Where does N.J. stand on legal weed as we head into 2019?

Last year was big for cannabis in New Jersey, though not nearly as big as it could have been.

The state saw a substantial increase in the size of the medical marijuana program, both regarding patients and potentially the number of dispensaries. But New Jersey still missed out on recreational marijuana, when this time last year legalization seemed a real possibility.

The next several weeks will be revelatory for the future of legal weed in the state. If lawmakers can sit down and hash out the more excellent details of legalization, it’s possible that Gov. Phil Murphy could sign a bill by February.

From the time Murphy took office in January of 2018, the state seemed on the cusp on legalization. The governor had promised it in his campaign, his election gave Democrats control of all branches of state government, and state Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, introduced a bill early last year to legalize the possession and personal use of marijuana, as well as create a regulated market.

By late November there was enough agreement on legal weed for the Scutari bill — heavily amended throughout the year — to pass legislative committees in both the state Senate and the Assembly. All it needed then was approval in the full chambers of the state Legislature and a signature from the governor.

Continue Reading at NJ.com

Weed Becomes Legal This Week In Michigan: 6 Things To Note

MICHIGAN — Weed will become legal across Michigan this week, a month after voters approved Proposal 1 on the November ballot. On Thursday, the law takes effect and marijuana will be legal for recreational purposes, in addition to medicinal, which voters approved back in 2008.

There are still some things to be worked out, but here are six things we know for sure now that weed will become legal:

1. Authorities are looking at convictions
2. How to get marijuana
3. Marijuana won’t be allowed just anywhere
4. Renters may still face problems
5. Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal
6. Workplaces can still ban it

See the full article at Patch

Can Government-approved Pot Beat Street Weed?

A key goal of legalizing recreational cannabis is squeezing out illegal suppliers. But how competitive will legal cannabis retail be against established black markets?

That’s a key question for federal and provincial politicians. Governments don’t like pot consumers funding organized crime.

That question may also interest investors. They’ve pushed up cannabis stock prices and created demand for four cannabis exchange-traded funds. Alcohol and tobacco companies have bought stakes in cannabis growers. Suppliers of hydroponic equipment and online retailing software could benefit too.

Price is the competitive element politicians mention most. In Colorado, cheap legal cannabis means black markets control only 20 percent of state sales. But in Washington state, where prices are higher, black markets capture 50 percent.

In Canada, governments agree cannabis prices must be competitive. They’ve suggested $10 per gram, including excise and sales taxes.

But Statistics Canada estimates market prices fell below $7.50 last year, and farther since then. Vancouver street prices reportedly are near $5. And street vendors don’t charge tax.

Read the full article at the National Post

With New Cannabis Cafes, You Can Smoke ‘Em Where You Bought ‘Em

Sometime soon in Massachusetts, you’ll be able to walk into a cafe, ask for a marijuana product, and consume it right there without heading home first.

The state agency responsible for regulating legalized marijuana approved a policy on Monday that will allow for such establishments, so-called “cannabis cafes,” to open — where one can buy a cannabis product and then legally consume it on the premises, just like buying a drink at a bar.

Like bartenders in restaurants in bars, marijuana servers must be trained properly. Such training will focus on helping them identify customers who are too intoxicated to be served more. The commission also agreed that businesses licensed to serve cannabis, should not be allowed to serve alcohol.

Cannabis proponents like Michael Latulippe are pleased with the prospect of on-premises cannabis businesses. Latulippe is a registered medical marijuana user and a member of the state’s Cannabis Advisory Board.

Public safety officials still have concerns. Walpole Police Chief John Carmichael is another member of the commission. He says its important regulations are put in place to prevent people from driving while under the influence of marijuana.

Read more at New England Public Radio

Legal weed: An accidental solution to the opioid crisis?

It’s hard to go a day in Canada without hearing about at least one of two types of drugs – but for vastly different reasons. One class of drug — opioids — kills four people a day in British Columbia. The other — cannabis — will be legal for adult purchase and consumption by this time next year.

The opioid overdose epidemic is Canada’s gravest public health crisis since the emergence of HIV in the 1980s. With its roots in the over-prescription of high-potency painkillers, sparked by the contamination of the illicit drug supply with fentanyl and related drugs, the crisis has reached across demographic divides.

Could cannabis legalization be a part of this solution? Increasingly, this is what the latest scientific research indicates.

Fatal overdoses

The opioid crisis is a product of the medical system’s over-reliance on opioids for pain relief. Almost one in five Canadians live with some form of chronic pain. Twenty years ago, pharmaceutical companies began to develop slow-release formulations of opioids (e.g. OxyContin) and marketed them as safe and effective medications for the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain.

Continue Reading at The Conversation

Can Weed Make You a Better Athlete?

Cannabis is the perfect medicine for athletes,” says retired NFL offensive lineman Eben Britton over the phone, stating matter-of-factly what’s still, generally, considered taboo. (In the world of modern cannabis advocacy, you’re never talking about “weed,” “pot,” “marijuana,” or “cannabis”.)

That hypothesis is the impetus behind Athletes For Care, a new nonprofit of which Britton—alongside 26 other athletes from the NFL, NBA, NHL, and UFC—is a founding member. The organization is dedicated to promoting a holistic, alternative approach to athlete wellness, both for those still playing and retirees. Cannabis is but one part of the wellness package—albeit an important one.

Many of the athletes involved, including former NFL players Eugene Monroe and Nate Jackson, already have a history of cannabis advocacy. The goal of Athletes For Care is to allow them to come together and create what Britton calls a “safe space” for athletes interested in alternative medicine, as well as those simply looking for support after leaving the infrastructure of professional sports.

Read the full article at Bleacher Report

How Beta Blockers and Weed Can Save You From Hulking Out

Beta blockers are lovely little prescription drugs that cause the effects of adrenaline to be blocked. This helps the heart relax and allows you to calm the fuck down. They are used to manage a ton of different conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, migraines, glaucoma, fibromyalgia, and generalized anxiety disorder. Many of these conditions can also be treated with cannabis, so it’s a good thing that beta blockers and weed make such a kick-ass team.

Chronic pain is a perfect example of how beta blockers and cannabis work together awesomely. Bodies in pain produce excess amounts of adrenaline, thanks to our “fight or flight” response. This abundance of adrenaline can make pain sufferers feel like the Hulk—and not in a fun way.

Taking beta blockers can simmer down your adrenaline and consuming cannabis can calm your pain, which can help make patients feel like normal people again.

Cannabis has been shown to increase your heart rate, so it’s a good thing that beta blockers are designed to slow that shit down. Beta blockers also tell your blood vessels to open up—which improves blood flow AND the flow of cannabis through your bloodstream, which allows your meds to work more effectively.

There are several different kinds of BBs and each one is slightly differently than the others, so you may have to try a few before you find the one that works for you—kind of like dating, but with pills. “Hulking out” in an adrenaline rage can be fun occasionally…but beta blockers are there for the times when you just wanna pet a bunny and chill.

Merry Jane