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.

Will COVID-19 Affect Future Marijuana Legislation?

While many of us are increasingly worried about the future of our country and its economy, others simply want relief — and relief comes in many forms. Some who have lost jobs as a result of the spread of the novel coronavirus want relief in the form of money. Others who have been infected with the novel coronavirus and become sick with the disease it causes, COVID-19, want a different kind of relief; i.e. pain relief.

And what better way to relieve pain than use marijuana?

Unfortunately, recreational marijuana is far from widely available in the United States. Those who cannot legally purchase the relatively low-risk drug are worried about the future of marijuana legislation as the country continues to shut down its services, with no end in sight. What will that future look like?

Well, right now things are great for marijuana businesses already up and running. Those same people who are stocking up on canned goods and toilet paper are rushing out to procure a month’s supply of weed.

And you might not need to worry about upcoming marijuana legislation at the state level, either. It seems the outbreak might actually accelerate the introduction of new recreational or medical marijuana laws.

Take South Dakota, for example. Advocates for medical and recreational marijuana had planned a massive campaign to ensure proposals could be added to the 2020 ballot. With the new pandemic still ongoing, this opportunity seemed doomed. How do you get the signatures needed if you’re stuck at home?

Thankfully, the campaign received the needed signatures long before the deadline. That’s the power of weed. Most advocates for legalized marijuana strongly believe that the drug will soon be made available — and more importantly, that it will be well-regulated and taxed to bolster state revenue. As with most controversial issues (think marriage between two men or two women), it will probably only be legalized because of the potential revenue for the state.

But we don’t mind. One step at a time, as long as those steps are taken in the right direction.

A word to the wise: COVID-19 is not the flu and some symptoms are entirely different. The most important difference revolves around the likelihood of fighting for air. When you smoke any substance, you increase the likelihood for diseases such as COVID-19 will be able to do more damage long-term. If you’re a recreational marijuana user or simply use the drug to manage pain, you might consider consumption over inhalation. Better to be safe now than sorry later.

This is especially the case since the underlying infection can occur without symptoms.

How Long Has Democratic Candidate Bernie Sanders Wanted To Legalize Marijuana?

Most people know Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders’s stance of legalizing recreational marijuana by now. He also endorsed changing outdated drug laws last time he ran for the presidency beginning in 2015. Sanders wants to end federal criminalization of marijuana possession and recreational use of the drug. More than that, he would like to reschedule the drug to be considered much less dangerous than, say, heroin —  because the current scheduling makes no sense and is based on debunked misinformation.

The real question is this: how long has Bernie Sanders been a supporter of new marijuana legislation? 

The answer probably won’t surprise you if you know about his record on pretty much all his beliefs. That is, he’s one of the most consistent people you’re likely to hear about in politics today. He’s pretty much always wanted to decriminalize and legalize marijuana.

He supports the recent Marijuana Justice Act. If passed, the law would declassify the drug as a controlled substance and prevent retaliation against states that pass their own marijuana legislation. Right now, most state laws are at odds with more restrictive federal laws.

Sanders also supports the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act to deschedule the currently Schedule I drug.

Those are newer bills (that will almost certainly be struck down by the Republican-controlled Senate, but Sanders co-sponsored a House bill that sought to legalize medical marijuana over two decades ago. That’s the kind of record of sensible drug laws that we like!

One financial issue with recreational marijuana in states that have already legalized it is federal prosecutorial action taken against the banks that choose to offer loans to new marijuana businesses. Not only has this occurred, but sometimes Federal agents have shut down otherwise legally operated businesses in California and other states where weed was recently legalized. Sanders wants to protect those banks from prosecution.

In fact, Sanders has voted at least four times in the House to protect states from federal intervention (you would think this would go a long way with Republican voters who routinely shout their wish to increase state powers while reducing federal powers from the highest mountaintop).

Sanders has said that, if elected, he would take executive action to legalize recreational marijuana at the federal level while descheduling the drug within 100 days of taking office. More recently, however, he decided to up the ante. Now he says that executive action would occur on day one

More than that, he has said he would expunge all non-violent drug-related crimes, and free those who are currently serving sentences for possession of marijuana. Not enough? He also wants to put marijuana selling licenses in the hands of the minority groups who have suffered most!

Missouri Struggling To Balance Legalized Marijuana With Inevitable Controversy

This month, hundreds of entrepreneurs were granted permits to conduct medical marijuana business in Missouri. The licenses provide access to several facets of the weed industry, from cultivation, to safety testing, to sales. It even provides stringent guidelines in how to cook up edible the right way. More licenses expanding access points are expected by the end of the month.

But that’s not enough. Only one out of every six applicants received a license to sell. 

What does that mean? The obvious: angry letters, marijuana litigation, appeals, and lobbying. Everything you’d expect of a potentially billion-dollar industry in its infant stages. Missouri isn’t alone. This was the same reaction received in every other state that has legalized medical or recreational marijuana.

Not every state has provided marijuana licenses the same way, though. In Arizona, a basic lottery was conducted. When Florida tried to implement a similar system, the state was promptly sued. After all, why shouldn’t the best applicant be the one to get the first license? Why should it be randomized when the inferior applicants are so much more likely to fail?

Missouri residents began applying for medical marijuana cards as early as June. That resulted in about 1,000 new patients every week. 

New states will most likely legalize recreational marijuana soon. Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota are all poised to get on the ballot in 2020. There may be others. That means the wave is most definitely upon us. Make no mistake, this is a domino effect in progress.

Other states are planning to put medical marijuana on the ballot instead, deciding on a more incremental approach to legalization. Idaho, Mississippi, and Nebraska are among them. South Dakota will likely add a measure to the ballot as well.

Springfield News-Leader reported: “Pro-cannabis types laud marijuana for its capacity to manage pain, wean people from opioids and improve life for people with terminal disease. But due to federal prohibition, little traditional scientific research on cannabis as medicine has been done in the United States, so many of these claims rely on experiential ideas more than empirical study.”

Desmond Morris is the proud owner of Wholesome Bud Company in Springfield, but also Pride Auto Dealing. It seems everyone wants a piece of the new marijuana industry. Still, he says, “The patient is going to be most impacted by this.”

Even though his business is ready, he was denied a license. So was every other Springfield grower. 

He said, “I’m feeling like the goalposts got moved. Not on purpose, but whenever people do things, they make mistakes. When groups do things, they make mistakes.”

And that’s the point. He wants fewer mistakes to be made so the process can become fairer in the future.

Does Your Landlord Have The Right To Evict You For Marijuana Use?

Obviously this is a question we get asked often enough. Just because a state legalizes a drug for recreational use doesn’t necessarily mean employers or lessors will jump on the bandwagon and open up to marijuana use on their properties. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of false stereotypes and stigma attached to the drug. So does your landlord have the right to evict you if you choose to use marijuana in the privacy of your rented apartment or home?

First, it’s important to make the distinction between how you use the drug. Your landlord has the right to ban you from doing anything that could possibly damage the apartment or house — and highest on that list is smoking any substance. Smoke can damage basically everything it touches, which is why it’s so often banned in lease agreements.

But vaping is different. Consuming edibles is much, much different. This is where state laws will most often come into play. If you get caught smoking anywhere on the owner’s property, then as a renter you don’t really have a legal right to sue (successfully) for breaking the rules outlined in the lease contract.

That was what happened to Francine and Timothy Weinandy, who had rented the same apartment for 26 years. Now in their sixties, they use medical marijuana (legally) because they are disabled. Their landlord didn’t care about their situation. He evicted them for smoking on their outdoor balcony. 

Francine said, “No one deserves to have their home taken away from them because of pot.”

But the important distinction is that not only were they smoking, they were doing it on the balcony, where the smoke can technically blow indoors. Smart lessors will stipulate in the lease contract specifically where tenants can smoke, be it 10, 25, or even 50 feet away from the unit, if at all. Public opinion is veering toward legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana, but that won’t change landlords’ opinions on smoke damage.

That’s why it’s important to turn to the contract before you light up a blunt. You could be evicted if you’re not allowed to smoke, and some agreements specifically mention drug use, legal or otherwise.

Evan Loeffler heads the Loeffler Law Group and specializes in landlord-tenant disputes. He said, “This issue comes up quite regularly. I’ve represented a lot of residential landlords writing leases or dealing with tenants who either demand, insist, or deny the use of marijuana.”

Basically, tenants should abide by the contracts they’ve signed. Those who have questions or concerns should confront landlords directly, but respectfully, and simply ask. Landlords are trying to run a business, and renovating smoke damage is expensive. It doesn’t mean they’re against the use of marijuana. If you’re not comfortable speaking to your landlord, then ask a lawyer for advice.

One More Step Taken In National Legalization Of Recreational Marijuana

The House Judiciary Committee recently went further than anyone else has in changing federal law to legalize recreational marijuana — everywhere. The bill passed by the committee would remove marijuana from the Schedule 1 class of drugs (where it quite obviously does not belong). The bill passed in a 24-10 vote. But how far can it go beyond there? That’s the real question.

Democrats control a majority 234 seats in the House of Representatives, which means the bill could theoretically pass through there easily enough. But Republicans mostly oppose new marijuana legislation, and they control the Senate. More importantly, most Republicans are also under Mitch McConnell’s Jedi mind spell. If he says jump into a flaming abyss, they ask whether or not they should do it naked. And McConnell opposes marijuana legalization. 

The legislation isn’t particularly far-reaching in comparison to pass marijuana initiatives, but it’s still bigger and better than anything put forth before now, and the first one in the House. Basically, all it would do is provide states with the authority to draft and implement their own policies (which some states are obviously already doing, federal government be damned). 

The bill also does two very important things: First, it would eliminate criminal records for those who have been convicted of (and are possibly still incarcerated for) low-level marijuana-related criminal activities. Second, it would implement a 5 percent tax on all cannabis sales. Those monies would then be funnelled into programs that support individuals and communities that have been adversely — and disproportionately — affected by the failed War on Drugs.

This would make an enormous difference in drug arrests and convictions in the United States. The American Civil Liberties Union acknowledged that eliminating marijuana-related crimes would reduce drug-related arrests by more than half. That’s a huge difference in the welfare of people who aren’t actually doing anything wrong, even though current laws say they are. 

Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said, “The criminalization of marijuana has been a mistake. The racial disparity in marijuana enforcement laws only compounded this mistake with serious consequences, particularly for minority communities.”

To make matters worse, the Democratic frontrunner for the 2020 presidential election is still Joe Biden (even though he’s faltering to others in the early primary states), who has gone on record as saying he doesn’t believe in lifting the prohibition on marijuana. 

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) said, “I don’t think a majority of the Republicans will support this bill. It is even less likely that the Senate would take it up. Therefore, I would just suggest we deal with other bills that we can get a much larger bipartisan support from.”

Nadler replied, “I don’t think it’s a good idea…to say, ‘the Senate won’t take this bill.’ When the House passes a bill, it’s part of a continuing process. It’s not the end of a process.”

Where Do The 2020 Democratic Candidates Stand On Recreational Marijuana Legalization?

Well, the good news is this: all but two candidates running for president in 2020 support efforts to legalize marijuana at the federal level. But here’s the bad news (there’s always bad news): the two candidates who don’t support legalization are Joe Biden and Donald Trump. In other words, if either of the two people most likely to win the White House in 2020 actually get in office, they almost certainly won’t do anything. 

Literally anyone else will. Whoopty-do.

If you’re visiting our website you probably know where we stand regarding the war on drugs and the apparent facts that have determined its disastrous outcome for decades. Joe Biden has been a long-time proponent of this war, and he continues to support it now. He’s the only 2020 Democratic candidate who wants to keep marijuana illegal — but at least he wants to reclassify the drug as Schedule II. That’s hardly good enough, but it would pave the way to more scientific research.

He said in 2010: “There’s a difference between sending someone to jail for a few ounces and legalizing it…The punishment should fit the crime. But I think legalization is a mistake. I still believe [marijuana] is a gateway drug.”

Logically, caffeine and alcohol are “gateway drugs” — because it’s nothing more than a fictional term made up to support nonsense propaganda disseminated to support the drug war decades ago.

That’s not to say Biden isn’t changing policy somewhat now that he’s realized he’s the only Democrat in the field still staunchly opposed to legalization: he wants a period of reform aimed at preventing drug use and racial profiling for drug use crimes. He also wants to end the absurd practice of constructing and funding privately owned prisons, and increase training by correctional officers in public facilities.

Not surprisingly, Bernie Sanders supports legalization (marijuana is already legal in his home state of Vermont as of 2018). Unlike almost all the other candidates, he’s supported legalization for at least two decades. He’s sponsoring the Marijuana Justice Act as a senator in Congress. 

He said in 2015: “Right now, marijuana is listed by the federal government as a Schedule I drug — meaning that is is considered to be as dangerous as heroin. That is absurd.”

Elizabeth Warren is another late-comer to the legalization game. Her home state of Massachusetts legislated an adult-use bill for cannabis, a bill for which she did not lend her support. Since then, she has sponsored a number of bills aimed at cannabis reform — but that could be an obvious effort to do as much as possible as quickly as possible to make it seem like she’s always supported these efforts. It’s a facade.

She said in 2018: “No one should go to jail for a joint. But more Americans are arrested for marijuana possession than all violent crimes combined.”

What To Do If You Are Charged With Marijuana Related DUI

Driving under the influence is a serious criminal offense. Prosecutors at the attorney general’s office are more likely to push for significant penalties if they think you might be a danger to society. That’s part of the reason those penalties include community service and drug treatment programs. They want to make sure you will not make the same mistake twice. We all know how DUI works with alcohol — but what happens when you get pulled over and charged with a marijuana-related DUI?

The most basic fact is that marijuana-related DUI charges work exactly like alcohol-related DUI charges. The arresting officer must have reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence of the drug when behind the wheel to make an arrest. At the station you will likely be asked to take a blood test. This test will show the authorities exactly how much THC was in your system when you were driving.

If a driver is found to be over the state’s legal limit, then the driver will be considered “impaired” in the eyes of the law — even if the marijuana did not affect the driver’s ability to perform that function. This is called a “per se” marijuana DUI. Saying you weren’t really encumbered by smoking a little weed is not a valid defense.

States also define the word “impairment” in different ways. Impairment marijuana DUIs work a little differently for that reason. The prosecutor must sometimes prove that the driver was significantly affected by the marijuana to prove impairment.

Visit our website to learn how prosecutors might make mistakes in your marijuana-related DUI case in Florida. There are a number of defense strategies an attorney might use. If the arresting officer did not follow protocol (you’d be surprised how often it happens), then you might find safety. 

Part of the reason that these DUI cases sometimes fail to be prosecuted correctly stems from the fact that field sobriety tests are less accurate in determining a person’s ability to drive than they are when alcohol is a factor. There is no breathalyzer for marijuana — not yet, anyway.

The good news is this: marijuana laws and related offenses are changing due to the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana. Sometimes this gives defense attorneys a good opportunity to poke holes in current regulations. Regardless of how you think the law applies to your case, it is always a good idea to contact a criminal defense attorney. An experienced lawyer can always help lay out the facts better than anyone else.

Can Marijuana Use Affect Divorce Proceedings When In Court?

Marijuana is on its way to legalization; no one can argue with that fact. Dozens of states have already legalized the drug for medical use, while others are moving directly to recreational legalization. But in states where marijuana is still an illegal drug, many spouses are asking themselves if smoking could impact an upcoming court case related to their divorce. And unfortunately the answer is yes.

An uncontested divorce lawyer named Aaron Reynolds commented on the reality of illegal drug use for married couples who are separated. “Most people don’t really think about the consequences — even a joint or two can have a direct impact on a person’s ability to find an equitable solution to divorce,” Reynolds said. “In states where the substance is illegal, the court treats it that way. A spouse can use it against you. Seeking an uncontested divorce is the best way out of this, but they aren’t available to just anyone.”

Marijuana is especially damaging for parents seeking shared custody of children. The court will be extremely hesitant to award custody to a person who is knowingly breaking the law, especially since a number of publications continue to openly assert that marijuana is a gateway drug (which is an assertion long since debunked, but that doesn’t seem to matter).

Judges will claim that marijuana use leads to impaired judgement, memory loss, and reduced reaction time, all of which might affect a person’s ability to safely care for kids. Second hand smoke is especially dangerous in the eyes of the law, and no one wants children exposed to drugs. Regardless of whether or not these claims have any merit (most of them don’t in a society where everyone and their brother still cracks open a beer in front of the kids), a spouse who doesn’t smoke will always have an edge over one who does.

Additionally, married couples hold communal property. Often, the finances included in that communal property go to the purchase of any marijuana used by one spouse, and then the other spouse can use that fact to influence the court’s decisions regarding the distribution of property. 

If a spouse smokes marijuana but knows a court date is coming up, it’s time to stop. Without proof, the court can’t render judgement in favor of one person over another. In most cases an immediate court-ordered drug test will be rendered when a party accuses the other of using marijuana. These tests are accurate for a period of about 90 days.