marijuana was not linked to an increase risk of having type 2 diabetes.

The new study contradicts the recent evidence that marijuana may reduce the risk of diabetes. It’s unclear how marijuana can increase the risk of prediabetes, yet not diabetes, the study explains.

The study offered two possibilities for this observation.

  • For one, it’s likely that people who were more prone to developing diabetes were not included in the study because participants had to be free of diabetes at the time of the study.
  • Secondly, marijuana may have a larger impact on blood sugar levels in the prediabetic range than in the diabetes range.

More research is needed to study the possible link and future studies will look at different groups of people, how marijuana is consumed and the amount consumed.

Still, Bancks encourages doctors to discuss the potential risks of using marijuana with their patients. People who use marijuana should be aware that is could increase their risk of developing prediabetes. Doctors should monitor sugar levels with patients with “an extensive history of marijuana use,” Bancks stated.

As marijuana use becomes more prevalent, researchers are taking a hard look at the health effects of the drug. In 2014, researchers highlighted other health risks of marijuana use like increased risk of cognitive impairment and psychoses.

“There are many questions about the health effects of marijuana use where the answers are unknown,” Bancks said. “The increased legalization and use of marijuana will draw more attention from researchers and users, and we will learn more as research on the health effects of marijuana use increases.”

The study was conducted over 30 years and took into consideration factors such as age, sex, race, tobacco and alcohol use, education level, medication use, psycho-social well-being, and lifestyle factors like diet, exercise frequency, and other drug use. Although many were dropped out of the study over the course of 30 years, the remaining participants made up more than 2500 people.

More than half of the participants developed prediabetes and were 65 percent more likely to have prediabetes than those who did not smoke, the study conclude. Even among those who stopped smoking, their risk was 23 percent more likely than nonsmokers.

So although marijuana reform is a hot topic, marijuana is still a drug that could be detrimental to our health. Abusing any drug is not healthy.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

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