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Colorado Pot Crops Found to Have Dangerous Levels of Pesticides

Colorado Pot Crops Found to Have Dangerous Levels of PesticidesAs green as Colorado is known to be, it looks like their marijuana crops are not as green as one would hope.Recent studies reveal that Colorado’s marijuana crops have “dangerous levels” of pesticides and the news is inciting panic among people and the state’s agricultural agencies.

According to last week’s CNN report, at least one legal over-the-counter pot product tested positive for illegally high levels of the neurotoxin imidacloprid. The news of the pesticides led to a recall of 2,362 pot products.

Unfortunately, this is not the first study to find toxins in marijuana products. Just last September, a study from the Denver Post found that the marijuana products they tested contained six times the legal amount of pesticides in consumable products.

To put it in perspective, if the same amount of pesticides were found on a food product like avocados, they would be immediately pulled off the shelves. However, since Colorado only recently legalized marijuana, they are still figuring out how to deal with these types of issues.

Since marijuana remains illegal on a federal level, there is no FDA regulation to step in and correct the issue leaving pesticide legislation up to the states. This lack of government oversight leads to confusion on the quantities of pesticides that should be allowed in marijuana products.

The Ever-Changing Cannabis Laws

The marijuana businesses in Colorado are not required to test products for pesticides before they sell them. They also do not have to test products before making them available for sale. Instead, consumers and businesses must exercise extreme caution before selling and consuming unregulated products. Various state agencies are hoping to remedy this problem.

As for now, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper just issued an executive order earlier this month allowing state agencies the authority to pull products off the shelves and destroy them if they contain higher than the approved levels of pesticides.

“When a pesticide is applied to a crop in a manner that is inconsistent with the pesticide’s label, and the crop is contaminated by that pesticide, it constitutes a threat to the public safety,” the order said.

The Denver Post reported that Colorado is also working to pass a legislation preventing illegal pesticides from being used in the first place. Legislator is working to pass rules that would limit the amount of pesticides used in marijuana that are approved for consumption. The goal is that eventually marijuana will be used safely in greenhouses and will be safer for human consumption. Until then, Colorado cannabis lover must remember to proceed with caution.

With the news of pesticides in marijuana products, it is important to know the environmental impacts of marijuana farms. We have discussed in detail how marijuana farms are causing serious damage to the environment in areas like California. In California, run-off from marijuana farms get into the water and causes damage to the ecosystem. Also, since marijuana requires high amount of water to grow successfully, California is facing a major water shortage and marijuana farms are part of the problem.

The fact that marijuana is only legal on a state by state basis makes the process of establishing clear procedures difficult since regulations are not able to be considered on a federal level. In states where marijuana is legal, businesses have to rely on cash-only transactions as they are unable to use federal banking systems.

Overall, the issue of marijuana reform is an increasingly complex issue and in the future, solutions to the problems of legalization will be addressed. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

-Author: Shernide Delva

Bernie Sanders Proposes Bill to End Federal Ban on Marijuana

Bernie Sanders Proposes Bill to End Federal Ban on Marijuana

Author: Shernide Delva

Marijuana reform continues to be a major topic in the presidential campaign and this week, Bernie Sanders went farther than any presidential candidate in supporting marijuana and the fight to end the War on Drugs.  Bernie Sanders became the first presidential candidate to propose a lift on the federal ban of marijuana. If passed, the bill would give states the right to legalize marijuana without having to go through the federal government.

The bill was introduced on Wednesday and is modeled after a previous bill proposed by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) in 2013. It was reintroduced this year as the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act. The bill would remove marijuana from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list as a Schedule 1 drug.

Drugs like heroin, Ecstasy and LSD are considered schedule 1 drugs and are considered to be the “most dangerous drugs.” Bernie Sanders said during his speech at George Mason University in Virginia that he believed considering a drug like marijuana to be as dangerous as heroin is “absurd.” Bernie Sanders believes that states should be allowed to regulate the sale of marijuana the same way drugs like tobacco and alcohol are regulated and should be able to do so “without the fear of prosecution.”

Legal Marijuana: A Cash-Only Industry

As of right now, states that profit from the legal marijuana industry are not able to use the nation’s banks to do business. Nearly all the banks refuse to take money from marijuana sales or refuse to offer basic checking or credit card services in fear that they’ll be shut down by the federal government. National banks will not do business with marijuana growers, retail shops, medical dispensaries, processors and even employees out of fear of prosecution. If this bill is passed, then this will no longer be a concern.

Until then, the legal marijuana industry is forced to deal with the risks of being a cash only business.  Because marijuana remains a federal Schedule I drug, it makes it illegal for financial institutions that depend on the Federal Reserve System’s money transfer to take any proceeds from marijuana sales.

If Bernie Sander’s bill passes, retailers will have less fears about being robbed and businesses will no longer have to show up at the Washington State Department of Revenue with “boxes and suitcases” stuffed with bills to pay their taxes.

Bernie Sanders believes the bill will be a huge step forward in the movement to grow the economy and restore fairness to the justice system. The bill comes a week after Sanders first proposed reclassifying marijuana as a less dangerous substance. He argued that marijuana reform is essential to reform America’s criminal justice system

“In the United States we have 2.2 million people in jail today, more than any other country. And we’re spending about $80 billion a year to lock people up. We need major changes in our criminal justice system – including changes in drug laws,” Sanders said “Too many Americans have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use. That’s wrong. That has got to change.”

A Gallup poll released last month revealed that 58 percent of Americans are now in favor of legalizing marijuana use. Four states have legalized recreational marijuana: Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Under the Sanders plan, people in these four states would no longer be subject to federal prosecution for using marijuana if the bill is passed.

Marijuana Reform: The Overall Consensus

Changes to states laws regarding marijuana reform have garnered a controversial reaction. It remains a heavily debated topic of discussion. Presidential candidates have varied opinions on the matter and some are unable to make solid choices in regards to their plan of action. Just last week, Donald Trump changed his view on marijuana reform again after going back and forth on his views several times. Hilary Clinton has stated that she is only in support of marijuana for medical purposes.

Marijuana has been shown to have a variety of health benefits. For example, a recent study showed that marijuana can help treat addiction to stimulants. In addition, many health studies have shown that marijuana is effective in helping patients suffering from cancer and other illnesses.

Still, marijuana is not proven to be 100 percent safe. It can have detrimental effects on developing brains of adolescents and some studies show it can negatively impacts memory.  Additionally, just like any other drug, marijuana can be abused and some people even develop a psychological addiction to the substance.

Ultimately, it is up to voters in states that are considering reform to make the final decision. States like Florida and Ohio have come close. Now, Nevada is in midst of voting marijuana reform. Knowing the reasons for reform can make the choice much easier.

Marijuana reform has positive and negative outcomes, but it is ultimately up to voters in states that are considering reform to make the final decision. It is important to know both sides to the argument before deciding how you personally feel. Remember, any substance, legal or not, can be addictive and if you find yourself abusing a substance like marijuana, it is very important that you seek treatmentIf 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 Farms Dangerous to California’s Environment

Marijuana Farms Dangerous to California's Environment

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

Author: Shernide Delva 

Lately, the conversation regarding marijuana has shifted from “Is it safe” to “Is it safe for the environment?” The dramatic rise in pot farms in California is proving to be detrimental to the states ecosystem.

The state’s most lucrative agricultural product, marijuana, is causing water diversions and serious environmental damage. And because marijuana is not regulated like other agricultural crops, the destruction continues to get worse.

Recently, the Los Angeles Times reported that the dramatic rise in pot farms in Northern California is taking a toll on the environment. Agricultural practices like water-siphoning, pesticide spraying and littering have had a huge effect on the fragile ecosystem.

California’s marijuana farms are rapidly increasing. In one 37-square mile patch of forest, state scientist found close to 281 pot farms and 286 greenhouses containing an estimated 20,000 plants. These plants are being fed by water from creeks or the nearby Eel River.

Scientist estimates that the farms are swallowing close to 18 million gallons of water every year — water at a time when salmon need it most.  The damage is threatening the state’s coast wide fishing industry.

Fish and Wildlife officers have recently joined local narcotic teams to raid pot farms said to be draining half a million gallons of water a day from the Eel River.  Because of the murky legal status of marijuana usage, the growing industry has been overlooked since medical use was legalized in 1996.

California’s governor Jerry Brown approved a $3 million budget to monitor water use and environmental impacts from marijuana cultivation. The compliance program signals a shift in the right direction. The goal is to identify and inspect water-thirst pot gardens in sensitive natural settings.

So far, officials from the State Resources Control Board and Department of Fish and Wildlife have visited 150 sites and filed 50 environmental violations.

California’s four-year drought alerted authorities to broaden their approach to monitoring marijuana growth throughout the state. In addition to the compliance program, the state has begun to issue marijuana water permits and plans to ramp up targeting offenders through civil lawsuits.

Marijuana Environmental Crisis

  • Just one marijuana plant requires six gallons of water per day to grow—so for an industrial sized growing operation, between 12,000 and 30,000 gallons of water minimum is required.
  • Fish and Wildlife Officials reported nearly 100 environmental violations that range from damming creeks, dumping soil, or growers tapping springs.
  • Some commercial operations were found with thousands and thousands of plants that were draining 500,000 gallons of water a day from tributaries to the Eel River.
  • Narcotics officers cut down 1,426 marijuana plants due to violation. Environmental violations included draining excessive water from a mountain stream that provides cold water flows to sustain Coho salmon in Willow Creek.
  • Many farmers cultivate bigger crops to make more profit. They cut huge clearings for industrial size green houses. These operations dump tons of slit into streams during the rainy season.

Furthermore, the impact on the environment by insecticide and pollutants is significant. The insecticide Carbofuran is used to kill off bears and other animals that raid their camps. The farmers mix the insecticide with tuna or sardines; the bears eat it and die. The insecticide requires a special permit because it is lethal in small doses to humans.

Now, authorities are finding the insecticide in some of California’s more sensitive ecosystems. Seeping into the ecosystem are fertilizers, soil amendments, rodenticides, fungicides, plant hormones, diesel fuel and human waste.

Scientists are concerned that the runoff from excess potting soil combined with lower-than-normal river flow has caused toxic blue algae to appear in North Coast Rivers over the last decade. The bacteria pose a risk to swimmers and kills aquatic invertebrates that salmon and trout eat. Officials have had to warn residents and their pets to stay away from the rivers. So far, 11 dogs have died from the bacteria since 2001.

Good or bad, the cannabis boom shows no signs of slowing down. With Colorado legalizing recreational use and states like Ohio debating on the matter, it seems like an increase in pot farms is on the horizon. The growth intensifies the challenge of environmental protection. But until marijuana is legalized on the federal level, it’s hard to grasp how states are going to control the situation.

Marijuana farms are not regulated which is costly to California’s water and wildlife. Their complex legal status makes it an even harder issue to tackle.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

Apple Gets the Weed Social Network App Back

Apple Gets the Weed Social Network App Back

Author: Justin Mckibben 

Drugs, the internet, and social networks have gradually developed a pretty close relationship, full of tags and posts, shares and likes. With stories like the hunting and capturing of the Silk Road masterminds, or the digital drug dealers you see on Instagram, and the delivery service apps being developed to make drug trafficking a commercial business.

Social networking seems these days to be the fastest and easiest way to spread a message and connect to potential customers for any business. There has even been concern expressed about an addiction to social media itself developing in our generation. Considering all this it is no surprise that there are those who look to social networks for illicit content are not hard to find, and one app designed for those users was cut short, and is now back with a vengeance.

It had only been 3 weeks since Apple had formally removed the social networking app for pro-pot users called MassRoots from the App Store before the company had a change of heart. Apple has announced it will once again allow the app to be downloaded for the cannabis enthusiasts weed networking pleasures.

What is Massroots?

MassRoots is a cannabis focused social media network that since launching in July has grown to more than 25,000 active users, according to co-founder, president, and CEO Isaac Dietrich. It is designed to keep people who are involved or interested in the marijuana community in communication. Some key elements of MassRoots include:

  • Semi-Anonymity

The option to create an account that has some element of specificity and anonymity attracts many cannabis consumers; as most prefer to keep their marijuana content separate from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter where they may be connected with their family, co-workers and employers.

  • Pot Politics

MassRoots is also useful for people to keep updated on the marijuana legalization movement, with posts from campaigns and non-profits using the mobile network to mobilize support for legalization ballot initiatives, petition drives and support rallies.

  • Experiences

Many people use the MassRoots app to share what type of cannabis they are consuming, with pictures from their experiences using marijuana, or the types of marijuana or paraphernalia they are using.

MassRoots and Marijuana

MassRoots announced in a blog post last Friday that the Apple company altered their strict policy on marijuana apps to let Massroots be featured in the Apps Store. On the MassRoots webpage, their statement reads,

“Over the past few weeks, cannabis consumers around the world united behind a common message: cannabis apps should be made available in the states that have voted to legalize its medicinal or adult use. Today, we’re excited to announce the App Store has changed its enforcement guidelines to permit cannabis social apps in the 23 states that have legalized medicinal cannabis. MassRoots is now available in the App Store!”

This victory cry came after advocates for legalized marijuana sent 10,000 emails asking the company to reconsider. After-all, ever since the November midterm elections there has been a cry for marijuana reform.

Now available for those who live in any of the 23 states where either recreational or medical marijuana is legal, users can download the MassRoots app and stay connected through a network of cannabis users in their immediate area. These users of course will need to be identified by a geolocation check that they live in one of these states, but that is a small price to pay. The MassRoots blog went on to state,

“We have a duty to show the world that cannabis consumption can be done in a safe and responsible manner in compliance with state laws and federal enforcement guidelines. We do not take this task lightly.”

Marijuana app developers have already been increasingly frustrated with Apple since the application process for this format was significantly slower, specifically when compared to Android and Google Play.

Accepting Marijuana Apps

Other cannabis focused app developers have apparently reported some irritating relationships so far with the Apple App Store process, including CEO of development firm CannaBuild Zach Marburger, who said the company’s marijuana cooking calculator was approved by Android “in five minutes and rejected by Apple in 10 days.”

Many have been troubled that Apple reportedly rejected their apps without explanation, making it difficult to determine what changes were necessary in order for the app to get approved for use. Because the company won’t explicitly state their terms of acceptability, developers claim they have been wasting time and money.

While many of the marijuana app developers are aware that Apple will act within the law to restrict any questionable content, they still feel their apps are being ignored and not given a fair enough opportunity to be tweaked and represented for approval. It is understandable to have concerns, but many claim they are not given the chance to make it right.

Of course a great deal of delicacy must be taken when dealing with a situation like this. Apps that could be considered to be promoting marijuana use could be hard to accept for a corporation that has to keep a family friendly image, especially risking that apps like this could be used to sell drugs, and if the network can be abused in areas where even marijuana is still illegal it can present greater problems. So Apple of course has to play their cards close to the chest when it comes to selling apps that connect the cannabis community, because this means taking some responsibility if it is ever misused.

Marijuana reform is sweeping the country, and the angle of the drug policy in America is practically being re-engineered, but the real dangers of drug abuse are still out there. Drugs and alcohol abuse continues to destroy lives all over, but there are those dedicated to making a change. 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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