Congress To Vote on Marijuana Bill This Week

Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and 40 bipartisan cosponsors are scheduled to vote on the Medical Cannabis Research Act, a bill that will create more opportunities for medical marijuana benefits. The act would issue more licenses for marijuana growth that would be used in scientific studies.

For the past 50 years, a small farm at the University of Mississippi has been the only legal way of getting cannabis for scientific research. Researches have been complaining that the University only has a small amount and it is low quality compared to some of the other strands that are being used illegally.

Gaetz is supporting this bill because he feels that the federal government should not interfere with the prospect of people living better lives. He continues to state that the bill will increase the availability of research-grade cannabis in the effort to find more cures for diseases (read our recent post about Marijuana and Parkison’s here).

While this a bipartisan bill, this is the first time that there’s been a push for marijuana reform during a Republican Congress. Drug reform advocates do have some issues with the bill but Gaetz calls these things technical and doesn’t expect much pushback. Reformers have concerns with provisions such as people with “a conviction of a felony or drug-related misdemeanor” are not allowed to participate in research. Also, they do not like the clause that says newly licenses manufacturers have to get a letter of good standing from their local law enforcement.

While on the surface this might seem harmless, civil rights and social justice activists marijuana charges are disproportionately against African Americans and other people of color. Therefore, this bill prohibits racial equality when it comes to marijuana research.

But Gaetz believes without these inclusions GOP lawmakers would not be on board with the bill. However, those on the opposing side are worried that if the Act passes Attorney General Sessions would be responsible for handing out these new licenses. He already has blocked the new permits filed during the Obama Administration.

One important aspect of the bill to note is that the legislation allows for the Department of Veteran Affairs doctors are invited to join in the scientific research to see how medical marijuana can be used in the military.

How Does Marijuana Impact Parkinson’s?

Is Mary Jane the hottest girl at the party just by reputation, and not by actual looks?

She has certainly become the belle of the ball in the medical and therapeutic world. She comes in as the savior to all that ails us, making her eye candy for many.

Perhaps she might just have a nice personality.

Much has been made in the last 20 years about the therapeutic effects of marijuana and its ability to treat many diseases. The hysteria and hype has grown to the point what although it is a federal crime to possess and use it, 60 percent of the U.S. has passed state laws allowing for marijuana use for medical and medicinal purposes.

Much has been made about marijuana in its use as a treatment for neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s. Anecdotal stories emerged that marijuana has been effective in reducing the noted tremors which are the hallmark sign of Parkinson’s.

It was supposed to be so encouraging, that marijuana was a wonder drug for so many ailments.

However, it seems that much of the hype was covered in a cannabis cloud, so to speak.

Some clinical research has been conducted to gauge the effectiveness of cannabis (marijuana) in the wake of these anecdotes. It turns out that after all the research and the smoke had cleared (pun intended), marijuana was found to have inconclusive effect on the symptoms of Parkinson’s.

While marijuana directly impacts the brain in the area thinking and some motor skills are centered – this is where there are cannabinoid receptors, which receive cannabinoid molecules such as from cannabis – there was a belief that some of those motor functions that are hindered or are involuntary because of Parkinson’s, would be relieved when cannabis was actually introduced into the system.

What is official is that there is no unified theory about cannabis and Parkinson’s because the data does not show a consistent trend, and cannabis is difficult to study because of conflicting chemicals and their reactions to the cannabinoid receptors known as CB1 and CB2. The difficulty in establishing clear results is that cannabis has conflicting chemicals knowns as agonists and antagonists – and each plant species and each form of administering the cannabis develops different numbers of the agonists and antagonists to where there is no control available – making the data sketchy and hard to quantify.

This is not to suggest that the anecdotes are illegitimate, or that cannabis is completely ineffective – it is just that the generalized data isn’t conclusive one way or another, which means there is enough doubt that medical professionals may not have any credence to prescribing marijuana as a treatment for Parkinson’s symptoms.

Is It Possible To Buy Recreational Marijuana With A Credit Card?

If you use marijuana recreationally, you may not want to have to scrounge up cash every time you want to buy some weed. You may be wondering if it’s possible to buy your marijuana with a credit card. Your payment options will vary based on a number of factors. Here’s how you can figure out whether or not you can use a credit card to pay for your weed.

Is Marijuana Legal In Your State?

If weed is legal in your state, you should be able to buy the marijuana you want with a credit or debit card. Most places that sell marijuana will accept a credit card as a valid form of payment.

With that said, you’ll need to make sure that recreational weed is legal in your state. If your laws only allow for the purchase of medical marijuana, you probably won’t be able to purchase marijuana with cash or a credit card.

Is Withdrawing Cash Using Your Credit Card An Option?

If you are buying marijuana illegally, and you want to use cash, you do have the option of withdrawing some money using your credit card. It’s common for credit card companies to allow you to withdraw a small amount of cash from ATMs.

With that said, obtaining cash in this way isn’t something that is recommended. If you do withdraw cash from your credit card, you’ll have to pay interest on the cash you take out. You’ll also have to pay ATM fees. You’ll wind up spending a lot more if you obtain cash in this way.

What To Do If Marijuana Is Illegal In Your State

If recreational marijuana is illegal in your state, you may want to avoid purchasing it, even if you want to use it recreationally, regardless of whether or not you pay with a credit card. Take a close look at your local laws. Is marijuana decriminalized in your state, or are you facing fines and other penalties for purchasing marijuana?

Make sure you know what the laws in your state are so that you can avoid running afoul of those laws. Being familiar with the laws in your state can save you a lot of problems.

It is possible to buy recreational marijuana with a credit card. With that said, this isn’t going to be an option for all people. Look at the laws in your state and figure out what sort of options you have. You can decide what to do from there.

Can An Employer Fire You For Using Medical Marijuana?

Can you be fired for using medical marijuana considering it can cause a birth injury New York? The answer is yes, according to most states even though they allow medical marijuana use. You can be fired for failing a drug test at your workplace while using medical marijuana, even if you have proof that you are a registered patient who is legally allowed to do so.

47 states in the U.S. allow some form of medical marijuana use but only a handful of these have passed laws to protect the rights of users to legally use the drug without fear of penalties at work, school, or anywhere else in their lives. However, marijuana use remains illegal under federal law and there is no duty to accommodate its use which results in court decisions in many states weighing heavily in favor of employers. Despite almost unanimous support for medical use of marijuana, only 9 states protect users from getting fired.

New York, Arizona, Delaware, Maine, and Connecticut have passed laws that protect employees from being fired for medical marijuana use unless it can be proved that they were impaired on the job. If you live in these states and you have a legal prescription for medical use of marijuana, an employer is restricted from firing you if it does not affect your work and it is only used off-duty.

Gary Ross from California who worked at Raging Wire Telecommunications was fired in 2001 when he failed a drug test. On the recommendation of his doctor, Gary was treating his debilitating back pain with medical marijuana which is legal for medical as well as recreational use in California. In 2008 a California judge found his firing was legal. Although he was exempted from criminal prosecution, the state’s medical marijuana laws could not protect him from being fired.

In contrast, Cristina Barbuto from Massachusetts was offered a position at Advantage Sales and Marketing. She told them that she had a written certification to use medical marijuana for Crohn’s disease which would likely cause her to fail a drug test. When she did fail the test, the company fired her. In contrast to the similar case of Gary Ross in California, when she sued for discrimination on the basis of her disability, the Massachusetts court found her firing to be unlawful and waived the company’s drug policy.

Although the use of medical marijuana is legal in both California and Massachusetts, the outcome for Cristina was different because the Medical Marijuana Act in Massachusetts protects people with debilitating medical conditions from prosecution, arrest, and penalties.

Although the majority of states believe that people should be allowed the right to medicate with marijuana, legalizing its use without protecting the rights of patients frustrates the intent of voters and the law, as well as the growing market for medical marijuana.

NFL Denies its Players the use of Medical Marijuana

It feels as if this issue is resurfacing more and more these days. The NFL has once again denied a player with chronic pain of the purest pain medication out there, medical marijuana. Instead, the professional football league would rather expose players to the harm and possible addiction that can come with using opioids for this purpose. The ruling against players using medical marijuana comes after opioids were the cause of about 64,000 deaths in 2016.

The latest player to apply for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) is running back Mike James. Mike James has put together a decent NFL career. As with many professional football players, Mike suffered an ankle injury that has left him with chronic pain. In order to be an effective player, he needs to manage this pain. He wants to do so in a way that he believes will not destroy his body in the process.

The 27-year-old running back told NJ.com “I am hopeful that I’ll be able to keep playing football.” James went on to say that he is aware what he’s doing may make some people uncomfortable and it is going to come off as an anti-establishment move, but he thinks it will benefit other players as well as himself in the future.

Mike James’ request for a TUE was denied by the NFL.

James is not alone in the fight to allow NFL players to use medical marijuana as a pain management medication. Other players, like veteran linebacker Derrick Morgan, have requested that the NFL takes a deeper look into the benefits of medical marijuana use.

Technically, if a player wants to smoke marijuana during the season as a way to manage their pain, they can get away with it. The NFL has a preseason testing period that ranges from late April until early August. Mike Florio from NBC Sports supplied some insight on this, he stated: “if they stop smoking in approximately the middle of March and refrain until their once-per-year test, they can smoke with impunity throughout most of training camp, most of the preseason, and all of the regular season and postseason.” In other words, as long as a player isn’t careless, they should be able to pass the drug test and continue on getting high as they wish.

Just like most major corporations, the NFL isn’t willing to go against the federal government on this one. As long as the feds say that using weed is illegal, major corporations are likely to say the same.

Could Legal Weed Cause Trouble at the US-Canada Border

As Canadian officials gear up for the soon to be legal recreational use of marijuana, there are questions that have been left unanswered. Candian officials recently met with U.S Attorney General Jeff Sessions to discuss Canada’s plans. Unfortunately, the Canadian officials returned home unhappy with the outcome of the meeting.

In a press release, the Canadian senator’s were not satisfied with the meeting. According to an interview with VICE News, one of the senators stated that the meeting lasted 45 minutes. They discussed the pot bill with Jeff Sessions and the higher ups of Homeland Security. Sessions and Homeland Security warned the Canadian officials that there could be an increase of security at the border if this bill passes. Sessions also stated that the increased security would lead to more screenings than before. A result of these screenings can cause a potentially extended wait time to enter the U.S.

The Fear of Trafficking

Since taking office, Sessions has tried to crack down on the illegal trafficking of legal marijuana. He has advised government officials to look into marijuana practices, even if the sale for recreational use is legal in that state.

Since the fear of trafficking has been noted within the country, it is an obvious concern for the Candian-American boarders. This a concern of both parties and it was discussed during the meeting. The Canadian Senators plan on taking the information they gained during the meeting and using it to make recommendations on how the new bill should be constructed.

Will This be an Issue for Canadians Entering America?

Well, the answer to the question above depends on who you ask. A conclusion from the last committee hearing was the precautionary tale that Canadians can be turned down at the border and possibly barred from entry into the U.S for life if they admit to ever using marijuana.

According to Public Safety Minister, Ralph Goodale, said that Canadians should not worry about the difficulties legal marijuana may cause for Candian citizens crossing into the U.S. Goodale also stated that there isn’t a need for Americans to tighten the security as the rules of the border have not changed.

Pot Stocks: 2018

In the past, we highlighted the top performing cannabis stocks of 2017. Some of which have seen continued success through the first few months of 2018. However, their prices have leveled off with their production.

The key to making money in the stock world is finding value. Many times, this comes from a low priced stock that performs well over a period of time. The Motley Fool picked two stocks that are trending upward; quickly. Their potential for growth in 2018 is skyrocketing with every move the companies make.

Two Pot Stocks Looking at a Big 2018

Namaste Technologies

Namaste Technology is a budding marijuana hardware company based in Toronto, Canada. Marijuana hardware includes vaporizers and other instruments that are used to consume the herb. The company’s hardware is currently featured on over 30 e-commerce sites across 20 countries.

Namaste Technologies is broadening their horizons as they attempt to take advantage of the growing number of countries that are legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use. For Namaste, the larger the number of legal users, the larger the prospective market is.

One way that Namaste is expanding is by acquiring weaker companies and forming partnerships with stronger companies. One of the companies Namaste Technologies acquired was CannaMart in April 2017. CannaMart is a cannabis distribution company. Namaste Technologies also plans on launching a medical dispensary of their own called Namaste MD in 2018. Further, Namaste Technologies came to an agreement with Aurora Cannabis for the exclusive rights to sell Namaste Vaporizers.

Emerald Health Technologies

If you follow our blog, you know that we highlighted Emerald Health Technologies in our 2017 round up. After a strong year, Emerald Health is poised for an even bigger 2018. The company is planning to take advantage of the expected legalization of recreational cannabis use in Canada.

After a deal with Village Farms International in 2017, Emerald Health now has the potential growing capacity of 5.8 million square feet across Canada. This gives Emerald Health the largest growing capacity of any single company in Canada.

More recently, Emerald Health Technologies has come to terms on a joint venture with DMG Blockchain Solutions. DMG Blockchain Solutions also goes by CannaChain Technologies. The firm is hoping to ease the process managing supply chains as well as managing taxes on all levels of government.  

When you invest in a company, you are investing in the long term. While we can not guarantee the success of these companies, we can highlight what they are doing well. If you decide to invest, we wish you the best of luck. At the end of the day, we hope our advice helps you make smart and thought out financial decisions.

What Were the Best Performing Pot Stocks in 2017?

medical marijuanaSince the legalization of marijuana in certain states, there have been a number of companies to go public. While these companies were once seen as extremely volatile, they have steadied as the number of states and countries that legalize marijuana grows every year. In 2017, the traditional marijuana stocks did not do much for investors, but a few shined beyond belief with returns of over 150%.

The trend for 2017 was to invest in Canada-based marijuana companies. Aurora Cannabis, Emerald Health Therapeutics, and Village Farms all showed massive potential. The stocks blew up over the course of the year, each for a different reason.

Aurora Cannabis

Investors in Aurora Cannabis saw an incredible investment in 2017 when the stocks value skyrocketed over 170% from the beginning of the year. Surprisingly, Aurora Cannabis started the year slowly. You might be asking, what turned the year around for the company?

First off, Aurora moved from the TSX Venture Exchange, which serves smaller companies, to the larger TSX. This move was big for the company because it brought more exposure to investors they were not previously reaching. In addition to the bump up on the TSX list, Aurora began supplying medical marijuana to the German market. Aurora started supplying the medical marijuana in September through their subsidiary Pedanios GmbH.

An outside factor that contributed to the surge in stock purchases of Aurora, was the investment of Constellation Brands in Aurora’s competitor’s Canopy Growth. Constellation Brands bought a  9.9% stake in Canopy Growth for $245 million. Investors began to buy any Aurora stock they could get their hands on. The thought was that a large investment in Aurora would come soon.

Aurora attempted to make an acquisition of its own in 2017. The marijuana supply company attempted to purchase the medical marijuana growing firm CanniMed Therapeutics. It has been reported that CanniMed is attempting to stop the acquisition of their company by Aurora.

Emerald Health Therapeutics

Emerald Health Therapeutics was another marijuana stock that outperformed its expectations in 2017. Emerald Health follows the common theme of this article, it’s a Canadian medical marijuana grower. Emerald Health’s stock performed similarly to Aurora over the course of the year. It started slow, then exploded.

In the beginning of 2017, Emerald Health was busy despite the lack of investor attention. The company spent time raising money through public offerings, launched a new cannabidiol (CBD) product line, and even expanded its cannabis supply by partnering with Supreme Pharmaceuticals.

Just as Aurora, the interest for investors in Emerald Health began to catch some steam after the Canopy Growth-Constellation Beverage deal. Investors began to buy up the stock with the feeling that a big deal involving Emerald Health was coming. This factor in conjunction with the Canadian government setting parameters for the legalization of marijuana in November created a massive surge in the second half of 2017.

Village Farms

Village Farms takes the cake in terms of return on investment. The share price has soared passed 450% this year. The most surprising part about this stock is that it did not start the years as a marijuana stock!

Village Farms was a low-end greenhouse fruit and vegetable grower. The Canadian company was struggling to rise through the ranks. In 2017, Village Farms partnered with Emerald Health to grow medical marijuana. The deal outlined how Village arms would allow Emerald Health to convert 25 acres of one of its greenhouse facilities to a grow marijuana for medical purposes. This deal made sense for both sides. It benefits Village Farms because they are entering an expanding business area. It benefits Emerald Health because they are now projected to become lowest-cost marijuana producer in Canada.

What’s In Store for 2018?

It makes sense that these three companies can sustain positive growth throughout 2018. While they may not return over 150%, all signs point to growth. The legalization of the recreational use of marijuana in Canada will only lead to an increased revenue for these companies.

House Blocks Medical Marijuana

Controversy has surrounded the effects of marijuana, both under recreational use as well as medical benefits, for years. Ever since California passed legislation to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, the fluctuations in marijuana legalization have been more and more turbulent. Since that point, 29 states and the District of Columbia have approved legislation to legalize marijuana for medical (as well as 8 states and the District of Columbia having approved legislation for legal recreational use). But, now it appears the Federal government has begun to take steps in attempting to reverse certain legislature that protected medical marijuana under state law.

Having gone by a few different names, the legislation was introduced as the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment, and its initial purpose was to set a precedent of separation of power regarding medical marijuana laws in individual states, which would also subsequently free up portions of the Federal budget from prosecuting individuals who were charged with possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes. The bill passed into law in 2014 after six failed attempts through the House of Representatives, but due to Federal laws that still maintain marijuana as an illegal substance, the “law” of the amendment is required to pass through the House every year to keep it in effect for the applicable states.

Due to the legislative disagreement between state and Federal powers and the fact that this amendment needs to be reinforced on an annual basis, the most recent administration has attempted to take it upon itself to override the amendment and thereby forcefully altering the laws set into place by the 29 states (as well as the District of Columbia) who implemented it.

Needless to say, the reversal of this legislation and the nullification of medical marijuana laws already in place in those states would also expose businesses and individuals to Federal prosecution under pre-existing laws which still rendered marijuana illegal, regardless of its intended purpose. This poses an obvious logistical problem, considering more than half of the nation has legalized marijuana for medical purposes, and patients who use medical marijuana on any regular basis has been on the rise.

In fact, statistics have shown that, within 23 of the 29 states (and D.C.) who have legalized medical marijuana, almost 1.25 million patients have been cleared to use medical marijuana as of 2016, with a projection that doubled that figure if all 50 states had legalized medical marijuana at that time, and an approximation of 33,000 business entities that offered retail sales of marijuana.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions had spear-headed the effort to reverse these laws, and he has argued that Americans should work to change the laws if they aren’t in favor of them. Though, there are some who argue that Sessions’ attempts to turn over state laws in this manner may be a violation of the Tenth Amendment, which assures that powers not specifically delegated to the Federal government and simultaneously not prohibited from state governments will defer to the state level or to the people. The Amendment was set to expire on September 30 and be resubmitted for its annual review.

Why are More Seniors Using Marijuana

The debate over the pros and cons about the uses of marijuana, be it medical or recreational, has been on-going for a long time, and despite recent lemon law PAs that have established medical marijuana as a legal activity in many states within the United States, Federal legislation has attempted to reverse this decision and enforce Federal laws pertaining to marijuana and its otherwise illegal position on the legislative stage.

However, that doesn’t seem to be stopping many seniors.

With increased studies pertaining to the effects and medical properties of marijuana, an increased number of senior citizens seem to have decided to partake of the once- and still-controversial cannabis, often supplementing prescription medication or even foregoing prescriptions whenever possible. In a seven-year span between 2006 and 2013, statistics had shown that the number of senior citizens who used marijuana for medical purposes had more than doubled, and other statistics suggest this number may still be on the rise.

Over half of all surveyed Americans over the age of 65 had reported pain of a considerable measure, reported a government survey. Whether this pain stems from arthritis or nerve damage resulting from diabetes or even long-standing injury, the trend seems to be shifting to the same place. More seniors are using marijuana.

At its base level, marijuana seems to provide a slew of health benefits, many of which seniors find to be a boon to their own health. While marijuana fights chronic pain without the inherent risk of addiction and overdose as many opioids on the pharmaceutical market, it has also been known to provide more of an overall health benefit. Documents have shown that the laughter for which marijuana may be famously known to cause in many users, whether recreational or medical, has been known to counter symptoms of depression. The general effects of laughter have shown to reduce stress levels, improve function of the immune system and even provide protection to the heart among other effects. Some speculate that the social nature of marijuana may also promote stronger bonds with others as a result of its use, effectively increasing the life span as well as the overall quality of life among the elderly who use marijuana.

Beyond this, others have also found advantages in the versatility of form marijuana can take and be ingested or consumed, providing a greater ease of use along with what seems to be a safer alternative to addiction-causing prescription medication. Apart from the tried-and-true method of smoking marijuana, companies have manufactured it into candy, and the famed “pot brownies” and other baked goods apparently make for easy and eager consumption.

But there are those who still remain concerned. While studies have revealed a great deal regarding the medical impact that marijuana can have on the human body, the attached stigma of slowed reaction time and reduced balance is still a point of worry – particularly in elderly patients who are at a much greater natural risk of falling and, with weaker frames, more prone to life-threatening injury. Says Dr. Lynn Webster, “I wish we had the science to understand who [marijuana] would help and in what doses, and for whom it would be toxic.”

Despite political pressure that doctors face in continuously prescribing opioid medications, seemingly-inconclusive evidence and the challenge of maintaining state law against Federal law are still two major obstacles for advocates of medical marijuana, beyond the challenges of overcoming the stigma that remains attached to marijuana as a whole.