Hello there everyone, Todd Denkin back with you again to bring you an update on what has been happening around the world of the Cannabis sativa plant AKA weed. There have been some exciting developments so let’s get to it on this August 10th, 2018.
Adult-Use Legalization is making waves with U.S. Territories
So first up, north of Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, way out in the pacific ocean are some U.S. territory islands called the Northern Mariana Islands. Nobody talks about them too much but they are in fact part of the United States and apparently they are paying as much attention to the marijuana legalization movement as we are here on the mainland. In fact, maybe they are paying even more attention as their House of Representatives just passed a bill to legalize adult-use and medical marijuana on the islands. House Bill 20-178 is now heading to the islands’ Senate where it is also expected to pass. If the bill passes, patients with qualifying conditions can receive medical marijuana cards and anyone over 21 years of age will be able to possess up to an ounce of marijuana flower. Adults will also be able to buy edibles and extracts, and if the bill remains unchanged the islands will also be licensing marijuana lounges. The marijuana legalization movement needs all the help it can get and I don’t know about you, but a vacation to a south pacific island sounds awfully good to me. Imagine a beachfront marijuana lounge with crystal clear blue waters, white sands and a perfectly spun pre-roll in-between your fingers. Look, I’ve got goosebumps!
The Country of Georgia has legalized marijuana
Now, if we leave the land of America and jump all the way to the other side of the world, the marijuana legalization movement is happening there as well. The country of Georgia’s constitutional court just legalized marijuana there in July. Georgia used to be a part of the old Soviet Union but it broke away from Russia in the early 90’s. Unfortunately the region has had to contend with a lot of violent conflict between factions that want to stay loyal to Russia and those that want to maintain their independence. One of the political parties in Georgia that seeks to stay independent and defiant of Russia is the Girchi party which supports people’s freedom to do with themselves whatever they would like. Apparently the legalization of cannabis in Georgia has nothing to do with money, they are not allowing the commercial sale of cannabis, nor does it have to do with its medicinal properties. One of the leaders of the Girchi party stated that, “This wasn’t a fight for cannabis. This was a fight for freedom.”
Illinois governor signs Ashley’s Law bill
Coming back home but sticking with politics and new laws. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill this week that will allow Illinois public school students with state certified medical marijuana licenses to consume medical cannabis on school property by way of cannabis infused products. Illinois has been slow in joining the marijuana legalization movement, but this bit of cannabis news is very interesting. Nearly every state that has legalized cannabis has strict laws about consuming cannabis in public, period, and certainly very strict rules when it comes to children. If it was not for one young girl named Ashley Surin, who the bill was named after and who uses a CBD product to help reduce her seizures, the law likely would never have happened. 63% of voters in the Chicago area approved a ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana earlier this year, but the rest of the state is still on the fence. Metropolitan areas around the country seem to support the legalization of cannabis, it tends to be the more rural areas that are still fighting against the movement.
Has Hound Labs Solved the cannabis breathalyzer question
An Oakland, California company called Hound Labs believes they have engineered a breathalyzer that will accurately be able to tell if someone used marijuana recently and therefore is likely impaired. Now that marijuana is legal in more than half the country, authorities seem to be very worried about people driving high. It never seemed to come up much when weed was illegal everywhere, but now that it is legal, it’s a big deal for some reason. Quickly, these are the challenges of roadside tests meant to determine if a driver is under the influence of the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Unlike alcohol, cannabinoids like THC linger in the human body for over a month as they can dissolve into our fatty tissue, which means just because a test comes back positive for THC does not mean the consumer is actually high. Also, THC is much less concentrated in our breath than alcohol so measuring its presence takes a technology that can measure it in parts per trillion versus alcohol that can be measured in parts per thousand. A tool to measure such a small concentration was the challenge of engineers but Hound Labs believes they have figured it out. Authorities around the country are embracing the technology including police in Boston where recreational marijuana became legal on July 1st. There are still a lot of questions to be answered such as exactly what the penalty should be for driving under the influence of marijuana.
The Story of Delores Saltzman
And finally, we have to tell you about the Delores Saltzman’s story over in Michigan. First off, Michigan has a medical marijuana program and it looks likely that voters in Michigan will vote in November to legalize adult-use cannabis. Ms. Saltzman is approaching her 81st birthday and has gone through the process of getting her medical marijuana card. But, on the night of June 13th she was visited by a deputy-sheriff who came to inquire about her great granddaughter. The deputy did not find the granddaughter but did smell marijuana. Unfortunately, Ms. Saltzman had let her medical marijuana card expire and the deputy felt there was enough reasonable cause to put handcuffs on her and force her to spend a night in the local jail. While the case has been dismissed, it begs certain questions. Many cities and town in Michigan have decriminalized marijuana, which if Ms. Saltzman lived in one of those towns she would have only faced a citation. Still, how can it seem reasonable at all to force an 80-year old woman to endure being handcuffed and spending the night in a jail cell for consuming marijuana in her own home even after the state had acknowledged and certified her qualifying medical conditions? I will let you answer that question.
That’s it for this week folks. Check out our Twitter and Instagram pages @nationalMJNews and of course head to TNMNews.com for even more stories about the world of cannabis. We have some amazing recipes and culture articles and we cover cannabis stocks too. Have a great weekend, this is Todd Denkin with The National Marijuana News.