As Illinois reaches a step closer to legalization of cannabis, the police are dreading the potential impact of more stoned drivers on the road leading to more accidents.
Monticello Police Chief John Carter said a juvenile had crashed in a house a year ago while vaping cannabis oil. Carter predicts increased number of accidents due to more cannabis-impaired drivers.
“I would rather not see it” said Carter.
Mahomet Police Chief Mike Metzler said his officers witness drivers “almost daily” who either have marijuana or smoking devices in their car which concerns the police department as cannabis can drastically impact a driver’s ability to drive.
“I’m not looking forward to having this happening” said Metzler.
People with certain conditions had been legally buying and consuming prescribed cannabis in Illinois after the issue of the first licensed dispensaries opened in 2015. However, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, nearly 58,000 medical cannabis applications had been approved for qualifying patients.
Marijuana legalization has led to an increased demand of cannabis which is poised to grow beyond what the state’s licensed cultivators can supply, according to a recent study commissioned by two Chicago Democrats, state Sen. Heather Steans and state Rep. Kelly Cassidy.
The existing cannabis industry can produce and cater to only 35 percent to 54 percent of the adult-use demand and Illinois could potentially reap $440,000 to $670,000 in annual revenue by taxing cannabis sales – excluding excise taxes on cannabis cultivators, according to a recent study by the consulting firm of Freedman and Koski.
The American millennial generation constitutes to the largest supporting group with over 74 percent in favour of cannabis legalization. One way or another, almost 6 out of every 10 American citizens are inclined towards cannabis legalization, according to a Pew Research survey in 2018.
Illinois has a defined set of rules for patients who use cannabis legally for medicinal purposes which prohibits them from driving if they drive impaired or unsafely. For those who fail in chemical testing or refuse to it while under the influence of any drug (including marijuana) have a severe penalty – automatic driver’s license suspension.
According to the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, drug impaired drivers fail chemical tests if they consume 5 nanograms or more of THC (tetrahydro cannabinoid), the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, per millilitre of blood, 10 nanograms or more of THC in another body substance, or any trace of a drug other than cannabis, illegal substance or intoxicating compound.
“We don’t like the idea of having people on the road who may be impaired,” agency spokesman Dave Druker said.
Cannabis Legalization Spikes Up Accidental Rate
Illinois can analyse how cannabis legalization has impacted road safety by observing stats of other states where marijuana is legalized.
Colorado and Washington were the first two states to approve legalization in 2012 with retail beginning from 2014. The third state was Oregon which started its own retail in 2015. The Highway Loss Data Institute dived in the stats reported after the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes in terms of collision claim frequency. They concluded in last year’s report that legalization was linked with 6 percent increase in collision claim as compared to nearby controlled states.
According to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration report last year, in the first three years after recreational cannabis sales were legal in Colorado, fatal crashes involving drivers who were THC-intoxicated also increased — from 31 in 2014 to 77 in 2016.
One in five cannabis users in Colorado also admit to driving after using cannabis, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
“People may think they’re safer drivers while stoned since they drive more slowly,” the agencywarns on a website about cannabis rules and effects. “However, research shows that driving while high may increase your risk of a crash.”
The agency concludes that marijuana inhalation or consumption of edible products can intoxicate the body due to the high levels of THC present in the substance. In addition to the relaxed “high” state, cannabis renders slower reactions, hand/eye coordination, distorted perceptions of time and distance, anxiety, panic attacks, paranoia are a bunch of other potential harmful effects of cannabis which could impair drivers and lead to increased crashes.
Study suggests cannabis chemical may be the ultimate cure for pancreatic cancer
According to a new study, a cannabis chemical compound may have “major impact” on the cancer treatment of pancreas.
As per the American Cancer Society (ACS), pancreatic cancer has a five-year survival rate with just 9 percent, and the ailment is suspected to become the second leading cause of cancer deaths by 2020 in the United States.
However, a research carried out by scientists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard University and released in the Oncology Frontiers discovered that FBL-03 G-a “non-cannabinoid, non-psychoactive marijuana derivative”-has “important potential for treatment” for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
FBL-03G is a derivative of marijuana “flavonoid”, naturally occurring compounds found in crops, vegetables and fruits that are known to have significant health benefits. Moreover, this study has revealed that the flavonoid derivative may have the capability to treat both advanced and localised pancreatic cancer.
Dr. Wilfred Ngwa, one of the researchers for the study said the most crucial observation was that if flavonoids are targeted directly to the tumour, it enables both metastatic and local tumour cell kill, which significantly increases the survival from pancreatic cancer. Dr. Ngwa further added that the conclusion of the study holds a great importance as pancreatic cancer is refractory to current treatments.
The study also suggests that FBL-03G is capable of targeting and attacking other cancer cells and hinder their growth. Dr. Ngwa said the team was quite surprised that the chemical could inhibit the growth of cancer cells in other parts of the body as well, representing metastasis, that were not targeted by the treatment.
Ultimately, this would imply expanding the life expectancy of pancreatic cancer patients, who are often diagnosed at a later stage with a widely spread cancer in their body.
The study has been tested only on small animals till now, but after the positive results from it, researchers have recommended an extensive study with the ultimate goal of clinical translation of the drug as quickly as possible.
The next step for researchers is to complete the pre-clinical research, which will hopefully be completed by 2020, according to Dr. Ngwa.
Marijuana and Its Other Compounds
Marijuana has been associated with a long standing stigma about how it gets people ‘high’ and ‘addicted’ to it. But recent discoveries and studies reveal that while marijuana does contain psychoactive components like THC (Tetrahydro cannabinoid) that cause hallucinations and lead to permanent mental disorders, but it also contains a great variety of chemicals that are non-psychoactive.
These set of chemicals, which have the opposite properties as THC, are most commonly found in hemp based plants. Hemp is a cannabis genus plant which contains CBD in high amount; Cannabinoids are anti-inflammatory and non-psychoactive components derived from the hemp plant.
CBD has garnered a wide popularity over the years for its medical benefits. It is known to treat acute pain, chronic aches, inflammation, swelling, irritation, injuries from accidents, and also to reduce stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and even severe ailments like epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and cancer.
As more and more people took CBD for curing their ailments, governments all around the world started to see the change and after much research and consideration hemp derived CBD has been legalized in many parts of the world.
But the health agencies such as the United States Food and Drug Administration is still concerned about the long term effects and health benefits of CBD. Intensive research is being carried out to fully explore the effects of cannabinoids on human body.
However, after the federal government legalized CBD in December 2018 under the Farm Bill act and removed it from the list of controlled substances, the CBD industry has taken a new shape altogether.
Companies are flooding the market with CBD based products ranging from skin care to wellness to health to fitness to beauty and what not! It’s just a matter of time before the CBD industry booms and pumps billions of dollars every day.
But unregulated CBD products can definitely cause more harm than good, and it is therefore highly recommended that you only purchase CBD goods that are clinically tested and verified, or wait until the FDA approves certain brands for consumption.
As of now, the FDA holds stringent policies against companies that advertise CBD products with medical claims.
First restaurant with a full-fledged cannabis-filled menu to open in September
The first of many restaurants in California to have cannabis legally on the menu is planned to open next month in West Hollywood.
Lowell Cafe will be serving lunch, dinner and offer late-night services with a complete menu of small plates, salads, entrees, sandwiches, appetizers, alongside a proper “flower menu” providing an array of cannabis products which can be consumed in various forms, concentrates and pre-packaged edibles.
Lowell’s general manager, Kevin Brady, said Lowell is expected to be the first of eight restaurant and lounge concepts which will allow onsite vaping, smoking and consumption of cannabis infused edibles that won the first round of business licenses from the incorporated city of West Hollywood under the law passed back in 2017. Another set of licences were awarded to businesses with a food service compound that would focus only on edibles.
Also recently in Colorado, another state where recreational cannabis is legal, opened the legislative pathways for businesses who want to enter into the CBD space with lounge concepts. Many in the industry will be looking out for the operators behind the Lowell Cafe and learn how they do things. Brady is the first to confess that cannabinoid is a whole new world, with tons of challenges to overcome.
He further added that he has been a proud owner of several restaurants and nightlife venues, and all of them had a roadmap for things to be done properly but there’s no such roadmap for lounge concepts with CBD.
According to the state law, recreational use of cannabis is allowed and legal in California, however its consumption is still prohibited in public spaces. The ultimate goal in West Hollywood was to create equitable and safe places to consume cannabis socially, and also to create an opportunity for tourists to enjoy and revel in the experience the stunning cannabis industry has to offer.
Lowell Herb Co. partly owns the Lowell Cafe, with other partners including Jonnie and Mark Houston, nightlife operators of Los Angeles-based Houston hospitality.
The plan for Lowell Cafe is for guests to arrive at the cafe – most presumably by a rideshare like Lyft or Uber, but valet parking will still be available- and enter in the 220- seat capacity restaurant which will also be a dispensary, stopping the guests at the security where all proper IDs will be checked. Only those who are above the age of 21 will be allowed in the cafe, and it is designed around an enclosed patio without any windows to the outside.
After this, their experience will continue to be similar to any other cafes, said Brady, an alum of Cornell University who has previously worked as a director of restaurants with Tao Group Hospitality in LA and Las Vegas.
What is CBD?
CBD or cannabinoid is a chemical derived from the hemp plant, a cannabis genus plant. It is a non-psychoactive and anti-inflammatory compound with a gamut of medical benefits. CBD is widely popular for its healing capabilities.
It is known to treat mental health disorders such as anxiety, panic attacks, epilepsy, disorientation, insomnia and even decreases seizures in epilepsy. CBD also helps in speedy recovery after an accident or injuries, treats acute pain, ache, inflammation, swelling, irritation etc.
According to the federal regulations, hemp-derived CBD was legalized under the Farm Bill Act in December 2018. CBD was legally removed from the list of Controlled Substances and made legal for production, processing, consumption and distribution.
The federal government put a strict bar on the concentration of THC, the component responsible for causing “high” when people smoke weed or marijuana, to a 0.3% per unit or product of CBD. Tetrahydro cannabinoid or THC is a psyhoactive compound which is derived from cannabis plants, if present in high potency and used for a longer period of time, THC can lead to several mental health disorders.
Hawaii Passes A New Bill- decriminalizes cannabis possession from 2020
Hawaii will be decriminalizing cannabis possession from 2020 for small amounts, however citizens will still be penalized for it. A bill passed by the legislature will be decriminalizing possession of cannabis in amounts of three gms or less, and will set aside criminal convictions for those who have been charged with possession earlier.
However, possession will still be punishable and the charged will receive a financial punishment of $130. Currently, possession of tiny amounts of marijuana may result in 30 days ‘ imprisonment along with a $1,000 fine (~€896.94) economic penalty.
David Ige, the Governor let the bill enter into law after he didn’t veto it, in July. however, he also did not sign the bill. As no action was taken on the bill before 9 July, it will now come into effect on 11 January 2020.
Access to medical cannabis has been legalized for a couple of years now in the 50th state of the United States, and the most recent to jump on the CBD bandwagon.
The Bill HB1383 sets out the following information:
- Decriminalize the possession of three or less grams of cannabis and fixate that possession of that amount is a punishable crime with a mandatory fine of $130;
- Offer expungement of criminal records specifically related to the possession of three or less grams of cannabis; and
- Build a cannabis evaluation task force to make suggestions on altering cannabis use penalties and outcomes in the State.
Decriminalizing cannabis possession but not legalizing
Legalization of any compound allows the use or possession of a drug without any legal punishment of any kind- for both medicinal and recreational purposes. However, decriminalization of cannabis means that there are still some activities related to the use of a drug that might be illegal.
In this particular case, where the state is decriminalizing cannabis possession- having possession of more than three grams of cannabis for recreational, personal use, as well as growing or selling cannabis for non-medical reason is still punishable by law. This implies that any citizen caught with more than three grams of cannabis or caught selling it in an illegitimate manner will be punished and arrested, and could be prosecuted for the same and put in prison.
Two cannabis related bills vetoed
Governor Ige vetoed two further bills related to cannabis:
The first bill was the SB1353– a measure to launch an industrial hemp licensing programme which would require the Department of Agriculture to establish an industrial hemp plan to be approved by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), as well as making statutory changes such as removing the ownership or sale of either licensed or unlicensed industrial hemp from criminal regulation.
The reason this bill was vetoed was due to worries about the licensing system – such as non-compliance with USDA demands as well as the practical issues that would come with it about enforcing exiting medical marijuana laws.
Second, the HB290 bill was intended to authorize out-of-state patients to transport medical cannabis for private use between islands. Despite the government’s bill for decriminalized possession of cannabis, this particular bill was vetoed on cannabis issues, including medical cannabis, remaining illegal under federal law.
This is because some water and airspace regions fall within the federal government’s jurisdiction and could imply that individuals mistakenly think that they would not be subject to federal prosecution.
According to the federal government, hemp-derived cannabinoids are legal for production, processing, sales and consumption. The Farm bill in December 2018 legalized hemp-derived cannabinoid and removed it from the list of Controlled Substances.
CBD is widely known for its medical benefits. From treating acute pain, aches, inflammation, irritation, swelling and reducing anxiety, depression, stress to curing severe ailments such as epilepsy, CBD is a popular compound among people. However, there is still a lot of research going on to explore the safety of CBD and how far can it be consumed without its side effects.