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Hundreds Protest New Cannabis Laws in Oklahoma

cannabis laws in Oklahoma

The State capitol sees hundreds descend on the city center to protest against proposed new cannabis laws. As the rest of America moves slowly towards full legalization of Cannabis, hundreds of protestors fear that Oklahoma is moving in the opposite direction. Lawmakers in the State have filled dozens of amendment bills to the law that was passed in 2018, legalizing the drug. The new bills will affect both businesses and users.

State Question 788 (SQ788) was passed in August 2018. Following lengthy arguments the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act, often referred to as the “Unity Bill” was introduced in early February 2019. Then Senate Bill 1030 was passed on May 22, 2019. These were defined as adding clarity, though as always the bills were far from clear.

The new Proposed Cannabis Laws

The new bills, filed by state lawmakers, will increase restrictions on the production and consumption of medical cannabis. They are aimed to prevent cannabis companies from advertising on billboards and will prevent dispensaries from opening up near churches. They also aim to give cities and towns more control into the way that marijuana businesses are regulated. Dispensaries are facing huge hikes in costs for commercial cultivators, processors, and dispensaries from $2,500 to $10,000.

Because of this, hundreds of medical marijuana supporters descended on the state Capitol on Thursday 6th January warning lawmakers not to infringe on their legal right to cultivate, produce, consume and sell cannabis. Hypnotic Farms have a facility in Claremont, one of their growers, Linda Jerchau, said, “We’re not asking for anything except just let us be a business. We’re legal. Let us stay legal. Let us be.”

Jerchau attended the rally against the proposed cannabis laws with her father, John Blackwell, who finds medical marijuana helps him to sleep. Attending the rally wearing a black suit emblazoned with cannabis leaves. The outfit was complemented with a red derby hat and red shoes. He said, “It doesn’t knock you out, it helps you relax and sleep.” Adding, “We’re not going to let them get away with it. The public wanted it passed as a law, it got passed as a law, then why are they trying to nibble away at it?”

Blackwell also told of his previous experiences with the prescription drug Ambien. He claims it left him feeling hungover in the morning. He also cited what he referred to as “Ambien roulette”. This was his description of the experiences he had online shopping while he was still asleep. He had no idea that he had purchased products until they arrived at his front door a few weeks later.

The new moves have surprised many as in its first year of medical marijuana being legal, Oklahoma collected about $55 million in tax revenue. Clearly, if restrictions are placed on cannabis businesses fewer will be able to afford to keep their doors open. Less revenue means that all the states citizens lose out.

Scott Fetgatter Makes Promise to Supporters

Republican Representative Scott Fetgatter, of Okmulgee, tried to offer supporters of medical marijuana some solace. Serving as gatekeeper of marijuana bills passing through the House, Fetgatter stated that his long-held anti-marijuana views have changed since SQ 788, passed through the House, legalizing medical marijuana.

Scott Fetgatter

Rep.Fetgatter said, “When the people voted and passed the law, I realized it was my time to take my personal feelings, my personal thoughts, my personal experiences and put those to the side and do my job.”

Fetgatter is looking at some legislative marijuana reforms this year. Notably addressing driving while under the influence of marijuana. However, marijuana supporters will grow comfort from a statement that he made in support of the medical marijuana community and industry.

He stated, “If you see my name on something, there is a very specific reason why I put my name on it. That’s to make sure that whatever happens with that bill has the interest of the patients and the business owners in the state of Oklahoma in mind when it crosses the finish line.”

Summary

Whatever happens regarding Oklahoma state’s cannabis laws, it seems that this is an argument that will run for some time. Business owners are keen to protect their interests and the citizens of Oklahoma, their access to medical marijuana.

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Politics

Joe Biden on Marijuana Reform Laws

marijuana reform

Ciriticized for flip-flopping in the past,  Joe Biden has added marijuana reform to his “Plan for Black America”. He is in favor of federal decriminalization of marijuana and the expungement of prior convictions.

In Addition to Marijuana Reform,  Biden Wants Balance for People of Color.

Biden also wants to see an end to the sentencing disparity between crack and cocaine convictions. Currently, people of color are treated much more harshly. In addition, he wants to abolish the death penalty, repeal mandatory minimum sentencing, and divert those convicted from courts to treatment centers.

Check out the full story on the Fresh Toast Website

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Politics

DEA’s 50-year-old Marijuana Program Ruled Illegal by Trump Administration

marijuana program halted by Trump

For 50 years the DEA has run a marijuana program to grow licensed weed for research. Now a recently disclosed memo shows that the Trump administration secretly banned scientists from enrolling. 

Marijuana Program Ban has Halted Research

For three years, scientists have applied for enrolment and spent thousands of dollars in application fees to join the marijuana program. On top of this, they have wasted countless working hours filling out forms, for nothing. The document was published on the US Department of Justice’s own website. You can read the memo here. You really couldn’t have better proof of its validity.

The way this has been handled comes down purely to a clever interpretation of the United Nations Single Convention Treaties. The Office of Legal Counsel from the Justice Department has ruled that this is illegal. The OLC has pretty much total power on these matters. 

The UN Single Convention Treaty of Narcotic Drugs

Marijuana program

The UN Single Convention Treaty of Narcotic Drugs states that it aims to combat drug abuse around the globe by the coordinated action by all countries. By using two intervention methods they aim to control illegal drugs. The first method is to “limit the possession, use, trade in, distribution, import, export, manufacture, and production of drugs exclusively to medical and scientific purposes”. Secondly, it means to beat the traffickers with the use of international co-operation.

These treaties require all UN member states to outlaw certain drugs. Marijuana is included in these treaties. There is though provision for research, by allowing each country to nominate a government agency, to oversee cannabis cultivation for research for medical purposes. 

Here’s the Catch

 This is how the Trump Administration has mangled to all but cancel the marijuana program. The named agency also has to maintain ownership of the plants and must oversee the distribution of all plant material, directly. One exception which is permitted is if the government agency assigns a trusted third-party or parties to directly oversee the cultivation, processing, storage, and transport of the Cannabis. This is exactly what the Grower program was designed to do under the Obama Administration. 

The devil is as always in the detail. The UN treaties state that each country can only assign a single agency to handle the nation’s cannabis supply. However, in the United States, this has been handled by TWO agencies: the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). Together these two departments have handled federally licensed cannabis for more than 50 years.

Attorney Clarifies the Ruling

Shane Pennington is one of the attorneys who sued the Department of Justice, successfully to obtain the memo. He stated, “If this view of the law is correct, and this overhaul of the rules that the DEA applies to registered manufacturers is necessary to comply with the convention, then the rules that have been on the books have been in violation of the treaty. That’s kind of surprising. You’re telling me, all this time when NIDA was running parts of this program, and the DEA was running other parts, that that was still illegal under international treaty obligations? That should raise eyebrows. People should be questioning this.”

The ramifications of this are large. This proves that President Trump’s administration acted against the will of the people and effectively blocked off the moves to decriminalize cannabis, whilst saying he was doing the opposite. This is probably not much of a surprise to many as Almost Everything Obama did has been reversed in one way or another. 

Scientists Have Repeatedly Expressed Concerns

The Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, appointed under Obama, thought that the Justice Department was acting in good faith when it established the grower’s program. For many years, American scientists have complained about the available cannabis. The type of weed permitted for use in the marijuana program was designated by the Federal government and has been totally unsuited for their research purposes. 

This is deeply disturbing especially when you consider that the scientists have been trying to work on cannabis use against depression to reduce the extremely high suicide rates among military veterans. 

With Presidential elections coming up in the fall, the marijuana program is likely to be a hot topic. President Trump has stated that he has no intention of legalizing cannabis if he is returned for a second term. 

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24 Million Americans Will Buy Cannabis or Booze With Their Stimulus Checks

buy cannabis

It’s probably understandable but when times are tough and money arrives people will buy cannabis or head to the liquor store. Many US taxpayers are eligible for a $1,200 stimulus from the federal government. There is no directive as to how it should be spent. This signals good times for cannabis and booze companies that are offering mail order.

People will Buy Cannabis According to Survey.

A survey by the financial tracking site WalletHub shows that some 24 million US citizens intend to buy weed and party with at least some of the money. In areas where liquor stores are closed but cannabis dispensaries are deemed essential, this number could be even higher. 

Read the full story on the Merry Jane website

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