Florida Might Legalize Cannabis For Adults — But Probably Not

Most marijuana reform thus far has taken place via public referendum, which means we vote on initiatives put forth on our own rather than relying on a legislative body to simply do its job. That’s okay. Whatever gets us one step closer to complete marijuana legalization: we’ll take it. Florida legislators recently filed a bill to legalize recreational weed, but based on the statistics — and the fact that Florida’s population is aging — we don’t see any reason to be optimistic about its passage.

HB 343 and SB 710 would both legalize recreational weed in the state of Florida. The bills were introduced by Orlando Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith and Pinellas County Senator Jeff Brandes, respectively, about a week ago.

Senator Brandes said, “It’s a personal liberty issue for me. It’s really a question of when adult use is going to be legal.”

But he acknowledged that the reasons to legalize go much further than personal liberty: “I think it will generate additional revenue for the state,” he said. “But it will help in a variety of ways. It’s not just the revenue that comes in. It’s also the fact that your law enforcement is now focusing on more serious crimes than trying to find somebody who is walking around with a joint in their pocket.”

And there are a number of other factors that might influence lawmakers to vote one way or the other, especially because public opinion still makes it a controversial issue. For example, even in states where recreational or medical marijuana have been legalized, the topic still comes up during divorce or child custody hearings quite often — and if one parent can point the finger at another parent and say that marijuana affected decision-making, then the judge is still likely to side with the parent who says they don’t consume any drugs. 

This is even more of an issue in Florida, where recreational marijuana still isn’t legal. Judges are far more likely to side with the law and be unswayed by public opinion on the drug (because that’s their job, unfortunately). Visit website here if you believe that marijuana might have impacted your divorce or child custody rights in Florida. 

Smith said, “The need to end Florida’s prohibition of responsible adult use of cannabis is long overdue. This bill creates a sensible bipartisan framework for legalization that can earn the support needed to pass the Florida legislature. It doesn’t include everything I’d like to see, but it’s the fresh start Floridians deserve to finally move past the draconian cannabis prohibition era.”

The bill would make the purchase of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana legal and allow products to contain two grams or less of marijuana’s active ingredient, THC. According to the propositions, the two bills together work to “establish a robust and free-market regulatory approach to the governance of cultivation, processing, and retail sales of both medical and adult-use marijuana.”

We’ll have to wait and see. Medical marijuana has been legal in Florida in some form since 2014.

What States Legalized Marijuana During The 2020 Election?

Only a few decades ago, almost all states barred recreational and medical use of marijuana. But today, only fifteen states outlaw the drug in one form or the other. This new paradigm has experts asking whether or not a tipping point has been reached in public perception of whether or not the drug should be legalized. And point in fact: marijuana legalization made strides on the Nov. 3 ballot. 

Recreational marijuana initiatives received overwhelming support in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota. Medical marijauan received enough support to pass in Mississippi and South Dakota.

Professor Robert Mikos of law at Vanderbilt University said, “There’s been building momentum towards this. A change in attitudes is what’s driving legalization, and it’s interesting about why people view this drug more positively today that 50 years ago. In part, I think it’s because we’ve come to realize that it’s not as harmful as we once thought it was. People are less worried about it.”

That makes sense considering the person responsible for forming government opinion against the drug admitted he basically made everything up years ago.

The first states to allow recreational use of the drug were Colorado and Washington. 34 states allow the drug to be used for medicine (and let’s face it, most of those guidelines are fairly relaxed).

A Pew research study conducted in September 2019 found 67 percent of adults believe marijuana should be legalized for recreational use — but nearly a third of Americans still disagreed. This is a stark contrast to a prior study conducted in 1969, when only 12 percent of Americans were in favor of legalization. Most likely, they were the ones using the drug!

Mikos said, “There’s two different stories here, a difference between the recreational measures and the medical measures. Medical marijuana is oftentimes promoted as a drug that rather than being harmful for some people can actually improve their lives, so it’s a public health story.”

Can Consistent Marijuana Use Result in Brain Injury?

One of the biggest hurdles in marijuana studies is actually procuring the substance — because it’s still classified as a Schedule 1 drug, right up there with heroin or methamphetamines. That means it’s closely regulated. This is true even though there was never much evidence to categorize it as such. But now that marijuana legalization is becoming more widespread, we might discover the real side effects of the drug. Can it result in brain injury? The National Institute on Drug Abuse is researching exactly that subject.

When opponents of marijuana legislation point to a growing body of studies that show how marijuana consumption during adolescence can damage the developing brain. Many of these studies were conducted on animals. When exposed to the drug before birth or soon after, animals would have more difficulty remembering when compared to a control group. But studies on humans sometimes show similar effects — while others show none at all.

What we know for sure is that marijuana may or may not cause brain “injury” during development, but that it can actually be used to treat brain injury for sure. One Virginia brain injury attorney noted that marijuana use after traumatic brain injury (or TBI) can decrease nausea, increase appetite, reduce insomnia, and improve mood — all of which are symptoms associated with TBI.

Using medical marijuana to treat symptoms of TBI and other injuries, illnesses, and diseases can be effective when you realize that consumption changes how your body reacts to the drug. For example, smoking can lead to lung issues — which you don’t need with a head injury. Vaping provides a faster response, which makes it a better option. Edibles sometimes last longer than other consumption methods, which makes it another good choice for anyone suffering from long-term, consistent pain.

There are side effects, however. 

First and foremost, those who are unaccustomed to using the drug will certainly experience being high — which is a sensation not everyone enjoys. Those who use marijuana also have the “munchies,” or increased appetite. Weight gain could become an issue for those with sensitive metabolisms for this reason. Other side effects include, dry mouth, lethargy, and memory issues in the short-term.

As with any other drug, users will want to eat and drink when marijuana is administered.

There is also evidence that cannabis can help slow down the effects of TBI. This is because using CBD or THC can prevent cytokines from circulating throughout the body. Cytokines help increase inflammation in the brain, increasing the chance of permanent damage. Cannabis can reduce inflammation and swelling because it helps the body produce and release minocycline.

Unfortunately, many doctors are still hesitant to prescribe marijuana — even in states that have legalized the use of the drug medically. Doctors are more likely to prescribe the drug when recreational use has been legalized as well. We still have a ways to go. 

Can Cannabis Treat Or Prevent Coronavirus Infection?

Months ago, we asked an important question: will the economic destruction wrought by coronavirus affect upcoming marijuana legislation? We believed the answer was almost certainly “yes,” not for ethical reasons, but for financial reasons. Revenue during a deepening recession gets stuff done. Little did we know that there was a better question to ask! Can marijuana products be used to treat or prevent new coronavirus infections?

Scientists think the answer is yes.

University of Lethbridge researchers conducted an April study to show that high-concentration CBD could shut off the access routes used by coronavirus to infect a person, preventing the disease COVID-19 from ever taking hold.

Olga Kovalchuk said, “We were totally stunned at first, and then we were really happy.”

Her husband Igor added, “Our work could have a huge influence — there aren’t many drugs that have the potential of reducing infection by 70 to 80 percent.”

The biggest problem lies in the fact that cannabis can be used to treat all sorts of medical issues ranging from epilepsy to cancer — and governments still don’t legalize the drug for medical or commercial use without a brutal battle. Usually, marijuana legislation is only passed due to public referendum because lawmakers don’t agree with the public on the issue.

It was only a small study and more research is needed to verify the results. Olga said, “The key thing is not that any cannabis you would pick up at the store will do the trick.”

The study explained that certain powerful strains of cannabis could help them “develop easy-to-use preventative treatments in the form of mouthwash and throat gargle products” to reduce the ability of the infection to reach the airways.

It should be noted that the products used were high in CBD but low in THC, meaning they might save you from coronavirus — but they won’t get you high.

California Restaurant To Marijuana-Laced Cuisine On Menu

It’s the news we’ve all been waiting for: while we might not be able to smoke in public, there’s nothing stopping anyone from consuming food laced with the calming substance. What better place to start the new trend than West Hollywood in Los Angeles? The Lowell Cafe will provide customers with a number of prepackaged food-related options to try the drug on their premises, and it’s completely legal based on state laws.

Only customers aged 21 or over will be allowed to peruse the “flower menu,” of course. Unfortunately, state laws do prevent the establishment’s owners from actually offering any marijuana-laced cuisine that isn’t prepackaged. Isn’t that a shame?

According to the Lowell Cafe’s website, they want their restaurant to be a “welcoming space for those who are cannabis connoisseurs and those who are canna-curious.” Lowell Cafe’s flower menu will be based on what the owners are able to keep in stock from the marijuana-growing local farms in the Los Angeles area. 

The website also says, “There hasn’t been anything like this in existence for over 100 years, dating back to pre-prohibition era cannabis tea pads. We’re excited to set the standard on what a cannabis cafe is and create this experience for the community.”

The idea is based on combining a person’s love of marijuana with their love of local cuisine, which is why the restaurant owners and chefs decided to build the menu only from regional family-friendly farms. 

You can expect the Lowell Cafe to open sometime next month, although the exact date has not been provided yet. The restaurant owners promised to take reservations at least two weeks in advance.

It looks like not everyone is happy about the idea, though.

Synagogue Rabbi Denise Eger of the Kol Ami Congregations said, “The business is to have outdoor space for smoking pot — and I don’t know why my congregation members and participants have to walk through clouds of marijuana to get to synagogue.”

That’s quite an assumption to make, but the city agrees that the cafe’s license should be monitored — and it will be for exactly one year, at which time it will be evaluated. If the cafe has a positive influence on the community as a whole, then it will be renewed. If not, then who can say?

Co-owner Sean Black said, “We want to set a high bar. We better do it right and not mess it up for everybody else. We all feel that pressure.”

What Kind Of Conditions Can Medical Marijuana Treat?

Maybe it was fate that medical marijuana would precede recreational marijuana; after all, medical marijuana has a purpose with which few can argue. The medicinal properties of the plant can work wonders for people when no other drug will alleviate the symptoms. Even though that’s the case, there are some states that haven’t legalized medical marijuana yet — angering proponents and victims of these diseases both. So what kind of symptoms and diseases can we use marijuana to treat?

Basically if you’ve got it, marijuana can help (if you believe the advocates). Here are some of the symptoms it can alleviate:

  • Cancer.
  • Loss of appetite. 
  • Alzheimer’s.
  • Epilepsy. 
  • Glaucoma.
  • Eating disorders.
  • Crohn’s disease.
  • Chronic pain.
  • Spasms. 
  • Multiple sclerosis.
  • Nausea.

The list goes on and on. It can even be used to treat a few mental health conditions (such as PTSD or schizophrenia). According to opponents of legalization, there’s no proof that marijuana helps remove any of these symptoms or that it can be used to treat any of these diseases. In other words, while certain compounds within marijuana can be activated to reduce stress or pain, the drug can’t be used as a cure. Not really the best argument, since most American medicine is based on relieving symptoms anyway.

Although government regulations have resulted in limited research being done on the drug, much of the research that does exist suggests it can help reduce anxiety, nausea, vomiting, inflammation, relax muscles, or increase appetite. These properties make it ideal for treating chemotherapy, cancer (the cells of which it might even kill or slow down) and AIDS.

One of the examples proponents of marijuana most often use when attempting to overcome legalization laws is that the drug can help eliminate seizures in small children prone to epilepsy. A new drug made from CBD oil was recently approved by the FDA to help people with these and similar diseases, but it’s still not legal everywhere in the United States.

Currently medical marijuana is legal in 33 states with legislation pending in many more that would both legalize medical and recreational marijuana in one fell swoop. The wave is coming, and it seems opponents of legalization can do very little to stop it.

Medical marijuana is prescribed orally, through inhalation, or as a skin lotion or spray. Potential side effects include low blood pressure, depression, rapid heartbeat, and dizziness.

Illinois Legalized Recreational Marijuana, But That Isn’t Stopping The Arrests

Lawmakers from the state of Illinois voted to approve recreational marijuana earlier this month, but the moment failed to arrive without the expected obnoxious resistance from opposing lawmakers. One even cooked up some eggs in a frying pan to “scientifically” represent how the brain appears when introduced to oh-so-dangerous drugs like marijuana. When the Illinois House of Representatives voted 66-47 contrary to that belief, he probably went home and knocked a few stiff ones back.

The Illinois Senate approved the measure and Governor J.B. Pritzker acknowledged his intent to sign the bill into law, which will pave the way for the legalized possession and sale of recreational marijuana on the first day of January next year. Although ten other states have so far approved similar measures to legalize the drug, Illinois is the first to approve the commercial sale of marijuana through legislative efforts alone.

The law won’t come soon enough to help Thomas J. Franzen, 37, of Chicago, though. He was recently sentenced to a whopping four years in prison after postal workers obtained a warrant to search suspicious packages arriving on his doorstep. Subsequent investigative efforts discovered he ordered 42 pounds of chocolate edibles from the great state of California, where apparently you can do anything.

The Kane County State Attorney’s office provided a statement acknowledging that Franzen had been accused of intending to sell or distribute the marijuana-laced chocolate goodies.

Will the new legislation affect this ruling, possibly overturning it sometime in the future? Probably not.

In addition to the 42 pounds of chocolate heaven, authorities found other “evidence of drug dealing” including over $2,000 in bills, postal receipts for packages he’d sent out both in the United States and abroad, and a digital scale. Oh, and cocaine. If that state decides to overturn prior marijuana-related convictions, it’s the cocaine that’ll end up keeping Franzen in prison.

Ouch. That’s got to sting.

Franzen’s attorney had previously failed to argue that he needed the 42 pounds of marijuana (and a smattering of cocaine dressing) for treatment of testicular cancer. The Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon actually took it easy on Franzen, who could have been sentenced to what would have been a mandatory 12-year minimum in accordance with the sentencing standards bound to the aforementioned crimes.

“In recognition of the seriousness of Mr. Franzen’s medical condition,” (and probably because they maybe thought Franzen had been running through an intense Breaking Bad marathon at the time), “our office reduced a 12-year mandatory minimum sentence to four years, of which he is required to serve only two years.”

Prosecutors also dropped more serious trafficking charges. All said, Franzen got off a lot easier than most would have.

Can I Travel With Medical Marijuana?

Medical Marijuana is prescribed to patients who are suffering from chronic pain, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, glaucoma, and other medical conditions.  Even if you have a Medical Marijuana card that was issued by your state, it is highly advised that you do not travel with any amount of Medical Marijuana in your possession.

Currently, 29 out of the 50 states have some sort of legalized form of Marijuana but that means that 21 states do not. If you have a Medical Marijuana card it is only valid for that state. It is not valid for any other state. Regardless, Marijuana is still technically illegal under Federal United States Law even if it has been legalized in your state. Interstate travel is considered a federal jurisdiction so if you drive to another state while in possession of Medical Marijuana and get pulled over for an unrelated charge – you could be arrested for Marijuana possession, even if you have your card and show it to the officer.

If you live in a state where Medical Marijuana is legal, you cannot get on an airplane with it even if you are travelling between airports within your own state (for example from Los Angeles to San Diego). The airports are regulated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) which is an arm of the federal government. If you are caught by the TSA with any form of Marijuana, even if you have your Medical Marijuana card, you will be arrested for possession of Marijuana.

Our advice is that if you plan on traveling, do not bring Medical Marijuana with you. If you need Medical Marijuana to live, then perhaps traveling isn’t the best option for you to begin with. Hawaii just announced that it will be honoring other state’s Medical Marijuana cards at their dispensaries. So if you must travel – go to Hawaii.

Does Marijuana Affect Cognition In Adolescents?

There is a constant influx of information about marijuana recently, especially as the elder law governing its use are being loosened around the country. Most of these studies seek to determine marijuana’s effect on younger minds.

Cognition is a word we use all the time, but how many of us could accurately define it? Cognition is the collection of all the processes we use to procure knowledge in conjunction with how we understand by thinking or experiencing various stimuli. Because we have cognition, we can perceive or sense, and even use intuition to acquire knowledge. When experts say that marijuana reduces mental cognition, it means that our ability to think, understand, or learn isn’t what it should be.

So does marijuana actually reduce cognition?

If you ask users, then sure it does. Although marijuana affects people differently (and specific pot strains make a big difference!), many users indicate increased cognition due to use. Their capacity for creativity is greatly increased, and suddenly everything just makes sense. All of life’s mysteries are finally answered. If only.

The science is much less certain. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, adolescents who take marijuana routinely but then stop will notice their capacity for learning and memory heightened. The scientific body of evidence that marijuana hinders growth in the mind of the adolescent is nigh incontrovertible. The study used 88 smokers to conduct its research. Some of the users smoked as often as every day or as little as once a week.

This is especially concerning because, according to the National Institutes of Health, almost fifteen percent of students in middle school and high school use marijuana at least once a month.

The number of children who believe marijuana is a health risk has declined in the last two decades, and it probably doesn’t help that legalization has opened the floodgates of misinformation. THC in general is known to primarily affect brain functions that develop during the teenage years. This development commonly continues until the early twenties.

There’s nothing wrong with recreational or medical marijuana–but it is important to have all the information about the drug before one makes the decision whether or not to partake, and children seem especially vulnerable to both the drug’s effects and the social forces which help govern its use.

History of Cannabis Use

Cannabis is a plant that is mostly known for its use as the drug marijuana. However, Cannabis has been used by humans for thousands of years before it turned into a recreational drug.

The first known use of cannabis dates all the way back to ancient times as far back as 8,000 BCE. In what is now modern-day Taiwan, hemp cord was found in pottery. Discovering hemp being used this early in civilization can be used as an argument for the cannabis plant is one of the first agricultural crops. From 6,000 BCE to 4,000 BCE records show that Cannabis seeds were used in food in China and hemp were being used as textiles.

Medical marijuana is also not a new concept. As early as 2,737 BCE, Emperor Shen Neng of China recorded the first use of cannabis as a medicine. Also during this time in the Ancient Hindu texts, Bhang (dried cannabis leaves, stems, and seeds) is mentioned as a form of medicine and offering to the divine figure Shiva.

In 500 BCE, we see the cannabis plant spreading throughout the world making appearances in Russia and Europe by a nomadic tribe called the Scythians from Siberia. Herodotus in his The Histories written in 430 BC writes how Cannabis was introduced by the Sycthians. Cannabis plants were still being used as a medicine and hemp was still being used as a textile and to make rope. And around 100 BCE, hemp paper was being produced in China.

The first instance of cannabis as a drug or psychotropic came between 100 – 0 BCE in China from Pen Ts’ao Ching. Once we enter the common era, cannabis is mentioned much frequently in written texts about its medical and drug properties. Pliny the Elder’s The Natural History mentions marijuana’s analgesic effects around 23 CE. Plutarch mentions how the Thracians are using marijuana has an intoxicant in 47 CE. Discorides listed marijuana in his book Pharmacopoeia in 70CE. The Greek physician Galen prescribes marijuana in 130 CE.

Around 1000 CE, hashish or cannabis resin grows in popularity throughout Asia as an edible. Meanwhile during this time hemp rope was making its way through Europe and up to the Vikings in Iceland and onto Italian Ships in Italy.

And while this is just from 10,000 BCE to 1,000 CE the use of cannabis grows tremendously.  For more information, we encourage you to visit our website.