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Florida Makes It Legal to Smoke Medical Marijuana

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Medical Marijuana

With more than 70% voters supporting an act which legalized medical use of cannabis, medical cannabis use became legal in Florida in 2016. The act was known as the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as Amendment 2.

However, in 2017 the Gov. Rick Scott signed into a law that curbed all forms of marijuana that were then available – only concentrates such as capsules, topicals, tinctures, and vapes were acceptable, but according to the new law, smokable pot was prohibited in the state.

This ban on cannabis usage was uplifted on Monday when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation to repeal it. It was shortly after Gov. Ron had took over the office in January, had he appealed the Florida legislature to send a bill that would legalize cannabis in the state by March 15.

“Over 70 percent of Florida voters approved medical marijuana in 2016,” DeSantis said in a Monday statement. “I thank my colleagues in the Legislature for working with me to ensure the will of the voters is upheld. Now that we have honoured our duty to find a legislative solution, I have honoured my commitment and filed a joint motion to dismiss the state’s appeal and to vacate the lower court decision which had held the prior law to be unconstitutional.”

Republican State Sen. Jeff Brandes co-sponsored the legislation with Democrat Linda Stewart.

“I have always been in favor of medical cannabis and believed that was what voters intended in 2016,” Brandes told CNN. He said that he was elated to give people what they had rightfully voted for three years ago.

Cannabis Legalization in Florida and its Impact

The newly enacted law favours marijuana for medicinal purposes. It allows patients to receive 2.5 ounces of whole flower cannabis in every 35 days. Patients under the age of 18 can smoke marijuana if they are suffering form a terminal condition, moreover, they can get a second opinion from a paediatrician regarding the dosage.

The Marijuana Policy Project, a group that seeks to decriminalize marijuana, said that the inception of the new law has opened up alleys for them to educate people about marijuana with in-depth research. They also said that it is a great step forward for the patients, giving them more options for their treatment.

“(Medical marijuana) should be an option available to patients and a decision for patients to make with their doctors, not one that should be made by government officials,” a spokesman for the group said.

While marijuana will now be available at medical stores and pharmacies, there will be a stringent dosage check which will allow patients to only buy marijuana if prescribed by a medical expert.

Marijuana has 2 key components- CBD and THC, the former is a non-psychoactive component which does not cause any “high” and comes with a gamut of health benefits.

Contrarily, THC (tetrahydro cannabinoid) has psychoactive capabilities which can trigger anxiety, depression, seizures and permanent mental disorders in severe cases. The legalized marijuana will have a specified amount of CBD component to ensure that it does not potentially harm patients.

Legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes – the next step

Brandes, one of the legislators behind the new law said that marijuana legalization for recreational purposes is a forthcoming decision which will likely be on the ballot in the upcoming elections.

“I think the likelihood that it passes is pretty good in 2022 or 2024, and we should prepare for its passage,” he said.

Cannabis-infused jelly beans, beverages, beauty products and edibles are right around the corner in other states. Florida is yet to see a new phase of legalization of marijuana where people can freely consume and possess cannabis for recreational purposes.

Multi-national companies and firms have already collaborated with cannabis-producing industries to create new line of cannabis-infused products to cater to the consumer market. The legalization of cannabis is predicted to give a boost to the business market across all verticals; beauty to medicinal, candies to drinks, all of it.

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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Study suggests cannabis chemical may be the ultimate cure for pancreatic cancer

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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.

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First restaurant with a full-fledged cannabis-filled menu to open in September

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First restaurant with cannabis

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. 

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Hawaii Passes A New Bill- decriminalizes cannabis possession from 2020

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Hawaii will be decriminalising cannabis possession

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. 

Bill HB1383

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

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