Archive for February, 2012

February 29, 2012

17 States Have Pending Legislation in Support of Medical Marijuana, What Can You Do?

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February 29, 2012

17 States Have Pending Legislation in Support of Medical Marijuana, What Can You Do?

The United States have been engaged in a constant battle with proper marijuana regulation for decades. According to NORML.org Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington are currently protecting their patients to some extent. Maryland in particular passed Senate Bill 308 in 2003 raising an “affirmative defense,” but that does not prohibit arrests from being made and patients are forced to undergo criminal prosecution.

In the coming year two states have complete legalization for adults 21 years of age or older open to the sway of voters. Washington state is working with Initiative 502, and Colorado has very recently achieved a spot on the ballot with Amendment 64. Californian voters had an opportunity to legalize cannabis for adults with Proposition 19 in 2010, and supporters were defeated.

A majority of states however are still battling for legal protection for patients who find relief with cannabis. I was surprised to find that according to ProCon.org 17 states have pending legislation to legalize medical marijuana in some way. Maryland was among the 17, with House Bill 15, specifically “authorizing the medical use of marijuana under specified circumstances.”

Allow me to very briefly introduce the other 16 states vying for medical marijuana at the moment:

Alabama legislators have House Bills 0025 and 0066 to consider.

Idaho is looking at the distinction between medical and non-medical users with House Bill 370.

Illinois has House Bill 0030 and Senate Bill 1548 with some driving restrictions proposed for patients.

Indiana legislators would force the executive board of the State Department of Health to adopt rules to regulate dispensaries, identification cards, and cannabis industry employees with House Bill 1370.

Iowa has Senate File 266 indicating nonprofit dispensaries and a 2.5 ounce limit for patients.

Kansas House Bill 2330 would establish compassion centers and require identification cards.

Massachusetts has 3 pieces of legislation currently pending, House Bill 625, Senate Bill 1161, and Senate Bill 818.

Seriously ill patients in Mississippi may find relief with Senate Bill 2252.

Missouri would like to reclassify cannabis with House Bill 1421.

New Hampshire has House Bill 442 pending.

New York legislators have Assembly Bill 7347 and Senate Bill 2774 to consider.

Ohio would allow out of state patients with House Bill 214.

Oklahoma has pending legislation to remove criminal penalties under Senate Bill 573.

Pennsylvania legislation may repeal provision that prohibit or penalize use under House Bill 1653 and Senate Bill 1003.

Compassion center and registry identification cards are consider in West Virginia with House Bill 3251 and House Bill 4493.

Wisconsin’s House Bill 371 seeks to protect patients and doctors, also setting a three ounce limit.

Tennessee and Kentucky have pending legislation as well, but because of the use of the term “prescribe” in the texts, they are considered “largely symbolic” according to ProCon.org, as Federal Law prohibits marijuana prescriptions.

Pending legislation gives each state’s citizens another small opportunity to make their voice heard. Contact your states Representatives or Senators and briefly tell them how cannabis has helped you or a patient you know. Many of the people voting on the issues may not have had a personal connection with marijuana in the past, and they are voting blindly on what they may think is best. Be the voice in their mind sharing the benefits of cannabis’s healing properties when your Legislators go to vote. Share your enthusiasm for the new jobs that would be created in dispensaries and testing centers. Even when we don’t have a direct vote in our reach we are not held silent. Read the proposed legislation carefully, consider what you would change and what you know to be essential. Support activism in your friends by asking them if they would contact your states legislation as well.

Tides are turning in our country, but only with the our continued diligence do we stand a chance to see legalization reach all of the United States.

 

I used these websites when compiling this information:

Reuters.com - Washington State Marijuana Legalization Headed for Ballot

NORML.org – Medical Marijuana by State

NYTimes.com - Colorado: Legalization of Marijuana Makes the Ballot

ProCon.org - 17 States with Pending Legislation to Legalize Medical Marijuana

February 8, 2012

Video: Medical Marijuana Laws Result in 5% Fewer Suicides

Thank you for watching this News Nug! More can be found at:
http://newsnug.com/2012/02/08/medical-marijuana-laws-result-in-5-fewer-suicides/
http://www.NewsNug.com
http://www.twitter.com/NewsNug
http://www.facebook.com/NewsNug

The Institute for the Study of Labor’s report can be read or downloaded at:
http://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp6280.html

Steve Elliot’s Toke of the Town article is available at:
http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2012/02/medical_marijuana_reduces_suicides_study.php

Regarding Alcohol Sales and Traffic Deaths:
http://newsnug.com/2011/12/01/medical-marijuana-states-have-fewer-traffic-accident-deaths-and-less-booze-sales/

February 8, 2012

Medical Marijuana Laws Result in 5% Fewer Suicides

The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) is back with another report showing more benefits for the states that have legalized medical marijuana . IZA reported in November in what Toke of the Town’s Steve Elliot called a “groundbreaking new study” that medical marijuana laws have resulted in a nearly nine percent drop in traffic deaths and a five percent reduction in beer sales in those states.

The private research institute has recently published a new report, this one cleverly titled “High on Life? Medical Marijuana Laws and Suicide,” in which IZA explores the conflicting arguments used by proponents for, and in opposition of, medical marijuana. The author writes that “proponents argue that marijuana can be an effective treatment for bipolarism, depression, and other mood disorders,” while “opponents argue that the negative effects of marijuana are long-lasting and users are at risk of suffering from decreased psychological well-being later in life.” We are all familiar with the hysteria surrounding cannabis, and are often told use will trigger or enhance depression, anxiety, psychosis and schizophrenia.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and as this study’s authors write “while the majority of people who suffer from mental illness do not commit suicide, over 90 percent of those who do commit suicide have a diagnosable mental or substance use disorder.” IZA also reports that the “relationship between marijuana use and suicide-related outcomes has been studied extensively,” but those results are sometimes convoluted by hard to determine factors and users self-medicating. “Most studies had not adequately addressed the problem of reverse causation” they wrote, and more simply put by Steve Elliot “it appears that existing studies haven’t sufficiently examined the possibility that any association between cannabis and suicide is due to suicidally depressed people self-medicating with marijuana. IZA’s study goes on to say “there have been no previous attempts to estimate the effect of medical marijuana laws on completed suicides.”

The Institute used state-level data from 1990-2007, and found that passing a medical marijuana law was associated with an almost five percent decrease in the amount of suicides committed. Among males ages 20-29 suicide rates dropped eleven percent, and the rates for males ages 30-39 fell nine percent following passage of medical marijuana laws. The authors note the previous study of IZA’s which found a reduction in beer sales and traffic deaths as a result of medical marijuana laws, writing “there is a strong association between alcohol consumption and suicide-related outcomes,” and perhaps this was associated with the declining suicide rates.

The authors of the study write that “the negative relationship between legalization and suicides among young adult males is consistent with the argument that marijuana can be used to cope with such shocks” that might alternatively lead someone taking their own life. It leads to an improvement in psychological well-being, and that’s reflected in fewer suicides. Regulating your endocannabinoid system is vital to life, and it is more clear with each study coming forward that individuals and communities are benefiting from safe access to cannabis.

 

The Institute for the Study of Labor’s report can be read or downloaded at:

http://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp6280.html

Steve Elliot’s Toke of the Town article is available at:

http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2012/02/medical_marijuana_reduces_suicides_study.php

Regarding Alcohol Sales and Traffic Deaths:

News Nug, December 1, 2011

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